I published the original version of this obituary almost two years ago, when it was simply a slight curiosity about some fairly well connected upper-class English Catholic converts. The Bellasis surname crops up every so often in some of the weddings, and more specifically so does that of Mrs. Dalglish-Bellasis. The Catholic Who’s Who and Year-Book of 1908 helped a little bit with its entry on Eliza Bellasis’s son William
Dalglish-Bellasis, William — son of Serjeant Bellasis and brother of the Lancaster Herald; educated at the Oratory School, Edgbaston; is a Director of the Cornbrook Brewery Company, Ltd.; married, first, Miss Mary Walmesley, and secondly, Mrs Dalglish, widow of J. Campsie Dalglish, of Wandara, Goulburn, New South Wales. Mrs Dalglish- Bellasis is numbered with her husband among the “founders” of the new Cathedral. Her eldest son by her former marriage, Mr Alexander Dalglish, married (1897) Mary Josephine, daughter of the Hon. Joseph and Mrs Maxwell Scott, of Abbotsford, and great-granddaughter of Sir Walter.
What it didn’t throw up immediately was very slight family connections, and more to the point family connections from two very different branches that only became apparent nearly sixty years later. Amongst the mourners are members of the Bowring family, a Miss Lescher, [though which one is unspecified], and of course Mrs Dalglish- Bellasis. Lewin Bowring C.S.I. (son-in-law) is one of the sons of Sir John Bowring, and is a second cousin of Hugh Mulleneux (1841 – 1921)’s wife Fanny. Hugh is Adeline and Joshua Walmsley’s nephew. In one of those pleasing twists of fate, William Dalglish-Bellasis, Lewin Bowring’s brother-in-law turns out to be married to another cousin. In this case his first wife Mary Walmesley , who is completely un-related to Sir Joshua and Adeline Walmsley, but is the grand-daughter of Joseph Francis Lescher (1768 – 1827). He is Harriet Grehan [neé Lescher]’s uncle, and Harriet is of course 3x step-great Granny.
William Garnett was the Tory M.P. fo Lancaster between 1857 and 1864, and the family were Lancashire cotton merchants.
Obituary of Eliza Jane Bellasis, 27 Oct 1898
We regret to have to record the death of Mrs. Eliza Jane Bellasis, widow of Mr. Serjeant Bellasis, on Friday, the 21st inst., at her residence, 22, Prince of Wales -terrace, Kensington, W. The only daughter of William Garnett, of Quernmore Park, Lancaster, and Lark Hill (now Peel Park) Salford, she was born in 1815, and was consequently in her 84th year. She died on the 63rd anniversary of her wedding day, having been married on October 21, 1835, at St. Peter’s Collegiate Church (now Cathedral), Manchester.
After various conferences with Mr. (afterwards Cardinal) Manning, she followed her husband into the Church in 1851, being received by Father James Brownbill, of the Society of Jesus. During her brief last illness she was attended by Dom Sweeney, O.S.B., of Bath, and by her eldest and youngest sons, both priests. The funeral took place on Wednesday last, the 26th inst., at St. Mary Magdalen’s, Mortlake. High Mass of Requiem was sung at 11 a.m, by the Rev. Michael Fanning, Administrator of the Pro-Cathedral, the Rev. Richard Garnett Bellasis assisting as deacon, and the Rev. Henry Lewis Bellasis as sub-deacon. The Rev. Charles Cox conducted the choir ; Dom Sweeney and Father Hogan were also present in the sanctuary, and former acting as master of ceremonies. The mourners were Mr. Edward Bellasis (son), Mrs. Edward Charlton, Mrs. Lewin Bowring, and Miss Clara Bellasis (daughters), Mrs. Dalglish-Bellasis (daughter-in-law), Mr. L. B. Bowring, C.S.I. (son-in-law), Commander Edward F. B. Charlton, R.N., William L. S. Charlton, George V. B. Charlton and Lieutenant Vincent L. Bowring, R.N. (grandsons), Miss Mary T. Bellasis, Miss Elise J. Charlton, and Miss Edith M. Bowring (granddaughters), Mrs. W. J. Palmer (niece), and Messrs. R. Oliver, and C. Oliver (cousins). Among others present were Lady Clifford, Mrs. West, Miss O’Donnell, Mrs. Barry Farrell, Miss Lescher, and Mr. E. R. Crump. Mr. Dalglish-Bellasis was unable to be present owing to indisposition.
The Rev. Father William Kerr, S.J., said a few words at the close of the Mass, taking for his text : ” Thou bast loved justice and hated iniquity, therefore God hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. “ The first thing that it occurred to him to say with regard to the excellent woman whose loss they deplored, was that hers had been a happy life and he for one could not grieve over so happy a death. God led souls to Him in divers ways. It was her lot to be blessed in her saintly husband, blessed in her family (no less than five of whom were in religion). Not that she never suffered. None could know what interior trials those whom the Lord loved underwent. It was suffering (the loss of a child) that led her and her husband into the church. Both had sprung from Protestant families in the North, of the old school, with no leanings to Catholicism, but with prejudices against it. Yet once a Catholic how zealous was she, as well as her husband, for Catholic interests. In season, and (one might almost say) out of season, she was the valiant woman, ever active in dissipating error and falsehood about the Church. Yet she could show herself the good Catholic she was without offence to those without the fold. A woman impatient of wrong-doing and sayings full of charity and alms deeds, one who did her duty lovingly and bravely in that station of life to which she was called, she aimed, as she told the Benedictine Father who knew her well in her later years, at making Almighty God the centre of all her actions.
And for 25 years a widow, she remained to the last the living centre of her family ; to her latest hour she was unselfish, and she thought of others rather than of herself. Her natural gifts and acquirements insured for her a wide influence beyond the circle of her home. That home his own parents had known and loved, and so he thought he had some sort of right to speak about her now that she was gone. What such a loss was he knew by experience, and he could confidently tell them that mourned that day what he had found in his own case, that very soon their sorrow would pass, and their joy remain. Joy was the key-note of her life, and they would meet her again joyfully, if they were worthy, ” among the spirits of the just made perfect. “ R.I.P.
The above text was found on p.27, 29th October 1898 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .
CHAPTER XXV. This chapter covers the mismanagement of the Crimean War; it is mostly in the form of letters between Josh and Richard Cobden. Both took a generally non-interventionist approach to European affairs, and their criticisms of the Army were political, in so far as the Army was still largely officered by the aristocracy. Officer’s commissions were still purchased at this point, rather than awarded by merit. It should be born in mind that both Joshua Walmsley II, and Hugh Walmsley were army officers, which possibly coloured Adeline’s views, who in Richard Cobden’s view ” sometimes takes too poetical a view of the glories of war.” But perhaps that’s the only way to cope with having two sons as serving soldiers.
Sir John Bowring mentioned at the end of the chapter was the fourth Governor of Hong Kong, had been Josh’s predecessor as M.P. for Bolton, and was the great-uncle of Adeline’s nephew Hugh Mulleneux’s wife Fanny Bowring Mulleneux.
As the winter of 1854-55 drew on, the nation realised in its full force the meaning implied in the phrase that we had ” drifted into war. “ In the spring a gallant army had left her shores. In September, letters reached home, complaining that the changeable climate of the Crimea was unprovided for. Then followed reports increasing in gloom with the shortening days, of troops dying of disease and want
Hearts in English homes sickened during that bitter winter at the pictures drawn by ” our own correspondents “ in the Crimea, of the condition of the sick and wounded. In imagination the nation beheld ” that bleak range of hills “ overlooking the Black Sea, where — ragged, shoeless, overworked, racked by disease in want of food, shelter, fuel — the remnant of its army was dying at the rate of ninety or a hundred per day. Seven miles distant the English held a port stored with every necessary provision and means of relief; but the road to it was made impassable by snow, which, combined with the pedantic delays of red-tape-ism, frustrated all efforts to bring comforts to the soldiers, ” I shall never forget the gloom of that winter, “ says Sir Joshua, ” when each man asked the other with whom did the fault lie, was it with the commanders abroad or with the Government at home ? “
” Excitement was at its height when Parliament opened on the 23rd of January . On the first night, the Earl of Ellenborough and Mr. Roebuck gave notice that on the 25th they would bring the conduct of the war under critical review. That night the country was taken by surprise by the resignation of Lord John Russell, who explained this unusual, if not unconstitutional step, by alleging that he could not resist Mr. Roebuck’s motion. The accounts that came from the East were ‘ horrible and heartrending,’ and ‘ with all the official knowledge to which he had access, there was something inexplicable in the state of the army.’ “
” He explained that during the recess, he had urged Lord Aberdeen to appoint Lord Palmerston to the Ministry of War, in the place of the Duke of Newcastle, a course the Prime Minister had refused to follow. When in the hour of reckoning Lord John Russell thus separated himself from hiscolleagues, the conviction deepened in the minds of all who heard him, that culpable negligence could alone explain the cruel fate of the army in the Crimea. “
“ Roebuck was suffering in health on the night he brought forward his vote of censure on the conduct of the war. The emotion that overwhelmed him, the weakness of illness made him almost inaudible; what, he asked, was the condition of the army before Sevastopol, and how had that condition been brought about ? In faltering accents he told how an army of fifty-four thousand men had left England a few months previous ; this army was reduced to fourteen thousand, of which only five thousand men were fit for duty. What had become of the forty thousand missing? Where were our legions ? A stormy and angry discussion followed Roebuck’s motion. Ministers and their supporters opposed the inquiry as dangerous and useless, but the House, dividing, by a large majority declared in favour of the motion. In the face of this overwhelming vote of censure, ministers resigned. ”
They resigned on the 1st of February. Then followed a fortnight during which the country was left without a Government — a fortnight of cruel suspense, as it anxiously watched the protracted negotiations to form a ministry capable of making head against the national calamity. In this fortnight are dated some vigorous letters addressed by Sir Joshua to The Atlas newspaper, showing up the series of blunders committed since the landing of the army at Varna, maintaining that the aristocracy are not business men.
He wrote : ” And it is a man clear-sighted, clear-brained, quick to resolve and act, unshackled by the trammels of red-tape-ism, that is wanted at this juncture. ”
” I have read your spirited letter in TheAtlas “ writes Mr. Cobden. ” It is a pity that our quarrel with the aristocracy does not spring from some other cause than the complaint that they don’t carryon war with sufficient vigour. ”
On the 16th of February , the Cabinet was formed. It was a reconstruction of the former ministry, and included no new members. On Lord Palmerston, who had replaced Lord Aberdeen as Prime Minister, centred the nation’s hopes for the better management of the war. Lord Panmure was made Secretary of War in the place of the Duke of Newcastle. This change in the administration did not induce the House to rescind its vote in favour of Mr. Roebuck’s motion. The nation would not be put off; with passionate reiteration it demanded : ” What has become of our forty thousand missing soldiers of the army of fifty-four thousand that left our shores some months ago ? ”
The House of Commons persisting in the inquiry, another ministerial crisis occurred. On the 22nd of February, Mr. Gladstone, Sir James Graham, and Mr. Sidney Herbert resigned giving as reason that they had accepted office in the belief that Lord Palmerston would continue to oppose the formation of a Committee of Inquiry. They regarded this inquiry as unnecessary, unjust to officers, and dangerous. These vacancies in the Cabinet being filled up by the appointment of Sir Cornewall Lewis and Lord John Russell, the committee was appointed.
A few months later, its revelations justified the fears and suspicions of the nation. It showed that the Government had drifted into war unprepared, regardless of the difficulties and complications inherent to a struggle carried on at a distance. We sub- join the following extracts from a letter written by Mr. Cobden upon the fall of Sevastopol, and dated Midhurst, 27th September, 1855, showing up but too plainly the lamentable military mismanagement and failures that threw discredit upon the English arms in the Crimea.
After referring to a private circumstance relating to the death of a friend, and stating the general feeling of the moment, he proceeds :
” The French have covered themselves with great glory. I am sorry to say nothing but discredit and shame attaches to us; but as everyone speaks out, no doubt you will hear something of it at home. They may blame the men as much as they like ; I blame the system — a system which gives no encouragement to a man to discharge his duty — a system which has not only allowed but encouraged a crowd of officers to slink home on every possible pretence, from the Duke of Cambridge and Lord Cardigan downwards, and to leave, as substitutes for officers who know their men and were known by them, a parcel of mere boys from England, all anxious to come out because they had not the most remote idea what they were coming to. “
” My friend should have added that the men as well as officers who have gone out are mere boys. In fact, the recruiting-sergeant has been successful only in kidnapping children. The manhood of the country has contented itself with voting strong resolutions at meetings, making courageous speeches, or preaching inflammatory sermons; whilst the fighting has been left to unfledged striplings. It makes me indignant beyond expression to find my country exposed to the taunts of the world, as the cowardly bully amongst nations, always ready with the big threat, but skulking from the post of danger. Were I despotic, the first thing I would do should be to seize every newspaper editor, every orator, and every preacher I could prove to have fanned the flames of this war, and pack him off to take part in it until peace was arranged. “
” In sober seriousness, if we are to take a part in military operations on the Continent alongside of France, Russia, and the great powers of Europe, and if we would avoid the disastrous and ridiculous failures which we have witnessed, we must, like them, be prepared to submit to the conscription, by which a guarantee will be afforded that the interests and honour of the country are confided to a fair representation of the manhood of England. “
” As it is, we may fairly assert that the middle class, who, at least in West Yorkshire, are the most zealous advocates of the war, have taken no part in it. They form no part of the rank and file of the army, and, generally speaking, are only to be found as exceptions amongst the commissioned officers. When the operations of the war come to be calmly reviewed, it will be found that our sufferings and disasters have sprung almost entirely from our having started with pretensions to be on an equality with France, and having failed first with the numbers and at last in the quality of our troops. Lord Raglan himself stated that the terrible losses of last winter arose principally from our men having been overworked, the result of their inadequate numbers. And General Klapka, in his book on the war, says that the British, in spite of their heroic courage at Inkermann, would have been driven into the sea by the overwhelming numbers of Russia if the French had not come to their rescue : the small army of men which went out last year having been dribbled away, and mere boys sent to replace them. “
” The foregoing extracts from my friend’s letters will be interesting to my good friends your companions; but the following description of what he saw when he entered Sevastopol, I send exclusively for Lady Walmsley, who sometimes takes too poetical a view of the glories of war. “
“ On the Monday after the evacuation there was a flag of truce, and a steamer crossed to take away some wounded men left in one of the dockyard store-houses, which, as being rather out of fire, had been used as a hospital, I happened to be down on the spot at the time of the removal, and such a sight I never witnessed and hope I may never witness again. Hundreds of men, wounded in every conceivable maimer; some with amputated, some with broken limbs, some writhing in agony with musket-bullets in their bodies. All more or less neglected for many hours, were carried out of the wretched place in which they had been hurriedly placed, and were laid on the decks of the steamer for conveyance to their countrymen. The scene in the building itself was something awful, it was literally one huge mass of dead and dying men — belts, canteens, military equipments and dress, cut or taken from the men as they were brought in, were strewed about; and in many instances dead and putrid bodies lay over those still having a gasp of life left. “
” Anything more utterly shocking I cannot conceive. A huge tub passed me, under which two men staggered. Its contents consisted of arms, legs, feet, hands, and other parts of the human body. I know not what selection the Russian steamer could have made from the hideous mass, but when she had got her cargo she left, and next morning she was sunk with the rest. I passed the place again yesterday, and all around was still one mass of dead bodies in every stage of decay. The smell was frightful, and the sight of those dead bodies, swollen and blackened as they were, was worse. The whole place is a mass of putrefying human flesh. It is impossible to exaggerate the horrors which meet one at every turn. Determined not to leave anything in our hands that they could destroy, they actually hurled their field-guns, horses and all, harnessed as they stood, into the harbour. It was a strange sight to see them as they lay, through the clear blue water.”
” With our united kind regards to all your circle, “
” I remain, very truly yours,”
Let us give another letter from the same pen — the more interesting because of its application to our present position towards Russia — dated :
” Midhurst, 12th November, 1855.
“ My dear Walmsley,
” But, really, when I see the tone of the press, and the reports of such meetings as that in the City, where that old desperado, Palmerston, is cheered on in his mad career by his turtle-fed audiences, I am almost in despair. If our ignorant clamours for the ‘ humiliation of Russia ‘ are allowed to have their own way, look out for serious disasters to the Allies ! No power ever yet persisted in the attempt to subjugate Russia that did not break to pieces against that impassive empire. “
” Tartars, Turks, Poles, Swedes, and French, all tried in their turn, all seemed to meet with unvarying success, and yet all in the end shared the same fate. The Russians can beat all the world at endurance, and the present struggle will assume that character from this very day. The question is, who can endure the longest the pressure on their resources in men and money ? It is not a question of military operations; the Russians will retire, but they will not make peace on terms that will give any triumph to the English and French ; they will gradually retire inland upon their own supplies, where you cannot follow them, to return again if your forces quit their territory. In the meantime, high prices and conscription in France, and taxes, strikes, and heavy discount in England, will have their effect. And who can tell what the consequences may be in a couple of years ? We are exaggerating the power of a naval blockade, and the effect of the depredations we are committing on the coast of that vast empire, because we do not sufficiently appreciate the comparative insignificance of its sea-going foreign trade, as compared with its interior and overland foreign trade. An empire three thousand or four thousand miles square, with such vast river navigation, has resources, which we cannot touch, ten times more important than the trade we blockade. “
” The very fact of her having followed a higher protective policy, and thus developed artificially her internal resources, whilst it has no doubt lessened her wealth and diminished her power of aggressive action against richer states, has, at the same time, by making her less dependent on foreign supplies, rendered it easier for her to bear the privations which a blockade is intended to inflict. The more I think of the matter, the more I am convinced that the Western Powers, if they persist in their attempt at coercing Russia by land operations, relying on the effect of a blockade, will suffer a great humiliation for their pains. The only thing that could have given them a chance of success was the co-operation of Austria and Germany upon the land frontier of that empire. “
” This was the only danger dreaded by Russia, and hence her efforts to conciliate German interests ; for, as I said in the House, every concession offered by Russia has been to Germany, and not to the allies. However, it is no use reasoning on these matters, for reason will have little to do in the matter. It is a question of endurance, and time will show which can play longest the game of beggar-my-neighbour. “
” My friend Colonel Fitzmayor wrote to me on the 4th inst., on board the Ripon, off Southampton. He said he was going to Woolwich, to which place I immediately wrote him a letter, but have had no reply. He is perhaps gone to see his family, and may not get my letter for some days. I fear there is no chance of my seeing him here this week. When do you think of leaving Worthing ? I am sorry I cannot leave home to come and see you at present. With regards to all your circle,
” Believe me, truly yours,
In February , Sir Joshua lost his friend, Joseph Hume. During the closing months of his life, the old man complained often with pathetic petulance ;
” I am in a grumbling condition, because I cannot do as I used, and yet would fain still do. The will remains the same, but the flesh is weak. ”
To the last the progress of the Crimean War was a subject of keen and painful interest to him. He kept on hoping to the last he would recover sufficient strength once more to take his accustomed seat in Parliament, and help to procure a more wisely administered system in behalf of the soldiers’ welfare. Those closing letters are touching evidences of an undimmed spirit and a failing body. The 4th December  is the date of a letter written in a more hopeful vein :
” My dear Sir Joshua,
” I shall now expect to see you on the 12th, if I continue as I am ; but I have had doubts whether I should in prudence be able to attend the meeting. The state of the war and of public affairs is such as to call for a grand meeting as to numbers, and, I hope, strong in the advocacy of future and speedy measures for the support of our brave country- men in the East. There is much in Kossuth’s speech that deserves serious attention, but the condition and plan of Austria is what has destroyed the policy that ought to have been adopted, to unite and rally the popular and free principles against the military and despotic, which really is the great point to look to. “
“The Governments of Germany remember 1848, and have their fears of reaction which, sooner or later, must take place. But at present the difficulty is great, and we must give all the help we can to overcome that difficulty. “
” Let me have a few lines with any news that you may think worth repeating, and to engage my thoughts until the 11th, when I propose to be in Bryanston Square with Mrs. Hume. ”
The intended journey to London was never accomplished. We find him on the 21st January, 1855, writing:
” I have decidedly improved the last two days.Although all was packed up, and the horses were ordered, I do not think I shall move for the week, unless some extraordinary occurrence shall compel me. I shall therefore hope for a line, if anything be worth attention. We have had two gentle falls of one inch and a half of snow each, and at this moment not a breath of wind. I have not been out of doors for four days, and a good pair of bellows would blow me over, and yet I have no pain to look to as the cause of all this. ”
The end was not far off On the 13th February Mr. Cobden wrote :
“ My dear Walmsley,
“ I wrote to poor, dear old Hume, some time ago, but when I was not aware that he was so very ill, and of course I expect no answer. I fear your apprehensions will prove too well founded. “
” Perhaps if he had retired from Parliament at the last election, and gone to Switzerland, or America, or to some new scene, with his family, he might have lived a few years longer. But he preferred to die in harness, and after all, life to him would have wanted more than half its charms, if he had abandoned Parliament. May Heaven smooth the pillow of the glorious old man. ”
On the 20th of February  he died. In him the Reform party lost its oldest leader, and the country the man whose keen, firm sense of justice and indomitable resolution had raised a standard of integrity, and established principles of order and economy, that made a mark that can never be effaced on the public administration of affairs.
On the 26th of February , moving for a new writ for Aberdeen, Lord Palmerston paid a high tribute to Mr. Hume’s memory. Sir Joshua Walmsley, overcome by emotion, alluded, in a short speech, to the privilege he had enjoyed of possessing for many years the confidence and friendship of Mr. Hume.
“ It may be justly said that his unostentatious labours for the public good were only excelled by his private worth. Even in the arena of political strife, he never made an enemy or lost a friend. And I would indulge the hope that the representatives of a grateful people will not suffer services, at once so eminent and so disinterested, to pass away without some memorial worthy of them and of the country. ”
Sir Joshua Walmsley wished that a national monument, voted by both Houses of Parliament, should be erected to the memory of his friend. Mr. Cobden and many others approving the idea, it was taken up, and a requisition, signed by two hundred and twenty-four members of both Houses, was presented to Lord Palmerston, calling upon him to propose“ that a durable memorial be erected, by a vote of Parliament, to the memory of the late Mr. Hume, in testimony of the country’s grateful appreciation of his long, disinterested, and laborious public services. ”
But the proposal was silently defeated, on the plea that there was no precedent for it, that Joseph Hume had never been in office. A few hundred pounds subscription endowed a scholarship in the London University. Sir Joshua, keenly felt this rejection of a national recognition of his friend’s services. ” What man, “ he would often exclaim, ” had done so much for the best interests of his country, devoting his whole life to strenuous, unflagging work, without fee or reward ? ”
Sir John Bowring, writing from Hong Kong, in September, 1856, to Sir Joshua, remarks: ” I think it sad evidence of an unsound state of things, that a man like Joseph Hume should have been allowed to live and die without other honours than those which individual esteem and gratitude brought to accompany him on his progress, and which now gather round his tomb. The appreciation of the fiercer parts of human character ; the warlike, the passionate, in preference to the gentle, the pacific, the permanently useful, is somewhat startling to those who desire the world’s improvement. We grieve, protest, but where shall we find a remedy ? ”
The following graceful tribute from the same pen, to the memory of Joseph Hume, we find enclosed in another letter :
Not of the crowd, nor with the crowd did he
Labour, but for them, with clear vision bent
On to reform, steadily he went
Onward, still onward perseveringly ;
Yet not a hair’s breadth from his pure intent
Diverted, or by frowns or flattery ;
His nature was incarnate honesty.
And his words moulded what his conscience meant ;
So, honoured most by those who knew him best,
Leader or link, in every honest plan
Which sought the advance of truth, the good of man,
Still scattering blessings, through life’s course he ran ;
And when most blessing others, then most blessed.
Till called from earth to heaven’s most hallowed rest
CHAPTER IV. This all takes place between 1816 – 1819.
The young couple took a house in Gloucester Street, at a rental of seventeen pounds per annum; the furnishing of which proved no easy matter, but by his old age there was no greater delight to Sir Joshua than the retrospect of these happy days, to tell of their many straits, and the difficulty they had to make the two ends meet, of their various vicissitudes and unvarying affection.
It was a time when the bare necessaries of life were hard to get, for the harvest of 1816 proved the worst England had known for years. The Corn Laws of 1815, prohibiting the importation of grain until homegrown wheat had reached eighty shillings per quarter, increased the distress. Misery was widespread over the country ; in Liverpool we find twenty thousand persons depending upon parish relief for support, and to feed this starving multitude the rate of one shilling and threepence levied upon the pound. As it inevitably happens, the heaviest burden fell upon small incomes, and accordingly it became imperative upon Mr. Walmsley to devise some means by which to increase his.
“My first resolve,” he says, ” was that my duty to my employers should not be interfered with, nor the time I owed them encroached upon. To solve this problem of reconciling the two conflicting interests seemed no easy matter, yet it was not long before I hit upon a plan, and I set to work at once. At the county markets, of which Warrington and Manchester were the principal, I was getting well known. My discrimination in grain had earned me a reputation. I now determined to try some modest speculations on my own account. I therefore bought small packets of rice, arrowroot, Indian corn, and disposed of them at those markets. My plan succeeded beyond my expectations. It saved us from penury. Those small speculations in grain succeeded so well in the county markets that I took a room, or rather a barn, in South John Street. There, in the early morning, I weighed out my packages and carried them to their various destinations. I was never a moment behind time at Messrs. Carter and Piers’ office, although before this regular business hour I had often done a hard morning’s work. I never slackened my energy in my employers’ interest, and in the early hours I was earning more than double the salary they allowed me. Thanks to Peter Evans’ training, on the Corn Exchange I was recognised as a first-rate judge of cereals. By plunging my hand into a sack, I could recognise by the touch alone the quality and kind of grain it contained.”
To this period belongs an incident which Sir Joshua often related :
“ One morning, very early,” he said, ” I issued out of my modest warehouse, carrying a heavy bag of rice on my back. It was destined for Mr. Harrison, a ship-biscuit baker, residing close to the dock. The percentage on it would be barely two shillings. I quietly wended my way — few passengers being in the streets as yet — when suddenly on approaching Queen’s Dock, I found myself surrounded by a crowd of porters, shaking their fists in my face, yelling that I was encroaching on their rights, that I was taking the bread out of their mouths. They threatened to throw me and my bag into the river. The crowd of furious men was swelling. The expression of their faces, their gestures, told me that the execution of their threat was imminent. No help could be looked for from the ‘ Old Charlies.’ For one moment I was startled, then I leaned my back and my bag up against a wall. I shouted at the top of my voice, bidding them be still. I told them, I too was poor, poor as the poorest of them. I was the last who would encroach upon the poor man’s rights, but I claimed that right for myself — the right to earn honestly what lay in my power. I told them what percentage this bag of rice would bring me, scarce enough to pay one of them to carry it to its destination ; and this I could not give, for it would be the price of my dinner.”
“The words appealed to the men’s sense of fair play, and their yells were turned to cheers. When I moved on they walked behind me in procession, hurrahing lustily. Mr. Harrison, attracted by the noise, came to his door to ascertain its cause. He was not a little astonished to see his expected rice-dealer coming towards him, his bag hoisted on his back, surrounded by a cheering crew of dock-porters. He could scarcely believe his eyes, but when I told him the story of that morning’s adventure, he offered there and then to take me into partnership. The days of my apprenticeship however not being ended, I could not accept his offer.”
Circumstances were brightening in the little household in Gloucester Street When, after two years, the eldest son was born, [Again this is a little hazy with the facts, Joshua Walmsley II was born in 1819, four years after the marriage, and Elizabeth Walmsley, the eldest daughter was almost two.] Mr. Mulleneux, who had been watching his son-in-law’s career, forgave the two offenders. His daughter’s husband might be poor, but he was made of the right stuff; his principles and aims were upright and manly, and his determination to carry them out indomitable.
The following is the account Sir Joshua gives of his coach-travelling days, as Messrs. Carter and Piers’ salesman :
” The speed at which coaches travelled now was very different from the slow old days of my childhood. Once I remember having left Liverpool at seven in the morning, breakfasting at Prescott, dining at Warrington, taking tea at Hallam’s Green, eating Eccles cakes at Eccles, and reaching Manchester at eight. The thirty-six miles had taken thirteen hours to perform. Now the thirty -six miles were accomplished within three hours and a half. Travelling had become safe too. Highwaymen were almost an extinct race. During the time I travelled thrice weekly between Liverpool, Warrington, and Manchester, there was but one coach robbery on record, and by a sort of poetic justice the robbed man was himself his employer’s robber. The hours of travel we often spent in playing whist. There was a Quaker whose name was well known in Liverpool, a worthy member of the Society of Friends. He often travelled down by the Warrington coach, or in the gig. He did not play whist himself, but he lent his great- coat to be spread on the players’ knees to form a temporary table. He also held the candle for them when it was too dark to distinguish hands. With unaccountable interest he watched the game, and often when I was about to play a wrong card he would jog my elbow, a hint I always followed.”
Mr. Walmsley had long been following with keen interest the progress of steam navigation. He foresaw that this marvellous propelling power would usher in a new era in commerce. Men’s minds were divided on the subject, some holding the expectation of any great change for the better resulting from it to be visionary, whilst others watched and half believed.
Mr. Egerton Smith, in the columns of The Liverpool Mercury, strenuously advocated the use of steam to tow sailing-vessels out to sea. Pointing to the ruinous delay caused to merchants by the prevalence of north-west winds off the coast, detaining whole fleets for weeks in the Mersey, he urged that by the use of steam they might be towed out and go on their way, and also that during calms the river and docks might be relieved from momentary pressure.
Gradually he went further and collected evidence to prove how steam might be applied to sea-going ships.
” The famous Dr. Lardner vigorously opposed the idea. He admitted that on the calm waters of the great American rivers it might work, but to apply it to ocean-going ships was insanity. At a lecture, to which I listened with breathless attention, the doctor laughed to scorn the notion of steam as an ocean- going motive power. He stated boldly and decisively that not only was it an impossibility, but that it would ever remain so, that no vessel ever could cross the Atlantic and carry her own coal. This he theoretically demonstrated to the satisfaction of his hearers and himself. On the 30th June, 1815, I formed a unit in a great crowd assembled on the frontage towards the river. About noon of that day arrived the first steamboat ever seen on the Mersey. I shall never forget my emotion as I watched the strange ship ploughing the waters, and sending puffs of smoke upwards in the air.”
He records his first trip in a steamer :
“ One of the first steamships seen on the Mersey was placed at the disposal of the mayor, Jonathan Hollinghead, and the municipality, in order that by means of a short trip to Beaumaris and back they might satisfy themselves of the practicability of steam as a motive power. A ticket was offered me, and I gladly availed myself of it. It was a glorious day, but just sufficient sea on to make the plunging of the vessel testify to the power of the engine. The destination was reached in safety, and the mayor and his guests landed, visited this lovely and romantic spot, then once more embarked, and the St. George steamed out of the little harbour amid the wild cheers of the inhabitants, who crowded the shore to behold the crowning wonder of the age. The afternoon sun was shining brightly, the sea had gone down. On deck a bounteous repast was laid, the host’s jovial merriment communicating itself to all his guests. Presently two Manx herring-boats were seen luffing up into the wind, their sails shivering to slacken their way, in order that the fishermen might gaze on a vessel advancing without sails. Willing to gratify them, the captain slackened speed, and the St. George steered right between the two tiny craft. The boats, as it neared them, both filled and stood on the same tack. The breeze was fair, and they easily kept way with the steamer, one to starboard, the other to port. Suddenly, one of our party seized an apple and flung it at one of the fishermen. Another and another followed, then a volley, and the mania spreading, apples, oranges, cakes were thrown in a perfect storm. It was the broadside of the ship-of-war together with the file-firing of the marines. The mayor forgot his dignity and shouted with glee. Aldermen and common-councilmen grew young again, and grave grey-haired men pelted and shouted like children. A moment the fishermen were staggered and utterly bewildered, then with a howl of vengeance, they seized upon their finny prey, and the air grew dark with herrings. They fell in showers upon the assailants, the deck was slippery with them, the table was covered with them, still on they came, thicker and faster.
‘Go ahead full steam !’ shouted the captain, and the St. George obeyed, drawing out of Herring reach, while the mayor gave a parting cheer, and hurled his hat in defiance in the direction of the Manxmen, whose responding shouts were heard as the lost hat bobbed up and down on the waves.”
Thus a naval encounter marked Mr. Walmsley’s first trip to sea.
The time of his apprenticeship now approached its close. He could choose his future path. Messrs. Carter and Piers offered him a liberal salary to remain. Mr. Harrison was ready to take him into partnership. There was a third opening for him : Mr. Booth, a gentleman he had often travelled with, who had begun business two years before, also offered to make him his partner. It had often occurred to Mr. Walmsley that a first-rate and secure business might be got together in the corn trade by buying brokers. Mr. Booth agreed to the plan, and Mr. Walmsley closed with the offer. His reputation at the different markets, his knowledge of all his future customers, had formed for him an extensive commercial acquaintance, and he felt sure of success.
CHAPTER III. – This is 1815. On Saturday 24th June, six days after the Battle of Waterloo Joshua Walmsley and Adeline Mulleneux got married at St. James’ church in Toxteth. He was twenty-one years old, she was nineteen. It’s not quite the romantic tale uncle Hugh tells us below. As can be seen from the marriage register, it was a conventional marriage, the banns would have been read aloud on three Sundays before the wedding ceremony, and not a rush straight to the church to find a vicar to marry them instantly. This is however a chapter that contains almost all the detail about any sort of personal life.
When Joshua Walmsley obtained the long-wished-for post, he had a stronger incentive to push his fortune than the remembrance of his father’s prognostics — the only woman he had ever loved had promised to become his wife. We can dwell but lightly on the details of this story of a love that began in childhood, and endured to the last day of a long and eventful life.
” When I was seven years old,” he says, ” I met at a dancing-school Adeline Mulleneux, aged six. She was the daughter of a wealthy wine merchant. I remember we noticed each other the first day of my arrival. Soon after I was allowed to escort her home from the dancing-school, and very proud I felt to be her protector. We played together in the old court, and we loved each other. A story is still told how a portrait of Adeline, as a baby, was shown to me. It represented her sitting in her mother’s lap, grasping three enormous cherries in her tiny fingers.“Do you like it?’ asked Mrs, Mulleneux. After gazing solemnly at it for a long time, it is related that I answered: ‘Yes, but I like herself much better.’ The family bantered little Adeline on the conquest she had made ; but we were soon separated, for the state of my father’s affairs obliged him to send his children into the country. Years elapsed, and we met again at Mr. Knowles’ school Adeline Mulleneux, who was now eighteen, came there to take drawing lessons, and as I was the principal teacher, we met. Once more we became intimate, and once more we loved each other. When I took my seat on the high stool in Mr. Carter’s office, with a salary of forty pounds [present-day value about £35,000], and a prospect of seventy [present-day value about £75,000] in four years, she had promised to become my wife when I should be in somewhat more prosperous circumstances.”
” I now took a modest lodging at Edge Hill, and resolved to live upon one shilling a day [That works out to £18,5s. per year which would have a present-day value about £16,500]. Bread and milk for breakfast, a penny roll and a basin of soup were my daily bill of fare. My duties were those that fall to apprentices in a large establishment — the post- office, petty cash, and the copying of letters. I thought the time must still be very far off when I could walk into Mr. Mulleneux’s house and ask the rich merchant to give me his daughter. But I had her promise and knew it was steadfast enough to stand any test, and for my part, above all other prizes, my mind was set to win this one.”
Here then we find the young man in possession of the long-coveted berth in a merchant’s office. The old days with their irksome duties have passed away, leaving only wholesome traces of their hard discipline. His new duties were subordinate, and could train him to be only an ordinary clerk, and in this routine he might have remained for years, but he determined to make himself of special value to his employers. His natural energy spurred him on ; and then there was, too, that secret incentive, that goal which he kept ever in view, and which, sooner than he thought, was to crown the runner with victory. Thus he tells how he set about acquiring a knowledge of grain, which was the qualification of most value in the office of Messrs. Carter and Piers : —
” Old Peter Evans was their warehouseman. He was a practical man of the old school, and liked to see a lad eager to learn, and when I questioned him about samples of grain he answered readily. Peter was willing to teach me all he knew. Twice a week before breakfast, and long before my appointed hour for work, he and I used to meet and go together to the stores and ships. The old man would take samples and show them to me. The number and variety of grain at first bewildered me. It seemed a hopeless task trying to learn to distinguish them all. But perseverance conquered in the end. Peter now began to take pride in a pupil who was mastering the mysteries and intricacies of grain. He grew ingenious in devices to puzzle me, till at last I was a match for all his resources. Then he would take a handful of every sort of grain and pulse — English, Irish, Scotch, foreign — and spreading them before me, ask the quality, weight, and condition of each ; of what county, province, and country they were, with such observations as the case required. All the while he watched me from under his shaggy eyebrows, and would give a satisfied growl when the answer proved correct.”
” Peter prided himself on possessing a knowledge of grain beyond anyone in Liverpool, and I was on the way of becoming as great an adept as himself. No one knew of these early meetings in the stores and ships, and my employers wondered at my sharpness. Customers also soon discovered my proficiency, and sometimes consulted me in preference to old Peter.”
” Scarcely had I been a year in Mr. Carter’s service when the traveller and salesman, Mr. Robinson, a very able man, gave notice, on his entering into partnership with one of the leading merchants of Liverpool. This was a serious loss, and Mr. Carter, puzzled how to fill up the vacancy, consulted his retiring salesman. Mr. Robinson pointed me out as the man best fitted to fill the post. Accordingly it was offered to me, but no mention was made of an increase of salary, although my predecessor’s had been a large one. Morally speaking, however, the rise was a great one, and I closed with the offer at once.”
The year 1815 was a memorable one for England and Liverpool. Peace with America was restored. On a brilliant spring morning in April, the British flag flying at her mainmast, the American at her mizen peak, the Mild sailed up the Mersey — the first American vessel, come on a peaceful enterprise, that had entered the port for nearly three years. Some months later came news of Waterloo and of Bonaparte’s final downfall. But the year was to be marked for the young man by an event, more important to himself personally than the vast changes which were gradually being effected.
Mr. [Hugh] Mulleneux refused to sanction his daughter’s engagement. The wealthy merchant had more ambitious views for his child than a marriage with a poor clerk with no apparent prospects ; but the lovers were not to be deterred by such considerations. They were willing to wait, but determined to be faithful to one another. According to the ordinary course of events, there could hardly be a more unrealisable romance than was theirs. Any jury of wise men would have given a unanimous verdict against the marriage. A poor clerk, with a salary of fifty pounds per annum, and a prospect of seventy pounds, whose compulsory economy amounted to extreme privation, offering himself to a lady of position and expectations, with no other plea than that she loved him.Family prejudices and family prudence had to yield to it, nevertheless, and it was not the modest lover who precipitated the crisis. They met one day and spoke to each other in presence of Mr. Mulleneux. That afternoon, Mr. Walmsley received a note bidding him attend next morning at the office of Mr. Mulleneux’s eldest son[also called Hugh]. Never did a day of more perplexing foreboding break upon the course of true love, for the note was couched in terms that showed some decision was pending.
The account of that interview and its result we give in Mr. Walmsley’s words :
” I went at the appointed hour with a beating heart : what new turn of affairs did this meeting bode? In a corner of the room Adeline sat, brightening the dingy office to me. Young Mulleneux’s expression was very stern as he looked at me, and, pointing to his sister, said :
‘ Are you prepared to marry this lady?’
The question was meant for a clincher. The thought of my poverty rushed full upon me ; but there was no sign of fear in Adeline’s face.
‘ Yes,’ I answered boldly.
” But when, sir ? ‘ asked my interlocutor derisively.
‘ At once,’ I replied quietly.
“ Perhaps I had better send for a coach ? ‘ said young Mr. Mulleneux ironically.
‘ We can walk,’ I answered undauntedly, going up to my betrothed. There was no faltering in the hand she laid upon my arm. To St. James’ Church we accordingly walked ; but none of the necessary preliminaries had been gone through, and the clergyman refused to perform the ceremony. We made an appointment to be at church the next morning at half-past ten.
Matters having reached this pass, Mr. Mulleneux made no further opposition. ‘ Let them marry,’ he said, ‘ but I will never see them again.’
At half-past ten next morning we met at the altar. The ceremony was performed. Adeline Mulleneux and I plighted our troths to each other. Then we parted ; I to return to my work, my wife to go to the house of friends, but not to her home.
” On my entering the office, Mr. Carter’s greeting showed he knew the reason of my late arrival. ‘Are you aware of the cost of living ? ‘ he asked me with a grim smile. I knew the cost well ; and, although I was supremely happy, I was not without misgivings.”