Page images
PDF
EPUB

wall, the one to submit, and the other to hang him on the lamp iron. They both agreed in this statement. The tall one, who had been hanged, said, if he had won the toss, he would have hanged the other. He said he then felt the effects of his hanging in his neck, and his eyes were so much swelled that he saw double. The magistrates expressed their horror and disgust, and ordered the man who had been hanged to find bail for the violent and unjustifiable assault on the officer, and the short one for hanging the other. Not having bail, they were committed to Bridewell for trial."

7th Feb. 1816.-" Yesterday, a gentleman, the head in a firm of a first-rate concern in the City, put a period to his existence by blowing out his brains. He had gone to the masquerade at the Argyll Rooms a few nights since, and accompanied a female home in a coach with two men, friends of the woman. When they got to her residence, the two men proposed to the gentleman to play for a dozen of champagne to treat the lady with, which the gentleman declined. They, however, after a great deal of persuasion, prevailed on him to play for small sums, and, according to the usual tricks of gamblers, allowed him to win at first, till they began to play for double, when, there is no doubt, the fellows produced loaded dice, and the gentleman lost to the amount of 1800, which brought him to his reflection and senses. He then invented an excuse for not paying that sum, by saying he was under an agreement with his partner not to draw for a larger amount than £300 for his private account, and gave them a draft for that amount, promising the remainder at a future day. This promise, however, he did not attend to, not feeling himself bound by such a villainous transaction. But the robbers found out who he was, and his residence, and had the audacity to go yesterday morning, armed with bludgeons, and attack him publicly on his own premises, in the presence of those employed there, demanding payment of their nefarious debt of honour, and threatening him, if he did not pay, that he should fight. This exposure had such an effect upon his feelings, that he

made an excuse to retire, when he destroyed himself by blowing out his brains with a pistol. This rash act is additionally to be lamented, as it prevents the bringing to condign punishment the plundering villains who were the cause of it, there being no evidence to convict them."

"Horse Guards, 18th Nov. 1816.-At a general Courtmartial held at Cambray, in France, on the 23rd September 1816, and continued by adjournments to the 26th of the same month, Lieutenant the Honourable Augustus Stanhope, of the 12th regiment of Light Dragoons, was arraigned on the undermentioned charge, viz. :

"For behaving in a scandalous, infamous manner, such as is unbecoming the character of an officer and a gentleman, in conspiring, with a certain other person, to draw in and seduce Lord Beauchamp to game and play with them, for the purposes of gain and advantage; and that, in pursuance of such conspiracy, he, Lieutenant Stanhope (having engaged Lord Beauchamp to come to his quarters in Paris, on Sunday, the 17th day of March 1816, upon an invitation to dine with him), did, in company and concert of such other person, draw in, seduce, and prevail upon Lord Beauchamp to play with them at a certain game of chance with cards, for very high stakes, whereby, on an account kept by them, Lieut. Stanhope, and the said other person, or one of them, of the losses and gains in the course of the play, he, Lieut. Stanhope, claimed to have won from Lord Beauchamp the sum of £8000 and upwards, and the said other person claimed to have won off Lord Beauchamp the further sum of £7000 and upwards.

"That, in further pursuance of the said concert and conspiracy, he, Lord Beauchamp, at the same time and place, was required by Lieut. Stanhope to write and sign two promissory notes, or engagements, to pay at the expiration of three years the said several sums of money so claimed to have been won off him, Lord Beauchamp, by Lieut. Stanhope and the said other person respectively.

"That he, Lord Beauchamp, was, at that time, about sixteen

years of age, ignorant of, and unused to play, and affected by the wine he had been prevailed upon to take by the parties."

Lieut. Stanhope was found guilty and dismissed from the army.

The Annual Register also gives numerous cases of duels arising from gambling, but they are, comparatively, uninteresting, and are all of the same type, paltry quarrels over the gaming-table.

We have a metrical description of gambling about this time supposed to have been written by a gambler who had to retire to France, and I here give a portion of it.1

"Ah me! what sad pangs ev'ry fibre now feels,
When I view the success of my exquisite deals,

My cutting and shuffling, perform'd with such ease:
(And their talent is rare who can cut when they please).
Ev'ry bet at Macao was decidedly mine;

For, faithful to me, was the snug winning Nine;
And the dice-box, alike, against Squire or Lord,
Brought whatever I pleased on the fortunate board.
Yet exil'd, in spite of success, to this land;
I have made of my gains but a very bad hand,
For here, gallant Greeks! my sad fortune deplore,
No pigeon takes wing to the Gallican shore;
And the nation, composed of sly slippery elves,
Admits of no plucking, except by themselves;
Whilst Bourbon the pious, to vermin-like rats,
Grants Licences special, for doing the flats.

Ye haunts of St James's! ye Cyprian fair!
How sweet your amusements! how winning your air!
Long, long have I served you, and valued you well,
From the Regent's proud palace, to Bennet Street hell,
Where nobles and simples alike take their swing,

With th' intention of being at all in the ring.
Their eyes are attracted with rouleaus of gold,
Or with thousands in paper, so neat in the fold :
Impatient they view them, and seize them elate,
And, when pocketing most, they most swallow the bait.
There's N-g-nt's proud lord, who, to angle for pelf,
Will soon find the secret of diddling himself;

1 The Greeks-a poem, by Eλλŋy. Lon. 1817. 8vo.

There's H-rb-rt, who, lately, as knowing ones tell,
Won a tight seven hundred at house in Pall Mall;
Captain D-v-s, who, now, is a chick of the game,
But, although in high feather, the odds will soon tame;
And the Marquis of Bl-ndf―rd, who touch'd'em up rare,
For a thousand in Bennet Street (all on the square),
Where a service of plate gives a shine to the job,
The whole made of crowns from young gentlemen's fob.
There's Ll-yd and C-in-ck, who'd a martinette be;
For none drills a guinea more ably than he—
So his adjutant told him (a pretty good wipe,
Which the Colonel accepted and put in his pipe).
There's a certain rum baronet every one knows,
Who, on Saturday nights to the two sevens goes;
With J--and Cl—, Billy W- and two more,
So drunk that they keep merry hell in a roar ;
Long D-b-n, thin C―rt—r, a son of a gun,
Bill B- the Doctor, that figure of fun :

[ocr errors]

They have all won a little, and now are in force,
But they'll find that it soon will return to its source:
The knowing ones watch them, and give them their fill,
And they'll soon be reduced to discounting their bill.

In fine, ev'ry object of popular fame,

Old hens, youthful chickens and cocks of the game,
Though distant, I ever shall keep you in view;
For all my enjoyments were centred in you.

To A. B.'s and Bailiff's I waft a sad tear ;

For I know they have found me a friend that was dear;
And the Bill-doers, too, who have fleeced Johnny Raw,
And, lastly, the Jem'men who follow the law.

To the tradesmen who tick, a remembrance most kind,

I thus send, and assure them that Fortune is blind.

This truth is a sad one; I've learn'd it too late;

But 'twill serve those, who now may take heed from my fate : For the purses of others, 'tis pretty well known,

I look'd too, but ne'er had an eye to my own;

For which my Annuitants sternly refuse

My freedom, and, thereby have narrowed my views.

Time was, when so splendid, so gay, debonair,

I've had of these vermin a brace at my chair,
The slaves of my chamber, the shades at my doors,
Subservient, and bowing obedience by scores;
For, soit dit en passant, when ruin'd's a rake,
The greater's the plunder his liv'rymen make :

Then, the produce of filching, to noble in need,
Is lent out on annuity, mortgage, or deed:
So, the Peer, or the Commoner going to rack,
May sit with his Creditor stuck at his back,
Unconscious, howe'er, of so monstrous a bore,
The effects of a C--rp-w, a S―dl—y, or M—re,
Who the parties procure, 'mongst such miscreant trash;
For nothing's degrading in touching the cash-

A pound is the same, both in value and weight,
Though it came from the basest, or first in the State.

I grieve, whilst I think of the years which have flown,

Of the thousands I've squandered, the pleasures I've known,
Of the many occasions, which fortune has cast

In my way to be rich, which I slighted as fast

How oft', independent I might have retired

With enough to live happy-nay, more than required:

But Greeks are like Cyprians, and Fate has decreed

That they both should spend fortunes, and perish in need;
That their treasures, with dreams of enchantment, should pass,
And leave them no solace, except from the-glass;

That, at length, youth and beauty, good luck, and foul play,
Should all thrive a season-then vanish away."

This pamphlet, which has a companion called "The Pigeons," gives a very curious list of the most fashionable gaming houses in existence in 1817.

"Of hells in general, it may be said that they are infernally productive, since Mr T-1-r finds that the banking business is nothing compared to these money mills, and since so many fortunes have been made from them. Who would think that a man could rise from one of these lower regions to a seat in Parliament? or that high military rank could be purchased by 'The Colour's red '—' Gentlemen, make your game!'

Major-General Rw, M.P., thus got his high promotion and his seat in the British Senate; for his papa was n'importe; but, progressively (and in a very odd way too), he got a little money, which, placing in a hell of which he was proprietor, he soon purchased an estate, and bought his son on in the army. Many other instances, too tedious to mention, have occurred of fortune thus made.

« PreviousContinue »