Whymper's London Diary, January-June 1856

The Apprenticeship of a Mountaineer: Edward Whymper's London Diary, 1855-1859. Originally published by London Record Society, London, 2008.

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Edward Whymper, 'Whymper's London Diary, January-June 1856', in The Apprenticeship of a Mountaineer: Edward Whymper's London Diary, 1855-1859, (London, 2008) pp. 39-62. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/london-record-soc/vol43/pp39-62 [accessed 24 May 2024].

Edward Whymper. "Whymper's London Diary, January-June 1856", in The Apprenticeship of a Mountaineer: Edward Whymper's London Diary, 1855-1859, (London, 2008) 39-62. British History Online, accessed May 24, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/london-record-soc/vol43/pp39-62.

Whymper, Edward. "Whymper's London Diary, January-June 1856", The Apprenticeship of a Mountaineer: Edward Whymper's London Diary, 1855-1859, (London, 2008). 39-62. British History Online. Web. 24 May 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/london-record-soc/vol43/pp39-62.

Whymper's London Diary, January-June 1856

1st. Went out, and on with Pantheon. No news. There seems to be a determined attempt to patch up a disgraceful and dishonourable peace, but nothing is known for certain about it. It is certain that the war has done us (the engravers) a great deal of harm, but we would not have a bad peace on account of that. Showery and warm.

2nd. Went to Soho Sq.; drew letters and went on with Pantheon. Went to the Polytechnic Institution. Amusing and instructive lectures. Warm and wet. My father went to Mr Cooke's to dinner and is not home now, 12 o'clock p.m. It is rarely he keeps out so late.

3. Went out, drew letters, cut up wood and went on with Pantheon. No news. Dull day.

4. Went to Mr Gibson's, Mrs Gould's, Mr Burton's, Mr Clark's, Mr Large's (fn. 1) and the stables, and went on with Pantheon. No news. They are putting on a most ugly termination to the clock tower at the Houses of Parliament; so bad that it spoils all the rest of the tower. The Victoria tower looks very grand now, as it is approaching completion. It is proposed to cart away that disgraceful National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. It would be enormous waste of money, but would be a great benefit if another was erected there worthy of the nation. Sir C. Barry wishes to extend the Houses of Parliament, but I think the outlay of money which it would cost is thought to be too great for it to be done at present. Mild weather.

5. Went out and on with Pantheon. No news. It is anticipated that Sweden will take an active part in the coming campaign. If they do, it will prove I should think of the utmost service to us, in many particulars. In forming depots in some of their ports, or they would be handy in case of storms. At all events Sweden is a good basis for operations against Russia. The board of works has commenced its sittings, and has commenced on the worst part of London, the sewers. How long they will keep on with it, no one can say. But to cleanse London and the Thames from them would be the greatest service they could render. If they pursue the subject diligently we shall have some chance of seeing the Thames that beautiful river again, which it used to be, instead of the nasty, filthy, sluggish, stinking, unwholesome river that it is now. (fn. 2) The second master of H.M.S.S. Lynx, Mr Deheny by name, has been condemned to be hanged by the neck until dead, on charge of cowardice, in the action before Kinburn. He pleads nervousness. Now I do not think that such a crime as that, should be made capital, unless he is an officer in command, and when it is obviously his duty to do such a thing, and he purposely or cowardly neglects doing so and by his conduct influences others. Because, a man may have been in action before (as Mr Deheny was) and not show any symptoms of it, but he may on another similar occasion be suddenly and unaccountably nervous or frightened without having any malicious intentions or without influencing others. And as Mr Deheny had been some time previously ill, I do not think that the law, if that is the law, should be put in force in his case. Fine day. Mr Jones' birthday. Rather warm.

6. Went to Maze Pond twice, morning and evening. No news. Mr Davies of Saltershall chapel in the city, preached, and as he was a very sleepy preacher I did not care to hear him. Wet and warm.

7. Went out and on with Pantheon. No news. Mild. A monster in human form has been lately discovered who insured the lives of (I think they have found out 4 cases certainly) people and afterwards poisoned them. He is suspected of having done this to no less than 16.

8. Went out and on with Pantheon. No news. As a prisoner (a thief) was being conveyed some short distance on the railway, he attempted to jump out of the window of the carriage. But the policeman managed to catch hold of his legs, and held like that until they arrived at the next station, (they could not for some reason get him in before) when they found he was bleeding from his ears, mouth, nose etc, and was in a most frightful condition. He had punished himself enough I should think.

9. Went on with Pantheon, cut up a great deal of wood etc. No news. Snowing and raining. Cold day. The children went to a party at Mr Eastty's and I fetched them away.

10. Went out to Mr Prior's and on with Pantheon. No news. Very cold.

11. Went out, cut up wood etc and finished Pantheon. No news. Very cold. Freezing hard.

12. Drew 'Trepan,' cut up wood and went out. No news. The docks at Sebastopol are now things which were, as they are all destroyed now. The army in the Crimea seems to be pretty comfortably lodged now. There are now no prospects of peace. Very cold.

13. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Mr Williams from Lancashire preached. He is fit for the country and nothing else. Very cold. No news. I am thank goodness in good health without a cold or anything of the sort.

14. Went to Mr Clay's, Dare's etc and drew an architectural diagram. Very cold. No news. I am glad today that they have convicted that monster who has murdered so many people. (fn. 3)

15. Went out and began an Indian chief. No news. Very cold, snowing a little. I am reading the first articles I have seen of Thackeray's. He is very lively and amusing. The Persian Ambassador at St Petersburg had lately a son killed by charcoal, by the neglect of a servant. He was so enraged that he informed the government that he should have him flayed alive. But they would not allow it, so he has sent him to Persia to have it done. A nice man to deal with, that. The Rev. Mr Branch is dead. Last night I went to the 3rd annual exhibition of photographs in Pall Mall. (fn. 4) This art is now attaining a splendid degree of perfection. Some copies of prints, some landscapes and architecture were exquisitely natural. I bought several. This year's exhibition is a great advance on last.

16. Finished 'Indian chief' and went out etc. No news. Wet day. My brother went to another party.

17. Went on with Corn Market and began a Burmese temple and drew a 'Trefine.' Today news came that Russia (through the propositions of Austria) had accepted our terms for peace, unconditionally. It was proclaimed in the afternoon by the Lord Mayor, and the consequence is that the speculators on the Stock Exchange are almost out of their senses. The funds are rising rapidly. The conditions we offer I do not quite know, but I know one is that the Black Sea is to be open now to all vessels. I am not quite certain about the credibility of the information, as it was only a little while ago stated that Russia had refused some of the conditions. Let us not be too joyful, but remember the Sebastopol rumour. It may turn out false like that, or it may be a ruse on the part of Russia to gain time or something else. If we have peace, I suppose the prices of provisions which are so enormous now, will be lowered, which will be one great thing. Then the income tax will be reduced, that will be another, money will be more plentiful, which will be another great thing. It will do us an immense deal of good, and the newspapers harm. But if we get peace on an honourable and solid basis it will be a great thing. I should like (if it is true) to see the ministry get the cost of the war out of Russia; let them do it if they can. They can't and wont, as I have said before. If the emperor was charged at the same rate as we charged the king of Burmah, being more of course in proportion to the number of men employed and killed, he would have to pay a bill of 50 or 60 millions at least. Let them fulfil their boastful brag. A very nasty day, very windy. Business at present very bad.

18. Went on with Burmese temple, went to Mr Harvey's at Richmond, and Mr Prior, cut up wood etc. No further news. Very rainy dirty day.

19. Went out, cut up wood and cut out overlays and went on with temple. No news. Warm and wet. This is not good weather for keeping in health, changing so constantly. I have not been well for the last 2 or 3 days, my inside being deranged somehow.

20. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Heard the same man (Mr Williams) as last Sunday, but I liked him a great deal better today. In the evening sermon he launched a philippic against Dr Cumming. The reason which made him speak about it was, that his sermon was on prophets, and he said in reply to those persons who regard Mr Cumming and others as a sort of prophet, 'put such men to the test, compare them with the prophets; did they make money by their writing (like Dr Cumming) or did they flatter the rich and preach up the poor for the sake of popularity etc.' It came out in very fair style for him. Wet day. Dr Sandwith who was the surgeon to the English at Kars, has been liberated by the Russians for some kindness shown to their wounded (they are not total barbarians). Sharpe, the comic songster man, has just died in great distress, in Dover workhouse.

21. Went on with temple and went out. No news. Mr Murray has a book on Kars (Dr Sandwith's diary I believe) that is to be brought out in a week, illustrated. He wants to get it out before the peace is settled and Kars is forgotten. Showery day. Mr Eastty jun. and Mr Green to supper. The former is I think the best educated, most talented and pleasant man I know.

22. Finished 'Temple,' went out etc. No news, raining.

23. Altered Pantheon, went on with Corn Market and cut up a lot of wood. More prospects of peace, Russia especially wishes that Europe will appreciate her 'moderation and forbearance etc' in coming to terms! What humbug! As if there was no obligation in the case. In the evening went to Mr Brown's. Pleasant company and a very good supper. One young lady I noticed especially, a Miss Hivanry, a pretty and amiable little girl. Fine day.

24. [Blank]

25. Altered St Roch, drew diagrams etc. Went to Mr Kearney's and Mrs Gould's, cut up wood. The Nightingale subscription that was being got up does not succeed very well, as there is no definite purpose fixed for the money. No news.

26. Went to Mudie's, cut up a great deal of wood and cut out overlays. No news. Wet and fine.

27. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Mr Brewer of Leeds preached. A very fair man, and very odd. No news. Fine day.

28. Went to Clowes, Wells and Prior's, cut up wood etc etc. No news. Another sudden change in the weather. It froze last night. Business bad very. It did not pay its expenses last year.

29. Went to Cox's, Clowes', Prior's and Well's, cut up wood and drew some letters. No news. Parliament meets on Thursday. They are getting on with the Houses of Parliament very rapidly, in anticipation of it. A peace conference is going to meet in Paris in the beginning of next month. Murders are plentiful about this time of year; there have been several fresh ones lately. Very cold and dry.

30. Went out, drew letters, cut out overlays and cut up wood and began a map of Africa. I have bought some very nice stereoscopic views of buildings in Paris; all the details of ornament come most charming. No news. Very cold.

31. Cut up wood and went on with map. No news. Today Parliament met. I am invited to a party tomorrow night at Mr Hepburn's. A dull day. Cold.

1. February. Went on with map of Africa and went to Mr Dare's and Beddome's. No news. The Queen's speech had very little in worth talking about and it totally passed over the American quarrel. The funds fell 1 per cent yesterday in expectation of a war with them. It would be a very bad thing for them if we were to carry on a vigorous war against them, although if they liked they could make our West Indian colonies suffer preciously. Went to a party at Mr Hepburn's, at Clapham. Cold day.

2nd. Went out, cut up wood and went on with map. No news. Cold day. A painter of the name of Glass has destroyed himself lately.

3. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Mr Jones of Newport, Isle of Wight, preached. Very ordinary sermons. Cold. No news.

4. Went on with map, drew some ornaments on a figure, went out, cut up wood etc. The peace congress meets at Paris on or about the 25 of February and the armistice has been agreed on until the end of March. It is thought if peace is not settled by that time, that we shall have to go to war again. The funds are rising again. Murders seem the fashion at the present time. A man on Saturday night killed his wife and 3 children (all young) with a chisel and on Sunday morning he gave himself up to the police. He says he was jealous of her. Very cold.

5. Finished map, cut up a good deal of wood and went out. No news. The adjourned meeting of the Eastern Counties railway was held the other day. It was, as might be expected, a stormy one, but the Chairman, Mr Waddington, appears to have cleared himself triumphantly of all accusations of dishonesty. I believe there is going to be a parliamentary commission on the state of the railway (especially the bridges which are said to be disgracefully rotten, quite unsafe), which no doubt will bring to light many disgraceful things. Murder certainly is the fashion. A young woman the other day (a servant) killed (as appears from the state of the child) her new born infant, and put it into a band box, as she did not wish it to be known that she had had it, where it was found by a fellow servant. She is committed for trial. Cold.

6. Began a map of Holland and Belgium and cut up wood. Mr Gilbert is engaged on a grand historical picture of the Crimean heroes before the Queen. He expects the Queen to sit for her portrait. No news. Very windy and cold.

7. Went to Gibson's etc and on with map, cut up wood. No news. My father took the chair at a meeting in the vestry of our chapel. The lecture was delivered by Mr E. Corderoy on the incidents of the war. Warm, and streets very dirty. Have been reading Macaulay's 3rd volume of his history. I can't say I like his style very much, though many do. Rogers the poet left the 3 gems of his collection of pictures to the national gallery, where they have been placed.

8. Went to Clay's, cut up wood and drew 'Vane.' No news. There has been a new peer created; but only for his life the peerage lasts. (fn. 5) This is an innovation, but why should it not be? Some cry out that if that is done, the old families will become extinct. I should rather say, my lord may be a clever man and his son may be a stick; and is it any reason because the father is a clever man that the son should be rewarded for it? Not at all. But still I should not like to see the grandson of the Duke of Wellington starving, only on account of his grandfather. Or, in the case of a great man dying, without being rewarded for his services to his country, I should then say that his representatives should know that the nation is grateful, and they should have something to show that his services were not forgotten. I think this shows that we are getting more enlightened, and if this goes on (which I have no doubt it will) there will be some chance of the poor deserving man getting to be a great man. Very warm. Very dirty.

Saturday omitted!

10. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Heard Mr Jones of Newport again. No news. Very warm. Thermometer upwards of 70° indoors.

11. Went out, cut out overlay, went on with map etc. No news. Yesterday week a ship of 1000 tons was run down by a steamer off Folkestone, and there were upwards of 60 hands lost by it. Mr Rogers (the late) collection of works of art etc is to be sold off by auction. It is expected to realise a very large amount.

12. Went out, cut up a good deal of wood and went on with map. Rainy day. Went in the evening to Mr Brown's, Clapham Park, to a juvenile party. Should have enjoyed myself very much if we had not been scolded (deservedly I own) for coming home past 12 at night; which we did to oblige Mr Brown in carrying a friend in the carriage. No news.

13. Went out and on with map, cut up wood etc etc. No news. Rainy.

14. Finished map, cut up wood, cut out overlays and went to Mr Clay's, Well's etc. No news. Showery. Murray has just published a handbook of architecture. The price is rather large (36s) but the writer is a good one, and the wood engravings are first rate; some of them are of the most elaborate description. This (as most of Murray's are) is a most carefully got up work. (fn. 6) Valentine's day.

15. Touched up map, went to Mr Dare's, began 'Whistle,' cut up wood etc. No news. Baron Brunnow the Russian peace conference man, has arrived in Paris; the first one who got there. Fine day.

16. Went to Mr Cox's, stretched some paper for my father, cut up wood, altered map, went on with 'whistle' etc. No news. Mr Samuel Warren, author of 10,000£ a Year, has just been elected a member of Parliament for Midhurst, and Mr Black (the publisher) has been elected for Edinburgh in room of Macaulay, retired. Thus we see that literary are coming in for their share of the honours as well as others.

There have been some sharp debates on the subject of the Wensleydale life peerage (for Baron Parke) in the Houses, especially the Lords. All the young vagabonds of peers are trembling in their shoes, now they see something like peerages for merit only beginning. So the cry among them is that it is unconstitutional. What absurdity! However, the peerage being given is supported by the highest law officer in the Kingdom; I mean the Lord Chancellor, who declares that it is constitutional. The asses who say it is not, for the most part do not know the meaning of the word. It is referred to a select committee. Very fine day. Father went to Mr Gilbert's. A woman committed suicide over Westminster Bridge the day before yesterday.

17. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Heard a Mr Rosevere of Coventry preach. A very good preacher, and would have been asked to preach again, had not his congregation sent up by electric telegraph for him to come back. Another murder (at Portsmouth). No news. Cold.

18. Went to Mrs Gould's, cut up wood, drew some letters and went on with 'Whistle.' No news. The great project of uniting the new and old worlds together by telegraph seems about to be accomplished. It is I believe being done now. No news. Dr Vaughan of Brixton, who was charged with appropriating church fees, has been declared innocent. Very cold again. Among the good things that the board of works are about to do, is to make a road from Blackfriars to London Bridge on the Surrey side, clearing away all those dirty, small houses which make that neighbourhood in particular so bad and the banks of the Thames generally.

19. Finished 'Whistle,' cut up wood etc. No news. Sir J. Walmsley has attempted to introduce a bill (for desecrating the Sabbath really) but for Sunday recreation as he calls it. He would have the British Museum, National Gallery, and the Crystal Palace open on the Sunday, in order to improve the national mind (he says). Of course this has roused the religious world into action and they will do all they can (I have no doubt) to defend the Sabbath. There are numerous petitions being got up and there have been, and are going to be, numerous meetings held, against the bill. I went to a large one this night of about 4,000 at Exeter Hall composed exclusively of the male class, at which there were some pretty good speeches delivered though nothing very startling. Everything goes to prove that to destroy the Sabbath as a day of rest would be to damage England politically and morally. Taking it on the lowest grounds, viz. to argue that it is necessary to the health of the people, comparison with countries where it is disregarded, (France for instance) will show that they (the French) have shorter lives on the average than the English. And would not our common sense alone tell us that? (of course I am speaking of those who have got any) Who will deny that a day of pleasure is not more wearisome and tiring, than a day of our ordinary work? It is to me, I will testify; and it is to others I know as well. Then taking the question on the highest ground, viz, that it was ordained and set apart by God himself for rest and is needed for religious purposes (of course this is not arguing with the atheist, but I regard him as the most contemptible thing on the face of the earth, for I think he can have no reason who denies the existence of a God). It was justly said at the meeting to-night, that for Englishmen who always regard liberty as one of our greatest blessings, to wish to deprive the largest body of people (the religious) in the country of their privileges, would be an act of the highest injustice and oppression; leaving out the absurdity of such an act. Many who are not religious would oppose the bill, because it is plain to them, it would injure instead of benefit them, in the end. The result we shall see shortly. I have not much doubt what it will be.

20. Drew some letters, went out, found names to trade blocks etc etc. No news. Cold day. Another murder in London (in Islington). There have been a good many failures among commercial men lately and others, but one most to be deplored is that of Messrs Scott Russell and Co., the shipbuilders who are building the monster ship on the Isle of Dogs at Greenwich. It would be a pity to put off such a great enterprise.

21. Drew some letters, cut up wood, went out and drew 'weather cock.' No news. Mr Pinches (my former schoolmaster) gave a lecture at the National schools, Lambeth Green. The lecture was pretty well attended and went off pretty well. Would have been very good if it had not been a little unconnected.

22. Went to Gibson's and other places, cut up wood and began 'Turn table.' No news. Hurrah!! Decisive victory over the infidels. The bill of Sir J. Walmsley was thrown out by a majority of 8½ to 1. This is a very gratifying proof of the state of the public mind on the subject. Only just think; that 3 whole columns of the Times newspaper was taken up with the titles of petitions presented last night! They are now going, it is said, to get up a bill for closing club houses on the Sunday (out of spite obviously) which will of course pass the Commons! (O yes, when probably every member belongs to some club) and after that the Lords. Ah ah it is too ridiculous to be thought about. A very cold day.

23. Finished 'Turn table,' went out, cut up wood, named blocks etc. Went in the evening to the Photographic Society exhibition. Bought some photographs. No news. The majority against the Sunday recreation bill would have been still greater if 4 members had not been shut out, who intended to vote against it. One of the members for Lambeth, Wilkinson by name, voted for it, and he will certainly lose his seat at the next election, and I should think the other one (Williams) will also lose his, for he abstained from voting.

24. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. No news. Cold day. My uncle John came from Watford to see us today.

25. Began drawing 'Spider's Web.' No news. Cold day. Our friend Mr Brown of Streatham has been taken dangerously ill, and has lost his reason. It was expected for a long time before. The London and N. Western railway has been persecuted and invaded on every side. By the Gt Western, Gt Northern and others, but it has been on peaceable terms with them. However, lately, the term of the agreement which the L. & N.W. had entered into with the G.N. expired (it had been settled by arbitration by W. Gladstone when they disagreed before) and they commenced under-working each other to all the places they went to. The N. Western began first and emptied the Gt Northern so much, that on one occasion the express train started for the north with only one passenger. But the Gt Northern commenced also, which turned the tables; the N. W. went still lower and lower, until it was evident at last that it was a useless contest, and now they are going to arbitration again. I shall try to take advantage of the competition by going to Peterborough a distance of 76½ miles for one shilling. They take persons to York now for 3s6!!! The peace conference sits for the 1st time today.

26. Drew 'Twig,' squared a great number of blocks, cut up paper and began 'warp.' No news. Cold.

27. Finished 'warp,' went to Mr Clay's, squared blocks etc. No news. We have, I believe, now finished blowing up the docks at Sebastopol and they say, if the Russians wish to reconstruct them, they would find it twice as expensive as it was formerly. They have also blown up some of the forts there. An armistice is now known to be signed, but I don't know particulars. Cold. Several more murders. One in Walworth of a servant girl and some in the country.

28. Drew an architectural diagram, cut up wood, named blocks, went out etc. No news. The armistice has been agreed on till the end of March. I believe the plenipots sit again today.

29. Went on with 'Web', went to Cox's, named blocks etc. No news. Cold. Several more murders.

1. March. Finished 'Web', began 'Watch works', cut up wood etc. Rev. M Villiers is turned into Bishop of Carlisle. No news. Admiral Dundas has again the command of the Baltic fleet. Cold day.

2. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. A Mr Crasweller preached. Cold. Mrs Bailey, wife of George, died a few days ago. No news.

3. Went to Mr Gibson's, altered a diagram and went on with 'watch works'. No news. It is said that the preliminaries of a peace are signed but I don't know on what foundation. Mr Sadleir M.P. has committed suicide (by taking the essential oil of almonds) in consequence of extensive speculations and forgeries which are almost unparalleled. In the Swedish railway company alone (of which he was chairman) he forged 50,000 shares of 5£ each. Of course he did not realise the full amount, but probably he got 200,000 by them. And also in many other companies etc, he confessed in a letter written just before his death.

4. Went to Mr Gibson's and Prior's etc, cut up wood and finished 'watch works'. Cold day. In the evening I went to a concert at the Horns Assembly Room, Kennington, where I heard Sims Reeves, Miss Dolby and others. Reeves did not have much in which he could show his powers and in consequence, although it was the first time that I had heard him, I did not think much of him, excepting that he had a clear and strong voice. Miss Dolby sung some very pretty ballads, accompanying herself on the piano, and I was very much pleased with her style of singing, playing and also in her not being so affected as some of them (the singers) were.

5. Went numerous errands, cut up wood, touched up 'watch works', began 'whetstone' etc etc, drew letters. This morning I was woke up at ¼ past 5 (of course before it was light, considerably) by the bright light caused by the reflection of a conflagration at Covent Garden theatre. I went at 7 o'clock to see it, and the inside was then a mass of flames just like a furnace and they were as high as the roof had been. Mr Anderson, (the great Wizard of the North as he calls himself) after a long run upwards of 120 nights of his conjuring tricks at the Lyceum Theatre, took the Opera House to open a pantomime at Christmas. That appears to have been a loss in money to him and it stopped after about 40 nights; he then to finish up his engagement, began by acting himself in Rob Roy, Black eyed Susan and other things, which appear to have been all failures. He then went to operas, and to finish up the last two nights, he advertised a series of entertainments in number such as had never been seen before in this country. The second night (last night) was a bal masque. The following is the best account I can obtain of the fire. At a ¼ to five the company had dwindled down to about 200 of the dregs, as the newspapers express it, and Mr Anderson observing their flagging spirits, ordered the orchestra to strike up 'God Save the Queen'. They were all assembled on the stage singing the last stanza when one of the firemen of the theatre looking up to the ceiling saw to his horror a bright light through the chinks of the floor. It should be said that after the theatre was burnt in 1808, the fire officer refused to insure it again, so in case of fire the Duke of Bedford had built into the roof, a tank holding 40 tons of water with pipes from it leading all over the upper part of the theatre and 4 firemen to be constantly attending to it up above. Instead of doing that last night, they came on the stage. He flew upstairs to get at the pipes but found it was too late. The first announcement of it to the company was by a burning beam falling on the stage. Then a scene of the greatest confusion took place, gentlemen looking for their partners in vain, the officials trying to rescue property, the gas was turned off at the main, but the fire soon illuminated the theatre, finally the wretched masquers had to rush into the streets in their fantastic dresses, many of them fainting. Engines soon arrived but too late to save the theatre, only to preserve the surrounding property. When I saw it at ¼ past 5 it was at its height and the weight of the tank made the roof fall in at ½ past. I went at 7 o'clock to see it, and it then presented the appearance of a furnace, the stone walls standing, but inside it was a mass of fire. 85,000£'s worth of music and books, 100 complete suits of armour, are among the things destroyed, to which we must add 100,000£ at least for the superb building. (fn. 7)

6. Went errands and to Mr Weir's at Peckham and began some Indians fishing. No news. The Baltic fleet (advanced squadron) has already got into the Baltic. I am glad that they (the ministers) have not neglected war preparations, on account of the peace conference. To do so would be but false economy. Mr Gilbert expected to see Prince Albert today at the Palace about his picture, but I have not heard if he has. The fire at Covent Garden is not totally extinguished yet. Rained a little.

7. Finished Indians fishing, cut up wood, went out etc. No news. H. Ingram the proprietor of the Illustrated London News, has put up for the boro of Boston for M.P. There are doubts as to whether he can read and write!! The Queen visited the ruins of Covent Garden yesterday. Dull day.

8. Finished 'Whetstone', drew 'Truss' (for hernia), cut up wood etc. General Beatson who was sent out to get the Bashi bazouks into ship shape, has been deprived of his command, and sent home, with no notice taken of him. This, I think, from what I hear, is only a matter of caprice and dislike and will no doubt rouse one of the Roebuck school in Parliament to notice it. Fine day. No news.

9. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Heard Mr Crasweller. Very good in matter, but dreadful bad in style. No news.

10. Began 'Vizard', went to Mr Pickersgills, R.A. at Camden Town and to Mr Gibson's. No news. Mr Gilbert saw the Prince at the palace the other day and he appears to have been very gracious. Fine day.

11. Went on with 'Vizard', went to Gibson's, cut up wood and began the baths of the Samaritan on the Seine at Paris. No news. I believe that Covent Garden theatre is not going to be rebuilt, but the space is going to be covered by an extension of the market. Mr Ingram, the proprietor of the Illustrated London News, has by influence and as is generally believed by bribery, obtained a seat in Parliament for Boston! He is a notoriously vulgar man and some most absurd anecdotes are related of his vulgarity. It is said he cannot even read or write! I know he could not a few years ago. Fine day. We hear next to nothing of what is going on in the peace conference. I hear that Russia is still making large preparations for a renewal of the war, should the negotiations fail.

12. Finished the baths at Paris and went out etc. No news. Cold. Some more murders, and a fire occurred near us today, somewhere. A meeting of the Sunday League (for opening the British Museum etc on a Sunday) was held on Monday evening at St Martins Hall. It was crowded and some most absurd speeches, so far as reasoning went, were made. It was very riotous, in so much the chairman, Sir J Shelley, could not be heard. Such meetings as that will do no harm, but rather good.

13. Finished Vizard, drew letters etc. No news. Fine day, but very windy. My mother went to Peckham and my father to his conversazione with Miss Hepburns.

14. Began drawing the palace of the dukes at Venice, went to Apothecaries hall etc etc. No news. Very windy.

15. Went on with Ducal Palace, drew letters etc. No news. The Empress of the French is expected to be delivered of a child in a few days. Of course great anxiety is felt as to whether it is a son or daughter. If it is a son it alters the French line of succession. Fine day.

16. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Mr Peters of Raleigh preached. He is liked very much and the choice will be between him and two others. No news. Windy and raining.

17. Went to Messrs Fauntleroy's and bought 720 lbs of boxwood, also to Mr Smithers and Mr Weir's. Went on with palace and cut out overlays. No news from Russia.. The Empress of the French was safely delivered of a SON at the Tuileries yesterday at 3 o'clock. This event throws Prince Napoleon the former heir out of the way, which aforesaid thing does not best please him. The Imperial infant has been baptized already, but it has so many names I forget them. Fine day and windy. Business very dull.

18. Marked box wood, named blocks, went errands, cut up wood and began some shields of heraldry. No news. Raining. I have long wished to compete for some of the prizes which are offered for the best designs and plans for building and I intend trying one at least soon. A new cathedral that is to be built at Lille, was put to public competition and there are so many plans sent in that they have been obliged to exhibit them in a large corn market, no other place being large enough. Competition is certainly the best way for getting new designs in architecture, and I should say, it was in many other things also.

19. Went out numerous errands, went on with shields, cut up wood etc. No news. We entertained the gentlemen of the Book Society this evening. Not a very large assemblage. Dull day.

20. Went on with shields, cut up wood etc. No news. Alas! Prussia has been invited to send members to the Conference. What nonsense! What good can Prussia possibly do? She can do this; give a powerful aid to Russia and do us harm. A man jumped from the whispering gallery in St Paul's the other day, and killed himself of course. Dull and rainy.

21. Good Friday. I went to Southend, per London and Tilbury railway. The concluding portion of it was only opened three weeks ago. It was an easymade line and consequently a cheap one. No news. Drizzly day.

22. Went on with shields. No news. Fine day. 2 children murdered. War with America not an unlikely thing. Peace with Russia considered as certain. Business dull, but improving a little.

23. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. No news. Dull day.

24. Drew some more shields etc. No news. It is expected peace will be proclaimed in a few days. Alas! it is too soon. Another year of war would have (if it had been carried on properly) done the business much better. It now and then oozes out that there have been some most disgraceful concessions made to Russia. I felt convinced when the conferences began that we should have all the work to do over again and I think we shall find that it will be even so. Dull and windy. Robberies have abounded lately and there is also, abundance of bad money being coined.

25. Drew some more shields, went to Gibson's and cut up wood. No news. I have written a letter to Great Grimsby to a person of the name of Adam Smith, who I saw advertise in the 'Builder' for the plans of some offices. On his answer will much depend if I try for the premium which is given for the best design for them. It is rarely one meets with a joke made by a lady, but here is one that is worth repeating. It was remarked to a lady that it was a very desirable thing to have presence of mind in times of danger. 'Yes,' replied she, 'but I would much rather have absence of body.' Fine day. Cold and windy.

26. Went on with shields, cut up wood etc. No news. The Russian army in the south are so badly off for food that they are feeding on their horses. This, a colonel in the Guards told my father and he said he was quite certain of his information. Peace is expected to be signed today. If what I have just stated is true, the Russians have sufficient cause for wishing for peace. Cold and fine.

27. Went to Prior's and Mudie's, cut up wood and drew shields. No news. Great fire at Manchester, upwards of 15,000£ destroyed. Mr Smith came to supper. I made the acquaintance of a Mr Sandal, an architect, the other evening (his sons went to the same school as I did) and I have got a great deal of useful information out of him. Cold day, but very fine.

28. Cut up wood and drew shields. No news. Rumours of the signing of peace. Fine day. I have now in progress plans for some offices at Gt. Grimsby, Lincolnshire. I do not hardly expect to gain the prize, but I live in hope.

29. Cut up wood, went to Mr Scott's and Weir's and drew shields. No news. The Emperor of Russia has, I am given to understand, given a promise to visit Paris, before his coronation, if peace is concluded. The interesting fact is recorded that as the imperial prince (the child of France!) was being carried to his special apartments, his nurse stumbled, and he and she were precipitated to the ground. He was not hurt however. The Princess Royal has been specially confirmed in the Chapel Royal at Windsor. What dreadful mummery it is to be sure, as if they could go in an express train to heaven. The projected marriage of the princess with the muff of Prussia, is again talked about. It is said it will come off in two years. I should hope it would not. There has been a boiler explosion in Whitechapel, several killed, and there are several more murders. A very fine day.

30. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Heard Mr Price of Weymouth both times. Fine day. No news.

31. Went errands, cut out overlays, drew shields etc. Yesterday at 1 o'clock p.m. PEACE was signed in Paris at the hotel of the minister for foreign affairs. Immediately it was known in Paris they made splendid illuminations, opened the theatres gratis etc, and the news reached London at 10 o'clock last night, which set the bells ringing, the guns firing, people turned out of their houses to see what it was all about, great excitement etc, etc. It is, I believe, not an honourable peace; another year of war would have settled it much better. I do not know particulars so I cannot say what the terms are. A very fine day.

1. April. Fools Day. Finished all the shields, went to Mr Gibson's also to Mr Dare's and Corderoy's in Tooley St. No news. There was an execution in front of Newgate yesterday morning (of the murderer Bousfield who killed his wife and 3 children in Soho) and it is said it was the most horrible and disgusting sight, for in the morning he had been thinking so much about being hung that he was quite powerless. So they had him brought (insensible) onto the gallows and put him in a chair. So in order to get the rope low enough to put it round his neck, they made the drop shorter. When the executioner withdrew the bolt, he of course ought to have been left suspended in the air, but instead of that his neck was merely jerked a little as his feet touched the ground and the shock brought him to his senses. Then commenced a fight, we might almost call it, with the hangman which lasted several minutes, but the end of it was that he was settled by the hangman hanging on to his legs. Beautiful day.

2. Altered a drawing of Notre Dame at Paris of Mr Prior's, went out and went on with ducal palace at Venice. No news. Mr Gilbert came in evening to tea. Fine day. A fire broke out last night in Fleet St at 8 o'clock, destroyed one warehouse and damaged several others. Business is rather improving. It had need for it is very different to what it was 2 years ago, when we were employing 7 more journeymen than we do now.

3. Went to Gibson's etc and went on with Ducal Palace, named blocks etc. No news. Another fire last night in a street out of Ludgate Hill, which destroyed a newspaper office. Very windy and rainy. Mr Pinches, my former school master, came to see my father's pictures this evening.

4. Went on with Ducal Palace, cut up wood etc. Fine day. Mr J Eastty came to tea, and staid the evening with us. He is without exception the pleasantest person I know. The French army are to come home from the East in detachments of 10,000 at a time. They should not I think send them home before the peace is ratified.

5. Went out to Mrs Gould's and went on with Ducal Palace. No news. The Pope has just blessed the Emperor and Empress of the French and the prince by electric telegraph. At a wake in Cork, so many people crowded into a room, that the floor gave way and 17 of them were killed. Nothing is yet known about the terms of the peace for Lord Pam is as silent as a post on the subject. Showery. April showers bring forth May floods.

6. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Mr Drew of Newbury preached. Fine day. Our friend Mr Green the potter is just going to marry a person who is nearly blind. There must be strong affection between him and her to do that.

7. Finished Ducal Palace, altered map etc. No news. Several thousands of our seamen are already discharged. This seems rather absurd, when we have not got over our American quarrel yet, and as we are continually launching new gun-boats. The English will not learn wisdom in this particular. So often, as we have found it out to our cost I should think, they might remember by this time that it is not a cheap way to lower the army and navy in times of peace, but it is false economy. Probably in ten years or less we shall have proof of this. Fine day.

8. Had a holiday for going on with my competition plan. I would advise all those people who say 'Oh, I can do as well as that' just to try and design a building with ground plans and let them see if designing is so easy as they thought. I have found it a very different thing from what I expected. A fire in the Strand last night, a suicide of a banker and a loss of a ship of above 100 hands out of which only one was saved, are the only things worth noticing. Showery. My father sent his pictures to the Gallery today. This is his 3rd year.

9. Went on with drawing. No news. Mr Gilbert's large picture of the Queen receiving the wounded heroes at Buckingham Palace is now nearly finished. He is going to charge 530£ for it. A vessel arrived yesterday from Australia with 500,000 £s worth of gold. Fine day.

10. Went on with drawing. No news. Dull day. A murderess condemned to be hung. It will be by a new hangman, for it appears they are going to discharge Calcraft.

11. Went on with drawing. Showery and fine alternately. No news. Another woman condemned.

12. Went on with drawing. I have to send them in on Monday, but I think they will be in rather an unfinished state. No news. Fine day. It is expected the Emperor of Russia will come to London as well as Paris before his coronation. Does he wish to save himself being crowned?

13. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Heard Mr Roseveer both times. He is more generally liked than anyone we have had. Fine day. This evening at ½ past 8 Vauxhall railway station was burnt to the railway, not to the ground. I went of course, as I always do when I can. The appearance of the wooden station and a very long one, being on fire all at the same time was very magnificent. No news.

14. Sent my drawings off this morning. I really don't expect to obtain the prize, for I sent them in in a very unfinished state. The fire began at the station in the booking office and drove the clerks away before they could telegraph to the other stations. Consequently an express dashed through it when it was on fire and an ordinary train actually turned the people out into the station. No news. Rainy and windy.

15. No news. Fine day. I think I shall compete for a design for a clock tower. It is an easier thing than the other, most decidedly.

16. Went to Clay's and Dare's etc. No news. My father's touching day at the picture gallery today. He thought that he was pretty well hung. He went in evening to Book Society meeting at Mr Dare's. My mother's birthday. She went to the Crystal Palace. I have been reading Dr Sandwith's account of the siege of Kars. I think all those who read it will come to the same opinion as I have, viz, that General Williams and his companions were brave men who were starved into surrender and death by the willful negligence and indifference of the Turkish pashas especially and by the English government partly. Also that the Russian General Mouriaveff behaved like an honourable and humane man. One cannot feel at all for the extirpation of the old class of Turks when we read such things of them as abound in this volume. Fine day, but cold.

17. Began a map. No news. I went with my father in the evening to his conversazione. It was densely crowded. A good many interesting pictures were exhibited but no first class things. Fine day, cold wind.

18. Went on with map, and to Mrs Gould's etc. No news. Fine day. The picture exhibitions are expected to be rather thin this year, but good.

19. Went to Murray's and on with map. No news. They are erecting places for letting off the fireworks in Hyde Park, when the peace is ratified. Today was the private view at my father's gallery. Sales were rather dull. Fine day.

20. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Mr Chown of Bradford preached. A very good preacher but a little too noisy. Fine day. No news.

21. Went to Gibson's etc, and on with map and named blocks. No news. My father has sold another picture, which thing so delighted him that on the joy of the moment, he bought one of the hanger's (Harrison Weir) pictures of ducks!!

22. Went out and on with map, drew a gimlet, ladle etc. No news. In the evening Mr Beddome, (the senior deacon of our chapel) came to see us. He has just arrived at the age of 69 and as he is a pleasant, very well informed man, who has moved in the upper classes, his company and conversation are at all times agreeable. (fn. 8) He has promised a long and romantic tale the next time he comes to see us of an elopement. Fine day.

23. Went out and on with map, cut up wood, etc. No news. My father esteems himself fortunate that he has just sold his remaining large picture. It was, however, only 30£. He went in the evening to Mr Gilbert's. Fine day.

24. My father's birthday, his age is 43 years.

25. Finished map, went to Mr Green's, Hepburn's etc etc. No news. Very hot. They (the Committee of the Board of Works) have at last decided, I believe, to have the sewage of London turned into the Thames a good many miles down the river, so that at the end of my life the water may be seen clear again.

26. Touched up map, cut up wood and went out. No news. Showery day. My father went to a dinner of the members of his picture gallery at Kingston today.

27. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Mr Gotch, principal of Bristol College, preached in the morning (a very sleepy man) and Mr Chown of Bradford in the evening. He is very much liked by the congregation and is going to be asked to come on trial. Mr Roseveer of Coventry was asked but has declined. This is my birthday. I am 16. Time goes so fast, I never seem to be able to learn quick enough. And after all, what does the most learned know? In comparison with everything, nothing. No news. Very wet.

28. Went to Mr Gibson's and Smithers. Began a map. No news. Fine and showery. At the dinner on Saturday some of them got rather funny towards the close, Mr Fahey the sec. (who, by the way, does not enjoy a first rate reputation, on account of his keeping the artists out of their money after he has received it, and he doubtless pockets the interest of it) would persist that 20 sixpences made 5s. It is very likely I think, that he has made 20 sixpences (of money received) only come to 5s in his accounts.

29. Went to Mrs Gould and Mr Kearney's, began the House of Albert Durer at Nuremburg, cut up wood etc. (fn. 9) No news. Today with great (for us) ceremony peace was proclaimed at Temple Bar and other places by the Lord Marshal. Showery. The Queen held a drawing room today.

30. Went to Gibson's etc, cut up wood, went on with Durer's house. No news. I am in a very nervous state about my plans; my head has kept bobbing up and down so that I have done very little.

1. Went out and on with house. Had a half holiday. No news. The peace rejoicing is understood to come off on the Queen's birthday. I don't see anything to rejoice at, for we have lost about 130 millions in money and about 100,000 men in those few short years, and above all, we have done nothing, or left undone what we ought to have done.

2. Went on with house, altered a map of Mr Gibson's, cut up wood etc. No news. Fine day. Last night I took my plan to Greenwich. My own private conviction is that I shall not succeed.

3. Finished House, cut up wood, went out etc. No news. Wet day and cold, bad weather for May. My father went to Mr Hepburn's to dinner.

4. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Heard Mr Manning of Frome both times, an excellent conversationalist, but a bad preacher. We had him to dinner and he told a number of curious anecdotes. Here is one about himself. A friend of his (said he), said to him when he was first going to preach, "I suppose you would like to be handed down to immortality, now I will tell you the way. Every one writes books now in these days. Now do you take my advice and not write a book and you will be known as long as the world lasts as the man who never wrote a book." I heard today that Mr Spurgeon lately preached a sermon on the occasion of the death of one of his oldest deacons, from the text 'and the beggar died'! The sermon must have been particularly pleasing to the deacon's relatives if it was in keeping with the text. Mr Chown, who preached at our chapel a little while ago, told my father of a very curious reason for a minister of his acquaintance preaching slowly; it was because his chapel had an echo in it and he found it very inconvenient sometimes to have two preaching at once, so he waited until the echo had done and then went on. Of course this grew to a habit.

There is an anecdote of Mr Gould the naturalist, not one of the most delicate. He is now engaged on getting up a book on the parasitical insects of birds alone, and of course in order to give their proper descriptions, he has to study them very carefully. He does it thus. He procures a fine specimen of the species, puts it in his stocking, puts it on, ties it up very carefully and tightly and leaves it on for a week!!! He then takes it off, counts the eggs, etc, how many are hatched, etc, etc. What will not men do in pursuit of science?

5. Began the Hotel de Ville at Paris, went to Castle's etc. No news. Mr Aldis came up today from Reading, came to see us and my father dined with him at Mr Green's. Cold day. Rogers' (the late poet's) sale is now on. In one day 15,000£ were realized! Colonel Sibthorpe's collection has likewise been lately sold. The Royal Academy opened its annual exhibition today. It is I hear but an ordinary collection.

6. Went on with Hotel de Ville etc. No news. Dull day.

7. Went on with Hotel de Ville, cut up wood etc. No news. My father went to Gilbert's. He (my father) is going tomorrow to Ipswich to see my Grandfather. (fn. 10) This is rather remarkable because he has been talking about it for years and has not gone! Wet.

8. Went to Mr Gosse's at Islington and various errands and on with Hotel de Ville. No news. My father went today to Ipswich; he only stays a few days. My uncle Ebenezer's wife took tea and supper with us. Cloudy day.

9. Went out for my mother, went on with Hotel de Ville etc. No news. Fine day. I went to the Exhibition at the Academy. It was the 1st time I had been there, and the first time I had ever seen any good oil paintings. I was much struck with some of the marine and figure paintings, but did not think anything of the architectural and landscape departments. I might include sculpture in the latter class also. There is however no very striking picture this year.

10. Finished Hotel de Ville, went to Bishopsgate street station. No news. Very fine, very hot.

11. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Students preached. Fine day. Very hot.

12. Went on with map, cut up blocks, named them etc. No news. Business very bad, so much so that my uncle is going to Edinborough to see if any work can be got there. Wet day.

13. Went out, named blocks, and went on with map. No news. Fine day. Mario, the opera actor, has come over to England again and is now performing with Grisi and others at the Lyceum Theatre.

14. Went out, numbered blocks, packed up ditto and went on with map. No news. Wet.

15. Went to Mr Cook's at Marylebone and to the Strand. No news. This morning our old friend Mrs Warren was found dead in her bed by the side of her husband who was asleep. She had lived to the age of 84 or 5 and what is rather extraordinary, she came home to ours with some things she had been washing. "In the midst of life we are in death."

16. Went to Mr Murray's, Cox's, Prior's, also to Mr Weir's at Peckham, cut up wood and drew diagrams. No news. Fine day with showers. The bands playing on Sundays in the parks have been stopped by Lord Palmerston, at the urgent petition of the Archbishop of Canterbury. They were originally set going by order of Sir Benjamin Hall (who appears to be a thorough infidel and very obstinate) and has, he says, been attended by very large and orderly crowds of people. The religious part of the community consider, however, that by allowing them to be played, they are doing wrong and have put forth their strength to get them abolished, and have succeeded. It is expected that those who have been deprived of hearing the music will assemble in large numbers in the parks and rows are expected in consequence. For my own part I do not consider that playing music (especially sacred which they did) is so criminal (in a religious light) as getting drunk or going excursions in the country on a Sunday. If they touch the small part they ought to touch the great part also. These matters have lately excited very much attention and will excite more, I think. The crisis is near.

17. Went out, drew diagram, cut up wood and went on with map. No news. Rainy. My cousin, Theophilus, is in want of a situation from his mother's second husband becoming a bankrupt. (fn. 11) My father has already assisted them and they want it again. My cousin ought to be helped; they ought not on account of their imprudence.

18. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Not got a minister yet. Very windy and rainy. The showers must have cooled the ardour of the people who met in the parks today, if any did.

19. Monday. Went to Mr Gosse's, Clay's, and office of Bell's life in London etc, went on with map. No news. Showery. There was no disturbance in the park.

20. Went out, named the last of the Home Friend blocks, drew diagram, went on with map. No news. My uncle came home from Edinbro' last night. He brought a few blocks but his journey has not done much good. My father went to Mr Gilbert's and my mother to Peckham. Fine.

21. Went on with map etc. No news. Mr Green was married today. My father went to Book soc. meeting at Mr Edgar's at Clapham. I went in afternoon to the Kennington Oval to play at cricket. Fine until evening, then very wet.

22. Went on with map, cut up blocks etc. No news. Wet and fine. Young Mr Gale was married today. He takes possession of Mr Green's old house.

23. Went to Mrs Gould's and Mr Gibson's etc, cut up blocks and named them. No news. The government are having huge ugly frames of wood being put up all over the offices for next Thursday. Fine day. Fred went to a concert by the Italian Opera Company, at the Crystal Palace.

24. Went on with map. No news. Wm Palmer of Rudgely's trial for the murder of his acquaintance W. P. Cook has lasted part of last and the whole of this week and is not finished yet. The general impression is that he will get off from the want of direct evidence of his guilt. Showery.

25. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. No news. Andrew Fuller's son preached. Showery. Disturbances are expected today in the parks. Democrats have been exerting their powers of mob oratory and to no good purpose.

26. Finished map, went to Gibson's, named blocks etc. No news. Fine day. Palmer's trial is still going on. Lord Campbell (the judge) is now summing up. The legal gentlemen believe Lord Campbell intends to hang him.

Preparations are being made for next Thursday in the shape of tin flags, ugly gas stars and painted daubs which it is difficult to tell what they are intended for.

27. Went to Sparrow's, cut up wood, named blocks and cut them up. No news. Today at ½ past 3 the jury gave a verdict of guilty against Wm. Palmer. This celebrated case has excited so much attention that I shall rather briefly note down the chief circumstances. William Palmer is a native of Rudgely in Staffordshire. He was formerly a doctor but lately took to the pursuit of the turf and almost as a necessary consequence, gambling. Which latter involved him in pecuniary difficulties and he in trying to ward imprisonment off, forges a cheque of many hundreds in amount on his mother. He then insured his wife's life for 13,000£s and she dies under suspicious circumstances and saying suspicious things, but a few months afterwards. He claims the insurance money, but it is not paid him and he does not press it. Subsequently (lately) his wife's body is taken up and examined analytically and they come to the conclusion she was poisoned, the question is by whom. Palmer is suspected. I should have said that before his wife was examined he made the acquaintance of a person engaged in like pursuits to himself, of the name of John Cook, to whom it is stated he lost a large sum of money in betting. He (Palmer) becomes very fond of him, asks him to his home etc. Cook falls ill, but partially recovers, Palmer attends him, gives him as medicine some pills of strychnine which (whether strychnine or not) cause him to expire in horrible convulsions. Palmer is accused of having taken Cook's pocket book from underneath his pillow (by the chambermaid) which of course contained an account of his money transactions with him and he does not subsequently deny it. Palmer gets a doctor to draw up a statement of Cook's death, when he had not been present at it. (He had also had this done on the death of his wife, when he told the doctor to say she had died of excessive weakness caused by diarrhea.) Cook's body was also exhumed and the opinion come to, viz. that he had been poisoned by strychnine, and as these facts I have mentioned, came out in the inquest, Palmer was arrested on suspicion.

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28. Named blocks and cut them up, wood etc, went to Gibson's, drew figures. No news. Went to the Oval to cricket in the afternoon and got wet through from a tremendous shower during a thunderstorm. Today was the Derby Day at Epsom. The races are not so well attended, I think, as they were 5 or 6 years ago, although they collect an immense number now. The storm must have been particularly edifying to those who were on the open course. Poor Palmer was removed last night to Stafford jail. I hear that he intends appealing against the decision. He is not a man to die quietly. There will be a great number of places illuminated tomorrow night although it will not be a general one. Cheap excursion trains from the country are bringing great crowds.

29. Did sundry odd jobs and had a half-holiday given us on account of the celebration of peace. I went in the evening to view the illuminations and fireworks. I proceeded down the Boro, across London Bridge, along King William St, to the Exchange and the Bank. The former would have looked very well if they had finished lighting it up. The pediment and frieze showing the letters "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof" were finished and had a good effect. I then went along Cheapside, down Ludgate Hill, along Fleet St. These streets had very many houses in them illuminated, they were densely crowded and were extremely hot. From these, under Temple Bar, along the Strand. Somerset House had very large designs in the front that the wind prevented them being lighted at all. I then went to the Mall, and from thence I had a good view of the rockets etc let off from the Green Park. Of course I did not see the set pieces which were according to report afterwards very fine. I, after staying in the Mall 1 hour, went up St James St to Piccadilly, where I saw them better. At 11 o'clock I proceeded home through Pall Mall which was very brilliantly illuminated (especially the clubs) down Parliament St. The Admiralty boasted stars, crown, an immense anchor etc, the Horse Guards had about the same and the Board of Trade had immense letters forming V. PEACE. N. which was never completely lighted owing to its size, and I reached home at an early hour, thoroughly tired.

30. Went on with map, named blocks, cut them up etc, went out. The Oaks day at Epsom. Dull day. No news. Palmer will be hung at Stafford, where he was removed to, the evening that he was condemned. He professes innocence and I have great doubts as to his guilt.

31. Went to Clay's, cut up wood and blocks, named them etc. No news. Wet. The Bank has lowered their rates of discount and interest has fallen in consequence. The funds are falling in consequence of our unsettled relations with America. They (the Americans) still persist in giving an interpretation to a treaty that is obviously absurd.

June. 1. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond morning and evening. No news. Dull. A regular muff preached. So many occurrences that were in last week, rarely happen together, viz, the trial and condemnation of Palmer, the Derby races, the illuminations and fireworks, and the altering rates of discount. Altogether it was a very exciting week.

2. Went to Gibson's, cut up and named trade blocks etc. No news. Fine day.

3. Cut up and named blocks, began some 'Thugs.' No news. Fine day, but extremely hot. My father went with Mr Bennett to Mr Gilbert's.

4. Went to Gibson's and on with 'Thugs,' cut up blocks etc. No news. Extremely hot. Thermometer above 76 indoors in the afternoon. Already we are thinking where our country trip is to be. We (the boys) advocate Deal, my mother the Isle of Wight and my father Southend.

5. Went in the morning to Rowney's (fn. 12) etc, in afternoon to Murray's and in evening to Clowes' and Truscott's. Went on with 'Thugs' etc. No news. I saw placarded today that the American minister had resigned, which means, I suppose, our minister at New York, Mr Crampton. Whether it is so or not, in my opinion it would be the most prudent thing we could do, because a war with America, which seems by no means impossible, would be unpopular and the odium of it would in such case fall on his unfortunate shoulders and I do not see, that by resigning, he would precipitate hostilities, because he is not popular at New York. I have, I am happy to say, learnt a good deal of information on the Central American question from an interesting article in the Quarterly Review, which (although that was not their object) clearly demonstrates from a plain statement of facts that the Americans have not acted right in the affair and we I think, should be justified in commencing hostilities against them. (fn. 13)

6. Went to Gibson's and on with 'Thugs,' cut up wood etc etc. No news. I went to the Exhibition of the Painters in Water colours today and was disappointed. There were too many landscapes to suit me and the other pictures I was not particularly pleased with. Lewis' picture of a Frank encampment in Palestine however should be noticed as an instance of enormous labour and no effect. I also went to the exhibition at Suffolk St, but there was nothing in the 1000 pictures worth noticing.

7. Went out and on with Thugs. No news. The Americans having recognized that rascally General Walker, our relations with them are now very dangerous. Fine day. The Crystal Palace at Sydenham has got now a collection of modern paintings, English and foreign, in number about 800. The collection is as yet rather poor.

8. Sunday. Went in morning and evening to Maze Pond. Very fine, appearance however of rain. No news.

9. Went out errands, stacked box wood, named trade blocks, went on with Thugs etc. No news. Very fine.

10. Finished 'Thugs,' cut up blocks, went to Clowes etc, stacked wood. The report of the resignation of our minister Mr Crampton at New York, has been confirmed. The bill to remove the disabilities of Jews has just passed. It is a shame that it has met with such opposition as it has before now. Very fine and hot. Great and disastrous floods have prevailed for the last few weeks in the south of France. At Lyons from 3 to 500 houses were swept away.

11. Began Wreath, stacked wood etc. Went to the Oval to cricket in the afternoon. No news. Very fine. My father went yesterday and stayed today at Cashbury Park near Watford, with Mr Soper, sketching. He brought home two sketches.

12. Mounted an oilstone for my father, finished Wreath etc. No news. Wet day.

13. Went to Mr Warren's at Chelsea, Mr Gibson's and Mrs Gould's, altered Wreath and Thugs, squared blocks etc. No news. Restorations are being proceeded with of Westminster Abbey but they make the building look beastly. The beautiful old time worn and picturesque buttresses are being turned into spare new Pusey-ite. cold ditto and the splendid groined roof is now in parts gilded. What sublime taste to be sure! Surely this is an architectural age with a vengeance. Very wet all day.

14. Went to Mrs Gould's, Mr Underwood's and Mr Watkin's. Named and arranged trade blocks. No news. Very showery. In afternoon I went to the reformatory school at Wandsworth to make sketches for view of it. William Palmer was hung this morning, or so said the electric telegraph through the papers. I am no more convinced now that he was guilty than I was before I had heard his name. If, however, he is innocent he will not suffer in the next world for it and if he is guilty ...

15. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Mr Lance preached. No news. Very fine. I am sorry to be obliged to record something that certainly would not please most who heard it. When my uncle went to Edinbro', among others he called upon a publisher of the name of Macpherson who last week as a fruit of the visit sent us a block to engrave. He wanted it done quickly, in fact sooner than we could do it, so to our astonishment in answer to our reply to that effect we had a letter in which he said 'As the block is for a religious publication, there would be no sin in working on the Sunday' (today). No indeed, Mr Macpherson, not to please you or anyone else will that be done. (We have let him know that, at the same time we shall get it done as soon as possible.) It is very strange that such an argument could be used from an educated person living in the 19th century. It would better suit the 12th or the 13th.

16. Began an Indian Temple, arranged Gosse's and cut up wood etc. No news. Fine day.

17. Went to Warren's, Mrs Gould's and Mr Kearney's and various errands, packed trades and went on with Temple. No news. Went to Wandsworth. Fine day.

18. Went on with Temple, drew diagram, cut up wood etc. Went to Wandsworth. No news. My father went to Dartford to sketch and to Mr Gilbert's. My mother was presented today with a season ticket for the Crystal Palace at Sydenham and went today to witness the opening of the grand fountains and waterworks there. It was said that they (the fountains) were thrown to a height of 250 feet and many say that they surpassed the boasted one at Versailles. I shall try to see them. The Queen went today and got drenched by them being blown right over her.

19. Went to Gibson's twice, cut up wood, went on with Temple. No news. Wet.

20. Went on with Temple and went out errands to Gibson's etc. No news. About 60 or 70,000 £s have been collected in different countries and sent to the sufferers from the inundation in France. Today I learnt that my design for a clock tower was rejected among others. I shall try again.

In the afternoon there was a sharp thunderstorm that lasted about 40 minutes, with heavy showers of rain and hail. My drawing for the reformatory school at Wandsworth was seen yesterday by Prince Albert and most likely today by the Queen.

21. Went to Gibson's and various errands, cut up a good deal of wood, drew diagrams for gas fitter, trade block, and drew a fish. We this morning had a large order of above 60 fishes from Blacks, Edinbro, which will keep us busy for a month. No news. Showery. Longest day.

22. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Mr Trestrail preached this evening. He is rather too familiar for the pulpit. No news. Our friend John Brown of Streatham is not expected to live through this night, if he is not already dead. His complaint is apoplexy brought on from not enough exercise and partly constitutional and brain turned from excessive thought, which combined have worn him out.

23. Sorted Gosse's blocks, cut up blocks and parcelled them, began a fish. No news. My father wants us to go with him to Yorkshire and pay our own expenses! Would not he like it? Oh yes! But he won't get it. Fine day.

24. Finished fish etc. No news. My father went to Hayward's Heath, Sussex, to sketch. A journey of 80 miles to make a sketch is now thought nothing of, what would it have been thought of 30 years ago. Fine day.

25. Began another fish, cut up wood etc. Went to play at cricket at the Oval. No news. Very close. I expect there will be a severe thunderstorm this night from all appearances.

26. Went on with fish, etc. No news. My mother went to the Crystal Palace. My brothers, father etc went to Mr Hepburn's new house, nominally to make hay. The thunderstorm did not take place, so it has been awfully hot.

27. Finished fish and began another, sorted Gosse's and cut up wood. No news. My father went with the Misses Hepburns to Betchworth Park (near Dorking) to sketch. Very hot, the thermometer about 84° in the shade.

28. Finished fish and went to Paddington station to meet my cousin Theophilus, who we are trying to get a situation in London. No news. Fine day. Business is brisk, as it will be for a few weeks.

29. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond twice. Mr Thomas preached. No news. Fine day.

30. Went to Gibson's, cut up wood, drew letters etc, and began a 'Tunny.' No news. Fine day, but rainy in the evening. Our friend John Brown died last Thursday. His agony was extreme in his last moments, it arose from ossification of the heart as also of the veins, which was proved by a post mortem examination.


  • 1. Ivall and Large were coach and harness makers in Tottenham Court Road.
  • 2. The Metropolitan Board of Works was created by Act of Parliament in 1855, specifically to deal with London's sewers, and took office on 1 January 1856. The chief engineer, Joseph Bazalgette, developed detailed plans for a network of sewers with outfalls at Beckton on the north bank, and Plunstead on the south bank. However, the Board of Works had neither sufficient power nor money and nothing happened until 1858, when the great stink on the Thames caused by the unusual hot weather, made the smell in the Houses of Parliament insupportable. In July 1858 the Government passed a second act giving the Board of Works the necessary powers and the ability to raise £3,000,000, guaranteed by the Treasury. Work began immediately on Bazalgette's sewers, which were largely operational by 1865.
  • 3. This was the case of William Palmer of Rugeley. After the death of his friend Cook, Palmer was arrested for forgery. Inquests were then held on Palmer's wife and his brother, who had recently died. Verdicts of wilful murder were returned. See Robert Graves, They hanged my saintly Billy (London: Cassell, 1957).
  • 4. The Photographic Society
  • 5. Sir James Parke (1782 – 1868) was raised to the peerage on 16 Jan. as Baron Wensleydale. In July following complaints about the creation of a life peerage the barony was made hereditary.
  • 6. James Fergusson, The illustrated handbook of architecture (London: J. Murray, 1855); the two volumes contain over 800 wood engravings.
  • 7. The first Covent Garden Theatre opened in 1732, but burned down in 1808. The second theatre was designed by Robert Smirke and opened the following year. After the fire on Anderson's last night, a third theatre was opened in 1858. Designed by E.M. Barry, this was greatly extended in the 1980s.
  • 8. William Beddome was born on 13 April 1788. He was 68, but Whymper's practice was to refer to people just starting their twentieth year, for example, as being twenty.
  • 9. Dürer's house in Nuremberg was then being repaired so that it could be opened as a museum.
  • 10. Nathaniel Whymper (see Appendix 1).
  • 11. Theophilus's mother Sarah had married George Harding in 1850 (see Appendix 1). His bankruptcy was listed in The Morning Chronicle 10 May 1856.
  • 12. George Rowney and Co were suppliers of artistic materials, with premises in Rathbone Place, Oxford Street, who also acted as a publisher and printer.
  • 13. Quarterly Review (June 1856): 235 – 286.