Page images

same style. It soon began to appear, that the Jew possessed considerable confidence in his own powers; and, although the success was alternate in the various rounds, for upwards of half an hour, the advantages were upon the side of Mendoza; the science of the latter made a strong impression upon the spectators, by the neat manner of stopping the blows on his arm, and giving the return so instantaneously, as to bring his adversary down; and even in point of throwing, Dan possessed the superiority. In the twenty-second round it appeared that the articles were violated, (which specified particularly, that if either of the combatants fell without a blow, he should lose the battle) by Humphries falling without a blow upon which circumstance a complete uproar ensued, and nothing was to be heard but the cries of "foul, foul!" and Mendoza's friends insisted that he had won the battle. Upon the other side, it was obstinately contended, that the blow was "fair," inasmuch that Humphries had stopped it before he fell. Tom Johnson was particularly positive as to the fact; but Mendoza's umpire declared it to be foul: an appeal was then made to Mr Coombe, who would not decide upon the case. The row was now beyond all description, blows had subsided, and tongues were in full and violent motion, and respect to persons seemed out of the question. A warm altercation took place between the seconds, each supporting their interested side, when Captain Brown, full of pluck, called the veteran, Tom Johnson a blackguard, and that he would kick a certain place, if he gave him any more of his impertinence these were words Tom was not in the habit of swallowing,) the seat of honour to be disgraced) and intimated to the Captain, that they would try as to the capability of his assertion, and put himself in a posture of self-defence the quarrel had now grown important, and a battle was expected; but Captain Brown talked of fighting him at some more convenient pe riod, for one thousand guineas; which operated only as the flourish of the moment, in never being mentioned afterwards! Humphries insisted on the fight being renewed, and taunted Mendoza to set-to again; but the friends of the latter would not suffer him, being satisfied, in their own opinion, that he had won the battle. The spectators growing impatient for the decision, Humphries threw up his hat in defiance, and endeavoured to provoke the Jew to renew the combat-Mendoza, considering that an unfavourable impression might go abroad against him in refusing, or in its being decided as a drawn battle, consented to finish the contest. Silence was once more restored, and the combatants again set-to. Dan showed off in good style, and went in with the most determined spirit, and finish ed the round by knocking down his opponent. In the next, he repeated the doze, and continued, during the remainder of

the fight, to have the advantage. After thirty minutes had elapsed, Humphries, either from accident or design, committed the same error, in falling without a blowMendoza had put in some tremendous hits, and, in following them up, Humphries retreated and fell; when Dan, without the slightest murmur, was deemed the conqueror.

[ocr errors]

Mendoza was now the championand Bill Ward, a Bristol trump, who had been originally brought up to town to fight Johnson, was now matched against the Israelite. He was a stronger and taller man than Mendoza-of great activity-full of pluck, and fine scienced. The odds were on Ward on setting to. The following is a spirited sketch of the battle:

At the commencement of the fight, the odds were considerably upon Ward; and much was expected from his well-known acquirements; and it is but fair to state, that Bill endeavoured to prove the conqueror, and used every exertion that he was master of to obtain so desirable an end; and, for the first eight rounds of the battle, was an object of attraction; and dealt out some tremendous blows; particularly in the fourteenth, he gave Mendoza a dreadful hit upon the jaw, that knocked him off his legs like a shuttlecock, and Dan came down with uncommon violence. Ward's friends were now in high spirits, and the betting went forwards, as it was thought that Dan had received rather a sickener; but Mendoza's game soon brought him about, and he went in with the most determined resolution, and gave Ward a knock-down blow. The superiority of Mendoza now became manifest; Ward perceived he was in the hands of his master; and the spectators began to change their opinions. Mendoza levelled his antagonist every round; though, notwithstanding, Ward put in some good hits. In the twenty-third round the combatants closed-Ward was completely exhausted, and, upon Mendoza falling on him, reluctantly gave in. The above contest established Dan's fame; and his scientific excellence was generally acknowledged.

But the hour was at hand when the Jew was to succumb to the Gentile. John Jackson entered the ring against him, and in ten minutes and a half Dan was done up and dished.

1st round. The spectators were more than commonly interested, from the celebrity of the combatants. Judgment was not wanting on either side, and a fine display of the art was witnessed the amateur experienced a rich treat in the developement of the science in all its characteristic minutiæ a minute had expired, and both waiting for the advantage, when Jackson put in a tremendous hit, that laid Dan prostrate on the stage.

"2d.In this round Mendoza shewed the advantage of the science to perfection, by stopping the blows of his antagonist with great neatness, and in returning several good hits.

3d-Both on the alert, and pelting away without ceremony-Jackson put in several severe hits, and Mendoza was not behind in returning the compliment; but in the termination of the round Dan went down. Notwithstanding the odds rose two to one on Mendoza.

"4th. This was the heat of the battle

fear was out of the question, and the combatants lost to every thing but victory. Jackson, confident of his powers and knowledge, went in with great courage, treating the science of Mendoza with indifference, and punishing him most terribly, when Dan fell from a severe blow upon the right eye, which bled profusely. The odds rose upon


5th. The scene was now considerably changed, and some murmurings were expressed by the friends of Mendoza, on wit, nessing Jackson take hold of his opponent by the hair, and serving him out in that defenceless state, till he fell to the ground. An appeal was made to the umpires upon the propriety of the action, when it was deemed perfectly consistent with the rules of fighting, and the battle proceeded. The odds were now changed two to one on Jack


6th-7th.-8th.-Mendoza was getting rather exhausted, and endeavoured to recover his strength by acting on the defensive; but he could make no way against the superiority of Jackson.

"9th. Mendoza stood no chance-Jackson appeared in full vigour, and hit away his man with great ease. Dan suffered considerably, and after falling completely exhausted, acknowledged he had done."

About seven years afterwards, an epistolary correspondence of an angry kind took place between these formidable heroes in the public news papers. It led, however, to no second combat-which was well-for the Jew had not strength to fight Jackson. Jem Belcher, after his overthrow of Gamble the Irishman, challenged Dan on the field; and the fight would have been an interesting one, between the founders of the old and new schools. There is something exceedingly chivalrous in the challenge-and Jem Belcher appears another Ivanhoe in the ring.

Belcher. Dan Mendoza.

Mendoza. Well! what is't you want? Belcher. I say, these were the shoes I bought to give you a thrashing in


Mendoza. Well-the time may


Belcher. I wish you'd do it now.

The parties becoming rather irritated with each other, an immediate set-to was nearly the consequence, vented it. but their friends stepped in and pre

Dan's last battle was with his false friend, Lee the butcher, who used him extremely ill,-and Dan fought simply to punish his perfidy. Lee had been long known as a skilful and quick sparrer-but his set-tos had been all bloodless, and with the mufflers; and it was not thought he could have any chance against Mendoza, in real warfare. He had none-for though he protracted the fight upwards of an hour, by shifting, and dropping-now and then touched Dan, and occasionally threw him-we ourselves might as well have been pitted against the Israel ite,who punished him severely, flooring him incessantly, and holding all his operations, defensive and offensive, in contempt. Yet beautiful as was this last display of Mendoza, and fi nished as was his shewy, we had almost said flowery style of boxing, it was the decided opinion among the best judges, that it would have lost both its efficacy and attraction before the rapid dexterity and irresistible gaiety of Jem Belcher. Besides, Dan was past his best, and Jem in his heyday and we hate to see the laurels torn off the brow of age by the hand of youth. The piety of the pugilist revolts at the spectacle.

We feel that it is utterly impossible for us to conclude this article, without adverting, in such terms as are becoming the melancholy occasion, to the great, indeed irreparable, loss which the boxing world has lately sustained in the death of Sir Daniel Donelly. Ireland, we understand, is inconsolable. Since the heroic age of Corcoran and Ryan no such leveller had appeared. Happy and contented with the fame he had enjoyed under his native skies, it never had been the desire of Sir Daniel to fight on this side of the Chan

nel. Accordingly, he past his prime in and about Dublin, satisfied with being held the most formidable Buffer (so our good Irish friends denominate Pugilists) among a potatofed population of upwards of five million. No one who has been in Ireland will suppose, that Sir Daniel Donelly of the championship, with his hands walked up to the "good eminence"

beneath his feet, rejoicing in the blood that dyed its threefold beauty, more proudly than it ever rejoiced, when, sprinkled with the dews of morning, it waved its verdant locks to the breezes that swept the level expanse of the Bog of Allen, or the rugged magnificence of Macgillicuddy's reeks.

in his breeches-pockets. We are not
in possession of the facts of his early
career we know not when he dropped
the sprig of shillelah, and restricted
himself to the unweaponed fist. It
must have been deeply interesting to
have marked the transition. We have
heard it said, and are inclined to think
the theory true, that Sir Daniel's style
of boxing showed, perhaps too strik-
ingly, that he had excelled at the mis-
cellaneous fighting of Doneybrooke
Fair. He was not a straight-nor yet
a quick hitter. His education cer-
tainly had not been neglected, but it
had been irregular. There were not
only Iricisms in his style but even
provincialisms which were corrected in
the London ring, not without danger to
the success of his first prize essay. But
the native vigour of the man prevailed
over the imperfect institutions of his
country-and with all the disadvan-
tages of an irregular, imperfect, and
unfinished education, Sir Daniel Do-
nelly not only triumphed over all his
compatriots, but sustained the honour
of Ireland in a country, perhaps, too
much disposed to disparage her; and,
in his last battle, with the renowned
Oliver, the shamrock sprang up anon.

The death of this illustrious man has left unsolved a great problem, Was England or Ireland to have taken precedence in the rank of nations? Could Donelly have beat Crib? Could Carter have beat Donelly? Alas! vain interrogatories! The glory of Ireland is eclipsed-and ages may elapse before another sun shine in, what Mr Egan beautifully calls, her pugilistic hemisphere. We have just received a vast number of Elegies on his death-from Cork, Limerick, Waterford, and Dublin-some of them eminently beautiful. It was not to be thought that such a man would be permitted to leave us, without the meed of some mélodious tear; and we are happy to see among the "Luctus," the names of Moore, Maturin, Croly, and Anster. Of these


No VI.

To the Editor of the History of the Erskine Dinner.*


I THANK you for sending me your
pamphlet, containing an account of the
dinner to Lord Erskine, and in return
shall forward to you a copy of the
Southside Papers, as soon as the last
proof sheet comes to hand, which, I
trust, it will do in the course of next
month at farthest. In that publica-
tion I hope you will find much to
amuse you; and I would even flatter
myself, something to improve you
too, provided you read it with some
portion of that temper and calmness
of judgment that always character-
you until of late, i. e. since you
have assumed the place and manners
of a leading Edinburgh Whig. My
dear friend, be assured, in spite of all
you hear, that I still entertain the
warmest affection for you. I do not
indeed pretend to consider you as a

[ocr errors]

man of genius; which foolish idea, I fear, some of your new associates have been studiously cramming into your head; nor yet, if some of your recent doings provoke a slight suspicion that your brain has suffered, am I inclined to attribute your misfortune to "overmuch learning.' But I have a real regard for you, and, as a proof of this, would fain give you a little advice, which, if taken in good part, may, I would hope, restore you in some measure to yourself, and, perhaps, prevent your relations from entertaining any farther rights of cognoscing youwhich, I assure you, is a scheme that has frequently been discussed among them of late, and all with the most friendly intentions. Take up in time, and don't allow yourself to be made a fool for life, only for the pleasure (which with you is, after all, I fear, a verv

Account of the proceedings at the dinner given to Lord Erskine, in the Assembly-Rooms, George Street, Edinburgh, 21st February 1820. Edinburgh, John Robertson, 8vo. 1s. 6d.

laborious one-labor ipsa voluptas) of weaving a few more paragraphs of silly rhodomontade-the amusement of all Tories, and the disgrace of your own Whigs. In short, reflect before it be too late, that you were a far more respectable man a few months ago, managing the concerns of your own shop in peace, quiet, and honour, than, with your limited talents and acquirements, you are ever likely to become, by pursuing the new career which at present seems to possess so many charms for your heated imagination. The truth of the matter is, my good friend, that you know nothing what ever of the true character and designs of the party, with whom you have of late thought fit to connect yourself in such an unexpected measure of intimacy. You think yourself already a kind of grand master among the Whigs, but the fact is, you know little of the secrets of the fraternity-you are only an apprentice as yet, and if you were left entirely to their kindness, I don't see any prospect of your attaining, at any near period, the station even of a fellow craft-to say nothing about being passed and raised. You are permitted, indeed, to attend all

their ordinary meetings, and more especially, you are permitted to look very big at their public banquets; but if you love me, don't imagine for a moment, that the watch-word which secures your entrance into these assemblies, implies your having been initiated into any thing like the ipsa arcana of FreeWhiggery.-At St Luke's, (for of old you were one of us) you must recollect the absurd gravity with which some of the smock faced little fellows, that had taken the first oath only the evening before, used to smack their lips in honour of toasts of whose true meaning you and I well knew they had not the slightest suspicion-the self-satisfied air with which they echoed the thumps of a mallet, not one of whose hieroglyphics they were in a condition to interpret-but observe all the puny puffing and pursing of cheek by which they (like the frogs of the fable) endeavoured to blow themselves out into some remote and absurd resemblance of the true masters of our esoteric doctrine. Well it is needless to waste. te too many words upon it--but I am sure the magnificent ribbon-wrapt first hammer himself never smiled more good humoured

derision upon one of these new com ers, either in the hall or at Barclay's, than the great wire-movers of the Whig puppet show of Edinburgh did upon you, my dear fellow, while you sat during the speeches of this Ers kine dinner, munching third rate raisins, and frowning and simpering your unutterable things in what you conceived to be a silence of true dignity, a verum otium cum dignitate. They laughed at you then, be assured, and they are laughing at you still more heartily now, that you have been so rash and imprudent as to publish this pamph let of yours. It is really a very silly per formance and if you do not stop short, but go on to publish one or two more such samples, there can be no doubt you will effectually lower your character in the estimation even of those with whom it was used to stand high of the highest-I allude, of course, to your house-keeper, her sweetheart the Shoemaker, and mine host of the Clocking-Hen Tavern, Potterrow.

Little, however, as you may be sup posed to understand of the profounder arcana of your party in this place, there are some points of their practi cal system to which it is impossible you could have altogether shut your eyes, and which I should have supposed might have been sufficient to ex cite some feelings of preliminary aversion to them, in the breast of a man so honest and upright as I believed, and, I add, always shall believe, you to be. The excess to which they carry their system of mutual adulation is one, and not the least import ant neither, of these points-and to it, in the first place,-I shall crave leave for calling your direction, since it is necessary that some one of your real friends should do so. I ask you a simple question, Moses-Did you ever hear one Edinburgh Whig say, hint, admit, or in any way whatever insinuate, that another Edinburgh Whig had ever done any thing that was wrong-or, per contra, that an Edinburgh Tory had ever done any thing that was right? I observe, that at this very dinner, of whose scope and tendency you have aspired to be the historian, this great point of the Whig faith, or rather of Whig practice, was pretty distinctly alluded to-but by no means set forth in all its due fulness, breadth, and verity of detail.The Whigs are bound together by the deep sense of the importance of their

common political tenets! Good.-I give them credit for their combination. I sometimes think it is the only thing about them from which the Tories might now and then do well to take a lesson; and yet, upon second thoughts, far be such an idea from me and mine! Let us be good friends, by all means, and let us take every manly method of showing our friendship, when the subject is worthy, and can exalt, not excuse merely, the attachment; but never let us give up the sense of individual zeal, and individual exertion, and individual honour, implied in that through-going combination-system, which prevails among these new friends of yours. But this is a point to which I don't remember ever hav ing seriously directed your notice. To do it justice, Moses, it is well worthy of a paragraph for itself.

It must be allowed, that you hang together in a most remarkable manner. From the highest to the lowest, you are all connected in one chain, and the moment a link is loosed, you have another ready to insert in its place. You are like the celebrated red ants, so destructive to all timber and leather in the East-taken singly, you are insignificant, but glued together into one solid air-hung pillar of Whiggery, there is nothing you cannot reach; and when the material you attack is too solid to be annihilated by your efforts, your magnanimous resolution is always at least able to defile it. It is a strong proof of your excellence in the art you devote yourselves to, that you are able to reconcile every one of your body to the part and place assigned him in your column-Every ant is contented to hang at the tail of another, so be it can, by hanging there, forward the attainment of the box of sweetmeats that tempts the whole battalion from above. No Whig thinks any thing below him that may, in any way whatever, accelerate the darling party job of demolition. Statesman and senator, priest, lawyer, physician, man-midwife, shopkeeper-all are tied together in this compactest of unions, and the wives of them all (like the mounted womankind of the Don Cossacks) form another column, equally one and indivisible, clinging together in a parallel line, and affording at once the most unwearied co-operation and the most inexhaustible of reserves. It


is a long time since I have ceased to be a frequenter of the Parliament House; but once or twice in a session my spare antique form may still be seen gliding to and fro for half an hour, amidst the mingled masses of that melancholy Babel. Your modesty may, perhaps, render you unsuspicious of the real motives of my journey; but true it is and of verity, that I go thither for no other purpose, save that of feasting my eyes with a view of your faces, and refreshing, by what I witness in that brief space, my ideas of the intense and persevering zeal of your Whig conjunction. I hear it in every laugh-in every whisper. I see it in every gesture-in every look, of the least as well as of the greatest of you-In every loud proud ha! ha! that rings from the centre of the stovering-in every solemn or sarcastic whisper that cuts the ear in the course of the up and down progression and reprogression of the boards in every pompous strut-every demure_posi tion-every lifted or contracted eyebrow-every smiling or pouting lipI hear, I see the proofs of your unabated pertinacity I feel that the creatures are at their dirty work as unremittingly as ever-and I return from the noisy scene to my own dim faroff unloopholed retreating place, filled with, if possible, a yet more intense disgust for all your doings than I ever carried thither, or endured there be fore. I came home only a few evenings ago in such a mood as this, and was sitting wraptup in the silentsolitary luxury of contempt by my fireside, when a sudden knock was heard at the door. I heard the footstep of Grizzy as it ascended the stair. I heard the clank of the candlestick as it was set down upon the lobby table. I heard the rustling of the apron, and the ring of the relaxed chain-the sonorous jerk of the retreating bolts the harsh unwonted thunder of the disturbed hinges-the start of recognition-the smack of good-will-the wet flap of the doffed plaid-the shuffle of the muddy topboot-and, in a word, the Ettrick Shepherd stood before me.

"As when the mists that winter has assembled,

Depart and scatter from before the breath
Of April, and the hoary heavy clouds
Split into cobweb threadlets, melt away,
Evanishing, then Pelion's craggy top
4 I

« PreviousContinue »