News New Manuscript Acquisition at the Kelly Library
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Extracts from an excursion to Scotland, 31st July - 12th August, 1832
The unnamed gentlemans journey starts eventfully with a near collision between his steamer, the James Watt, and a drunken waterman. After describing his passage up the eastern coast, much amused by seabirds diving for fish, he arrives at Stockton at 8 in the evening, after a pleasant sail, agreeable companions, and a very civil captain.
He departs by the Railway Coach - this is a heavy lumbering carriage carrying from 16 to 20 passengers, and drawn with ease by one horse. Not having previously seen the mode of travelling on the railway was much struck with its singularity. Very many coal vans are linked together & drawn by one horse; others are propelled by a Steam Engine to which from 20 to 30 are attached, & away they go in one long continuous line at the rate of 5 or 6 miles an hour. I have often heard the expression of putting the cart before the horse but little thought I should ever see it realised. Such however is here literally the case for towards Stockton the railway slightly inclines and at the back of some of the coal carriages is a low sort of cart about a foot from the ground & when the man comes to a certain part the horse is taken from the front and both man & horse jump in behind, and away they all go together, the weight alone propelling them forward.
In Glasgow, he notes that it was my ill fortune to visit it at a very melancholy time, the deaths from cholera being about 80 a day, and as if to confirm the gloomy intelligence on passing up the High Street to the inn we met several funeral cars which make a far more melancholy appearance than our hearses, the top greatly projecting over the body of the carriage, profusely covered with ostrich feathers and the sides with paintings of the interior of a church.
In York he took a walk by the banks of the Ouse, through a shady avenue of trees. The Race terminated today and there appears to be a considerable attendance but I preferred taking another view of the Cathedral. One gentleman on looking over his betting book at the Coffee Room found he had lost 100 by his days sport. In the Coffee Room of the Black Swan at York where I stopped is an old Coach advertisement placed over the fire place & framed & glazed Aug 1708.
Extracts from an excursion to Ireland, 22nd August - 6th September, 1833
The following year sees him travelling through Ireland, arriving from Bristol at Cork, and then heading north, visiting Killarney, Limerick, Maryborough, Kildare, before reaching Dublin, and sailing back to Liverpool.
In Cork he notes a vast number of poor who are very annoying to the traveler and as a gentleman observed will not take no for an answer. He also attends evening service at the Foundling Hospital.
In Kildare, one of our fellow travellers was an Irishman & pointed out to us, two or three dilapidated castles which formerly belonged to his ancestors, who he said he could very distinctly trace back 3000 years being a lineal descendant from the younger son of Milesius King of Spain who hd paid Ireland the honour of a visit at that period. Mr Walsh of the Kenmare Arms arranges an evening boat excursion for him, and they put in to refresh at a cottage at the back of Lady Kenmares on some boiled beef & cabbage, washing it down with mountain dew (alias whiskey).
The following day his excursion continues with a trip to see the peak called the Eagles Nest, and hear the tricks on sound that echoes make. The accompanying bugleman in their party, conceals himself behind a promontory, suddenly music comes upon you as the distant sweet sounds of a band or many instruments. A gun fired off is like a clap of thunder...
They travel as far up the lake as possible, landing at Lord Brandons Cottage, before heading northwards, into a poor and boggy landscape: The cottages.. Not having half the comforts an English labourer would require for his cow or donkey. They seem to have no spirit, or it is completely broken down - their wants or wishes however seem very circumscribed for the Publican where we stopped said that if they only had plenty of potatoes they would think themselves as happy as Kings - At one Inn on the road a large concourse of people were assembled to greet the great liberator Dan OConnell who was journeying to his native place Kerry.
He reaches Limerick, very superior to Cork... the streets have a lively appearance from the presence of the military who are quartered here - back part of the city especially dirty and filthy, and the cholera seems fatally prevalent here - in some part, almost every other shop was closed.
Heading north again he arrives in Dublin on Saturday 31st August - the markets are excellent, everything most abundant & cheap, and his host Mr Houlston arranges a jaunting car for him for a days excursion to Kingstown. On Tuesday 3rd September he sails for Liverpool, returning to London through the midland counties, and covering some 941 miles in total, 580 by coach, and 360 by sea.
Extracts from an excursion to Guernsey & Jersey, 23rd August - 6th September 1834
He leaves London for Deal, noting that his mother and Sophia are at Canterbury on a visit, and then on to Dover, Hastings, Brighton, before embarking on the Southampton Steamer from Portsmouth, and then aboard the Lord Beresford bound for Guernsey.
On arrival he finds it a most handsome place, and continually compares it with features from towns with which he is familiar in England. It rises like Ryde from the shore, the High Street is something akin to Gravesend, and the fish market compares well with the Burlington Arcade.
He visits the meat market, wine & port houses, noting their current prices on the final page of his account. The experiences are in sharp contrast to those noted on his previous years trip to Ireland, no mention of poverty or cholera, and all in all he seems to be having a much more enjoyable time. Boiled beef and cabbage are replaced with a good dinner of mullet, quarter of lamb, tarts, with a dessert of melon, grapes, figs & walnuts, with 2 bottles of sauterne & champagne at 5/9 each.
TORONTO, May 29, 2009 -- The Kelly Library recently acquired an interesting and lively written manuscript journal recording a series of excursions by a gentleman from London in the 1830s. This 74 page manuscript includes pen and ink route maps, engravings, and several pen and ink sketches of trips to Scotland, Ireland and Guernsey & Jersey between 1832 and 1834.