Manners and customs of ye Englyshe/A Banqvet Showvnge ye Farmers Friend Impressyngi on ye Acricvltvral Interest that it is Rvined.

Illustrated by Richard Doyle

Manners and Customs of ye Englyshe in 1849. No. 38.

A Banqvet Showynge ye Farmers Friend Impressynge on ye Acricvltvral Interest that it is Rvined.


A Banqvet Showvnge ye Farmers Friend Impressyngi on ye Acricvltvral Interest that it is Rvined.

[Monday, November 19, 1849.]

BY Rail to Clod's Norton, to my old Country Friend Mr. Giles the Farmer, and with him to the Meeting and yearly Dinner of the North Grantham Agricultural Society at Grumbleton, at the Plantagenet Arms. A mighty fine and great Dinner; and the Appetite of the Company did do my Heart good to ſee, and droll to hear Mr. Giles declare that all the Farmers were ſtarving. I did mightily admire the Breadth and Bigneſs of the Countrymen, and their round Faces like the Sign of the Riſing Sun, but not ſo bright, for though ruddy, looking grave and glum. My Lord Mountbushel in the Chair, very grand and high and mighty, yet gently demeaning himſelf, and did pledge them about him in Wine with an Obeiſance the moſt ſtately I think that I did ever ſee a Man, and wiſh I could do like him, and with Practice hope to be able. The Dinner over, and the Queen drunk, and the Royal Family, and alſo the Church and Army and Navy all drunk, the Chairman did propoſe the Toaſt of the Evening, which was, Proſperity to the North Gruntham Agricultural Society, and made a Speech, and did tell his Hearers that they and the whole Farming Body were going to the Dogs as faſt as they could go; whereat, ſtrange to hear them applaud mightily. He ended his Speech by laying he hoped Gentlemen would that Evening, according to Cuſtom, keep clear of Politics, which Rule Squire Hawebucke next rising to speak, did promise he would observe, and forthwith made a violent Harangue against Sir Robert Peel and Mr. Cobden. After him got up Mr. Flummerie, and with great Action, and thumping the Table, spoke for Half-an-Hour, with most brave Flourishes both of his Fists and of Language. He did tell his Audience that they must be up and stiring, and quit them like good Men and true, and did exhort them to rally round the Altar and Throne, and nail their Colours to the Mast, and range themselves under the Banner of Protection; which he did say was a Flag that had braved 1,000 Years the Battle and the Breeze, and if so, should, methinks, be by this time in Tatters. He did say that the British Lion had been long asleep, but was now at last aroused, which do seem a simple Saying, the British Lion being only a fabulous Beast, like the Unicorn, and nowhere to be found but in the Royal Arms. But to hear how the Company did cheer at all this Mouthing, and I do verily think they had far rather listen to it, than Mr. Coningsby his clever Schemes and Projects, albeit it was the veriest Cant and Stuff; for, good Lack! to think of the Monarchy and Church, and all Morals, Religion, and Government, depending on the Price of Wheat! After more Speeches in the same Strain, the British Labourer his Health drunk, and then the Prizes given out; and an old Man of 80, for bringing up a Family without costing the Parish 1d. in 50 Years, did receive £1, and others for honest Service nigh as long, a Jacket, a Smock Frock, or a Pair of Hob-Nail Boots, in Reward of Merit. The Toasts and Speech-making lasted till late, and then we broke up, the Farmers mighty merry, though grumbling, but not more than their Wont, at the Laws and the Weather, but their best Friends say, will have little to complain of either, if they will but mind their Business, and turn seriously to improving their Husbandry.