Manners and customs of ye Englyshe/Smythfield Cattle Markete.

Illustrated by Richard Doyle

Manners and Customs of ye Englyshe in 1849. No. 5.

Smythfield Cattle Markete.


Smythfield Cattle Markete.

[Monday, April 9th, 1849.]

UP betimes, it being vcarcely Light, to Smithfield, to ſee the Cattle Market, which I do think a great Diſgrace to the City, being ſo naſty, filthy, and dangerous a Place in the very Heart of London. I did obſerve the Manner of driving the Beaſts together, uſed by the Drovers, which did diſguft me. To force the Oxen into their Places, they have flout Cudgels, pointed with iron Goads or Prods, wherewith they thrull the Creatures in the Fleſh of their Hind Quarters, or with the Cudgel belabour them on the Hock. These Means failing, they do ſeize the Animal's Tail and give it a ſudden Wrench with a Turn of the Wrill, whereby they ſnap the Tail-Bone, and ſo twill and wring the ſpinal Cord till he puſhes forward as far as they would have him. Some, not getting Room for the Beads in the Pens, do drive them into Circles called Ring Droves, with their hind Parts outwards, and their Heads forced as cloſe as may be together: this done by beating them with all their Might about the Head and Eyes, and between the Horns, which they do call pething them. Then to ſee how they crowd the Sheep into the Pens by dogging them as their Word is, which means baiting them with Dogs that do tear the Sheeps' Eyes, Ears, and Cheeks, until they worry such Numbers in, that not one can budge an Inch. All this Cruelty is cauſed by the Market not being big enough: for which Reaſon they are obliged to force the unlucky Brutes into the ſmalleft poſſible Space. What with the Oaths and Curſes of the Drovers and Butchers and the Barking of their Dogs and the Cries of the Animals in Torture, I do think I never heard a more horrid Din in my Life. The Hearing was as bad as the feeing, and both as bad as could be, except the Smell, which was worſe than either. But to be ſure it was good Sport to ſee here and there a ſat Grazier overthrown by a Pig running between his legs, and ſo upſetting him in the Mire. It were well if it were never worſe; but with mad Oxen driven from the Market through Streets full of People, it continually happens that ſome Perſon is toſſed and gored, and one of theſe Days it will be an Alderman, and then Smithfield will be put an End to. No Doubt it would have been done away with long ago, but for the Tolls and Dues which the Corporation do derive from the Market. This is why they do keep up a Nuiſance which did well nigh poison me; though one of them at a Meeting did declare that he thought Smithfield ſalubrious, and did ſend his Children to walk there for Change of Air, which if it were for the better, methinks that Gentleman's Dwelling-Houſe ſhould be a ſweet Abode. All but the Citizens do ſay that Parliament ought to aboliſh this Nuiſance; but it is thought that my Lord John dare not ſtir in the Matter, becauſe he is Member for the City. To Breakfaſt to an Early Coffee Houſe, having loſt my Pocket Handkerchief, coſt me 5s., doubtleſs by the Pickpockets, of whom Smithfield, beſides its other Recommendations, is a great Reſort. But content, not having had an Ox's Horn in my Stomach, and having ſeen all I wanted, and do not wiſh to ſee any more.