Title: London Notes

Periodical: The North-Eastern Daily Gazette

Date: May 10, 1887

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Rarely has there been so enormous a crowd assembled as to-day crowded the auditorium of the new American entertainment. It was, happily, a fine day, and the weather was very mild, so that the period of waiting which the thousands present underwent had no disagreeable effect. On the American Exhibition proper I can say nothing—that must be left for another occasion—but the Wild West show at once made its mark, and has many features of interest which will make it the talk of London.

At the same time, I doubt whether it will not require some degree of compression. The length of time over which it spreads is considerable, and many of the acts are little more than repetitions of what have gone before. There is a good deal of firing. Several scenes represent attacking and relieving parties, in which great execution is done by the Border King in vindication of civilisation against the indigenous inhabitants of the Western regions. In one instance a stage coach is attacked, in another an emigrant train, and in another a log hut in the wilderness. In all these cases there was plenty of dramatic spirit in the action, and the rough-riding and firing while riding are very good.

As each performance takes place, the nature of it and anything interesting about it are announced from a sort of pulpit in the middle of the arena by a sort of double of Buffalo Bill—a gentleman with a very fine voice, who makes himself heard to a surprising extent. The Indians are by no means pretty to look at, but they make a gallant show in their striped blankets, and displayed abundant vigour in the performances which they have to enact. Perhaps the most pleasing and astonishing part of the whole performance is the firing which is done by two young ladies and by Mr Cody himself. The skill shown is almost too great to be believed. A great proportion of the House of Commons and a large proportion of the theatrical and literary professions were present, and altogether Buffalo Bill may be said to have made a most distinguished commencement.

One of the entertainments in the programme will have to be omitted or modified. It was the lassoing and roping of cattle. There appeared to be great cruelty in it, and the animals showed signs of acute distress and suffering. Very loud hisses arose from the parts of the arena which were nearest the spectacle. Many of the audience must have felt that a very little more, and they would have been spectators of something like the horrors of a bull fight. This event at Earl's Court and the reception of the Corporation of London at Buckingham Palace by Her Majesty constituted the important events of to-day.

Lists of Jubilee Peers are in circulation, and some of them have found their way into print. They are certainly not published in the interests of those whose names are contained in them. They are rather likely to injure the chances with Her Majesty of men who she will think are being pressed upon her by unconstitutional means. The Queen is almost absurdly sensitive on this point; and I have reason to believe, also, that in two cases at least there is no chance whatever of a Peerage being conferred. The honours list will be by no means an overwhelmingly large one. It will, however, contain representatives of all sections of the community; and I am able to say that journalism will be represented in it, as well as science, art, and the higher forms of literature. I do not say that any journalist will be made a Peer, but one at least will be made a baronet.

Very slowly indeed does the popular general subscription for the Imperial Institute begin to mount up. Less than 10,000 guineas from the general public is acknowledged, though the total is swollen by £4,500 derived from the apparently illegal grants of railway companies. So far as the South-Eastern Railway is concerned, Sir Edward Watkin promises that if Mr Justice Kay's decision that railway companies cannot contribute to public objects be maintained, the directors will among themselves find the £1,000. But even if the sum granted by the South-Eastern Railway Company be added to the 10,000 guineas which have been subscribed in the last month, the show is not a very good one. The amount would have been doubled but for the adoption of the South Kensington site. On the other hand, the people who are "bossing the Institute" are largely relying upon semi-public contributions. They have appropriated the donation from the Royal Commission of the Colonial and Indian Exhibition a sum of £25,000. But this is a windfall by no means likely to be repeated. Among the larger contributions are £1,000 from Mr Pochim, [1] High Sheriff of Denbigh; £1,000 from Mr Petit, High Sheriff of Bombay; £500 from Lord Bute; £200 from the Compte de Paris; and a hundred guineas from Messrs Lincoln, Bennett, and Co. The bar seems in no great hurry to subscribe. The Attorney-General [2] and Sir Edward Clarke have given £100 apiece; but most of the Q.C.'s are content with a small contribution, and most of them make none at all. None of the leading solicitors pay very heavily. The largest contribution is from the wigless gentlemen of the law with six guineas. Dr. Tyndall [3] has given £5. The army in Ireland has had collected from it £314. At Malta the military whip has produced £122. The Farnborough Military College has given 50 guineas, and the Woolwich Military Academy 24 guineas. Devonport Dockyard has sent nearly £100, Chatham Dockyard less than £5. The largest contribution from any ship is £40 from the Dreadnought, the smallest is 15s from the Triton. The Agincourt gives £30, and the Durham 27s 6d. One's conclusion from the third subscription is that it will be long ere the Imperial Institute will be in a fair way towards success. But the provincial municipal contributions have still to be acknowledged. They may change the aspect of affairs altogether.

Lord Carnarvon [4] is almost as much abused by the Tories for his Times letter as was Sir Charles Lewis. [5] Lord Carnarvon as an ex-Lord Lieutenant of Ireland obtains a hearing, and suggests that which amounts to a censure of the recent proceedings of the Government, and something to which they feel now utterly powerless to consent. His suggestion amounts to this:—That the Government should at once introduce a Bill including the names of three or four persons acceptable to all parties and willing to enquire into the articles published by the Times refering to the Irish members, and to include in the Bill provisions giving this tribunal power to call witnesses and to take evidence upon oath. Lord Carnarvon does not actually ask for a Bill, but it is impossible to carry out his plan without a Bill, and that is not all. The suggestion is almost like a mockery of the Government, and so nearly resembles the appointment of a Committee that people are in doubt as to whether Lord Carnarvon would not have voted with the Opposition had he been in the House of Commons. The effect of this extraordinary proposal has been to deepen the dilemma of the Government; and so keen is their sense of the waste of last week by one of their own supporters that they have felt unable to-day to make any statement as to the urgency of making progress with the Coercion Bill.

Summer has burst upon London and the South of England with tropical suddenness. Four days ago you might have walked through the parks and scarcely have seen a green leaf except in shrubberies, though it was obvious that under the influence of the moist weather the buds on the trees had swollen to bursting. One bright warm day has, at a touch, brought about a transformation scene. To-day the trees are draped in foliage of a most brilliant green, while the fruit trees in suburban gardens are clad in blossoms of snowy white. The temperature both yesterday and to-day has been very high. Parasols of flaming brightness were the great features of the parks and Kensington gardens yesterday and to-day. They were also very prominent at all outdoor gatherings.

Note 1: Henry Davis Pochin (1824-1895), an English industrial chemist and a statesman, who in 1887 served as High Sheriff (oldest secular office under the Crown) in Denbighshire, Wales. [back]

Note 2: Richard Everard Webster, 1st Viscount Alverstone (1842-1915), served as the Attorney General for England from 1886 to 1892. [back]

Note 3: John Tyndall (1820-1893), an Irish physicist most noted for his theory on greenhouse gases (the Tyndall Effect), was a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, England. [back]

Note 4: Lord Carnarvon was Henry Howard Molyneux Herbert (1831-1890), fourth Earl of Carnarvon and an English politician. [back]

Note 5: Sir Charles Edward Lewis (1825-1893), 1st Baronet, was an English politician. [back]