A Court of Common Council was held on Thursday, for the despatch of business. Mr. R. L. Jones brought up the report of the London Bridge Committee on the viaduct across Farringdon Street. It con- demned the proposal that the structure should be entrusted to a joint stock company, and proposed that communications should be opened with Government as to the best means of effecting that and other im- provements in the City, recommended by a Committee of the House of Commons in 1828. The report was adopted. Mr. Anderton moved a resolution condemnatory of the large sums voted by the Common Council to decayed members of the Court of Aldermen and their re- latives, and for other than the legitimate purposes of the Corporation : the motion was affirmed by a large majority. On the motion of the same member, it was resolved to petition Parliament for a measure for the prevention of smoke.
A public meeting, originating among the working-classes, was held at the Town-hall in Southwark, on Monday, to consider the distress of the country. The meeting was called by the High Bailiff on a requisition ; and that officer took the chair. The Members for the borough attended. The first resolution, which declared the existing distress to be alarming in the extreme, and attributed it to class-legislation, was moved by Mr. Blackmore, a working-man. He exhorted his fellow working-men to unite with the middle-class, that they might bid defiance to the aristo- cracy. He mentioned with indignation the Duke of Wellington's re- fusal to receive the Paisley Deputation; contending that if the work- ing-class had had a voice in legislation, the Corn-laws, the capital instance of class-legislation, never would have existed. He urged the working-class to seek their share of power by firm but peaceable agita- tion. Mr. Killick, who exhorted to union, seconded the resolution. It was supported by Mr. Spurr, a Chartist- hile some said that a remedy would be found in a repeal of the Poor-law Bill—while others said the remedy lay in the abolition of the monopoly of food —how few of those benevolent gentlemen who admitted and sympathized with the distress bad adopted the right course for removing it 1 They came forth to battle with the effect, instead of proposing to destroy the cause. No man could claim to be a just man who denied the working-man the exercise of his natural rights. Would the repeal of the Corn-laws remove the distress ? (Cries of " Yes, yes !" drowned in loud shouts of "No!") They might repeal the Corn- taw, but its repeal, unaccompanied by other measures, would injure the work- in asses. He called on the Chartists to stand by their principles—" the Charter and no surrender!" And he predicted that the middle-class would soon join them; for they were beginning to feel the distress which pressed so severely on the class beneath them. Mr. Apsley Pellatt moved an address to the Queen. He could not go to the extent of other speakers, as in the case of the Suffrage ; but he was willing to concede much for the sake of unanimity. Mr. Pellatt then wandered into a vindication of his own opinions on a variety of subjects—Church Reform, Extended Suffrage, and Ballot.
The address, praying the Queen to call Parliament tog-ether to con- sider the Corn and Provision laws with a view to their repeal, and to instruct Ministers to bring in a bill to enact the principles contained in the People's Charter, was seconded by Dr. Bedford. Mr. Parker, a working-man, supported it. He rejoiced to see that the friends of the working-class who belonged to the middle-class thought it necessary for the interests of both to form an alliance— Be for one stood before them an evidence of the evil effect of a want of poli- tical power; for he was a journeyman tailor, who in vain had sought for employment. There were 18,000 journeymen tailors, of whom there were 9,000 out of employ, and 6,000 in partial employ; and the result was that the 9,000 were continually knocking at the doors of the 6,000, and endeavouring to gain the work. The address was carried unanimously. Mr. Maynard then moved the National Petition ; a voluminous document, which he read at length. Mr. Hearne, an Anti-Corn-law secretary, for whom Mr. Spurr with some difficulty obtained a hearing, moved tt• counter-petition, ascribing the distress to the Corn-law and other restrictive laws, and praying that the Charter might be enacted. That amendment was sup- ported by Mr. Pellatt, as being in accordance with the petition to the Queen. Only four hands were held up for it ;. and the National Peti- tion was declared to be carried by a great majority. A motion was then made, that the Members for the borough should be requested to support it. Alderman Humphery said that he could not agree to such a motion : many of the allegations in the petition were untrue—as the statement that certain mon had been tried by packed juries. He had lived long enough to remember the anarchy which had been caused in the time of the French Revolution—
A person in the meeting interposed—" By what?"
Alderman Humphery—" By the same system which the Chartists of the present day seek to establish." The Alderman went on, amid loud interruption and increasing tumult, to censure the Charter, and to com- bat Mr. Spurr's recommendation of the small-allotment system. The uproar was not lessened when he " exhorted them to go home and re- fleet," and " recommended those who could read to read their Bibles." He retired amid deafening yells. Mr. Benjamin Wood alone was re- quested to support the petition. Thanks were voted to the Chairman ; of whose conduct in taking thechair many of the working-class speakers had spoken in terms of warm approval.
The Times gives a farcical report of a meeting at Kennington, on Tuesday,—Dr. Bedford in the chair,—at which an address to the. Queen was carried, with appendixes, asking the Queen to call Parliament to consider the distress, praying for remission of punishment in the case
of all who are suffering for political of or for conscience-sake,
and praying that the People's Charter should form the basis of the law of the land.
A meeting of the Spitalfields silk-weavers was held on Saturday even- ing, at the Crown and Anchor, Waterloo Town, Bethnal Green, for the purpose of receiving a report of the committee which had been appointed to make inquiries into the state of the trade and the extent of distress existing in that district. Mr. Boddington was appointed chairman. He said that it was proposed to form a committee to make application for the remaining part of the fund which had been collected by subscrip- tion in 1826. The report was then read- " The committee bad visited thirty-six streets in Spitalfields, Bethnal Green, and Mile-End New Town. In them were 784 families, comprising about 3,436 persons, taking men, women, and children. There were 1,025 looms in work, and 658 out of work. There were 63 empty houses lately occupied, in which on an average were 3 looms each, which made 189 more looms out of work ; which, added to the former, made a total of 847 looms vacated. The com- mittee were told that those looms which were at work were only half-employed From a general calculation, it is believed that there are between 12,000 and 13,000 looms in the district, half of which are not in work, while the remain- ing half are working half-time; and as each loom employs three hands—the weaver, warper, and winder—a large portion of the population is necessarily flung out of employment. The consequence is, that as the great body object to go into the Workhouse, there are many rooms in which two and three families are living together."
The report was agreed to.
The great prize cattle-show at the Horse Bazaar, Baker Street, was opened to the public on Wednesday morning ; but, owing to the dulness of the morning, the attendance was not numerous. The papers have been filled with long catalogues of the exhibition. It will close this evening,.
A meeting of the new renters of Drury Lane Theatre was held on Wednesday ; when it was announced that the trustees had secured for the renters 1,4071.; which enabled them to declare a dividend of 51., exclusive of the 11. subscribed by them for the expenses.
At the Court of Queen's Bench, on Monday, an action was brought by a Mr. Bird against Lord Huntingtower, to recover the amount of a bill drawn by Captain Byng upon Lord Huntingtower, and accepted by him. The bill was dated five days after Lord Huntingtower had at- tained his majority ; but the acceptance was written on a blank stamp two days before his coming of age, and the rest of the bill had been filled up afterwards. The question arose, whether Lord Huntingtower, at the time of the acceptance, was a minor or not ? The Jury found a verdict for the defendant.
Some amusement has been excited by an action for breach of promise
of marriage, brought by a Miss Sophia Darbon, a young lady of thirty- one, against Mr. Richard Rosser, a solicitor, eighty-one years of age. Mr. Platt appeared for the plaintiff; Mr. Thesiger for the defendant. The plaintiff was one of the three daughters of a Mrs. Darbon, the widow of a wine-cooper. Mrs. Darbon attempted to carry on her hus- band's business, but she failed in 1829. She and her children enjoyed a small income of about 401. a year ; and in 1835 the collection of the rents, of which it consisted, fell to the management of Mr. Rosser, who refused to diminish the widow's modicum by any professional charges. In various ways he manifested kindness for the family, and especially for the youngest daughter, Sophia. In March 1837 his wife died : on the 10th of April, Sophia called to receive some rents ; and in a few days Mr. Rosser called at their house and made a declaration. Both Miss Darbon and her mother objected to his suit so soon after his wife's death ; but he said he was afraid he should lose the lady if he waited. A few days after he sent her a 201. note "as a mark of his regard," and three days after Sturm's Reflections "to instruct her mind." From this period a voluminous correspondence was carried on between the parties. The lover addressed his mistress with the most ardent and endearing expressions ; calling her " my exquisite love," "his dear little love"; and with these expressions he mixed up others of more than usual piety : in one letter he said that, "like an innocent bird, who after building its nest thought of its innocent and beauteous progeny, so he had meandered in the thought of the connubial felicity that was in store for him with his angelic Sophia, saying he should praise.the Lord for his goodness in bestowing on him a well-formed woman." In July, he told her that he had transferred 300/. in the Three per Cents. to her name, as a provision in case he should die. This sum he afterwards increased to 6661. In the summer and autumn he took them little excursions to Milton and Hampton. In September 1838, Miss Darbon wrote a letter asking him whether he really meant to perform his engagement ? That drew forth a reply, that his health was such that he could not marry ; but that he would improve her circumstances as a father, and he hoped for the time when the present obstacles to their union would be removed. Two days after he again wrote to " his own sweetheart," saying that as he was convinced he was now essential to her happiness, he considered himself hers from that moment. He concluded this letter in verse—
In spite of all my friends may say, My dear Sophia is mine from this day."
He added in a postscript, " Keep your own secrets, and you will rise like a phosnix or an angel." The very next day, he went to Hampton, where he saw the plaintiff's mother. She described to him the sufferings of her daughter, and said that her health was the victim of "her intense feeling." He then distinctly promised that the union should take place before Christmas. On the 14th, however, he was troubled with the cramp and spasms all over, and he was not matrimonially inclined; but he promised to make Miss Darbon a pecuniary compen- sation. The lady complained of these oscillations ; when the inconstant retorted in a note beginning, " Miss Sophia Darbon—I am much astonished at your letter. Remember the revelations you made to me at the commencement of our friendship concerning a certain young profligate, by whom you said you were annoyed." This letter con- claded, " I remain your greatly grieved Richard." By December, however, he was reconciled; and he then wrote, "Take care of yourself, my dear love, and get stoutish ; for the marriage state requires health and strength. I shall take care of myself. God in heaven bless you, any dear love." But shortly after again he was urging her to think no More of " such an old worthless trunk as I am," but to "look up to heavenly things." These changes continued, Until the purchase of the
wedding-ring and clothes, in Apri11840, was followed in October by the offer of an annuity of 40/. a year upon condition that he should be released from the engagement. The objections to the match which weighed with the old gentleman seem to have been some shadow of a younger lover ; the scandalous charge against the lady that she had likened him to Mr. Pickwick ; and the opposition of his children. The pleas put in for the defence, however, were, that be had made no promise, that be had been released from his promise, and that the plaintiff had accepted a sum of money as a satisfaction of her claim. The main purport of Mr. Thesiger's address to the Jury for the de- fendant was, that Miss Darbon was a very designing young woman, who bad seduced a man in his dotage, by flattering his vanity, into a promise of marriage. Many letters of hers were read, in which she used the most endearing and " intoxicating " expressions ; such as telling her aged admirer " you are all the world to me," and, when speaking of two kind letters which he had sent to her, saying, " I have not bedewed them with the copious showers of tears y our others have caused"; and she asked him for a lock of his "silver hair" and his minia- ture, or, not being able to wait for the miniature, for his profile. In one letter she exclaimed, " It is beautiful to love as fondly as we do, is it not ? " and in March 1840 she said that she would come and see him yet once more, if she "could but die in his arms." Mr. Rosser had six children ; two unmarried daughters lived with him, and they were very averse from the match. One daughter indeed, the counsel said, died with vexation at the affair. Miss Darbon urged him to punish their contumacy by breaking with them. She twitted him with not being master in his own house ; and insinuated that his children might try to prove him insane. In March 1840, she begged him, if he was determined not to fulfil his prbmise, to purchase a wed- ding-ring, make a statement of the sums advanced as part of the mar- riage-portion, and declare that he would have married her but for the opposition of his family. Afterwards she demanded "adequate" com- pensation, saying, that 151. a year, which he had offered, was not suffi- cient, and threatened law and exposure. Subsequently, she said that 1001. a year would satisfy her ; or, relinquishing the stock which she held, 1601. a year. And finally, she turned to rate him, in January last, for his " dastardly conduct." In charging the Jury, Mr. Justice Wightman said, that there was no sort of proof of the pleas put in for the defence : the Jury only had to fix the amount of damages ; and they must consider the value of the station and comforts of which the plaintiff bad been de- prived by the defendant's breach of promise. Though it could not be supposed that she entertained any very deep passion, she had accepted his addresses ; and perhaps, had he married her at first, there might have been more comfort in the marriage than such a union would seem to promise. The Jury asked, whether the 666/. stock was entirely under the control of the plaintiff? being answered in the affirmative, they re- tired for an hour and a half; and then returned a verdict for the plaintiff, with 1,6001. damages.
In the Court of Queen's Bench, on Thursday, one Macnamara and sixteen other persons were indicted for conspiracy, personation, and bribery, committed in the election of Bridgemaster for the City, in January. During the election, one hundred and fifty attempts at persona- tion were made. The details of the case were of little interest. Mr. Macnamara and nine other persons were acquitted : the remainder were convicted.
At the Central Criminal Court, on Tuesday, Mr. Phillips applied for the discharge of Rapallo. The Grand Jury were now discharged, and no indictment had been preferred against him ; he therefore submitted that he ought to be discharged. The Recordersaid that the case of Mr. Rapallo was different from the ordinary cases. He had been committed, but no charge was preferred against him. He would not, therefore, be discharged, as usual, with the other prisoners against whom bills had been preferred and ignored. The Recorder, however, having communicated with Mr. Maule, the Solicitor to the Treasury, ordered the prisoner to be dis- charged unless a motion for his detention were made in the course of the day. He was discharged accordingly. Soon after he had left New- gate, an officer arrived with a fresh warrant, for uttering a forged in- strument of some kind : but the bird had flown.