The Lord and Lady Mayoress gave a grand entertainment, at the Man- sionhouse, on Saturday, to the Duke of Cambridge and a very large party of distinguished visiters. The principal interest of the occasion lay in the presence of Mr. Brooke of Borneo, whose health was drunk with three times three.
The Michaelmas Quarter-sessions began on Monday; and the Middlesex Magistrates proceeded to consider a report received on the 7th of last month from the Committee appointed in 1845 to prepare a new county- rate, and the rate proposed by the Committee. The report declared an in- crease of 1,387,0131. over the old valuation, the present rental being set down at 7,754,3301. On the increased value the county-rate would be 2fcl. instead of 34c1.; and the reduced rate was unanimously adopted by the meeting.
A numerous meeting of the Marylebone Vestry was held on Saturday, to deliberate on the suppression of mendicancy and vagrancy in the Metro- police The views of the promoters were set forth in the following resolutions, proposed by Mr. J. F. Standford-
" Whereas mendicity in the Metropolis has reached an alarming height, by reason of the nonenforcement and evasion of the laws against vagrants and beggars; And whereas its professional mendicants may be estimated at no less than 60,000, who are for the most part thieves, or the accomplices of thieves; " And whereas it is supposed the sum of 1,200,0001. a year is in this way wrung from the abused benevolence of the public to the maintenance in idleness of a class of trading impostors, who do not contribute a farthing's worth of labour to the common good;
"And whereas such sum of 1,200,0001. a year is thus diverted from proper objects of charity, the industrious poor; "And whereas mendicancy is known to be a fruitful source of all vice and crime, and in that way augments the expenditure for police and criminal prose- cution; "It is proposed that a deputation from this Vestry be appointed to wait on her Majesty's Secretary of State for the Home Department, for the purpose of solicit- ing him to give instructions to the Commissioners of Police and Stipendiary Magistrates to enforce the laws for the suppression of mendicancy in the Metro- polis, and amend the same if necessary." Mr. Standford spoke at considerable length in support of his resolutions, and went into very minute details of the statistics of imposture— No disease that flesh is heir to but was successfully imitated. He had wit- nessed a man who had feigned tube in the very last stage of consumption, and actually in his dying hour, for years successively. Fits, jaundice, severe blind- ness and lameness, were counterfeited; widowhood, mothers with large families, respectable broken-down tradesmen, maimed sailors and soldiers dismissed with- out pay, and various other characters, were assumed, to gull the public, in addi- tion to the hosts of match-sellers, flower-girls, begging-letter writers, Lascars, and though last not least, the foreign musical vagrants, grinders on organs and hurdy-gurdies. All these classes of persons exacted money from the humane public, spending their days in idleness and their nights in debauchery and drunk- enness. Cities on the Continent which had become unsafe from the number and audacity of their mendicants had been cleared of them; and now not one was to be seen following the demoralizing vocation. In Munich 8,600 bold and sturdy vagrants and beggars were in one week dragooned into abandonment of the act, and sent to the public works. In Paris, Vienna, or Dresden, no beggars were to be seen; nor would they be seen in London if the benevolent would abandon their misguided practice, and the Government would interfere to enforce the law. Mr. Joseph seconded the motion. The system of trading on the bene- volence of the public was fully exposed, last session, before the Committee on District Asylums—
There was one fellow examined who proved that these mendicants travelled in gangs throughout the country, at stated periods, as regularly as the Judges at- tended the assizes. He himself belonged to a gang called " Spavin's gang." They had all the dietaries of the various prisons in their possession ; and if there was one where they got more meat than another, they would commit an offence where they got best treated. For instance, a fellow would travel over to South- wark to commit a robbery or breaka window, because he knew he would get more meat for dinner in Brixton than in Coldbatli-fields. This was an encouragement to vagabonds. The resolutions were agreed to; with a slight alteration in the last, to the effect that a Committee should be appointed with power to wait on the Home Secretary. Subsequently, the report of the Baths and Washhouses Committee was adopted, recommending the purchase of the ground at the Yorkshire Stingo, for 5,0001.
Last year there was such a demand for ashes, for the purpose of making bricks expected to be required for railway constructions, that the various London parishes received large sums from the dust-contractors for the privilege of removing the refuse: this year, all is changed; ashes having fallen in value to an extraordinary degree. The contract for Lambeth was sold last year for 1,1121. 10$.; this year it is sold for 311. 10s., and the contractor is to be allowed 25 per cent off his former bargain. The Eastern division of Southwark last year gained 3101. by its ashes; this year it will pay 3001. for the removal. Other parishes are in the: same predicament; 6,0001. will be added to the local burdens in six districts alone.
A stone foot-way for the accommodation of pedestrians has been com- menced, to be laid down from Storey's to Buckingham Gate. It is also in- tended to lay down similar foot-ways to the Stable-yard Gate, Spring Gardens, and the Horse Guards.
An outrage, fortunately of infrequent occurrence in the streets of London in these days, has been perpetrated this week. On Monday morning, between five and six o'clock, Mr.Bellchambers, the principal engineer at the Esher Street marble-works, was found lying on the pavement in Wilton Street, Vincent Square, near his own residence; he was insensible, and covered with blood flowing from wounds on the head; and he had been robbed of a watch, a bag of money, and his hat. He was carried to his home; where he remained still insensible, and, apparently, dying. On Wednesday, two men, M`Kay acrearli2le, were brought before the Magistrate at the Westminster Police-office, with the assault and robbery. A surgeon described Mr. Bellchambers's wean s: they appeared to have been inflicted by a stick, or some weapon of that nature; the sufferer was dying. Meyers, a man employed at the King's Head public-house, Orchard Street, showed how the prisoners were implicated in the matter. At two o'clock on Monday morning, Bellchambers came into the house; and he stopped there till five. M'Kay and Doyle were there. A companion of M`Kay's remarked that Bellchambers had in his hand something which he should like to get—referring, apparently, to the cash-bag; but added, he would do nothing to him there, "because it would get the house in trouble." Another companion of the prisoners got into conversation with Bellchambers, and asked him to go with him to have some coffee. The pub- lican warned the engineer, that he had better not go out with any of these "queer characters "; and it seems that he did not withdraw until they had left the house. In witness's opinion, he was then "perfectly capable of taking care of himself" The accused denied all knowledge of the robbery; and they were remanded till next week.
A fire broke out on Monday evening at a furniture-broker's in Water Lane, Blaekfriars; and before it could be subdued the premises were nearly gutted. It was thought that all the people in the house had escaped; but after the fire had been extinguished, a fireman found a blackened mass in an attic: it was the corpse of Miss Purday, an elderly lady who lodged in the house.