Thursday being Midsummer-day, according to ancient custom a Common Hall was held in the Guildhall, for the purpose of electing Sheriffs of London and Middlesex for the year ensuing. At one o'clock, the Lord Mayor, attended' by several Aldermen, the present Sheriffs, and other civic officers, appeared on the hustings ; when the usual pro- clamation having been made, the Common Sergeant addressed the Hall. He told them that the important right which they were about to use had
been exercised by the Livery from a time beyond the Conquest, and ever since the reign of Henry the First they had held it in fee-simple. So valuable was this privilege considered that the citizens were bound to proceed to the election in the absence of their King, the Lord Mayor. The Lord Mayor and Aldermen then withdrew.
The names of those who had been nominated to fill the office of Sheriffs were then exhibited to the Livery, and a show of hands taken on each. For Alderman Magnay, Alderman Hooper, and Alexander Rogers, Esq., nearly all those in the Hall held up their hands. The other names were received in silence. The Common Sergeant said, the Sheriffs were of opinion that on a show of hands, the election had fallen on William Magnay, Esq., Alderman and stationer, and Alexander Rogers, Esq., citizen and spectacle-maker. No poll being demanded, those gentlemen were declared duly elected to fill the offices of Sheriffs of London and Sheriff of Middlesex for the year ensuing. Sir James Shaw was unanimously retilected Chamberlain. The Hall then proceeded to the annual election of minor corporate officers.
The anniversary of the battle of Trafalgar was commemorated on Monday, by the launch of one of the finest war-ships ever built in the dockyards of England, at Woolwich, in the presence of the Queen. A ship-launch is always a favourite spectacle with English sight-seers ; and the new vessel being one of the largest in the first class of line-of-battle ships, rated as 120 guns, but actually mounting more, the occasion was one of rarity and importance. Moreover, the presence of the Queen, and perhaps some old associations of naval glory awakened by the name, gave additional eclat to the ceremonial. The morning was fine, though the clouds looked lowering, and all London and the suburbs seemed to have agreed on enjoying a holyday. The concourse of spectators at Woolwich was numerous beyond all pre- cedent; and the scene was beautiful and animating in the extreme. The river was literally bridged over with steamers, yachts, and other craft, for some distance above and below the water-way left clear for the launch of the vessel ; and the decks and yards were covered with gazers. The banks of the Thames on both shores were fringed with people as thick as sedge ; and not only the platforms in the dock-yard, but every eminence and house-top commanding a view of the river was tenanted. The roads were thronged with equipages of all sorts and shapes, and lined with pedestrians ; and the Greenwich and Blaekwall Railways were besieged by impatient crowds, who almost fought for admission : even the houses along the road and the river-side, out of reach of the sight, were alive with lookers-on at the passers-by. Nothing was wanting to crown the bravery of the show but popular enthusiasm : the immense multitude was eager and good-humoured, but the interest and delight never rose to the pitch of rapture ; and the Queen was by no means heartily cheered. The difference must have been sensibly felt by the veterans present, who recollected the excite- ment that attended the addition of a new bulwark to the wooden walls in bygone days "when George the Third was King."
We had been favoured with a ticket for one of the booths which sur- rounded the cradle of the leviathan, whence we had an opportunity of appreciating her enormous bulk ; though for witnessing the launch the river was the best place. Looking downward to the keel, and upward to the bulwarks the height of the vessel was tremendous. The ship as we have said, is registered to carry 120 guns: its length from figure-head to stern is 246 feet 2 inches ; extreme breadth 55 feet 7 inches; depth of the hold 32 feet 2 inches; its burden upwards of 2,721 tons (old measurement); its height 64 feet 11 inches. On the poop were crowded the survivors of the battle of Trafalgar, commanded by Lieutenant Rivers ; and the row of their weather-beaten, wrinkled visages, topped with three-cornered hats that became them as well as oak-wreaths would have done, looked like a quaint ornamental studding to the sides.
The Queen and Prince Albert arrived at two o'clock ; their approach being announced by the firing of a royal salute. Before placing herself in the booth provided for the Royal party, the Queen, taking the arm of Lord Minto, walked round the ship, from which the workmen were already knocking away the shores. Her Majesty having taken her seat, Lady Bridport, the niece of Nelson, christened the ship, by breaking over its bows a bottle of wine, a relic of the stock which Nelson had on board the Victory at the battle of Trafalgar. The task, say the papers, would have devolved upon the Queen herself, as the most illustrious lady present ; but, understanding that Lady Bridport had sent the wine which was used in the ceremony, and the lady her- self being present, her Majesty specially deputed her to bestow upon the new ship its name—Trafalgar. Whilst we gazed on the huge mass, endeavouring to make out the nature of its supports, it suddenly began to move, and the floating fortress gently glided into the river, with an ease and steadiness truly majestic ; the quietness of her motion seeming to mock the shouts of
the multitude and the roar of cannon that greeted her advent on the world of 'waters. At that moment the Union jack was hoisted at her
stern by Captain Leigh, who had served under Nelson. The tide had floated into the dock ; and as the vessel left the slips it caused a vacuum in its wake the filling-in of which by the water was something to note by the visiters in the dockyard; as the heaving of the river by the dis- placing of such a body of water was by the multitudes on its surface : it was, however, remarked, that in taking the plunge the Trafalgar dipped less than usuaL The actual launching of the largest ship ever
built appears the simplest thing possible, rand is soon over ; but it is a grand sight from this very circumstance, and it is impossible not to be
impressed with the skill and power that regulate the movement of such a vast body in so confined a space, without confusion or danger. Not an accident happened among the whole of the immense assemblage; and, excepting some smart showers when the launch was over, which damped the pleasure of the day, nothing untoward occurred. The appearance of the Trafalgar as she lay alongside the Firebrand steamer, floating high on the water, was imposing from her prodigious size ; but withal peculiar. She is painted in alternate streaks of drab and white, black being found to decay the timbers by absorption of heat : she is of the round-stern build, but the curve is so slight that her stern seems as flat as the front of a house ; which, as it is covered with windows, and has no galleries or projections, it very much re- sembles. The Quaker hue of the sides, and the three-story-dwelling look of the stern, give an unwarlike and unpicturesque aspect to her hull without masts or rigging : but this innocent-looking, marine board- ing-house front masks a most formidable battery, the stern alone being pierced for twelve guns ; which, calculating the rate of firing six times each per minute, would reply to a raking broadside with seventy-two shot in less than as many seconds. The effect of the huge mass of white, seen relieved against a dark sky in the midst of the multitude of flags of all colours which decorated the surrounding vessels, was very striking ; and to the sailor's fancy these rainbow hues might seem a halo of old glories encircling the new-launched thunder-bearer of the British navy. The Queen, after viewing her new ship for some time, departed, and a movement of dispersion began among the immense concourse ; but the numbers did not diminish for some time, as several remained, and others, who had been too late for the show, continued to arrive.
A public meeting of the auxiliary Anti-Corn-law Association of Chelsea was held on Tuesday evening, at the Manor-house Tavern, to receive a deputation from the parent Association. Sir John Scott Lillie was the chairman ; and Mr. Byng was among the speakers. Sir John made use of the Queen's Speech: he read it, and asked if the meeting approved of her Majesty's reasons for dissolving Parliament. The as- semblage broke up with three cheers for the Queen and three groans for Peel and Buckingham.
The annual dinner in aid of the Licensed Victuallers' Schools was eaten at Highbury Barn on Wednesday. Nearly 3,000 persons were present, of whom 1,700 were provided for under one booth. The chair was taken by Mr. C. Barclay ; and was supported by Mr. Byng, Sir M. Wood, Mr. Crawford, Mr. Pattison, Sir De Lacy Evans, Mr. T. Dun- combo, Mr. Masterman, Mr. M. W. Attwood, Mr. E. Lyall, Colonel T. Wood, Mr. Perkins, and Mr. Byng junior. Politics were carefully eschewed. In the course of the evening Mr. Ransford sang a new song by Nelson, entitled "The Launch of the Trafalgar," which was highly applauded. Subscriptions amounting to 1,200/. were announced ; of which more than 2001. was given by the firm and establishment of Barclay, Perkins, and Co.
On Wednesday, the Judicial Committee of Privy Council heard the petition of the defendant in the case of Ponal and others versus the Right Reverend Dr. Hughes, Bishop of Heliopolis and Vicar Apostolic of Gibraltar. A dispute arose some time back between the Bishop and a junta of Elders of the Roman Catholic Church there, (whose treasurer is the plaintiff in the case,) about the collecting and disposition of certain emoluments. In October 1840, the Elders filed a bill against the Bishop in the Supreme Court : the case was heard; and in January last the plaintiffs obtained a decree, by which, among other things, the Bishop was ordered to make certain monthly payments to the Junta's treasurer. The Bishop petitioned for leave to appeal to the Queen in Council. Leave was offered to him, on condition that he performed the decree by the 25th of February ; when, if default was made, he was to be in con- tempt. It was physically impossible to comply with this order, as it contemplated future monthly payments to be paid at once. On the Bishop's non-compliance, he was attached, and kept close prisoner in the criminal gaol He therefore petitioned the Council that further proceedings be stayed, and that the defendant be discharged from prison pending the appeal. The prayer of the petition was granted, on secu- rity being given that the Bishop would abide the order of the Privy Council.
Judgment was given in the Vice-Chancellor's Court on Thursday, in a case in which the property of Mr. Leader, the Member for West- minster, was involved to some extent. A suit was instituted, in the name of Mr. Bannatyne, on behalf of the creditors of the late Mr. Maberly, a linen-manufacturer and merchant, against Mr. Leader and other persons, who bad become interested in the trading business which was known as the firm of Maberly and Co. The ground of the suit was, that the assignment of Mr. Maberly's house and furniture in the Regent's Park to Colonel Maberly, to secure a bond for 12,300/. given to him on his marriage, was fraudulently executed in contemplation of 'bankruptcy, and with a view of giving the Colonel an unlawful pre- ference over Mr. Maberly's other creditors. The creditors claimed a moiety of the partnership which was transferred to Mr. William Leader, the father of the defendant, in 1825, for a sum of 104,0001.; and also an account of the profits since the alleged act of bankruptcy in July 1831. The Vice-Chancellor gave a decided opinion in favour of the defendants upon a view of the whole case, and dismissed the bill, with costs.
The Court of Queen's Bench gave judgment on Monday in the case of the Queen versus the Archbishop of York. A rule had been obtained • in the preceding term by the Dean of York, calling on the Archbishop to. show cause why a writ should not issue to prohibit him from effectu- atintzansentence of deprivation which his Commissary had passed on the at a late visitation in York Minster. The judgment sketched the course of the proceedings at the visitation. The primary inquiry was fiscal, and related chiefly to accounts connected with a fund appointed to sustain the Cathedral fabric. The Dean attended at this, and was ex- amined ; but having been, for his contumacious conduct then, pro- nounced in contempt by the Commissary, he absented himself during the remainder of the visitation. The inquiry going on in his absence, it - merged incidentally in an examination into a charge of simony advanced - against him. Upon the refusal of the Dean either to appear and answer ',this charge, or to atone for his contempt, the Commissary wound up 'the proceedings by sentencing him to deprivation both for contempt and for simony. Upon this, the rule for the writ of prohibition was applied for. The Court said that the visitation was quite regular in its begin- ning, and that the Archbishop had the power to visit all ecclesiastical persons within the limit of his jurisdiction. The ground of prohibition furnished upon the particular facts, by the statute of 2 and 3 Vic. c. 86, was then considered, That act, which was "for better enforcing Church discipline," laid down one form by which Archbishops and Bishops might proceed against clerks for offences against the law ecclesi- astical, and enacted that no criminal suit or proceeding against clerks In holy orders for such offences should be instituted except in the form so laid down. To the complaint now made by the Dean that he was not formally dealt with as the act provided, the Archbishop answered, that the visitation was not in itself a "criminal proceeding," or a " cause"; and that it was preserved on its old footing, not coming within the scope of the act. The Court thought the last restriction unreasonable; and on the first point, the Court said that there was no case of an ordi- nary having proceeded to the extent of deprivation personally and without process in court, even in their own regular and ordinary visitations. It was true that they were not always obliged to observe all the formalities of the courts of law, or even those of the more regular ecclesiastical courts ; but still so much form at least was necessary as would-acquaint the accused with the nature of the charge and enable him to prepare his defence. Lord Denman remarked, that the Court thought that the statute of Victoria had entirely escaped the notice of the Commissary ; and it excused him on the ground of the novelty of the case, and the absence, in such a jurisdiction as the Court of Visitation, of counsel who would have called it to his mind. The judgment was, that the Cont- misery had gone beyond his authority in passing sentence of depriva- tion on the Dean. The rule was therefore made absolute for prohibit- ing the Archbishop from proceeding to give effect to the sentence. In the same court, on Wednesday, Mr. Moxon, the publisher in Dover Street, was indicted for publishing a blasphemous libel in a recent edition of the poetical works' of Shelley. The case was tried by Lord Denman before a Special Jury. Three passages from Queen Mali were set out in the indictment. The first was taken from page 9 of the volume lately published under the editorship of Mrs. Shelley. Having made some observations upon the nature of the Christian reli- gion and the conduct and general character of its priests, the poet pro- ceeded as follows- " They have three words—well tyrants know their use;
• Well pay them for the loan, with usury Torn from a bleeding world—God. Hell, and Heaven I Avengeful, pitiless, and almighty fiend. Whose mercy is a nickname for tile rage Of tameless tigers hungering for blood; Hell a red gulf of everlasting are, Where poisonous and undying worms prolong Eternal misery to those hapless slaves Whose life has been a penance for its crimes ; And Heaven a mood for those who dare belie Their human nature, quake, believe, and cringe. Before the mockeries of earthly power!"
The next passage, at page 19, was in prose, and expressly denied the existence of a God ; or, admitting that there was one, denied that the portrayal of his attributes in the Mosaic writings wasfaithful. The third passage, which, like the second, was in the notes on the poem, ri- diculed the history of the birth of Jesus, with other doctrines of the Christian religion. Sergeant Talfourd, for the defence, argued that the passages objected to made not more than the three hundredth part of a work of twenty thousand lines, and would give not only an imperfect but a wrong impression of the whole. The book was a history of the stages which a great mind had gone through, in its gradual develop- ment; and it would only be sought by persons likely to appreciate the combination of the several parts with each other, and the tendency of the entire composition. In many passages of Paradise Lost, Satan was made to utter sublime defiances of Almighty power. Indeed, the pub- lishers of the works of Milton, Gibbon, Byron, Rousseau, and Shakspere himself, might as well be prosecuted as the publisher of the present poem. Lord Denman said, that he and the Jury were, however, bound to proceed on the law as handed down from all time—that the publisher of a blasphemous libel was clearly punishable, if he was guilty of doing so with the knowledge of its character, which made a part of the offence. The motives of the publisher were beside the question ; for he was re- sponsible for the direct consequence of the publication itself. There could be no doubt that, in the passages quoted, an intention was shown to cast reproach and insult on the Christian God. Such an intention, however, in mere passages was insufficient, if the work contained a genuine condemnation of it in the context. They would, therefore, consider the tendency of the whole, and judge if it were correctly de- scribed by the terms used to bring it within the criminal law. It was certainly true, as remarked for the defence, that this extraordinary poem was composed by a youth of eighteen, and that in many places it contradicted itself; but that could not prevent it from being mischievous and offensive, or from producing injurious effects on society. It might also be true that the author's later poems would qualify the effects of his earlier works ; but still they would not thence be justified in ac- quitting the publisher of the passages now prosecuted. Any writer of an author's life was allowed to state that he had once entertained opi- nions such as these; or even to express them in the author's own words. Whether this was such a case as that, they would now decide. He himself thought that it was better to subvert such sentiments by reason and argument than to suppress them by the persecution of their authors. The Jury found the defendant guilty.
There were two other cases, that of the Queen versus Fraser, and the Queen versus Otley, in which the defendants were charged with the sale of the work in question ; but they were not pressed, and a verdict of "Not Guilty" was given in each.
In the Court of Exchequer, on Saturday, Mrs. Morley, a lodging- house-keeper, brought an action against Mr. Daniel Gundry, of the Albany, to recover 381. 10s. for lodging-necessaries and money supplied to his wife. At the trial, it was shown that Mr. Gundry kept a hand- some establishment at the Albany and at Hampstead. He married his wife in June 1839 ; but had used her so ill that their servants had seen her with a black eye and other more serious bruises, and bad even found blood on the bosom of her night-dress and on her pillow. A surgeon, by whom she was examined, said also that she had been heavily bruised in many parts, and that he thought her health was im- paired by bad usage and want of rest. Mrs. Guudry had once or twice left her husband's for her parent's roof, but had been reconciled to him and had lived with him again. That act precluded her from every method of living but by the supplies of those who would trust her on her husband's credit ; for the Ecclesiastical Courts would at present refuse her all remedy, on the ground that it was equal to a condonatioli of the husband's offence. Not any imputation was thrown on the wife's character. Mr. Jervis, for the defendant, submitted that monies paid by Mrs. Morley for the use of Mrs. Gundry could not be claimed in this action : this being agreed to by the other side and ruled by his Lordship, a verdict was consented to by the plaintif4 for 264 16s.
At the Mansionhouse, on Saturday, a Mr. Samuels charged one Schmelcalden, before Sir Peter Laurie, with having stolen thirty-five diamonds from him, worth between 300/. and 400/. The prisoner, who sold for Mr. Samuels on commission, had one day obtained the jewels on pretence of selling them to Messrs. Knott and Williams. On the evening of the next day, however, he sent a note by a boy, who ran away when he had delivered it, stating that they were lost. When taken into custody, Schmelcalden suddenly remembered that he had obtained them for a Mr. Keyser, and not for Messrs. Knott and Co. Keyser now confirmed this statement, and gave his friend a high character for probity. But it seemed that he also had lately lost a box of diamonds for his employers ; and this rather overshadowed his cre- dit. Schmelealden was remanded.
Cornelius Connell, who had applied unsuccessfully for employ on the Greenwich Railway, was charged, on Tuesday, at Union Hall, with throwing stones on the line, for the malicious purpose of overturning the trains. Being unable to pay a fine of 20s., he was sent to the House of Correction for ten days.
On Wednesday morning, a fire broke out in the engine-house of some large paper-mills in Berners Street, Whitechapel, lately the property of Messrs. Pine, Rogers, and Co. ; which was not subdued till nearly 4,000/. worth of property was burnt. The owners of the mills had lately been exchequered for eluding the Excise regulations ; and the Excise had advertised the effects for sale. The works were therefore suspended, or the damage would have been enormous. There was a watchman asleep on the premises, whom the Police had to awake by smashing the casement of his closet ; but who had, of course, seen all safe just two hours before. It is surmised that the fire was not acci- dental. Two men were seen lurking near the premises in the night : one of them, who has been described to the Police, climbed over a wall adjoining the mills. The works are said to be largely insured in the Imperial Fire-office,