George Heath, Serjeant at Law
of Kitlands, Coldharbour, Holmwood, Surrey, England
and 34 Montague Place, Russel Square, London, England
George did not develope an interest in engraving but instead took up law. He studied to become a lawyer and progressed on to be a judge. At the same time he became the main financial partner in the the family printing firm, which became Perkins Bacon & Co, well known as the printers of bank notes and the world's first postage stamps. He became quite well off and made various land purchases near Holmwood in Surrey, this becoming the family Kitlands Estate.
The entry in "Records of the Heath Family" by George Heath, 1913" reads as follows:
George Thomas Heath was born June 27th 1779 (he later dropped the name Thomas). George was married May 24th, 1806: called to the Bar Michaelmas term 1807, took the coif, Nov.22nd, 1830: died Jan.22nd, 1852.
His father, James Heath,R.A. was Engraver to the King. He married very young, in his 22nd or 23rd year apparently, and I suppose his wife was younger still. The marriage was an unhappy one, and I doubt whether the parties lived long enough together for my father to have any recollections of his mother. However, he seems to have cherished a romantic affection for her, and to have believed her more sinned against than sinning. He cannot, I think, have derived much benefit from home discipline and associations. He had the usual school education, and among his schoolfellows were the two Spottiswoods of good Scotch family, of whom the elder was afterwards a principal client of his in Scotch parliamentary business, and the younger took what is now called Bearehurst off his hands, and built Broome Hall. But he must have left school rather early, for his father first put him to learn engraving. This he was averse to, and he used to tell how his father then put him temporarily with an uncle, an attorney, as boys who are sometimes sent to sea in a merchant ship to sicken of it, hoping the drudgery would disgust him of the law. But the uncle was inclined to keep him, and get the usual premium on his being articled to him, and so made the life easy for him.
All this must have taken up some time, and yet in 1797 when he was not yet 18, I find by an old pocket book that he was in the office of a Mr.Platt, where he remained till 1801, perhaps longer. This gentleman was probably something under one or both Chief Justice Lord Kenyon and Lord Ellenborough.
Note.- Chief Justice Wilde, afterwards Lord Truro, in 1848, wrote to my father to ask about the practice in chambers, in the time of Lord Ellenborough, where he got "such a useful education." I think it impossible from this date (April, 1802), when Lord Ellenborough succeeded Lord Kenyon, that this can be correct.
But I have a little book which bears Lord Kenyon's name on the flyleaf, and my father's on the cover, and I believe he kept it as a relic or memento of some connection.
I have a MS. Book of which the large part is blank, which he commenced on Jan. 19th 1801, at "the office," meaning to make a common place book in which to put down all his thoughts on every subject, and all the facts which chance or industry cast into his stock of knowledge. But after moralising on the uses of such a practice, and mentioning a friend, whose book of 1000 pages was quite full, he ventures on an even wager with himself that he will be tied of it before he gets "half his little quarto," and he certainly won his bet easy! However, he gets so far as to take stock of his acquirements at this time as follows.
"In French I am pretty perfect. I can read any book, and what is more, understand it, except technical words. I can read, without much difficulty, Italian novels and books in that language which are easy; and except my natural tongue, this, I believe is the extent of my knowledge as a linguist.
On another page he mentions that he and two others were reading Sallust at the rate of 100 lines an evening. He goes on "As to the law, that is my profession, and I cannot help continually improving. I shall say very little of it. Theoretically, I have a tolerably general knowledge, I believe, I may say without vanity, as much as most of my age; and even, I think I am on a par with J.Platt (ie. Joshua P.) who is fifteen years older. In the practical part I know considerably more, which is more owing to my situation with Platt than any merit of my own. I am in the middle of the sixth book of Euclid, but have gone through it in a very slovenly manner, and at school dipped a little into Trigonometry; so much for Mathematics, except on recollection some time since, when the 'furia' was on me, (of having) gone through simple equations in Algebra. My philosophical knowledge is merely superficial, having some ideas of Astronomy and read Chaptal, Lavoisier and Fourcroy on Chemistry. I believe I know where a man's heart is, or at least where it ought to be, and perhaps the names of the chief bones and muscles; but no more of Anatomy.
I can play about fifty bars of the "Surprise" on the piano; as to drawing, the specimens will prove themselves. I have just begun landscape and modelling, one specimen of each of which only I have done. This, I believe, is pretty near what I do know, and does not occupy much room. As to what I do not know, this, nor twenty such volumes would not contain it. 'I shall not trouble myself to note them down.'
After this, the notes become very miscellaneous. Lists of books read, and some of them epitomised, little essays, notes of excursions, etc. The result was a great deal of desultory education, without very much systematic knowledge. His father's position as an artist would naturally make him acquainted with good society of one class, and his vivacity and powers of conversation no doubt extended the circle. I do not think he ever fell in with people whom he himself liked, without his becoming a favourite with them. Among permanent friends whom he made in these days, he used to speak of Sharon Turner the historian (I believe a good deal older than himself), with great affection.
Col. Drinkwater, coming into connection with his father, when bringing out his "Gibraltar," took a great fancy to him as a boy, (whence the long continued intimacy of the families). The friends he made in Paris in 1810, remained such until he and all of them disappeared. Two large MS folios, well filled, testify to the diligence with which he cultivated his professional education.
As he married before he was called to the Bar, I presume he began his course, as was very usual, as a Special Pleader under the Bar. On his "call," he went the home Circuit, and I believe his progress was very rapid. I have heard him mention, as the beginning of the good luck which he said had attended Thesiger (Lord Chelmsford), throughout his career, that his (viz: G.H.'s) early relinquishment of the Circuit made way for Lord Chelmsford's early leadership there. Not of course, that my father, who was the senior, had obtained that position, but that he was in a fair way to work up to it and keep it.
But I can give no particulars on his life beyond the episode of his Long Vacation excursion to Paris and the Louvre in 1810 through the influence of Sir Jos. Banks, the President of R. Society until the year 1816, of which date I have a good many memoranda. It seems to have been one turning point in his fortunes.
The very first entry is on Jan. 24th. "Chief Justiceship of New South Wales offered." I believe it was through Goulburn, the Under Secretary for the Colonies, but I do not know whether they were previously acquainted, or, if so, how it came about. He would have accepted it, had the salary been #500 more. But I forget whether he bargained for #1500 instead of #1000, or for #2000 instead of #1500. He would infallibly have bought up all, and more than all the land he could have paid for; and we, his children, would perhaps have been rich Australians. But though he refused thus to give up his English career, he was then beginning, unconsciously perhaps, to change its course and character. The court for the Relief of Insolvent Debtors had been recently established. I do not know how he came to hold his first brief there. But he found himself the best man there. And as the business of the Court increased rapidly, and he became the acknowledged leader, he was led gradually to give up the Common Law Court and Circuit, and devote himself to it, although he went to Sessions for some years after. The fact is, he was always in want of money. He had married on nothing but expectations; he was of a sanguine temperament, and had expensive tastes. I do not mean extravagantly spending money to no good purpose; but he like to be improving his dwelling or his estate, to have good furniture and good society, and to travel: and, moreover, he was prone to enter into speculation, in which, however, whether by good judgement, or good luck, or a combination of the two, he eventually succeeded.
Before 1816, he had taken a little cottage with land attached, at Gill's Hill, Herts; (afterwards the scene of a notorious murder), and I find entries about purchase and sale of Merino sheep, for which there was just then a mania, new dairy, papering parlour, and at the same time, lodgings taken in London (in addition, of course, to his own necessary chambers), no doubt to please my mother, who never liked the country with its solitude and inconvenience.
So no doubt, he was then living (as afterwards), each year in anticipation that next year's income would be better, as it generally was, I suppose, and never beforehand with his expenditure. And so the prospect of a large immediate accession of income was irresistible, and his very fair chance of attaining the height of his profession was gradually abandoned. Perhaps other causes would have interfered with such chances. Though capable of hard work under excitement, "the Furia," he speaks of, I suppose, in his Common Place book; I do not think his gift that way was perseverance, and I have heard him say that very early in life, he made a vow, that in whatever condition he should find himself at the age of 50, he should "pick up his sticks," and retire. He did not quite keep to this, finding himself at that age making a good deal of money, and being much in want of it, but he did retire about 58, his health breaking down; and this same somewhat frail health, might have prevented him, had he attained the position in which Solicitor or Attorney Generalship might have been in prospect. In this year I find John and Julia were sent to school in Dieppe to learn French, and I made my first acquaintance with Paris, being taken there with father, mother and some old friends.
The next great step in his fortunes was in 1818 or 1819, his appointment as County Clerk of Middlesex,, that is, in fact, Judge of a Small Debts Court, having jurisdiction over all Middlesex, except the Tower Hamlets. The office was in the gift of the Sheriffs of London, one of whom happened to be a friend of his. The emoluments were very considerable (and after the fashion of old times), the work might be done by deputy, and in the main, it was so. So that it was no hindrance to his other occupations. He ultimately resigned, and procured my appointment, the prospect of which event was my inducement for leaving Cambridge, and taking to the Law. His income was now large, but it did not profit him at the time so much as it might. In 1820, Jacob Perkins came from America to England, with an invention for multiplying steel plates and giving great security for Bank notes against forgery.
Naturally he came into connection with engravers, and so with my father. The intention was, at first, to get the Bank of England to try the invention. My father brought capital in for taking out patents, setting up machinery, etc, and ultimately, the negotiations with the Bank failing, he became partner, and ultimately the largest partner in the business, still carried on. As usual with patents, many misadventures befel the business one principal one being the abolition of English Bank notes under £5 in 1826
And it was chiefly my father's money and credit, and energy which carried it through the difficulty. But it was nothing but a drain upon him till 1830, and did not begin to repay his advances till about 1833. But it has since then amply repaid him and us.
There were other smaller enterprises connected with other inventions with Perkins, from all, or most of which, I believe, he got out with a gain, but they entailed expense while they were going on, and he speculated with the rest of England in the mad prosperity year of 1818, which was followed of course, by a crash, a process which has recurred ever since, at intervals of about 10 years. I do not know whether he sold out his shares in time to avoid loss. Meantimes his expenses and style of living went on increasing. I do not know when he took a house and land at Streatham; so far as my recollection goes, I should say about 1818. As town house, we then lived in Chancery Lane, the ground floor being his chambers then, keeping the chambers, he took a pretty house in Euston Square (probably giving up Streatham simultaneously), and in 1825 we moved to Park Street. The last move, was, I believe, meant as a sort of compensation to my mother, to consol her for the solitude and discomfort of Kitlands, which he had just bought, and was gradually making habitable.
Drawings exist showing what it was in 1824, and the changes it went through. Besides improving the house, he was continually buying additions to the land. I suppose that all this time his property of one sort or another, may have always exceeded his debts. But he was always in debt, and at shifts for carrying on the business in Fleet Street from week to week; and on the whole, I have a much more vivid recollection of the worry and miseries of that time, say from 1826 to 1835, than of his splendour. But Leopold would not have been a K.C.B. but a 4th Fellow of Trinity, with I know not what after life, had we been more quiet. One more professional success awaited him. I believe the business of the Insolvent Court fell off, owing to improvements in the Bankruptcy Law. Whether this had anything to do with it I am not sure, but he got into Parliamentary business. The occasion of it was a friend asking him to hold a brief for him being prevented by some casualty from attending to it himself. He did so, and with such success, that he was immediately retained in another case. And from this time, in or before 1828 till 1837, when he retired from ill health, he was engaged, I may say, in all the Scotch Parliamentary Committees, and had a fair share in the English.
There was something in his constitution, as long, I think, as I can remember. His rheumatism, sometimes acute, he used to attribute to the bad accommodation he got in 1810, whilst wandering backwards and forwards between Calais and Dunkirk, looking out for a passage to England. But besides this, he was subject to some kind of nervous attack, in which his eyes were dazzled, and when bad, as he used to describe it, he only saw half of any object he looked at. A long day's work, and the excitement of speaking, tended to bring these attacks on; in his later days he used to get bewildered, and unable to keep what he had to say well in his head.
So he did not wait to see his business gradually disappear, but gave it up, and received a silver teapot, I believe the fond memento of his two principal Scotch clients, Spottiswoode and Robinson, and Richardson and Connell. Before this time his speculations were over, his debts cleared off, and he could afford to take the step. He spent the winter of 1839-40 in Spain by himself, for health. A year after his return, my mother's long and painful illness began. She died in 1842. He then went with Emma and Dunbar to Malta, where Loepold was then stationed, and on to Athens, where he became a favourite with the Ambassador, Sir Edmund Lyons and other English residents.
Indirectly this Athenian trip led to the acquaintance with William Whatman, after whose marriage with Emma, his life was spent pleasantly and uneventfully between Kitlands and London, with occasional visits to Paris, etc, till his death, caused by cancer in the glands of the throat in 1852.
Law Times, January 24th 1852: Death of Serjeant Heath.
Yesterday at the sitting of the Bloomsbury County Court, Portland Road, a communication was made to the judge pro, tem., C.E.Pollock, Esq., that Mr. Serjeant Heath, father of the presiding judge thereof (Mr.D.D.Heath) had died at his residence, No.34, Montague Place, Russell Square, on the previous afternoon. The deceased having become an admitted member of the Inner Temple, commenced practice in the Court of Common Pleas, from whence he was appointed as the deputy-judge under Mr. Serjeant Dubois, deceased, at the Country Court of Middlesex, Kingsgate Street. On the abolition of that Court, Mr. Serjeant Heath's son was installed as a judge at Bloomsbury County Court in conjunction with Mr. Dubois. The deceased Serjeant died surrounded by his friends after an illness of not long duration, in the 74th year of his age.
George Heath's Journey to France in 1810 Selections from Journal. (for the full version click here)
Aug.10th. Plymouth, and the next entry is Morlaix, and so through Rennes, Vitre, Laval, etc., to Paris.
Aug. 24th. Called on Mons. Denon; it is impossible to do justice to his politeness, he have me a ticket for the Museum, appointed an hour to introduce me to the Minister of the Police. In my walk I had passed the Thuileries, the new Triumphal Arch and the Louvre, and although I knew them well by plan, pictures, etc., yet my surprise was great at the first sight; so much dose the magnificence of this part of Paris surpass everything I had conceived, but what can equal the Musee Napoleon, which at present contains everything of value almost that is known in the world. The Picture Gallery is wonderful, one part is at present occupied by the Exposition of the year, for which prizes are to be given by the Emperor. One by David, of enormous size, represents the coronation by the Emperor of the Empress. The composition is very fine; but the light seems to me much too diffused, and there is a want of breadth, but I had no time to look at the pictures of the Gallery with any attention. Mr.D. then introduced me to the Duc de Rovigo, and to avoid my being at all troubled with the Regulations of the Police, most kindly invited me to take an apartment in his hotel, an offer I could not resist when so hospitably pressed.
Aug.25th. Breakfasted with Leeper on the Boulevard Ital; went to the Luxembourg. The gardens, like those of the Thuileries, are partly a grove of horse chestnuts with abundance of seats, chairs, etc., and partly in parterres, with a circle of superb orange trees and marble statues, chiefly copied from the antique, dispersed among them. The palace itself I cannot like, the masonry is too like brickwork, and there is a want of bold projecting parts to give it architectural vigour; it is, however, very extensive, and like the other palaces of the Government, has undergone a complete repair, even the outside renewed. In my walk through St.Germain I was surprised to see the extent of garden that many of the hotels possessed, not like our little strip in London, but many of half-an-acre or more.
The extent of Mr.Denon's talents are not known to us; we look on him only as the editor of a splendid work, and the present Director of French taste, but that he is most eminently qualified, not only by his manner, but my his education, is not within our knowledge. He etches most boldly in the Painter's style, and if I may judge of his talent for modelling from a whole length of the Emperor now before me, he rivals Flaxman in dignified simplicity.
In the evening went to Theatre Francais, and was much delighted with a new piece called Les deux gendres; the versification is evidently fluent and spirited, and at present is very popular. I was not a little pleased to find how well I could comprehend it.
Aug.26th. I have seen the Emperor and Empress. He is not the least like any of the portraits we have of him in England, that keen piercing look, that deepsunk eye, that greatness of character that made it impossible not to admire it as a countenance, indicative of everything that he has done, is now obliterated in fat; his face is round and plump. I had an excellent view of them, they rode alone in an open landau through the park of St.Cloud, and I kept close to the carriage for more than a mile; he was in blue regimentals with broad white facings with a small cross of the Legion of Honour suspended from a button hole on the left side: he had no hat on: countenance placid, and when he spoke to the Empress, it was with a smile; he bowed to the people, but very slightly, and I think not gracefully. I never was more surprised, that on seeing him, so different is he from what I had figured him; the Empress is young and seemingly a good figure; her chief beauty is in complexion, which is fair; she was dressed in purple silk with nothing on her head but a tiara of pearl. Drawn by four greys,, preceded only by an outrider. An officer of the Imperial Guard on each side, but so as not to impede the view, and then eight Guards; next came four more open carriages, filled with scarlet and embroidery. I went in a cabriolet to St.Cloud; it is the "Empress day," so called because she gives the fete in honour of St.Louis
The Seine becomes meandering and rural in its character after leaving Paris, the hills covered with woods and vineyards rising almost directly from the water on the other shore, while the pretty village of Passy is on the high ground on this side, renders the view extremely pretty. My cabriolet was not allowed by the Horse Guards to pass the Bridge of St.Cloud, being a hack. The Seine is here, I think, twice as broad as at Paris (about the breadth at Barnes). The grounds are fine, rising on the side of the hill with the river at the bottom; there are two gates at this end, and the Guards would not permit anyone to enter
The avenue, perhaps a mile long, was illuminated by lamps placed on wooden frames on each side at small distances in the shape of pyramids, but the great feature of the fete was the waters being lighted. I must acknowledge that when I found that the main avenue was lined on one side for a considerable way with booths, and that on the other, roundabouts and other child's play were permitted, I did not expect much, even from the water, but I was agreeably surprized, for it formed altogether the most splendid artificial scene that could be imagined. The Cascade is, I imagine, near 100-ft high, and the water comes down in three separate streams, the centre proceeds from the urn of a river god, and the other two from vases; the water falls over in steps, perhaps about twelve, into a great bason, from which in entire sheets it falls by three steps into a canal of no great length. On each side of the three upper cascades, on each step, there is a small fountain between the streams, others running on a lower surface. Lion's heads, frogs, river monster, etc., are besides, throwing out prodigious volumes of water in all directions, and in the canal itself there are about sixteen fountains, two of which at the further end are of some height,. Imagine this to be illuminated by many thousands lamps, each lamp a small pan of tallow with a wick as big as a torch, which give as much light not only on the parts where there is no water, but everywhere under the water, so that every part of the cascade pours over rows of lamps, and give the whole a most curious and splendid effect.
There was a Court in the evening, carriages and four, Court dresses covered with embroidery, footmen, as much so, were arriving at the time I left.
It was about 6 p.m., (before the waters were lighted.) that the Emperor rode through the Park as before mentioned. The people cried "Vive l'Empereur! Vive Marie Louise!" but after I got through the crowd at the cascade, not many followed, so that I kept close and had an excellent view.
Aug.28th. Notre Dame very plain inside.
La Morgue. Two dead bodies - suicide.
Boulevards form altogether the finest street perhaps in the world.
Jardin des Thuileries. Tivoli L3 5sols. A very pretty garden. Three bands, dancing, cotillon, conjuror; in another part a paltry puppet show, in another a beast in an old embroidered coat and wig, talking nonsense, and imitating cats, pigs, laughing, etc., on a violin. Yet crowd surrounded all these, not children, but old and young, from red ribbands downwards, roundabouts, swings, etc., then rope-dancing, a Montgolfier let off , and in conclusion, a very fine display of fireworks, best I ever saw, splendid, an irregular one, imitative of the destruction of a town; confusion, both of noises, explosions and lights, very fine; all going out, the Avenue lighted with Bengal lights. A man walked down a rope in the middle of fireworks with two flags, U. thought near 100 new fountains, all with sculpture.
Aug.29th Called on Madame D'Arblay.
Aug.30th. For the first time I found out the roulette tables, and lost 12 francs.
Sept.1st. Breakfast with Mons.D. Walked with Underwood to the Hotel de Ville, dined with him at his hotel.
Sept.2nd. Breakfast with Mrs.Harvey.
Trente et quarante in the evening. Won 5 louis.
Sept.3rd. The same course. Won 13 louis. These tables must be very profitable as the Bank occupies a splendid suite of apartments, part of which are only open in the evening after eleven, when a ball is given gratis to the players. An Italian scoundrel thrust himself in to play for me, and after he had won with my money, he wanted to share the profit. I insisted on the contrary, and the Chef, as they call him, of the police of this table, soon settled the affair in my favour. The perfect order of the tables here is very surprising, there is very high play, but not a word is spoken; sometimes an internal "Sacré" from a loser, but nothing further; the whole is under the strict view of the police, and the people concerned are prohibited from replying even to insults from the players.
Sept.4th. Went with Mr.D. to Sèvres, of which he is Director; the manufacture, both in form and ornament, seems to me to be beyond rivalry; the greater part is given away by the Emperor, and the collection is said to be very thin at present, he having given away almost all on his late marriage. Vases of all sizes, of the most correct taste, are round about; and one, not yet fired, measures 5-ft, in diameter, and is moulded from the celebrated one which Pius VI gave to the Emperor, which is in the vestibule of the Museum.. Busts of the Emperor as large as life in biscuit, and a portrait on an oval plate, of Christ, without a metal plate, 3-ft by 2-ft., the had size of life. They are now preparing a china column imitating the Vendome column, about 10-ft high. I was much pleased with the affability of Mr.D. to all the persons concerned in this splendid establishment. The column is not in the proportion of the Trajan, being of somewhat larger diameter, and the base smaller. Mr.D. first suggested this to the Emperor as a column by the moderns to the ancients, i.e. the Emperor to Charlmagne, and to be cast in iron. His Majesty altered the plan, and suggested their using the cannon taken in the campaign. Mr.D. says he has now three great works on hand, the Obelisk on the Pont Neuf, more than 200-ft high, and an elephant 50-ft high, at the Eastern extremity of the city. The Pont de Jéna is also under his direction.
I found my way into another gaming house in Palais Royal this evening, much more select and more splendidly fitted up. As a stranger, I was admitted, but otherwise a ticket is necessary.
Sept.6th. Breakfast with Babey. Dined with Warden. A damned bad diner.
Sept.7th. Went to see the Bayadères at the Opera. The beauty of the scenery, the perfection of the costumes the uniform splendour with the corps de ballet and chorus, make this altogether the most enchanting opera. I counted near 100 dancers and chorus on the stage at once, many of whom are good dancers and singers. Mme. Branchi sang delightfully.
Sept.8th. Bibliothèque Nationale, a most splendid collection, many MSS. Most curious and valuable. Many bibles bound in ivory very curiously carved, and in metal set with precious stones.
Before dinner went to Vigier's baths, very pretty externally, but very paltry within, a very small closet with large copper kettle, for a bath no thermometer, and no person to rub you dry; it is, however, cheap enough, about 1s. Some people eat while in the bath; the man asked me if I wished it; there are in this one 140 baths, always tolerably full, half men, half women. 1400 baths have been taken in one day, and there are three others on the river, equal in size; besides this, they abound all over the town.
Sept.9th. Guyet and myself took a cabriolet to the Barrière du Trône, distinguished by two large columns. The avenue from hence to Vincennes is now of small trees, the Revolution having destroyed almost all the old ones. We dined very badly at Charenton, a village on the Marne, just before it joins the Seine. It is a sort of Chelsea, to which the Parisians, not of high life, go to eat fried gudgeons, etc. the walk from Charenton to Paris by the side of the Seine in a most heavenly evening, was delightful. We then went round the Boulevards, which, as usual, were crowded, to the Café Turque. We could hardly gain admission.
Sept.12th. Went to l'Étoile, where the great triumphal arch is going on, though at present not more than 10-ft out of the ground.
Sept.15th. Went to Penjaud and drew for 100 louis at 19:75 francs.
Sept.16th. Received Ann's letter, dated 5th September.
At the end of the Boulevard, near Pont d'Austerlitz, there are many taverns with gardens, which are much frequented by the lower orders; in the garden is a place for dancing, and a sort of orchestra for a brace of fiddles; the crowds here on Sunday evenings are prodigious; they pass through the house, buy a piece of meat and a bottle of wine, and then get a table in sight of the dancers.
Sept 17th. Races in the Champ de Mars, they were as bad as I expected, the horses hardly fit for common hunters in England. The race was for 1000 fcs. With Guyet along the Barriers from l'Ecole Militaire to Mont Rouge, where I dined with his family.
Sept.20th. With Guyet to Malmaison, it is merely a house, and externally a very shabby one, the inside is most beautifully fitted up with great taste and splendour. Except a gallery for pictures, which forms a wing, there is no large room in it; the library, which is the largest, being only about 40-ft long. This library is the prettiest room I ever saw, the roof slightly arched and painted in fresco, and the room is divided in three by projecting mahogany pillars on marble slabs. This was the study of Buonaparte, and who knows what plans were laid here? The room next to it was the Council Chamber, very small, but well furnished.
Sept.23rd. Went to the Museum to see the parade, the Imperial Guard, including the Dutch and Portuguese regiment, in all more than 6000 men, formed in six lines within the Place des Thuilleries, and three regiments of horse in the Carrousel. At 12 the Emperor, on his white horse, followed at a short distance by the Marshals, Aides-de-camp, etc., went through the lines. He stopped and talked with the commanding officer of each battalion, and received papers from several, which he delivered to a Marshal, he rode past the Dutch without stopping, he then dismounted and maneuvered the Portuguese a considerable time; he then drew them up three sides of a square, and delivered them their Eagles, I suppose he made a speech, for they cheered several times; after this, he drew up the Dutch and spoke to them, and they cheered him, the rest then filed past him.
He looks well on horseback, but I did not observe any particular grace in his riding, on foot he is absolutely fat, he was dressed in dark green with white facings, quite plain. He seemed very familiar with those around him, among whom were Bessières and Devoust. The Empress sat at a window, a piece of crimson velvet was put out of it, to say that she was there. In the evening I went to the Opera, and at the end of the 1st Act the Emperor and Empress came. He came to the front and made an awkward stiff bow to the house, she followed and made a half courtesy; the difference between the elegance of the entrée of the family (i.e., English Royal) when they went in London, and this, forcibly struck me. The audience cheered him on entering, but not on quitting, when he repeated his bow.
Sept.26th. Went to see the model of the Arch at l'Étoile; it will be about 130-ft high, the proportions very grand, built of stone which come from Burgandy, which is very hard and takes a polish like marble. Afterwards went to the Bois de Boulogne, which has been very much destroyed by the Revolution, returned by the Barrier de Passy.
Sept. 3rd. (?) Denon returned to Paris.
Sept 5th. Went with Denon to David's, and saw his new picture of the Emperor delivering the colours to the army; like all his pictures it is too theatrical. Berthier has the attitude of a tragedian taking an oath, and another officer is balanced on one toe. The whole is confused, very splendidly coloured, but the principal light, instead of falling on the Emperor, is a mass of standards in the centre. Dined with Sir H.T.Tichbourne,, his son and another gentleman.
Sept.13th (? October?) Dined with Mr.D.Houchen, Le Mercier, etc.
Sept. 15th (? October?) Mrs. Robertson and Col.Burr.
Sept. 16th (? October?) M.Serrurier and Babey.
Sept. 20th. (? October?) To Abbaye de Clugny. To top of Pantheon, and saw the lodging of Marat, and small room where he was stabbed.
Sept. 21st. (? October?) Went with M.Denon to the Museum to see such of the pictures as were hung. Revoil's still charm me, and some small cabinet pictures by Laurent are beautiful. Thence we went over the Thuilleries, which is furnished magnificently. Most of the rooms are hung with Lyons silk of blue and gold, or purple and gold, but the bedroom of the Empress is the most superb. The room and bed are of crimson velvet richly embroidered, but the toilet table, glass, and dressing glass are of silver gilt, and of the most finished work, they cost about 25000 l, and were a present form the good city of Paris on the marriage.
Sept. 22nd. (? October?)To the observatory with Guyet. Jardin des Plantes and Morgue, where there was a body.
Sept. 28th. (? October?)Near the Barrier de Combats I paid a livre to see dog-fighting, bear baited, wolf ditto, and a bull ditto. The bear was much the best; but a most wanton piece of barbarity was the turning of three poor asses on a dozen mastiffs, who almost killed them.
Sept. 30th. (? October?)Went to Versailles. The front of the City is very irregular and bad, but that to the Garden the most magnificent that can be imagined. A centre and two wings, but the wings are placed far back, which prevents their being too principal. The repairs are proceeding with greatest rapidity. The public apartments are entirely lined with red and white marble, and the ceilings are painted by le Brun. The great Gallery is superbly fitted up with looking-glasses. The petits appartements are white and gold, but the whole is, of course, quite out of repair. The Emperor intends to re-instate everything exactly as it was, Fromentin excepted. The garden is very large and very regular, and the waters the most splendid in the world; they are at present out of repair. The Grand Canal, which during the Revolution had almost become a field, has been cleaned and filled, about two years back. In the Bosquets is an artificial rock in which is placed a group of Apollo and the Graces, and two groups of horses. This was the whim of the last Queen, the Apollo is of an older date by Girardon.
This is the Bain d'Apollon. Another group by Girardon of l'Enlèvement de Proserpine is in another bosquet, called the Colonnade, from a circular double row of marble columns which surround it.
The Great Trianon is very fine, the columns Languèdoc marble; it has been recently fitted and furnished, the Gallery contains some very fine pictures. A set of chairs of Beauvais tapestry, of birds and landscapes, delighted me.
The little Trianon, the seat of the pleasures of Marie Antoinette, which since was a Restauration, is not the property of the Empress, and is prettily but plainly furnished. The garden is beautiful, and quite English.
DENON DOMINIQUE VIVANT, BAREN DE. 1747-1825
Artist and Archeologist, was born at Chalon sur Saone. At first studied law, but always showed a preference for art and literature. Was a favourite in society, owing to his agreeable manners and exceptional powers of conversation. Gained the favour of Louis XV., who entrusted him with the collection and arrangement of a cabinet of medals and antique gems for Madame de Pompadour, and subsequently appointed him attaché to the French Embassy in St.Petersburg. On the accession of Louis XVI., Denon was transferred to Sweden, but soon returned to Paris. In 1775 was sent to Switzerland, visited Voltaire at Ferney, whose portrait he took and published. During a residence of seven years at Naples he carefully studied the ancient monuments and perfected himself in etching and mezzotint engraving. Later on he resided for some years at Venice, and visited Florence, Bologna and Switzerland. While there he heard that his property had been confiscated, and his name placed on the list of the proscribed, and with characteristic courage he resolved at once to return to Paris. His situation was critical, but he found support and protection in the friendship of the painter David, who obtained for him a commission to furnish designs for republican costumes. This he did to the satisfaction of the Revolutionists, and his name was removed from the list of emigrants. When the terrors of the Revolution were over, Denon was one of the numerous band of eminent men who found a congenial resort in the house of Madame le Beauharnais. Here he formed the acquaintance of Bonaparte, to whose fortunes he attached himself with the happy instinct of one who was always quick to discern the coming power. By special invitation of the General he joined the expedition to Egypt, where he made numerous sketches of the monuments of ancient arts, sometimes under the very fire of the enemy. In 1802 he published his "Voyage dans la basse et la haute Egypte," a work which crowned his reputation both as an archeologist and as artist. In 1804 he was appointed by Napoleon to the important office of Director-General of Museums, which he filled greatly to the benefit of art and artists until the restoration of 1815, when he had to retire. He was a devoted friend of Napoleon, whom he accompanied in his expeditions to Austria, Spain and Poland, taking sketches with his wonted fearlessness on the various battle-fields, and guiding the conqueror in his choice of spoils of art from the various cities which were pillaged. After his retirement he worked on a great history of ancient and modern art, profusely illustrated, which was unfinished at his death in 1825. It was finished in 1829.
I am fortunate in possessing some relics of this eminent man. Viz:
A Chinese cabinet, formerly his property.
An Indian ink drawing of the artist standing up and sketching in Egypt.
His portrait in a small bronze medallion.
These were all left to me by D.D.H. G.H.
G.HEATH'S PASSPORT SIGNED BY NAPOLEON.
In 1810 G.Heath was very anxious to see all the art treasures which had been carried to the Louvre, from all Europe. And so he got some kind of rather nominal, (I fancy rather than serious commission, probably from the R.A.; and through Sir Joseph Banks, President of the Royal Society, he got an introduction to Mr.Denon, the head of the department, and permission to pass into France. He went over for his long vacation. But when he wanted to return for the first day of Term, he was told that the Emperor thought his ministers too lax in allowing passages to and for into England, and had determined to sign all passports himself. And the Minister told him that if the passport should be presented for signature when the Emperor was in a bad humour, he would throw it under the table, and no one would ever dare to present it again. So he was advised to wait till papers ready for signing should be called for, which advice he took, and it was duly signed on October 31st, 1810. He did not embark till November 19th. How long he was getting to Westminster Hall I do not know, but he must have lost the best part of his Term. The story is illustrative of the way in which Napoleon meddled with the details of administration, and also of the fear of him which prevailed among his Ministers. D.H.
Passports signed by Napoleon in favour of Englishmen are exceedingly rare, and a few years ago, when Lady D.Nevill's second series of recollections appeared, it was stated in a footnote that such a document, now in possession of &ldots;&ldots;., was believed to be unique. I at once wrote to the Editor informing him that he was mistaken, as I also possessed one. He replied by expressing his surprise, and asked for details, which I sent him. G.H.
July 23rd. 1810.
My Dear Sir,
I enclose a letter from M.Denon to Mr.Heath acquainting him that he has permission to proceed to Paris, and telling him what steps are necessary for him to take. M.Denon was in the country when my letter reached him, he makes an apology for having delayed the answer, but why the letter itself, dated May 14th did not arrive till July 23rd does not appear.
I am, my dear Sir,
Your Faithful Servant.
The last entry in the journal is rather more than a month before the date on the passport, of which interesting document, now in my possession, I subjoin a copy.
No.51. PASSE-PORT IMPERIAL
Coat of Arms
Napoléon, Empereur des Français, Roi d'Italie, Protecteur de la Confédération du Rhin. Médiateur de la Confédération Suisse.
Nous avons autorisé et autorisons Le Sr.Heath (George) profession d'Avocat, natif de Londres, départment d------- démeurant à Londres à se rendre en Angleterre ----- et lui permetions, à cet effet, de s'embaraquer sur un Batiment pourvu de licence, dans le port de Dunkerque.
Au Palais de Fontainebleau le 31st Octobre, 1810.
Le Ministre de la Police générals, Le duc de Rovigo
Par l'Empereur Le Ministre Secrétaire d'Etat, Le Duc de Bassano
Agé de 31 ans.
Taille d'un métre 70 centimétres.
Signature de Porteur
Dans les Villes où il existe un Commissaire général de Police, le porteur est tenu de se présenter devant lui, pour faire viser son Passe-port.
Vu par le commissaire de police de la ville de Dunkerque, le 14 Obre., 1810, poujr aller à Ostende.
Vu bon pour embarquer abord du navire le Jeune Pierre de licence.
Dunkerque, le 19 9bre, 1810
Vu de nouveau pour aller à Boulogne, le 19 9bre, 1810
H.E.MALDEN ON THE PASSPORT.
After the rupture of the peace of Ameins, 1803, when war was renewed between England and Napoleon, the English travelling in France were, when possible, arrested by Napoleon's orders and treated as prisoners of war. No Englishman could go into the Emperor's dominions, which in 1810 included Holland, (and of course Belgium), without risk of being so treated. Your grandfather got over somehow. Plenty of small vessels and even rowing boats in the Straits of Dover, plied across in spite of war, because smuggling was so enormously profitable. To get out of France, it would have been no use to have an English Passport. To have shown such a thing would have been a certain prelude to imprisonment; all intercourse was forbidden by Napoleon. I have forgotten the wording of the passport, but it was, I suppose, a permission to travel in France, or rather in the Emperor's dominions, and among his allies and dependants in Germany. Everybody had to have his "papers" in order to satisfy the police and military people that he was not a spy nor a trader in English goods. By means of this passport he would get to the sea coast from Paris, and there, (it was at Dunkirk I believe), find a smuggler to take him over. What I want to know is how he crossed over when he went to Paris? We were at war in 1810 with everyone from Brest to St.Petersburg, all the coast was an enemy's country. The actual crossing would be easy enough, a mere matter of money and discomfort in a smuggling smack, but when he landed, no English passport would be of any use, -- as I said - dangerous in itself. How did he get to Paris? Had he arranged for a French friend to meet him I wonder.
ENTRIES IN OLD ALMANACS BY GEORGE HEATH.
- April 24th Went to Gill's Hill 28th. Ditto to breakfast.
May 21st. Paperhangers began.
June 8th. Took Jane to Gill's Hill. (Jane R.Dunbar - Mrs.Sneyd).
July 12th. Corbould ê18 18s. for picts.
Oct.22nd. Jane went to Dorking, Norfolk. (She met Capt. Sneyd. Her future husband, on the coach this journey).
Dec. 19th. D.D.H. Scarlet fever.
1825. Jan.18th. To London. Overturned.
Mar.3rd. D. came home, measles.
Mar.24th. Julia measles; 28th - very ill; 29th - better.
April 25th. Private road begun to Kitlands.
Sept. 1st. Pond finished.
1826. April 26th. Ann Hare married. (Cousin to Mrs.Heath).
1830. Jan. 21. D. entered at Temple
April 30th. First stone of new room (Kitlands drawing room).
Nov.22nd. Out with the mob. Swing riot in Dorking
FROM "CRIES OF LONDON"
The full true and particular account of the murder of Mr.Weare by John Thurtell and his companions, which took place on the 24th October, 1823, in Gill's Hill Lane, near Elstree, Herts. It is stated that the publisher (Gatnach, of Seven Dials) made ê500 by this publication, issuing 250,000 copies from four presses, working nigh and day for a week. One of the many street ballads on the subject informed the British public that:
"Thurtell Hunt and Probert too, for trial meet now prepare, For that horrid murder of Mr.William Weare."
In connection with the murder of Mr.Weare by Thurtell & Co., Sir Walter Scott collected the printed trials with great assiduity, and took care to have to hand this contemporary ballads and prints bound up with them. He admired particularly this verse of Theodore Hook's broadside -
"They cut his throat from ear to ear,
His head they battered in;
His name was Mr.William Weare,
He dwelt in Lyon's Inn."
Probert turned king's evidence, but was hanged some years later for horsestealing.
I have in my possession an oil painting of this cottage at Gill's Hill; it is among my very earliest recollections, and hung for years in my father's dressing room at Enfield Vicarage. G.H.
Jan. 10th, 1829
69, Euston Square.
My Dear Sir,
I cannot omit this opportunity of offering my most hearty congratulations upon the recent distinction gained by your two sons, both of them have passed most distinguished examinations; and I consider it no small grace and addition to these splendid literary honours, that their conduct has been so modest, and so well entitled to the approbation of their academical superiors.
Douglas is very much the first man in his year, and I have no fear of his maintaining his place. His abilities are of the very highest order, and I trust that he will aim at the very highest distinctions which the University can confer.
My dear Sir,
Very truly yours,
Will you be so good as at your earliest leisure to give me some idea how many causes in a year your Court disposes of, and something like the average value of the matters determined, as well as the extent, or rather population of the district over which your jurisdiction extends. I want to make a comparison with the Scotch small jurisdiction.
Yours very truly,
12, Old Square,
April 23rd, 1830
A person of the name of Wheildon has been recommended to me, and has begged me to solicit the office of a bailiff in your Court. I do not intend in any way to be responsible for him, for personally I know nothing of him, and my former personal knowledge in other instances does not appear to have been very accurate.
May 1st, 1830
My Dear Heath,
It is the usual course that applications for the Coif should be made in the first instance to the Chief Justice of the Common Pleas. Will you have the kindness therefore, to write to the Chief Justice first. Pray excuse the delay which has occurred in answering your letter.
George Heath, Esq.,
6, Symonds Inn.
21st. Oct., 1830
My Dear Heath,
I will attend directly to your applications for the Coif. I had understood, from a conversation you had with Mr.Winslow, that a short delay in making the application to His Majesty would be rather convenient to you than otherwise. I will now, however, attend to it.
Yours very truly,
BURIAL PLACE OF SERJT. AND MRS. HEATH
Mrs. Heath died in 1842
Serjt. Heath .. 1852
They were both buried in St.George's burial ground, a short distance beyond the Edgware Road, where it joins Oxford Street. This has now been laid out as a recreation ground, and all the grave stones have been removed from their proper places. It will interest posterity to know that the Serjeant and his wife were buried on the west side of the chapel in the grounds, somewhere near the cross.
Both the flat stone to her memory, and the carved tombs to his, have, however, been removed to the extreme N.E. corner of the grounds, and no longer mark the place of burial.
14th April. 1901. GH.
Extracted from the Principal Registry of the Probate Divorce and
Admiralty Division of the High Court of Justice.
In the Prerogative Court of Canterbury.
I, GEORGE HEATH of Kitlands in the County of Surrey Serjeant at Law do hereby make my last Will and Testament this &ldots;&ldots;.day of April 1848. I revoke all former Wills and Codicils I devise all my freehold and copyhold land called Trouts Farm together with Percy Field and Peterfield field and all other my lands adjoining the said Farm and bounded by the Road from Minnick Wood Common to the Ockley Road to my son John Moore Heath during his life without impeachment of waste with remainder after his death to his first and other sons severally and respectively in succession according to the seniorities and to the heirs male of their bodies respectively And I devise all my freehold and copyhold lands called Kitlands (except the part thereof comprised in the above devise to my son John) together with Anstiebury and parts of Beare Farm and Highlands Farm and all other my lands adjoining thereto and bounded by or comprised between the said Road from Minnick Wood Common and its continuation towards Cold Harbour land now belonging to John Lebouchere Esquire and the Village and Common of Cold Harbour aforesaid and the Road thence to Ockley to my son Douglas Denon Heath during his life without impeachment of waste with remainder after his death to his first and other sons severally and respectively in succession according to their seniorities and to the heir male of their bodies respectively And I devise all my freehold and copyhold lands called Anstie Farm and Moorhurst Farm together with the cottage and outhouses and lands adjoining to the said Farms and bounded by the Road through Minnick Wood Common to Morehurst together with the reversions of the lands hereby devised to my sons John and Douglas (on failure of the heirs male of their bodies respectively) to my son Leopold George Heath during his life without impeachment of waste with remainder after his death to his first and other sons severally and respectively in succession according to their seniorities and to the heirs male of their bodies respectively with remainder to my said son John during his life without impeachment of waste with remainder to his first and other sons severally and respectively in succession according to their seniorities and to the heirs male of their bodies respectively with remainder to my said son Douglas during his life without impeachment of waste with remainder to his first and other sons severally and respectively in succession according to their seniorities and to the heirs male of their bodies respectively with remainder to my son Dunbar Isidore Heath during his life without impeachment of waste with remainder after his death to his first and other sons severally and respectively in succession according to their seniorities and to the heir male of their bodies respectively with remainder to my own right heirs And I give devise and bequeath all the residue of my estate real and personal to my said sons John Douglas Dunbar and Leopold and their respective heirs executors and administrators equally to be divided among them as tenants common And I appoint the said John Moore Heath and Douglas Denon Heath EXECUTORS of this my Will As I have left my house at Kitlands to my son Douglas D.Heath because my son John cannot inhabit the same such house (on which I have recently expended large sums of money) is of greater value with the lands left to him D.D.Heath than the portions of land left to my sons John and Leopold respectively I hereby Will and direct that the sums due to Mr.Freeman and Julia Harrison by me and also the annuity to Mrs.Marlow and the monies which will be payable to the Warehams at her death be charged on the home and land left to my son Douglas Denon Heath or be payable by him. Dated the 4th day of April 1848 in the presence of us JOSHUA B.BACON. HENRY PETCH.
I, GEORGE HEATH of Kitlands in the Parish of Capel Surrey do hereby revoke so much of my Will as bequeaths Trouts Farm with the adjacent land to my son John Moore Heath for his life with remainder entail to the issue male of his body with remainders over and I hereby bequeath the said Farm and lands to my son John Moore Heath in fee simple instead of such bequest with such limitations My object being to enable him to sell or dispose of the same it either of his brothers who will have the remainder of my land so as ultimately to reunite the whole of the land now belonging to me. AS WITNESS my hand this twenty-ninth day of March one thousand eight hundred and fifty one. G.HEATH. Signed by the said George Heath as and for a Codicil to his last Will and Testament in the presence of us present at the same time and we in his presence have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses thereto. J.WRIGHT. J.GALSWORTHY.
Proved (with a Codicil0
15th May 1852
Fos 12 H.J.T.