« ZurückWeiter »
DEPTFORD. Duke of Marlborough, Earl Howe, and Lord Bridport, are among the honorary members. Every year this company relieves about 3000 poor seamen, widows, and orphans. On Trinity Monday they have a procession from their house on Tower-hill to the hall at Deptford, when they choose a master for the ensuing year. Such an institution must prove of essential service to society.
Formerly Deptford had only one church, that of St. Nicholas, a saint whom our Saxon forefathers thought propitious to mariners, merchants, and fishermen. In the year 1730, the new church of St. Paul's was consecrated, one edifice being found insufficient to contain the inhabitants of this district. It is an elegant structure, and the ground adjoining to it is filled with head stones, those affectionate memorials of mortality. Close to it stands an old General-baptist place of worship, which has been repaired at a considerable expense by some worthy individuals belonging to it. It is encircled by a burying-ground, where lie the remains of persons of respectability. It contains a neat tomb belonging to the family of T. Hollis, Esq. a name well known in the literary world. This religious society has the honour of producing the Rev. Dr. John Gale. He contended ably for baptism by immersion administered to adults alone, against Dr. Wall, a learned minister of the church of England. Notwithstanding these differences of opinion, he was in habits of intimacy with several prelates, and with persons of high stations in society. In the year 1721, and in the
GREENWICH. 41st of his age, he was suddenly carried off by a fever. His memory will be revered for the solidity of his talents, the soundness of his learning, and the extent of his liberality. There is also at Deptford a neat independent meeting, and other places of worship for the dissenters.
A little below. Deptford stands GREENWICH, formerly distinguished for its royal palace, and now known for its hospital throughout the world. In the reign of Henry V. it was a fishing-town. At present it covers a considerable portion of ground, and boasts of a large population. · It contains one church of an elegant appearance, built in the course of the last century. In the old palace bloody Mary and prosperous Elizabeth were born; and here the pious Edward VI. breathed his last, to the regret of true protestants. When the royal family resided on this spot, the opposite peninsula, now called the Isle of Dogs, took its name from the circumstance that the animals were kept there, with which they took the diversion of hunting. The West-India Docks, now formed on this piece of ground, shews the enterprising spirit of the mercantile world.
But the Hospital for decayed seamen, at Green- . wich, is a noble institution. It raises its majestic front close to the river, and to the passing voyager exhibits traits of sublimity. Charles II. began the superb structure, and George II. finished it. Its chapel is elegant: on the sides are galleries for the officers and their families, whilst beneath are seats for the pensioners, nurses, and boys.
339 Above the altar is a representation of the Shipwreck of Paul, by West, who has exercised his pencil with success on scriptural subjects. The hall is decorated by some fine paintings, undertaken by Sir James Thornhill in 1708, but not finished till about twenty years after this period. Portraits of the royal founders meet the eye, though the Four Seasons are the best calculated to produce an impression. The old man shivering with cold and stretching out his hands towards a scanty pittance of fire, is admirably delineated. I recollect the sensations with which it inspired me: for the moment I felt that chillness which the dreariness of winter occasions, when
“ It reigns tremendous o’er the conquer'd year!” Nor must we forget to mention a series of small pictures in the anti-chamber to the council-room: they represent the loss of the Luxemburgh galley, commanded by Captain William Kellaway, burnt on her passage in 1727, from Jamaica to London, together with the distresses of part of her crew who escaped in the long boat, and were at sea twelve days without any vituals, or a single drop of liquor : twenty-three were in this boat-six only survived ! Mr. William Boys, one of the six, who was afterwards lieutenant-governor of this hospital, had on his Arms this expressive motto, alluding to the melancholy business, &c.-From Fire, Water, and Famine, preserved by Providence ! It is impossible for a feeling heart not to be in
GREENWICH PARK. terested in the representation of such a series of calamities: the destruction of a ship at sea by fire is the consummation of human misery. This Mr. Boys is lately deceased.
As to the management of this Hospital, a few particulars shall be mentioned. Two thousand disabled seamen are provided for in this royal asylum. Every mariner has a weekly allowance of seven loaves sixteen ounces each, three pounds of beef, two of mutton, a pint of peas, a pound and a quarter of cheese, two ounces of butter, and fourteen quarts of beer, and one shilling a week tobacco-money. Besides these allowances every common pensioner receives once in two years a suit of blue clothes, a hat, three pair of stockings, two pair of shoes, five neckcloths, three shirts, and two night-caps. Towards the support of this hospital, every seaman, whether in the royal navy or in the merchants' service, pays sixpence per month, stopped out of their wages, and paid to the Treasurer of the Sixpenny Office on Tower-Hill. There are estates belonging to the Hospital, and it has received large benefactions. Such an institution is the boast and glory of our country.
In Greenwich Park is held the famous Fair at Easter and Whitsuntide, when the lower classes indulge in every species of diversion. · The Park, connected with this Hospital, is a delightful spot of ground, and on its summit stands the Royal Observatory. The following account, with which I have been favoured by a gentleman
341 of talents and respectability, is entitled to particular attention: *
66 The Royal OBSERVATORY was built by King Charles the Second, at the solicitation of Sir Jonas Moore, then surveyor-general of the ordnànce.— The first stone of it was laid by the Rev. John Flamstead, the first astronomer royal, on the 10th of August, 1675, from whom it has received the name of Flamstead-house. It is situated on the highest eminence in Greenwich Park, 160 feet above low water-mark in the river Thames opposite it, and commands one of the noblest prospects in this kingdom, for richness and variety. The various tints of green presented to the eye by the foliage of the different trees which form the avenues of the park, and the deer grazing in the lawns below; the ranger's mansion; the hospital for disabled seamen, one of the most finished pieces of architecture in Europe; the towns of Deptford, Greenwich, and Blackwall, with their neighbouring villages, and gentlemen's seats in Kent and Essex-form, altogether, a scene on which the eye of the beholder must dwell with peculiar delight. Extending his view still farther, he beholds London, with its numerous churches, spires, and pinnacles, elevated far above the rest
* Dr. T. Evans, now Mathematical Master of Christ-Hospi. tal, formerly one of the teachers of mathematics at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, and Fellow of the Linnean Society, who during the years 1796, 1797, and 1798, lived at the Royal Observatory. With respect to the account here given, therefore, we may rely on its general accuracy.