Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Mysterious Samuel Crisp, Esquire

Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Evening Coach, London from Greenwich
Loretta reports:

This apparently kindly gentleman has fallen into complete obscurity.  The Early Diary of Frances Burney offers some clues, mainly in explaining he’s not the Samuel Crisp she was so close to.  That one I could find plenty of information about.  This Samuel Crisp, who died on this day in 1784, leaves us only a rather sweet obituary and a number of tantalizing mysteries:  Why the daily London-to-Greenwich round trip? Where was the Lactarium?  What about those mile and half stones, Mrs. Henniver, and so on?
January 14.

In January, 1784, died suddenly in Macclesfield-street, Soho, aged 79, Sam. Crisp, esq., a relation of the celebrated sir Nicholas Crisp. There was a remarkable singularity in the character of this gentleman. He was a bachelor, had been formerly a broker in 'Change-alley, and many years since had retired from business, with an easy competency. His daily amusement, for fourteen years before, was going from London to Greenwich, and immediately returning from thence, in the stage; for which he paid regularly £27 a year. He was a good-humoured, obliging, and facetious companion, always paying a particular attention, and a profusion of compliments, to the ladies, especially to those who were agreeable. He was perpetually projecting some little schemes for the benefit of the public, or, to use his own favourite maxim, pro bono publico; he was the institutor of the Lactarium* in St. George's Fields, and selected the Latin mottoes
A Milkmaid
for the facetious Mrs. Henniver, who got a little fortune there. He projected the mile and half stones round London; and teased the printers of newspapers into the plan of letter-boxes. He was remarkably humane and benevolent, and, without the least ostentation, performed many generous and charitable actions, which would have dignified a more ample fortune.
—William Hone, The Every-Day Book

*Lactarium—an establishment for the sale of milk:  a dairy.

Illustrations courtesy Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Above left: Philippe-Jacques de Loutherbourg, The Evening Coach, London from Greenwich (among other titles) 1805.
John Augustus Atkinson, A Milkmaid, undated.
Please click on captions to view the (enlargeable) illustrations on the Yale site.


Drayton Bird said...

Everything you ladies put up is interesting.

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