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Charles I. was there. It is short as well as clear, and the stages, and the time it took to perform them, are one after another pointed out. Moreover, he states that the journey was performed in a public coach drawn by four horses, and conducted by two coachmen. There were four passengers besides Taylor, and they started from the Rose, near Holborn Bridge, in the Southampton coach (which came weekly to that inn), on Thursday, 19th October, 1647, and arrived on the same evening, at 5 o'clock, at Staines. They remained all night at the Bush, and next morning proceeded by Bagshot to Alton, where they put up at the White Hart, and again slept. On Saturday they again set off early, and by dint of "fiery speed" and "foaming bits," they reached the Dolphin at Southampton that day. The Rose, at the foot of Holborn Hill, which I can remember forty years ago, and from which the party set out, has disappeared; but the Bush, at Staines, and the Dolphin, at Southampton, still remain. A small part of Taylor's information is given in marginal notes, but his text, which in fact contains all that illustrates the point at issue, is the following:
We took one coach, two coachmen, and four horses,
Our horses, with the coach which we went into,
The tract from which I quote was printed in 1648, for the author, who was paid for it, as appeared by his title-page, in the following manner :
When John Taylor hath been from London to the Isle of Wight and returned again, and at his return he do give, or cause to be given, to me a book or pamphlet of true news, and relations of passages, at the island, and to and fro in his journey, I do promise to give him, or his assignes, the sum of what I please in lawful money of England, provided that the said sum be not under six
This, as many are aware, was a usual mode with Taylor and some others to pay themselves for their expeditions : the Waterpoet made many journeys of the kind, as may be seen by the list of his works in the folio of 1630, in which, of course, his Travels from London to the Isle of Wight, in 1647, and various others subsequently printed, could not be included. There is no Eng. lish author who gives us such minute and curious information respecting old customs, edifices, and peculiarities, as Taylor, the Water-poet, the contemporary and friend of Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, and of nearly all our poets and dramatists from the close of the reign of Elizabeth to the Restoration.
The two following handbills are copied from an original newsbook almost two centuries old. They are interesting, as showing not only the snail-like pace at which our ancestors were content to travel, but also how much they were willing to give for the tardy infliction.
From the 26th day of April, 1658, there will continue to go stage coaches from the George Inn without Aldersgate, London, unto the several cities and towns, for the rates, and at the times, hereafter mentioned and declared.
Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. To Salisbury in two days for xX8. To Blandford and Dorchester in two days and half for xxxs. To Burput in three days for xxxs. To Exmaster, Hunnington, and Exeter, in four days for XLs. To Stamford in two days for
To Newark in two days and a half for xxvs. To Bawtrey in three days for xxxs. To Doncaster and Ferribridge for xxxvs.
To York in four days for XLs.
Mondays and Wednesdays to Ockington and Plimouth for Ls. Every Monday to Helperby and Northallerton for XLVS. To Darneton Ferryhil for
To Durham for lys. To Newcastle for mil. Once every fortnight to Edinburgh for ivl. a peece, Mondays. Every Friday to Wakefield in four days for XLS.
All persons who desire to travel unto the cities, towns, and roads, herein hereafter mentioned and expressed, namely, to Coventry, Litchfield, Stone, Namptwich, Chester, Warrington, Wiggan, Chorley, Preston, Gastáng, Lancaster, and Kendal; and also to Stamford, Grantham, Newark, Tuxford, Bawtrey, Doncaster, Ferribridge, York, Helperby, Northallerton, Darneton, Ferryhill, Durham and Newcastle, Wakefield, Leeds, and Halifax; and also to Salisbury, Blandford, Dorchester, Barput, Exmaster, Hunnington and Exeter, Ockington, Plimouth and Cornwall ; let them repair to the George Inn at Holborn Bridge, London, and thence they shall be in good coaches with good horses, upon every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, at and for reasonable rates.-From Mercurius Politicus for Thursday, April 8th, 1658.
The post-masters on Chester road petitioning, have received orders, and do accordingly publish the following Advertisement :
All gentlemen, merchants, and others, who have occasion to travel between London and Westchester, Manchester, and Warrington, or any other town upon the road, for the accommodation of trade, dispatch of business, and ease of purse, upon every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning, betwixt six and ten of the clock at the house of Mr. Christopher Charteris, at the sign of the Harts Horns in West Smithfield, and post-master there, and at the postmaster of Chester, at the post-master of Manchester, and at the post-master of Warrington, may have a good and able single horse, or more, furnished, at threepence the mile, without charge of a guide; and so likewise at the house of Mr. Thomas Challenor, post-master at Stone in Staffordshire upon every Tuesday, and Thursday, and Saturday mornings to go into London; and so likewise at all the several post-masters upon the road, who will have all such set days so many horses with furniture in readiness to furnish the riders without any stay, to carry them to or from any the places aforesaid in four days, as well to London, as from thence, and to places nearer in less time, according as their occasions shall require, they ingaging at first stage where they take horse, for the safe delivery of the same to the next intermediate stage, and not to ride that horse any further, without consent of the post-master by whom he rides, and so from stage to stage on their journey's end.
All those who intend to ride this way, are desired to give a little notice beforehand, if conveniently they can, to the several post-masters where they first take horse, whereby they may be furnished with so many horses as the riders shall require with expedition.
This undertaking began the 28th of June, 1658, at all the places abovesaid, and so continues by the several post-masters.- From Mercurius Politicus for Thursday, 24th June, 1658.
This note is from a very quaintly-written History of England, without title-page, but apparently written in the early part of the reign of George the First. It is among the remarkable events of the reign of James the First:
A.D. 1621, July the 17th, Bernart Calvart of Andover, rode from St. George's Church in Southwark to Dover, from thence passed by Barge to Callais in France, and from thence returned back to Saint George's Church the same day. This his journey he performed betwixt the hours of three in the morning and eight in the afternoon.
This appears a surprising feat.
The following copies of advertisements, which appear in some old newspapers, in some degree illustrate the history of travelling, and in themselves show the advance made between 1739 and 1767.
In the Sherborne paper all public stage conveyances are designated as machines.
Copies of advertisements in The Daily Advertiser of the 9th April, 1739
For Bath. A good Coach and able Horses will set out from the Black Swan Inn, in Holborn, on Wednesday or Thursday.
Enquire of William Maud.
Exeter Flying Stage Coach in Three Days, and
Dorchester and Blandford in Two Days.
Note. Once a week there is an entire Dorchester and Blandford Coach from Dorchester on Mondays, and from London on Fridays.
The Stage begins Flying on Monday next, the 16th instant.
The old standing constant Froom Flying Waggon
in Three days Sets out with Goods and Passengers from Froom for London, every Monday, by One o'clock in the Morning, and will be at the King's Arms Inn, at Holborn Bridge, the Wednesday following by Twelve o'clock at Noon; from whence it will set out on Thursday morning, by One o'clock, for Amesbury, Shrewton, Chittern, Heytesbury, Warminster, Froom, and all other places adjacent, and will continue allowing each passenger fourteen pounds, and be at Froom, on Saturday by Twelve at noon.
If any Passengers have occasion to go from either of the aforesaid Places they shall be supplied with able Horses and a Guide by Joseph Clavey; the Proprietor of the said Flying Waggon. The Waggon calls at the White Bear in Picadilly coming in and going out.
Note-Attendance is constantly given at the King's Arins, Holborn Bridge aforesaid, to take in Goods and Passengers' names; but no Money, Plate, Bank Notes, or Jewels will be insured unless delivered as such, perform’d by
JOSEPH CLAVEY. N. B. His other Waggons keep their Stages as usual.
From Cruttwell's Sherborne, Shaftesbury, and Dorchester Journal, or Yeovil, Taunton, and Bridgewater Chronicle, of Friday, February 6th, 12th, and 20th, 1767.
Taunton Flying Machine,
Hung on Steel Springs, in Two Days. Sets out from the Saracen's Head Inn in Friday Street, London, and Taunton, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, at Three o'clock in the morning;