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these worthies enjoy at Dagenham Breach; and Mr. Rose once intimated to Sir Robert that Mr. Pitt, of whose friendship they were both justly proud, would, no doubt, delight in the comfort of such a retreat. A day was named, and the Premier was invited; he was so well pleased with his reception at the "fishing cottage "-they were all two if not three bottle men-that, on taking leave, Mr. Pitt readily accepted an invitation for the following year. For a few years, the Premier continued a regular visitor, always accompanied by Mr. George Rose. But the distance was considerable; the going and coming somewhat inconvenient for the First Minister of the Crown. Sir Robert Preston, however, had his remedy, and he proposed that in future they should dine nearer London. Greenwich was suggested. We do not hear of whitebait in the Dagenham dinners, and its introduction probably dates from the removal to Greenwich. The party of three was now increased to four, Mr. Pitt being allowed to bring Lord Camden.

Soon after, a fifth guest was invited, Mr. Charles Long, afterwards Lord Farnborough. All were still the guests of Sir Robert Preston; but, one by one other notables were invited— all Tories - and, at last, Lord Camden considerately remarked that as they were dining at a tavern, and not a private house, it was but fair that Sir Robert Preston should be relieved from the expense. It was then arranged that the dinner should be given, as usual, by Sir Robert Preston, that is to say at his invitation; and he insisted on still contributing a buck and champagne, the rest of the charges were thenceforth defrayed by the several guests; and, on this plan, the meeting continued to take place annually until the death of Mr. Pitt.*

Mr. Croker, who was a guest at the Dagenham dinners, puts the scene of the festivals at the Breach House, and tells that Lords Bathhurst, Palmerston, and Ripon, and Mr. Gouldburn, besides himself, were of the party. But there are residents (as Mr. Borritt) surviving, who saw the foundations of the "fishing cottage" or "White House" after its demoltion, and who think that must have been the Club House. Of the Breach House, no trace remains, not even of the wide waggon road, depicted in the illustration given in the last number of the Review. Thus I am

*Anecdotes of Political Life, by John Timbs, vol. 1-p. 255

+cf. Notes and Queries, 1st Series, v. xii., p. 169.

bound to admit, some doubt exists as to which edifice was used for the dinners, and which as a club. One argument in favour of the Breach House being the original place of the dinner is that it was likely that the Commissioners of Sewers would take over the building vacated by the contractor and use it for their own purpose when they made the annual inspection or view.

But the feastings of the Gulf are past, the four-in-hands no longer rattle through Barking, along Ripple-side, as far as the Chequers Inn; the tootling horn no longer awakens the cottagers near the Ship and Shovel, and spanking teams seldom grace that

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quiet road. Railway locomotives now race over an iron road; carrying inland, across the green meads, coals, granite, and building materials; Dagenham Dock is a busy centre, and trade appears to gravitate thither; for is it not a most convenient distance from the Metropolis, as well as an accessible part of the River for large vessels?

The next visitor whom we have to record as staying at the Lake, was a benevolent, gracious, lovable woman, whose life and labours are known throughout the civilized world. Mrs. Fry did not frequent Dagenham for feasting and merriment, but it was welcome to her as a place of entire repose from her Christian


work. Even there, however, her interest in Newgate prison did not cease. She visited prisons as we know, both at home and abroad, in the hope that her own countrymen and foreign potentates would take up the burning question of prison reform. She needed some retirement from her arduous duties, and sought at Dagenham a period of comparative leisure.

Between the Thames and a large piece of contiguous water, called Dagenham Breach, stand two cottages, surrounded by trees, mostly willows, on an open space of lawn, with beds of reeds behind them, and on either side covering the river bank. They are open to the south-west, and are only to be attained by a rough and circuitous cart-road, or by crossing the water in front of the cottages. A narrow dyke led from the Tilbury Fort Road to the Breach waters. There a boat would meet the comer and convey him to that secluded watery world. Before this year Dagenham had been but an occasional resort for fishing; now the repairs of the house at Plashet induced the family to try it as a temporary abode. The experiment answered, and for some years, many summer weeks were passed by them in that singular retreat.

The life there was one of real enjoyment; boating, fishing, the beautiful views of the Thames, and its opposite banks of Erith and Belvedere, the absence of form, the almost living in the open air, were pleasant and refreshing. Mrs. Fry delighted in the repose it afforded; her exquisite love of nature was indulged, her children lived around her; the busy world seemed left behind. Some of those summer evenings are graven on the memory of her survivors. The glorious sunsets, the shipping on the river, the watery sounds, the freshness of the air, the happy groups of childhood, the enjoyment of the parents, but above all, the calm bright look and spirit with which she enjoyed the whole.*

Mrs. Fry continued to visit Dagenham for many years. She found the solitude of the Lake a delightful change from the bustle of the busy town, yet she was always within two hours' drive of London.

The narrow dyke spoken of above, part of which is still in existence, was a convenient arrangement by which to carry passengers, provisions, and goods to the cottage, without traversing the miry lanes across the marshes.

Essex marshes have been evil spoken of by certain writers, of whom Defoe was chief, as the home of malaria, where noxious exhalations prevail. These rude charges, made on slight evidence, were mainly exaggerated, and had little foundation. There was ague fifty years ago at Ripple and Dagenham, and gifts of quinine were much valued; there may be a few mosquitos to-day in the season for such insects; but nothing disturbed Mrs. Fry's quiet vacation at her chosen watering-place. Rare birds found

Memoir of the Life of Elizabeth Fry, vol. 1, p. 476.

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a sanctuary among the thicket of bulrushes and reeds, undisturbed by the fowler or gunner; fine fish disported in the Lake, for they had found their way in from the Thames through the Breach, and remained in their peaceful retreat; while the Eagle," "Favourite and other steam-packets carried thousands of passengers to Gravesend, Margate, and Ramsgate, through Halfway Reach. Mrs. Fry was happy with her visits to the convict-ships, and her attendance at meetings at Barking, Chadwell Heath, and the villages roundabout. Surely her stay at this spot is memorable; and the useful work she carried on from thence is worthy of our gratitude and praise.

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IR HENRY JOHN SELWIN-IBBETSON, 7th baronet and Ist BARON ROOKWOOD, the only son of Sir John Thomas Ibbetson Selwin, Bart., of Down Hall, Harlow, and Elizabeth, daughter of General John Leveson Gower, of Bill Hill, Berks, was born on September 26th, 1826, in Pall Mall. He was educated at Beaconsfield until he was thirteen years of age, but then was so delicate after an attack of measles that it was impossible for him to be sent to a public school, and he was obliged to winter abroad up to 1845; in that year he entered St. John's College, Cambridge, graduating B.A. in 1849, and M.A. 1852. In 1850 he married the Hon. Sarahı Elizabeth, eldest daughter of John, Lord Lyndhurst, and settled down in his own county. Subsequently he travelled through the Holy Land and up the Nile, and was in the Crimea at the time of the proclamation of peace in 1856; he witnessed the departure of the British and French troops from Balaclava.

Mr. Selwin, as he then was, commenced his political career by standing as Conservative candidate with Mr. J. C. Cobbold for the Borough of Ipswich, and fought a tough fight at the general election of March, 1857; he was at the bottom of the poll, but not badly beaten, as all the four candidates polled between 700 and 800 votes. This close result justified another trial of strength, and in April, 1859, he was third at the declaration of the poll, Sir Hugh Edward Adair, the old Liberal member, defeating him by only 21 votes. In 1864 Mr. Selwin became

the accepted candidate for the borough of Maldon, but after wooing this constituency, Messrs. Bramston and Perry Watlington announced, just before the dissolution of 1865, their intention to retire from the representation of South Essex, and with the consent of his supporters at Maldon, Mr. Selwin was nominated to fill one of the vacancies. He was returned at the head of the poll, notwithstanding the death of his wife had pre

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vented him from canvassing or taking a very active part in the election (see E.R. iii. 87). The Reform Bill of 1867 divided the county into three parliamentary divisions. Mr. Selwin and his colleague, Lord Eustace Cecil, elected to sit for West Essex, a constituency they continued to represent until its extinction after the Reform Bill of 1884-5, consequent upon the extension of the franchise. In 1885 Mr. Selwin was elected for the new Epping Division of the county

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