A Report



Recently tried before the Lord Mayor,


In which will be found fully given the
Merits of the great Recent

B O N E C A S E.








(Before the Lord Mayor)

[3] T. H. HUXLEY, well known about the town in connection with monkeys, and RICHARD OWEN, in the old bone and bird-stuffing line, were charged by Policeman X with causing a disturbance in the streets.

The Prisoners exchanged glances of such a character that it was though prudent to keep them separated in the dock.

Policeman X, being sworn, stated as follows:–My attention was called to the prisoners by a crowd of persons, who seemed much excited–they appeared to take sides, and some were for Owen and some were for Huxley. On coming near I saw Huxley snapping his fingers at Owen, and telling him he was only a little better than an ape; he seemed dreadful angry, and would have done Owen some bodily harm if I had not been near. He told Owen he had quite as much brains as he had, and he called him some awful names. Must I repeat the bad words your worship?

Lord Mayor – Certainly. You must state what he said.

Policeman X – Well, your worship, Huxley called Owen a lying Orthognatus Brachycephalic Bimanous Pithecus; and Owen told him he was nothing else but a thorough Archencephalic Primate.

Lord Mayor – Are you sure you heard this awful language?

Policeman X – Yes, your worship. Huxley had got a beast of a monkey, and he tried to make it tread on Owen’s heels–and said ‘twas his grandfather–and like him–and just the same breed and all that; and some gentlemen cheered and said "Bravo."

Lord Mayor – Did you see the man Huxley actually put the monkey on the other prisoner–was there no interval between them?

Policeman X – He put the beast so near as ever he could; he tried to make him go quite close but he could not, and he kept singing out, "Look at ‘em, a’nt they like as peas?"

Lord Mayor – Did Owen appear much annoyed by this outrage?

[4] Policeman X – He behaved uncommon plucky, though his heart seemed broke. He tried to give Huxley as good as he gave, but he could not, and some people cried "Shame," and "he's had enough," and so on. Never saw a man so mauled before. 'Twas the monkey that worrited him, and Huxley's crying out, "There they are–bone for bone, tooth for tooth, toot for foot, and their brains one as good as t'other."

Lord Mayor – That was certainly a great insult.

Huxley – So they are, my lord, I can show–

Here a scene of indescribable confusion occurred. Owen loudly contradicted Huxley; the lie was given from one to the other; each tried to talk the other down; the order 'Silence' was unheeded; and for a time nothing could be heard but intemperate language, mingled with shouts of "Posterior Cornu," "Hippocampus," "Third Lobe," &c., &c. When order was restored, the Lord Mayor stated that , in all his experience, he had never witnessed such virulent animosity among costermongers.

The Lord Mayor here asked whether either party were known to the police?

Policeman X – Huxley, your Worship, I take to be a young hand, but very vicious; but Owen I have seen before. He got into trouble with an old bone man, called Mantell, who never could be off complaining as Owen prigged his bones. People did say that the old man never got over it, and Owen worritted him to death', but I don't think it was so bad as that. Hears as Owen takes the chair at a crib in Bloomsbury. I don't think it be a harmonic meeting altogether. And Huxley hangs out in Jermyn Street.

Lord Mayor – Do you know any of their associates?

Policeman X – I have heard that Hooker, who travels in the green and vegetable line, pats Huxley on the back a good deal-, and Lyell, the resurrectionist, and some others, who keep dark at present, are pals of Huxley's.

Lord Mayor – Lyell, Lyell;–surely I have heard that name before.

Policeman X – Very like you may, your Worship; there's a fight getting up between him and Falconer, the old bone-man, with Prestwitch, the gravel sitter, for backer.

Owen – He's as bad as any of 'em, my lord. I thought he was a friend of mine, but he's been saying things of me as I don't like; but I'll be even with him some day.

Lord Mayor – Silence! Have you seen the prisoners in the company of anyticket-of-leave men?

[5] Policeman X – No, your Worship; but from information I have received, I believe Huxley is one of the same set with John William Natal, or some such name, for he is one of those chaps as has got a lot of aliases, who has lately returned from abroad. John's been kicking up a pretty row he has.

Lord Mayor – I desire you to bring him before me if you detect him in creating any disturbances.

Policeman X – Oh! your Worship, there's plenty trying to catch him; but he's so artful they can't trap him no how. They wanted to take his ticket from him, but they could not, then they tried to coax him to give it up, but he would not; not he. You see when he was across the water, he took to the bush and got in with the savages, and tried to come over them, but one of they Kaffirs gave him such a topper that he's never been the same man since.

Lord Mayor – You have not seen them together?

Policeman X – No, your Worship', but I believe they are both tarred with the same brush.

As there appeared to be no case against Owen, he was allowed to be sworn. Hereupon, Huxley demanded to be sworn likewise, but Owen objected, declaring it was impossible to swear a man who did not believe in anything, and Huxley declared it was equally impossible to swear Owen. Owen, however, was directed to take the book in his right hand, whereupon, Huxley vociferated, "He does not know a hand from a foot." An angry altercation ensued between the parties, amidst the din of which the words, "peronoeus longus," "moveable toe," "thumb," "astragalus." and "short flexor," could be distinguished. The Mayor addressed both parties, and declared such violent conduct was scarcely human, at which Huxley laughed, and Owen looked grave. He then gave his evidence as follows:–

I knew the prisoner in former years. We were both in the same business, and I looked upon him as a quiet, well-meaning man. But since he has risen in the world, he has become highly dangerous, so much so that I am willing to believe his conduct proceeds from diseased brain.

Here the Mayor called upon Dick Owen to come at once to the point.

Owen proceeded – For the last two years, my life has been a burden to me. That fellow Huxley has got new pals, Charlie Darwin, the pigeon fancier, and Rollstone, and others of that awful lot, and he waylays me in public, and throws [6] dirt at me. Indeed, he has hit me very much about the head; very hard indeed; and he tries to make believe that I don't know my trade, and that he can teach me; and he tries to make me ridiculous in the eyes of the public, and I can't bear it. And lately I went down to Cambridge, and who should I see there but that Tom Huxley and his low set, and they all attacked me at once–(Here the Mayor directed the witness to keep to the point.)

PAGE & _____Owen continued–I could live well enough if you could only keep that beastly monkey away from me, and make Huxley hold his tongue about comparing our brains; indeed, continued Owen, how would you like to be told in public that physically, morally, and intellectually, you were only a little better than a gorilla

Huxley was now called upon, and said as follows:

Me and Dick is in the same line–old bones, bird skins, offal, and what not.

The Mayor – Do you mean the marine store line?

Huxley No, your worship, that's Bowerbank and Woodward's business. Well, as I was saying, we was in the same line, and comfortable as long as Dick Owen was top sawyer, and could keep over my head, and throw his dust down in my eyes. There was only two or three in our trade, and it was not very profitable; but that was no reason why I should be called a liar by an improved gorilla, like that fellow.

[Here the Mayor cautioned the prisoner.]

Well, in my business I put up monkeys, and the last monkey I put up was Dick Owen's.

[Here the Mayor declared, on the repetition of such language, he would at once commit Huxley.]

Well, as I was saying, Owen and me is in the same trade; and we both cuts up monkeys, and I finds something in the brains of 'em. Hallo! says 1, here's a hippocampus. No, there ain't, says Owen. Look here, says 1. 1 can't see it, says he, and he sets to werriting and haggling about it, and goes and tells everybody, as what I finds ain't there, and what he finds is, and that's what no tradesman will stand. So when we meets, we has words. He will stick to his story, your worship, he won't be right himself, nor let anybody else be right. As to this here monkey business, I can't help the brutes treading on his heels. If he was to go forward more, why you see he'd be further off from the beast', but he's one of these here standstill Tories, what they call the orthodox lot, as never moves forward. If he'll keep his tongue in his head, why I'll keep [7] mine. but he shan’t have the last word, or my name’s not Tom Huxley.

A gentleman, who we afterwards learnt was Mr. Bull, here stepped forward, and presented his card. On the Lord Mayor asking if he knew anything bearing on the case, he said he was sorry to say he knew all the parties named, and with pain he must give his testimony to the bad feeling existing among them all. It was not only the case with the two prisoners, but with all their associates. There were no two of them who agreed–no one had a good word to say of the other. The whole neighbourhood was unsettled by their disputes; Huxley quarrelled with Owen, Owen with Darwin, Lyell with Owen, Falconer and Prestwich with Lyell and Gray, the menagerie man with everybody. He had pleasure, however in stating that Darwin was the quietest of the set. They were always picking bones with each other and fighting over the gains. If either of the gravel sifters or stone breakers found anything, he was obliged to conceal it immediately, or one of the old bone collectors would be sure to appropriate it first and deny the theft afterwards, and the consequent wrangling and disputes were as endless as they were wearisome.

Lord Mayor – Probably the clergyman of the parish might exert some influence over them.

The gentleman smiled, he shook his head, and stated he regretted to say that no class of men paid so little attention to the opinions of the clergy as that to which these unhappy men belonged.

The Lord Mayor thanked Mr. Bull for his evidence, and proceeded to sum up in a good-humoured strain. He said it would be absurd to make a tragedy of the matter; at the same time the public had a right to claim protection from annoyance. It appeared to him to be simply an exemplification of the proverb, "two of a trade never agree." He did not think any punishment was called for at his hands–first, because no penalty could put a stop to rivalries which seemed to be peculiar to the character of man; and secondly, because he knew of no form of punishment which could reform offenders so incorrigible. He thought if the parties would listen to a little friendly advice, they would themselves see the propriety of altering their conduct. He put it to Owen, first, whether it was worth his while to feel bitterness at being compared to an ape, and whether he could not better prove his dissimilarity by the practice of kindness, gentleness, forbearance, and humility,–qualities peculiar to man–than by giving up those qualities,

[8] and attempting to prove his manhood simply from his anatomical structure', also, whether the practice of grasping at every other person's possession was not more ape-like than human. And he put it to Huxley, whether it really was truth, pure and simple, he was fighting for; whether it was not more, or at least partly, for the purpose of exposing a weak point in his rival. However, he would not be too severe upon either of them. He would advise them in future to be friends–to assist each other in their work–to be helpers not rivals; and he would recommend them to associate in a social manner–to follow the example of good Edward Forbes, who used to call his fellow tradesmen together after their work was over to the Red Lion, and indulge in a little harmony, and he undertook to say, that if they were jovial, open-hearted, merry, and wise, as he was-, if they would meet at some house of call, say once a week, and have their glass and their pipe together, in fact, continued the Mayor, good-humouredly, relax a little, unbend the bow, and cultivate the feelings that warmed the hearts of Tam O'Shanter, and Sonter Johnny, they would soon cease to vex themselves, and disturb the public. At the same time, it was his duty to warn them that a persistance in their present bitter course, and in giving a loose rein to passion, must eventually bring them both to the gallows.

At the conclusion of the Mayor's address, there was loud applause in the court, which was immediately checked.

Policeman X. wished to know if Huxley's monkey was to be restored to him.

Lord Mayor – Certainly, there was no law to enable him to detain it. The parties then left the dock with an expression on their countenances, which foreboded mischief. No sooner did they reach the street than an altercation ensued, and the loud voices of Huxley and Owen could be heard in the court. Policeman X. asked if he should go out to put a stop to the riot, but the Lord Mayor decided it were best not to notice it, the time and attention of the country could not be occupied with such frivolous disputes. At the same time he stated that if they were brought before him again he certainly should commit them both to Earlswood. As our reporter was passing Jermyn-street in the evening, he recognized Huxley vilifying Owen before a large assembly, holding over his head a board, on which was painted series of monkey skeletons, beginning with the Gibbon, and ending with man, the words–"I'll let him know his place in nature," were heard, but as the assemblage consisted of working men, and as they were very orderly they were not interfered with by the police.


C. Blinderman & D. Joyce
Clark University