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CELEBRATION OF THE MAJORITY OF WENTWORTH B. BEAUMONT Esq. On Friday last, the celebration of the majority of W. B. Beaumont, Esq., of Bywell Hall, Northumberland, and Bretton Hall, Yorkshire, took place at Bywell, under circumstances of great joy and festivity. This event, which had been postponed in consequence of the indisposition of the worthy gentleman, had given time to parties to make every suitable demonstration, and this, together with the favourable period of the year chosen, rendered the occasion one of considerable interest and enjoyment. The estate of Bywell, it is well known, has long been admired for its rich and imposing scenery, and has often furnished the materials for the canvas of the artist, who, from the natural resources which environ it, independent of what man has achieved besides, has occasionally enabled him to produce some of the most lovely and effective scenes of rural life. Here the eye can discern the beauties of nature in all its external grandeur, while an additional charm is thrown over it by the objects raised by the art of man, the whole being effectively interspersed as to fill the mind with feelings of the highest admiration. Among the most prominent objects of attraction in this well-known village is the splendid new bridge which crosses the river Tyne a short way below Bywell Castle, and which, some years ago, was erected by the father of the present Mr Beaumont, at a cost of £15,000; and, although, presented in the most handsome manner to the county, yet, for some reason or other, the gift was not accepted. A more substantial and beautiful bridge is seldom to be met with, and the public have long reaped the accommodation it afforded them in travelling that part of the country. A few yards above this structure stands the well-known Castle of Bywell, with its ancient turrets appearing above the wide-spreading foliage of the numerous trees which surround it, while on its highest tower floated proudly the white flag of the Beaumonts. This castle, it is stated, was once the seat of the Neville family, so celebrated in the border warfares, and it is a fine Norman edifice. Beyond is the salmon lock - the dam - the mill - and the hospitable and well-known inn, so long inhabited by the Trotters; while adjacent are situated the ancient churches of St. Peter's and St. Andrew - two buildings hoary with age, and venerated not only for the purposes for which they are consecrated, but for the sacred associations connected with them. Travelling westward we enter the pleasure grounds of Bywell Hall - a beautiful and wide spreading lawn, abounding with favoured walks and adorned with the chestnut, the beech and other trees- the hall itself, which is a light and elegant mansion, chastely ornamented - stands conspicuously in the centre, and forms, of course, the most prominent object of as fine a landscape as the eye of man could desire to rest upon. From the extensive lawn - the gentle slope, the rising hill, the woody eminence is seen radiating from the centre, stretching out before the wondering sight a splendid and gorgeous amphitheatre of nature's own and peerless formation. A few yards front of Bywell Hall was selected as the scene of the festivities to be celebrated, for here was erected a splendid and costly marquee, decorated with externally with Marryatt's gay code of signals - the Union Jack floating over all the emblem of England's maritime prowess. Internally the arrangements were more complete and effective, the marquee being decorated in such a costly and magnificent style as to present the beau ideal of some Grecian temple, or fairy pavilion of olden time. Beauteous wreaths, composed of flowers, evergreens, and variegated holly and box were profusely spread over the marquee from its centre to its circumference, and from its aeriel ceiling were suspended banners and flags of various hues - two of the latter formed conspicuous objects, from their bearing the following inscriptions, in large guilt letters: - ‘SUCCESS TO THE LEAD TRADE’, and ‘SPEED THE PLOUGH’. In the area of the marquee, tables were judiciously arranged longitudinally west and east, and at both ends were erected cross tables on an elevation, which were covered with crimson cloth. Immediately behind the seat of the chairman was a large painting of the arms of Beaumont; and at the opposite end, behind the vice chair were emblazoned, in ornamental characters - ‘HEALTH AND PROSPERITY TO WENTWORTH BLACKETT BEAUMONT, Esq.’ In addition to all, a splendid gallery, covered with crimson cloth, was erected at the northern portion, while another opposite to this, was appropriated to the use of the Allendale band. The marquee was from Mt John Buckham's sail-cloth manufactory; the paintings and banners were executed by Mr Laidler, and the decorations, etc. by Messrs Hutton and Rhind, of this town; while the general arrangements were under the superintendence of Mr T. Nixon, aided by Messrs Arkles, joiners. With this brief description, we next notice the proceedings in the village. At early dawn, the commencement of the auspicious day was announced by the firing of cannon. In a short time, the villagers were up and doing, and, as the morning advanced, hundreds poured in from the neighbouring districts, some of whom were dressed in ‘spic and span’ new dresses in honour of the occasion. In order, also, that all should be welcome, several casks of England's home brew'd ale were placed near the market cross, so that all who chose to partake might return the salutations of the day, whether he were tenant, peasant, or wayfaring traveller. All who came were freely invited, and many a rough joke passed current, as group after group drank to the future prosperity of the House of Beaumont. Nor were the children of the different schools forgotten in the general manifestation of joy, for tea and cake were prepared in great plenty, both for themselves and parents, besides any one who were desirous to join them. About 2 o'clock, the numerous tenantry having assembled at Mr Trotter's hotel, they were met by Mr T. Nixon and Mr T.R.Nixon, land agents to Mr Beaumont, who, after forming into possession, headed them, and being preceded by the Allendale band, they marched to the hall, where they were severally greeted by Mr Beaumont as they passed. They afterwards formed into line, and greeted their young and future landlord with several hearty British cheers, which reverberated from the distant hills with fine effect. THE DINNER A short time before 3 o'clock, the dinner, which had been prepared in the hall, and served up in the marquee under the superintendence of Miss Nixon, was announced to be ready, when upwards of three hundred gentleman sat down to as sumptuous an entertainment as could well be desired by the most fastidious epicure, and it might be justly said that, on this occasion, ‘the tables groaned under their load.’ The pavilion at this period of the festivities presented a most imposing and animating spectacle. Every countenance present seemed to beam with delight on witnessing the young heir of the immense domains of Bywell presiding for the first time over them; - while the ladies too, who filled the gallery, added their quota to the brilliancy of the scene by honouring the occasion with their presence and their favours. On the right of the chairman was the Rev. Charles Lee, of St John-lee; the Rev. Joseph Hudson of Hexham Abbey; and Jasper Gibson, Esq. of Hexham; on the left, James Losh, Esq., Newcastle; the Rev. Joseph Jacques, vicar of St Andrew, Bywell; and Thomas Sopwith, Esq. Allenheads. The vice-chair was occupied by J.G.Atkinson, Esq., who was supported by the Rev. B.E.Dwarris, vicar of St Peter, Bywell; Richard Gibson, Esq. Hexham; Captain Bell. Hexham; G.W.Stable, Esq. Newcastle; the Rev. Walton, Allenheads; and Henry Heath, Esq., Newcastle. At the termination of the dinner a splendid and costly dessert was served up with the most liberal profusion. The CHAIRMAN, in brief terms, proposed the health of her Majesty, the Queen, which was drank with the usual honours, the band at the same time playing the national anthem, and the cannon pouring forth a royal salute. The CHAIRMAN then proposed ‘Prince Albert and the rest of the Royal Family’, which was responded to by similar honours. The CHAIRMAN next gave ‘The Army and Navy’, which was responded to by Mr Heath: after which he gave ‘The Bishop and Clergy of the diocese’, which was also responded to by the Rev.Joseph Jacques. The REV. JOSEPH JACQUES, after the lapse of a few minutes again rose, and said that he felt much flattered in being associated with the numerous gentlemen around him, and he was also exceedingly gratified that the honour had been entrusted to him of proposing what must be termed as the toast of the day. (Applause.). He freely admitted that the feelings he experienced on that occasion were those of great gratification although he felt unworthy of the position he then occupied, yet, at the same time, he could not do otherwise than come forward readily and willingly to propose the health of one in whose welfare he, as well as all present, were deeply interested. (Loud applause.) But when he said he felt feelings of great pleasure, he must also say that they were mingled with that of regret, because the toast had been entrusted to him rather than to more able hands; for it was known to all that the task should have devolved upon a reverend gentleman whose talents were not only well known to that county, he might also add, to the country, but on account of indisposition he had been prevented from doing so. That much esteemed gentleman would have done ample justice to the toast; but notwithstanding that, he (Mr Jacques) would endeavour to do his best in the discharge of his duty. (Applause.) The toast, then, which had been entrusted to him, was none other than the health of a gentleman in whose welfare, he might say, that every individual present felt the greatest possible interest- and that was the future health and prosperity of their worthy chairman. (Loud applause.) From the hearty applause with which they had received that announcement he felt conscious they all participated in one common feeling, and that they were all glad to see him presiding there on the present occasion. (Applause.) Their much esteemed chairman had passed through the dangers of infancy and childhood - had sprung up through the perils of youth - had completed his collegiate career, and had now attained to his majority. (Loud applause.) Was it not then, he repeated, a subject of inexpressible delight, that he was assembled among them that say in perfect health and strength - he, whom they lately looked upon as a youth of great promise and expectation, now had arrived at that period of manhood when he was invested with all his rights, and placed in possession of his great wealth and estates, by which he at once stood in a position of great wealth and importance. (Applause.) A great and noble career, he trusted, lay before him; although there was a time - and he hoped they would excuses him if he alluded to it - and that only recently, when the hearts of the entire district beat with great anxiety on his account, and trembled for the safety of his life, but when the information spread which infused hope for the future then they felt as if they could breathe again, and offer thanks to God for his happy deliverance. (Loud applause.) Might they not even look at that painful circumstance as a token for good on the part of the Divine Providence, in preserving him for great and important scenes in after-life. (Applause.). He (the rev. gentleman) therefore had no doubt but a bright and brilliant career lay before their young and honoured chairman, and if he had one wish greater than another, it was that he hoped to see the day when Wentworth Blackett Beaumont would take his place in the senate house of his country. (Loud and long continued cheers accompanied this sentence, the company at the same time rising). When then their chairman was permitted to share in the councils of his sovereign, and devote his talents and energies in his country's cause, he knew they would be devoted in promoting its welfare, for its future interests and prosperity he was well aware his esteemed friend had at heart. (Loud cheers.) That object he felt conscious was a pleasing anticipation to them all, and he knew that they would join them in wishing their chairman every possible happiness and honour in the world. But still there was another point to which he must refer as a minister if the gospel, and as one of the chairman's own pastors. Give me leave, sir, to address you personally - (here the rev.gentleman turned to the chairman) for I am reminded of the words of a celebrated divine belonging our country, a very great man, and eminent for his piety and great learning - and who, when called upon to pay his respects to a friend jury entering into the holy hands of matrimony, - (an honourable state of life, I trust not far distant from yourself - loud applause and laughter) - addressed his friend in language to this effect: - 'Sir, your friends wish you much happiness, nay, every happiness the world can give you, but I wish you something better still, and that is the blessing of God! - I wish that your heart may be imbued with right and sound principles - I mean religious principles- and that a large measure of divine grace may be bestowed upon you, for if so, you will possess pleasures which the world can neither give nor take away.' (Loud applause). With these sentiments, he (Mr Jacques) cordially responded, and he also prayed that a large measure of divine grace should rest upon their chairman; that he should be in full possession of that religion which would carry him to heaven when he died, and that the divine spirit of God would guide him in all his proceedings in life. If, therefore,their honoured chairman possessed the divine blessing, he would, indeed, possess a happiness which exceeded all that the world could confer - a happiness which would endure through and to the end of his life, and which would never leave him, for it would exist after death itself, and even beyond that period, when the angel should pronounce that time shall be no more. (Loud applause.). He (Mr Jacques) could not express any wishes higher or nobler than these, but if there was, then he could desire they should be the happy experience of him whom they had met that day to do homage and honour. (Loud cheers.) Therefore, with these brief remarks, he proposed the health and future prosperity of Wentworth Blackett Beaumont, Esq., with nine times nine. The company rose, en masse, drank the toast amidst immense cheering, the ladies on the platform wearing their handkerchiefs, the cannon roaring forth a continuous firing of several minutes, and the band striking up the tune of 'the White Cockade.' The CHAIRMAN, on rising, was greeted with deafening cheers, which lasted some time. He observed that if he affirmed that he hoped - or dared to expect - that his health would have been received and drunk in the manner it had, and should have felt so much overpowered by their kindness as to make it impossible for him to express adequately his thanks, he assured them that he would have felt much inclined to ask some person to assist him to do so. (Applause.). If, he repeated, that he had anticipated anything regarding his health being drunk, that had been more than ten-fold realized by the very cordial and enthusiastic way they had drunk to his future prosperity. (Loud applause.). He must be allowed, in the first place, to advert to the able manner his health had been proposed by the reverend gentleman sitting on his left hand; for he certainly did not expect that he would have given utterance to views similar to his own, and which, by the frequent cheers of all assembled, informed him that they also held the same in common with himself. (Applause.). He could assure all present that he gave them a most hearty welcome, and he thanked them most sincerely in honouring him with their presence that day, for it was not only a great pleasure to see them, but it gave him also an opportunity of knowing them personally, and thus strengthening and cementing that good feeling which ought always to exist between the landlord and his tenantry. (Loud applause.). He well remembered the high position a relative dear to him enjoyed among them, and although he could not expect to attain the same point as he did, yet he hoped they would be extend a measure of the same kindness and good feeling towards him; and he could assure them that if he could do anything to promote their welfare, or that of the poorer classes around him, he would do it with all his heart. (Loud applause.) He would, however, humbly submit that he felt the great responsibility of property, and he would venture to add, that large and respectable as it was, yet the responsibilities attending it were ten-fold increased at what he had lately witnessed in the sister country; for having had occasion to travel through the county of Galway, in Ireland, he had seen such scenes of misery and distress as none could adequately describe. (Hear, hear.) Every Cottage he saw was unroofed; and every house without a door; while every person he met was almost in rags, and beggars. (Hear, hear.) Such a state of things was lamentable; and he hardly knew how to express the feelings of melancholy which then pervaded his mind when he beheld such scenes in the west of Ireland. Whence, he asked himself, had arisen such a wretched state of things! Why, he was persuaded it arose from the landlords not knowing the position they ought to hold towards their tenants, in associating and becoming resident proprietors of their estates, a duty which he trusted he should be able to do on his own. (Loud cheers.) Indeed, had he expressed previously any views favourable to landlords residing on their estates, they would have been confirmed into a strong resolve by the exceedingly kind manner they had received and drunk his health that day. (Cheers.). It was, therefore, not only requisite for the landlord to do so, but he believed that the welfare of the district was greatly increased by resident proprietors. (Cheers.). He congratulated them all on their appearance that day; while at the same time he was sorry to think that if they had witnessed the state of the counties of Galway and Clare, it would be impossible to gather such an assemblage of agricultural tenantry as that before him. Among the varied subjects in which they were all interested there was one he would rather have avoided noticing, but as he had been led to understand that several expected him to say something concerning it, notwithstanding the uncertainty of the times and the uncertainty of the policy which might be adopted by ministers, he would offer a few remarks. That subject was free trade. It would, he knew, be presumptuous in him to pronounce any decided opinion on this subject, when the greatest statesmen of the day differed on it. It could not either be denied that there was great distress existing especially amongst the agricultural classes, and although it was impossible to say how matters could be remedied, whether, for instance, the opinion of the lamented statesman who promoted free trade, and who anticipated that things would gradually work round, would be realized, or that the government would be obliged to do something in the way of proposing a fixed duty, a sliding scale, or some other expedient. These, indeed, were questions which time alone would solve; and although they were points which admitted of great doubt, yet he would freely declare, that whatever policy government might pursue, he would be most happy in all exigencies to meet the desire of his tenantry according to the times. (Loud and protracted cheering.) He would, however, merely add that any person who considered the effects of class legislation could not do anything but condemn it. For himself he decried it. It was a policy always questionable; for no one could say whether it would work well for any other party in the state. One thing, however, might be said, that the late free trade policy, while it apparently had not worked well for the interests of agriculture, had done so for other parties in the state. The much-lamented statesman, who was the author of that policy, declared that he advocated it, because he was impressed with the conviction that it would be good for the community; and even Lord Stanley, the talented protectionist leader, in a recent communication to his party, stated that while he condemned the free trade policy, and advocated protection, on the ground that it was conducive to the good of his country, still he believed that those who supported free trade were actuated by the same motives. (Hear, hear.) It therefore could not be expected that all parties would be unanimous on a subject like free trade; and that being so, they must manfully grapple with circumstances as they arise. (Applause.) With these remarks he would next refer to the education of the poorer classes, (Cheers) - and he felt conscious by their cheers that their feelings were in accordance with his own on that subject. (Renewed cheers.) He would at once inform them that he was most anxious to promote the education of all classes of the community, but especially the labouring classes. (Cheers.) The question he knew was a most important one, and although he had not given so much attention to it as it deserved, yet he felt most deeply the necessity of extending knowledge. Perhaps he might refer with pleasure to a school erected under the direction of his friend Mr Sopwith, the success attending which had been greater than any one anticipated. That school was commenced by the direction of his lamented father, who not only saw the importance of education, but impressed it upon him, and he hoped, with their assistance, he should be able to carry the views of his parent fully out. (Loud cheers.) With regard to the education of the people there were a great many opinions, and parties were divided on religious topics; and although he was then surrounding by several reverend gentlemen connected with the established church, yet he trusted they would permit him to say that he was as anxious to see dissenters educated as those who supported the church. He, therefore, would educate all denominations without reference to their religious opinions. (Renewed cheers.) Many of those reverend gentlemen present he looked to for their assistance, for it would be to them he would appeal for advice in erecting schools and carrying into operation his plans. (Cheers.) He now begged to conclude by again thanking them for the kind and enthusiastic way they drank his health, and for the anxiety they had manifested for his future welfare. He again repeated that he was glad to see them - that he hoped he would mingle with them in similar meetings like the present, and thus have more frequent opportunities of promoting their welfare and happiness, and also the prosperity of the county in which they resided. (Cheers.) But above all he looked to them to aid him in carrying out his views on education, for whenever the schools were erected, the great objects of them would fail if they used not their exertions to promote their success. (Mr Beaumont then sat down amidst several rounds of hearty cheers.) The Rev. Mr LEE, in proposing the health of Mrs Beaumont, Mrs Atkinson and the family, observed that it was then about 37 years since he, along with many other gentlemen, celebrated the majority of the late Mr Beaumont; and he (Mr Lee) must say that he was proud of his acquaintance, for he not only knew his worth, but had experienced it. (Applause.) He might also add, that as far as he had become acquainted with his honoured son, who then presided over them, he perceived that he inherited the good qualities of his father. (Renewed applause.) His friend, Mr Jacques, in proposing their chairman's health, had alluded to some of the amiable points of his character, but he (Mr Lee) was in possession of the particulars of an act which conferred on their chairman infinite credit, and on his own responsibility would he speak of it hereafter to his honour. (Applause.) He had now been at two occasions like the present, but, in the ordinary course of nature he could not expect to see another, for before another representative of the House of Beaumont rose into being, more than another course of 21 years would revolve. Be that as it might, he sincerely hoped that the present Mrs Beaumont might have as much satisfaction in a grand-son as she had in that son in whose honour they had assembled that day. (Applause.) The reverend gentleman, after paying a well-merited compliment to Mrs Beaumont and Mrs Atkinson, concluded by proposing their healths. Drank with three times three. The CHAIRMAN responded to the toast, and said that nothing would be more gratifying to his mother than to have been present to witness that assembly; and he knew that it would be most grateful to her feelings to know that she had been remembered by them. (Applause.) The VICE-CHAIRMAN also acknowledged the toast on behalf of Mrs Atkinson, who, during her residence at Bywell, had made many sincere friends. He knew it was a matter of great pleasure to her that she had been permitted to witness the honours paid to her grand-son; and if he had a wish to express, it was, that when anyone present reached the age that she had done they might enjoy the same degree of good health and be as much respected (Applause.) The CHAIRMAN next proposed the Lord Lieutenant and the Magistrates of the County. The VICE-CHAIRMAN responded: and concluded by proposing ‘The Health of the Duke of Northumberland, and success to Agriculture.’ The Vice-chairman paid a warm eulogium to his grace, and said that it was a bright era when he came into possession of his estates in that county, for he was one of those eminent individuals who thought it neither beneath his rank or his talents to live among and associate himself with his tenantry, and thus personally, as it were, become acquainted with their position and grievances - look over their separate lands - and cultivate their acquaintance and friendship. (Loud applause.) While he was proud to speak thus of the character of his grace, still at the same time he felt free to say that Mr Beaumont would follow his example. (Applause.) He knew that his relative had a great stake in the county, and it would be his duty as well as pleasure to look over his estates, and mingle with the people, in order that they might go hand in hand in the cultivation of the soil, and in the improvement of property. (Applause.) The toast was then drank with 3 times 3. Mr LOSH, in a highly complimentary speech, proposed the health of their vice-chairman - Mr Atkinson. The VICE-CHAIRMAN briefly acknowledged the honour done him, and said that since his management of these estates had been now transferred into the hands of the rightful heir, his intercourse with the tenantry would naturally cease; but if there was one thing which would delight him more than another, it was the thought that he was kindly remembered by them. (Loud applause.) The CHAIRMAN then gave ‘The Tenantry assembled on that occasion,’ to which Mr HARBOTTLE of Anick Grange, responded in suitable terms. The Rev. Mr HUDSON proposed the health of Mr Nixon, and paid a great compliment to the uniform kindness of manner which characterised his conduct on all occasions. (Applause.) The VICE-CHAIRMAN, previous to the toast being responses to, begged in the interim, as a similar festivity was going on at Bretton Hall, to give ‘The Health of Mr Edward Beaumont and the Yorkshire Tenantry.’ Drank with 3 times 3. Mr NIXON , Jun., in the temporary absence of his father, briefly acknowledged the honour done him, and concluded by proposing ‘Success to the fairest flowers - the Ladies.’ (Loud applause). The following toasts were then given in quick succession: - ‘The vicars of St Peter and St Andrew's, Bywell;’ ’The Workmen and Labourers employed on Mr Beaumont 's estates;’ ‘Messrs Hodgson and Sopwith;’ ‘Mr Losh and the Newcastle and Carlisle Railway;’ and lastly, ‘The next merry meeting.’ At the termination of the entertainment, preparations were immediately commenced in the pavilion for the ball in the evening, which was attended by upwards of six hundred ladies and gentlemen. About 9 o'clock the ball was led off in a country dance by Mr Beaumont and Miss Nixon, to the tune ‘Because he was a bonny lad,’ etc. Dancing was afterwards kept up in the true old English style until the grey streak of morn heralded the approach of the God of Day; and thus ended one of the most joyous festivals ever witnessed in the district. It is, however, but due to add, that the free and unostentatious conduct which characterised the deportment of the wealthy owner of Bywell estates throughout the day's proceedings won the golden opinions of all present, and his future career is looked forward to as one of great promise and usefulness.
from the Newcastle Courant issue of 19 April 1850, referring back to the celebration of July 12th, the date given here.