THE SPLENDID BANQUET AT GOLDSMITHS' HALL
On Saturday the Goldsmiths' Company gave a magnificent banquet at their hall to the Duke of Wellington, Sir Robert Peel, and several other eminent public men.
The preparations were, it is believed, upon a more gorgeous scale than any within the recollection of the members of this most opulent and powerful of the great Conservative companies of the city of London. Indeed such pains had been taken to give splendour to the scene as to give rise to the report that the give splendour to the scene as to give rise to the report that the Queen was to be the guest of the company.
Alderman Copeland, Prime Warden, in the chair; supported on his right by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and on his left by the Duke of Wellington.
Amongst the company were the Duke of Rutland, the Marquess of Londonderry, the Earl of Jersey, the Earl de Grey, the Bishop of Winchester, the Bishop of Llandaff, the Bishop of Chester, Lord Lyndhurst, Lord Bexley, Lord Tenterden, Lord Abinger, the Marquess of Chandos, Lord Stanley, Lord Mahon, Lord Ingestrie, Lord Eliot, Lord Sandon, the Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, Sir Robert Peel, See. &.c.
The sideboard immediately behind the chairman was covered with massive gold plate, piled up in a pyramidical form, and so arranged as to exhibit in the most striking manner the taste employed by the superintendents of the feast, as well as the enormous wealth of the company, who make it a rule never to borrow from the companies, the means of adding to the effect of their entertainment. In the recess behind the chair, in the midst of other pieces, stood an ancient dish and ewer, which were made 150 years ago by the celebrated Lemarie. They were highly embossed, and of exquisite workmanship. Vases and candelabra were thickly placed in the recess, which would have continued to attract the notice of the guests, if their attention had not been led away by an unrivalled work of art which stood on the cross table immediately before the chairman. This was a plateau of gold, representing an ancient garden, with terrace and balustrades. There are steps leading up to the terrace, and in different parts of the garden are groups of children in mimicry of the art and mystery of the silversmiths, hammering away at vases and other decorative work. The terrace is surrounded by a lake of water, most beautifully represented by costly mirrors, while four cascades are seen gushing from an archway, over which appear the arms of the Goldsmiths' Company, in the centre of the plateau a group of figures are seen supporting branches of lights. Cupids are climbing up the branches of the trees, while the Graces arc endeavouring to catch the mischievous little gods in their ascent. Costly pieces of plate, of various forms and dimensions, were most tastefully disposed round the tables. One of them was a cup, the workmanship, if not of Cellini himself, of an eminent pupil of that great master. This Cup had been presented by Queen Elizabeth to Sir Martin Bowen, Lord Mayor of London, when that sovereign first visited the city of London. Sir Martin was a member of the Goldsmiths' Company, and by his will left this cup to the company.
The toasts, which, as the evening advanced, became deeply tinged with a political complexion, embraced "The Church and Queen;" "The Bishop of Durham;" "The Duke of Wellington" (received with bursts of applause) "Lord Lyndhurst;" "Sir Robert Peel" "Sir Nicholas Tyndal; &e.
The Chairman, in proposing "The health of the noble lord the member for North Lancashire," said he had not had the honour of seeing his lordship in the city except upon one occasion, and that was in his mayoralty [the company here cheered Lord Stanley]. He was aware that they were not assembled for political objects, nor for political discussion, but it was impossible to forget the circumstance of the secession from office of the noble lord with the right honourable baronet, involving a subject so near and dear to those around. He trusted, however, that the country would soon have the gratification of seeing them again co-operating in power, for the protection of its best interests. (Cheers.)
Lord Stanley said that he was taken by surprise, but he felt deeply grateful for the high distinction to which the company were pleased to consider him entitled. He had made considerable sacrifices in the performance of his public duties, but he had made those sacrifices from principle, and he should be ready upon future occasions, should any arise, to make similar sacrifices for the good of the community. With reference to future events, he believed, so far as he was capable of judging of probabilities, so far as his foresight was able to penetrate, he should most cordially co-operate with the right honourable baronet, in connection with whose name his had been joined. (Cheers.)
Sir Charles Wetherell (his health and the bar having been given) said, that although the prime warden had said that they had not assembled for political discussion, and had intimated that politics were not likely to be introduced on occasions of this kind, he happened to be more years in the world, and therefore was obliged to say that it was quite impossible but that politics must ooze in and out, even in their times of conviviality and enjoyment. A laugh and cheers. He joined in the hope that a speedy termination would be put to the well-grounded alarms which existed, by the appointment of men able and honest enough to serve the country.
The facetious knight creditably appeared in a clean shirt, and the adoption of suspenders indicated an inexpressible improvement on his appearance in public heretofore. It is quite needless to say a word about the quality of the dishes and the wines.
All the delicacies that money could purchase were in profusion upon the tables.
Source: The Monmouthshire Merlin - 5th May 1838