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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 291 No. CCLXVIII. HARVEY CHRISTIAN COMBE, ESQ., LORD MAYOR OB LONDON. THIS is another of the few portraits sketched by gay while he sojourned for a short time in the great metropolis. ALDERMACNO MBEa,s he was usually denominated, was well known in London, both politically and as a brewer in very extensive business. He was born at Andover, in Hampshire, where his father, an attorney, was the owner of considerable landed property. The eldest son, and succeeding at an early age to the patrimonial inheritance, he might have lived in independence, far from the bustling scenes of commercial activity ; but his spirit of enterprise dictated a different course. Under the patronage of a relative, he began his career in London as a corn factor-was successful-and, by a matrimonial alliance with a cousin, he soon afterwards, on the death of his father-in-law, came into possession of property to some extent. He subsequently engaged in the brewing establishment so long and so successfully carried on, first under the firm of Gyfford and Co., and latterly of Combe, Delafield, and Co., in Castle Street, Long Acre. The active mind and business habits of Mr. Combe were such a8 to call him prominently forward, while his pleasing manners and liberality of disposition tended greatly to his popularity. He waB elected Alderman of Aldgate Ward in 1790-served as Sheriff in 1791-was appointed Governor of the Irish Society in 1793-and arrived at the highest dignity of the Corporation, by being elected Lord Mayor in 1799. Though he so far concurred in the defensive measures recommended by Government, as to hold the command of the loth Regiment of London Volunteers for some time, the politics of Alderman Combe were decidedly opposed to the Pitt administration. He was a member of the Whig Club; and first stood candidate for the city in opposition to Mr. Lushington. He failed on this occasion, but was returned at the general election in 1796 ; and, in 1802, his popularity had so greatly increased that he stood at the head of the poll, having 3377 votes. His conduct in Parliament, throughout a period of more than twenty years, was marked by a constant adherence to principle, and-to the party with which he had been early associated. In a work entitled “The Whig Club, or a Sketch of Modern Patriotism,” Mr. Combe is favoured with a few passing touches of the sketcher’s pencil ; and, in common with the other members, he is described as a frequenter of the gaming table, and a bon vivant of unconquerable stamina. indeed:’
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292 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. says the writer, “is not the sole boast of Mr. H-y C-be; his name as apugilist stands prominent; he is reported to put in a straight blow, in a neater manner than either H-y A-n or Sir T-s A-ce. ‘ My evenings I will with bruisers spend, And FIG the prize-fighter shall be my friend,’ ” The charges brought against the members of the Whig Club, and the scandal retailed by the author of the sketches, were in many instances so extravagant as to carry with them their own antidote ; and it is more than likely that his assertions in the case of Alderman Combe are as little entitled to credit. He is described as having been a “ kind husband, and an indulgent father ; firm and warmly sincere in his friendships.’’ Mirza Abu Taleb Khan, the Persian traveller, describing the entertainment at which he was present, on a Lord Mayor’s-day, speaks of Miss Combe, in the gallery of beauty, as “ the bright moon surrounded with brilliant stars.” The occasion alluded to by the Persian was the annual dinner in 1800, when Lord Nelson One of his daughters was much celebrated for her beauty. % was presented with the sword voted him by the city of London :- “ Some months after my arrival in England, Alderman C[ompe was elected Lord Mayor,‘ and did me the honour of inviting me to his dinner. As soon as I alighted at the door, fifty of his lordship’s attendants, with spears and maces in their hands, came to meet me, and a band of music at the same time commenced playing. I was then conducted with great ceremony to the room where his lordship was sitting with several of the King’s Ministers and other noblemen. “On my entering the apartment, the Lord Mayor took me by the hand, and, having inquired respecting my health, introduced me to the Lady Mayoress, who was dressed as fine as a Queen, and seated with great pomp on a superb sofa. Although it is not customary on these occasions for the Lady Mayoress to return the salutation of any person, yet, in compliment to me as a foreigner, her ladyship rose from her seat. “The dinner having been announced, the Lord Mayor again took my hand,‘and led me to a table which was raised a step or two above the others. He then placed me opposite himself, that he might have an opportunity of attending to me. His lordship sat on the right of the Lady Mayoress; and on his right hand were seated Lord C[oventr]y, Lord S[pense]r, Lord N[elso]n, and several other noblemen. On the left of her ladyship Kere placed the late Mayor and his family. The remainder of the company at this table consisted of the Judges, Aldermen, etc. All the dishes and plates were of embossed silver ; and the greater number of the goblets and cups and the candlesticks, were of burnished gold. In the course of my life, I have never seen such a display of wealth and grandeur. The other tables also appeared to be plentifully and elegantly served ; and, if I could judge from the apparent happiness of the people at thew, they were equally pleased with their entertainment as myself. “After dinner, the healths of the Lord and Lady Mayoress were drunk, with great acclamations ; then the health of the King, and of the Queen ; after which, ‘The prosperity of Lord Nelson ; and may the victory of the Nile be ever remembered !’ was drunk with loud applause. * * As many of the persons who were seated at the lower end of the room could not see who were at the upper table, a short time previous to the ladies quitting the company a petition was sent to the Lord Mayor, to request they might be allowed to pass round the table in small “The table was covered with a profusion of delicious viands, fruits, wines, etc. l There appears to be some mistake in this statement, as Sir William Shines was the newly elected Lord Mayor on this occasion.
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