Huddersfield Chronicle (09/Sep/1895) - Sol, the Lockwood Goose

The following is a transcription of a historic newspaper article and may contain occasional errors. If the article was published prior to 1 June 1957, then the text is likely in the Public Domain.

SOL, THE LOCKWOOD GOOSE.

(From Our Correspondent "Cid.")

The sentiments of the letter are very good, but Sol, like many another sensible creature, has discovered that public-houses supply other refreshments than alcohol, and though a natural water-drinker, he sets his kind, and other kind, an example of sobriety and steadfastness, no matter where he may be called upon to go, or what it is his duty to do. I preach natural temperance, and leave unnatural slavery to those who prefer tyrannical prohibition to wholesome liberty. Why, bless you, Sol even got into the Christian Herald, but as that paper seems to have copied Mr. Spivey’s letter I need not say much about it. I, however, noticed that it headed its paragraph, “A Wise Goose,” and described Huddersfield as being in England! England, indeed! why not have said “the world,” or “the universe?” If Huddersfield is not better known than to need such a description, the sooner some of her sons and daughters do something to make her famous, not to say notorious, the better. I consider that “Huddersfield” ought to be a sufficient passport or countersign from Pole to Pole, from east to west, from China to Peru, or from anywhere else, and hope that if ever her coat of arms are changed that Sol will somehow be introduced as representing and perpetuating the consistency of conduct, faithfulness of life, and wisdom of the town. Ah! now that I mention the idea of a coat of arms I may as well tell you the story of the Lockwood Coat of Arms. It was in this wise, or this is as it appeared in the Lockwood Gazette of November 14th, 1891:—

HOME RULE FOR LOCKWOOD.

Thursday, the 12th of November, 1891, will be a red letter day in the history of Lockwood for generations to come. The committee and friends of the late candidate for municipal honours met at the Corporation Arms, Lockwood, on the above date, and partook of an excellent dinner, every dainty in season being indulged in, and the repast was in every respect worthy of the occasion. After the cloths were removed,

Mr. Timothy Nicodemus was elected to the chair, and he, on rising, was well received. He expressed great pleasure at being privileged to preside over such an influential meeting on such an auspicious occasion, and was also very glad to see so many present. From what he had witnessed, so far, he could conscientiously say that all had enjoyed themselves to their hearts’ content. If there were any who had not done so, he was sure it had been their own fault. (Hear, hear.) He then commenced to read from a pile of letters, sent by gentlemen who had been invited to dinner, but who, owing to important business engagements, and other excuses, were very sorry they could not be present. One eminent citizen had been called up to London, another learned gentleman had that day gone on the Continent, one had embarked for Russia, another had shipped to Australia, two had sailed for America, and one had been married, and therefore could not come, but the last one said that he was enjoying himself, and therefore sent them half-a-sovereign, with the hope that they would do likewise. (Loud applause.) Others enclosed substantial evidences of their generosity and goodwill for the object which had brought that meeting together, so that all present might consider themselves rich for one day at any rate. The Chairman then said he hoped that all present would loyally support him on that occasion, and pay the closest attention to the chair, as there were matters of very great and grave import to be submitted for their consideration and wise counsel, and he also hoped that, as the reporters were too busy to be present, they would not make long speeches nor fools themselves. He would call upon Mr. Quaker Oates to proceed with the toasts of the evening which were as follows:— “The Queen and the Royal Family.” “The Army, Navy, and Volunteers,” “The Town and Trade of Huddersfield,” “The Visitors,” “The Late Candidate,” “The Host and Hostess,” “Themselves (separately), and all they were then able to think of and who deserved a toast.” The first portion of this list was drunk and responded to most enthusiastically. Mr. Y. Mendelssohn presided at the pianoforte, and ably played both national and patriotic music.

Mr. Sancho Solomon responded to “The Visitors,” and said it gave him great pleasure to have the opportunity of being present, and fully assured them that he greatly valued their kind invitation, and was also highly gratified with the courtesy and goodwill that he had met with in their hearty and generous company. Before leaving home he told his goose, Sol, whom they of course all knew, where he was going. Sol seemed somewhat thoughtful for a moment and then began to cackle and gabble, not so loudly as usual, as if he were saying: Now, Sancho, seeing that I shall not be with you to watch when your glass is nearly empty, and to bring you home sober, bear in mind that if a goose knows when it has had enough, a man ought to be ashamed of himself if he does not know likewise. Let your conduct this night bear the morning’s reflection, so that when you look me in the face to-morrow you will be able to do so with a clear conscience. My motto is “Live soberly and well,” and surely yours ought at least to be as good, if not better. (Cheers.)

The Chairman then called upon Alderman Bright Tribune to move the first resolution.

Mr. Tribune advanced towards the table and placed upon it a beautiful casket — a splendid specimen of artistic design, skill, and workmanship. Of course all eyes were fixed upon the casket, and many expressions of wonder were made, while the excitement was intense as to what it could contain. The curiosity of the assemblage was very great indeed to know what was inside the beautiful box before them, for the secret had been well kept, a glad surprise being intended.

Alderman Tribune then said — Mr. Chairman, and Gentlemen, — One of the most pleasant duties has fallen to my lot. I assure you I consider it both an honour and a great privilege in being called upon to move a resolution of thanks and of continued confidence in our late and highly-respected candidate for the Lockwood Ward, Mr. Quixote Esculapius. No doubt all present will be equally willing and anxious to give the heartiest support to that sentiment. (Applause.) We are in duty bound to do something to compensate — no matter how inadequately — and show our gratitude to our esteemed and eloquent friend the late candidate — (cheers) — for the manly, straightforward, and upright manner in which he has gone through the late straggle, and for the good intentions he manifested for the welfare of the inhabitants of Lockwood and the country at large. If Mr. Esculapius were defeated he was not disgraced. If the electors were too purblind and idiotic not to give him the support he deserved, it was to their shame, but not to his dishonour, for I cannot conceive of another man in Huddersfield, nay, I feel almost tempted to say, in the country, so eminently qualified to sit in our local Parliament, or in the Commons House of Parliament, or even in the Upper Chamber. There could not possibly be a more eloquent man, or one of such commanding presence. Oft have we been held spell-bound by his words of power; fired to the greatest enthusiasm by his burning periods; and roused to do and dare by his fervid and impetuous speech. (Applause.) Again, I say, the ratepayers of Lockwood could not have had a better man, or one half so good as Mr. Quixote Esculapius, and I do not envy the feelings of those flaccid molluscs, or those fatuous clever-clogs, who did not give him their individual support. If the Huddersfield Town Council is not ornamented by the presence of our Mr. Esculapius, we, the influential and consistent supporters of that gentleman, intend to show our appreciation of him by substantially recognising, and thereby emphasising, his energy, perseverance, great abilities, and high attributes. You are well acquainted with the admirable and gentlemanly way in which he has conducted himself daring this election. There is not a breath of slander that can be truthfully blown upon his character, and even his bitterest, and, of course, most foolish, opponents have been over-awed by his astounding knowledge of the requirements of our ward, the remarkable foresight he has manifested, and the constructive ability he has displayed in the advocacy of retrenchment and sensible reform in municipal matters. Our candidate no sooner opened his mouth than his audience perceived that he was a man of great erudition, and capable of not only severely criticising a policy, but of showing, in a statesmanlike manner, how to remedy defects and establish a Government on a sound basis. Notwithstanding the silly and inane charges brought against him by men of no standing and less character, by men who are too ignorant to know their right hands from their left. I feel sure you will scornfully ignore or hurl back in the face of those who made the statements that our candidate was a quack, a fool, that he was not a ratepayer, that he was an ignoramus, that he was not properly nominated, and that he stayed out late at nights, reeled as he went home, slept out, or went to bed with his hat on and without taking his boots off. As I said before he has our confidence, and so long as he will stand by us we will stand by him. (Loud applause.) I have the greatest pleasure in moving the resolution.

Mr. D. Longshanks, in a few appropriate and telling remarks, particularly complimentary to his bosom friend and boon companion, the late candidate, seconded the motion.

The proposition was put and carried unanimously with great applause.

The Chairman then said the next business on the programme was “A Mayor for Lockwood.” They had one already, but, though he lived in Lockwood, he was only Mayor of Huddersfield, and in such an important ward as theirs they wanted one all to themselves, so he, therefore, called upon Alderman Demosthenes to move the next resolution.

Alderman Demosthenes said that after the able speech that had just been made by Alderman Tribune, he would not trust himself to further refer to the merits of Mr. Esculapius, but would content himself by saying that all present had ample proof of the fitness of that gentleman for the important position of Chief Magistrate for Lock-wood. He had great pleasure in moving “That Mr. Quixote Esculapius be the Mayor of Lockwood for the next ensuing 12 months."

The words had scarcely passed the lips of the speaker before every man in the room was on his feet, while the enthusiasm was intense, and the applause was such that only Lockwood Yorkshire-men could or can give.

After order had been restored Mr. N. Barebones rose to second the foregoing resolution, in doing which he gave a soul-stirring address on the undoubted qualities of the gentleman proposed to be made Mayor of Lookwood.

Mr. Q. Boniface supported with marked ability and good taste.

The motion was put and carried amid enthusiastic cries of “Long live the Mayor of Lockwood," again and again renewed. There was then a great chinking of glasses, and every man-jack present considered it his duty to drink the Mayor’s health two or three times over.

After the Chairman had, with great difficulty, succeeded in restoring and maintaining order, he said — Gentlemen, I will thank you to keep quiet, as there is yet another important duty to perform before the chain of office is placed around the neck of our Mayor, and that is to elect councillors to assist and support the Mayor in the management of the business of Lockwood Ward. I have in my hand a list of names of gentlemen who will, I feel sure, ably and honourably represent both their own, ours, and the interests of the burgesses of our ward. (Hear, hear.) I will call the names over, and if there is the slightest objection to anyone I hope you will call out, and his name shall be removed and another put in his place. They are as follows:— Mr. Quaker Oates, Mr. N. Barebones, Mr. B. Wildman, Mr. P. Swineham, Mr. M. Dewdrops, Mr. Q. Shadysides. Mr. Paul Postel, and Mr. W. Greenhorn. I think it will be best to put the names altogether in order to save time.

Mr. Longshanks proposed that the gentlemen who had just answered to their names be councillors of the Lockwood Ward, as he thought them eminently fit and proper persons to represent their own and our interests in the Council. They were men well acquainted with the locality and the surrounding districts, particularly the public-houses and the poorer quarters, and all were mentally, physically, or in any other imaginable way, well qualified to hold each important positions. Our present four aldermen had conducted themselves so well, and had taken such good care that no one’s interest had been molested, and had so maintained the dignity of their honourable positions, that Lockwood had such confidence in them that it rested with themselves whether they lived and died honoured aldermen of the Lockwood Ward. (Applause.)

Mr. W. Shrewdeye seconded the proposition, and it was warmly carried without the slightest opposition.

The Chairman, Mayor, and Town Clerk, pro tem. (Mr. Sancho Solomon), and two aldermen then retired to another room, leaving Mr. Mendelssohn in possession of the rest of the Corporation, singing the following favourite ditty, consisting of one all-sufficient verse, to be repeated as many times as there were glasses on the table:—

Oh I what a time we are having tral la,
In drinking at t'ratepayers’ expense,
Our banquet is free, therefore we will spree,
So long as they find us the pence.

When the verse had gone once round, Mr. Mendelssohn was so loudly encored that no order could be obtained until he consented to repeat the ditty.