The Tall Men’s Club

If you have landed on this page first, this excerpt comes from a book entitled Various subjects and is dated 1889. For a full explanation, please visit th Various Subjects page.

Here Charles Henry Stott’s is talking about different types of clubs – A Little Men’s Club, A Tall Men’s Club, A Silent Club, and A Terrible Club. I’ve picked out this one, and will follow it up with the other’s at a later date.

He uses a lot of words in explanation and many strange ones too. I have copied it just as it is to give a flavour of the time. So, if you can wade through the words, ignore prejudices, there are some interesting items in here which tell us a little about the time he lived in.

silhouette-3115296_1280.pngThose who have read our two articles on the Little Men’s Club will be further amused when they learn that the little men, when they had formed their club had attached importance to themselves, so irritated their taller brethren that those latter also determined to form a club. Some persons are soon irritated, whilst other, happy beings, are not only able to suppress irritation when it arises in themselves, but to look upon the irritability of others with so much calmness of spirit that many even mature and senile person cannot understand. It is well to be able to possess sang froid, but some human beings seem to live in the midst for particulars of the Little Men’s Club; we are now indebted to the secretary of the Tall Men’s Club; for the particulars of his association. Here the secretary was appointed because he was the shortest member, “having only six-foot and a half of stature;” the president, however, is a “Scottish Highlander, and within an inch of a show.” This sesquipedal secretary tell us, ‘we elected our president as man of the ancients did their kings, by reason of his height, having only confirmed him that station above us which stature had given him”

At the time these particulars were given by the secretary the club consisted of thirty members, ‘the most slightly all her Majesty’s subjects,” and the secretary proudly adds, when in petticoats.” Whether or not a man is tall or short when there is early maturity, early manhood, there is an early advantage. Some persons are born with advantages which, however, are not always embraced, whilst others have to struggle against disadvantages from the day of their nativity. Some person profit by disadvantages others seem to be crippled by them all the days of their lives.

Let us see what William Cobbett says about tall men; here is his book where find that we have marked these words, “A tall man is, whether as labourer, carpenter, bricklayer, soldier, or sailor, or almost anything else, worth more than a short man; he can look over a higher thing, he can reach higher and wider, he can move on from place to place faster, in mowing grass or corn he take a longer swath, in pitching he wants a shorter prong, in making buildings so does not so soon want a ladder or a scaffold, in fighting he keeps his body further from the point of his sword. To be sure, a man may be tall and weak; but this is the exception and not the rule. Height, and weight, and strength, in men, as in speechless animals , generally go together. Aye, and in enterprise and courage, too, the powers of the body have a great deal to do. Doubtless there are, have been , and always will be, great numbers of small and enterprising, and brave men; but it is not in nature that, generally speaking, those who are conscious of the inferiority in point of bodily strength should possess the boldness of those who have contrary description.” Here we notice that length and strength have an advantage; physical prowess, however, is not always possessed, and need not be possessed, by those who govern and command. Where do tall men come from> Not giants who are sometimes announced as men who are “in height the nearest to the heavens of all other men,” but ordinary beings who are tall. Mr Buckland, in his book on Curiosities of Natural History, tells us of a man who “not only a giant, but un bon garçon,” of whom he is pleased to further say, “he is the good-natured giant, not the fierce Fe-Fo-Fum  ogre of the nursery talks.” With this good character reader’s will not be surprised to learn that Mr Buckland ‘paid the giant several visits,” and that “somehow or another we took a fancy to each other, and I did my best to render him what little services I could, as he was quite a stranger in London, and this he evidently felt much. I, therefore, determined to do my best to be a real friend to the poor giant – good natured, excellent, gentlemanlike fellow as he was.” This action on the part of Mr. Buckland was appreciated, so much so that the naturalist says, “We ultimately became great friends, and I invited him up to the Regent’s Park Barracks, where I introduced him to my brother officers. It was by his side or walk under his arm and look up to him.” But where do the tall men who are not giants come from? This giant, this bon garcon, who is a Frenchman and qui s’appelle, M. Brice shall tell us.

Not from what he has read, but the observation. Here is the answer as supplied to Mr. Buckland: – “The giant informed me that the greatest number of tall men he observed in his tour through the United Kingdom were in Yorkshire and Lancashire, and this corresponds with my experience a medical office of the 2nd Lifeguards. The geological formation of a district, I found, in examining recruits for the regiment, has considerable effect upon the stature of its inhabitants. Coal-producing countries , as a rule generally grown the tallest and am at the same time the largest-bones men.” Those who reside in the counties of Lancashire and Yorkshire may be proud of their tall men, but if these men “are only worth more than short men,” according to Cobbett, as labourers, carpenters, bricklayers, soldiers, or sailors, then short men have not much to fear especially as Mr Buckland tell us in another part of his book that ‘giants, for the most part, exhibit enormous proportions of limbs, at the expense of the mental powers.” He adds, however, that M. Brice is an exception to this rule; he is courteous and affable to strangers, and his manners so agreeable that his visitors feel at ease in his presence, and not gauche and uncomfortable, as English people are too apt to feel when they try to do the civil Frenchmen. However, whether men be tall or short, they are not physically incapacitate, they are generally able to work like men, and always in a position, if they will, to ack like men. Littleness of stature is often a disadvantage to the youth, but when there is no littleness of mind, manliness soon exhibits its power. “The difference,’ we repeat, ‘between men consists in a great measure, in the intelligence of their observation.” Height and weight and strength, although they ‘generally go together,’ and are an advantage, do not always make the real man.

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