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.

Various Subjects – Blog Post

by Charles Henry Stott

Charles Stott was my great, great-grandfather and he wrote a book which was passed through the family and finally ended up with me. Many of the articles it contains are fascinating because he is a social history of life in the late 1800s. The writing style is very different from today, and so is his outlook on society.

A static page entitled Various Subjects will be available in the menu bar and to get further information on the book and see the list of articles, please visit the Various Subject page here or on the menu.



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 the Various Subjects page.

I found this article didn’t say as much about holidays as I would have like to have read. It’s more like he is writing in a journal about his observations that really relating items of interests and he often goes off on a tangent. Still, some of it is interesting and he seems to make a point on things we take for granted.

The woman in the picture is his granddaughter, Minnie Constance Stott.

Minnie Constance Stott, Blackpool 1924Although everybody would like to have a holiday, and although it is advisable that everybody should have a holiday, everybody does not get one. There are some persons who are often trouble not with how to obtain a holiday, but where they can best spend one, but these are persona who are wealthy, who have perhaps been born rich and riches thrust upon them, or what is really more honourable have made themselves rich. There are positions, however, that are not always the happiest although they are always the most enviable. Some beings spend everything whilst other save all they are able. Happy creatures! These are they who can take holiday and who can enjoy them too. Some people are always afraid of expense, but with careful management a holiday need not cost very much.

He who contemplates a holiday ‘round the world’ should well think of the time it would take, and also of the cost; if he can afford both, he would do well to take his travels by land and by sea, as it is more enjoyable to see distant lands than to read of them – books instruct but to the close observer nature is the best teacher; those, however who cannot visit other worlds may learn much at home. Some persons learn something everywhere – they see sermons in stones, books, in running rooks, and good in everything. That, however which is edifying to one may be passed by unnoticed by another. Little things although very remarkable, full of interest, and very instructive, are seldom noticed, whilst those of gigantic stature always command attention by their hugeness. Man may, and does,  unobservedly, continuous teach man;  and the illiterate to some observers may be full of wisdom.

Having ourselves received an invitation, and having accepted it, we lately spent an enjoyable holiday, note where there was any dread of mal de mer, l as there was no sea, but in the midst of arboriculture, agriculture , and floriculture; trees that are neglected may be admired, but uncultivated fields are regrettable. Flowers, where they come under the heading of floriculture or not, are always attractive. Wild flowers, especially to those who are able to describe them by their names, are always sweet and interesting. That which is neglected is considered valueless, but even little attention when it was given to wild flowers discovers loveliness in ever form.

A visit to the Italian Exhibition, on our holiday journey, we found interesting in many ways, but beyond stating here (we intend to particularise hereafter) that we were somewhat disappointed, although it was a matter of utility, to find English youths dressed as Italians selling programmes, we, however, were inwardly amused when we intentionally addressed them in the Italian language and afterwards in the /French, to receive only smiles by their not understanding. The youths were too polite to be rude. Rudeness is always offensive, whilst politeness never fails to please.

When at Oxford we had pleasure in seeing that at the entrance of the gardens of New College the motto of the Winchester School, “Manners mayketh man,” was prominently placed. Some person are filled with manners whist others seem never able to understand them. Although this college retains the adjective “new,” senility may be seen everywhere, as our readers will readily understand when they are told that this structure of learning was founded in the year 1379, was opened with solemn and religious ceremonial on April 14th, 1896, and that “after the lapse of 500 years most of the buildings remain to this day as they were designed by munificent founder.” Bu in order to be very precise we are further told that “it should be noted that the upper storey of the great quadrangle was added in 1675,”

When at another college, the Corpus Christi, which was founded in the year 1516 and was dedicated ‘to the honour of the most precious body of our Lord Jesus Christ, of His most spotless mother, and of all the saint’s patrons of Cathedral churches of Winchester, Durham, Bath and Wells and Exeter,” we had further but quiet amusement on asking our guide the meaning of Corpus Christi and receiving the answer that it was the name of the college. Seeing that the conductor was not a Latin scholar, we ultimately told him what we thought every person in Oxford knew, that the words in English are the body of Christ.

The new College, which, as will be readily know by what we say above, is no longer new, reminds us of the New Ricer Company, which continues this name, although it was established in the year 1619.

It will be interesting to know that, according to Burdett’s Official Intelligence, “the New River Company’s shares, as established by charter, are freehold, and are divided into moieties – none moiety, or 36 parts, being held by the incorporated “Adventures’ the other moiety, or 86 parts, being originally held by Kind James the First, who paid half the expenses, and subsequently, then the moiety was regranted by Charles the First by persons now called King’s share-holders, who are not incorporated with the Adventures. Both these moieties are again sub-divided, and held by numerous persons, and, being real estate, are subject to entail and to trusts for minors. Each holder of proportionate part of a share adequate value has a vote for the counties of Middlesex and Hertford.” It will be further interesting to learn that “these shares are usually sold in fractions by public auction,” and that the highest price that has ever been obtained for a share was £104,400 for an income of £2,136 in October 1877 and that the last registered sale (on 23rd November 1887) was at the rate of from £84,000 to £86,400 per share. It will thus be seen that this “New” College and this “New” Company are interesting various ways.

Naturalists, scholars, students, ecclesiastics, authors, and other learned men tell us that everything is adapted for purpose; those where are close observers of mature very quickly learn this. As we found our rural retreat that the earwig was a little troublesome, we were told by and intelligent lady that the frog was the best destroyer of these insects, and that every frog she could procure she turned into her garden. Toads, were told by a gardener, were kept by him in melon frames for a similar purpose. Our lady friend, we were pleased to learn, had discovered the usefulness of the frog by observation. Of toads we read in White’s Natural History of Selbourne: – :It is strange that the matter with regards to the venom of toads has not been yet settled.” But T.B., in the same book, tells us: – “I have a toad so tame that when it was held in one hand it would take its food from the other held near it. The manner in which this animal takes its prey is very interesting. The tongue when at rest is doubled back upon itself in the mouth, and the apex, which is broad, is imbued with the most tenacious mucus. On seeing an insect the animal fixes its beautiful eyes upon, leans or creeps forward, and when within reach the tongue is projected upon the insect, and again returned into the mouth with the captive prey, by a notion so rapid that without the most careful observation the action cannot be followed.” We, however, have digressed.

Holidays with observation are more enjoyable that those that are taken simply because they are holidays. There are compulsory holidays, however – holidays that are taken. Because the body requires rest and mental effort requires a change. Holidays give pleasure every way, prospective and retrospective; holidays prolong life, and those who spend money in the enjoyment of them spend money well.