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Smith's example, he asked leave of the benchers to erect it within the church. Harris's petition to this effect bears date May 26, 1684 ; and soon afterwards the organ was
; “set up in the Church on the south side of the Communion Table."
Both organs being thus stationed under the roof of the church, the committee of benchers appointed to decide on their relative merits declared themselves ready to listen. The trial began, but many months-ay, some years—elapsed ere it came to an end. On either side the credit of the manufacturer was sustained by execution of the highest order of art. Father Smith's organ was handled alternately by Purcell and Dr. Blow; and Draghi, the queen's organist, did his best to secure a verdict for Renatus Harris. Of course the employment of these eminent musicians greatly increased the number of persons who felt personal interest in the contest. Whilst the pupils and admirers of Purcell and Blow were loud in declaring that Smith's organ ought to win, Draghi's friends were equally sure that the organ touched by his expert fingers ought not to lose. Discussion soon became violent ; and in every profession, clique, coterie of the town, supporters of Smith wrangled with supporters of Harris. Like the battle of the Gauges in our time, the battle of the Organs was the grand topic with every class of society, at Court and on 'Change, in coffee-houses and at ordinaries. Again and again the organs were tested in the hearing of dense and fashionable congregations ; and as often the judicial committee was unable to come to a decision. The hesitation of the judges put oil upon the fire ; for Smith's friends, indignant at the delay, asserted that certain members of the committee were bound to Harris by corrupt considerations--an accusation that was retorted by the other side with equal warmth and want of justice.
After the squabble had been protracted through many months, Harris created a diversion by challenging Father Smith to make additional reed-stops within a given time. The challenge was accepted ; and forth with the Father went to work and made Vox Humana, Cremorne, Double Courtel, or Double Bassoon, and other stops. A day was appointed for the renewal of the contest ; but party feeling ran so high, that during the night preceding the appointed day a party of hot-headed Harrissians broke into the Temple Church, and cut Smith's bellows—so that on the following morning his organ was of no more service than an old linen-press. A row ensued ; and in the ardor of debate swords were drawn.
In June, 1685, the benchers of the Middle Temple, made a written declaration in favor of Father Smith, and urged that his organ should be forthwith accepted. Strongly and rather discourteously worded, this declaration gave offence to the benchers of the Inner Temple, who regarded it as an attempt at dictation; and on June 22, 1685, they recommended the appointment of another committee with powers to decide the contest. Declining to adopt this suggestion, the Middle Temple benchers reiterated their high opinion of Smith's instrument. On this the Battle of the Organs became a squabble between the two Temples ; and the outside public, laughing over the quarrel of the lawyers, expressed a hope that honest men would get their own since the rogues had fallen out.
At length, when the organ-builders had well-nigh ruined each other, and the town had grown weary of the dispute, the Inner Temple yielded somewhere about the beginning of 1688—at an early date of which year Smith received a sum of money in part payment for his organ. On May 27th of the same year, Mr. Pigott was appointed organist. After its rejection by the Temple, Renatus Harris divided his organ into two, and having sent the one part to the cathedral of Christ's Church, Dublin, he set up the other part in the church of St. Andrew, Holborn. Three years after his disappointment, Renatus Harris was tried at the Old Bailey for a political offence, the nature of which may be seen from the following entry in Narcissus Luttrell's Diary " April, 1691. The Sessions have been at the Old Bailey, where these persons, Renatus Harris, John Watts, William Rutland, Henry Gandy, and Thomas Tysoe, were tried at the Old Bailey for setting up policies of insurance that Dublin would be in the hands of some other king than their present majesties by Christmas next : the jury found them guilty of a misdemeanor.” For this offence Renatus Harris was fined £200, and was required to give security for his good conduct until Christmas.
An erroneous tradition assigns to Lord Jeffreys the honor of bringing the Battle of the Organs to a conclusion, and writers improving upon this tradition, have represented that Jeffreys acted as sole umpire between the contendants. In his History of Music,' Dr. Burney, to whom the prevalence of this false impression is mainly due, observes—“At length the decision was left to Lord Chief Justice Jeffries, afterwards King James the Second's pliant Chancellor, who was of that society (the Inner Temple), and he terminated the controversy in favor of Father Smith ; so that Harris's organ was taken away without loss of reputation, having so long pleased and puzzled better judges than Jefferies."
Careful inquirers have ascertained that Harris's organ did not go to Wolverhampton, but to Dublin and St. Andrew's Holborn, part of it being sent to the one, and part to the other place. It is certain that Jeffrys was not chosen to act as umpire in 1681, for the benchers did not
make their original proposal to the rival builders until February, 1682; and years passed between that date and the termination of the squabble. When Burney wrote: “ At length the decision was left to Lord Chief Justice Jefferies, afterwards King James II.'s pliant Chancellor," the musician was unaware that the squabble was still at white heat whilst Jeffreys occupied the woolsack. On his return from the Western Campaign, Jeffreys received the seals in September, 1685, whereas the dispute about the organs did not terminate till the opening of 1688, or at earliest till the close, of 1687. There is no authentic record in the archives of the Temples which supports, or in any way countenances, the story that Jeffreys made choice of Smith's instrument; but it is highly probable that the Lord Chancellor exerted his influence with the Inner Temple (of which society he was a member), and induced the benchers, for the sake of peace, to yield to the wishes of the Middle Temple. It is no less probable that his fine musical taste enabled him to see that the Middle Temple benchers were in the right, and gave especial weight to his words when he spoke against Harris's instrument.
Though Jeffreys delighted in music, he does not seem to have held its professors in high esteem. In the time of Charles II. musical artists of the humbler grades liked to be styled 'musitioners ;' and on a certain occasion, when he was sitting as Recorder for the City of London, George Jeffreys was greatly incensed by a witness who, in a pompous voice, called himself a musitioner. With a sneer the Recorder interposed—“A musitioner! I thought you were a fiddler!" “I am a musitioner,” the violinist answered, stoutly. "Oh, indeed,” croaked Jeffreys. “That is very important-highly important-extremely important! And pray, Mr. Witness, what is the difference between a musitioner and a fiddler ?" With
fortunate readiness the man answ
swered, “As much, sir,” as there is between a pair of bagpipes and a Recorder.
A THICKNESS IN THE THROAT.
HE date is September, 1805, and the room before us
is The hot sun is beating down on cliff and terrace, beach and pier, on the downs behind the town and the sparkling sea in front. The brightness of the blue sky is softened by white vapor that here and there resembles a vast curtain of filmy gauze, but nowhere has gathered into visible masses of hanging cloud. In the distance the sea is murmuring audibly, and through the screened windows, together with the drowsy hum of the languid waves, comes a light breeze that is invigorating, notwithstanding its sensible warmth.
Besides ourselves there are but two people in the room: a gentlewoman who has said farewell to youth, but not to feminine grade and delicacy; and an old man, who is lying on a sofa near one of the open windows, whilst his daughter plays passages of Handel's music on the pianoforte.
The old man wears the dress of an obsolete school of English gentlemen ; a large brown wig with three rows of curls, the lowest row resting on the curve of his shoulders ; a loose grey coat, notable for the size of its cuffs and the bigness of its heavy buttons; ruffles at his wrists, and frills of fine lace below his roomy cravat. These are the most conspicuous articles of his costume, but not the most striking points of his aspect. Over his huge, pallid, cadaverous, furrowed face there is an air