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My early days…

July 28, 2009

I was born in the City of London on the 21st of March 1799, my parents being Headley and Mary Ackland. I was their second son,Headley being the eldest; Harding, George and my dear sister Elizabeth, being their other offerings to this world.

During the time when Napoleon was consigned to Elba, my father, who was a master butcher and government contractor, and had realised an ample fortune; took an enormous contract with the government to supply meat and forage to the British Army throughout the United Kingdom. When the contract was agreed the price of every article was at its peace rate and the terms of the contract of course proportionate. Who would have anticipated the escape of the imprisoned Emperor, the renewal of the war with France, and the enhancement of the prices of every article of necessity, with the consequent ruin of my father. Yet so it was, on the 18th May 1811, Headley Ackland, provision merchant from Leadenhall Market and Birchin Lane, London appeared as a bankrupt in the London Bankruptcy Court.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 28, 2009 6:04 pm

    It was during the early period of his business failure that my father came to fetch us home, as he was unable to afford the heavy expense of our education. But the worthy doctor declined parting with us on that account, and, although his charges were ultimately met, I have ever felt indebted to the noble-minded Magister for the instruction which, but for his liberality, I should have probably lacked.

    When at Mr. Sketchley’s establishment, it was my fortune – or misfortune – to carry off the prize for elocution and to be publicly begirt with a blue sash, blazoned with a silver star, duly engraved and adorned; and years afterward, at Alfred House, when a stack of chimneys fell one night through one of our bedrooms without injury to the juvenile sleepers, and a prize was offered for the best written and best recited poem on “A Providential Escape,” I was equally successful. These trivial circumstances have contributed in a great degree, as I believe, to my subsequent career, to my ambition to be a public man, and necessarily (to that end) to my self reliance.

  2. July 30, 2009 5:10 pm

    Brilliant…..”These trivial circumstances have contributed in a great degree, as I believe, to my subsequent career, to my ambition to be a public man, and necessarily (to that end) to my self reliance.”

    Character to find ~is seldom….lately.

  3. Fayette Hickox permalink
    November 23, 2009 4:41 pm

    What is James Acland reading these days? Curious in Connecticut.

  4. KAth Boake W permalink
    November 23, 2009 4:41 pm

    Gee, your just exactly 155 years older than me, as long as one is young at heart…

  5. November 23, 2009 4:43 pm

    Fayette, I seem to have various books and articles that I am reading around in at any one time. At the moment I am reading through my own publications and correspondences (those that I can find) in an effort to piece together the fragments of my former life. That said, on my desk is a copy of ‘Finnegan’s Wake’, ‘The Sufi’s’ a Songbook in Romany … Read morecalled ‘The Drom’, Stolen Sharpie Revolution (A D.I.Y Zine Resource), A National Service Handbook and ‘Succesful Gardening Without Digging’ by James Gunston. How about you?

    KAth, I hope so. How lovely that we share a birthday!

  6. Fayette Hickox permalink
    November 23, 2009 4:44 pm

    I’m reading Stanley Ayling’s biography of Edmund Burke, Bagehot’s book on the English Constitution (James, it’s important to know what they’re thinking)
    and Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking, a extraordinary introduction to food chemistry. I’ve been poking into books about Darwin. Not to brag, but I think I may be more than 99% chimp. In State … Read moreTrials, there’s an amazing case concerning a London prison in the late 18th century. (This last prompted by your image). Fragrant. Successful Gardening Without Digging? Really?

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