March 1 – 1842
A quarrel between the TB & QSS which lasted some time began this day in consequence of Beasley a Bishops’ Boy in the Sixth having licked a Second Election.*
The facts are as follows –
The Captain* having head that this fellow in the 2d Election has been licked, sent to Beasley saying that he wished to speak to him. He went accordingly alone and unarmed, not the least suspecting what the QSS were about to do. When he arrived at College doors the Captain met him & hit him several times with a stick. Most of the QSS were there ready as they said afterwards to set on Beasley if the Captain had not been sufficient of himself with his stick to lick his unarmed enemy whose only offence was wearing a purple gown instead of a black one. But Beasley seeing about 30 to 1* thought it better to refer to Williamson at once & after a great deal of palaver & bother it ended in the Captain sending an apology to the Head of the T.B. Peace was now nominally restored, but the QSS refused to have Beasley in the boat which was to race with Eton which again occasioned a deal of quarrelling & letters were sent to Eton to say that the boat which was preparing to race them was not the Westminster proper boat unless Beasley rowed in it.
Several letters appeared in Bell’s Life upon the subject but as Beasley was taken ill about a week before the reach took place it at once put an end to any doubt concerning his rowing in the boat.
W.G. Andrewes Prin. Opp.
* W.K.R. Bedford, but who stepped in [&] impeded him whilst running after some other Boy.
It was not however Bedford’s fault at all that this disgraceful occurrence came to such a height, but of some other Under Election.
* He had offered to fight anyone of them on the spot, singly, but as in all probability they did consider themselves a match whilst alone, they preferred the unfair and disgraceful way related here.
In consequence of the Etonians having been defeated last year at Datchet Bridge they again challenged us to row them. The preliminaries having been all settled at the Eton Montem by the respective Heads of the Water, it was agreed by both parties that the Race should take place Tuesday July 31st (the Match day) the Etonians breaking up on the Monday preceding… It was also agreed that the intended Race should be kept a profound secret as Williamson was known to be hostile to Boat racing. Notwithstanding all our caution a paragraph appeared in the Bell’s Life Newspaper stating that “A match was to be rowing between Eton and Westminster from Westminster Bridge to Putney July 31st and by this or some other means our Purpose became known to Williamson. In the 1st School on Monday morning Williamson sent for the Captain and told him he understood that it was our intention to row the following day and as it was contrary to all Rules of the School he must insist on our giving a pledge not to row or that he must take his own measures to stop it. Upon the Captain’s refusal to give any such pledge he immediately commenced proceedings by stopping the early play for the next day (the Match day) and by ordering the Q.S. to be locked up at ¼ before 7. During 6th lesson on Tuesday he told us (the 6th) that we must attend a Mathematical lecture in School from 11 ½ to 1 and again from 5 till 7 after afternoon lockers. However, in the course of some conversation with him it was discovered that the pledge required was only “not to row on the match day” which pledge was accordingly given and therefore we conceived ourselves at liberty to row that evening. However during lockers Williamson sent for the head of the T.B. and the Captain and told them that any boy who rowed in a match with Eton would be severely punished. But the Eight being determined at all hazards to row at 5 o clock sallied forth. But unfortunately 3 of the crew having to go to Williamson to say some imposition he took this advantage to detain 2 of them there till far too late to think of rowing this added to the circumstance that the Fathers of 2 of the crew came down to Westminster during the afternoon and expressly forbid their sons to row in the match entirely broke up the Crew. But determined not to disappoint the Etonians we offered to make up the boat again and row them which they very generously refused saying that it would be no honour then for them to beat us. Betting was 6 to 4 on the Westminsters. The Crew was as follows –
Maule – Steerer
For further particulars vide Water Ledger