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Daniel Mendoza

Lewis Edwards

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Daniel Mendoza By Lewis Edwards, M.A., F.S.A. Paper read before the Jewish Historical Society of England, 15th March, 1938. It is suggested that, though an apology is not necessary for the choice of the subject of this paper, an explanation would not be out of place. To the Muse of History nothing nowadays is common or unclean, and were the subject of Boxing in fact even more disreputable than the most fanatical of its opponents have claimed, a society purport? ing to deal with all phases of Anglo-Jewish history could still not deny it an audience. But if in truth Boxing can lay claim to an illus? trious succession of chroniclers from Homer and Virgil, through Hazlitt and Borrow, to Conan Doyle and Bernard Shaw, then it may take its place as of right as a fitting subject for treatment. If these facts can justify its antiquity and its respectability, then a galaxy of Jewish names?Dan Mendoza, Dutch Sam, Abe Belasco, to name but a few, and to omit recent exponents?makes one wonder at its being so studiously ignored by the historians of Anglo-Jewry. Why the Jew has taken so readily to Boxing has always been something of a puzzle, but the reason may perhaps be found in the fact that in his early days in this country this form of sport was less exclusive and also more urban than, say cricket or football, and that the tradition set up in the early days has been followed with charac? teristic conservatism; or it may be that, as has been suggested, the need for self-protection against the odium aroused through the " Jew Bill " of 1753 led to the cultivation of that art. Daniel Mendoza, the most famous of Jewish boxers, was, according to his Memoirs, born in Aldgate of " middling-class parents " on 73</page><page sequence="2">74 DANIEL MENDOZA 5th July, 1764. According to the records of the Spanish and Portu? guese Synagogue, Daniel, the son of Abraham Mendoza was circum? cised on 12th July, 1765, his godparents being Jacob Del Mar and Deborah da Costa. As Daniel, the son of Abraham Mendoza, who was buried on 4th September, 1836 is undoubtedly the prize-fighter, it would seem that the 1765 entry refers to him and that his Memoirs give the wrong year, and that we must take the date of birth to have been the 5th July, 1765. Moreover the Masonic record mentioned hereafter gives his age as 22 at the end of 1787 or the beginning of 1788. Dr. Roth has suggested that he was connected with the artistic Aaron Mendoza, shpchet to the community, who in 1733 had pub? lished a work in Spanish on his calling, with illustrations from his own hand. There are two entries on the Bevis Marks Marriage Register which may be relevant. In 1752 Abraham Mendoza was married to Esther de Isaac Lopes, and in 1730 Aaron, son of Daniel Mendoza was married to Benvenida de Abraham Tobi. This Abraham was probably Daniel's father, and Aaron (the skochet) possibly his grand? father. The young Daniel Mendoza, according to the Memoirs, was educated at a " Jews' School," probably " The Gates of Hope " of the Spanish and Portuguese congregation where he was instructed in the Hebrew language. It seems clear that he was brought up in Jewish surroundings, and throughout his life he was conscious of his membership of his community and quick to resent any insults levelled at it. He tells a story of how he and some companions dressing up as sailors on the occasion of a Jewish festival, presumably Purim, were met and detained by the press-gang and were only released after two days' confinement. On regaining their freedom they visited a play founded on the history of Esther, and during an interlude Daniel endeavoured to sing to the audience but by reason of hoarseness conspicuously failed. Among his earliest employers was a Jewish woman, and he tells us how he had many opportunities to defend her against those who were apt to attack her on account of her religion. Mendoza left school before he was thirteen, and from an early age</page><page sequence="3">DANIEL MENDOZA 75 showed boxing ability. His father, he tells us, was quick to applaud his skill when used in defence, but was set against its use in forms of aggression, and we may perhaps think these paternal counsels not without their effect in the son's subsequent career. His first employ? ment was with a glass-cutter, to whom he was to be apprenticed, but after standing up to and thrashing the bullying son of his employer, he left and found work in miscellaneous employments, with a fruiterer, with a tea-dealer, with a tobacconist, and even?unwit? tingly, as he says?with a smuggler. His first pitched battle took place in 1780 when he was sixteen years of age. The fight was occasioned by the insolence of a porter who had been delivering a load of tea to Dan's employer. Mendoza challenged him and " a ring being consequently formed in the street," the porter was beaten after a contest of three-quarters of an hour, Richard Humphries acting as Mendoza's second. His first fight for a money stake, Humphries again being his second, was with a coal-heaver and although he was giving away much in height, weight and strength, Mendoza beat his antagonist after a contest of nearly two hours' duration, earning the praise of his second who to the shouted advice and directions of the spectators answered " There's no need of it, the lad knows more than us all." Amid the story of Mendoza's changes of employment and wander? ings in search of work about this time, there is a passage in the Memoirs which may have a particular interest. He tells how " being at this time out of employment, and having gained some slight know? ledge of the confectionery business, being used to make passover cakes and things of that sort," he set out for Northampton with a companion and leaving London at 4 o'clock one morning reached his destination, a distance of about 65 miles, at 6 o'clock the next. Before describing his more famous appearances in the Prize-Ring, it may be as well to state that all the fights at this time were fought with the bare fists, gloves, if and when worn, being used merely for practice. To quote Mr. Bohun Lynch : " The men fought to a finish; that is, until one or other of them failed to come up to the scratch, chalked in the mid-ring, or until the seconds or backers gave in for</page><page sequence="4">76 DANIEL MENDOZA them, which last does not appear to have happened very often. A round ended with a knock-down or a fall from wrestling, and half a minute only was allowed for rest and recovery." Further it is to be noted that wrestling in those days formed an important element in the fight, and 44 that many a hard battle was lost by a good boxer whose strength was worn out by repeated falls." With the year 1783 we begin Mendoza's busy period in the ring. He fought, and lost to, Tom Tyne at Leytonstone; beat Matthews after two and a half hours, Matthews " continually fouling "; beat Dennis, and he adds?raising the curtain for a moment on a not too exemplary youth?he lived 44 more temperately and regularly " thereafter. He drew with Bryan and beat Nelson and Tyne, the last in a return match. Mendoza explained that he " was never very attentive to training, but relied chiefly upon my youth, and the excellence of my constitution." The name of Richard Humphries has already been mentioned as that of an early second of Mendoza. He was known as the 44 Gentle? man Boxer " by reason of his graceful carriage and manners, and the carefulness of his dress. From being friends the two became enemies, or rather Humphries became embittered against the other ?although it must be admitted that the evidence is chiefly that pro? duced by Mendoza. Calling at The Roehuc\ in Duke Street, Aldgate, on one occasion, Mendoza was grossly insulted and hustled by 44 the Gentleman." Knowing that to quarrel in one of the haunts of Humphries and his friends would lead to his being forbidden the place, Mendoza forbore to retaliate, and left the premises bowing politely, and saying that he would not forget himself, if Mr. Humphries did. Shordy after this a visit was paid to Mendoza, as he relates, by a representative of an illustrious personage?probably, 44 the first gentleman in Europe," the Prince of Wales. The messenger was Tom Tring, himself a boxer, whose athletic form, according to Boxiana, may be traced in the works of Sir Joshua Reynolds, Hopner and Beechey, and who was employed by the Prince as chairman or porter at Carlton House. Tring brought news that his master had</page><page sequence="5">DANIEL MENDOZA 77 matched Mendoza against Morton, the Bath butcher. After an attempted meeting at Shepherd's Bush had been prevented by the arrival of a party of the ioth Dragoons, the fight?Mendoza's first " stage battle "?took place at Barnet in the presence of two of the Princes and of other distinguished persons, and of Humphries and his patron Mr. Bradyll. Full details of the contest are lacking, but Mendoza beat his man, and received valuable presents from some of the illustrious spectators, gaining in all, he says, nearly ^500. Becoming " apprehensive lest the bank should fail" he converted the notes into cash at a loss, selling Ten Pound Notes for Nine Guineas a piece! After this Mendoza opened a School of Boxing at 4 Capel Court, behind the Royal Exchange, further reference to which will be made hereafter. As in the case of other addresses given in the Memoirs from time to time, I have unfortunately been unable to find any mention of the establishment in the contemporary directories. According to the records of the Spanish and Portuguese Syna? gogue, on 22nd May, 1787, Daniel Mendoza was married to Esther, the daughter of another Daniel Mendoza, so that it would appear probable that it was a marriage of cousins?an event by no means unusual in the community. To his mention of this event in his Memoirs, the bridegroom adds that he promised his wife not to fight any more except with Humphries. Circumstances however prevented his keeping his promise. Not long after this, Humphries followed Mendoza to Harlow, where he had gone to a fair, determined to pick a quarrel with him. They met at the Cock Tavern, near Epping Forest, quarrelled, and agreed to fight out the matter then and there. The landlord acted as second for Mendoza and Humphries was seconded by a friend, and they proceeded to fight in the tavern yard, when some police officers arrived and they had to desist. This meeting was but a preliminary to the three great fights between the two antagonists, which are so famous in the history of the Ring. The first of these took place at Odiham in Hampshire on 9th January, 1788, before a large and distinguished gathering and</page><page sequence="6">78 DANIEL MENDOZA aroused extraordinary interest. It attained the unusual literary dis? tinction of a long report in the Scots Magazine, as did also the following contest at Stilton. Mendoza's second was David Benjamin (Dr. Roth and Mr. Lynch call him Isaacs, and in the contemporary engraving of the fight he is so labelled), his bottle-holder Jacobs, and his umpire Moravia; this seems to have been the only big fight where his supporters were all Jews. Moravia's first name is not given in the authorities, so that we cannot tell whether he was either the " Isaac " or " Israel " who were subscribers to the English Hebrew Prayer Book published in London by Meyers and Alexander in 1770, or the " Jos." of New Casde Street, Whitechapel, a sub? scriber to the Haggadah published by Alexander in the same year. Humphries was attended by Tom Johnson and Tom Tring, and Allen was his umpire. The earlier rounds went decidedly in favour of Mendoza, and he had driven his man on the ropes and was delivering what might have been a decisive blow when that blow was intercepted by Johnson. Mendoza's supporters claimed a foul, but it was ruled contrary to what would be the present law regard? ing interference by seconds, that as Humphries by being on the ropes was in effect " knocked down ", he was for the moment exempt from " punishment" and that it was in order for Johnson to intercept the blow. The contest was then renewed, with the result that Mendoza, being thrown by his opponent and subsequently severely punished on the loins and in the neck, sprained his foot, gave up the fight, fainted, and was carried from the stage. It is said that it had been arranged by Mendoza's following that the dispatch of a white bird should be the signal of his victory and that of a black of his defeat. Humphries sent a laconic message to his patron, Mr. Bradyll, who was unable to be present: " Sir,? I have done the Jew, and am in good health.?Richard Humphries." Many prints and caricatures of the fight were published, one of which, in which Lord George Gordon is introduced, appears in Volume VI of the Society's Transactions, and it is also depicted on a jug, of which I have seen examples in the Jewish Museum and at Leamington. Further there was published an epic poem on the</page><page sequence="7">DANIEL MENDOZA 79 subject entitled The Odiad, from which perhaps I may be forgiven for giving some extracts : " Now Bets urge Bets, at Synagogue and 'Change And all the Rev'rend Rabbi [sic] round him range With grinning joy, their puny David bless. And, like their pristine Prophets, bode success. Thus plum'd, thus train'd, the second Shylock stood, But lost his gold, nor shed the expected blood. " Here gloomy Jacob, with a grisly look, His formidable beard disastrous shook; So some dire Comet's tail, that glows below, Shakes war and fire, and threatens Worlds with Woe. There Benjamin prepared his lick'nish hoard A Cordial Mess, with Balm of Gilead stor'd." (Probably a reference to the celebrated nostrum sold by Dr. Samuel Solomon, of Liverpool.) " Here too the skilful Painter takes his stand." (The artist, Hopner, whose portrait of Humphries is well known, attended the fight.) '' Mendoza, Mortal Foe to Christian Light, Aims his left fist against th' opponent's fight. Bold Humphries totters?foiled in every thwack? Head, Eyes, Ears, Nose, Lips, Teeth, Loins, Belly, Back. All smart alike, beneath the ruthless Jew, Whose matchless blows th' astonished vulgar view, All Judah shouted, whilst they spy'd below, Prone or supine, the topsy-turvy Foe." " A foul reverse of chance Mendoza found, And all Jerusalem lamented round, 'Midst heartless Christians, and high-betting Jews, He, with black brow, his flying Foe pursues." " The wav'ring bets in Israel's ruin fix, Whose six to four now dwindles four to six."</page><page sequence="8">8o DANIEL MENDOZA Then comes the conclusion : " Nor paused the Fist, but quick ?V impetuous hit With force electric, prob'd the stomach's pit Down dropped the pallid Jew, and breathless sunk A batter'd Mummy, an exhausted trunk. On wings of woe the sable carrier flies, All ominous she hovers in the skies; Duke's Place and Houndsditch, at the portent look, And all their black-eyed daughters shrieked and shook. Him, as he wallow'd low, and sprawling lay, His chap-fall'n brethren bore with groans away." It is clear from the reports of the fight that although it had finally resulted in a defeat Mendoza was by no means disgraced, and when allowance is made for the incident on the ropes and for the accident it cannot be said that Humphries had been proved the better man. Everything pointed to the need for another contest. As will be related, this came about the next year, but not before a long and recriminatory correspondence had taken place between the parties, Humphries pressing for a return match and Mendoza urging, apparently with good reason, that he was not yet fit. Humphries came down to Capel Court in July 1788, where Men? doza was holding his boxing meetings, and after a friendly reception, began to question and to quarrel with his old antagonist with regard to the return match. Mendoza replied that he would meet Humphries only when he had recovered. Finally, after further correspondence, still abusive and recriminatory, articles were signed for the second match to take place on 6th May, 1789. Shortly after the fight at Odiham on 23rd January, 1788, Daniel's first child, Sarah, was born, but she apparently lived only a few months, as at the time of the altercation in Capel Court he states that he had recently lost his only child. Meanwhile Mendoza had been continuing his boxing exhibitions. He was engaged with Harry Lee to give performances at Covent Garden Theatre. His premises in Capel Court were raided by the authorities in November 1788, it being declared unlawful to take</page><page sequence="9">DANIEL MENDOZA 8l money for admission to such exhibitions within the City. Accord? ingly, Mendoza arranged to employ a freeman of the City to sell an engraved portrait of himself at is. 6d. and to invite purchasers to the exhibition, saying that no money was required (one of these portraits may be seen at the Jewish Museum) . He also hired the Lyceum in the Strand for a few weeks for an " Academy of Self defence ". The date of the second match approaching, Mendoza went into training at Upminster, apparently at Upminster Hall, where lived a sporting baronet whose name is variously given as Sir Thomas A. Price, Sir Thomas Apreece, and Sir Thomas Ap Rhys. This was Sir Thomas Hussey Apreece of Washingley, Huntingdonshire, who presumably had rented Upminster Hall. Apreece, who was born in 1744 and died in 1833, had been created a baronet in 1782 and was a rather interesting character, who had distinguished him? self as a captain in the Huntingdonshire Militia by beating off an attack on Alnwick by the celebrated Paul Jones.1 Apreece remained a faithful patron of Mendoza, and, as we shall see, gave his services a generation later on his man's return to the Ring. Apreece seems to have been as useful in his own defence as in that of his country, for the Memoirs tell a story of a Mr. Smith calling at the training quarters for a bout with Mendoza and being informed that the latter was not then fighting with strange comers, and how on Apreece's offering himself as an opponent to Smith, the sporting Baronet engaged and defeated the pugnacious visitor. The place selected for the second contest with Humphries was Stilton, in Huntingdonshire. In a paddock belonging to a local landowner named Thornton an amphitheatre was erected for the spectators, among the more distinguished of whom was the celebrated Coke of Holkham. Mendoza was supported by Captain Brown and Regan, with Sir Thomas Apreece as his umpire, and Humphries by Tom Johnson and Butcher, with Mr. Harvey Coombe as umpire. From an early stage the fight proceeded in Mendoza's 1 Gentleman's Magazine, Vol. CIII, Part 2, pp. 80, 81 (1833). F</page><page sequence="10">82 DANIEL MENDOZA favour, when in the twenty-second round the latter struck at Hum? phries, who avoided the blow and dropped to the ground. It had been expressly agreed between the parties that if either man fell without a blow he was to lose the fight. Mendoza's sup? porters immediately claimed a foul, Humphries' on the other hand contending that although the blow had not landed it had in fact been struck. A hubbub ensued, and Captain Brown and Tom Johnson were within an ace of coming to blows when Humphries threw up his hat and challenged his opponent to a fresh contest. The fight was renewed without the dispute being settled, and after the new battle had continued for half an hour Humphries, receiving further severe punishment, again fell in advance of the blow, and this time was unhesitatingly declared to have lost the fight, and Mendoza became champion of England. The tide of popularity had set in in his favour, and on his visits to the provinces he received enthusiastic welcomes, in particular at Peterborough, having to stand with Apreece bowing and paying his respects to the populace for upwards of an hour, and at Man? chester giving a three nights' exhibition at the Theatre Royal at twenty-five guineas a night. Negotiations were entered into for what was to prove the last fight between the two old antagonists and it was arranged for 17th May, 1790. News of the arrangement having got abroad in February, the parties were summoned before Sir Sampson Wright at Bow Street and attended with their sureties, and to quote the Scots Magazine (which whether by accident or design omitted to report the subsequent contest, although it printed this account of the hearing) : " They were informed by the Magistrate that if they should challenge each other, or attempt any meeting in future, they would be subject to severer penalties; they both promised they would not, though Mendoza said he could have wished to have had another trial with Humphries, and then never intended to have fought again." Whether, as another report says, the binding over was for six months and the antagonists waited until that time had expired, or whether the period was longer and they ignored the prohibition, a</page><page sequence="11">DANIEL MENDOZA 83 meeting was arranged for September. The two met at Doncaster on 27th September, 1790, during the St. Leger week in a large yard belonging to the Rose and Crown Inn. This was contained on one side by a strong palisade, on the other side of which flowed the River Don. An enterprising boatman, seeing a large crowd collected on the other bank, ferried a large number of persons across at a shilling a head, and these broke down or climbed over the palisade, depriving those who had bought expensive seats of their exclusive privilege. Mendoza's second on this occasion was Tom Johnson, whom we have previously seen seconding Humphries, his bottle holder Butcher, and his umpire Apreece. Humphries' supporters were Ward, " Gentleman " Jackson, and Colonel Hamilton. Mr. Harvey Aston was their umpire and referee. Humphries showed marked aggression in the earliest rounds of the contest but was countered by the skill and coolness of his opponent, and the superiority of the latter gradually became apparent, until Mendoza finally had Humphries at his mercy and administered the coup de grace. Pierce Egan in Boxiana rises almost into lyricism in extolling the forbearance of the Jew: " Mendoza, in being a Jew, did not stand in so favourable a point of view, respecting the wishes of the multitude towards his success as his brave opponent. . . . But truth rises superior to all things, and the humanity of Mendoza was conspicuous throughout the above fight?often was it witnessed that Dan threw up his arm when he might have put in a most tremendous blow upon his exhausted adversary, who perceiving that the victory was certain, nobly disdained to have it observed. ' . . . 'Tis a cruelty To load a falling man.' Humphries retired from the Ring and with the assistance of his backer, Bradyll, set up as a coal merchant, dying nearly ten years later, in 1827. Mendoza, in the Memoirs, pays him a generous tribute : "His general conduct and demeanour were such as reflected great credit on him, and deservedly gained him the esteem of the public, by whom he was always considered and treated as a respect? able member of society. I feel a satisfaction in rendering this justice</page><page sequence="12">84 DANIEL MENDOZA to the memory of a powerful though unsuccessful opponent." In the Ring at least rancour does not often accompany bloodshed. Soon after this Mendoza began a long tour of the North of England, extending it to Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dublin, giving exhibitions with the assistance of his brother and meeting with great success as a famous boxer and a public character, even, as he says, drawing people away from the performances of the celebrated Mrs. Billington. He returned to the Lyceum for a time and there had a bout with and defeated Hooper, the Tinman, who is immortal? ised in Hazlitt's essay. Mendoza soon resumed his tour, and at Bury St. Edmunds, he notes, he joined up with a theatrical company, but found that he made more pounds by the exercise of his own profession than shillings as an actor. While Mendoza was in Dublin his school was visited by a well known amateur known as Squire Fitzgerald, who, fancying his own prowess, challenged the professional, who was naturally reluctant, as became a member of that profession, to accept the challenge of an amateur, but being at length goaded by insults to himself and to his race, in the end fought and severely punished the Irishman. Mendoza's next big fight was with William Warr (or Ward), with whom for a time he had been in partnership at the Lyceum. After abortive attempts to stage the contest in the neighbourhood of Margate, then at Stokechurch, then at Uxbridge, and then at Hounslow, it was finally held at Smitham Bottom, near Croydon, on 14th May, 1792. The list of changes of venue illustrates the difficulties of evading the attention of the magistrates in those days. It is related that at Hounslow a magistrate, hearing of the proposed fight, attended, read the Riot Act, looked at his watch to note the beginning of the legal hour's grace, and then at what he deemed the expiration of the hour, attempting again to consult it, found that it had disappeared, apparently stolen by one of the baulked spectators. At the fight at Smitham Bottom the opponents fought for twenty-three rounds, when, Warr being completely exhausted, Mendoza threw him, fell upon him, and so won the fight. A return match, which took place at Bexley Common on 12th November,</page><page sequence="13">DANIEL MENDOZA 85 1794, proved equally unsuccessful for Warr and only lasted fifteen minutes. During a great part of this time, notwithstanding his school, his exhibition bouts, and his prize-money, Mendoza appears to have experienced great financial difficulties and vicissitudes. He relates, after his first fight with Warr, that he again became ill, that he was unable to attend to his boxing classes, and that he was having to pay a high rent, and was living at great expense. After the fight at Bexley Common, having now a family to provide for, he determined to offer what he had to his creditors, to retire, and to enter a less precarious business. His attempts to establish himself in business were, however, unsuccessful. He became for a time a prisoner for debt in the King's Bench Prison, started an oil shop, which failed, and then served as a recruiting sergeant, first with the Fifeshire and then with the Aberdeenshire 'Fencibles. On 15th April, 1795, at Hornchurch, Mendoza, returning once more to the Ring, fought John Jackson. " Gentleman " Jackson, thanks to the aristocratic patronage of the Boxing School that he kept and his association with Lord Byron and other famous characters of the time, is one of the best-known figures in the history of the Prize Ring. When they met in the Ring it soon became clear that Mendoza had met his match, and despite his science he could do little against his opponent. In the fifth round it is related that Jackson caught Mendoza by his hair, which he wore long, and, twisting his fingers in it, held him helpless with one hand while landing him many severe blows with the other. The Jew's supporters claimed a foul, and Mr. Lynch speaks of the exploit as " one of the foulest tricks that have been handed down to us," but the umpires seem to have decided otherwise and the new Absalom had to resume the contest. The fight continued for only four more rounds, and Mendoza, still losing his strength, gave in when the contest had lasted only ten and a half minutes. Mendoza notes this as the only fight where having been once beaten he did not afterwards turn the tables on his antagonist in a return match?he was writing this in 1816, before the fight with Owen.</page><page sequence="14">86 DANIEL MENDOZA It may be convenient here to deal with the last two famous fights of Daniel's career. For some time he had been friendly with a publican and pugilist named Harry Lee, but this friendship was temporarily brought to an end by a quarrel, apparently regarding certain money matters, particulars of which appeared in the Daily Advertiser, " and it is remarkable," as one of our authorities com? ments, " that a paper of such respectability should have opened its columns and devoted so much of its space to the subject." The quarrel resulted in a fight, which took place at Grinstead Green in Kent on 21st March, 1816. This was not such an extraordinary contest as that with Owen some years later, but it was sufficiently unusual that a fight between two men of their years should last for an hour and ten minutes and should cover fifty-three rounds. Lee throughout was outclassed, and during the last round was completely helpless and scarcely able to stand, until finally he fell without a blow, and as he was unable to come to scratch the fight was awarded to Mendoza. In the words oiBoxiana, " Fourteen years and upwards had passed away since the ' Star of the East' had appeared in the Prize-Ring with Harry Lee ", when on the 4th July, 1820, Mendoza, but a day short of 55 years of age, met Tom Owen, some three and a half years younger, on Banstead Downs, the veteran Sir Thomas Apreece once more, as at Odiham, acting as the Jew's umpire. Although the odds were in his favour at the beginning, Mendoza soon showed that the years had told on him, and after the fight had lasted twelve rounds and he had received severe punishment, he was forced to give in. So ended his last fight. Shortly after this, on 31st August, 1820, he took his benefit at the Fives-Court and made his farewell to the Ring. The performance was not a financial success and Mendoza made a rather pathetic speech thanking his audience for their patronage, but saying: " Gentlemen, after what I have done for the pugilists belonging to the Prize Ring, I do say that they have not used me well upon this occasion; in fact, the principal men have deserted me in toto. Gentlemen, I think I have a right to call myself The Father of the</page><page sequence="15">DANIEL MENDOZA 87 Science; for it is well known that prize-fighting lay dormant for "several years after the time of Broughton and Slack. It was myself and Humphries that revived it in our three contests for superiority, and the science of pugilism has been highly patronised ever since. (' Hear, hear/ from some old amateurs.) Gendemen, I have once more to thank you for the present and all other past favours; nay, more, I now take my leave of you; and I trust that I shall never trouble you for another benefit. (Applause.) I have now only to say farewell." Boxiana adds to this report the remark that "few, if any, boxers have had such opportunities of making a fortune as Mendoza ". Whether or not the statement is exaggerated, it is certain that according to his own account Mendoza at various times made large sums, but financial cares sat heavy on him throughout almost the whole of his life. In addition to the employment already men? tioned, he states that he became for a time a sheriff's officer, but, disliking the work, soon gave it up. I have been unsuccessful in finding any reference to the appointment in the official records, but from the details related in the Memoirs and from the reference in the Mendoza-Lee correspondence, I think the appointment must be accepted as a fact, although Lee's reference to " the situation in which he left all his friends, who were security for his integrity, when he commenced as Sheriff's Officer " makes us wish that in justice we had a further statement from Mendoza. During the last years of the century, Mendoza continued his tours, giving his exhibitions and imitations of the art of famous boxers of his own and of past times, still in circumstances of financial distress. He relates, for example, that being in Carlisle in 1799 he was arrested for debt and would have been even worse off than he was had it not been for " seasonable relief afforded me by the Union and Harmony Lodges of Freemasons, of whom I had been for many years a member." The manuscript records of the Grand Lodge of Freemasons do in fact show that either on the 29th October, 1787 or the 12th February, 1788 or on a date between these two, Daniel Mendoza, Tobacconist, of Bethnal Green, aged 22, joined or was initiated in (more probably the latter) Hiram's Lodge which accord</page><page sequence="16">88 DANIEL MENDOZA ing to Lane's Masonic Records met in or near the City of London. Further, I have confirmed that the Lodges of Union and Harmony did exist in Carlisle in 1799 (the Union Lodge still survives) but I have been unable to obtain any record of assistance having been given by them to Mendoza, the returns in the cash book of the Union Lodge under the heading " Assistance to Brethren " not giving the names of those relieved. Mr. Trevor Wignall, it may be added, thinks from Mendoza's statement, that he was the first boxer to become a Free? mason, but James Figg was a member of a Lodge meeting at the Castle Tavern, St. Giles, in 1725. In 1809, Mendoza found his name mentioned in connection with the famous O. P. Riots. On account of the large sums that had been expended on Convent Garden Theatre, the management?to recoup themselves, found it necessary to raise the prices of the seats, and this step led to a considerable amount of rioting on the part of those who demanded the return to the old prices. The matter caused much comment at the time, and it would appear that Mendoza, Dutch Sam and others were engaged to dispense free "orders" for the theatre, and to control and remove the dissentients, if necessary, to a neighbouring police station at Bow Street. A correspondent in The Times gives a circumstantial account of how he was shown two " orders " given by Mendoza to a tradesman, and how he had a note sent to Mendoza with a request for some more; how the messenger returned with a double order and " Mr. Mendoza's compliments to the gentleman ", and his apologies " that he was very sorry he had not taken more in the morning, for then he had offered him as many as he pleased; his son was then gone to the theatre, and if the mes? senger would wait till he returned, he should have as many as he wished ". The note was addressed to Mendoza at the Royal Oak, Whitechapel Road. It is to be noted that when at the time of the coronation of George IV trouble was expected with the adherents of Queen Caroline, and " Gentleman " Jackson was engaged to attend with a number of prize-fighters dressed as pages to act as an unarmed escort to keep order, Mendoza's name was not included in a list which contained</page><page sequence="17">DANIEL MENDOZA 89 such names as Cribb, Spring, Belcher, Lee and Owen. We have only intermittent light on the later years of Mendoza's life. He appears occasionally as keeping a public-house, in or near the City of London, e.g. the '' Admiral Nelson " and the " Royal Oak " in Whitechapel Road and as continuing to give his boxing lessons, but it seems fairly clear that his last years were spent in poverty and obscurity. Save for his tours, he spent almost the whole of his life in or near the East-End Jewish Quarter, as appears from references given in the Memoirs and elsewhere, but, as I have said, I have been particularly unsuccessful in tracing his addresses in the contempor? ary directories. From his places of residence, from the recording in the Synagogue registers of the births of his children, and from the clannishness which distinguished Jewish boxers, I should judge that he kept up his association with his community throughout his life, as he certainly did at his death. Two literary productions are credited to his name. In 1789 there was published, The Art of Boxing . . . by Daniel Mendoza, P.P. Printed and sold for Daniel Mendoza, No. 4 Capel Court and No. 2 Paradise Row, Bethnal Green. He introduces it from the " Keep fit " standpoint. " The Science of Pugilism may, therefore, with great propriety, beacquired, even tho's the scholar should feel actuated by no desire of engaging in a contest, or defending himself from an insult. Those who are unwilling to risque any derangement of features in a real boxing match, may, at least venture to practice the Art from sportiveness; and sparring is productive of health and spirits, as it is both an exercise and an amusement." Part of the volume is taken up by a treatise on the Art and part with the corres? pondence between the author and Humphries. What part Mendoza had in the actual composition and writing of these two works, we do not know. On the one hand it is open to at least some doubt whether a man who had left school before he was thirteen and had passed his life as Mendoza had done would, in spite of his natural intelli? gence, have been able himself to attain the literary style of the two publications; and on the other, it may be contended that in view of the early school-leaving age of the time and of the more limited</page><page sequence="18">9o DANIEL MENDOZA curriculum and also of Mendoza's mixing with those of higher social rank, he might well have acquired sufficient knowledge to write the two books. Whoever their Author was, however, the Memoirs I have found give quite a readable glimpse into the life of the time, on the high-road and in the City, with smugglers and with princes. Mendoza makes more than one reference to his family in the Memoirs and the Synagogue registers show that he had ten children (The Dictionary of National Biography credits him with eleven) Sarah (1788), Abraham (1790), Sophia (1792, Isabella (1796), Daniel (1797), a female child whose name is unknown (1801), Louisa (1803), Aron (1807), Isaac (1808) and Matilda (1810). Many Jewish families of the present time claim descent from the great Daniel, and it would be a matter of interest?which does not fall within the limits of this paper?to trace them by means of synagogue records and family traditions and papers to the sons and daughters just mentioned. All those branches I have come across still adhere to the ancestral faith.2 Daniel Mendoza died on 3rd September, 1836, and was buried in the New Cemetery of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews at Mile End on the following day not, as is said to have been the usual custom with boxers " behind the boards." His widow survived him and lived to a great age, dying in 1855?His death is thus chronicled in The Gentleman s Magazine: In Horseshoe-Alley, Petticoate Lane, aged 72, Dan Mendoza, the well-known Jew Pugilist. He had reached his 73rd year, retained all his faculties to the last; and has left a widow. BelVs Life in London, in the issue of 4th September, gave a longer notice : Death of Dan Mendoza, which took place yesterday morning at half-past one o'clock, after a long and lingering illness, embittered by poverty and a succession of vicissitudes. His mental faculties were per? fect to the last hour. He had reached his 73rd year and has left a widow to deplore his loss. He breathed his last at his residence in Horseshoe-Alley, Petticoat Lane. It has long been admitted that no 2 It may be added that there attended at the reading of this paper a descendant and namesake of Daniel Mendoza and that the first Lord Reading's mother was a niece.</page><page sequence="19">daniel mendoza 91 pugilist that ever existed so completely elucidated or promulgated the principles of boxing as Mendoza. During his long and chequered life, he gave lessons to some of the most distinguished men in the king don. He fought and was successful in upwards of thirty pitched batdes. Mendoza brought up a very numerous family. We shall in our next give a sketch of his performance; and we trust his widow may receive some token of the well known benevolence of the friends of manly sports. The Editor of Bell's Life kept his promise, and on nth September a further notice appeared : Death of Dan Mendoza In our Town Edition last week we announced the death of Dan Mendoza, at the age of 73, who " dropped from his perch " on Satur? day morning week, at his " Crib " in Horse shoe Alley, Petticoat Lane, and in great distress. He possessed his faculties to the last, and " stopped " the " hits " of death till exhausted. On " time " being called, was incapable of " coming again ". Dan, though not " The Jew That Shakespeare Drew," was yet an extraordinary character in his way, and may be said to have been the first " great master " of pugilistic science in this country; and to have introduced a system of attack and defence at once new and imposing?he was an admirable general, and when opposed by superior physical strength, had a tact in husbanding his own energies while he exhausted those of his antagonist, which almost invariably crowned his efforts with victory. He lived too in the " golden age " of boxing, when men of the first consequence did not hesitate to give their countenance to its practice, and perhaps, with the exception of Mr. Jackson, no master of the art had to congratulate himself on having given lessons to more pupils of eminence. He added to his acquired talents sound bottom (i.e. stamina) and in difficulty displayed great intrepidity and bravery. No pugilist ever stopped with greater neatness, hit oftener or put in his blows quicker, although his execu? tion was not always effective. . . . As a public sparrer and master of the art [he] was well known, not only exhibiting for the benefit of others, but for his own benefit, and in later years, by this means, often obtained a precarious existence for a large family. He was an intelligent and communicative man, and</page><page sequence="20">92 DANIEL MENDOZA from his own statement had fought no less than thirty-three pitched batdes. . . . The evening of his days was spent in poverty and distress, and his widow, we believe, has been left wholly destitute, a fact which may perhaps, for the sake of " auld lang syne " induce some of the veteran supporters of the Old Boxing School, if they do not " drop a tear " on the memory of a brave man, to drop a litde of the " sover? eign " consolation into the lap of his relict, of which she stands so much in need. I cannot well add to this tribute of contemporary professional opinion on Daniel Mendoza's fame, and I have said at the beginning that there is no need for an apology for treating of his life and deeds before this audience, so that in conclusion I will only claim that one who in a profession and in circumstances where lapses from the straight path of virtue were common did on the whole bear himself worthily and well, and above all demonstrated to a not too friendly world, not always prompt to believe it, that Judaism and courage often go together, is worthy of the attention which has been given to him.</page></plain_text>