In the year 1854 a Correspondent of Notes and Queries communicated to that journal the following interesting reminiscences of a political Club, with characteristics of the reminiscent.
"The adherents of the Stuarts are now nearly extinct; but I recollect a few years ago an old gentleman in London, who was then upwards of eighty years of age, and who was a staunch Jacobite. I have heard him say that, when he was a young man, his father belonged to a society in Aldersgate-street, called 'The Mourning Bush;' and this Bush was to be always in mourning until the Stuarts were restored." A member of this society having been met in mourning when one of the reigning family had died, was asked by one of the members how it so happened? His reply was, "that he was not mourning for the dead, but for the living." The old gentleman was father of the Mercers' Company, and his brother of the Stationers' Company: they were bachelors, and citizens of the old school, hospitable, liberal, and charitable. An instance occurred that the latter had a presentation to Christ's Hospital: he was applied to in behalf of a person who had a large family; but the father not being a freeman, he could not present it to the son. He immediately bought the freedom for the father, and gave the son the presentation. This is a rare act. The brothers have long gone to receive the reward of their goodness, and lie buried in the cemetery attached to Mercers' Hall, Cheapside.
By the above statement, the Club appears to have taken the name of the Mourning Bush Tavern, in Aldersgate, of which we shall have more to say hereafter.
Club Life of London Vol. I