Eccentric and Remarkable Characters  

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"Victorian eccentric biographies included the antiquarian Fairholt's Eccentric and Remarkable Characters; another New Wonderful Magazine; Russell's Eccentric Personages; and Timbs's English Eccentrics and Eccentricities." --Histories of the Normal and the Abnormal (2012) by Waltraud Ernst

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Eccentric and Remarkable Characters (1849) is a book by Frederick William Fairholt.

Volume 1 features portraits of Elizabeth Canning, Antonio Magliabechi, Thomas Topham, George Watson, Jeffrey Hudson, Matthew Hopkins, John Elwes.

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If the axiom of Pope be admitted, that “the proper study of mankind is man,” the records of his vices and virtues, his faults and follies are worthy of our attention, inasmuch as every action becomes a mark for imitation or avoidance ; How sour sweet music is When time is broke, and no proportiog kept !

So is it in the music of men's lives."

The biography of the simplest individual, if well and truly told, has a fascination which can be accounted for in the natural responses of our own hearts, and the interest we all take in our fellow -men. Man is not made for himself alone,” and even hould be become the most wretched of recluses, or the most wloving of misers, his example may be a beacon to other men . “ Hear then the truth : ' Tis Heaven each passion sends, And different men directs to different ends ; Extremes in nature equal good produce, Extremes in man concur to general use." In treating of so large a subject as the one embraced by these volumes, various modes of exhibiting our materials have suggested themselves. Of these, three only seemed to be worth entertaining. One was to arrange the work in sections, illus trative of periods or countries , looked at through the media of costume ( in the largest sense of the word ), or character. Another mode was to classify such persons as Misers, Dwarfs, &c . , in groups , by which means illustrations of particular kinds of eccen vi PREFACE . tricity would be brought together in one mass. The objection to the first mode was the heaviness of detail it would necessarily bring with it ; the objection to the second, the monotony pro duced by grouping together so very many persons whose cha racters bore much resemblance to each other . After mature consideration , the third plan was adopted, which gives the fullest variety to each volume, and brings each character out more strongly by juxta -position with others ; remembering that eccen tricity itself is in the last degree miscellaneous and irresponsible and that any attempt to methodize or catalogue its specialities , must, to a certain extent, be a failure, not merely on the score of philosophy, but of amusement. But while adopting this form of treatment, and descanting on each particular phase of mind . exhibited by the individuals to whom a biography has been awarded, anecdotes of other persons, remarkable for the same “ ruling passions, " have been added, a.s illustrative of such peculiarities of life or character in general ; and hy this means a combination of the modes of treating the sub ject above alluded to, has in some degree been effected . Thus a concise account of the superstitious belief in witchcraft, through many ages, has formed the introduction to our notice of the Witch-finder, Matthew Hopkins ; and in a similar manner, the account of the regicide Ankarstræm , has been prefaced by a general review of the life and reign of Gustavus the Third. In other instances , such as that of Elizabeth Caaning, a confused mass of materials already existing , has been carefully sifted and .compared , and a clear, consecutive view, for the first time given , of this remarkable case, aided by some few cuts, which, like all the others, claim no merit but as illustrations of facts. The collections of Caulfield , Kirby, and others, have made the public already acquainted with many of those characters whose biographies appear in our pages. In all matters of fact their authorities, as well as those of others, have been used. But it will be seen that some information has in all instances heen PREFACE. vii << added , which will not be met with in previous compilations. That epithet can alone be given to the present volumes ; but they will record the lives of many singular, eccentric, and remarkable persons, who have not been already included in works of this kind. Such as the celebrated imposter, Mary Baker, alias “ Caraboo ;" our late transatlantic visitor, Charles S. Stratton , alias “ General Tom Thumb; " Claude Ambrose Seurat, the living skeleton ;" Monsieur Chabert, “ the Fire King," &c . , &c . Such collections are of interest to all. Sir Walter Scott has not alone been indebted to them for Jeffrey Hudson and similar characters. To the novelist they open a mine of character ; to the novel reader they possess the charm of counter-illustration ; to the moralist they display the faults and weaknesses of our nature, or its strength and innate nobility. To the philosopher who traces the mind ruling the actions, a large field here opens for study, which may also invite the phrenologist, and the æsthetic investigator; and yet the literary idler find amusement in the same volume. No other merit is due to the compiler of these volumes than that of being a patient collector of “ unconsidered trifles," as extra illustrations of what has been done before him, or materials for new notices ; in which he has been aided by the free use of the private collections of those friends who have had the curiosity to secure such fleeting memoranda in all their evanescent forms of hand - bills , advertisements, &c . , which could aid such purpose , and the value of which is exhibited in the memoir of the Epicene Chevalier D'Eon . It is in the nature of such collections that they must be more or less incomplete. No book is without its faults ; few without some merit. If the compiler succeeds in affording an half- hour's occasional instruction or amusement to his readers, his aim is accomplished. as LONDON , JANUARY 29 , 1849. - CONTENTS. PAGE 1 21 31 47 58 ELIZABETH CANNING ANTONIO MAGLIABECHI PETER THE WILD Boy THOMAS TOPHAM , THE STRONG MAN GEORGE WATSON, THE SUSSEX CALCULATOR JEFFREY HUDSON MATTHEW HOPKINS, THE WITCA-FINDER COUNT ANKARSTROM THE CHEVALIER D'EON JOHN ELWES 63 66 78 99 . 130 .

ECCENTRIC AND REMARKABLE CHARACTERS. ELIZABETH CANNING. It was during a temporary calm in the political world , about the middle of the reign of George II , when the passions of the mob, which had been kept active for years, had , like a spent fire , subsided for want of fuel, and the fury of partizanship was quietly merging into mutual concession , that the whole nation was unex pectedly inflamed by an extraordinary and mysterious occurrence , which , but for the readiness with which persons at that time allowed their passions to be excited , and the total want of such excitement from higher sources , might have failed in attracting such universal attention , and strong, unreasoning partizanship, as the case obtained which is about to be narrated . At this distance of time, we can scarcely judge of its powerful effect, though contemporary writers assure us that it became the general topic of conversation in all assemblies ; and people of all ranks espoused one or other party with as much warmth and animosity as had ever inflamed the Whigs and Tories , even at the most rancorous period of their opposition. The spirit of gambling was also excited , and bets on the truth or falsehood of each side of this curious case were given and taken, with all the warmth of a race England was literally divided in an unworthy party-war, concerning persons of the lowest position , who, in consequence , became elevated to an unwarrantable importance . This singular case was as follows : course.

B BRITISH ) 14.215 2 ELIZABETH CANNING, A young girl, in her eighteenth year, named Elizabeth Canning, who lived with her mother, at Aldermanbury, in the city of London ; left her home on the 1st of January, 1753 , and was not heard of until the 29th day of the same month ; when she returned to her mother's house in a most miserable condition, giving a fearful account of her adventures during the time she had been absent. While she had been away, the mother, who had resided for many years in her house and was much esteemed in the neighbourhood, was constant in her endeavours to. trace her daughter ; and her neighbours, taking much interest in the poor woman's distress, and being fully impressed with the innocence and good reputation of the girl, aided the mother in drawing up an advertisement for the newspapers, and even guaranteed a greater sum than was there offered , provided a clue should be obtained as to the place where her missing daughter was secreted . This advertisement, which is in itself curious, for many reasons, which the after - part of this narrative will show, is here given, from the Daily Advertiser of the 6th of January, 1753 : “ : Whereas, Elizabeth Canning went from her friends, between Houndsditch and Bishopsgate, on Monday last, the 1st instant, between nine and ten o'clock : -Whoever can give any account where she is , shall have two guineas reward, to be paid by Mrs. Canning, a Sawyer in Aldermanbury Postern ; which will be a great satisfaction to her mother. She is fresh -coloured , pitted with the small-pox, has a high forehead , light eyebrows, is about five feet high , eighteen years of age, well set, had on a masque rade purple stuff gown, a black petticoat, a white chip hat bound round with green , a white apron and handkerchief, blue stock ings and leather shoes . Note . It is supposed she was forcibly taken away by some evil- disposed person, as she was heard to shriek out in a hackney coach , in Bishopsgate Street. If the coachman remembers anything of the affair, by giving an account as above, he shall be handsomely rewarded for his trouble .” Canning's return to her mother's house , of course rapidly spread in her neighbourhood, and she was visited by numbers ELIZABETH CANNING . 3 ܪ who had taken much interest in her fate while absent, and had exerted themselves to discover the place to which she had been apparently forced away. She was inundated with curious ques tions, but her weak condition would not allow her to talk freely or continuously ; her story , however, was this : -She asserted that she was walking, about ten o'clock at night, in Moor fields, which was then a lonely place, having returned from a visit to her uncle and aunt, who lived near Saltpetre Bank, between Rosemary Lane and East Smithfield, when having nearly reached Bethlehem Gate, she was suddenly assaulted by two men, who robbed her of half- a - guinea , which was in a small box in her pocket, and three shillings that were loose. Not content with this alone, they then seized her gown, of which "Ley deprived her , and afterwards took her apron and her hat , which one of them put in the pocket of his great- coat. They then began dragging her down the long gravel walk , which led towards the gate of Bethlehem Hospital ; but she in endeavouring to escape, gave them so much trouble, that they threatened to murder her ; and on her screaming for assistance , they bound a handkerchief over her mouth and tied her hands behind her ; but as she continued to struggle, one of them gave her a violent blow with his fist on the right temple, and this extra violence, added to her former terror, threw her into a fit, and deprived her of all remembrance. These fits she was accustomed to whenever she was put in great terror , and which lasted, as she reported it , for six or seven hours at a time, having been first brought on by a ' blow she had received on the head when a child, by the fall of a portion of ceiling . On her return to sensation, she said she became conscious that the men were hurrying her along a wide and lonely road, partly pulling her in the mire, which they con tinued hastily to do, even after she had recovered herself suffi ciently to be able to walk . So great, however, were her fears , owing to the brutality she hail already experienced at their hands, that she was afraid to speak to them , and still more apprehensive of bad usage, or even death, should she again try to call for help . In this state she allowed herself to be dragged onward for about B 2 4 1 ELIZABETH CAVNING 1 . half an hour, until a lonely house by the roadside was reached into which she was carried, about three hours before daylight. In the kitchen of this house she saw an old woman , in company with two young women ; and the old woman, approaching her, took her by the hand, and promised to give her fine clothes “ if she would go their way ;" which expression she understanding to mean , “ if she would cast off virtue," utterly refused to comply with ; upon which the old woman becoming enraged, went to a drawer, and took from thence a knife, with which she rudely cut off her stays , and took them away from her, one of the men, at the same time, depriving her of her cap ; soon after which, the two men went away. About an hour after she had been in the bouse , the old womap again laid violent hands on her, and forced her up an old pair stairs into a back room , like a hay- loft , which was quite devoid furniture ; and after threatening her, if she made the slightest disturbance, to come up and cut her throat, she fastened the door on the outside, and left her in confinement. When daylight arrived, on looking around the solitary room, she discovered a large black jug, old and broken at the mouth , filled with water, and several pieces of bread, not amounting in all to more than the quantity contained in a quartern loaf, all of which frag ments were scattered about the floor. In this room she declared she continued, sometimes sleeping on the floor, from that time until about half- past four o'clock in the afternoon of Monday , the 29th of January, when she made her escape ; being upwards of twenty - seven days without any other sustenance than the bread and water, except a small penny mince- pie , which she had pur chased on the night of her capture, to carry home as a present to her little brother. During the whole of this time, no person, she declared, came near her or spoke to her, nor did she see any person belonging to the house more than once, when one of the women peeped through a hole in the door. She escaped by breaking through the window of the room in which she was con fined, and jumping into a narrow lane, from whence she gained the main road to London , and got back to her mother in about six hours, without stopping anywhere on the way. ELIZABETH CANNING. This extraordinary account, so well calculated to excite interest and curiosity , led to much questioning, which her present weak condition could not gratify by answers ; but to the one general inquiry, as to whether she could not give some clue as to the position of the house and the neighbourhood in which it was situated , she answered that it must be somewhere on the Hert ford road, because she had seen the coachman who formerly used to carry a mistress she had lived with, to Hertford , pass by ; and that she had once heard the name of Wills or Wells men tioned in the house . Upon this , some of those who came to see her, said , * It must certainly be Mether Wells's, at Enfield Wash , a house of very ill repute .” This appearing probable to her friends and the rest of the company who were present, it was determined that the girl, although in a very weak condition, should at once go before the sitting alderman , and make affidavit of the affair, in order to obtain a warrant for the apprehending of Mother Wells. Accordingly, on the 31st of January, the girl was taken before him, and her deposition obtained, in which she declared , that the room she was confined in was a darkish little square room ; that she lay upon the boards ; that there was nothing in the room except a grațe , in which an old gown was stuffed , which she took out to put on after she had been some time there ; and that there was a picture hung over the chimney. not to The whole of this account, however, differed so much from what she afterwards deposed, when she had been taken to this house by those who so strongly interested themselves in her favour, as to lead to the inference that she, in spite of her apparent simplicity, adopted the leading questions put to her by her inquirers ; sagaciously taking such as suited her purpose, and fitting her story to the experience she obtained by a visit to the house the following day, in company with many of her friends and others interested in her singular tale of solitary confinement and cruel privation . The plan of the house here given from the one “ produced in court on the trial, and the truth and exactness of it attested by John Donowell, who surveyed it, " and which was engraved and published " by John Tinney, at the Golden Lion, in Fleet Street, one there in 6 ELIZABETH CANNING, D E 8 1 2 А. B F n PLAN OF MRS. WELLS'S HOUSE AT ENFIELD, A, parlor. B, kitchen . C, passage leading into the house from the main road from Hertford to London. D, cellar. E , Washhouse . F, barn. G. stables. H, narrow passage at the back of house. I , narrow lane leading to the marsh. 1 , staircase. 2, dresser. 3, fire -place. 4 , the stairs into the loft from the kitchen. 5 , stairs into the cellar. 6, stairs into the washhouse . 7 , a copper. 8, an oven. The road to Hertford is about ten feet in advance of the front door of the house ( C) . The arrow behind, points to the south . April , 1754," will help the reader fully to comprehend its pecu liarities. When Elizabeth Canning was brought to this house, she was carried from the coach into the kitchen , and set on the dresser, she being at the time very faint and ill . Among the neighbours and acquaintances who had come down with her, was her former master, Mr. Wintlebury ; and Mr. Lyon, the one in whose service she had lived at the time of her pretended abduc tion , who appears to have been an enthusiastic advocate ; and he told her not to be alarmed, for that she was among friends, at the same time charging her not to swear anything rashly or hurriedly,

  • but to be quite certain before she fixed upon any one. Early in

the morning of this day, the officers had been on the alert, and had arrested Mother Wells, the owner of the house ; her servant Vertue Hall ; an old gipsy woman named Mary Squires ; her son and daughter ; and another wandering gipsy, named Judith ELIZABETH CANNING. hanya Natus ; who were all kept together in the parlour adjoining, and into which room Canning was brought. It should be noticed as a remarkable circumstance, showing how much hurry, excitement, and prejudice began to appear in the very outset of this remark able case , that the alderman himself owned at last, that he did not know how Mother Wells's name came to be put down in the warrant he signed for apprehending her, as being the person who had cut Canning's stays off; as he did not remember that the girl ever mentioned her name, and that he supposed it arose from the mistake of the clerk , who took it down amid the confusion and excitement of the various persons, who were all talking at the time. However, Canning having been taken into this parlour, where these people were in custody, completely overlooked Mother Wells, whom she said she did not know that she had ever seen before ; but immediately pitched on the old gipsy woman , Mary Squires, as the person who had cut her stays off, and on Lucy Squires and Vertue Hall as the persons who stood by when it was done. George Squires , the gipsy's son , she said nothing against at that time ; however, he was put in a cart with the rest, and carried before Justice Tyshemaker ; but having put his great coat on by the way, as soon as Canning saw him before the justice , she then said he looked like one of the men who had robbed her in Moorfields, but she would not swear positively against him ; so that he and the rest were discharged, except the old gipsy Mary Squires, and Mother Wells ; the first for robbing Canning of her stays , the secondfor keeping a disorderly house. The room in which Canning declared she was confined , was a long loft or workshop, running over the cellar and washhouse at the back of the house, and was too remarkable in its form not to attract attention. The view of it on next page is copied from the old print, after the drawing, used on the trial already described. Its extraordinary shape making it nearly four times as long as it is wide, could not but excite notice in all but very prejudiced persons, differing as it does so remarkably from her original description of the place of her imprisonment; " a darkish little square room .” It measured thirty- five feet one inch in length , and was only nine feet eight inches in width. It had two win . 8 ELIZABETH CANNING. dows, one on the east side, another on the north, through which , she asserted , she made her escape ; both of which were nine feet one inch from the ground. The entrance to this loft was by a flight of stairs from the kitchen ( fig. 4, in the plan ), which led up through the floor, where an open space was cut to allow of passing, which space was unprotected by any banister ; nor was there anything to prevent a person from coming down to this door and hearing all that passed in the house, or even looking over the aperture above. Close beside this staircase was a sloping projection (a) , made as “ a head-way, " to allow conve nient passage to those who went into the washhouse ; the cellar and washhouse beneath being both very low - roofed . Near this projection , and beneath the beam which runs along the wall, was a hole through which a jack - line had passed into the kitchen and which gave another opportunity for seeing and hearing all that passed there . The ceiling was supported by rafters, the flooring was old and decayed . ELIZABETH CANNING. 9 There was something in Canning's personal appearance which ied to reliance on her story. She had a look of great simplicity, and a quiet command of feature ; (hers were anything but hand some) , nor had she any apparent craft ; indeed , she was only re markable for cool self-possession . A phrenologist would, however, detect a remarkable development of the reflective faculties, which will, in a great degree, account for the aptitude with which she seized on all points which favoured her tale, and availed herself of any bit of fact which would lead her to strengthen it when adopt ing it as her own , although brought before her notice in a question for herself to confirm . Her portrait was etched during her trial by Worlidge, from which our cut is copied. Vertue Hall, who had solemnly denied the transactions de scribed in Wells' house, during the time she had been there, had been discharged by the magistrate. But before the sessions came on for the trial of Wells and Squires, the friends of Canning applied to Justice Fielding for her arrest, and he, when Canning made an information upon oath before him , granted a warrant for Hall's apprehension, who was examined before that magis trate for six hours, until at length he declared he would examine her no longer, but would commit her to prison , and leave her to stand or fall by the evidence which should be produced against her ; and he advised an attorney to prosecute her as a felon . At this she begged to be heard, and said that she would tell the whole truth ; when the substance of her declaration was, that Canning had really been at Mrs. Wells' , and was robbed in the manner that she had declared. Thus Canning's cause, so wonderfully strengthened by a woman whose fears outrun her honesty, (and who afterwards wished to 10 ELIZABETH CANNING. recant) , gained great hold on the public mind, and she became “ the observed of all observers .” When the trial came on at the Old Bailey, the utmost interest was manifested ; and the con tradictions and improbabilities of the case only added to the general curiosity, and aided in strengthening the strong feeling of partizanship which had everywhere arisen on the merits of the case . A simple girl thus forcibly carried away and shut up in a house of bad fame, living for a month on a few stale crusts , and a pitcher of water, was the very thing to excite an interest : particularly with the mob, who are always most easily cheated by pretended exhibitions of virtue. The court was crowded , and Canning cheered by the populace , while the very lives of those persons were threatened who came to give evidence on the opposite side . Hall fitted her story to Canning's, and asserted that she was present when she was brought to Wells ' house, at four o'clock in the morning of Tuesday the 2nd of January, by John Squires, the son of the old gipsy, and another man , whom she had never seen , either before or since ; that Mary Squires and her daughter were the persons who had taken her stays , and afterwards shut her in the loft ; that while she was pushing her up stairs, Susannah Wells came into the kitchen , and asked her what she was going to put her there for ? to which she answered, “ What is that to you ; you have no business with her ;" and that two hours afterwards, an old broken jug, full of water, was taken up into the loft ; and that she was desired by Wells, “ not to make a clack of it, lest the thing should be blown . ” So she took no further notice of what was going on, until she found Canning had effected her escape . Canning gave her evidence, as far as regarded her forcible ab duction from Moorfields, similar to what has been already related. But when she came to relate what passed in Wells's house ; the effect of her visit to it , after her original deposition to the sitting alderman, was visible. She described the stairs leading to the left as being near the fire-place; that it was from the drawer of a dresser opposite it that the knife was taken to cut her stays ; ( which dresser , it will be remembered, she was seated on when taken to the house by her friends) ; that she had been secured in the hay ELIZABETH CANNING. 11 Joft , and threatened with death should she stir or move ; and that there she remained for an entire month , until she broke down a board that was nailed up inside a window , and having got her head out, she kept fast hold by the wall until she dragged her body after ; that she then turned round and jumped into a little nar row lane, where the soft clay ground did not do her hurt ; that she then turned up a lane, and then went over some fields, until she reached the main road , leading straight to London. Having been deprived of so much of her clothing, she stated that she took from the grate in the room the old gown and handkerchief which she found stuffed in there ; and putting on the gown, she tied the handkerchief about her head for a cap. On cross -exami. nation , being asked why she had not before attempted to escape , she replied , “ Because I thought they might let me out ; it never came into my head till that morning . ” And on being asked why during the long time she was confined she had never tried the kitchen- door, she answered , “ I did once push against it with my hand, and found it fast ; ' ' and her reason for not trying the other window for her escape was, her belief that it was fastened ; although , as she described it , she had to break away boards from the other one before she could effect her retreat. The old gipsy woman , on her part, brought evidence that she, with her son and daughter, was, on the 1st of January, 1753, at Abbotsbury, six miles from Dorchester ( and more than one hundred and twenty from Enfield ) , where they were employed in selling about the town handkerchiefs, lawns, muslins, and checks. Another witness from the same place proved positively to her continued stay there over the 10th of January ; and a publican living at Coom, three miles from Salisbury, deposed that she and the others staid in his house on the 14th of January. All these three persons swore to the dates positively, from corroborative circumstances, which led them to remember the day, and some of them had known Squires personally for years. Squires made no other defence ; but Wells being called upon to make hers, acknowledged that her character was but an indif ferent one, and that she had had an unfortunate husband who was hanged. She declared she had never seen Canning until the 12 ELIZABETH CANNING. morning when she was brought by her friends ; ( after she was arrested ), or Squires either, for a week and a day before that . In spite however of the clearness of Squire's proof of absence from Enfield , both she, as well as Wells, were brought in guilty, and the unfortunate old gipsy was sentenced to Death ! The witnesses who swore to her absence were committed to be tried for perjury ! This extraordinary trial having been thus brought to a close , appears, from the severity of the sentence imposed, to have had some effect on the conscience of Vertue Hall, who had sworn so positively to all the particulars at the Old Bailey ; and it began to be currentiy reported that she did or would, recant all that she had deposed there, and swear the whole to be false. A violent paper war on the subject now broke out , and during this year and the next, the press literally groaned with pamphlets for and against Canning ; all persons spoke of it , and took every oppor tunity of expressing opinions on the subject ; and party spirit ran so high that private families were divided , as the people then termed it, into Canaanites and Egyptians--the first term being applied (by aid of a wretched attempt at punning) to the par tizans of Canning, and the second to the defenders of Squires the gipsy. Amongst the many who espoused Canning's cause, the most effective was the famous orator Henley, who pandered to popular taste in his oratory near Newport Market, where he loaded her adversaries with all the invectives his genius and volubility sup plied him with His coarse powers of rhetoric, and unscrupu lous invective , had here a fit field for its exertion ; and the fondness of the most boisterous portion of the mob, particularly his friends and neighbours, the butchers, for siding with what they considered as “ injured innocence,” was at this time pro verbial ; so that any political or moral squabble was sure of their strong arm , and its hearty, though unreasoning, weight, whether the quarrel was with High Church against Low Church ; the Pope or the Pretender ; or Squires and Canning. This mob too to whom excitement had, for half a century, become like the air they breathed, a matter of necessary existence, had now nothing ELIZABETH CANNING. 13 else to engage their attention ; so they went into the question heart and hand with no measured scrupulosity. Justice Fielding also took up Canning's cause, and published what he termed “ A Clear State of the Case,” in which he laboured to prove the truth of her tale ; merely, however, going on the presumed impossibility of so young a girl fabricating the story, and carrying it out with perfect coolness . He asserts that it could not be for gain , for the subscriptions were not set on foot until long after the girl's return to her mother ; that " if she is wicked enough, she is certainly not witty enough , to invent such a story ; she is a child in years , and yet more so in understand ing, with all the marks of simplicity that ever were discovered in a human countenance.” He considers it improbable she should have fixed upon a place so far from home for the scene of her confinement, forgetting that was a necessary thing to do ; and he lays stress on the accuracy with which she described the room , also forgetting how very inaccurate her original statement was, before she was taken there by her friends. Vertue Hall's “ s apos tacy ” he treats with contempt, and her declaration of having given it under the effect of fear, as untrue ; as well as that she had made her evidence up from what she had heard of Canning's own account. He ends by a solemn declaration of his belief, “ that Mary Squires is guilty of the robbery and cruelty of which shę stands convicted ; that the alibi defence is not only a false one ; but a falsehood very easy to be practised on all occasions where there are gangs of people as gipsies, &c .; that very foul and unjustifiable practices have been used in this whole affair since the trial; and that Elizabeth Canning is a poor, honest, innocent, simple girl, and the most unhappy, and the most injured of human beings . ' Dr. John Hill, one of the most busy writers of the day, and a man who, like orator Henley, never lost a chance of obtruding himself before the public, took up warmly the cause of Squires . He was possessed of considerable shrewdness, and his facility in writing rendered him an useful friend . His pamphlet, The Story of Elizabeth Canning considered, ” exhibits much more of argument and penetration than the more easily - believing Fielding ELIZABETH CANNING. C. possessed . He comments on the advertisement placed in the papers ; and to which we would particularly direct the reader's attention again as given in page 2 ; and he asks for explanations of all the suppositions there given out. “ Why was she supposed to be taken forcibly away ? Are these transactions common ? Το what purpose should she be taken away ? She is not handsome ; so that the design could not be upon her person ; and certainly the dress that is described so largely could not tempt any one to carry her off to rob her . Who heard her shriek --- --or what has become of the hackney -coach part of the story ? No syllable has since been heard of it . Who should know the voice of a servant-girl, of no consideration , calling in a strange part of the town from a coach ? ” Where, he asks, is the coachman ; or how did they pass the turnpikes ? The famous description of the room she was shut in , he next criticises, and says Some who first went down, neighbours, and men of credit ; had heard her account of the room, and, when they saw it, were convinced that her description did not at all belong to it , they gave her up, and they are to be found to say so . Some who were too officious, eager to have the story true, because themselves believed it, got there before her also ; these, when they had heard the objections, rode back part of the way to meet her, and, after some conver sation with her, asking her if there was not some hay there ? that is , in effect, telling her there was, and that she should have said so-rode back, and with huzzas of triumph, cried , they were all right yet, for she said now there was hay in the room !' We are asked how should she know this house as she ap proached it ? Nobody ever heard that she did know it as she approached it ; and for the famous question, how she could, ainong a number of people, fix upon the gipsy, whom she had particularly described as the person who robbed her ? the answer is a very fatal and severe one : it is , that she had not particularly described her before . It is palpable she never spoke of her as a gipsy, though no woman ever possessed the colour and the cha racter of that singular people so strongly ; nor had she given any particular account of her face, which, had she ever seen it before, must have been remembered, for it is like that of no human ELIZABETH CANNING. 15 « Ma ever creature : the lower part of it is affected most remarkably by the evil ; the under- lip of an enormous thickness, and the nose such as never before stood in a mortal countenance." To show how truthful Dr. Hill is in this part of his remarks, the portrait of Mary Squires is here given, from the prints done from the life and circulated at the time of the trial ; certainly no carica ture of " the human face divine, " could be more ugly or grotesque. Well might she exclaim, when Canning first accused her, dam , do you say I robbed you ? Look in this face, and if you have seen it before, you must remember it , for I believe that God Almighty never made such another.” Her misfortune was her ugliness, which pre - disposed persons to believe in her guilt ; “ her face would hang her ," as the old saying of vulgar prejudice goes, and her face had nearly done enough for her to make that “ wise saw ' come true . For the evidence of Vertue Hall, Dr. Hill shows how easily that might agree with Canning's from her having heard it first at Enfield , and then in detail before the justice ; a few days after which it was in all the newspapers, and the current talk of the town ; and when she had been examined for six hours, " after ( to use Mr. Fielding's own words) many struggles and stout denials , she did — what ? Why ! she put her mark to an infor mation , and swore that what it contained was true . What it contained was that which had before been sworn by Canning. The same person drew both ; and that not the magistrate, no, his clerk . Who, then ? Why, the attorney who was engaged to manage the prosecution ! " But it was chiefly to the penetration of the Lord Mayor of London , Sir Crispe Gascoyne, and to his continued perseverance in the investigation of the case , that Mary Squires was freed nor 16 ELIZABETA CANNING. from her painful position , and Canning brought to justice ; for which, as is too commonly the case , he was abused with a degree of virulence that reflected the highest infamy on his calumniators ; for whatever opinions might prevail on either side, it was unquestionably the duty of a good magistrate to endeavour to investigate the truth . By this time, many persons began to be of opinion that the countrymen who had sworn to Squire's absence, had spoken the truth ; and measures were taken to indict Canning for perjury ; but her friends persisted in indicting the Abbotsbury witnesses for the same crime. Both bills being brought at the same time, the Grand Jury threw them both out, being resolved not to give any countenance to such a scene of perjury as must arise on the one side or the other. This happened at the sessions in April ; but at the next sessions, in June, indictments were preferred the second time against Squire's witnesses, which were this time found ; and a similar one against Canning. The countrymen were tried at the Old Bailey, after an attempt had been made to remove the trial into the Court of King's Bench , and were honourably acquitted , no person appearing to give evidence against them The tables were now turned ; and the old gipsy having received a free pardon, took the place of Canning, who became the criminal. But Canning's friends, in order to prevent her trial at the Old Bailey until the dreaded Lord Mayor was out of office, and thinking to remove the case into the Court of King's Bench, took care to secrete her, so that, when the indict ment for perjury was to be served upon her she was not to be found . But her friends fearing the consequences of an out lawry, gave notice that she should be surrendered for the April sessions , 1754 . On the day of trial, Canning preserved her usual coolness, not seeming to be in any way terrified or discomposed . Squires pre ELIZABETH CANNING . 17 sented a very different aspect . She was nearly eighty years of age ; suffering from illness , both mental and bodily, her head shaking, and her body so weak that she was obliged to be brought into court in a chair, carried by two men . The counsel for the prosecution pointed out the remarkable discrepancies in Canning's evidence, as given at different times ; the great difference in the real aspect of the room at Wells' house, which, instead of being little, dark , and square,” was of most peculiar form , long and narrow , and the casement of the window was so large, that â fat man might have got out of it , and, therefore, the room must be light ; and it was so low that a child might have leaped out of it to the ground . In her first information, she declared that she lay upon nothing but bare boards , whereas there was half a load of hay in the room ; that she had at first deposed that the water given her to drink, was exhausted on the Friday before her pretended escape on the Monday ; but, on the trial of Mary Squires, she swore that she drank the last of it about half an hour before she made that escape. She had also stated , that in the room there was only an old stool or two, an fron grate , from which she had taken an old gown and hand kerchief, an old table , and an old picture over the chimney ; whereas, there was no grate, and the flue of the chimney was found covered with cobwebs, that seemed the work of many generations of spiders ; three saddles were found in the room , fastened to the walls with the webs of the same insects ; and a large nest of drawers was also found there ( see cut, page 8) , with a bed made of straw ; there was no picture over the chim ney , nothing but an old casement which was covered with dirt and cobwebs. A variety of witnesses proved the different places Squires had been visiting from the 29th of December, 1752 , until her arrivai at the house of Mother Wells , on the 22nd or 23rd of January, 1753 . The trial ending for the day, an adjournment was pro posed by the Court to the first of May, which was over-ruled. The prosecutor's counsel requested that Canning should be delivered into the custudy of the keeper of Newgate ; but this C 18 ELIZABETH CANNING. being warmly opposed by the defendant's counsel, she was admitted to bail , and removed accordingly .' The populace, who were as violent partizans of Canning as ever, no sooner observed their favourite emerge from the walls of the Court House, than they surrounded her with uproarious con gratulations ; she got into a coach, which they hung upon and followed with the loudest huzzas, until it reached a house in the Old Bailey , were she stayed ; and they never ceased their uproar, or stirred from the spot, until eleven at night, after which time she quietly left the house and went home. As she had received so much popular favour, of course “ her enemies," the defenders of Squires, obtained a full share of reprobation, and the Mayor, Sir Crispe Gascoyne, was insulted in the most audacious manner by the mob, on retiring from the Sessions House ; and would probably , but for timely intervention, have received a considerable share of ill - treatment. On the next day, the Court again met ; and its first considera tion was the personal safety of the gentlemen composing it. The rudeness of the mob, their determined violence in favour of Canning, and the danger Sir Crispe Gascoyne had been in on the preceding day ; urged them to move that a guard be appointed for his protection on leaving the Court at night, a necessary defence which the jury also felt bound to ask for them selves ; such was the strength of the mob- law outside the Court. The principal witnesses this day were three gentlemen who had accompanied Canning, on her first visit to Wells' house, and had been so struck by her discrepancies and prevarications, that they gave up advocating her story from that time ; but felt so sure of her falsehoods exposing themselves, that they allowed business or other engagements to occupy them at the trial, feeling sure of Squire's acquittal. A gipsy man and his wife also gave evidence, that they were lodging and sleeping in the room Canning declared to be the place of her solitary confine ment, during the time she said she was confined there ; and three men who had been lopping trees opposite the room win dows on the 8th of January, came forward and proved that they talked to Vertue Hall and Wells' daughter, from the windows of ELIZABETH CANNING. 19 the loft at that time; while one, John Howell, deposed to the fact of his having gone into this room to fetch pollard for pigs, on the 19th, 20th, and 21st of January ,and toat the gipsy manand woman were the only persons then there. He declared that he had attended the trial of Squires to say this, but that the mob would not suffer him to come in, and that he was forced to go away. Mr. Deputy Molyneux deposed to having been present when Squires was first examined before the late Lord Mayor ; and when the bed- gown was produced which Canning declared she had taken from a grate in the room, she took it up to take it away, when the Lord Mayor telling her she could not be allowed to do so , she answered, “ It is my mother's ;" which answer sur prised him much, as she had declared it to be obtained from Wells' house. The trial continued eight days. The witnesses on Canning's side went to prove her general good character ; the enfeebled condition in which she appeared at home on her return , and that a wretched , ill - clothed creature was observed on the road from Enfield on the 29th of January . On the last day of the trial, the jury retired at twelve o'clock at night, and, after an absence of upwards of two hours, returned with one of the most extraordinary verdicts on record , “ Guilty OF PERJURY, but not wilful or corrupt !” The court immediately assured them that such a verdict could not be received ; that it must be either “ Guilty ,” or “ Not Guilty ; ": on which they again withdrew, and in a short time afterward , brought her in “ Guilty," but with a recommendation to mercy. She was then committed to Newgate. Her sentence being respited until the next sessions, in May, at that time the Court was moved for an arrest of judgment, which was overruled, and they proceeded to pass sentence ; but opinions differing as to what it should be, a division took place, when eight were for subjecting Canning only to a small pecuniary fine, and nine for a month's imprisonment, at the expiration of which she was to be transported to some one of his Majesty's plantations for the term of seven years. So that it was the smallest possible majority of one only , which subjected Canning to any punishment c2 20 ELIZABETH CANNING. at all ; for it is obvious hat a pecuniary fine would have been none, as her friends would have readily subscribed any sum. Thus ended one of the most remarkable cases on the criminal annals of the country ; but the prejudice and extraordinary party spirit evinced throughout the land on its merits, was, if anything, still more remarkable. Whether her absence from her home was part of a deep- laid scheme Letween herself and her mother, to excite interest and obtain notoriety, as a means of attracting sub scriptions or friends, (which is most likely ), or whether a departure from the strict path of previous propriety, made a temporary absence necessary ; cannot be certainly known, as a clue to her place of residence while away had not been found ; although she might have remained concealed with the relatives she professed to have left on the night of her capture. This, however, is certain, that from the outset, she excited so much interest, and met with so many blind and zealous partizans, that they evidently prompted her indirectly what to say and do , and by their queries enabled her to answer the questions they put to her entirely to their own satisfaction . Her apparent innocence and simplicity aided an impression in her favour, in the same way that the ugliness of Squires produced the contrary effect in the minds of the popu lace . The whole story teaches an useful lesson on the absurdity and wickedness of mob- law, the folly of too readily yielding to appearances, and the danger of trusting too implicitly, even to the witnesses, in a court of law. With the natural obstinacy of Englishmen , the debate on Can ning's guilt or innocence did not rest with her condemnation . Her friends exerted themselves so successfully, that large sub scriptions were got up for her support, and she received some hundreds of pounds, collected by their exertions. They busied themselves to obtain for her a good reception in America, to which country she was sent , and became a school-mistress ! and here she is said to have attracted the favorable notice of an opu lent quaker, whom she married, dying in that country many years afterwards Thus she preserved her own secret, and raised her self to a position she had originally no right to expect or to obtain ; embroiled a whole nation in a foolishi squabble , and ANTONIO MAGLIABECHI. 21 endangered the lives of innocent persons and the characters of honorable men, by exciting an extraordinary degree of violent emotion in the populace, who, blind to truth , and obstinate in their prejudice, refused conviction , and resorted to the most extravagant outbreaks of misguided zeal. O who would wish to rule This changeling crowd, this common fool ? Vain as a leaf upon the stream , And fickle as a changeful dream , Fantastic as a woman's mood, And fierce as Frenzy's fever'd blood . SCOTT. ANTONIO MAGLIABECHI. The lives of men devoted to literature seldom present much of variety or incident . Their history is that of their works; the events of their lives, the formation of their volumes ; and they live so much alone, that there is little of adventure for their biographers to record . Magliabechi is an exception to this almost general rule ; his life is one of marked peculiarity ; his acquisition of knowledge strange, his powers of memory still stranger ; while his singular eccentricities, preserved amidst all circumstances and changes through his life, and even strengthening with age, are strangest of all. He was one of those persons naturally gifted with peculiar powers of mind, which, however thwarted, ultimately triumph , and so engross their possessor, that they bias his progress through life . He is said to have been born of poor parents, who were unable to give him instruction in any way, and who were of so low and mean a rank in Florence, where he was born in 1633 , that they were perfectly satisfied with their success in bringing forward their son , when they procured for him a service with a man who sold herbs and fruit. At this time he had not the least idea of reading, and was thoroughly uninformed; yet he is reported 22 ANTONIO MAGLIA BECHI. to have had so strong an innate love for books, that he was perpe tually poring over any leaves that he found used for waste paper in his master's shop. This strange propensity for looking on printed paper, before he could understand its meaning, without the power of putting letters together, or at first of distinguishing between them , ultimately attracted the attention of a bookseller who lived in the neighbourhood ; and he , knowing that the boy was totally unable to read , could not refrain from asking him why he was thus continually staring on printed paper ? The boy ingenuously replied, “ that he did not know how it was, but that he loved it of all things ; that he was very uneasy in the business he was in , and should be the happiest creature in the world if he could live with him , who had always so many books about him .” The bookseller was astonished and yet pleased with his answer, and at last told him that he should not be disinclined to take him into his shop if his master would be willing to part with him. Young Magliabechi thanked him with tears of joy in his eyes , and his happiness was highly increased when his master, at the bookseller's desire, gave him leave to go where he pleased . He went, therefore, directly to his new and much - desired business, and had not been long in it, before he could find out any book that was asked for , as readily as the bookseller could himself. Some time after this, he learned to read ; and when he had acquired the ability of doing so, he continually devoted himself to the enjoyment of this new power, and was always reading whenever he had leisure or opportunity. Such is the account of his introduction to literature, given by the Rev. Mr. Spence, in his " Parallel between Magliabechi and Hill. ” This account , he says, he obtained from a gentleman of Florence, who was very well acquainted with Magliabechi and his family ; it is but fair to own , which Spence himself does, that it differs from that given by other writers, and those of his own country. Niceron, Tiraboschi, Fabroni, and Salvini, all report differently. Salvini says , that he was at first in an honourable, but not in a literary employ. Niceron and Fabroni both relate that he was apprenticed to a goldsmith, after he had gone through the necessary routine of lessons in drawing, an accom ANTONIO MAGLI ABECHI. 23 plishment always acquired at that time by workers in the precious metals, and which accounts for the fancy and excellence of ancient Italian works of art of this kind. His brother is also said to have been brought up as a lawyer, in which profession he so well succeeded as to have made some considerable figure as an advocate. Mr. Spence acknowledges himself unable to deter mine which of these accounts of the early life of Magliabechi are the truest . It may probably be, that so extraordinary a man , should have an extraordinary early career fitted to him, by those who were anxious and willing to believe him altogether a natural wonder, over which ordinary circumstances could have had no control from the beginning. Whatever may have been the circumstances, under the influence which he was introduced to literature, it is certain that when once he had been installed in a position in which his insatiable desire for reading could be gratified, he indulged it to the greatest extreme. He never seems to have devoted himself to any par ticular branch of study, or to have desired to obtain perfect knowledge on any one subject, but to have followed a most dis cursive career through all kinds of books ; he read every volume that happened to pass through his hands, without reference to its contents ; a strong passion for indiscriminate reading being his only incitement to labour through the masses of volumes which presented themselves before him . He had, however, one natural advantage, which few such voracious readers possess ; and that was, the power of thoroughly remembering all he read , although he read each volume with the greatest rapidity ; and so extraordinary was this natural power with him, that he could also retain all the words in the consecutive order in which they appeared in the book ; and if there was anything peculiar in the phraseology of the author, that also he remembered, as well as any peculiarity of spelling which he might also have adopted . His connection with the bookseller brought him acquainted with men of taste and literature ; and his own extraordinary mechanical powers of memory, which made him a sort of living index to his master's collection , became talked of in Florence, and ultimately attracted the attention of Ermini, librarian to the 24 ANTONIO MAGLIABECHI. SO Cardinal de Medicis ; and Marimi, the librarian to the Grand Duke of Tuscany. These gentlemen proved his best friends, and by them he was introduced to the conversazioni of the learned, and ultimately became known at the Ducal Court. He was everywhere regarded as a prodigy for his vast and un bounded memory ; yet it has been affirmed that he was incapable of talking on any subject, as other learned men usually do, that it was a common saying of him, in his own time, that he was a learned man among the booksellers, and a bookseller among the learned. Yet it is apparent that he must have ar ranged in his own mind the very large mass of information he had obtained by his reading, from the circumstance of always being able to give ready answers to all who came to cousult him on literary subjects of the most varied nature . It is said , that there was a trial made of the force of his memory , which had now become the general subject of discourse among the Florentine literati, which, if true, is certainly very amazing ; but it may the more readily be believed , as it is not a solitary instance of his peculiar power. A gentleman of Florence, who had written a work which was to be printed , lent the manu script to Magliabechi ; and some time after ithad been returned to him , he called on him and detailed a plausible story which he had invented of the loss of his manuscript. He told his tale with so much apparent concern , and lamented the oblivion to which all his lahour was devoted by the loss of his work so feelingly, that he appeared almost inconsolable ; ending his tale by assuring Mag liabechi that his only hope was in his trying to recollect as much of his work as he possibly could, and committing it to writing against the time he should next visit him . Magliabechi, pitying the man's case, and heartily concerned at his apparent uneasiness, promised to do this ; and having accomplished it , it is asserted that on comparing it with the original , it was found to be so per fect a remembrance of the whole of the original manuscript, that he had not missed a single word , or even varied in any degree from the spelling which had been adopted. Spence says : " By this time Magliabechi was grown so famous for the vast extent of his reading, and his amazing retention of ANTONIO MAGLIABECHI . 25 what he had read, that it began to grow common amongst the learned to consult him when they were writing on any subject ; for, by treasuring up everything he read in so strange a manner, his head became at last what one of his acquaintance expressed it to be, " an universal index of both titles and matter . ” Thus, for instance, if a priest was going to compose a panegyric on any particular Saint, and communicated his design to Magliabechi, he would immediately tell him who had said anything of that Saint, and in what part of their works the particular passage was to be found ; and that sometimes , to the number of above a hun dred authors . He could tell them not only who had treated of the subject designedly, but of such also as had touched upon it only accidentally, in writing on other subjects ; all of which he did with the greatest exactness , naming the author, the book, the words, and often the very number of the page in which they were inserted . He did this so often , so readily, and so exactly , that at last he was looked upon almost as an oracle , for the ready and abundant anwers he gave to all questions which were pro posed to him in any faculty or science whatever. ” There probably never existed a man who was so peculiarly fitted by nature to be a keeper of great libraries. His happi ness centered in such collections : his only employment of time in ransacking and reading their contents . Fortune, in this, favoured him greatly ; his almost inconceivable knowledge of books recommended him to the attention of the Grand Duke Cosmo the Third, who made him his librarian ; and he had also the keeping of the libraries of Leopoldo and Francesco Maria, the two Cardinals of Tuscany. To a man who delighted in nothing so much as constant reading, which was in him an unquenchable appetite , the run of these extensive libraries, with occasional visits to many others, must have given him as much felicity as it was possible for him to enjoy ; yet these alone did not satisfy him , for it became a general custom for authors and rinters to make him a present of a copy of whatever they pub lished , by which means he formed a very large library of his own, and literally read nearly all the books printed before bis ور 26 ANTONIO MAGLIABECHI. time, as well as all in it ; a knowledge which he was believed so thoroughly to be possessed of, that Crescembini, speaking of a dispute whether a certain poem had ever been printed or not, concludes that it never could be, “ because Magliabechi had never seen it." The method he adopted to read through such vast numbers of books as he did , must be told in Spence's words, being, as he says, “ as extraordinary as anything hitherto mentioned of him. When a book first came into his hands, he would look the title page all over, then dip here and there in the preface, dedication, and preliminary remarks, if there were any ; and then cast his eyes on each of the divisions, the different sections, or chapters, and then he would be able ever after to remember what the book contained ; for he always remembered as steadily as he conceived rapidly ." It was after he had taken to this style of abbreviating his reading, that a priest who had composed a panegyric on a favourite Saint, brought it to Magliabechi as a present. He began reading in the style just mentioned, and having rapidly looked over the title-page, and heads of the chapters, he shut the book, and politely thanked the good priest for his present. The author, rather unnerved at this cool proceeding, asked him, in evident concern, and in a tone of pique or disappointment , “ whether that was all he intended to read of his book ? " Mag liabechi , nothing moved , quietly answered , “ Yes ; for I know very well everything that is in it.” Spence says , “ My author for this anecdote endeavoured to account for it in the following manner ; Magliabechi knew all that previous writers had said of this Saint ; and also knew perfectly well, the taste and cha racter of the priest who had written this work, and what he was likely to adopt from their works or opinions, and what he would omit ; by which means he could make almost a certain guess at the nature of his Essay, its style, treatment, and contents." Another anecdote is told by the same author, which is a remarkable instance of the peculiar and extraordinary local ANTONIO MAGLIABECHI. 27 memory he possessed, even of the places in which certain books stood on the shelves of a library : which gave him such a perfect knowledge of his master's library at first, and of the Pitti and other great libraries afterwards. One day the Grand Duke sent for him, after he had been made his librarian , to ask him whether he could get a book for him which was particularly scarce . “ No, Sir ;" answered Magliabechi, “ it is quite impossible ; for there is but one in the world, that is in the Grand Sigpior's library at Constantinople, and is the seventh book on the second shelf, on the right hand as you go in. ” The personal appearance of this devotee to books was cer tainly very unprepossessing ; he was not merely negligent, but absolutely slovenly, in his dress and habits. He never married ; indeed, as Mr. Spence observes, “ His appearance was such as must have been far from engaging the affection of a lady, and would rather have prejudiced his suit than advanced it . He lived among books, more like.“ the swinish philosopher” Diogenes, than the learned libra rian of ducal state ; he literally ate , drank , and slept among books ; and in order that he might give himself up fully to their indulgence, he had constructed a sort of fixed wooden cradle in the middle of his study, round which was a pile of volumes thrown in heaps, and scattered on the floor, which were destined to remain there until he chose to read or remove them . A straw chair formed his table, and in order that no time might be lost, he took a frugal repast in the midst of his studies, generally consisting of three hard eggs, and a draught or two of water ; when tired , and sleep over powered him , he generally fell back into his cradle, or slept on the piles of books beside him. An old cloak, which served him for a gown during the day, he used instead of bed - clothes at night, and never removed the cap he wore, which thus did duty day and night . From the circumstance of these large accumu 28 ANTONIO MAGLIABECHI. lations not being removed, spiders nestled plentifully among them , and his cradle and chair were attached to his loved volumes by a number of cobwebs , until Magliabechi seems to have con tracted a love for the creatures which formed them ; and this be came another inducement with him not to remove the litter around him . When any one came to visit him , it was usual with him to call out to them on entering , not to hurt his spiders. He received his friends and those who came to consult him , in a civil and obliging manner ; although he in general had almost the air of a savage, and even affected it, together with a cynical or contemptuous smile ; but he is reported to have been very communicative with the intelligence he possessed. His slovenly and eccentric habits became so fixed in him, that he could not be induced to live in an apartment provided for him in the Duke's palace ; but after residing there occasionally during four months, the whole of which time he was continually in an unsettled and unhappy state , returning to his own house on all sorts of pre tences , he positively refused to remain longer, and could never be induced again to break through his own mode of life. Although he lived so sedentary a life, with such an intense and perpetual application to books, he lived to be eighty - five years of age, dying in July 14, 1714. His habits of living were very simple ; his meals extremely so , generally consisting of hard boiled eggs, as before narrated . He generally kept his head warmly covered , and occasionally took treacle, which he fancied was a preservative against noxious vapours. He was fond of strong wines, but only indulged in small quantities. His only excess was in tobacco , in the enjoyment of which he set no bounds to himself ; it was a weakness of which he was perfectly sensible, but over which he could exert no control. By his will, he left a very fine library , of his own collection, for the use of the public, with a fund to maintain it ; and what ever remained over, he desired should be given to the poor. He died in affluence, as his emoluments were great, and his expenses little , for he spent no money but in books ; and as he had large quantities of them presented to him , his expenses in this way were not considerable. ANTONIO MAGLIABECHI. 29 A. us The wonderful and peculiar powers of memory possessed by Magliabechi, are not so entirely without parallel as to make doubtful of the truth of many anecdotes told of him ; there are instances on record of other persons whose memories were as singular, but who never gave themselves up like he did to a life of reading and the entire exertion of this peculiar faculty. To go back to olden time , St. Jerome mentions one Neopolien , an illiterate soldier, who wishing to enter a monastery, learned to recite the works of all the Fathers, and obtained the name of " the living dictionary of Christianity ." St. Antoninus, the Florentine, at the age of sixteen, could repeat all the Papal Bulls , the Decrees of the Councils, and the Canons of the Church , without missing a word . Pope Clement V. had so prodigious a memory, that Petrarch assures us he never forgot anything he had read. John Pie de Mirandola, justly considered a wonder, could maintain a thesis on any subject, when a child , and when verses were read to him , he could repeat them back wards . Joseph Scaliger learned his Homer in twenty -one days, and all the latin poets in four months. Haller mentions a German scholar of the name of Muller, who could speak twenty languages correctly. In the Gentleman's Magazine, for 1772, we are told of one Lewis Davis, then living at Llallyndrid, Flintshire, who was remarkable for his memory and other natural powers , and who could repeat, after a second reading, two or three hundred lines of prose or verse, and could converse agreeably on almost every subject of science , though he never had a liberal education . But, perhaps, as remarkable an instance as any is given in Baker's Biographia Dramatica, of one William Lyon, a strolling player ( who died in Edinburgh about 1748) , and who, one evening, while drinking with his brother performers, proposed a wager of a crown bowl of punch that he would next morning, at rehearsal, repeat the whole of a newspaper ( the Daily Advertiser) , from beginning to end. The players considering this as a mere boast, pud no great attention to it , but as Lyon persisted in his offer, one of them at length accepted the wager. Next morning, at the rehearsal, conceiving that as Lyon was intoxicated the preceding night, he had cer . 30 ANTONIO MAGLIABECHI. tainly forgot the entire circumstance, they reminded him of it , at the same time rallying him for bragging in such a ridiculous manner about his memory. Lyon, however, pulled out the paper, desired them to look over it , and judge themselves whether he had , or had not, won his wager. Notwithstanding the discord ance and want of connection between the paragraphs, the variety of advertisements, and confused mass of heterogeneous matter which composes a newspaper, he repeated it from beginning to end, without hesitation or mistake . Instances of extraordinary powers of memory in theatrical performers is not uncommon. Their memories also become so peculiarly drilled by the circumstance of learning a part in a play almost mechanically, without the possibility of knowing more of the general meaning of the dialogue they utter, than the last word (the cue) of the preceding speech can give them : that this circumstance, which to an ordinary person of good memory would present extra difficulties of a very embarrassing kind, gives them a power, when once they have obtained it, of facilitating memory in an extraordinary manner. The writer of this paper remembers perfectly well a young actor, who, on an emergency, undertook to learn in four hours, the principal part in a three act play, abounding with complicated incidents, this character appearing upon the stage nearly the whole time which the piece occupied in acting ; and in which a great deal of what is termed stage business ” had also to be thought of. A small square in a very populous thoroughfare, was the only place of study to be obtained on the emergency, but the actor achieved his task with perfect ease and success . A gentleman endowed with a remarkable memory died but a few years since at Hampstead, where he resided . known as “ Memory Corner Thompson,” from his faculty of remembering corner houses in any of the London streets ; which he did so perfectly , that he could state the trade of its occupant, and whether the door was in the centre of the house , or to the right or left of it ; he could also name the trade of the shop either on the right or left hand of the same. was once put to the test in an extraordinary manner , in the year He was This power PETER THE WILD BOY. 1820, in the presence of two well -known gentiemen, drew from actual memory in twenty- two hours, at two w a correct plan of the parish of St. James' , London , with of the parishes of Mary- le- bone, St. Ann, and St. Mari. adjoining it ; which plan contained every square, street, lane, court, alley, market, church , chapel , and all public buildings : with all yards, every public house, and the corners of all streets ; with many minutiæ, as pumps , posts , trees , houses that project and inject, bow-windows, Carlton- house, St. James's Palace, with the interior of the markets ; without scale, reference to any plan , book , or paper whatever ; and he did the same with respect to the parish of St. Andrew, Holborn , in the presence of four gentlemen , one evening at a tavern, beginning his task at eight o'clock in the evening, and finishing it before twelve. PETER THE WILD BOY. The melancholy spectacle of human nature reduced by neglect to the level of the brute, even in the midst of a civilized country , is one of the happy impossibilities which belong to our own land . Our trackless forests have sunk beneath the axe, or are so well traversed by roads, that difficulties and dangers vanish ; and the days are past when song- writers can tell “ an owre- true tale " of children perishing within these leafy prisons, and remaining “ Till robin red - breasts mournfully Did cover them with leaves." The spirit of civilization , and the thickly populated state of our country, has for ever prevented freebooters who would “ Live like the old Robin Hood of England," from enjoying their deer- stealing unmolested. Even the less romantic highwayman, whose life of dastardly rascality was ended most unpoetically at Tyburn, has left no successor " in his voca tion , " and his true character has been so far forgotten , that his PETER THE WILD BOY. to heroism has been borne by a gentle public.” It is wild wastes of continental Europe, and the vast forests A appear there, that the legends of the wild and the wonderful w find their locality, and from whence have occasionally emerged such untutored European savages, as “ Peter, the Wild Boy," as if to prove by prosaic truth , the fallacy of Byron's poetic line : “ Dear Nature is the kindest mother still." How or when these unfortunates became lost in such unfre quented wilds ; by what means they were enabled to preserve existence against hunger, cold and danger ; must for ever remain secret , as most of them had become so brutalized as to be utter strangers to the faculty of speech, and totally incapable of ac quiring it . In the year 1724 , some burghers, of the town of Hamelen , (a secluded and fortified place , on the banks of the Weser, about twenty - five miles from Hanover, and in the Electorate ), who had penetrated for some considerable distance into the dense forests which cover the hills at a short distance from their home, were startled by the sight of a naked lad , who was feeding on grass and nd who, on seeing them , com running like an animal, on his hands and feet ; and climbing the trees for safety as a squirrel would do. Much astonished at so unusual a sight moss ; PETER THE WILD BOY . 33 they followed in his track , and silently surrounding the spot he occupied , they succeeded in capturing this child of nature . It should be mentioned, that another version of the story of his capture is to the effect, that he was discovered by a burgher of Hamelen , named Jurgen Meyer, who found him in his field , suck ing a cow, and that he enticed him into the town by showing him two apples. When he was first found, a fragment of shirt was still about his neck, and the whiteness of his thighs seemed to prove that at one time he must have worn breeches . A being answering his description , had been seen by boatmen on the banks of the Weser, who had frequently thrown him something to eat .: A widower, at Tühbingen, was reported to have had a dumb child , which was lost in the woods , in 1723 , and came home after a time, but was turned out again by its stepmother. It was con jectured that he might be this child . But as Hamelen was a town where criminals were confined, and worked upon the fortifications, it was afterwards thought at Hanover, that Peter might be the issue of one of these criminals, who had either wandered into the woods and could not find his way back again , or being discovered to be an idiot, had been discarded by his parents, and left to perish . In the month of November, of the same year, he was conducted to Hanover by the superintendent of the House of Correction , at Zell , and introduced to King George I , who happened at that time to be in Hanover. He was brought into the royal presence at a time when his Majesty was dining. The poor youth was unable to speak a single word ; but the King endeavoured to gratify him, by causing him to taste of the dishes then upon the table ; but this failed in its effect; the simple diet of vegetables, roots and fruits, were all he could be persuaded to like , and those in a raw and not in a cooked state . He would eat no bread, but vegetables, grass , or bean- shells , he eagerly ate ; and he was fond of peeling green sticks , chewing the peel to extract the juices . When he particularly liked anything, as beans, peas, mulberries , fruit, and especially onions and nuts, he expressed his satisfaction by repeatedly striking his chest. The The KiKing, with a natural desire to see this untutored being more fitted for the society of his fellow - creatures, gave orders that he should have such provision D 31 PETER THE WILD ROY. as he liked best, until he could by degrees be brought into a state of civilization , and to relish human diet ; ordering at the same time, such instruction to be given him as would best fit for cohabitation with mankind . But the boy's heart was in the woods ; “ the hum of men” was to him more hateful than the cry of the owl. The men around him , so unlike himself, had no hold on his sympathies; he could not talk to them or understand their ways ; their food, their clothing, their luxuries , were to him less covetable than the freedom bis heart yearned after. For that they could offer him no compensation he cared for. Restless and unhappy, he watched anxiously a means of escape ; and his ever -vigilant eye detecting a chance of freedom , his swift foot aided him , and he rushed again to the woods. He was tracked to his old lair , his wild and desolate home, an abode redolent of unbearable misery to a civilized man : but to him , all that his heart held dear . Clinging to the hope of his free life returning, he determined to ensure its enjoyment, and finding his pursuers closing him in, he hastily climbed thick tree and concealed himself ; nor could aught induce him to descend ; and the only means by which they could recover him , was by cutting down the tree in which he had taken shelter, After his second capture, the King determined that he should be brought over to England, and, if possible, trained to enjoy a civilized and domestic life. At this time he was, apparently , about thirteen years of age ; he was extremely uneasy at being obliged to wear clothes, which seemed to give him anything but comfort. He could never be induced to lie on a bed, but retired to a corner of the apartnient, and sitting on the floor, nestled his limbs as close together as possible , and so went to sleep ; from whence it was conjectured that he used to sleep upon a tree, for security against wild beasts . Upon arriving in England, he was committed to the care of Dr. Arbuthnot , at whose house , in Burlington Gardens, he was baptized, July 5 , 1726 ; but, not withstanding all the doctor's pains , he never could bring the wild youth to the use of speech, or the pronunciation of words ; those he had learned to speak best were Ki- sho ( King George) , Qui- ca a PETER THE WILD BOY. 35 ( Queen Caroline ), and his own name Pe- ter. As every effort of this kind was found to be in vain , he was placed with a farmer at a small distance from town, and a pension was allowed him by the King, which he enjoyed till his death . He attracted much attention at first among the nobility and gentry, to whom he was introduced . The commonalty bestowed upon him the name of “ Peter the Wild Boy ;" an appellation which he retained until the day of his death , although, at that time he had reached the age of seventy. The parish register of North Church, in the County of Hert ford , where Peter was buried, contains an account of his life, drawn up “ by one who constantly resided above thirty years in his neighbourhood, and had daily opportunities of seeing and observing him . ” It states the interest the Queen took in obtain ing masters who would teach him to speak , and otherwise instruct him , but it being found of no avail, “ he was entrusted to the care of Mrs. Titchbourn, one of the Queen's bed - chamber women , with a handsome pension annexed to the charge . Mrs. Titchbourn usually spending a few weeks every summer at the house of Mr. James Fenn , a yeoman farmer, at Axter's End ; in this parish Peter was left to the care of the said Mr. Fenn , who was allowed thirty- five pounds a year for his support and maintenance . After the death of James Fenn , he was trans ferred to the care of his brother, Thomas Fenn , at another farm house in this parish , where he lived with the several successive tenants of that farm, with the same provision allowed hy Govern ment to the time of his death ." Peter, like many another “ wonder , ” ceased to attract atten tion after a while ; the ill - success which attended all efforts to teach him anything ; and the circumstance of his having been removed from the metropolis, and consigned to a lonely farm house, made the world forget him , and so far lulled curiosity, that had it not been for an eccentric nobleman , it is probable that the habits of this singular individual in his half - reclaimed state , would never have been recorded ; except what little is given in the half -true , half-invented account of his behaviour while at court, and among the great , by Dean Swift ; who has made D 2 36 PETER THE WILD BOY. was the circumstance a handle for his wit and satire . * The noble man to whom we allude was Lord Monboddo, who was then engaged in compiling a work on the origin and progress of language, in which the history of civilization as well as language an integral and necessary part . His lordship possessed some extraordinary and peculiar views of human nature , and a favourite theory of his , was that which considered the earlier generations of the human race, involved in mental and manual ignorance, living like beasts ; and, in fact, little better than ourang -outangs, or large monkeys. So deeply was his lordship impressed with this fancy , that he believed mankind to have originally carried tails, which appendage was lost to them only by s'ow and continued improvements, or even by re peatedly cutting them to the stump ; and it is recorded of him , that he never could thoroughly divest himself of the conviction that the midwife had, in his own time , more to do with divesting babies of them , than they would ever own, or allow himself and the male portion of the world to discover . He believed this to be a female secret, most religiously kept. This nobleman took great interest in Peter. He looked on a natural man . He visited him, and obtained all the particulars he could meet with concerning his life and habits ; and the result of his inquiries again called public attention to the almost forgotten “ wild boy." When he published them in his work on Ancient Metaphysics ; he thus relates them : It was in the beginning of June, 1782 , that I saw him in a farm - house called Broadway, about a mile from Berkhamp him as 66

  • The title of Swift's pamphlet is enough to display its humorous tendency,

imitating, as it does, the catch -penny style of cheap and wonderful narrative . It pretends to be an account " of the wonderful wild man that was nursed in the woods of Germany by a wild beast, hunted and taken in toils, how he behaved himself like a dumb creature, and is a Christian, like one of us , being called Peter, and how he was brought to Court all in green, to the great astonishment of the quality and gentry, 1726. ” After trying to conquer Peter's aversion to clothing, by gratifying his eye with various coloured dresses, green was the only colour which pleased him , and an Edinburgh paper , of April 12 , 1726 , says : • The wild youth is dressed in green, lined with red , and has scarlet stockings." PETER THE WILD BOY . 37 e UT 44 L او 1 Ho stead , kept there on a pension of thirty pounds, which the King pays. He is but of low stature , not exceeding five feet three inches, and though he must now be about seventy years of age, he has a fresh , healthy look . He wears his beard ; his face is not at all ugly or disagreeable, and he has a look that may be called sensible or sagacious for a savage. About twenty years ago he used to elope , and once, as I was told , he wandered as far as Norfolk ; but of late he has become tame, and either keeps the house, or saunters about the farm . He has been during the thirteen last years where he lives at present, and before that, he was twelve years with another farner, whom I saw and conversed with. This farmer told me he had been put to school somewhere in Hertfordshire, but had only learned to articulate his own name, Peter, and the name of King George, both of which I heard him pronounce very distinctly. But the woman of the house where he now is , for the man happened not to be at home, told me he understood every thing that was said to him concerning the common affairs of life , and I saw that he readily understood several things she said to him while I was present. Among other things, she desired him to sing Nancy Dawson , which he accordingly did , and another tune that she named. He was never mischievous, but had that gentleness of manners which I hold to be cha racteristic of our nature, at least till we become carnivorous and hunters or warriors. He feeds at present as the farmer and his wife do ; but, as I was told by an old woman , who remembered to have seen him when he first came to Hert fordshire, which she computed to be about fifty - five years before, he then fed much on leaves, particularly of cabbage, which she saw him eat raw. He was then, as she thought. about fifteen years of age, walked upright, but could climb trees like a squirrel. At present he not only eats flesh , but has 1 at 0 1 38 PETER THE WILD BOY. 1 acquired a taste for beer, and even for spirits , of which he inclines to drink more than he can get. The old farmer with whom he lived before he came to his present situation , informed me, that Peter had that taste before he came to him . He is also become very fond of fire, but has not aequired a liking for money : for though he takes it , he does not keep it, but gives it to his landlord or landlady , which I suppose is a lesson they have taught him . He retains so much of his natura ) instinct, that he has a fore - feeling of bad weather, growling and howling, and showing great disorder before it comes on . ” His lordship afterwards requested Mr. Burgess, of Oxford, to make further inquiries for him on the spot, conce cerning Peter, and that gentleman transmitted him an account, which was in sub stance as follows : -- Peter, in his youth, was very remarkable for his strength , which always appeared so much superior, that the stoutest young men were afraid to contend with him . His vigour continued unimpaired till the year 1781 , when he was suddenly taken ill , fell down before the fire, and for a time lost the use of his right side . I met with an old gentleman , a surgeon of Hampstead, who remembers to have seen Peter in London , between the years 1724 and 1726. He told me, when he first came to England, he was particularly fond of raw flesh and bones, and was always dressed in fine clothes, of which Peter seemed not a little proud. He still retains his passion for finery ; and if any person has anything smooth or shining in his dress, it soon attracts the notice of Peter, who shows his attention by stroking it . He is not a great eater , and is fond of water, of which he will drink several draughts immediately after breakfasting on tea, or even milk. He would not drink beer till lately, but he is fond of all kinds of spirits, particularly gin , and likewise onions, which he will eat like apples . He does not often go out without his master, but he will sometimes go to Berkhampstead, and call at the gin - shop , where the people know his errand, and treat him. Gin is one of the most powerful means to persuade him to do anything with alacrity ; hold up a glass of that liquor, and he will not fail to smile and raise his voice . He cannot bear the sight of PETER THE WILD BOY. 39 C6 an apothecary who once attended him, nor the taste of physic, which he will not take but under some great disguise . If he hears any music, he will clap his hands , and throw his head about in a wild, frantic manner. He has a very quick sense of music, and will often repeat a tune after once hearing. When he has heard tune which is difficult, he continues humming it a long time, and is not easy till he is master of it . He understands every thing that is said to him by his master and mistress ; while I was with him , the farmer asked several questions, which he answered rapidly, and not very dis tinctly, but sufficiently so as to be understood even by a stranger to his manner . Some of the questions and answers were as follows: --- Who is your father ? ” King George .” What is your name?" Pe - ter," pronouncing the two syllables with a short interval between them .-- “ What is that ? ” “ Bow -wow ," (the dog ) — “ What horse will you ride upon ? ” “ Cuckow ." This is not the name of any of their horses, but it is his constant reply to that question ; so that it may probably have been the name of one of the horses belonging to his former master. His answers never exceed two words, and he never says any thing of his own accord . He has likewise been taught, when asked the question—" What are you ?” to reply, Wild Man. " -“ Where were you found ?” Hanover.” _ " Who found you ? " King George.” If he is desired to tell twenty, he will count the numbers exactly on his fingers, with an indistinct sound at each number ; but after another person , he will say, one, two, three, &c . , pretty distinctly . Till the spring of 1782, which was soon after his illness , he always appeared remarkably animated by the influence of the spring, singing all day ; and if it was clear , half the night. He is much pleased at the sight of the moon and stars ; he will sometimes stand out in the warmth of the sun, with his face turned up towards it in a strained attitude , and he likes to be out in a starry night, if not cold . These particulars naturally lead to the inquiry, whether he has, or seems to have, any idea of the great Author of all these wonders . I thought this a question of so much curiosity, that when I left Broadway, I 66 99 40 PETER THE WILD BOY. rode back several miles to ask whether he had ever betrayed any sense of a Supreme Being. I was told , that when he first came into that part of the country, different methods were taken to teach him to read , and to instruct him in the principles of religion , but in vain . He learned nothing, nor did he ever show any feeling of the consciousness of a God. He is very fond of fire , and often brings in fuel , which he would heap up as high as the fire -place would contain it, were he not prevented by his master. He will sit in the chimney - corner, even in summer, while they are brewing with a very large fire, sufficient to make another person faint who sits there long. He will often amuse himself by setting five or six chairs before the fire, and seating himself on each of them by turns, as the love of variety prompts him to change his place. He is extremely good - tempered , excepting in cold and gloomy weather, for he is very sensible of the change of the atmosphere. He is not easily provoked, but when made angry by any per son , he would run after him , making a strange noise , with his teeth fixed in the back of his hand. I could not find that he ever did any violence in the house, excepting when he first came over, he would sometimes tear his bed - clothes, to which it was long before he was reconciled . He has never, at least since his present master has known him, shown any attention to women, and I am informed that he never did, except when pur posely or jocosely forced into an amour . He ran away several times since he was at Broadway, but never since he has been with his present master. In 1745 , or 1746, he was taken up as a spy from Scotland ; as he was unable to speak, the people supposed him obstinate , and threatened him with punishment for his contumacy ; but a lady who had seen him in London , acquainted them with the character of their prisoner, and directed them whithe to send him . In these excursions he used to live on raw herbage, berries, and young tender roots of trees . Of the people who are about him , he is particularly attached to his master. He will often go out into the field with him and his men, and seems pleased to be employed in anything that can } PETER THE WILD BOY. 41 assist them . But he must always have some persons to direct his actions , as you may judge from the following circumstance . Peter was one day engaged with his master in filling a dung - cart. His master had occasion to go into the house, and left Peter to finish the work, which he soon accomplished . But as Peter must be employed, he saw no reason why he should not be as usefully employed in emptying the cart as he had before been in filling it . On his master's return , he found the cart nearly emptied again , and learned a lesson by it which he never afterwards neglected . In No. 70 of the " Penny Magazine , ” a brief account of Peter was published , which elicited some extra anecdotes from a lady whose family knew this remarkable being ; these were afterwards published in that journal. She states, that after the ramble which led to his loss and capture in prison as a suspicious character, “ To prevent the recurrence of such serious adventures, he was provided with a brass collar , on which was inscribed · Peter the Wild Boy, Broadway Farm, Berkhampstead .' When pleased, he would dance about, shaking his brass collar, and making a hum ming noise , which he intended for singing, but in which it was difficult to trace an air . When he was angry , he never attempted to strike or use his hands, but always endeavoured to bite . Pleasure he expressed by kissing the object that excited his admiration . Painting delighted him , and he would imme diately kiss any object that was of vivid colours . He was passion ately fond of music, and would endeavour to enter the room when any kind of music was performing, jumping and dancing to it . Though quite harmless, Peter was sometimes sullen , and would never work if desired to do so ; but if nothing were said to him , he would often assist in the farm , and do more work than three other men . He usually had bread and milk for supper, and as soon as he had taken it , he always went up to bed ; so that if he was wished out of the way, some bread and milk was given to him , and when he had finished it, he would immediately go off to bed, even though it were still broad daylight. He could live on the simplest fare , but was fond of sweetmeats and confectionary. There is an anecdote of his having made way into a room where all the sweet things were laid out for a grand fête, given to Lord 42 PETER THE WILD BOY. PETER 44 the Wild Boy, Chatham , and when the second course was called for, Peter was discovered , with a large bowl, in which he had mixed pastry, jellies , creams , and other niceties ; employed , quite to his own satisfaction , in eating the whole collection with his hands. Peter was capable of very sincere affection, and he became attached in a very extraordinary manner to the farmer who succeeded Mr. Fenn, and when this person died, he went to his bed- side, and endea voured to awaken him ; but when he found his efforts unavailing , he went down stairs, and seated himself by the chimney. What his ideas of death were, cannot be known ; but he refused his food , and pined away, till in a few days he actually died of grief, for he never had any illness." He died at the farm , in the month of Feb ruary , 1785 , at the supposed age of seven ty -two years, and he is buried in North church yard, Hertfordshire , 1785. where a plain stone, with the simplest possible in scription, records his last resting - place . He was buried in the church yard at the expense of the Government, who supported him till the last . A brass plate was fixed in the church, with this inscrip tion : " To the memory of Peter, known by the name of the Wild Boy, having been found wild, in the forest of Hertswold , near Hanover, in the year 1725. He then appeared to be about twelve years old. In the following year he was brought to England by the order of the late Queen Caroline, and the ablest masters were provided for him . But, proving incapable of speak ing , or of receiving any instruction , a comfortable provision was made for him at a farm -house in this parish , where he continued to the end of his inoffensive life . He died on the 22nd day of February, 1785, supposed to be aged 72." Such instances of early neglect, reducing the human mind PETER THE WILD BOY. 43 men. to a level with the animal being, are happily of rare occurrence ; but Kirby, in his “ Wonderful Museum , ” has narrated several , which may be here alluded to, as they in a great degree illustrate a peculiar and unnatural phase of human existence, and should teach us to value the attention we all receive in early youth , and the aids of human intercourse and civilization . In 1334 , a child was found near Cassel, who had been long supported by wolves, and who afterwards declared at the Court of Prince Henry, that if he might follow his own inclination , he would rather return to his former companions than live among He was so habituated to run on all-fours, like animals, that it was found necessary to fasten pieces of wood to his body, to keep him upright. In 1694 , another young savage was found, in Lithuania, who lived among bears. He manifested no signs of reason, walked on his hands and feet, and uttered sounds which had no resemblance to those uttered by man . Some years afterwards, he was brought to the English Court, at which time he still experienced a great difficulty to keep himself erect, and to walk like other men . In 1719, two savages were discovered and pursued by some persons travelling over the Pyrenees ; they were running like quadrupeds. In 1731 , a girl was caught in the environs of Chalons- sur Marne, in France , and educated in a convent, under the name of Mademoiselle le Blanc . This female acquired the faculty of speech, and related that she had lived in the woods with a com panion, whom she one day unfortunately killed in a dispute con cerning the exclusive possession of a chaplet, which they acci dentally found. She died at Paris, in 1780, retaining much of her wildness , But a more remarkable discovery took place in 1767, by some inhabitants of Frauenmark, in the county of Henterseu , who had penetrated into the most sequestered part of the mountains, hunting the bears. They had already arrived to a point where no human being, they believed , had ever trodden before, when they were surprised by the track of a naked foot in the snow. They followed the track, and discovered in a cave a young naked female 41 PETER THE WILD BOY. savage, about eighteen years of age, whose skin was very brown , but who was perfectly healthy and robust . With some difficulty she was taken to the hospital at Colpen, a small town in the county of Astel , and placed under proper care . She could not be taught to speak , so that no information of her mode of living or protect ing herself against wild beasts could be obtained from her. She would not eat cooked meat, but devoured with avidity raw flesh , the bark of trees, and different roots. At the end of the last century , a young child was found in the woods of Canne, who bore a marked resemblance to Peter the Wild Boy . He was about twelve years old when first disco vered, in 1798, and, like Peter, betook himself to a tree for security. He was carried to an old woman in a neighbouring village, but escaped from her at the end of a week, and again returned to the woods and mountains; and although it was a severe winter, and he had no clothing but a ragged shirt, he continued to live there , retiring at night to solitary places, but in the days approaching nearer the villages. Thus he continued , until, of his own accord, he took refuge in a house, from whence , after a few days, he was removed to the hospital of St. Afrique, and then to Rhodez . He appeared to have been deserted in early youth, after an attempt on his life, which may have been consi dered fatal, as a wide scar was visible along the front of his neck ; there were twenty- three other scars on various parts of his body, some from the bites of animals, others from scratches and excoriations, affording proof of the long and total abandon ment of the unfortunate child . When first captured , he lived on acorns , chesnuts, and raw potatoes , but was soon taught to cook and relish beans. He had lost the sense of speech and hearing, the loudest noises or the most harmonious music equally failing to affect him ; his utterance was but a monotonous, guttural sound. His eyes unsteadily wandered, void of expression or rest. He was conveyed to Paris ; and persons flocked from all parts to see him ; they saw only a disgusting slovenly boy, affected with spasmodic and convulsive motions, constantly balancing himself like some wild animal in a menagerie, biting and PETER THE WILD BOY. 45 scratching all who displeased him ; indifferent to everybody and paying regard to nothing ; -and were soon satisfied with the sight . He was removed to the institutiun for the deaf and dumb, and placed under the care of Madame Guerin and Monsieur Itard , the physician ; and the means adopted by these excellent persons to reclaim his propensities are very interesting. At this time, his savage nature was shown by a strong love for violent open-air exercise , more particularly after great atmospheric changes. One snowy morning, he leaped from his bed with a cry of joy , and rushing, undressed, into the garden , rolled in the snow with signs of uncontrollable pleasure, and eagerly taking it up in both hands, devoured it with avidity. The moonlight had on him a strange effect, he would fix his eyes on the landscape, wrapped in a kind of contemplative ecstasy, interrupted only by profound inspirations and feeble plaintive sounds . He was almost insensible to bodily feeling , sitting on wet turf for hours in winter, or basking near the fire with an equal insensibility. When the live coals fell from the grate, he would snatch them up and throw them back with the utmost indifference, or take potatoes from boiling water with his hand. But his hearing was more obtuse , an explosion of fire- arms close to his head pro duced scarcely an emotion ; yet the cracking of a walnut had the effect of arresting his attention , it being his favourite fruit ; and the sound of the movement of the key which locked the door of his room , made him invariably run towards the place whence it proceeded . His anger was intense, and brought on fits, similar to epilepsy ; his joy was equally strong, and excited by the simplest means ; the reflection of the sun's rays from a mirror ; a glass of water, allowed to fall drop by drop on his fingers, while bathing, or a porringer of milk swimming in his bath, would excite intoxications of joy . To teach him habits of cleanliness and order, and awaken new emotions in his mind, was no easy task . To excite his dormant sensibility of body , he was placed in a hot bath for two or three hours every day ; in a few days, this tanght him the utility of clothing, which, when left within his reach , he would put on of his own accord ; his sense of smell was also improved , and he 46 PETER THE WILD BOY. ultimately became scrupulously clean and orderly in his habits . But the aversion he expressed for sweetmeats and dainties of every kind, was insurmountable. His mental perception quick ened , after he had been taught to practice it by finding his favourite chestnuts hidden under various cups . He began to be attracted by certain sounds, particularly the letter “ 0 , ” which induced M , Itard to give the youth a name, in which , according to the French pronunciation, that letter is strongly expressed . This name was Victor. He began to use one or two words ; and was taught others by an attempt to fix on his mind the names of things first ; then figures were drawn on a board , and the real articles hung beneath them , which when taken away, he could replace beneath their representatives , by the effect of comparison ; which resemblance was made less and less striking, until the young savage rebelled against the tax on his understanding, and refused to be further troubled ; and it was only by exciting his utmost terror ( threatening to precipitate him from a high win dow, and absolutely holding him out from it ) , that he could be conquered ; after which, he became more tractable, and, in the end, could form the letters expressing his favourite milk ( Lait) , and by which he usually obtained it . Such was the result of nine months' attention on the part of his instructors, who dared not, however, allow him to enjoy country visits, as the sight of the hills and woods gave him such extreme joy that he became more restless and savage than ever, and seemed only attentive to the means of again escaping. How truthful and instructive are Byron's fine remarks : 111Pfie hoCH deMIluExistence may be borne, and the deep root Of life and surferance make its firm abode In bare and desolated bosoms : mute The camel labours with the heaviest load, And the wolf dies in silence ;-- not bestow'd In vain should such example be, if they, Things of ignoble or of savage mood, Endure and shrink not , we of nobler clay, May temper it to bear, -- it is but for a day. M fur1 1 THOMAS TOPHAM , THE STRONG MAN . THOMAS TOPHAM , THE STRONG MAN. The exploits of this English Sampson, whose muscular exer tions meet with no parallel record in modern times, excited much attention in the early part of the last century, and are so extraordinary as to have rendered their truth almost doubtful, but for the good authority on which they are narrated . He was born in London , about 1710, and was the son of a carpenter, who brought him up to his own business, which he left when at the age of twenty-four, and became a publican . He was not remarkable in his personal appearance , and when he had arrived at his full growth , was only about five feet ten inches in height, without any external sign of the enormous muscular power he possessed. Topham's love for athletic exercises induced him to fix the place of his abode near to the famous arena for their display, Moor fields ; where cudgelling, wrestling, back- sword, and boxing were exhibited, under the superintendence of a notorious London character of the time, named “ Old Vinegar .” Topham's public house, known by the sign of the Red Lion, stood at the corner of the City Road , nearly opposite St. Luke's madhouse ; and here he must have attracted many of the sporting characters of Moorfields, yet his house is said to have been but a bad specu lation to him. His first great public display of strength was in Moorfields, where he pulled against a horse, which was unable to move, although his feet were not placed against stumps, but only against the dwarf -wall which divided upper and lower Moorfields. His success induced him to test his strength still further, and he afterwards pulled against two horses ; but as his legs were placed horizontally , instead of rising parallel to the traces of the horses , he was jerked from his seat, and had one of his knees much bruised and hurt ; but it was the opinion of Dr. Desaguliers and others, that had he been placed in a proper 48 THOMAS TOPHAM, position , he might have kept his situation, without any incon venience, against the pulling of four horses . It may , however, not be out of place to remark , that a similar feat of pulling against horses has been exhibited , which , although apparently a real exhibition of strength , is, in truth , but a simple display of skill and natural power possessed by all men, more or less, who might choose to exert it. Dr. Brewster narrates the mode in which the feat was performed by one John ( 'harles van Eckenberg, a native of Harzgerode, in Anhalt, who appeared in England as an exhibitor of feats of strength. Dr. Desaguiliers, who had been present when Topham had pulled against the horses, and has added his testimony to the fact of that feat being performed by aid of the fair exertion of strength alone, became convinced that the feats of this man were exhibitions of skill , and not of strength , he being a man of middle size , and ordinary muscular power ; and being desirous of testing the truth of his suspicions, he went to see him per form , in company with Dr. Stewart, and others. They placed themselves round the German , so as to observe accu rately all that he did , and their success was so great, that they were able to perform most of the feats, the same evening, by themselves, and almost all the rest he had executed, when they had obtained the same apparatus as he had used. The way in which the thing was performed was this ; -the performer sat upon an inclined board, placed upon a strong, fixed, square frame- work of wood ; round his loins was placed a strong girdle, in the front of which was an iron ring, to which a THE STRONG MAN. 49 rope was fastened by means of a hook . The rope passed between his legs, which were inclined upwards, and through a hole in the upright board, against which the performer's feet were placed . It will be seen, that the strain upon the rope is in a direct horizontal line with the traces. Several men, or two horses, pulling , were unable to draw him out of his place, as he grasped the rope with his hands, and seemed to pull against the horses. The due performance of this feat depends almost entirely on the natural strength of the pelvis or hip- bones, which form a double arch, that would require an immense force to break , if the pressure was directed directly downwards . Few persons consider the extraordinary natural strength of various parts of the human body, or that the bones of the legs and thighs , when in an upright position, are sufficiently strong to support a weight of four or five thousand pounds ; so that the difficulty in resisting the force of the horses was really slight, provided the legs were kept in a proper position . But it was by fair exertion of natural strength alone, unas sisted by any knowledge of its scientific or careful application , that Topham achieved celebrity ; Dr. Desaguiliers, who dis covered the mode by which the German thus described performed his feat with the horses, assures us of Topham's power to have resisted four of them ; and he also tells us that he saw him per form the following singular feats. By the strength of his fingers alone he rolled up a very strong and large pewter dish. He then broke seven or eight short pieces of a tobacco - pipe by the force of his middle finger, having laid them on his first and third finger, then thrusting the bowl of a strong tobacco - pipe under his garter, and bending his leg, he broke it to pieces by the power of the tendon of the ham alone, without at all moving the leg. Another bowl of the same kind he broke between his first and second finger by merely pressing them together sideways . He lifted a table, six feet long, with his teeth alone, although half a hundred weight hung at one end of it , and held it for a considerable time in a horizontal position . He struck an iron poker, a yard in length , and twenty -three inches in circumference, against his bare left arm , between the elbow and the wrist, until the poker was bent nearly to a right angle ; and E 50 THOMAS TOPHAM, then taking a similar one, he held the ends of it in his hands, and placing the middle against the back of his neck, he made both ends meet before him , after which he achieved the more difficult operation of pulling it almost straight again. He broke a rope two inches in circumference, though he was obliged to exert four times the strength that was requisite for the purpose, in conse . quence of the awkward manner which he adopted . He lifted a stone roller, weighing eight hundred pounds, by a chain to which it was fastened , with his hands only, while standing on a frame above it . These exhibitions, probably, took up Topham's time, and drew his attention from his business, for we find that he failed at the “ Red Lion ; ” after which he took another house in the same line at Islington ; which was known as the “ Duke's Head,” and was situated at the south- east corner of Cadd's Row, ( now termed St. Alban's Place) on Islington Green, but which has long ago been destroyed. While residing there, a concert of vocal and instrumental music was performed for his benefit at Station er's Hall, July 10, 1734, the hand- bill exhibits “ the strong man of Islington ,” as he was now termed , extended between two chairs, his head resting on the seat of one, his feet on the other, holding a glass of wine in his hand, and bearing five men who stand on his body. After this time he appears to have devoted himself to travelling, for the purpose of exhibiting his powers; and he visited Scotland and Ireland in 1737 . The account of his feats at Derby are thus described by Mr. Hutton of Birmingham , who, at that time, was an inhabitant of the former place : We learnt, " says he, " from private accounts well attested , that Thomas Topham , a man who kept a public house at Isling ton , performed surprising feats of strength, such as breaking a broomstick of the largest size , by striking it against his bare arm ; lifting two hogsheads of water ; heaving his horse over a turnpike gate ; carrying the beam of a house, as a soldier does his firelock ; and others of a similar description. However belief might at first be staggered, all doubt was soon removed, when this second Samson appeared at Derby, as a performer in public, and that at the rate of a shilling for each spectator. On application to 6 THE STRONG MAN . 51 Alderman Cooper for permission to exhibit, the magistrate was surprised at the feats he proposed, and as his appearance resem bled that of other men, he requested him to strip that he might examine whether he was made like them . He was found to be extremely muscular ; what were hollows under the arm, and hams of others, were filled up with ligaments in him . “ He appeared to be nearly five feet ten inches in height, upwards of thirty years of age , well made, but without any sin gularity . He walked with a small limp . He had formerly laid a wager, the usual decider of disputes, that three horses could not draw him from a post, which he should clasp with his feet ; but the driver giving them a sudden lash, turned them aside, and the unexpected jerk broke his thigh . The performances of this wonderful man , in whom were united the strength of twelve, consisted in rolling up a pewter dish of seven pounds, as a man rolls up a sheet of paper - holding a pewter quart at arm's length , and squeezing the sides together like an egg -shell--lifting two hundred weight with his little finger, and moving it gently over his head. The bodies he touched seemed to have lost their power of gravitation . He also broke a rope fastened to the floor, that would sustain twenty hundred weight ; lifted an oak table six feet long with his teeth, though half a hundred weight was hung to the extremity : a piece of leather was fixed to one end for his teeth to hold, two of the feet stood upon his knees, and he raised the end withh the weight higher than that in his mouth . He took Mr. Chambers , vicar of All Saints , who weighed twenty - seven stone, and raised him with one hand

his head being

laid on one chair, and his feet on another , four people , of fourteen stone each , sat upon his body, which he heaved at pleasure . He struck a round bar of iron one inch in diameter against his naked arm , and at one stroke bent it like a bow. Weakness and feeling seemed fled together . Being a master of music, he entertained the company with Mad Tom. I heard him sing a solo to the organ in St. Wer burgh's church, then the only one in Derby ; but though he might perforin with judgment, yet the voice , more terrible than sweet, seemed scarcely human , E 2 CG 52 THOMAS TOPHAM, “ Though of a pacific temper, and with the appearance of a gentleman , yet he was liable to the insults of the rude. The ostler at the Virgin's Inn were he resided , having given him some cause of displeasure , he took one of the kitchen spits from the mantle- piece, and bent it round his neck like a handkerchief, but as he did not choose to tuck the ends in the ostler's bosom , the cumbrous ornament excited the laughter of the company, till he condescended to untie his cravat. Had he not abounded with good nature, the men might have been in fear for the safety of their persons, and the women for that of their pewter - shelves, as he could instantly roll up both. One blow with his fist would for ever have silenced those heroes of the bear- garden, Johnson and Mendoza. " Topham's most remarkable Feat in May 28 , 1741.--- The news of Admiral Vernon's vic tory, at Portobello, which he took with six ships only, ex cited popular enthusiasm to the highest pitch, and Topham de termined to do him honour by theutmost exertion of his power, and in commemoration of his taking Portobello , a stage of timber was erected in Bath Street, Coldbath Fields, upon which was placed three hogs heads of water, weighing 1836 pounds, and Topham being ele vated upon a smaller stage above them , was enabled, by means of a strap which passed over his shoulders, and was secured to a strong cord , which hooked on to others bound round the hogsheads, to raise this pondrous load several inches from its resting place , the only assis . tance he received being a rest for his arms on either side , as delineated in our cut, from a print published at the period when this wondrous feat was exhibited . THE STRONG MAN. 53 But these were only the ordinary performances of Topham , when he went about for the purpose of showing his powers. Many other curious and amusing instances of them are related by persons who knew him . One night, perceiving a watchman asleep in his box, near Chiswell Street, he raised them both from the ground, and carrying the load with the greatest ease, for some distance, at length dropped the wooden tenement, with its inhabitant, over the wall of Tindall's burying- ground. The con sternation of the watchman , on awaking, and finding himself in a grave-yard, may be easily conceived, and nearly killed the man with fright. At another time , thinking to enjoy a little sport with some bricklayers, by removing part of a scaffold , just before they intended to strike it, from a small building; his grasp was so rude, that a part of the front wall following the timber, the fellows conceived it to be the effects of an earthquake; and immediately ran , without looking behind them, into an adjoining field . This time Topham paid dearly for the jest, as one of the poles struck him on his side, by which he was severely injured. Sitting one day at the window of a low public -house in Chis well Street, a butcher passed by tottering under the burden of nearly half an ox. Of this Topham relieved him with so much ease and dexterity, that the fellow swore that nothing but the devil could have flown away with his load. Another time, having gone on board a West Indiaman, lying in the river, he was presented with a cocoa -nut, which, to the no small astonishment of the crew, he cracked close to the ear of one of the sailors , with the same facility as an ordinary person would crack an egg- shell. The mate having made some remark displeasing to Topham, the latter observed, that if he had pleased , he could have cracked the bowsprit over his head. Topham being one day present at a race that was run on the Hackney Road , he and the other spectators were much annoyed by a man in a cart who obstinately endeavoured to keep close to the contending parties, and prevented others from seeing the progress of the race . Topham at length resolved to stop the career of this disagreeable intruder ; seized the tail of the cart , and drew it back with the greatest ease, in spite of all the exer 54 THOMAS TOPHAM , tions of the driver to make his horse advance, either by urging him with voice or whip. The rage of the driver was equalled only by the delight and astonishment of the spectators ; while nothing but the fear of being crushed or torn to pieces prevented the fellow from exercising his whip on the formidable cause of his mortification . Topham appears to have led a very rambling life for a few years. He was unsuccessful as a publican , and unhappy as a husband ; for he was wedded to a disagreeable, and, as he feared , an unfaithful wife. It appears from the following advertisement, which is a curious example of his public appeals, and contains some biographical information , that he had at one time served in the navy. He had, however, at the time when it was issued , July 1745, again become a publican. THOMAS TOPHAM , COMMONLY CALLED THE STRONG MAN, Keeps the sign of King Astyages's Arms, vulgarly called the Bell and Dragon , in Hog Lane, near Norton Folgate, in the parish of St. Leonard , Shoreditch , Where he intends to perform two actions of strength , for the reward of five shillings, when there is to be no more than five spectators ; all above that number are to pay a shilling each ; å crown is the least he'll take for showing the two feats ; and further to invite the curious, that man who is able to do either of the two, shall have the then present reward , that the above mentioned Topham is to have for exhibiting the same ; the more to add to his honour, if required , he will at his own cost, pub. lish the same in an advertisement, to let the world know there is a man as great a prodigy as himself. He'll also consent to be erased out of the Memoirs of the Royal Society, * and the person

  • “ So frequent at this period were the reference to the patronage of our rarer monsters' by the Royal Society, that at a meeting of that body, in March, 1753, it was declared inconsistent with the honour of the Society to admit the showing of monsters there, as the ridiculous exhibitors made use of their countenance, that of the Royal Family, and persons of consequence,

as to puffs to attract the populace. " —Note by Mr. J. H. Burn , to a reprint of ten copies of this advertisement for “ Islington collectors." THE STRONG MAN . 55 who can perform the like recorded in his room . It is the same Topaam who was applauded, and most generously caressed, in that honourable part of great Britain called Scotland . He also performed in the kingdom of Ireland , with good success and great applause, and in most parts of South Britain , where he was handsomely received and courteously entertained , particularly by the Honourable Corporation of Macclesfield , in Cheshire, where he received a handsome purse of gold : that was not the period of their generosity, they also made him a free burgess, and presented him with a silver box to keep his copy in . For the favours he publicly received during the time of his travels, he returns his most humble and hearty thanks. As the Fates' will has preserved him through many a hard brunt, especially by sea, and protected him on the day that the bloody and scandalous engagement happened off Cape Toulon, in the Mediterranean , on Saturday the 11th of February, 1743-4 ; he is in hopes Providence will stand his friend and support him in his endeavours. Vivere non potest, qui more non audet. In another of his advertisements, he ends with the following poetic flourish on the liquor he sells, after declaring the feats he is about to perform ; “ Although he dwells in mud and mire, The beer he draws is good entire ; It warms the blood , nourishes the nerves, Both meat and drink, mankind it serves.” It was while he was a publican , that he quieted two ob streperous guests, who, drunk and quarrelsome, would insist on fighting their landlord. Topham , unable to silence them by fair argument, at last seized them both by the nape of the neck, and then knocked their heads together as easily as if they had been but children ; until they became sensible of the mistake they had made, and apologized for their rudeness. Topham appears to have been a thoroughly loyal Englishman , with a great love for king and country, and an appreciation of favours received . Thus, in June 1746 , he addressed an invita. tion “ To the worthy and beneficial Society of Woolcombers , " 56 THOMAS TOPHAM , which body, “ as in duty bound for a singular favour he received from them ,” he invited to dine at an inn at Clapton , " on the 2nd of July next, ” where be proposed to “ entertain them with a dish of beans and bacon ; to conclude with a desert of Alderman Parson's entire ; and for their known zeal and affection to our Sovereign Lord, King George, and the present constitution, will conduct them by beat of drum , and colours displaying by his own hands.” His domestic differences, already alluded to, were, however, a ' constant source of misery to him ; and this occasioned him to put a period to his existence , after a severe quarrel with his wife, whom he doubtlessly believed he had killed . His death , and the circumstances attending it , are thus narrated in the ·Daily Advertiser for August 11 , 1747 : - " Yesterday, died Tho mas Topham , known by the name of the Strong Man , master of a public house in Hog Lane, Shoreditch, occasioned by the several wounds he gave himself on Tuesday last, after having stabbed his wife in the breast, who is likely to recover. ” The public interest which his extraordinary exhibitions of strength had always excited , did not die with him ; his feats were delineated on many signs, which were remaining up to 1800 ; one, in par ticular, over a public house, near the May Pole, in East Smith field , represented his first great feat of pulling against two dray- horses. It was also believed that the grave itself had not strength to hold him , and the newspaper above -quoted , which narrated his death , five days afterwards, contained the following curious paragraph : For these few days past, there has been a great commotion in Shoreditch parish, an apprehension that a resurrection had began in it, and several witnesses have been examined by the magistrates, in relation thereto. Yesterday, it was said , that Topham, the Strong Man, had, the night before , with the assist ance of some surgeons, got the better of the grave , though near eight feet of earth had been laid on him .” Instances of strength , in some degree resembling Tophan's, are scattered through various works ; but there is no record of such continued and singular feats as he occupied a life in per forming, to be found in the memoirs of other “ Strong men . " THE STRONG MAN. 57 stand upon Of the Archduke Ferdinand of Austria, it was said that he could stop six horses at full gallop , by taking hold of a spoke of a wheel, and that he broke with his hand two crown pieces joined together. Evelyn, in his Numismata, mentions a Zelander, who was so strong- limbed, that, at the nuptials of the French King , Charles the Fair, he brought into the dining- hall, two tuns of beer, one in each hand. Misson, in his voyage to Italy, says ; “ There is a servant at the Golden Hart, at Innspruck, who could stretch out his arın on the ground, and let a man of good stature his hand ; he would lift him up and carry him from one end of the room to the other .” Philip Coets, who was a soldier in Prince Eugene's army, was so strong, that at the age of seventy - three, he could lift a butt of beer from a cart without any difficulty ; he lived to the great age of one hundred and four, dying at Antwerp in 1789. Jackson, the pugilist, was enabled to tear the half of a pack of cards in two with his hands, exactly as others would sheets of paper, and he also possessed the power of bending a large kitchen poker, and squeezing a pewter pot flat with his hand, feats for which Topham was celebrated ; but the most remarkable instance of similar power is presented by a lady, the Dowager Countess of Oginska, who died in one of her castles in Poland, in 1790, at the age of ninety -one. She possessed such an extraordinary and almost incredible degree of strength, that she could roll up her own silver plate with her hands, like parchment, and break a crown piece in two with the utmost facility. When eighteen years of age, she assisted at the carousal given by Augustus III . on his marriage with the Archduchess Josephine, and by her extraordinary activity carried away the first prize from the young nobility of Poland assembled on the occasion . 58 GEORGE WATSON, GEORGE WATSON. THE SUSSEX CALCULATOR, Many extraordinary instances are on record of the power pos. sessed by young and uneducated individuals of achieving extraor dinary feats in arithmetical calculations, by natural ability alone. In the “ Memoirs of the Imperial University of Moscow, 1822," we find the following interesting details respecting a child who is said to display the most extraordinary genius for the solution of arithmetical problems. His name is Ivan Petroff, his age eleven years, and he is the son of a simple peasant, of Ragozine, a village in the district of Kologrivoff, government of Kostroma. He neither knows how to read nor write, but resolves the most complicated problems in arithmetic by the force of his imagination and memory alone. In the month of May last, he was examined by the civil governor of Kostroma, when he answered every ques tion put to him with the utmost exactness ; and shortly after, Professor Perevostchikoff, on visiting the establishments of public instruction , had an occasion of witnessing the extraordinary feats, in the way of calculation, performed by this boy . An enumera tion of the questions put to this precocious arithmetician is then given in the Memoirs ; " but as they are much the same in nature and difficulty as those which have been resolved in this country by calculating boys, we shall not weary the patience of our readers by transcribing them . It is said that he resolves these intricate questions with the greatest ease, and scarcely ever takes his eyes for a moment from the other children of the gym nasium, who are playing around him. One of these problems is perhaps worth stating , on account of its complexity. It was as follows -A: certain number of poods of sugar were pur chased for five hundred roubles ; if three poods more had been bought for the same sum, it would have happened that each pood would have cost three roubles less ; the question then is , how many poods were purchased ? On this being proposed, the boy appeared a little embarrassed ; he balanced one of his feet on the 66 THE SUSSEX CALCULATOR. 59 other, and, turning his head aside, remained, without moving, for the space of seventeen minutes ; he then replied “ twenty poods.” Astonished at the accuracy of the answer, the examiner asked him how he had arrived at this conclusion ; but he could extract no satisfactory information from the child ; but from what he said , it appeared that he had arrived at a knowledge of the true number by successive suppositions of numbers. The Emperor of Russia, on paying the gymnasium of Kostroma a visit, saw young Petroff, and had him examined in his presence ; and after express ing his admiration of his extraordinary faculty, ordered the civil governor to place the sum of one thousand roubles at interest for the benefit of the boy, and instructed the director of the gymna sium to have him taught to read and write, in the Russian, Ger man, and French languages. In the “ Revue Encyclopédique, 1829," is the following curious narrative : “ A child, seven years old , named Vincent Zuccaro, has lately been exciting public astonishment at Palermo. Born of poor parents, and uninstructed, he possesses an extraordinary facility in calculation . He comprehends, and works quickly, and, as if by instinct, all the combinations of numbers which depend on arithmetic. What was related of him appeared so little credi ble, that it was deemed necessary to make a public experi ment, with a view to establish the truth of the alleged facts . This experiment took place in the palace of the Accademia del Buon Gusto, at Palermo, in the presence of above four hun dred of the most respectable and intelligent inhabitants of the city . Two professors of mathematics were placed close to the child , to prevent any imposition , and to take notes of the questions put to him, and his answers. A great number of problems were proposed, all of which Vincent Zuccaro resolved with the most admirable ease. Several might be quoted, the solution of which shewed singular clearness of conception in a child . We will confine ourselves to two of the most simple for the others would require a multiplicity of details. - Ques tion : “ A vessel set off from Naples for Palermo at noon, and sailed at the rate of ten miles an hour. Another vessel, 60 GEORGE WATSON, which sailed at the rate of seven miles an hour, set off at the same moment from Palermo for Naples . Supposing the distance between the two places to be one hundred and eighty miles , at what hour would the two vessels meet, and how many miles would each have advanced ? " Vincent Zuccaro promptly re plied : " The first vessel will have advanced 105.45 miles ; the second 74.57 .” It was observed to him that he had resolved only a part of the problem, and that it remained to tell at what hour the meeting would take place. “ That is evident ; at 104. hours after their setting off," was his reply. This, in fact, was in some sort comprehended in his first answer ; and the child, who was aware of the connexion of the two circum . stances, thought that it had been equally obvious to his inter rogators, and, therefore, that it was useless to mention it .- The second question was ; --- " In three successive attacks, there perished, first the fourth, then the fifth , then the sixth of the assailants, who were thereby reduced to the number of 138. How many were there originally ?" Answer : “ 360.” Ques tion : “ How did you find that ?” Answer ; “ If there had originally been sixty, there would have remained twenty- three after the attacks; but twenty - three are the sixth of 138 ; there fore the assailants were originally six times sixty, that is to say, 360.” Question ; • But why did you suppose the number sixty , in preference to fifty or seventy ? " Answer : “ Because neither fifty nor seventy is divisible by either four or six ." It is evident that he did not avail himself of any of the me chanical processes ( if they may be so called ), employed by all arithmeticians. “ The Marquis Schis ) , who was the first to dis cover the singular faculty of this child , has joined several of the principal inhabitants of Palermo in soliciting from the govern ment the means necessary for his education , on which subject they will consult scientific and professional men ; everybody being of opinion that such a phenomenon ought not to be sub jected to the ordinary course. ” In January 1830, Zuccaro was sent for to the Court of Naples, where, in the presence of a numerous company, several difficult questions were proposed to him . The Duke of Calabria first 6 THE SUSSEX CALCULATOR. 61 asked him how many minutes there are in 500 years , reckoning to the year 365 days and 6 hours . He replied , after a little reflection, 262,980,000 minutes. Prince Pignatelli then inquired of him, how many steps a gardener would take who had to water one hundred trees , distant five steps from each other, and who should be obliged to fetch his water for each tree from a well distant ten paces from the first of them . Young Zuccaro immediately replied , 51,500. He made equally speedy and cor rect answers to several other interrogatories . A Sicilian journal of 1832, noted the progress of Zuccaro, after the Abbé Minardi had attended to his education . From being entirely ignorant even of the alphabet, in the course of two years, he was enabled to read off -hand the most difficult of the Latin and Italian classics , and gave other public proofs of the unprecedented extent of his acquirements. But even he was not unrivalled in Sicily , at that time . The journal goes on to inform us, “ that two other boys, by name Ignatius Lan dolina and Joseph Puglisi, have come forward to enter the lists against him . The former has not reached his tenth year, though he has already attended several public meetings , and resolved some of the abstrusest questions in the highest branches of geometry, which were put to him by Professors Nobili, Scuderi, and Alessi, of the University of Catania . On these occasions , Landolina did not confine himself to a mere dry answer , but ssigned the reason for the result , and entered acutely into the metaphysics of the science . The third child , Puglisi, who is seven years old , afforded no less striking and indisputable proofs of his extraordinary talent in giving -off -hand answers to prob lems which usually require tedious arithmetical calculations . It is remarkable to see him , in the very act of listening to a question and giving his solution, pursuing his pastimes like any other child , as if both one operation and the other were matters of equal ease and unconcern to him . The precocious aients of these three infantine mathematicians, would seem to ‘ icate , that the spirit of Archimedes still lingers on its native land has produced juvenile uneducated arithmeticians , quite 62 GEORGE WATSON, as marvellous as those just described ; but George Watson, “ the Sussex calcu . lator," is a remarkable instance of natural power, totally unaided by education of all kinds. He was ignorant in the ex treme, and uneducated, not being able to read or write , and from thorough neglect in early life , and an eccentricity of constitution , which would not brook sufficient control to enable him to acquire therudiments of learning, he continued almost an idiot in his general conduct through life. He was born at Buxted, in Sussex, in 1785 , and followed the occupation of a labourer in the fields. His powers of memory were astonishing ; and he could, with facility, perform some of the most difficult questions of arith metic. The most extraordinary circumstance, however, is the power he possessed of recollecting the events of every day, from an early period of his life. Upon being asked on what day of the week a given day of the month occurred , he immediately named it, and also mentioned where he was, and what was the state of the weather. This power was put to the test by a gen tleman who kept a diary ; and his replies to the questions of this kind which he asked him , were invariably found to be correct . He lived for many years with an uncle, at Buxted, who was a farmer ; and he could recount the quantity of live stock bred dur ing the whole time he resided with him ; to whom they were sold, and the prices they fetched . He had been often asked to state on what day of the year Easter Sunday fell for a century past , and was never wrong in his answers. The birth - days and ages of all the individuals among George's acquaintance were as well known to him as to themselves ; and he often raised a laugh against single ladies of a certain age, by stating the day of their birth in company. One of his most favourite amusements was, to recount the number of acres , amount of population , size of the church and weight of the tenor- bell of every parish in the county, wh: he would do without making a mistake . He made two or 1 " tours into Hampshire, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, and som THE SUSSEX CALCULATOR. 63 shire ; and exhibited his singular powers in the principal towns in these counties . It was for some time the wish of some indi viduals well known to the poor fellow , and who took an interest in his behalf, to assist him with the comforts of a home, all attempts at education having failed ; but George had contracted an uncontrollable love for a wandering life, and it was impossible to use any importunities, or offer him any comforts, which would necessarily fix him to any particular spot. His idiotic obstinacy, combined with other failings, prevented his best friends from doing any good for him ; and his habits of irregularity and neglect brought on him such dirty habits, that no place but the workhouse would receive him. There, when necessity compelled him , he resided ; but he frequently broke forth to again resume his vaga bond life, and his death was accelerated by leaving the work house during a very severe winter, and sleeping in barns, and subsisting on chance gifts. He returned to the Union workhouse, Maresfield , Sussex, but to die : an end was put to his irregu larities, his sufferings, and his “ calculations , ” in July, 1838, when at the age of 50 . Watson is a singular instance of the possession of an isolated power of the mind, developed in a most extraordinary manner, in a brain otherwise nearly idiotic. It was the one exertion of his life to keep that in active power ; and, but for that , he would have been less remarkable than the children around him . His life is an example of the fact, that the possession of one mental power alone, unaccompanied by others to usefully guide it , may convert its possessor into a mere curiosity ,” but can never make him a serviceable member of the commonalty at large. JEFFREY HUDSON . In one of the most populous thoroughfares of the city of Lon don, is placed a sculptured memorial of two remarkable persons of the time of Charles I. , which is perhaps little noticed by the throng of persons who so busily pass by it day by day. It is but few such memorials old London now can show. The hand 61 JEFFREY HUDSON . THES of modernization, even more than that of time, has been ruth. lessly at work, altering, improving, and destroying. Yet the memorial we speak of has been spared to us ; to remind us with its quaint words, and equally quaint, but “ true effigies,” of two remarkable men ; lusus naturce, who amused the courtiers of “ the merry monarch , ” and were part of his housebold ; and one of whom has been immortalized by the Shakspere of Scotland -Sir Walter Scott. The sculpture is placed over the entrance to Bull head Court, Newgate Street, and is a small stone, ex hibiting, in low relief, the M PA ER figures of William Evans, KINGS PORT the gigantic porter, and the famed dwarf, Jeffrey Hud AND son , with whose name all DWARF readers of “ Peveril of the Peak ” will be familiar. The figures are both painted in the colors they probably Evans wears a long gown, with hanging sleeves , and bears his staff of office. Little Jeffrey is wrapped in an ample cloak . These fellow - servants of the court were occasionally contrasted in court pageants. Evans was not so good a figure for a giant, as little Jeffrey was for a dwarf. Fuller tells us, that Evans was full six feet and a half in height, though knock -kneed, splay footed , and halting in his gait ; " yet made he a shift to dance in an anti -mask at court, where he drew little Jeffrey, the dwarf, out of his pocket, first to the wonder, then to the laughter of the beholders.” Jeffrey was born in 1619 ; and Fuller, in his “ Worthies, mentions him among the memorable persons of Rutlandshire, as wore . " *

  • Vol. 11. p. 243, ed. 1811 .

JEFFREY HUDSON . 63 66 وفي Born in the parish of Okeham, in this county, where his father was a very proper man, broad shouldered and chested, though his son never arrived at a full ell in stature . His father, who kept and ordered the baiting bulls for George, Duke of Buckingham, (a place , you will say, requiring a robustious body to manage it ) , presented him , at Burleigh - on -the- Hill, to the Duchess of Buck ingham, being then nine years of age, and scarce a foot and a half in height as I am informed by credible persons , then and there present, and still alive . Instantly Jeffrey was heightened ( not in stature, but) in condition, from one degree above rags, into silk and sattin , and two tall men to attend him ." That John Hudson , the father “ was a proper man,” as Fuller quaintly characterizes him , we have also the testimony of another old author. Wright, in his “ History of Rutlandshire ,” ( p. 105 ) , speaking of him , remarks, “ he was a person of lusty stature, as well as all his children, excepting Jeffrey, who, when seven years of age, was scarcely eighteen inches in height ; " yet of his little son , Fuller adds :- He was without any deformity, wholly proportionable ; whereas, often dwarfs, pigmies in one part, are giants in another. And yet, though the least that England ever saw , he was a proper man compared to him of whom Sabinus doth write in his comment upon the Metamorphosis : ‘ There was lately to be seen in Italy , a man of a ripe age, not above a cubit high , carried about in a parrot's cage of whom Hierom Cardan , in his writings, makes mention . ' “ It was not long before, he was presented in a cold baked pye to King Charles and Queen Mary, at an entertainment ; and ever after lived ( while the Court lived ), in great plenty therein , wanting nothing but humility (high mind in a low body) , which made him that he did not know himself, and would not know his father, and which , by the King's command , caused justly his sound correction .” The entertainment alluded to was that given to Charles I. and his Queen, in their progress through Rutlandshire. They both seem to have been partial to dwarfs ; for they also patronized Richard Gibson , a dwarf, who was made page to the King, and ultimately became an artist of ability . Hudson and Gibson both F 66 JEFFREY HUDSON. resided at Court until the Civil Wars broke out, which destroyed their fortunes as it did those of their royal patrons. Jeffery was of good face as well as good figure. His coun tenance is striking and expressive, as it is depicted in the fine full-length painting of him , by Daniel Mytens, in the Collection of Sir Ralph Woodford , and which was admirably copied by one of the best of antiquarian artists, G. P. Harding, for the third volume of his " Biographical Mirror." From this print our humbler cut is copied. There is another portrait of him by the same artist, at Hampton Court, which represents Jeffrey at a more advanced period of life, and which fully carries out Sir Walter Scott's description of the little man , when, at a later period of his life , he was confined in prison ; although some portions of that description belong exclusively to the fancy of the great novelist. In 1630, Jeffrey had the distinguished honour of being sent out to France to fetch a midwife for the Queen, Henrietta Maria . He performed his embassy well, and was escorting his important charge homeward, in the ship devoted to his service, when he was unfortunately captured by a Flemish pirate, who carried him prisoner to Dunkirk . Jeffrey had attracted much attention at the French Court, both on account of the important commis sion with which he was entrusted, as well as his own remarkable size , which was without parallel there. He was so favourably received , and had so many presents given him, that he returned a vainer and a richer man than he was when he went out. He was a rich booty for the pirates , as he possessed property to the value of £2,500, all of which he lost by this mal-adventure. It is probable that he was fully consoled on his return to England, but the laughers enjoyed his mishaps ; and Shakspere's godson , Sir William D'Avenant, turned the whole thing into ridicule in a short poem, intitled “ Jeffereidos," which was first printed with “ Madagascar and other Poems, ” in a small duo JEFFREY HUDSON. 67 decimo volume in 1638 . He describes the vessel Jeffrey sailed in as an “ old weary Pinke,” or small vessel with one sail, not capable of the slightest resistance when boarded . His examina tion before the Dutchmen, who find him hid beneath a candle stick , is very humourously told ; and when his freedom from state plots is established, he is mounted on “ the fleetest Iceland Shock " -dog they can find, and posted off to Brussels, but falling by the way , he runs great danger from a turkey-cock, who had determined on swallowing him like a grain of wheat. A battle royal ensues, which is terminated by the interposition of the midwife, he had brought from France, and who delivers him from all danger. The poem is here reprinted entire. JEFFEREIDOS, OR THE CAPTIVITY OF JEFFERY. CANTO THE FIRST . A sayle ! a sayle ! cry'd they, who did consent Once more to break the eight Commandement For a few coles ; of which by theft so well Th'are stor’d ; they have enow to furnish Hell With penall heat ; though each sad devill there A frozen Muscovite, or Russian were ; The chase grew swift; whilst an old weary Pinke, Not us'd to fly, and somewhat loth to sinke, Did yeeld unto the foe ; who boards her strait ; And having rifled all her precious freight ; A trembling Britaine kneeles, and did beseech Each composition there, of tarre and pitch, That they would heare him speake : ' tis not (quoth he) Our kinde respect to wealth , or libertie , Begets thie feare ; but lest blind Fortune may Unto some fierce, unruly hand betray, The truest servant to a State, that cou'd Be giv'n a nation out of flesh and bloud : And hee tall Jeff'ry height ! who not much us'd To fights at sea, and loth to be abus’d, Resolu'd to hide him , where they sooner might Discover him, with smelling than with sight. Each eye was now imploy'd ; no man could thinke Of any uncouth nooke, or narrow chinke, 1 2 68 . JEFFREY HUDSON . But strait they sought him there ; in holes not deep But small, where slender magots us'd to creep : At last, they found him close , beneath a spick And almost span -new -pewter - candlestick . A sapient Diego, that had now command Of ships and victorie, tooke him in hand : Peis'd him twise, tasted his discourse ; at length Beleev'd, that he dissembled wit, and strength : Quoth he , “ victors , and vanquished ! I bid You all give eare, to wisdome of Madrid ! This that appeares to you, a walking-thumbe, May prove, the gen’rall spie of Christendome:" Then calls for chaines, but such as fitting seeme, For elephants, when manag'd in a teeme. Whilst puissant Jeff’ry ' gins to wish ( in vaine) He had long since contriy'd a truce with Spaine. His sinewes faile him now ; nor doth he yeeld Much trust unto his buckler, or his shield ; Yet threatens, like a second Tamberlaine, To bring them ' fore the Queene's Lord- Chamberlaine ; Because, without the leave, of him, or her, They keep her household -servant prisoner. Diego, that study'd wrath , more than remorse , Commands, that they to Dunkerk steere their course : Whilst captive- Jeffry shewes to wiser sight, Just like a melancholy Israelite, In midst of's journey unto Babylon ; Melt marble hearts, that chance to thinke thereon ! The winds are guilty too ; for now behold Already landed this our Brittaine bold ! The people view him round ; some take their oath He's human issue, but not yet of growth : And others ( that more sub’tly did conferre) Thinke him a small , contracted conjurer : Then Diego, Bredro names ! Hemskerk ! and cryes, Hans van Geulick ! Derick too ! place your thighs On this judiciall bench ; that wee may sit T’undoe , this short - Embassadour with wit. One, faine would know's descent: Thou Pirat-Dogge (The wrathfull captive then reply'd ) not Ogge ( The Bashan King ) was my progenitor ; Nor doe I strive, to fetch my ancestor From Anack's sonnes, nor from the genitals Of wrastling Cacus , who gave many falls. JEFFREY HUDSON. 69 “ No matter for his birth, ” sayd Diego then ; Bring hither strait the rack ! for it is ten To one, this will enforce from out his pate, Some secrets, that concerne the English State .” But 0 ! true, loyall heart ! he'ld not one word Reveale , that he had heard at Councell - bord . Some ask'd him then , his business late in France ; What instruments lay there conceal'd t'advance The British cause ? when they perceiv'd his heart Was bigge, and whilst enforc'd, would nought impart ; Diego arose ; and said, “ Sir, I beseech you, Acquaint us if the 'Cardinall de Richelieu Intend a warre, in Italy, or no ?” ( Most noble Jeff'ry still ! ) hee seemes to know Nought of that point , though divers think, when there ; The Cardinall did whisper in his eare The scheame of all his plots ; and sought to gaine His company along with him to Spaine ; For thither he'll march , if he can byth'way Sweep a few dirty nations intoth' sea. A solemne monke, that silent stood close by, Beleev'd this little captive, a Church -spie ! Quoth he, " that shrivled face, hath schysme in it ; And lately there's a learned volume writ, Wherein Ben -Iharky, and Ben - Ezra too, And Rabin Kimky eke, a learned Jew, Are cited all ; it labours to make good, That there were Protestants before the Flood ; And thou its author art ” : Jeff'ry swore then, He never knew those Hebrew gentlemen ! When they perceiv’d, nor threats, nor kindnesse sought From love, could get him to discover ought; Diego leaves the table ; sweares by his skarffe ; The thing, they douted thus, was a meere Dwarffe. The fleetest Izeland-shock, they then provide ; On which they mount him strait , and bid him ride : He weepes a teare or two, for's jewells lost ; And so, with heavy heart, to Bruxels post. CANTO THE SECOND. So runs the nimble snayle, in slimy track , Hast’ning with all his tenement on's back ; 70 JEFFREY HUDSON. And so, on goodly cabidge - leafe, the fleet Swift- caterpiller moves with eager feet, As this sad courtier now ; whose mighty steed May for an easie amble , or for speed , Compare with gentle bull in yoke : But O ! Here now begins a canticle of woe ! Chide cruell Fate, whose businesse in the spheares, Wise Jeffry notes , is but to cause our teares : Their rule, and pow'r ( quoth he ) is understood, More in the harme they doe us, than the good : And this hee say'd , because he scarce had driven Along that coast , the length of inches seven , But down his Izeland fell ; some authors say A burly oake, lay there disguised in's way ; Others a rush ; and some report, his steed Did stumble , at the splinter of a reed ; And some ( far more authentick) say agin, ' T'was at a haire, that drop'd from humane chiu : But though , the sage historians are at strife, How to resolve this point ; his courser's life They hold lost in the fall ; whilst the discreet Jeff"ry was forc'd, to wander on his feet . Old wives, that saw the sorrowes of this Spy, Their wither'd lips ( thinner than lids of eye) Strait opened wide ; and tickled with his wrongs, Did laugh , as if 'twere lech'ry to their lungs ; And Diego too, whose grave and solemne brow , Was ever knit, grew loud, and wanton now : " O for a guard ( quoth he) of Switzers here , To heave that giant up ! but come not neere ; For now enrag'd , he may perchance so toss us, As you would thinke, you touch'd a live Colossus ! " This Jeff'ry heard ; and it did stir his gall, More than his courser's death , or his owne fall. Sorrowes, that hasten to us, are but slow In their departure ; as the learn'd may know By this sad story ; since new cause was given ; For which our deepe Platonick questions Heaven . “ O cruell starres (quoth he) will you still so Officious be, to trouble us below ?

  • Tis say'd your care doth governe us ; d'ye call That care, to let Ambassadours thus fall ?

Nay, and permit worse dangers to ensue ? Though all your rule , and influence be true ; JEFFREY HUDSON. 71

I had as leefe ( since mortals thus you handle) Be govern'd by the influence of a candle . ” This he had cause to say ; for now behold A fowle of spacious wing, bloody, and bold In his aspect ; haughty in gate, and stiffe on His large-spread clawes he stood, as any griffon ; Though, by kinde, a Turkey ; whose plot that way Was like a subtle scowt to watch for prey ; Such as is blowne about by ev'ry wind ; But here's the dire mistake ; this fowle (halfe blinde) At Jeff'ry pecks, and with intent to eat Him up, in stead of a large graine of wheat : Jeffry (in duell nice) ne're thinks upon't, As the Turkeys hunger, but an affront. His subid he drew ; a better none alive E're got from Spanish foe, for shillings five. And now, the battaile doth begin : sound high Your oaten reeds, t'encourage victorie ! Strike up the wrathfull tabor ! and the gitthern ; The loud Jew's-trump ! and spirit -stirring - cittherne ! Jeft"ry the bold , as if he had o’reheard These instruments of warre, his arme uprear'd, Then cryes “ St. George for England !” and with that word He mischief'd ( what I pray ?) nought but his sword : Though some report, he notch'd the foes left wing ; And poets too, who faithfully did sing This battaile in low -Dutch, tell of a few Small feathers there, which at the first charge flew About the field , but doe not strictly know That they were shed by fury of that blow. This they affirme ; the Turkey in his looke Express'd how much , he it unkindly tooke, That wanting food, our Jetf'ry would not let him, Enjoy awhile the privilege to eat him : His taile he spreads, jets back ; then turnes agen ; And fought, as if, for th'honour of his hen : Jeffry retorts each stroke ; and then cryes ; " mauger Thy strength, I will dissect thee like an augur !” . But who of mortall race, deserves to write The next encounter in this bloudy fight? Wisely didst thou ( O poet of Anchusin ; ) Stay here thy pen , and lure thy eager Muse in ; Envoking Mars, some halfe an houre at least, To helpe thy fury onward with the rest : 72 JEFFREY HUDSON. For Jeffry strait was throwne ; whilst faint, and weake, The cruell foe, assaults him with his beake. A lady-midwife now, he there by chance Espy'd, that came along with him from France : “ A heart nurs'd up in war ; that ne're before This time ( quoth he) could bow, now doth implore : Thou that deliver'd hast so many, be So kinde of nature , to deliver me!" But stay : for though the learn’d . Chronologer Of Dunkerk, doth confesse him freed by her ; The subt'ler poets yet, whom wee translate In all this epick ode, doe not relate The manner how ; and wee are loth at all To vary from the Dutch originall. Deeds they report, of greater height than these ; Wonders, and truth ; which if the court - wits please, A little helpe from Nature, losse from Art, May happily produce in a Third Part . In 1636, was also published, “ The Newe Yeer's Gift, pre sented at Court from the Lady Parvula to the Lord Minimus . ” The volume is entirely dedicated to our little hero, and is of remarkably small dimensions, as such a book should be. A copy of this book formed part of the library of Mr. Nassau, and was sold by Evans of Pall Mall, in February, 1824, and which, according to a manuscript note on the fly -leaf, was “ bound with a piece of Charles the First's waistcoat, and tied with the blue ribbon of the garter.” A scarce portrait of Jeffrey was inserted , u nderwhich these lines were inscribed : " Gaze on with wonder and discerne in me The abstract of the World's Epitone." This tiny volume, which had originally formed part of the Townly collection , was sold for eight guineas, at the sale of the late Mr. James Perry's library. Another copy is in the British Museum . It is not a very remarkable or very excellent literary work, although it has great pretensions to wit. It is filled with indifferent jokes and stilted pedantry ; and concludes with the following attempt at humour, with which specimen of the book our readers will doubtless be satisfied :- " In short, who desireth JEFFREY HUDSON. 73 not in debt to be as little, as may be ; and what a rare temper is it in men of descent not to be ambitious of greatness, even in the highest matters which men attempt, how commonly the most do come short, and in their great business effect but little. And, therefore, as it was said of Scipio , that he was nunquam minus solus quam cum solus - never less alone than when alone ; so it may be said of you, excellent abstract of greatness, that you are nunquam minus parvus quam cum parvus, -never less little than when little . I hope you will pardon me if, in my style , I have used a little boldness and familiarity, you knowing it to be s0 commendable, and that it is nimia familiaritas, great boldness only, which breedeth contempt ; especially since you are no stranger, but of my own country ; though some, judging by your stature , have taken you to be a low countryman . Many merry new years are wished unto you by the sworn servant of your honour's perfections ;-Parvula .” But it was not D'Avenant alone who celebrated Jeffrey in verse ; Heath ; in his “ Clarastella ,” 1658, thus addresses him : “ Small sir ! me thinkes in your lesser selfe I see Exprest the lesser world's epitomie. You may write man, in th’abstract so you are , Though printed in a smaller character. The pocket volume hath as much within't As the broad folio in a larger print, And is more useful too. Though low you seem , Yet you're both great and high in men's esteem ! Your soul's as large as others , so's your mind : To greatness virtue's not like strength confin’d .” Fuller assures us, “ He was, though a dwarf, no dastard ; a captain of horse in the King's army, in the late Civil Wars ; and afterwards went over to wait on the Queen in France. Here, being provoked by Mr. Crofts, who accounted him the object, not of his anger, but contempt, he showed to all, that habet suum splenum ; and th must be little indeed that cannot do mischief, especially seeing a pistol is a pure leveller, and puts both dwarf and giant in the equal capacity to fall and to be killed . " This Mr. Crofts (brother to Lord Crofts) had musca JEFFREY HUDSON. insulted Jeffery, who appears, like most dwarfs, to have been a consequential little personage, ( and who is reported to have had many quarrels with the gigantic porter whose effigy is beside his own in Newgate Street, ) resented the insult so warmly , that a challenge was given by him to Mr. Crofts ; who came scornfully to the duelling ground, armed only with a squirt ; this added fuel to Jeffery’s ire, he insisted on a serious duel, which was accepted, " and the appointment being on horseback with pistols, to put them more on a level, Jeffery, with the first fire, shot his antago nist dead .” - (" Walpole’s Anecdotes of Painting ,” vol . 2 , p . 16. ) And here we would fain hope that the sentiments placed in his mouth by Sir Walter Scott , were really those which passed through the mind of Jeffery : - " I would not wish my worst foe the pain which I felt, when I saw him reel on his saddle, and so fall down to the earth ! -and when I perceived that the life blood was pouring fast, I could not but wish to Heaven that it had been my own instead of his . Thus fell youth, hopes, and bravery , a sacrifice to a silly , thoughtless jest ; yet, alas ! wherein had I a choice ? seeing that honor is , as it were, breath in our nostrils ; and that in no sense can we be said to live, if we permit ourselves to be deprived of it." Whatever Jeffery's own sentiments may have been, this duel was his ruin, and he never regained the high position he held before ; his life also was sub ject to much painful adventure, which ended in a prison. Both the parties in this foolish duel thus paid the penalty of their folly most thoroughly. For this offence Jeffery was imprisoned for a time, and afterwards expelled the French Court. He was now about thirty years of age, and, according to his own affirmation , “ had never grown anything considerable in height since the age of seven years. (Wright's History of Rutlandshire, p. 105.) New misfortunes, however, awaited him, and appear to have accelerated his growth , though at such mature years. He was a second time made a captive at sea, by a Turkish rover ; and hav. ing been conveyed to Barbary, was there sold as a slave ; in which condition he passed many years, exposed to numerous hardships, much labour, and frequent beating. He now , " says Wright, “ shot up in a little time to that height of stature which the very JEFFREY HUDSON. 75 cause , he remained at in his old age, viz . , about three feet and nine inches ; ” the cause of which he himself ascribed to the severity he experienced during his captivity. After he had been redeemed, he returned to England, but that he was as well received at Charles II.'s Court, as he had been at that of his father's, does not appear ; the adventures ascribed to him there by Sir Walter Scott, being the inventions of that novelist alone, who makes little Jeffery a very important means of forwarding the dénouement of his admirable tale . Charles II . , as heartless a libertine as ever sat on a throne, was not the monarch to do more for the poor dwarf than he had done for the friends who had wrecked their fortunes and prospects in his Few but the bad had recommendations for his Court, The monarch who could become the degraded pensioner of France, could scarcely pay the harpies around him ; and had neither thought or inclination to be just or generous, even before the power of doing so had failed him. The dwarf lived on small pensions allowed him by the Duke of Buckingham , and other persons of rank, and resided quietly in the country. He afterwards came to London, probably with the hope of recovering Court favour. It was an unlucky step for him . Scott observes,

  • This poor being, who received , it would seem, hard measures

both from nature and fortune, was not doomed to close his days in peace.” He became involved in the famous Popish Plot, dis covered by Titus Oates ; suspicion rested on him as a Papist in some degree connected therewith , and he was confined in the Gate house Prison, at Westminster, “ where he lay a considerable time. ” He did not, however, die there, as Scott affirms, but obtained a release from its walls, after he had been enabled to clear his character from suspicion . He died in 1682 , shortly after his release, in the sixty -third year of his age, having seen a long life, through its various phases, of early poverty, royal state, travel, and adventure ; witnessing the downfall of monarchy in England, and its restoration ; and ending all wretchedly as an old forgotten man , in poverty and neglect. “ And so ,” to use the words of Fuller, “ I take my leave of Jeffery, the least man of the least county in England.” poor 76 MATTHEW HOPKINS, MATTHEW HOPKINS THE WITCH- FINDER. The belief in witchcraft is a very ancient and deep - rooted one . From the earliest times we can trace records of supposed acts of witchcraft and their punishment. Pliny , in his “ Natural His tory ," speaks of Furius Crescinus, who was accused of magic, because he had better crops than his neighbours. For his defence he brought before them his heavy ploughs, and spades, and sun - burnt children , and said these were the charms he made use of. As early as fourteen years after the Christian era, many persons were put to death by Tiberius, for consulting with magicians, which imputations were principally made to get rid of persons obnoxious to the government ; a plan which continued throughout the middle ages. It was the excuse made when the Knights Templars were condemned, their power being dangerous, and their riches covetable. The Duchess of Gloster's case, made celebrated by Shakspere ; or that of poor Jane Shore, accused by Richard III . , were cases of political hatred thus revenged. But the belief in witchcraft continued to increase, and was greatly confirmed by Pope Innocent VIII . , who, in 1484, issued a bull , empowering the Inquisition to search for witches and burn them . From the time of this superstitious act , the executions for witch craft increased. The Pope had given sanction to the belief in this demoniacal power , and had asserted their possession of it . In 1485, forty - one poor women were burnt as witches in Germany ; one inquisitor, in Piedmont, burnt a hundred more, ceeding so fast with others daily, that the people rose en masse, and chased him out of the country. About the same time, five hundred others were executed at Geneva in the course of three months. In Archbishop Cranmer's “ Articles of Visitation , " 1549 , one of the items is ; - " You shall particularly enquire whether you and was pro THE WITCH- FINDER. know of any one who use charms , sorcery, enchantments, witch craft, soothsaying, or any like craft, invented by the devil ; ” and in 1559 , the same article was renewed, with regard to inquiring particularly for such as used these omens in time of woman's travail . These stringent laws resulted from an universal belief in the evil influences of supposed witches . In a sermon, which Strype informs us , Bishop Jewell preached before Queen Elizabeth , in 1558 , that prelate said : -- " It may please your Grace to under stand , that witches and sorcerers , within the five last years, are numerously increased within your Grace's realm . Your Grace's subjects pine away, even unto the death , their colour fadeth , their flesh rotteth , their speech is benumbed , their senses are bereft. I pray God, they never practice further than upon the subject.” Strype adds, “ this , I make no doubt, was the occasion of bringing in a bill, the next parliament, for making enchant ments and witchcrafts felony." Among the many who counterfeited possession by the devil, for the purpose of attracting pity, or obtaining money, were Agnes Bridges and Rachel Pinder, who had counterfeited to be possessed by the devil , and vomited pins and rags ; but were detected , and stood before the preacher, at St. Paul's Cross, and acknowledged their hypocritical counterfeiting ; this happened in 1574 . In fifteen years , from 1580 to 1595 , Remigius burnt nine hun dred reputed witches in Lorraine. In Germany they tortured and burnt them daily, until many unfortunates destroyed them selves for fear of a death by torment, and others fled the country . Ludovicus Paramo states, that the Inquisition , within the space of 150 years , had burnt thirty thousand of these reputed witches. But it was our sapient Sovereign King James I. , that may be said to have increased and strengthened the popular delusions on witchcraft, giving it his hearty belief, in his famous work on . “ Demonology ;" and defining the modes by which witches might be known and their evil practices detected. His childish mind , and deep superstition , emboldened him to sanction these vulgar 78 MATTHEW HOPKINS, errors ; and , in the very first year of his reign , he abolished the old statute against witchcraft, in order that he might enact a much severer one in its place . From this time forth , unfortunate old women , rendered ill - tempered by age , disease, and poverty , were generally esteemed witches ; and if accused, were worried and tormented until they confessed it, which was often done by them to end their troubles . The rules laid down by the King were used by those who suspected any wretched old woman . Dr. Harsenet , Archbishop of York, in his “ Declaration of Popish Impostures,” says , “ Out of those is shap'd us the true idea of a witch, an old weather -beaten crone, having her chin and knees meeting for age, walking like a bow, leaning on a staff , hollow -ey'd, untooth'd , furrow'd on her face, having her lips trembling with the palsy, going mumbling in the streets ; one that hath forgotten her pater- noster, and yet hath a shrewd tongue to call a drab- a drab ! If she hath learned of an old wife in a chimney - end, Pax, Max, Fax, for a spell ; or can say, Sir John Grantham's curse for the miller's eels, —' All ye that have stolen the miller's eels laudate dominum de cælis ; and all they that have consented thereto Benedicamus Domino. ' Why then, beware ; look about you, my neighbours. If any of you have a sheep sick of the giddies , or a hog of the mumps, or a horse of the staggers , or a knavish boy of the school, or an idle girl of the wheel, or a young drab of the sullens, and hath not fat enough for her porrage, or butter enough for her bread, and she hath a little help of the epilepsy , or cramp , to teach her to roll her eyes , wry her mouth , gnash her teeth , startle with her body, hold her arms and hands stiff, &c. And then, when an old Mother Nobs hath by chance call’d her idle young housewife,' or bid the devil scratch her, then, no doubt, but Mother Nobs is the witch , and the young girl is owl-blasted, &c .

  • They that have their brains baited , and their fancies dis tempered , with the imaginations and apprehensions of witches,

conjurors, and fairies, and all that lymphatical chimera, I find to be marshall'd in one of these five ranks : children , fools, women , cowards, sick, or black melancholick discomposed wits.” Motives of private revenge frequently urged persons to pretend 66 THE WITCH- FINDER. 79 that they were suffering from the effect of sorcery . Both in our own country, and on the continent, many remarkable instances of the destruction of innocent persons for reputed acts of witch craft occurred . Among the most famous, were the cases of the Nuns of London , who declared themselves unbearably tormented by evil spirits, at the instigation of Urbain Grandier, a learned clergyman , whose destruction they had determined to effect, and who was inhumanly tortured and burnt. The reason of their accusation being, that he was a favourer of the Reformation in France, whose death they had determined to compass . In 1621 , at Bilson, in Staffordshire , John Gibson , a boy of twelve years of age, was induced to counterfeit possession by the devil, in so clever a manner, that he greatly endangered the lives of those he accused, but was discovered before his mischief was thoroughly ripened . He was , apparently, so young and artless, the torments he suffered appeared so real, and their effects so difficult to account for by natural means, that he had nearly suc ceeded in his evil purposes , although he was strictly confined and zealously watched. In 1612 , fifteen witches were indicted, and twelve condemned at Lancaster ; others were hung at York ; and, in 1618, Mar garet and Philip Flower were executed at Lincoln ; their mother was also accused , dying in goal before (probably of fright, added to old age and infirmity ). It was asserted that they had pro cured the death of the Lord Henry Rosse, eldest son of the Earl of Rutland , by procuring his right -hand glove, which , after being rubbed on the back of their imp, named Rutterkin, and which lived with them in the form of a cat, was plunged into boiling water, pricked with a knife, and buried in a dunghill, so that as that rotted, the liver of the young man might rot also, which was affirmed to have come to pass. The superstition continued on the increase, and reached its culmination in the Puritanic time of the Commonwealth, when persons more cunning and wicked than the rest, gained a sub sistence by discovering witches, by pretended marks and trials they used ; and denouncing them to death. The chief of these persons was Matthew HOPKINS, Witch Finder General, as he 80 MATTHEW HOPKINS, оооооо termed himself, and his full length por trait is here given from a very rare print, engraved by Caulfield . He was a native of Manningtree, in Essex, and he devoted his pretended powers so zealously in the service of his native county, that, in 1644, sixteen witches discovered by him were burnt at Yarmouth ; fifteen were con demned at Chelmsford, and hanged in that town, and at Manningtree. Many more at Bury St. Edmund, in 1645 and 1646, amounting to nearly forty in all, at the several places of execution , and as many more in the county as made up three AVENUE score . In this work he was aided by one John Stern , and a woman, who, with the rest , pretended to have secret means of testing witchcrafts, nor was their zeal unrewarded by the weak and superstitious parliament. Mr. Hopkins, in a book published in 1647 , owns that he had twenty shillings for each town he visited to discover witches, and owns that he had punished many ; testing them by a water- ordeal, to see if they would sink or swim. He says, that he swam many, and watched them for four nights together, keeping them standing or walking till their feet were blistered ; “ the reason ,” as he says, was to prevent their couching down ; for, indeed , when they be suffered to couch, immediately come their familiars into the room , and scareth the watchers, and heartneth ( encourageth ) the witch ." This swimming experiment, which was deemed a full proof of guilt, if any one subjected to it did not sink , but floated on the surface of the water, was one of the ordeals especially recom mended by our King James the First ; who, with the argumen tative folly for which he was so eminently conspicuous, assigned this ridiculous reason for its pretended infalliblity :---" that, as such persons had renounced their baptism by water, so the water refuses to receive them .” Consequently, those who were accused of diabolical practices , were tied neck and heels together, and THE WITCH- FINDER. 81 tossed into a pond ; if they floated or swam, they were guilty, and therefore taken out and hanged, or burnt ; if they were inno cent, they were drowned . Of this method of trial by water ordeal, Scot observes, “ that a woman above the age of fifty years , being bound both hand and foot, her clothes being upon her, and being laid down softly upon the water, sinketh not a long time, some say not at all.” And Dr. Hutchinson confirms this , by saying not one in ten ever sank in this position of their bodies. Its utter fallacy was shewn when the witch - finders themselves were thus tested ; and the last quoted writer says, that if the books written against witchcraft were tested by the same ordeal, they would, in no degree, come off more safely. One of the most cruel cases was that of Mr. Lowes, a clergy man , who had reached the patriarchal age of eighty. He was one of those unfortunate ministers of the Gospel, whose livings were sequestered by the parliament, and who was suspected as malignant, because he preserved his loyalty, and read the homi. lies of the church . It had been well for him, had this been the only suspicion ; but he was accused of witchcraft ; and it was asserted , that he had sunk ships at sea by the power he possessed, and witnesses were found, who swore to seeing him do it . He was seized and tested. They watched him , and kept him awake at night, and ran him backwards and forwards about the room until he was out of breath ; then they rested him a little , and then ran him again . And thus they did for several days and nights together, until he was weary of his life, and was scarce sensible of what he said or did . They swam him to Framlingham ; and although that was no true rule to try him by , for they put in unsuspected people at the same time, and they swam as well as he ; yet was the unfortunate old clergyman con . demned to death , and executed. Hopkins' great success in his own county, induced him and his companions to visit others , and he accordingly rambled from town to town, through many parts of Sussex, Norfolk , and Huntingdonshire, to discover witches . Some few conscientious clergymen preached and spoke against them, as far as those times would allow . Among the most conspicuous of Hopkins' opponents was Mr. Gaul, of Stoughton , in Huntingdonshire, 82 MATTHEW HOPKINS, who did his utmost to prevent persons from believing in witch craft , or in Hopkins' pretended tests for its discovery . This excited the ire of “ the Witch- finder General," who sent to one in his parish the following impertinent letter, which gives a true insight of Hopkins' character, the gainful nature of his trade, and how those persons who opposed him were discouraged by the Parliamentary committees : " My service to your worship presented ; I have this day received a letter, &c . to come to a town called Great Stoughton, to search for evil - disposed persons called witches ( though I heare your minister is farre against us through ignorance), I intend to come, ( God willing) , the sooner, to heare his singular judgement in the behalfe of such parties ; I have known a minister in Suffolk preach against their discovery in the pulpit, and forced to recant it (by the committee) , in the same place. I much marvaile such evil members should have any (much more any of the clergy , who should dayly preach terrour to convince such offendours ), stand up to take their parts, against such as are complainants for the king, and sufferers themselves with their families and estates. I intend to give your towne a visit suddenly. I am to come to Kimbolton this week, and it shall be tenne to one but I will come to your town first, but I would certainly know aforehand whether your town affords many sticklers for such cattell, or willing to give and afford us good welcome and entertainment, as other where I have been, else I shall wave your shire ( not as yet beginning in any part of it myself) , and betake me to such places where I do and may persist, not only without controle, but with thanks and recompense. So I humbly take my leave , and rest, “ Your servant to be commanded , “ MATTHEW HOPKINS." 97 In the book written some years after this , by Mr. Gaul, he mentions their mode of discovering witches, which was principally by marks or signs upon their bodies, which were in reality but moles, scorbutic spots, or warts , which frequently grow large and pendulous in old age, and were absurdly declared to be teats to THE WITCH-FINDER. 83 suckle imps. Thus, of one Joane Willimot, in 1619 , it was sworn that she had two imps, one in the form of a kitten, and another in that of a mole, “ and they leapt on her shoulder, and the kitten sucked under her right ear, on her neck, and the mole on the left side, in the like place ; and at another time a spirit was seen “ sucking on her, under the left flanke, in the likenesse of a little white dogge. ” ( See “ the wonderful discovery of the witchcrafts of Margare and Philip Flower, 1619." ) Another test was to place the suspected witch in the middle of a room , upon a stool or table, cross- legged, or in some other uneasy posture ; and if she were refractory, she was tied to by cords, and kept without meat or sleep , for the space of four -and twenty hours ; all this time she was strictly watched, because it was believed, that in the course of that time her imp would come to suck her, for whom some hole or mode of ingress was pro vided. The watchers swept the room frequently , so that nothing might escape them ; and should a fly or spider be found, that had the activity or vigilance to elude them , they were assured these were the imps. In 1645 , one was hanged at Cambridge, who kept a tame frog, which was sworn to be her imp ; and one at Gloucester, in 1649 , who was convicted for having sucked a sow in the form of a little black creature . In “ a Tryal of Witches, at Bury St. Edmunds, 1664 , ” a witness deposed to having caught one of these imps in a blanket, waiting for her child , who slept in it, and was bewitched ; that it was in the form of a toad, and was caught and thrown into the fire , where " it made a great and horrible noise , and, after a space, there was a flashing in the fire like gun -powder, making a noise like the discharge of a pistol, and thereupon the toad was no more seen nor heard . ” All of which was the simple natural result of this cruel proceeding, but which was received by judge and jury at that time, as full proof of the poor toad being an imp ! Hutchinson, in his " Essay on Witchcraft,” says : - “ It was very requisite that these witch - finders should take care to go to no towns, but where they might do what they would, without being controlled by sticklers ; but if the times had not been as they were, they would have found but few towns where they might be suffered to use the trial of the stool, which was as bad as most G 2 84 MATTHEW HOPKINS, If they tortures. Do but imagine a poor old creature, under all the weakness and infirmities of old age, set like a fool, in the middle of a room , with a rabble of ten towns about her house ; then her legs tied across, that all the weight of her body might rest upon her seat . By that means, after some hours , the circulation of the blood would be much stopped, and her sitting would be as painful as the wooden- horse. Then must she continue in pain four- and- twenty hours , without either sleep or meat ; and since this was their ungodly way of trial, what wonder was it, if, when they were weary of their lives , they confessed many tales that would please them, and many times they knew not what .” Hopkins' favourite and ultimate method of proof was by swimming , as before narrated . They tied together the thumbs and toes of the suspected person , about whose waist was fastened a cord , the ends of which were held on the banks of the river by two men, whose power it was to strain or slacken it. floated, they were witches. After a considerable course of wicked accusation , on the part of Hopkins and his accomplices, testing all by these modes of trial, and ending in the cruel deaths of many wretched old persons, a re- action against him took place, probably at the instigation of some whose friends had been con demned innocently, or of those who were too wise to believe in his tests, and disgusted with his cool wickedness . His own famous and conclusive evidence the experiment of swimmingwas tried upon himself, and this wretch, who had sacrificed so many, was found, by the same test, to be guilty too . He was deservedly condemned, and suffered death himself as a wizard . This man, his feats , and his miserable end, are alluded to by Butler, in his “ Hudibras,” canto 3, " Has not the present Parliament A ledger ( ambassador) to the devil sent, Fully empowered to treat about Finding revolted witches out ? And has he not within a year, Hang'd threescore of them in one shire ? Some only for not being droun'd, And some for sitting above ground THE WITCH- FINDER. 85 Whole days and nights upon their breeches, And feeling pain , were hang'd for witches ; And some for putting knavish tricks Upon green geese and turkey chicks, Or pigs that suddenly deceast Of griefs unnat’ral as he guest ; Who after proved himself a witch, And made a rod for his own breech .” The slaughter on the continent, of presumed witches has been already told . But our enthusiasts much exceeded them. Mr. Ady says, that“ in Scotland, some thousands were burnt in these times." And Dr. Grey adds : --" I have somewhere seen an account of betwixt three and four thousand that suffered in the king's dominion, from the year 1640, to the king's restoration . ” Whitelock , in his Memorials, ” says, “ in December 1649, many witches were apprehended. The witch - trier taking a pin, and thrusting it into the skin in many parts of their bodies ; if they were insensible of it, it was a circumstance of proof against them. In October 1652, sixty were accused ; much malice , little proof ; though they were tortured many ways to make them confess.” But Hopkins' acknowledged deception did not check the trial and condemnation of witches ; in July 1652, six witches were condemned at Maidstone, and were adjudged to be hanged , although “ some there were that wished rather they might be burnt to ashes, alledging that it was a received opinion amongst many, that the body of a witch being burnt, her blood is prea venced thereby from becoming hereditary to her progeny in the same evil , which by hanging is not. ” But even after the down fall of Puritanism , and the restoration of monarchy, the same belief in witchcraft continued, and as late as 1682, Hutchinson says : - " Susan Edwards, Mary Trembles, and Temperance Lloyd, were hanged at Exeter, they confessed themselves witches, but died with good prayers in their mouths. I suppose these are the last three that have been hanged in England .” But in 1696, and 1697 , other persons were accused of witchcraft, only suffi cient proof failed ; and in 1698 , one Sarah Fowler, of Hammer smith, was placed in the pillory for pretending to be bewitched, 86 COUNT ANKARSTREM. co SO and accusing the innocent ; and in 1701 , Richard Hathaway was punished in a similar manner for the same offence . Hutch inson, who relates all this in his · Historical Essay on Witch craft," 1718 , adds : --“ We clergymen are not thought to have kept our orders altogether free from blame in this matter . In our late famous tryal of Jane Wenham , in Hertfordshire, some of our gown , though otherwise men of no ill - character, were weak as to try charms , and give way to scratching, and pro mote the persecution . " As late as 1751 , a poor man and woman at Tring, in Hertfordshire, were subjected to the water -ordeal, and ducked in a pond, until the poor old woman died . The man who had been foremost in the action , one Thomas Colley, was hung for the same. Nor was Hopkins alone in his profession . In Sykes's " Local Records, " mention is made of a Scotchman , who pretended similar powers of discovering witchcraft, and was engaged by the townsmen of Newcastle to practice them ; and one man and fifteen women were hung there . But he ultimately shared, as Hopkins did, the cruel fate he had awarded to so many others. " When the witch - finder had done in Newcastle, and received his wages, he went into Northumberland, to try women there, and got three pounds a- piece, but Henry Ogle, Esq. laid hold on him, and required bond of him, to answer at the Sessions, He escaped into Scotland, where he was made prisoner, indicted , arraigned, and condemned for such-like villainy exercised in Scot land, and confessed , at the gallows, that he had been the death of above two hundred and twenty women, in England and Scot land, for the gain of twenty shillings a -piece ! ! " COUNT ANKARSTREM . The reign of Gustavus III . , was one of the most remarkable in the annals of Sweden. The governing power, at the time of his accession to the throne, was vested in the hands of the nobles, who completely ruled , and ruled badly, both the King and the people. Gustavus, though a young man , felt strongly the po COUNT ANKARSTREM. 87 litical and moral impropriety of this , and was unceasing in his endeavours to abolish this long-established error. Although occasionally given to frivolities, from which few young kings are ever free, and exhibiting some eccentricities in his habits, there can be but little doubt that the wise and moral education he had received from his mother, Louisa Ulrica of Prussia , had remained in his heart, as good lessons from so sacred a source generally do. The lady who could write to her son, You must never hope to unite sensuality with glory, nor indolence with the reward of virtue," could scarcely fail of leaving some impression on the weakest mind ; but when these words came from a sovereign to a future king, they increased in value, added as they were to such pure moral questioning as this : - “ Of what use are all vain titles and grandeur, if unaccompanied by the people's love ? They are troublesome burthens, and crowns of thorns. True felicity, my dear son, consists in the power of making others happy : for tunate is the man who is endowed with this power, but be our share of it ever so small, this ought always to be the principal object. Those princes who depart from these maxims are tyrants ; whom Providence created to be the instruments of its vengeance, and whose names are the horrors of mankind.” Gustavus was a thinker, and had travelled observingly ; and he felt that a reform in his own kingdom had become necessary. He was, however, a visionary in ideas, and of somewhat too romantic a turn for prudential government. His mother has said , in a letter to him , dated 1754, (when he was only nine years of age,) “ God hath given you talents, and a heart not without susceptibility ; be careful lest it become a dupe to your under standing ; it is a rock on which many a sensible man hath split.” It was the rock on which he foundered . In 1771 , the King, his father, died ; Gustavus was at that time in Paris, and remained there for a month after the event, visiting also his uncle the King of Prussia on his return . He had married in 1766, the Princess Sophia of Denmark, by whom he had a son. On arriving at Stockholm , he was received by the people with the greatest demonstrations of joy. On his first appearance at the Senate, he assured them of his determination to rule con formably to the act of regency, of the year 1720, and to main 88 COUNT ANKARSTKEM. tain the existing form of government ; and that he would consider those persons traitors to the country who should seek to intro . duce again an unlimited authority , or what is called Souereignty . He seemed to study all means of obtaining popularity, and set apart three days in the week for giving audience to the people, receiving without distinction all who presented themselves ; at which time he laid aside the paraphernalia of royalty, and attended with due care and entire suavity to all that was said, redress ing grievances, and tempering justice with moderation . He con versed familiarly with all, so that those who received no benefit departed satisfied, and all were charmed with the King's con descension and manner . His mother, who, with all her virtues, was a woman of great ambition, and had been accustomed to rule the cabinet with absolute authority in the reign of her hus band, expected to retain the same influence during that of her son ; but in this she had erred, and being disappointed in her views by his determined independence of action, she had recourse to frequent expostulation and bitter remonstrances, which ended in an open rupture between them . She retired from the court , and died in 1782 . But the oath Gustavus had sworn of fealty to the old con stitution was not long kept. In consequence of the abuses which had crept into the government, it was in anything but a wholesome state ; it consisted of a tumultuous assembly of all classes ; and the ruling power was battled for by two parties, distinguished as the Hats and the Caps : the former devoted to the court and the nobles, the latter to the country, or “ people’s” party. Great exertions had been made by both parties in the elections for the Diet, to secure a ma jority for themselves, and it was believed that the Caps preponderated. The King soon found that he was but an instrument in the hands of whatever party might pre dominate-- that they in fact governed the kingdom ; for although statutes were signed by the king , and ordinances were issued in COUNT ANKARSTREM . 89 his name, if he refused to sign a decree, the public seal was affixed without his permission ; he saw too that the nobles were in many instances corrupt and tyrannical, and that their rule was odious to the people , and he silently determined to curb their power and increase his own, that he might be enabled to effect that reform he knew the country needed. The nobles soon felt that the king's heart was not with them, and his actions were narrowly watched . But Gustavus pro ceeded in his resolution , which had now become unalterably fixed , with so much vigilance and caution that he ultimately triumphed. He sent his two brothers from Stockholm , that he might be sure of external aid if necessary. A revolt in the garrison of Chris tianstadt was the first movement made, in which the soldiers, after seizing the arms and ammunition, then published a manifesto against the States, in which they dwelt upon the distress of the people , and the unheard expense of every necessary of life, and attributed the whole to foreign influence, and the corruption which reigned in the Diet. The eldest of the King's brothers now headed the troops , and a report was spread that a deep design against the King was formed, which might effect his life ; and that an aristocratic form of government was intended to be established under the direction of Russia, against which country the Swedes entertained a very old and deep-rooted antipathy. Stockholm was now put in a state of military defence ; the King superintended all arrangements, and was unceasing in his visits to every military post ; his bland manners, and fascinating deportments aided in securing the assistance of all he appealed to . His brother Charles also wrote to tell him that he was at the head of five regiments devoted to his cause , and to request that he might be commander - in - chief. This request the King sent to the Diet, but they refused their acquiescence to it, and appointed one of their own body to the place. But the hour had now arrived for the King to make his true intentions known , and he now felt prepared to seize by force upon that power which the States had so long abused. He announced his determination in the guard - room to the officers who commanded the troops ; ex posing , in the strongest language, the wretched state of the kingdom ,—the shackles in which it was held by means of foreign 90 COUNT ANKARSTREM . gold , and the dissensions and troubles arising from the same cause, which had distracted the Diet, and hindered all improve ment in the country during the fourteen months of his reign . He assured them that his only design was to put an end to these disorders ; to banish corruption, restore true liberty, and revive the ancient lustre of the Swedish name, which had been long tarnished by a venality as notorious as it was disgraceful. Then assuring them in the strongest terms that he disclaimed for ever all absolute power, or what the Swedes called sovereignty, he asked them for their support. The officers, most of them young men, of whose friendship the King felt secure, being thus unexpectedly appealed to, had no time for reflection ; and, perhaps, not clearly seeing the nature and extent of the accession they were granting, assented, with three exceptions only. His next step was to secure the soldiery , which proved no difficulty, and the populace, who hated the nobles, and were taught to consider them in the worst light, per fectly adhered to the King, indeed so much was he beloved by them that they fell on their knees in his path, and implored him to continue what he had so auspiciously begun. In an hour the king had made himself master of all the military force of Stock holm , had surrounded the senate, and placed himself successfully at the summit of a great and bloodless revolution. The King then proposed his new form of government to the Diet, which gave him almost unlimited power, inasmuch as it rested with him when they were to assemble or separate, and what they were to debate upon ; as well as the right of taxa tion when they were not sitting, which entirely depended on his pleasure . The law was passed and publicly ratified , and a few days afterwards the Diet was closed , with an intimation from the King that he should adjourn their meeting for six years . The despotism which Gustavus thus established was at first a be neficial one ; and was certainly exerted for the good of his people. The law was administered with strict and impartial justice between rich and poor, and he severely punished all whom be found guilty of venality . He encouraged commerce, and introduced the most important improvement in agriculture from other lands. gave every encouragement to art and science, and was so desirous He COUNT ANKARSTREM. 91 of diffusing knowledge among the people, that he invited scientific men to produce elementary works on the various subjects they were familiar with . A translation of the Bible was also effected by the best scholars . He then turned his attention to his army and navy, which were both in an enfeebled condition . The nobles who held places in both had deserted him ; and had refused to serve under his brother, while in the civil service he was similarly abandoned by them. The King immediately announced his intention of throw ing open all orders of the state, without distinction of birth or rank, to be filled by any Swede whose character and abilities rendered him fit for action ; and the nobility who had now little power in the state, were as greatly enraged as the other classes were delighted . A war against Russia having been undertaken , heavy taxes were levied, and as these were imposed on all classes alike in proportion to their property, the nobles felt them very severely, and complained of them as illegal, as their body was not properly represented. His successes against Russia enabled him to quell a dangerous and expensive enemy. His victories were surprising, considering his small power and means. But his quarrels with the nobility at home was a constant source of trouble to his government. They hated Gustavus, and lost no opportunity of displaying it ; while, on his part, the aversion he ultimately contracted for them was equally great. The smothered fire at last burst forth. The King had appointed Count Lowenhaupt, Marshal of the Diet, but the nobles insulted him so grossly, that he refused to again sub ject himself to their contumely. The patience of the King deserted him, and in February, 1789, he visited the Assembly in person, and demanded satisfaction for the insult offered to his Marshal. A violent altercation ensued between the King and the nobility, who ultimately rose in a body, and left the Assembly in scornful pride. Four days afterwards they were all arrested and imprisoned, the Senate was abolished, and a new Court established in its place, endowed with large powers, but subject to that of the King alone. The French Revolution soon after threw Europe into commotion, and Gustavus entered into a league with the other powers who op 92 COUNT ANKARSTREM . posed it . As matters grew worse in France, his enthusiasm for the ill - fated Marie Antoinette increased. She had become his idol , and with the hope of freeing her, he had undertaken a journey to Aix- la - Chapelle to consult with French emigrants as to the best means of aiding her and crushing the Revolution . But his enthu siasm was shared by no other power, and after the failure of the attempt to escape made by the French Royal Family, under the guidance of the brave Swede, Count Fersen, and their arrest at Varennes , he was left to his own resources . Nothing daunted , he assembled on the 27th of January, 1792, the Swedish Diet at Gefla , a small secluded town, about seventeen miles from Stock holm , which he surrounded with troops. He opened the Diet with a speech, in which he alluded to the weak state of Sweden on his accession ; the speedy and successful manner in which he had regenerated it ; the happiness which the Swedes had enjoyed under his reign for many years ; the distrust, schism , and divi . sions which had occurred to disturb that happiness ; the measures he had taken to remedy those evils ; the glorious conclusion of the war with Russia during those troubles ; and finally , the neces . sity of amending them, and supporting the credit of the State ; and he ended by saying that the latter was the principal object of the convocation of the Diet, and he therefore hoped that none of the former divisions would now prevail among the members of it . He closed the Diet on the 23rd of February, 1792, with a very complimentary address to the members ; lauding then all for their zeal in the public service and attachment to himself, and liberally distributing promotions and honours to the most active Gustavus had written to the Marquis de Bouillé (whom he had taken into his service, after a hurried escape from France, on the unsuccessful attempt to assist the flight of Louis), express ing his confidence in this Diet, saying : Of three of the orders of the State I was most certain ; and the nobility who in 1789 were most violent against me, are now kept in awe by the decided majority I have in the inferior orders, and by the constant attach ment they show me. I am endeavouring to make the Swedish nobles comprehend , that at the end of the eighteenth century, the aristocracy ought to seek to sustain itself by the stability of men. 66 COUNT ANKARSTREM . 93 the throne, and not by contending against it ; but they do not yet understand their real interest. They know, however, that they are the weakest, and begin to have prudence enough not to set themselves in opposition to their King and the three other orders, who combined , have the power of enacting laws. ” But in all this he had deceived himself. The self -confidence , which his mother had in early life advised him to cease relying on, wa ruining him. The Swedish nobles, irritated at the loss of their old power, coerced by the armed force he had drawn around the Diet and himself, and feeling like lions chained , are said to have instigated attempts on his life at that time. He had many warn ings of this ; warnings which he spurned ; he believed himself stronger than ever . His greatness was a -ripening .” But there came “ a frost - a killing frost.” In less than a month , he perished by the hand of the assassin . The conspirators, who were all men of noble class , were many ; the most active were Counts Claes Fredericson Horn, and Adolf Ludvig Ribbing ; Lieutenant- Colonel Carl Pontius Liljehorn, and Count John Jacob Ankarstroem , who became the murderer of the King. Ankarstroem had originally been a court- page ; had afterwards occupied the post of inferior officer in the regiment of Body Guards, and had then become an ensign in the Royal Guards. He was , from early youth, of a gloomy and revengeful temper ; and during the time of his education in the University of Upsala, was fond of displaying it. He was of an ancient and respected family , proud ofits station ; therefore he felt most strongly the King's determined mode of curbing the power of the nobles, and he maintained a continued opposition to the royal will , and the measures which were introduced by the monarch . He was dismissed the in 1783 , when marrying a young lady of family and fortune , he retired to the country, and devoted himself to agricultural pur suits . He was looked upon as a good farmer, but was reported to have been sufficiently avaricious and suspicious of his servants , to go in disguise to market, to sell the products of his farm . He was a disappointed man, not being able to take the position which his birth and his early hopes led bim to conceive he deserved ; and he felt himself still further degraded by the acts of the King, army 94 COUNT ANKARSTREM . in elevating the other classes at the expense of the nobles; as well as in punishing his own opposition . In 1790, he returned to Stockholm , and entered into the con spiracy for the death of the King, which was now fully organized. It is said that he entreated that the assassination should be con fided to him alone ; but that Counts Ribbing and Horn, with an equal amount of evil enthusiasm, disputed the position with him, and it was the casting of lots only, which gave Ankarstræem his wish, chance having decided in his favour. After attempting to carry off the King from his villa at Haga, which was found to be impracticable, it was determined , at a meeting on Horn's estate at Unfrudstad, near Stockholm, that he should be killed by pistol or dagger either at the plays or masquerades, where the King was frequently present. Twice he had visited the theatre, fully pre pared to effect the deed, but the King adopted another mode of egress than was his wont, and the intention of Ankarstroem was defeated . A masquerade, given on the 20th of January, 1792, was then chosen for the accomplishment of the design ; but there was not a sufficient crowd of persons present, and it was again deferred . The following day , Ankarstræm and Ribbing set out for the Diet, at Gefla . The former constantly carried pistols with him , in hopes of meeting the King, who frequently walked incognito. Here again he was unsuccessful, and they both returned to Stockholm . Another masquerade was given on the 2nd of March ; but the smallness of the numbers present again frustrated the assassin's purpose. There was to be another on the 9th, which was put off until the 16th. Previous to that night the conspirators assem bled at the chateau of Count Horn , and it was then determined that the success of a revolution was certain ; that a great portion of the army under the command of the members of this con spiracy, could be depended on to aid them ; and that the length of time since the assassination had been determined on, and the numbers who knew of it, rendered it imperative that it should be speedily accomplished . The dresses in which each were to appear were now arranged ; and in order to enlarge the crowd , each promised to bring as many persons as possible, and every measure was taken that this attempt should not fail. COUNT ANKARSTREM . 95 The King was particularly fond of indulging in the attrac tions of the opera and in masked balls , and he constructed a mag nificent theatre in Stockholm , with a suite of apartments, in which he supped frequently, and changed his dress . On the night of the 16th of March, he was supping in these rooms, after visiting the Theatre Français, in order that he might be ready for the masked ball held in the theatre, when Tigerstedt, one of the royal pages, presented to his Majesty a sealed note, which one of the footmen had received from an unknown person, with an injunction to have it placed in the King's hands. Gustavus was sitting with Count Essen, his first equerry , and Count Lævenheim , Captain of the Gardes-du - Corps, and having read the note, he laid it aside, or put it in his pocket for the moment, and proceeded with his supper. The meal being over, and being alone with Count Essen, the King handed the note to him, desiring him to read it . It was written in pencil, in the French language; it ran thus : Sire, -- May it please you to listen to the warning of a man who is not in your service ; asks no favour of you ; does not flatter your errors, but wishes to avert the danger which threatens your life. There is a project to take away your life. Do not doubt this . The plotters have been disappointed in its execution last week, when the masked ball was countermanded ; to - night they have resolved to attempt it again. Remain at home, and avoid all future balls, at least for a year ; keep also away from Haga. Be more than ever on your guard for the next month at least. Give yourself no trouble to discover the author of this letter ; chance made him discover the horrid plot which menaces Believe him when he tells you that he feels no interest in warding off the blow prepared for you ; had your bired troops at Gefla committed acts of violence upon the people, the author of this letter would have fought against you sword-in hand -but he abhors assassination .” The Count endeavoured to dissuade the King from going to the ball, or at least to order that precautions for his safety should be given . The King merely answered : - " I have received three and - twenty similar notes in my lifetime. Every King receives heaps of such warnings. There is nothing in it . I would not your days. 9 ) 96 COUNT ANKARSTROM , allow the fellow who wrote it to believe that he could frighten me. ” He then took the Count by the arm, and descended to the ball - room . There was an unusual number of persons present. Between eleven and twelve hundred of the rank and fashion of the capital were there . The King was, of course, the great object of attraction , and was pressed on by the crowd, even to incon venience. He was soon surrounded by a number of men in masks . He had not been many minutes in the room , when he endeavoured to free himself from the crowd , and Count Horn accosted him in the words agreed on by the conspirators .- “ Good day, fair Mask .” Ankarstrom , who was so close to the King that his pistol barrel touched his domino, fired and shot him . He did not fall, and quick as thought, the dagger of Ankarstræm was drawn ; but irresolution seized him , he dropped both at the King's feet, and escaped among the crowd, raising a cry of Fire ! The confusion which ensued in the crowded apartment was terrible, and it gave Ankarstræm time to rid himself of the second pistol . The doors were immediately closed, and no persons were allowed to pass until they had unmasked, and given their names. The King exclaimed, “ I am not much hurt - take me to my apartment;" to which he walked without much apparent difficulty. None of the conspirators were then arrested . Count Ribbing displayed most finesse in his conduct. He approached Count Lavenheim and inquired about the King. He was told that his wound was not serious . “ I am a member of the opposition ,” said Ribbing, “ as you know, but what you tell me gives me pleasure.” The knife which had been found on the floor, was sharpened on both edges, and full of hacks, to render a wound more dan gerous . The pistols were of good manufacture ; that which was loaded contained about a dozen small shots, two slugs , and several points and heads of nails . The police secured these weapons, which aided them in effecting an almost immediate discovery of the murderer ; one of the first measures resorted to , being to summon all the gun- makers and cutlers in Stock holm . The arms were shown to them, and were identified as belonging to Ankarstræm , who was immediately arrested. COUNT ANKARSTREM . 97 Another step taken by the police , led to the discovery of the writer of the note . The leading members of the opposition were naturally regarded with suspicion, and among them Liljiehorn was prominent. It was written in a feigned hand, which , for the moment, set scrutiny at defiance ; it had been sealed , moreover, by a cachet de fantaisie, which also puzzled the police . On its being shown , however, to a chambermaid in the service of Liljiehorn, she at once declared, she had often seen the seal of which it was an impression in her master's desk . Liljiehorn was arrested, confessed himself the writer of the note, and denounced all the members of the conspiracy , who were im mediately placed under arrest. The King lingered for thirteen days ; but he died with dignity and serenity. Scarcely a groan escaped him . All means of extracting the entire contents of the pistol had failed ; still the King's life was declared to be out of danger on the 22nd of the month :: seven days afterwards mortification set in , and he died on the 29th . Throughout the whole time, the King had em ployed himself in the best manner, speaking of his affairs, of the state of the nation ; of the probable consequences of his death ; advising with his son and his officers of state, both native and foreign, on what was best to be done. His request was, that none of the conspirators should suffer death but Ankarstreem , adding, “ him , I suppose, it is not possible to save. " The King was in the thirty -third year of his age when he died . On opening his body, there was found within the ribs a square piece of lead, and two rusty nails . On the first examination of Ankarstræm he was subjected to the rack, when he denied having any accomplices. He was afterwards tried by the ordinary tribunals. He confessed that several knew of his design , and he acknowledged his crime, as serting that he was driven to it by the consciousness that the King, having broken his coronation oath , had determined to govern by his own will alone ; that he thought of that only, and determined to risk a life which had little charms for him , in freeing his country of a despot . He admitted that he had first thought of killing the King without being connected with other conspirators ; but 98 COUNT ANKARSTREM . Alomantkem Bohu turut His person was com that on finding his own strong feeling against the Monarch shared by Counts Ribbing and Horn, he imparted his design to them , and that they, encouraging him , brought in many others as mem bers of the conspiracy. Upon the condemnation of Ankarstrom , his sentence was the day after put in execution . He was conducted to the Place de Riddesholm , and exposed upon a scaffold in front of the Senate House, to the left of the Statue of Gustavus Vasa. A post was erected on the scaffold , to which a chain was fastened, which was se cured to an iron - collar which passed round his neck . Above his head, the pistol, with which he killed the King, was affixed to the knife found in the ball -room . Upon a board, on the summit of the post was inscribed his name, and the words “ murderer of the King . " He bore all with stoical fortitude. manding ; he was a middle- sized man , five feet two inches in height, rather stout, with a broad forehead, large black eye -brows, blue eyes, light hair, and an aquiline nose ; he wore a short, but broad black beard . Our cut is copied from a print published at the time in Stockholm , and esteemed an excellent likeness. Before exposure upon the scaffold , he was whipped by the town scavenger's servant, and then chained and left for several hours to be gazed on by the mob, whom he seemed to regard with calm ness and indifference . The people loved the King , and conse quently detested his murderer, but others were not wanting who regarded his death as a glorious deed, and wrote verses in favour of Ankerstroem's exploit, lamenting him as a martyr to a just cause. The punishment of public whipping and the pillory , was repeated on the twentieth of the month, in the marché uu foin , and in the market d’Adolphe Frederic . On the twenty - fifth , he was executed on a scaffold erected in the Great Square, bearing his fate with the greatest fortitude, his right hand being first chopped THE CAEVALIER D'EON . 99 off by the executioner, who immediately afterwards beheaded him , and then divided his body into four quarters, which were stuck up in different parts of the city . Of the other conspirators, Baron Bielke took poison , when he found the officers of justice had surrounded his house, living but a short time afterwards ; another of the family of Horn did the same, and another hanged himself. Horn, Ribbing, Liljiehorn , and Ehrensvard were condemned to the same death as Ankar strøm ; but, in consideration of Gustavus' dying request, were banished for life , with the forfeiture of their nobility, and all other privileges ; Van Ergorstrom , the Counsellor of Chancery, was deprived of his post, and imprisoned for three years ; Major Hartsmansdoff forfeited his commission, and was imprisoned for one year ; Major -General Baron Pechlin was imprisoned during pleasure until he confessed ; and the justice of peace, Nordell, acquitted . Count Horn died in poverty and obscurity, in Copenhagen ; Count Liljiehorn died in similar circumstances, in Germany ; and Count Ribbing died at Paris, in April 1843, in the house No. 27, Rue Louis le Grand. THE CHEVALIER D'EON . This very extraordinary character, whose career as man and as woman was alike remarkable , was born at Tonnere, in Bur gundy, October 17 , 1727, and was a member of an ancient and honourable family, several of whom had held situations of trust, under the Government of France. The position that D’Eon was born to was, therefore, a good one ; his introduction to the Court of France gave him diplomatic appointments of much trust ; his learning and ability as an author, obtained him laurels in the world of letters ; his position seemed most flattering at the European Courts ; his road seemed clear to riches and honours, yet faults of judgment and of temper preponderated with him , A 2 100 THE CHEVALIER D’EON . and his brightest prospects faded like an unreal vision ; quarrels arose between the most eminent of his friends and himself ; his over- weening vanity added bitterness to each attack which he made ; he was abandoned by his country ; which he then renounced for England, where distresses, in some degree the result of his own imprudence, awaited him, and losing all feeling of what was due to himself as a man, he abandoned all claim to his sex , and to the end of his life wore the habit, and insisted on the treatment due to a female ; and in this position was ultimately obliged to make a public exhibition of himself in so unbecoming a dress, as a fencer at theatres and places of public amusement, to obtain a subsistence, dying ultimately in ob scurity and want. Kirby, in his - Wonderful Museum ,” says :- - “ In recording the history of the Chevalier D'Eon, who bore through life so equivocal a character, it is a task of no small difficulty to dis criminate the true from the false, especially as there is every reason to believe that the latter may have sometimes originated with, or been countenanced by himself, in order to serve his par ticular purposes. We shall at least enjoy the advantage of speaking with an unquestionable knowledge of his sex , which, during so large a portion of his life was most studiously con cealed, to judge more correctly of the accuracy of the facts, and to develop with greater certainty the motives of action .” Charles Geneviève Louis Auguste André Timothé D'Eon de Beaumont, was descended from an ancient and illustrious family, His grandfather, and his father were successively , Under- Intend ants of the Generality of Paris, and his mother was Françoise du Charenton, daughter of M. de Charenton , who was Com missaire Ordonnateur de Guerre to the French armies in Spain and Italy At six years of age he was sent to an aunt in Paris , and began the rudiments of education under the best masters ; at the age of fourteen, he entered the College Mazarin in that city, and when his education was finished there, he became a doctor of civil and of canon law , and was called to the bar of the Parliament of Paris. Riding and fencing were nis favourite amusements, and he so much excelled in the latter, that, at the end of his life , it became a means whereby to THE CHEVALIER D'EON . 101 C live . " A love of literature combined itself with his other plea sures, and was visible in the publication of many small miscel laneous pieces , and as years went on, his works increased, until they formed a large number, the principal being “ Les Loisirs du Chevalier D'Eon,” printed at Amsterdam, in eighteen vols . 8vo. , 1774, and his Letters and Memoirs,” in 4to , at La Haye, 1764 ; a considerable range of subject appears in his literary labours ; some being on political economy; others strictly scien tific or literary ; many the offspring of sudden emergencies. In 1755 , the Prince of Conti who had long known and patro nized the family of D'Eon, introduced our hero to the Court of Louis XV. , and his warm recommendations induced the French Sovereign to employ him in an arduous and delicate mission which he had at heart, and which was a reconciliation between his Court and that of Russia. He was sent to St. Petersburg as reader of the French language, and Secretary to the wife of the great Chancellor Woronzoff, who had married a Russian Princess , nearly related to the Empress Elizabeth ; he was thus in close connection with the Court, and his utility to the French Court so great, that upon returning to Paris, he was again sent to Russia, in 1757,in conjunction with the Chevalier Douglas, in an open and avowed diplomatic situation. Their negotiations were so powerful, that they prevailed upon the Empress Elizabeth to join the armies of France and of Austria , with fourscore thousand troops, which she had originally destined for the assistance of the King of Prussia. It is asserted that during this time he first adopted a female dress to obtain that political information he could not obtain in his male character ; and which in after - life he so frequently as sumed as a government spy or agent, that his sex became so long a matter of doubt . On his return to Paris the same year, the Chevalier D'Eon, as he was now called, was charged by Elizabeth with a packet for Voltaire, containing some presents from the Empress, to induce him to soften the character of Peter the Great, in his History of Russia ,” as well as some manuscripts which tended to aid him in his labours . Some time afterwards a similar packet of medals and manuscript papers being sent, by another hand, the 102 THE CHEVALIER D'Eon. last of these articles alone reached Voltaire, who testified his sense of the safe conduct of the previous one, and his idea of the bearer, by exclaiming, “ Whenever the Empress of Russia does me the honour to make me another present, I hope she will put it into the hands of Monsieur D'Eon ." After explaining at the French Court the position and feeling of Russia, he was commissioned to communicate the plan of the Russian military operations to the Court of Vienna ; and the news arrived of the famous battle of Prague, while he was in that city, when Count de Broglio entrusted him with dispatches to Paris, announcing the victory obtained over the King of Prussia, and also with the treaty concluded between Russia and France. D'Eon, with characteristic energy and perseverance, immediately set out for Paris in a post carriage, but had not proceeded above fifteen leagues on the journey, when the carriage was overturned at the foot of the mountain of Melch, in Lower Austria, and in the fall one of his ancle bones was broken. He merely stopped to have it set, and then pursued the journey with such expedition, that although he was distant from Paris at the time of the acci dent, more than 250 leagues, he reached Versailles sooner by thirty - six hours, than the courier who had been dispatched from Vienna to the same place. Without leaving the carriage he delivered the dispatches into the hands of M. de Rouillé, then Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, who took them at once to the King, informing him of the zeal of D'Eon, whose ardour had not been restrained by the accident which had befallen him . Louis at once ordered his own surgeon to attend D'Eon, and lodgings to be prepared for his reception. He was for three months confined to his bed ; but on his recovery the King at once presented him with a lieutenancy of Dragoons. Soon afterwards he performed a third journey to St. Peters burg, as Secretary of Embassy to the Marquis de l'Hôpital. On his return to Paris, in 1759, being desirous of distinguishing himself at the head of his troops, in the military character which his Sovereign had conferred upon him ; he was permitted to join his regiment in Germany, as Captain of Dragoons, and as Aide de -Camp to the Count and Marshal de Broglio. While serving in the army he was twice wounded in the engagement at Ultrop, THE CHEVALIER D’EON. 103 and at that of Ostervich, at the head of fourscore dragoons, and forty hussars, he charged the Prussian battalion of Rhe's which he completely routed , and took the commanding officer prisoner. Another embassy to Russia was arranged by the French Court, in 1761 , in which it was intended that D'Eon should replace the French Ambassador, the Baron de Breteuil ; but the death of the Emperor Peter III . , having occasioned a change in the politics of that Court, the appointment never took place. In September, of the same year, he was sent to London as Secretary of Embassy to the Duke de Nivernois, Ambassador of France to that Court, to conclude the peace of 1763. On arriving in London he was for tunate enough to be able to prove of essential service to France, by rescuing this minister from an unpleasant dilemma. In the Duke's zeal for his own Court, he had taken the liberty of change ing several articles in the ultimatum of the treaty , which , being discovered , gave so much offence, that he was told unless he chose to present the treaty as originally agreed upon , be might return to Paris as soon as he pleased with the document unsigned . His honor, and that of the French Court, being thus about to be compromised, D'Eon proposed that he should take the blame of the changes made in the document, and tell the British statesman that he had been induced, by an over - zealous desire to serve his Court, to make the changes unknown to the Duke. The plan was approved and executed, and harmony between the Courts established. Nivernois, overjoyed at the escape his character and credit had had, and the success of his negotiations, informed the King of the whole truth , and stated how essentially D'Eon had aided him . He likewise sent D'Eon to Paris, that he might himself deliver the ratified treaty into the hands of his Sovereign , who testified his sense of his services by investing him with the order of St. Louis . While acting as Secretary to Nivernois, he had behaved so much to the satisfaction of the Duke, that, upon his departure for France, May 25, 1763, he procured the appoint ment of D'Eon, as Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of Great Britain . D'Eon had now reached the culminating point of his greatness ; his after - life was one of trouble, dissension , and distress . He held the high situation just alluded to until the 6th of December, 101 THE CHEVALIER D'EON . when the Count de Guerchy arrived in London , as Ambassador from the Court of Versailles , and the Chevalier received orders, or rather was requested, to act as Secretary , or assistant to the new Ambassador. His pride was now severely stung ; he could not bear to descend to the subordinate position he had previously held ; and he prepared to resist any change, by pretending that the letter of recall which accompanied this request was a forgery, he absolutely refused to acknowledge it . This effected the honor of De Guercly and the French Court, and he was censured accord ingly for the part he had presumed to take. With great want of judgment, the Chevalier, with a view of exculpating himself, pub lished a succinct account of all the negotiations in which he had been engaged, in which he acted with so much indiscretion , that he revealed many secrets of the French Court ; and not content with exposing his enemies, told some things greatly to the preju dice of his best friends. His attack produced a caricature, in which D'Eon as a French monkey, is shown voiding an emetic upon Lords Bute, Sandwich, and the Court party aided by the citizens, Americans and popularity - hunters. The character and motives of the Count de Guerchy had in particular been so freely handled, that that nobleman prosecuted him for a libel in the Court of King's Bench, July 1764, and he was found guilty . D'Eon's conduct in this affair had incensed the French Court, but whether it had solicited that the Chevalier (who kept himself concealed) should be given up to its judgment, or whether reports to that effect had been circulated by D’Eon himself ( which is very probable) , it was currently stated , for an absolute fact, that it was the intention of certain persons to kidnap the Che valier, and carry him to France by force, as he could not be ob tained by other means. D'Eon encouraged this belief by ad dressing letters (which he afterwards published) to Lord Chief Justice Mansfield, the Earl of Bute, Earl Temple, and to the Prime Minister, William Pitt . “ I am ,” he says, “ assured from undoubted authority, that my enemies have resolved to carry me off by force or stratagem . London at this instant, swarms with officers and spies from the police of Paris, with a captain at their head ; they keep a boat between the bridges of London and West minster, in which, should they unhappily seize my person , they THE CHEVALIER D'EON, 105 mean to transport me to Gravesend, where a small armed vessel is in readiness to sail with me to France, the instant I am con veyed on board.” He concludes with asseverations of his own honor, and desire for peace and safety , but asks if he should not be justified in repelling force by force, even if attended with the worst consequences ; thus literally asking if he could not have the power of killing any legal officer who might be sent to arrest him . In March, 1764, a bill of indictment was filed by D’Eon against the Count de Guerchy, for a conspiracy against his life ; a violent and apparently unjustifiable proceeding, which produced much confusion, inasmuch as Ambassadors are, by the law of nations, exempted from the ordinary forms of law in the countries where they reside. In Nov. 20, 1764 , a house in Scotland Yard was forcibly entered by six men, and D’Eon searched for, but not found ; he had in fact absconded from justice , and having been found guilty of a libel on the Count de Guerchy, and not surren dering himself to receive judgment at the Court of King's Bench , he was declared to be outlawed, May 13, 1765 . Where he retired at this time is not clearly discoverable ; but he may probably have proceeded to France, where he still had the favour of the Sovereign, who seems to have considered his indis cretions and quarrels as matters between D'Eon and his officials, with which he had little to do ; notwithstanding any public expression of disapprobation, he still honoured him with his con fidence, and continued in correspondence with him until his death . Louis likewise gave the Chevalier substantial marks of the sense which he entertained of his services, granting him in 1757 a pension of 8,000 livres ; in 1760, another of 2,000 ; and in 1766, a third , from his privy purse, of 12,000 . The following warrant for the payment of the last - named is expressed in flat tering terms : In grateful remembrance of the services which the Sieur D'Eon has rendered me, in Russia, with my armies, and in other commissions which I have given him, I grant him a yearly pen sion of 12,000 livres ; to be paid to him in two payments, one 106 THE CHEVALIER D’EON . every half -year, in whatever country he may be, except in time of war with my enemies, and till I think fit to confer on him some post, the salary of which shall exceed the amount of this pension. “ Louis. " Versailles, April 1 , 1766.” In 1769, he again came before the public in this country, the affair of the outlawry having probably been accommodated . Dr. Musgrave, a gentleman of character, as a scholar and phy sician, took advantage of the general election to print and cir culate a " Remonstrance,” tending to throw much blame on the parties who effected the peace of 1763, in which D'Eon acted so conspicuous a part, and for which he obtained a considerable share of censure . He declared that the peace had been effected by bribery in the highest quarters ; that the French Court had paid immense sums of money to secure it, to the Princess of Wales, Lord Bute, the Duke of Bedford, the Lords Egremont and Halifax , and the Count de Virey, as well as the Chevalier D'Eon. This exposé, proving " that persons of high rank and unbounded wealth , could be seduced by gold to betray the interests of their country, and surrender advantages which the lives of so many heroes had been willingly sacrificed to purchase ,” set the nation in a flame, it being too much the fashion to believe the worst of the Princess and Bute. In a few days D'Eon published an answer to this document, giving an entire denial to the whole story ; and so perseveringly opposed these statements, that Dr. Musgrave was in the end reprimanded by the Speaker of the House of Commons as a disturber of the public tranquillity. Yet in a case of so delicate and secret a kind, it is far from cer tain but that the Doctor may have had some ground for his charges, particularly as the spirit of intrigue was so strong in D'Eon ; and we have already seen how little scrupulosity he showed in his conduct of this affair. D'Eon remained, after this, unnoticed for some time; but it is certain his active mind was busily at work in some way, probably as a secret agent for the French government. He ! THE CHEVALIER D'EON. 107 resided in Westminster, and the following advertisement, inserted in the public papers, May 7 , 1771 , tells of his sudden absence from home. • The friends of the Chevalier D'Eon being extremely uneasy on account of his absence from his house, in Petty France, West minster, since last Tuesday, in the afternoon , no intelligence of any kind having been received of him since that time ;-- this is to request him, if he is at liberty, to relieve his friends from the anxiety they suffer, by sending a line to Mr. Fountain, in Litchfield Street, Soho . And in case the Chevalier is concealed or restrained of his liberty, or any violence has been committed against his person, whoever can give intelligence of any such concealment or violence, and will discover to the said Mr. Foun tain where he is, shall, on giving information of the place where he is concealed , receive a very handsome reward, with all just and reasonable expences, on sufficient proofs given of the facts and manner of his confinement, so as that proper and effectual means may be taken for the recovery of his liberty . " He was dressed , when he left his house ( which was about four o'clock) , in scarlet, faced with green, with his Croix de St. Louis, had a plain new hat, with silver button , loop, and band, with his sword, but without his cane ; he went out alone, leaving orders with his servant, to call on him at a friend's house, at ten o'clock, but had not been there, nor been heard of since. * This again excited the public attention, and the papers of June, 1771 , contain a paragraph to the following effect : “ The Chevalier D'Eon has disappeared within these few days; and is by many said to be kidnapped to France ; whilst others aver he has been visible since in London. ” The mystery was, however, ended by the following announcement in the Jour nals of June 20, 1771 :- " This night, about eleven o'clock , the Chevalier D'Eon , whose extraordinary disappearance above six weeks ago, has been the subject of much conversation and inquiry, arrived in good health at his house in Petty France,

  • For the communication of this advertisement and several other curious

notices of D'Eon, I am indebted to J. J. A. Fillinham , Esq. , whose entire collection was obligingly placed in my hands for any use I might make of it. 108 THE CHEVALIER D'EON. Westminster, and immediately wrote a letter to Mr. Fountain , in Litchfield Street, of which the following is a translation : “ I arrived this moment from Germany, my dear Fountain , very much fatigued ; I have great need to go to bed. Pray deliver to Coutain , my valet -de- chambre, the keys of my apart ments . I have seen at Hamburg , in one of the English papers, what you liad done for me during my absence. I was so affected by it as to shed tears . This has determined me to return to England sooner than I hoped , to thank my real friends, like you , and to punish the insolence of such impertinents as have, during my absence, calumniated me. Good night. I reckon you will come to see me some time tomorrow. “ LE CHEVALIER D'Eon . " These sudden and mysterious disappearances, and the strange nature of his life altogether, attracted much attention . It is not unlikely , that, during these temporary absences, for the purposes of intrigue or concealment, he again adopted the disguise of a female ; which led to a suspicion of his true sex ; and ultimately to the positive assertion that he was a woman . A communica tion was declared to have been made by a midwife to the servants of his old enemy, the Count de Guerchy, affirming that fact beyond all question . This point , on his re - appearance, became a topic of public conversation ; and it ended in bets being laid to a large amount upon the subject of his sex . In May, 1771, an article in the Town and Country Magazine ," purporting to be “ The examination of a jury of matrons upon the body of the Chevalier D'Eon, at Medmenham Abbey, * " on the 2nd day of ness. 66

  • Medmenham Abbey , on the banks of the Thames, near Hurley, was cele.

brated as the resort of a debauched set of noblemen, with Wilkes at their head, who are reported to have been guilty of the most abominable licentious • They here restored- monastic debauchery and intemperance to its primitive state ; and it has long been matter of doubt whether they have not improved upon it,” They named their meeting the “ Hell - fire Club." The motto over the door was, “ Here you may do as you please.” Some idea of these unhallowed orgies may be formed from a perusal of “ Chrysal , or the adventures of a Guinea." The notion which was publicly formed of them may be guessed by the fact, that it was currently believed by many , the club THE CHEVALIER D'EON . 109 May, 1771 , begins by saying, that : - " The polite and stock jobbing world have, for several weeks, been deeply interested in a discovery made relative to the sex of the Chevalier D'Eon, who has appeared so conspicuously as a member of the diplo matic body. His sudden disappearance this month, has again renewed the curiosity of the ladies and the attention of Change Alley, and furnished fresh matter for the exploring speculations of politicians. ” The “ Public Advertiser , ” of March 21 , 1774, in defence of D'Eon's singularities, has the following paragraph : There is as great a singularity in the character of the Cheva lier D'Eon , as in our ignorance of his sex . The rule of his life is peculiar to himself ; no other man or woman would, in the same position, write and behave as he does . Is it reason , virtue, or caprice , that dictates his conduct, and makes him , in his man ners the reverse of our men of fashion ? Let your readers judge from the following fact :-Our courtiers adore the man upon whom fortune smiles, and rail at him as soon as he is no longer in favour ; the Chevalier follows an unjustly disgraced minister in his exile, and there pays him the tribute of praises he refused him in the time of his prosperity . When the French Court con ceal their esteem for the Duke de Choiseul , and bend the knee to the favourite they despise , to that Duke the Chevalier dedi cates his “ Loisirs ” -him he openly dares to commend ! · That oddity will not make a fortune at St. James's ; it cannot be applauded when folly holds the place of merit, and immorality rides triumphant over the ruins of religion .” But it was not till six years after this period , that these gaming debts were cleared in a court of law , and D'Eon proved to be a woman !! This very extraordinary case was fully reported in the journals of the day, and excited much attention. * was broken up by finding one too many on one occasion ; which one proved to be “ the foul fiend ” himself.

  • Our report is copied from the “ Universal Magazine, the editor of which commerces it by saying : “ The sex of the Chevalier D'Eon having occa sioned much dispute in the gambling as well as political world, the following abstract of the tryal, by which the point in question seems settled beyond any further room for litigation , will doubtless be acceptable to our readers.

Tuesday, July 1 , came on , in Guildhall, at 12 o'clock, before the Rt. Hon . Lord Mansfield and a special jury , the long depending cause of the policies 110 THE CHEVALIER D'EON. These reports were followed by caricatures , which also went to prove the venality of the Chevalier ; one of these , entitled , underwrote on Chevalier D'Eon's sex , in 1771 ; the action was brought by one Mr. Hayes, a policy - holder, against Mr. Jaques, a broker and underwriter, for the recovery of seven hundred pounds, for which the said Mr. Jaques, received a premium of fifteen guineas per cent. about six years ago , promising to return one hundred guineas for each fifteen guineas so received, on the other's proving that the person, known by the name of Chevalier D'Eon, was actually a woman .

  • The witnesses having been called for the plaintiff, after the opening of the cause by Mr. Buller, one Mr. Le Goux, surgeon and man -midwife, who has lived in Poland.street seventeen years, and known the Chevalier D'Eon from the time the Duke de Nivernois was in England, declared that the person so called was a real woman . The Counsel for the defendant having

chosen to elaborate the question, and dip as far in it as it could be permitted with decency, the said Le Goux was very closely examined , and some ques tions put to him , which unveiled the sex of the Chevalier rather too much ; Mr. Lee having pressed Le Goux so closely, that it came out at last, that the Chevalier D'Eon had a disorder in the very place from which the knowledge of her sex was to derive, and that the said Le Goux attended her in that disorder, and acquired thus the most unquestionable proof that his patient was a woman ; many more questions were put to the said Mr. Le Goux about his disordered patient, who answered them all in the amplest and the most satisfactory manner. “ The next witness examined was Miss D'Eon's old friend, M. De Morande, who confirmed the deposition of Mr. Le Goux, that Chevalier D'Eon was a woman ; and added to it some particulars , which excited the laugh of all the persons in the court ; the cross -examining Counsel for the defendant, having put to Mr. De Morande the question, how he came to know that the Chevalier was a woman ? was answered, as near as we can recollect, in the following manner : That, about four years ago, having dined with the Chevalier D'Eon at her own house, the said Chevalier ( whom Mr. De Morande, through the course of his examination, called Miss D'Eon) after making him acquainted with her sex in confidence, and informing him of several other things relative to her situation, shewed him different sacques and petticoats , shifts, shoes, trinkets, &c. &c. which she informed him she wore ; and that, as a confirma tion of her being a woman, she opened her waistcoat, and shewed him her bosom. Such was the former part of Mr. De Morande's evidence, to which he added , on the Counsel's pressing him further on the question,

    • That, on the third of July, 1774 , De Morande's wife being brought to

bed , he went to the said Chevalier's house in the morning ; and that, finding her in bed, the conversation grew pretty free and gay . De Morande then 66 THE CHEVALIER D'EON. 111 " Chevalier D'E - n returned , or the Stock brokers outwitted ; ' , exhibits him entering an office, and saying -- " Well, broker, told the said Chevalier there was now a fine opportunity for her to declare her sex, as he offered her the opportunity of being either godfather or god . mother ; on which D'Eon answered the question in so free a manner, that the sex was put past a doubt. “ In the evidence of De Morande, it came out, that he had been himself employed by her to negociate her return to France, and the restitution of some papers which she was to deliver to one Mr. Beaumarchais, and for which restitution she received an annuity of five hundred guineas, exclusive of other sums of money to a considerable amount ; the examining Counsel for the defendant entered deeply into Miss D'Eon's political affairs, and was as clearly answered by De Morande, who seemed to be entirely master of the subject, and he entertained the Court and Jury as much as he enlightened them by the novelty and singularity of his evidence . “ Doctor De Malon, a French physician, was called the next, and De Mo rande sworn as an interpreter to him , De Malon being unacquainted with the English language. “ The said De Malon swore, that, from his own knowledge, he was certain that the person called Chevalier D'Eon was a woman, that he attended her in a woman's disorder, and that he was sure de visu et tactu , that the person going by the name of Chevalier D'Eon, was of the feminine gender. “ The Counsels for the plaintiff having finished their evidence, Mr. Mans field rose in behalf of the defendant, and chiefly argued on the indecency of the cause, and the impropriety of its being brought into a court of justice ; adding to it, that Mr. Jaques was drawn into an error, and taken in by a fraudulent concealment the contract ; going on that ground, Mr. Mans field thought that the best part of his defence would be in some errors of chronology, about the time of the particulars relative to the sex of D'Eon being discovered , and about the time of the negociation of D'Eon with the court of France ; in which attempt, however, Mr. Mansfield did notsuc ceed having been far from establishing that Mr. Hayes had been privy to any par ticulars of Miss D'Eon's sex, before he was a proprietor of the policies. “ The answer made upon oath by the said Mr. Hayes (upon a bill filed against him in the Court of Exchequer by Jaques) was then read in Court, and proved to the satisfaction of the Bench and Jury, that Mr. Hayes was entirely a stranger to all fraudulent transactions ( if there had been any ) , and was so far unacquainted with the possibility of winning, that he sold half of his policies to the Baron Nolken , the Swedish Ambassador, for the same premium that he had paid for the same. “ Mr. Wallace then arose in answer to Mr. Mansfield , and laughed at the ridiculousness of the idea of Mr. Jaques, to pretend that the cause was inde cent for a Court of justice , while he had kept ( and even did not offer to pay 112 THE CHEVALIER D'EON. how have you managed our scheme?” The broker answers , “ Glad to see you returned , Chevalier ; we have took the knowing ones in swingingly . ” Of the group behind, one declares , “ I have lost my all !” Another advises, “ Let us waddle off quietly ; " a third exclaims to a Jew broker intended for Jaques) , “ I told into that Court ) the premium he received . Mr. Wallace, in the most accu rate and most masterly manner, retorted on the indecency of such a defence, which lielped him to turn the tables upon the defendant, and convinced all the assistants, that, if there was any fraudulent act, it was undoubtedly on the other side of the question . Mr. Wallace having closed his speech, my Lord Mansfield got up, and in repeating the evidence and arguments with his usual admirable precision, his Lordship said ( in addressing the jury) that the instance before them was one of those in which he would wish to see both parties losers ; but that, considering the nature of the evidence, and of the defences made, it was not in his power, since there was no fraud proved, nor any illegality in the transaction , which was to be considered as a mere wager ; and that, the uncertainty having been as great for one of the parties as for the other, the winner was to be considered by them as entitled to recover the bets. His Lordship collected all the circumstances which could determine the defendant to believe that D'Eon was a man, bringing together the whole history of that famous woman's life ; representing to the jury , that she was employed in a military as well as in a political capacity in her country, and unsuspected by her own King ; was successively Captain of Dragoons, employed in Russia, Chargé d'Affaires in England, and, at last, Plenipotentiary ; that, to these presumptions in favour of Jaques' opinion , the dress and the spirit of D'Eon, who quarrelled, fenced , and offered to fight any body as a man, had been a much stronger evidence than any of those which could have been given on the sidle of the female gender; for which reasons, added to the proofs offered by the plaintiff, that he had not been privy to any confidential knowledge whatsoever about her sex, but was only directed by his private opinion and common report, the cause depending was to be considered as a fair wager, and the verdict given for the winner ; on which the jury, without retiring from Court, gave a verdict for the plaintiff, with £700 damages and costs." The result of this singular action produced the following notice in the papers of the day :

  • We hear that a certain person , lately of the doubtful gender, will receive not less than £20,000 in consequence of a recent decision in Guildhall; the bets that were made, both here and in France, were very considerable, and would in all probability have remained undetermined until death , had not the parties made propositions of so lucrative a nature as could not be re

sisted ." THE CHEVALIER D'EON . 113 CC you he would come back ;" who despondingly answers, “ Åy ! and ' tis time for me to be going.” These reports obliged D'Eon to give some public contradic tion concerning his alleged dishonesty . On the 10th of August, 1777 , on the eve of another visit to France, he addressed a letter to his friend , Mr. Fountain, enclosing another to publish in the papers, declaring that he had cautioned the public in the Morning Post, " as long back as November 1775 , not to renew or obtain policies on his sex ; that he had declared he would not have anything to do with settling the question ; but that if he was annoyed by it , he should be obliged to leave a country he had ever esteemed next to France ; he adds : The avidity that my enemies have proved for money ; the nuri sacra fumes that possesses them, has unhappily prevailed . They have not only renewed the old policies , but they have also obtained , on Tuesday the 1st of July last , a judgment at the tribunal of the King's Bench , to decide my sex. “ In consequence , I keep with regret my word with the public : I leave , with pain , my dear England , and where I believed I had found tranquillity and liberty, to retire to my native country, to be near to an august master, whose protection and goodness will prove a greater assurance of tranquillity than all the Magna Chartas of this island . " If the parties interested and losing in those policies, would take my advice, I would counsel them not to pay anything yet because the judgment of the King's Bench, where they hav decided the question of my sex , was given without my being privy to it , and against my consent ; because I will oppose myself to that judgment when the tribunal of the King's Bench shall have resumed their sittings , and that the King, my master, will permit me to return to England. It will then be the proper time and place to offer all my reasons against the three witnesses who gave evidence on my sex . “ I had rather perish than be triumphant from the weakness of the sex imputed to me. I have never made use of aught but my quality of Captain of Dragoons to combat my enemies, when they have had the heart . How sad for me to have had to do, I 114 THE CHEVALIER D'EON. since my misfortunes in England, with only a set of misers and poltroons. My sex was never doubted, when I was sent to fight and negociate with the enemies of my country . I am still unus and idem . “ Not wishing to abuse the patience of the public, although at the moment of my departure, and as it has every appearance of being for the last time, I fully declare that if any one, either in France or in England, can convict me before a tribunal of being interested to the amount of a single shilling in one or any poli cies , I will distribute all my property to any charitable institution that the said tribunal may indicate .” Deory August 10, 1777. The Chevalier left England, in August 1777 , after thus de claring, in the most solemn manner, that he had no interest whatever in the policies respecting his sex . After the above decision , he put on female attire, which he continued to wear till death . That there must have been some unfair dealings in this business is certain , though perhaps it is impossible to con jecture with whom they originated. The high sense of honour which was always attributed to the Chevalier, would induce one to suppose him innocent, had he not countenanced the fraud by indecently assuming and continuing the female habit. There is, however, no proof that he received any pecuniary benefit from the decision ; but there can be little doubt, that he willingly lent himself to the doubt, which would go to bolster up the gross perjury of the witnesses , It is easy to believe that if D'Eon could lend himself to so infamous a fraud, he would not scruple in asserting a falsehood, particularly as other money transactions still pended on the same question .

  • The autograph of D'Eon is obtained from one of the volumes formerly in his library .

THE CHEVALIER D'EON. 115 In the “ London Evening Post," of August 17, 1777 , we are told of his first appearance as a woman : “ On Wednesday Mademoiselle D'Eon appeared for the first time in her real character as a woman, dressed in an elegant black sacque, her head dress adorned with diamonds, and be decked in all the other elegant paraphernalia of the sex . It seems this extraordinary female personage is about to embark for her native country ; and it is said that great preparations are making at the Court of Versailles for her reception in her feminine character.” In September 1777, her reception at the Court of France is thus narrated : “ Mademoiselle D'Eon, it is said , hath met with but a very indifferent reception from the ministers of France. She waited on Count de Vergennes, habited in regimentals. Vergennes hinted to her, that the dress of her sex would now be more becoming. The lady requested to know when she might have the honour of paying homage to her sovereign ? ' Vergennes replied , with a significant smile, ‘ that although it was a matter of so much importance, he had not yet received any orders on that head .' He advised her to assume the petticoat, that she might be accustomed to the habit , which suited her condition .” In December of the same year, another trial took place on the subject of her sex , which is thus briefly related in the “ Evening Post," of December 17 : “ The sex of Chevalier D'Eon was, on Monday Morning, again the subject of litigation before Earl Mansfield, at Guildhall, in a cause between Da Costa and Jones . The action was brought on a wagering policy, in consideration of a certain premium , to return one hundred pounds, and so on, for every greater or lesser sum subscribed, if the said Chevalier proved to be a woman . On the part of the defendant, witnesses were brought, who swore to the general belief that D’Eon was a man , when he served as captain of dragoons, and also when he was admitted one of the body of freemasons, which last could not have been but for the general belief in him as a man . On the part of the plaintiff, the evidence of Moran, accompanied with that of the French physician, who, as before, spoke of his certain 12 116 THE CHEVALIER D’EON . ever. knowledge by ' sight and by touch ,' together with the apothecary, aided by two female volunteers in the cause, established the plaintiff's case without a doubt . A verdict was given for the plaintiff, with costs .” The result of these trials, however, left the winning parties in a very different position from that which they must have antici pated, for we are told, " the policy business respecting the sex of Madame D'Eon was solemnly argued before Lord Mansfield , in the Court of King's Bench , when the defendant pleaded a late Act of Parliament for the non- payment of the policy he had underwritten, which the statute provides, that no insurance should be valid , where the person insuring cannot prove an antecedent interest in the person or thing insured . ' The Chief Justice admitted the statute to be binding in the present instance ; by which decision , all the insurers in the above transaction will now be deprived of the golden harvest they so long expected.” So that whatever D'Eon's share in the nefarious transaction may have been , he failed to profit by it, and disgraced himself for His reception in France was reported to be unfavourable . A paragraph in the paper of November 1777 , tells us : “ The Chevalier D'Eon is now thoroughly convinced of the difference between the edict of an absolute prince, and the magra charta of a free people. This very extraordinary and singular character had not been long in his native country, before he was ordered to retire to a country village, where he now resides, with only the appearance of liberty, as he cannot go beyond certain allotted bounds." The facts of the report were these : -- D'Eon is said to have exerted his utmost endeavours to prevent the Count de Vergennes from interfering in the American war. But his influence was at an end at the French Court, his secret protector , Louis XV. was dead , and M. De Maurepas would neither permit him an utience, or allow him to see the King. He was ordered to teave Paris, and retire to his country residence . He returned despondingly to Versailles to pack up his papers, but was taken so ill , that he was for three weeks confined to his chamber. M. De Maurepas, believing the illness only a pretence to remain in France, and thwart the intention of its rulers, caused him to be THE CHEVALIER D'EON. 117 forcibly carried away in the night, to the castle which belonged to the ancient Dukes of Burgundy, at Dijon. In Paris, many tales were circulated of D'Eon's actions in his new character, and the curious print of him in this ambiguous form was published, which is here copied . It was repor d , that Maurepas had proposed to marry D'Eon to M. De Beau marchais, the famous author, who had been employed by the Court in negotiating with D'Eon for various papers, &c . , he still held, saying :-- “ It was a certain way to enrich her, without proving any expense to the King ; that, in a short time after the marriage, she might be divorced without being guilty of any great vio lence to her husband, and that she might then publish a memo• rial against Peter Augustus Baron de Beaumarchais, who would answer it both in prose and verse, and make some fun for the laughers of Paris.” Other anecdotes and reflections on D'Eon's conduct are here given, from Kirby's “ Wonderful Museum : " . “ D'Eon owns that this garb seems very strange to her, and that it will be long before she is used to it ; she would gladly have continued to dress like a man, if she could ; she used at first to laugh at her petticoats, her cap, &c . , and on this occasion she said, “ It is very hard , having been a captain , to be degraded to a cornet. ' The spirit of this pun evaporates in English ; cornet, in French, signifies a woman's head dress, as well as a subaltern of horse . With her new dress, she still however retains the cross of St. Louis. “ The following incident will shew that her manners are far from being prudish. In company with several foreiguers, who were strangers to her, “ Chevalier,” said a lady, “ to the best of 9 118 THE CHEVALIER D'EON, my remembrance, when you were dressed like a man, you had a very handsome leg ." " Parbleu ," replied D'Eon with vivacity, pulling up her petticoats, “ if you are curious to see it, here it is . Were I to affirm , ” added she, “ in this company, that I have lain with one hundred thousand men , I should not assert an untruth : I have lain with the French army, with the Austrian army, and even with the Cossacks, but observe, that of all these not one has anything to say against me.” “ If you wanted satisfaction ,” said one, should not you regret your former situ ation and your arms.” “ I have already considered that matter," answered D'Eon, “ and when I quitted myhat and sword , I own it gave me some concern , but I said to myself, What signifies it ? I may do as much, perhaps, with my slipper ; " D'Eon is so little reconciled to her new metamorphosis, that whenever she is in company with any knights of St. Louis, and one of them in called “ M. le Chevalier , ” D'Eon turns about, thinking that she is meant. She is not yet accustomed to the usual ceremonials established between the sexes : or rather it is obvious, that having always in her former state of life shewn great attention to the ladies, she finds it difficult to restrain it ; at table when she sits near them, she is always ready to fill their glasses ; at coffee , sooner has a lady emptied her cup, then D'Eon springs from her chair to hand it to the table . “ As to the person and stature of our female hero, Made moiselle D'Eon ( for so she must now be styled) , has a handsome neck and bosom , and appears to advantage as a woman . Indeed as she formerly made herself a beard , her chin is furnished with some hair, which she employs herself with nipping : her com plexion is fair, her stature about five feet, four inches ; so she could not be very tall in uniform . Those who have not seen her in men's dress , cannot conceive how she could appear genteel in her former clothes ; she wears her heels very low, and somewhat large : she has a particular accent which is not unbecoming, as her voice is agreeable ; she makes her curtsey in a rustic fashion , without moving her thighs, but bending her knees forward with great quickness. “ On being advised to put on some rouge, her answer was, that she had tried it, but that it would not stick upon her face . no THE CHEVALIER D'EON . 119 Considering her body only as a case , or as the shell of her soul, she despises it, and even pretends sometimes that her neck is troublesome, every thing seems strange to her new accoutrement, but she is convinced that use will reconcile it . “ On "her first return to France, she went to Tonnere, and passed some time with her relations ; she then came back to Paris, and though she appeared seldom in public, she dined sometimes with her old friends. To a lady who was giving her some advice with regard to her behaviour, &c . , she replied, “ Madam , I shall be always chaste, no doubt, but I can never be modest." To these anecdotes we shall subjoin the following observations which have appeared in the Gazette de Santé a French periodical publication , since the decease of the Chevalier, and more im mediately applicable to that period of his life of which we are now treating “ It is singular enough that while all Europe was making a woman of this dubious character, there existed in Paris many unimpeachable witnesses who would have vouched for his man hood long before it was put in question . We have had the fol lowing details from M. le Baron de Cleybrocke, who has autho rized us to publish them . The Chevalier D’Eon received his first education at M. Tarnier's, the schoolmaster, rue de Nevers, in Paris ; there was in that school, as usher, M. Vicaire, since rector of the University, and previously tutor to the young Cleybrocke, to whom he has often affirmed, when the question was started in London on the sex of the Chevalier, that he had many a time conducted D'Eon to bathe with his other scholars, and was posi tive that he was a man . What reason then could have induced government to condemn a soldier who had obtained military orders , and a respectable diplomatic character, to assume the dress of a woman , when his boldness, his propensities , his con stant habits, his love intrigues, and even his beard and his figure , gave the lie to his dress ? Some politicians think that they have found the reason of this strange conduct on the part of govern ment in the means that intriguing character had made use of to succeed in his secret diplomacy, and which were such , they say, that the discovery of his real sex, might have lowered the dignity 120 THE CHEVALIER D'EON. of the French government, and disturbed the peace, as well as sullied the honour of many families, in which D'Eon had been received with that unbounded confidence which women grant to a woman only . They strengthen their opinion by the report cur rent in Paris when the Chevalier was ordered to assume the female attire, that he had the alternative of obeying, or ending his days in the Bastile, in consequence of the irregularities he had committed under cover of the sex to which he had pretended to belong, to insure the success of his secret diplomatic negotiations. This conjecture is still further confirmed by the testimony of two of his former school-fellows, who, on hearing a report, which they were positive was unfounded , were impelled by curiosity to visit D'Eon. They found him in bed . “ What will you have me do ?” said he, when they had explained the object of their visit ; “ they have ordered me to be a woman , and I wear petti. coats by the command of the King ." “ The Chevalier would certainly have been puzzled to find a more convenient pretext than this for his metamorphosis. The argu ments adduced above, under the idea that this metamorphosis was enforced by royal authority, seem totally unfounded ; for it does not appear that while D'Eon remained in the French service, either as a diplomatic, or a military character, any suspicion existed of his being a female in disguise. Neither do we find , that pre viously to the trial in 1777 , he ever assumed the dress of a woman : how then could he have been guilty of irregularities under cover of that sex, when he had always appeared in the proper character and habit of his own ? “ On the other hand, the adoption of the hypothesis that the Chevalier was a party interested in the result of that trial removes every difficulty. He had observed the eagerness of the English to lay wagers on every disputed point, and with a view to profit by this disposition , he entered into a confederacy with the two persons who were brought forward as witnesses, and who, from their names, seem to have both been countrymen of his own. The question started was of such a nature that the decision of it rested with himself alone ; but fortunately for the cause of truth , as it turned out, the accomplices were, by means of a legal sub terfuge, disappointed of the expected profits of their deception. Nothing would have been more easy for D'Eon, than to disprove THE CHEVALIER D'EON. 121 the testimony of the witnesses, had he not been a partner in this transaction ; but, as such, they would have exposed his share in it, had he revealed their perjury. Thus the preservation of his own character as well as theirs, depended on the fidelity with which their secret was kept ; and to remove, as far as lay in his power, every cause of suspicion , he assumed the habit of the sex to which he was thought by the world to have been proved to belong. From all these circumstances of the case , it must at least be allowed that nothing can be more simple or natural than these conclusions." In 1779 , the Chevalier or Madame D'Eon was resident in France, and persisting in a resolution to equip himself to serve on board the fleet, notwithstanding orders from Court to retire, he was arrested, and again conducted to the Castle of Dijon . This was probably occasioned by his expressed determination to assume the male attire. D'Eon finding a residence in France no longer pleasant, and being assured of the continuance of the royal pension , while he retained the female dress , returned after some time to England, and spent a great part of his time with Lord Ferrers, at his country seat, Staunton Harold, in Leicestershire ; where he appears to have led a life of some retirement for a few years, occasionally exhibit ing to a select few his proficiency in fencing. One of these exhibitions was commemorated by a beautiful engraving ; it was that which took place between D'Eon and the famous fencing master, the Chevalier de St. George, before the Prince of Wales, at Carlton House, April 8, 1787 , and from which our cut of the principal combatants is copied : 122 THE CHEVALIER D’EON . The newspaper accounts of the day thus describe the scene : “ The most remarkable occurrence of the fencing -match at Carl ton House, was the assault between Monsieur de St. George and Mademoiselle D'Eon ; the latter, though encumbered , as she humorously declared herself, with three petticoats, that suited her sex much better than her spirit, not only parried skilfully all the thrusts of her powerful antagonist, but even touched him by what is termed a coup -se-temps, which all his dexterity could not ward off. We hear that a celebrated painter bas undertaken to hit off the semblance and attitude of the hero and heroine in this very interesting scene.” “ Mademoiselle D'Eon had modesty enough, on her hitting M. de St. George, to set it down to his complaisance ; but the latter candidly declared that he had done all in his power to ward against it . A gentleman present assures us that nothing could equal the quickness of the repartee, especially considering that the modern Pallas is nearly in her 60th year, and had to cope with a young man equally skilful and vigorous. " The Prince of Wales paid a very handsome compliment to M. de St. George, during his display of Monday last; and when the assault was over, took occasion to present him with a brace of highly -finished pistols, that are so true as to kill at thirty yards' distance." In 1790, pecuniary distresses obliged him to sell his books ; and in the preface to the catalogue, D'Eon stated that his friend, Lord Ferrers , had retained the pension which he had received from the French Court , and expended it in mines, regardless of his own applications. That he had promised to refund it , but his death prevented that ; and his next heir had hitherto kept him out of the sum, for which an action at law had been pending; in it was included his library of books, &c .; his wearing apparel both as an officer of Dragoons , and a lady of distinction , was also sold and he returned to France . This journey was probably undertaken with a view to procure the continuance of the pension granted by Louis XVI. , which till about this time is said to have been regularly paid. The petition presented by the Chevalier to the National Assembly, in 1792 , was doubtless designed to promote the same object ; as it THE CHEVALIER D’EON. 123 is impossible to suppose he could have expected that Assembly to comply with his desire, and place an old woman , such as he described himself, at the head of its armies. This petition , pur porting to be from Madame D'Eon, was read before the National Assembly on the 11th of June, and set forth , that although she had worn the dress of a woman for fifteen years , she had never forgotten that she was formerly a soldier ; that, since the revo lution she felt her military ardour revive, and demanded, instead of her cap and petticoats, her helmet, her sabre , her horse , and the rank in the army to which her seniority, her services , and her wounds entitled her ; and therefore requested permission to raise a legion of volunteers for the service of her country. Uncon nected with any party , she had no desire of brandishing her sword in processions in the streets of Paris, and wished for nothing but actual service ; war nobly made, and courageously supported. “ In my eager impatience , ” continued this cu us document, “ I have sold everything but my uniform , and the sword I wore in the last war, which I wish again to wear in the present ; of my library nothing remains but my shelves, and the manuscripts of Marshal Vauban, which I have preserved as an offering to the National Assembly, for the glory of my country, and the instructions of the brave generals employed in her defence . I have been the sport of nature , of fortune, of war and peace, of men and women, of the malice and intrigues of Courts. I have passed successively from the state of a girl to that of a boy ; from the state of a man to that of a woman. I have experienced all the odd vicissitudes of human life . Soon I hope, with arms in my hands, I shall fly on the wings of liberty and victory to fight and die for the nation, the law, and the King .” tition was interrupted by repeated bursts of applause, ordered to be honourably mentioned in the minutes, and referred to the mi litary committee : but it seems to have procured for the Chevalier nothing but these unsubstantial honours. Upon her return to England, D’Eon resided in a very retired manner, partly in a house occupied by Colonel Thompson, on the Surrey- side of Westminster Bridge, and latterly in Milman Street , Foundling Hospital, at the house of Mrs. Cole, to whom he was indebted for the principal comforts of his latter days. This pe 124 THE CHEVALIER D'EON. On April 19, 1791 , the following announcement appeared in the papers : Mad. LE CHEVALIER D'Eon, Chess Club , Parsloe's house, St. James's Street. This day, at two o'clock precisely, Mr. Phillidor will play three games at once against three good Chess- players, two of them without seeing the boards, and the third on looking over the table . He most respectfully invites the members of the Chess Club to honour him with their presence. Ladies and gentlemen who are not members of this club, may be provided with tickets at five shillings each , at the above- mentioned house, to see the match. Mad. le Chevalier D'Eon will be one of Mr. Phillidor's adversaries. 66 On the 24th of June, 1791 , the managers of Ranelagh, gave a public entertainment for D'Eon's benefit, deprived of a con siderable part of her fortune by the odious detention of a de posite .” An engraving, commemorative of the fête, was published by J. Condé, “ designed for a monument of English generosity and French gratitude,” in which the head of D'Eon was represented on a medallion , with flowing hair, surmounted by a helmet, on which a cock was delineated ; a spear is behind ; and around the head is inscribed , “ Minerve Gauloise, née à Tonnerre le 3. 8bre. 1728 ;” beneath is engraved : PROPRIO MARTE TUTA. Dic mihi Virgo ferox, cum sit tibi cassis et hasta Quare non habeas Ægida ? Cæsar habet. Pax est fæminei generis dat fæmina pacem Que Bellona fuit nunc Dea pacis erit. D'Eon, at this time , seems to have been almost entirely de pendant on his friends, his public benefits, and the exhibitions of fencing. Mrs. Bateman, the actress and female fencer, patro nized D'Eon much, and , in January, 1793, gave at her house in Soho Square, a Déjeuné to “ several English and French officers in the army and navy, well - known literary characters, and to gentlemen of the first - rate stage talents .” At the first of these meetings, “ Sir George Kelly pushed carte and tierce with Madame D'Eon, to the great entertainment of the company." THE CHEVALIER D'EON. 125 3 Afterwards, Mrs. Bateman herself took a lesson from Mr. God dard ; “ the assault between Captain Walmsley and Madame D'Eon concluded this scientific display ; and it was astonishing to observe with what vigour the Captain's repeated thrusts were repulsed . The assault lasted nearly fifteen minutes, during which time Madame D'Eon did not appear to be out of breath she only once exclaimed , “ Ah ! mes jambes ! ” which was when the conflict had subsided . This celebrated character cannot be termed Madame Egalité, for in this , or in any other country , she has not her equal.” Arrived at the age of sixty - six years, in bodily strength she is extremely powerful, and her appetite by no means puny or squeamish ; for at breakfast she declared her hope “ to be able to relish a ham breakfast in the next century ." Mirs . Bateman , on her second déjeuné, fenced with D'Eon , and appears to have gained laurels , so that D'Eon is reported to have said , “ when she expired , in this country there would, out of her ashes, arise a Phænix ; when Mrs. Bateman, alluded to in this remark, received the applauses of the company, which is said to have amounted to more than five hundred persons. At the Club D’Armes," Feb. 11 , 1793, Madame D'Eon fought with Captain Walseby, " and though apparently very much indisposed, astonished a numerous set of spectators with her science and activity . The Captain was foiled four or five times successively, and it was not till the female Chevalier was nearly exhausted , that he had the opportunity of a retort. Con fident of success , Madame D'Eon refused the mask , which her opponent availed himself of.” She fenced without a mask, in the same way , with Monsieur Sainville, an eminent professor in the art at Ranelagh, and also at the King's Theatre, before the Prince of Wales, on which occasion D’Eon “ appeared upon the stage, dressed in armour, with a casque and feather , representing Minerva, or the Maid of Orleans." A benefit for D'Eon was also got up at Margate, in October 1773 , in which Mrs. Bate man , who spoke the prologue, alluded to “ this matchless maid ,” D'Eon as one who with equal ease and praise alike, Can write a folio , or can trail a pike ; 126 THE CHEVALIER D'EON . Can as a deep and learned lawyer shine, Or try the arduous diplomatic line; Can like Bellona wage an actual war, Or at a fencing-match disporting spar ; Can a fine lady's ease and air assume, The admiration of a drawing -room . In the same spirit, the following extempore verses on D'Eon were written : A prodigy ! this Chevalier, A most unrivallid peerless Peer Is surely Monsieur D'Eon ; In arts of peace and war renown'd , As well as politics profound , And brave as Caur de Lion. In vain may time his page explore, To find a precedent of yore, As yet out-done by no man ; Let Britain boast her warlike sons, Or Asia of her Amazons, While France can boast a woman. Both sexes admiration thou, A female and a manly brow, At once so oddly met ; Say, can ye Sages yet decide Which, best or both , can D'Eon guide , The camp or cabinet ? D'Eon now travelled about the country, and exhibited at various provincial theatres the power he possessed of scient fencing ; at Worcester, he exhibited on the 13th of Auguet, 1795 , having, on the 6th of the previous July, visited Birming ham, for the same purpose . The bill is a curiosity, inasmuch as the Chevalier's appeal to the public is contained therein , wlich exhibits his own view of his position at this period . * It also gives a condensed account of his various fortunes and misfortunes ; and again alludes to the alleged dishonesty of his once intimate friend Lord Ferrers, concluding with a philosophic resignation to fate , and a humble desire to conclude a varied and troublesome career with a few years of peace, if not of affluence.

  • For the use of this document and others connected with D'Eon, I am indebted to T. Purland, Esq.

THE CHEVALIER D'Eon. 127 By Permission . On MONDAY next, the 6th of JULY, 1795, AT THE HOTEL ASSEMBLY ROOM, BIRMINGHAM, The celebrated CHEVALIERE D’EON, Will make a grand ASSAULT D'ARMES ; Or, a true representation of ATTACK A N D DEFENCE, In a Single Combat, Sword in hand, WITH AN ENGLISH GENTLEMAN, A Professor in the art of Fencing, Agreeably to the best and most approved Method now practised by the first lasters in Europe) where every skill and dexterity in the Science of Exercise vill be dispiayed. The Chevaliere will appear in the same Uniform which she vore at the time when she served as Captain of Dragoons and Aide de- Camp to the Maréchal Prince Duc de Broglio, in Germany.

    • Doors to be opened at eleven, and the Fencing to begin precisely at twelve.

Admittance, Ladies and Gentlemen, Two Shillings. Tickets to be had of Mademoiselle D'Eon, at the Hotel, Birmingham . To the Ladies and Gentlemen of Birmingham and its vicinity. CHARLOTTE GENEVIEVE LOUISE D'Eon formerly known by the name f CHEVALIER D'Eon, Knight of the Royal Military Order of St. Louis, linister Plenipotentiary from France to the Court of Great Britain , &c. , &c. , ving thirty-three years at No. 38 , Brewer-street, Golden- square, London.-- ind in 1777 , by Judgment of the King's Bench, in London, and by Special Order of the French King, she was obliged to resume her female dress, and ' as restored to the name, title , and condition of MADEMOISELLE D'EON DE EAUMONT in her native country. Not being able since the Revolution in France, and during the epocha of his war, to draw the Pensions (having sustained the heavy loss of 15,000 vres per annum ) which had been granted to her by the late Kings of France , ouis XV and XVI , for her political and military services ; ---also prevented om receiving the Revenues of her Estates at Tonnerre, in Burgundy ; esides having had the Misfortune to be frustrated in the Receipt of the sum f 6,000 pounds sterling, deposited by the late King of France in the hands f an English noble Lord , for her support in England :-she lost her estate ad fortune with cool and philosophic resignation . Waiting the Restoration of Peace, she is at present under the necessity notwithstanding herage of Sixty-eight), of having recourse to her skill and ing experience in the Science of Arms, to gain a comfortable existence, ithout being a burden to anybody. 128 TUE CHEVALIER D'EON . Distresses accumulated on poor D'Eon, and for many months the King's Bench and the rules of it , was his only residence . He found a kind friend in Mrs. Cole, of Millman Street, Found ling Hospital, with whom he concluded his singularly varied life. For the last two years of his existence, infirmities had so crept on bim , that he scarcely ever quitted his bed , and he had been constantly attended by the Père Elisée, who had all the time been fully of opinion that he was a woman. D'Eon died on the night of the 21st of My, 1810, at the advanced age of eighty - two years , and the Père calling in as usual, ascertained his death , and by accident discovered the sex of his old friend. Struck with the discovery, he requested some English surgeons to assist next day in opening the body. Ac cordingly, on the 23rd , the body was examined and dissected by Mr. T. Copeland, in the presence of Mr. Adair, Mr. Wilson, and Le Père Elisée . Lord Yarmouth, Sir Sydney Smith, the Hon ourable Mr. Lyttleton , and other personages of distinction were present . The result proved the deceased to have been a perfect male ; and the following certificate to that effect was circulated by Mr. Copeland. “ I hereby certify, that I have inspected and dissected the body of the Chevalier D'Eon, in the presence of Mr. Adair, Mr. Wilson , and Le Père Elisée , and have found the male organs in every respect perfectly formed. ( Signed) • T. COPELAND, Surgeon ," " Golden Square. Many persons of high rank , and professional men , afterwards visited the house, and examined the body. His remains were privately interred in the church of St. Pancras, on the 28th . He had made a will, in which Sir Sydney Smith was appointed executor, but it was never signed. The private life of the Chevalier has always been understood to have been amiable : his natural abilities were great, and his acquirements numerous. He possessed an extensive knowledge of the ancient and modern languages ; in horsemanship his superior excellence was universally acknowledged , and his skill in fencing was deemed by the best judges to be pre -eminent. THE CHEVALIER D'EON . 129 His MSS . and printed books, including the collection of one hundred editions of Horace, originally formed by Dr. Mead, and enlarged by Dr. Douglas, of whose executors it was purchased by the Chevalier, were sold by auction at Christie's, in Pall Mall, on the 19th of February, 1813 , by order of the adminis trator . The character of D'Eon has been thus written by a personal friend, who cominunicated it to Chalmers : “ In religion, Mons. D'Eon was a sincere Catholic, but divested of all bigotry : few were so well acquainted with the biblical writings, or devoted more time to the study of religious sub jects. The shades in his character were, the most inflexible tenacity of disposition , and a great degree of pride and self opinion ; a general distrust and suspicion of others, and a vio . lence of temper which could brook no opposition . To these failings may be traced the principal misfortunes of his life ; a life in which there was much labour and suffering, mixed with very little repose.” It would be difficult to quote a more remarkable instance of the extraordinary versatility of fortune, than that exhibited by the Life of D'Eon. At one time the accredited agent and am bassador of one of the most distinguished European powers ; at another, a poor exhibitor of fencing on the stage of a public theatre, for a livelihood, in the very country where his diplo matic agency had been exerted . Taxing his energies in early life, regardless of consequences, to serve a Court in the fictitious garb of a female ; and being condemned to that improper garb in old age ; a disgrace the deeper, as it was coupled with the necessity of its adoption also to save a character deeply impugned by discreditable wagers on sex, which might, and would, by a man of strict honesty, have been indignantly decided at once. We meet with instances of females passing for men, assuming the dress and the actions of that sex ; but D'Eon is , perhaps, alone in his assumption of the female character . 130 JOHN ELWES, JOHN ELWES. The pursuit of avarice is a vice which has justly met with reprobation at the hands of all moralists. Its continued prac tice not only shuts the heart to the wants and appeals of others, but ultimately destroys the comforts due to the mis guided being who indulges it ; and who, in the end, perishes for the want of that which is literally in his grasp ; but which his narrow mind will not allow himself to use. Pope's picture is not overdrawn : “ The frugal crone, whom praying priests attend , Still strives to save the hallow'd taper's end, Collects her breath, as ebbing life retires, For one puff more, and in that puff expires.” Dandon , a master of languages at Berlin , starved himself to death, although, after his death, no less a sum than 20,000 crowns was found hidden beneath the floor of his apartment; which came, at his death, into the possession of a brother whom he hated and discarded , because he had sent a letter to him without paying the postage. If such spirits ever " revisit the pale glimpses of the moon, ” what more cruel punishment can they endure, than that of seeing the wealth which they had refused to their own enjoyment, given to that of the persons they had hated or neglected ; or the savings of a long life of cruel abstinence squandered recklessly away . " The one a reservoir to save and spare, The next a fountain gushing through his heir." But perhaps the most striking instance of retributive justice on record, is that narrated as happening in 1762, to a famous French miser, one Monsieur Foscue. He was a farmer-general, who had , by the constant exertion of every energy, amassed large sums of money. A government tax was levied, and among the rest, Foscue had to contribute his share ; he became much JOHN ELWES. 131 excited , and determining not to apply one farthing to such uses, he pleaded excessive poverty. His wealth was, however, well - known, and as he had good reason to believe that his word would not be believed, when he asserted his want of cash, he determined on hiding it . To do this effectually, he was not content with the cellar of his house as a hiding - place, but dug, with his own hands a cave in the earth beneath it, so large and wide, that he descended into it by a ladder, and hid himself with his dear treasure , The door of this roomy hiding- place was closed by a spring - lock, which immediately fastened it closely , whenever it was drawn downward, and was undis coverable from the outside . One day Monsieur Foscue was missed ; the day passed, and no tidings was heard of him ; the neighbours - he had no friends-- searched for him everywhere in vain . He could not be found. It was at last supposed that he had decamped with the trea sure upon which he doted, and he began to be forgotten . Other occupants came to the house, which like most miser's residences, was in anything but a fair state of repair, and they began to improve the aspects of the exterior and interior, and having done what was necessary there, they descended to the cellars, to do what might be requisite there also. One of the workmen saw a key protruding through the dust, and laying hold of it, the trap- door was discovered . On descending, Foscue was found lying on a heap of gold, a decayed corpse ; both his arms had been gnawed by him before death in the agonies of hunger .. The spring -door had shut upon him ; he was beyond the reach of hearing, and he perished miserably amidst the treasure he had loved " Not wisely, but too well." John Elwes, the subject of the present memoir, is known as the British miser - par excellence — but he scarcely deserves so great a distinction, inasmuch as he was by no means so miserably selfish, or so wretchedly niggardly towards himself, and others, as Daniel Dancer, whose life we shall shortly relate . He was originally possessed of many good qualities, and they never K 2 132 JOHN ELWES. entirely left him . A generous defender of his character observes * that Mr. Elwes' extreme parsimony, contrasted with the extreme profuseness of the age, like a thick cloud, partly obscured the refulgency of those conscientious and benevolent principles which existed in his heart ; these, however, at intervals, shone forth conspicuously. Mr. Elwes was eminently distinguished for courtesy, and gentleness of manners, two virtues that contribute much towards making others happy, and , therefore, two consti tuent parts of benevolence. Never did Mr. Elwes do an unfair thing. Extravagant as was his propensity to hoarding, he never increased his store by unjust acquisitions ; the only means he used for accumulating wealth, were such as himself was the greatest sufferer from . Alas ! that a mind wanting so little to balance it towards perfection, should have had the balance directed the contrary way, by the “ golden dross of Mammon . " It is not únfrequently the case, that when the ruling pro pensities of a man cannot be traced to the governing habit of one parent, it may be to that of the other . Mr. Elwes' father, who was an eminent brewer in Southwark, died when his son was four years old, so that his example would fail in forming the character of his son ; his education and training fell, therefore, to the lot of his mother ; and here we may find the clue to the ruling passion of the son . Although Mrs. Elwes died worth nearly one hundred thousand pounds, it is said that she starved herself to death. The connection which the youth had also with his mother's family, who were notorious misers, must have contributed to confirm a thrifty habit. Yet we do not find young Meggot, t for that was the family name of Elwes, until his uncle's name and property devolved on him --- given to meanness as a young man . Edward Topham , Esq.

  • In the “ Gentleman's Magazine, ” for September, 1791 , in answer to a

previous correspondent, who had spoken of “ John Elwes, and many other worthless ch aracters, ' ' a co tion against which this protest was issued . + “ The family name of Mr. Elwes was Meggot, and as his Christian name was John, the conjunction of Jack Meggot' made strangers sometimes imagine that his intimates were addressing him by an assumed appellation ." . Captain Topham's Life of Elwes. JOHN ELWES. 133 " At an " late Captain in the second troop of horse - guards, and magis trate for the Counties of Essex and York,” who published a most minute and curious Memoir of him , says : early period he was sent to Westminster School, where he remained ten or twelve years. During that time, he certainly had not misapplied his talents , for was a good classical scholar to the last ; but it is a circumstance not a little remarkable, though well authenticated, that he never read afterwards. His know ledge of accounts was very trifling, which may in some measure explain the total ignorance he was always in as to his affairs. From Westminster School he removed to Geneva, where he soon entered upon pursuits more agreeable to him than study. The riding -master of the academy there had to boast, perhaps, three of the best riders in Europe, Mr. Worsley, Mr. Elwes, and Sir Sydney Meadows. Of the three, Elwes was reckoned the most desperate ; the young horses were always put into his hands, and he was the rough- rider to the other two. During this period, he was introduced to Voltaire , whom he somewhat resem. bled in point of appearance ; but though he has mentioned this circumstance , the genius, the fortune, the character of Voltaire never seemed to strike him -- they were out of his contemplation and his way ; the borses in the riding- school he remembered much longer, and their respective qualities made a deeper impres sion on him .” From this it would appear that what has been said to be “ the ruling passion of a young English gentleman,” a love of riding good horses, was a characteristic of Elwes ; and that he lived , in fact, like a young man of wealth and rank might be expected to do, and was a fit companion for others of his own age. On his return to England, he was introduced to his uncle , Sir Harvey Elwes, who was then living at Stoke, in Suffolk , per haps the most perfect picture of human penury that ever existed . Mr. Elwes , being at that time in the world, dressed like other people, and was a frequenter of fashionable society . This would not please Sir Harvey ; and as he was to be his heir, it was, of course, his best policy to humour him ; so the nephew , before paying his visit, used to stop at a little inn at Chelmsford, and begin to dress in character, making his appearance at Stoke , in 134 JOHN ELWES. a pair of small iron buckles, worsted stockings darned, a worn out old coat, and a tattered waistcoat ; thus equipped, he rode to visit his uncle , who used to contemplate him with a miserable kind of satisfaction , and seemed pleased to find his heir bidding fair to rival him in the accumulation of useless wealth . There they would sit - saving pair ! - with a single stick upon the fire, and with one glass of wine occasionally betwixt them , talking of the extravagance of the times ; and when evening shut in , they would retire to rest , as " going to bed saved candlelight. ” But the nephew had then, as at all other times, a very extraordinary appetite ; and the indulgence of this destructive propensity would have been an unpardonable offence in the eyes of the uncle : so Mr. Elwes was obliged to pick up a dinner first with some neigh bour in the country, and then return to Sir Harvey with a little diminutive appetite, that quite charmed the old gentleman. “ I trust," continues Mr. Topham, " a small digression , to give the picture of Sir Harvey, will not be thought unamusing or foreign to the subject . He was, as may be imagined, a most singular character. His seclusion from the world nearly reached that of a hermit ; and could the extremity of his avarice have been taken out of the question, a more blameless life was never led . His life shows that a man may at length so effectually retire into himself, that he may remain little else but vegetation in a human shape.” Sir Harvey Elwes, succeeded Sir Jervoise Elwes , * who seems to have been as much too liberal as the grandson was too penu rious. He was noted for hospitality and generosity ;. but he had carried these virtues a little too far, so that when he died it was discovered that the whole of his estates were involved as much as it was possible for him to do it. On his death, Sir Harvey found himself nominally possessed of some thousands a year, but really with an income of one hundred pounds per annum . He said , on his arrival at Stoke, the family seat , “ that never would he leave it till he had entirely cleared the paternal estate ;

  • In the church of Plymouth is a memorial to his ancestor, Sir Gerard Elwes, some time superintendant of this port," who died , April 26th, 1711 .

He was the son of Sir John Elwes, of Kentbury , in Berkshire , and served the office with great reputation for thirty -two years. JOHN ELWES. 135 and he lived to do that, and to realise above one hundred thou sand pounds in addition . But he was formed of the very mate rials to make perfect the character of a miser. In his youth, he had been given over for a consumption (though, such is the power of temperance, he lived till betwixt eighty and ninety years of age) , so he had no constitution and no passion ; he was timid, shy, and diffident in the extreme; of a thin spare habit of body, and without a friend upon earth . Next to his greatest delight, the hoarding up and counting over his money, was that of partridge-setting, at which he was so great an adept, and game was then so plentiful, that he has been known to take five hundred brace of birds in one season . He lived upon par tridges ; he and his whole household , consisting of one man and two maids. When the day was not so fine as to tempt him abroad, he would walk backwards and forwards in his old hall, to save fire . His clothes cost him nothing, for he took them out of an old chest, where they had lain since the gay days of Sir Jervoise . One evening, in March 1755, after he had retired to his bed room for the night, where he usually went about eight o'clock in the evening, after taking a basin of water-gruel, by the light of a small fire, and so go to bed to save the extravagance of a candle ; some robbers, known in their day by the appellation of the Thaxted gang , watching their opportunity, and knowing the hour when his servant went to the stable ; left their horses in a small grove on the Essex side of the river, and concealed them. selves in the church porch till they saw the man pass by ; they then rushed from their hiding -place, and after a struggle, bound and gagged him ; after which, they ran to the house, entered it, tied the two maid servants together, and then going up to Sir Harvey, they presented their pistols , and demanded his money. As Sir Harvey had little or no connexion with the metropolis , he was his own banker, and his house was generally well-fur nished with specie . Indeed, it was supposed, and with much reason, that he was never without three or four thousand pounds in his own house. At no part of his life did Sir Har vey behave so well as in this transaction . He would give them no answer till they had assured him that his servant, whom 136 JOHN ELWES. they had left gagged in the stable, and who was a great favourite, was safe ; he then delivered them the key of a drawer in which was fifty guineas. But they knew too well he had much more in the house, and again threatened his life. At length he showed them a large drawer, where were two thou sand seven hundred guineas. This they packed up in two large baskets , and actually carried off, a robbery which, for quantity of specie, had , perhaps, never been equalled. On quitting him , they said they should leave a man behind, who would murder him if he moved for assistance . On which he very coolly, and with some simplicity, took out his watch , which they had not asked for, and said , “ Gentlemen, I do not want to take any of you ; therefore, upon my honour, I will give you twenty minutes for your escape ; after that time nothing shall prevent me from seeing how my servant does ." He was as good as his word ; when the time expired, he went and untied the man . Some years afterwards, the fellows were taken up for other offences, and known to be those who had robbed Sir Harvey ; he was, accordingly, pressed to go and identify their persons . No, no,” said he, “ I have lost my money, and now you want me to lose my time also.” When Sir Harvey died , the only tear that was dropped upon his grave fell from the eye of the ser- vant here alluded to , who had long and faithfully attended him . To that servant he bequeathed a farm of fifty pounds per annum , “ to him and to his heirs ." Notwithstanding Sir Harvey's dislike of society, he was a member of a club which occasionally met at his own village of Stoke, and to which belonged two baronets besides himself, Sir Cordwell Firebras and Sir John Barnardiston. In spite of their riches, the reckoning was always a subject of investigation . One day, when they were engaged in settling this difficult point, a wag, who was a member, called out to a friend that was passing : " For heaven's sake, step up stairs and assist the poor ! here are three baronets, worth a million of money, quarrelling about a farthing." Mr. Elwes succeeded to this property when he had advanced beyond his fortieth year . For fifteen years previous to this period he was well known in the fashionable circles of the metro. JOHN ELWES. 137 polis . Few men, even from his own acknowledgment, had played deeper than himself, and with success more various. " I remember hearing him say , " says his biographer, Captain Top ham , that he had once played two days and a night without inter mission ; and the room being a small one, the party ( one of whom was the Duke of Northumberland) were nearly up to their knees in cards. He lost some thousands at that sitting. Had Mr. Elwes received all he won, he would have been the richer by some thousands for the mode in which he passed this part of his life, but the vowels of 1.0.U. were then in use, and the sums that were owed him, even by very noble names, were not liqui dated . On this account he was a very great loser by play . The theory which he professed, that it was impossible to ask a gen . tleman for money, ” he perfectly confirmed by his practice. It is curious to remark, how he at this period contrived to mingle small attempts at saving with the unbounded dissipation of play. After sitting up a whole night, risking thousands with the most fashionable and profligate men of the time, amidst splendid rooms, gilt sofas, wax lights , and waiters attendant on call, he would walk out, about four in the morning, not towards home, hut into Smithfield , to meet his cattle, which were coming to market from Haydon Hall, a farm of his in Essex There would this man , forgetful of the scenes he had just left, stand in the cold or rain, squabbling with a carcass - butcher for a shilling ! Sometimes, when the cattle did not arrive at the hour expected, he would walk on in the mire to meet them ; and more than once has gone on foot the whole way to his farm without stop ping, which was seventeen miles from London , after sitting up the whole night.” Sir Harvey's property was estimated at £250,000, the whole of which was left to the nephew, Mr. Meggot, whose own pos sessions at the time were , it was imagined , not much inferior, and who, by will, was ordered to assume the name and arms of Elwes . In conclusion of this part of the subject, it may be observed , that the popular view of Sir Harvey's character was well expressed in the almost proverbial saying, " That nobody would live with Sir Harvey Elwes if they could, nor could if they would .” 138 JOHN ELWES. Mr. Elwes' country residence, at this period of his life, was at Marcham , in Berkshire, where he had two sons by his house keeper, Elizabeth Moren , to whom he left the whole of his property , with the exception of that portion which was entailed upon Mr. Elwes's nephew , Colonel Timms. Of the state of the house at Marcham , that gentleman used to give the following illustration : -- A few days after he had gone thither to visit his uncle, a great quantity of rain fell in the night. He had not been long in bed, before he felt himself wet through ; and putting his hand out of the clothes, found the rain was dripping through the ceiling upon the bed. He got up and moved the bed, but he had not lain long, before he found the same inconvenience. Again he got up, and again the rain came down. At length, after pushing the bed quite round the room , he got into a corner where the ceiling was better secured, and he slept till morning. When he met his uncle at breakfast, he told him what had hap pened : " Ay, ay,” said Mr. Elwes, “ I don't mind it myself, but to those who do, that's a nice corner in the rain ! " On the death of his uncle, Mr. Elwes went to reside at Stoke, in Suffolk , and began to keep fox - hounds. His stable of hunters was at that time considered the best in the kingdom . This was the only instance in his whole life of his ever sacrificing money to pleasure , and the only period when he forgot the cares, the perplexities , and the regret which his wealth occasioned . But even here everything was done in the most frugal manner . His huntsman realized the wildest imaginings of avarice when de scribing what “ a good servant should be expected to do. He literally did the work of three ordinary men, for in a morning, getting up at four o'clock, he milked the cows ; he then pre pared breakfast for Mr. Elwes , or any friends he might have with him ; then slipping on a green coat, he hurried into the stable, saddled the horses, got the hounds out of the kennel, and away they went into the field . After the fatigues of hunting, he refreshed himself by rubbing down two or three horses as quickly as possible, then running into the house, he would lay the cloth and wait at dinner ; then hurrying again into the stable to feed the horses, the evening's amusement was diversified with an interlude of the cows again to milk, the dogs to feed, and eight JOHN ELWES. 139 66 << hunters to litter down for the night. What may appear extra ordinary, the man lived there for some years, though his master used often to call him an idle dog ," and say , he wanted to be paid for doing nothing !” No hounds were more killing one's than those of Mr. Elwes . The wits of the country used to say,

  • It must be so, or they would get nothing to eat.” In the summer season , the dogs always passed their lives with the dif ferent tenants, where they had more meat and less work, and were collected together a few days before the season began . His horses as well as his dogs were the admiration of everybody, yet the whole fox-hunting establishment did not cost him three hun dred pounds a year !

While he kept hounds, which was for a period of nearly four teen years, Mr. Elwes resided almost entirely at Stoke, in Suf folk . He sometimes made excursions to Newmarket, but never engaged on the turf. A kindness which he performed on one of these occasions, ought not to pass unnoticed . Lord Abingdon , who was slightly known to him in Berkshire , had made a match. for £7000, which it was supposed he would be obliged to forfeit, from inability to produce the sum, though the odds were greatly in his favour. Unasked and unsolicited , Mr. Elwes made him an offer of the money, which he accepted, and won his engage ment. On the day when this match was to take place, a clergyman agreed to accompany Mr. Elwes, to see the issue of it . They went on horseback ; and as they were to set off at so early an hour as seven in the morning, the gentleman took no refreshmenty. imagining that they were to breakfast at Newmarket. About eleven they reached that place, where Mr. Elwes was occupied in inquiries and conversation till twelve, when the match was de . cided in favour of Lord Abingdon . His companion now expected they should move off to the town , to take some breakfast, but Elwes still continued to ride about. The hour of four at length: arrived , at which time the gentleman became so impatient, that he mentioned something of the keen air of Newmarket Heath , and the comforts of a good dinner, “ Very true ,” said old Elwes, Do here as I do," at the same time offering him from his great coat -pocket a piece of old erusted pancake, which he said he had brought from his house at Marcham two months very true. 140 JOHN ELWES. before, but that it was as good as new. It was nine in the even ing before they reached home, when the gentleman was so fatigued, that he could think of no refreshment but rest ; and Elwes, who in the morning had risked seven thousand pounds, went to bed happy in the reflection that he had saved three shillings. For fourteen years he kept up this establishment, and con tinued to pursue the chase with ardour. On one occasion his horse , in leaping a fence, fell to the ground, and Mr. Elwes received a very dangerous kick, which cut his leg to the bone ; he, however, pursued the chase to the end, and returned home merely binding the leg up ; and it was some days afterwards, when the hurt assumed so threatening an aspect that it was feared amputation would be necessary, before he could be persuaded to go to London and pay for some medical assistance . His usual method of travelling was on horseback ; and his usual provision for the journey a few hard - boiled eggs, which he carried in his pockets . From the parsimonious manner in which Elwes now lived , for he was following the footsteps of Sir Harvey, and from the two large fortunes of which he was in possession , riches rolled in upon him like a torrent ; and had he been gifted with that clear and fertile head which, patient in accuinulation , and fruitful in disposition, knows how to employ as well as accumulate, which, working from principal to interest, by com pounding forms a principal again, and makes money generate itself ; had he possessed such a head as this, bis wealth would have exceeded all bounds. But nature, which sets limits to the ocean, forbade perhaps this monstrous inundation of property : and as Mr. Elwes knew almost nothing of accounts , and never reduced his affairs to writing, he was obliged, in the disposal of his money, to trust much to memory - to the suggestions of other people still more . Hence every person who had a want or a scheme, with an apparent high interest -adventurer or honest, it signified not - all was prey to him ; and he swam about like the enormous pike, which, ever voracious and unsatisfied, catches at everything, till it is itself caught. Captain Topham continues : “ I do not exaggerate when I say , I believe Mr. Elwes lost in this manner during his life full one hundred and fifty thousand pounds. But perhaps in this ordination Providence was all - wise. In the life of Mr: Elwes the luxuriant sources of industry or enjoyment JOHN ELWES. 141 all stood still. He encouraged no art ; he bestowed not on any improvement; he diffused no blessings around him , and the dis. tressed received nothing from his hand. What was got from him was only obtained from his want of knowledge--by knowledge that was superior ; and knaves and sharpers might have lived upon him, while poverty and honesty might have starved . When however his inordinate passion for saving was not concerned, he would go far and long to serve those who applied to him. Such instances as the following are gratifying to select -- it is plucking the sweetbriar and the rose from the weeds that overspread the garden . When Mr. Elwes was at Marcham , two very ancient maiden ladies had for some neglect incurred the displeasure of the ecclesiastical court, and were threatened with excommunic cation . The whole import of the word they did not perfectly understand, but they had heard something about standing in a church , and penance, and a white sheet. They concluded if they once got into that it was all over with them ; and as the excom munication was to take place next day , they hurried to Mr. Elwes to know how they could make submission , and how the sentence might be prevented. No time was to be lost. Mr. Elwes did that which , fairly speaking, no one man in five thou sand would have done ; he had his horse saddled, and putting, according to usual custom, a couple of hard eggs in his pocket, he set out for London, a distance of sixty miles, that evening, and reached it early enough the next morning to notify the sub mission of the culprit damsels. The ladies were so overjoyed 80 thankful : so much trouble and expense ! What returns could they make ? To ease their consciences on that head an old Irish gentleman, their neighbour, who knew Mr. Elwes's mode of tra velling, wrote these words: 'My dears , is it expense you are talking of ? Send him sixpence, and he gains two pence by the journey .' The remark of the Irish gentleman was however less generous than necessary , inasmuch as it is a question whether he or the narrator of the tale would have incurred an equal amount of per sonal annoyance and trouble . That he could not however bear to do anything which involved 14 :2 JOHN ELWES. expense to himself or his family is proved by another anecdote : “ He had brought with him his two sons out of Berkshire, to his seat at Stoke, and if he ever manifested a fondness for anya thing it was for those boys . But he would lavish no money on their education , often declaring, that “ putting things into people's heads was taking money out of their pockets.” That he was not, however, overburthened with natural affections, the following anecdote appears to prove. One day he had sent his eldest boy up a ladder, to get some grapes for the table, when, the ladder slipping, he fell down, and hurt his side against the end of it. The boy took the precaution to go up to the village to the barber and get blooded. On his return, being asked where he bad been, and what was the matter with his arm , he informed his father that he had got bled. “ Bled , bled ?” cried the old gentleman ; “ but what did you give ? ” “ A shilling, ” answered the boy. " Pshaw ! ” returned the father, " you are a blockhead ; never part with your blood !” Mr. Elwes had by this time given up all pleasures; and avarice so far increased, that his whole thoughts were engrossed in attempts at saving. No hermit could live so abstemiously, or with so little comfort. He often walked , when in London, through the heaviest rain , rather than part with a sixpence for a coach ; and when soaked to the skin , he would take shelter in one of his own empty houses, rather than have a fire to dry them ; or run the chance of the outlay of a penny in any house of public entertainment on his road. It is reported of him that when he was paying his court to his uncle, Sir Harvey, he declared, “ he only liked such meat that smelt as well as tasted .” He would eat his provisions in the last stage of putrefaction , rather than have a fresh joint from the butcher. Latterly, to save the expense of going to the butcher at all, he would have a whole sheep killed , and never leave off eating mutton until the entire carcase was consumed, however stale it might then be. Game in the last stage of putrefaction, and meat that moved in his plate, he would pertinaciously continue to dine upon while any was remaining, and nothing could induce him to order more till all was eaten up. He one day dined on the remains of a moor-hen , JOHN ELWES. 143 which had been brought out of the river by a rat ; and upon another occasion, when he had been dragging his pond with a net, he brought out a large pike, and in cutting it up, he found that it had, with characteristic voracity, swallowed a smaller one, which was half digested in its stomach. On seeing this, Elwes exclaimed in delight, " Ah ! this is killing two birds with one stone ! ” and determined at once to make the most of so fortunate a chance, he ordered the half- digested pike to be dished for his own dinner ! His dress was as remarkable as his eating. He never suffered his shoes to be cleaned, lest the operation should wear them out. On one occasion he wore a wig for more than a fortnight, which he picked out of a rut in a lane, and which had apparently been thrown away by some beggar. The day on which he “ dressed " in this discarded piece of costume, he appears to have been pecu liarly under the influence of a strong fit of avarice ; he had torn the coat he generally wore, and had therefore been obliged to have recourse to the old chest of Sir Jervoise, ( his uncle's father) from which he selected a full dress green velvet coat, with slash sleeves ; and thus he sat in luxurious state at the dinner- table, in boots , the above-mentioned green velvet coat, his own white hair appearing round his face, and the black stray wig crowning all. The portrait of Mr. Elwes is here copied from that which forms the fron tispiece to Captain Topham's book. It is singularly characteristic of the man ; his thin body and projecting chin are almost typical of the miser ; but the features of his face are by no means so repulsive. His tendency, when in London, to take up a temporary abode in some of his own untenanted houses, has already been noticed. He generally retired un known and unnoticed into one of them ; and without firing, or the smallest con venience of life , continued to make his home there. On one occasion this 1 14 JOHN ELWES. had nearly cost him his life. An accidental visit only saved him. His nephew , Colonel Timms, who wished much to see him , acci dentally learned that his uncle was in London ; but how to find him was the difficulty. In vain he inquired at his banker's and other places ; some days elapsed, when he learned, from a person whom he met by chance in the street, that Mr. Elwes had been seen going into an uninhabited house in Great Marlborough Street. This was some clue to the Colonel, who immediately posted to the spot. As the best mode of gaining intelligence he applied to a chairman, but he could obtain no information of a gentleman called Mr. Elwes. Colonel Timms then described his person , but no gentleman had been seen . A pot- boy, however, recollected that he had seen a poor old man opening the door of the stable, and locking it after him, and from the description it agreed with the person of Mr. Elwes ; the Colonel proceeded to the house, and knocked very loudly at the door, but could obtain no answer, although some of the neighbours said they had also seen such a man enter that house . He now sent for a black smith to force open the stable -door, which being done, they entered the house together. In the lower part all was shut and silent; but on ascending the staircase they heard the moans of a person seemingly in distress . They went to the chamber, and there, on an old pallet bed, they found Mr. Elwes apparently in the agonies of death . For some time he seemed quite insensible ; but on some cordials being administered by a neighbouring apo thecary who was sent for, he recovered sufficiently to tell the Colonel that he believed he had been ill for two or three days , adding, that he was not alone, for an old woman was in the house, but for some reason or other she had not been near him ; he believed, however, that she herself had been very ill ; but he supposed that she had got well enough to go out, and had forgotten all about him . ” This occasioned a search for the poor old dame, and in ascending to one of the garrets, she was found stretched lifeless upon an old rug on the floor, and had to all appearance been dead about two days ! This poor old creature had been the partner of all his wander ings, from one unoccupied house to the other ; and as he had inherited from his father many houses, particularly about the 66 JOHN ELWES. 145 Haymarket, there were always some unoccupied . To this pro perty he began now to add by building. Great part of Maryle bone was first built by him. Portland Place and Portman Square, and other structures too numerous to name, arose out of his pocket , and had not Lord North and his American war put a stop to this rage for building houses, much of the property he then possessed would have been laid out in bricks and mortar. As it was, he became, from calculation , his own insurer ; and thus he kept every part of his property in his own hands ; it was also his custom whenever he went to London, to occupy any of these premises which might happen to be vacant. He travelled in this manner from street to street , frequently an itinerant for a night's lodging ; a couple of beds, a couple of chairs, a table and an old woman , were alì his furniture , and with these , whenever a tenant offered , he was but too glad to move at a moment's warning. Of all these moveables, the old woman was the only one that gave him any trouble , for she was afflicted with a lameness that made it difficult to get her about quite so fast as he chose, and then the colds she took were continuous and amazing. Some times the poor old creature was in a small house in the Hay market, at another time she inhabited a large, cold , magnificent structure in Portland Place ; sometimes in a little room with a coal fire ; at other times with a few chips which the carpenters had left in rooms of the most splendid but frigid dimensions, and with a little oiled paper in the windows for glass. It might with truth be said of the old woman , that she was and gone to -morrow ;" flitting from place to place, in all alike uncomfortable, without the indulgences due to age, or the neces sities due to nature . The wonder is how Mr. Elwes obtained such servants, and how persons could be found willing to give themselves up to a life of hard uncomfortable penury . It is how ever recorded of him, that he was in reality not a bad master ; and we are not without instances of occasional fits of generosity exhibited by him towards dependants and friends. His journey to London for the ladies who feared the Ecclesiastical Court, a Quixotic and good- hearted adventure few would have undertaken , has been already narrated ; he also lent an officer in the army considerable sum of money unasked when a valuable com “ here to-day L 146 JOHN ELWES . A poor mission was offered to him, and which he would have been unable to secure but for Mr. Elwes's valuable assistance . tradesman at Paddington was saved from ruin by Mr. Elwes's means, who repeatedly lent him sums of money on urgent occa sions, and shielded him from destruction . It is due to his memory to regard all good traits as well as bad ones . His miserly habits are to be deplored , -his kindnesses are to be held in honourable remembrance ! Captain Topham remarks : -“ The character of an impartial and upright country magistrate is the best character which the country knows. What a lawgiver is to a state , an intelligent inagistrate is in a less degree to the district where he resides. Such a magistrate was Mr. Elwes , while he resided in Berkshire, and it was almost entirely owing to this best of recommendations, that an offer was made to him afterwards, of bringing him in as a representative for the county. The prospect of a contested election betwixt two most respectable families in Berkshire first suggested the idea of proposing a third person who might be un objectionable to both . Mr. Elwes was chosen. He agreed to the proposal, as it was further enhanced to him by the under standing that he was to be brought in by the freeholders for nothing. I believe all he did was dining at the ordinary at Abingdon ; and he got into parliament for eighteen pence." The honour of parliament made no alteration in the dress of Mr. Elwes ; on the contrary, it seemed to have attained additional meanness, and nearly to have reached that happy climax of poverty, which had more than once drawn on him the compassion of those who passed him in the street. For the Speaker's din ners, however, he had one suit, with which the Speaker, in the course of the Session , became very familiar. The minister like . wise was well acquainted with it ; and at any dinner of members, still was his apparel the same. The wits of the minority used to say, " that they had full as much reason as the minister to be satisfied with Mr. Elwes , as he never turned his coat." At this period of his life, Mr. Elwes wore a wig. Much about the time when his parliamentary life ceased, that wig became worn out ; and then, being older and wiser as to expense, he wore his own hair , which like his expenses, was very small. All this time the JOHN ELWES. 147 income of Mr. Elwes was increasing hourly, and his present ex penditure was next to nothing ; for the little pleasures he had once engaged in he had now given up. He kept no house, and only one servant, the huntsman ; and a couple of horses ; he resided with his nephew ; his two sons he had stationed in Suf folk and Berkshire, to look after his respective estates ; and his dress certainly was no expense to him ; for had not other people been more careful than himself, he would not have had it even mended. As Mr. Elwes came into Parliament without expense, he per formed his duty as a member would have done in the pure days of our constitution . What he had not bought, he never at tempted to sell; and he went forward in that straight and direct path which can alone satisfy a reflecting mind . Amongst the smaller memorials of the Parliamentary life of Mr. Elwes may be noted , that he did not follow the custom of members in general, by sitting on any particular side of the House , but sat as occa sion presented itself, on either indiscriminately ; and he voted much in the same manner , but never rose to speak. The autograph of Mr. Elwes here given, is from a frank issued by him while member. Selniro. In his attendance on his senatorial duties, Mr. Elwes was extremely punctual ; he always staid out the whole debate, and let the weather be what it might , he used to walk from the House of Commons to the Mount Coffee - house . In one of these pedestrian returns , a circumstance occurred which furnished him a whimsical opportunity of displaying his disregard of his person . The night was extremely dark, and hurrying along, he ran with such violence against the pole of a sedan - chair, that he cut both his legs very deeply. He, as usual, never thought of having any medical assistance, but Colonel Timms, at whose house he then was, insisted on some one being called in . At length he submitted, and an apothecary was sent for, who imme. L 2 118 JOHN ELWES. diately began to expatiate on the evil consequences of breaking the skin , the good fortune of his being sent for, and the pecu. liarly bad appearance of the wounds . “ Very probable,” replied Mr. Elwes , “ but Mr. --- , I have one thing to say to you. In my opinion my legs are not much hurt; now you think they are ; so I will make this agreement : I will take one leg, and you shall take the other ; you shall do what you please with yours, I will do nothing to mine ; and I will wager your bill that my leg gets well before yours .” I have frequently heard him , says Captain Topham , mention with great triumph that he beat the apothecary by a fortnight. " On being elected member for Berkshire," Captain Topham informs us , “ he left Suffolk and went again to his seat at Mar cham. His fox - hounds he carried along with him , but finding his time would, in all probability be much employed, he resolved to relinquish his hounds ; and they were shortly after given away to some farmers in that neighbourhood . Mr. Elwes was sixty years old when he thus entered on public life. In three suc cessive parliaments he was chosen for Berkshire ; and he sat as member of the House of Commons about twelve years. It is to his honour - an honour in those times indeed most rare !-- that in every part of his conduct, and in every vote he gave , he proved himself to be what he professed , an independent country gentleman . Wishing for no post, desirous of no rank, wanting no emolument, and being most perfectly conscientious, he stood aloof from all those temptations which have led many good men astray from the paths of honour. He was once unhappy for some days, on learning that Lord North intended to apply to the King to make him a peer. I really believe, had such an honour fallen unexpectedly upon his head, it would have been the death of him. He never would have survived the being obliged to keep a carriage and three or four servants -- all, per haps, better dressed than himself ! For some years, Mr. Elwes supported the ministry, and I am convinced, adds his biographer, it was his fair and honest belief that the measures of Lord North were right . The support he gave was of the most dis interested kind, for no man was more materially a sufferer by Lord North’s American war than he, in consequence of the de JOHN ELWES. 149 1 preciation in the value of his great property in houses which took place . At last, however, Mr. Elwes's confidence gave way, and he entered into a regular and systematic opposition with the party of Mr. Fox, which he continued till Lord North was driven from power in March, 1782. When the famous coali tion took place, it obtained the support of Mr. Elwes, in con sequence of which, he was threatened with a contest at the ensuing dissolution of Parliament. The character he had long borne in Berkshire for integrity, might have made a re - election not improbable, had he been willing to have submitted to the necessary expense. But that was out of the question - he would have died at the first election dinner ! So voluntarily, and without offer of resistance, he retired from public life. During his par liamentary career, it was said of Mr. Elwes, that no man or party of men could be sure of him ; ' in itself a decisive proof of his independence of character. I say , ” continues Mr. Top ham, “ what I ought : -I write only that which I am in duty bound to write --when I here set down -- that a more faithful, a more industrious, or a more incorruptible representative of a county never entered the doors of the House of Commons. He never asked or received a single favour, and I believe he never gave a vote but he would solemnly have laid his hand upon his breast, and said, “ So help me God ! I believe I am doing what is for the best ! ' ' Mr. Elwes, when he conceived that he had obtained a seat in parliament for nothing, had not taken into account the inside of the house ; for he often declared that three contested elections could not have cost him more than he lost by loans to his brother representatives, which were never repaid . But this pas sion for lending was in time conquered, and an unfortunate proposal which was made him of vesting twenty - five thousand pounds in some iron- works in America, gave at last a fatal blow to his various speculations. The plan had been so plausibly laid before him, that he had not the least doubt of its success ; but he had the disappointment never more to hear of his iron or of his gold. His parsimony was the chief cause of his quitting Parliament, for such was the opinion his constituents enter tained of his integrity, that a very small expense would have 150 JOHN ELWES. restored him to his seat. He, therefore, voluntarily retired from a parliamentary life . Mr. Elwes frequently declared , " that after the experience he had had of public speakers, and members of parliament, there was only one man , he thought, could now talk him out of his money, and that was young Pitt !" Mr. Elwes retired from Parliament, when he was nearly seventy five years of age. At the close of the spring of 1785 , he again wished to see his seat at Stoke, which he had not visited for some years ; but the journey was now a serious object. The famous old servant was dead ; out of his whole stud he had remaining only a couple of worn -out brood mares, and he himself no longer possessed such vigour of body as to ride sixty or seventy miles with two boiled eggs. At length , to his no small satisfaction , he was carried into the country, as he had been into Parliament, free of expense , by a gentleman who was certainly not quite so rich as himself. On his arrival, he found fault with the expensive furniture of the rooms, which would have fallen in but for his son, John Elwes, Esq. who had resided there. If a window was broken , there was to be no repair , but that of a little brown paper, or piecing in a bit of broken glass ; and to save fire, he would walk about the remains of an old green -house, or sit with a servant in the kitchen . When the season was still farther advanced , his morning em ployment was, to pick up any stray chips, bones, or other things, to carry to the fire in his pocket ; and he was one day surprised by a neighbouring gentleman in the act of pulling down, with some difficulty, a crow's nest for this purpose. The gentleman expressed his wonder why he gave himself this trouble ; to which he replied , “ Oh , Sir, it is really a shame that these creatures should do so . Only see what waste they make.” It is related of him , that while here, and during the harvest time, he would amuse himself by traversing the fields, and busily gleaning the corn left on the grounds of his own tenants ; he was as eager in the pursuit of this paltry acquisition as any of his own tenants, and to please the old gentleman, some few of them would leave an extra handful or two, which he would gather with as much glee as if he had saved as many guineas from JOHN ELWES. 151 11 the melting pot . He would carefully, in winter, extinguish his own fire, and walk to the house of a neighbour, making one fire serve both. In the same way, he indulged his appetite by being occa sionally present at the farm - houses, at harvest homes and at other times; when at home, he ate as voraciously, but it was only on such food as we have previously described, and of which , perhaps, the wretchedest beggar in the parish would have refused an invitation to partake. Mr. Elwes passed the spring of 1786 alone, at Stoke, and had it not been for some little daily scheme of avarice, he would have passed it without one consolatory moment. His temper began to give way ; his thoughts were incessantly occupied with money ; and he saw no person but what, as he imagined, was deceiving and defrauding him . As he would not allow himself any fire by day, so he retired to bed at its close, to save candle ; and even began to deny himself the luxury of sheets. In short, he had now nearly brought to a climax the moral of his whole life , -- the perfect vanity of wealth ! On removing from Stoke, he went to his farm at Haydon. hall, a scene of greater ruin and desolation , if possible, than either of his houses in Suffolk or Berkshire. It stood alone on the borders of Epping Forest, and an old man and woman, his tenants, were the only persons with whom he could hold any Here he fell ill , and as he refused all assistance, and had not even a servant, he lay, unattended, and almost forgotten , indulging, even in the prospect of death , that avarice , which nothing could subdue. It was at this period he began to think of making his will ; as he was probably sensible, that his sons could not be entitled by law, to any part of his property , should he die intestate . On his arrival in London, he put his design in execution , and devised all his real and personal estates to his two sons, who were to share the whole of his vast property, equally between them. Soon after this , Mr. Elwes gave, by letter of attorney , the power of managing all his concerns, into the hands of Mr. Ingra bam, his attorney, and his youngest son, who had been his chief agent for some time. This step had become highly necessary , converse , 151 JOHN ELWES . for he entirely forgot all recent occurrences, and as he never committed anything to writing, the confusion he made was inex pressible . Of this the following anecdote may serve as an instance. He had one evening given a draft on Messrs. Hoares, his bankers, for twenty pounds, and having taken it into his head during the night, that he had overdrawn his account, his anxiety was unceasing . He left his bed, and walking about the room with that feverish irritation that always distinguished him , waited with the utmost impatience for the morning, when, on going to his banker with an apology for the great liberty he had taken , he was assured there was no occasion to apologise, as he happened to have in his hands at that time, the small sum of fourteen thou-. sand seven hundred pounds. However singular this art of forgetfulness may appear, it serves to mark that extreme conscientiousness which, amidst all his anxiety about money, did honour to his character. If accident placed him in debt to any person, even in the most trivial manner, he was never easy till it was paid, and he was never known on any occasion to fail in what he said . Of the punctuality of his word he was so scrupulously tenacious , that no person ever requested better security . Sometime previous to this, Mr. George Elwes, bis elder son, married a young lady, not less distinguished for her engaging manners than for her beauty . She was a Miss Alt, of Nor thamptonshire, a lady of whom any father might be proud ; but pride, or even concern , in these matters, were not passions likely to affect Mr. Elwes ; as a circumstance which happened a few years before in a previous case of the kind will prove. His son was at that time paying his addresses to a niece of Dr. Noel, of Oxford , who, of course, thought proper to wait upon old Mr. Elwes , to apprise him of the circumstance, and to ask his consent. He had not the least objection to the match . Doctor Noel was very happy to hear it , as a marriage between the young people might be productive of happiness to both. Old Mr. Elwes had not the least objection to any body marrying whatever ever.. “ This ready acquiescence is so obliging !” said the doctor ~ " But doubtless you feel for the mutual wishes of the parties . ” “ I dare say I do , ” replied the old gentleman . JOHN ELWES. 153 وو sure “ Then, Sir, said Doctor Noel, “ you have no objection to an immediate union ? you see I talk freely on the subject.” Old Elwes had not the least objection to anything. “ Now then , sir,” observed Doctor Noel, we have only one thing to settle ; and you are so kind, there can be no difficulty about the matter ; as I shall behave liberally to my neice--what do you mean to give your son ?” _ " Give !" said Elwes, I did not say anything about giving ; but, if you wish it so much , I will give my consent. " Mr. Elwes with all his faults never forgot that gentlemanly bearing which he felt due to all who behaved with even ordi nary civility to him . When the attacks of gout, to which in old age, he became subjected, had increased on him ; with the great antipathy to medical men , he always felt, he would set out to walk as far, and as fast as he could . It was a painful mode of cure, but it saved him expense, and the annoyance of medical attendance. In the course of these frequent rambles he would go so far, and forget so entirely his way home, or the names of the streets he passed through, that he was often brought home by some errand - boy or stranger of whom he had inquired his way. As he seemed but a poor old man , nothing was expected of him ; but on parting, Mr. Elwes would be profuse in his civilities , would express his great obligation in his best terms ; and remain bowing at his door, as respectfully as if speaking to a Lord. On the subject of the manners of Mr. Elwes,” says Cap tain Topham , “ gladly I speak of them with the praise that is their due . They were such --so gentle, so attentive, so gentle manly, and so engaging, that rudeness could not ruffle them , nor strong ingratitude break their observance. He retained this peculiar feature of the old Court to the last ; but he had a praise far beyond this , he had the most gallant disregard of his own person and all care about himself, I ever witnessed in man . At the time he was seventy -three, he went out shooting with me, to see whether a pointer, I at that time valued much, was as good a dog as some he had had in the time of Sir Harvey . After walking for many hours quite unfatigued, he << 154 JOHN ELWES. 66 determined against the dog, but with all due ceremony . A gentleman who was out with us , and who was a very indifferent shot , by firing at random , lodged two pellets in the cheek of Mr. Elwes, who stood by me at the time. The blood appeared, and the shot certainly gave him pain ; but when the gentleman came to make his apology and profess his sorrow, “ My dear Sir," said the old man , I give you joy on your improvement. I knew you would hit something by and bye .” In his old age, Mr. Elwes had nearly fallen a sacrifice to “ the darts of Cupid ,” or rather to the artifices of a servant-girl who resided in his house , and with whom he had been accustomed to pass his hours in the kitchen, and who had the art to induce him to fall so deeply in love with her, that had it not been for the interference of his friends, who got information of the circum stance in time, it is doubtful whether she would not have pre vailed upon him to marry her . The summer of 1788, Mr. Elwes passed at his house in Wel. beck Street, London, without any other society than that of two maid - servants. His chief employment used to be that of get ting up early in the morning, to visit his houses in Marylebone, which were repairing. As he was there generally at four o'clock in the morning, and of course long before the workmen, he used to sit down contentedly on the steps before the door, to scold them when they did come, The neighbours, who used to see him appear so regularly every morning, and concluded from his apparel that he was one of the workmen, observed, that, “ There never was such a punctual man as the Old Carpenter !!! His son George, having now married and settled at his seat at Marcham , was naturally desirous that with the assiduities of his wife, his father might at length find a comfortable home. A journey with any expense annexed to it, was however, an insur mountable obstacle . This was fortunately removed, by an offer from Mr. Partis, a gentleman of the law, to take him to his ancient seat in Berkshire, with his purse perfectly whole. Still there was another circumstance not a little distressing; the old gentle man had now nearly worn out his last coat, and could not afford to buy a new one. His son, therefore, with pious fraud, requested JOHN ELWES. 155 Mr. Partis to buy him a coat, and make him a present of it. Thus formerly having had a good coat, then a bad one, and at last no coat at all, he was glad to accept one of a neighbour. On the arrival of the old gentleman, his son and his wife neglected nothing that was likely to render the country a scene of quiet to him . But he carried that within his bosom, which baffled every effort of the kind . His mind, cast away on the vast and troubled ocean of his property, extending beyond the bounds of his calculation , amused itself with fetching and carry ing a few guineas, which in that ocean were indeed but a drop . The first symptoms of more immediate decay, was his inability to enjoy his rest at night. He was frequently heard at midnight, as if struggling with some one in his chamber, and crying out, “ I will keep my money, I will ; nobody shall rob me ofmy pro perty ! " If any one of the family entered the room, he would start from his fever of anxiety , and as if waking from a troubled dream , hurry into bed again, and seem unconscious of what had happened. At other times, when perfectly awake, he would walk to the spot where he had concealed his money, to see if it was safe. In the autumn of 1789, his memory was gone entirely ; his senses sunk rapidly into decay, and as his mind became unsettled, gusts of the most violent passion began to usurp the place of his former command of temper. For six weeks previous to his death, he would go to rest in his clothes , as perfectly dressed as during the day. He was one morning found fast asleep between the sheets, with his shoes on his feet, his stick in his hand, and an old torn hat on his head. His singular appetite he retained till within a few days of his dissolution, and walked on foot twelve miles , only a fortnight before he died . His restlessness of mind at this time may be illustrated by the following anecdote : Mr. Partis, the gentleman who had taken him gratuitously into Berkshire, on his last visit to his son , was staying in the house for a short time afterwards . “ One night, while Mr. Elwes was in this restless state , he missed the sum which he had carried with him into Berkshire, amounting to five guineas and a half, and half - a -crown . He had wrapped it up in various folds of paper that no part of his treasure might be lost, Mr. Partis was awoke one morning about two o'clock 156 JOHN ELWES. by the sound of a naked foot, seemingly walking about in his bed -chamber with the greatest caution ; he became naturally somewhat alarmed, and sitting up in his bed, asked loudly, “ Who's there ? ” His alarm however speedily gave way to sur prise , when a tall thin person walked up to his bedside, and said with polished civility, “ Sir, my name is Elwes ; I have been unfortunate enough to be robbed in this house , which I believe is mine, of all the money I have in the world ,--- of five sovereigns and a half, and half- a -crown." “ Oh, Sir ," rejoined Mr.Partis, “ you must be mistaken, nothing of the kind could have happened here ; all must be safe -- do not make yourself uneasy .” “ I can not help it, ” exclaimed Elwes ; “ it is all too true ; my money is stolen ; and really having such a sum in my possession, I should naturally have liked to see the end of it .” After some more consolations on the part of the disturbed visitor, and some more lamentations on that of Mr. Elwes, he was induced to retire , but his uneasiness continued, and his suspicions did not abate , until some days afterwards, when his money was found where he had himself placed it, in a corner behind a window- shutter, a place of fancied security which he had hastily adopted, and had after wards completely forgotten. On the 18th of November, he manifested signs of that total debility which carried him to his grave in eight days. On the evening of the first day he was conveyed to bed, from which he His appetite was gone ; he had but a faint recol lection of everything about him , and the last intelligible words he uttered were addressed to his son John, hoping “ he had left him what he wished .” On the morning of the 26th of Novem ber he expired without a sigh, leaving property to the amount of above £ 800,000. The value of that which he had bequeathed to his two sons , was estimated at half a million , and the remainder, consisting of entailed estates, devolved to Mr. Timms, son of the late Lieutenant - Colonel Timms, of the second troop of Horse Guards . At his death Mr. Elwes exceeded the age of fourscore ; his temperance may have insured him so long a life, and also pro tected him against much bodily infirmity . A contemporary pe riodical, in noticing his death, and the evil habits of penury rose no more . JOHN ELVES. 157 -- which sullied his character, observes that , notwithstanding all this , “ in such high estimation was he held for his love of justice , that numberless disputes among his constituents and others , which would have been decided by courts of law, were left to his sole arbitration, and his determination was sure to be thoroughly satisfactory to the judicials . ” So that, as extremes are said to meet, Mr. Elwes may justly take the praise awarded by Pope to The Man of Ross." 99 own “ Is there a variance ? enter but his door, Balk'd are the courts, and contest is no more. " We cannot better conclude than with Captain Topham's ow final summary of Mr. Elwes' character. He had , as became an honest biographer, concealed nothing of his friend's faults or folies, yet he says " his public conduct lives after him, pure and without a stain . In private life he was chiefly an enemy to himself. To others, he lent much-to himself he denied every thing. But in the pursuit of his property or the recovery of it , I have not, in my remembrance one unkind thing that ever was done by him . ” In his public capacity as a magistrate, or mem ber of Parliament, his conduct was irreproachable, and that at a time when such qualities were scarce , and venality in the House of Commons was anything but rare . * Extravagant as was his propensity to hoarding, he never increased his store by unjust acquisitions; and ridiculous as his excessive penuriousness made him appear in many respects, he was infinitely more respectable than the man who sits down in Parliament to protect himself from creditors, and who next sells his constituents and his con science to obtain the means of supporting further profusion.” To such men , the despised miser, John Elwes, is an infinitely superior character. END OF VOL . I. 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