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Title: Celebrated Claimants from Perkin Warbeck to Arthur Orton
Author: Anonymous
Language: English
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                           _SECOND EDITION._

                    CHATTO AND WINDUS, PICCADILLY.



This book is intended much less to gratify a temporary curiosity than
to fill an empty page in our literature. In our own and in other
countries Claimants have been by no means rare. Wandering heirs to
great possessions have not unfrequently concealed themselves for many
years until their friends have forgotten them, and have suddenly and
inopportunely reappeared to demand restitution of their rights; and
unscrupulous rogues have very often advanced pretensions to titles and
estates which did not appertain to them, in the hope that they would
be able to deceive the rightful possessors and the legal tribunals.
When such cases have occurred they have created more or less
excitement in proportion to the magnitude of the claim, the audacity
of the imposture, or the romance which has surrounded them. But the
interest which they have aroused has been evanescent, and the only
records which remain of the vast majority are buried in ponderous
legal tomes, which are rarely seen, and are still more rarely read, by
non-professional men. The compiler of the present collection has
endeavoured to disinter the most noteworthy claims which have been
made either to honours or property, at home or abroad, and, while he
has passed over those which present few remarkable features, has
spared no research to render his work as perfect as possible, and to
supply a reliable history of those which are entitled to rank as
_causes célèbres_. The book must speak for itself. It is put forward
in the hope that, while it may serve to amuse the hasty reader in a
leisure hour, it may also be deemed worthy of a modest resting-place
in the libraries of those who like to watch the march of events, and
who have the prudent habit, when information is found, of preserving a
note of it.












          OF CRAWFURD,




















          HUGH SMYTH,


          EARL OF WICKLOW,




Henry VI. was one of the most unpopular of our English monarchs.
During his reign the nobles were awed by his austerity towards some
members of their own high estate, and divided between the claims of
Lancaster and York; and the peasantry, who cared little for the claims
of the rival Roses, were maddened by the extortions and indignities to
which they were subjected. The feebleness and corruption of the
Government, and the disasters in France, combined with the murder of
the Duke of Suffolk, added to the general discontent; and the result
was, that in the year 1450 the country was ripe for revolution. In
June of that year, and immediately after the death of Suffolk, a body
of 20,000 of the men of Kent; assembled on Blackheath, under the
leadership of a reputed Irishman, calling himself John Cade, but who
is said in reality to have been an English physician named Aylmere.
This person, whatever his real cognomen, assumed the name of Mortimer
(with manifest allusion to the claims of the House of Mortimer to the
succession), and forwarded two papers to the king, entitled "The
Complaint of the Commons of Kent," and "The Requests of the Captain of
the Great Assembly in Kent." Henry replied by despatching a small
force against the rioters. Cade unhesitatingly gave battle to the
royal troops, and having defeated them and killed their leader, Sir
Humphrey Stafford, at Seven Oaks, advanced towards London. Still
preserving an appearance of moderation, he forwarded to the court a
plausible list of grievances, asserting that when these were
redressed, and Lord Say, the treasurer, and Cromer, the sheriff of
Kent, had been punished for their malversations, he and his men would
lay down their arms. These demands were so reasonable that the king's
troops, who were far from loyal, refused to fight against the
insurgents; and Henry, finding his cause desperate, retired for safety
to Kenilworth, Lord Scales with a thousand men remaining to defend the
Tower. Hearing of the flight of his majesty, Cade advanced to
Southwark, which he reached on the 1st of July, and, the citizens
offering no resistance, he entered London two days afterwards. Strict
orders had been given to his men to refrain from pillage, and on the
same evening they were led back to Southwark. On the following day he
returned, and having compelled the Lord Mayor and the people to sit at
Guildhall, brought Say and Cromer before them, and these victims of
the popular spite were condemned, after a sham trial, and were
beheaded in Cheapside. This exhibition of personal ill-will on the
part of their chief seemed the signal for the commencement of outrages
by his followers. On the next day the unruly mob began to plunder, and
the citizens, repenting of their disloyalty, joined with Lord Scales
in resisting their re-entry. After a sturdy fight, the Londoners held
the position, and the Kentishmen, discouraged by their reverse, began
to scatter. Cade, not slow to perceive the danger which threatened
him, fled towards Lewis, but was overtaken by Iden, the sheriff of
Kent, who killed him in a garden in which he had taken shelter. A
reward of 1000 marks followed this deed of bravery. Some of the
insurgents were afterwards executed as traitors; but the majority even
of the ringleaders escaped unpunished, for Henry's seat upon the
throne was so unstable, that it was deemed better to win the people by
a manifestation of clemency, rather than to provoke them by an
exhibition of severity.


After the downfall of the Plantagenet dynasty, and the accession of
Henry VII. to the English throne, the evident favour shown by the king
to the Lancastrian party greatly provoked the adherents of the House
of York, and led some of the malcontents to devise one of the most
extraordinary impostures recorded in history.

An ambitious Oxford priest, named Richard Simon, had among his pupils
a handsome youth, fifteen years of age, named Lambert Simnel. This
lad, who was the son of a baker, and, according to Lord Bacon, was
possessed of "very pregnant parts," was selected to disturb the
usurper's government, by appearing as a pretender to his crown. At
first it was the intention of the conspirators that he should
personate Richard, duke of York, the second son of Edward IV., who was
supposed to have escaped from the assassins of the Tower, and to be
concealed somewhere in England. Accordingly, the monk Simon, who was
the tool of higher persons, carefully instructed young Simnel in the
_rôle_ which he was to play, and in a short time had rendered him
thoroughly proficient in his part. But just as the plot was ripe for
execution a rumour spread abroad that Edward Plantagenet, earl of
Warwick, and only male heir of the House of York, had effected his
escape from the Tower, and the plan of the imposture was changed.
Simnel was set to learn another lesson, and in a very brief time had
acquired a vast amount of information respecting the private life of
the royal family, and the adventures of the Earl of Warwick. When he
was accounted thoroughly proficient, he was despatched to Ireland in
the company of Simon--the expectation of the plotters being that the
imposition would be less likely to be detected on the other side of
the channel, and that the English settlers in Ireland, who were known
to be attached to the Yorkist cause, would support his pretensions.

These anticipations were amply fulfilled. On his arrival in the
island, Simnel at once presented himself to the Earl of Kildare, then
viceroy, and claimed his protection as the unfortunate Warwick. The
credulous nobleman listened to his story, and repeated it to others of
the nobility, who in time diffused it throughout all ranks of society.
Everywhere the escape of the Plantagenet was received with
satisfaction, and at last the people of Dublin unanimously tendered
their allegiance to the pretender, as the rightful heir to the throne.
Their homage was of course accepted, and Simnel was solemnly crowned
(May 24, 1487), with a crown taken from an effigy of the Virgin Mary,
in Christ Church Cathedral. After the coronation, he was publicly
proclaimed king, and, as Speed tells us, "was carried to the castle on
tall men's shoulders, that he might be seen and known." With the
exception of the Butlers of Ormond, a few of the prelates, and the
inhabitants of Waterford, the whole island followed the example of the
capital, and not a voice was raised in protest, or a sword drawn in
favour of King Henry. Ireland was in revolt.

When news of these proceedings reached London, Henry summoned the
peers and bishops, and devised measures for the punishment of his
secret enemies and the maintenance of his authority. His first act was
to proclaim a free pardon to all his former opponents; his next, to
lead the real Earl of Warwick in procession from the Tower to St.
Paul's, and thence to the palace of Shene, where the nobility and
gentry had daily opportunities of meeting him and conversing with him.
Suspecting, not without cause, that the Queen-Dowager was implicated
in the conspiracy, Henry seized her lands and revenues, and shut her
up in the Convent of Bermondsey. But he failed to reach the active
agents; and although the English people were satisfied that the Earl
of Warwick was still a prisoner, the Irish persisted in their revolt,
and declared that the person who had been shown to the public at St.
Paul's was a counterfeit. By the orders of the Government a strict
watch was kept at the English ports, that fugitives, malcontents, or
suspected persons might not pass over into Ireland or Flanders; and a
thousand pounds reward was offered to any one who would present the
State with the body of the sham Plantagenet.

Meanwhile John, earl of Lincoln, whom Richard had declared heir to the
throne, and whom Henry had treated with favour, took the side of the
pretender, and having established a correspondence with Sir Thomas
Broughton of Lancashire, proceeded to the court of Margaret,
dowager-duchess of Burgundy--a woman described by Lord Bacon as
"possessing the spirit of a man and the malice of a woman," and whose
great aim it was to see the sovereignty of England once more held by
the house of which she was a member. She readily consented to abet the
sham Earl of Warwick, and furnished Lincoln and Lord Lovel with a body
of 2000 German veterans, commanded by an able officer named Martin
Schwartz. The countenance given to the movement by persons of such
high rank, and the accession of this military force, greatly raised
the courage of Simnel's Irish adherents, and led them to conceive the
project of invading England, where they believed the spirit of
disaffection to be as general as it was in their own island.

The news of the intended invasion came early to the ears of King
Henry, who promptly prepared to resist it. Having always felt or
affected great devotion, after mustering his army, he made a
pilgrimage to the shrine of our Lady of Walsingham, famous for
miracles, and there offered up prayers for success and for the
overthrow of his enemies. Being informed that Simnel and his gathering
had landed at Foudrey, in Lancashire, the king advanced to Coventry to
meet them. The rebels had anticipated that the disaffected provinces
of the north would rise and join them, but in this they were
disappointed; for the cautious northerners were not only convinced of
Simnel's imposture, but were afraid of the king's strength, and were
averse to league themselves with a horde of Irishmen and Germans. The
Earl of Lincoln, therefore, who commanded the invading force, finding
no hopes but in victory, determined to bring the matter to a speedy
decision. The hostile armies met at Stoke, in Nottinghamshire, and
after a hardly-contested day, the victory remained with the king.
Lincoln, Broughton, and Schwartz perished on the field of battle, with
four thousand of their followers. As Lord Lovel was never more heard
of, it was supposed that he shared the same fate. Lambert Simnel, with
his tutor the monk Simon, were taken prisoners. The latter, as an
ecclesiastic, escaped the doom he merited, and, not being tried at
law, was only committed to close custody for the rest of his life. As
for Simnel, when he was questioned, he revealed his real parentage;
and being deemed too contemptible to be an object either of
apprehension or resentment, Henry pardoned him, and made him first a
scullion in the royal kitchen, and afterwards promoted him to the
lofty position of a falconer.


Although Lambert Simnel's enterprise had miscarried, Margaret,
dowager-duchess of Burgundy, did not despair of seeing the crown of
England wrested from the House of Lancaster, and determined at least
to disturb King Henry's government if she could not subvert it. To
this end she sedulously spread abroad a report that Richard, duke of
York, the second son of Edward IV., had escaped the cruelty of his
uncle Richard III., and had been set at liberty by the assassins who
had been sent to despatch him. This rumour, although improbable, was
eagerly received by the people, and they were consequently prepared to
welcome the new pretender whenever he made his appearance.

After some search, the duchess found a stripling whom she thought had
all the qualities requisite to personate the unfortunate prince. This
youth is described as being "of visage beautiful, of countenance
majestical, of wit subtile and crafty; in education pregnant, in
languages skilful; a lad, in short, of a fine shape, bewitching
behaviour, and very audacious." The name of this admirable prodigy was
Peterkin, or Perkin Warbeck, and he was the son of John Warbeck, a
renegade Jew of Tournay. Some writers, and among others Lord Bacon,
suggest that he had certain grounds for his pretensions to royal
descent, and hint that King Edward, in the course of his amorous
adventures, had been intimate with Catherine de Faro, Warbeck's wife;
and Bacon says "it was pretty extraordinary, or at least very
suspicious, that so wanton a prince should become gossip in so mean a
house." But be this as it may, the lad was both handsome and crafty,
and was well suited for the part which he was destined to play.

Some years after his birth, the elder Warbeck returned to Tournay,
carrying the child with him; but Perkin did not long remain in the
paternal domicile, but by different accidents was carried from place
to place, until his birth and fortunes became difficult to trace by
the most diligent inquiry. No better tool could have been found for
the ambitious Duchess of Burgundy; and when he was brought to her
palace, she at once set herself to instruct him thoroughly with
respect to the person whom he was to represent. She so often described
to him the features, figures, and peculiarities of his deceased--or
presumedly deceased--parents, Edward IV. and his queen, and informed
him so minutely of all circumstances relating to the family history,
that in a short time he was able to talk as familiarly of the court of
his pretended father as the real Duke of York could have done. She
took especial care to warn him against certain leading questions which
might be put to him, and to render him perfect in his narration of the
occurrences which took place while he was in sanctuary with the queen,
and particularly to be consistent in repeating the story of his escape
from his executioners. After he had learnt his lesson thoroughly, he
was despatched under the care of Lady Brampton to Portugal, there to
wait till the fitting time arrived for his presentation to the English

At length, when war between France and England was imminent, a proper
opportunity seemed to present itself, and he was ordered to repair to
Ireland, which still retained its old attachment to the House of York.
He landed at Cork, and at once assuming the name of Richard
Plantagenet, succeeded in attracting many partizans. The news of his
presence in Ireland reached France; and Charles VIII., prompted by the
Burgundian duchess, sent him an invitation to repair to Paris. The
chance of recognition by the French king was too good to be idly cast
away. He went, and was received with every possible mark of honour.
Magnificent lodgings were provided for his reception; a handsome
pension was settled upon him; and a strong guard was appointed to
secure him against the emissaries of the English king. The French
courtiers readily imitated their master, and paid the respect to
Perkin which was due to the real Duke of York; and he, in turn, both
by his deportment and personal qualities, well supported his claims to
a royal pedigree. For a time nothing was talked of but the
accomplishments, the misfortunes, and the adventures of the young
Plantagenet; and the curiosity and credulity of England became
thoroughly aroused by the strange tidings which continued to arrive
from France. Sir George Nevill, Sir John Taylor, and many English
gentlemen who entertained no love for the king, repaired to the French
capital to satisfy themselves as to the pretensions of this young man;
and so well had Warbeck's lesson been acquired, that he succeeded in
convincing them of his identity, and in inducing them to pledge
themselves to aid him in his attempt to recover his inheritance.

About this time, however, the breach between France and England was
lessened, and when friendly relations were restored, Henry applied to
have the impostor put into his hands. Charles, refusing to break faith
with a youth who had come to Paris by his own solicitation, refused to
give him up, and contented himself with ordering him to quit the
kingdom. Warbeck thereupon in all haste repaired to the court of
Margaret of Burgundy; but she at first astutely pretended ignorance
of his person and ridiculed his claims, saying that she had been
deceived by Simnel, and was resolved never again to be cajoled by
another impostor. Perkin, who admitted that she had reason to be
suspicious, nevertheless persisted that he was her nephew, the Duke of
York. The duchess, feigning a desire to convict him of imposture
before the whole of her attendants, put several questions to him which
she knew he could readily answer, affected astonishment at his
replies, and, at last, no longer able to control her feelings, "threw
herself on his neck, and embraced him as her nephew, the true image of
Edward, the sole heir of the Plantagenets, and the legitimate
successor to the English throne." She immediately assigned to him an
equipage suited to his supposed rank, appointed a guard of thirty
halberdiers to wait upon him, and gave him the title of "The White
Rose of England"--the symbol of the House of York.

When the news reached England, in the beginning of 1493, that the Duke
of York was alive in Flanders, and had been acknowledged by the
Duchess of Burgundy, many people credited the story; and men of the
highest rank began to turn their eyes towards the new claimant. Lord
Fitzwater, Sir Simon Mountfort, and Sir Thomas Thwaites, made little
secret of their inclination towards him; Sir William Stanley, King
Henry's chamberlain, who had been active in raising the usurper to the
throne, was ready to adopt his cause whenever he set foot on English
soil, and Sir Robert Clifford and William Barley openly gave their
adhesion to the pretender, and went over to Flanders to concert
measures with the duchess and the sham duke. After his arrival,
Clifford wrote to his friends in England, that knowing the person of
Richard, duke of York, perfectly well, he had no doubt that this young
man was the prince himself, and that his story was compatible with the
truth. Such positive intelligence from a person of Clifford's rank
greatly strengthened the popular belief, and the whole English nation
was seriously discomposed and gravely disaffected towards the king.

When Henry was informed of this new plot, he set himself cautiously
but steadily and resolutely to foil it. His first object was to
ascertain the reality of the death of the young prince, and to confirm
the opinion which had always prevailed with regard to that event.
Richard had engaged five persons to murder his nephews--viz., Sir
James Tirrel, whom he made custodian of the Tower while his nefarious
scheme was in course of execution, and who had seen the bodies of the
princes after their assassination; Forrest, Dighton, and Slater, who
perpetrated the crime; and the priest who buried the bodies. Tirrel
and Dighton were still alive; but although their stories agreed, as
the priest was dead, and as the bodies were supposed to have been
removed by Richard's orders, and could not be found, it was impossible
to prove conclusively that the young princes really had been put to

By means of his spies, Henry, after a time, succeeded in tracing the
true pedigree of Warbeck, and immediately published it for the
satisfaction of the nation. At the same time he remonstrated with the
Archduke Philip on account of the protection which was afforded to the
impostor, and demanded that "the theatrical king formed by the Duchess
of Burgundy" should be given up to him. The ambassadors were received
with all outward respect, but their request was refused, and they were
sent home with the answer, that "the Duchess of Burgundy being
absolute sovereign in the lands of her dowry, the archduke could not
meddle with her affairs, or hinder her from doing what she thought
fit." Henry in resentment cut off all intercourse with the Low
Countries, banished the Flemings, and recalled his own subjects from
these provinces. At the same time, Sir Robert Clifford having proved
traitorous to Warbeck's cause, and having revealed the names of its
supporters in England, the king pounced upon the leading conspirators.
Almost at the same instant he arrested Fitzwater, Mountfort, and
Thwaites, together with William D'Aubeney, Thomas Cressener, Robert
Ratcliff, and Thomas Astwood. Lord Fitzwater was sent as a prisoner to
Calais with some hopes of pardon; but being detected in an attempt to
bribe his gaolers, he was beheaded. Sir Simon Mountfort, Robert
Ratcliff, and William D'Aubeney were tried, condemned, and executed,
and the others were pardoned.

Stanley, the chamberlain, was reserved for a more impressive fate. His
domestic connection with the king and his former services seemed to
render him safe against any punishment; but Henry, thoroughly aroused
by his perfidy, determined to bring the full weight of his vengeance
upon him. Clifford was directed to come privately to England, and cast
himself at the foot of the throne, imploring pardon for his past
offences, and offering to condone his folly by any services which
should be required of him. Henry, accepting his penitence, informed
him that the only reparation he could now make was by disclosing the
names of his abettors; and the turncoat at once denounced Stanley,
then present, as, his chief colleague. The chamberlain indignantly
repudiated the accusation; and Henry, with well-feigned disbelief,
begged Clifford to be careful in making his charges, for it was
absolutely incredible "that a man, to whom he was in a great measure
beholden for his crown, and even for his life; a man to whom, by every
honour and favour, he had endeavoured to express his gratitude; whose
brother, the Earl of Derby, was his own father-in-law; to whom he had
even committed the trust of his person by creating him lord
chamberlain; that this man, enjoying his full confidence and
affection, not actuated by any motive of discontent or apprehension,
should engage in a conspiracy against him." But Clifford persisted in
his charges and statements. Stanley was placed under arrest, and was
subsequently tried, condemned, and beheaded.

The fate of the unfortunate chamberlain, and the defection of
Clifford, created the greatest consternation in the camp of Perkin
Warbeck. The king's authority was greatly strengthened by the
promptness and severity of his measures, and the pretender soon
discovered that unless he were content to sink into obscurity, he must
speedily make a bold move. Accordingly, having collected a band of
outlaws, criminals, and adventurers, he set sail for England. Having
received intelligence that Henry was at that time in the north, he
cast anchor off the coast of Kent, and despatched some of his
principal adherents to invite the gentlemen of Kent to join his
standard. The southern landowners, who were staunchly loyal, invited
him to come on shore and place himself at their head. But the wary
impostor was not to be entrapped so easily. He declined to trust
himself in the hands of the well-disciplined bands which expressed so
much readiness to follow him to death or victory; and the Kentish
troops, despairing of success in their stratagem, fell upon such of
his retainers as had already landed, and took 150 of them prisoners.
These were tried, sentenced, and executed by order of the king, who
was determined to show no lenity to the rebels. Perkin being an
eye-witness of the capture of his people, immediately weighed anchor,
and returned to Flanders.

Hampered, however, by his horde of desperadoes, he could not again
settle quietly down under the protecting wing of the Duchess Margaret.
Work and food had to be found for his lawless followers; and in 1495
an attempt was made upon Ireland, which still retained its preference
for the House of York. But the people of Ireland had learnt a salutary
lesson at the battle of Stoke, and Perkin, meeting with little
success, withdrew to Scotland. At this time there was a coolness
between the Scottish and English courts, and King James gave him a
favourable reception, being so completely deceived by his specious
story, that he bestowed upon him in marriage the beautiful and
virtuous Lady Catherine Gordon, the daughter of the Earl of Huntly,
and his own kinswoman. Not content with this, the King of Scots, with
Perkin in his company, invaded England, in the hope that the adherents
of the York family would rise in favour of the pretender. In this
expectation he was disappointed, and what at first seemed likely to
prove a dangerous insurrection ended in a mere border raid.

For a time Warbeck remained in Scotland; but when King James
discovered that his continued presence at his court completely
prevented all hope of a lasting peace with England, he requested him
to leave the country. The Flemings meanwhile had passed a law barring
his retreat into the Low Countries. Therefore, after hiding for a time
in the wilds of Ireland, he resolved to try the affections of the men
of Cornwall. No sooner did he land at Bodmin, than the people crowded
to his banners in such numbers, that the pretender, hopeful of
success, took upon himself for the first time the title of Richard
IV., king of England. Not to suffer the expectation of his followers
to languish, he laid siege to Exeter; but the men of Exeter, having
shut their gates in his face, waited with confidence for the coming of
the king. Nor were they disappointed. The Lords D'Aubeney and Broke
were despatched with a small body of troops to the relief of the city.
The leading nobles offered their services as volunteers, and the king,
at the head of a considerable army, prepared to follow his advanced
guard. Perkin's followers, who numbered about 7000 men, would have
stood by him; but the cowardly Fleming, despairing of success,
secretly withdrew to the sanctuary of Beaulieu. The Cornish rebels
accepted the king's clemency, and Lady Gordon, the wife of the
pretender, fell into the hands of the royalists. To Henry's credit it
must be mentioned that he did not visit the sins of the husband upon
the poor deluded wife, but placed her in attendance upon the queen,
and bestowed upon her a pension which she continued to enjoy
throughout his reign, and even after his death.

It was a difficult matter to know how to deal with the impostor
himself. It would have been easy to make the privileges of the church
yield to reasons of state, and to take him by violence from the
sanctuary; but at the same time it was wise to respect the rights of
the clergy and the prejudices of the people. Therefore agents were
appointed to treat with the counterfeit prince, and succeeded in
inducing him, by promises that his life would be spared, to deliver
himself up to King Henry. Once a captive, he was treated with derision
rather than with extreme severity, and was led in a kind of mock
triumph to London. As he passed along the road, and through the
streets of the city, men of all grades assembled to see the impostor,
and cast ridicule upon his fallen fortunes; and the farce was ended by
the publication of a confession in which Warbeck narrated his real
parentage, and the chief causes of his presumption to royal honours.

But although his life was spared, he was still detained in custody.
After a time he escaped from prison, and fled to the Priory of Sheen,
near Richmond, where he desired the prior, who was a favourite with
the king, to petition for his life and a pardon. If Henry had listened
to the advice of his counsellors he would have taken advantage of the
opportunity to rid himself of this persistent disturber of his peace;
but he was content to give orders that "the knave should be taken out
and set in the stocks." Accordingly, on the 14th of June 1499, Warbeck
was exposed on a scaffold, erected in the Palace Court, Westminster,
as he was on the day following at the Cross on Cheapside, and at both
these places he read a confession of his imposture. Notwithstanding
this additional disgrace, no sooner was he again under lock and key,
than his restless spirit induced him to concoct another plot for
liberty and the crown. Insinuating himself into the intimacy of four
servants of Sir John Digby, lieutenant of the Tower, by their means he
succeeded in opening a correspondence with the Earl of Warwick, who
was confined in the same prison. The unfortunate prince listened
readily to his fatal proposals, and a new plan was laid. Henry was
apprised of it, and was not sorry that the last of the Plantagenets
had thus thrust himself into his hands. Warbeck and Warwick were
brought to trial, condemned, and executed. Perkin Warbeck died very
penitently on the gallows at Tyburn. "Such," says Bacon, "was the end
of this little cockatrice of a king." The Earl of Warwick was beheaded
on Tower Hill, on the 28th of November 1499.


King Sebastian of Portugal, who inherited the throne in 1557, seems,
even from his infancy, to have exhibited a remarkable love of warlike
exercises, and at an early age to have given promise of distinguishing
himself as a warrior. At the time of his accession, Portugal had lost
much of her old military prestige; the Moors had proved too strong for
her diminished armies; the four strongholds of Arzilla,
Alcazar-Sequer, Saphin, and Azamor, had been wrested from her; and
Mazagan, Ceuta, and Tangier alone remained to her of all her African
possessions. Consequently, the tutors of the boy-king were delighted
to see his warlike instinct, and carefully instilled into his mind a
hatred of the Paynim conquerors.

The lesson was well learnt, and from the moment King Sebastian reached
his 14th year (the period of his majority), it was evident that all
his thoughts centred on an expedition to Africa, to revive the former
glories of his house, and to extend his empire even beyond its former
limits. In 1574 he set out, not to conquer the land, but simply to
view it, and with youthful audacity landed at Tangier, accompanied by
only 1500 men. Finding no opposition to his progress, he organized a
hunting expedition among the mountains, and actually put his project
into execution. The Moors, by this time thoroughly incensed by his
audacity, mustered a force and attacked his escort, but he succeeded
in beating them off, and escaped in safety to his ships, and reached
his kingdom unharmed.

This peculiar reconnaissance only strengthened his resolution to wrest
his former possessions from the Moslems; and although Portugal was
impoverished and weak, he resolved at once to enter on a crusade
against Muley Moluc and the Moors. The protests of his ministers were
unheeded; he laid new and exorbitant imposts on his people, caused
mercenaries to be levied in Italy and the Low Countries, and
reluctantly persuaded his uncle, Philip I. of Spain, to promise a
contingent. His preparations being at last completed, and a regency
established, he put to sea in June 1578. His armament consisted of
9000 Portuguese, 2000 Spaniards, 3000 Germans, and some 600
Italians--in all, about 15,000 men, with twelve pieces of artillery,
embarked on fifty-five vessels.

On the 4th of August the opposing forces met. The Moorish monarch, who
was stricken with a fatal disorder, was carried on a litter to the
field, and died while struggling with his attendants, who refused to
allow him to rush into the thick of the fight. The Portuguese were
routed with great slaughter, notwithstanding the valour with which
they were led by Don Sebastian. Two horses were killed under the
Christian king; the steed on which he rode was exhausted, and the
handful of followers who remained with him entreated him to surrender.
Sebastian indignantly refused, and again dashed into the middle of the
fray. From this moment his fate is uncertain. Some suppose that he was
taken prisoner, and that his captors beginning to dispute among
themselves as to the possession of so rich a prize, one of the Moorish
officers slew him to prevent the rivalry ending in bloodshed. Another
account, however, affirms that he was seen after the battle, alone and
unattended, and apparently seeking some means of crossing the river.
On the following day search was made for his body, Don Nuno
Mascarcuhas, his personal attendant, having stated that he saw him put
to death with his own eyes. At the spot which the Portuguese noble
indicated, a body was found, which, though naked, Resende, a valet of
Sebastian, recognised as that of his master. It was at once conveyed
to the tent of Muley Hamet, the brother and successor of Muley Moluc,
and was there identified by the captive Portuguese nobles. That their
grief was sincere there could be no doubt; and the Moorish king having
placed the royal remains in a handsome coffin, delivered them for a
heavy ransom to the Spanish ambassador, by whom they were forwarded to
Portugal, where they were buried with much pomp.

But although the nobles were well content to believe that Sebastian
was dead, the mob were by no means equally satisfied that the story of
his fate was true, and were prepared to receive any impostor with open
arms. Indeed, in some parts of Portugal, Don Sebastian is supposed by
the populace to be still alive, concealed like Roderick the Goth, or
our own Arthur, in some hermit's cell, or in some enchanted castle,
until the fitting time for his re-appearance arrives, when he will
break the spell which binds him, and will restore the faded glory of
the nation. During the incursions of Bonaparte, his appearance was
anxiously expected, but he delayed the day of his coming. But if the
real Sebastian remains silent, there have been numerous pretenders to
his throne and his name.

In 1585 a man appeared who personated the dead king. He was a native
of Alcazova, and a person of low birth and still lower morals. In his
earlier days he had been admitted into the monastic society of Our
Lady of Mount Carmel, but had been expelled from the fraternity on
account of his misconduct. Even in his later life, when, by pretended
penitence, he succeeded in gaining re-admission, his vices were found
so far to outweigh his virtues and his piety that it was necessary
again to confide him to the tender mercies of a sacrilegious world. He
fled to the hermitage of Albuquerque, and there devotees visited him.
Widows and full-blooded donnas especially frequented his cell; and the
results of his exercises were such that the Alcalde threatened to lay
hands upon him. Once more he disappeared, but only to turn up again in
the guise of Don Sebastian. Two of his accomplices who mixed among the
people pointed out his resemblance to the lost monarch: the credulous
crowd swallowed the story, and he soon had a respectable following.
Orders from Lisbon, however, checked his prosperous career. He was
arrested and escorted by 100 horsemen to the dungeons of the capital.
There he was tried and condemned to death. The sentence was not,
however, carried into effect; for the imposture was deemed too
transparent to merit the infliction of the extreme penalty. The
prisoner was carried to the galleys instead of the scaffold, and
exhibited to visitors as a contemptible curiosity rather than as a
dangerous criminal. So ended the first sham Sebastian.

In the same year another pretender appeared. This was Alvarez, the son
of a stone-cutter, and a native of the Azores. So far from originating
the imposture, it seems to have been thrust upon him. Like the youth
of Alcazova, after being a monk, he had become a hermit, and thousands
of the devout performed pilgrimages to his cell, which was situated on
the sea-coast, about two miles from Ericeira. The frequency and
severity of his penances gained him great celebrity, and at last it
began to be rumoured abroad that the recluse was King Sebastian, who,
by mortifying his own flesh, was atoning for the calamity he had
brought upon his kingdom. At first he repudiated all claim to such
distinction; but after a time his ambition seems to have been aroused;
he ceased to protest against the homage of the ignorant, and consented
to be treated as a king. Having made up his mind to the imposture,
Alvares resolved to carry it out boldly. He appointed officers of his
household, and despatched letters, sealed with the royal arms,
throughout the kingdom, commanding his subjects to rally round his
standard and aid him in restoring peace and prosperity to Portugal.
The local peasantry, in answer to the summons, hastened to place
themselves at his service, and were honoured by being allowed to kiss
his royal hand. Cardinal Henrique, the regent, being informed of his
proceedings, despatched an officer with a small force to arrest this
new disturber of the public tranquillity; but on the approach of the
troops Alvares and his followers took to the mountains. The cardinal's
representative, unable to pursue them into their inaccessible
fastnesses, left the alcalde of Torres Vedras at Ericeira with
instructions to capture the impostor dead or alive, and himself set
out for Lisbon. He had scarcely reached the plain when Alvares, at the
head of 700 men, swooped down upon the town and took the alcalde and
his soldiers prisoners. He next wrote to the cardinal regent,
ordering him to quit the palace and the kingdom. He then set out for
Torres Vedras, intending to release the criminals confined there, and
with their assistance to seize Cintra, and afterwards to attack the
capital. On the march he threw the unfortunate alcalde and the notary
of Torres Vedras, who had been captured at the same time, over a high
cliff into the sea, and executed another government official who had
the misfortune to fall into his clutches. The corregedor Fonseca, who
was not far off, hearing of these excesses, immediately started at the
head of eighty horsemen to oppose the rebel progress. Wisely
calculating that if he appeared with a larger force Alvares would
again flee to the hills, he ordered some companies to repair in
silence to a village in the rear, and aid him in case of need. He
first encountered a picked band of 200 rebels, whom he easily routed;
and then, being joined by his reinforcements, fell upon the main body,
which his also dispersed. Alvares succeeded in escaping for a time,
but at last he was taken and brought to Lisbon. Here, after being
exposed to public infamy, he was hanged amid the jeers of the

Nine years later, in 1594, another impostor appeared, this time in
Spain, under the very eyes of King Philip, who had seized the
Portuguese sovereignty. Again an ecclesiastic figured in the plot; but
on this occasion he concealed himself behind the scenes, and pulled
the strings which set the puppet-king in motion. Miguel dos Santos, an
Augustinian monk, who had been chaplain to Sebastian, after his
disappearance espoused the cause of Don Antonio, and conceived the
scheme of placing his new patron on the Lusitanian throne, by exciting
a revolution in favour of a stranger adventurer, who would run all the
risks of the rebellion, and resign his ill-gotten honours when the
real aspirant appeared. He found a suitable tool in Gabriel de
Spinosa, a native of Toledo. This man resembled Sebastian, was
naturally bold and unscrupulous, and was easily persuaded to undertake
the task of personating the missing monarch. The monk, Dos Santos, who
was confessor to the nunnery of Madrigal, introduced this person to
one of the nuns, Donna Anna of Austria, a niece of King Philip, and
informed her that he was the unfortunate King of Portugal. The lady,
believing her father-confessor, loaded the pretender with valuable
gifts; presented him with her jewels; and was so attracted by his
appearance that it was said she was willing to break her vows for his
sake, and to share his throne with him. Unfortunately for the
conspirators, before the plot was ripe, Spinosa's indiscretion ruined
it. Having repaired to Valladolid to sell some jewels, he formed a
criminal acquaintance with a female of doubtful repute, who informed
the authorities that he was possessed of a great number of gems which
she believed to be stolen. He was arrested, and on his correspondence
being searched, the whole scheme was discovered. The rack elicited a
full confession, and Spinosa was hung and quartered. Miguel dos Santos
shared the same fate; but the Donna Anna, in consideration of her
birth, was spared and condemned to perpetual seclusion.

The list of pretenders to regal honours was not even yet complete. In
1598, a Portuguese noble was accosted in the streets of Padua by a
tattered pilgrim, who addressed him by name, and asked if he knew him.
The nobleman answered that he did not. "Alas! have twenty years so
changed me," cried the stranger, "that you cannot recognise in me your
missing king, Sebastian?" He then proceeded to pour his past history
into the ears of the astonished hidalgo, narrating the chief events of
the African battle, detailing the circumstances of his own escape, and
mentioning the friends and events of his earlier life so fluently and
correctly that his listener had no hesitation in accepting him as the
true Sebastian. The news of the appearance of this pretender in Padua
soon reached Portugal, and spread with unexampled rapidity throughout
the country. Philip II. was gravely disturbed by the report, knowing
that his own rule was unpopular, and that the people would be disposed
to rally round any claimant who promised on his accession to the
throne to relieve them from the heavy burdens under which they
groaned. He therefore lost no time in forestalling any attempt to oust
him from the Portuguese sovereignty; and despatched a courier to
Venice, demanding the interference of the authorities. The governor of
Venice, anxious to please the powerful ruler of the Spanish peninsula,
issued an order for the immediate expulsion of "the man calling
himself Don Sebastian;" but the "man" had no intention of being
disposed of in this summary manner. Immediately on receipt of the
order he proceeded to Venice, presented himself at court, and declared
himself ready to prove his identity. The Spanish minister, acting upon
his instructions, denounced him as an impostor, and as a criminal who
had been guilty of heinous offences, and demanded his arrest. He was
thrown into prison; but when the charges of the Spanish minister were
investigated, they failed signally, and no crime could be proven
against him. At the solicitation of Philip, however, he was kept under
arrest, and was frequently submitted to examination by the
authorities, with a view of entrapping him into some damaging
admission. At first he answered readily, and astonished his
questioners by his intimate knowledge of the inner life of the
Portuguese court, not only mentioning the names of Sebastian's
ministers and the ambassadors who had been accredited to Lisbon, but
describing their appearance and peculiarities, and recounting the
chief measures of his government, and the contents of the letters
which had been written by the king. At length, after cheerfully
submitting to be examined on twenty-eight separate occasions, he grew
tired of being pestered by his questioners, and refused to answer
further interrogatories, exclaiming, "My Lords, I am Sebastian, king
of Portugal! If you doubt it, permit me to be seen by my subjects,
many of whom will remember me. If you can prove that I am an impostor,
I am willing to suffer death."

The Portuguese residents in Italy entertained no doubt that the
pretender was their countryman and their monarch, and made most
strenuous exertions to procure his release. One of their number, Dr.
Sampajo, a man of considerable eminence, and of known probity,
personally interceded with the governor of Venice on his behalf. He
was told that the prisoner could only be released upon the most ample
and satisfactory proof of his identity; and Sampajo, confident that he
could procure the necessary evidence, set out forthwith for Portugal.
After a brief stay in Lisbon, he returned with a mass of testimony
corroborating the pretender's story; and, what was naturally
considered of greater importance, with a list of the marks which were
on the person of King Sebastian. The accused was stripped, and on his
body marks were found similar to those which had been described to Dr.
Sampajo. Still the authorities hesitated; and explained that in a
matter of such importance, and where such weighty interests were
involved, they could not act on the representations of a private
individual; but if any of the European powers should demand the
release of their prisoner it would be granted.

Nothing daunted by their failure, the believers in the claims of the
so-called Sebastian endeavoured to enlist the sympathy of the foreign
potentates on behalf of one of their own order who was unjustly
incarcerated and deprived of his rights. In this they failed; but at
last the government of Holland, which had no love for Philip, espoused
the cause of his rival, and despatched an officer to Venice to see
that justice was done. A day was appointed for the trial, and the
prisoner being brought before the senate, presented his claims in
writing. Witnesses came forward who swore that the person before them
was indeed Sebastian, although he had changed greatly in the course of
twenty years. Several scars, malformed teeth, moles, and other
peculiarities which were known to be possessed by the king, were
pointed out on the person of the pretender, and the evidence was
decidedly favourable to his claims; when, on the fifth day of the
investigation, a courier arrived from Spain, and presented a private
message from King Philip. The proceedings were at once brought to a
close; and, without further examination, the prisoner was liberated,
and ordered to quit the Venetian territory in three days. He
proceeded to Florence, where he was again arrested by command of the
Grand Duke of Tuscany. The reason for this harsh treatment is not very
clearly apparent, but it was probably instigated by the Spanish
representative at the Florentine court; for no sooner did the news
that he was in confinement reach Philip, than he demanded the delivery
of the prisoner to his agents. The duke at first refused to comply
with this request, but a threatened invasion of his dominions led him
to reconsider his decision, and the unfortunate aspirant to the
Portuguese sceptre was handed over to the Spanish officials. He was
hurried to Naples, then an appanage of the Spanish crown, and was
there offered his liberty if he would renounce his pretensions; but
this he staunchly refused to do, saying, "I am Sebastian, king of
Portugal, and have been visited by this severe punishment as a
chastisement for my sins. I am content to die in the manner that
pleases you best, but deny the truth I neither can nor will."

The Count de Lemnos, who had been the minister of Spain at Lisbon when
Sebastian was on the throne, at that time was Viceroy of Naples, and
naturally went to visit the pretended king in prison. After a brief
interview, he unhesitatingly asserted that he had never seen the
prisoner before; whereupon the pretended Sebastian exclaimed, "You say
that you have no recollection of me, but I remember you very well. My
uncle, Philip of Spain, twice sent you to my court, where I gave you
such-and-such private interviews." Staggered by this intimate
knowledge of his past life, De Lemnos hesitated for a minute or two,
but at last ordered the gaoler to remove his prisoner, adding to his
command the remark, "He is a rank impostor,"--a remark which called
forth the stern rebuke, "No, Sir; I am no impostor, but the
unfortunate King of Portugal, and you know it full well. A man of your
station ought at all times to speak the truth or preserve silence!"

Whatever the real opinion of De Lemnos may have been, he behaved
kindly to his prisoner, and treated him with no more harshness than
was consistent with his safe-keeping. Unfortunately, the life of the
ex-ambassador was short, and his successor had no sympathy for the
_soi-disant_ king. On the 1st of April 1602, he was taken from his
prison and mounted upon an ass, and, with three trumpeters preceding
him, was led through the streets, a herald proclaiming at
intervals:--"His Most Catholic Majesty hath commanded that this man be
led through the streets of Naples with marks of infamy, and that he
shall afterwards be committed to serve in the galleys for life, for
falsely pretending to be Don Sebastian, king of Portugal." He bore the
ordeal firmly; and each time that the proclamation was made, added, in
clear and sonorous tones, "And so I am!"

He was afterwards sent on board the galleys, and for a short time had
to do the work of a galley slave; but as soon as the vessels were at
sea he was released, his uniform was removed, and he was courteously
treated. What ultimately became of him was never clearly ascertained,
but it is certain that on more than one occasion he succeeded in
confounding his opponents, and by his startling revelations of the
past led many who would fain have disputed his identity to express
their doubts as to the justice of his punishment. The probability is
that he was a rogue, but he was a clever one. Rumour says he died in a
Spanish fortress in 1606.


The reign of Catherine II. fills one of the darkest pages of Russian
history. This lustful and ambitious empress waded to the throne
through her husband's blood--bloodshed was necessary to establish her
rule; infamous cruelties characterised her whole reign, and no
princess ever succeeded in making herself more heartily detested by
her subjects than the vicious daughter of Anhalt Zerbst. Plot after
plot was concocted to oust her from her high estate; and impostor
after impostor appeared claiming the imperial purple; but the empress
held her own easily, and suppressed each successive rebellion without
difficulty, until Pugatscheff appeared at the head of the Cossacks,
and threatened to hurl her from her throne, and dismember the empire.

Jemeljan Pugatscheff Was the son of Jemailoff Pugatscheff, a Cossack
of the Don, and was born near Simonskaga. His father was killed on the
field of battle, and left him to the care of an indifferent mother,
who deserted him and sought the embraces of a second husband. An
uncle, pitying the lad's desolation, carried him to Poland, where he
picked up the French, Italian, German, and Polish languages, and
distinguished himself by his aptitude for learning. After a time he
returned to Russia, and took up his abode among the Cossacks of the
Ukraine, who, attracted alike by his bodily vigour and his mental
accomplishments, elected him one of their chiefs. He was not, however,
contented with the comparative quiet of Cossack life, and longed for
some greater excitement than was afforded by an occasional raid
against the neighbouring tribes. Accordingly, taking advantage of the
law promulgated by Peter III.,--that any Russian might leave the
country and enter the service of any power not at war with the
empire,--he entered the army of the King of Prussia. On the conclusion
of peace he obtained a command in the Russian army, and served for a
considerable time. At last his regiment was relieved, and Pugatscheff
was allowed to return home. On his return he found the Cossacks of the
Ukraine gravely dissatisfied with the government and the empire. The
viciousness of the court had been reported to them; they were
oppressed both by the clergy and the judges, and they only wanted a
leader to break out into open revolt. Pugatscheff saw the golden
opportunity, and presented himself. But spies were numerous, the
garrisons were strong, and it was necessary to proceed with caution.
In order the better to conceal his designs, he entered the service of
a Cossack named Koshenikof, and after a short time succeeded in
gaining the adhesion of his master to his cause. The friends and
kinsmen of Koshenikof were one by one, under oath of secrecy, informed
of the plot, and by degrees the rebellious scheme was perfected.
Pugatscheff was elected chief; and as he bore a strong resemblance to
the murdered emperor, it was resolved that he should present himself
to the people as Peter III. Accordingly, rumours were assiduously
circulated that the emperor was still alive; that a soldier had been
killed in his stead; and that although he was in hiding, he would
shortly appear, and would avenge himself upon his enemies. Thousands
listened and believed, and only waited for the first sign of success
to join the movement. But the government was on the alert. Pugatscheff
and his master were suspected and denounced; and while the latter was
arrested, the former with difficulty escaped. In a few days, however,
he succeeded in surrounding himself with 500 adherents, and marched at
their head to the town of Jaizkoi, which he summoned to surrender. The
answer was sent by 5000 Cossacks who had orders to take him prisoner.
Strong in his faith in his fellow-countrymen, Pugatscheff advanced
towards this formidable force, and caused one of his officers to
present them with a manifesto explaining his claims, and his reasons
for taking up arms. The general in command seized the document, but
the men, who had no great love for the empress, insisted that it
should be read. Their request was refused, and 500 of them at once
deserted their standards and joined the ranks of the rebel chief.
Alarmed by this defection, the Russian general withdrew to the
citadel, while Pugatscheff encamped about a league off, hoping that
further desertions would follow, and that the place would fall into
his hands. In this he was disappointed; for his fellow-countrymen,
although disloyal at heart, did not wish to commit themselves to a
desperate undertaking which might involve them in ruin, and were
disposed to wait until some success had attended the insurrection. The
500 who had precipitately chosen the rebellion had induced about a
dozen of their officers to join them; but these men, suddenly
repenting, refused to break their oath of allegiance, and were at
once hanged from the neighbouring trees. Finding further persuasion
fruitless, Pugatscheff wisely refrained from any attempt to reduce the
fortress, and marched his band towards Orenburg. On the way he secured
large accessions to his force, and in a few days found himself at the
head of 1500 men. With this army he attacked the fortified town of
Iletzka, which offered no resistance--the garrison passing over to
him. The commandant consented to share in the enterprise with his
followers, but Pugatscheff wanted no commandants or men of
intelligence who might interfere with his schemes, and gave orders for
his immediate execution. The cannon captured at Iletzka were then
pointed against Casypnaja, which yielded after a brief struggle. Thus
fortress after fortress fell into the hands of the reputed emperor,
who gladly received the common soldiery, but mercilessly slew their

By this time the news had spread abroad throughout Southern Russia
that Peter III. was not dead, but was in arms for the recovery of his
throne and for the redress of the grievances under which his people
were suffering. Crowds of Cossacks heard the intelligence with joy,
and hastened to cast in their lot with the army of Pugatscheff.
Talischova, a powerful fortress, defended by 1000 regular troops, fell
before his assault; and the false Peter soon found himself possessed
of numerous strongholds, a formidable train of artillery, and a
fighting force of 5000 men. Considering himself strong enough to
attempt the reduction of Orenburg, the capital of the southern
provinces, he marched against it. Here, however, he encountered a
stubborn resistance, and attack after attack was repulsed with heavy
loss. These repeated failures did not discourage the pretender or his
adherents. The Cossacks continued to flock to his banners, and when
General Carr, who had been despatched from Moscow to suppress the
revolt, arrived in the neighbourhood of Orenburg, he found the rebel
chief at the head of 16,000 soldiers. An advanced guard, which was
sent to harass his movements, fell into the hands of Pugatscheff, who
nearly exterminated it, and straightway hanged the officers who were
made captive, according to his usual custom. Emboldened by his
success, he attacked the main body, and ignominiously defeated it in
the open field; and Carr, panic-struck, fled to the capital, leaving
General Freyman, if possible, to oppose the advance of the
revolutionists. The result of this decisive victory was soon apparent.
Province after province declared in favour of the pretender, chief
after chief placed his sword at his service, and Pugatscheff began to
play the emperor in earnest. He conferred titles upon his most
distinguished officers, granted sealed commissions, and constructed
foundries and powder manufactories in various places.

Catherine, by this time thoroughly alarmed, despatched another army to
the Ukraine under General Bibikoff, an experienced and resolute
officer. He arrived at Casan in February 1774, and issued a manifesto,
exposing Pugatscheff's imposture, and calling upon the rebels to lay
down their arms. Pugatscheff replied by another manifesto, declaring
himself the Czar, Peter III., and threatening vengeance against all
who resisted his just claims. He also caused coin to be impressed with
his effigy, and the inscription "_Redivivus et Ultor_." In the
meantime he continued to lay siege to Orenburg and Ufa. But Bibikoff
was not a man to remain inactive, and lost no time in attacking him.
Again and again he was defeated, the siege of the two strongholds was
raised, and on more than one occasion his army was dispersed, and he
was left at the head of only a few hundred followers. But, if the
Cossack hordes could be easily dissipated, they could rally with equal
ease; and on several occasions, when the rebellion seemed to be
completely crushed, it suddenly burst out afresh, and Pugatscheff, who
was supposed to be hiding like a hunted criminal, appeared at the head
of a larger force than ever. Thus at one time scarcely 100 men
followed him to a retreat in the Ural Mountains: in a few days he was
at the head of 20,000 men, and took Casan by storm, with the exception
of the citadel, which resisted his most determined attacks. Here he
perpetrated the greatest atrocities, until the imperial troops arrived
and wrested the town from his grasp, seizing his artillery and his
ammunition. For a time his position appeared desperate, and he fled
across the Volga, but only to re-appear again at the head of an
enormous force, and, as a conqueror, fortress after fortress yielding
at his summons. At length a Russian army under Colonel Michelsohn
overtook him and gave him battle. Pugatscheff held a strong position,
had 24 pieces of artillery and 20,000 men, but his raw levies were no
match for the regular troops. His position was turned, and a panic
seized his followers, who deserted their guns and their baggage, and
fled precipitately, leaving 2000 dead and 6000 prisoners behind them.
Pugatscheff himself made for the Volga, closely pursued by the Russian
cavalry, who cut down the half of his escort before they could embark.
With sixty men he succeeded in escaping into the desert, and at last
it was evident that his game was played out. The only three outlets
were soon closed by separate detachments of the imperial troops, and
the fugitives were thus confined in an arid waste without shelter,
without provisions, and without water. The situation was so hopeless
that each man only thought of saving himself, and Pugatscheff's
companions were not slow to perceive that their sole chance of life
lay in sacrificing their leader. Accordingly, they fell upon him while
he was ravenously devouring a piece of horseflesh--the only food which
he could command--and, having bound him, handed him over to his
enemies. As Moscow had shown some sympathy for him, he was carried in
chains to that city, and was there condemned to death. Several of his
principal adherents likewise suffered punishment at the same time.

On the 23d of January 1775, Pugatscheff and his followers were led to
the place of execution, where a large scaffold had been erected. Some
had their tongues cut out, the noses of others were cut off, eighteen
were knouted and sent to Siberia, and the chief was decapitated--his
body being afterwards cut in pieces and exposed in different parts of
the town. He met his fate with the utmost fortitude.


On the death of Feodor, son of Ivan the Terrible, the Russian throne
was occupied by Boris Godunoff, who had contrived to procure the
murder of Dimitri, or Demetrius, the younger brother of Feodor. For a
time he governed well; but the crafty nobles beginning to plot against
him, he had recourse to measures of extreme cruelty and severity, so
that even the affections of the common people were alienated from him,
and universal confusion ensued. Advantage was taken of this state of
affairs by a monk named Otrefief, who bore an almost miraculous
likeness to the murdered Dimitri, to assume the name of the royal
heir. At first he proceeded cautiously, and, retiring to Poland, by
degrees made public the marvellous tale of his wrongs and of his
escape from his assassins. Many of the leading nobles listened to his
recitals and believed them. In order to render his campaign more
certain, the pretender set himself to learn the Polish language, and
acquired it with remarkable rapidity. Nor did he rest here. He
represented to the Poles that he was disposed to embrace the Catholic
faith; and by assuring the Pope that if he regained the throne of his
ancestors, his first care should be to recall his subjects to their
obedience to Rome, he succeeded in securing the patronage and the
blessing of the Pontiff. Sendomir, a wealthy boyard, not only espoused
his cause, and gave him pecuniary help, but promised him his daughter
Marina in marriage whenever he became the Czar of Muscovy. Marina
herself was no less eager for the union, and through Sendomir's
influence the support of the King of Poland was obtained.

News of the imposture soon reached Moscow, and Boris instantly
denounced Dimitri as an impostor, and sent emissaries to endeavour to
secure his arrest. In this, however, they were unsuccessful; and the
false Dimitri not only succeeded in raising a considerable force in
Poland, but also in convincing the great mass of the Russian
population that he really was the son of Ivan. In 1604 he appeared on
the Russian frontier at the head of a small but efficient force, and
overthrew the army which Boris had sent against him. His success was
supposed by the ignorant peasantry to be entirely due to the
interposition of Providence, which was working on the side of the
injured prince, and Dimitri was careful to foster the delusion that
his cause was specially favoured by heaven. He treated his prisoners
with the greatest humanity, and ordered his followers to refrain from
excesses, and to cultivate the goodwill of the people. The result was
that his ranks rapidly increased, while those of the czar diminished.
Even foreign governments began to view the offender with favour; and
at last Boris, devoured by remorse for the crimes which he had
committed, and by chagrin at the evil fate which had fallen upon him,
lost his reason and poisoned himself.

The chief nobles assembled when the death of the czar was made known,
and proclaimed his son Feodor emperor in his stead; but the lad's
reign was very brief. The greater part of the army and the people
declared in favour of Dimitri, and the citizens of Moscow having
invited him to assume the reins of power, Dimitri made a triumphal
entry into the capital, and was crowned with great pomp. At first he
ruled prudently, and, had he continued as he began, might have
retained his strangely acquired throne. But after a time he gave
himself up to the gratification of his own wild passions, and lost the
popularity which he really had succeeded in gaining. He disgusted the
Russians by appointing numerous Poles, who had swelled his train, to
the highest posts in the empire, to the exclusion of meritorious
officers, who not only deserved well of their country, but also had
claims upon himself for services which they had rendered. These Polish
officers misconducted themselves sadly, and the people murmured sore.
The czar, too, made no secret of his attachment to the Catholic faith;
and while by so doing he irritated the clergy, he provoked the boyards
by his haughty patronage, and disgusted the common people by his
cruelty and lewdness. At last the murmurs grew so loud and
threatening, that some means had to be devised to quiet the popular
discontent, and Dimitri had recourse to a strange stratagem. The widow
of Ivan, who had long before been immured in a convent by the orders
of Boris, and had been kept there by his successor, was released from
her confinement, and was induced publicly to acknowledge Dimitri as
her son. The widowed empress knew full well that her life depended
upon her obedience; but notwithstanding her outward consent to the
fraud, the people were not satisfied, and demanded proofs of Dimitri's
birth, which were not forthcoming. Discontent continued to spread, and
at length the popular fury could no longer be restrained. According to
his promise, the sham czar married Marina, the daughter of the Polish
boyard. The very fact that she was a Pole made her distasteful to the
Russians; but that fact was rendered still more offensive by the
manner of her entrance into the capital, and the treatment which the
Muscovites received at the bridal ceremony. The bride was surrounded
by a large retinue of armed Poles, who marched through the streets of
Moscow with the mien of conquerors; the Russian nobles were excluded
from all participation in the festivities; and the common people were
treated by their emperor with haughty insolence, and held up to the
scorn of his foreign guests. A report also became rife that a timber
fort, which Dimitri had erected opposite the gates of the city, had
been constructed solely for the purpose of giving the bloodthirsty
Marina a martial spectacle, and that, sheltered behind its wooden
walls, the Polish troops and the czar's bodyguard would throw
firebrands and missiles among the crowds of spectators below. This
idle rumour was carefully circulated; the clergy, who had long been
disaffected, went from house to house denouncing the czar as a
heretic, and calling an their countrymen to rise against the insolent
traducer of their religion; and the secret of his birth and imposition
was everywhere proclaimed. The people burst into open revolt, and,
headed by the native prince Schnisky, rushed to storm the imperial
palace. The Polish troops broke their ranks and fled, and were
massacred in the streets. Dimitri himself sought to escape by a
private avenue in the confusion; but watchful enemies were lying in
wait for him. He was overtaken and killed, and his body was exposed
for three days in front of the palace, so that the mob might wreak
their vengeance upon his inanimate clay. Marina and her father were
captured, and after being detained for a little time were set at

By the death of the impostor, the throne was left vacant, and the
privilege of electing a new czar reverted to the people. Schnisky, who
had headed the revolt, made good use of his opportunity and
popularity, and while the people were exulting over their success,
contrived to secure the empire for himself. But when the heat of
triumph died away, the nobles were chagrined because they had elevated
one of their own number to rule over them, and the reaction against
the new czar was as strong and as rapid as the extraordinary movement
in his favour had been. The Muscovite nobles were determined to oust
him from his newly-found dignities, and for this purpose adopted the
strange expedient of reviving the dead Dimitri. It mattered little to
them that the breathless carcase of the impostor had been seen by
thousands. They presumed upon the gullibility of their countrymen,
and, asserting that Dimitri had escaped and was prepared to come
forward to claim his throne, endeavoured to stir up an insurrection.
The cheat, however, was not popular, and the sham czar of the nobles
never appeared.

But although the nobles failed in their attempt to foist another
Dimitri upon their fellow-countrymen, the Poles, who were interested
for their countrywoman Marina, were not discouraged from trying the
same ruse. They produced a flesh-and-blood candidate for the Russian
sceptre. This person was a Polish schoolmaster, who bore a striking
likeness to the real Dimitri, and who was sufficiently intelligent to
play his part creditably. To give a greater semblance of truth to
their imposture, they succeeded in persuading Marina to abet them;
and not only did she openly assert that the new Dimitri was her
husband, but she embraced him publicly, and actually lived with him as
his wife.

At the time that this impostor appeared, Sigismund declared war
against Russia, and his marshal Tolkiewski succeeded in inflicting a
terrible defeat on Schnisky. Moscow yielded before the victorious
Poles; and in despair Schnisky renounced the crown and retired into a
monastery. But no sooner was the diadem vacant than a host of false
Dimitris appeared to claim it, and the chief power was tossed from one
party to another during a weary interregnum. At last, in 1609,
Sigismund, who had remained at Smolensko while his marshal advanced
upon Moscow, proclaimed his own son Vladislaf to the vacant
sovereignty, and the pretended Dimitri sank into obscurity. Others,
however, arose; and although some of them perished on the scaffold, it
was not until 1616 that Russia was freed from the last of the
disturbing impostors who attempted to personate princes of the race of
Ivan the Terrible.


In the year 1640, there lived in Constantinople one Giovanni Jacobo
Cesii, a Persian merchant of high repute throughout the Levant. This
man, who was descended from a noble Roman family, was on most intimate
terms with Jumbel Agha, the Sultan's chief eunuch, who sometimes gave
him strange commissions. Among other instructions which the merchant
received from the chief of the imperial harem, was an order to procure
privately the prettiest girl he could find in the slave marts of
Stamboul, where at this time pretty girls were by no means rare.
Jumbel Agha intended this damsel as an adornment for his own
household, and a personal companion for himself, and particularly
specified that to her beauty she should add modesty and virginity.
Cesii executed his orders to the best of his ability, and procured for
the bloated and lascivious Agha a Russian girl called Sciabas, as fair
as a _houri_, and apparently as timid as a fawn. Unfortunately,
notwithstanding her innocent demeanour, it only too soon became
apparent that her virtue was not unimpeachable, and that ere long she
would add yet another member to the household of her new master.
Jumbel Agha, who was at first wroth with his pretty plaything, after
the heat of his passion had passed, consented to forgive her if she
would divulge the name of the father of her expected offspring; but
the fair one, although frail, was firm, and despising alike threats
and cajoleries, declined to give any hint as to its paternity.
Thereupon her master handed her over to his major-domo to be re-sold
for the best price she would fetch; but before she could be disposed
of she was brought to bed of a goodly boy.

Some time after the child was born, the Agha, moved either by
curiosity or compassion, expressed a strong desire to see it, and when
it was brought into his presence, was so captivated by its appearance,
that he loaded it with gifts, and gave orders that it should be
sumptuously apparelled, and should remain with its mother in the house
of the major-domo until he had decided as to its future fate. Just
about this time the Grand Sultana had presented her Lord Ibrahim with
a baby boy; and proving extremely weak after her delivery, it was
found necessary to procure a wet-nurse for the heir to the sword and
dominions of Othman. No better opportunity could have offered for
Jumbel Agha. He at once introduced his disgraced slave and her "pretty
by-blow" to his imperial mistress, who accepted the services of the
mother without hesitation. For two years mother and child had their
home in the grizzled old palace on Seraglio Point, until at last the
Sultan began to display such a decided preference for the nurse's boy,
that the jealousy of the Sultana was aroused, and she banished the
offenders from her sight. Her anger was also excited against the
unfortunate Agha, who had been the means of introducing them into the
harem, and she set herself to plot his ruin. Her dusky servitor was,
however, sufficiently shrewd to perceive his danger, and begged
Ibrahim's permission to resign his office, in order to undertake the
pilgrimage to Mecca. At first his request was refused; for Jumbel Agha
was a favourite slave, and whoever obtains leave to go the holy
pilgrimage is _ipso facto_ made free. But the chief eunuch having
agreed to go as a slave, and to return to his post when he had
performed his devotions, Ibrahim permitted him to set out.

A little fleet of eight vessels was ready to sail for Alexandria, and
one of these was appropriated to Jumbel Agha and his household,
amongst whom was his beautiful slave and her little son. After
drifting about for some time in the inconstant breezes off the Syrian
coast, they fell in with six galleys, which they at first supposed to
be friendly ships of the Turkish fleet, but which ultimately proved
Maltese cruisers, and showed fight. The Agha made a valiant
resistance, and fell in the struggle, as did also Sciabas, the fair
Russian--the cause of his journey and his misfortunes. The baby,
however, was preserved alive; and when the Maltese boarded their
prize, they were attracted by the gorgeously dressed child, and
inquired to whom it belonged. The answer, given either in fear or in
the hope of obtaining better treatment, was that he was the son of
Sultan Ibrahim, and was on his way to Mecca, under the charge of the
chief eunuch, to be circumcised. The captors, greatly exhilarated by
the intelligence, at once made all sail for Malta, and there the
glorious news was accepted without question. For a time the knights
were so elated that they seriously began to consult together as to the
possibility of exchanging the supposed Ottoman prince for the Island
of Rhodes, which had slipped from their enfeebled grasp. The Grand
Master of the Order and the Grand Croci had no doubt as to the
genuineness of their captive, and wrote letters to Constantinople
informing the Sultan where he might find his heir and his chief
spouse, if he chose to comply with the Frankish conditions. It is
true that Sciabas was dead, but the worthy knights had recourse to
subterfuge in dealing with the infidel, and had dressed up another
slave to represent her. Portraits also were taken of the reputed
mother and child, and were sent with descriptive letters to the
European courts. The French and Italians eagerly purchased these
representations of the beloved of the Grand Turk; but that mysterious
being himself preserved an ominous silence. Even the knights of Malta,
who hated him as a Mohammedan, nevertheless supposed that the Ottoman
ruler was human, and when he made no effort to recover his lost ones,
began to have some doubt as to the identity of the child of whom they
made so much. In their dilemma they despatched a secret messenger to
Constantinople, who contrived to ingratiate himself at the seraglio,
and lost no opportunity of inquiring whether any of the imperial
children were missing, and whether it were true that the Sultana had
been captured by the Maltese some years before. Of course his
researches were fruitless, and in 1650 he wrote to his employers
assuring them that they had all the while been on a false scent. It
was deemed best to let the imposture die slowly. Little by little the
knights forbore to boast of their illustrious hostage; by degrees they
lessened the ceremonials with which he had been treated, and at last
neglected him altogether. He was made a Dominican friar; and the only
mark of his supposed estate was the name Padre Ottomano, which was
conferred upon him more in scorn than reverence, and which he
continued to bear till the day of his death.


In the miscellaneous writings of John Evelyn, the diary-writer, there
is an account of this extraordinary impostor, whose narration of his
own adventures outshines that of Munchausen, and whose experiences,
according to his own showing, were more remarkable than those of
Gulliver. In 1668 this marvellous personage published a book entitled
the "History of Mohammed Bey; or, John Michel de Cigala, Prince of the
Imperial Blood of the Ottomans." This work he dedicated to the French
king, who was disposed to favour his pretensions.

In this remarkable book the pretender sums up the antiquity of the
family of Cigala, entitling it to most of the crowns of Europe, and
makes himself out to be the descendant of Scipio, son of the famous
Viscount de Cigala, who was taken prisoner by the Turks in 1651. He
pretends that Scipio, after his capture, was persuaded to renounce
Christianity, and, having become a renegade, was advanced to various
high offices at the Porte by Sultan Solyman the Magnificent. Under the
name of Sinam Pasha, he asserts that his father became first general
of the Janizaries, then seraskier, or commander-in-chief of the whole
Turkish forces, and was finally created Grand Vizier of the empire. He
also maintains that various illustrious ladies were bestowed as wives
upon the new favourite; and among others the daughter of Sultan
Achonet, who gave himself birth. According to his own story he was
educated by the Moslem _muftis_ in all the lore of the Koran, and by a
series of strange accidents was advanced to the governorship of
Palestine. Here, in consequence of a marvellous dream, he was
converted, and was turned from his original purpose of despoiling the
Holy Sepulchre of its beautiful silver lamps and other treasures. His
Christianity was not, however, of that perfervid kind which demands an
open avowal; and, continuing to outward appearance a Mussulman,
he was promoted to the governorship of Cyprus and the islands. In
this post he used his power for the benefit of the distressed
Christians--redressing their wrongs, and delivering such of them as
had fallen into slavery. From Cyprus, after two years made brilliant
by notable exploits (which no man ever heard of but himself), he was
constituted Viceroy of Babylon, Caramania, Magnesia, and other ample
territories. At Iconium another miracle was performed for his
benefit; and thus specially favoured of heaven, he determined openly
to declare his conversion. At this important crisis, however, his
father-confessor died, and all his good resolutions seem to have been
abandoned. He repaired to Constantinople once more (still preserving
the outward semblance of a true believer, and ever obedient to the
muezzin's call), and was created Viceroy of Trebizonde and
Generalissimo of the Black Sea. Before setting out for his new home on
the shores of the Euxine, he had despatched a confidant named Chamonsi
to Trebizonde in charge of all his jewels and valuables, and his
intention was to seize the first opportunity of throwing off the yoke
of the Grand Signior, and declaring himself a Christian. But Chamonsi
proved faithless; and instead of repairing to the place of tryst,
plotted with the Governor of Moldavia to seize his master. Mohammed
Bey fell into the trap which they had prepared for him, but succeeded
in making his escape, although grievously wounded, after a wonderful
fight, in which he killed all his opponents. In his flight he met a
shepherd who exchanged clothes with him, and in disguise and barefoot
he contrived to reach the head-quarters of the Cossacks, who were at
the time in arms against Russia.

In the Cossack camp there were three soldiers whom the _quondam_
Ottoman general had released from captivity, and they, at once
penetrating the flimsy disguise of the stranger, revealed him to their
own commander in his true character. At first he was well treated by
the Cossack chief, who was anxious that the honour of his baptism
should appertain to the Eastern Greek Church; but our prince,
designing from the beginning to make his solemn profession at Rome,
and to receive that sacrament from the Pope's own hands, was neglected
upon making his resolve known. He, therefore, stole away from the
Cossacks, and, guided by a Jew, succeeded in reaching Poland, where
the queen, hearing the report of his approach, and knowing his high
rank, received him with infinite respect and at last persuaded him to
condescend to be baptized at Warsaw by the archbishop, she herself
standing sponsor at the font, and bestowing upon him the name of John.

After his baptism and subsequent confirmation, this somewhat singular
Christian set out on a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of
Loretto, and afterwards proceeded to Rome, where he was received with
open arms by Alexander VII. On his return journey through Germany he
found that the emperor was at war with the Turks; and, without
hesitation, espoused the Christian cause against the circumcised
heathen, slaying the Turkish general with his own hand, and performing
other stupendous exploits, of which he gives a detailed narration.

As a reward for his services the German emperor created him "Captain
Guardian" of his artillery, and would have loaded him with further
honours, but a roving spirit was upon him, and he started for Sicily
to visit his noble friends who were resident in that island. On his
route he was everywhere received with the utmost respect by the
Princes of Germany and Italy; and when he arrived in Sicily, not only
did Don Pedro d'Arragon house him in his own palace, but the whole
city of Messina turned out to meet him, acknowledging his high
position as a member of the noble house of Cigala, from which it seems
the island had received many great benefits. Leaving Sicily he next
came to Rome, into which he made a public entry, and was warmly
received by Clement IX., before whom, in bravado, he drew and
flourished his dreadful scimitar in token of his defiance of the
enemies of the Church. At last, after touching at Venice and Turin, he
arrived in Paris, where he was received by the king according to his
high quality, and where he published the extraordinary narrative from
which we have taken the above statements, and which honest John
Evelyn, who was roused by his appearance in England, sets himself to

Right willingly does Evelyn devote himself to the task of stripping
the borrowed feathers from this fine jackdaw. After inaugurating his
work by quoting the Horatian sneer, "_Spectatum admissi risum
teneatis, amici_?" he at once plunges _in medias res_, and not mincing
his language, says:--"This impudent vagabond is a native of Wallachia,
born of Christian parents in the city of Trogovisti;" and throughout
his exposure employs phrases which are decidedly more forcible than
polite. From Evelyn's revelation it appears that the family of the
pretended Cigala were at one time well-to-do, and ranked high in the
esteem of Prince Mathias of Moldavia, but that this youth was a black
sheep in the flock from the very beginning. After the death of his
father he had a fair chance of distinguishing himself, for the
Moldavian prince took him into his service, and sent him to join his
minister at Constantinople. Here he might have risen to some eminence;
but he was too closely watched to render his life agreeable, and after
a brief sojourn in the Turkish capital returned to his native land.
Here he became intimately acquainted with a married priest of the
Greek Church, and made love to his wife; but the woman, the better to
conceal the familiarity which existed between herself and the young
courtier, led her husband to believe that he had an affection for her
daughter, of which she approved. The simple ecclesiastic credited the
story; until it became apparent that the stranger's practical fondness
extended to the mother as well as the daughter, and that he had taken
advantage of the hospitality which was extended to him to debauch all
the priest's womankind. A complaint was laid before Prince Mathias,
who would have executed him if he had not fled to the shores of the
Golden Horn. He remained in Constantinople until the death of the
Moldavian ruler, when he impudently returned to Wallachia, thinking
that his former misdemeanours had been forgotten, and hoping to be
advanced to some prominent post during the general disarrangement of
affairs. His identity was, however, discovered; his old crimes were
brought against him; and he only escaped the executioner's sword by
flight. For the third time Constantinople became his home, and on this
occasion he embraced the Moslem faith, hoping to secure his
advancement thereby. The Turks, however, viewed the renegade with
suspicion, and treated him with neglect. Therefore, driven by
starvation, he ranged from place to place about Christendom, and in
countries where he was utterly unknown concocted and published the
specious story of his being so nearly related to the Sultan, and
succeeded in deceiving many. Of his ultimate fate nothing is known.


In the beginning of the year 1748, a small French merchantman, which
was bound from Rochelle to Martinique, was so closely chased by the
British cruisers that the captain and crew were compelled to take to
their boat. By so doing they avoided the fate of the ship and cargo,
which fell a prey to the pursuers, and succeeded in effecting a safe
landing at Martinique. In their company was a solitary passenger--a
youth of eighteen or nineteen summers, whose dignified deportment and
finely-cut features betokened him of aristocratic lineage. His name,
as given by himself, was the Count de Tarnaud, and his father,
according to his own showing, was a field-marshal in the French
service; but the deference with which he was treated by his shipmates
seemed to suggest that his descent was even more illustrious, and his
dignity loftier than that to which he laid claim. He was unattended,
save by a sailor lad to whom he had become attached after his
embarkation. This youth, called Rhodez, treated him with the utmost
deference, and, while on an intermediate footing between friendship
and servitude, was careful never to display the slightest familiarity.

This strangely assorted couple had no sooner landed upon the island
than the _pseudo_ De Tarnaud asked to be directed to the house of one
of the leading inhabitants, and was referred to Duval Ferrol, an
officer, whose residence was situated near the spot at which he had
come on shore. This gentleman, attracted by the appearance of the
youth, and sympathising with his misfortunes, at once offered him a
home, and De Tarnaud and Rhodez took up their abode at the _maison_
Ferrol. The hospitable advances of its proprietor were received by his
new guest in a kindly spirit, yet more as due than gratuitous; and
this air of superiority, combined with the extreme deference of
Rhodez, aroused curiosity. The captain of the vessel which had brought
the distinguished guest was questioned as to his real name, but
professed himself unable to give any information beyond stating that
the youth had been brought to him at Rochelle by a merchant, who had
privately recommended him to treat him with great attention, as he was
a person of distinction.

Ample scope was, therefore, left for the curiosity and credulity of
the inhabitants of Martinique, who at this time were closely blockaded
by the English, and were sadly in want of some excitement to relieve
the monotony of their lives. Every rumour respecting the stranger was
eagerly caught up and assiduously disseminated by a thousand gossips,
and, as statement after statement and _canard_ after _canard_ got
abroad, he rose higher and higher in popular repute. No one doubted
that he was at least a prince; and why he had elected to come to
Martinique at such an inconvenient season nobody stopped to inquire.

As far as could be made out from the disjointed stories which were
afloat, this mysterious individual had been seen to arrive at Rochelle
some time before the date of his embarkation. He was then accompanied
by an old man, who acted as a sort of mentor. On their arrival they
established themselves in private lodgings, in which the youth
remained secluded, while his aged friend frequented the quays on the
look-out for a ship to convey his companion to his destination. When
one was at last found he embarked, leaving his furniture as a present
to his landlady, and generally giving himself the air of a man of vast
property, although at the time possessed of very slender resources;
and that he really was a person of distinction and wealth the
colonists were prepared to believe. They only awaited the time when
he chose to reveal himself to receive him with acclamations.

After treating him hospitably for some time, Duval Ferrol precipitated
matters by informing his strange guest, that as he did not know
anything of his past life, and was himself only a subaltern, he had
been under the necessity of informing his superior officers of his
presence, and that the king's lieutenant who commanded at Port Maria
desired to see him. The young man immediately complied with this
request, and presented himself to the governor as the Count de
Tarnaud. M. Nadau (for such was the name of this official) had of
course heard the floating rumours, and was resolved to penetrate the
mystery. He therefore received his visitor with _empressement_, and
offered him his hospitality. The offer was accepted, but again rather
as a matter of right than of generosity, and the young count and
Rhodez became inmates of the house of the commandant.

Two days after young Tarnaud's removal to the dwelling of Nadau, the
latter was entertaining some guests, when, just as they were sitting
down to dinner, the count discovered that he had forgotten his
handkerchief, on which Rhodez got up and fetched it. Such an
occurrence would have passed without comment in France; but in
Martinique, where slavery was predominant, and slaves were abundant,
such an act of deference from one white man to another was noted, and
served to strengthen the opinions which had already been formed
respecting the stranger. During the course of the meal also, Nadau
received a letter from his subordinate, Duval Ferrol, to the following
effect:--"You wish for information relative to the French passenger
who lodged with me some days; his signature will furnish more than I
am able to give. I enclose a letter I have just received from him."
This enclosure was merely a courteous and badly-composed expression of
thanks; but it was signed _Est_, and not De Tarnaud. As soon as he
could find a decent excuse, the excited commandant drew aside one of
his more intimate friends, and communicated to him the surprising
discovery which he had made, at the same time urging him to convey
the information to the Marquis d'Eragny, who lived at no great
distance. The marquis had not risen from table when the messenger
arrived, and disclosed to those who were seated with him the news
which he had just received. A reference to an official calendar or
directory showed that _Est_ was a princely name, and the company at
once jumped to the conclusion that the mysterious stranger was no
other than Hercules Renaud d'Est, hereditary Prince of Modena, and
brother of the Duchess de Penthièvre. The truth of this supposition
was apparently capable of easy proof, for one of the company, named
Bois-Fermé, the brother-in-law of the commandant, asserted that he was
personally well acquainted with the prince, and could recognise him
anywhere. Accordingly, after a few bottles of wine had been drunk, the
whole company proceeded uproariously to Radau's, where Bois-Fermé (who
was a notorious liar and braggart) effusively proclaimed the stranger
to be the hereditary Prince of Modena. The disclosure thus
boisterously made seemed to offend, rather than give pleasure to, the
self-styled Count de Tarnaud, who, while not repudiating the title
applied to him, expressed his dissatisfaction at the indiscretion
which had revealed him to the public.

At this time the inhabitants of Martinique were in a very discontented
and unhappy position. Their coast was closely blockaded by the English
fleet, provisions were extremely scarce, and the necessities of the
populace were utilised by unscrupulous officials who amassed riches by
victimising those who had been placed under their authority. The
Marquis de Caylus, governor of the Windward Islands, was one of the
most rapacious of these harpies; and although, perhaps, he was more a
tool in the hands of others than an independent actor, the feeling of
the people was strong against him, and it was hoped that the
newly-arrived prince would supersede him, and redress the grievances
which his maladministration had created. Accordingly Nadau, who
entertained a private spite against De Caylus, lost no time in
representing the infamy of the marquis, and was comforted by the
assurance of his youthful guest, that he would visit those who had
abused the confidence of the king with the severest punishment, and
not only so, but would place himself at the head of the islands to
resist any attempt at invasion by the English.

These loyal and generous intentions, which Nadau did not fail to make
public, increased the general enthusiasm, and rumours of the plot
which was hatching reached Fort St. Pierre, where the Marquis de Caylus
had his head-quarters. He at once sent a mandate to Nadau, ordering the
stranger before him. A message of similar purport was also sent to the
youth himself, addressed to the Count de Tarnaud. Upon receiving it he
turned to the officers who had brought it, saying--"Tell your master
that to the rest of the world I am the Count de Tarnaud, but that to
him I am Hercules Renaud d'Est. If he wishes to see me let him come
half-way. Let him repair to Fort Royal in four or five days. I will be

This bold reply seems to have completely disconcerted De Caylus. He
had already heard of the stranger's striking resemblance to the
Duchess de Penthièvre, and the assumption of this haughty tone to an
officer of his own rank staggered him. He set out for Fort Royal, but
changed his mind on the way, and returned to St. Pierre. The prince, on
the other hand, kept his appointment, and not finding the marquis,
proceeded to Fort St. Pierre, which he entered in triumph, attended by
seventeen or eighteen gentlemen. The governor caught a glimpse of him
as he passed through the streets, and exclaimed "that he was the very
image of his mother and sister," and in a panic quitted the town.
Nothing could have been more fortunate than his flight. The prince
assumed all the airs of royalty, and proceeded to establish a petty
court, appointing state officers to wait upon him. The Marquis
d'Eragny he created his grand equerry; Duval Ferrol and Laurent
'Dufont were his gentlemen-in-waiting; and the faithful Rhodez was
constituted his page. Regular audiences were granted to those who came
to pay their respects to him, or to present memorials or petitions,
and for a time Martinique rejoiced in the new glory which this
illustrious presence shed upon it.

It so happened that the Duc de Penthièvre was the owner of
considerable estates in the colony, which were under the care of a
steward named Lievain. This man, who seems to have been a simple soul,
no sooner heard of the arrival of his master's brother-in-law in the
island than he hastened to offer him not only his respects, but, what
was far better, the use of the cash which he held in trust for the
duke. He was, of course, received with peculiar graciousness, and
immediate advantage was taken of his timely offer. The prince was now
supplied with means adequately to support the royal state which he had
assumed, and the last lingering relics of suspicion were dissipated,
for Lievain was known to be a thoroughly honest and conscientious man,
and one well acquainted with his master's family and affairs, and it
was surmised that he would not thus have committed himself unless he
had had very good grounds for so doing.

On his arrival at St. Pierre the prince had taken up his quarters in
the convent of the Jesuits; and now the Dominican friars, jealous of
the honour conferred upon their rivals, besought a share of his royal
favour, and asked him to become their guest. Nothing loth to gratify
their amiable ambition, the prince changed his residence to their
convent, in which he was entertained most sumptuously. Every day a
table of thirty covers was laid for those whom he chose to invite; he
dined in public--a fanfaronade of trumpets proclaiming his
down-sitting and his up-rising--and the people thronged the
banqueting-hall in such numbers that barriers had to be erected in the
middle of it to keep the obtrusive multitude at a respectful distance.

Meanwhile vessels had left Martinique for France bearing the news of
these strange proceedings to the mother country. The prince had
written to his family, and had entrusted his letters to the captain of
a merchantman who was recommended by Lievain. And the discomfited
governor, the Marquis de Caylus, had forwarded a full account of the
extraordinary affair to his government, and had demanded
instructions. Six months passed away and no replies came. The prince
pretended to be seriously discomposed by this prolonged silence, but
amused himself in the meantime by defying M. de Caylus, by indulging
in the wildest excesses, and by gratifying every absurd or licentious
caprice which entered his head. But at last it became apparent that
letters from France might arrive at any moment; the rainy season was
approaching; the prince was apprehensive for his health; and the
inhabitants had discovered by this time that their visitor was very
costly. Accordingly, when he expressed his intention of returning to
France, nobody opposed or gainsaid it; and, after a pleasant sojourn
of seven months among the planters of Martinique, he embarked on board
the "Raphael," bound for Bordeaux. His household accompanied him, and
under a salute from the guns of the fort he sailed away.

A fortnight later the messenger whom the governor had despatched to
France returned bearing orders to put his so-called highness in
confinement. An answer was also sent to a letter which Lievain had
forwarded to the Duc de Penthièvre, and in it the simple-minded agent
was severely censured for having so easily become the dupe of an
impostor. At the same time he was informed that since his indiscretion
was in part the result of his zeal to serve his master, and since he
had only shared in a general folly, the duc was not disposed to deal
harshly with him, but would retain his services and share the loss
with him. This leniency, and the delay which had taken place, only
served to confirm the inhabitants of Martinique in their previous
belief, and they were more than ever convinced that the real Prince of
Modena had been their guest, although neither his relatives nor the
government were willing to admit that he had been guilty of such an

The "Raphael" in due course arrived at Faro, where her illustrious
passenger was received with a salute by the Portuguese authorities. On
landing, the prince demanded a courier to send to Madrid, to the
chargé d'affaires of the Duke of Modena, and also asked the means of
conveying himself and his retinue to Seville, where he had resolved to
await the return of his messenger. These facilities were obligingly
afforded to him, and he arrived at Seville in safety. His fame had
preceded him, and he was received with the most extravagant
demonstrations of joy by the inhabitants. The susceptible donnas of
the celebrated Spanish city adored this youthful scion of a royal
house; sumptuous entertainments were prepared in his honour, and his
praises were in every mouth. His courier came not, but instead there
arrived an order for his arrest, which was communicated to him by the
governor in person. He seemed much astonished, but resignedly
answered, "I was born a sovereign as well as he: he has no control
over me; but he is master here, and I shall yield to his commands."

His ready acquiescence in his inevitable fate was well thought of; and
while it excited popular sympathy in his favour, rendered even those
who were responsible for his safe-keeping anxious to serve him.
Immediately on his apprehension he was conveyed to a small tower,
which was occupied by a lieutenant and a few invalids, and very little
restraint was placed upon his movements. His retinue were allowed to
visit him, and every possible concession was made to his assumed rank.
But he was far from content, and succeeded by a scheme in reaching the
sanctuary of the Dominican convent. From this haven of refuge he could
not legally be removed by force; but on the urgent representations of
the authorities the Archbishop of Seville sanctioned his transfer, if
it could be accomplished without bloodshed. A guard was despatched to
remove him. No sooner, however, had the officer charged with the duty
entered his apartment than the prince seized his sword, and protested
that he would kill the first man that laid a finger upon him. The
guard surrounded him with their bayonets, but he defended himself so
valiantly that it became evident that he could not be captured without
infringing the conditions laid down by the archbishop, and the
soldiers were compelled to withdraw. Meanwhile news of what had been
going on reached the populace, a crowd gathered, and popular feeling
ran so high that the discomfited emissaries of the law reached their
quarters with difficulty. This disturbance made the government more
determined than ever to bring the affair to an issue. Negotiations
were renewed with the Dominicans, who were now anxious to deliver up
their guest, but his suspicions were aroused, and his capture had
become no easy matter. He always went armed, slept at night with a
brace of pistols under his pillow, and even at meal times placed one
on either side of his plate. At last craft prevailed--a young monk,
who had been detailed to wait upon him at dinner, succeeded in
betraying him into an immoderate fit of laughter, and before he could
recover himself, pinioned him and handed him over to the alguazils,
who were in waiting in the next apartment. He was hurried to gaol,
loaded with chains, and cast into a dungeon. After twenty-four hours'
incarceration he was summoned for examination, but steadily refused to
answer the questions of his judges. He was not, however, remitted to
his former loathsome place of confinement, as might have been expected
from his obstinacy, but was conveyed to the best apartment in the
prison. His retinue were meanwhile examined relative to his supposed
design of withdrawing Martinique from its allegiance to France. The
result of these inquiries remained secret, but, without further trial,
the prince was condemned to the galleys, or to labour in the king's
fortifications in Africa, and his attendants were banished from the
Spanish dominions.

In due time he was despatched to Cadiz to join the convict gangs
sentenced to enforced labour at Ceuta. The whole garrison of Seville
was kept under arms on the morning of his departure, to suppress any
popular commotion, and resist any possible attempt at rescue. On his
arrival at Cadiz he was conducted to Fort la Caragna, and handed over
to the commandant, a sturdy Frenchman named Devau, who was told that
he must treat the prisoner politely, but would be held answerable for
his safe-keeping. Devau read these orders, and replied, "When I am
made responsible for the safe custody of anybody, I know but one way
of treating him, and that is to put him in irons." So the _pseudo_
prince was ironed, until the convoy was ready to escort the prisoners
to Ceuta. On the voyage the pretender was treated differently from the
other galley-slaves, and on reaching his destination was placed under
little restraint. He had full liberty to write to his friends, and
availed himself of this permission to send a letter to Nadau, who had
been ordered home to France to give an account of his conduct. In this
document he mentioned the courtesy with which he was treated, and
begged the Port Maria governor to accept a handsome pair of pistols
which he sent as a souvenir. To Lievin, the Duc de Penthièvre's agent,
he also wrote, lamenting the losses which he had sustained, and
promising to make them good at a future time. His prison, however, had
not sufficient charms to retain his presence. He took the first
opportunity of escaping, and having smuggled himself on board an
English ship, arrived in the Bay of Gibraltar. The captain informed
the governor of the fort that he had on board his ship the person who
claimed to be the Prince of Modena, and that he demanded permission to
land. A threat of immediate apprehension was sufficient to deter the
refugee from again tempting the Spanish authorities: he remained on
board; and the ship sailed on her voyage, carrying with her the
prince, who was seen no more.


On the 1st of August 1773, a horseman, who was approaching the town of
Peronne in France, discovered by the wayside a boy, apparently about
eleven years of age, clad in rags, evidently suffering from want, and
uttering piercing cries. Stirred with pity for this unfortunate
object, the traveller dismounted, and, finding his efforts to comfort
his new acquaintance, or to discover the cause of his sorrow,
unavailing, persuaded him to accompany him to the town, where his
immediate necessities were attended to. The boy ate ravenously of the
food which was set before him, but continued to preserve the strictest
silence, and, at length, it was discovered that he was deaf and dumb.
A charitable woman, moved by his misfortunes, gave him a temporary
home, and at the end of a few weeks he was transferred to the
Bicêtre--then an hospital for foundlings--through the intervention of
M. de Sartine, the well-known minister of police. Here his conduct was
remarkable. From the first day of his entrance he shrank from
association with the other inmates, who were for the most part boys
belonging to the lower orders, and by so doing earned their ill-will,
and brought upon himself their persecution. Indeed, so uncomfortable
did his new home prove through the malignity of his fellow-pensioners,
that the health of the poor waif gave way, and it was found necessary
to remove him to the Hôtel Dieu of Paris. Here he was noticed by the
Abbé de l'Epée, who was attracted by his quiet and aristocratic
manners and gentle demeanour, and who at the same time considered
that, by reason of his intelligence, he was likely to prove an apt
pupil in acquiring the manual alphabet which the worthy ecclesiastic
had invented. Accordingly, the Abbé removed him to his own house, and
in a few months had rendered him able to give some account of himself
by signs. His story was that he had a distinct recollection of living
with his father and mother and sister, in a splendid mansion, situated
in spacious grounds, and that he was accustomed to ride on horseback
and in a carriage. He described his father as a tall man and a
soldier, and stated that his face was seamed by scars received in
battle. He gave a circumstantial account of his father's death, and
said that he, as well as his mother and sister, were mourning for him.
After his father's funeral he asserted that he was taken from home by
a man whom he did not know, and that when he had been carried come
distance he was deserted by his conductor and left in the wood, in
which he wandered for some days, until he reached the highway, where
he was discovered by the passing traveller, as above narrated.

When this tale was made public, it naturally created great excitement,
and people set themselves to discover the identity of this foundling,
whom the Abbé de l'Epée had named Joseph. The Abbé himself was never
tired of conjecturing the possible history of his protégé, or of
communicating his conjectures to his friends. At length, in the year
1777, a lady, who had heard the boy's story, suggested a solution of
the mystery. She mentioned that in the autumn of 1773, a deaf and dumb
boy, the only son and heir of Count Solar, and head of the ancient and
celebrated house of Solar, had left Toulouse, where his father and
mother then dwelt, and had not returned. It had been given out that he
had died, but she suggested that the account of his death was false,
and that Joseph was the young Count Solar. Inquiries were instituted,
and showed that the hypothesis was at least tenable. The family of
Count Solar had consisted of his wife and a son and daughter. The son
was deaf and dumb, and was twelve years old at his father's death,
which occurred in 1773. After the decease of the old count, the boy
was sent by his mother to Bagnères de Bigorre, under the care of a
young lawyer, named Cazeaux, who came back to Toulouse early in the
following year, with the story that the heir had died of small-pox.
The mother died in 1775.

The Abbé de l'Epée, astounded by the striking similarity between the
facts and Joseph's account of himself, at once came to the conclusion
that Providence had chosen him as the instrument for righting a great
wrong, and set himself to supply the missing links in the chain of
evidence, and to restore his ward to what he doubted not was his
rightful inheritance. He maintained that young Solar's mother, either
wearied with the care of a child who was deprived of speech and
hearing, or to secure his estates for herself or her daughter, had
given her son to Cazeaux to be exposed, and that that ruffian had made
tolerably certain of his work, by carrying the lad 600 miles from
home, to the vicinity of Peronne, and there abandoning him in a dense
wood, from which the chances were he would never be able to extricate
himself, but in the mazes of which he would wander till he died. God
alone, the Abbé declared, guided the helpless and hungry lad within
the reach of human assistance, and sent the traveller to rescue him,
opened the woman's heart to give him shelter, and brought him to
Paris, so that he might be instructed and enabled to tell his doleful

Fired by enthusiasm, the Abbé succeeded in engaging the co-operation
of persons of the highest eminence. The Duc de Penthièvre, a prince of
the blood, espoused the cause of the wronged noble, and provided for
his support as became his supposed rank. From the same princely
source, also, funds were forthcoming to obtain legal redress for his
hardships, and to prosecute his claims before the courts. Proceedings
were instituted against Cazeaux, who was still alive, and a formal
demand was made for the reinstatement of the foundling of Peronne in
the hereditary honours of Solar. The boy was taken to Clermont, his
reputed birthplace, at which he was said to have passed the first four
years of his life in the company of his mother. It could scarcely be
supposed that those who knew the young heir, aged four, would be able
to trace much similarity to him in the claimant of seventeen. But
there was far more recognition than might have been anticipated.
Madame de Solar's father fancied that Joseph resembled his grandson,
and he was the more thoroughly convinced of his identity, because he
felt an affection for the youth which he believed to be instinctive.
The brother of the countess was convinced that Joseph was his nephew,
because he had the large knees and round shoulders of the deceased
count. The mistress of the dame-school at Clermont recognised in the
Abbé's protégé her former pupil. Several witnesses also, who could not
be positive as to the identity of the two persons, remembered that the
youthful count had a peculiar lentil-shaped mole on his back, and a
similar mole was found on the back of the claimant. As it afterwards
proved, Joseph was not completely deaf, but was shrewd enough to
conceal the fact. Consequently he succeeded in acquiring a good deal
of useful information with respect to the Solar family, and
re-produced it as the result of his own recollection when the proper
time came.

On the other hand, the evidence against his pretensions was very
strong. Many persons in Toulouse who had been intimately acquainted
with the youthful count declared that Joseph bore no resemblance to
him; and the young countess repudiated him most emphatically,
asserting that he was not her brother, and he failed to recognise her
as his sister. However, he persevered in asserting his rights, and
claimed before the Cour du Châtelet, in Paris, the name and honours of
Count Solar; and orders were given by the court for the arrest of
Cazeaux as his abductor and exposer. The unfortunate lawyer was seized
and hurried to the Miséricorde, a loathsome dungeon below the Hotel de
Ville, at Toulouse. Next day, heavily ironed, he was thrown into a
cart, and thus set out on a journey of 500 miles to Paris. While the
cart was in motion he was chained to it; when they halted he was
chained to the inn table; at night he was chained to his bed. At
length, after seventeen wearisome days, the capital was reached, and
the prisoner was taken from his cart and cast into the vaults of the
Châtelet. After considerable and unnecessary delay, the supposed
abductor was brought to trial; and not only were the charges against
him easily disproved, but the whole of the Abbé's grand hypothesis was
destroyed beyond reconstruction. A host of witnesses came forward to
testify that the young count did not leave Toulouse under the
guardianship of Cazeaux, until the 4th of September 1773, whereas
Joseph was found at Peronne on the 1st of August. Moreover, the
contemporary history of the two youths was clearly traced, it being
shown that in November 1773, the Count Solar was at Bagnères de
Bigorre while Joseph was an inmate of the Bicêtre; and finally it was
conclusively proved that on the 28th of January 1774, the real Count
Solar died at Charlas, near Bagnères, of small-pox, having outlived
his father about a year.

The acquittal of Cazeaux followed as a matter of course, and he was
dismissed from the bar of the Châtelet with unblemished reputation,
but broken in health and ruined in fortune. Happily for him, a M.
Avril, a rich judge of the Châtelet, who had been active against him
during his trial, repented of the evil he had done him, sought his
acquaintance, and bequeathed him a large fortune. Thus raised to
wealth, and aided by the revolution, which levelled all social
distinctions, he aspired to the hand of the widowed Countess Solar who
had lost her estates. Success crowned his suit, and his former
patroness became his wife. After their marriage the pair settled on an
estate a few leagues from Paris, where Cazeaux died in 1831 and his
wife in 1835. Joseph, who was undoubtedly the son of a gentleman, soon
ceased to interest the public, and, his pretensions having failed,
retired into comparative obscurity, accepting service in the army, and
meeting an untimely death early in the revolutionary war.


In 1808, George Lindsay Crawfurd, twenty-second Earl of Crawfurd and
sixth Earl of Lindsay, died without issue, and his vast estates
descended to his sister, Lady Mary Crawfurd. After the death of the
earl various claims were advanced to the peerage, one of them being
preferred by a person of the name of John Crawfurd, who came from
Dungannon, in the north of Ireland. When this claimant arrived at Ayr,
in January 1809, he gave himself out as a descendant of the Hon. James
Lindsay Crawfurd, a younger son of the family, who had taken refuge in
Ireland from the persecutions of 1666-1680. At first he took up his
abode at the inn of James Anderson, and from his host and a weaver
named Wood he received a considerable amount of information respecting
the family history. From Ayr he proceeded to visit Kilbirnie Castle,
once the residence of the great knightly family of Crawfurd. The house
had been destroyed by fire during the lifetime of Lady Mary's
grandfather, and had not been rebuilt--the family taking up their
residence on their Fifeshire estates. At the time of the fire,
however, many family papers and letters had been saved, and had been
stored away in an old cabinet, which was placed in an out-house. To
these Mr. Crawfurd obtained access, and found among them many letters
written by James Lindsay Crawfurd, whose descendant he pretended to
be. He appropriated them and produced them when the fitting time came.
At Kilbirnie he also introduced himself to John Montgomerie of
Ladeside, a man well acquainted with the family story and all the
vicissitudes of the Crawfurds, and one who was disposed to believe any
plausible tale. The farmer, crediting the pretender's story, spread it
abroad among the villagers, and they in turn fell into ecstacies over
the idea of a poor man like themselves arriving at an earldom,
rebuilding the ancient house of Kilbirnie, and restoring the old
glories of the place. Their enthusiasm was turned to good account. The
claimant was very poor, and stood in need of money to prosecute his
claim, and he made no secret of his poverty or his necessities, and
promised large returns to those who would help him in his time of
need. "Farms," we are told, "were to be given on long leases at
moderate rents; one was to be factor, another chamberlain, and many
were to be converted from being hewers of wood and drawers of water to
what they esteemed the less laborious, and therefore more honourable,
posts of butlers and bakers, and body servants of all descriptions."
These cheering prospects, of course, depended upon the immediate faith
which was displayed, and the amount of assistance which was at once
forthcoming. Therefore, each hopeful believer exerted himself to the
utmost, and "poor peasants and farmers, cottagers and their masters,
threw their stakes into the claimant's lucky-bag, from which they were
afterwards to draw 'all prizes and no blanks.'" Men of loftier
position, also, were not averse to speculate upon the chances of this
newly-discovered heir. Poor John Montgomerie gave him every penny he
had saved, and every penny he could borrow, and after mortgaging his
little property, was obliged to flee to America from his duns, where,
it is said, he died. His son Peter, who succeeded to Ladeside, also
listened to the seductive voice of the claimant, until ruin came upon
him, and he was compelled to compound with his creditors.

In due time the pretender to the Crawford peerage instituted judicial
proceedings. His advocates brought forward some very feasible parole
evidence; but they mainly rested their case upon the documents which
had been discovered in the old cabinet at Kilbirnie. These letters,
when they were originally discovered, had been written on the first
and third pages; but in the interim the second pages had been filled
up in an exact imitation of the old hand with matter skilfully
contrived to support the pretensions of the new-comer. In these
interpolations the dead Crawfurd was made to describe his position and
circumstances in Ireland, his marriage, the births of his children,
and his necessities, in a manner which could leave no doubt as to the
rightful claims of the pretender. Unfortunately for his cause, he
refused to pay his accomplices the exorbitant price which they
demanded, and they, without hesitation, made offers to Lady Mary, into
the hands of whose agents they confided the forged and vitiated
letters. The result was that a charge of forgery was brought against
the claimant, and he and his chief abettor, James Bradley, were both
brought to trial before the High Court of Justiciary, in February
1812, and were sentenced to fourteen years' transportation. This
result was obtained by the acceptance of the evidence of Fanning, one
of the forgers, as king's evidence. While under sentence the claimant
wrote a sketch of his life, which was printed at Dairy, in Ayrshire,
and was published before the sentence was carried into execution.
After some delay the sham earl was shipped off to Botany Bay, and
arrived in New South Wales in 1813. Many persons in Scotland continued
under the belief that he had been harshly treated, and had fallen a
victim to the perjured statements of witnesses who were suborned by
Lady Mary Crawfurd. It was not disputed that the documents which had
been put in evidence really were forged; but it was suggested that the
forgery had been accomplished without his knowledge, in order to
accomplish his ruin. Public feeling was aroused in his favour, and he
was regarded not only as an innocent and injured man, but as the
rightful heir of the great family whose honours and estates he sought.

During his servitude in Australia, John Lindsay Crawfurd contrived to
ingratiate himself with MacQuarrie, the governor of New South Wales,
and got part of his punishment remitted, returning to England in 1820.
He immediately recommenced proceedings for the recovery of the
Crawfurd honours; and, as his unexpected return seemed to imply that
he had been unjustly transported, his friends took encouragement from
this circumstance, and again came forward with subscriptions and
advances. Many noblemen and gentlemen, believing him to be injured,
contributed liberally to his support and to the cost of the
proceedings which he had begun. At last the case came,--and came under
the best guidance--before the Lords Committee of Privileges, to which
it had been referred by the king. Lord Brougham was counsel in the
cause, and he publicly expressed his opinion that it was extremely
well-founded. Many of the claimant's adherents, however, were deterred
from proceeding further in the matter by the unfavourable report of
two trustworthy commissioners who had been appointed to investigate
the affair in Scotland. On the other hand, Mr. Nugent Bell, Mr. William
Kaye, and Sir Frederick Pollock, with a host of eminent legal
authorities, predicted certain success. Thus supported, the pretender
assumed the _rôle_ of Earl of Crawfurd, and actually voted as earl at
an election of Scotch peers at Holyrood. Unfortunately for all
parties, the claimant died before a decision could be given either for
or against him. His son, however, inheriting the father's pretensions,
and also apparently his faculty for raising money, contrived to find
supporters, and carried on the case. Maintaining his father's
truthfulness, he declared that his ancestor, the Hon. James Lindsay
Crawfurd, had settled in Ireland, and that he had died there between
1765 and 1770, leaving a family, of which he was the chief
representative. On the other hand, Lord Glasgow, who had succeeded by
this time to the estates, insisted that the scion of the family who
was supposed to have gone to Ireland, and from whom the pretender
traced his descent, had in reality died in London in 1745, and had
been buried in the churchyard of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields. It was
finally proved that a record remained of the death of James Lindsay
Crawfurd in London, as stated, and 120 genuine letters were produced
in his handwriting bearing a later date than that year. The decision
of the House of Lords was--"That from the facts now before us we are
satisfied that any further inquiry is hopeless and unnecessary." This
opinion was given in 1839, and since that time no further steps have
been taken to advance the claim. Strange to say, Lord Glasgow allowed
the body of the original claimant to be interred in the family
mausoleum; and it has been more than suggested that if John Lindsay
Crawfurd was not the man that he represented himself to be, he was at
least an illegitimate offshoot of the same noble house, and that had
he been less pertinacious in advancing his claims to the earldom, he
might have ended his days more happily.


In 1830 or 1831 a Cornishman, named John Nichols Thom, suddenly left
his home, and made his appearance in Kent as Sir William Courtenay,
knight of Malta. He was a man of tall and commanding appearance, had
ready eloquence, and contrived to persuade many of the Kentish people
that he was entitled to some of the fairest estates in the county, and
that when he inherited his property they should live on it rent free.
This pleasant arrangement agreeing with the views of a large
proportion of the agriculturists, they entertained him hospitably, and
made no secret of their impatience for the arrival of the happy time
of which he spoke. Unfortunately Thom became involved in some
smuggling transaction, and having been found guilty of perjury in
connection with it, was sentenced to six years' transportation. After
his condemnation it was discovered that he was insane, and his
sentence was not carried out, but he was removed from Maidstone gaol
to the county lunatic asylum, where he remained four years. In 1837 he
was released by Lord John Russell, who considered that he was
sufficiently recovered to be delivered up to the care of his friends.
They, however, failed to discharge their duty efficiently; and in
1838, Thom reappeared in Kent, conducting himself more extravagantly
than ever. The farmers and others supplied him with money, and he
moved about the county delivering inflammatory harangues in the towns
and villages--harangues in which he assured his auditors that if they
followed his advice they should have good living and large estates, as
he had great influence at court, and was to sit at her majesty's right
hand on the day of the coronation. He told the poor that they were
oppressed and down-trodden by the laws of the land, and invited them
to place themselves under his command, and he would procure them
redress. Moreover, he assured those whose religious convictions were
disturbed, that he was the Saviour of the world; and in order to
convince them, pointed to certain punctures in his hands, as those
inflicted by the nails of the cross, and to a scar on his side, as the
wound which had discharged blood and water. By these representations
he succeeded in attaching nearly a hundred people to himself.

On the 28th of May he set out at the head of his tatterdemalion band
from the village of Boughton, and proceeded to Fairbrook. Here a pole
was procured, and a flag of white and blue, representing a rampant
lion, was raised as the banner which was to lead them to victory.
From Fairbrook they marched in a kind of triumphal procession round
the neighbouring district, until a farmer of Bossenden, provoked by
having his men seduced from their employment by Thom's oratory, made
an application for his apprehension. A local constable named Mears,
assisted by two others, proceeded to arrest the crazy impostor. After
a brief parley, Thom asked which was the constable; and on being
informed by Mears that he held that position, produced a pistol, and
shot the unoffending representative of the law, afterwards stabbing
him with a dagger. The wounds were almost immediately fatal, and the
body was tossed into a ditch. The remaining constables fled to the
magistrates who had authorised them to make the capture, and reported
the state of affairs. When the intelligence of Mears's death spread
abroad, the general indignation and excitement was very great, and a
messenger was despatched to fetch some soldiers from Canterbury. A
military party soon arrived, but their approach had been heralded to
Thom and his strolling vagrants, who had betaken themselves to the
recesses of Bossenden wood, where the _soi-disant_ Sir William, by his
wild gesticulations and harangues, roused his adherents to a pitch of
desperate fury. To show his own valour, as soon as the soldiers, who
were intended rather to overawe than injure the mob appeared, he
strode out from among his ignorant attendants, and deliberately shot
Lieutenant Bennett of the 45th regiment, who was in advance of his
party. The lieutenant fell dead on the spot. The soldiers, excited by
the murder of their leader, immediately returned the fire, and Thom
was one of the first killed. As he fell, he exclaimed, "I have Jesus
in my heart!" Ten of his adherents shared his fate, and many were
severely wounded. Some of the more prominent among his followers were
subsequently arrested, tried, and found guilty of participating in
Bennett's murder. Two of them were sentenced to transportation for
life; one had ten years' transportation, while six expiated their
offences by a year's imprisonment in the House of Correction.


Arthur Annesley, Viscount Valencia, who founded the families both of
Anglesea and Altham, was one of the staunchest adherents of Charles
II., and had a considerable hand in bringing about his restoration to
the throne. Immediately after that event his efforts were rewarded by
an English peerage--his title being Baron Annesley of Newport-Pagnel,
in the county of Buckingham and Earl of Angelsea. Besides this honour
he obtained the more substantial gift of large tracts of land in
Ireland. The first peer had five sons. James Annesley, the eldest son,
having married the daughter of the Earl of Rutland, and having been
constituted heir of all his father's English real property, and a
great part of his Irish estates, the old earl became desirous of
establishing a second noble family in the sister kingdom, and
succeeded in procuring the elevation of his second son Altham to the
Irish peerage as Baron Altham of Altham, with remainder, on failure of
male issue, to Richard his third son.

Altham, Lord Altham, died without issue, and the title and estates
accordingly devolved upon Richard, who, dying in 1701, left two sons,
named respectively Arthur and Richard. The new peer, in 1706, espoused
Mary Sheffield, a natural daughter of the Duke of Buckingham, against
the wishes of his relatives. He lived with his wife in England for two
or three years, but was at last obliged to flee to Ireland from his
creditors, leaving Lady Altham behind him in the care of his mother
and sisters. These ladies, who cordially hated her, set about ruining
her reputation, and soon induced her weak and dissipated husband to
sue for a divorce, but, as proof was not forthcoming, the case was
dismissed. Thereupon his lordship showed a disposition to become
reconciled to his wife, and she accordingly went over to Dublin in
October 1713; and through the good offices of a friend a
reconciliation was effected, and the re-united couple, after a
temporary residence in Dublin, went to live at Lord Altham's country
seat of Dunmain, in the county of Wexford. Here, in April or May 1715,
Lady Altham bore a son, which was given to a peasant woman, named Joan
Landy, to nurse. At first the young heir was suckled by this woman at
the mansion, and afterwards at the cabin of her father, less than a
mile from Dunmain. In order to make this residence a little more
suitable for the child it was considerably improved externally and
internally, and a coach road was constructed between it and Dunmain
House, so that Lady Altham might be able frequently to visit her son.

Soon after the birth of the child Lord Altham's dissipation and his
debts increased, and he proposed to the Duke of Buckingham that he
should settle a jointure on Lady Altham, and for this purpose the pair
visited Dublin. The effort was unsuccessful, as the estate was found
to be covered by prior securities; and Lord Altham, in a fury, ordered
his wife back to Dunmain, while he remained behind in the Irish
capital. On his return his spite against her seemed to have revived,
and not only did he insult her in his drunken debauches, but contrived
an abominable plot to damage her reputation. Some time in February
1717, a loutish fellow named Palliser, who was intimate at the house,
was called up to Lady Altham's apartment, on the pretence that she
wished to speak to him. Lord Altham and his servants immediately
followed; my lord stormed and swore, and dragged the supposed seducer
into the dining-room, where he cut off part of one of his ears, and
immediately afterwards kicked him out of the house. A separation
ensued, and on the same day Lady Altham went to live at New Ross.

Before leaving her own home she had begged hard to be allowed to take
her child with her, but was sternly refused, and at the same time the
servants were instructed not to carry him near her. The boy therefore
remained at Dunmain under the care of a dry nurse, but,
notwithstanding his father's injunctions, was frequently taken to his
mother by some of the domestics, who pitied her forlorn condition.
When he came to an age to go to school, he was sent to several
well-known seminaries, and was attended by a servant both on his way
to them and from them; "was clothed in scarlet, with a laced hat and
feather;" and was universally recognised as the legitimate son and
heir of Lord Altham.

Towards the end of 1722, Lord Altham--who had by this time picked up a
mistress named Miss Gregory--removed to Dublin, and sent for his son
to join him. He seemed very fond of the boy, and the woman Gregory for
a time pretended to share in this affection, until she conceived the
idea of supplanting him. She easily persuaded her weak-minded lover to
go through the form of marriage with her, under the pretence that his
wife was dead, took the title of Lady Altham, and fancied that some of
her own possible brood might succeed to the title, for the estates
were by this time well-nigh gone. With this purpose in her mind she
used her influence against the boy, and at last got him turned out of
the house and sent to a poor school; but it is, at least, so far
creditable to his father to say, that he did not quite forget him,
that he gave instructions that he should be well treated, and that he
sometimes went to see him.

Lord Altham's creditors, as has been stated, were very clamorous, and
his brother Richard was practically a beggar: they were both sadly in
want of money, and only one way remained to procure it. If the boy
were out of the way, considerable sums might be raised by his lordship
by the sale of reversions, in conjunction with the remainder-man in
tail, who would in that case have been Lord Altham's needy brother
Richard. Consequently the real heir was removed to the house of one
Kavanagh, where he was kept for several months closely confined, and
in the meantime it was industriously given out that he was dead. The
boy, however, found means to escape from his confinement, and,
prowling up and down the streets, made the acquaintance of all the
idle boys in Dublin. Any odd work which came in his way he readily
performed; and although he was a butt for the gamins and an object of
pity to the town's-people, few thought of denying his identity or
disputing his legitimacy. Far from being unknown, he became a
conspicuous character in Dublin; and although, from his roaming
proclivities, it was impossible to do much to help him, the citizens
in the neighbourhood of the college were kindly disposed towards him,
supplied him with food and a little money, and vented their abuse in
unmeasured terms against his father.

In 1727 Lord Altham died in such poverty that it is recorded that he
was buried at the public expense. After his death, his brother Richard
seized all his papers and usurped the title. The real heir then seems
to have been stirred out of his slavish life, and declaimed loudly
against this usurpation of his rights, but his complaints were
unavailing, and, although they provoked a certain clamour, did little
to restore him to his honours. However, they reached his uncle, who
resolved to put him out of the way. The first attempt to seize him
proved a failure, although personally superintended by the uncle
himself; but young Annesley was so frightened by it that he concealed
himself from public observation, and thus gave grounds for a
rumour--which was industriously circulated--that he was dead.
Notwithstanding his caution, however, he was seized in March 1727, and
conveyed on board a ship bound for Newcastle in America, and on his
arrival there was sold as a slave to a planter named Drummond.

The story of his American adventures was originally published in the
_Gentleman's Magazine_, and has since been rehearsed by modern
writers. It seems that Drummond, who was a tyrannical fellow, set his
new slave to fell timber, and finding his strength unequal to the
work, punished him severely. The unaccustomed toil and the brutality
of his master told upon his health, and he began to sink under his
misfortunes, when he found a comforter in an old female slave who had
herself been kidnapped, and who, being a person of some education, not
only endeavoured to console him, but also to instruct him. She
sometimes wrote short pieces of instructive history on bits of paper,
and these she left with him in the field. In order to read them he
often neglected his work, and, as a consequence, incurred Drummond's
increased displeasure, and aggravated his own position. His old friend
died after four years, and after her death, his life having become
intolerable, he resolved to run away. He was then seventeen years of
age, and strong and nimble, and having armed himself with a
hedging-bill, he set out. For three days he wandered in the woods
until he came to a river, and espied a town on its banks. Although
faint from want of food, he was afraid to venture into it until
night-fall, and lay down under a tree to await the course of events.
At dusk he perceived two horsemen approaching--the one having a woman
behind him on a pillion, while the other bore a well-filled
portmanteau. Just as they reached his hiding-place, the former, who
was evidently the second man's master, said to the lady that the place
where they were was an excellent one for taking some refreshment; and
bread and meat and wine having been produced from the saddle-bags, the
three sat down on the ground to enjoy their repast. Annesley, who was
famished, approached closer and closer, until he was discovered by the
servant, who, exclaiming to his master that they were betrayed, rushed
at the new comer with his drawn sword. Annesley, however, succeeded in
convincing them of his innocence, and they not only supplied him with
food, but told him that they were going to Apoquenimink to embark for
Holland, and that, out of pity for his misfortunes, they would procure
him a passage in the same vessel. His hopes were destined to be very
short-lived. The trio re-mounted, and Annesley had followed them for a
short distance painfully on foot, when suddenly horsemen appeared
behind them in chase. There was no time for deliberation. The lady
jumped off and hid herself among the trees. The gentleman and his
servant drew their swords, and Annesley ranged himself beside them
armed with his hedge-bill, determined to help those who had generously
assisted him. The contest was unequal, the fugitives were soon
surrounded, and, with the lady, were bound and carried to Chester

It appeared that the young lady was the daughter of a rich merchant,
and had been compelled to marry a man who was disagreeable to her; and
that, after robbing her husband, she had eloped with a previous lover
who held a social position inferior to her own. All the vindictiveness
of the husband had been aroused; and when the trial took place, the
lady, her lover, and the servant, were condemned to death for the
robbery. James Annesley contrived to prove that he was not connected
with the party, and escaped their fate; but he was remanded to prison,
with orders that he should be exposed to public view every day in the
market-place; and that if it could be proved by any of the frequenters
that he had ever been seen in Chester before, he should be deemed
accessory to the robbery and should suffer death.

He remained in suspense for five weeks, until Drummond chanced to come
to Chester on business, and, recognising the runaway, claimed him as
his property. The consequence was that the two years which remained of
his period of servitude were doubled; and when he arrived at
Newcastle, Drummond's severity and violence greatly increased. A
complaint of his master's ill-usage was made to the justices, and that
worthy was at last obliged to sell him to another; but Annesley gained
little by the change. For three years he continued with his new owner
in quiet toleration of his lot; but having fallen into conversation
with some sailors bound for Europe, the old desire to see Ireland once
more came upon him, and he ventured a second escape. He was recaptured
before he could gain the ship; and under the order of the court, the
solitary year of his bondage which remained was increased into five.
Under this new blow he sank into a settled state of melancholy, and
seemed so likely to die that his new master had pity upon his
condition, began to treat him with less austerity, and recommended him
to the care of his wife, who often took him into the house, and
recommended her daughter Maria to use him with all kindness. The
damsel exceeded her mother's instructions, and straightway fell in
love with the good-looking young slave, often showing her affection in
a manner which could not be mistaken. Nor was she the only one on
whom his appearance made an impression. A young Iroquis Indian girl,
who shared his servitude, made no secret of her attachment to him,
exhibited her love by assisting him in his work, while she assured him
that if he would marry her when his time of bondage was past, she
would work so hard as to save him the expense of two slaves. In vain
Annesley rejected her advances, and tried to explain to her the
hopelessness of her desires. She persistently dogged his footsteps,
and was never happy but in his sight. Her rival Maria, no less eager
to secure his affection, used to stray to the remote fields in which
she knew he worked, and on one occasion encountered the Indian girl,
who was also bent upon visiting him. The hot-blooded Indian then lost
her self-control, and, having violently assaulted her young mistress,
sprang into the river close by, and thus ended her love and her life

Maria, who had been seriously abused, was carried home and put to bed,
and her father naturally demanded some explanation of the
extraordinary quarrel which had cost him a slave and very nearly a
daughter. The other slaves had no hesitation in recounting what they
had seen, or of saying what they thought, and the truth came out.
Annesley's master was, however, resolved to be certain, and sent him
into her room, while he and his wife listened to what passed at the
interview. Their stratagem had the desired success. They heard their
daughter express the most violent passion, which was in no way
returned by their slave. As they could not but acknowledge his
honourable feeling and action, they resolved to take no notice of what
had passed, but for their daughter's sake to give him his liberty.
Next day his master accompanied him to Dover; but instead of releasing
him--as he had promised his wife--sold him to a planter near
Chichester for the remainder of his term.

After various ups and downs, he was transferred to a planter in
Newcastle county, whose house was almost within sight of Drummond's
plantation. While in this employ he discovered that he was tracked by
the brothers of the Indian girl, who had sworn to avenge her untimely
fate, and nearly fell a victim to their rage, having been wounded by
one of them who lay in wait for him. By another accident, while he was
resting under a hedge which divided his master's ground from a
neighbouring plantation, he fell asleep, and did not awake until it
was perfectly dark. He was aroused by the sound of voices, and on
listening found that his mistress and Stephano, a slave on another
farm, were plotting to rob his master, and to flee together to Europe.
Repressing his desire to reveal the whole scheme to his master, he
took the first opportunity of informing his mistress that her infamy
was discovered, and that if she persevered in her design he would be
compelled to reveal all that he had overheard. The woman at first
pretended the utmost repentance, and not only earnestly promised that
she would never repeat her conduct, but by many excessive acts of
kindness led him to believe that her unlawful passion had changed its
object. Finding, however, that she could not prevail upon him either
to wink at her misdeeds or gratify her desires, she endeavoured to get
rid of him by poison; and an attempt having been made upon his life,
Annesley resolved once more to risk an escape, although the time of
his servitude had almost expired.

On this occasion he was successful; and having made his way in a
trading ship to Jamaica, got on board the "Falmouth," one of his
Majesty's ships, and declared himself an Irish nobleman. His arrival,
of course, created a great stir in the fleet, and the affair came to
the ears of Admiral Vernon, who, having satisfied himself that his
pretensions were at least reasonable, ordered him to be well treated,
wrote to the Duke of Newcastle about him, and sent him home to
England. He arrived in October 1741. His uncle Richard had in the
meantime succeeded, through default of issue, to the honours of
Anglesea, as well as those of Altham, and became seriously alarmed at
the presence of this pretender on English soil. At first he asserted
that the claimant, although undoubtedly the son of his deceased
brother, was the bastard child of a kitchen wench. He next tried to
effect a compromise with him, and subsequently endeavoured to procure
his conviction on a charge of murder. It is also said that assassins
were hired to kill him. But it is certainly true that Annesley having
accidentally shot a man near Staines, the Earl of Anglesea spared
neither pains nor money to have him condemned. He was tried at the Old
Bailey, and being acquitted by the jury, proceeded to Ireland to
prosecute his claim to the Altham estates. On his arrival at Dunmain
and New Ross, he was very warmly received by many of the peasantry.
His first attempt to secure redress was by an action at law. An action
for ejectment was brought in the Court of Exchequer in Ireland for a
small estate in the county of Meath, and a bill was at the same time
filed in the Court of Chancery of Great Britain for the recovery of
the English estates.

In Trinity term 1743, when everything was ready for a trial at the
next ensuing assizes, a trial at bar was appointed on the application
of the agents of the Earl of Anglesea. The case began on the 11th of
November 1743, at the bar of the Court of Exchequer in Dublin, being,
as is noted in Howell's _State Trials_, "the longest trial ever known,
lasting fifteen days, and the jury (most of them) gentlemen of the
greatest property in Ireland, and almost all members of parliament." A
verdict was found for the claimant, with 6d. damages and 6d. costs. A
writ of error was at once lodged on the other side, but on appeal the
judgment of the Court below was affirmed. Immediately after the trial
and verdict, the claimant petitioned his Majesty for his seat in the
Houses of Peers of both kingdoms; but delay after delay took place,
and he finally became so impoverished that he could no longer
prosecute his claims.

James Annesley was twice married; but although he had a son by each
marriage, neither of them grew to manhood. He died on the 5th of
January 1760.


The earldom of Huntingdon was granted by King Henry VIII. to George,
Lord Hastings, on the 8th of November 1529. The first peer left five
sons, of whom the eldest succeeded to the title on his father's
decease; but notwithstanding the multiplicity of heirs-male, and the
chances of a prolonged existence, the title lapsed in 1789, on the
death of Francis, the tenth earl, who never was married.

In 1817, there was living at Enniskillen, in Ireland, an ordnance
store-keeper called Captain Hans-Francis Hastings, and this gentleman
there made the acquaintance of a solicitor named Mr. Nugent Bell, who,
like himself, was ardently devoted to field-sports. The friendship
subsisting between the pair was of the closest kind; and it having
been whispered about that the captain had made a sort of side-claim to
the earldom of Huntingdon, Mr. Bell questioned him about the truth of
the rumour. As it turned out, the circumstantial part of the story was
totally false; but it nevertheless was a fact that Captain Hastings
had a faint idea that he had some right to the dormant peerage.
However, as he said himself, he had been sent early to sea, had been
long absent from his native country, and had little really valuable
information as to his family history. He said that his uncle, the Rev.
Theophilus Hastings, rector of Great and Little Leke, had always
endeavoured to impress upon him that he was the undoubted heir to the
title, and that fourteen years previously he had himself so far
entertained the notion as to pay a visit to College of Arms in London,
to learn the proper steps to be taken to establish his claim; but that
when he was told that the cost of the process would be at least three
thousand guineas, he abandoned all notion of legal proceedings, which
were simply impossible because of his scanty resources. Mrs. Hastings,
who was present during the conversation, contributed all that she
knew respecting the whimsical old clergyman who had so carefully
instructed his nephew to consider himself a peer in prospective, and
particularly pointed out that the old gentleman entertained an
irreconcileable hatred of the Marquis of Hastings. It seemed also that
some time after the last earl's death, the Rev. Mr. Hastings had
assumed the title of Earl of Huntingdon, and that a stone pillar had
been erected in front of the parsonage-house at Leke, on which there
was a metal plate bearing a Latin inscription, to the effect that he
was the eleventh Earl of Huntingdon, godson of Theophilus the ninth
earl, and entitled to the earldom by descent.

These reminiscences and suspicions could not have been poured into
more attentive ears. Mr. Bell had long been a student of heraldry, and
saw an opportunity not only of benefiting his friend, but of
signalizing himself. Accordingly he undertook to investigate the
matter, and offered, in the event of failure, to bear the whole of the
attendant expense, simply premising that, if he succeeded, he should
be recouped. On the 1st of July a letter passed between Captain
Hastings and Mr. Bell, which shows the sentiments of both parties. This
is it:--

        "MY DEAR BELL,--I will pay you all costs in case you succeed in
     proving me the legal heir to the Earldom of Huntingdon. If not, the
     risk is your own; and I certainly will not be answerable for any
     expense you may incur in the course of the investigation. But I pledge
     myself to assist you by letters, and whatever information I can
     collect, to the utmost of my power; and remain very sincerely yours,
                                                       F. HASTINGS."
     "Nugent Bell, Esq."

On the back of this letter Captain Hastings wrote:

   "By all that's good, you are mad."

On the 17th of August Mr. Bell sailed for England, and proceeded to
Castle Donnington, where he had a very unsatisfactory interview with a
solicitor named Dalby, who had long been in the employment of the
Hastings family. Bit by bit, however, he picked up information, and
every addition seemed to render the claim of the Enniskillen captain
stronger, until at last Bell drew up a case which met the unqualified
approval of Sir Samuel Romilly, who said, "I do not conceive that it
will be necessary to employ counsel to prepare the petition which is
to be presented to the Prince-Regent. All that it will be requisite to
do is to state that the first earl was created by letters-patent to
him and the heirs-male of his body; and the fact of the death of the
last Earl of Huntingdon having left the petitioner the heir-male of
the body of the first earl, surviving him, together with the manner in
which he makes out his descent; and to pray that his Royal Highness
will be pleased to give directions that a writ of summons should issue
to call him up to the House of Lords." A petition was accordingly
prepared in this sense, and was submitted to the Attorney-General, Sir
Samuel Shepherd, who made the recommendation as suggested. After the
Attorney-General's report had received the approbation of the Lord
Chancellor, the Prince-Regent signed the royal warrant, and Captain
Hastings took his place in the House of Lords as Earl of Huntingdon.


Voldemar II., Marquis and Elector of Brandenburg, actuated by a fit of
devotion, set out from his dominions in 1322 on a pilgrimage to the
Holy Land, leaving his brother John IV. to rule in his absence. He
left no clue as to his intended route; but simply announcing his
purpose of visiting the sacred shrines of Palestine, started on his
journey accompanied by only two esquires. Four-and-twenty days after
his departure his brother John sickened and died--not without
suspicions of foul play--and Louis of Bavaria, then possessing the
empire, presented the electorate to his own eldest son as a vacant
fief of Germany. The change was quietly effected; but in 1345 a man
suddenly appeared as from the dead, proclaiming himself the missing
Voldemar, and demanding the restoration of his rights. He was of about
the same age as the elector would have been, and the story which he
told of captivity among the Saracens was sufficient to account for any
perceptible change in his gait and appearance, and in the colour of
his hair. Those who were interested in opposing his claim stoutly
asserted that he was a miller of Landreslaw, called Rebok, and that he
was a creature of the Duke of Saxony, who coveted the Brandenburgian
possessions, and who, being a relative of the family, had thoroughly
instructed him as to the private life of Voldemar. His plausibility,
and the accuracy of his answers, however, led many persons of
influence to believe that he was no counterfeit. The Emperor Charles
IV. (of Bohemia), the Primate of Germany, the Princes of Anhalt, and
the Dukes of Brunswick, Pomerania, Mecklenburg, and Saxony, all
supported his pretensions; the most of the nobility of the marquisate
acknowledged him to be their prince; and the common people, either
touched with the hardships he was said to have suffered, or wearied of
Bavarian rule, lent him money to acquire his rights and drive out
Louis. All the cities declared for him except Frankfort-on-the-Oder,
Spandau, and Brisac, and war was at once begun. The victory at first
rested with the so-called Voldemar; many of the towns opened their
gates to him; and his rival Louis fled to his estates in the Tyrol,
leaving the electorate to his two brothers--a disposition which was
confirmed by the Emperor Charles IV. in 1350. There are two versions
of the death of Voldemar. Lunclavius asserts that he was finally
captured and burnt alive for his imposture; while De Rocoles maintains
that he died at Dessau in 1354, nine years after his return, and was
buried in the tombs of the Princes of Anhalt. The general impression,
however, is that he was an impostor.


There are few cases in the long list of French _causes célèbres_ more
remarkable than that of the alleged Martin Guerre. This individual,
who was more greatly distinguished by his adventures than by his
virtues, was a Biscayan, and at the very juvenile age of eleven was
married to a girl called Bertrande de Rols. For eight or nine years
Martin and his wife lived together without issue from their marriage,
notwithstanding masses said, consecrated wafers eaten by the wife and
charms employed by the husband to drive away the bewitchment under
which he supposed himself to labour. But in the tenth year after the
marriage a son was born, and was named Sanxi. The father's joy was of
brief duration; for having been guilty of defrauding his own father of
a quantity of corn, he was compelled to abscond to avoid the paternal
rage and the probable consequences of a prosecution. It was at first
intended that he should only stay away until the family difficulty
blew over. But Martin, once gone, was not so easily persuaded to come
back, and eight long years elapsed before his wife saw his face. At
the end of that time he suddenly returned, and was received with open
arms by Bertrande, who was congratulated by her husband's four
sisters, his uncle, and her own relations. The re-united pair lived
together at Artigues for three years in apparent peace and happiness,
and during this period two children were born to them. But suddenly
the wife Bertrande appeared before the magistrates of Rieux, and
lodged a complaint against her husband, praying "that he might be
condemned to make satisfaction to the king for a breach of his laws;
to demand pardon of God, the king, and herself, in his shirt, with a
lighted torch in his hand; declaring that he had falsely, rashly, and
traitorously imposed upon her in assuming the name and passing himself
upon her for Martin Guerre."

The affair created no small stir in the neighbourhood, and the gossips
were driven to their wits' end to explain it. Some asserted that,
either through an old grudge or a recent quarrel, she had adopted this
method of getting quit of her husband, while others maintained that
she was naturally a woman of undecided character and opinions, and
that, as at first she had been easily persuaded that this man was her
husband, she had acted latterly on the suggestions and advice of Peter
Guerre, her husband's uncle, who pretended to have discovered that he
was an impostor, and had recommended her to apply to the authorities.
The accused himself staunchly maintained that the charge was the
result of a conspiracy between his wife and his uncle, and that the
latter had contrived the plot with a view to possess himself of his
effects. That no doubt might remain as to his identity he gave an
outline of his personal history from the time of his flight from home
to the time of his arrest, stating the reasons which induced him to
leave his wife in the first instance, and his adventures during his
absence. He said that for seven or eight years he had served the king
in the wars; that he had then enlisted in the Spanish army; and that,
having returned home, longing to see his wife and children, he had
been welcomed without hesitation by his relations and acquaintances,
and even by Peter Guerre, notwithstanding the alteration which time
and camp-life had made in his appearance. He declared, moreover, that
his uncle had persistently quarrelled with him since his return, that
blows had frequently been exchanged between them, and that thus an
evil _animus_ had been created against him.

In answer to the interrogatories of the judge, he unhesitatingly told
the leading circumstances of his earlier life, mentioning trivial
details, giving prominent dates glibly, and showing the utmost
familiarity with petty as with important matters of family history. As
far as his marriage was concerned, he named the persons who were
present at the nuptials, those who dined with them, their different
dresses, the priest who performed the ceremony, all the little
circumstances that happened that day and the next, and even named the
people who presided at the bedding. And, as if the official
interrogatory were not sufficiently complete, he spoke, of his own
accord, of his son Sanxi, and of the day he was born; of his own
departure, of the persons he met on the road, of the towns he had
passed through in France and Spain, and of people with whom he had
become acquainted in both kingdoms.

Nearly a hundred and fifty witnesses were examined in the cause, and
of these between thirty and forty deposed that the accused really was
Martin Guerre; that they had known him and had spoken to him from his
infancy; that they were perfectly acquainted with his person, manner,
and tone of voice; and that, moreover, they were convinced of his
identity by certain scars and marks on his person.

On the other hand, a greater number of persons asserted as positively
that the man before them was one Arnold du Tilh, of Sagais, and was
commonly called Pansette; while nearly sixty of the witnesses--who had
known both men--declared that there was so strong a resemblance
between these two persons that it was impossible for them to declare
positively whether the accused was Martin Guerre or Arnold du Tilh.

In this dilemma the judge ordered two inquiries--one with regard to
the likeness or unlikeness of Sanxi Guerre to the accused, and the
other as to the resemblance existing between the child and the sisters
of Martin Guerre. It was reported that the boy bore no resemblance to
the prisoner, but that he was very like his father's sisters, and upon
this evidence the judge pronounced the prisoner guilty, and sentenced
him to be beheaded and quartered.

But the public of the neighbourhood not being so easily satisfied as
the criminal judge of Rieux, and unable to comprehend the grounds of
the decision, became clamorous, and an appeal was made on behalf of
the convict to the Parliament of Toulouse. That Assembly ordered the
wife (Bertrande de Rols) and the uncle (Peter Guerre) to be confronted
separately with the man whom they accused of being an impostor, and
when the parties were thus placed face to face, the so-called Arnold
du Tilh maintained a calm demeanour, spoke with an air of assurance
and truth, and answered the questions put to him promptly and
correctly. On the other hand, the confusion of Peter Guerre and
Bertrande de Rols was so great as to create strong suspicions of their
honesty. New witnesses were called, but they only served to complicate
matters; for out of thirty, nine or ten were convinced that the
accused was Martin Guerre, seven or eight were as positive that he was
Arnold du Tilh, and the rest would give no distinct affirmation either
one way or another.

When the testimony came to be analysed, it was seen that forty-five
witnesses, in all, had asserted in the most positive terms that the
man presented to them was not Guerre, but Du Tilh, which they said
they were the better able to do, because they had known both men
intimately, had eaten and drank with them, and conversed with them at
intervals from the days of their common childhood. Most of these
witnesses agreed that Martin Guerre was taller and of a darker
complexion, that he was of slender make and had round shoulders, that
his chin forked and turned up, his lower lip hung down, his nose was
large and flat, and that he had the mark of an ulcer on his face, and
a scar on his right eyebrow, whereas Arnold du Tilh was a short
thickish man who did not stoop, although at the same time similar
marks were on his face.

Among others who were called was the shoemaker who made shoes for the
undisputed Martin Guerre, and he swore that Martin's foot was three
sizes larger than that of the accused. Another declared that Martin
was an expert fencer and wrestler, whereas this man knew little of
manly exercises; and many deponed "that Arnold du Tilh had from his
infancy the most wicked inclinations, and that subsequently he had
been hardened in wickedness, a great pilferer and swearer, a defier of
God, and a blasphemer: consequently in every way capable of the crime
laid to his charge; and that an obstinate persisting to act a false
part was precisely suitable to his character."

But the opinion on the other side was quite as firm. Martin Guerre's
four sisters had no hesitation in declaring that the accused was their
brother, the people who were present at Martin's wedding with
Bertrande de Rols deposed in his favour, and about forty persons in
all agreed that Martin Guerre had two scars on his face, that his left
eye was bloodshot, the nail of his first finger grown in, and that he
had three warts on his right hand, and another on his little finger.
Similar marks were shown by the accused. Evidence was given to show
that a plot was being concocted by Peter Guerre and his sons-in-law to
ruin the new comer, and the Parliament of Toulouse was as yet
undecided as to its sentence, tending rather to acquit the prisoner
than affirm his conviction, when most unexpectedly the real Martin
Guerre appeared on the scene.

He was interrogated by the judges as to the same facts to which the
accused had spoken, but his answers, although true, were neither so
full nor satisfactory as those which the other man had given. When the
two were placed face to face, Arnold du Tilh vehemently denounced the
last arrival as an impostor in the pay of Peter Guerre, and expressed
himself content to be hanged if he did not yet unravel the whole
mystery. Nor did he confine himself to vituperation, but
cross-questioned Martin as to private family circumstances, and only
received hesitating and imperfect answers to his questions. The
commissioners having directed Arnold to withdraw, put several
questions to Martin that were new, and his answers were very full and
satisfactory; then they called for Arnold again, and questioned him as
to the same points, and he answered with the same exactness, "so that
some began to think there was witchcraft in the case."

It was then directed, since two claimants had appeared, that the four
sisters of Martin Guerre, the husbands of two of them, Peter Guerre,
the brothers of Arnold du Tilh, and those who recognised him as the
real man, should be called upon and obliged to fix on the true
Martin. Guerre's eldest sister was first summoned, and she, after a
momentary glance, ran to the new comer and embraced him, crying, as
the report goes, "Oh, my brother Martin Guerre, I acknowledge the
error into which this abominable traitor drew me, and also all the
inhabitants of Artigues." The rest also identified him; and his wife,
who was the last of all, was as demonstrative as the others. "She had
no sooner cast her eyes on Martin Guerre than, bursting into tears,
and trembling like a leaf, she ran to embrace him, and begged his
pardon for suffering herself to be seduced by the artifices of a
wretch. She then pleaded for herself, in the most innocent and artless
manner, that she had been led away by his credulous sisters, who had
owned the impostor; that the strong passion she had for him, and her
ardent desire to see him again, helped on the cheat, in which she was
confirmed by the tokens that traitor had given, and the recital of so
many peculiarities which could be known only to her husband; that as
soon as her eyes were open she wished that the horrors of death might
hide those of her fault, and that she would have laid violent hands on
herself if the fear of God had not withheld her; that not being able
to bear the dreadful thought of having lost her honour and reputation,
she had recourse to vengeance, and put the impostor into the hands of
justice;" and, moreover, that she was as anxious as ever that the
rascal should die.

Martin, however, was not to be moved by her appeals, alleging that "a
wife has more ways of knowing a husband than a father, a mother, and
all his relations put together; nor is it possible she should be
imposed on unless she has an inclination to be deceived;" and even the
persuasions of the commissioners could not move him from his decision.

The doubts being at last dissipated, the accused Arnold du Tilh was
condemned "to make _amende honorable_ in the market-place of Artigues
in his shirt, his head and feet bare, a halter about his neck, and
holding in his hands a lighted waxen torch; to demand pardon of God,
the king, and the justice of the nation, of the said Martin Guerre,
and De Rols, his wife; and this being done, to be delivered into the
hands of the capital executioner, who, after making him pass through
the streets of Artigues with a rope about his neck, at last should
bring him before the house of Martin Guerre, where, on a gallows
expressly set up, he should be hanged, and where his body should
afterwards be burnt." It was further ordered that such property as he
had should be devoted to the maintenance of the child which had been
born to him by Bertrande de Rols.

At the same time, the court had very serious thoughts of punishing
Martin Guerre, because his abandonment of his wife had led to the
mischief, and his desertion of his country's flag seemed to merit
censure. It was, however, finally decided that when he ran away he
"acted rather from levity than malice;" and as he had entered the
Spanish army in a roundabout way, and after considerable persuasion,
that the loss of his leg in that service was sufficient punishment.
The guilt of his wife, Bertrande de Rols, was thought even more
apparent, and that a woman could be deceived in her husband was a
proposition few could digest. Yet, as the woman's life-long character
was good, and it spoke well for her that not only the population of
Artigues, but also the man's four sisters, had shared her delusion, it
was finally determined to discharge her.

Arnold de Tilh, the impostor, was carried back to Artigues for the
execution of his sentence, and there made a full confession. He said
that the crime had been accidentally suggested to his mind; that on
his way home from the camp in Picardy he was constantly mistaken for
Martin Guerre by Martin's friends; that from them he learned many
circumstances respecting the family and the doings of the man himself;
and that, having previously been an intimate and confidential comrade
of Guerre in the army, he was able to maintain his imposture. His
sentence was carried out in all its severity in 1560.


Scipio Le Brun, of Castellane, a Provençal gentleman, and lord of the
manors of Caille and of Rougon, in 1655 married a young lady called
Judith le Gouche. As is common in France, and also in certain parts of
Britain, this local squire was best known by the name of his estates,
and was commonly termed the Sieur de Caille. Both he and his wife
belonged to the strictest sect of the Calvinists, who were by no means
favourites in the country. Their usual residence was at Manosque, a
little village in Provence, and there five children were born to them,
of whom three were sons and two were daughters. The two youngest sons
died at an early age, and Isaac, the eldest, after living to the age
of thirty-two, died also.

When this Isaac, who has just been mentioned, was a lad of fifteen,
his mother died, and in her will constituted him her heir, at the same
time bequeathing legacies to her daughters, and granting the life
interest of all her property to her husband. The King having revoked
the Edict of Nantes in 1685, the Sieur de Caille quitted the kingdom
with his family, which then consisted of his mother, his son Isaac,
and his two daughters. The fugitives made their home in Lausanne, in
Switzerland. In 1689 the French king, in the zeal of his Catholicism,
issued a decree, by which he bestowed the property of the Calvinist
fugitives upon their relations. The possessions of the Sieur de Caille
were therefore divided between Anne de Gouche, his wife's sister, who
had married M. Rolland, the _Avocat-Général_ of the Supreme Court of
Dauphiné, and Madame Tardivi, a relation on his own side.

Meantime Isaac, the son of the Sieur de Caille, who was by courtesy
styled the Sieur de Rougon, assiduously applied himself to his
studies, and, as the result of over-work, fell into a consumption, of
which he died at Vevay on the 15th of February 1696.

In March 1699, Pierre Mêge, a marine, presented himself before M. de
Vauvray, the intendant of marines at Toulon, and informed him that he
was the son of M. de Caille, at the same time telling the following
story. He said that he had had the misfortune to be an object of
aversion to his father because of his dislike to study, and because of
his ill-concealed attachment to the Catholic religion; that his father
had always exhibited his antipathy to him, and, while he was at
Lausanne, had frequently maltreated him; that rather than submit to
the paternal violence he had often run away from home, but had been
brought back again by officious friends, who met him in his flight;
that he had at last succeeded in making his escape, by the aid of a
servant, in December 1690; that, in order to avoid recapture, and to
satisfy his own desire to become a member of the Catholic Church, he
had formed the design of returning into Provence; that on his homeward
way he had been stopped by the Savoyard troops, who compelled him to
enlist in their ranks; and that he had subsequently been captured by
some French soldiers. He added that M. de Catinat, who commanded this
part of the French army, and to whom he had presented himself as the
son of M. de Caille, had given him a free pass; that he had arrived at
Nice, and had enlisted in the Provençal militia; and that having been
on duty one day at the residence of the governor, he had seen a silver
goblet carried past him which bore arms of his family, and which he
recognised as a portion of the plate which his father had sold in
order to procure the means to fly into Switzerland. The sight of this
vessel stirred up old recollections, and he burst into such a violent
paroxysm of grief that the attention of his comrades was attracted,
and they demanded the cause of his tears, whereupon he told them his
story, and pointed out the same arms impressed on his _cachet_. This
tale came to the ears of the Chevalier de la Fare, who then commanded
at Nice, and after a hasty investigation he treated his subordinate
with excessive courtesy, evidently believing him to be the man whom he
represented himself to be.

The militia having been disbanded, the claimant to manorial rights
and broad estates repaired to Marseilles, where he fell in with a
woman called Honorade Venelle, who was residing with her mother and
two sisters-in-law. The morality of these females seems to have been
of the slightest description; and Henriade Venelle had no hesitation
in yielding to a proposal of this infamous soldier that he should
represent her husband, who was at the time serving his king and
country in the ranks of the army. The easy spouse drew no distinctions
between the real and the supposititious husband, and the latter not
only assumed the name of Pierre Mêge, but collected such debts as were
due to him, and gave receipts which purported to bear his signature.
In 1695 he enlisted under the name of Mêge, on board the galley "La
Fidèle"--a ship in which the veritable Mêge was known to have been a
marine from 1676--and served for nearly three years, when he was again
dismissed. In order to eke out a temporary livelihood he sold a
balsam, the recipe for which he declared had been given him by his
grandmother Madame de Caille. He made little by this move, and was
compelled once more to enlist at Toulon; and here it was that he met
M. de Vauvray, and told him his wonderful story.

The intendant of marines listened to the tale with open ears, and
recommended his subordinate to make an open profession of his adhesion
to the Romish Church as a first step towards the restitution of his
rights. The soldier was nothing loth to accept this advice, and after
being three weeks under the tutelage of the Jesuits, he publicly
abjured the Calvinistic creed in the Cathedral of Toulon, on the 10th
of June 1699.

In his act of abjuration he took the name of André d'Entrevergues, the
son of Scipio d'Entrevergues, Sieur de Caille, and of Madame Susanne
de Caille, his wife. He stated that he was twenty-three years of age,
and that he did not know how to write. The falsehood of his story was,
therefore, plainly apparent from the beginning. The eldest son of the
Sieur de Caille was called Isaac and not André; the soldier took the
name of d'Entrevergues, and gave it to the father, while the family
name was Brun de Castellane; he called his mother Susanne de Caille,
whereas her maiden name was Judith le Gouche. He said that he was
twenty-three years of age, while the real son of the Sieur de Caille
ought to have been thirty-five; and he did not know how to write,
while numerous documents were in existence signed by the veritable
Isaac, who was distinguished for his accomplishments.

News of this abjuration having spread abroad, it reached Sieur de
Caille, at Lausanne, who promptly forwarded the certificate of his
son's death, dated February 15, 1696, to M. de Vauvray, who at once
caused the soldier to be arrested. M. d'Infreville, who commanded the
troops at Toulon, however, pretended that de Vauvray had no authority
to place soldiers under arrest, and the question thus raised was
referred from one to another, until it came to the ears of the king.
The following answer was at once sent:--

     "The King approves the action of M. de Vauvray in arresting
     and in placing in the arsenal the soldier of the company of
     Ligondés, who calls himself the son of the Sieur de Caille.
     His Majesty's commands are, that he be handed over to the
     civil authorities, who shall take proceedings against him,
     and punish him as his imposture deserves, and that the
     affidavits of the real de Caille shall be sent to them."

The soldier was accordingly conveyed to the common prison of Toulon,
and was subsequently interrogated by the magistrates. In answer to
their inquiries, he said that he had never known his real name; that
his father had been in the habit of calling him d'Entrevergues de
Rougon de Caille; that he believed he really was twenty-five years
old, although two months previously he had stated his age to be
twenty-three; that he had never known his godfather or his godmother;
that only ten years had elapsed since he left Manosque; that he did
not know the name of the street nor the quarter of the town in which
his father's house was situated; that he could not tell the number of
rooms it contained; and that even if he were to see it again he could
not recognise it. In his replies he embodied the greater part of his
original story, with the exception of the episode with regard to
Honorade Venelle, respecting which he was prudently silent. He said
that he neither recollected the appearance nor the height of his
sister Lisette, nor the colour of her hair; but that his father had
black hair and a black beard, and a dark complexion, and that he was
short and stout. (The Sieur de Caille had brown hair and a reddish
beard, and was pale complexioned.) He did not know the height nor the
colour of the hair of his aunt, nor her features, although she had
lived at Lausanne with the son of the Sieur de Caille. He could not
remember the colour of the hair, nor the appearance, nor the
peculiarities of his grandmother, who had accompanied the family in
its flight into Switzerland; and could not mention a single friend
with whom he had been intimate, either at Manosque, or Lausanne, or

One would have supposed that this remarkable display of ignorance
would have sufficed to convince all reasonable men of the falsity of
the story, but it was far otherwise. The relatives of de Caille were
called upon either to yield to his demands or disprove his identity;
and M. Rolland, whose wife, it will be remembered, had obtained a
large portion of the property, appeared against him. Twenty witnesses
were called, of whom several swore that the accused was Pierre Mêge,
the son of a galley-slave, and that they had known him for twenty
years; while the others deposed that he was not the son of the Sieur
de Caille, in whose studies they had shared. The soldier was very
firm, however, and very brazen-faced, and demanded to be taken to the
places where the real de Caille had lived, so that the people might
have an opportunity of recognising him. Moreover, he deliberately
asserted that while he was in prison M. Rolland had made two attempts
against his life. He was conducted, according to his request, to
Manosque, Caille, and Rougon, and upwards of a hundred witnesses swore
that he was the man he represented himself to be. The court was
divided; but, after eight hours' consideration, twelve out of the
twenty-one judges of the Supreme Court of Provence pronounced in his
favour, and several of M. Rolland's witnesses were ordered into
custody to take their trial for perjury.

Three weeks after this decision the soldier married the daughter of
the Sieur Serri, a physician, who had privately supplied the funds for
carrying on the case. This girl's mother was a cousin of one of the
judges, and it soon came to be more than hinted that fair play had not
been done. However, the soldier took possession of the Caille
property, and drove out the poor persons who had been placed in the
mansion by Madame Rolland.

Honorade Venelle, the wife of Pierre Mêge, who had preserved silence
during the proceedings, now appeared on the scene, all her fury being
roused by the marriage. She made a declaration before a notary at Aix,
in which she stated that she had unexpectedly heard that Pierre Mêge
had been recognised as the son of the Sieur de Caille, and had
contracted a second marriage; and affirmed upon oath, "for the ease of
her conscience and the maintenance of her honour," that he was her
real husband, that he had been married to her in 1685, and that he had
cohabited with her till 1699; therefore she demanded that the second
marriage should be declared void. The judges, zealous of their own
honour, and provoked that their decision should be called in question,
gave immediate orders to cast her into prison, which was accordingly

The authorities at Berne meantime, believing that the decision of the
Provençal Court, which had paid no attention to the documents which
they had forwarded from Lausanne and Vevay, to prove the residence and
death of the son of the Sieur de Caille in Switzerland was insulting,
addressed a letter to the King, and the whole affair was considered by
his Majesty in council at Fontainebleau. After the commissioners, to
whom the matter was referred, had sat nearly forty times, they
pronounced judgment. The decision of the court below was upset; the
soldier was deprived of his ill-acquired wealth, was ordered to pay
damages, was handed over to the criminal authorities for punishment,
while the former holders were restored to possession of the property.


At the beginning of the seventeenth century, a French gentleman, named
Guy de Verré, lived with his wife and two sons at Saumur. Claude, the
elder of these children, who had a peculiar scar on his brow (which
had been left by a burn), at an early age expressed a strong desire to
become a soldier, and his father accordingly procured an ensigncy for
him in the regiment of Clanleu. In 1638 Claude de Verré left the
paternal mansion to join his regiment; and from that date till 1651
nothing was heard of him. In the latter year, however, one of the
officers of a regiment which had been ordered to Saumur presented
himself at the chateau of Chauvigny, which was occupied by Madame de
Verré, now a widow; and no sooner had he appeared than Jacques, the
second son, observed his perfect resemblance to his missing brother.
He communicated his suspicions to his mother, who was overwhelmed with
delight, and without consulting more than her emotions, addressed the
stranger as her son. At first the officer feebly protested that he did
not enjoy that relationship, but, seeing the lady's anxiety, he at
last admitted that he was Claude de Verré, and that he had hesitated
to declare himself at first until he had assured himself that his
reception would be cordial after his eighteen years of absence. He had
no reason to doubt the maternal love and forgiveness. From the first
moment of his discovery he was acknowledged as the heir, and the happy
mother celebrated his return by great rejoicings, to which all her
friends and relatives were invited. He was presented to the members of
the family, and they recognised him readily; although they did not
fail to notice certain distinctions of feature and manner between him
and the Claude de Verré who had gone to join the regiment of Clanleu.
Still, as he answered all the questions which were put to him promptly
and correctly, and as he sustained the character of the lost son
perfectly, it was easy to suppose that absence and increasing age had
effected a slight change in him, and he was received everywhere with
marked demonstrations of friendship. M. de Piedsélon, a brother of
Madame de Verré, alone denounced him as an impostor; but his words
were unheeded, and the new comer continued to possess the confidence
of the other relatives, and of the widow and her second son, with whom
he continued to reside for some time.

At last the day came when he must rejoin his regiment, and his brother
Jacques accompanied him into Normandy, where it was stationed, and
where they made the acquaintance of an M. de Dauplé, a gentleman who
had a very pretty daughter. Claude de Verré soon fell over head and
ears in love with this girl, who reciprocated his passion and married
him. Before the ceremony a marriage-contract was signed, and this
document, by a very peculiar clause, stipulated that, in the event of
a separation, the bridegroom should pay a reasonable sum to Madlle de
Dauplé. Jacques de Verré signed this contract as the brother of the
bridegroom, and it was duly registered by a notary. After their
marriage the happy couple lived together until the drum and trumpet
gave the signal for their separation, and Claude de Verré marched to
the wars with his regiment.

But when released from service, instead of returning to pass the
winter with his wife, he resorted once more to Chauvigny, to the house
of Madame de Verré, and took his brother back. She was delighted to
see him again, and on his part it was evident that he was resolved to
make amends for his past neglect and his prolonged absence.
Nevertheless, during his stay at the family mansion, he found time to
indulge in a flirtation--if nothing worse--with a pretty girl named
Anne Allard. Soon after his arrival intelligence reached Saumur of the
death of the Madlle de Dauplé whom Claude had married in Normandy--an
occurrence which seemed to give him the utmost sorrow, but which did
not prevent him from marrying Anne Allard within a very short time,
his own feelings being ostensibly sacrificed to those of his mother,
who was anxious that he should settle down at home. In this instance,
also, a marriage-contract was entered into, and was signed by Madame
de Verré and her son Jacques. Not content with this proof of
affection, the mother of Claude, seeing her eldest son thus settled
down beside her, executed a deed conveying to him all her property,
reserving only an annuity for herself and the portion of the second

For some time Claude de Verré lived peacefully and happily with Anne
Allard, rejoicing in the possession of an affectionate wife, managing
his property carefully, and even adding to the attractiveness and
value of the family estate of Chauvigny. Two children were born of the
marriage, and nothing seemed wanting to his prosperity, when suddenly
a soldier of the French Gardes presented himself at Chauvigny. This
man also claimed to be the eldest son of Madame de Verré, and gave a
circumstantial account of his history from the time of his
disappearance in 1638 to the period of his return. Among other
adventures, he said that he had been made a prisoner at the siege of
Valenciennes, that he had been exchanged, and that, while he was
quartered in a town near Chauvigny, the news had reached him that an
impostor was occupying his position. This intelligence determined him
to return home at once, and, by declaring himself, to dissipate the
illusion and put an end to the comedy which was being played at his

The revelations of the soldier did not produce the result which he had
anticipated; for, whether she was still persuaded that the husband of
Anne Allard was the only and real Claude de Verré, or whether, while
recognising her mistake, she preferred to leave matters as they were
rather than promote a great family scandal and disturbance, Madame de
Verré persisted that the new comer was not her son, for she had only
two, and they were both living with her. Of course, the husband of
Anne Allard had no hesitation in declaring the soldier an impostor,
and Jacques de Verré united his voice to the others, and repudiated
all claims to brotherhood on the part of the guardsman.

However, affairs were not allowed to remain in this position. The new
arrival, rejected by those with whom he claimed the most intimate
relationship, appealed to a magistrate at Saumur, and lodged a
complaint against his mother because of her refusal to acknowledge
him, and against the so-called Claude de Verré for usurping his title
and position, in order to gain possession of the family property. When
the matter was brought before him the magistrate ordered the soldier
to be placed under arrest, and sent for Madame de Verré to give her
version of the affair. The lady declined to have anything to do with
the claimant, although she admitted that there were some circumstances
which told in his favour. Her brother M. Piedsélon, however, who had
refused to recognise Anne Allard's husband in 1651, was still at
Saumur, and he was confronted with the claimant. The recognition
between the two men was mutual, and their answers to the same
questions were identical. Moreover, the new comer had the scar on his
brow, which was wanting on the person of the possessor of the estate.
The other relatives followed the lead of M. Piedsélon; and ultimately
it was proved that the husband of Anne Allard was an impostor, and
that his real name was Michael Feydy. Consequently, on the 21st of May
1657, the Criminal-Lieutenant of Saumur delivered sentence, declaring
that the soldier of the Gardes was the true Claude de Verré,
permitting him to take possession of the property of the deceased Guy
de Verré, and condemning Michael Feydy to death.

The first part of this sentence was carried out. The new Claude took
forcible possession of the mansion and estate of Chauvigny. But it was
found that Michael Feydy had disappeared, leaving his wife full power
to act for him in his absence. Anne Allard at once instituted a
suit--not against the possessor of the estates, whom she persistently
refused to acknowledge--but against Madame de Verré and her son
Jacques, and petitioned that they might be compelled to put an end to
the criminal prosecution which the soldier of the Gardes had
instituted against her husband, to restore her to the possession and
enjoyment of the mansion of Chauvigny, and the other property which
belonged to her; and that, in the event of their failure to do so,
they should be ordered to repay her all the expenses which she had
incurred since her marriage; to grant her an annuity of two hundred
livres per annum, according to the terms of her marriage-settlement;
and further, to pay her 20,000 livres as damages.

At this stage another person appeared on the scene--none other than
Madlle de Dauplé, whom the sham Claude had married in Normandy, and
whom he had reported as dead. She also had recourse to the legal
tribunals, and demanded that Madame de Verré and her second son should
pay her an annuity of 500 livres, and the arrears which were due to
her since her abandonment by her husband, and 1500 livres for expenses
incurred by Jacques Verré during his residence with her father and
mother in Normandy. The children of Anne Allard, moreover, brought a
suit to establish their own legitimacy.

The Avocat-Général was of opinion that the marriage contract between
Michael Feydy and Mademoiselle de Dauplé should be declared void,
because there was culpable carelessness on the father's part and on
the girl's part alike. He thought the marriage of Michael Feydy and
Anne Allard binding, because it had been contracted in good faith.
Jacques de Verré he absolved from all blame, and was of opinion that
since Madame de Verré had signed the marriage-contract it was only
just to make her pay something towards the support of Anne Allard and
her children. The Supreme Court did not altogether adopt these
conclusions. By a decree of the 31st of June 1656, it dismissed the
appeals of Anne Allard and of Madeline de Dauplé. It declared the
children of Michael Feydy and of Anne Allard legitimate, and adjudged
to them and to their mother all the property acquired by their father,
which had accrued to him by his division with Jacques de Verré, under
the name of Claude de Verré, until the signature of the matrimonial
agreement, and also the guarantee of the debts which Anne Allard had
incurred conjointly with her husband. Madame de Verré was also
condemned to pay 2000 livres to Anne Allard, under the contract which
had been signed. Of Feydy himself nothing further is known.


Since the reign of Edward III. the family of Knollys has been
distinguished in the annals of the kingdom. In those days Sir Robert
Knollys, one of the companions of the Black Prince, not only proved
himself a gallant soldier, but fought to such good purpose that he
enriched himself with spoils, and was elevated to the distinction of
the Blue Ribbon of the Garter. His heirs continued to enjoy the royal
favour throughout successive reigns; and Sir Francis Knollys, one of
his descendants, who likewise was a garter-knight in the earlier part
of the sixteenth century, espoused Catherine Cary, a grand-daughter of
the Earl of Wiltshire, and a grand-niece of Queen Anne Boleyn. Two
sons were born of this marriage, and were named Henry and William
respectively. Henry died before his father, and William, who was born
in 1547, succeeded to the family honours in 1596. He had worn them for
seven years, when King James created him Baron Knollys of Grays, in
Oxfordshire, in 1603. Sixteen years afterwards, King James further
showed his royal favour towards him by creating him Baron Wallingford,
and King Charles made him Earl of Banbury in 1626. He was married
twice during his long life--first to Dorothy, widow of Lord Chandos,
and daughter of Lord Bray, but by her he had no children; and
secondly, and in the same year that his first wife died, to Lady
Elizabeth Howard, the eldest daughter of the Earl of Suffolk. The
couple were not well-assorted, the earl verging on three-score years,
while the lady had not seen her twentieth summer on the day of her
nuptials. Still their married life was happy, and her youth gladdened
the old man's heart, as is proved by his settlement upon her, in 1629,
of Caversham, in Berkshire, and by his constituting her his sole
executrix. In the settlement, moreover, he makes mention of "the love
and affection which he beareth unto the said Lady Elizabeth his wife,
having always been a good and loving wife;" and in the will he calls
her his "dearly-beloved wife Elizabeth, Countess of Banbury." Lord
Banbury died on the 25th of May 1632, having at least reached the age
of eighty-five.

No inquiry was made immediately after his death as to the lands of
which he died seised; but about eleven months afterwards, a commission
was issued to the feodor and deputy-escheator of Oxfordshire, pursuant
to which an inquisition was taken on the 11th of April 1633, at
Burford, when the jury found that Elizabeth, his wife, survived him;
that the earl had died without heirs-male of his body, and that his
heirs were certain persons who were specified. Notwithstanding this
decision there appears to have been little doubt that about the 10th
of April 1627, the countess had been delivered of a son, who was
baptized as Edward, and that on the 3d of January 1631, she had given
birth to another son, who received the name of Nicholas. Both of these
children were living when the inquisition was made. The first was born
when the Earl of Banbury was in his eightieth year, and his wife
between forty and forty-one years of age, and the second came into the
world almost when his father was about to leave it, and when the
countess was between forty and forty-five. Within five weeks after the
death of the earl, her ladyship married Lord Vaux of Harrowden, who
had been on terms of intimate friendship with the family during the
deceased nobleman's lifetime, and it was plainly said that the
children of Lady Banbury were the issue of Lord Vaux, and not of the

On the 9th of February 1640-41, a bill was filed in Chancery by
Edward, the eldest son, described as "Edward, Earl of Banbury, an
infant," by William, Earl of Salisbury, his guardian, and
brother-in-law of the Countess of Banbury. Witnesses were examined in
the cause; but after a century and a-half their evidence was rejected
in 1809 by the House of Lords. There was, however, a more rapid and
satisfactory means of procedure. A writ was issued in 1641, directing
the escheator of Berkshire "to inquire after the death of William,
Earl of Banbury;" and the consequence was that a jury, which held an
inquisition at Abingdon, found, with other matters, "that Edward, now
Earl of Banbury, is, and at the time of the earl's decease was, his
son and next heir." The young man, therefore, assumed the title, and
set out on a foreign tour. He was killed during the next year near
Calais, while he was yet a minor. His brother Nicholas, then about
fifteen years of age, at once assumed the title. In the same year Lord
Vaux settled Harrowden and his other estates upon him. His mother, the
Countess of Banbury, died on the 17th of April 1658, at the age of
seventy-three, and Lord Vaux departed this life on the 8th of
September 1661, aged seventy-four. Meantime Nicholas had taken his
seat in the House of Lords, and occupied it without question for a
couple of years. The Convention Parliament having been dissolved,
however, he was not summoned to that which followed it, and in order
to prove his right to the peerage petitioned the Crown for his writ.
This petition was heard by the Committee for Privileges, which
ultimately decided that "Nicholas, Earl of Banbury, is a legitimate

At his death he left one son, Charles, who assumed the title of Earl
of Banbury, and who petitioned the House of Lords to take his case
into consideration. After thirty years' delay, occasioned by the
disturbed state of the times, the so-called Lord Banbury having
accidentally killed his brother-in-law in a duel, was indicted as
"Charles Knollys, Esq.," to answer for the crime on the 7th of
November 1692. He appealed to the House of Lords, and demanded a trial
by his peers: it was therefore necessary to re-open the whole case.
After a patient investigation, his petition to the House of Lords was
dismissed, and it was resolved that he had no right to the earldom of
Banbury. He was consequently removed to Newgate.

When he was placed before the judges, and was called upon to plead, he
admitted that he was the person indicted, but pleaded a misnomer in
abatement--or, in other words, that he was the Earl of Banbury. The
pleas occupied, subsequently, more than a year, during which time the
prisoner was admitted to bail. At last the House of Lords interfered,
and called upon the Attorney-General to produce "an account in
writing of the proceedings in the Court of King's Bench against the
person who claims the title of the Earl of Banbury." The
Attorney-General acted up to his instructions, and Lord Chief-Justice
Holt was heard by the Lords on the subject. Parliament, however, was
prorogued soon afterwards, and no decision was arrived at in the
matter. Meantime, the Court of King's Bench proceeded to act as if no
interference had been made, and quashed the indictment on the ground
that the prisoner was erroneously styled "Charles Knollys" instead of
"The Earl of Banbury."

When the Lords reassembled on the 27th of November 1694 they were very
wroth, but, after an angry debate, the affair was adjourned, and
nothing more was heard of the Banbury Peerage until the beginning of
1698, when Charles Banbury again petitioned the king, and the petition
was once more referred to the House of Lords. Lord Chief-Justice Holt
was summoned before the committee, and in answer to inquiries as to
the motives which had actuated the judges of the King's Bench,
replied, "I acknowledge the thing; there was such a plea and such a
replication. I gave my judgment according to my conscience. We are
trusted with the law. We are to be protected, not arraigned, and are
not to give reasons for our judgment; therefore I desire to be excused
giving any." Mr. Justice Eyre maintained the same dignified tone, and
at length the House of Lords abandoned its fruitless struggle with the
common-law Judges. The petition of Lord Banbury was subsequently laid
before the Privy Council, when the sudden death of Queen Anne once
more put an end to the proceedings.

When the Hanoverian princes came to the throne, Lord Banbury again
tempted fate by a new petition to the Crown. Sir Philip York, the then
Attorney-General, investigated the whole of the past proceedings from
1600 up to his time, and made a full report to the king, but no
definite decision was given. In 1740, the claimant Charles, so-called
Earl of Banbury, died in France. During his lifetime he had never
ceased to bear the title he had presented five petitions to the
Crown, demanding the acknowledgment of his rights, and neither he nor
any of his family, during the eighty years which had elapsed from the
first preferment of the claim, had ever relinquished an iota of their

At his death Charles, the third assumed Earl of Banbury, left a son
called Charles, who adopted the title, and, dying in 1771, bequeathed
it to his son William, who bore it until his decease in 1776. He was,
in turn, succeeded by his brother Thomas, at whose death, in 1793, it
devolved upon his eldest son, William Knollys, then called Viscount
Wallingford, who immediately assumed the title of Earl of Banbury, and
in 1806 presented a formal petition to the Crown--a petition which was
in due course referred to the Attorney-General, and was by his advice
transferred to the House of Lords.

Until 1806, when the claim was renewed, the pretenders to the Banbury
honours had not only styled themselves earls in all legal documents,
but they had been so described in the proceedings which had taken
place, and in the commissions which they had held; and while their
wives had been styled Countesses of Banbury, their children had borne
those collateral titles which would have been given by courtesy to the
sons and daughters of the Earls of Banbury. But, although there had
thus been an uninterrupted usage of the title for upwards of 180
years, when William Knollys succeeded his father a new system was
practised. His father, the deceased earl, had held a commission in the
third regiment of foot, and during his father's lifetime he had been
styled in his own major-general's commission, "William Knollys,
commonly called Viscount Wallingford." But on his father's decease,
and the consequent descent of his father's claims, the title of earl
was refused to him, and therefore it was that he presented his

The case remained in the House of Lords for nearly six years. On the
30th of May 1808 it was brought on for hearing before the Committee
for Privileges, when Sir Samuel Romilly, Mr. Gaselee, and Mr. Hargrave,
appeared for the petitioner, and the Crown was represented by the
Attorney-General and a junior counsel. A great mass of documentary and
genealogical evidence was produced; but after a most painstaking
investigation, Lords Erskine, Ellenborough, Eldon, and Redesdale came
to the conclusion that Nicholas Vaux, the petitioner, had _not_ made
out his claim to the Earldom of Banbury, and the House of Lords, on
the 11th of March 1813, endorsed their decision.


In 1670 Jocelyn Percy, the eleventh Earl of Northumberland, died
without male issue. Up to his time, throughout the six hundred years,
the noble family of Percy had never been without a male
representative, and the successive earls had almost invariably been
soldiers, and had added to the lustre of their descent by their own
valiant deeds. But when Earl Jocelyn died, in 1670, he left behind him
a solitary daughter--whose life was in itself eventful enough, and who
became the wife of Charles Somerset, the proud Duke of Somerset--but
who could not wear the title, although she inherited much of the
wealth of the Percys.

Jocelyn Percy was, however, scarcely cold in his grave when a claimant
appeared, who sought the family honours and the entailed lands which
their possession implied. This was James Percy, a poor Dublin
trunkmaker, who came over to England and at once assumed the title.
His pretensions aroused the ire of the dowager-countess, the mother of
Earl Jocelyn, who, on the 18th of February 1672, presented a petition
to the House of Lords on behalf of herself and Lady Elizabeth Percy,
her grand-daughter, setting forth that "one who called himself James
Percy (by profession a trunkmaker in Dublin) assumes to himself the
titles of Earl of Northumberland and Lord Percy, to the dishonour of
that family." This petition was referred, in the usual course, to the
Committee for Privileges. This was immediately followed by a petition
from the claimant, which was read, considered, and dismissed. However,
both parties appeared before the House of Lords on the 28th of
November, James Percy claiming the honours, and the countess declaring
him an impostor. Percy craved an extension of time; but, as he was
unable to show any probability that he would ultimately succeed, his
demand was refused, and his petition was dismissed--Arthur Annesley,
earl of Anglesea, alone protesting against the decision.

Percy, however, displaying the same valour and obstinacy in the courts
which his ancestors had so often shown on the battle-fields, was not
daunted, although he was discomfited. He appealed to the common-law
tribunals, and brought actions for scandal and ejectment against
various parties, and no fewer than five of these suits were tried
between 1674 and 1681. The first adversary whom he challenged was
James Clark, whom he sued for scandal, and in whose case he was
content to accept a non-suit; alleging, however, that this untoward
result was not so much brought about by the weakness of his cause as
by the faithlessness of his attorney. In a printed document which he
published with reference to the trial, he distinctly states that the
Lord Chief-Justice, Sir Matthew Hale, was so much dissatisfied with
the decision, that in the open court he plainly asserted "that the
claimant had proved himself a true Percy, by father, mother,
grandfather, and grandmother, and of the blood and family of the
Percys of Northumberland; and that he did verily believe that the
claimant was cousin and next heir-male to Jocelyn, late Earl of
Northumberland, only he was afraid he had taken the descent too high."
It is further reported that Sir Matthew, on entering his carriage,
remarked to Lord Shaftesbury, who was standing by, "I verily believe
he hath as much right to the earldom of Northumberland as I have to
this coach and horses, which I have bought and paid for."

His next action was against a gentleman named Wright, who had taken
upon himself to pronounce him illegitimate, and in this instance he
was more successful. The case was heard before Sir Richard Rainsford,
Sir Matthew Hale's successor, and resulted in a verdict for the
plaintiff, with £300 damages. Flushed by this victory, he took
proceedings against Edward Craister, the sheriff of Northumberland,
against whom he filed a bill for the recovery of the sum of £20
a-year, granted by the patent of creation out of the revenues of the
county. Before this, however, in 1680, he had again petitioned the
House of Lords, and his petition was again rejected--Lord Annesley, as
before, protesting against the rejection. The litigation with Craister
in the Court of Exchequer being very protracted, the Duchess of
Somerset (who was the daughter and heiress of Earl Jocelyn) brought
the matter once more before the Lords in 1685, and her petition was
referred to the Committee of Privileges. In reply to her petition
Percy presented one of complaint, which was also sent to the
Committee. No decision, however, seems to have been arrived at, and
the reign of King James came to a close without further action. In the
first year of the reign of William and Mary (1689), Percy returned to
the charge with a fresh petition and a fresh demand for recognition
and justice. These documents are still extant, and some of them are
very entertaining. In one he candidly admits that he has been, up to
the time when he writes, in error as to his pedigree, and, abandoning
his old position, takes up fresh ground. In another, "The claimant
desireth your lordships to consider the justice and equity of his
cause, hoping your lordships will take such care therein that your own
descendants may not be put to the like trouble for the future in
maintaining their and your petitioner's undoubted right;" and lest the
_argumentum ad homines_ should fail, he asks, "Whether or no three
streams issuing from one fountain, why the third stream (though
little, the first two great streams being spent) may not justly claim
the right of the original fountain?" In addition, he appends a sort of
solemn declaration, in which he represents himself as trusting in God,
and waiting patiently upon the king's sacred Majesty for his royal
writ of summons to call him to appear and take his place and seat
according to his birthright and title, "for true men ought not to be
blamed for standing up for justice, property, and right, which is the
chief diadem in the Crown, and the laurel of the kingdom." That
summons never was destined to be issued. When the Committee for
Privileges gave in their report, it declared Percy's conduct to be
insolent in persisting to designate himself Earl of Northumberland
after the previous decisions of the House; and the Lords ordered that
counsel should be heard at the bar of the House on the part of the
Duke of Somerset against the said James Percy.

This was accordingly done; and the Lords not only finally came to the
decision "that the pretensions of the said James Percy to the earldom
of Northumberland are groundless, false, and scandalous," and ordered
that his petition be dismissed, but added to their judgment this
sentence, "That the said James Percy shall be brought before the four
Courts in Westminster Hall, wearing a paper upon his breast on which
these words shall be written: 'THE FALSE AND IMPUDENT PRETENDER TO THE
EARLDOM OF NORTHUMBERLAND.'" The judgment was at once carried into
execution, and from that time forward the unfortunate trunkmaker
disappears from the public view. He does not seem to have reverted to
his old trade; or, at least, if he did so, he made it profitable, for
we find his son, Sir Anthony Percy, figuring as Lord Mayor of Dublin
in 1699. There can be no doubt that, although he was treated with
undue harshness, his claims had no real foundation. At first he
alleged that his grandfather, Henry Percy, was a son of Sir Richard
Percy, a younger brother of Henry, ninth Earl of Northumberland--an
allegation which would have made Sir Richard a grandfather at thirteen
years of age. It was further proved that Sir Richard, so far from
having any claim to such unusual honours, died without issue. In his
second story he traced his descent to Sir Ingelram Percy, stating that
his grandfather Henry was the eldest of the four children of Sir
Ingelram, and that these children were sent from the north in hampers
to Dame Vaux of Harrowden, in Northamptonshire. He advanced no proof,
however, of the correctness of this story, while the other side showed
conclusively that Sir Ingelram had never been married, and at his
death had only left an illegitimate daughter. At any rate, whether
James Percy was honest or dishonest, "the game was worth the
candle"--the Percy honours and estates were worth trying for.


Rather more than a hundred years ago the whole kingdom was disturbed
by the judicial proceedings which were taken with reference to the
succession to the ancient honours of the great Scotch house of
Douglas. Boswell, who was but little indisposed to exaggeration, and
who is reported by Sir Walter Scott to have been such an ardent
partizan that he headed a mob which smashed the windows of the judges
of the Court of Session, says that "the Douglas cause shook the
security of birthright in Scotland to its foundation, and was a cause
which, had it happened before the Union, when there was no appeal to a
British House of Lords, would have left the fortress of honours and of
property in ruins." His zeal even led him to oppose his idol Dr.
Johnson, who took the opposite side, and to tell him that he knew
nothing of the cause, which, he adds, he does most seriously believe
was the case. But however this may be, the popular interest and
excitement were extreme; the decision of the Court of Session in 1767
led to serious disturbances, and the reversal of its judgment two
years later was received with the most extravagant demonstrations of

In the beginning of the eighteenth century, Archibald, Duke of
Douglas, wore the honours of Sholto, "the Douglas." His father, James,
the second Marquis of Douglas, had been twice married, and had issue
by his first wife in the person of James, earl of Angus, who was
killed at the battle of Steinkirk; and by his second of a son and
daughter. The son was the Archibald just mentioned, who became his
heir and successor, and the daughter was named Lady Jane. Her
ladyship, like most of the women of the Douglas family, was celebrated
for her beauty; but unhappily became afterwards as famous for her evil
fortune. In her first womanhood she entered into a nuptial agreement
with the Earl of Dalkeith, who subsequently became Duke of Buccleuch,
but the marriage was unexpectedly broken off, and for very many years
she persistently refused all the offers which were made for her hand.
At length, in 1746, when she was forty-eight years old, she was
secretly married to Mr. Stewart, of Grantully. This gentleman was a
penniless scion of a good family, and the sole resources of the
newly-wedded couple consisted of an allowance of £300 per annum, which
had been granted by the duke to his sister, with whom he was on no
friendly terms. Even this paltry means of support was precarious, and
it was resolved to keep the marriage secret. The more effectually to
conceal it, Mr. Stewart and his nobly-born wife repaired to France, and
remained on the Continent for three years. At the end of that time
they returned to England, bringing with them two children, of whom
they alleged the Lady Jane had been delivered in Paris, at a
twin-birth, in July 1748. Six months previously to their arrival in
London their marriage had been made public, and the duke had stopped
the allowance which he had previously granted. They were, therefore,
in the direst distress; and, to add to their other misfortunes, Mr.
Stewart being deeply involved in debt, his creditors threw him into

Lady Jane bore up against her accumulated sorrows with more than
womanly heroism, and when she found all her efforts to excite the
sympathy of her brother unavailing, addressed the following letter to
Mr. Pelham, then Secretary of State:--

     "SIR,--If I meant to importune you I should ill deserve the
     generous compassion which I was informed some months ago you
     expressed upon being acquainted with my distress. I take
     this as the least troublesome way of thanking you, and
     desiring you to lay my application before the king in such
     a light as your own humanity will suggest. I cannot tell my
     story without seeming to complain of one of whom I never
     will complain. I am persuaded my brother wishes me well,
     but, from a mistaken resentment, upon a creditor of mine
     demanding from him a trifling sum, he has stopped the
     annuity which he had always paid me--my father having left
     me, his only younger child, in a manner unprovided for. Till
     the Duke of Douglas is set right--which I am confident he
     will be--I am destitute. Presumptive heiress of a great
     estate and family, with two children, I want bread. Your own
     nobleness of mind will make you feel how much it costs me to
     beg, though from the king. My birth, and the attachment of
     my family, I flatter myself his Majesty is not unacquainted
     with. Should he think me an object of his royal bounty, my
     heart won't suffer any bounds to be set to my gratitude;
     and, give me leave to say, my spirit won't suffer me to be
     burdensome to his Majesty longer than my cruel necessity
     compels me.

     "I little thought of ever being reduced to petition in this
     way; your goodness will therefore excuse me if I have
     mistaken the manner, or said anything improper. Though
     personally unknown to you, I rely upon your intercession.
     The consciousness of your own mind in having done so good
     and charitable a deed will be a better return than the
     thanks of
                                          JANE DOUGLAS STEWART."

The result was that the king granted the distressed lady a pension of
£300 a-year; but Lady Jane seems to have been little relieved thereby.
The Douglas' notions of economy were perhaps eccentric, but, at all
events, not only did Mr. Stewart still remain in prison, but his wife
was frequently compelled to sell the contents of her wardrobe to
supply him with suitable food during his prolonged residence in the
custody of the officers of the Court of King's Bench. During the
course of his incarceration Lady Jane resided in Chelsea, and the
letters which passed between the severed pair, letters which were
afterwards produced in court--proved that their children were rarely
absent from their thoughts, and that on all occasions they treated
them with the warmest parental affection.

In 1752, Lady Jane visited Scotland, accompanied by her children, for
the purpose, if possible, of effecting a reconciliation with her
brother; but the duke flatly refused even to accord her an interview.
She therefore returned to London, leaving the children in the care of
a nurse at Edinburgh. This woman, who had originally accompanied
herself and her husband to the continent, treated them in the kindest
possible manner; but, notwithstanding her care, Sholto Thomas Stewart,
the younger of the twins, sickened and died on the 11th of May 1753.
The disconsolate mother at once hurried back to the Scottish capital,
and again endeavoured to move her brother to have compassion upon her
in her distress. Her efforts were fruitless, and, worn out by
starvation, hardship, and fatigue, she, too, sank and died in the
following November, disowned by her friends, and, as she said to
Pelham, "wanting bread."

Better days soon dawned upon Archibald, the surviving twin. Lady Shaw,
deeply stirred by the misfortunes and lamentable end of his mother,
took him under her own charge, and educated and supported him as
befitted his condition. When she died a nobleman took him up; and his
father, having unexpectedly succeeded to the baronetcy and estates of
Grantully, on acquiring his inheritance, immediately executed a bond
of provision in his favour for upwards of £2500, and therein
acknowledged him as his son by Lady Jane Douglas.

The rancour of the duke, however, had not died away, and he stubbornly
refused to recognise the child as his nephew. And, more than this,
after having spent the greater portion of his life in seclusion, he
unexpectedly entered into a marriage, in 1758, with the eldest
daughter of Mr. James Douglas, of Mains. This lady, far from sharing in
the opinions of her noble lord, espoused the cause of the lad whom he
so firmly repudiated, and became a partisan so earnest that a quarrel
resulted, which gave rise to a separation. But peace was easily
restored, and quietness once more reigned in the ducal household.

In the middle of 1761, the Duke of Douglas was unexpectedly taken ill,
and his physicians pronounced his malady to be mortal. Nature, in her
strange and unexplained way, told the ill-tempered peer the same tale,
and, when death was actually before his eyes, he repented of his
conduct towards his unfortunate sister. To herself he was unable to
make any reparation, but her boy remained; and, on the 11th of July
1761, he executed an entail of his entire estates in favour of the
heirs of his father, James, Marquis of Douglas, with remainder to Lord
Douglas Hamilton, the brother of the Duke of Hamilton, and
supplemented it by another deed which set forth that, as in the event
of his death without heirs of his body, Archibald Douglas, _alias_
Stewart, a minor, and son of the deceased Lady Jane Douglas, his
sister, would succeed him, he appointed the Duchess of Douglas, the
Duke of Queensberry, and certain other persons whom he named, to be
the lad's tutors and guardians. Thus, from being a rejected waif, the
boy became the acknowledged heir to a peerage, and a long rent-roll.

There were still, however, many difficulties to be surmounted. The
guardians of the young Hamilton had no intention of losing the
splendid prize which was almost within their grasp, and repudiated the
boy's pretensions. On the other hand, the guardians of the youthful
Stewart-Douglas were determined to procure the official recognition of
his claims. Accordingly, immediately after the duke's decease, they
hastened to put him in possession of the Douglas estate, and set on
foot legal proceedings to justify their conduct. The Hamilton faction
thereupon despatched one of their number to Paris, and on his return
their emissary rejoiced their hearts and elevated their hopes by
informing them that he was convinced, on safe grounds, that Lady Jane
Douglas had never given birth to the twins, as suggested, and that the
whole story was a fabrication. They, therefore, asserted before the
courts that the claimant to the Douglas honours was not a Douglas at

They denied that Lady Jane Douglas was delivered on July 10, 1748, in
the house of a Madame La Brune, as stated; and brought forward various
circumstances to show that Madame La Brune herself never existed. They
asserted that it was impossible that the birth could have taken place
at that time, because on the specified date, and for several days
precedent and subsequent to the 10th of July, Lady Jane Douglas with
her husband and a Mrs. Hewit were staying at the Hotel de Chalons--an
inn kept by a Mons. Godefroi, who, with his wife, was ready to prove
their residence there. And they not only maintained that dark work had
been carried on in Paris by the parties concerned in the affair, but
alleged that Sir John Stewart, Lady Jane Douglas, and Mrs. Hewit, had
stolen from French parents the children which they afterwards foisted
upon the public as real Douglases.

The claimant, and those representing him, on their part, brought
forward the depositions of several witnesses that Lady Jane Douglas
appeared to them to be with child while at Aix-la-Chapelle and other
places, and put in evidence the sworn testimony of Mrs. Hewit, who
accompanied the newly-wedded pair to the continent, as to the actual
delivery of her ladyship at Paris upon the 10th of July 1748. They
also submitted the depositions of independent witnesses as to the
recognition of the claimant by Sir John (then Mr.) Stewart and his
wife, and produced a variety of letters which had passed between Sir
John Stewart, Lady Jane Douglas, Mrs. Hewit, and others as to the
birth. They also added to their case four letters, which purported to
emanate from Pierre la Marre, whom they represented to have been the
accoucheur at the delivery of Lady Jane.

Sir John Stewart, Lady Jane's husband, and the reputed father of the
claimant, died in June 1764; but, before his decease, his depositions
were taken in the presence of two ministers and of a justice of the
peace. He asserted, "as one slipping into eternity, that the defendant
(Archibald Stewart) and his deceased twin-brother were both born of
the body of Lady Jane Douglas, his lawful spouse, in the year 1748."

The case came before the Court of Session on the 17th of July 1767,
when no fewer than fifteen judges took their seats to decide it.
During its continuance Mrs. Hewit, who was charged with abetting the
fraud, died; but before her death she also, like Sir John Stewart,
formally and firmly asserted, with her dying breath, that her evidence
in the matter was unprejudiced and true. After a patient hearing seven
of the judges voted to "sustain the reasons of reduction," and the
other seven to "assoilzie the defender." In other words, the bench was
divided in opinion, and the Lord President, who has no vote except as
an umpire in such a dilemma, voted for the Hamilton or illegitimacy
side, and thus deprived Archibald Douglas, or Stewart, of both the
title and the estates.

But a matter of such importance could not, naturally, be allowed to
remain in such an unsatisfactory condition. An appeal was made to the
House of Lords, and the judgment of the Scottish Court of Session was
reversed in 1769. Archibald Douglas was, therefore, declared to be the
son of Lady Jane, and the heir to the dukedom of Douglas.


The idea of colonizing Nova Scotia found great favour in the eyes both
of James VI. and Charles I., and the former monarch rewarded Sir
William Alexander of Menstrie, who actively supported the project,
with a charter, dated 12th September 1621, in which he granted to him
"All and Whole the territory adjacent to the Gulf of St. Lawrence,
thenceforward to be called Nova Scotia;" and constituted him, his
heirs and assignees, hereditary Lords-Lieutenant. The powers which
were given to these Lords-Lieutenant were little short of regal; but
before the charter could be ratified by the Scotch Parliament his
Majesty died. In 1625, however, the grant was renewed in the form of
a Charter of Novodamus, which was even more liberal than the original
document. These deeds were drawn out in the usual form of Scottish
conveyances, and were ratified by the Scotch Parliament in 1633.

In accordance with their terms Sir William despatched one of his sons
to Canada, where, acting in his father's name, he built forts at the
mouth of the St. Lawrence, and acted as a petty king during his stay.
Still the project did not flourish: colonists were scarce and shy,
and, in order to make colonization more rapid, King James hit upon the
expedient of creating Nova-Scotian baronets, and of conferring this
distinction upon the leading members of those families who most
actively engaged in the work of populating the land. His successor
Charles I., who had an equal desire and necessity for money, converted
the new order into a source of revenue by granting 16,000 acres of
Canadian soil to those who could pay well, by erecting the district
thus sold into a barony, and by attaching the honours of a baronet of
Nova Scotia thereto. The order was afterwards extended to natives of
England and Ireland, provided they became naturalized Scotchmen.

Sir William Alexander, by unfortunate speculations, was reduced to
want; his affairs became involved, and he ultimately sold his entire
Canadian possessions to a Frenchman named de la Tour. The original
Scotch colony depended upon the crown of Scotland: it was ceded to
France by the Treaty of St. Germains, dated the 29th of March 1632; was
reconquered by Cromwell; was again surrendered in the reign of Charles
II.; and in 1713 once more became a British colony--no consideration
being paid at the last transfer to the real or imaginary claims of Sir
William Alexander.

The worthy baronet, however, notwithstanding his misfortunes and his
impecuniosity, continued a great friend of the first Charles, who, by
royal letters patent, elevated him, on the 14th of June 1633, to a
peerage under the title of the Earl of Stirling. The earldom became
dormant in 1739.

After a lapse of more than twenty years a claimant for these honours
appeared in the person of William Alexander; but his appeal to the
House of Peers was rejected on the 10th of March 1762, and the
Stirling Peerage was commonly supposed to have shared the common
earthly fate, and to have died a natural death. But a new aspirant
unexpectedly appeared. This gentleman, named Humphreys, laid claim not
only to the earldom of Stirling, but also to the whole territory of
Canada, in addition to the Scottish estates appertaining thereto; and,
in order to substantiate his pretensions, put forward an assumed
pedigree. In this document he declared himself to be the lineal
descendant and nearest lawful heir of Sir William Alexander, who he
said was his great-great-great-grandfather. From this remote fountain
he pretended to have come, following the acknowledged stream until he
reached Benjamin, the last heir-male of the body of the first earl,
and, diverting the current to heirs-female in the person of Hannah,
Earl William's youngest daughter, who was married at Birmingham, and
whom he represented as his own ancestress.

In 1824, having obtained formal license to assume the surname of
Alexander, he procured himself to be served "lawful and nearest
heir-male in general of the body of the said Hannah Alexander," before
the bailies of Canongate, 1826. Then he assumed the title of Earl of
Stirling and Dovan, and, in 1830, formally registered himself as
"lawful and nearest heir in general to the deceased William, the first
Earl of Stirling."

According to the patent of 1633, which was confined to heirs-male,
Humphreys had no claim either to the title or estates; but he based
his pretensions upon a document which, he said, had been granted by
Charles I., in 1639, to the Earl of Stirling, and which conferred upon
him, without limitation as to issue, the whole estates in Scotland and
America, as well as the honours conveyed by the original patent. This
he attempted to prove in an action in the Court of Session, which was
dismissed in 1830, as was also a similar action for a like purpose in

But, although not officially recognised, he assumed all the imaginary
privileges of his position, granting to his friends vast districts of
Canadian soil, creating Nova-Scotian baronets at his own discretion,
and acting, if not like a king, at least like a feudal magnate of the
first degree. He caused notice after notice to be issued proclaiming
his rights, and the records of the time are filled with strange
proclamations and announcements, to which his name is attached. As a
rule, these productions are far too lengthy to be copied, and far too
involved to be readily summarized. They have all a lamentably
commercial tone, and invariably exhibit an unworthy disposition to
sacrifice great prospective or assumed advantages for a very little
ready money. Take, for instance, his address to the public authorities
of Nova Scotia, issued in 1831. In it, after informing his readers of
the steps which he had taken to assert his rights, and the prospects
which existed of their recognition, he hastens to observe that
"persons desirous of settling on any of the waste lands, either by
purchase or lease, will find me ready to treat with them on the most
liberal terms and conditions;" and throws out a gentle hint that in
any official appointment he might have to make, he would prefer that
"the persons to fill them should rather be Nova Scotians or Canadians,
than the strangers of England." At the same time he issued numerous
advertisements in the journals, reminding all whom it might concern of
his hereditary rights, and warning the world in general against
infringing his exclusive privileges. At length, having succeeded in
gaining notoriety for himself, he aroused the Scotch nobility. On the
19th of March 1832, the Earl of Rosebery proposed and obtained a
select committee of the House of Lords, with a view of impeding "the
facility with which persons can assume a title without authority, and
thus lessen the character and respectability of the peerage in the
eyes of the public;" and the Marchioness of Downshire, the female
representative of the house of Stirling, forwarded a petition to the
Lords, complaining of the undue assumption of the title by Mr.

It is somewhat remarkable that the extraordinary proceedings of this
person should have been tolerated for so long a time by the
law-officers of the Crown; but his growing audacity at last led to
their interference, and what is termed an action of reduction was
brought against him and his agent. Lord Cockburn, who heard the case,
decided, without hesitation, that his claim was not established,
declared the previous legal proceedings invalid, and demolished the
pretensions of the claimant. Under these circumstances it was
necessary to do something to strengthen those weak points in his
title, which had been pointed out by the presiding judge, and
Humphreys or his friends were equal to the emergency. A variety of
documents were discovered in the most unexpected manner, which exactly
supplied the missing links in the evidence, and the claim was
accordingly renewed. The law-officers of the Crown denied the validity
of these documents, which emanated from the most suspicious
sources--some being forwarded by a noted Parisian fortune-teller,
called Madlle le Normand; and after Mr. Humphreys had been judicially
examined with regard to them, he was served with an indictment to
stand his trial for forgery before the High Court of Justiciary, at
Edinburgh, on the 3d of April 1839. The trial lasted for five days,
and created intense excitement throughout Scotland. During the trial
it was elicited that the father of Mr. Humphreys had been a respectable
merchant in Birmingham, who had amassed considerable wealth, had gone
abroad, accompanied by his son, in 1802, and had taken up his
temporary residence in France. As he did not return at the declaration
of war which followed the brief peace, he was detained by Napoleon,
and died at Verdun in 1807. His son, the pretended earl, remained a
prisoner in France until 1815, and afterwards established himself as a
schoolmaster at Worcester. There he met with little success, but bore
an excellent character, and gained a certain number of influential
friends, whose probity and truthfulness were beyond doubt; some of
whom supported him through all his career, one officer of distinction
even sitting in the dock with him. The public sympathy was also
strongly displayed on his side. But the evidence which was led on
behalf of the Crown was conclusive, and a verdict was returned
declaring the documents to be forgeries; but finding it "Not Proven"
that the prisoner knew that they were fictitious, or uttered them with
any malicious intention. He was therefore set at liberty, and retired
into private life. Whether he was an impostor, or was merely the
victim of a hallucination, it is very difficult to say. In any case he
failed to prove himself the Earl of Stirling.


After the disastrous battle of Culloden, Charles Edward Stuart, or
"The Young Pretender," as he was commonly styled by his opponents,
fled from the field, and after many hair-breadth escapes succeeded in
reaching the Highlands, where he wandered to and fro for many weary
months. A reward of £30,000 was set upon his head, his enemies dogged
his footsteps like bloodhounds, and often he was so hard pressed by
the troops that he had to take refuge in caves and barns, and
sometimes was compelled to avoid all shelter but that afforded him by
the forests and brackens on the bleak hillsides. But the people
remained faithful to his cause, and, even when danger seemed most
imminent, succeeded in baffling his pursuers, and ultimately in
effecting his escape. Accompanied by Cameron of Lochiel, and a few of
his most faithful adherents, he managed to smuggle himself on board a
little French privateer, and was at last landed in safety at a place
called Roseau, near Morlaix, in France. He was treated with great
respect at the French court, until the King of France, by the Treaty
of Aix-la-Chapelle, disowned all rivals of the House of Hanover. The
prince protested against this treaty, and braved the French court. He
was accordingly ordered, in no very ceremonious terms, to leave the
country, and betook himself to Italy, where he gave himself up to
drunkenness, debauchery, and excesses of the lowest kind. In 1772 he
married the Princess Louisa Maximilian de Stolberg, by whom he had no
children, and with whom he lived very unhappily. He died from the
effects of his own self-indulgence, and without male issue, in 1788.
His father, the Chevalier de St. George, had pre-deceased him in 1766,
and his younger brother the Cardinal York, having been debarred from
marriage, it was supposed that at the death of the cardinal the royal
House of Stuart had passed away.

But, in 1847, a book appeared, entitled "Tales of the Century; or,
Sketches of the Romance of History between the Years 1746 and 1846, by
John Sobieski and Charles Edward Stuart," and it immediately created a
considerable stir in literary circles. It was at once evident that the
three stories which the work contained were not intended to be read as
fictions, but as a contribution to the history of the period; or, in
other words, the authors meant the public to understand that Prince
Charles Edward Stuart left a legitimate son by his wife Louisa de
Stolberg, and that they themselves were his descendants and

The first of these "Tales of the Century" is called "The Picture," and
introduces the reader to a young Highland gentleman, named Macdonnell,
of Glendulochan, who is paying a first visit, in 1831, to an aged
Jacobite doctor, then resident in Westminster. This old adherent of
the cause feels the near approach of death, and is oppressed by the
possession of a secret which he feels must not die with him. He had
promised only to reveal it "in the service of his king;" and believing
it for his service that it should live, he confides it to the young
chief. "I will reveal it to you," he says, "that the last of the Gael
may live to keep that mysterious hope--_They have yet a king._"

He then narrates how, in the course of a tour which he had made in
Italy, in 1773, a lingering fascination compelled him to remain for
some days in the vicinity of St. Rosalie, on the road from Parma to
Florence; how he had often walked for hours in the deep quiet shades
of the convent, ruminating on his distant country, on past events,
and on coming fortunes yet unknown; and how, while thus engaged one
evening, his reverie was disturbed by the rapid approach of a carriage
with scarlet outriders. He gained a momentary glimpse, of its
occupants--a lady and gentleman--and recognised the prince at once,
"for though changed with years and care, he was still himself; and
though no longer the 'Bonnie Prince Charlie' of our faithful
_beau-ideal_, still the same eagle-featured royal bird which I had
seen on his own mountains, when he spread his wings towards the south;
and once more I felt the thrilling talismanic influence of his
appearance, the sight so dear, so deeply-rooted in the hearts of the
Highlanders--_Charlie, King of the Gael_."

On the same evening, while the doctor was pacing the aisles of St.
Rosalie, he was disturbed from his meditation by a heavy military
tread and the jingling of spurs, and a man of superior appearance, but
equivocal demeanour, strode towards him, and demanded to know if he
were Dr. Beaton, the Scotch physician. On receiving an affirmative
answer, he was requested to render assistance to some one in need of
immediate attendance, and all hesitation and inquiry was attempted to
be cut short by the announcement--"The relief of the malady, and not
the circumstances, of the patient is the province of the physician,
and for the present occasion you will best learn by an inspection of
the individual."

A carriage was in waiting, but, in true romantic style, it was
necessary that the doctor should consent to be blindfolded; an
indignity to which he refused to submit, until the stranger, with
effusive expressions of respect for his doubts, said the secret would
be embarrassing to its possessor, as it concerned the interest and
safety of the most illustrious of the Scottish Jacobites. The doctor's
reluctance now changed into eagerness; he readily agreed to follow his
guide, and was conveyed, partly by land and partly by water, to a
mansion, which they entered through a garden. After passing through a
long range of apartments, his mask was removed, and he looked round
upon a splendid saloon, hung with crimson velvet, and blazing with
mirrors which reached from floor to ceiling, while the dim perspective
of a long conservatory was revealed at the farther end. His conductor
rang a silver bell, which was immediately answered by a little page,
richly dressed in scarlet. This boy entered into conversation in
German with the cavalier, and gave very pleasing information to him,
which he, in turn, communicated to the doctor. "Signor Dottore," said
he, "the most important part of your occasion is past. The lady whom
you have been unhappily called to attend met with an alarming accident
in her carriage not half an hour before I found you in the church, and
the unlucky absence of her physician leaves her entirely in your
charge. Her accouchement is over, apparently without more than
exhaustion; but of that you will be the judge."

The mention of the carriage and the accident recalled to Dr. Beaton his
hasty vision of the prince, but, before he could collect his confused
thoughts, he was led through a splendid suite of apartments to a small
ante-room, decorated with several portraits, among which he instantly
recognised one of the Duke of Perth and another of King James VIII.
Thence he was conducted into a magnificent bed-chamber, where the
light of a single taper shed a dim glimmer through the apartment. A
lady who addressed him in English led him towards the bed. The
curtains were almost closed, and by the bed stood a female attendant
holding an infant enveloped in a mantle. As she retired, the lady drew
aside the curtains, and by the faint light which fell within the bed,
the doctor imperfectly distinguished the pale features of a delicate
face, which lay wan and languid, almost enveloped in the down pillow.
The patient uttered a few words in German, but was extremely weak, and
almost pulseless. The case was urgent, and the Scotch doctor,
suppressing all indication of the danger of which he was sensible,
offered at once to write a prescription.

For this purpose he was taken to a writing-cabinet which stood near;
and there, while momentarily reflecting upon the ingredients which
were to form his prescription, he glanced at a toilet beside him. The
light of the taper shone full upon a number of jewels, which lay
loosely intermixed among the scent bottles, as if put off in haste and
confusion; and his surprise was great to recognise an exquisite
miniature of his noble exiled prince, Charles Edward, representing him
in the very dress in which he had seen him at Culloden. The lady
suddenly approached, as if looking for some ornaments, and placed
herself between him and the table. It was but an instant, and she
retired; but when the doctor, anxious for another glimpse, again
turned his eyes to the table, the face of the miniature was turned.

His duty done, he was led from the house in the same mysterious manner
in which he was admitted to it; but not until he had taken an oath on
the crucifix "never to speak of what he had seen, heard, or thought on
that night, unless it should be in the service of his king--King
Charles." Moreover, he was required to leave Tuscany the same night,
and, in implicit obedience to his instructions, departed to a seaport.
Here he resumed his rambles and meditation, having still deeper food
for thought than when he was at St. Rosalie.

On the third night after his arrival, while strolling along the beach,
his attention was attracted by an English frigate, and in answer to
his inquiries he was told that her name was the "Albina," and that she
was commanded by Commodore O'Haleran. The doctor lingered on the shore
in the bright moonlight, and was just about to retire when he was
detained by the approach of a horseman, who was followed by a small
close carriage. In the horseman he recognised his mysterious guide of
St. Rosalie, and waited to see the next move in the game. The carriage
stopped full in the moonlight, near the margin of the water. A signal
was given by the cavalier, and in response the long black shadow of a
man-of-war's galley shot from behind a creek of rocks, and pulled
straight for the spot where the carriage stood. Her stern was backed
towards the shore. A lady alighted from the carriage, and as she
descended the doctor observed that she bore in her arms some object
which she held with great solicitation. An officer at the same time
leaped from the boat and hastened towards the travellers. The doctor
did not discern his face, but, from the glimmer of the moonlight upon
his shoulders, saw that he wore double epaulettes. It may therefore be
conjectured that this was Commodore O'Haleran himself. He made a brief
but profound salute to the lady, and led her towards the galley. Then,
says the doctor,--

"As they approached the lady unfolded her mantle, and I heard the
faint cry of an infant, and distinguished for a moment the glisten of
a little white mantle and cap, as she laid her charge in the arms of
her companion. The officer immediately lifted her into the boat, and
as soon as she was seated the cavalier delivered to her the child;
and, folding it carefully in her cloak, I heard her half-suppressed
voice lulling the infant from its disturbance. A brief word and a
momentary grasp of the hand passed between the lady and the cavalier;
and, the officer lifting his hat, the boat pushed off, the oars fell
in the water, and the galley glided down the creek with a velocity
that soon rendered her but a shadow in the grey tide. In a few minutes
I lost sight of her altogether; but I still distinguished the faint
measured plash of the oars, and the feeble wail of the infant's voice
float along the still water.

"For some moments I thought I had seen the last of the little bark,
which seemed to venture, like an enchanted skiff, into that world of
black waters. But suddenly I caught a glimpse of the narrow boat, and
the dark figures of the men, gliding across the bright stream of
moonlight upon the tide; an instant after a faint gleam blinked on the
white mantle of the lady and the sparkle of the oars, but it died away
by degrees, and neither sound nor sight returned again.

"For more than a quarter of an hour the tall black figure of the
cavalier continued fixed upon the same spot and in the same attitude;
but suddenly the broad gigantic shadow of the frigate swung round in
the moonshine, her sails filled to the breeze, and, dimly brightening
in the light, she bore off slow and still and stately towards the

So much for the birth. Doctor Beaton, at least, says that Louisa de
Stolberg, the lawful wife of the young pretender, gave birth to a
child at St. Rosalie in 1773, and that it was carried away three days
afterwards in the British frigate "Albina," by Commodore O'Haleran.

In the next story, called "The Red Eagle," another stage is reached.
The Highland chief who went to visit Dr. Beaton in Westminster has
passed his youth, and, in middle age, is astounded by some neighbourly
gossip concerning a mysterious personage who has taken up his quarters
in an adjacent mansion. This unknown individual is described as
wearing the red tartan, and as having that peculiar look of the eye
"which was never in the head of man nor bird but the eagle and Prince
Charlie." His name also is given as Captain O'Haleran, so that there
can be no difficulty in tracing his history back to the time when the
commodore and the mysterious infant sailed from the Mediterranean port
toward the west. Moreover, it seems that he is the reputed son of an
admiral who lays claim to a Scottish peerage, who had married a
southern heiress against the wishes of his relatives, and had assumed
her name; and that his French valet is in the habit of paying him
great deference, and occasionally styles him "Monseigneur" and
"Altesse Royal." As if this hint were not sufficient, it is
incidentally mentioned that a very aged Highland chief, who is almost
in his dotage, no sooner set eyes upon the "Red Eagle" than he
addressed him as Prince Charlie, and told his royal highness that the
last time he saw him was on the morning of Culloden.

In the third and last of the tales--"The Wolf's Den"--the "Red Eagle"
reappears, and is married to an English lady named Catherine Bruce.
His pretensions to royalty are even more plainly acknowledged than
before; and in the course of the story the Chevalier Græme,
chamberlain to the Countess d'Albanie, addresses him as "My Prince."
The inference is obvious. The Highland hero with the wonderful eyes
was the child of the pretender; he espoused an English lady, and the
names on the title-page of the book which tells this marvellous
history lead us to believe that the marriage was fruitful, and that
"John Sobieski Stuart" and "Charles Edward Stuart" were the offspring
of the union, and as such inherited whatever family pretensions might
exist to the sovereignty of the British empire.

This very pretty story might have passed with the public as a mere
romance, and, possibly, the two names on the title-page might have
been regarded as mere _noms de plume_, if vague reports had not
previously been circulated which made it apparent that the motive of
the so-called Stuarts was to deceive the public rather than to amuse

There seemed, indeed, to be little ground for believing this romantic
story to be true, and when it was made public it was immediately rent
to pieces. One shrewd critic, in particular, tore the veil aside, and
in the pages of the _Quarterly Review_ revealed the truth. He plainly
showed the imposture, both by direct and collateral evidence, and
traced the sham Stuarts through all the turnings of their tortuous
lives. By him Commodore O'Haleran, who is said to have carried off the
child, is shown to be Admiral Allen, who died in 1800, and who
pretended to have certain claims to the earldom of Errol and the
estates of the Hay family. This gentleman, it seems, had two sons,
Captain John Allen and Lieutenant Thomas Allen, both of whom were
officers in the navy. The younger of these, Thomas, was married on the
2d of October 1792 to Catherine Manning, the daughter of the Vicar of
Godalming. In this gentleman, Lieutenant Thomas Allen, the reviewer
declares the prototype of the mysterious "Red Eagle" may clearly be
recognised; and he works his case out in this way:--The "Red Eagle"
calls himself captain, and is seen in the story in connection with a
man-of-war, and displaying remarkable powers of seamanship during a
storm among the Hebrides; Thomas Allen was a lieutenant in the navy.
The "Red Eagle" passed for the son of Admiral O'Haleran; Thomas Allen
for the son of Admiral Carter Allen. The "Red Eagle" married Catherine
Bruce, sometime after the summer of 1790; Thomas Allen married
Catherine Manning in 1792. In the last of the three "Tales of the
Century," Admiral O'Haleran and the mysterious guide of Dr. Beaton are
represented as endeavouring to prevent the "Red Eagle" from injuring
the prospects of his house by such a _mesalliance_ as they considered
his marriage with Catherine Bruce would be; and there is a scene in
which the royal birth of the "Red Eagle" is spoken of without
concealment, and in which the admiral begs his "foster son" not to
destroy, by such a marriage, the last hope that was withering on his
_father's_ foreign tomb. In his will Admiral Allen bequeathed his
whole fortune to his eldest son, and only left a legacy of £100 to
Thomas; so that it may reasonably be inferred that his displeasure had
been excited against his youngest born by some such event as an
imprudent marriage. This Thomas Allen had two sons, of whom the elder
published a volume of poems in 1822, to which he put his name as John
Hay Allen, Esq.; while the marriage of the other is noted in
_Blackwood's Magazine_ for the same year, when he figures as "Charles
Stuart, youngest son of Thomas Hay Allen, Esq." These are the
gentlemen who, more than twenty years later, placed their names to the
"Tales of the Century," and styled themselves John Sobieski Stuart and
Charles Edward Stuart, thus seeking to persuade the world that they
were the direct heirs of Prince Charlie.

There can be no doubt as to their motive; but is it probable, or even
possible, that the occurrences which they describe with so much
minuteness could ever have taken place? The imaginary Dr. Beaton's
story as to the birth is altogether uncorroborated. What became of the
attendants on the Princess Louisa, of the lady who was in the
bed-chamber, of the nurse who held the child in her arms, and of the
little page who announced the advent of the royal heir to the
mysterious guide? They knew the nature of the important event which is
said to have taken place, yet they all died with sealed lips, nor,
even "in the service of the king," revealed the fact that an heir had
been born. The officers and crew of the frigate, also, must have
gossiped about the commodore's midnight adventure, and the strange
shipment of a lady and child off the Italian coast on a moonlight
night; but not one of them ever gave a sign or betrayed the fact. Such
secrecy is, to say the least, very unusual. Then, returning to Prince
Charlie himself, it is indisputable that when his wife left him in
disgust in 1780, he had no recourse to his imaginary son to cheer his
old age, but turned instinctively to Charlotte Stuart, his
illegitimate child, for sympathy. In July 1784 he executed a deed,
with all the necessary forms, legitimating this person, and bestowing
upon her the title of Albany, by which he had himself been known for
fourteen years, with the rank of duchess. To legitimate his natural
daughter, and give her the reversion of his own title, was very unlike
the action of a _pseudo_-king who had a lawful son alive. In 1784,
also, when the pretender executed his will, he left this same Duchess
of Albany, of his own constitution, all that he possessed, with the
exception of a small bequest to his brother the cardinal, and a few
trifling legacies to his attendants. To the duchess he bequeathed his
palace at Florence, with all its rich furniture, all his plate and
jewels, including those brought into the family by his mother, the
Princess Clementina Sobieski, and also such of the crown jewels of
England as had been conveyed to the continent by James II. If the
claimant to the British throne had had a son, would he have alienated
from him not only his Italian residence and the Polish jewels which he
inherited from his mother, but also the crown jewels of England, which
had come into his possession as the descendant of a king, and which
were, by the same right, the inalienable property of his legitimate

The Duchess of Albany very evidently knew nothing of the existence of
her supposed half-brother. She survived her father Prince Charles
Edward for two years. Before her decease she sent to the cardinal the
whole of the crown jewels, and at her death she left him all her
property, with the exception of an annuity to her mother, Miss
Walkinshaw, who survived her for some time, and who was known in
Jacobite circles as the Countess of Alberstroff.

The conduct of the Princess Louisa, the reputed mother of the child,
was equally strange. When she left her old debauched husband, she
found consolation in the friendship and intimacy of the poet Alfieri,
who at his death left her his whole property. Cardinal York settled a
handsome income upon her, and her second lover--a Frenchman, named
Fabre--added to her store. She survived till 1824, when her alleged
son must have been in his fifty-first year; yet at her death all her
property, including the seal and the portrait of Prince Charles
Edward, were left to her French admirer, and were by him bequeathed to
an Italian sculptor.

Cardinal York, also, betrayed no knowledge that his brother ever had
had a son. When Prince Charles Edward died the cardinal adopted all
the form and etiquette usual in the residence of a monarch, and
insisted upon its observance by his visitors, as well as by his own
attendants. He published protests asserting his right to the British
crown, and caused medals to be struck bearing his effigy, and an
inscription wherein he is styled Henry the Ninth, King of Great
Britain and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, &c., &c. This he neither
could nor would have done had he been aware of the existence of his
brother's son, who had a prior claim to his own. Moreover, when the
Princess Louisa left her husband, he exerted himself to the utmost of
his ability to serve her; carried her to Rome; and succeeded in
procuring for her a suitable establishment from his brother. Surely,
in return for his great services, she would have informed him of the
existence of her son, if any such son had ever been born! When the
pretender's health began to give way Cardinal York was among the first
to hasten to his assistance, and, discarding all previous
disagreements, renewed his friendship with him, and persuaded him to
make his home in Rome for the last two years of his life. Yet Prince
Charles in his old age, and with death before his eyes, never revealed
the secret of St. Rosalie to his brother, but permitted him to assume a
title to which he had not the shadow of a claim. In his will also,
Cardinal York betrays his ignorance of any heir of his brother, and
bequeaths his possessions to the missionary funds of the Romish
Church. Dr. Beaton alone seems to have been worthy of trust.

As far as Admiral Allen is concerned, it is not only unproven that he
was a Tory or a Jacobite, but it is almost certainly shown that he was
a Whig, and would have been a very unlikely person to be entrusted
either with the secrets, or the heir, of Prince Charlie. Had Charles
Edward been in a situation to confide so delicate a trust to any one,
it is impossible to conceive that he would have selected any other
than one of his staunchest adherents; yet John and Charles Hay Allen
ask the public to believe that the charge was entrusted to one whose
political relations seem to have been with the opposite party. They
declare that the "Red Eagle" was aware of his real parentage prior to
1790; yet in the notice of Thomas Allen's marriage, which occurred two
years later, he is expressly described as the son of Admiral Allen,
and in the admiral's will he is distinctly mentioned as his son. As
the reviewer, who has been quoted so freely, remarks: "What
conceivable motive could induce the officer entrusted by Charles
Edward with the care of the only hope of the House of Stuart to leave
in his will, and that will, too, executed in the year of his death, a
flat denial of the royal birth of his illustrious ward? The fact is
utterly irreconcilable with the existence of such a secret, and
appears absolutely conclusive. There was no occasion for the admiral
stating in his will whose son Thomas Allen was. He might have left him
£100 without any allusion to his parentage; but when he deliberately,
and, as lawyers say, _in intuitu mortis_, assures us that this
gentleman, the father of those who assume names so directly indicative
of royal pretensions, was his own son, we are inclined to give him
credit for a clearer knowledge of the truth than any now alive can

Such is the story, and such is its refutation. It has had many
believers and many critics. That it was advanced in earnest there can
be no doubt, and the pretenders were well known in London circles.
The elder of them, "John Sobieski Stuart," died in February 1872; but
before his decease solemnly appointed his successor, and passed his
supposed royal birthright to a younger member of the same family--a
birthright which is worthless and vain.


In the latter half of last century a farmer in one of the northern
counties had in his house a very pretty girl, who passed as his
daughter, and who supposed that he was her father. The damsel was
industrious and virtuous as well as beautiful, and as she grew to
maturity had many applicants for her hand. At last, as it became
apparent that she would not long remain disengaged or single, her
reputed father explained to her that she was not his daughter, but was
an illegitimate child of Lord Robert Manners, who had all along paid
for her support, and who was disposed to grant her a wedding portion
of £1000, provided she married with his sanction. The news soon
spread, and the rustic beauty became a greater toast than ever when it
was known that she was also an heiress. Among others who heard of her
sudden accession to fortune was a young fellow called John Hatfield,
then employed as a traveller by a neighbouring linen-draper. He lost
no time in paying his respects at the farm-house, or in enrolling
himself in the number of her suitors, and succeeded so well that he
not only gained the affections of the girl, but also the goodwill of
the farmer, who wrote to Lord Robert Manners, informing him that
Hatfield held a good position and had considerable expectations, and
that he was anxious to marry his daughter, but would only do so on
condition that her relatives approved of the union. Thereupon his
lordship sent for the lover, and, believing his representations to be
true, gave his consent at the first interview, and on the day after
the marriage presented the bridegroom with £1500.

The fellow was in reality a great scamp. A short time after he got the
money he set out for London, purchased a carriage, frequented the most
famous coffee-houses, and represented himself to be a near relation of
the Rutland family, and the possessor of large estates in Yorkshire.
The marriage portion was soon exhausted, and when he had borrowed from
every person who would lend him money he disappeared from the
fashionable world as abruptly as he had entered it. Little was heard
of his movements for several years, when he suddenly turned up again
as boastful, if not as resplendent, as ever. By this time his wife had
borne three daughters to him; but he regarded both her and them as
hateful encumbrances, and deserted them, leaving them to be supported
by the precarious charity of her relations. The poor woman did not
long survive his ill-usage and neglect, and died in 1782. Hatfield
himself found great difficulty in raising money, and was, at last,
thrown into the King's Bench prison for a debt of £160. Here he was
very miserable, and was in such absolute destitution that he excited
the pity of some of his former associates and victims who had retained
sufficient to pay their jail expenses, and they often invited him to
dinner and supplied him with food. He never lost his assurance; and,
although he was perfectly well aware that his real character was
known, still continued to boast of his kennels, of his Yorkshire park,
and of his estate in Rutlandshire, which he asserted was settled upon
his wife; and usually wound up his complaint by observing how annoying
it was that a gentleman who at that very time had thirty men engaged
in beautifying his Yorkshire property should be locked up in a filthy
jail, by a miserable tradesman, for a paltry debt.

Among others to whom he told this cock-and-bull story was a clergyman
who came to the prison to visit Valentine Morris, the ex-governor of
St. Vincent, who was then one of the inmates; and he succeeded in
persuading the unsuspecting divine to visit the Duke of Rutland, and
lay his case before him as that of a near relative. Of course the
duke repudiated all connection with him, and all recollection of him;
but a day or two later, when he remembered that he was the man who had
married the natural daughter of Lord Robert Manners, he sent £200 and
had him released.

Such a benefactor was not to be lost sight of. The duke was appointed
Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland in 1784, and had scarcely landed in Dublin
when Hatfield followed him to that city. On his arrival he engaged a
splendid suite of apartments in a first-rate hotel, fared sumptuously,
and represented himself as nearly allied to the viceroy; but said that
he could not appear at the castle until his horses, carriages, and
servants arrived from England. The Yorkshire park, the Rutlandshire
estate, and the thirty industrious labourers were all impressed into
his service once more, and the landlord allowed him to have what he
liked. When the suspicions of Boniface were aroused by the non-arrival
of the equipages and attendants he presented his bill. Hatfield
assured him that his money was perfectly safe, and that luckily his
agent, who collected the rents of his estate in the north of England,
was then in Ireland, and would give him all needful information. The
landlord called upon this gentleman, whose name had been given to him,
and presented his account, but of course without success; and Hatfield
was thrown in the Marshalsea jail by the indignant landlord. By this
time he was thoroughly familiar with the mysteries of prison life as
it then existed, and had scarcely seated himself in his new lodging
when he visited the jailer's wife and informed her of the relationship
in which he stood to the lord-lieutenant. The woman believed him, gave
him the best accommodation she could, and allowed him to sit at her
table for three weeks. During this time he sent another petition to
the new viceroy, who, fearing lest his own reputation should suffer,
released him, and was only too glad to ship him off to Holyhead.

He next showed himself at Scarborough in 1792, and succeeded in
introducing himself to some of the local gentry, to whom he hinted
that at the next general election he would be made one of the
representatives of the town through the influence of the Duke of
Rutland. His inability to pay his hotel bill, however, led to his
exposure, and he was obliged to flee to London, where he was again
arrested for debt. This time the wheel of Fortune turned but slowly in
his favour. He lingered in jail for eight years and a-half, when a
Miss Nation, of Devonshire, to whom he had become known, paid his
debts, took him from prison, and married him.

Abandoning his Rutlandshire pretensions, he now devoted himself to
business, and persuaded a Devonshire firm, who knew nothing of his
antecedents, to take him into partnership, and also ingratiated
himself with a clergyman, who accepted his drafts for a large amount.
Thus supplied with ready money he returned to London, where he lived
in splendid style, and even went so far as to aspire to a seat in the
House of Commons. For a time all appeared to go well; but suspicions
gradually arose with regard to his character and his resources, and he
was declared a bankrupt. Deserting his wife and her two children, he
fled from his creditors. For some time nothing was heard of him, but
in July 1802 he arrived in Keswick, in a carriage, but without any
servant, and assumed the name of the Honourable Alexander Augustus
Hope, brother of the Earl of Hopetoun, and member of Parliament for

In his wanderings he became acquainted with an old couple called
Robinson, who kept a little hostelry on the shore of the Lake of
Buttermere, and who had one daughter who was locally known as "The
Beauty of Buttermere." The handsome colonel at once began to lay siege
to this girl's heart, and was the less loth to do so because it was
rumoured that old Robinson had saved a considerable sum during a long
lifetime. But with his usual prudence, he thought it well to have two
strings to his bow, and finding that there was an Irish officer in
Keswick who had a ward of good family and fortune, and of great
personal attractions, he procured an introduction as the Honourable
Colonel Hope of the 14th regiment of foot. He failed with the ward,
but he was more successful with the Irishman's daughter. Her consent
was given, the trousseau was ordered, and the wedding-day was fixed.
But the lady would not agree to a secret ceremony, and insisted that
he should announce his intended nuptials both to her own and his
friends. This he agreed to do, and pretended to write letters
apprising his brother, and even proposed a visit to Lord Hopetoun's
seat. The bride's suspicions were, however, roused by the strange air
of concealment and mystery which surrounded her intended husband; the
desired answers to his letters came not, and she refused to resign
either herself or her fortune into his keeping.

Thus baffled, he devoted all his attention to pretty Mary Robinson,
and found her less reluctant to unite her lot with that of such a
distinguished individual as Colonel Hope. The inquiries this time were
all on the gallant officer's side, and it was only when he found that
the reports as to old Robinson's wealth were well founded that he led
her to the altar of Lorton church, on the 2d of October 1802.

On the day before the wedding the _soi-disant_ Colonel Hope wrote to a
gentleman of his acquaintance, informing him that he was under the
necessity of being absent for ten days on a journey into Scotland, and
enclosing a draft for thirty pounds, drawn on a Mr. Crumpt of
Liverpool, which he desired him to cash and pay some small debts in
Keswick with it, and send him over the balance, as he was afraid he
might be short of money on the road. This was done; and the gentleman
sent him at the same time an additional ten pounds, lest unexpected
demands should be made upon his purse in his absence.

The Keswick folks were naturally astonished when they learned two days
later that the colonel, who had been paying his addresses to the
daughter of the Irish officer, had married "The Beauty of Buttermere,"
and the confiding friend who had sent him the money at once despatched
the draft to Liverpool. Mr. Crumpt immediately accepted it, believing
that it came from the real Colonel Hope, whom he knew very well.
Meantime, instead of paying his proposed journey to Scotland Hatfield
stopped at Longtown, where he received two letters, by which he
seemed much disturbed, and returned after three days' absence to
Buttermere. Some friends of the real colonel, chancing to hear of his
marriage, paused on their way through Cumberland, at Keswick, and
wrote to their supposed acquaintance, asking him to come and visit
them. Hatfield went in a carriage and four, and had an interview with
the gentlemen, but flatly denied that he had ever assumed Colonel
Hope's name. He said his name was Hope, but that he was not the member
for Linlithgow. It was notorious, however, that he had been in the
habit of franking his letters with Colonel Hope's name, and he was
handed over to a constable. He contrived to escape, and fled first to
Chester and subsequently to Swansea, where he was recaptured.

He was brought to trial at the Cumberland assizes on the 15th of
August 1803, charged with personation and forgery, and was found
guilty and sentenced to death. He was executed at Carlisle on the 3d
of September 1803.


There is no darker page in the history of France than that whereon is
inscribed the record of the Revolution; and in its darkness there is
nothing blacker than the narration of the horrible treatment of the
young dauphin by the revolutionists. The misfortunes of his father
King Louis XVI., and of Marie-Antoinette, are sufficiently well known
throughout Europe to render the repetition of them tedious; but the
evil fate of the son has been less voluminously recorded by
historians, and it is, therefore, necessary to repeat the story at
some length to render the following narratives of claims to royalty
thoroughly intelligible.

Louis-Charles was the second son of Louis XVI. and his consort
Marie-Antoinette, and was born at the Chateau of Versailles, on the
27th of March, at five minutes before seven in the evening. An hour
and a half later he was baptised with much ceremony by the Cardinal de
Rohan and the Vicar of Versailles, and received the title of Duke of
Normandy. Then the king, followed by all the court, went to the chapel
of the chateau, where _Te Deum_ was sung in honour of the event, and
subsequently the infant prince was consecrated a knight of the order
of the Holy Ghost. Fireworks were displayed on the Place d'Armes at
Versailles; and when the news reached Paris it is said "joy spread
itself from one end of the great city to the other; the cannon of the
Bastille responded to the cannon of the Invalides; and everywhere
spontaneous illuminations, the ringing of bells, and the acclamations
of the people, manifested the love of France for a king who, in the
flower of his youth, found his happiness in the happiness of the
people." Such was the introduction into the world of the young prince.

Fate seemed to have the brightest gifts in store for him. On the 4th
of June 1789, the dauphin, his elder brother, died at Meudon, and the
young Louis-Charles succeeded to his honours. At this time he was
rather more than four years old, and is described as having a graceful
and well-knit frame, his forehead broad and open, his eyebrows arched;
his large blue eyes fringed with long chestnut lashes of angelic
beauty; his complexion dazzlingly fair and blooming; his hair, of a
dark chestnut, curled naturally, and fell in thick ringlets on his
shoulders; and he had the vermilion mouth of his mother, and like her
a small dimple on the chin. In disposition he was exceedingly amiable,
and was a great favourite both with his father and mother, who
affectionately styled him their "little Norman."

His happiness was destined to be very short-lived, for the murmurs of
the Revolution could already be heard. On the 20th of July, 1791, King
Louis XVI., his family and court, fled from the disloyal French
capital in the night, their intention being to travel in disguise to
Montmèdy, and there to join the Marquis de Bouillé, who was at the
head of a large army. When they awoke the little dauphin, and began
to dress him as a girl, his sister asked him what he thought of the
proceeding. His answer was, "I think we are going to play a comedy;"
but never had comedy more tragic ending. The royal party were
discovered at Varennes, and brought back to the Tuileries amid the
hootings and jeers of the mob. "The journey," says Lamartine, "was a
Calvary of sixty leagues, every step of which was a torture." On the
way the little girl whispered to her brother, "Charles, this is not a
comedy." "I have found that out long since," said the boy. But he was
brave, tender to his mother, and gravely courteous to the commissioner
of the Assembly who had been deputed to bring them back. "Sir," he
said, from his mother's knee, "you ask if I am not very sorry to
return to Paris. I am glad to be anywhere, so that it is with mamma
and papa, and my aunt and sister, and Madame de Tourzel, my

There soon came the wild scene in the Tuileries, and the sad
appearance of the dethroned king in the Assembly, with its still more
lamentable ending. Louis XVI. was carried to the prison of the Temple.
This building had originally been a fortress of the Knights Templars.
In 1792, the year in which it received the captive monarch, it
consisted of a large square tower, flanked at its angles by four round
towers, and having on the north side another separate tower of less
dimensions than the first, surmounted by turrets, and generally called
the little tower. It was in this little tower that the royal family of
France were located by the commune of Paris. Here the king spent his
time in the education of his son, while the best historian of the boy
says he devoted himself to comforting his parents: "Here he was happy
to live, and he was only turned to grief by the tears which sometimes
stole down his mother's cheeks. He never spoke of his games and walks
of former days; he never uttered the name of Versailles or the
Tuileries; he seemed to regret nothing."

On the morning of the 21st January, 1793, Louis XVI. was carried to
the scaffold, and suffered death. On the previous day, at a final
interview which was allowed, he had taken the dauphin, "his dear
little Norman," on his knee, and had said to him, "My son, you have
heard what I have just said"--he had been causing them all to promise
never to think of avenging his death--"but, as oaths are something
more sacred still than words, swear, with your hands held up to
Heaven, that you will obey your father's dying injunction;" and, adds
his sister, who tells the story, "My brother, bursting into tears,
obeyed; and this most affecting goodness doubled our own grief." And
thus father and son parted, but not for long.

On the 1st of July the Committee of Public Safety passed a decree,
"That the son of Capet be separated from his mother, and committed to
the charge of a tutor, to be chosen by the Council General of the
Commune." The Convention sanctioned it, and it was carried into effect
two days later. About ten o'clock at night, when the young dauphin was
sleeping soundly in his bed, and the ex-queen and her sister were busy
mending clothes, while the princess read to them, six municipal guards
marched into the room and tore the child from his agonized mother.
They conveyed him to that part of the Tower which had formerly been
occupied by his father, where the "tutor" of the commune was in
waiting to receive him. This was no other than a fellow called Simon,
a shoemaker, who had never lost an opportunity of publicly insulting
the king, and who, through the influence of Marat and Robespierre, had
been appointed the instructor of his son at a salary of 500 francs a
month, on condition that he was never to leave his prisoner or quit
the Tower, on any pretence whatever.

On the first night, Simon found his new pupil disposed to be
unmanageable. The dauphin sat silently on the floor in a corner, and
not all his new master's threats could induce him to answer the
questions which were put to him. Madame Simon, although a terrible
virago, was likewise unsuccessful; and for two days the prince mourned
for his mother, and refused to taste food, only demanding to see the
law which separated him from her and kept them in prison. At the end
of the second day he found that he could not persist in exercising his
own will, and went to bed. In the morning his new master cried in his
elation, "Ha, ha! little Capet, I shall have to teach you to sing the
'Carmagole,' and to cry '_Vive la République!_' Ah! you are dumb, are
you?" and so from hour to hour he sneered at the miserable child.

On one occasion, in the early days of his rule, Simon made his pupil
the present of a Jew's harp, at the same time saying, "Your she-wolf
of a mother plays on the piano, and you must learn to accompany her on
the Jew's harp!" The dauphin steadily refused to touch the instrument;
whereupon the new tutor, in a passion, flew upon him and beat him
severely. Still he was not cowed, although the blows were the first
which he had ever received, but bravely answered, "You may punish me
if I don't obey you; but you ought not to beat me--you are stronger
than I." "I am here to command you, animal! my duty is just what I
please to do; and '_vive la Liberté, l'Egalité_.'" By-and-by personal
suffering and violence had become only too common occurrences of his
daily life.

About a week after the dauphin was transferred from the little tower,
a rumour spread through Paris that the son of Louis XVI. had been
carried off from the Temple Tower, and crowds of the sovereign people
flocked to the spot to satisfy themselves of its truth. The guard, who
had not seen the boy since he had been taken from his mother's care,
replied that he was no longer in the Tower; "_and from that time the
popular falsehood gained ground and strength continually_." In order
to quiet the public apprehension, a deputation from the Committee of
Public Safety visited Simon, and ordered him to bring down "the
tyrant's son," so that the incoming guard might see him for
themselves. They then proceeded to cross-question Simon as to the
manner in which he discharged his duties. When that worthy had
satisfied them as to his past treatment, he demanded decisive
instructions for his future guidance.

"Citizens, what do you decide about the wolf-cub? He has been taught
to be insolent, but I shall know how to tame him. So much the worse if
he sinks under it! I don't answer for that. After all, what do you
want done with him? Do you want him transported?"






"But what then?"

"We want to get rid of him!"

The guard saw him and questioned him, and some of them even
sympathized with him and tried to comfort him; but Simon came and
dragged him away with a rough "Come, come, Capet, or I'll show the
citizens how I _work_ you when you deserve it!"

When the commissaries returned to the Convention they were able to
announce that the report which had stirred up the populace was false,
and that they had seen Capet's son. From this time forward Simon
redoubled his harshness; beat the boy daily; removed his books and
converted them into pipe-lights; cut off his hair, and made him wear
the red Jacobin cap; dressed him in a scarlet livery, and compelled
him to clean his own and his wife's shoes, and to give them the most
abject obedience. At last the boy's spirit was thoroughly broken, and
Simon not only did as he had said, and forced his victim to sing the
"Carmagnole," and shout "_Vive la République!_" but made him drunk
upon bad wine, and when his mind was confused forced him to sing lewd
and regicide songs, and even to subscribe his name to foul slanders
against his mother.

It might be supposed that the Convention was thoroughly satisfied with
its worthy subordinate who had done his peculiar work so effectively,
but he was considered too costly, and was ousted from his post. It was
resolved that the expenses of the children of Louis Capet should be
reduced to what was necessary for the food and maintenance of two
persons, and four members of the Council-General of the Commune agreed
to superintend the prisoners of the Temple. A new arrangement was
made, and a novel system of torture was inaugurated by Hébert and
Chaumette, two of the most infamous wretches whom the Revolution
raised into temporary notoriety. The wretched boy was confined in a
back-room which had no window or connection with the outside except
through another apartment. His historian describes it vividly--"The
door of communication between the ante-room and this room was cut down
so as to leave it breast high, fastened with nails and screws, and
grated from top to bottom with bars of iron. Half way up was placed a
shelf on which the bars opened, forming a sort of wicket, closed by
other moveable bars, and fastened by an enormous padlock. By this
wicket his coarse food was passed in to little Capet, and it was on
this ledge that he had to put whatever he wanted to send away.
Although small, his compartment was yet large enough for a tomb. What
had he to complain of? He had a room to walk in, a bed to lie upon; he
had bread and water, and linen and clothes! But he had neither fire
nor candle. His room was warmed only by a stove-pipe, and lighted only
by the gleam of a lamp suspended opposite the grating." Into this
horrible place he was pushed on the anniversary of his father's death.
The victim did not even see the parsimonious hand which passed his
food to him, nor the careless hand that sometimes left him without a
fire in very cold weather, and sometimes, by plying the stove with too
much fuel, converted his prison into a furnace.

This horrible place he was expected to keep clean, but his strength
was unequal to the task, and he was glad to crawl to his bed when
ordered by his guards, who refused to give him a light. Even there he
was not allowed to rest in peace, and often the commissaries appointed
to relieve those on duty would often noisily arouse him from his
pleasant dreams by rattling at his wicket, crying, "Capet, Capet, are
you asleep? Where are you? Young viper, get up!" And the little
startled form would creep from the bed and crawl to the wicket; while
the faint gentle voice would answer, "I am here, citizens, what do you
want with me?" "To see you," would be the surly reply of the watch for
the night. "All right. Get to bed. In!--Down!" And this performance
would be repeated several times before morning. It would have killed a
strong man in a short time. How long could a child stand it?

Days and weeks and months did pass, and as they passed brought
increasing langour, and weakness, and illness. The want of fresh air,
the abandonment and the solitude, had all had their effect, and the
unfortunate dauphin could scarcely lift the heavy earthenware platter
which contained his food, or the heavier jar in which his water was
brought. He soon left off sweeping his room, and never tried to move
the palliasse off his bed. He could not change his filthy sheets, and
his blanket was worn into tatters. He wore his ragged jacket and
trousers--Simon's legacy--both day and night, and although he felt all
this misery he could not cry. Loathsome creatures crawled in his den
and over his person until even the little scullion who attended him
shuddered with horror as he glanced into the place and muttered,
"Everything is _alive_ in that room." "Yes," says Beauchesne,
"everything was alive except the boy they were killing by inches, and
murdering in detail. This beautiful child, so admired at Versailles
and at the Tuileries, would not recognise himself, his form is
scarcely human--it is something that vegetates--a moving mass of bones
and skin. Never could any state of misery have been conceived more
desolate, more lonely, more threatening than this!... And all that I
here relate is true! These troubles, insults, and torments were heaped
on the head of a child. I show them to you, like indeed to what they
were, but far short of the reality. Cowardly and cruel men, why did
you stop in your frenzy of murder? It would have been better to drink
that last drop of royal blood, than to mingle it with gall and venom
and poison; it would have been better to smother the child, as was
done by the emissaries of Richard III. in the Tower of London, than to
degrade and sully his intellect by that slow method of assassination
which killed the mind before it slew the body. He should have been
struck a year or two before; his little feet should have been aided to
mount the rude steps of the guillotine! Ah, if she could have known
the fate you were reserving for him, the daughter of Maria-Theresa
would have asked to take her child in her arms: she would have shared
her very last victory with him; and the angels would have prepared at
once the crown of the martyred and that of the innocent victim! Alas,
history is fain to regret for Louis XVII. the scaffold of his mother!"

But the end of the torture was very near. Robespierre fell, and Simon,
the Barbarous, accompanied him in the same tumbril to the guillotine,
and shared his fate. Barras, the new dictator, made it almost his
first care to visit the Temple; and, from what his colleagues and
himself saw there, they came to the conclusion that some more
judicious control was needed than that of the rough guards who had
charge of the royal children--that a permanent agent must be appointed
to watch the watchers. Accordingly, without consulting him, they
delegated the citizen Laurent to take charge of the dauphin and his
sister. Laurent was a humane man, and accepted the appointment
willingly. Indeed he dared not have refused it; but, in common with
the rest of the public, he had heard that the boy was miserably ill
and was totally uncared for, and seems to have had a notion that he
could better his condition.

He arrived at the Temple in the evening; but, having no idea of the
real state of the child, he did not visit his little prisoner until
the guard was changed at two o'clock in the morning. When he arrived
at the entrance-door, the foul smell emanating therefrom almost drove
him back. But he was forced to overcome his repugnance; for when the
municipals battered at the little wicket, and shouted for Capet, no
Capet responded. At last, after having been frequently called, a
feeble voice answered "Yes;" but there was no motion on the part of
the speaker. No amount of threatening could induce the occupant of the
bed to leave it, and Laurent was compelled to accept his new charge in
this way, knowing that he was safe somewhere in that dark and
abominable hole. Early next morning he was at the wicket again, and
saw a sight which caused him to send an immediate request to his
superiors to come and visit their captive. Two days later several
members of the Committee of General Safety repaired to the Temple, the
barrier and the wicket were torn down, and "in a dark room, from which
exhaled an odour of corruption and death, on a dirty unmade bed,
barely covered with a filthy cloth and a ragged pair of trousers, a
child of nine years old was lying motionless, his back bent, his face
wan and wasted with misery, and his features exhibiting an expression
of mournful apathy and rigid unintelligence. His head and neck were
fretted by purulent sores, his legs and arms were lengthened
disproportionately, his knees and wrists were covered with blue and
yellow swellings, his feet and hands unlike in appearance to human
flesh, and armed with nails of an immense length; his beautiful fair
hair was stuck to his head by an inveterate scurvy like pitch; and his
body, and the rags which covered him, were alive with vermin."
Mentally he was almost an imbecile; and in answer to all the questions
which were put to him, he only said once, "I wish to die." And this
was the son of Louis XVI., and the nearest heir to the throne of

The commissaries having given some trifling directions, went their way
to concoct a report, leaving Laurent with very indefinite
instructions. But all the human feelings of the man were roused. He
sent at once for another bed, and bathed the child's wounds. He got an
old woman to cut his hair, and comb it out, and wash him, and
persuaded one of the municipals, who had been a kind of doctor, to
prescribe for the sores, and managed to persuade his superiors to send
a tailor, who made a suit of good clothes for the dauphin. At first
the boy had some difficulty in understanding the change, but as it
dawned upon him he was very grateful. Nor did Laurent's good work stop
here. Although the Revolution was less bloody than before, it was
still very jealous; and the keeper of the Temple was not permitted to
see his prisoner, except at meal times and rare intervals. Still he
contrived to obtain permission to carry him to the top of the Tower,
on the plea that fresh air was essential to his health, and tended him
so assiduously, that while the prisoner was partially restored, and
could walk about, the strength of his custodier broke down.

Under these circumstances he applied for an assistant, and citizen
Gomin was appointed to the duty. Citizen Gomin, the son of a
well-to-do upholsterer, had no desire to leave his father's shop to
become an under-jailer at the Temple; but his remonstrances were
silenced by the emissaries of the committee, and he was carried off at
once from his bench and his counter in a carriage which was waiting.
He was a kindly fellow, but prudent withal, and was so horrified when
he saw the condition of his charge, that he would have resigned if he
had not been afraid that by so doing he would become a suspect. As it
was he did his best to help Laurent, and by a happy thought, and with
the connivance of a good-hearted municipal, brought into the invalid's
room four little pots of flowers in full bloom. The sight of the
flowers and the undisguised mark of sympathy and affection did what
all previous kindness had failed to do--unlocked the fountains of a
long-sealed heart--and the child burst into tears. From that moment he
recognised Gomin as his friend, but days elapsed before he spoke to
him. When he did, his first remark was--"It was you who gave me some
flowers: I have not forgotten it."

Gomin and Laurent by-and-by came to be great favourites; but the
latter was compelled to resign his post through the urgency of his
private affairs, and he was replaced by a house-painter called Lasné,
who, like Gomin, was forced to abandon his own business at a moment's
notice. He proved equally good-natured with the other two, and like
them succeeded in gaining the friendship of the dauphin. As far as he
could, he lightened his captivity and tended him with the utmost care.
But no amount of kindliness could bring back strength to the wasted
frame, or even restore hope to the careful attendants. They sang to
him, talked with him, and gave him toys; but it was all in vain. In
the month of May, 1705, they became really alarmed, and informed the
government that the little Capet was dangerously ill. No attention
was paid to their report, and they wrote again, expressing a fear that
he would not live. After a delay of three days a physician came. He
considered him as attacked with the same scrofulous disorder of which
his brother had died at Meudon, and proposed his immediate removal to
the country. This idea was, of course, regarded as preposterous. He
was, however, transferred to a more airy room; but the change had no
permanent effect. Lasné and Gomin did all they could for him, carrying
him about in their arms, and nursing him day and night; but he
continued gradually to sink.

On the morning of the 8th of June a bulletin was issued announcing
that the life of the captive was in danger. Poor patient Gomin was by
his bedside, on the watch in more senses than one, and expressed his
profound sorrow to see him suffer so much. "Take comfort," said the
child, "I shall not always suffer so much." Then, says Beauchesne,
"Gomin knelt down that he might be nearer to him. The child took his
hand and pressed it to his lips. The pious heart of Gomin prompted an
ardent prayer--one of those prayers that misery wrings from man and
love sends up to God. The child did not let go the faithful hand that
still remained to him, and raised his eyes to Heaven while Gomin
prayed for him." A few hours later, when Lasné had relieved his
subordinate, and was sitting beside the bed, the prince said that he
heard music, and added, "Do you think my sister could have heard the
music? How much good it would have done her!" Lasné could not speak.
All at once the child's eye brightened, and he exclaimed, "I have
something to tell you!" Lasné took his hand, and bent over the bed to
listen. The little head fell on his bosom; but the last words had been
spoken, and the descendant and heir of sixty-five kings was dead. The
date was the 8th of June, 1795; and the little prisoner, who had
escaped at last, was just ten years, two months, and twelve days old.

Lasné at once acquainted Gomin and Damont, the commissary on duty,
with the event, and they instantly repaired to the room. The poor
little royal corpse was carried from the apartment where he died into
that where he had suffered so long, the remains were laid out on the
bed, and the doors were thrown open. Gomin then repaired to the
offices of the Committee of Safety, and announced the decease of his
charge. He saw one of the members, who told him that the sitting was
ended, and advised the concealment of the fact till the following
morning. This was done. The same evening supper was prepared at eight
o'clock for "the little Capet," and Gomin pretended to take it to his
room. He left it outside, and entered the chamber of death. Many years
afterwards he described his feelings to M. Beauchesne--"I timidly
raised the covering and gazed upon him. The lines which pain had drawn
on his forehead and on his cheeks had disappeared.... His eyes, which
suffering had half-closed, were open now, and shone as pure as the
blue heaven. His beautiful fair hair, which had not been cut for two
months, fell like a frame round his face, which I had never seen so

At eight o'clock next morning four members of the committee came to
the Tower to assure themselves that the prince really was dead. They
were satisfied and withdrew. As they went out some of the officers of
the Temple guard asked to see "the little Capet" whom they had known
at the Tuileries, and were admitted. They recognised the body at once,
and twenty of them signed an attestation to that effect. Four surgeons
arrived while the soldiers were in the room, and had to wait until it
could be cleared before they could begin the autopsy which they had
been sent to perform. By this time also everyone outside the Temple
had learned the event, except his sister, who was confined in another
part of the Tower; and the good-hearted Gomin could not muster up
courage to tell her.

On the evening of the 10th of June the coffin which contained the body
was carried out at the great gate, escorted by a small detachment of
troops, and the crowd which had collected was kept back by gens
d'armes. Lasné was among the mourners, and witnessed the interment,
which took place in the cemetery of Sainte-Marguerite. As the
soldier-guarded coffin passed along, the people asked whose body it
contained, and were answered 'little Capet;' and the more popular
title of dauphin spread from lip to lip with expressions of pity and
compassion, and a few children of the common people, in rags, took off
their caps, in token of respect and sympathy, before this coffin that
contained a child who had died poorer than they themselves were to

The procession entered by the old gate of the cemetery, and the
interment took place in the corner on the left, at a distance of eight
or nine feet from the enclosure wall, and at an equal distance from a
small house. The grave was filled up--no mound was raised, but the
ground was carefully levelled, so that no trace of the interment
should remain. All was over.

This is the story of M. Beauchesne, and there seems to be little
reason to doubt its truth in any essential particular. He writes with
much feeling, but he does not permit his sentiments to overcome his
reason, and has verified the truthfulness of his statements before
giving them to the public. His book is the result of twenty years'
labour and research, and he freely reproduces his authorities for the
inspection and judgment of his readers. He was personally acquainted
with Lasné and Gomin, the two last keepers of the Tower, and the
government aided him if it did not patronise him in his work.
Certificates, reports, and proclamations are all proved, and
lithographs of them are given. The book is a monument of patient
research as well as of love, and the mass of readers will find no
difficulty in believing that it embodies the truth, or that Louis
XVII. really died in the Temple on the 8th of June 1795.

       *       *       *       *       *

But in a land such as France, it is not remarkable that the utmost
should have been made of the mystery which surrounded the fate of the
youthful dauphin, or that pretenders should have endeavoured to
personate the son of Louis XVI. The first of these was a lad called
Jean Marie Hervagault, a young scamp, who was a native of St. Lo, a
little village in the department of La Manche, and who resided there
during his early youth with his father, who was a tailor. This
precocious youth, who was gifted with good looks, and who undoubtedly
bore some resemblance to the deceased prince, ran away from home in
1796, and, by his plausible manners and innocent expression, succeeded
in ingratiating himself with several royalist families of distinction,
who believed his story that he was the son of a proscribed nobleman.
His good luck was so great that he was induced to visit Cherbourg, and
tempt his fortune among the concealed adherents of the monarchy who
were resident there; but he was quickly detected, and was thrown into

His father, learning his whereabouts, repaired to the jail, and
implored his prodigal son to return to the needle and the shop-board
at St. Lo, but his entreaties were unavailing, and the would-be
aristocrat plainly announced his intention of wearing fine clothes
instead of making them. Accordingly, when he was released, he assumed
feminine attire, had recourse to prominent royalists to supply his
wants, and explained his disguise by mysterious allusions to political
motives, and to his own relationship to the Bourbons. The officers of
the law again laid hands on him, and threw him into prison at Bayeux,
and his father had once more to free him from custody. Still his soul
revolted at honest industry; and, although he condescended to return
to St. Lo, the shears and the goose remained unknown to him, and he
made his stay under the paternal roof as brief as possible.

One morning in October, 1797, the honest old tailor awoke to find that
his ambitious son was missing for the third time, and heard no more of
him until he learnt that he was in prison at Châlons. He had contrived
to reach that town in his usual fashion, and when he found himself in
his customary quarters, and his further progress impeded, he informed
some of his fellow-prisoners, in confidence, that he was the dauphin
of the Temple, and the brother of the princess. They, of course,
whispered the wondrous secret to the warders, who in turn conveyed it
to their friends, and the news spread like wildfire. The whole town
"was moved, and the first impulse was to communicate to Madame Royale"
the joyful intelligence that her brother still lived. Crowds flocked
to see the interesting prisoner and to do him homage, and the
turnkeys, anxious to err on the safe side, relaxed their rules, and
permitted him to receive the congratulations of enthusiastic crowds,
who were anxious to kiss his hand and to avow their attachment to
himself and his cause.

The authorities were less easily moved, and sentenced the sham dauphin
to a month's imprisonment as a rogue and vagabond, and, moreover, took
good care that he suffered the penalty. On his release he was loaded
with gifts by his still faithful friends, and went on his way
rejoicing, until at Vere he had the misfortune to be captured by the
police, and was sentenced to two years' imprisonment for swindling.
The royalists of Châlons, however, remained true to him, and when his
captivity was ended he was carried to the house of a Madame Seignes,
where he held a mimic court, and graciously received those who flocked
to do him honour. But the attentions of the police having become
pressing, he was compelled to move secretly from place to place, until
he found a temporary home in the house of a M. de Rambercourt, at
Vetry. Here he first told the full story of his adventures to a
wondering but believing audience. He glibly narrated the events which
took place in the Temple up to the removal of the miscreant Simon from
his post; but this part of the tale possessed little attraction, for
the cruelties of the shoemaker-tutor were well known; but the sequel
was of absorbing interest.

He said that after the fall of Robespierre and his myrmidons, he
received much more lenient treatment, and was permitted to see his
sister daily, to play with her, and to take his meals in her company.
Still his health did not improve, and the compassion of his nurse
having been excited, she informed his friends without of his
condition, and it was resolved to effect his release. An arrangement
was made, and the real dauphin was placed in the midst of a bundle of
foul linen, and was then carried past the unsuspecting guards, while
a child who had been purchased for the occasion from his unnatural
parents was substituted in his place. The laundress' cart containing
the prince was driven to Passy, and there three individuals received
him, and were so certain of his identity that they at once fell on
their knees and did him homage. From their care he was transferred to
Belleville, the head-quarters of the Vendéan army, where with strange
inconsistency he was compelled to observe an incognito! Here he passed
two months disguised as a lady; and, although known to the chiefs,
concealed from the loyal army.

Meantime the poor child who had been foisted upon the republicans was
drugged and died, and Dessault, his medical attendant, died also--the
suspicion being that both were poisoned. This miserable child, who had
thus paid the death penalty for his king was none other, the pretender
said, than the son of a rascally tailor, named Hervagault, who lived
at St. Lo!

He further stated that, while the royalist cause was wavering,
instructions arrived from some mysterious source to send him to
England to secure his safety, and that thither he was despatched. The
Count d'Artois, he admitted, refused to acknowledge him as his nephew;
but simple George III. was more easily imposed upon, and received the
_pseudo_-dauphin with much kindness, and after encouraging him to be
of good cheer, despatched him in an English man-of-war to Ostia. At
Rome he had an interview with the Pope, and presented to him a
confidential letter which had been given to him by the English
monarch. Moreover, the pontiff prophesied the future greatness of his
illustrious visitor; and, in order to confirm his identity, stamped
two stigmata on his limbs with a red-hot iron--one on the right leg,
representing the royal shield of France, with the initial letter of
his name; and the other, on his left arm, with the inscription of
"_Vive le roi_!"

Embarking at Leghorn, he landed in Spain, and without staying to pay
his respects to the king at Madrid hurried on to Portugal, where he
fell in love with the Princess Benedectine. This damsel, who was fair
as a _houri_, had, he declared, returned his affection, and the Queen
of Portugal had favoured his addresses; but as his friends were about
to get up a revolution (that of the 18th Fructidor) on his behalf, he
was compelled to leave his betrothed and hurry back to France. The
pro-royalist movement having failed, he was forced to conceal himself,
and to save himself by a second flight to England. But robbers, as
well as soldiers, barred his way, and, after being stripped by a troop
of bandits, he at last succeeded in reaching Châlons and his most
attentive audience.

As it was known to those present that he had been imprisoned in
Châlons as a rogue, and had condescended subsequently to accept the
hospitality of the tailor of St. Lo, it was necessary to give some
slight explanation of circumstances which were so untoward. But his
ingenuity was not at fault, and the audacity of his story even helped
to satisfy his dupes. He admitted that when he was examined before the
authorities he had acknowledged Hervagault as his father; but he
declared that he had done so simply to escape from the rage of his
enemies, who were anxious to destroy him; and he considered that the
tailor, who had accepted royalist gold in exchange for a son, was both
bound to protect and recognise him.

There was no doubting. Those who listened were convinced. The king had
come to take his own again; and Louis XVII. was the hero of the hour.
Royalist vied with royalist in doing him service, and the ladies, who
loved him for his beauty, pitied him for his misfortunes, and admired
him for his devotion to the Princess Benedectine, were the foremost in
endeavouring to restore him to his rights. Like devout Frenchwomen
their first thought was to procure for him the recognition of the
church, and they persuaded the curé of Somepuis to invite their
protégé to dinner. The village priest gladly did so, inasmuch as the
banquet was paid for by other folks than himself; but, being a jovial
ecclesiastic, he failed to perceive the true dignity of this
descendant of St. Louis, and even went so far as to jest with the royal
participant of his hospitality, somewhat rudely remarking that "the
prince had but a poor appetite, considering that he belonged to a
house whose members were celebrated as _bons vivants_!" The dauphin
was insulted, the ladies were vexed, and the curé was so intensely
amused that he burst into an explosive fit of laughter. The dinner
came to an untimely conclusion, and the branded of the Pope retired

But Fouché heard of these occurrences! The great minister of police
was little likely to allow an adventurer to wander about the provinces
without a passport, declaring himself the son of Louis XVI. By his
instructions the pretender was arrested, but even when in the hands of
the police lost none of his audacity. He assumed the airs of royalty,
and assured his disconsolate friends that the time would speedily come
when his wrongs would be righted, his enemies discomfited, and his
adherents rewarded as they deserved. The martyr was even more greatly
fêted in jail than he had been when at liberty. The prison regulations
were relaxed to the utmost in his favour by dubious officials, who
feared to incur the vengeance of the coming king; banquets were held
in the apartments of the illustrious captive; valuable presents were
laid at his feet; and a petty court was established within the walls
of the prison.

But again the dread Fouché interposed; and although Bonaparte, then
consul, would not allow the sham dauphin to be treated as a political
offender, the chief of police had him put upon trial as a common
impostor. Madame Seignes was at the same time indicted as an
accomplice, she having been the first who publicly acknowledged her
conviction that Hervagault was the dauphin of the Temple. The trial
came on before the Tribunal of Justice on the 17th of February, 1802.
After a patient hearing Hervagault was sentenced to four years'
imprisonment, while his deluded admirer was acquitted.

There was some hope in the bosoms of Hervagault's partizans that the
influence of his supposed sister, the Duchess d'Angoulême, would be
sufficient to free him from the meshes of the law, and she was
communicated with, but utterly repudiated the impostor. Meantime
appeals were lodged against the sentence on both sides--by the
prosecuting counsel, because of the acquittal of Madame Seignes, and
by the friends of the prisoner against his conviction. A new trial was
therefore appointed to take place at Rheims.

In the interval a new and powerful friend arose for the captive in
Charles Lafond de Savines, the ex-bishop of Viviers. This ecclesiastic
had been one of the earliest advocates of the revolution; but, on
discovering its utter godlessness, had withdrawn from it in disgust,
and had retired into private life. In his seclusion the news reached
him that the dauphin was still alive, and was resolved to re-establish
a monarchy similar to that in England, and in which the church,
although formally connected with the state, would be allowed freedom
of thought and freedom of action within its own borders. His zeal was
excited, and he resolved to aid the unfortunate prince in so laudable
an undertaking. He was little disposed to question the identity of the
pretender, for the surgeons who had performed the autopsy at the
Temple Tower had told him that, although they had indeed opened the
body of a child, they had not recognised it, and could not undertake
to say that it was that of the dauphin. To his mind, therefore, there
appeared nothing extraordinary in the story of Hervagault, and he
resolved to aid him to the best of his ability.

Recognising the deficiencies of the presumed heir to the throne of
France, he determined to educate him as befitted his lofty rank, and
declared himself willing, if he could not obtain the liberty of the
prince, to share his captivity, and to teach him, in a dungeon, his
duty towards God and man. He also entered into a lengthy
correspondence with illustrious royalists to secure their co-operation
in his plans, and even projected a matrimonial alliance for his
illustrious protégé. Nor did he offer only one lady to the choice of
his future king. There were three young sisters of considerable beauty
at the time resident in the province of Dauphiné, and he left
Hervagault liberty to select one of the three. He assured his prince
that they were the daughters of a marquis, who was the natural son of
Louis XV., and as the grand-daughters of a king of France were in
every respect worthy of sitting by his side on his future throne. But
the prisoner's deep affection for the Princess Benedictine for a time
threatened to spoil this part of the plan, until, sacrificing his own
feelings, he consented to yield to considerations of state, and placed
himself unreservedly in the hands of his reverend adviser, who at once
set out for Dauphiné, and made formal proposals on behalf of
Hervagault on the 25th of August, 1802, the anniversary of the
festival of St. Louis.

But justice would not wait for Hymen; and while the fortunate young
ladies were still undecided as to which of them should reign as Queen
of France, the trial came on at Rheims. Crowds flocked to the town,
prepared to give their prince an ovation on his acquittal; but the law
was very stern and uncompromising. The conviction of Hervagault was
affirmed; and, moreover, the acquittal of Madame Seignes was quashed,
and she was sentenced to six months' imprisonment as the accomplice of
a man who had been found guilty of using names which did not belong to
him, and of extorting money under false pretences.

But all the evidence which was led failed to convince his dupes, and
they subscribed liberally to supply him with comforts during his
confinement. The authorities at Paris had ordered him to be kept in
strict seclusion; but his jailers were not proof against the splendid
bribes which were offered to them, and the august captive held daily
court and fared sumptuously, until the government, finding that the
belief in his pretensions was spreading rapidly, ordered his removal
to Soissons, and gave imperative injunctions that he should be kept in
solitary confinement.

The infatuated ex-bishop in the meantime was wandering about the
country, endeavouring by every possible means to procure his release;
and when he heard that the _pseudo_-prince was to be transferred from
one prison to another, spent night after night wandering on the high
road, or sitting at the foot of some village cross, hoping to
intercept the prisoner on his way, and perhaps rescue him from the
gens d'armes who had him in custody. Of course, he did not succeed in
his quixotic undertaking; and when he subsequently demanded admission
to see the prince in Soissons jail, he was himself arrested and
detained until the government had decided whether to treat him as a
conspirator or a lunatic.

At Soissons, as at Vitry, Châlons, and Rheims, crowds flocked to pay
homage to the pretender, until at last Bonaparte, disgusted with the
attention which was given to this impudent impostor, caused him to be
removed to the Bicêtre, then a prison for vagabonds and suspects. The
place was thronged with the offscourings of Paris, and Hervagault
found himself in congenial quarters. Certain enjoyments were permitted
to those of the inmates who could afford to pay for them; and, as the
so-called prince had plenty of money, and spent it liberally, his
claims were as unhesitatingly recognised by his fellow-prisoners as
they had been by the royalists of the provinces. Gradually his
partizans found means to approach his person, and to procure for him
extraordinary indulgences, which were at first denied to him; but when
intelligence of this new demonstration in his favour reached the ears
of the First Consul, he at once gave orders that he should be placed
in solitary confinement, and that the ex-bishop of Viviers, who was at
large under the surveillance of the police, should be arrested and
shut up in Charenton as hopelessly mad. His instructions were fully
carried out, and the unfortunate bishop shortly afterwards ended his
days in the madhouse.

The last commands of Bonaparte had been so precise that no one dared
to disobey them, and the sham dauphin for a time disappeared from
public view. When the period of his imprisonment was at an end, he was
turned out of the Bicêtre, with an order forbidding him to remain more
than one day in Paris--a miserable vagabond dressed in the prison
garb! During his incarceration he had gained the friendship of a Jew
named Emanuel, who had given him a letter to his wife, in which he
entreated her to treat his comrade hospitably for the solitary night
which he was permitted to spend in the capital. When Hervagault
arrived at the Rue des Ecrivains, where the Jewess lodged, she was not
at home; but a pastry-cook and his wife, who had a shop close by,
invited the dejected caller to rest in their parlour until his friend
returned. The couple were simple; Hervagault's plausibility was as
great as ever, and, little by little, he told the story of his
persecution, and passed himself off as a distressed royalist. The
sympathies of the honest pastry-cook were stirred, and he not only
invited the rogue to make his house his home, but clothed him, filled
his purse, and took him to various places of public entertainment.

In return for this generous treatment, Hervagault in confidence
informed his new protector that he was none other than the prisoner of
the Temple; and that, when his throne was set up, the kindness he had
received would be remembered and recompensed a thousandfold. One
favour he did ask--money sufficient to carry him to Normandy. The
needful francs were forthcoming, and the deluded pastry-cook bade his
future sovereign a respectful adieu at the door of the diligence,
never again to behold him, or his money, or his reward.

Hervagault's next appearance was in an entirely new character. He
entered on board a man-of-war at Brest, under the name of
Louis-Charles, and distinguished himself both for good conduct and
courage. But he could not remain content with the praises which he
acquired by his bravery, and once more confided the wonderful story of
his birth and misfortunes to his shipmates, many of whom listened and
believed. But the monotony of life at sea was too great for his
sensitive nerves, and he deserted, and again took to a wandering life,
trying his fortunes, on this occasion, among the royalists of Lower
Brittany. Intelligence of his whereabouts soon reached the government,
and he was arrested and again conveyed to the Bicêtre, with the
intimation that his captivity would only terminate with his life.

By this time it was well known in France that Bonaparte's word, once
passed, would not be broken; and Hervagault, losing all hope,
abandoned himself to drunkenness and the wildest excesses. His
constitution gave way, and in a very short time he lay at the gates of
death. A priest was summoned to administer the last consolations of
religion to the dying pretender, and urged him to think on God and
confess the truth. He gazed steadily into the eyes of the confessor,
and said--"I shall not appear as a vile impostor in the eyes of the
Great Judge of the universe. Before His tribunal I shall stand,
revealed and acknowledged, the son of Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette
of Austria. A Bourbon, descendant of a line of kings, my portion will
be among the blessed. There I shall meet with my august and
unfortunate family, and with them I shall partake of the common
eternal rest." Two days afterwards he died, as he had lived, with a
lie on his lips.


Maturin Bruneau, the next pretender to the honours of the deceased son
of Louis XVI., was quite as great a rascal as Hervagault, but he
lacked his cleverness. Bruneau was the son of a maker of wooden shoes,
who resided at the little village of Vezin, in the department of the
Maine and Loire. He was born in 1784, and having been early left an
orphan, was adopted by a married sister, who kept him until she
discovered that he was incorrigibly vicious, and was compelled to turn
him into the streets to earn his livelihood in the best way he could.
Although Maturin was only eleven years old at the time, he found no
difficulty in providing for himself. He strayed a little distance from
home, into regions where he was personally unknown, and there accosted
a farmer whom he met, asking him for alms, and stating at the same
time that he was a little "De Vezin." The farmer's curiosity was
excited, for the Baron de Vezin was a well-known nobleman, who had
suffered sorely in the civil war of 1795, whose chateau had been
burnt, and whose estates had been devastated by the republican
soldiery; and that his son should be compelled to beg was more than
the honest agriculturist could bear. So he took the little waif home
with him, and kept him until the Viscountess de Turpin de Crissé heard
of his whereabouts, and carried him off to her own chateau at Angrie.

In her mansion Maturin Bruneau was treated as an adopted son, and
lived in great splendour until, in 1796, a letter arrived from Charles
de Vezin, the brother of the baron, who had just returned to France,
and who informed the viscountess that she had been imposed upon, for
the only nephew he ever possessed was at that time an emigrant refugee
in England. The result was that Bruneau was thrust out of doors, and,
sent back to his native village and the manufacture of wooden shoes.
The jibes of his fellow-villagers, however, rendered his life so
miserable that the viscountess consented to receive him as a servant,
and he remained with her for a year; but his conduct was so unbearable
that she was at last compelled to dismiss him.

After a brief sojourn with his relatives he announced his intention of
making the tour of France, and left his home for that purpose at the
age of fifteen. He seems, in the course of his wanderings, to have
fought in the Chouan insurrection in 1799 and 1800, and having been
press-ganged, deserted from his ship in an American port, and roamed
up and down in the United States for some years. When the news of
Napoleon's downfall reached that country in 1815, he returned to
France, arriving with a passport which bore the name of Charles de
Navarre. He reached the village of Vallebasseir in great destitution,
and there, having been mistaken for a young soldier named Phillipeaux,
who was supposed to have perished in the war in Spain, he picked up
all available intelligence respecting the family, and forthwith
presented himself at the house of the Widow Phillipeaux as her son. He
was received with every demonstration of affection, and made the worst
possible use of his advantages. After spending all the ready money
which the poor woman had, he proceeded to Vezin, where he was
recognised by his family, although he pretended to be a stranger.
Thence he repaired to Pont de Cé, where lived a certain Sieur Leclerc,
an innkeeper, who had formerly been a cook in the household of Louis
XVI. To this man he paid a visit, and demanded if he recognised him.
The innkeeper said he did not, whereupon he remarked on the
strangeness of being forgotten, seeing, said he, "that I am Louis
XVII., and that you have often pulled my ears in the kitchen of

Leclerc, whose recollections of the dauphin were of quite a different
character, ordered him out of his house as an impostor. But it does
not fall to everybody to be familiar with the ways of a court, or even
of a royal kitchen, and a few persons were found at St. Malo who
credited his assertion that he was the Prince of France. The
government, already warned by the temporary success of Hervagault's
imposture, immediately pounced upon him, and submitted him to
examination. His story was found to be a confused tissue of
falsehoods; and after being repeatedly interrogated, and attempting to
escape, and to forward letters surreptitiously to his "uncle," Louis
XVIII., he was removed to the prison of Rouen as the son of the Widow
Phillipeaux, calling himself Charles de Navarre. When he entered the
jail he was the possessor of a solitary five franc piece, which he
spent in wine and tobacco, and he then took to the manufacture of
wooden shoes for the other prisoners in order to obtain more. As he
worked he told his story, and his fellow jail-birds were never tired
of listening to his romance. Visitors also heard his tale, and yielded
credence to it, and it was not long before everybody in Rouen knew
that there was a captive in the town who claimed to be the son of the
murdered king.

Among other persons of education and respectability who listened and
believed was a Madame Dumont, the wife of a wealthy merchant. This
lady became an ardent partizan of the pretender, and not only visited
him, but spent her husband's gold lavishly to solace him in his
captivity. She supplied him with the richest food and the rarest
wines that money could buy. A Madame Jacquières, who resided at Gros
Caillon, near Paris, who was greatly devoted to the Bourbon family,
also came under the influence of Bruneau's agents, and finally fell a
victim to his rascality. This good lady was an ardent Catholic, and
having some lingering doubt as to the honesty of the prisoner of
Rouen, in order to its perfect solution she visited many shrines, said
many prayers, and personally repaired to the old city in which he was
confined, where she caused a nine days' course of prayer to be said to
discover if the captive were really the person he pretended to be.
This last expedient answered admirably. The Abbé Matouillet, who
celebrated the required number of masses before the shrine of the
Virgin, was himself a firm believer in Bruneau, and he had no
hesitation in assuring the petitioner that loyalty and liberality
towards the prince would be no bad investment either in this world or
the next. The Abbé then led his credulous victim into the august
presence of the clogmaker, and the poor dupe prostrated herself before
him in semi-adoration. Nor would she leave the presence until his
Majesty condescended to accept a humble gift of a valuable gold watch
and two costly rings. His Majesty was graciously pleased to accede to
the request of his loyal subject.

Bruneau could neither read nor write, and perhaps it was as well for
himself that his education had been thus neglected, for if he had been
left to his own devices his imposture would have been very
short-lived. But he contrived to attach two clever rascals to himself,
who helped to prolong the fraud and to victimise the public. They were
both convicts, but convicts of a high intellectual type. One was
Larcher, a revolutionary priest, and a man of detestable life; while
the other was a forger named Tourly. These worthies acted as his
secretaries. On the 3d of March 1816, the priest wrote a letter to
"Madame de France" in these terms:--

"MY SISTER,--You are doubtless not ignorant of my being held in the
saddest captivity, and reduced to a condition of appalling misery. So
may I beg of you, if you should think me worthy of your especial
consideration, to visit me here in my imprisonment. Even should you
for an instant suspect me of being an impostor, still may I claim
consideration for the sake of your brother. The scandal and judgment
of which our family is daily the object throughout the entire kingdom
may well make you shudder. I am myself sunk in despair at the thought
of being so near the capital without being permitted to publicly
appear in it. If you determine upon coming down here you would do well
to preserve an incognito. In the meantime receive the embraces of your
unfortunate brother,                THE KING OF FRANCE AND NAVARRE."

This precious epistle Madame Jacquières undertook not only to forward
to the Duchess d'Angoulême, but also promised to procure the honour of
a private interview for the bearer of the missive.

Larcher and Tourly must have been kept very busy, for the pretended
dauphin was never tired of sending appeals for assistance to the
foreign powers, of addressing proclamations to the people, and even
went so far as formally to petition the parliament that he might be
taken to Paris, in order there to establish his identity as the son of
Louis XVI. The whole of the papers issued from the prison, and they
were enormous in quantity, were signed by his secretaries with his

About the same time considerable interest was excited by a trashy
novel, called the "Cemetery of the Madeleine," which pretended to give
a circumstantial account of the life of the dauphin in the Temple. Out
of this book the secretaries and their employer proceeded to construct
"The Historical Memoirs of Charles of Navarre;" but after they had
finished their work, they found that it was so ridiculously absurd
that there was no probability that it would deceive the public for a
moment. They accordingly handed the manuscript over to a more skilful
rogue with whom they were acquainted, and this man, who was called
Branzon, transformed their clumsy narrative into a well-written and
plausible history. He did more, and "coached" the pretender in all
the petty circumstances which he could find out respecting the Bourbon
family. Manuscript copies of the "Memoirs" were assiduously
distributed in influential quarters in Rouen, and particularly among
the officers of the third regiment of the royal guard, then quartered
in the town. A copy fell into the hands of a Vendéan officer named De
la Pomelière, who recollected the story of the pretended son of Baron
de Vezins, and half-suspected a similar imposture in this instance.
With some difficulty he procured admission to the royal presence, and
induced the sham dauphin to speak of La Vendée. During the
conversation he remarked, that when the chateau of Angrie, the
residence of the Viscountess de Turpin, was mentioned, the pretender
slightly changed colour and became embarrassed. The acknowledgment
that he was acquainted with the mansion, and the accurate description
which he gave of it, gave the first clue whereby proof was obtained of
his identity with Maturin Bruneau.

But although M. de la Pomelière, from his previous knowledge, had a
hazy idea of the truth, the uninformed public continued devoted to the
cause of the pretender; and the convict secretaries, if they failed to
stir up the educated classes, at least succeeded in entrapping the
ignorant. The prison cell of Bruneau was converted into a scene of
uninterrupted revelling. Persons of all classes sent their gifts--the
ladies supplying unlimited creature comforts for their king, while
their husbands strove to compensate for their incapacity to
manufacture dainties by filling the purse of the pretender. Nothing
was forgotten: fine clothes and fine furniture were supplied in
abundance; and the adoring public were so anxious to consider the
comfort of the illustrious prisoner, that they even subscribed to
purchase a breakfast service of Sevrès, so that the heir to the throne
might drink his chocolate out of a porcelain cup.

Meantime Madame Jacquières had not been idle, and was ready to fulfil
her promise to send a messenger to the Duchess d'Angoulême. Her chosen
emissary was a Norman gentleman named Jacques Charles de Foulques, an
ardent Bourbonist and a lieutenant-colonel in the army. This officer
was both brave and suave, and seemed in every respect a fitting person
to act as an ambassador to the Tuileries. He was deeply religious,
very conscientious, and extremely simple. His mental capacity had been
accurately gauged by Bruneau and his associates, and care was taken to
excite his religious enthusiasm. The Abbé Matouillet plainly told him
that Heaven smiled upon the cause, and introduced him to the prince,
who administered the oath of allegiance, which the credulous Norman is
said to have signed with the seal of his lips on a volume that looked
like a book of _gaillard_ songs, but which the simple soldier mistook
for the Gospels. After several audiences, his mission was pointed out,
and Colonel de Foulques, without hesitation, agreed to proceed to
Paris, and there to place in the hands of the daughter of Louis XVI. a
copy of the "Memoirs of Charles of Navarre," and a letter from her
reputed brother.

The latter document was produced in the court at Rouen when Bruneau
was afterwards placed at the bar, and is a very curious production. In
it the maker of clogs thus addresses "Madame Royale:"--

"I am aware, my dear sister, a secret presentiment has long possessed
you that the finger of God was about to point out to you your brother,
that innocent partaker of your sorrows, the one alone worthy to repair
them, as he was fated to share them.

"I know, also, that you were surrounded by snares, and that they who
extend them for you are men of wicked ways. They believe they have
destroyed the germs of some virtues, as they succeeded in arresting
the progress of my education; but there remain to me uprightness of
principle, courage, a tendency to good, and the desire of preserving
the glory of my nation. Louis XIV. could boast of no more.

"I know that I have been pictured to you as one who has forgotten his
dignity, and who is the slave of a love for wine. Alas! that beverage
that was forced upon me in my tenderest youth, by the ferocious
Simon, has served to fortify my constitution in the course of a most
painful life, even as it did that of the great Henry IV.; and, if I
have been addicted to the use of it in this place, it was for my
health's sake, to preserve which a more refined method would not have
so well suited me.

"The use of tobacco was recommended to me in 1797, at Baltimore, also
on account of my health. I have profited by it. It has occasionally
served to dissipate my sense of weariness, and the thin vapour has
often caused me to forget that life might be breathed away from my
lips almost as readily.

"I have wished, my dear sister, to speak to you as a brother. Whatever
may be the force of a custom preserved during nineteen years, I shall
know how, in sharing the fatigues of my troops, to deprive myself of
what is a pastime to them. Other occupations will but too easily
absorb me entirely. Cease to see by any other vision than your own.
Trust to the evidence of your own senses, and no other. I have
learned, through a long series of misfortunes, how to be a man, and to
be upon my guard against my fellowmen. Truth is not apt to penetrate
under golden fringes. It is, however, my divinity; and henceforward,
my sister, it will dwell with us. I grant the right of having it told
to me. It will never offend a monarch who, having contracted the habit
of bearing it, will have the courage to heed it for the benefit of his

"I dispersed the last calumny which perversity has aimed at me, when
it declared that your brother was still in the United States. No; I
had long left it when my evil destiny conducted me from Brazil (as you
will see in my "Memoirs") to France, which is anything for me but the
promised land. Heaven, to whom my eyes and hopes were ever raised,
will not fail to have in its keeping certain witnesses to my
existence. There is one to whom I presented, in 1801, at Philadelphia,
three gold doubloons, a note of twenty dollars, three shirts, a coat,
a _levite_, and two pairs of old boots. This witness, whom chance has
again brought me acquainted with here, is a certain Chaufford, son of
a baker of Rouen, well known to the keeper of the prison, and who was
on board the French fleet which sailed from Brest. This witness (of
whom I have spoken in my "Memoirs") deserted from the fleet. My
servant François meeting him in Marc Street, brought him to me. I was
then suffering in consequence of a fall from my horse, and was obliged
to go about on crutches; and it was from me that he received every
species of assistance, and it is by me that he has been reminded of it
within the walls of this odious prison, where he least of all expected
again to meet with his illustrious benefactor.

"I conclude, my dear sister, certifying to you, by my ambassador, the
nature of my ulterior projects. He will hear of your final resolution,
and will at once return to me, after assuring you that the superior
rank to which destiny calls me is only coveted by me for the sake of
my people, and in order to share with you the grateful attachment,
which will always be for me the sweetest reward. It is the heart of
your king and brother that has never ceased to hold you dear. _He_
presses you to that heart which the most cruel misery has not been
able to render cold towards you."

Armed with this extraordinary document, Lieutenant-Colonel de Foulques
set out for Paris, honoured by his mission, and convinced that he had
only to present himself at the Tuileries to obtain easy access to the
duchess, and only to gain her ear to insure her co-operation in the
sacred task of placing her long-lost and ill-treated brother on the
throne of France. Of course, there were certain forms which must be
complied with, but the result was, to his mind, certain. He first
opened negotiations with M. de Mortmaur, and delivered the despatches
to his care. To his surprise they were treated with the utmost
indifference, not to say rudeness; and the Norman was still more
disgusted when told that no audience would be granted. From M. de
Mortmaur he repaired to the Duchess of Serent, and, in a letter,
craved her influence to procure for him the desired interview with
"Madame Royale." The reply was prompt and unmistakable: If he did not
leave the capital within eight days, he would be thrown into jail.

The colonel did not wait for a week; but in an angry mood returned at
once to those who sent him, cursing the government in his heart,
stigmatizing "Madame Royale" as an unnatural sister, and considering
the king no better than other royal uncles who had occupied thrones
which belonged to their imprisoned nephews. The news of his
discomfiture did not disconcert or dishearten the plotters, and,
although their first attempt to approach the daughter of Louis XVI.
had resulted in failure, they resolved to make another attempt. Madame
de Jacquières, in particular, was very hopeful, and, with a wisdom and
modesty which did her credit, discovered that there would have been
great indelicacy in the Duchess of Angoulême granting a private
interview to a man. A female messenger ought to have been sent; and
she soon found one to repair the first blunder.

Madame Morin, who superseded De Foulkes, was a lady of great
accomplishments and considerable intelligence. The documents which the
unsuccessful ambassador had carried with him were entrusted to the new
emissary; and, in addition, she carried with her a portrait of Charles
of Navarre, who was represented in the brilliant uniform of a general
officer of dragoons. But Madame Morin was as ill-fated as her
predecessor had been, and all her efforts to force her way into the
presence of the duchess were fruitless. The police also frightened her
as they had terrified De Foulkes, and paid a visit to her residence.
They did not make a thorough search, but gave her to understand that
if any further attempts were made to annoy the duchess they would
institute a strict perquisition--a threat which had so great an effect
upon the ambassadress that she immediately burnt her copy of the
"Memoirs," her credentials, and even the portrait of her illustrious
master and prince, and returned to the power from which she was
accredited, shamefacedly to confess that she had been equally
unfortunate with the gallant Norman colonel.

It was evident that the hard heart of the duchess could not easily be
moved, and it was necessary to have recourse to other tactics. At this
time misery and famine were prevalent in the land, and many persons
were discontented with the rule of Louis XVIII., who was in extremely
ill health. The Abbé Matouillet saw his opportunity, and taking
advantage of the prevalent disaffection, issued a proclamation
intimating that if the people of France would place their captive king
upon the throne now occupied by a dying usurper, the liberated and
grateful sovereign would, in return, immediately fix the price of
bread at three sous per pound. Meantime, the generous offerer was
regaling himself on the fat of the land, and holding his petty court
within the walls of Rouen jail. But this last move led to energetic
action on the part of the authorities. The attempted rising was
crushed, the careless jailers were dismissed, the prisoner was placed
in solitary and comfortless confinement, and the keeper of the seals
commenced serious proceedings in order to bring him to trial.

The chief object to be accomplished was to prove his birth, for there
were many who jumped to the conclusion that he must be the son of
Louis XVI., since he was not the son of the Widow Phillipeaux. Seeing
that his time had come, and that the government was determined to
punish him with severity, Bruneau became alarmed, and offered his new
jailers ten thousand francs to set him at liberty. The offer was
refused and reported, the prisoner was more narrowly guarded, and his
preliminary examinations were hastened. The stories which he told were
so absurd and so wildly contradictory, as to leave no doubt of the
hollowness of his pretensions; but still the difficulty remained of
proving who he really was.

When affairs were in this stage the Viscountess Turpin, Bruneau's
first benefactress, arrived in Rouen. M. de Pomelière, the officer of
the king's guard who had suspected him from the first, had
communicated his suspicions to the viscountess, and she had come to
see him, and, if she could, to expose him. When Bruneau was confronted
with his former patroness, he at once admitted that he had enjoyed
the lady's hospitality, but declared that that fact did not render him
the less the Dauphin of France. The viscountess reproached him, and
endeavoured to ashame him; but the impudent and ungrateful scamp
turned to her with an air of mock majesty and exclaimed, "Madame, I
accept counsel from no one. I give it as I do commands. I am a
sovereign!" The members of his family were next brought from Vezin to
identify him, and had no hesitation in doing so. He denied ever having
seen them before, but frequently betrayed himself by addressing them
by their pet household names, and by contradicting them with regard to
trivial occurrences. The imposture was plain; and Bruneau, his
forger-secretary Tourly, Branzon the author of the "Memoirs," the Abbé
Matouillet, and Madame Dumont, were committed for trial as swindlers,
as the government did not deem them of sufficient importance to charge
them with high treason.

The Abbé contrived to effect his escape from the jail, but the others
were placed in the dock, Bruneau was received with some faint cries of
"Vive Louis XVII.!" but the scamp knew that his game was played out,
and did not care to conceal his knowledge of the fact. He had made no
effort to make himself presentable; but appeared in court ill-dressed,
unshaven, and wearing a cotton night-cap on his head. It was with
difficulty that he could be compelled to respect the forms of the
court, or to preserve ordinary decency. He interrupted the opening
speech of the government prosecutor by noisy ejaculations, oaths,
filthy expletives, and immodest and insulting gestures, and when
rebuked by the judges showered down upon them all the abusive and
abominable epithets of his extensive vocabulary.

The trial lasted for ten days, and the career of Bruneau was clearly
traced from his very childhood. As revelation after revelation was
made, and the history of crime after crime was disclosed, his
interruptions became more and more frequent and violent, until his
very accomplices shrank from him in horror, protesting that it he had
presented himself to them in the same guise when he first proclaimed
his pretensions, they would not have been seduced by him. Their
advocates pleaded on their behalf that they were dupes and not
confederates, and the plea served to exculpate the Abbé, Madame
Dumont, and Tourly. The impostor himself was condemned to five years'
imprisonment, three thousand francs fine, and a further imprisonment
of two years for his offences against the dignity of justice and the
public morality committed in open court. He was further condemned to
remain at the after-disposal of the government, and to pay
three-fourths of the expenses of the trial. Branzon, his literary
friend, was sentenced to two years' imprisonment, and to pay a fourth
of the expenses. When that part of the sentence was pronounced, which
referred to the cost of the proceedings, Bruneau burst into an
insulting laugh, and informed the judges that he would take care to
defray the heavy responsibility laid upon him as soon as he was able.
But, as the saying is, he laughed without his host. The subscriptions
of his dupes were lying at the Bank of France, were confiscated by the
state, and, amply served to pay the pecuniary penalty. After his
imprisonment had expired Bruneau disappeared from public view.


One evening, while Napoleon I. was still reigning at the Tuileries and
guiding the destinies of France, a stranger appeared in the
market-place of Brandenburg, in Prussia. He had travelled far, was very
tired, and sat him down to rest. But the Prussian police had then, and
have still, a deep dislike to weary tramps; and the poor wayfarer had
not been long seated when he was accosted, by the guardians of the
peace, who demanded his papers. The stranger told them he had none,
that he was very weary, that he liked the town, and that he had
resolved to take up his abode in it. The police were astounded by his
coolness, and continued to ply him with questions. They asked what his
station in life was, when he seemed a little confused; but ultimately
said he was a watchmaker. They demanded his name, and he said it was
Naündorff, but whence he had come he refused to tell; and his sole
worldly possession was a seal, which, he said, had belonged to Louis
XVI. of France. The police kept the seal, and, finding that they could
elicit no further information from the mysterious being who had thrust
himself so unceremoniously into their dull town, permitted him to
settle down quietly in Brandenburg.

Without tools, without money, without friends, he found life hard
enough at first; but an old soldier and his sister took pity upon him,
and took him into their house. To them he first declared himself to be
Louis XVII., and narrated the manner of his escape from the Temple. He
told them all about Simon and his cruelty, and described the dungeon
in which he was confined, the iron wicket, and the loathsomeness of
the place. He said he recollected some persons attending him who, he
thought, were doctors; but he was afraid of them, and would not answer
their questions. As the result of their visit, however, he was
cleaned, his room was put in order, and the wicket was torn down.

About this time, he said, his friends determined to rescue him; but
they found the guard at the Temple too numerous and too vigilant to
allow them to carry out their plans, or to remove him from the place.
Accordingly they hit upon a strange device, and resolved to conceal
him in the building. They determined to take him from the second floor
which he occupied, and hide him in the fourth storey of the Temple.
Sometime in June, 1795, an opiate was administered to him, and he fell
into a drowsy condition. In this state he saw a child, which they had
substituted for him in his bed, and was himself laid in a basket in
which this child had been concealed under the bed. He perceived as in
a dream that the effigy was only a wooden doll, the face of which had
been carved and painted to imitate his own. The change was effected
while the guard was relieved, and the new guard who came on duty was
content to perceive an apparently sleeping figure beneath the
bedclothes, without investigating too closely whether it were the
dauphin or not. Meantime the opiate did its work, and not even his
curiosity could prevent him from dropping off into insensibility.

When he recovered consciousness he found himself shut up in a large
room which was quite strange to him. This room was crowded with old
furniture, amongst which a space had been prepared for him, and a
passage was left to a closet in one of the turrets, in which his food
had been placed. All other approach was barricaded. Before the
transfer had taken place, one of his friends had told him that, in
order to save his life, he must submit to hardship and suffering, for
a single imprudent step would bring destruction, not only on himself,
but on his benefactors. It was, therefore, agreed that he should
pretend to be deaf and dumb. On awaking he remembered the injunctions
of his friends, resolved that no indiscretion on his part should
endanger their safety, and waited with patience and in silence in his
dreary abode, being supplied at intervals with food, which was brought
to him during the night by one of his protectors.

His escape was discovered on the same night on which it took place;
but the government thought fit to conceal it, and caused the wooden
figure to be replaced by a deaf and dumb boy. At the same time the
guard was doubled, to give the public the idea that the dauphin was
still in safe-keeping. This extra precaution prevented his friends
from smuggling him out of the Tower, as they had intended; but, in
order to deceive the authorities, they despatched a boy under his
name, in the direction, he believed, of Strasburg. At this time he was
about nine years and a half old, and his long imprisonment had
rendered him accustomed to suffering. Throughout the long winter he
endured the cold without a murmur; and no one guessed his
hiding-place, for the room was disused and was never opened, and if
any one had by chance entered it, he could not have been seen, as even
the friend who visited him could only reach him by crawling on
all-fours, and when he did not come the captive remained patiently in
his concealment. Frequently he waited for several days for his food;
but no murmur escaped his lips, and he was only too glad to endure
present suffering in the hope of future safety.

While he was thus stowed away in the upper storey of the Temple Tower,
a rumour spread abroad that the dauphin had escaped, and the
government took the alarm. It was decided that the deaf and dumb boy,
who had been substituted for the doll which had taken his place,
should die, and to kill him poison was mixed with his food in small
quantities. The captive became excessively ill, and Desault, the
surgeon, was called in, not to save his life, but to counterfeit
humanity. Desault at once saw that poison had been administered, and
ordered an antidote to be prepared by a friend of his own, an
apothecary called Choppart, telling him at the same time that the
official prisoner was not the son of Louis XVI. Choppart was
indiscreet, and betrayed the confidence which had been reposed in him;
and the floating rumour reached the authorities. In alarm lest the
fraud should be detected, they removed the deaf and dumb child, and
substituted for him a rickety boy from one of the Parisian hospitals.
To make assurance doubly sure, according to Naündorff's version, they
poisoned both Desault and Choppart, and the substituted rickety boy
was attended by physicians, who, never having seen either the real
dauphin, or the deaf and dumb prisoner, naturally believed it was the
dauphin they were attending.

After recounting further and equally remarkable adventures, Naündorff
declared that he was conveyed out of France, and was placed under the
care of a German lady, with whom he remained until he was about twelve
years of age. He could not recollect either the name or place of
residence of this lady, and only remembered that she was kind to him,
and that he used to call her "_bonne maman!_" From her custody he was
transferred to that of two gentlemen, who carried him across the sea;
but whether they took him to Italy or America he could not tell. One
of these gentlemen taught him watchmaking, a craft which he afterwards
used to very good purpose. He had a distinct recollection of an
attempt which was made to poison him, but the draught was taken by
somebody else, who died in consequence. In 1804, while in the
neighbourhood of the French frontier, near Strasburg, he was arrested,
and was cast into prison, where he remained under the strictest
guard and in the greatest misery till the spring of 1809, when he
was liberated by a friend named Montmorin, through the aid of
the Empress Josephine. Montmorin and himself then set out for
Frankfort-on-the-Maine, and during the journey the former "sewed some
papers in the collar of his greatcoat, which would form undeniable
proofs of his identity to all the sovereigns of Europe." In 1809,
according to his own showing, he was at Stralsund fighting under Major
de Schill of the Brunswick dragoons, and, when that redoubtable
officer was killed, received a blow on the head which fractured his
skull and rendered him unconscious for a long time. In 1810 he was in
Italy, where he was recognised by several old officers of Louis XVI.,
who received him with every mark of loyal respect. Napoleon, he
asserted, was aware of his existence, and threatened him with death if
he disturbed the public peace; and when, on the downfall of the
usurper, he wrote to the European powers urging his claims, his
application was coldly passed over in silence, and Louis XVIII. was
raised to the throne in his stead.

The credulous soldier and his equally simple sister believed this
wonderful tale, and pressed their royal visitor to continue to receive
their humble hospitality. Between them a letter was addressed to the
Duchess of Angoulême, announcing the existence of a brother, who would
be found to be the real man, and no counterfeit. A similar letter was
sent to the king, and another to the Duchess de Berri; but all the
three missives were careful to state that the Duke of Normandy had no
desire to sit upon the throne or to disturb the tranquillity of
France, but would be content to accept a reasonable pension and hold
his tongue--to surrender all his claims, and retire into obscurity
for ever, if he were well paid. His letters remained unanswered, but
he returned to the attack, and indulged the Duchess of Angoulême with
a multitude of letters, in which he implored her good offices for a
brother who needed only to be seen to be recognised. But the duchess
remained silent. At length he announced to the French royal family his
intention of marrying a young girl only fifteen years of age, the
daughter of a Prussian corporal. He could not, of course, expect that
such a step would be agreeable to the other members of the House of
Bourbon, but he valued his love more than his pride, and if his royal
uncle would only grant such an allowance as would enable himself and
his wife to live in a position of independence, he would trouble him
no more, and the world need never know that the son of Louis XVI. was
alive, and had perpetrated a _mésalliance_. But Louis XVIII. was
obdurate, and would not listen even to the seductive voice of Hymen.
The young couple were allowed to wed, but they had to look for their
means of livelihood elsewhere.

For a time Naündorff was equal to the occasion, and supported the
corporal's daughter and his rising brood by cleaning the watches and
clocks of the Brandenburgers. But trouble came upon him. The house of
his next door neighbour took fire, and the watchmaker was suspected of
being the incendiary. He was arrested and thrown into prison; his wife
and children were turned into the street; and, although his innocence
was unequivocally proved, his trade was ruined, and he had to flee
from the midst of the distrustful and suspicious folks among whom he
had laboured and loved and wedded.

By the exertions of one of the few friends who remained to him
Naündorff was appointed foreman in a watchmaking factory at Crossen,
and thither he removed, carrying with him his wife and the half-dozen
children who had blessed his union. But the distance was long, the
roads were bad, and the man was poor. When Naündorff reached Crossen
on foot with his weary and half-famished band he found that the post
which he had come to obtain had been given to another, and abandoned
himself to despair. Then the plebeian energy of the corporal's
daughter rose superior to the weakness of her royal husband. She
obtained a temporary shelter, procured needlework, and, by her unaided
efforts, managed to keep the wolf from the door. After a little delay
work was obtained for Naündorff also; and as his spirits revived his
hopes and pretensions revived also. Little by little he told his story
to his fellow-workmen, who paid no heed to it at first, but nicknamed
him in derision "the French prince." But the tale was improving as it
got older, and by-and-by he could number among his followers the
syndic of the town, one of the preachers, a magistrate, and a teacher
of languages. The syndic, in particular, was an enthusiastic partizan,
and himself addressed a letter to the Duchess of Angoulême and to the
principal courts of Europe. He also took a journey to Berlin to claim
from the authorities the seal which Naündorff said had been taken from
him by the Brandenburg police--the same seal which Louis XVI., as he
was passing to execution, had handed to Clery with his dying
injunction to deliver it to his son. The government very sharply
ordered their subordinate back to his post, telling him that they knew
nothing of Naündorff, but that they were well aware that Clery had
handed the jewel which he mentioned to Louis XVIII., who had rewarded
him with the riband of St. Louis. The syndic left Berlin in haste, and
arrived at home full of chagrin. He concealed himself from public
view, and shortly afterwards sickened and died. Naündorff declared he
had been poisoned.

The discomfited impostor, finding that he was not likely to be able to
move the world from his retirement at Crossen, quietly disappeared
from that humble town, and was lost to the public gaze for a
considerable period. His movements about this time were very
mysterious; but it is proved with tolerable certainty that he repaired
to Paris, and his visit to the French capital may have had something
to do with the visions of Martin of Gallardon. This man was an
ignorant peasant, and, being a sort of _clairvoyant_, pretended that,
as the result of a vision, he knew that the son of Louis XVI. was
still alive. He said that, in the year 1818, while he was at mass in
the village church at Gallardon, an angel interrupted his devotions by
whispering in his ear that the dauphin of the Temple was alive, and
that he (Martin) was celestially appointed on a mission to Louis
XVIII. to inform him of the fact, and to announce to him that if he
ever dared to be formally crowned the roof of the cathedral would fall
in and make a very speedy ending of him and his court. The king was
prevailed upon to grant an interview to this impostor, and made no
secret of his message. Therefore, when year after year passed without
a formal coronation, the superstitious whispered that Louis knew
better than tempt the Divine vengeance, and, although he sat upon the
throne, was well aware that he had stolen another man's birthright,
and that the dauphin of the Temple was still alive.

But people were beginning to forget the existence of the watchmaker of
Crossen, when one evening, in the autumn of 1831, a traveller entered
one of the best frequented inns at Berne, in Switzerland. Attached to
this inn was a parlour, in which some of the most jovial of the local
notables were accustomed to pass their evenings, gossiping over the
occurrences of the day, and whiling away an hour or so with a quiet
game at dominoes. The stranger was a pleasant-looking man, of from
forty to forty-five years of age, and preferred the good company of
the familiar parlour to the dulness of his private sitting-room, or
the staid society of the public _salon_. He said his name was
Naündorff, and by his affability soon made himself such a general
favourite that one of the leading _habitués_ of the place invited him
to his house and introduced him to his family. In private life he
shone even more brilliantly than in the mixed company of the hotel.
There was a certain dignity about his appearance which seemed to
proclaim him a greater personage than he at first claimed to be, and
his host was not greatly astonished when, after the lapse of a
fortnight, he confided to him the secret that Naündorff was merely an
assumed name, and that he was in reality the Duke of Normandy, the
disinherited heir to the French throne. The whole family rose in a
flutter of excitement at the presence of this distinguished guest in
their midst. They had no doubt of the truth of his story, and one
daughter of the house urged him to take prompt and decisive measures
to recover his crown. As far as her feeble help could go it was freely
at his service. The mouse has e'er now helped the lion; and this
enthusiastic girl was not without hope that she might render some
assistance in restoring to France her legitimate king. She became
amanuensis and secretary to Naündorff, compiled a statement from his
words and documents, laid it before the lawyers, and they pronounced
favourably, and advised the claimant to proceed without delay to Paris
and prosecute his cause vigorously. He went.

On a May morning in 1833, the watchman of the great Parisian cemetery
at Père la Chaise discovered a dust-stained traveller sleeping among
the tombs, and shaking him up demanded his name, and his reason for
choosing such a strange resting-place. His name he said was Naündorff;
but as he only spoke German the curiosity of the guardian of the place
was not further satisfied. In a short time the same individual met a
gentleman who could speak German, who took pity upon his apparent
weakness and ignorance of the gay capital, and who, when he heard that
he had arrived on foot the night before, and was utterly destitute,
advised him to apply to the old Countess de Richemont, as one who was
proverbially kind to foreigners, and had formerly been one of the
attendants on the dauphin who died in the Temple. The stranger was
profuse in his thanks, muttered that the dauphin was not dead yet, and
set out for the Rue Richer, where the countess lived.

He obtained easy access to the presence of the lady, and announced
himself as the Duke of Normandy. The countess acted in orthodox
fashion, and straightway fainted, but not before she had hurriedly
exclaimed that he was the very picture of his mother Marie Antoinette.
The first joyful recognition over, and all parties being sufficiently
calm to be practical, the countess produced the numerous relics which
she possessed of the happy time when Louis XVI. reigned in Versailles.
The duke recognised them all down to the little garments which he had
worn in his babyhood. She mentioned scars which were on the body of
the youthful prince, and her visitor assured her that he had similar
marks which he could show in private. The countess was wild with
delight, ordered him to be placed in the best bed the mansion could
afford, sent for a tailor, and had him clothed as befitted his rank,
and invited her royalist friends to come and pay their homage to their
recovered king. They came in crowds, and to all and sundry, the
pretender told the story of his escape from the Tower. They were
disposed to be credulous, and the majority yielding readily to the
prevalent enthusiasm, proclaimed their belief in his truth, and
promised their assistance to restore him to his own again. A few were
dubious, and one lukewarm Bourbonist remarked, "You were an extremely
clever child, and spoke French like an angel. How is it you have so
completely forgotten it?" The duke replied that thirty-seven years of
absence was surely a sufficient explanation of his ignorance; but a
few held a different opinion and retired, and by their withdrawal
somewhat damped the general enthusiasm.

But there was a safe and certain method of arriving at the truth. The
duke was taken in haste to be confronted with the seer, Martin, who
was then living in the odour of sanctity at St. Arnould, near Dourdin.
That fanatic no sooner beheld the stranger than he hailed him as king,
and told his delighted auditory that he was the exact counterpart of
the lost prince, who had been revealed to him in a vision. The
question of identity was considered solved, the whole party proceeded
to the church to return thanks for the revelation which had been made,
and the village bells were rung to celebrate the auspicious event. The
noble ladies who were attached to the pretender influenced the
priests, the priests influenced the peasantry, and Martin, the
clairvoyant and quack, exerted a powerful influence over all. Money
was wanted, and contributions flowed in abundantly, until the
so-called Duke of Normandy found his coffers filling at the rate of
fifty thousand pounds a-year.

Thus suddenly enriched, he set up a magnificent establishment in
Paris. His horses and carriages were among the most splendid in the
Champs Elysées, his banquets were equal to those of Lucullus, his name
was in every mouth, and people wondered why the government did not
interpose. They were afraid, said some, to touch the sacred person of
the man they knew to be king; they did not care to meddle with an
obvious impostor, whose crest was a _broken_ crown, said others; but
his partizans maintained that their silence was more dangerous than
their open enmity, and that the crafty Louis Philippe had given orders
that his rival should be assassinated. They declared that this was no
mere supposition, for late on one November evening, when the duke was
returning to his quarters in the Faubourg St. Germain, across the Place
du Carrousel, a dastardly assassin sprang upon him and stabbed him
with a dagger. Fortunately for the illustrious victim he wore a
medallion of his sainted mother, Marie-Antoinette, and the metal disc
caught the point of the weapon, and received the full force of the
blow; but nevertheless a slight wound was inflicted, and the duke
staggered home wounded and bleeding. He was too confused to report the
circumstance at any of the guard-houses which he passed, but in his
own mansion he showed the dint of the cowardly blade, and the cut on
his flesh. It was disgraceful, cried his adherents; it was ridiculous,
said his opponents; and they did not hesitate to add, that if blow
there had been it was self-inflicted.

But if the calumny was intended to destroy the faith of Naündorff's
partizans, it failed in its effect. Their zeal waxed hotter than ever;
their contributions flowed even more freely than before into his
treasury; and they conceived the idea of solacing his misfortunes by
providing him with a wife. Unfortunately, there remained the
long-forgotten daughter of the corporal and her progeny who were alive
and well, although somewhat impoverished, at Crossen. Their existence
had to be declared, and as it was not seemly that they should be
longer separated from their illustrious lord and master, they were
sent for, and a governess was provided for the youthful princes and
princesses. It was now the turn of the lion to help the mouse. The
lady who was selected for the post was the enthusiast of Berne--the
same damsel who had acted as scribe to the wandering heir--the
daughter of the gentleman who had been the first to penetrate the thin
disguise of the illustrious stranger in the cosy parlour of the inn.

The new governess was a real acquisition to the household, and devoted
herself more to politics than tuition. Once more the duke resumed his
habit of letter-writing, and epistles both supplicatory and minatory
were showered upon the Duchess of Angoulême and the Duchess de Berri.
To the former, however, the pretender generally wrote as to a beloved
sister, whose coldness and reluctance to receive him caused him the
keenest pain. He offered to satisfy her as to his identity by
incontrovertible proofs, and recalled one circumstance which ought to
dissipate her last lingering doubts as to his truth. He reminded her
that when the royal family were confined together in the Temple, his
aunt the Princess Elizabeth, and his mother Marie-Antoinette, had
written some lines on a paper; which paper was subsequently cut in two
and given one half to "Madame Royale," and the other half to the
dauphin. "When we meet," said the pretender, "I will produce the
corresponding half to that which you possess. It has never been out of
my possession since our fatal separation." Even this appeal failed to
move the duchess, and failed simply because she had never heard of the
existence of any such divided document.

But the claims even of righteous claimants are apt to become wearisome
to the public, and the interest in them dies away unless it is now and
again fanned into a flame. The Duke of Normandy found it so, and
devised a new means of attracting attention. Although he had gone with
his followers to return his grateful thanks to God at the shrine of St.
Arnould, he was not a member of the Roman Catholic Church, but he
discovered the error of his past ways, and was desirous to embrace the
orthodox faith. Accordingly, he was openly received as a disciple and
proselyte in the church of St. Roche. His conversion was followed by
that of his wife and children; but it cost him a very good friend. It
was hoped that the governess would have consented to change her creed
with the others. But the Swiss girl was a good and conscientious
Protestant, and this wholesale conversion aroused her suspicions as to
the cause in which she was engaged; she reviewed the pretensions of
the duke a little more judiciously than she had ever done before, and
as the result of her investigations, threw up her post and returned to
her father, convinced that she had been ignorantly aiding an

But if he lost a very efficient assistant, he gained many partizans
who had only refrained from acknowledging him previously by a fear
lest the throne should be snatched from the Catholic party. These late
adherents came to pay their homage bringing gifts, and their accession
to his ranks and their contributions to his purse stimulated the duke
to still more ostentatious displays of regal magnificence. His court
grew to an alarming size, and at last a hint was sent from the
prefecture of police, that if he did not moderate his pretensions, and
behave with greater circumspection, it would be necessary for him to
have an interview with the judges of the Assize Court. The threat was
quite sufficient. Naündorff withdrew to a quiet abode in the Rue
Guillaume, and granted his interviews in a more secret manner. Indeed,
from open clamour he turned to underhand plotting, and so mysterious
was his conduct that his landlord requested him to betake himself
elsewhere. He found a yet more retired asylum, and still more
suspicious-looking friends, until the police began to suspect that a
conspiracy was on foot, and favoured him with a domiciliary visit.
They seized his papers and read them; but they treated him with no
great severity. They hired three places in the diligence which, in
1838, travelled between Paris and Calais. The duke occupied one of
these seats, and two police agents the others, and when they reached
the famous little port, his attendants placed him on board the English
packet, and watched her speeding towards Dover with the prisoner of
the Temple as a present to the English nation.

The duke established himself at Camberwell Green, and made it his
earliest care to write to the Duchess of Angoulême, soliciting her
good offices on behalf of her unfortunate brother, who had been so
vilely treated by the government of Louis Philippe, and had been cast
out from the country over which he should have ruled. In England he
devoted himself to the manufacture of fireworks and explosive shells;
and while he obtained the commendation of the authorities at Woolwich
for his ingeniously-contrived obuses, aroused the ire of the
inhabitants of Camberwell, who could not sleep because of the
continuous explosion of concussion-shells on his premises. They
summoned him before the magistrates as a nuisance, and he transferred
his establishment to Chelsea. Here the emissaries, or supposed
emissaries, of the French king, pursued him. An attempt was made to
shoot him, and he made it a pretext for leaving a country where his
life was not safe, and retired to Delft, in Holland, where he died in
very humble circumstances, on the 10th of August, 1844.


Bloomsbury has been equally honoured with Camberwell and Chelsea in
providing a home for a pretended dauphin of France, and for a dauphin
whose pretensions are not allowed to lapse, although he has himself
sunk into the grave, but are persistently presented before the public
at recurring intervals by his sons. The story which he told, and which
they continue to tell, is a curious jumble of the inventions which
preceded it--a sort of literary patchwork, without design or pattern,
and a flimsy covering either for self-conceit or imposture.

In this case the tale is, that, about September, 1793, Tom Paine, who
was then a member of the National Convention, wrote to England to a
Mrs. Carpenter to bring to Paris a deaf and dumb boy for a certain
purpose. Deaf and dumb boys are not easily procurable, and ladies,
when entrusted with mysterious missions, have an inveterate habit of
communicating them to their personal friends. Mrs. Carpenter knew a Mrs.
Meves, a music teacher, and hastened to inform her of the strange
instructions which she had received from France, and the pair set out
to find a child to suit the requirements of Paine. They failed, and
Mrs. Meves in her chagrin told her husband of their failure. That
worthy, who was then resident in Bloomsbury Square, had a son,
supposed to be illegitimate, living in his house. The lad had been
born in 1785, was about the age required, was in delicate health, and
a burden to his father, and there was no apparent reason why he should
not occupy the precarious position intended for the deaf and dumb boy,
at least until a mute could be found to take his place. Mr. Meves,
therefore, actuated by these ideas, proceeded to France, and, as those
who now bear his name assert, succeeded in procuring an interview with
Marie-Antoinette in her dungeon in the Conciergerie, where he made the
illustrious sufferer a vow of secrecy respecting her son, which he
kept to the latest hour of his existence. And, lest there should be
any doubt about this interview, it is added that many loyalists, both
before and after, penetrated into the gloom of her prison-cell, and
all but one contrived to evade being detected.

At the interview it was agreed that he should introduce the lad, whom
he had brought, into the Temple, and should place him under the care
of Simon, the shoemaker, till a good opportunity occurred to extricate
Louis XVII. The arrangement was no sooner made than it was carried
out. Madame Simon, who was a party to the plot, found the "good
opportunity." The dauphin was removed in the convenient basket of a
laundress--perhaps the same basket which had held Naündorff, and the
unfortunate bastard of Mr. Meves was left in his stead. On reaching
the hotel at which Mr. Meves was staying the rescued prince was
respectably attired, and, having been placed in a carriage by his new
guardian, was escorted by the Marquis of Bonneval as far as the coast
of Normandy. It is not said whether, during the long ride, Mr. Meves
felt a twinge of remorse for his heartless conduct towards the
harmless and delicate child whom he had left in the clutches of Simon;
but, at all events, he is represented as reaching England in safety
with his new charge. The liberated king took up his abode in
Bloomsbury Square, and was adopted as the son of Mr. Meves, who had
better reasons for abiding by the laws of adoption than those of
parentage. At this time he was only eight years and seven months old.

But Mrs. Meves was not so thoroughly satisfied with the result of her
husband's mission as that astute individual was himself disposed to
be; and having learnt that the boy who had passed as her son was a
prisoner in the Temple Tower, hurried off to her friend Mrs. Carpenter
to tell her doleful tale, and to concoct measures for his release. A
renewed search was instituted for a deaf and dumb boy, and one was
found--"the son of a poor woman"--and in the month of January, 1794,
Mrs. Meves procured passports, and proceeded with this boy and a German
gentleman to Holland to the Abbé Morlet. From Holland the Abbé, the
boy, and Mrs. Meves went to Paris, "and the deaf and dumb boy was
placed in certain hands to accomplish her son's liberation at the most
convenient time, but at what precise date such was carried into effect
remains to be ascertained."

It is, however, more than suggested that the worn-out child seen by
Lasne and Gomin, who was so abnormally reticent, was the deaf and dumb
boy; and there is a wild attempt to prove either that he never spoke
at all, or that, if the captive under their care did speak, it must
have been a fourth child who had been substituted for the mute. The
whole tale is unintelligible and incoherent; assertions are freely
made without an iota of proof from its beginning to its end. If we are
to credit the sons of the pretender, the dauphin was educated by Mr.
Meves as a musician, and knew nothing of his origin till the year
1818, when Mrs. Meves declared it to him. In the years 1830 and 1831 he
addressed letters (which were not answered) to the Duchess of
Angoulême, stating the circumstances in which he had been conveyed to
England, but making an egregious blunder as to the date, which his
sons vainly endeavour to conceal or explain. They say, also, that a
very large section of the French nobility had no hesitation in
admitting the royal descent of their father. Thus the Count Fontaine
de Moreau expressed himself convinced that the man before him was the
missing dauphin, after examining with singular interest some blood
spots on his breast, resembling "a constellation of the heavens." The
Count de Jauffroy not only called and wrote down his address--21
Alsopp's Terrace, New Road--but declared his opinion that the British
government was perfectly aware that "at 8 Bath Place, lives the true
Louis XVII." "But, sir," the count went on to say, "the danger lies in
acknowledging you, as from the energy of your character you might put
the whole of Europe into a state of fermentation, as you are not only
King of France in right of your birth, but you are also heir to Maria
Theresa, empress of Germany." His sons add that "Louis Napoleon is
aware, and has been for many years, that the person called 'Augustus
Meves' was the veritable Louis XVII." At the time these words were
penned the Emperor of the French was alive in this country, and a
_Times'_ reviewer not unreasonably said, "If, indeed, the illustrious
exile of Chiselhurst be aware of so remarkable a fact, he will surely
soon proclaim it, together with his reasons for being aware of it.
Aspirants to the throne of France cannot touch him further; and the
triumphant proof of Augustus Meves' heirship to Louis XVI. would not
only confound the councils of Frohsdorff, but it would turn the
grandest legitimist of Europe into little better than a usurper, if,
as was said by the Count de Jauffroy, Augustus Meves must of necessity
not only be the eldest son of St. Louis, but the eldest son of Rudolf
of Hapsburg to boot."

Napoleon passed away, and made no sign; but the sons of Augustus
Meves (who himself died in 1859) show no disposition to under-rate his
pretensions. The elder, who styles himself Auguste de Bourbon, and
upon whom the royal mantle is supposed to have fallen, is not
indifferent to the political changes of the time, and has again and
again endeavoured to thrust his claims to the French throne before the
public. In a letter dated June 17, 1871, he says--"Several articles
have recently appeared respecting the chances of the Comte de Chambord
succeeding to power, in virtue of his right of birth as the eldest
representative of legitimate monarchy. This supposition by many is
admitted; nevertheless, it is a palpable hallucination, for the
representative of legitimate hereditary monarchy by actual descent is
directly vested in the eldest son of Louis XVII. Periodically, the
Comte de Chambord issues a manifesto, basing his right for doing such
as representing, by the right of hereditary succession, the head of
the House of Bourbon. Whenever such appears, duty demands that I
should protest against his pretensions. Great the relief would indeed
be to me could the Comte de Chambord, or any historian, produce
rational argument, or rather documents, to support the supposition
that the son of Louis XVI. and Marie-Antoinette died in the Tower of
the Temple, in June, 1795. Those who believe this with such proof as
is now extant to the general public are under a hallucination. Should,
however, the Comte de Chambord or the fused party base the right of
succeeding to power on the principle of inheriting it by the law of
legitimate succession, I, the son of Louis XVII., should demand a
hearing from France, and in France's name now protest against any
political combinations that have the object in view of acknowledging
the Comte de Chambord as the legitimate heir to the throne of
France.... I owe my origin to the French revolution of 1789; for had
not Louis XVII. been delivered from his captivity in the Temple, I
should have had no existence. Being, then, the offspring of the French
revolution, it is compatible with reason that by restoring the heir of
Louis XVII. as a constitutional king, such would be acceptable alike
to revolutionists and monarchists, and so end that state of alternate
violence and repression which, ever since the revolution of 1789, has
characterised unhappy France." In a still later document, he
says:--"The Comte de Chambord I can recognise as a nobleman, and as
representing a principle acknowledged; but the House of Orleans can
only be looked upon and recognised as disloyal and renegade royalty,
deserving the obliquy of fallen honour, having forfeited its right to
all regal honours." From his lofty perch this strange mongrel king
still awaits the call of France!


On the 30th of October, 1834, a mysterious personage was placed at the
bar of the Assize Court of the Seine, on a charge of conspiring to
overthrow the government of Louis Philippe, and of assuming titles
which did not belong to him, for the purpose of perpetrating fraud.
This individual, who is described as a little man, of aristocratic
appearance, was another of the many pretenders who have from time to
time assumed the character of Louis XVII., and his story was so
evidently false that it would scarcely be worth mention were it not
for the fate which befell him. For several years he had been prowling
throughout France in various disguises, and under a multitude of
names, swindling the credulous public; and from being an assumed
baron, he suddenly developed himself into the dauphin of the Temple,
and laid claim to the throne. Like the other impostors, he made his
assumption profitable, and found a peculiarly easy victim in the
Marquise de Grigny, a lady aged eighty-two years, who not only gave
him all her ready-money, but would have assigned her estates to him if
the law had not interposed. So successful was he in victimizing the
public, that he could afford to keep a private printing-press at work,
and disburse large sums to stir up disturbances in various parts of
the country; and so hopeful, that he bought a plumed hat, a sword, and
a gorgeous uniform, to appear before his subjects in fitting guise on
the day of his restoration.

The clothes-basket of the laundress was brought into requisition for
his benefit also, and in it he lay ensconced while devoted friends
were carrying him away from the Temple, and from the rascally Simon,
who was still in authority. Like Meves, he asserted that Madame Simon
aided the plot, and in the course of his trial placed a certain M.
Remusat in the witness-box, who stated that while he was in the
hospital at Parma a woman called Semas complained bitterly of the
treatment to which she was subjected, and declared loudly that if her
children knew it they would soon come to her relief. Remusat thereupon
asked her if she had any children, when she responded, "My children,
sir, are the children of France! I was their _gouvernante_!" There was
no mistaking the allusion, and her astonished hearer replied, "But the
dauphin is dead." "Not so," was the answer; "he lives; and, if I
mistake not, was removed from the Temple in a basket of linen."
"Then," added the witness, "I asked the woman who she was, and she
told me that she was the wife of a man called Simon, the former
guardian-keeper. Then I understood her assertion, 'I was their

This extraordinary piece of evidence was entirely uncorroborated, and
in reality the accused had no case. But if he was deficient in proof
of his assertions, he had abundance of audacity. At first he declined
to answer the interrogatories of the judge, and permitted that
functionary to lay bare his past life, without any attempt to dispute
his assertions; but when the witnesses were brought against him, he
broke his silence, and finally became irrepressibly talkative. The
authorities had traced his career with some care, and showed that his
real name was d'Hébert, and that he always used that name in legal
documents, such as transfers of property to himself, being shrewd
enough to know that a conveyance would be invalid if executed in a
false name. In his proclamations, however, he invariably appeared as
"Charles de Bourbon, Duke of Normandy." In private life his favourite
title was Baron Richemont, although sometimes he condescended to be
addressed as Colonel Gustave; and when imperative occasion demanded,
passed under the vulgar cognomen of Bernard.

The agents of police tracked him under all these disguises with the
greatest facility, by means of a clue which he himself provided.
Having been a man of method, he was in the habit of keeping a
memorandum-book or diary, in which he recorded, in cypher, all his
proceedings. This interesting volume fell into the hands of the
detectives, who soon discovered the key to it, and thus enabled the
judge of the Assize Court to present the sham dauphin with a very
vivid portrait of himself drawn by his own hand. Among other
occurrences which were recorded in this diary, was a visit which had
been paid by the pretender to a certain Madame de Malabre, at Caen;
and it was specially noted that he had granted this lady permission to
erect a monument to himself in her garden, and to dedicate it to the
Duke of Normandy; and, what was a very much graver matter, that he had
visited Lyons with the express purpose of stirring up a revolution
there. In some of his letters, also, he mentioned this attempted
up-rising in the great city which rests on the twin rivers, and
asserted that the denouement approached, and that his triumph was
certain. "I am at Lyons," he added, "where I have seen the
representatives of sixty-five departments. We shall march to Paris,
and I have in the capital forces ten times greater than are necessary
to oust the rascal!"

To follow all the evidence which was led against the prisoner would be
very tedious, and worse than useless; but one witness appeared whose
testimony is worthy of record. He was an old man, aged seventy-six,
who was very deaf, and whose voice was almost gone. It was Lasné, the
faithful keeper of the Temple. He said--

"Two people came to my house and asked me if the dauphin were really
dead, and if he had not been carried out of the Temple; and I told
them that the poor child died in my arms, and that though a thousand
years were to pass his Majesty Louis XVII. would never re-appear."

Then the interrogatory proceeded:--

"Was he long ill?"

"He was ill for nine months after the establishment of the commune. Dr.
Dessault prescribed several drops of a mixture which he was to take
every morning, and three consecutive times the child vomited the
medicine, and asked if it were not injurious. In order to reassure
him, Dr. Dessault took the cup and drank some of it before him, when he
said, 'Very good. You have said that I ought to take this liquid, and
I will take it;' and he swallowed it. Dr. Dessault attended him for
eight days, and every morning drank some of the medicine to reassure
the Child. When Dessault died suddenly from an apoplectic stroke, M.
Pellatan took his place and continued the same treatment. At the end
of three months the poor child died resting on my left arm."

"Was it easy to approach the child?"

"No, sir; it was necessary to pass through the courts of the Temple.
The applicant then knocked at a wicket. I answered the summons; and if
I recognised the person I opened the wicket. Then the visitor was
taken to the third floor, where the prince was."

"Did he show much intelligence?"

"Yes, sir, he was very intelligent. Every day I walked with him on the
top of the Tower, holding him under the arm. He had a tumour at his
knee, which gave him a great deal of pain."

"But it is said that another child was substituted for him, and that
the real dauphin was smuggled out of the Tower?"

"That is a false idea. I used to be a captain of the French Gardes in
the old days, and in that capacity I often saw the young dauphin. I
have attended him in the Jardin des Feuillants, and I am convinced
that the child who was under my care was the same. I was condemned to
death; but the events of the 9th Thermidor saved my life. I was
condemned, at the instigation of Saint-Just, who caused me to be
arrested by eight gens d'armes. I solemnly declare that the child who
died in my arms was in reality Louis XVII."

"That he was undoubtedly the same child?"

"Undoubtedly the same child, with the same features and the same

More than one impostor has tripped, stumbled, and fallen over that

But notwithstanding Lasné's evidence, on the second morning of the
trial a printed sheet was circulated among the audience, which is a
curiosity in its way. This document, which was addressed to the jury,
was signed "Charles-Louis, Duke of Normandy," and was a sort of
protest in favour of Louis XVII., who pretended to have nothing in
common with the sham Baron Richemont. It asserted that "the secret
mover of the puppet Richemont could not be unaware the real son of the
unfortunate Louis XVI. was furnished with the requisite proofs of his
origin, and that he could prove by indisputable evidence his own
identity with the dauphin of the Temple. It was perfectly well known
that every time the royal orphan sought to make himself known to his
family, a sham Louis XVII. was immediately brought forward--an
impostor like the person the jury was called upon to judge--and by
this manoeuvre public opinion was changed, and the voice of the real
son of Louis XVI. was silenced." At the opening of the court an
advocate appeared on behalf of this second pretender; but after a
short discussion was refused a hearing.

As far as Richemont was concerned, all his audacity could not save
him; from the beginning the evidence was dead against him; there was
no difficulty in tracing his infamous career, the public prosecutor
was merciless in his denunciation, and in his demand that a severe
sentence should be passed upon this new disturber of the state, and
Richemont's own eloquence availed him nothing. The prisoner was,
however, bold enough, and in addressing the jury, said--"The public
prosecutor has told you that I cannot be the son of Louis XVI. Has he
told you who I am? He has been formally asked, and has kept silence.
Gentlemen, you will appreciate that silence, and will also appreciate
the reasons which prevent us from producing our titles. This is
neither the place nor the moment. The competent tribunals will be
called upon to give their decision in this matter. He tells you also
that inquiries have been made everywhere; but he has not let you know
the result of these inquiries. He cannot do it!... I repeat to you
that if I am mistaken, I am thoroughly honest in my mistake. It has
lasted for fifty years, and I fear I shall carry it with me to my

The jury were perfectly indifferent to his appeal, and found him
guilty of a plot to upset the government of the king, of exciting the
people to civil war, of attempting to change the order of succession
to the throne, and of three minor offences in addition. The
Advocate-General pressed for the heaviest penalty which the law
allowed, and the judge condemned "Henri-Hebert-Ethelbert-Louis-Hector,"
calling himself Baron de Richemont, to twelve years' imprisonment.

Richemont listened to his sentence unmoved, and as the officers were
about to take him away, said in a low voice to those near him, "The
man who does not know how to suffer is unworthy of persecution!"


America also has had her sham dauphin, in the person of an Indian
missionary, whose claims have been repeatedly presented to the public
both in magazine articles and in book form. His adventures, as
recorded by his biographers, are quite as singular as those of his
competitors for royal honours. We are told that in the year 1795, a
French family, calling themselves De Jardin, or De Jourdan, arrived in
Albany, direct from France. At that time French refugees were
thronging to America; and in the influx of strangers this party might
have escaped notice, but peculiar circumstances directed attention to
them. The family consisted of a lady, a gentleman, and two children;
and although the two former bore the same name, they did not seem to
be man and wife, Madame de Jourdan dressed expensively and elegantly,
while Monsieur de Jourdan was very plainly attired, and appeared to be
the lady's servant rather than her husband. Great mystery was observed
with respect to their children, who were carefully concealed from the
public gaze. The eldest was a girl, and was called Louise; while the
youngest, a boy of nine or ten years of age, was invariably addressed
as Monsieur Louis. He was very rarely seen, even by the few ladies and
children who were admitted into a sort of semi-friendship by the
new-comers, and when he did appear seemed to be dull, and paid no
attention to the persons present or the conversation. Madame de
Jardin, who had in her possession many relics of Louis XVI. and
Marie-Antoinette, made no secret that she had been a maid of honour to
the queen, and was separated from her on the terrace of the Tuileries,
prior to her imprisonment in the Temple. She had not yet recovered
from the dreadful events of the revolution, and had a theatrical habit
of relieving her highly-strung feelings by rushing to the harpsichord,
wildly playing the Marseillaise, and then bursting into tears. Those
who had free admittance into the family of the De Jourdans had no
difficulty in tracing a resemblance between the children and the
portraits of the royal family of France; but delicacy forbade
questions, and even the most confident could only surmise that this
retired maid of honour had escaped from her native land in charge of
the children of the Temple. After remaining for a short time in
Albany, without any apparent purpose, the De Jardins sold most of
their effects, and disappeared as mysteriously as they had come.

Later in the same year (1795) two Frenchmen, one of them having the
appearance of a Romish priest, arrived at the Indian settlement of
Ticonderoga, in the vicinity of Lake George, bringing with them a
sickly boy, in a state of mental imbecility, whom they left with the
Indians. The child is said to have been adopted by an Iroquis chief,
called Thomas Williams, _alias_ Tehorakwaneken, whose wife was
Konwatewenteta, and although no proof is offered that he was the boy
called Monsieur Louis by Madame de Jardin, and still less that he was
the dauphin of France, it is said by those who support his
pretensions, that whoever considers the coincidences of circumstance,
time and place, age, mental condition and bodily resemblance, must
admit, apart from all other testimony, that it is highly probable that
he was both the sham De Jardin and the real dauphin.

Thomas Williams, the Iroquis chief, who had some English blood in his
veins, lived in a small log-house on the shores of Lake George. His
unpretending dwelling was about twenty feet square, perhaps a little
larger, roofed with bark, leaving an opening in the centre to give
egress to the smoke from the fire which blazed beneath it on the
floor, in the middle of the ample apartment. Around this fire were
ranged the beds of the family, composed of hemlock boughs, covered
with the skins of animals slaughtered in the chase. The fare of the
family was as simple as their dwelling-place. From cross-sticks over
the fire hung a huge kettle, in which the squaw made soup of pounded
corn flavoured with venison. They purchased their salt and spirits at
Fort-Edward; and the stream supplied them with fish, the woods and
mountains with game. Such was the early upbringing of the missionary

The boy was known as Lazar or Eleazar Williams; his reputed father,
the chief, invariably acknowledged him and addressed him as his own
son; and the lad himself could tell but little of his earlier years.
He had hazy recollections of soldiers and a gorgeous palace, and a
beautiful lady on whose lap he used to recline; but when he tried to
think closely and recall the past, his mind became confused, and
painted chiefs, shady wigwams, and the homely face of the chieftain's
squaw, obtruded themselves, and blurred the glorious scenes amid which
he faintly remembered to have lived.

But circumstances sometimes occurred which made a deep impression even
on his weak mind. Thus, when the youthful Eleazar was one day sporting
on the lake near Fort-William, in a little wooden canoe, with several
other boys, two strange gentlemen came up to the encampment of Thomas
Williams, and took their seats with him upon a log at a little
distance from the wigwam. With natural curiosity at a circumstance
which broke in upon the usual monotony of Indian life, the boys
paddled their canoe ashore, and strolled up to the encampment to
ascertain who the strangers were, when Thomas Williams called out,
"Lazar, this friend of yours wishes to speak to you." As he approached
one of the gentlemen rose and went off to another Indian encampment.
The one who remained with the chief had every indication in dress,
manners, and language of being a Frenchman. When Eleazar came near,
this gentleman advanced several steps to meet him, embraced him most
tenderly, and when he sat down again on the log made him stand between
his legs. In the meantime he shed abundance of tears, said "Pauvre
garçon!" and continued to embrace him. The chief was soon afterwards
called to a neighbouring wigwam, and Eleazar and the Frenchman were
left alone. The latter continued to kiss him and weep, and spoke a
good deal, seeming anxious that he should understand him, which he was
unable to do. When Thomas Williams returned to them he asked Eleazar
whether he knew what the gentleman had said to him, and he replied,
"No." They both left him, and walked off in the direction in which the
other gentleman had gone. The two gentlemen came again the next day,
and the Frenchman remained several hours. The chief took him out in a
canoe on the lake; and the last which Eleazar remembered was them all
sitting together on a log, when the Frenchman took hold of his bare
feet and dusty legs, and examined his knees and ankles closely. Again
the Frenchman shed tears, but young Eleazar was quite indifferent, not
knowing what to make of it. Before the gentleman left he gave him a
piece of gold.

A few evenings later, when the younger members of the household were
in bed, and were supposed to be asleep, Eleazar, who was lying broad
awake, overheard a conversation between the Indian chief and his squaw
which interested him mightily. The chief was urging compliance with a
request which had been made to them to allow two of their children to
go away for education; but his wife objected on religious grounds.
When he persisted in his demand she said, "If you will do it you may
send away this strange boy. Means have been put into your hands for
his education; but John I cannot part with." Her willingness to
sacrifice him, and the whole tone of the conversation, excited
suspicions in the mind of the listener as to his parentage, but they
soon passed away. Mrs. Williams at last agreed that John, one of her
own children, and Lazar, according to this story, her adopted child,
should be sent to Long Meadow, a village in Massachusetts, to be
brought up under the care of a deacon called Nathaniel Ely. It is said
that when the supposed brothers entered the village, dressed in their
Indian costume, the entire dissimilarity in their appearance at once
excited attention, and they became the subjects of general
conversation among the villagers. At Long Meadow the lads remained for
several years, and are represented as having made "remarkably good
proficiency in school learning," as exhibiting strong proofs of
virtuous and pious dispositions, and as "likely to make useful
missionaries among the heathen." This encomium seems, however, to have
been much more applicable to Eleazar than his companion; for, after
the most persistent attempts, it was found impossible to cultivate the
mind of John, whose passion for savage life was irrepressible, and who
returned home to live and die among the Indians. With Eleazar it was
different, and his biographer proudly records that he was called
familiarly "the plausible boy."

He was as versatile as he was plausible, and in the course of his long
life played many parts besides that of Louis XVII. When he had
forgotten the early lessons of the wigwam, and had acquired the
learning and religious enthusiasm of the New Englanders, he became a
sort of wandering gospel-preacher among the Indians; but the work was
little suited to him, and he found far more congenial employment when
the war broke out between England and America, as superintendent-general
of the Northern Indian Department on the United States side.
In this office "he had under his command the whole secret corps
of rangers and scouts of the army, who spread themselves
everywhere, and freely entered in and out of the enemy's camp." In
other words, he was a sort of chief spy; and if he had been caught in
the British lines would have had a very short shrift, notwithstanding
his sanctimonious utterances, and the peculiarly sensitive conscience
of which he made a perpetual boast. About the same time he was
declared a chief of the Iroquis nation, under the name of
Onwarenhiiaki, or the tree cutter--a compliment little likely to have
been paid to an unknown man, but which would not unreasonably be
bestowed upon the son of a famous chief. Having received a severe
wound he was nursed back into life by his reputed father, and on his
complete recovery expressed his contrition for his backsliding, and
his horror of the bloodthirsty trade of war, and returned to the
peaceful work of attempting to teach and convert his dusky Indian
brethren. He deserted the Congregationalists with whom he had
previously been connected, and joined the Protestant Episcopal Church,
by which he was ordained, and to which he remained faithful during the
later years of his life.

By this time he was convinced that he was no Indian, and believed that
he was the son of some noble Frenchman, but he scarcely ventured to
think that he was a pure Bourbon; although dim suspicions of his royal
descent sometimes haunted him, although friends assured him that his
likeness to the French king was so strong that his origin was beyond
question, and although he had certain marks on his body which
corresponded with those said to exist on the person of the dauphin.
But as he got older, the evidence in favour of his illustrious
parentage seemed to grow stronger; if he was questioned on the
subject he was too truthful to deny what he thought, and the knowledge
of his name and the number of those who believed in him rapidly
increased. At last, according to his own story, an event occurred
which placed the matter beyond all doubt.

The Prince de Joinville was travelling in America in 1841, and what
happened in the course of his travels to the Rev. Eleazar Williams
that gentleman may be left to tell. He says--"In October 1841, I was
on my way from Buffalo to Green Bay, and took a steamer from the
former place bound to Chicago, which touched at Mackinac, and left me
there to await the arrival of the steamer from Buffalo to Green Bay.
Vessels which had recently come in announced the speedy arrival of the
Prince de Joinville; public expectation was on tiptoe, and crowds were
on the wharves. The steamer at length came in sight, salutes were
fired and answered, the colours run up, and she came into port in fine
style. Immediately she touched the Prince and his retinue came on
shore, and went out some little distance from the town to visit some
natural curiosities in the neighbourhood. The steamer awaited their
return. During their absence I was standing on the wharf among the
crowd, when Captain John Shook came up to me and asked whether I was
going on to Green Bay, adding that the Prince de Joinville had made
inquiries of him concerning a Rev. Mr. Williams, and that he had told
the prince he knew such a person, referring to me, whom he supposed
was the man he meant, though he could not imagine what the prince
could want with or know of me. I replied to the captain in a laughing
way, without having any idea what a deep meaning attached to my
words--'Oh, I am a great man, and great men will of course seek me

"Soon after, the prince and his suite arrived and went on board. I did
the same, and the steamer put to sea. When we were fairly out on the
water, the captain came to me and said, 'The prince, Mr. Williams,
requests me to say to you that he desires to have an interview with
you, and will be happy either to have you come to him, or allow me to
introduce him to you.' 'Present my compliments to the prince,' I
said, 'and say I put myself entirely at his disposal, and will be
proud to accede to whatever may be his wishes in the matter.' The
captain again retired, and soon returned, bringing the Prince de
Joinville, with him. I was sitting at the time on a barrel. The prince
not only started with evident and involuntary surprise when he saw me,
but there was great agitation in his face and manner--a slight
paleness and a quivering of the lip--which I could not help remarking
at the time, but which struck me more forcibly afterwards in
connection with the whole train of circumstances, and by contrast with
his usual self-possessed manner. He then shook me earnestly and
respectfully by the hand, and drew me immediately into conversation.
The attention he paid me seemed not only to astonish myself and the
passengers, but also the prince's retinue.

"At dinner-time there was a separate table laid for the prince and his
companions, and he invited me to sit with them, and offered me the
seat of honour by his side. But I was a little abashed by the
attentions of the prince, so I thought I would keep out of the circle,
and begged the prince to excuse me, and permit me to dine at the
ordinary table with the passengers, which I accordingly did. After
dinner the conversation turned between us on the first French
settlement in America, the valour and enterprise of the early
adventurers, and the loss of Canada to France, at which the prince
expressed deep regret. He was very copious and fluent in speech, and I
was surprised at the good English he spoke; a little broken, indeed,
like mine, but very intelligible. We continued talking late into the
night, reclining in the cabin on the cushions in the stern of the
boat. When we retired to rest, the prince lay on the locker, and I in
the first berth next to it.

"The next day the steamer did not arrive at Green Bay until about
three o'clock, and during most of the time we were in conversation. On
our arrival the prince said I would oblige him by accompanying him to
his hotel, and taking up my quarters at the Astor House. I begged to
be excused, as I wished to go to the house of my father-in-law. He
replied he had some matters of great importance to speak to me about;
and as he could not stay long at Green Bay, but would take his
departure the next day, or the day after, he wished I would comply
with his request. As there was some excitement consequent on the
prince's arrival, and a great number of persons were at the Astor
House wishing to see him, I thought I would take advantage of the
confusion to go to my father-in-law's, and promised to return in the
evening when he would be more private. I did so, and on my return
found the prince alone, with the exception of one attendant, whom he
dismissed. He opened the conversation by saying he had a communication
to make to me of a very serious nature as concerned himself, and of
the last importance to me; that it was one in which no others were
interested, and therefore, before proceeding farther, he wished to
obtain some pledge of secrecy, some promise that I would not reveal to
any one what he was going to say. I demurred to any such conditions
being imposed previous to my being acquainted with the nature of the
subject, as there might be something in it, after all, prejudicial and
injurious to others; and it was at length, after some altercation,
agreed that I should pledge my honour not to reveal what the prince
was going to say, provided there was nothing in it prejudicial to any
one, and I signed a promise to this effect on a sheet of paper. It was
vague and general, for I would not tie myself down to absolute
secrecy, but left the matter conditional. When this was done the
prince spoke to this effect--

"'You have been accustomed, sir, to consider yourself a native of this
country, but you are not. You are of foreign descent; you were born in
Europe, sir; and however incredible it may at first sight seem to you,
you are the son of a king. There ought to be much consolation to you
to know this fact. You have suffered a great deal, and have been
brought very low; but you have not suffered more or been more degraded
than my father, who was long in exile and in poverty in this country;
but there is this difference between him and you, that he was all
along aware of his high birth, whereas you have been spared the
knowledge of your origin.'

"When the prince said this I was much overcome, and thrown into a
state of mind which you can easily imagine. In fact, I hardly knew
what to do or say; and my feelings were so much excited that I was
like one in a dream. However, I remember I told him his communication
was so startling and unexpected that he must forgive me for being
incredulous, and that I was really between two."

"'What do you mean,' he said, 'by being between two?'

"I replied that, on the one hand, it scarcely seemed to me he could
believe what he said; and, on the other, I feared he might be under
some mistake as to the person. He assured me, however, he would not
trifle with my feelings on such a subject, and had ample means in his
possession to satisfy me that there was no mistake whatever. I
requested him to proceed with the disclosure partly made, and to
inform me in full of the secret of my birth. He replied that, in doing
so, it was necessary that a certain process should be gone through in
order to guard the interest of all parties concerned. I inquired what
kind of process he meant. Upon this the prince rose and went to his
trunk, which was in the room, and took from it a parchment which he
laid on the table and set before me, that I might read and give him my
determination in regard to it. There were also on the table pen and
ink and wax, and he placed there a governmental seal of France--the
one, if I mistake not, used under the old monarchy. The document which
the prince placed before me was very handsomely written in double
parallel columns of French and English. I continued intently reading
and considering it for a space of four or five hours. During this time
the prince left me undisturbed, remaining for the most part in the
room, but he went out three or four times.

"The purport of the document which I read repeatedly word by word,
comparing the French with the English, was this: It was a solemn
abdication of the crown of France in favour of Louis Philippe by
Charles Louis, the son of Louis XVI., who was styled Louis XVII.,
King of France and Navarre, with all accompanying names and titles of
honour, according to the custom of the old French monarchy, together
with a minute specification in legal phraseology of the conditions and
considerations and provisos upon which the abdication was made. These
conditions were, in brief, that a princely establishment should be
secured to me either in America or in France, at my option, and that
Louis Philippe would pledge himself on his part to secure the
restoration, or an equivalent for it, of all the private property of
the royal family rightfully belonging to me, which had been
confiscated in France during the revolution, or in any way got into
other hands."

After excusing himself for not taking a copy of this precious document
when he had the chance, and mentioning, among other reasons, "the
sense of personal dignity which had been excited by these
disclosures," the Rev. Eleazar proceeds with his narrative:--

"At length I made my decision, and rose and told the prince that I had
considered the matter fully in all its aspects, and was prepared to
give him my definite answer upon the subject; and then went on to say,
that whatever might be the personal consequences to myself, I felt I
could not be the instrument of bartering away with my own hand the
rights pertaining to me by my birth, and sacrificing the interests of
my family, and that I could only give to him the answer which De
Provence gave to the ambassador of Napoleon at Warsaw--'Though I am in
poverty and exile, I will not sacrifice my honour.'

"The prince upon this assumed a loud tone, and accused me of
ingratitude in trampling upon the overtures of the king, his father,
who, he said, was actuated in making the proposition more by feelings
of kindness and pity towards me than by any other consideration, since
his claim to the French throne rested on an entirely different basis
to mine--viz., not that of hereditary descent, but of popular
election. When he spoke in this strain, I spoke loud also, and said
that as he, by his disclosure, had put me in the position of a
superior, I must assume that position, and frankly say that my
indignation was stirred by the memory that one of the family of
Orleans had imbrued his hands in my father's blood, and that another
now wished to obtain from me an abdication of the throne. When I spoke
of superiority, the prince immediately assumed a respectful attitude,
and remained silent for several minutes. It had now grown very late,
and we parted, with a request from him that I would reconsider the
proposal of his father, and not be too hasty in my decision. I
returned to my father-in-law's, and the next day saw the prince again,
and on his renewal of the subject gave him a similar answer. Before he
went away he said, 'Though we part, I hope we part friends.'"

And this tale is not intended for burlesque or comedy, but as a sober
account of transactions which really took place. It was published in a
respectable magazine, it has been re-produced in a book which sets
forth the claims of "The Lost Prince," and it was brought so
prominently before the Prince de Joinville that he was compelled
either to corroborate it or deny it. His answer is very plain. He had
a perfect recollection of being on board the steamer at the time and
place mentioned, and of meeting on board the steamboat "a passenger
whose face he thinks he recognises in the portrait given in the
_Monthly Magazine_, but whose name had entirely escaped his memory.
This passenger seemed well informed respecting the history of America
during the last century. He related many anecdotes and interesting
particulars concerning the French, who took part and distinguished
themselves in these events. His mother, he said, was an Indian woman
of the great tribe of Iroquis, and his father was French. These
details could not fail to vividly interest the prince, whose voyage to
the district had for its object to retrace the glorious path of the
French, who had first opened to civilisation these fine countries. All
which treats of the revelation which the prince made to Mr. Williams of
the mystery of his birth, all which concerns the pretended personage
of Louis XVII., is from one end to the other a work of the
imagination--a fable woven wholesale--a speculation upon the public

       *       *       *       *       *

These are but a few of the numerous sham dauphins who have at various
times appeared. One author, who has written a history of the elder
branch of the House of Bourbon, estimates the total number of
pretenders at a dozen and a half, while M. Beauchesne increases the
list to thirty. But few, besides those whose history has been given,
succeeded in gaining notoriety, and all failed to rouse the French
authorities to punish or even to notice their transparent impostures.

       *       *       *       *       *


Great excitement prevailed throughout England towards the close of the
year 1853, in consequence of the result of a trial which took place at
the autumn assizes at Gloucester. A person calling himself Sir Richard
Hugh Smyth laid claim to an extinct baronetcy, and brought an action
of ejectment to recover possession of vast estates, situated in the
neighbourhood of Bristol, and valued at nearly £30,000 a-year. The
baronetcy in question had become, or was supposed to have become,
extinct on the death of Sir John Smyth, in 1849, and at his decease
the estates had passed to his sister Florence; and when she died, in
1852, had devolved upon her son, who was then a minor, and who was
really the defendant in the cause. Mr. Justice Coleridge presided at
the trial, Mr. (afterwards Lord-Justice) Bovill appeared for the
claimant, and Sir Frederick Thesiger represented the defendant.

According to the opening address of the counsel for the plaintiff, his
client had been generally supposed to be the son of a carpenter of
Warminster named Provis, and had been brought up in this man's house
as one of his family. When the lad arrived at an age to comprehend
such matters, he perceived that he was differently treated from the
other members of the household, and, from circumstances which came to
his knowledge, was led to suspect that Provis was not really his
father, but that he was the son of Sir Hugh Smyth of Ashton Hall, near
Bristol, and the heir to a very extensive property. It seemed that
this baronet had married a Miss Wilson, daughter of the Bishop of
Bristol, in 1797, that she had died childless some years later, and
that he had, in 1822, united himself to a Miss Elizabeth. The second
union proved as fruitless as the first, and when Sir Hugh himself
died, in 1824, his brother John succeeded to the title and the greater
portion of the property. By-and-by, however, certain facts came to the
ears of the plaintiff, which left no doubt on his mind that he was the
legitimate son of Sir Hugh Smyth, by a first and hitherto concealed
marriage with Jane, daughter of Count Vandenbergh, to whom he had been
secretly married in Ireland, in 1796. But, although the plaintiff was
thus convinced himself, he knew that, while he possessed documents
which placed his origin beyond a doubt, it would be extremely
difficult for a person in his humble circumstances to substantiate his
claim, or secure the services of a lawyer bold enough to take his case
in hand, and refrained from demanding his rights until 1849; in which
year, rendered desperate by delay, he went personally to Ashton Hall,
obtained an interview with Sir John Smyth, and communicated to him his
relationship and his claims. The meeting was much more satisfactory
than might have been expected. As Sir John had been party to certain
documents which were executed by his brother in his lifetime (which
were among those which had been discovered), and in which the
circumstances of the concealed marriage and the birth of the claimant
were acknowledged, it was useless for him to deny the justice of the
demand, and he recognised his nephew without demur. But the excitement
of the interview was too great for his failing strength, and he was
found dead in bed next morning. Thus all the hopes of the real heir
were dashed to the ground, for it was not to be expected that the
next-of-kin, who knew nothing of the supposed Provis, or of Sir Hugh's
marriage, would yield up the estates to an utter stranger, without a
severe struggle and a desperate litigation. He, therefore, refrained
from putting forth his pretensions, and travelled the country with his
wife and children, obtaining a precarious living by delivering
lectures; and he took no steps to enforce his rights until 1851, when,
after negotiations with several legal firms, he at length found the
means of pursuing his claims before the tribunals of his country.

In support of the plaintiff's case a number of documents, family
relics, portraits, rings, seals, &c, were put in evidence. At the time
when the marriage was said to have taken place there was no public
registration in Ireland, but a Family Bible was produced which bore on
a fly-leaf a certification by the Vicar of Lismore that a marriage had
been solemnized on the 19th of May, 1796, "between Hugh Smyth of
Stapleton, in the county of Gloucester, England, and Jane, daughter of
Count John Samuel Vandenbergh, by Jane, the daughter of Major Gookin
and Hesther, his wife, of Court Macsherry, county of Cork, Ireland."
In the same Bible was an entry of the plaintiffs baptism, signed by
the officiating clergyman. A brooch was produced with the name of Jane
Gookin upon it, and a portrait of the claimant's mother, as well as a
letter addressed by Sir Hugh Smyth to his wife on the eve of her
delivery, in which he introduced a nurse to her. Besides these, there
were two formal documents which purported to be signed by Sir Hugh
Smyth, in which he solemnly declared the plaintiff to be his son. The
first of these declarations was written when the baronet was in
extreme ill-health, in 1822, and was witnessed by his brother John and
three other persons. It was discovered in the possession of a member
of the family of Lydia Reed, the plaintiff's nurse. The second paper,
which was almost the same in its terms, was discovered in the keeping
of an attorney's clerk, who had formerly lived in Bristol. The
following is a copy of it:--

"I, Sir Hugh Smyth, of Ashton Park, in the county of Somerset, and of
Rockley House, in the county of Wilts, do declare that, in the year
1796, I was married in the county of Cork, in Ireland, by the Rev.
Verney Lovett, to Jane, the daughter of Count Vandenbergh, by Jane,
the daughter of Major Gookin, of Court Macsherry, near Bandon.
Witnesses thereto--The Countess of Bandon and Consena Lovett. In the
following year, Jane Smyth, my wife, came to England, and, immediately
after giving birth to a son, she died on the 2d day of February, 1797,
and she lies buried in a brick vault in Warminster churchyard. My son
was consigned to the care of my own nurse, Lydia Reed, who can at any
time identify him by marks upon his right hand, but more especially by
the turning up of both the thumbs, an indelible mark of identity in
our family. My son was afterwards baptized by the Rev. James Symes of
Midsomer Norton, by the names of Richard Hugh Smyth; the sponsors
being the Marchioness of Bath and the Countess of Bandon, who named
him Richard, after her deceased brother, Richard Boyle. Through the
rascality of my butler, Grace, my son left England for the continent,
and was reported to me as having died there; but, at the death of
Grace, the truth came out that my son was alive, and that he would
soon return to claim his rights. Now, under the impression of my son's
death, I executed a will in 1814. That will I do, by this document,
declare null and void, and, to all intents and purposes, sett
asside(_sic_) in all its arrangements; the payment of my just debts,
the provision for John, the son, of the late Elizabeth Howell, and to
the fulfilment of all matters not interfering with the rights of my
heir-at-law. Now, to give every assistance to my son, should he ever
return, I do declare him my legitimate son and heir to all the estates
of my ancestors, and which he will find amply secured to him and his
heirs for ever by the will of his grandfather, the late Thomas Smyth
of Stapleton, Esq.; and further, by the will of my uncle, the late Sir
John Hugh Smyth, baronet. Both those wills so fully arrange for the
security of the property in possession or reversion that I have now
only to appoint and constitute my beloved brother John Smyth, Esq.,
my only executor for his life; and I do by this deed place the utmost
confidence in my brother that he will at any future time do my son
justice. And I also entreat my son to cause the remains of his mother
to be removed to Ashton, and buried in the family vault close to my
side, and to raise a monument to her memory.

"Now, in furtherance of the object of this deed, I do seal with my
seal, and sign it with my name, and in the presence of witnesses, this
10th day of September, in the year of our Lord, 1823. HUGH SMYTH (L.S.).
William Edwards.
William Dobbson.
James Abbott."

After some proof had been given as to the genuineness of the
signatures to this and the other documents, the plaintiff was put into
the witness-box. He said that his recollections extended back to the
time when he was three years and a half old, when he lived with Mr.
Provis, a carpenter in Warminster. There was at that time an elderly
woman and a young girl living there, the former being Mrs. Reed, the
wet-nurse, and the latter Mary Provis, who acted as nursemaid. He
stayed at the house of Provis until Grace, Sir Hugh's butler, took him
away, and placed him at the school of Mr. Hill at Brislington, where he
remained for a couple of years, occasionally visiting Colonel Gore and
the family of the Earl of Bandon at Bath. From Brislington he was
transferred by the Marchioness of Bath to Warminster Grammar School,
and thence to Winchester College, where he resided as a commoner until
1810. He stated that he left Winchester because his bills had not been
paid for the last eighteen months; and, by the advice of Dr. Goddard,
then headmaster of the school, proceeded to London, and told the
Marchioness of Bath what had occurred. The marchioness kept him for a
few days in her house in Grosvenor Square, but "being a woman of high
tone, and thinking that possibly he was too old for her protection,"
she advised him to go to Ashton Court to his father, telling him at
the same time that Sir Hugh Smyth was his father. She also gave him
some £1400 or £1500 which had been left to him by his mother, but
declined to tell him anything respecting her, and referred him for
further information to the Bandon family. The marchioness, however,
informed him that her steward, Mr. Davis, at Warminster, was in
possession of the deceased Lady Smyth's Bible, pictures, jewellery,
and trinkets. But the lad, finding himself thus unexpectedly enriched,
sought neither his living father nor the relics of his dead mother,
but had recourse to an _innamorata_ of his own, and passed three or
four months in her delicious company. He afterwards went abroad, and
returned to England with exhausted resources in 1826. He then made
inquiries respecting Sir Hugh Smyth, his supposed father, and
discovered that he had been dead for some time, and that the title and
estates had passed to Sir John. Under these circumstances he believed
it to be useless to advance his claim, and supported himself for the
eleven years which followed by lecturing on education at schools and
institutions throughout England and Ireland.

Up to this time he had never made any inquiry for the things which the
Marchioness of Bath had informed him were under the care of Mr. Davis;
but, in 1839, he visited Frome in order to procure them, and then
found that Davis was dead. Old Mr. Provis, who had brought him up, was
the only person whom he met, and with him he had some words for
obstinately refusing to give him any information respecting his
mother. The interview was a very stormy one; but old Provis, who was
so angry with him at first that he struck him with his stick, quickly
relented, and gave him the Bible, the jewellery, and the heir-looms
which he possessed. Moreover, he showed him a portrait of Sir Hugh
which hung in his own parlour, and gave him a bundle of sealed papers
with instructions to take them to Mr. Phelps, an eminent solicitor at
Warminster. The jewellery consisted of four gold rings and two
brooches. One ring was marked with the initials "J.B.," supposed to be
those of "James Bernard;" and on one of the brooches were the words
"Jane Gookin" at length.

The claimant further stated that, on the 19th of May, 1849, he
procured an interview with Sir John Smyth at Ashton Court. He said
that the baronet seemed to recognise him from the first, and was
excessively agitated when he told him who he was. To calm him, the
so-called Sir Richard said that he had not come to take possession of
his title or property, but only wanted a suitable provision for his
family. It was, therefore, arranged that Sir John's newly-found nephew
should proceed to Chester and fetch his family, and that they should
stay at Ashton Court, while he would live at Heath House.

But the fates seemed to fight against the rightful heir. When he
returned from Chester twelve days later, accompanied by his spouse and
her progeny, the first news he heard was that Sir John had been found
dead in his bed on the morning after his previous visit. All his hopes
were destroyed, and he reverted calmly to his old trade of stump
orator, which he pursued with equanimity from 1839 till 1851. During
this time he vainly endeavoured to secure the services of a sanguine
lawyer to take up his case on speculation, and it was not until the
latter year that he succeeded; but when the hopeful solicitor once
took the affair in hand, evidence flowed in profusely, and he was at
last enabled to lay his claims before her Majesty's judges at
Gloucester assizes. Such, at least, was his own story.

In cross-examination he stated that although Provis had two sons,
named John and Thomas, he only knew the younger, and had but little
intercourse with John, who was the elder. He described his youthful
life in the carpenter's house, and represented himself "as the
gentleman of the place," adding that he wore red morocco shoes, was
never allowed to be without his nurse, and "did some little mischief
in the town, according to his station in life, for which mischief
nobody was allowed to check him." After a lengthy cross-examination as
to his relationship with the Marchioness of Bath and his alleged
interview with Sir John Smyth, he admitted that as a lecturer he had
passed under the name of Dr. Smyth. He denied that he had ever used the
name of Thomas Provis, or stated that John Provis, the Warminster
carpenter, was his father, or visited the members of the Provis family
on a footing of relationship with them. As far as the picture, which
he said the carpenter pointed out to him in his parlour as the
portrait of his father, was concerned, and which, when produced, bore
the inscription, "Hugh Smyth, Esq., son of Thomas Smyth, Esq., of
Stapleton, county of Gloucester, 1796," he indignantly repudiated the
idea that it was a likeness of John Provis the younger, although he
reluctantly admitted that the old carpenter sometimes entertained the
delusion that the painting represented his son John, and that the
inscription had not been perceivable until he washed it with tartaric
acid, which, he declared, was excellent for restoring faded writings.
He was then asked about some seals which he had ordered to be engraved
by Mr. Moring, a seal engraver in Holborn, and admitted giving an order
for a card-plate and cards; but denied that at the same time he had
ordered a steel seal to be made according to a pattern which he
produced, which bore the crest, garter, and motto of the Smyths of
Long Ashton. However, he acknowledged giving a subsequent order for
two such seals. On one of these seals the family motto, "_Qui capit
capitur_" had been transformed, through an error of the engraver, into
"_Qui capit capitor_," but he said he did not receive it until the 7th
of June, and that consequently he could not have placed it on the deed
in which Sir Hugh Smyth so distinctly acknowledged the existence of a
son by a first marriage--a deed which he declared he had never seen
till the 17th of March. A letter was then put into court, dated the
13th of March, which he admitted was in his handwriting, and which
bore the impress of the mis-spelled seal. Thus confronted with this
damning testimony, the plaintiff turned pale, and requested permission
to leave the court to recover from a sudden indisposition which had
overtaken him, when, just at this juncture, the cross-examining
counsel received a telegram from London, in consequence of which he
asked, "Did you, in January last, apply to a person at 361 Oxford
Street, to engrave for you the Bandon crest upon the rings produced,
and also to engrave 'Gookin' on the brooch?" The answer, very
hesitatingly given, was, "Yes, I did." The whole conspiracy was
exposed; the plot was at an end. The plaintiff's counsel threw up
their briefs, a verdict for the defendants was returned, and the
plaintiff himself was committed by the judge on a charge of perjury,
to which a charge of forgery was subsequently added.

The second trial took place at the following spring assizes at
Gloucester. The evidence for the crown showed the utter hollowness of
the plaintiff's claim. The attorney's clerk, from whom the impostor
had stated he received the formal declaration of Sir Hugh Smyth, was
called, and declared that he had written the letter which was said to
have accompanied the deed, from the prisoner's dictation; the deed was
produced at the time, and the witness took a memorandum of the name of
the attesting witnesses on the back of a copy of his letter. This
copy, with the endorsement, was produced in court. The brown paper
which the prisoner had sworn formed the wrapper of the deed when he
received it, was proved to be the same in which Mr. Moring, the
engraver, had wrapped up a seal which he had sent to the prisoner--the
very seal in which the engraver had made the unlucky blunder. It was
also clearly proved that the parchment on which the forgery had been
written was prepared by a process which had only been discovered about
ten years, and chemical experts were decidedly of opinion that the ink
had received its antique appearance by artificial means, and that the
wax was undoubtedly modern. Various startling errors and discrepancies
were pointed out in the document itself, the most noteworthy being a
reference made to Sir Hugh's wife, as "the late Elizabeth Howell,"
whereas that lady was alive and in good health at the time the deed
was supposed to have been drawn up, and having been previously married
to Sir Hugh, was known as Lady Smyth up to her death in 1841, she
having survived her husband seventeen years.

The picture, which had been produced on the first trial as a portrait
of Sir Hugh, was proved beyond all doubt to be that of John Provis,
the eldest son of the carpenter; and the prisoner's sister, a married
woman named Mary Heath, on being placed in the witness-box, recognised
him at once as her youngest brother, Thomas Provis; and said she had
never heard of his being any other, although she knew that upon taking
up the trade of lecturing he had assumed the name of "Dr. Smyth."
Several persons, who were familiarly acquainted with the carpenter's
family, also recognised him as Tom Provis; and evidence was led to
identify him as a person who had kept a school at Ladymede, Bath, and
had been compelled to abscond for disgraceful conduct towards his
pupils. They, however, failed to do so very clearly; "whereon," says
the reporter, "the prisoner, with an air of great triumph, produced an
enormous pig-tail, which up to this moment had been kept concealed
under his coat, and turning round ostentatiously, displayed this
appendage to the court and jury, appealing to it as an irrefragable
proof of his aristocratic birth, and declaiming with solemn emphasis
that he was born with it. He added also that his son was born with one
six inches long." Cocks, the engraver, proved that he was employed by
the prisoner, in January, 1853, to engrave the inscriptions on the
rings, which the prisoner had selected on the supposition that they
were antique rings; but, in fact, they were modern antiques. Mr. Moring
also gave evidence as to the engraving of the fatal seal. On this
evidence Provis was found guilty, and was sentenced to twenty years'
transportation. He retained his composure to the last, and before his
trial assigned all his right, title, and interest in the Smyth estates
to his eldest son, lest they should become forfeited to the crown by
his conviction for felony.

His history was well known to the authorities, who were prepared to
prove, had it been necessary, that he had been convicted of
horse-stealing in 1811, and had been sentenced to death--a sentence
which was commuted; that he had married one of the servants of Sir
John Smyth, and had deserted her, and that he had fled from Bath to
escape the punishment of the vilest offences perpetrated during his
residence in the City of Springs. But it was needless to produce more
damning testimony than was brought forward. For twenty years the world
has heard nothing more of the sham Sir Richard Hugh Smyth.


In 1866, Mrs. Lavinia Jannetta Horton Ryves, and her son, William Henry
Ryves, appeared before the English courts in support of one of the
most extraordinary petitions on record. Taking advantage of the
Legitimacy Declaration Act, they alleged that Mrs. Ryves was the
legitimate daughter of John Thomas Serres and Olive his wife, and that
the mother of Mrs. Ryves was the legitimate daughter of Henry Frederick
Duke of Cumberland and Olive Wilmot, his wife, who were married by Dr.
Wilmot, at the Grosvenor Square mansion of Lord Archer, on the 4th of
March, 1767. They also asserted that Mrs. Ryves had been lawfully
married to her husband, and that her son was legitimate; and asked the
judges to pronounce that the original marriage between the Duke of
Cumberland and Olive Wilmot was legal; that their child Olive, who
afterwards became Mrs. Serres, was legitimate; that their grandchild
Mrs. Ryves had been lawfully married to her husband; and that
consequently the younger petitioner was their legitimate son and heir.
The Attorney-General (Sir Roundell Palmer) filed an answer denying the
legality of the Cumberland marriage, or that Mrs. Serres was the
legitimate daughter of the duke. There was no dispute as to the fact
that the younger petitioner, W.H. Ryves, was the legitimate son of his
father and mother. The case was heard before Lord Chief-Justice
Cockburn, Lord Chief-Baron Pollock, Sir James Wilde, and a special

The opening speech of the counsel for the claimant revealed a story
which was very marvellous, but which, without the strongest
corroborative testimony, was scarcely likely to be admitted to be
true. According to his showing Olive Wilmot was the daughter of Dr.
James Wilmot, a country clergyman, and fellow of a college at Oxford.
During his college _curriculum_ this divine had made the acquaintance
of Count Poniatowski, who afterwards became King of Poland, and had
been introduced by him to his sister. The enamoured and beautiful
Polish princess fell in love with Wilmot and married him, and the
result of their union was a daughter, who grew up to rival her
mother's beauty. The fact of the marriage and the existence of the
daughter were, however, carefully kept from the outer world, and
especially from Oxford, where Dr. Wilmot retained his fellowship. The
girl grew to the age of sweet seventeen, and, in 1767, met the Duke of
Cumberland, the younger brother of George III., at the house of Lord
Archer, in Grosvenor Square. After a short courtship, the duke was
said to have married her--the marriage having been celebrated by her
father on the 4th of March, 1767, at nine o'clock in the evening. Two
formal certificates of the marriage were drawn up and signed by Dr.
Wilmot and by Lord Brooke (afterwards Lord Warwick) and J. Addey, who
were present at it; and these certificates were verified by the
signatures of Lord Chatham and Mr. Dunning (afterwards Lord Ashburton).
These documents were put in evidence. The Duke of Cumberland and Olive
Wilmot lived together for four years; and, in October, 1771, while she
was pregnant, her royal mate deserted her, and, as was alleged,
contracted a bigamous marriage with Lady Anne Horton, sister of the
well-known Colonel Luttrel. George III., having been aware of the
previous union with Olive Wilmot, was very indignant at this second
connection, and would not allow the Duke of Cumberland and his second
wife to come to Court. Indeed, it was mainly in consequence of this
marriage, and the secret marriage of the Duke of Gloucester, that the
Royal Marriage Act was forced through Parliament.

Olive Wilmot, as the petitioner's counsel asserted, having been
deserted by her husband, gave birth to a Child Olive, who ought to
have borne the title of Princess of Cumberland. The baby was baptised
on the day of its birth by Dr. Wilmot, and three certificates to that
effect were produced, signed by Dr. Wilmot and his brother Robert. But,
although the king was irritated at the conduct of his brother, he was
at the same time anxious to shield him from the consequences of his
double marriage, and for that purpose gave directions to Lord Chatham,
Lord Warwick, and Dr. Wilmot that the real parentage of the child
should be concealed, and that it should be re-baptised as the daughter
of Robert Wilmot, whose wife had just been confined. The plastic
divine consented to rob the infant temporarily of its birthright but
at the same time required that all the proceedings should be certified
by the king and other persons as witnesses, in order that at a future
time she should be replaced in her proper position. Perhaps, in
ordinary circumstances, it would not have been possible for a country
priest thus to coerce George III.; but Dr. Wilmot was in possession of
a fatal secret. As is well known, King George was publicly married to
Princess Charlotte in 1762; but, according to the showing of the
petitioners, he had been previously married, in 1759, by this very Dr.
Wilmot, to a lady named Hannah Lightfoot. Thus he, as well as the Duke
of Cumberland, had committed bigamy, and the grave question was raised
as to whether George IV., and even her present Majesty, had any right
to the throne. Proof of this extraordinary statement was forthcoming,
for on the back of the certificates intended to prove the marriage of
the Duke of Cumberland and Olive Wilmot, the following certificates
were endorsed:--

     "This is to solemnly certify that I married George, Prince
     of Wales, to Princess Hannah, his first consort, April 15,
     1759; and that two princes and a princess were the issue of
     such marriage.
                                                   J. WILMOT."

     "_London, April_ 2, 176--."

     "This is to certify to all it may concern that I lawfully
     married George, Prince of Wales, to Hannah Lightfoot, April
     17, 1759; and that two sons and a daughter are their issue
     by such marriage.
                                                    J. WILMOT.
                                                    J. DUNNING."

The concealed Princess Olive was meanwhile brought up, until 1782, in
the family of Robert Wilmot, to whom it was said that an allowance of
£500 a year was paid for her support by Lord Chatham. On the 17th of
May, 1773, his Majesty created her Duchess of Lancaster by this

     "GEORGE R.

     "We hereby are pleased to create Olive of Cumberland Duchess
     of Lancaster, and to grant our royal authority for Olive,
     our said niece, to bear and use the title and arms of
     Lancaster, should she be in existence at the period of our
     royal demise.

     "Given at our Palace of St. James's, May 17, 1773.
                                                     J. DUNNING."

A little before this time (in 1772) Dr. Wilmot had been presented to
the living of Barton-on-the-Heath, in Warwickshire, and thither his
grand-daughter Olive went with him, passing as his niece, and was
educated by him. When she was seventeen or eighteen years old she was
sent back to London, and there became acquainted with Mr. de Serres, an
artist and a member of the Royal Academy, whom she married in 1791.
The union was not a happy one, and a separation took place; but,
before it occurred, Mrs. Ryves, the elder petitioner, was born at
Liverpool in 1797. After the separation Mrs. Serres and her daughter
lived together, and the former gained some celebrity both as an author
and an artist. They moved in good society, were visited by various
persons of distinction, and in 1805 were taken to Brighton and
introduced to the Prince of Wales, who afterwards became George IV.
Two years later (in 1807) Dr. Wilmot died at the mature age of
eighty-five, and the papers in his possession relating to the
marriage, as well as those which had been deposited with Lord Chatham,
who died in 1778, passed into the hands of Lord Warwick. Mrs. Serres
during all this time had no knowledge of the secret of her birth,
until, in 1815, Lord Warwick, being seriously ill, thought it right to
communicate her history to herself and to the Duke of Kent, and to
place the papers in her hands.

Having brought his case thus far, the counsel for the petitioners was
about to read some documents, purporting to be signed by the Duke of
Kent, as declarations of the legitimacy of Mrs. Ryves, but it was
pointed out by the court that he was not entitled to do so, as,
according to his own contention, the Duke of Kent was not a legitimate
member of the royal family. Therefore, resigning this part of his
case, he went on to say that Mrs. Serres, up to the time of her death
in 1834, and the petitioners subsequently, had made every effort to
have the documents on which they founded their claim examined by some
competent tribunal. They now relied upon the documents, upon oral
evidence, and upon the extraordinary likeness of Olive Wilmot to the
royal family, to prove their allegations.

As far as the portraits of Mrs. Serres were concerned, the court
intimated that they could not possibly be evidence of legitimacy, and
refused to allow them to be shown to the jury. The documents were
declared admissible, and an expert was called to pronounce upon their
authenticity. He expressed a very decided belief that they were
genuine, but, when cross-examined, stammered and ended by throwing
doubts on the signatures of "J. Dunning" and "Chatham," who frequently
appeared as attesting witnesses. The documents themselves were
exceedingly numerous, and contained forty-three so-called signatures
of Dr. Wilmot, sixteen of Lord Chatham, twelve of Mr. Dunning, twelve of
George III., thirty-two of Lord Warwick, and eighteen of the Duke of

The following are some of the most remarkable papers:--

     "I solemnly certify that I privately was married to the
     princess of Poland, the sister of the King of Poland. But an
     unhappy family difference induced us to keep our union
     secret. One dear child bless'd myself, who married the Duke
     of Cumberland, March 4th, 1767, and died in the prime of
     life of a broken heart, December 5th, 1774, in France.
                                               J. WILMOT."
     "_January_ 1, 1780."

There were two other certificates to the same effect, and the fourth
was in the following terms:--

     "I solemnly certify that I married the Princess of Poland,
     and had legitimate issue Olive, my dear daughter, married
     March 4th, 1767, to Henry F., Duke of Cumberland, brother of
     His Majesty George the Third, who have issue Olive, my
     supposed niece, born at Warwick, April 3d, 1772.
       G.R.                                     J. WILMOT.
                                                ROBT. WILMOT.

                                              "_May_ 23, 1775.

     "As a testimony that my daughter was not at all unworthy of
     Her Royal Consort the Duke of Cumberland, Lord Warwick
     solemnly declares that he returned privately from the
     continent to offer her marriage; but seeing how greatly she
     was attached to the Duke of Cumberland, he witnessed her
     union with His Royal Highness, March 4th, 1767.
                               Witness,         J. WILMOT.
        WARWICK                                 ROBT. WILMOT."

     "We solemnly certify in this prayer-book that Olive, the
     lawful daughter of Henry Frederick Duke of Cumberland and
     Olive his wife, bears a large mole on the right side, and
     another crimson mark upon the back, near the neck; and that
     such child was baptised as Olive Wilmot, at St. Nicholas
     Church, Warwick, by command of the King (George the Third)
     to save her royal father from the penalty of bigamy, &c.
                                                J. WILMOT.
                                                ROBT. WILMOT."

     "I hereby certify that George, Prince of Wales, married
     Hannah Wheeler, _alias_ Lightfoot, April 17th, 1759; but,
     from finding the latter to be her right name, I solemnized
     the union of the said parties a second time, May the 27th,
     1759, as the certificate affixed to this paper will confirm."

             Witness (torn).                   "J. WILMOT."

     "Not to be acted upon until the king's demise."

     "With other sacred papers to Lord Warwick's care for Olive,
     my grand-daughter, when I am no more. J.W."

     "MY DEAR OLIVE,--As the undoubted heir of Augustus, King of
     Poland, your rights will find aid of the Sovereigns that you
     are allied to by blood, should the family of your father act
     unjustly, but may the great Disposer of all things direct
     otherwise. The Princess of Poland, your grandmother, I made
     my lawful wife, and I do solemnly attest that you are the
     last of that illustrious blood. May the Almighty guide you
     to all your distinctions of birth. Mine has been a life of
     trial, but not of crime!
                                               J. WILMOT."
     "_January_, 1791."

     "If this pacquet meets your eye let not ambition destroy the
     honour nor integrity of your nature. Remember that others
     will be dependent on your conduct, the injured children,
     perhaps, of the good and excellent consort of your king--I
     mean the fruit of his Majesties first marriage--who may have
     been consigned to oblivion like yourself; but I hope that is
     not exactly the case; but as I was innocently instrumental
     to their being, by solemnizing the ill-destined union of
     power and innocence, it is but an act of conscientious duty
     to leave to your care the certificates that will befriend
     them hereafter! The English nation will receive my last
     legacy as a proof of my affection, and when corruption has
     desolated the land, and famine and its attendant miseries
     create civil commotion, I solemnly command you to make known
     to the Parliament the first lawful marriage of the king, as
     when you are in possession of the papers, Lord Warwick has been
     sacredly and affectionately by myself entrusted with, their
     constitutional import will save the country! Should the
     necessity exist for their operation, consult able and
     patriotic men, and they will instruct you. May Heaven bless
     their and your efforts in every sense of the subject, and so
     shall my rejoiced spirit with approving love (if so
     permitted) feel an exultation inseparable from the
     prosperity of England.
                                               J. WILMOT."

     "GEORGE R.

     "We are hereby pleased to recommend Olive, our niece, to our
     faithful Lords and Commons for protection and support,
     should she be in existence at the period of our royal
     demise; such being Olive Wilmot, the supposed daughter of
     Robert Wilmot of Warwick.
      J. DUNNING.
      ROBT. WILMOT.              _January 7th_, 1780."

Mrs. Ryves, the petitioner, was the principal witness called. She gave
her evidence very clearly and firmly, and when offered a seat in the
witness-box declined it, saying that she was not tired, and could
stand for ever to protect the honour of her family. She said she
recollected coming from Liverpool to London with her father and mother
when she was only two years and a half old, and narrated how she lived
with them conjointly up to the date of the separation, and with her
mother afterwards. It was then proposed to ask her some questions as
to declarations made by Hannah Lightfoot, the reputed wife of George
III., but the Lord Chief-Justice interposed with the remark that there
was no evidence before the court as to the marriage of the king with
this woman. The petitioner's counsel referred to the two following

                                         "_April_ 17, 1759.

     "The marriage of these parties was this day duly
     solemnized at Kew Chapel, according to the rites and
     ceremonies of the Church of England, by myself,
                                               J. WILMOT.
                            GEORGE P.

        "Witness to this marriage,
                                    W. PITT.
                                    ANNE TAYLER."

                                         "_May_ 27, 1759.

     "This is to certify that the marriage of these parties,
     George, Prince of Wales, to Hannah Lightfoot, was duly
     solemnized this day, according to the rites and ceremonies
     of the Church of England, at their residence at Peckham, by
                                                J. WILMOT.
                    GEORGE GUELPH.
                    HANNAH LIGHTFOOT."

    "Witness to the marriage of these parties,
                                                WILLIAM PITT.
                                                ANNE TAYLER."

Upon this, the Lord Chief-Justice again interposed, saying, "The Court
is, as I understand, asked solemnly to declare, on the strength of two
certificates, coming I know not whence, written on two scraps of
paper, that the marriage--the only marriage of George III. which the
world believes to have taken place--between his Majesty and Queen
Charlotte, was an invalid marriage, and consequently that all the
sovereigns who have sat on the throne since his death, including her
present Majesty, were not entitled to sit on the throne. That is the
conclusion to which the court is asked to come upon these two rubbishy
pieces of paper--one signed 'George P,' and the other 'George Guelph.'
I believe them to be gross and rank forgeries. The court has no
difficulty in coming to the conclusion--even assuming that the
signatures had that character of genuineness which they have not--that
what is asserted in these documents has not the slightest foundation
in fact."

Lord Chief-Baron Pollock expressed his entire concurrence in the
opinion of the Lord Chief-Justice. After explaining that it was the
province of the court to decide any question of fact, on the truth or
falsehood of which the admissibility of a piece of evidence was
dependent, he declared that these documents did not at all satisfy him
that George III. was ever married before his marriage to Queen
Charlotte; that the signatures were not proved to be even like the
king's handwriting; and that the addition of the word "Guelph" to one
of them was satisfactory proof that the king, at that date Prince of
Wales, did not write it--it being a matter of common information that
the princes of the royal family only use the Christian name.

Sir James Wilde also assented, characterizing the certificates as
"very foolish forgeries," but adding that he was not sorry that the
occasion had arisen for bringing them into a court of justice, where
their authenticity could be inquired into by evidence, as the
existence of documents of this sort was calculated to set abroad a
number of idle stories for which there was probably not the slightest

The evidence as to Hannah Lightfoot being thus excluded, the
examination of Mrs. Ryves, the petitioner, was continued. She
remembered proceeding to Brighton, in 1805, where herself and her
mother were introduced to the Prince of Wales, afterwards George IV.
The prince had subsequently many conversations with them, and had
bestowed many kindnesses on them. She knew the Duke of Kent from a
very early age--he being a constant visitor at their house from 1805
till the time of his death. In the spring of 1815 Lord Warwick's
disclosure was made, and the Duke of Kent acknowledged the
relationship even before he saw the proofs which were at the time at
Warwick Castle. Thither the earl went to procure them, at the expense
of Mrs. Serres, he being at this time so poor that he had not the means
to go; indeed, Mrs. Ryves asserted that sometimes the earl was so
terribly impoverished that he had not even a sheet of note-paper to
write upon.

His mission was successful; and on his return he produced three sets
of papers, one of which he said he had received from Dr. Wilmot,
another set from Lord Chatham, and the third set had been always in
his possession. One packet was marked "Not to be opened until after
the king's death," and accordingly the seal was not broken; but the
others were opened, and the papers they contained were read aloud in
the presence of the Duke of Kent, who expressed himself perfectly
satisfied that the signatures of George III. were in his father's
handwriting, and declared that, as the Earl of Warwick might die at
any moment, he would thenceforward take upon himself the guardianship
of Mrs. Serres and her daughter. The sealed packet was opened in the
latter part of 1819, and Mrs. Ryves, when questioned as to its
contents, pointed out documents for the most part relating to the
marriage of Dr. Wilmot and the Polish princess. Among other documents
was the following:--

     "Olive, provided the royal family acknowledge you, keep
     secret all the papers which are connected with the king's
     first marriage; but should the family's desertion (be)
     manifested (should you outlive the king) then, and only
     then, make known all the state secrets which I have left in
     the Earl of Warwick's keeping for your knowledge. Such
     papers I bequeath to you for your sole and uncontrolled
     property, to use and act upon as you deem fit, according to
     expediency of things. Receive this as the sacred will of

     "_June --st_, 1789.
        Witness, WARWICK."

Mrs. Ryves maintained that up to the moment of the opening of the
sealed packet her mother had believed herself to be the daughter of
Robert Wilmot and the niece of Dr. Wilmot, and she did not know of any
Olive Wilmot except her aunt, who was the wife of Mr. Payne. When the
first information as to her birth was given to her by Lord Warwick,
she supposed herself to be the daughter of the Duke of Cumberland by
the Olive Wilmot who was afterwards Mrs. Payne, and had no idea that
her mother was the daughter of Dr. Wilmot, and was another person
altogether. There was a great consultation as to opening the packet
before the king's death; but the Duke of Kent persisted in his desire
to know its contents, and the seals were broken. The Duke of Kent died
on the 26th of January, 1820, and George III. in the following week,
on the 30th of the same month.

Mrs. Ryves then proved the identity of certain documents which bore the
signatures of the Earl of Warwick and the Duke of Kent. They were
chiefly written on morsels of paper, and elicited the remark from the
Lord Chief-Justice, that "his royal highness seemed to have been as
poor as to paper as the earl." She said that these documents were
written in her own presence. Among them were these:--

     "I solemnly promise to see my cousin Olive, Princess of
     Cumberland, reinstated in her R----l rights at my father's

     "_May_ 3, 1816."

     "I bind myself, by my heirs, executors, and assigns, to pay
     to my dearest coz. Olive, Princess of Cumberland, four
     hundred pounds yearly during her life.
      "_May_ 3, 1818."

     "I bequeath to Princess Olive of Cumberland ten thousand
     pounds should I depart this life before my estate of
     Castlehill is disposed of.

     "_June_ 9, 1819."

     "I hereby promise to return from Devonshire early in the
     spring to lay before the Regent the certificates of my
     dearest cousin Olive's birth.

     "_Novr_. 16, 1819."

                                      "_Jany._ (_illegible_).

     "If this paper meets my dear Alexandria's eye, my dear
     cousin Olive will present it, whom my daughter will, for my
     sake, I hope, love and serve should I depart this life.

     "I sign this only to say that I am very ill, but should I
     not get better, confide in the duchess, my wife, who will,
     for my sake, assist you until you obtain your royal rights.

     "God Almighty bless you, my beloved cousin, prays

     "To Olive my cousin, and blessing to Lavinia."

Mrs. Ryves then went on to state that, after the death of the Duke of
Kent and his father, the Duke of Sussex paid a visit to herself and
her mother. On that occasion, and subsequently, he examined the
papers, and declared himself satisfied that they were genuine.

In her cross-examination, and in answer to questions put by the court,
Mrs. Ryves stated that her mother, Mrs. Serres, was both a clever
painter and an authoress, and was appointed landscape painter to the
court. She had been in the habit of writing letters to members of the
royal family before 1815, when she had no idea of her relationship to
them. Her mother might have practised astrology as an amusement. A
letter which was produced, and described the appearance of the ghost
of Lord Warwick's father, was in her mother's handwriting--as was also
a manifesto calling upon "the Great Powers, Principalities, and
Potentates of the brave Polish nation to rally round their Princess
Olive, grand-daughter of Stanislaus," and informing them that her
legitimacy as Princess of Cumberland had been proved. Her mother had
written a "Life of Dr. Wilmot," and had ascribed the "Letters of
Junius" to him, after a careful comparison of his MS. with those in
the possession of Woodfall, Junius's publisher. She had also issued a
letter to the English nation in 1817, in which she spoke of Dr. Wilmot
as having died unmarried; and Mrs. Ryves could not account for that, as
her mother had heard of his marriage two years previously.

A document was then produced in which the Duke of Kent acknowledged
the marriage of his father with Hannah Lightfoot, and the legitimacy
of Olive, praying the latter to maintain secrecy during the life of
the king, and constituting her the guardian of his daughter
Alexandrina, and directress of her education on account of her
relationship, and also because the Duchess of Kent was not familiar
with English modes of education. Mrs. Ryves explained that her mother
refrained from acting on that document out of respect for the Duchess
of Kent, who, she thought, had the best right to direct the education
of her own daughter (the present queen). She also stated that her
mother had received a present of a case of diamonds from the Duke of
Cumberland, but she did not know what became of them.

The Attorney-General, on behalf of the crown, after explaining the
provisions of the Act, proceeded to tear the story of the petitioners
to pieces, pronouncing its folly and absurdity equal to its audacity.
The Polish princess and her charming daughter he pronounced pure
myths--as entirely creatures of the imagination as Shakspeare's
"Ferdinand and Miranda." As to the pretended marriage of George III.
and Hannah Lightfoot, the tale was even more astonishing and
incredible, for not only were wife and children denied by the king,
and a second bigamous contract entered into, but the lady held her
tongue, the children were content to live in obscurity, and Dr. Wilmot
faithfully kept the secret, and preached sermons before the king and
his second wife Queen Charlotte. Not that Dr. Wilmot did not feel these
grave state secrets pressing him down, but the mode of revenge which
he adopted was to write the "_Letters of Junius!_"

Yet Dr. Wilmot died in 1807, apparently a common-place country parson.
Surely there never was a more wonderful example of the possibility of
keeping secrets. One would have imagined that the very walls would
have spoken of such events; but although at least seven men and one
woman (the wife of Robert Wilmot) must have been acquainted with them,
the secret was kept as close as the grave for forty-three years, and
was never even suspected before 1815, although all the actors in these
extraordinary scenes seemed to have been occupied day and night in
writing on little bits of paper, and telling the whole story. In 1815
the facts first came to the knowledge of Mrs. Serres; but, even then,
they were not revealed, until the grave had closed over every
individual who could vouch as to the handwriting.

As far as the petitioner, Mrs. Ryves, was concerned, the
Attorney-General said he could imagine that she had brooded on this
matter so long (she being then over 70 years of age), that she had
brought herself to believe things that had never happened. The mind
might bring itself to believe a lie, and she might have dwelt so long
upon documents produced and fabricated by others, that, with her
memory impaired by old age, the principle of veracity might have been
poisoned, and the offices of imagination and memory confounded to such
an extent that she really believed that things had been done and said
in her presence which were entirely imaginary. He contended that Mrs.
Serres, the mother of the petitioner, was not altogether responsible
for her actions, and proceeded to trace her history. Between 1807 and
1815, he said, she had the advantage of becoming personally known to
some members of the royal family, and being a person of ill-regulated
ambition and eccentric character, and also being in pecuniary
distress, her eccentricity took the turn of making advances to
different members of that family. She opened fire on the Prince of
Wales in 1809, by sending a letter to his private secretary, comparing
His Royal Highness to Julius Cæsar, and talking in a mad way about the
politics of the illustrious personages of the day. In 1810 other
letters followed in the same style, and in one of them she asked,
"Why, sir, was I so humbly born?"

Scattered about these letters were mysterious allusions to secrets of
state and symptoms of insane delusions. In one she imagined she had
been seriously injured by the Duke of York. In another, she fancied
that some one had poisoned her. In one letter she actually offered to
lend the Prince of Wales, £20,000 to induce him to grant the interview
of which she was so desirous, although in other letters she begged for
pecuniary assistance, and represented herself to be in great distress.
The letters were also full of astrology; she spoke of her "occult
studies;" and she further believed in ghosts. The manifesto to Poland
also pointed to the same conclusion as to her state of mind. A person
of such an erratic character, he said, was very likely to concoct such
a story, and the story would naturally take the turn of trying to
connect herself with the royal family.

During the interval between the death of Lord Warwick in 1816 and
1821, when it was first made public, her story passed through no less
than three distinct and irreconcilable stages. At first she stated
that she was the daughter of the Duke of Cumberland by Mrs. Payne, the
sister of Dr. Wilmot; and in 1817 she still described herself as Dr.
Wilmot's niece. It was said that she did not come into possession of
the papers until after Lord Warwick's death, but this assertion was
contradicted by the evidence of Mrs. Ryves, as to events which were
within her own recollection, and which she represented to have passed
in her presence.

The second stage of the story was contained in a letter to Mr.
Fielding, the Bow Street magistrate, in October, 1817. Having been
threatened with arrest, she wrote to him for protection, and in this
letter she represented herself as the natural daughter of the late
Duke of Cumberland by a sister of the late Dr. Wilmot, whom he had
seduced under promise of marriage, she being a lady of large fortune.
In connection with this stage of the story, he referred to another
letter which she wrote to the Prince-Regent in July, 1818, in which
she stated that Lord Warwick had told her the story of her birth in
his lifetime, but without showing her any documents; that he excused
himself for not having made the disclosure before by saying that he
was unable to repay a sum of £2000 which had been confided to him by
the Duke of Cumberland for her benefit; and then she actually went on
to say that when Lord Warwick died she thought all evidence was lost
until she opened a sealed packet which contained the documents. This
was quite inconsistent with the extraordinary story of Mrs. Ryves as to
the communication of the papers to her and her mother in 1815.

The claim of legitimate royal birth was first brought forward at a
time of great excitement and agitation, when the case of Queen
Caroline was before the public; and it was brought forward in a tone
of intimidation--a revolution being threatened if the claim were not
recognised within a few hours. The documents were changed at times to
suit the changing story, and there was every reason to believe that
they were concocted by Mrs. Serres herself, who was a careful student
of the _Junius_ MSS., who was an artist and practised caligraphist,
and who had gone through such a course of study as well prepared her
for the fabrication of forged documents. The internal evidence of the
papers themselves proved that they were the most ridiculous, absurd,
preposterous series of forgeries that perverted ingenuity ever
invented. If every expert that ever lived in the world swore to the
genuineness of these documents, they could not possibly believe them
to be genuine. They were all written on little scraps and slips of
paper such as no human being ever would have used for the purpose of
recording transactions of this kind, and in everyone of these pieces
of paper the watermark of date was wanting.

At this stage of his address the Attorney-General was interrupted by
the foreman of the jury, who stated that himself and his colleagues
were unanimously of opinion that the signatures to the documents were
not genuine.

The Lord Chief-Justice, thereupon, immediately remarked that they
shared the opinion which his learned brethren and himself had
entertained for a long time--that everyone of the documents was

After some observations by the counsel for the petitioner, who
persisted that the papers produced were genuine, the Lord
Chief-Justice proceeded to sum up the facts of the case. He said it
was a question whether the internal evidence in the documents of
spuriousness and forgery was not quite as strong as the evidence
resulting from the examination of their handwriting. Two or three of
them appeared to be such outrages on all probability, that even if
there had been strong evidence of the genuineness of their
handwriting, no man of common sense could come to the conclusion that
they were genuine. Some of them were produced to prove that King
George III. had ordered the fraud to be committed of rebaptising an
infant child under a false name as the daughter of persons whose
daughter she was not; another showed that the king had divested the
crown of one of its noblest appendages--the Duchy of Lancaster--by a
document he was not competent by law to execute, written upon a loose
piece of paper, and countersigned by W. Pitt and Dunning; by another
document, also written upon a loose piece of paper, he expressed his
royal will to the Lords and Commons, that when he should be dead they
should recognise this lady as Duchess of Cumberland. These papers bore
the strongest internal evidence of their spuriousness. The evidence as
to the marriage of the Duke of Cumberland with Olive Wilmot could not
be separated from that part of the evidence which struck at the
legitimacy of the Royal Family, by purporting to establish the
marriage of George III. to a person named Hannah Lightfoot. Could any
one believe that the documents on which that marriage was attested by
W. Pitt and Dunning were genuine? But the petitioner could not help
putting forward the certificates of that marriage, because two of them
were written on the back of the certificate of the marriage of the
Duke of Cumberland with Olive Wilmot. Men of intelligence could not
fail to see the motive for writing the certificates of those two
marriages on the same piece of paper. The first claim to the
consideration of the royal family put forward by Mrs. Serres was, that
she was the illegitimate daughter of the Duke of Cumberland by Mrs.
Payne--a married woman. Her next claim was, that she was his daughter
by an unmarried sister of Dr. Wilmot. She lastly put forward her
present claim, that she was the offspring of a lawful marriage between
the duke and Olive, the daughter of Dr. Wilmot. At the time when the
claim was put forward in its last shape, it was accompanied by an
attempt at intimidation, not only on the score of the injustice that
would be done if George IV. refused to recognise the claim, but also
on the score that she was in possession of documents showing that
George III., at the time he was married to Queen Charlotte, had a wife
living, and had issue by her; and consequently that George IV., who
had just then ascended the throne, was illegitimate, and was not the
lawful sovereign of the realm. And the documents having reference to
George III.'s first marriage were inseparably attached to the
documents by which the legitimacy of Mrs. Serres was supposed to be
established, with the view, no doubt, of impressing on the king's mind
the fact that she could not put forward her claims, as she intended to
do, without at the same time making public the fact that the marriage
between George III. and Queen Charlotte was invalid. Could any one
believe in the authenticity of certificates like these; or was it
possible to imagine that, even if Hannah Lightfoot had existed, and
asserted her claim, great officers of state like Chatham and Dunning
should have recognised her as "Hannah Regina," as they were said to
have done?

In another document the Duke of Kent gave the guardianship of his
daughter to the Princess Olive. Remembering the way in which that lady
had been brought up, and the society in which she had moved, could the
Duke of Kent ever have dreamed of superseding his own wife, the mother
of the infant princess, and passing by all the other distinguished
members of his family, and conferring on Mrs. Serres, the landscape
painter, the sole guardianship of the future Queen of England? They
must also bear in mind the way in which the claim had been brought
forward. The irresistible inference from the different tales told was,
that the documents were from time to time prepared to meet the form
which her claims from time to time assumed. A great deal had been said
about different members of the royal family having countenanced and
supported this lady. He could quite understand, if an appeal was made
on her behalf as an illegitimate daughter of the Duke of Cumberland,
that a generous-minded prince might say, "As you have our blood
flowing in your veins, you shall not be left in want;" and, very
likely, papers might have been shown to some members of the royal
family in support of that claim which they believed to be genuine. It
was just as easy to fabricate papers showing her illegitimacy as to
fabricate those produced; and probably such papers would not be very
rigorously scrutinized. But it was not possible to believe that the
documents now produced (including the Hannah Lightfoot certificates)
had been shown to members of the royal family, and pronounced by them
to be genuine. He could not understand why the secret was to be kept
after the Duke of Cumberland's death, when there was no longer any
danger that he would incur the risk of punishment for bigamy; and why
the death of George III. should be fixed upon as the time for
disclosing it. The death of George III. was the very time when it
would become important to keep the secret, for if it had been then
disclosed, it would have shown that neither George IV. nor the Duke of
Kent were entitled to succeed to the throne. Why then should the Duke
of Kent stipulate for the keeping of the secret until George III.
died? They must look at all the circumstances of the case, and say
whether they believed the documents produced by the petitioner to be

The jury at once found that they were _not_ satisfied that Olive
Serres, the mother of Mrs. Ryves, was the legitimate daughter of Henry
Frederick Duke of Cumberland, and Olive his wife; that they were _not_
satisfied that Henry Frederick Duke of Cumberland was lawfully married
to Olive Wilmot on the 4th of March, 1767. On the other issues--that
Mrs. Ryves was the legitimate daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Serres, and that
the younger petitioner, W.H. Ryves, was the legitimate son of Mr. and
Mrs. Ryves--they found for the petitioner.

On the motion of the Attorney-General, the judges ordered the
documents produced by the petitioners to be impounded.

It may be noted, in conclusion, that if Mrs. Ryves had succeeded in
proving that her mother was a princess of the blood royal, she would
at the same time have established her own illegitimacy. The alleged
marriage of the Duke of Cumberland took place before the passing of
the Royal Marriage Act; and, therefore, if Mrs. Serres had been the
duke's daughter, she would have been a princess of the blood royal.
But that Act had been passed before the marriage of Mrs. Serres to her
husband, and would have rendered it invalid, and consequently her
issue would have been illegitimate. As it was, Mrs. Ryves obtained a
declaration of her legitimacy; but in so doing she sacrificed all her
pretensions to royal descent.


On the 22d of March, 1869, William, the fourth Earl of Wicklow, died,
without male issue. His next brother, the Hon. and Rev. Francis
Howard, had died during the late earl's lifetime, after being twice
married. By his first marriage he had had three sons, none of whom had
survived; but one son blessed his second nuptials, and he claimed the
peerage at his uncle's death. A rival, however, appeared to contest
his right in the person of William George Howard, an infant, who was
represented by his guardians as the issue of William George Howard,
the eldest son of the Hon. and Rev. Francis Howard by his first
marriage, and a certain Miss Ellen Richardson. As to the birth of the
former claimant there could be no doubt, and it was not denied that
his eldest half-brother had been married as stated; but the birth of
the infant was disputed, and the matter was left for the decision of
the House of Lords.

The case for the infant was briefly as follows:--Mr. W.G. Howard, his
reputed father, was married to Miss Richardson, in February, 1863.
Four months after their marriage the couple went to lodge with Mr.
Bloor, an out-door officer in the customs, who resided at 27 Burton
Street, Eaton Square. Here they remained only three weeks, but during
that time appear to have contracted a sort of friendship with the
Bloor family, for, after being absent till the latter end of the
year, they returned to the house in Burton Street, and endeavoured to
procure apartments there. Mr. Bloor's rooms were full, and he was
unable to accommodate them; but, in order to be near his old friends,
Mr. Howard took apartments for his wife, at No. 32, in the same street.
Being a person of dissipated and peculiar habits, and being, moreover,
haunted by duns, he did not himself reside in the new lodgings, or
even visit there; but, by Mr. Bloor's kindness, was accustomed to meet
his wife occasionally in a room, which was placed at his service, in
No. 27. Still later, Mrs. Howard returned to lodge at Mr. Bloor's, and
occupied the whole upper portion of the house, while the lower half
was rented by one of her friends, named Baudenave. Mr. Howard, in the
meantime, remained in concealment in Ireland, and thither Mr. Bloor
proceeded in April or May 1864, and had an interview with him, at
which it was arranged that the Burton Street lodging-house keeper
should allow Mrs. Howard to be confined at his residence, and should
make every arrangement for her comfort. On the 16th of May, Mrs.
Howard, whose confinement was not then immediately expected, informed
the Bloors that she intended to leave London for a time, and set out
in a cab for the railway station. In a very short time she returned,
declaring that she felt extremely ill, and was immediately put to bed;
but there being few symptoms of urgency, she was allowed to remain
without medical attendance until Mr. Bloor returned from his work at
eight o'clock, when his wife despatched him for Dr. Wilkins, a medical
man whom Mrs. Howard specially requested might be summoned, although he
was not the family doctor, and lived at a considerable distance. At
half-past nine o'clock Mr. Bloor returned without the doctor; and was
told by his rejoicing spouse, that her lodger had been safely
delivered of a son under her own superintendence, and that the
services of the recognised accoucheur could be dispensed with. Proud
of the womanly skill of his wife, and glad to be spared the necessity
of another wearisome trudge through the streets, he gladly remained at
home, and Dr. Wilkins was not sent for several weeks, when he saw
and prescribed for the infant, who was suffering from some trifling
disorder. Unfortunately, this fact could not be proved, nor could the
doctor's evidence be obtained as to Mr. Bloor's visit, as he had died
before the case came on. But Mrs. Bloor, who attended Mrs. Howard during
her confinement; Miss Rosa Day, sister of Mrs. Bloor, who assisted her
in that attendance; Miss Jane Richardson, sister of Mrs. Howard; and Mr.
Baudenave, their fellow-lodger, were all alleged to have seen the
child repeatedly during the three following months, although it was
admitted that its existence was kept a profound secret from everybody
else. The three women above-mentioned were placed in the witness-box,
and gave their evidence clearly and firmly, and agreed with each other
in the story which they told; and, although Mrs. Bloor was rigorously
cross-examined, her testimony was not shaken. When Mr. Baudenave was
wanted he could not be found, and even the most urgent efforts of
detectives failed to secure his attendance before the court.

On the other side it was contended that the story told on behalf of
the infant plaintiff was so shrouded in mystery as to be absolutely
incredible, and that it was concocted by the missing Baudenave, who
was said to have been living on terms of suspicious familiarity with
Mrs. Howard, and who had succeeded in inducing the witnesses to become
accomplices in the conspiracy from motives of self-interest. Evidence
was also produced to show that the birth had not taken place. A
dressmaker, who measured Mrs. Howard for a dress, a little time before
the date of her alleged confinement, swore that no traces of her
supposed condition were then visible. Dr. Baker Brown and another
medical man deposed that they had professionally attended a lady, whom
they swore to as Mrs. Howard, and had found circumstances negativing
the story of the confinement; and Louisa Jones, a servant, who lived
in the house in Burton Street shortly after the birth of the infant,
said she had never seen or heard of its existence. After the hearing
of this evidence the case was postponed.

On its resumption Mrs. Howard produced witnesses to show that she was
at Longley, in Staffordshire, during the whole of that period of
August, 1864, to which the evidence of Dr. Baker Brown and the other
medical witness related.

At the sitting of the court, on the 1st of March, 1870, Sir Roundell
Palmer (Lord Selborne), who represented Charles Francis Howard, the
other claimant, gave the whole case a new complexion by informing the
court that he was in a position to prove that, in the month of August,
1864, Mrs. Howard and another lady visited a workhouse in Liverpool,
and procured a newly-born child from its mother, Mary Best, a pauper,
then an occupant of one of the lying-in wards of the workhouse
hospital. In support of his assertion he was able to produce three
witnesses--Mrs. Higginson, the head-nurse, and Mrs. Stuart and Mrs.
O'Hara, two of the assistant-nurses, of whom two could swear
positively to Mrs. Howard's identity with the lady who came and took
away the child. The third nurse was in doubt.

The Solicitor-General, who represented the infant-claimant, thereupon
requested an adjournment, in order to meet the new case thus
presented. Their lordships, however, refused to comply with his desire
until they had had an opportunity of examining Mrs. Howard; but when
that lady was called she did not appear, and it was discovered that
she had left the House of Lords secretly, and could not be found at
her lodgings or discovered elsewhere. The case was therefore
adjourned. At the next sitting, a week later, Mrs. Howard appeared
before the committee, but refused to be sworn, demanding that the
witnesses who were to be brought against her should be examined first.
As she persisted in her refusal, she was given into custody for
contempt of court, and the evidence of the Liverpool witnesses was
taken. As Sir Roundell Palmer had stated, while one of the nurses
remembered the transaction she could not be positive that Mrs. Howard
was the party concerned in it; but the two others, and Mary Best the
child's mother, had no hesitation in asserting that she was the person
who had taken away the infant from the hospital. Towards the close of
the sitting it was announced that a telegram had been received from
Boulogne, stating that the real purchasers of Mary Best's child had
been found, and that they would be produced at the next hearing of the
case to re-but the Liverpool evidence; but when the next sitting came
no Boulogne witnesses were forthcoming, and the Solicitor-General was
compelled to state that he had been on the wrong scent; but that he
would be able to refute the story which had been trumped up against
his client. Mary Best was placed in the witness-box, and, in the
course of a rigorous cross-examination, admitted that she had left the
workhouse with a baby which she had passed off as her own. She stated
that this child was given to her while she was in the workhouse, but
she could not tell either its mother's name or the name of the person
who gave it to her. She had never received any payment for it, but had
fed and clothed it at her own expense, had taken it with her to her
father's house in Yorkshire, had represented it as her own to her
family, and had paid the costs of its burial when it died. Her
relatives and friends were produced, and corroborated these facts. The
nurses, on the other hand, when recalled, denied all knowledge of this
second child, and affirmed that a child could not have been brought to
her without their knowledge.

The court delivered judgment on the 31st of March, 1870, when the Lord
Chancellor announced that their lordships had come to the conclusion
that Charles Francis Arnold Howard had made out his claim, and was
entitled to vote at the election of representative peers for Ireland
as Earl of Wicklow; and that the infant claimant, the son of Mrs.
Howard, had failed in establishing his claim to that privilege. He
said the marriage between Mr. and Mrs. Howard was undisputed, and the
real difficulty that surrounded the case was in proving the birth of
this child without the evidence usually forthcoming of such an
event--neither medical man nor nurse having been present at the birth,
or having attended either the mother or the child subsequently. The
fact that the existence of the child had been concealed from all the
world, and that it had neither been registered nor baptised, increased
the difficulties in the way of Mrs. Howard's case. It was a remarkable
fact that, up to that time, with the exception of three persons who
had undoubtedly sworn distinctly to certain circumstances, no human
being had been called who had noticed that Mrs. Howard had shown signs
of being in the family-way; and it was equally remarkable that those
who had had ample opportunity of noticing her condition at the time,
and who might have given distinct and positive evidence on the point,
had either not been called, or had refused to give evidence in the
case. Undoubtedly, as far as words could go, their lordships had had
the distinct evidence of two witnesses, who stated that they were
present when the alleged birth occurred, and of another who had stated
that he had gone to fetch the doctor, who was sent for, not because
the birth was expected to occur, but because Mrs. Howard was taken
suddenly ill. Of course, if credence could be given to the statement
of these witnesses, the case put forward by Mrs. Howard was established
beyond a doubt, and most painful it was for him to arrive at the
conclusion, as he felt bound to do, that those persons had been guilty
of the great crime of not only giving false evidence by deposing to
events that had never occurred, but of conspiring together to
endeavour to impose upon the Wicklow family a child who was not the
real heir to the title and estates attaching to the earldom. He was
bound to add that the demeanour of Mrs. Bloor and her sister Rosa Day
in the witness-box, was such that, if the case were not of such
prodigious importance, and if it had not been contradicted by all
surrounding circumstances, their statement, which they had given with
firmness and without hesitation, would have obtained credence. It was,
however, so utterly inconsistent with all the admitted facts, and with
the rest of the evidence, that he was compelled to arrive at the
painful conclusion that it was a mere fabrication, intended to defeat
the ends of justice. The evidence of Dr. Baker Brown, who had
identified Mrs. Howard as the person whom he had examined, on the 8th
of July, 1864, and who had stated to him that she had never had a
child, was very strong, and was only to be explained upon the
supposition that it was a case of mistaken identity; and that it was
her sister Jane Richardson, who was examined, and not Mrs. Howard. This
supposition, however, was entirely set aside by the Longney witnesses,
who stated that upon the occasion of the birth-day dinner party at
Longney, which had been brought forward to prove an _alibi_, both Mrs.
Howard and her sister Jane Richardson were present. It was evident,
therefore, either that the story could not be true, or that the
witnesses were mistaken as to the day on which that event had
occurred, and under these circumstances the whole evidence in support
of the _alibi_ broke down altogether. Having arrived at this
conclusion with respect to the original case set up by Mrs. Howard, it
was scarcely necessary to allude to the Liverpool story, which was
certainly an extraordinary and a singular one, and had a tendency to
damage the case of those who had set it up, although he did not see
how they could possibly have withheld it from the knowledge of their
lordships. Looking at the fact that Mary Best was proved to have been
delivered of a fair child, and that the child she took out of the
workhouse with her was a dark child, he confessed that much might be
said both in favour of and against the truth of her statement; but it
was, perhaps, as well that it might be entirely disregarded in the
present case; and, at all events, in his opinion, there was nothing in
its being brought forward which was calculated to shake their
lordships' confidence in the character of those who were conducting
the case on behalf of the original claimant.

Lord Chelmsford next delivered a long judgment, agreeing with that of
the Lord Chancellor, and in the course of it remarked that it was
impossible to disbelieve the story of the alleged birth, as he did,
without coming to the conclusion that certain of the witnesses had
been guilty of the grave crimes of conspiracy and perjury. With
reference to the Liverpool story, he said he was satisfied that the
child brought into the workhouse by Mary Best, and taken by her to
Yorkshire, was not that of which she had been confined, although he
did not believe her statement of the way in which she had become
possessed of the child which she had subsequently passed off as her

Lords Colonsay and Redesdale concurred; and the Earl of Winchelsea, as
a lay lord, and one of the public, gave it as his opinion that the
story told by Mrs. Howard was utterly incredible, being only worthy to
form the plot of a sensational novel. He regretted that Mr. Baudenave,
the principal mover in this conspiracy, would escape unscathed.

Their lordships, therefore, resolved that Mrs. Howard's child had no
claim to the earldom; but that Charles Francis Arnold Howard, the son
of the Hon. Rev. Francis Howard, by his second marriage, had made out
his right to vote at the election of representative peers for Ireland
as Earl of Wicklow.


The unhappy fate of James, the last Earl of Derwentwater, has been so
often recounted, both in prose and verse, that it is almost
unnecessary to repeat the story; but lest any difficulty should be
found in understanding the grounds on which the so-called countess now
bases her pretensions, the following short summary may be found

James Radcliffe, the third and last Earl of Derwentwater, suffered
death on Tower Hill, in the prime of his youth, for his devotion to
the cause of the pretender. He is described as having been brave,
chivalrous, and generous; his name has been handed down from
generation to generation as that of a martyr; and his memory even yet
remains green among the descendants of those amongst whom he used to
dwell, and to whom he was at once patron and friend.

When he was twenty-three years of age he espoused Anna Maria, eldest
daughter of Sir John Webb of Cauford, in the county of Dorset, and had
by her an only son, the Hon. John Radcliffe, and a daughter, who
afterwards married the eighth Lord Petre. By the articles at this time
entered into, the baronet agreed to give his daughter £12,000 as her
portion; while the earl, on his part, promised £1000 jointure rent
charge to the lady, to which £100 a-year was added on the death of
either of her parents, and an allowance of £300 a-year was also
granted as pin-money. The earl's estates were to be charged with
£12,000 for the portions of daughter or daughters, or with £20,000 in
the event of there being no male issue; while by the same settlement
his lordship took an estate for life in the family property, which was
thereby entailed upon his first and other sons, with remainder, and
after the determination of his or their estate to his brother, Charles
Radcliffe, for life; on his first or other sons the estates were in
like manner entailed.

If the Earl of Derwentwater had been poor his Jacobite proclivities
might have been overlooked, but he was very rich, and his head fell.
Moreover, after his decapitation on Tower Hill the whole of his
immense property was confiscated, and given by the crown to the
Commissioners of Greenwich Hospital. The commissioners of to-day
assert that the property became the property of the representatives of
the hospital absolutely. On the other hand, it is contended that, by
the Act of Attainder, the property of forfeiting persons was vested in
the crown only, according to their estate, rights, and interest, and
that the earl, having only an estate for life in his property, could
forfeit no greater interest.

His only son, although he lost his title of nobility by the attainder
of his father, was, by solemn adjudication of law, admitted tenant in
tail of all the settled estates, and the fortune of the earl's
daughter was, moreover, raised and paid thereout. The earl's son was
in possession of the estates during sixteen years; and, had he lived
to attain twenty-one, he might have effectually dealt with them, so
that they could not at any future time have been affected by the
attainder of his father, or of his uncle Charles Radcliffe. At least
so say the supporters of the self-styled countess.

Upon the death of the martyr-earl's son, in 1791, and presumably
without issue, the life estate of Charles Radcliffe commenced, but it
vested in the crown by reason of the attainder. Not so, however, the
estate in tail of the eldest son, James Bartholomew. This boy was born
at Vincennes, on the 23d of August, 1725; but by a statute passed in
the reign of Queen Anne, he had all the rights of a subject born in
the United Kingdom; and, among others, of course, had the right to
succeed to any property to which he might be legally entitled. But the
government perceived the fix in which they were placed, and
immediately, on the death of the son of the earl, and when James
Bartholomew was an infant of the age of five years, they hurried an
Act through Parliament which declared that nothing contained in the
dictatory law of Queen Anne gave the privilege of a natural born
subject to any child, born or to be born abroad, whose father at the
time of his or her birth either stood attainted of high treason, or
was in the actual service of a foreign state in enmity to the crown of
Great Britain. This excluded the boy, and the government began to
grant leases of the estates which would otherwise have fallen to him.

And now we begin to plunge into mystery. It is asserted that the
reported death of John Radcliffe, son of the last earl, was merely a
scheme on the part of his friends to protect him against his
Hanoverian enemies who sought his life. Some say that he died at the
age of nineteen, at the house of his maternal grandfather, Sir John
Webb, in Great Marlborough Street, on the 31st of December, 1731.
Others maintain that he was thrown from his horse, and killed, during
his residence in France. But the most recent statement is that his
interment was a sham, and was part of a well-devised plan for
facilitating his escape from France to Germany during the prevalence
of rumoured attempts to restore the Stuarts, and that, after marrying
the Countess of Waldsteine-Waters, he lived, bearing her name, to the
age of eighty-six.

By this reputed marriage it is said that he had a son, who was called
John James Anthony Radcliffe, and who, in his turn, espoused a
descendant of John Sobieski of Poland. To them a daughter was born,
and was named Amelia. Her first appearance at the home of her supposed
ancestors was very peculiar; and the report of her proceedings, which
appeared in the _Hexham Courant_, of the 29th of September, 1868, was
immediately transferred into the London daily papers, and was quoted
from them by almost the entire provincial press. The following is the
account of the local journal, which excited considerable amusement,
but roused very little faith when it was first made public:--

     "This morning great excitement was occasioned in the
     neighbourhood of Dilston by the appearance of Amelia,
     Countess of Derwentwater, with a retinue of servants, at the
     old baronial castle of her ancestors--Dilston Old
     Castle--and at once taking possession of the old ruin. Her
     ladyship, who is a fine-looking elderly lady, was dressed in
     an Austrian military uniform, and wore a sword by her side
     in the most approved fashion. She was accompanied, as we
     have said, by several retainers, who were not long in
     unloading the waggon-load of furniture which they had
     brought with them, and quickly deposited the various goods
     and chattels in the old castle, the rooms of which, as most
     of our readers are aware, are without roofs; but a plentiful
     supply of stout tarpaulings, which are provided for the
     purpose, will soon make the apartments habitable, if not
     quite so comfortable as those which the countess has just
     left. In the course of the morning her ladyship was visited
     by Mr. C.J. Grey, the receiver to the Greenwich Hospital
     estates, who informed her she was trespassing upon the
     property of the commissioners, and that he would be obliged
     to report the circumstance to their lordships. Her ladyship
     received Mr. Grey with great courtesy, and informed that
     gentleman she was acting under the advice of her legal
     advisers, and that she was quite prepared to defend the
     legality of her proceedings. The sides of the principal
     room have already been hung with the Derwentwater family
     pictures, to some of which the countess bears a marked
     resemblance, and the old baronial flag of the unfortunate
     family already floats proudly from the summit of the fine,
     though old and dilapidated tower."

This is a bald newspaper account; but the lady herself is an
experienced correspondent, and in one of her letters, which she has
published in a gorgeously emblazoned volume, thus gives her version of
the affair in her own vigorous way:--

                   "DEVILSTONE CASTLE, 29_th September_, 1868.

     "Here I am, my dear friend, at my own house, my roofless
     home; and my first scrawl from here is to the vicarage. You
     will be sorry to hear that the Lords of Her Majesty's
     Council have defied all equitable terms in my eleven years'
     suffering case. My counsel and myself have only received
     impertinent replies from under officials. Had my lords met
     my case like gentlemen and statesmen, I should not have been
     driven to the course I intend to pursue.

     "I left the Terrace very early this morning, and at
     half-past seven o'clock I arrived at the carriage-road of
     Dilstone Castle. I stood, and before me lay stretched the
     ruins of my grandfather's baronial castle; my heart beat
     more quickly as I approached. I am attended by my two
     faithful retainers, Michael and Andrew. Mr. Samuel Aiston
     conveyed a few needful things; the gentle and docile pony
     trotted on until I reached the level top of the
     carriage-road, and then we stopped. I dismounted and opened
     the gate and bid my squires to follow, and, in front of the
     old flag tower, I cut with a spade three square feet of
     green sod into a barrier for my feet, in the once happy
     nursery--the mother's joyful upstairs parlour--the only room
     now standing, and quite roofless. I found not a voice to
     cheer me, nothing but naked plasterless walls; a hearth with
     no frame of iron; the little chapel which contains the
     sacred tombs of the silent dead, and the dishonoured ashes
     of my grandsires.

     "All here is in a death-like repose, no living thing save a
     few innocent pigeons, half wild; but there has been a
     tremendous confusion, a wild and wilful uproar of rending,
     and a crash of headlong havoc, every angle is surrounded
     with desolation, and the whole is a monument of state
     vengeance and destruction. But here is the land--the home of
     my fathers--which I have been robbed of; this is a piece of
     the castle, and the room in which they lived, and talked,
     and walked, and smiled, and were cradled and watched with
     tender affection. You never saw this old tower nearer than
     from the road; the walls of it are three feet or more in
     some parts thick, and of rough stone inside. The floor of
     this room where I am writing this scrawl is verdure, and
     damp with the moisture from heaven. It has not even beams
     left for a ceiling, and the stairs up to it are scarcely
     passible; but I am truly thankful that all the little
     articles I brought are now up in this room, and no accident
     to my men.

     "Radcliffe's flag is once more raised! and the portraits of
     my grandfather and great-grandfather are _here_, back again
     to Devilstone Castle (_alias_ Dilstone), and hung on each
     side of this roofless room, where both their voices once
     sounded. Oh! as I gaze calmly on these mute warders on the
     walls, I cannot paint you my feelings of the sense of
     injustice and wrong, a refining, a resenting sorrow--my
     heart bleeds at the thought of the cruel axe, and I am
     punished for its laws that no longer exist. I pray not to be
     horror-stricken at the thoughts of the past ambition and
     power of princes who cast destruction over our house, and
     made us spectacles of barbarity. But, nevertheless, many
     great and Christian men the Lord hath raised out of the
     house of Radcliffe, who have passed away; and now, oh!
     Father of Heaven! how wonderfully hast Thou spared the
     remnant of my house, a defenceless orphan, to whom no way is
     open but to Thy Fatherly heart. Now Thou hast brought me
     here, what still awaits me? 'Leave Thou me not; let me never
     forget Thee. Thou hast girded me with strength into the
     battle. I will not therefore fear what man can do unto me.'

     "These are my thoughts and resolutions. But I am struggling
     with the associations of this lone, lone hearth--with no
     fire, no father, no mother, sister or brother left--the
     whole is heartrending. I quit you now, my kind friends; I am
     blind with tears, but this is womanly weakness.

     "Twelve o'clock the same day. My tears of excitement have
     yielded to counter-excitement. I have just had an intrusive
     visitor, who came to inquire if it is my intention to remain
     here. I replied in the affirmative, adding earnestly, 'I
     have come to my roofless home,' and asked 'Who are you?' He
     answered 'I am Mr. Grey, the agent for her Majesty, and I
     shall have to communicate your intention.' I answered,
     'Quite right, Mr. Grey. Then what _title_ have you to show
     that her Majesty has a right here to my freehold estates?'
     He replied, 'I have no _title_.' I then took out a parchment
     with the titles and the barony and manors, and the names of
     my forty-two rich estates, and held it before him and said,
     'I am the Countess of Derwentwater, and my title and claim
     are acknowledged and substantiated by the Crown of England,
     morally, legally, and officially; therefore my title is the
     title to these forty-two estates.' He has absented himself
     quietly, and I do hope my lords will not leave my case now
     to under officials.--Yours truly,
                             AMELIA, COUNTESS OF DERWENTWATER."

Their lordships left the case to very minor officials, indeed; namely
to a person whom the countess describes as "a dusky little man" and
his underlings, and they without hesitation ejected her from Dilstone
Hall. The lady was very indignant, but was very far from being beaten,
and she and her adherents immediately formed a roadside encampment,
under a hedge, in gipsy fashion, and resolved to re-enter if possible.
From her letters it appears that she was very cold and very miserable,
and, moreover, very hungry at first. But the neighbouring peasantry
were kind, and brought her so much food eventually, that she tells one
of her friends that cases of tinned meats from Paris would be of no
use to her. The worst of the encampment seems to have been that it
interfered with her usual pastime of sketching, which could not be
carried on in the evenings under a tarpaulin, by the light of a

But her enemies had no idea that she should be permitted to remain
under the hedge any more than in the hall itself. On the 21st of
October, at the quarter sessions for the county of Northumberland, the
chief constable was questioned by the magistrates about the strange
state of affairs in the district, and reported that the encampment was
a little way from the highway, and that, therefore, the lady could not
be apprehended under the Vagrant Act! A summons, however, had been
taken out by the local surveyor, and would be followed by a warrant.
On that summons the so-called countess was convicted; but appealed to
the Court of Queen's Bench.

During the winter the encampment could not be maintained, and the
weather, more powerful than the Greenwich commissioners, drove the
countess from the roadside. But in the bright days of May she
reappeared to resume the fight, and this time took possession of a
cottage at Dilston, whence, says a newspaper report of the period, "it
is expected she will be ejected; but she may do as she did before, and
pitch her tent on the high-road." On the 30th of the same month, the
conviction by the Northumberland magistrates "for erecting a hut on
the roadside," was affirmed by the Court of Queen's Bench.

On the 17th November, 1869, while Mr. Grey was collecting the
Derwentwater rents, the countess marched into the apartment, at the
head of her attendants, to forbid the proceedings. She was richly
apparelled, but her semi-military guise did not save herself, or those
who came with her, from being somewhat rudely ejected. Her sole
consolation was that the mob cheered her lustily as she drove off in
her carriage.

On the 5th of January, in the following year, a great demonstration in
her favour took place at Consett, in the county of Durham. A few days
previously a large quantity of live stock had been seized at the
instance of the countess, for rent alleged to be due to her, and an
interdict had been obtained against her, prohibiting her from
disposing of it. However, she defied the law, and in the midst of
something very like a riot, the cattle were sold, flags were waved,
speeches were made, and the moment was perhaps the proudest which the
heiress of the Derwentwaters is likely to see in this country.

Such conduct could not be tolerated. The Lords of the Admiralty were
roused, and formally announced that the claims of the so-called
countess were frivolous. They also warned their tenants against paying
their rents to her, and took out summonses against those who had
assisted at the sale. On the 16th of January, the ringleaders in the
disgraceful affair were committed for trial.

Notwithstanding this untoward _contretemps_, the countess made a
further attempt, in February, to collect the rents of the forty-two
freehold estates, which she said belonged to her. But the bailiffs
were in force and resisted her successfully, being aided in their work
by a severe snowstorm, which completely cowed her followers, although
it did not cool her own courage. On the 11th of February, 1870, the
Lords of the Admiralty applied for an injunction to prevent the
so-called countess from entering on the Greenwich estates, and their
application was immediately granted. Shortly afterwards the bailiff
acting on behalf of the countess, and the ringleaders in the Consett
affair, were sentenced to short terms of imprisonment. Thus those in
possession of the property could boast a decided victory.

But the law courts are free to all, and the countess determined to
take the initiative. She had jewels, and pictures, and documents which
would at once prove her identity and the justice of her claim.
Unfortunately they were all in Germany, and the lady was penniless. By
the generosity of certain confiding gentlemen, about £2000 was
advanced, on loan, to bring them to this country. They came, but their
appearance was not satisfactory even to the creditors, who became
clamorous for their money. There was only one way left to satisfy
them, and Amelia, of Derwentwater, took it. The jewels and pictures
were brought to the hammer in an auction-room in Hexham--the countess
disappeared from public ken, and the newspapers ceased to chronicle
her extraordinary movements.


The case of Arthur Orton is too recent to need many words of
introduction. We have hardly yet cooled down to a sober realization of
the facts which, as they stand, mark the latest and most bulky of the
claimants, as not only the greatest impostor of modern or perhaps of
any days, the base calumniator who endeavoured to rob a woman of her
fair fame to gratify his own selfish ends, but as a living proof of
the height to which the blind credulity of the public will now and
again elevate itself. Arthur Orton is in prison undergoing what all
thinking men must admit to be a very lenient sentence--a sentence
which in no way meets the justice of the case; for the advent of this
huge carcase lumbering the earth with lies was nothing less than a
misfortune to the people of England. And the word misfortune, if used
even in its highest and widest sense, will in no way imply that which
has happened to a peaceful family, who have been associated with their
lands and titles as long as our history goes back, and who have had
their privacy violated, and the sanctity of their homes invaded; who
have been pilloried before a ruthless and unsympathising mob, who have
had their women's names banded from one coarse mouth to another, and
who--least misfortune of all--have had to expend large sums of money,
and great amounts of time and trouble, to free themselves from a
persecution as unparalleled as it was vicious and cruel. Those who,
having neither fame nor fortune to lose, speak lightly and think not
at all of the sorrows which were launched avalanche-like upon the
devoted heads of the Tichbornes and their connections, would do well
to ponder over what such personation as that of Arthur Orton means to
its immediate victims. It means a sudden derangement of all the ties
and sympathies by which life is made dear, a sudden shock which never
in life will be recovered. There is no member of the community, no
matter how well and how carefully he has chosen his path in life, who
would not fear to have his every action published and criticised, his
every motive analysed unfairly, and the most mischievous construction
placed upon each deed or thought found capable of perversion. How much
more terrible would it be, then, for any man to know that his wife or
mother was to be subjected to such ordeal; that for no fault
committed, for nothing but the delectation of an unscrupulous
scoundrel and his admirers, a tender and sensitive lady was to be put
to torture far worse than any physical punishment could ever have
been, even in ages and countries whose only refinement was that of

Arthur Orton is in prison, but there are still many who loudly assert
their belief in his identity with the lost Sir Roger; there are others
who are quite as strong in their avowals of doubt as to the name found
for the huge mystery being the correct one; and there are again others
who, caring little who or what the man may be, affect to credit many
of his most villanous utterances. But do these people in their blind
impetuosity ever give the merits of the case one thought? do they
remember that Orton was detected in his every lie, and found as
heinously guilty as man can be detected and found guilty, when the
evidence against him admits of but circumstantial proof? They do not;
and like the man who constantly avers that the earth is flat, and his
congeners who deny the existence of a Being who is apparent in every
one of His marvellous works, the believers in Orton must be placed in
the catalogue of those who, either of malice prepense, or from mental
affliction, take the wrong view of a subject as naturally as sparks
fly upwards. If the man now in prison is Sir Roger Tichborne, then
trial by jury, the selection of our judges, and the whole basis of our
legal system--indeed, of almost every system by which calm and
peaceful government is maintained, and the right of the subject duly
regarded--must be radically wrong, and right is wrong also. If he is
not Arthur Orton, then there never was an Arthur Orton, and Wapping is
a place which has no existence out of the annals of the Tichborne

The baronetcy of Tichborne, now Doughty-Tichborne, is not only old of
itself, and connected with vast estates, but is held by a family well
known in the history of this country, even as far as that history
goes. No _parvenu_, whose rank is the result of success in
cheesemongering or kindred pursuit, is the holder of the title, for,
as Debrett tells us, the family of Tichborne was of great importance
in Hampshire before the Conquest, and derives its name from the river
Itchen, at the head of which it had estates; "hence it was called De
Itchenbourne, since corrupted into Tichborne. Sir John de Tichborne,
knight, sheriff of Southampton, on hearing of the death of Queen
Elizabeth, immediately repaired to Winchester, and there proclaimed
King James VI. (of Scotland) as King of England. In 1621, he was
created a baronet, the honour of knighthood having been previously
conferred upon three of his sons, while his fourth son Henry was
subsequently knighted. Sir Henry, the third baronet, hazarded his life
in defence of Charles I. in several enterprises, and his estates were
sequestrated by the Parliamentarians. After the restoration he was
successively Lieutenant of the New Forest, and Lieutenant of
Ordnance." Other Tichbornes have been sufficiently prominent in their
times to leave marks on the history of the country; and altogether
riches and honours seemed, until comparatively recently, to be the
unshadowed lot of the head of the family. That, however, large estates
and long descent do not always secure perfect happiness, has been very
well shown in the great trial just past, in many ways perfectly
independent of the actual result, or of any question as to whether or
not the claimant was he whom he professed to be.

Family differences and unpleasantnesses seem to have been the actual,
even if remote, cause of the great imposition of Arthur Orton. Had
matters been conducted as one might have anticipated they would among
people blessed with the means of gratifying every whim and caprice,
Roger Tichborne would have lived and died like other men, and his name
would never have been known except as a quiet country gentleman of
English origin and French tastes, which led him into more or less
eccentricities, and caused him to be more or less popular among his
neighbours and dependants. But this was not to be. All great families
have their secret unpleasantnesses, and in these the Tichbornes were
by no means behindhand. The Tichbornes generally had a knack of
disagreeing, and this feeling was shown in excelsis by James, the
father of Roger, and his wife, who lived abroad for many years, she
being French in every sentiment, while the husband was but
naturalized, and now and again exhibited a desire to return to his
native land. When Roger was born there was but little chance of his
ever becoming the owner of either titles or estates, and so his
education was entirely foreign, his tutors being M. Chatillon, and a
priest named Lefevre. As time wore on, it became evident that Mr. James
Tichborne would in due course become Sir James, and he felt it his
duty to secure to his son an English education. This the mother
opposed most strenuously, and it was only by artifice that the boy was
brought to England. Sir Henry Joseph Tichborne, who had succeeded to
the baronetcy in 1821, had no son, and though time after time a child
was born to him, Providence blessed him with no male heir. Again and
again a child would be born at Tichborne, but it was always a girl.
Sir Henry had seven children, of whom six lived, all celebrated for
their good looks, and their tall and handsome proportions; but all
were daughters. Still there was Sir Henry's brother, Edward
Tichborne, who had taken large estates under the will of a Miss
Doughty--which led to the present junction of the Doughty and
Tichborne properties, and to the double surname--and with them had
assumed the name of that lady, and he was after Sir Henry the next
heir. Edward had a son and daughter. But one day there came the news
to James and his wife in France, that Sir Edward's little boy had
died, and then it was that the father perceived more clearly the error
that he had made in permitting Roger to grow up ignorant of English
habits and the English tongue. Edward Doughty was an old man. His
brother James Tichborne himself was growing in years. The prospect of
Roger one day becoming the head of the old house of Tichborne, which
had once been so remote, had now become almost a certainty. It would
not do for the Lord of Tichborne to be a Frenchman; sooner or later he
must learn English, and receive an education fitting him to take the
position which now appeared in store for him. All this was clear
enough to Mr. James, but not so clear to his weak-headed and prejudiced
wife. The father did, indeed, obtain her consent to take the boy over
to England, and let him see his uncle and aunt, the Doughtys, at
Upton, in Dorsetshire, and his uncle, Sir Henry, at the ancestral home
down in Hampshire. But Roger was then but a child, and as he grew
older Mrs. Tichborne became more than ever resolute in her
determination that, come what might, her darling should be a
Frenchman. What cared she for the old Hampshire traditions? France was
to her the only land worth living in; a Frenchman's life was the only
life worthy of the name. Her dear Roger might succeed to the title and
estates, but she could not bear the thought of his going to England.
It was in her imagination a land of cold bleak rains and unwholesome
fogs. But it was worse; it was the country of a people who had been
false to their ancient faith. Even the Tichbornes, though still
Catholics, had not always been true to their religion. And so Mrs.
Tichborne planned out for the future heir of Tichborne a life of
perpetual absenteeism. He should marry into some distinguished family
in France or Italy, and little short of a Princess should share his
fortunes. If he went into the army it should be in some foreign
service. But in no case should he go to Tichborne, or set foot in
England again, if she could help it.

James Tichborne was like many other weak men who have self-willed
wives. He put off the inevitable day as long as he could, but finally
achieved his purpose by strategy. Roger was in his seventeenth year
when the news arrived that Sir Henry had died. It was right that James
Tichborne should be present at his brother's funeral, and reasonable
that he should take with him the heir, as everyone regarded him to
be. Accordingly Roger took leave of his mother under solemn
injunctions to return quickly. But there was no intention of allowing
him to return. The boy attended the funeral of his uncle at the old
chapel at Tichborne, went to his grandfather's place at Knoyle, and
thence, by the advice of relations and friends, and with the consent
of the boy himself, he was taken down to the Jesuit College at
Stonyhurst, and there placed in the seminary with the class of
students known as "philosophers." When Mrs. Tichborne learnt that this
step had been completed her fury knew no bounds. Roger wrote her kind
and filial letters in French--ill-spelt it is true, but admirably
worded, and testifying an amount of good sense which promised well for
his manhood. But Mrs. Tichborne gave no reply, and for twelve months
the son, though longing ardently for a letter, got no token of
affection. Yet Mrs. Tichborne was not the person to see her son removed
from her control without an effort. She upbraided her husband
violently, and there was a renewal of the old scenes in the Tichborne
household; but Roger was now far away, and the danger of Mr.
Tichborne's yielding in a momentary fit of weakness was at an end.
Meanwhile the mother wrote violent letters to the heads of the
college, exposing family troubles in a way which called forth a
remonstrance from even the lad himself. What was the precise nature of
his studies at Stonyhurst, and what progress he made in them, are
questions that have been much debated, but it is certain that he
applied himself resolutely to the study of English, and made such
progress that, although he could never speak it with so much purity
and command of words as when conversing in his mother tongue, he
learnt to write it with only occasional errors in spelling and
construction. In Latin he made some little progress, and in
mathematics more. He attended voluntary classes on chemistry, and his
letters evidence an inclination for the study both of science and
polite literature. At Stonyhurst Roger may be said to have passed the
three happiest years of his life.

During the period just mentioned, the then last of the Tichbornes made
many friends, and if he did not become what we understand as
accomplished, he was refined and sensitive. During the vacations he
used to visit his English relatives in turn; but there was one place
above all others to which he preferred to go. This was the house at
Tichborne, then in possession of his father's brother Sir Edward
Doughty. There was a certain amount of delicacy in his position
towards his uncle and his aunt Lady Doughty, which cannot but be
intelligible to any one who has the least knowledge of human failings.
It is not in the nature of things that either Lady Doughty or her
husband could have been greatly predisposed towards the youthful
stranger, and Roger was shy and reserved and over-sensitive. He had
the misfortune to stand in the place which they must once have
ardently hoped that their dead child would have lived to inherit. Sir
Edward was in failing health, and his brother James was an old man.
The time could not therefore be far distant when this youth, with his
foreign habits and his strong French accent, would take possession of
Tichborne Park with all the ancient lands. More than that, he would
come into absolute possession of the new Doughty property, including
the beautiful residence of Upton, near Poole, in Dorsetshire, for
which Sir Edward and his family had so strong an affection. It was
through Sir Edward alone that this property had been acquired, but the
lady who had bequeathed it to him had no notion of founding a second
family; in time all the lands and houses in various countries
bequeathed by her, as well as those which were purchased by trustees
under her will, were to go to swell the Tichborne estate, and to
increase the grandeur and renown of the old house. Upton was the
favourite home of the Doughtys. Sir Edward, who had been in the West
Indies, had returned thence with his black servant named Andrew Bogle,
then a boy, and had married--he and his wife doubtless for a long time
looking on Upton as their home for life. It cost them a pang to remove
even to the house at Tichborne. It was at Upton that their only
surviving child Kate had spent her early years, and to return there
and enjoy the fresh sea breezes in the summer holidays was always a
fresh source of delight. It was hard to think that even Upton must
pass from them, and that the day was probably not far distant when
there would be nothing left for them but to yield up their home and
estates to the new comer, and retire even upon a widow's handsome
jointure and the fortune of Miss Kate. But if such feelings ever
passed through the minds of the family at Tichborne, they could have
been only transient. The shy, pale-faced boy with the long dark locks,
came always to Tichborne in his holidays, making his way steadily in
the favour of that household, and this not from interested motives on
the part of Lady Doughty, as has been falsely alleged, and
triumphantly disproved, but clearly from something in the nature of
the youth which disarmed ill-feeling. Roger, despite his early
training abroad, soon showed good sound English tastes. He took
delight in country life; and though he did not bring down the
partridges in the woods, or throw the fly upon the surface of the
Itchen, with a degree of skill that would command much respect in the
county of Hants, he did his best, and really liked the out-door life.
In hunting he took delight from the time when he donned his first
scarlet coat, and he rarely missed an opportunity of appearing at "the
meet" in that neighbourhood. The time soon came when Roger had to
think of a profession, and James Tichborne again gave mortal offence
to his wife by determining that the young man should go into the
army. Among the daughters of Sir Henry, was one who had married
Colonel William Greenwood of the Grenadier Guards. Their house at
Brookwood was but half an hour's ride from Tichborne, and Roger was
fond of visiting there. Colonel Greenwood's brother George was also in
the army, and he took kindly to Roger, and determined to do his best
to get him on. So he took him one morning to the Horse Guards, and
introduced him to the commander-in-chief, who promised him a
commission. There was a little delay in keeping this promise, and the
young man did not go troubling uncles again, but took the self-reliant
course of writing direct to the Horse Guards, to remind the
Commander-in-chief of what he had said; and before long Mr. Roger
Charles Tichborne was gazetted a cornet in the 6th Dragoons, better
known as the Carabineers. He passed his examination at Sandhurst
satisfactorily, and went straight over to Dublin to join his regiment.
From Dublin he went to the south of Ireland, and twice he came over to
England on short visits. He went through the painful ordeal of
practical joking which awaited every young officer in those days, and
came out of it, not without annoyance and an occasional display of
resentment, yet in a way which conciliated his brother officers; and
few men were more liked in the regiment than Roger Tichborne,
affectionately nicknamed among them "Teesh." In 1852 the Carabineers
came over to England, and were quartered at Canterbury. They expected
then to be sent to India, but the order was countermanded, and Roger
saw himself doomed apparently to a life of inaction. There is a letter
of Roger's among the mass of correspondence which he kept up at this
period of his life, in which he notices the fact that his mother still
dwelt upon her old idea of providing him with a wife in the shape of
one of those Italian princesses of which he had heard so much, and
with whom he had always been threatened. But Roger was by this time in
love with his cousin, and his love was by no means happy. Roger had
been for years visiting at Tichborne before he had ever seen his
cousin Kate there. He had met her long before when he came over as a
child from Paris on a visit, but Miss Doughty was too young at that
time to have retained much impression of the little dark-haired French
boy, who could hardly have said "Good morning, cousin," in her native
tongue. When Roger was twenty years of age, they met for a few days at
Bath, where both had come on the melancholy duty of taking leave of Mr.
Seymour, then lying dangerously ill and near his death. Then they
parted again; Roger went to Tichborne for a long stay, but Miss
Doughty returned to school at the convent at Taunton. In the Midsummer
holidays, however, they once more met at the house in Hampshire, and
for six weeks the young cousins saw each other daily. Then Miss
Doughty went away to Scotland with her parents; and the youth took
upon himself the pleasant duty of going to see the party take their
departure from St. Katherine's Wharf. October found the party again
assembled at Tichborne Park; and there Roger took farewell of uncle,
aunt, and cousin, to go to Ireland and join his regiment; and Miss
Doughty, whose schooldays were not yet ended, went down to a convent
at Newhall, in Essex. When Roger got a short leave of absence, his
first thought was to visit his uncle and aunt, who had so affectionate
a regard for him. There was a summer visit to Upton, in Dorsetshire,
for a week, when Miss Doughty happened to be there; and there was a
visit to Tichborne in January 1850, when there were great festivities,
for Roger then attained his majority; again the cousins took farewell,
and met no more for eighteen months. No wonder Roger loved Tichborne,
with all its associations. In that well-ordered and affectionate
household he found a tranquillity and happiness to which he had been a
stranger in his own home. In his correspondence with his father and
mother at this time there were no lack of tokens of a loving son; but
no one was more sensible than Roger of the miseries of that life which
he had led up to the day when he came away to pursue his studies at
the Jesuit College, and to learn to be an Englishman. But there was
another association, long unsuspected, yet growing steadily, until it
absorbed all his thoughts, and gave to that neighbourhood a glory and
a light invisible to other eyes. Roger had spent many happy hours with
his cousin; she had grown in those few years from a girl almost into a
woman, and he had come to love her deeply. To her he said not a word,
to Sir Edward he dared not speak, but one day Roger took an
opportunity of confiding to Lady Doughty the new secret of his life.
His aunt did not discourage the idea; but Miss Doughty was still but a
girl of fifteen; and there was the grave objection that the twain were
first cousins. And besides, though Roger was of a kind and considerate
disposition, truthful, honourable, and scrupulous in points of duty,
he had certain habits which assumed serious proportions in the mind of
a lady so strict in notions of propriety. He had in Paris acquired a
habit of smoking immoderately. In the regiment he had been compelled,
by evil customs then prevailing, to go through a noviciate in the
matter of imbibing "military port;" and his habits had followed him to
Tichborne, and the young officer had been seen at least on one
occasion in a state of semi-intoxication--no less a word will describe
his condition. He was also accustomed to bring in his portmanteau
French novels, which were decidedly objectionable, though few young
men would probably regard it as much sin to read them. So little did
the young man appreciate her objections to this exciting kind of
literature that he had actually recommended to his aunt some stories
which no amount of humour and cleverness could prevent that pious lady
regarding as debasing and absolutely immoral. How Lady Doughty felt
under all the circumstances of Roger's love, as compared with his
general conduct, will be best shown by the following letter:--

         "1850. Tichborne Park, _begun_ 29 _Jan., finished 31st._

     "MY DEAREST ROGER,--After three weeks being between life and
     death it has pleased God to restore me so far that I have
     this day for the first time been in the wheel chair to the
     drawing-room, and I hasten to begin my thanks to you for
     your letters, especially that private one, though it may yet
     be some days before I finish all I wish to say to you, for I
     am yet very weak, and my eyes scarcely allow of reading or
     writing.... Remember, dear Roger, that by that conversation
     in town you gave me every right to be deeply interested in
     your fate, and therefore doubly do I feel grieved when I see
     you abusing that noblest of God's gifts to man, reason, by
     diminishing its power.... I cannot recall to my mind the
     subject you say I was beginning in the drawing-room when
     interrupted; probably it might have had reference to the
     confidence which you say you do not repent having placed in
     me. No, dear Roger, never repent it; be fully assured that I
     never shall betray that confidence. You are young, and
     intercourse with life and the society you must mix with
     might very possibly change your feelings towards one now
     dear to you, or rather settle them into the affection of a
     brother towards a sister; but whatever may be the case
     hereafter, my line of duty is marked out, and ought steadily
     to be followed; that is, not to encourage anything that
     could fetter the future choice of either party before they
     had fully seen others and mixed with the world, and with all
     the fond care of a mother endeavour, while she is yet so
     young, to prevent her heart and mind from being occupied by
     ideas not suited to what should be her present occupations,
     and hereafter, with the blessing of God, guard her against
     the dangers she may be liable to be ensnared into by the
     position in which she is placed.... You have been, I rejoice
     to hear, raised in the opinion of all with whom you have
     lately had to transact business by your firmness and
     decision. You are in an honourable profession, which gives
     you occupation.... Resist drink, or a rash throwing away
     life, or wasting in any way the energies of a naturally
     strong, sensible mind, and really attached heart. Now write
     to me soon; tell me truly if I have tried your patience by
     this long letter which I venture to send, for it is when
     returning to life as I now feel that renewed love for all
     dear to one seems to take possession of our hearts, so you
     must forgive it if you find it long. Your uncle and cousin
     send their kindest love.--Adieu, dearest Roger, ever be
     assured of the sincere affection and real attachment of your
                                           KATHERINE DOUGHTY."

Roger protested that his failings had been exaggerated, and by his
letters it is noticeable there is a trace of vexation that Lady
Doughty should have lent an ear to coloured reports of his manner of
life; but there is no abatement in the affectionate terms on which he
stood with his aunt at Tichborne. Matters, however, could not long go
on in this fashion. As yet Roger Tichborne had never spoken of his
love to Miss Doughty, though it cannot be doubted that some tokens had
revealed that secret. But love must find expression in something more
than hints and tokens, and at last came the inevitable time. It was on
Christmas eve, 1851, that Roger joyfully set foot in Tichborne Park
once more. That was a happy meeting in all but the fact that Sir
Edward Doughty was in weak health. Now comes the _dénoûment_. Miss
Doughty had given Roger a keepsake volume of Father Faber's Hymns, and
there was an exchange of gifts. Suddenly the truth flashed across the
mind of the father, and he was vexed and angry. On a Sunday morning,
when the two cousins had been walking in the garden enjoying the
bright winter day, and they were sitting together at breakfast, a
message came that Sir Edward desired to see his nephew in the library.
The girl waited, but Roger did not come back to the breakfast table.
The eyes of the cousins met sorrowfully in the chapel, and in the
afternoon, with Lady Doughty's permission, they saw each other in the
drawing-room to take farewell. For Sir Edward's fiat had gone forth.
Marriage between first cousins was forbidden by the Church, and there
were other reasons why he was resolute that this engagement should be
broken off before it grew more serious. So it was arranged that on the
very next morning the young man should leave the house for ever. Thus
the great hope of Roger's life was suddenly extinguished, and there
was nothing left for him but to sail with his regiment for India, and
endeavour, if he could, to forget the past. Some days after that, at
his cousin's request, he wrote out for her a narrative of his sorrows
at this time, in which he said:--

"What I felt when I left my uncle it is difficult for me to explain. I
was like thunderstruck. I came back to my room, and tried to pack up
my things, but was obliged to give up the attempt, as my mind was
quite absent. I sank on a chair, and remained there, my head buried
between my two knees for more than half an hour. What was the nature
of my thoughts, my dearest K., you may easily imagine. To think that I
was obliged to leave you the next day, not to see you again--not,
perhaps, for years, if ever I came back from India. The idea was
breaking my heart. It passed on, giving me no relief, until about two
o'clock, when my aunt told me that you wished to see me. That news
gave me more pleasure than I could express; so much so that I never
could have expected it. The evening that I saw you, my dear K., about
five o'clock, you cannot conceive what pleasure it gave me. I saw you
felt my going away, so I determined to tell you everything I felt
towards you. What I told you it is not necessary to repeat, as I
suppose you remember it. When I came away from the drawing-room my
mind was so much oppressed that it was impossible to think of going to
bed. I stopped up until two o'clock in the morning. I do not think it
necessary, my dearest K., to tire you with all the details of what I
have felt for you during these two days; suffice it to say, that I
never felt more acute pain, especially during the night when I could
not sleep. I promise to my own dearest Kate, on my word and honour,
that I will be back in England, if she is not married or engaged,
towards the end of the autumn of 1854, or the month of January 1855.
If she is so engaged I shall remain in India for ten or fifteen years,
and shall wish for her happiness, which I shall be too happy to

Neither Roger nor Kate had, however, given up hope of some change.
Lady Doughty, despite a secret dread of her nephew's habits, had a
strong regard for him, and would be certain to plead his cause. And
in a very few days circumstances unexpectedly favoured his suit. Sir
Edward's malady grew worse, the physicians despaired, and he believed
himself near his end. Roger was sent for hurriedly to take farewell of
his uncle. As he approached the sick bed his uncle said, "I know, my
dear Roger, the mutual attachment which exists between you and your
cousin. If you were not so near related I should not object at all to
a marriage between you two: but, however, wait, three years; then, if
the attachment still exists between you, and you can get your father's
consent, and also leave from the Church, it will be the will of God,
and I will not object to it any longer."

To which Roger replied--"Ever since I have had the pleasure of knowing
you and my cousin, I have always tried to act towards you two in the
most honourable way I possibly could. The Church, as you know, grants
dispensations on these occasions. Of course, if you approve of it, I
will get my father's consent, and also leave from the Church, and do
it in an honourable way in the eyes of God and of the world." These
two speeches seem rather stilted and unnatural, yet this is how they
have been given in evidence. Days passed, and Roger sat up night after
night with his uncle. It was during those tedious watchings that he
again wrote at Miss Doughty's request a narrative of his feelings,
which ran thus:--

                   "TICHBORNE PARK, _Feb_. 4, 1852 (1.30 A.M.)

     "I shall go on," he said, "with my confessions, only asking
     for some indulgence if you find them too long and too
     tedious. You are, my dearest K., the only one for whom I
     have formed so strong and sincere an attachment. I never
     could have believed, a few years ago, I was able to get so
     attached to another. You are the only young person who has
     shown me some kindness, for which I feel very thankful. It
     is in some respects rather a painful subject for me to have
     to acknowledge my faults; but, as I have undertaken the
     task, I must write all I have done, and what have been my
     thoughts, for the last five weeks. I had a very wrong idea
     when I left Ireland. It was this: I thought that you had
     entirely forgotten me. I was, nevertheless, very anxious to
     come to Tichborne for a short time to take a last farewell
     of you, my uncle, and my aunt. My mind and heart were then
     so much oppressed by these thoughts, that it was my
     intention not to come back from India for ten or fifteen
     years. I loved you, my dearest K., as dearly as ever. I
     would have done anything in this world to oblige you, and
     give you more of that happiness which I hoped I might see
     you enjoy. I would have given my life for your happiness'
     sake. To have seen all these things, I repeat again, with a
     dry eye and an unbroken heart, or for a person who has a
     strong feeling of attachment towards another to behold it,
     is almost beyond human power. These feelings will arise when
     I shall be thousands of miles from you, but I have taken my
     pains and sorrows and your happiness in this world, and said
     a prayer that you might bear the pains and sorrows of this
     world with courage and resignation, and by these means be
     happy in the next. When I came here I found I had been
     mistaken in the opinion I had formed, and I reproached
     myself bitterly for ever having such an idea. It is not
     necessary for me to mention that I got rid of these bad
     thoughts in a few minutes. Things went on happily until
     Sunday, January 11, 1852, when I was sent for by my uncle at
     breakfast. What took place between us I think it unnecessary
     to repeat, as you know already. I was obliged to leave the
     next morning by the first train for London. I never felt
     before so deeply in my life what it was to part with the
     only person I ever loved. How deeply I felt I cannot
     express, but I shall try to explain as much of it as I can
     in the next chapter.

     "What I have suffered last night I cannot easily explain.
     You do not know, my own dearest K., what are my feelings
     towards you. You cannot conceive how much I loved you. It
     breaks my heart, my own dearest K., to think how long I
     shall be without seeing you. I do feel that more than I can
     tell you. You have the comfort of a home, and, moreover, at
     some time or other, some person to whom you can speak, and
     who will comfort you. I have none. I am thrown on the world
     quite alone, without a friend--nothing; but, however, I
     shall try and take courage, and I hope that when you will
     see me in three years you will find a change for the better.
     I shall employ these three years to reform my conduct, and
     become all that you wish to see me. I shall never, my own,
     my dearest K., forget the few moments I have spent with you;
     but, on the contrary, I shall only consider them as the
     happiest of my life. You cannot imagine how much pleasure
     your letter has given me. It proved to me, far beyond any
     possible doubt, what are your feelings towards me. I did
     not, it is true, require that proof to know how you felt for
     me. It is for that reason that I thank you most sincerely
     for that proof of confidence, by expressing yourself so
     kindly and openly to me. You may rest assured, my own
     dearest K., that nothing in this world will prevent me,
     except death in actual service, from coming back from India
     at the time I have named to you--the latter part of the
     autumn of 1854, or the beginning of 1855. It will be a great
     comfort for me, my own dearest K., when I shall be in India,
     to think of you. It will be, I may say, the only pleasure I
     shall have to think of the first person I ever loved. You
     may rest assured that nothing in the world will make me
     change. Moreover, if you wish me to come back sooner, only
     write to me, and I shall not remain five minutes in the army
     more than I can help. I shall always be happy to comply with
     your wishes, and come back as soon as possible. Again rest
     assured, my dearest K., that if in any situation of life I
     can be of help or service to you, I shall only be too happy,
     my dearest K., to serve and oblige you.--Your very
     affectionate cousin,
                                               R.C. TICHBORNE."

Roger went back to his regiment in Ireland soon after the date given
in the foregoing extract; but the Carabineers were finally removed to
Canterbury, and in the summer he again got leave of absence, which he
spent with his aunt and cousin in London, and at Tichborne; and it
was on the 22d of June 1852, that the young people walked together for
the last time in the garden of Tichborne house. They talked of the
future hopefully; and for her comfort he told her a secret. Some
months before that time he had made a vow, and written out and signed
it solemnly. It was in these words:--"I make on this day a promiss,
that if I marry my Cousin Kate Doughty, this year, or before three
years are over, at the latest, to build a church or chapel at
Tichborne to the Holy Virgin, in thanksgiving for the protection which
she has showed us in praying God that our wishes might be fulfilled."
Roger went back to his regiment and indulged his habitual melancholy.
To his great regret, the order for the Carabineers to go to India had
been countermanded; but he had no intention of leading the dull round
of barrack life in Canterbury. He had determined to go abroad for a
year and a half or two years; by that time the allotted period of
trial would be near an end. He had determined to leave a profession
which offered no outlet for his energies. The tame round of the cities
and picture-galleries of Europe had no charms for him. Among the many
books which he had read at this time were the Indian romances of
Chateaubriand, "René," "Attila," and "Le Dernier Abencerage." How
deeply these stories had impressed his mind is apparent in his letters
to Lady Doughty. "Happy," he says, "was the life of René. He knew how
to take his troubles with courage, and keep them to himself,--retired
from all his friends to be more at liberty to think about his sorrows
and misfortunes, and bury them in himself. I admire that man for his
courage; that is, the courage to carry those sorrows to the grave
which drove him into solitude." Among his intimate friends and
schoolfellows at Stonyhurst, was Mr. Edward Waterton, whose father, the
celebrated naturalist, had given to the college a collection of
stuffed foreign birds and other preserved animals; and there can be no
doubt that the famous narratives of adventure in South America of that
distinguished traveller were among the books which Roger and other
college friends read at that period. How deeply the splendours of the
natural history collection of Stonyhurst had impressed the mind of the
boy is evidenced in the fact that Roger took delight at school in
practising the art of preserving birds and other animals; while long
afterwards, in humble emulation of the great naturalist's achievement,
he gathered and sent home, when on his travels, many a specimen of
birds of splendid plumage. South America, in short, had long been the
subject of his dreams; and now in travelling in that vast continent,
he would try to find occupation for the mind, and get through the long
time of waiting which he had undertaken to bear patiently. His scheme
was to spend a twelvemonth in Chili, Guayaquil, and Peru, seeing not
only wild scenes but famous cities; thence to visit Mexico, and so by
way of the United States find his way back to England. Having taken
this resolution, he set about putting his affairs in order, for Roger
was a man of business-like habits, and by no means prone to neglect
his worldly interests. He made his will,--saying, however, as he
remarked in one of his letters, "nothing about the church or chapel at
Tichborne," which he said he would only build under the conditions
mentioned in a paper which he had left in the hands of his dearest and
most trusted friend, Mr. Gosford, the steward of the family estates. In
truth, months before the day when he gave Miss Doughty a copy of "The
Vow" in the garden at Tichborne, he had solemnly signed and sealed up
a compact with his own conscience, and deposited it with other
precious mementoes of that time in his friend's safe keeping. Parting
with friends in England cost him, perhaps, but little sorrow, for his
mind was full of projects to be carried into effect on his return. He
aspired to the character of a traveller, and to be qualified for
membership at the Travellers' Club, where, in one of his letters while
abroad, he requests that his name may be inscribed as a candidate. He
had an old habit of keeping diaries, and he promised to send extracts,
and, after all, the time would not be long. There was one house in
which Roger naturally shrank from saying farewell. He had made a
solemn resolution that he would go to Tichborne no more while matters
remained thus, and his pride was wounded by what appeared to him to
be a want of confidence on the part of Lady Doughty. In a worldly
point of view it is difficult to conceive any union more desirable
than that of the two cousins. But it is clear that the mother trembled
for the future of her child. Hence she still gave ready ear to tales
of the wild life of the regiment, and hinted them in her letters to
her nephew in a way that made him angry, but not vindictive. He was
asked to go and see his uncle, Sir Edward, before starting; but his
will was inflexible, and he went away, as he had all along said that
he would, resolved to bury his sorrows within himself. Roger went away
in February, and spent nearly three weeks in Paris with his parents
and some old friends of his early days. His mother was much averse to
his plan of travelling; and she opposed it both by her own
upbraidings, and by the persuasion of spiritual advisers who had
influence over her son. But it was of no avail. Roger had chosen to
sail in a French vessel from Havre--"La Pauline"--and sail he would.
His voyage to Valparaiso was to last four months, and thence he was
going on in the same vessel to Peru. It was doubtless because of the
strong hold which the French language and many French manners still
had on him, that, though he took an English servant with him, he
preferred a French ship with a French captain and French seamen. On
the 1st of March, 1853, he sailed away from Europe, and, as we are
bound to believe, never returned. The "Pauline" started with bad
weather, which detained her in the Channel, and compelled her to put
in at Falmouth, but after that she made a good voyage round Cape Horn
to Valparaiso, where she arrived on the 19th of June. As the vessel
was to remain there a month, Roger, after spending a week in
Valparaiso, started with his servant John Moore to see Santiago, the
capital of Chili, about ninety miles inland. Thence he returned and
sailed for Peru, where he embarked for places in the north. At
Santiago his servant had been taken ill, and, though recovering, was
unfitted to travel. His master thereupon furnished him with funds to
set up a store, and took another servant, with whom he underwent many
adventures. At Lima he visited the celebrated churches, and purchased
souvenirs for his friends and relatives. Having stored a little yacht
with provisions, he started with his servant on a voyage of about
three hundred miles up the river Guayaquil, and was for some days
under the Line; he made similar journeys in a canoe with his servant
and two Indians, still bent on collecting and preserving rare birds of
gorgeous plumage. He also visited and explored silver and copper
mines. During all this travelling he continued his home correspondence
with great regularity. But the first news he received was bad.
Scarcely had the "Pauline" left sight of our shores, when Sir Edward
Doughty died, and Roger's father and mother were now Sir James and
Lady Tichborne. By and by the wanderer began to retrace his steps,
came back to Valparaiso, and with his last new servant, Jules Berraut,
rode thence in one night ninety miles to Santiago again. Again he
started with muleteers and servants on the difficult and perilous
journey over the Cordilleras, and thence across the Pampas to Buenos
Ayres, Monte Video, and Rio de Janeiro. In April 1854, there was in
the harbour of Rio a vessel which hailed from Liverpool, and was
called the "Bella." She was about to sail for Kingston, Jamaica, and
it was to Kingston that Roger had directed his letters and remittances
to be forwarded, that being a convenient resting place on his journey
to Mexico, where he intended to spend a few months. The "Bella" was a
full-rigged ship of nearly 500 tons burden, clipper-built, and almost
new. Aboard this ship, then taking in her cargo of coffee and logwood,
came one April morning a young English gentleman who introduced
himself as Mr. Tichborne. He was dressed in a half tourist, half
nautical costume, and wanted a passage to Kingston. Travelling with
servants, hiring yachts and canoes, buying paintings, curiosities, and
natural history specimens, had proved more expensive than he expected.
His funds were exhausted; nor could his purse be replenished until he
got to Kingston, where letters of credit were expected to be waiting
for him. It was some little time before the captain believed the
young man's story, but when he did, he not only undertook to convey
him and his people to Kingston; he determined to help him in a matter
of some delicacy and not a little danger; for when the vessel was near
sailing, Roger was found to be without that indispensable requisite, a
passport. Great excitement then prevailed in Brazil on the subject of
runaway slaves. Black slaves had escaped by making themselves
stowaways; "half-caste" people, relying on their comparative fairness
of skin, had openly taken passage as seamen or even passengers, and
thus got away from a hateful life of bondage. Hence the peremptory
regulation that no captain should sail with a stranger aboard without
an official license. Under these circumstances a plan was devised by
the captain. When the Government officers came aboard, no Tichborne or
other stranger was visible. As the vessel, loosened from her moorings,
was slowly drifting down the harbour in the morning, the officers sat
at a little table on deck, smoked and drank with the captain. At
length the moment came to call their boat and take farewell, wishing
the good ship "Bella" and her valuable freight a pleasant voyage.
Scarcely had they departed, when the table was removed; and just
beneath where they had been sitting a circular plug closing the
entrance to what is known as the "lazarette" was lifted, and out came
Roger laughing at the success of their harmless device. Before noon
the "Bella" had passed from the harbour of Rio into the open ocean,
and was soon on her voyage northward. That was on the 20th of April
1854, and that is the last ever known in good sooth of the "Bella,"
except as a foundered vessel. Six days after she had left the port of
Rio, a ship, traversing her path, found tokens of a wreck--straw
bedding such as men lay on deck in hot latitudes, a water-cask, a
chest of drawers, and among other things a long boat floating bottom
upwards, and bearing on her stern the ominous words "Bella,
Liverpool." These were brought into Rio, and forthwith the Brazilian
authorities caused steam vessels to go out and scour the seas in quest
of survivors; but none were seen. That the "Bella" had foundered
there was little room to doubt; though the articles found were chiefly
such as would have been on her deck. Even the items of cabin furniture
were known to have been placed on deck to make way for merchandise,
with which she was heavily laden. The night before these articles were
found had been gusty, but there had been nothing like a storm. When
time went by and brought no tidings, Captain Oates, a great friend of
the captain of the "Bella," who had been instrumental in getting Roger
on board, came with other practical seamen to the conclusion that she
had been caught in a squall; that her cargo of coffee had shifted; and
that hence, unable to right herself, the "Bella" had gone down in deep
water, giving but little warning to those on board. In a few months
this sorrowful news was brought to Tichborne, where there was of
course great mourning. One by one the heirs of the old house were
disappearing; and now it seemed that all the hopes of the family must
be centred in Alfred, then a boy of fifteen. So, at least, felt Sir
James Tichborne. He had inquiries made in America and elsewhere. For a
time there was a faint hope that some aboard the "Bella" had escaped,
and had, perhaps, been rescued. But months went by, and still there
was no sign. The letters of news that poor Roger had so anxiously
asked to be directed to him at the Post Office, Kingston, Jamaica,
remained there till the paper grew faded. The banker's bill, which was
wanted to pay the passage money, lay at the agents, but neither the
captain nor his passenger of the "Bella" came to claim it. Weeks and
months rolled on; the annual allowance of one thousand a year, which
was Roger's by right, was paid into Glyn & Co.'s bank, but no draft
upon it was ever more presented at their counters. The diligent
correspondent ceased to correspond. At Lloyd's the unfortunate vessel
was finally written down upon the "Loss Book"--the insurance was paid
to the owners, and in time the "Bella" faded away from the memories of
all but those who had lost friends or relatives in her. Lady Tichborne
was always full of hope that her son had been saved, and could never
be brought to regard him as drowned; but we have now seen the last of
the real Roger Tichborne, and our next business will be with the

At last, in the neighbourhood in which Sir James and his wife lived,
it became notorious that the mother was prepared to receive any one
kindly who professed to have news of her son, and naturally when the
story once got wind there were many who tried to profit by her
credulity. Among other adventurers, a tramp in the dress of a sailor
found his way to Tichborne, and, having poured into the willing ears
of the poor mother a wild story about some of the survivors of the
"Bella" being picked up off the coast of Brazil, and carried to
Melbourne, was forthwith regaled and rewarded. There is a freemasonry
among beggars which sufficiently explains the fact, that very soon the
appearance of ragged sailors in Tichborne Park became common. Sailors
with one leg, and sailors with one arm, loud-voiced, blustering
seamen, and seamen whose troubles had subdued their tones to a
plaintive key, all found their way to the back door of the great
house. Every one of them had heard something about the "Bella's" crew
being picked up; and could tell more on that subject than all the
owners, or underwriters, or shipping registers in the world. And poor
Lady Tichborne believed, as is evidenced by a letter of hers written
in 1857, only three years after the shipwreck, to a gentleman in
Melbourne, imploring him to make inquiries for her son in that part of
the world. Sir James, however, though no less sorrowful, had no faith;
and he made short work of tramping sailors who came to impose on the
poor lady with their unsubstantial legends. But Sir James died in
1862. Shortly before this event his only surviving son Alfred had
married Theresa, a daughter of the eleventh Lord Arundel of Wardour.
This, however, did not prevent the mother, in one of her crazy moods,
taking a step calculated to induce some impostor to come forward and
claim to be the rightful heir--which was the insertion of an
advertisement in the _Times_, offering a reward for the discovery of
her eldest son, and giving a number of particulars with regard to his
birth, parentage, age, date and place of shipwreck, name of vessel,
and other matters. She also incorporated in her advertisement the
stories of the tramping sailors about his having been picked up and
carried to Melbourne; and this mischievous advertisement was published
in various languages, and doubtless copied in the South American and
Australian newspapers. This is the first step we find towards the
formation of the imposture.

Time rolled on, and no Roger, true or false, made his appearance. One
day the Dowager happened to see in a newspaper a mention of the fact
that there was in Sydney a man named Cubitt, who kept what he called a
"Missing Friends' Office." To Cubitt accordingly she wrote a long
rambling letter, in which, among other tokens of her state of mind,
she gave a grossly incorrect account of her son's appearance, and even
of his age; but Cubitt was to insert her long advertisement in the
Australian papers, and he was promised a handsome reward. Cubitt, in
reply, amused the poor lady with vague reports of her son being found
in the capacity of a private soldier in New Zealand; and as there was
war there at that time the poor lady wrote back in an agony of terror
to entreat that he might be bought out of the regiment. Mr. Cubitt soon
perceived the singular person he had to deal with; and his letters
from that time were largely occupied with requests for money for
services which had no existence out of the letters. At last came more
definite information. A Mr. Gibbes, an attorney at the little town of
Wagga-Wagga, two hundred miles inland from Sydney, had, he said, found
the real Roger living "in a humble station of life," and under an
assumed name. Again money was wanted. Then Gibbes, apparently
determined to steal a march on Cubitt, wrote directly to the credulous
lady, and there was much correspondence between them. At first there
were some little difficulties. The man who, after a certain amount of
coyness, had pleaded guilty to being the long-lost heir, still held
aloof in a strange way, concealed his present name and occupation, and
instead of going home at once, preferred to bargain for his return
through the medium of an attorney and the keeper of a missing-friends'
office. All this, however, did not shake the faith of Lady Tichborne.
Then he gave accounts of himself which did not in the least tally with
the facts of Roger's life. He said he was born in Dorsetshire, whereas
Roger was born in Paris; he accounted for being an illiterate man by
saying that he had suffered greatly in childhood from St. Vitus's
dance, which had interfered with his studies. "My son," says Lady
Tichborne, in reply, "never had St. Vitus's dance." When asked if he
had not been in the army, he replied, "Yes," but that he did not know
much about it, because he had merely enlisted as a private soldier "in
the Sixty-sixth Blues," and had been "bought off" by his father after
only thirteen days' service. What ship did you leave Europe in?
inquired Mr. Gibbes, with a view of sending further tokens of identity
to the Dowager. To this inquiry, Roger Tichborne might have been
expected to answer in "La Pauline," but, as was shown in the trial,
this mysterious person replied, in "The Jessie Miller." "And when did
she sail?" "On the 28th of November, 1852," was the reply; whereas
Roger sailed on the 1st of March, 1853. Asked as to where he was
educated, the long-lost heir replied, "At a school in Southampton,"
where Roger never was at school. But it happened that Lady Tichborne
in a letter to Mr. Gibbes had said that her son was for three years at
the Jesuit College of Stonyhurst, in Lancashire; Mr. Gibbes accordingly
suggested to the client "in a humble station of life," that his memory
was at fault on that point, but the client maintained his ground. "Did
she say he had been at Stonyhurst College? If so, it was false;" and,
he added, with an oath, "I have a good mind never to go near her again
for telling such a story." Yet this strange person was able to confirm
the entire story of the tramping sailors. He _had_ embarked in the
"Bella," he _had_ been picked up at sea with other survivors in a boat
off the coast of Brazil, and it was quite true that he was landed with
them in Melbourne. In short, he corroborated the Dowager's long
advertisement in every particular; but beyond that he had nothing of
the slightest importance to tell which was not absurdly incorrect. His
replies, however, were forwarded to the Lady Tichborne, with pressing
requests to send £200, then £250, and finally £400, to enable the lost
heir to pay his debts--an indispensable condition of his leaving the
colony. It is evident that the statements thus reported puzzled the
poor lady a little, and she seems to have been unable to account for
the lost heir sending his kind remembrance to his "grandpa," because
Roger's' paternal grandfather died before he was born; and his
grandfather by the mother's side had also died several years before
Roger left England, as the young man knew well enough. She was clearly
a little surprised to hear that the resuscitated Roger did not
understand a word of French, for "my son," she says, "was born in
Paris, and spoke French better than English." But yet, with the
strange pertinacity which causes people to cling to that which they
know to be wrong, and try to force themselves into belief of its
truth, she believed in the _bona-fides_ of the claimant for maternal
solicitude and the paternal acres. "I fancied," she said in one letter
to Gibbes, "that the photographies you sent me are like him, but of
course after thirteen years' absence there must have been some
difference in the shape, as Roger was very slim; but," she added, "I
suppose all those large clothes would make him appear bigger than he
is." Again, alluding to the "photographies," she remarks that at least
the hand in the portrait is small, and adds, "that peculiar thing has
done a good deal with me to make me recognise him. A year and a half
was consumed in these tedious hagglings with brokers and agents for
the restoration of a lost heir, and during great part of that time the
lost heir himself made no sign, but contented himself with begging
trifling loans of Gibbes on the strength of his pretensions. Sometimes
a pound was the modest request; sometimes more. He had married, and a
child was born, and on that occasion he implored for "three pound,"
plaintively declaring that he was "more like a mannick than a B. of
B.K. (supposed to mean a Baronet of British Kingdom) to have a child
born in such a hovel." Still the new man wrapped himself in
impenetrable secrecy. The Dowager Lady Tichborne complained that while
pressed to send everybody money, she was not even allowed to know the
whereabouts nor present name of her lost Roger; and she entreated
piteously to be allowed to communicate more directly. It was nothing
to her that the accounts the pretender had given of Roger's life were
wrong in every particular, except where her own advertisement had
furnished information. I think she said on this point, "My poor dear
Roger confuses everything in his head just as in a dream, and I
believe him to be my son, though his statements differ from mine." In
the midst of this curious correspondence trouble once more entered the
old home at Tichborne. Sir Alfred, the younger brother of Roger, was
dead, and the poor half-crazed mother in a solitary lodging in her
loved Paris was left more than ever desolate. Widowed and childless,
she had nothing now but to brood over her sorrows, and cling to the
old dream of the miraculous saving of her eldest born, who, since the
terrible hour of shipwreck--now twelve years past--had given no real
token of existence. The position of affairs at Tichborne was
remarkable, for though there were hopes of an heir to Tichborne, Sir
Alfred had left no child. Should the child--unborn, but already
fatherless--prove to be a girl, or other mischance befall, there was
an end of the old race of Tichborne. The property would then go to
collaterals, and the baronetcy must become extinct. It was under the
weight of these new sorrows that the Dowager Lady Tichborne wrote
pitiable letters to Gibbes, promising money and asking for more
particulars; while enclosing at the same time to the man who thus so
unaccountably kept himself aloof a letter beginning, "My dear and
beloved Roger, I hope you will not refuse to come back to your poor
afflicted mother. I have had the great misfortune to lose your poor
dear father, and lately I have lost my beloved son Alfred. I am now
alone in this world of sorrow, and I hope you will take that into
consideration, and come back." It is hardly surprising that during
this time Mr. Gibbes was constantly urging his mysterious client to
relinquish his disguise. Why not write to the mother and mention some
facts known only to those two which would at once convince her? True,
he had already mentioned "facts," which turned out to be fictions, and
yet the Dowager's faith was unabated. Mr. Gibbes's client was therefore
justified in his answer, that he "did not think it needful." But
Gibbes was pressing, for it happened that the Dowager had in one of
her letters said, "I shall expect an answer from him. As I know his
handwriting, I shall know at once whether it is him." Accordingly we
find the Claimant, under the direction of Mr. Gibbes, penning this:--

                                   "WAGGA-WAGGA, _Jan_. 17 66.
     MY DEAR MOTHER,--The delay which has taken place since my
     last Letter Dated 22d April 54 Makes it very difficult to
     Commence this Letter. I deeply regret the truble and
     anxoiety I must have cause you by not writing before. But
     they are known to my Attorney And the more private details I
     will keep for your own Ear. Of one thing rest Assured that
     although I have been in A humble conditoin of Life I have
     never let any act disgrace you or my Family. I have been A
     poor Man and nothing worse Mr. Gilbes suggest to me as
     essential. That I should recall to your Memory things which
     can only be known to you and me to convince you of my
     Idenitity I dont thing it needful my dear Mother, although I
     sind them Mamely the Brown Mark on my side. And the Card
     Case at Brighton. I can assure you My Dear Mother I have
     keep your promice ever since. In writing to me please
     enclose your letter to Mr. Gilbes to prevent unnesersery
     enquiry as I do not wish any person to know me in this
     Country. When I take my proper prosition and title. Having
     therefore mad up my mind to return and face the Sea once
     more I must request to send me the Means of doing so and
     paying a fue outstranding debts. I would return by the
     overland Mail. The passage Money and other expences would be
     over two Hundred pound, for I propose Sailing from Victoria
     not this colonly And to Sail from Melbourne in my own Name.
     Now to annable me to do this my dear Mother you must send

The half-sheet is torn off at this point, but it has been stated by
Lady Tichborne's solicitor, who saw it when complete, that the ending
originally contained the words "How's Grandma?" This must have again
puzzled the Dowager, for Roger had no "Grandma" living when he went
away. The date "22d April 54" was also incorrect, for the "Bella"
sailed on April 20th. But there were other difficulties; Lady
Tichborne had never seen, and, what is more, had never heard of any
brown mark on her son Roger; she could say nothing about the "card
case at Brighton" (which referred, according to Mr. Gibbes, to the
Claimant's assertion that he had left England in consequence of having
been swindled out of £1500 by Johnny and Harry Broome, prize-fighters,
and others at Brighton races); and lastly, the anxious mother could
not recognise the handwriting. The Australian correspondent was
somewhat disappointed that the mother did not at once acknowledge him
as her son. But the Dowager soon declared her unabated faith; sent
small sums and then larger, and finally made up her mind to forward
the four hundred pounds. Meanwhile she sent to him, as well as to her
other Australian correspondents, much family information. Among other
things she told him that there was a man named Guilfoyle at Sydney,
who had been gardener for many years at Upton and Tichborne, and
another man in the same town named Andrew Bogle, a black man, who had
been in the service of Sir Edward. Mr. Gibbes's client lost no time in
finding out both these persons, and soon became pretty well primed. It
was shortly after this period that it became known in Victoria and New
South Wales that there was a man named Thomas Castro, living in
Wagga-Wagga as a journeyman slaughter-man and butcher, who was going to
England to lay claim to the baronetcy and estates of Tichborne. From
the letters and other facts it is manifest that it was originally
intended to keep all this secret even from the Dowager. "He wishes,"
says his attorney, Mr. Gibbes, "that his present identity should be
totally disconnected from his future." It happened that one Cator, a
Wagga-Wagga friend of the Claimant, whose letters show him to have
been a coarse-minded and illiterate man, was leaving for England
shortly before the time that Castro had determined to embark. Whether
invited or not Cator was not unlikely to favour his friend with a
visit in the new and flourishing condition which appeared to await him
in that country. Perhaps to make a virtue of necessity, Castro gave to
Cator a sealed envelope, bearing outside the words, "To be open when
at sea," and inside a note which ran as follows:--

                              "WAGGA-WAGGA, _April 2nd_, 1866.
     Mr. Cater,--At any time wen you are in England you should
     feel enclined for a month pleasure Go to Tichborne, in
     Hampshire, Enquire for Sir Roger Charles Tichborne,
     Tichborne-hall, Tichborne, And you will find One that will
     make you a welcome guest. But on no account Mension the Name
     of Castro or Alude to me being a Married Man, or that I have
     being has a Butcher. You will understand me, I have no
     doubt. Yours truely, Thomas Castro. I Sail by the June

All this secrecy, however, was soon given up as impracticable for
articles in the Melbourne, Wagga-Wagga, and Sydney journals, quickly
brought the news to England, and finally Castro determined to take
with him his wife and family. One of his earliest steps was to take
into his service the old black man Bogle, and pay the passage-money
both of himself and his son to Europe with him. Certain relics of
Upton and of Tichborne which the Claimant forwarded to a banker at
Wagga-Wagga from whom he was trying to obtain advances, were described
by the Claimant himself as brought over by "my uncle Valet who is now
living with me." The bankers, however, were cautious; and "declined to
make loans." Nevertheless, the Claimant had the good fortune to
convince a Mr. Long, who was in Sydney, and had seen Roger "when a boy
of ten years old riding in Tichborne Park," and accordingly this
gentleman advanced him a considerable sum. Finally the Claimant
embarked aboard the "Rakaia," on his way to France _viâ_ Panama, and
accompanied by his family, and attended by old Bogle, his son, and a
youthful secretary, left Sydney on September 2d, 1866, and was
expected by the Dowager in Paris within two months from that date. But
nearly four months elapsed, and there were no tidings. Between
Christmas day and New Year's eve of 1866, there arrived in Alresford a
mysterious stranger, who put up at the Swan Hotel in that little town,
and said that his name was Taylor. He was a man of bulk and eccentric
attire. He wrapped himself in large greatcoats, muffled his neck and
chin in thick shawls, and wore a cap with a peak of unusual
dimensions, which, when it was pulled down, covered a considerable
portion of his features. The stranger, at first very reserved, soon
showed signs of coming out of his shell. He sent for Rous, the
landlord, and had a chat with him, in the course of which he asked
Rous to take him the next day for a drive round the neighbourhood of
Tichborne. Rous complied, and the innkeeper, chatting all the way on
local matters, showed his guest Tichborne village, Tichborne park and
house, the church, the mill, the village of Cheriton, and all else
that was worth seeing in that neighbourhood. In fact, Mr. Taylor became
very friendly with Rous, invited him to drink in his room, and then
confided to him an important secret--which, however, was by this time
no secret at all, for Mr. Rous had just observed upon his guest's
portmanteau the initials "R.C.T." Indeed it was already suspected in
the smoking-room of the Swan that the enormous stranger was the
long-expected heir. Suspicion became certainty when the stranger
telegraphed for Bogle, and that faithful black, once familiar in the
streets of Alresford, suddenly made his appearance there, began
reconnoitring the house at Tichborne, contrived to get inside the old
home, to learn that it had been let by the trustees of the infant
baronet to a gentleman named Lushington, and to examine carefully the
position of the old and new pictures hanging on the walls. This done,
the stranger and his black attendant disappeared as suddenly as they
had come. But the news spread abroad, and reached many persons who
were interested. Roger's numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins heard of
the sudden appearance of the long-expected Australian claimant. The
Dowager in Paris, the mother of the infant, then at Ryde, all heard
the news; and finally Mr. Gosford, Roger's dearest and most intimate
friend and confidant, then in North Wales, got intelligence, and
hastened to London to ascertain if the joyful news could be true.

But the enormous individual had vanished again. The circumstance was
strange. Bogle had written letters from Australia declaring that this
was the identical gentleman he had known years before as Mr. Roger
Tichborne when a visitor at Sir Edward's; and the Dowager had declared
herself satisfied. But why did the long-lost Roger hold aloof? No one
could tell. There was no reason for such conduct, and so suspicion was
engendered. With infinite pains Mr. Gosford and a gentleman connected
with the Tichborne family ascertained that the person who had figured
as Mr. Taylor at the Swan had taken apartments for himself and his
family at a hotel near Manchester Square, and that he had even been
there since Christmas day. But once more the clue was lost. Sir Roger
Tichborne had gone away with his wife and children, and left no one
there but Bogle and his secretary. Then by chance Mr. Gosford
discovered that "Sir Roger" was staying at the Clarendon Hotel,
Gravesend. Forthwith Mr. Gosford, with the gentleman referred to, and
Mr. Cullington, the solicitor, went to the Clarendon Hotel at
Gravesend, where, after long waiting in the hall, they saw a stout
person muffled, and wearing a peaked cap over the eyes, who, having
glanced at the party suspiciously, rushed past them, hurried upstairs,
and locked himself in a room. In vain the party sent up cards, in vain
they followed and tapped at the door. The stout person would not open,
and the party descended to the coffee-room, where soon afterwards they
received a mysterious note, concluding:--"pardon me gentlemen but I
did not wish any-one to know where I was staying with my family. And
was much annoyed to see you all here." Lady Tichborne herself had
failed to recognise in the letters from Wagga-Wagga the handwriting
of her son, and Mr. Gosford was equally unsuccessful. The party
therefore left the house after warning the landlord that he had for a
guest an "impostor and a rogue." Still the idea that his old friend,
who had made him his executor and the depositary of his most secret
wishes, could have come back again alive, however changed, was too
pleasing to be abandoned by Mr. Gosford, even on such evidence.
Accordingly, by arrangement with an attorney named Holmes, he went
down again, and, more successful this time, had conversation with the
stranger who called himself Roger. But nothing about the features of
the man brought back to him any recollection, and subsequent
interviews but confirmed the first impression.

Meanwhile, Lady Tichborne had learned that he whom she called Roger
had arrived in England; and she wrote letters imploring him to come to
her, to which the Claimant, who had not been in London more than a
fortnight, answered, that he was "prevented by circumstances!" and
added, "Oh! Do come over and see me at once." On the very day after
the date of this letter, however, he arrived in Paris, accompanied by
a man whose acquaintance he had made in a billiard room, and by Mr.
Holmes, the attorney to whom his casual acquaintance had introduced
him. The party put up at an hotel in the Rue St. Honoré. They knew Lady
Tichborne's address in the Place de la Madeleine, scarcely five
minutes' walk from their hotel; but they had arrived somewhat late,
and "Sir Roger" paid no visit to his mother that day. Lady Tichborne
had in the meantime consulted her brother and others on the subject,
but though the opinions given by them were adverse to the claims of
the impostor, she only became more fixed in her ideas. Early the
morning after the Claimant's arrival, she sent her Irish servant, John
Coyne, to the hotel in the Rue St. Honoré with a pressing message, but
was told that "Sir Roger" was not well; his mistress, dissatisfied
with that message, sent him again, whereupon "Sir Roger" came out of
his bedroom and walked past him "slowly and with his head down,"
bidding him at the same time go and tell his mamma that he was not
able to come to her; and his mistress, still more dissatisfied, then
directed her servant "to take a cab immediately and fetch her son."
Coyne then went a third time and found "Sir Roger" with his attorney
and his casual acquaintance sitting at breakfast, but was again
unsuccessful. Lady Tichborne that afternoon went herself to the hotel,
and was then permitted to see her son in a darkened chamber, and in
the presence of his attorney and friend. "Sir Roger," said Coyne, who
tells the story, "was lying on the bed with his back turned to us and
his face to the wall," and he added that while he was in that
position, his mistress leaned over and kissed Sir Roger on the mouth,
observing at the same time that "he looked like his father, though his
ears were like his uncle's." Then "Sir Roger" having remarked that he
was "nearly stifled," Lady Tichborne directed Coyne to "take off her
son's coat and undo his braces;" which duties the faithful domestic
accomplished with some difficulty, while at the same time he "managed
to pull him over as well as he could." Upon this Mr. Holmes, solemnly
standing up, addressed John Coyne in the words: "You are a witness
that Lady Tichborne recognises her son," and John Coyne having
replied, "And so are you," the ceremony of recognition was complete.

Soon after this it was rumoured in the neighbourhood of Alresford,
that the Dowager Lady Tichborne had acknowledged the stranger as her
lost son Roger; that she had determined to allow the repentant
wanderer £1000 a year; and that he was going to take a house at
Croydon pending his entering into the possession of the Tichborne
estates. There happened then to be living in Alresford a gentleman
named Hopkins. He had been solicitor to the Tichborne family, but they
had long ceased to employ him. He had also been a trustee of the
Doughty estates, but had been compelled to resign that position, at
which he had expressed much chagrin. Hopkins had an acquaintance named
Baignet at Winchester, an eccentric person of an inquisitive turn.
Both these began at this time to busy themselves greatly in the
matter of the Tichborne Claimant, who, on his next visit to Alresford,
was accordingly invited to stay at Mr. Hopkins's house. From that time
Mr. Hopkins and Mr. Baignet became active partisans of the Claimant's
cause. Hopkins had not been the solicitor of Roger Tichborne, but he
had seen him occasionally from fifteen to twenty years previously; and
he made an affidavit, that "though he could not recall the expression
of Roger Tichborne's features," he had no doubt, from the knowledge
which the Claimant had shown of the neighbourhood of Tichborne and of
family matters, that he was the same person. All Alresford may, in
fact, be said to have been converted; the bells were rung on the
Claimant's arrival there; and Colonel Lushington, the tenant of
Tichborne house, invited the Australian stranger and his wife to stay
with him there. Colonel Lushington had never seen Roger Tichborne, but
he has explained that he was impressed by his visitor's knowledge of
the old pictures on the walls, which, it will be remembered, Bogle had
been sent by "Mr. Taylor" to reconnoitre. When the news came that "Sir
Roger's wife," on a visit with her husband to Col. Lushington, had had
a child baptised in the chapel at Tichborne, while Mr. Anthony
Biddulph, another convert, and a remote connection of the Tichborne
family, had become godfather, the bells of Alresford rang louder; and
nobody seemed for a moment to doubt the right of the Claimant to the
estates and title. Still it was felt strange that "Sir Roger" went
near none of his old friends. He had left Paris without an effort to
see his former circle of acquaintances. Chatillon, his early tutor,
had been brought by the Dowager there to see him; but Chatillon had
said, "Madame, this is not your son!" Neither the Abbé Salis, nor
Roger's dear old instructor, Father Lefevre, nor Gossein, the faithful
valet, who had played with him from childhood, and had known him well
as a man, nor, indeed, any person in Paris who had been acquainted
with Roger Tichborne, received a visit. In England the facts were the
same. The stranger would go nowhere, and at last it began to be
believed that he was afraid of detection.

Active measures were meanwhile in preparation for those legal
proceedings which have, within the past three years, occupied so large
a share of public attention. Mr. Holmes and many others were busy in
procuring information. The voluminous will of Roger Tichborne, setting
forth a mass of particulars about the family property, was examined at
Doctors' Commons. Then there were records of proceedings in the
Probate Court and in Chancery relating to the Tichborne estates, of
which copies were procured. The Horse Guards furnished the
indefatigable attorney with minute and precise statements of the
movements of the Carabineers during Roger Tichborne's service, and of
the dates of every leave of absence and return. Then the Dowager's
attorney procured from Stonyhurst lists of the professors and
officials during Roger's three years' study there; and finally, the
books of Lloyd's and the "Merchant Seamen's Register" were searched
for information about the movements of the "Pauline," the "Bella," and
other vessels. Coincident with these researches, there was a marked
improvement in the Claimant's knowledge of the circumstances of what
he alleged to be his own past life. There was no mention now of "the
Sixty-sixth Blues," or of having been a private soldier; no denial,
with or without an oath, of having been at Stonyhurst; no allusion to
any other of the numerous statements he had made to Mr. Gibbes on those
points. Then converts began to multiply, but not among the Tichborne
family, or in any other circle that had known Roger very intimately.
Affidavits, however, increased in number. People related wonderful
instances of things the Claimant reminded them of, and which had
happened in the past. On the one hand, these facts were regarded as
"genuine efforts of memory;" on the other, they were stigmatised as
the result of an organized system of extracting information from one
person, and playing it off upon another.

At the end of July 1867, there was a public examination of the
Claimant in Chancery, at which, for the first time, he made generally
known that famous account of his alleged wreck and--escape in one of
the boats of the "Bella," with eight other persons, which, with some
variations, he has since maintained. It was then that, in answer to
questions, he stated that he was not certain of the name of the vessel
that picked him up, but was "under the impression that it was the
'Osprey.'" He also said that her captain's name was "Owen Lewis, or
Lewis Owen," but he was "not certain," though he said that three
months elapsed between the date of his being saved and his being
landed in Melbourne in July 1854. Besides these, the most remarkable
points in his examination were his statements that, on the very next
day after his arrival, he was engaged by a Mr. William Foster, of
Boisdale, an extensive farmer in Gippsland, to look after cattle; and
that he henceforward lived in obscurity in Australia under the name of
Thomas Castro. The name of Thomas Castro, he added, had occurred to
him because, during his travels in South America, he had known a
person so named at Melipilla, in Chili.

Mr. Gosford was also examined on that occasion, with results which had
an important influence on the progress of the great _cause célèbre_.
Some time before that gentleman had been induced to have one more
interview with the Claimant in the presence of two of his most
influential supporters, who thereupon requested Mr. Gosford to test
their _protégé_ by asking him about some private matter between him
and his friend Roger in the past. Thus challenged Mr. Gosford naturally
bethought him of the sealed paper, in which Roger had recorded his
intention of building a chapel or church at Tichborne, and dedicating
it to the Virgin, in the event of his marrying his cousin within three
years; and he therefore requested the Claimant to declare, if he
could, what were the contents of a certain packet marked "private"
which Roger left in his hands when he went away. Having obtained no
definite answer, Mr. Gosford, for the sake of fairness, went a step
further, and said that it recorded an intention "to carry out an
arrangement at Tichborne in the event of his marrying a certain lady."
Still there was no answer; and thereupon Mr. Gosford, declaring that
the whole interview "was idle," left the place. That packet,
unfortunately, was no longer in existence. Some years after Roger
Tichborne's death appeared to be beyond all doubt, Mr. Gosford had
simply burnt it, regarding it as a document which it would be useless,
and which he had no right, to keep, and yet one which, on the other
hand, he should not be justified in giving up to any living person.
The fact of its being burnt he had for obvious reasons concealed, but
being now asked on the subject he was compelled to state the
circumstance. It is remarkable that, on the very morrow of that
disclosure, the Claimant for the first time made a statement to his
supporter, Mr. Bulpett, as to the packet. It may be supposed that Mr.
Bulpett and the Claimant's friends generally were inclined to draw
unfavourable inferences from his apparent ignorance of the contents of
the packet. He now, however, declared that not ignorance of its
contents, but delicacy and forbearance towards Mrs. Radcliffe, had
alone prevented his answering Mr. Gosford's test question. Mr. Gosford,
he said, was right. It did relate to "an arrangement to be carried out
at Tichborne," but an arrangement of a very painful kind. Then it was
that he wrote out the terrible charge against the lady whom Roger had
loved so well--confessing, it is true, his own diabolical wickedness,
but at the same time casting upon her the cruellest of imputations.
This, he said, was what he had sealed up and given to Mr. Gosford. Mr.
Bulpett, the banker, put his initials solemnly to the document, and
within a few months all Hampshire had whispered the wicked story. It
is to be observed that, during all this time, no word had been spoken
by the Claimant of his having confided to Mr. Gosford a vow to build a
church. Four years later, when under examination, he was asked whether
he had ever left any other private document with Mr. Gosford, and he
answered, "I think not." Then it was that counsel produced the copy of
the vow to build the church in Roger Tichborne's hand, which he had
fortunately given to his cousin on the sorrowful day of their last
parting; and finally there was found and read aloud the letter of
Roger Tichborne to Mr. Gosford, dated January 17th, 1852, in which
occur the precious words, "I have written out my will, and left it
with Mr. Slaughter; the only thing which I have left out is about the
church, which I will only build under the circumstances which I have
left with you in writing." Happily these facts render it unnecessary
to enter upon the question, Whether this story was not wholly
irreconcilable, both with itself and with the ascertained dates and
facts in Roger Tichborne's career?

The estates of Tichborne were not likely to be left undefended either
by the trustees or by the family, who, with the exception of the
Dowager Lady Tichborne, had, with one accord, pronounced the Claimant
an impostor. Accordingly, very soon after his arrival in England, a
gentleman named Mackenzie was despatched to Australia to make
inquiries. Mr. Mackenzie visited Melbourne, Sydney, and Wagga-Wagga,
and up to a certain time was singularly successful in tracing
backwards the career of Thomas Castro. He discovered that, some months
before the Dowager's advertisement for her son had appeared, and Mr.
Gibbes' client had set up his claim, the slaughter-man of Wagga-Wagga
had married an Irish servant-girl named Bryant, who had signed the
marriage register with a cross. He also found that the marriage was
celebrated, not by a Roman Catholic priest, but by a Wesleyan
minister. Searching further he found out that immediately after the
date of the arrival of a letter from the Dowager, informing Mr. Gibbes
that her son was a Roman Catholic, Thomas Castro and Mary Anne Bryant
had again gone through the ceremony of marriage in those names, and on
this occasion the wedding was celebrated in a Roman Catholic chapel.
By applying to Mr. Gibbes, Mr. Mackenzie then discovered that the
Claimant, before leaving Australia, had given instructions for a will,
which was subsequently drawn up and executed by him, in which he
pretended to dispose of the Tichborne estates, and described
properties in various counties, all of which were purely fictitious.
The Tichborne family had not, and never had, any such estates as were
there elaborately set forth, nor did any such estates exist; and the
will contained no bequest, nor indeed any allusion to a solitary
member of Roger's family except his mother, whom it described as Lady
"Hannah Frances Tichborne," though her Christian names were, in fact,
"Henriette Félicité." Mr. Gibbes explained that it was the knowledge
which this document seemed to display of the Tichborne estates and
family which induced him to advance money, and that the Dowager Lady
Tichborne's letters being merely signed "H.F. Tichborne," he had
inserted the Christian names, "Hannah Frances," on the authority of
his client. Lastly, Mr. Mackenzie learnt that there had been a butcher
in Wagga-Wagga named Schottler, and that Higgins's slaughter-man, known
as Tom Castro, had once told some one that he had known Schottler's
family, and lived very near their house when he was a boy. Schottler
had disappeared, but he was believed to have originally come from
London. This information was slight, but it appeared to the shrewd Mr.
Mackenzie to be valuable. If the Schottlers were known to Tom Castro
as neighbours when he was a boy in London, it would seem to be only
necessary to find the Schottler family in order to discover who the
Claimant to the Tichborne estates really was. After much trouble,
though Schottler was not discovered, a clue was found. The solicitor
to the defendants in the Chancery suits obtained old directories of
London, and discovered that there was one Schottler, who had kept a
public-house, called The Ship and Punchbowl, in High Street, Wapping.
In that direction, therefore, inquiries were instituted. The
Schottlers had, it was found, gone and left no trace, but it was easy
to instruct a detective to inquire after old neighbours, to show them
a portrait of the Claimant, and to ask if any one in that locality
recognised the features. At last the man prosecuting inquiries found
himself in the Globe public-house in Wapping, the landlady of which
hostelry at once declared the carte de visite to be a portrait of a
mysterious individual of huge bulk who had visited her on the night of
the previous Christmas day, stayed an hour in her parlour, and made
numerous inquiries after old inhabitants of Wapping. His inquiries
included the Schottlers, and he had particularly wanted the address
of the family of the late Mr. George Orton, a butcher in the High
Street, who answered the description of an old "neighbour of the
Schottlers." The Christmas day referred to was the very day of the
Claimant's arrival in England, and the landlady of the Globe was
positive that the portrait represented her visitor, whoever he might
have been. Moreover, she informed the gentleman that, struck by his
inquiries after the Ortons, she had scanned her mysterious visitor's
features closely, and observed, "Why, you must be an Orton; you are
very like the old gentleman." Three daughters of old George Orton were
then applied to, but they declared that the portrait had no
resemblance to any brother of theirs. Neighbours, however, had
perceived that these persons, who had been extremely poor, had
suddenly shown signs of greatly improved circumstances. Further
inquiry led to the discovery that they had a brother named Charles, "a
humpbacked man," who had been a butcher in a small way, in partnership
with a Mr. Woodgate, in Hermitage Street, Wapping. He had recently
dissolved partnership rather suddenly, but he had previously confided
to Mr. Woodgate the curious information that he had a brother just come
home from Australia, who was entitled to great property, and who had
promised him an allowance of "£5 a month," and £2000 "when he got his
estates." When, after some trouble, Charles Orton was discovered, he
showed signs of being disposed to explain the mystery "if the
solicitors" would promptly "make it worth his while;" but in the very
midst of the inquiry he suddenly vanished from the neighbourhood, and
for a long while all trace of him was lost. Meanwhile, the Claimant
had, by some mysterious means, become aware that these inquiries were
in progress, for he wrote at this period to his confidential friend
Rous, the landlord of the Swan, as follows:--"We find the other side
very busy with another pair of sisters for me. They say I was born in
Wapping. I never remember having been there, but Mr. Holmes tell me it a
very respectiabel part of London." Shortly afterwards two out of the
three daughters of old Mr. Orton made affidavit that the Claimant was
not their brother, nor any relation of theirs; the other sister and
Charles Orton, however, made no affidavit. Four years later the
Claimant confessed that he was, after all, the mysterious visitor at
the Globe public-house on that Christmas eve; that he shortly
afterwards entered into secret correspondence and transactions with
the Orton family; that he gave the sisters money whenever they wrote
to say they were in want of any; and that after the period when
Charles Orton was solicited to give information to "the other side,"
he allowed him £5 a month--Charles Orton, who was then in concealment,
being addressed in their correspondence by the assumed name of
"Brand." The Claimant's explanation of these relations with the Orton
family, which he at first denied, was, that their brother, Arthur
Orton, had been a great friend of his for many years, and in various
parts of Australia, and that hence he was desirous of assisting his
family. At one time he said that his object was to ascertain if his
friend, Arthur Orton, had arrived in England; at another he stated, on
oath, that when he sailed from Australia he left Arthur Orton there.
The solicitors for the defendants in the Chancery suit, however, did
not hesitate to declare their conviction that the pretended Roger
Tichborne was no other than Arthur Orton, youngest son of the late
George Orton, butcher, of High Street, Wapping; that his visit to
Wapping on the very night of his arrival was prompted by curiosity to
know the position of his family, of whom he had not heard for some
years; and that his stealthy transactions with the three sisters, and
with the brother of Arthur Orton, had no object but that of furnishing
them with an inducement to keep the dangerous secret of his true name
and origin.

While all these discoveries were being made, the poor old lady went to
live for a time with her supposed son at Croydon; but even she could
not manage to stay in the extraordinary household, and after a time,
though still strong, despite the advice of her best friends, that the
huge impostor was her son, she left, and gradually becoming weaker and
weaker in body as well as mind, she was, on the 12th of March 1868,
found by a servant dead in a chair, and with no relative or friend at
hand, in a hotel near Portman Square, where she had sought and found a

Amidst much that was vague in the Claimant's account of his past life,
there were, at all events, two statements of a precise and definite
character. These were, first, that he had been at Melipilla, in Chili,
and had there known intimately a man named Thomas Castro, whose name
he had afterwards assumed; and, secondly, that in 1854, he had been
engaged as herdsman to Mr. William Foster, of Boisdale, in Gippsland,
Australia. If he were an impostor, these statements were undoubtedly
imprudent. But they served the purpose of establishing the identity of
his career with that of the man whom he claimed to be, for Roger
Tichborne had, undoubtedly, travelled in Chili; and, according at
least to the tramping sailors' story, embodied in the Dowager's
advertisement, he had been carried thence to Australia. The importance
attached by his supporters to these apparent tokens of identity
sufficiently explains the Claimant's explicitness on these points.
Melipilla is a long way off; and Boisdale is still further. It may
have been supposed that witnesses could not be brought from so far;
but vast interests were at stake, and the defendant in the Chancery
suit speedily applied for Commissions to go out to South America and
Australia to collect information regarding the Claimant's past
history. The proposition was strenuously opposed as vexatious, and
designed merely to create delay, but the Court granted the
application. Then the Claimant asked for an adjournment, on the ground
that he intended to go out and confront the Melipilla folks, including
his intimate friend Don Thomas Castro, before the Commission; and also
to accompany it to Australia. The postponement was granted, a large
sum was raised to defray his expenses, and he finally started with the
Commission, accompanied by counsel and solicitors, bound for
Valparaiso and Melipilla, and finally for Victoria and New South
Wales. When the vessel, however, arrived at Rio. the Claimant went
ashore, declaring that he preferred to go thence to Melipilla
overland. But he never presented himself at that place, and finally
the Commission proceeded to examine witnesses and to record their
testimony, which thus became part of the evidence in the suit. The
Claimant had, in fact, re-embarked at Rio for England, having
abandoned the whole project; for which strange conduct he made various
and conflicting excuses. Even before he had started, circumstances had
occurred which had induced some of his supporters to express doubts
whether he would ever go to Melipilla. When the Commission had become
inevitable, the Claimant had written a letter to his "esteemed friend,
Don Tomas Castro," reminding him of past acquaintance in 1853, sending
kind remembrances to a number of friends, and altogether mentioning at
least sixteen persons with Spanish names whom he had known there. The
purpose of the letter was to inform Don Tomas that he had returned to
England, was claiming "magnificent lands," and in brief to prepare his
old acquaintances to befriend him there. This letter was answered by
Castro through his son Pedro, with numerous good wishes and much
gossip about Melipilla, and what had become of the old circle. But to
the astonishment and dismay of the Claimant's attorney, Mr. Holmes,
Pedro Castro reminded his old correspondent, that when among them he
had gone by the name of Arthur Orton. A Melipilla lady named Ahumada
then sent a portion of a lock of hair which the Claimant acknowledged
as his own hair, and thanked her for. But this lady declared that she
had cut the lock from the head of an English lad named Arthur Orton;
and the Claimant thereupon said that he must have been mistaken in
thanking her, and acknowledging it as his. In the town of
Melipilla--sixty or seventy miles inland from Valparaiso--everyone of
the sixteen or seventeen persons mentioned by the Claimant as old
acquaintances--except those who were dead or gone away--came before
the Commission, and were examined. They proved to have substantially
but one tale to tell. They said they never knew any one of the name of
Tichborne. Melipilla is a remote little towns far off the great high
road, and the only English person, except an English doctor there
established, who had ever sojourned there, was a sailor lad who, not
in 1853, but in 1849, came to them destitute; was kindly treated;
picked up Spanish enough to converse in an illiterate way; said his
name was Arthur, and was always called Arthur by them; declared his
father was "a butcher named Orton, who served the queen;" and said he
had been sent to sea to cure St. Vitus's Dance, but had been ill-used
by the captain, and ran away from his ship at Valparaiso. This lad,
they stated, sojourned in Melipilla eighteen months, and finally went
back to Valparaiso and re-embarked for England. Don Tomas Castro, the
doctor's wife, and others, declared they recognised the features of
this lad in the portrait of the Claimant; and being shown two
daguerreotype portraits of Roger Tichborne, taken in Chili when he was
there, said that the features were not like those of any person they
had ever known. Searches were then made in the records of the consul's
office at Valparaiso, from which it resulted that a sailor named
Arthur Orton did desert from the English ship "Ocean" in that port at
the very date mentioned, and did re-embark, though under the name of
"Joseph M. Orton," about eighteen months later.

To Boisdale, in Australia, the Commission then repaired, and though
this is many thousands of miles from South America, but here similar
discoveries were made. Mr. William Foster, the extensive cattle farmer,
was dead, but the widow still managed his large property. In reference
to the Claimant's statement that in July, 1854, the very day after he
was landed by the vessel which he believed was named the "Osprey," at
Melbourne, he was engaged by Mr. William Foster, and went with him at
once to Gippsland, under the assumed name of Thomas Castro, the lady
declared that her husband did not settle at Boisdale, or have anything
to do with that property till two years later than that date, and that
they never had any herdsman named Thomas Castro. The ledgers and other
account books of Mr. Foster were then examined, but no mention of any
Castro, either in 1854 or at any other time, could be found. On the
other hand, there were numerous entries, extending over the two years
1857 and 1858, of wages paid and rations served out to a herdsman
named Arthur Orton, whom the lady perfectly well remembered, and who
had come to them from Hobart Town.

All these discoveries were confirmed by the registers of shipping,
which showed that Arthur Orton embarked for Valparaiso in 1848,
re-embarked for London in 1851, and sailed again for Hobart Town in
the following year. But there were other significant circumstances.
The ship in which Arthur Orton had returned from Valparaiso was called
the "Jessie Miller," which was the very name which the Claimant in his
solemn declaration, prepared by Mr. Gibbes, gave as the name of the
vessel in which he came out to Australia. In the same document he had
stated the date of his sailing from England as the "28th of November,
1852," and this was now discovered to be the very day, month, and year
on which Arthur Orton embarked in the vessel bound for Hobart Town. Mr.
Foster's widow had specimens of Arthur Orton's writing, and other
mementoes of his two years' service among them, and she unhesitatingly
identified a portrait of the Claimant as that of the same man. Among
other witnesses, a farmer named Hopwood deposed that he had known
Arthur Orton at Boisdale under that name, and again at Wagga-Wagga
under his assumed name of Thomas Castro. At Wagga-Wagga the will
executed by the Claimant, and already referred to, was produced, and
it was found that amidst all its fictitious names and imaginary
Tichborne estates, it appointed as trustees two gentlemen residing in
Dorsetshire, England, who have since been discovered to have been
intimate friends of old Mr. Orton, the butcher. The testimony on the
Claimant's behalf before the Commission threw but little light. It
consisted chiefly of vague stories of his having spoken when in
Australia of being entitled to large possessions, and of having been
an officer in the army, and stationed in Ireland. Such testimony
could, of course, have little weight against the statements of the
Claimant in writing, made just before embarking at Sydney, with a
view of satisfying capitalists of his identity, and betraying total
ignorance of Roger Tichborne's military life.

While these exposures were being made abroad, matters at home began to
look very bad for the Claimant. Charles Orton, the brother of Arthur,
called upon the solicitors for "the other side," and volunteered to
give information. In the presence of Lord Arundel and other
witnesses, this man then stated that the Claimant of the Tichborne
estates was his brother Arthur, that he had been induced by him to
change his name to Brand, and to remain in concealment, that in return
the Claimant had allowed him £5 per month; but that, since his
departure for Chili, the allowance had ceased. Letters of Charles
Orton to the Claimant's wife, asking whether "Sir Roger Tichborne,
before he went away, left anything for a party of the name of Brand,"
have been found and published; and this same Charles has, since the
conviction of the Claimant, put forth a statement of the whole matter,
so far as he was concerned. Under these circumstances, Mr. Holmes
withdrew from the case, and the county gentlemen who, relying in great
measure on Lady Tichborne's recognition, and the numerous affidavits
that had been made, had supported the Claimant, held a meeting at the
Swan, at Alresford, at which, among other documents, certain
mysterious letters to the Orton sisters were produced. These letters
were signed, "W.H. Stephens," and they contained inquiries after the
Orton family, and also after Miss Mary Anne Loader, who was an old
sweetheart of Arthur Orton's, long resident in Wapping. They enclosed
as portraits of Arthur Orton's wife and child, certain photographic
likenesses which were clearly portraits of the Claimant's wife and
child; and though they purported to be written by "W.H. Stephens," a
friend of Arthur Orton's just arrived from Australia, it was suspected
that the letters--which were evidently in a feigned hand--were really
written by the Claimant. They manifested that desire for information
about Wapping folks, and particularly the Ortons, which the Claimant
was known to have exhibited on more occasions than one; and they
indicated a wish to get this information by a ruse, and without
permitting the writer to be seen. But the correspondence showed that
the sisters of Orton had discovered, or at least believed that they
had discovered, that the writer was in truth their brother Arthur. The
Claimant, however, being called in and questioned, solemnly affirmed
that the letters were "forgeries," designed by his enemies to "ruin
his cause." Nor was it until he was pressed in cross-examination,
three years later, that he reluctantly confessed that his charges of
forgery were false; and that, in fact, he, and no one else, had
written the Stephens' letters. The Claimant's solemn assurances did
not convince all his supporters at the meeting at the Swan, but they
satisfied some; and funds were still found for prosecuting the
Chancery, and next the great Common Law suit which was technically an
action for the purpose of ejecting Col. Lushington from Tichborne
house, which had been let to him. Col. Lushington was then a supporter
of the Claimant, and had not the least objection to be ejected. But
the action at once raised the question whether the Claimant had a
right to eject him. Of course that depended on whether he was, or was
not, the young man who was so long believed to have perished in the
"Bella;" and accordingly this was the issue that the jury had to try
on Thursday, the 11th of May, 1871, that Sergeant Ballantine rose to
address the jury on behalf of the Claimant, and it was not until the
6th of March, 1872, that the trial was concluded--the proceedings
having extended to 103 days. On both sides a large number of witnesses
were examined, many being persons of respectability, while some were
of high station. The military witnesses for the Claimant were very
numerous; and among them were five of Roger Tichborne's old brother
officers, the rest being sergeants, corporals, and privates. There
were Australian witnesses, and medical witnesses, old servants,
tenants of the Tichborne family, and numerous other persons. With the
exception of two remote connexions, however, no members of the
numerous families of Tichborne and Seymour presented themselves to
support the plaintiffs claims; and even the two gentlemen referred to
admitted that their acquaintance with Roger was slight, and that it
was in his youth; and finally, that they had not recognised the
features of the Claimant, but had merely inferred his identity from
some circumstances he had been able to mention. The plaintiffs case
was almost entirely unsupported by documentary evidence, and rested
chiefly on the impressions or the memory of witnesses, or on their
conclusions drawn from circumstances, which often, when they were
inquired into in cross-examination, proved to be altogether

But the cross-examination of the Claimant himself was really the
turning-point of the trial. It extended over twenty-seven days, and
embraced the whole history of Roger Tichborne's life, his alleged
rescue, the life in Australia, and all subsequent proceedings. Besides
this, matters connected with the Orton case were inquired into. Much
that was calculated to alarm supporters of the Claimant was elicited.
He was compelled to admit that he had no confirmation to offer of his
strange story of the rescue, and that he could produce no survivor of
the "Osprey," nor any one of the crew of the "Bella" alleged to have
been rescued with him. The mere existence of such a vessel was not
evidenced by any shipping register or gazette, or custom-house record.
It was moreover admitted that he had changed his story--had for a
whole year given up the "Osprey," and said the vessel was the
"Themis," and finally returned to the "Osprey" again. All the strange
circumstances of the Wagga-Wagga will, the Gibbes and Cubitt
correspondence, the furtive transactions with the Orton family, the
curious revelations of the commissions in South America and Australia,
were acknowledged, and either left unexplained or explained in a way
which was evasive, inconsistent, and contradictory. His accounts of
his relations with Arthur Orton were also vague, and his attempts to
support his assertion that Castro and Orton were not one and the same,
but different persons, were unsatisfactory, while by his own
confession his habitual associates in Australia had been highway
robbers and other persons of the vilest class. With regard to his
life in Paris he admitted that his mind was "a blank," and he
confessed that he could not read a line of Roger Tichborne's letters
in French. He gave answers which evidenced gross ignorance on all the
matters which Roger's letters and other evidence showed that he had
studied. He said he did not think Euclid was connected with
mathematics, though Roger had passed an examination in Euclid; and
that he believed that a copy of Virgil handed to him was "Greek,"
which it doubtless was to him. He was compelled again and again to
admit that statements he had deliberately made were absolutely false.
When questioned with regard to that most impressive of all episodes in
Roger's life, his love for his cousin, now Lady Radcliffe, he showed
himself unacquainted not merely with precise dates, but with the broad
outline of the story and the order of events. His answers on these
matters were again confused, and wholly irreconcilable. Yet the
Solicitor-General persisting for good reasons in interrogating him on
the slanderous story of the sealed packet, he was compelled to repeat
in Court, though with considerable variations, what he had long ago
caused to be bruited abroad. Mrs. (she was not then Lady) Radcliffe, by
her own wish, sat in Court beside her husband, confronting the false
witness, and they had the satisfaction of hearing him convicted, out
of his own mouth, and by the damnatory evidence of documents of
undisputed authenticity, of a deliberate series of abominable
inventions. It was during the course of this trial that the
pocket-book left behind by the Claimant at Wagga-Wagga was brought to
England. It was found to contain what appeared to be early attempts at
Tichborne signatures, in the form "Rodger Charles Titchborne," besides
such entries as "R.C.T., Bart., Tichborne Hall, Surrey, England,
G.B.;" and among other curious memoranda in the Claimant's handwriting
was the name and address, in full, of Arthur Orton's old sweetheart,
at Wapping--the "respectiabel place" of which he had assured his
supporters in England that he had not the slightest knowledge. The
exposure of Mr. Baigent's unscrupulous partisanship by Mr. Hawkins, and
the address to the jury by Sir John Coleridge, followed in due course,
and then a few family witnesses, including Lady Radcliffe, were heard,
who deposed, among many other matters, to the famous tattoo marks on
Roger's arm; and, finally, the jury declared that they were satisfied.
Then the Claimant's advisers, to avoid the inevitable verdict for
their opponents, elected to be non-suit. But, notwithstanding these
tactics, Lord Chief-Justice Bovill, under his warrant, immediately
committed the Claimant to Newgate, on a charge of wilful and corrupt

Those who fondly hoped that the great Tichborne imposture had now for
ever broken down, and that the last in public had been seen of the
perjured villain, were mistaken, as, after a few weeks in Newgate, the
Claimant was released on bail in the sum of £10,000--his sureties
being Earl Rivers, Mr. Guildford Onslow, M.P., Mr. Whalley, M.P., and Mr.
Alban Attwood, a medical man residing at Bayswater. Now began that
systematic agitation on the Claimant's behalf, and those public
appeals for subscriptions, which were so remarkable a feature of the
thirteen months' interval between the civil and the criminal trial.
The Tichborne Romance, as it was called, had made the name of the
Claimant famous; and sightseers throughout the kingdom were anxious to
get a glimpse of "Sir Roger." It was true his case had entirely broken
down, but the multitude were struck by the fact that he could still
appear on platforms with exciteable members of Parliament to speak for
him, and could even find a lord to be his surety. It was not everyone
who, in reading the long cross-examination of the Claimant, had been
able to see the significance of the admissions which he was compelled
to make; and owing to the Claimant's counsel stopping the case on the
hint of the jury, the other side of the story had really not been
heard; and this fact was made an argument in the Claimant's favour.
Meanwhile, the propagandism continued until there was hardly a town in
the kingdom in which Sir Roger Charles Tichborne, Bart., had not
appeared on platforms, and addressed crowded meetings; while Mr.
Guildford Onslow and Mr. Whalley were generally present to deliver
foolish and inflammatory harangues. At theatres and music halls, at
pigeon matches and open-air _fêtes_, the Claimant was perseveringly
exhibited; and while the other side preserved a decorous silence, the
public never ceased to hear the tale of his imaginary wrongs. _The
Tichborne Gazette_, the sole function of which was to excite the
public mind still further, appeared; and the newspapers contained long
lists of subscribers to the Tichborne defence fund. This unexampled
system of creating prejudice with regard to a great trial still
pending was permitted to continue long after the criminal trial had
commenced. There had been proceedings, it is true, for contempt
against the Claimant and his supporters, Mr. Onslow, Mr. Whalley, and Mr.
Skipworth, and fine and imprisonment were inflicted; but the agitation
continued, violent attacks were made upon witnesses, and even upon the
judges then engaged in trying the case, and at length the Court was
compelled peremptorily to forbid all appearances of the Claimant at
public meetings.

The great "Trial at Bar," presided over by Sir Alexander Cockburn,
Lord Chief-Justice of the Queen's Bench, Mr. Justice Mellor, and Mr.
Justice Lush, commenced on the 23d of April, 1873, and ended on the
28th of February 1874--a period of a little over ten months. On the
side of the prosecution 212 witnesses gave their testimony; but the
documentary evidence, including the enormous mass of Roger Tichborne's
letters, so valuable as exhibiting the character, the pursuits, the
thoughts, and feelings of the writer, were scarcely less important.
The entire Tichborne and Seymour families may be said to have given
their testimony against the defendant. Lady Doughty had passed away
from the troubled scene since the date of the last trial; but she had
been examined and cross-examined on her death bed, and had then
repeated the evidence which she gave on the previous occasion, and
declared that the Claimant was an impostor. Lady Radcliffe again
appeared in the witness-box, and told her simple story, confirmed as
it was in all important particulars by the correspondence and other
records. Old Paris friends and acquaintances were unanimous. Father
Lefevre and the venerable Abbé Salis, Chatillon the tutor and his
wife, and numerous others, declared this man was not Roger Tichborne,
and exposed his ignorance both of them and their past transactions.
When questioned, the defendant had sworn that his father never had a
servant named Gossein; but the letters of Sir James were shown to
contain numerous allusions to "my faithful Gossein," and Gossein
himself came into the witness-box and told how he had known Roger
Tichborne from the cradle to his boyhood, and from his boyhood to the
very hour of his going on his travels. On the Orton question, nearly
fifty witnesses declared their conviction that the defendant sitting
then before them was the butcher's son whom they had known in Wapping.
The witnesses from Australia and from South America unhesitatingly
identified the defendant with Orton; but it is more important to
observe, that their testimony was supported by records and documents
of various kinds, including the ledgers of Mr. Foster of Boisdale,
letters under the defendant's own hand, and writings which it could
not be denied were from the hand of Arthur Orton.

On the other side, the witnesses were still more numerous. They
included a great number of persons from Wapping, who swore they did
not recognise in the defendant the lad whom they had known as Arthur
Orton. Many others swore they had known both Orton and the defendant
in Australia, and that they were different persons, but their stories
were irreconcilable with each other, and were moreover in direct
conflict with the statements of the Claimant on oath, while several of
these witnesses were persons of proved bad character, and unworthy of
belief. Great numbers of Carabineers declared that the defendant was
exactly like their old officer; but while ten officers of that
regiment appeared for the prosecution, and positively affirmed that
the defendant was not Roger Tichborne, only two officers gave
testimony on the other side; and even these admitted that they had
doubts. Eight years had elapsed since Mr. Gibbes fancied he had
discovered Sir Roger at Wagga-Wagga, but still no Arthur Orton was
forthcoming; nor did the sisters of Orton venture to come forward on
behalf of the man who had been compelled to admit having taken them
into his pay. Not only was the Claimant's story of his wreck and
rescue shown to be absurd and impossible, but it was unsupported by
any evidence, except vague recollections of witnesses having seen an
"Osprey" and some shipwrecked sailors at Melbourne in July, 1854; and
it was admitted that if their tale were true the phantom vessel and
the fact of its picking up nine precious lives must have escaped the
notice of Lloyd's agents, of custom-house officers, and of the
Australian newspapers. More, the Claimant's "Osprey" must have escaped
the notice of such authorities in every port which she had entered
from the day that she was launched. So, indeed, the matter stood until
the witness Luie, the "pretended steward of the 'Osprey'" swore to his
strange story, as well as to the defendant's recognition of him by
name as an old friend. The Luie episode, terminating in the
identification of that infamous witness as an habitual criminal and
convict named Lundgren, only recently released on a ticket-of-leave,
together with the complete disproof of his elaborate "Osprey" story,
is familiar to the public. It was a significant fact, that other
witnesses for the defence were admitted to be associates of this
rascal; while one of the most conspicuous of all--a man calling
himself "Captain" Brown--had pretended to corroborate portions of
Luie's evidence which are now proved to be false.

Some allowance may perhaps be made in the defendant's favour for the
singularly unskilful and damaging character of his counsel Dr.
Kenealy's two addresses to the jury, which occupied no less than
forty-three entire days. This barrister not only made violent personal
attacks on every witness of importance for the prosecution, without,
as the judges observed, "any shadow of foundation," but he assailed
his own client with a vehemence and a persistence which are without
parallel in the case of an advocate defending a person against a
charge of perjury. He gave up statements of the defendant at almost
every period of his extraordinary story as "false;" declared them to
be "moonshine;" expressed his conviction that no sensible person could
for a moment believe them; acknowledged that to attempt to verify them
in the face of the evidence, or even to reconcile them with each
other, would be hopeless; set some down as "arrant nonsense,"
denounced others as "Munchausenisms," and recommended the jury "not to
believe them" with a heartiness which would have been perfectly
natural in the mouth of Mr. Hawkins, but which, coming from counsel for
the defence, was, as one of the learned judges remarked, "strange
indeed." But the doctrine of the learned gentleman was, that the very
extent of the perjury should be his client's protection, because it
showed that he was not a man "to be tried by ordinary standards."
When, in addition to this, he laboured day after day to persuade the
jury that Roger Tichborne was a drunkard, a liar, a fool, an undutiful
son, an ungrateful friend, and an abandoned libertine--declared in
loud and impassioned tones that he would "strip this jay of his
borrowed plumes," and indignantly repudiated the notion that the man
his client claimed to be had one single good quality about him, the
humour of the situation may be said to have reached its climax. Yet Dr.
Kenealy at least proved his sincerity by not only insinuating charges
against the gentleman who disappeared with the "Bella," but by
actually calling witnesses to contradict point blank statements of his
own client which lay at the very foundation of the charges of perjury
against him. There were, it is true, many unthinking persons of the
kind that mistake sound for sense, who considered Dr. Kenealy a vastly
clever fellow. If he be so, then the world in general, and the
constitution of the English bar in particular, are wrong; but anyhow
one thing is certain, that the counsel damaged the case materially,
and showed himself eminently unfitted for the position of leader. Mr.
Hawkins' powerful address quickly disposed of Dr. Kenealy and his
crotchets. The inquiry was raised into a calmer height when the Lord
Chief-Justice commenced his memorable summing up, going minutely
through the vast mass of testimony--depicting the true character of
Roger Tichborne from the rich mine of materials before him,
contrasting it with that of the defendant as shown by the evidence,
and, while giving due weight to the testimony in his favour, exposing
hundreds of examples of the falsity of his statements made upon oath.
The verdict of Guilty had been anticipated by all who paid attention
to the evidence. The foreman publicly declared that there was no doubt
in the mind of any juryman that the man who has for eight years
assumed the name and title of the gentleman whose unhappy story is
recorded in these pages is an impostor who has added slander of the
wickedest kind to his many other crimes. But not only were they
satisfied of this; they were equally agreed as to his being Arthur
Orton. The sentence of fourteen years' penal servitude followed, and
was assuredly not too heavy a punishment for offences so enormous. Yet
there are others still at large, who, having aided the impostor with
advice and money, should not be allowed to escape, while the more
clumsy scoundrel suffers the award of detected infamy.

Thus ended the great Tichborne impersonation case, the most remarkable
feature in which was, not that a rude ignorant butcher should proclaim
himself a baronet, but that thousands of persons sane in every other
respect should have gone crazy about him, and should, despite the
evidence given--sufficient many hundreds of times told, or for any
reasonable being--even now persist that Roger Tichborne still lives,
and is the victim of a gross conspiracy. What need is there to point
out the idiotcy of such ravings? What necessity ever to contradict
statements which contradict themselves?

       *       *       *       *       *

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Celebrated Claimants from Perkin Warbeck to Arthur Orton" ***

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