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Title: Historical Mysteries
Author: Lang, Andrew, 1844-1912
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Historical Mysteries" ***

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[All rights reserved]

[Illustration: William Smith 1754 Pinx. Mac Ardell. Mezzo.

Elizabeth Canning.

London: Smith, Elder & Co., 15 Waterloo Place, S.W.]


These Essays, which appeared, with two exceptions, in _The Cornhill
Magazine_, 1904, have been revised, and some alterations, corrections,
and additions have been made in them. 'Queen Oglethorpe,' in which
Miss Alice Shield collaborated, doing most of the research, is
reprinted by the courteous permission of the editor, from _Blackwood's
Magazine_. A note on 'The End of Jeanne de la Motte,' has been added
as a sequel to 'The Cardinal's Necklace:' it appeared in _The Morning
Post_, the Editor kindly granting leave to republish.

The author wishes to acknowledge the able assistance of Miss E.M.
Thompson, who made researches for him in the British Museum and at the
Record Office.



I. THE CASE OF ELIZABETH CANNING                             1

II. THE MURDER OF ESCOVEDO                                  32

III. THE CAMPDEN MYSTERY                                    55

IV. THE CASE OF ALLAN BRECK                                 75

V. THE CARDINAL'S NECKLACE                                  99


VII. THE GOWRIE CONSPIRACY                                 143


IX. THE CASE OF CAPTAIN GREEN                              193

X. QUEEN OGLETHORPE (_in collaboration with Miss
     Alice Shield_)                                        214

XI. THE CHEVALIER D'ÉON                                    238

XII. SAINT-GERMAIN THE DEATHLESS                           256

XIII. THE MYSTERY OF THE KIRKS                             277

XIV. THE END OF JEANNE DE LA MOTTE                         297





    Don't let your poor little
      Lizzie be blamed!


'Everyone has heard of the case of Elizabeth Canning,' writes Mr. John
Paget; and till recently I agreed with him. But five or six years ago
the case of Elizabeth Canning repeated itself in a marvellous way, and
then but few persons of my acquaintance had ever heard of that
mysterious girl.

The recent case, so strange a parallel to that of 1753, was this: In
Cheshire lived a young woman whose business in life was that of a
daily governess. One Sunday her family went to church in the morning,
but she set off to skate, by herself, on a lonely pond. She was never
seen of or heard of again till, in the dusk of the following Thursday,
her hat was found outside of the door of her father's farmyard. Her
friend discovered her further off in a most miserable condition,
weak, emaciated, and with her skull fractured. Her explanation was
that a man had seized her on the ice, or as she left it, had dragged
her across the fields, and had shut her up in a house, from which she
escaped, crawled to her father's home, and, when she found herself
unable to go further, tossed her hat towards the farm door. Neither
such a man as she described, nor the house in which she had been
imprisoned, was ever found. The girl's character was excellent,
nothing pointed to her condition being the result _d'une orgie
échevelée_; but the neighbours, of course, made insinuations, and a
lady of my acquaintance, who visited the girl's mother, found herself
almost alone in placing a charitable construction on the adventure.

My theory was that the girl had fractured her skull by a fall on the
ice, had crawled to and lain in an unvisited outhouse of the farm, and
on that Thursday night was wandering out, in a distraught state, not
wandering in. Her story would be the result of her cerebral
condition--concussion of the brain.

It was while people were discussing this affair, a second edition of
Elizabeth Canning's, that one found out how forgotten was Elizabeth.

On January 1, 1753, Elizabeth was in her eighteenth year. She was the
daughter of a carpenter in Aldermanbury; her mother, who had four
younger children, was a widow, very poor, and of the best character.
Elizabeth was short of stature, ruddy of complexion, and, owing to an
accident in childhood--the falling of a garret ceiling on her
head--was subject to fits of unconsciousness on any alarm. On learning
this, the mind flies to hysteria, with its accompaniment of diabolical
falseness, for an explanation of her adventure. But hysteria does not
serve the turn. The girl had been for years in service with a Mr.
Wintlebury, a publican. He gave her the highest character for honesty
and reserve; she did not attend to the customers at the bar, she kept
to herself, she had no young man, and she only left Wintlebury's for a
better place--at a Mr. Lyon's, a near neighbour of her mother. Lyon, a
carpenter, corroborated, as did all the neighbours, on the points of
modesty and honesty.

On New Year's Day, 1753, Elizabeth wore her holiday best--'a purple
masquerade stuff gown, a white handkerchief and apron, a black quilted
petticoat, a green undercoat, black shoes, blue stockings, a white
shaving hat with green ribbons,' and 'a very ruddy colour.' She had
her wages, or Christmas-box, in her pocket--a golden half guinea in a
little box, with three shillings and a few coppers, including a
farthing. The pence she gave to three of her little brothers and
sisters. One boy, however, 'had huffed her,' and got no penny. But she
relented, and, when she went out, bought for him a mince-pie. Her
visit of New Year's Day was to her maternal aunt, Mrs. Colley, living
at Saltpetre Bank (Dock Street, behind the London Dock). She meant to
return in time to buy, with her mother, a cloak, but the Colleys had a
cold early dinner, and kept her till about 9 P.M. for a hot supper.

Already, at 9 P.M., Mr. Lyon had sent to Mrs. Canning's to make
inquiries; the girl was not wont to stay out so late on a holiday.
About 9 P.M., in fact, the two Colleys were escorting Elizabeth as far
as Houndsditch.

The rest is mystery!

On Elizabeth's non-arrival Mrs. Canning sent her lad, a little after
ten, to the Colleys, who were in bed. The night was passed in anxious
search, to no avail; by six in the morning inquiries were vainly
renewed. Weeks went by. Mrs. Canning, aided by the neighbours,
advertised in the papers, mentioning a report of shrieks heard from a
coach in Bishopsgate Street in the small morning hours of January 2.
The mother, a Churchwoman, had prayers put up at several churches, and
at Mr. Wesley's chapel. She also consulted a cheap 'wise man,' whose
aspect alarmed her, but whose wisdom took the form of advising her to
go on advertising. It was later rumoured that he said the girl was in
the hands of 'an old black woman,' and would return; but Mrs. Canning
admitted nothing of all this. Sceptics, with their usual acuteness,
maintained that the disappearance was meant to stimulate charity, and
that the mother knew where the daughter was; or, on the other hand,
the daughter had fled to give birth to a child in secret, or for
another reason incident to 'the young and gay,' as one of the counsel
employed euphemistically put the case. The medical evidence did not
confirm these suggestions. Details are needless, but these theories
were certainly improbable. The character of La Pucelle was not more
stainless than Elizabeth's.

About 10.15 P.M. on January 29, on the Eve of the Martyrdom of King
Charles--as the poor women dated it--Mrs. Canning was on her knees,
praying--so said her apprentice--that she might behold even if it were
but an apparition of her daughter; such was her daily prayer. It was
as in Wordsworth's _Affliction of Margaret_:

    I look for ghosts, but none will force
      Their way to me; 'tis falsely said
    That ever there was intercourse
      Between the living and the dead!

At that moment there was a sound at the door. The 'prentice opened it,
and was aghast; the mother's prayer seemed to be answered, for there,
bleeding, bowed double, livid, ragged, with a cloth about her head,
and clad in a dirty dressing-jacket and a filthy draggled petticoat,
was Elizabeth Canning. She had neglected her little brother that
'huffed her' on New Year's Day, but she had been thinking of him, and
now she gave her mother for him all that she had--the farthing!

You see that I am on Elizabeth's side: that farthing touch, and
another, with the piety, honesty, loyalty, and even the superstition
of her people, have made me her partisan, as was Mr. Henry Fielding,
the well-known magistrate.

Some friends were sent for, Mrs. Myers, Miss Polly Lyon, daughter of
her master, and others; while busybodies flocked in, among them one
Robert Scarrat, a toiler, who had no personal knowledge of Elizabeth.
A little wine was mulled; the girl could not swallow it, emaciated as
she was. Her condition need not be described in detail, but she was
very near her death, as the medical evidence, and that of a midwife
(who consoled Mrs. Canning on one point), proves beyond possibility of

The girl told her story; but what did she tell? Mr. Austin Dobson, in
_The Dictionary of National Biography_, says that her tale 'gradually
took shape under the questions of sympathising neighbours,' and
certainly, on some points, she gave affirmative answers to leading
questions asked by Robert Scarrat. The difficulty is that the
neighbours' accounts of what Elizabeth said in her woful condition
were given when the girl was tried for perjury in April-May 1754. We
must therefore make allowance for friendly bias and mythopoeic
memory. On January 31, 1753, Elizabeth made her statement before
Alderman Chitty, and the chief count against her is that what she told
Chitty did not tally with what the neighbours, in May 1754, swore that
she told them when she came home on January 29, 1753. This point is
overlooked by Mr. Paget in his essay on the subject.[1]

[Footnote 1: _Puzzles and Paradoxes_, pp. 317-336, Blackwoods, 1874.]

On the other hand, by 1754 the town was divided into two factions,
believers and disbelievers in Elizabeth; and Chitty was then a
disbeliever. Chitty took but a few notes on January 31, 1753. 'I did
not make it so distinct as I could wish, not thinking it could be the
subject of so much inquiry,' he admitted in 1754. Moreover, the notes
which he then produced were _not_ the notes which he made at the time,
'but what I took since from that paper I took then' (January 31, 1753)
'of hers and other persons that were brought before me.' This is not
intelligible, and is not satisfactory. If Elizabeth handed in a paper,
Chitty should have produced it in 1754. If he took notes of the
evidence, why did he not produce the original notes?

These notes, made when, and from what source, is vague, bear that
Elizabeth's tale was this: At a dead wall by Bedlam, in Moorfields,
about ten P.M., on January 1, 1753, two men stripped her of gown,
apron, and hat, robbed her of thirteen shillings and sixpence, 'struck
her, stunned her, and pushed her along Bishopsgate Street.' She lost
consciousness--one of her 'fits'--and recovered herself (near Enfield
Wash). Here she was taken to a house, later said to be 'Mother
Wells's,' where 'several persons' were. Chitty, unluckily, does not
say what sort of persons, and on that point all turns. She was asked
'to do as they did,' 'a woman forced her upstairs into a room, and cut
the lace of her stays,' told her there were bread and water in the
room, and that her throat would be cut if she came out. The door was
locked on her. (There was no lock; the door was merely bolted.) She
lived on fragments of a quartern loaf and water '_in a pitcher_,' with
the mince-pie bought for her naughty little brother. She escaped about
four in the afternoon of January 29. In the room were 'an old stool or
two, _an old picture_ over the chimney,' two windows, an old table,
and so on. She forced a pane in a window, 'and got out on a small shed
of boards or penthouse,' and so slid to the ground. She did not say,
the alderman added, that there was any hay in the room. Of bread there
were 'four or five' or 'five or six pieces.' '_She never mentioned the
name of Wells._' Some one else did that at a venture. 'She said she
could tell nothing of the woman's name.' The alderman issued a warrant
against this Mrs. Wells, apparently on newspaper suggestion.

The chief points against Elizabeth were that, when Wells's place was
examined, there was no penthouse to aid an escape, and no old picture.
But, under a wretched kind of bed, supporting the thing, was a
picture, on wood, of a Crown. Madam Wells had at one time used this
loyal emblem as a sign, she keeping a very ill-famed house of call.
But, in December 1745, when certain Highland and Lowland gentlemen
were accompanying bonny Prince Charlie towards the metropolis, Mrs.
Wells removed into a room the picture of the Crown, as being apt to
cause political emotions. This sign may have been 'the old picture.'
As to hay, there _was_ hay in the room later searched; but penthouse
there was none.

That is the worst point in the alderman's notes, of whatever value
these enigmatic documents may be held.

One Nash, butler to the Goldsmiths' Company, was present at the
examination before Chitty on January 31, 1753. He averred, in May
1754, what Chitty did not, that Elizabeth spoke of the place of her
imprisonment as 'a little, square, darkish room,' with 'a few old
pictures.' Here the _one_ old picture of the notes is better evidence,
if the notes are evidence, than Nash's memory. But I find that he was
harping on 'a few old pictures' as early as March 1753. Elizabeth said
she hurt her ear in getting out of the window, and, in fact, it was
freshly cut and bleeding when she arrived at home.

All this of Nash is, so far, the better evidence, as next day,
February 1, 1753, when a most tumultuous popular investigation of the
supposed house of captivity was made, he says that he and others,
finding the dungeon not to be square, small, and darkish, but a long,
narrow slit of a loft, half full of hay, expressed disbelief. Yet it
was proved that he went on suggesting to Lyon, Elizabeth's master,
that people should give money to Elizabeth, and 'wished him success.'
The proof was a letter of his, dated February 10, 1753. Also, Nash,
and two like-minded friends, hearing Elizabeth perjure herself, as
they thought, at the trial of Mrs. Wells (whom Elizabeth never
mentioned to Chitty), did not give evidence against her--on the most
absurdly flimsy excuses. One man was so horrified that, in place of
denouncing the perjury, he fled incontinent! Another went to a dinner,
and Nash to Goldsmiths' Hall, to his duties as butler. Such was then
the vigour of their scepticism.

On the other hand, at the trial in 1754 the neighbours reported
Elizabeth's tale as told on the night when she came home, more dead
than alive. Mrs. Myers had known Elizabeth for eleven years, 'a very
sober, honest girl as any in England.' Mrs. Myers found her livid, her
fingers 'stood crooked;' Mrs. Canning, Mrs. Woodward, and Polly Lyon
were then present, and Mrs. Myers knelt beside Elizabeth to hear her
story. It was as Chitty gave it, till the point where she was carried
into a house. The 'several persons' there, she said, were 'an elderly
woman and two young ones.' Her stays were cut by the old woman. She
was then thrust upstairs into a room, wherein was _hay_, _a pitcher of
water_, and bread in pieces. Bread may have been brought in, water
too, while she slept, a point never noted in the trials. She 'heard
the name of Mother Wills, or Wells, mentioned.'

Now Scarrat, in 1754, said that he, being present on January 29, 1753,
and hearing of the house, 'offered to bet a guinea to a farthing that
it was Mother Wells's.' But Mrs. Myers believed that Elizabeth had
mentioned hearing that name earlier; and Mrs. Myers must have heard
Scarrat, if he suggested it, before Elizabeth named it. The point is

Mrs. Woodward was in Mrs. Canning's room a quarter of an hour after
Elizabeth's arrival. The girl said she was almost starved to death in
a house on the Hertfordshire road, which she knew by seeing the
Hertford coach, with which she was familiar, go by. The woman who cut
her stays was 'a tall, black, swarthy woman.' Scarrat said 'that was
not Mrs. Wells,' which was fair on Scarrat's part. Elizabeth described
the two young women as being one fair, the other dark; so Scarrat
swore. Wintlebury, her old master, and several others corroborated.

If these accounts by Mrs. Myers, Mrs. Woodward, Scarrat, Wintlebury,
and others are trustworthy, then Elizabeth Canning's narrative is
true, for she found the two girls, the tall, swarthy woman, the hay,
and the broken water-pitcher, and almost everything else that she had
mentioned on January 29, at Mother Wells's house when it was visited
on February 1. But we must remember that most accounts of what
Elizabeth said on January 29 and on January 31 are fifteen months
after date, and are biassed on both sides.

To Mother Wells's the girl was taken on February 1, in what a company!
The coach, or cab, was crammed full, some friends walked, several
curious citizens rode, and, when Elizabeth arrived at the house, Nash,
the butler, and other busybodies had made a descent on it. The officer
with the warrant was already there. Lyon, Aldridge, and Hague were
with Nash in a cab, and were met by others 'riding hard,' who had
seized the people found at Mrs. Wells's. There was a rabble of persons
on foot and on horse about the door.

On entering the doorway the parlour was to your left, the house
staircase in front of you, on your right the kitchen, at the further
end thereof was a door, and, when that was opened, a flight of stairs
led to a long slit of a loft which, Nash later declared, did not
answer to Elizabeth's description, especially as there was hay, and,
before Chitty, Elizabeth had mentioned none. There was a filthy kind
of bed, on which now slept a labourer and his wife, Fortune and Judith
Natus. Nash kept talking about the hay, and one Adamson rode to meet
Elizabeth, and came back saying that she said there _was_ hay. By
Adamson's account he only asked her, 'What kind of place was it?' and
she said, 'A wild kind of place with hay in it,' as in the neighbours'
version of her first narrative. Mrs. Myers, who was in the coach,
corroborated Adamson.

The point of the sceptics was that till Adamson rode back to her on
her way to Wells's house she had never mentioned hay. They argued that
Adamson had asked her, 'Was there hay in the room?' and that she,
taking the hint, had said 'Yes!' By May 1754 Adamson and Mrs. Myers,
who was in the cab with Elizabeth, would believe that Adamson had
asked 'What kind of place is it?' and that Elizabeth then spoke,
without suggestion, of the hay. The point would be crucial, but nobody
in 1754 appears to have remembered that on February 21, three weeks
after the event, at the trial of Mother Wells, Adamson had given
exactly the same evidence as in May 1754. 'I returned to meet her, and
asked her about the room. She described the room with some hay in it
... an odd sort of an empty room.'

Arriving at Mother Wells's, Elizabeth, very faint, was borne in and
set on a dresser in the kitchen. Why did she not at once say, 'My room
was up the stairs, beyond the door at the further end of the room'? I
know not, unless she was dazed, as she well might be. Next she, with a
mob of the curious, was carried into the parlour, where were all the
inmates of the house. She paid no attention to Mrs. Wells, but at once
picked out a tall old woman huddled over the fire smoking a pipe. She
did this, by the sceptical Nash's evidence, instantly and without
hesitation. The old woman rose. She was 'tall and swarthy,' a gipsy,
and according to all witnesses inconceivably hideous, her underlip was
'the size of a small child's arm,' and she was marked with some
disease. 'Pray look at this face,' she said; 'I think God never made
such another.' She was named Mary Squires. She added that on January 1
she was in Dorset--'at Abbotsbury,' said her son George, who was

In 1754 thirty-six people testified to Mary Squires's presence in
Dorset, or to meeting her on her way to London, while twenty-seven, at
Enfield alone, swore as positively that they had seen her and her
daughter at or near Mrs. Wells's, and had conversed with her, between
December 18, 1752, and the middle of January. Some of the Enfield
witnesses were of a more prosperous and educated class than the
witnesses for the gipsy. Many, on both sides, had been eager to swear,
indeed, many had made affidavits as early as March 1753.

This business of the cross-swearing is absolutely inexplicable; on
both sides the same entire certainty was exhibited, as a rule, yet the
woman was unmistakable, as she justly remarked. The gipsy, at all
events, had her _alibi_ ready at once; her denial was as prompt and
unhesitating as Elizabeth's accusation. But, if guilty, she had
enjoyed plenty of time since the girl's escape to think out her line
of defence. If guilty, it was wiser to allege an _alibi_ than to
decamp when Elizabeth made off, for she could not hope to escape
pursuit. George Squires, her son, so prompt with his 'at Abbotsbury on
January 1,' could not tell, in May 1754, where he had passed the
Christmas Day before that New Year's Day, and Christmas is a notable
day. Elizabeth also recognised in Lucy Squires, the gipsy's daughter,
and in Virtue Hall, the two girls, dark and fair, who were present
when her stays were cut.

After the recognition, Elizabeth was carried through the house, and,
according to Nash, in the loft up the stairs from the kitchen she
said, in answer to his question, 'This is the room, for here is the
hay I lay upon, but I think there is more of it.' She also identified
the pitcher with the broken mouth, which she certainly mentioned to
Chitty, as that which held her allowance of water. A chest, or nest,
of drawers she declared that she did not remember. An attempt was made
to suggest that one of her party brought the pitcher in with him to
confirm her account. This attempt failed; but that she had mentioned
the pitcher was admitted. Mrs. Myers, in May 1754, quoted Elizabeth's
words as to there being more hay exactly in the terms of Nash. Mrs.
Myers was present in the loft, and added that Elizabeth 'took her
foot, and put the hay away, and showed the gentlemen two holes, and
said they were in the room when she was in it before.'

On February 7, Elizabeth swore to her narrative, formally made out by
her solicitor, before the author of _Tom Jones_, and Mr. Fielding, by
threats of prosecution if she kept on shuffling, induced Virtue Hall
to corroborate, after she had vexed his kind heart by endless
prevarications. But as Virtue Hall was later 'got at' by the other
side and recanted, we leave her evidence on one side.

On February 21-26 Mary Squires was tried at the Old Bailey and
condemned to death, Virtue Hall corroborating Elizabeth. Mrs. Wells
was branded on the hand. Three Dorset witnesses to the gipsy's _alibi_
were not credited, and Fortune and Judith Natus did not appear in
court, though subpoenaed. In 1754 they accounted for this by their
fear of the mob. The three sceptics, Nash, Hague, and Aldridge, held
their peace. The Lord Mayor, Sir Crispin Gascoyne, who was on the
bench at the trial of Squires and Wells, was dissatisfied. He secured
many affidavits which seem unimpeachable, for the gipsy's _alibi_, and
so did the other side for her presence at Enfield. He also got at
Virtue Hall, or rather a sceptical Dr. Hill got at her and handed her
over to Gascoyne. She, as we saw, recanted. George Squires, the
gipsy's son, with an attorney, worked up the evidence for the gipsy's
_alibi_; she received a free pardon, and on April 29, 1754, there
began the trial of Elizabeth Canning for 'wilful and corrupt perjury.'

Mr. Davy, opening for the Crown, charitably suggested that Elizabeth
had absconded 'to preserve her character,' and had told a romantic
story to raise money! 'And, having by this time subdued all remains of
virtue, she preferred the offer of money, though she must wade through
innocent blood'--that of the gipsy--'to attain it.'

These hypotheses are absurd; her character certainly needed no saving.

Mr. Davy then remarked on the gross improbabilities of the story of
Elizabeth. They are glaring, but, as Fielding said, so are the
improbabilities of the facts. Somebody had stripped and starved and
imprisoned the girl; that is absolutely certain. She was brought
'within an inch of her life.' She did not suffer all these things to
excite compassion; that is out of the question. Had she plunged into
'gaiety' on New Year's night, the consequences would be other than
instant starvation. They might have been 'guilty splendour.' She had
been most abominably misused, and it was to the last degree improbable
that any mortal should so misuse an honest quiet lass. But the grossly
improbable had certainly occurred. It was next to impossible that, in
1856, a respectable-looking man should offer to take a little boy for
a drive, and that, six weeks later, the naked body of the boy, who had
been starved to death, should be found in a ditch near Acton. But the
facts occurred.[2] To Squires and Wells a rosy girl might prove more
valuable than a little boy to anybody.

[Footnote 2: Paget, p. 332.]

That Elizabeth could live for a month on a loaf did not surprise Mrs.
Canning. 'When things were very hard with her,' said Mrs. Canning,
'the child had lived on half a roll a day.' This is that other touch
which, with the story of the farthing, helps to make me a partisan of

Mr. Davy said that on January 31, before Chitty, Elizabeth 'did not
pretend to certainty' about Mrs. Wells. She never did at any time; she
neither knew, nor affected to know, anything about Mrs. Wells. She had
only seen a tall, swarthy woman, a dark girl, and a fair girl, whom
she recognised in the gipsy, her daughter, and Virtue Hall. Mr. Davy
preferred Nash's evidence to that of all the neighbours, and even to
Chitty's notes, when Nash and Chitty varied. Mr. Davy said that Nash
'withdrew his assistance' after the visit to the house. It was proved,
we saw, by his letter of February 10, that he did not withdraw his
assistance, which, like that of Mr. Tracy Tupman, took the form of
hoping that other people would subscribe money.

Certain varieties of statement as to the time when Elizabeth finished
the water proved fatal, and the penthouse of Chitty's notes was played
for all that it was worth. It was alleged, as matter of fact, that
Adamson brought the broken pitcher into the house--this by Mr. Willes,
later Solicitor-General. Now, for three months before February 1,
Adamson had not seen Elizabeth Canning, nor had he heard her
description of the room. He was riding, and could not carry a gallon
pitcher in his coat pocket. He could not carry it in John Gilpin's
fashion; and, whatever else was denied, it was admitted that from the
first Elizabeth mentioned the pitcher. The statement of Mr. Willes,
that Adamson brought in the pitcher, was one that no barrister should
have made.

The Natus pair were now brought in to say that they slept in the loft
during the time that Elizabeth said she was there. As a reason for not
giving evidence at the gipsy's trial, they alleged fear of the mob, as
we saw.

The witnesses for the gipsy's _alibi_ were called. Mrs. Hopkins, of
South Parrot, Dorset, was not very confident that she had seen the
gipsy at her inn on December 29, 1752. She, if Mary Squires she was,
told Mrs. Hopkins that they 'sold hardware'; in fact they sold soft
ware, smuggled nankin and other stuffs. Alice Farnham recognised the
gipsies, whom she had seen after New Christmas (new style). 'They said
they would come to see me after the Old Christmas holidays'--which is

Lucy Squires, the daughter, was clean, well dressed, and, _teste_ Mr.
Davy, she was pretty. She was not called.

George Squires was next examined. He had been well tutored as to what
he did _after_ December 29, but could not tell where he was on
Christmas Day, four days earlier! His memory only existed from the
hour when he arrived at Mrs. Hopkins's inn, at South Parrot (December
29, 1752). His own counsel must have been amazed; but in
cross-examination Mr. Morton showed that, for all time up to December
29, 1752, George's memory was an utter blank. On January 1, George
dined, he said, at Abbotsbury, with one Clarke, a sweetheart of his
sister. They had two boiled fowls. But Clarke said they had only 'a
part of a fowl between them.' There was such a discrepancy of evidence
here as to time on the part of one of the gipsy's witnesses that Mr.
Davy told him he was drunk. Yet he persisted that he kissed Lucy
Squires, at an hour when Lucy, to suit the case, could not have been

There was documentary evidence--a letter of Lucy to Clarke, from
Basingstoke. It was dated January 18, 1753, but the figure after 175
was torn off the postmark; that was the only injury to the letter. Had
there not been a battalion of as hard swearers to the presence of the
gipsies at Enfield in December-January 1752-1753 as there was to their
absence from Enfield and to their presence in Dorset, the gipsy party
would have proved their case. As matters stand, we must remember that
the Dorset evidence had been organised by a solicitor, that the route
was one which the Squires party habitually used; that by the
confession of Mr. Davy, the prosecuting counsel, the Squires family
'stood in' with the smuggling interest, compact and unscrupulous. They
were 'gipsies dealing in smuggled goods,' said Mr. Davy. Again, while
George Squires had been taught his lesson like a parrot, the
prosecution dared not call his sister, pretty Lucy, as a witness.
They said that George was 'stupid,' but that Lucy was much more dull.
The more stupid was George, the less unlikely was he to kidnap
Elizabeth Canning as prize of war after robbing her. But she did not
swear to him.

As to the presence of the gipsies at Mrs. Wells's, at Enfield, as
early as January 19, Mrs. Howard swore. Her husband lived on his own
property, and her house, with a well, which she allowed the villagers
to use, was opposite Mrs. Wells's. Mrs. Howard had seen the gipsy girl
at the well, and been curtsied to by her, at a distance of three or
four yards. She had heard earlier from her servants of the arrival of
the gipsies, and had 'looked wishfully,' or earnestly, at them. She
was not so positive as to Mary Squires, whom she had seen at a greater

William Headland swore to seeing Mary Squires on January 9; he fixed
the date by a market-day. Also, on the 12th, he saw her in Mrs.
Wells's house. He picked up a blood-stained piece of thin lead under
the window from which Elizabeth escaped, and took it to his mother,
who corroborated. Samuel Story, who knew Mary Squires from of old, saw
her on December 22 in White Webs Lane, so called from the old house
noted as a meeting-place of the Gunpowder Plot conspirators. Story was
a retired clockmaker. Mr. Smith, a tenant of the Duke of Portland, saw
Mary Squires in his cowhouse on December 15, 1752. She wanted leave
to camp there, as she had done in other years. The gipsies then lost a
pony. Several witnesses swore to this, and one swore to conversations
with Mary Squires about the pony. She gave her name, and said that it
was on the clog by which the beast was tethered.

Loomworth Dane swore to Mary Squires, whom he had observed so closely
as to note a great hole in the heel of her stocking. The date was Old
Christmas Day, 1752. Dane was landlord of the Bell, at Enfield, and a
maker of horse-collars. Sarah Star, whose house was next to Mrs.
Wells's, saw Mary Squires in her own house on January 18 or 19; Mary
wanted to buy pork, and hung about for three-quarters of an hour,
offering to tell fortunes. Mrs. Star got rid of her by a present of
some pig's flesh. She fixed the date by a document which she had given
to Miles, a solicitor; it was not in court. James Pratt swore to talk
with Mary Squires before Christmas as to her lost pony; she had then a
man with her. He was asked to look round the court to see if the man
was present, whereon George Squires ducked his head, and was rebuked
by the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Davy, who said 'It does not look
well.' It was hardly the demeanour of conscious innocence. But Pratt
would not swear to him. Mary Squires told Pratt that she would consult
'a cunning-man about the lost pony,' and Mr. Nares foolishly asked why
a cunning woman should consult a cunning man? 'One black fellow will
often tell you that he can and does something magical, whilst all the
time he is perfectly aware that he cannot, and yet firmly believes
that some other man can really do it.' So write Messrs. Spencer and
Gillen in their excellent book on _The Native Tribes of Central
Australia_ (p. 130); and so it was with the gipsy, who, though a 'wise
woman,' believed in a 'wise man.'

This witness (Pratt) said, with great emphasis: 'Upon my oath, that is
the woman.... I am positive in my conscience, and I am sure that it
was no other woman; this is the woman I saw at that blessed time.'
Moreover, she gave him her name as the name on the clog of the lost
pony. The affair of the pony was just what would impress a man like
Pratt, and, on the gipsies' own version, they had no pony with them in
their march from Dorset.

All this occurred _before_ Pratt left his house, which was on December
22, 'three days before New Christmas.' He then left Enfield for
Cheshunt, and his evidence carries conviction.

In some other cases witnesses were very stupid--could not tell in what
month Christmas fell. One witness, an old woman, made an error,
confusing January 16 with January 23. A document on which she relied
gave the later date.

If witnesses on either side were a year out in their reckoning, the
discrepancies would be accountable; but Pratt, for example, could not
forget when he left Enfield for Cheshunt, and Farmer Smith and Mrs.
Howard could be under no such confusion of memory. It may be
prejudice, but I rather prefer the Enfield evidence in some ways, as
did Mr. Paget. In others, the Dorset evidence seems better.

Elizabeth had sworn to having asked a man to point out the way to
London after she escaped into the lane beside Mrs. Wells's house. A
man, Thomas Bennet, swore that on January 29, 1753, he met 'a
miserable, poor wretch, about half-past four,' 'near the ten-mile
stone,' in a lane. She asked her way to London; 'she said she was
affrighted by the tanner's dog.' The tanner's house was about two
hundred yards nearer London, and the prosecution made much of this, as
if a dog, with plenty of leisure and a feud against tramps, could not
move two hundred yards, or much more, if he were taking a walk abroad,
to combat the object of his dislike. Bennet knew that the dog was the
tanner's; probably he saw the dog when he met the wayfarer, and it
does not follow that the wayfarer herself called it 'the tanner's
dog.' Bennet fixed the date with precision. Four days later, hearing
of the trouble at Mrs. Wells's, Bennet said, 'I will be hanged if I
did not meet the young woman near this place and told her the way to
London.' Mr. Davy could only combat Bennet by laying stress on the
wayfarer's talking of 'the tanner's dog.' But the dog, at the moment
of the meeting, was probably well in view. Bennet knew him, and Bennet
was not asked, 'Did the woman call the dog "the tanner's dog," or do
you say this of your own knowledge?' Moreover, the tannery was well in
view, and the hound may have conspicuously started from that base of
operations. Mr. Davy's reply was a quibble.

His closing speech merely took up the old line: Elizabeth was absent
to conceal 'a misfortune'; her cunning mother was her accomplice.
There was no proof of Elizabeth's unchastity; nay, she had an
excellent character, 'but there is a time, gentlemen, when people
begin to be wicked.' If engaged for the other side Mr. Davy would have
placed his '_Nemo repente fuit turpissimus_'--no person of unblemished
character wades straight into 'innocent blood,' to use his own phrase.

The Recorder summed up against Elizabeth. He steadily assumed that
Nash was always right, and the neighbours always wrong, as to the
girl's original story. He said nothing of Bennet; the tanner's dog had
done for Bennet. He said that, if the Enfield witnesses were right,
the Dorset witnesses were wilfully perjured. He did not add that, if
the Dorset witnesses were right, the Enfield testifiers were perjured.

The jury brought in a verdict of 'Guilty of perjury, but not wilful
and corrupt.' This was an acquittal, but, the Recorder refusing the
verdict, they did what they were desired to do, and sentence was
passed. Two jurors made affidavit that they never intended a
conviction. The whole point had turned, in the minds of the jury, on
a discrepancy as to when Elizabeth finished the water in the broken
pitcher--on Wednesday, January 27, or on Friday, January 29. Both
accounts could not be true. Here, then, was 'perjury,' thought the
jury, but not 'wilful and corrupt,' not purposeful. But the jury had
learned that 'the court was impatient;' they had already brought
Elizabeth in guilty of perjury, by which they meant guilty of a casual
discrepancy not unnatural in a person hovering between life and death.
They thought that they could not go back on their 'Guilty,' and so
they went all the way to 'corrupt and wilful perjury'--murder by false
oath--and consistently added 'an earnest recommendation to mercy'!

By a majority of one out of seventeen judges, Elizabeth was banished
for seven years to New England. She was accused in the Press of being
an 'enthusiast,' but the Rev. William Reyner, who attended her in
prison, publicly proclaimed her a good Churchwoman and a good girl
(June 7, 1754). Elizabeth (June 24) stuck to her guns in a
manifesto--she had not once 'knowingly deviated from the truth.'

Mr. Davy had promised the jury that when Elizabeth was once condemned
all would come out--the whole secret. But though the most careful
attempts were made to discover her whereabouts from January 1 to
January 29, 1753, nothing was ever found out--a fact most easily
explained by the hypothesis that she was where she said she was, at
Mother Wells's.

As to Elizabeth's later fortunes, accounts differ, but she quite
certainly married, in Connecticut, a Mr. Treat, a respectable yeoman,
said to have been opulent. She died in Connecticut in June 1773,
leaving a family.

In my opinion Elizabeth Canning was a victim of the common sense of
the eighteenth century. She told a very strange tale, and common-sense
holds that what is strange cannot be true. Yet something strange had
undeniably occurred. It was very strange if Elizabeth on the night of
January 1, retired to become a mother, of which there was no
appearance, while of an amour even gossip could not furnish a hint. It
was very strange if, having thus retired, she was robbed, starved,
stripped and brought to death's door, bleeding and broken down. It was
very strange that no vestige of evidence as to her real place of
concealment could ever be discovered. It was amazingly strange that a
girl, previously and afterwards of golden character, should in a
moment aim by perjury at 'innocent blood.' But the eighteenth century,
as represented by Mr. Davy, Mr. Willes, the barrister who fabled in
court, and the Recorder, found none of these things one half so
strange as Elizabeth Canning's story. Mr. Henry Fielding, who had some
knowledge of human nature, was of the same opinion as the present
candid inquirer. 'In this case,' writes the author of _Tom Jones_,
'one of the most simple girls I ever saw, if she be a wicked one,
hath been too hard for me. I am firmly persuaded that Elizabeth
Canning is a poor, honest, simple, innocent girl.'

_Moi aussi_, but--I would not have condemned the gipsy!

       *       *       *       *       *

In this case the most perplexing thing of all is to be found in the
conflicting unpublished affidavits sworn in March 1753, when memories
as to the whereabouts of the gipsies were fresh. They form a great
mass of papers in State Papers Domestic, at the Record Office. I owe
to Mr. Courtney Kenny my knowledge of the two unpublished letters of
Fielding to the Duke of Newcastle which follow:

'My Lord Duke,--I received an order from my Lord Chancellor
immediately after the breaking up of the Council to lay before your
Grace all the Affidavits I had taken since the Gipsy Trial which
related to that Affair. I then told the Messenger that I had taken
none, as indeed the fact is the Affidavits of which I gave my Lord
Chancellor an Abstract having been all sworn before Justices of the
Peace in the Neighbourhood of Endfield, and remain I believe in the
Possession of an Attorney in the City.

'However in Consequence of the Commands with which your Grace was
pleased to honour me yesterday, I sent my Clerk immediately to the
Attorney to acquaint him with the Commands, which I doubt not he will
instantly obey. This I did from my great Duty to your Grace, for I
have long had no Concern in this Affair, nor have I seen any of the
Parties lately unless once when I was desired to send for the Girl
(Canning) to my House that a great number of Noblemen and Gentlemen
might see her and ask her what Questions they pleased. I am, with the
highest Duty,

'My Lord,

'Your Grace's most obedient
and most humble Servant,


'Ealing; April 14, 1753.
 'His Grace the Duke of Newcastle.'

'_Endorsed_: Ealing, April 14th, 1753
Mr. Fielding.
R. 16th.'

'My Lord Duke,--I am extremely concerned to see by a Letter which I
have just received from Mr. Jones by Command of your Grace that the
Persons concerned for the Prosecution have not yet attended your Grace
with the Affidavits in Canning's Affair. I do assure you upon my
Honour that I sent to them the moment I first received your Grace's
Commands, and having after three Messages prevailed with them to come
to me I desired them to fetch the Affidavits that I might send them to
your Grace, being not able to wait on you in Person. This they said
they could not do, but would go to Mr. Hume Campbell their Council,
and prevail with him to attend your Grace with all their Affidavits,
many of which I found were sworn after the Day mentioned in the Order
of Council. I told them I apprehended the latter could not be admitted
but insisted in the strongest Terms on their laying the others
immediately before your Grace, and they at last promised me they
would, nor have I ever seen them since.

'I have now again ordered my Clerk to go to them to inform them of the
last Commands I have received, but as I have no Compulsory Power over
them I cannot answer for their Behaviour, which _indeed I have long
disliked_, and have therefore long ago declined giving them any
advice, nor would I _unless in Obedience to your Grace have anything
to say to a set of the most obstinate fools I ever saw, and who seem
to me rather to act from a Spleen against my Lord Mayor, than from any
motive of Protecting Innocence, tho' that was certainly their motive
at first_.[3] In Truth, if I am not deceived, I suspect that they
desire that the Gipsey should be pardoned, and then to convince the
World that she was guilty in order to cast the greater Reflection on
him who was principally instrumental in obtaining such Pardon. I
conclude with assuring your Grace that I have acted in this Affair, as
I shall on all Occasions, with the most dutiful Regard to your
Commands, and that if my Life had been at Stake, as many know, I
could have done no more. I am, with the highest Respect,

'My Lord Duke,

'Yr. Grace's most obedient
and most humble Servant,


'Ealing; April 27, 1753.
'His Grace the Duke of Newcastle.'

_Endorsed_: 'Ealing: April 27th, 1753.
Mr. Fielding.'

[Footnote 3: My italics. Did Fielding abandon his belief in



'Many a man,' says De Quincey, 'can trace his ruin to a murder, of
which, perhaps, he thought little enough at the time.' This remark
applies with peculiar force to Philip II. of Spain, to his secretary,
Antonio Perez, to the steward of Perez, to his page, and to a number
of professional ruffians. All of these, from the King to his own
scullion, were concerned in the slaying of Juan de Escovedo, secretary
of Philip's famous natural brother, Don John of Austria. All of them,
in different degrees, had bitter reason to regret a deed which, at the
moment, seemed a commonplace political incident.

The puzzle in the case of Escovedo does not concern the manner of his
taking off, or the identity of his murderers. These things are
perfectly well known; the names of the guilty, from the King to the
bravo, are ascertained. The mystery clouds the motives for the deed.
_Why_ was Escovedo done to death? Did the King have him assassinated
for purely political reasons, really inadequate, but magnified by the
suspicious royal fancy? Or were the secretary of Philip II. and the
monarch of Spain rivals in the affections of a one-eyed widow of rank?
and did the secretary, Perez, induce Philip to give orders for
Escovedo's death, because Escovedo threatened to reveal to the King
their guilty intrigue? Sir William Stirling-Maxwell and Monsieur
Mignet accepted, with shades of difference, this explanation. Mr.
Froude, on the other hand, held that Philip acted for political
reasons, and with the full approval of his very ill-informed
conscience. There was no lady as a motive in the case, in Mr. Froude's
opinion. A third solution is possible: Philip, perhaps, wished to
murder Escovedo for political reasons, and without reference to the
tender passion; but Philip was slow and irresolute, while Perez, who
dreaded Escovedo's interference with his love affair, urged his royal
master on to the crime which he was shirking. We may never know the
exact truth, but at least we can study a state of morals and manners
at Madrid, compared with which the blundering tragedies of Holyrood,
in Queen Mary's time, seem mere child's play. The 'lambs' of Bothwell
are lambs playful and gentle when set beside the instruments of Philip

The murdered man, Escovedo, and the 'first murderer,' as Shakespeare
says, Antonio Perez, had both been trained in the service of Ruy
Gomez, Philip's famous minister. Gomez had a wife, Aña de Mendoza,
who, being born in 1546, was aged thirty-two, not thirty-eight (as M.
Mignet says), in 1578, when Escovedo was killed. But 1546 may be a
misprint for 1540. She was blind in one eye in 1578, but probably both
her eyes were brilliant in 1567, when she really seems to have been
Philip's mistress, or was generally believed so to be. Eleven years
later, at the date of the murder, there is no obvious reason to
suppose that Philip was constant to her charms. Her husband, created
Prince d'Eboli, had died in 1573 (or as Mr. Froude says in 1567); the
Princess was now a widow, and really, if she chose to distinguish her
husband's old secretary, at this date the King's secretary, Antonio
Perez, there seems no reason to suppose that Philip would have
troubled himself about the matter. That he still loved Aña with a
constancy far from royal, that she loved Perez, that Perez and she
feared that Escovedo would denounce them to the King, is M. Mignet's
theory of the efficient cause of Escovedo's murder. Yet M. Mignet
holds, and rightly, that Philip had made up his mind, as far as he
ever did make up his mind, to kill Escovedo, long before that
diplomatist became an inconvenient spy on the supposed lovers.

To raise matters to the tragic height of the _Phædra_ of Euripides,
Perez was said to be the natural son of his late employer, Gomez, the
husband of his alleged mistress. Probably Perez was nothing of the
sort; he was the bastard of a man of his own name, and his alleged
mistress, the widow of Gomez, may even have circulated the other
story to prove that her relations with Perez, though intimate, were
innocent. They are a pretty set of people!

As for Escovedo, he and Perez had been friends from their youth
upwards. While Perez passed from the service of Gomez to that of
Philip, in 1572 Escovedo was appointed secretary to the nobly
adventurous Don John of Austria. The Court believed that he was
intended to play the part of spy on Don John, but he fell under the
charm of that gallant heart, and readily accepted, if he did not
inspire, the most daring projects of the victor of Lepanto, the Sword
of Christendom. This was very inconvenient for the leaden-footed
Philip, who never took time by the forelock, but always brooded over
schemes and let opportunity pass. Don John, on the other hand, was all
for forcing the game, and, when he was sent to temporise and
conciliate in the Low Countries, and withdraw the Spanish army of
occupation, his idea was to send the Spanish forces out of the
Netherlands by sea. When once they were on blue water he would make a
descent on England; rescue the captive Mary Stuart; marry her (he was
incapable of fear!); restore the Catholic religion, and wear the
English crown. A good plot, approved of by the Pope, but a plot which
did not suit the genius of Philip. He placed his leaden foot upon the
scheme and on various other gallant projects, conceived in the best
manner of Alexandre Dumas. Now Escovedo, to whom Don John was
devotedly attached, was the soul of all these chivalrous designs, and
for that reason Philip regarded him as a highly dangerous person.
Escovedo was at Madrid when Don John first went to the Low Countries
(1576). He kept urging Philip to accept Don John's fiery proposals,
though Antonio Perez entreated him to be cautious. At this date, 1576,
Perez was really the friend of Escovedo. But Escovedo would not be
advised; he wrote an impatient memorial to the King, denouncing his
stitchless policy (_descosido_), his dilatory, shambling, idealess
proceedings. So, at least, Sir William Stirling-Maxwell asserts in his
_Don John of Austria_: 'the word used by Escovedo was _descosido_,
"unstitched."' But Mr. Froude says that _Philip_ used the expression,
later, in reference to _another_ letter of Escovedo's which he also
called 'a bloody letter' (January 1578). Here Mr. Froude can hardly be
right, for Philip's letter containing that vulgar expression is of
July 1577.

In any case, in 1576 Philip was induced, by the intercession of Perez,
to overlook the fault, and Escovedo, whose presence Don John demanded,
was actually sent to him in December 1576. From this date both Don
John and Escovedo wrote familiarly to their friend Perez, while Perez
lured them on, and showed their letters to the King. Just as Charles
I. commissioned the Duke of Hamilton to spy on the Covenanted nobles,
and pretend to sympathise with them, and talk in their godly style,
so Philip gave Perez orders to entrap Don John and Escovedo. Perez
said: 'I want no theology but my own to justify me,' and Philip wrote
in reply, 'My theology takes the same view of the matter as your own.'

At this time, 1577, Perez, though a gambler and a profligate, who took
presents from all hands, must have meant nothing worse, on M. Mignet's
theory, than to serve Philip as he loved to be served, and keep him
well informed of Don John's designs. Escovedo was not yet, according
to M. Mignet, an obstacle to the amours of Perez and the King's
mistress, the Princess d'Eboli. Sir William Stirling-Maxwell, on the
other hand, holds that the object of Perez already was to ruin Don
John; for what reason Sir William owns that he cannot discover. Indeed
Perez had no such object, unless Don John confided to him projects
treasonous or dangerous to the Government of his own master, the King.

Now did Don John, or Escovedo, entrust Perez with designs not merely
chivalrous and impracticable, but actually traitorous? Certainly Don
John did nothing of the kind. Escovedo left him and went, without
being called for, to Spain, arriving in July 1577. During his absence
Don John defeated the Dutch Protestants in the battle of Gemblours, on
January 31, 1578. He then wrote a letter full of chivalrous loyalty to
Escovedo and Perez at Madrid. He would make Philip master indeed of
the Low Countries; he asked Escovedo and Perez to inspire the King
with resolution. To do that was impossible, but Philip could never
have desired to murder Escovedo merely because he asked help for Don
John. Yet, no sooner did Escovedo announce his return to Spain, in
July 1577, than Philip, in a letter to Perez, said, 'we must hasten to
despatch him before he kills us.' There seems to be no doubt that the
letter in which this phrase occurs is authentic, though we have it
only in a copy. But is the phrase correctly translated? The words
'_priesa á despacherle antes que nos mate_' certainly may be rendered,
'we must be quick and despatch _him_' (Escovedo) 'before he kills
_us_.' But Mr. Froude, much more lenient to Philip than to Mary
Stuart, proposes to render the phrase, 'we must despatch Escovedo
quickly' (_i.e._ send him about his business) 'before he worries us to
death.' Mr. Froude thus denies that, in 1577, Philip already meant to
kill Escovedo. It is unlucky for Mr. Froude's theory, and for Philip's
character, if the King used the phrase _twice_. In March 1578 he wrote
to Perez, about Escovedo, 'act quickly _antes que nos mate_,--before
he kills us.' So Perez averred, at least, but is his date correct?
This time Perez did act, and Escovedo was butchered! If Perez tells
truth, in 1577, Philip meant what he said, 'Despatch him before he
kills us.'

Why did Philip thus dread Escovedo? We have merely the published
statements of Perez, in his account of the affair. After giving the
general causes of Philip's distrust of Don John, and the ideas which
a deeply suspicious monarch may very well have entertained,
considering the adventurous character of his brother, Perez adds a
special charge against Escovedo. He vowed, says Perez, that, after
conquering England, he and Don John would attack Spain. Escovedo asked
for the captaincy of a castle on a rock commanding the harbour of
Santander; he was _alcalde_ of that town. He and Don John would use
this fortress, as Aramis and Fouquet, in the novel of Dumas, meant to
use Belle Isle, against their sovereign. As a matter of fact, Escovedo
had asked for the command of Mogro, the fortress commanding Santander,
in the spring of 1577, and Perez told Philip that the place should be
strengthened, for the protection of the harbour, but not entrusted to
Escovedo. Don John's loyalty could never have contemplated the use of
the place as a keep to be held in an attack on his King. But, if Perez
had, in 1577, no grudge against Escovedo as being perilous to his
alleged amour with the Princess d'Eboli, then the murderous plan of
Philip must have sprung from the intense suspiciousness of his own
nature, not from the promptings of Perez.

Escovedo reached Spain in July 1577. He was not killed till March 31,
1578, though attempts on his life were made some weeks earlier. M.
Mignet argues that, till the early spring of 1578, Philip held his
hand because Perez lulled his fears; that Escovedo then began to
threaten to disclose the love affair of Perez to his royal rival, and
that Perez, in his own private interest, now changed his tune, and, in
place of mollifying Philip, urged him to the crime. But Philip was so
dilatory that he could not even commit a murder with decent
promptitude. Escovedo was not dangerous, even to his mind, while he
was apart from Don John. But as weeks passed, Don John kept insisting,
by letter, on the return of Escovedo, and for _that_ reason, possibly,
Philip screwed his courage to the (literally) 'sticking' point, and
Escovedo was 'stuck.' Major Martin Hume, however, argues that, by this
time, circumstances had changed, and Philip had now no motive for

The impression of M. Mignet, and of Sir William Stirling-Maxwell, the
biographer of Don John, is quite different. They hold that the
Princess d'Eboli, in 1578, was Philip's mistress; that she deceived
him with Perez; that Escovedo threatened to tell all, and that Perez
therefore hurried on his murder. Had this been the state of affairs,
would Escovedo have constantly accepted the invitations of Perez to
dinner? The men would necessarily have been on the worst of terms, if
Escovedo was threatening Perez, but Escovedo, in fact, kept on dining
with Perez. Again, the policy of Perez would have been to send
Escovedo where he wanted to go, to Flanders, well out of the way, back
to Don John. It seems probable enough, though not certain, that, in
1567, the Princess and Philip were lovers. But it is, most unlikely,
and it is not proved, that Philip was still devoted to the lady in
1578. Some of the Princess's family, the Mendozas, now wanted to kill
Perez, as a dishonour to their blood. At the trial of Perez later,
much evidence was given to show that he loved the Princess, or was
suspected of doing so, but it is not shown that this was a matter
about which Philip had any reason to concern himself. Thus it is not
inconceivable that Escovedo disliked the relations between Perez and
the Princess, but nothing tends to show that he could have made
himself dangerous by revealing them to the King. Moreover, if he spoke
his mind to Perez on the matter, the two would not have remained, as
apparently they did, on terms of the most friendly intercourse. A
squire of Perez described a scene in which Escovedo threatened to
denounce the Princess, but how did the squire become a witness of the
scene, in which the Princess defied Escovedo in terms of singular

At all events, when Philip consulted the Marquis of Los Velez on the
propriety of killing Escovedo rather than sending him back to Don
John, the reasons, which convinced the Marquis, were mere political

It was at that time a question of conscience whether a king might have
a subject assassinated, if the royal motives, though sufficient, were
not such as could be revealed with safety in a court of justice. On
these principles Queen Mary had a right to take Darnley off, for
excellent political causes which could not safely be made public; for
international reasons. Mary, however, unlike Philip, did not consult
her confessor, who believed her to be innocent of her husband's death.
The confessor of Philip told him that the King had a perfect right to
despatch Escovedo, and Philip gave his orders to Perez. He repeated,
says Perez, in 1578, his words used in 1577: 'Make haste before he
kills us.'

As to this point of conscience, the right of a king to commit murder
on a subject for reasons of State, Protestant opinion seems to have
been lenient. When the Ruthvens were killed at Perth, on August 5,
1600, in an affair the most mysterious of all mysteries, the Rev.
Robert Bruce, a stern Presbyterian, refused to believe that James VI.
had not planned their slaughter. 'But your Majesty might have secret
reasons,' said Bruce to the King, who, naturally and truly, maintained
his own innocence. This looks as if Mr. Bruce, like the confessor of
Philip, held that a king had a right to murder a subject for secret
reasons of State. The Inquisition vigorously repudiated the doctrine,
when maintained by a Spanish preacher, but Knox approved of King
Henry's (Darnley's) murder of Riccio. My sympathies, on this point,
are with the Inquisition.

Perez, having been commissioned to organise the crime, handed on the
job to Martinez, his steward. Martinez asked a ruffianly page,
Enriquez, 'if I knew anybody in my country' (Murcia) 'who would stick
a knife into a person.' Enriquez said, 'I will speak about it to a
muleteer of my acquaintance, as, in fact, I did, and the muleteer
undertook the business.' But later, hearing that a man of importance
was to be knifed, Enriquez told Perez that a muleteer was not noble
enough: the job 'must be entrusted to persons of more consideration.'

Enriquez, in 1585, confessed for a good reason; Perez had absurdly
mismanaged the business. All sorts of people were employed, and, after
the murder, they fled, and began to die punctually in an alarming
manner. Naturally Enriquez thought that Perez was acting like the
Mures of Auchendrane, who despatched a series of witnesses and
accomplices in their murder of Kennedy. As they always needed a new
accomplice to kill the previous accomplice, then another to slay the
slayer, and so on, the Mures if unchecked would have depopulated
Scotland. Enriquez surmised that _his_ turn to die would soon come; so
he confessed, and was corroborated by Diego Martinez. Thus the facts
came out, and this ought to be a lesson to murderers.

As the muleteer hung fire, Perez determined to poison Escovedo. But he
did not in the least know how to set about it. Science was hardly in
her infancy. If you wanted to poison a man in Scotland, you had to
rely on a vulgar witch, or send a man to France, at great expense, to
buy the stuff, and the messenger was detected and tortured. The Court
of Spain was not more scientific.

Martinez sent Enriquez to Murcia, to gather certain poisonous herbs,
and these were distilled by a venal apothecary. The poison was then
tried on a barndoor fowl, which was not one penny the worse. But
Martinez somehow procured 'a certain water that was good to be given
as a drink.' Perez asked Escovedo to dinner, Enriquez waited at table,
and in each cup of wine that Escovedo drank, he, rather
homoeopathically, put 'a nutshellful of the water.' Escovedo was no
more poisoned than the cock of the earlier experiment. 'It was
ascertained that the beverage produced no effect whatever.'

A few days later, Escovedo again dined with the hospitable Perez. On
this occasion they gave him some white powder in a dish of cream, and
also gave him the poisoned water in his wine, thinking it a pity to
waste that beverage. This time Escovedo was unwell, and again, when
Enriquez induced a scullion in the royal kitchen to put more of the
powder in a basin of broth in Escovedo's own house. For this the poor
kitchenmaid who cooked the broth was hanged in the public square of
Madrid, _sin culpa_.

Pious Philip was demoralising his subjects at a terrible rate! But you
cannot make an omelet without breaking eggs. Philip slew that girl of
his kitchen as surely as if he had taken a gun and shot her, but
probably the royal confessor said that all was as it should be.

In spite of the resources of Spanish science, Escovedo persisted in
living, and Perez determined that he must be shot or stabbed. Enriquez
went off to his own country to find a friend who was an assassin, and
to get 'a stiletto with a very fine blade, much better than a pistol
to kill a man with.' Enriquez, keeping a good thing in the family,
enlisted his brother: and Martinez, from Aragon, brought 'two proper
kind of men,' Juan de Nera and Insausti, who, with the King's
scullion, undertook the job. Perez went to Alcala for Holy Week, just
as the good Regent Murray left Edinburgh on the morning of Darnley's
murder, after sermon. 'Have a halibi' was the motto of both gentlemen.

The underlings dogged Escovedo in the evening of Easter Monday.
Enriquez did not come across him, but Insausti did his business with
one thrust, in a workmanlike way. The scullion hurried to Alcala, and
told the news to Perez, who 'was highly delighted.'

We leave this good and faithful servant, and turn to Don John. When
he, far away, heard the news he was under no delusions about love
affairs as the cause of the crime. He wrote to his wretched brother
the King 'in grief greater than I can describe.' The King, he said,
had lost the best of servants, 'a man without the aims and craft
which are now in vogue.' 'I may with just reason consider _myself_ to
have been the cause of his death,' the blow was really dealt at Don
John. He expressed the most touching anxiety for the wife and children
of Escovedo, who died poor, because (unlike Perez) 'he had clean
hands.' He besought Philip, by the love of our Lord, 'to use every
possible diligence to know whence the blow came and to punish it with
the rigour which it deserves.' He himself will pay the most pressing
debts of the dead. (From Beaumont, April 20, 1578.)

Probably the royal caitiff was astonished by this letter. On September
20 Don John wrote his last letter to his brother 'desiring more than
life some decision on your Majesty's part. Give me orders for the
conduct of affairs!' Philip scrawled in the margin, 'I will not
answer.' But Don John had ended his letter 'Our lives are at stake,
and all we ask is to lose them with honour.' These are like the last
words of the last letter of the great Montrose to Charles II., 'with
the more alacrity and vigour I go to search my death.' Like Montrose
Don John 'carried with him fidelity and honour to the grave.' He died,
after a cruel illness, on October 1. Brantôme says that he was
poisoned by order of the King, at the instigation of Perez. 'The side
of his breast was yellow and black, as if burned, and crumbled at the
touch.' These things were always said when a great personage died in
his bed. They are probably untrue, but a king who could
conscientiously murder his brother's friend could as conscientiously,
and for the same reasons, murder his brother.

The Princess d'Eboli rewarded and sheltered one of the murderers of
Escovedo. They were all gratified with chains of gold, silver cups,
abundance of golden _écus_, and commissions in the army; all were sent
out of the country, and some began to die strangely, which, as we saw,
frightened Enriquez into his confession (1585).

At once Perez was suspected. He paid a visit of condolence to young
Escovedo: he spoke of a love affair of Escovedo's in Flanders; an
injured husband must be the guilty man! But suspicion darkened. Perez
complained to the King that he was dogged, watched, cross-examined by
the _alcalde_ and his son. The Escovedo family had a friend in
Vasquez, another royal secretary. Knowing nothing of the King's guilt,
and jealous of Perez, he kept assuring the King that Perez was guilty:
that there was an amour, detected by Escovedo: that Escovedo perished
for a woman's sake: that Philip must investigate the case, and end the
scandal. The woman, of course, was the Princess d'Eboli. Philip cared
nothing for her, now at least. Mr. Froude says that Don Gaspar Moro,
in his work on the Princess, 'has disproved conclusively the imagined
_liaison_ between the Princess and Philip II.' On the other hand,
Philip was darkly concerned in litigations about property, _against_
the Princess; these affairs Vasquez conducted, while Perez naturally
was on the side of the widow of his benefactor. On these points, more
than a hundred letters of Vasquez exist. Meanwhile he left, and the
Escovedo family left, no stone unturned to prove that Perez murdered
Escovedo because Escovedo thwarted his amour with the Princess.

Philip had promised, again and again, to stand by Perez. But the
affair was coming to light, and if it must come out, it suited Philip
that Vasquez should track Perez on the wrong trail, the trail of the
amour, not follow the right scent which led straight to the throne,
and the wretch who sat on it. But neither course could be quite
pleasant to the King.

Perez offered to stand his trial, knowing that evidence against him
could not be found. His accomplices were far away; he would be
acquitted, as Bothwell was acquitted of Darnley's death. Philip could
not face the situation. He bade Perez consult the President of the
Council, De Pazos, a Bishop, and tell him all, while De Pazos should
mollify young Escovedo. The Bishop, a casuist, actually assured young
Escovedo that Perez and the Princess 'are as innocent as myself.' The
Bishop did not agree with the Inquisition: he could say that Perez was
innocent, because he only obeyed the King's murderous orders. Young
Escovedo retreated: Vasquez persevered, and the Princess d'Eboli,
writing to the King, called Vasquez 'a Moorish dog.' Philip had both
Perez and the Princess arrested, for Vasquez was not to be put down;
_his_ business in connection with the litigations was to pursue the
Princess, and Philip could not tell Vasquez that he was on the wrong
trail. The lady was sent to her estates; this satisfied Vasquez, and
Perez and he were bound over to keep the peace. But suspicion hung
about Perez, and Philip preferred that it should be so. The secretary
was accused of peculation, he had taken bribes on all hands, and he
was sentenced to heavy fines and imprisonment (January 1585). Now
Enriquez confessed, and a kind of secret inquiry, of which the records
survive, dragged its slow course along. Perez was under arrest, in a
house near a church. He dropped out of a window and rushed into the
church, the civil power burst open the gates, violated sanctuary, and
found our friend crouching, all draped with festoons of cobwebs, in
the timber work under the roof. The Church censured the magistrates,
but they had got Perez, and Philip defied the ecclesiastical courts.
Perez, a prisoner, tried to escape by the aid of one of Escovedo's
murderers, who was staunch, but failed, while his wife was ill treated
to make him give up all the compromising letters of the King. He did
give up two sealed trunks full of papers. But his ally and steward,
Martinez, had first (it is said) selected and secreted the royal notes
which proved the guilt of Philip.

Apparently the King thought himself safe now, and actually did not
take the trouble to see whether his compromising letters were in the
sealed trunks or not! At least, if he did know that they were absent,
and that Perez could produce proof of his guilt, it is hard to see
why, with endless doubts and hesitations, he allowed the secret
process for murder against Perez to drag on, after a long
interruption, into 1590. Vasquez examined and re-examined Perez, but
there was still only one witness against him, the scoundrel Enriquez.
One was not enough.

A new step was taken. The royal confessor assured Perez that he would
be safe if he told the whole truth and declared openly that he had
acted by the royal orders! Perez refused, Philip commanded again (Jan.
4, 1590). Perez must now reveal the King's motive for decreeing the
murder. If Philip was setting a trap for Perez that trap only caught
him if he could not produce the King's compromising letters, which, in
fact, he still possessed. Mr. Froude asserts that Philip had heard
from his confessor, and _he_ from the wife of Perez, that the letters
were still secreted and could be produced. If so, Perez would be safe,
and the King's character would be lost. What was Philip's aim and
motive? Would he declare the letters to be forgeries? No other mortal
(of that day) wrote such an unmistakable hand as his, it was the worst
in the world. He must have had some loophole, or he would never have
pressed Perez to bear witness to his own crime. A loophole he had, and
Perez knew it, for otherwise he would have obeyed orders, told the
whole story, and been set free. He did not. Mr. Froude supposes that
he did not think the royal authority would satisfy the judges. But
they could not condemn Perez, a mere accessory to Philip, without
condemning the King, and how could the judges do that? Perez, I think,
would have taken his chance of the judges' severity, as against their
King, rather than disobey the King's command to confess all, and so
have to face torture. He did face the torture, which proves, perhaps,
that he knew Philip could, somehow, escape from the damning evidence
of his own letters. Philip's loophole, Major Martin Hume thinks, was
this: if Perez revealed the King's reasons for ordering the murder,
they would appear as obsolete, at the date of the deed. Pedro alone
would be culpable. In any case he faced torture.

Like most people in his circumstances, he miscalculated his own power
of bearing agony. He had not the endurance of the younger Auchendrane
murderer: of Mitchell, the choice Covenanting assassin: of the gallant
Jacobite Nevile Payne, tortured nearly to death by the minions of the
Dutch usurper, William of Orange. All of these bore the torment and
kept their secrets. But 'eight turns of the rope' opened the mouth of
Perez, whose obstinacy had merely put him to great inconvenience. Yet
he did not produce Philip's letters in corroboration; he said that
they had been taken from him. However, next day, Diego Martinez, who
had hitherto denied all, saw that the game was up, and admitted the
truth of all that Enriquez had confessed in 1585.

About a month after the torture Perez escaped. His wife was allowed to
visit him in prison. She had been the best, the bravest, the most
devoted of women. If she had reason for jealousy of the Princess,
which is by no means certain, she had forgiven all. She had moved
heaven and earth to save her husband. In the Dominican church, at high
mass, she had thrown herself upon the King's confessor, demanding
before that awful Presence on the altar that the priest should refuse
to absolve the King unless he set Perez free.

Admitted to her husband's prison, she played the trick that saved Lord
Ogilvy from the dungeon of the Covenanters, that saved Argyle,
Nithsdale, and James Mòr Macgregor. Perez walked out of gaol in the
dress of his wife. We may suppose that the guards were bribed: there
is _always_ collusion in these cases. One of the murderers had horses
round the corner, and Perez, who cannot have been badly injured by the
rack, rode thirty leagues, and crossed the frontier of Aragon.

We have not to follow his later adventures. The refusal of the
Aragonese to give him up to Castile, their rescue of him from the
Inquisition, cost them their constitution, and about seventy of them
were burned as heretics. But Perez got clear away. He visited France,
where Henry IV. befriended him; he visited England, where Bacon was
his host. In 1594 (?) he published his _Relaciones_ and told the world
the story of Philip's conscience. That story must not be relied on, of
course, and the autograph letters of Philip as to the murder of
Escovedo are lost. But the copies of them at the Hague are regarded as
authentic, and the convincing passages are underlined in red ink.

Supposing it possible that Philip after all secured the whole of the
autograph correspondence, and that Perez only succeeded in preserving
the copies now at the Hague, we should understand why Perez would not
confess the King's crime: he had only copies of his proofs to show;
and copies were valueless as evidence. But it is certain that Perez
really had the letters.

'Bloody Perez,' as Bacon's mother called him, died at Paris in
November 1611, outliving the wretched master whom he had served so
faithfully. Queen Elizabeth tried to induce Amyas Paulet to murder
Mary Stuart. Paulet, as a man of honour, refused; he knew, too, that
Elizabeth would abandon him to the vengeance of the Scots. Perez ought
to have known that Philip would desert him: his folly was rewarded by
prison, torture, and confiscation, which were not more than the man
deserved, who betrayed and murdered the servant of Don John of

     NOTE.--This essay was written when I was unaware that Major
     Martin Hume had treated the problem in _Transactions of the
     Royal Historical Society_, 1894, pp. 71-107, and in
     _Españoles é Ingleses_ (1903). The latter work doubtless
     represents Major Hume's final views. He has found among the
     Additional MSS. of the British Museum (28,269) a quantity of
     the contemporary letters of Perez, which supplement the
     copies, at the Hague, of other letters destroyed after the
     death of Perez. From these MSS. and other original sources
     unknown to Mr. Froude, and to Monsieur Mignet (see the
     second edition of his _Antonio Perez_; Paris, 1846), Major
     Hume's theory is that, for _political_ reasons, Philip gave
     orders that Escovedo should be assassinated. This was in
     late October or early November, 1577. The order was not then
     carried out; the reason of the delay I do not clearly
     understand. The months passed, and Escovedo's death ceased,
     in altered circumstances, to be politically desirable, but
     he became a serious nuisance to Perez and his mistress, the
     Princess d'Eboli. Philip had never countermanded the murder,
     but Perez, according to Major Hume, falsely alleges that the
     King was still bent on the murder, and that other statesmen
     were consulted and approved of it, _shortly before the
     actual deed_.[4] Perez gives this impression by a crafty
     manipulation of dates in his narrative. When he had Escovedo
     slain, he was fighting for his own hand; but Philip, who had
     never countermanded the murder, was indifferent, till, in
     1582, when he was with Alva in Portugal. The King now
     learned that Perez had behaved abominably, had poisoned his
     mind against his brother Don Juan, had communicated State
     secrets to the Princess d'Eboli, and had killed Escovedo,
     not in obedience to the royal order, but using that order as
     the shield of his private vengeance. Hence Philip's
     severities to Perez; hence his final command that Perez
     should disclose the royal motives for the destruction of
     Escovedo. They would be found to have become obsolete at the
     date when the crime was committed, and on Perez would fall
     the blame.

[Footnote 4: See p. 38, _supra_.]

     Such is Major Hume's theory, if I correctly apprehend it.
     The hypothesis leaves the moral character of Philip as black
     as ever: he ordered an assassination which he never even
     countermanded. His confessor might applaud him, but he knew
     that the doctors of the Inquisition, like the common
     sentiment of mankind, rejected the theory that kings had the
     right to condemn and execute, by the dagger, men who had
     been put to no public trial.




The ordinary historical mystery is at least so far clear that one or
other of two solutions must be right, if we only knew which. Perkin
Warbeck was the rightful King, or he was an impostor. Giacopo Stuardo
at Naples (1669) was the eldest son of Charles II., or he was a
humbug. The Man in the Iron Mask was _certainly_ either Mattioli or
Eustache Dauger. James VI. conspired against Gowrie, or Gowrie
conspired against James VI., and so on. There is reason and human
nature at the back of these puzzles. But at the back of the Campden
mystery there is not a glimmer of reason or of sane human nature,
except on one hypothesis, which I shall offer. The occurrences are, to
all appearance, motiveless as the events in a feverish dream. 'The
whole Matter is dark and mysterious; which we must therefore leave
unto Him who alone knoweth all Things, in His due Time, to reveal and
to bring to Light.'

So says the author of 'A True and Perfect Account of the Examination,
Confession, Trial, and Execution of _Joan Perry_, and her two Sons,
_John_ and _Richard Perry_, for the Supposed Murder of _Will
Harrison_, Gent., Being One of the most remarkable Occurrences which
hath happened in the Memory of Man. Sent in a Letter (by _Sir Thomas
Overbury_, of _Burton_, in the County of _Gloucester_, Knt., and one
of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace) to _Thomas Shirly_, Doctor of
Physick, in London. Also Mr. _Harrison's_ Own account,' &c. (London.
Printed for John Atkinson, near the Chapter House, in _St. Paul's
Church-Yard_. No date, but apparently of 1676.)

Such is the vast and breathless title of a pamphlet which, by
undeserved good luck, I have just purchased. The writer, Sir Thomas
Overbury, 'the nephew and heir,' says Mr. John Paget, 'of the unhappy
victim of the infamous Countess of Somerset' (who had the elder Overbury
poisoned in the Tower), was the Justice of the Peace who acted
as _Juge d'Instruction_ in the case of Harrison's disappearance.[5]

[Footnote 5: Paget, _Paradoxes and Puzzles_, p. 342. Blackwoods,

To come to the story. In 1660, William Harrison, Gent., was steward or
'factor' to the Viscountess Campden, in Chipping Campden,
Gloucestershire, a single-streeted town among the Cotswold hills. The
lady did not live in Campden House, whose owner burned it in the Great
Rebellion, to spite the rebels; as Castle Tirrim was burned by its
Jacobite lord in the '15. Harrison inhabited a portion of the building
which had escaped destruction. He had been for fifty years a servant
of the Hickeses and Campdens, his age was seventy (which deepens the
mystery), he was married, and had offspring, including Edward, his
eldest son.

On a market day, in 1659, Mr. Harrison's house was broken into, at
high noon, while he and his whole family were 'at the Lecture,' in
church, a Puritan form of edification. A ladder had been placed
against the wall, the bars of a window on the second story had been
wrenched away with a ploughshare (which was left in the room), and
140_l._ of Lady Campden's money were stolen. The robber was never
discovered--a curious fact in a small and lonely village. The times,
however, were disturbed, and a wandering Cavalier or Roundhead soldier
may have 'cracked the crib.' Not many weeks later, Harrison's servant,
Perry, was heard crying for help in the garden. He showed a
'sheep-pick,' with a hacked handle, and declared that he had been set
upon by two men in white, with naked swords, and had defended himself
with his rustic tool. It is curious that Mr. John Paget, a writer of
great acuteness, and for many years police magistrate at Hammersmith,
says nothing of the robbery of 1659, and of Perry's crazy conduct in
the garden.[6] Perry's behaviour there, and his hysterical invention
of the two armed men in white, give the key to his character. The two
men in white were never traced of course, but, later, we meet three
men not less flagitious, and even more mysterious. They appear to have
been three 'men in buckram.'

[Footnote 6: See his _Paradoxes and Puzzles_, pp. 337-370, and, for
good reading, see the book _passim_.]

At all events, in quiet Campden, adventures obviously occurred to the
unadventurous. They culminated in the following year, on August 16,
1660. Harrison left his house in the morning (?) and walked the two
miles to Charringworth to collect his lady's rents. The autumn day
closed in, and between eight and nine o'clock old Mrs. Harrison sent
the servant, John Perry, to meet his master on the way home. Lights
were also left burning in Harrison's window. That night neither master
nor man returned, and it is odd that the younger Harrison, Edward, did
not seek for his father till very early next morning: he had the
convenience, for nocturnal search, of a moon which rose late. In the
morning, Edward went out and met Perry, returning alone: he had not
found his master. The pair walked to Ebrington, a village half way
between Campden and Charringworth, and learned that Harrison had
called, on the previous evening, as he moved home through Ebrington,
at the house of one Daniel. The hour is not given, but Harrison
certainly disappeared when just beyond Ebrington, within less than a
mile from Campden. Edward and Perry next heard that a poor woman had
picked up on the highway, beyond Ebrington, near some whins or furze,
a hat, band, and comb, which were Harrison's; they were found within
about half a mile of his own house. The band was bloody, the hat and
comb were hacked and cut. Please observe the precise words of Sir
Thomas Overbury, the justice who took the preliminary examinations:
'The Hat and Comb being hacked and cut, and the Band bloody, but
nothing more could there be found.' Therefore the hat and comb were
not on Harrison's head when they were hacked and cut: otherwise they
must have been blood-stained; the band worn about the throat was
bloody, but there was no trace of blood on the road. This passage
contains the key to the puzzle.

On hearing of the discovery of these objects all the people rushed to
hunt for Harrison's corpse, which they did not find.

An old man like Harrison was not likely to stay at Charringworth very
late, but it seems that whatever occurred on the highway happened
after twilight.

Suspicion fell on John Perry, who was haled before the narrator, Sir
Thomas Overbury, J.P. Perry said that after starting for Charringworth
to seek his master on the previous evening, about 8.45 P.M., he met by
the way William Reed of Campden, and explained to him that as he was
timid in the dark he would go back and take Edward Harrison's horse
and return. Perry did as he had said, and Reed left him 'at Mr.
Harrison's Court gate.' Perry dallied there till one Pierce came
past, and with Pierce (he did not say why) 'he went a bow's shot into
the fields,' and so back once more to Harrison's gate. He now lay for
an hour in a hen house, he rose at midnight, and again--the moon
having now risen and dispelled his fears--he started for
Charringworth. He lost his way in a mist, slept by the road-side,
proceeded in the dawn to Charringworth, and found that Harrison had
been there on the previous day. Then he came back and met Edward
Harrison on his way to seek his father at Charringworth.

Perry's story is like a tale told by an idiot, but Reed, Pierce, and
two men at Charringworth corroborated as far as their knowledge went.
Certainly Perry had been in company with Reed and Pierce, say between
nine and ten on the previous night. Now, if evil had befallen Harrison
it must have been before ten at night; he would not stay so late, if
sober, at Charringworth. Was he usually sober? The cool way in which
his wife and son took his absence suggests that he was a
late-wandering old boy. They may have expected Perry to find him in
his cups and tuck him up comfortably at Charringworth or at Ebrington.

Till August 24 Perry was detained in prison, or, odd to say, at the
inn! He told various tales; a tinker or a servant had murdered his
master and hidden him in a bean-rick, where, on search being made,
_non est inventus_. Harrison, and the rents he had collected, were
vanished in the azure. Perry now declared that he would tell all to
Overbury, and to no other man. To him Perry averred that his mother
and brother, Joan and Richard Perry, had murdered Harrison! It was his
brother who, by John Perry's advice and connivance, had robbed the
house in the previous year, while John 'had a Halibi,' being at
church. The brother, said John, buried the money in the garden. It was
sought for, but was not found. His story of the 'two men in white,'
who had previously attacked him in the garden, was a lie, he said. I
may add that it was not the lie of a sane man. Perry was conspicuously

He went on with his fables. His mother and brother, he declared, had
often asked him to tell them when his master went to collect rents. He
had done so after Harrison started for Charringworth on the morning of
August 16. John Perry next gave an account of his expedition with his
brother in the evening of the fatal day, an account which was
incompatible with his previous tale of his doings and with the
authentic evidence of Reed and Pierce. Their honest version destroyed
Perry's new falsehood. He declared that Richard Perry and he had
dogged Harrison, as he came home at night, into Lady Campden's
grounds; Harrison had used a key to the private gate. Richard followed
him into the grounds; John Perry, after a brief stroll, joined him
there and found his mother (how did she come thither?) and Richard
standing over the prostrate Harrison, whom Richard incontinently
strangled. They seized Harrison's money and meant to put his body 'in
the great sink by Wallington's Mill.' John Perry left them, and knew
not whether the body was actually thrown into the sink. In fact, _non
est inventus_ in the sink, any more than in the bean-rick. John next
introduced his meeting with Pierce, but quite forgot that he had also
met Reed, and did not account for that part of his first story, which
Reed and Pierce had both corroborated. The hat, comb, and band John
said that he himself had carried away from Harrison's body, had cut
them with his knife, and thrown them into the highway. Whence the
blood on the band came he neglected to say.

On the strength of this impossible farrago of insane falsehoods, Joan
and Richard Perry were arrested and brought before Overbury. Not only
the 'sink' but the Campden fish-pools and the ruinous parts of the
house were vainly searched in quest of Harrison's body. On August 25
the three Perrys were examined by Overbury, and Richard and the mother
denied all that John laid to their charge. John persisted in his
story, and Richard admitted that he and John had spoken together on
the morning of the day when Harrison vanished, 'but nothing passed
between them to that purpose.'

As the three were being brought back from Overbury's house to Campden
an unfortunate thing happened. John was going foremost when Richard, a
good way behind, dropped 'a ball of inkle from his pocket.' One of his
guards picked it up, and Richard said that it 'was only his wife's
hair-lace.' At one end, however, was a slip-knot. The finder took it
to John, who, being a good way in front, had not seen his brother drop
it. On being shown the string John shook his head, and said that 'to
his sorrow he knew it, for that was the string his brother strangled
his master with.' To this circumstance John swore at the ensuing

The Assizes were held in September, and the Perrys were indicted both
for the robbery in 1659 and the murder in 1660. They pleaded 'Guilty'
to the first charge, as some one in court whispered to them to do, for
the crime was covered by the Act of Pardon and Oblivion passed by
Charles II. at his happy Restoration. If they were innocent of the
robbery, as probably they were, they acted foolishly in pleading
guilty. We hear of no evidence against them for the robbery, except
John's confession, which was evidence perhaps against John, but was
none against _them_. They thus damaged their case, for if they were
really guilty of the robbery from Harrison's house, they were the most
likely people in the neighbourhood to have robbed him again and
murdered him. Very probably they tied the rope round their own necks
by taking advantage of the good King's indemnity. They later withdrew
their confession, and probably were innocent of the theft in 1659.
[Transcriber's Note: original has 1559.]

On the charge of murder they were not tried in September. Sir
Christopher Turner would not proceed 'because the body of Harrison was
not found.' There was no _corpus delicti_, no evidence that Harrison
was really dead. Meanwhile John Perry, as if to demonstrate his
lunacy, declared that his mother and brother had tried to poison him
in prison! At the Spring Assizes in 1661, Sir B. Hyde, less legal than
Sir Christopher Turner, did try the Perrys on the charge of murder.
How he could do this does not appear, for the account of the trial is
not in the Record House, and I am unable at present to trace it. In
the _Arminian Magazine_, John Wesley publishes a story of a man who
was hanged for murdering another man, whom he afterwards met in one of
the Spanish colonies of South America. I shall not here interrupt the
tale of the Perrys by explaining how a hanged man met a murdered man,
but the anecdote proves that to inflict capital punishment for murder
without proof that murder has been committed is not only an illegal
but an injudicious proceeding. Probably it was assumed that Harrison,
if alive, would have given signs of life in the course of nine or ten

At the trial in spring all three Perrys pleaded 'not guilty.' John's
confession being proved against him, 'he told them he was then mad and
knew not what he said.' There must have been _some_ evidence against
Richard. He declared that his brother had accused others besides him.
Being asked to prove this, he answered 'that most of those that had
given evidence against him knew it,' but named none. So evidence had
been given (perhaps to the effect that Richard had been flush of
money), but by whom, and to what effect, we do not know.

The Perrys were probably not of the best repute. The mother, Joan, was
supposed to be a witch. This charge was seldom brought against popular
well-living people. How intense was the fear of witches, at that date,
we know from the stories and accounts of trials in Glanvil's
_Sadducismus Triumphatus_. The neighbours probably held that Joan
Perry would, as a witch, be 'nane the waur o' a hanging.' She was put
to death first, under the belief that any hypnotic or other unholy
influence of hers, which prevented her sons from confessing, would be
destroyed by her death. We are not aware that post-hypnotic suggestion
is removed by the death of the suggester; the experiment has not been
tried. The experiment failed in Joan's case. Poor Richard, who was
hanged next, could not induce the 'dogged and surly' John to clear his
character by a dying declaration. Such declarations were then held
irrefragable evidence, at least in Scotland, except when (as in the
case of George Sprot, hanged for the Gowrie conspiracy) it did not
suit the Presbyterians to believe the dying man. When John was being
turned off, he said that 'he knew nothing of his master's death, nor
what was become of him, but they might hereafter (possibly) hear.' Did
John know something? It would not surprise me if he had an inkling of
the real state of the case.


They _did_ hear; but what they heard, and what I have now to tell, was
perfectly incredible. When 'some' years (two apparently) had passed,
Will Harrison, Gent., like the three silly ewes in the folk-rhyme,
'came hirpling hame.' Where had the old man been? He explained in a
letter to Sir Thomas Overbury, but his tale is as hard to believe as
that of John Perry.

He states that he left his house in the afternoon (not the morning) of
Thursday, August 16, 1660. He went to Charringworth to collect rents,
but Lady Campden's tenants were all out harvesting. August seems an
odd month for rent-collecting when one thinks of it. They came home
late, which delayed Harrison 'till the close of the evening.' He only
received 23 _l._, which John Perry said, at his first examination in
1660, had been paid by one Edward Plaisterer, and Plaisterer
corroborated. Harrison then walked homeward, in the dusk probably,
and, near Ebrington, where the road was narrow, and bordered by whins,
'there met me one horseman who said "_Art thou there?_"' Afraid of
being ridden over, Harrison struck the horse on the nose, and the
rider, with a sword, struck at him and stabbed him in the side. (It
was at this point of the road, where the whins grew, that the cut hat
and bloody band were found, but a thrust in the side would not make a
neck-band bloody.) Two other horsemen here came up, one of them
wounded Harrison in the thigh. They did not now take his 23_l._, but
placed him behind one of them on horseback, handcuffed him, and threw
a great cloak over him.

Now, is it likely that highwaymen would carry handcuffs which closed,
says Harrison, with a spring and a snap? The story is pure fiction,
and bad at that. Suppose that kidnapping, not robbery, was the motive
(which would account for the handcuffs), what had any mortal to gain
by kidnapping, for the purpose of selling him into slavery, a 'gent.'
of seventy years of age?

In the night they took Harrison's money and 'tumbled me down a
stone-pit.' In an hour they dragged him out again, and he naturally
asked what they wanted with him, as they had his money already. One of
these miscreants wounded Harrison again, and--stuffed his pockets full
of 'a great quantity of money.' If they had a great quantity of money,
what did they want with 23_l._? We hear of no other robberies in the
neighbourhood, of which misdeeds the money might have been the
profits. And why must Harrison carry the money? (It has been suggested
that, to win popular favour, they represented themselves as
smugglers, and Harrison, with the money, as their gallant purser,
wounded in some heroic adventure.)

They next rode till late on August 17, and then put Harrison down,
bleeding and 'sorely bruised with the carriage of the money,' at a
lonely house. Here they gave their victim broth and brandy. On
Saturday they rode all day to a house, where they slept, and on Sunday
they brought Harrison to Deal, and laid him down on the ground. This
was about three in the afternoon. Had they wanted to make for the sea,
they would naturally have gone to the _west_ coast. While one fellow
watched Harrison, two met a man, and 'I heard them mention seven
pounds.' The man to whom seven pounds were mentioned (Wrenshaw was his
name, as Harrison afterwards heard--where?) said that he thought
Harrison would die before he could be put on board a ship. _Que diable
allait-il faire dans cette galère?_ Harrison was, however, put on
board a casual vessel, and remained in the ship for six weeks.

    Where was the land to which the ship would go?
    Far, far ahead is all the sailors know!

Harrison does not say into what 'foam of perilous seas, in faery lands
forlorn' the ship went wandering for six mortal weeks. Like Lord

    He sailéd East, and he sailéd West,
    Until he came to famed Turkee,
    Where he was taken and put in prison,
    Till of his life he was wear--ee!

'Then the Master of the ship came and told me, and _the rest who were
in the same condition_, that he discovered three Turkish ships.' 'The
rest who were in the same condition'! We are to understand that a
whole cargo of Harrisons was kidnapped and consigned captive to a
vessel launched on ocean, on the off chance that the captain might
meet three Turkish rovers who would snap them up. At this rate of
carrying on, there must have been disappearances as strange as
Harrison's, from dozens of English parishes, in August 1660. Had a
crew of kidnappers been taking captives for purposes of private fiscal
policy, they would have shipped them to the Virginian plantations,
where Turkish galleys did not venture, and they would not have
kidnapped men of seventy. Moreover, kidnappers would not damage their
captives by stabbing them in the side and thigh, when no resistance
was made, as was done to Harrison.

'The rest who were in the same condition' were 'dumped down' near
Smyrna, where the valuable Harrison was sold to 'a grave physician.'
'This Turk he' was eighty-seven years of age, and 'preferred Crowland
in Lincolnshire before all other places in England.' No inquiries are
known to have been made about a Turkish medical man who once practised
at Crowland in Lincolnshire, though, if he ever did, he was likely to
be remembered in the district. This Turk he employed Harrison in the
still room, and as a hand in the cotton fields, where he once knocked
his slave down with his fist--pretty well for a Turk of eighty-seven!
He also gave Harrison (whom he usually employed in the chemical
department of his business) 'a silver bowl, double gilt, to drink in,
and named him Boll'--his way of pronouncing bowl--no doubt he had
acquired a Lincolnshire accent.

This Turk fell ill on a Thursday, and died on Saturday, when Harrison
tramped to the nearest port, bowl and all. Two men in a Hamburg ship
refused to give him a passage, but a third, for the price of his
silver-gilt bowl, let him come aboard. Harrison was landed, without
even his bowl, at Lisbon, where he instantly met a man from Wisbech,
in Lincolnshire. This good Samaritan gave Harrison wine, strong
waters, eight stivers, and his passage to Dover, whence he came back
to Campden, much to the amazement of mankind. We do not hear the names
of the ship and skipper that brought Harrison from Lisbon to Dover.
Wrenshaw (the man to whom seven pounds 'were mentioned') is the only
person named in this delirious tissue of nonsense.

The editor of our pamphlet says, 'Many question the truth of this
account Mr. Harrison gives of himself, and his transportation,
believing he was never out of England.' I do not wonder at their
scepticism. Harrison had 'all his days been a man of sober life and
conversation,' we are told, and the odd thing is that he 'left behind
him a considerable sum of his Lady's money in his house.' He did not
see any of the Perrys on the night of his disappearance. The editor
admits that Harrison, as an article of merchandise, was not worth his
freight to Deal, still less to Smyrna. His son, in his absence, became
Lady Campden's steward, and behaved but ill in that situation. Some
suspected that this son arranged the kidnapping of Harrison, but, if
so, why did he secure the hanging of John Perry, in chains, on
Broadway hill, 'where he might daily see him'?

That might be a blind. But young Harrison could not expect John Perry
to assist him by accusing himself and his brother and mother, which
was the most unlooked-for event in the world. Nor could he know that
his father would come home from Charringworth on August 16, 1660, in
the dark, and so arrange for three horsemen, in possession of a heavy
weight of specie, to stab and carry off the aged sire. Young Harrison
had not a great fardel of money to give them, and if they were already
so rich, what had they to gain by taking Harrison to Deal, and putting
him, with 'others in the same condition,' on board a casual ship? They
could have left him in the 'stone-pit:' he knew not who they were, and
the longer they rode by daylight, with a hatless, handcuffed, and
sorely wounded prisoner, his pockets overburdened with gold, the more
risk of detection they ran. A company of three men ride, in broad
daylight, through England from Gloucestershire to Deal. Behind one of
them sits a wounded, _and hatless_, and handcuffed captive, his
pockets bulging with money. Nobody suspects anything, no one calls the
attention of a magistrate to this extraordinary _démarche_! It is too

The story told by Harrison is conspicuously and childishly false. At
every baiting place, at every inn, these weird riders must have been
challenged. If Harrison told truth, he must have named the ship and
skipper that brought him to Dover.

Dismissing Harrison's myth, we ask, what could account for his
disappearance? He certainly walked, on the evening of August 16, to
within about half a mile of his house. He would not have done that had
he been bent on a senile amour involving his absence from home, and
had that scheme of pleasure been in his mind, he would have provided
himself with money. Again, a fit of 'ambulatory somnambulism,' and the
emergence of a split or secondary personality with forgetfulness of
his real name and address, is not likely to have seized on him at that
very moment and place. If it did, as there were no railways, he could
not rush off in a crowd and pass unnoticed through the country.

Once more, the theory of ambulatory somnambulism does not account for
his hacked hat and bloody band found near the whins on the road beyond
Ebrington. Nor does his own story account for them. He was stabbed in
the side and thigh, he says. This would not cut his hat or ensanguine
his band. On the other hand, he would leave pools and tracks of blood
on the road--'the high way.' 'But nothing more could there be found,'
no pools or traces of blood on the road. It follows that the hacked
hat and bloody band were a designed false trail, _not_ left there by
John Perry, as he falsely swore, but by some other persons.

The inference is that for some reason Harrison's presence at Campden
was inconvenient to somebody. He had lived through most troubled
times, and had come into a changed state of affairs with new masters.
He knew some secret of the troubled times: he was a witness better out
of the way. He may conceivably have held a secret that bore on the
case of one of the Regicides; or that affected private interests, for
he was the trusted servant of a great family. He was therefore
spirited away: a trail certainly false--the cut hat and bloody
band--was laid. By an amazing coincidence his servant, John Perry,
went more or less mad--he was not sane on the evening of Thursday,
August 16, and accused himself, his brother, and mother. Harrison was
probably never very far from Campden during the two or three years of
his disappearance. It was obviously made worth his while to tell his
absurd story on his return, and to accept the situation. No other
hypothesis 'colligates the facts.' What Harrison knew, why his absence
was essential, we cannot hope to discover. But he never was a captive
in 'famed Turkee.' Mr. Paget writes: 'It is impossible to assign a
sufficient motive for kidnapping the old man ... much profit was not
likely to arise from the sale of the old man as a slave.' Obviously
there was no profit, especially as the old man was delivered in a
wounded and imperfect condition. But a motive for keeping Harrison out
of the way is only hard to seek because we do not know the private
history of his neighbours. Roundheads among them may have had
excellent reasons, under the Restoration, for sequestering Harrison
till the revenges of the Restoration were accomplished. On this view
the mystery almost ceases to be mysterious, for such mad
self-accusations as that of John Perry are not uncommon.[7]

[Footnote 7: Not only have I failed to trace the records of the Assize
at which the Perrys were tried, but the newspapers of 1660 seem to
contain no account of the trial (as they do in the case of the Drummer
of Tedworth, 1663), and Miss E.M. Thompson, who kindly undertook the
search, has not even found a ballad or broadside on 'The Campden
Wonder' in the British Museum. The pamphlet of 1676 has frequently
been republished, in whole or in part, as in _State Trials_, vol.
xiv., in appendix to the case of Captain Green; which see, _infra_, p.
193, _et seq._]



Who killed the Red Fox? What was the secret that the Celts would not
communicate to Mr. R.L. Stevenson, when he was writing _Kidnapped_?
Like William of Deloraine, 'I know but may not tell'; at least, I know
all that the Celt knows. The great-grandfather and grandfather of a
friend of mine were with James Stewart of the Glens, the victim of
Hanoverian injustice, in a potato field, near the road from
Ballachulish Ferry to Appin, when they heard a horse galloping at a
break-neck pace. 'Whoever the rider is,' said poor James, 'he is not
riding his own horse.' The galloper shouted, 'Glenure has been shot!'

'Well,' said James to his companion, 'whoever did it, I am the man
that will hang for it.'

Hanged he was. The pit in which his gibbet stood is on the crest of a
circular 'knowe,' or hummock, on the east side of the Ballachulish
Hotel, overlooking the ferry across the narrows, where the tide runs
like a great swift river.

I have had the secret from two sources; the secret which I may not
tell. One informant received it from his brother, who, when he came
to man's estate, was taken apart by his uncle. 'You are old enough to
know now,' said that kinsman, 'and I tell you that it may not be
forgotten.' The gist of the secret is merely what one might gather
from the report of the trial, that though Allan Breck was concerned in
the murder of Campbell of Glenure, he was not alone in it.

The truth is, according to tradition, that as Glenure rode on the
fatal day from Fort William to his home in Appin, the way was lined
with marksmen of the Camerons of Lochaber, lurking with their guns
among the brushwood and behind the rocks. But their hearts failed
them, no trigger was drawn, and when Glenure landed on the Appin side
of the Ballachulish Ferry, he said, 'I am safe now that I am out of my
mother's country,' his mother having been of clan Cameron. But he had
to reckon with the man with the gun, who was lurking in the wood of
Letter More ('the great hanging coppice'), about three-quarters of a
mile on the Appin side of Ballachulish Ferry. The gun was not one of
the two dilapidated pieces shown at the trial of James of the Glens,
nor, I am told, was it the Fasnacloich gun. The real homicidal gun was
found some years ago in a hollow tree. People remember these things
well in Appin and Glencoe, though the affair is a hundred and fifty
years old, and though there are daily steamers bringing the
newspapers. There is even a railway, not remarkable for speed, while
tourists, English, French, and American, are for ever passing to view
Glencoe, and to write their names in the hotel book after luncheon,
then flying to other scenes. There has even been a strike of long
duration at the Ballachulish Quarries, and Labour leaders have
perorated to the Celts; but Gaelic is still spoken, second sight is
nearly as common as short sight, you may really hear the fairy music
if you bend your ear, on a still day, to the grass of the fairy knowe.
Only two generations back a fairy boy lived in a now ruinous house,
noted in the story of the Massacre of Glencoe, beside the brawling
river: and a woman, stolen by the fairies, returned for an hour to her
husband, who became very unpopular, as he neglected the means for her
rescue; I think he failed to throw a dirk over her shoulder. Every now
and then mysterious lights may be seen, even by the Sassenach,
speeding down the road to Callart on the opposite side of the narrow
sea-loch, ascending the hill, and running down into the salt water.
The causes of these lights, and of the lights on the burial isle of
St. Mun, in the middle of the sea strait, remain a mystery. Thus the
country is still a country of prehistoric beliefs and of fairly
accurate traditions. For example, at the trial of James Stewart for
the murder of Glenure, one MacColl gave damaging evidence, the
MacColls being a sept subordinate to the MacIans or Macdonalds of
Glencoe, who, by the way, had no hand in the murder. Till recently
these MacColls were still disliked for the part played by the
witness, and were named 'King George's MacColls.'

[Illustration: map]

But we must come to the case of Allan Breck. To understand it, some
knowledge of topography is necessary. Leaving Oban by steamer, you
keep on the inside of the long narrow island of Lismore, and reach the
narrow sea inlet of Loch Creran on your right. The steamer does not
enter it, but, taking a launch or a boat, you go down Loch Creran. On
your left is the peninsula of Appin; its famous green hills occupy the
space bounded by Loch Creran on the south and Glencoe on the north.
Landing near the head of Loch Creran, a walk of two miles takes you to
the old house of Fasnacloich, where Allan Breck was wont to stay. Till
two or three years ago it belonged to the Stewarts of Fasnacloich,
cadets of the chief, the Laird of Appin; all Appin was a Stewart
country and loyal to the King over the Water, their kinsman. About a
mile from Fasnacloich, further inland, is the rather gloomy house of
Glenure, the property of Campbell of Glenure, the Red Fox who was shot
on the road under Letter More. Walking across the peninsula to Appin
House, you pass Acharn in Duror, the farm of James Stewart of the
Glens, himself an illegitimate kinsman of the Laird of Appin. To the
best of my memory the cottage is still standing, and has a new roof of
corrugated iron. It is an ordinary Highland cottage, and Allan, when
he stayed with James, his kinsman and guardian, slept in the barn.
Appin House is a large plain country house, close to the sea. Further
north-east, the house of Ardshiel, standing high above the sea, is
visible from the steamer going to Fort William. At Ardshiel, Rob Roy
fought a sword and target duel with the laird, and Ardshiel led the
Stewarts in the rising of 1745; Appin, the chief, held aloof. The next
place of importance is Ballachulish House, also an old house of
Stewart of Ballachulish. It is on the right hand of the road from
Ballachulish Pier to Glencoe, beneath a steep wooded hill, down which
runs the burn where Allan Breck was fishing on the morning of the day
of Glenure's murder, done at a point on the road three-quarters of a
mile to the south-west of Ballachulish House, where Allan had slept on
the previous night. From the house the road passes on the south side
of the salt Loch Leven (not Queen Mary's Loch Leven). Here is
Ballachulish Ferry, crossing to Lochaber. Following the road you come
opposite the House of Carnoch, then possessed by Macdonalds (the house
has been pulled down; there is a good recent ghost story about that
business), and the road now enters Glencoe. On high hills, well to the
left of the road and above Loch Leven, are Corrynakeigh and
Coalisnacoan (the Ferry of the Dogs), overtopping the narrows of Loch
Leven. Just opposite the House of Carnoch, on the Cameron side of Loch
Leven, is the House of Callart (Mrs. Cameron Lucy's). Here and at
Carnoch, as at Fasnacloich, Acharn, and Ballachulish, Allan Breck was
much at home among his cousins.

From Loch Leven north to Fort William, with its English garrison, all
is a Cameron country. Campbell of Glenure was an outpost of Whiggery
and Campbells, in a land of loyal Stewarts, Camerons, and Macdonalds
or MacIans of Glencoe. Of the Camerons, the gentle Lochiel had died in
France; his son, a boy, was abroad; the interests of the clan were
represented by Cameron of Fassifern, Lochiel's uncle, living a few
miles west by north of Fort William. Fassifern, a well-educated man
and a burgess of Glasgow, had not been out with Prince Charles, but
(for reasons into which I would rather not enter) was not well trusted
by Government. Ardshiel, also, was in exile, and his tenants, under
James Stewart of the Glens, loyally paid rent to him, as well as to
the commissioners of his forfeited estates. The country was seething
with feuds among the Camerons themselves, due to the plundering by
----, of ----, of the treasure left by Prince Charles in the hands of
Cluny. The state of affairs was such that the English commander in
Fort William declared that, if known, it 'would shock even Lochaber
consciences.' 'A great ox hath trodden on my tongue' as to _this_
business. Despite the robbery of Prince Charles's gold, deep poverty

In February, 1749, Campbell of Glenure had been appointed Factor for
Government over the forfeited estates of Ardshiel (previously managed
by James Stewart of the Glens), of Lochiel, and of Callart. In the
summer of 1751, Glenure evicted James from a farm, and in April, 1752,
took measures for evicting other farmers on Ardshiel estates. Such
measures were almost unheard of in the country, and had, years
before, caused some agrarian outrages among Gordons and Camerons;
these were appeased by the King over the Water, James VIII. and III.
James Stewart, in April, 1752, went to Edinburgh, and obtained a legal
sist, or suspension of the evictions, against Glenure, which was
withdrawn on Glenure's application, who came home from Edinburgh, and
intended to turn the tenants out on May 15, 1752. They were assailed
merely as of Jacobite name and tendencies. Meanwhile Allan Breck--who
had deserted the Hanoverian army after Prestonpans, had joined Prince
Charles, fought at Culloden, escaped to France, and entered the French
army--was lodging about Appin among his cousins, perhaps doing a
little recruiting for King Louis. He was a tall thin man, marked with

Cruising about the country also was another Jacobite soldier, 'the
Sergent More,' a Cameron, later betrayed by ----, of ----, who robbed
the Prince's hoard of gold. But the Sergeant More had nothing to do,
as has been fancied, with the murder of Glenure. The state of the
country was ticklish; Prince Charles expected to invade with Swedish
forces, under the famous Marshal Keith, by the connivance of Frederick
the Great, and he had sent Lochgarry, with Dr. Archibald Cameron and
others, to feel the pulse of the western clans. As Government knew all
about these intrigues from Pickle the Spy, they were evicting Jacobite
tenants from Ardshiel's lands, and meant to do the same, by agency of
Campbell of Glenure, in Lochaber, Lochiel's country.

On Monday, May 11, Campbell, who intended to do the evictions on May
15, left Glenure for Fort William, on business; the distance is
computed at sixteen miles, by the old hill road. Allan Breck, on the
11th, was staying at Fasnacloich, near Glenure, where the fishing is
very good. When Glenure moved north to Fort William, Allan went to
James Stewart's cottage of Acharn. Glenure's move was talked of, and
that evening Allan changed his own blue coat, scarlet vest, and black
velvet breeches for a dark short coat with silver buttons, a blue
bonnet, and trousers (the Highlanders had been diskilted), all
belonging to James Stewart. He usually did make these changes when
residing with friends. In these clothes next day (Tuesday, May 12)
Allan, with young Fasnacloich, walked to Carnoch, the house of
Macdonald of Glencoe, situated just where the Water of Coe or Cona
enters Loch Leven. The dowager of the house was natural sister of
James of the Glens, and full sister of the exiled Stewart of Ardshiel.
From Carnoch, Allan, on the same day, crossed the sea-strait to
Callart opposite, where Mrs. Cameron was another half-sister to James
of the Glens. On Wednesday Allan recrossed, called at Carnoch, and
went to stay at Ballachulish House. On Thursday, when Glenure would
certainly return home by Ballachulish Ferry, Allan, about mid-day, was
seen to go fishing up Ballachulish burn, where he caught no trout,
and I do not wonder at it.

The theory of the prosecution was that, from the high ground to the
left of the burn he watched the ferry, having one or two guns, though
how he got them unobserved to the place is the difficulty; he could
not have walked the roads from Acharn unobserved with a gun, for the
Highlanders had been disarmed. At this point he must have had the
assistance and the gun of _the other man_. Allan came down from the
hill, asked the ferryman if Glenure had crossed, and returned to his
point of observation. About five o'clock in the afternoon, Glenure,
with a nephew of his, Mungo Campbell, a 'writer' or solicitor, crossed
the ferry, and was greeted and accompanied for three-quarters of a
mile on his homeward way by old Stewart of Ballachulish, who turned
back and went to his house. A sheriff's officer walked ahead of
Glenure, who, like Mungo, was mounted. Behind both, mounted, was
Campbell's servant, John Mackenzie. The old road was (and is) a rough
track, through thick coppice. There came a shot, and Glenure, pierced
by two balls, fell and died.

John Mackenzie, Glenure's servant, now rode onwards at a great gallop
to find Campbell of Ballieveolan, and on his way came to Acharn and
met James Stewart, with the two ancestors of my friend, as already
described. He gave the news to James, who 'wrung his hands and
expressed great concern at what had happened, as what might bring
innocent people to trouble.' In fact, he had once, or oftener, when
drinking, expressed a desire to have a shot at Glenure, and so had
Allan. But James was a worthy, sensible man when sober, and must have
known that, while he could not frighten the commissioners of forfeited
estates by shooting their agent, he was certain to be suspected if
their agent was shot. As a matter of fact, as we shall see, he had
taken active steps to secure the presence of a Fort William solicitor
at the evictions on Friday, May 15, to put in a legal protest. But he
thought it unadvisable to walk three or four miles and look after
Glenure's corpse; the Highlanders, to this day, have a strong dread or
dislike of corpses. That night James bade his people hide his arms,
four swords, a long Spanish gun, and a shorter gun, neither of which
weapons, in fact, did the trick, nor could be depended on not to miss

Where, meanwhile, was Allan? In the dusk, above Ballachulish House, he
was seen by Kate MacInnes, a maid of the house; they talked of the
murder, and she told Donald Stewart, a very young man, son-in-law of
Ballachulish, where Allan was out on the hillside. Donald Stewart
averred that, on hearing from Kate that Allan wanted to see him (Kate
denied that she said this), he went to the hill, accused Allan of the
crime, and was told, in reply, that Allan was innocent, though, as a
deserter from the Hanoverian army, and likely to be suspected, he must
flee the country. Other talk passed, to which we shall return. At
three in the morning of Friday, May 15, Allan knocked at the window
of Carnoch House (Glencoe's), passed the news, was asked no questions,
refused a drink and made for the sheiling, or summer hut, high on the
hill side of Coalisnacoan, whence you look down on the narrows of Loch

There we leave Allan for the moment, merely remarking that he had no
money, no means of making his escape. As he is supposed by the
prosecution to have planned the slaying of Glenure with James Stewart
on May 11, it seems plain that James would then have given him money
to use in his escape, or, if he had no money by him, would have sent
at once to Fort William or elsewhere to raise it. He did not do this,
and neither at Carnoch, Callart, nor Ballachulish House did Allan
receive any money.

But, on May 12, when Allan went to Carnoch and Callart, James sent a
servant to a very old Mr. Stewart, father of Charles Stewart, notary
public. The father was a notary also, and James, who wanted a man of
law to be at the evictions on May 15, and thought that Charles Stewart
was absent in Moidart, conceived that the old gentleman would serve
the turn. But his messenger missed the venerable sportsman, who had
gone a-fishing. Learning later that Charles had returned from Moidart,
James, at 8 A.M. on May 14 (the day of the murder), sent a servant to
Charles at Fort William, bidding him come to the evictions on May 15,
'as everything must go wrong without a person that can act, and that
I can trust.' In a postscript he added, 'As I have no time to write to
William (Stewart), let him send down immediately 8_l._ to pay for four
milk cows I bought for his wife at Ardshiel.' His messenger had also
orders to ask William Stewart for the money.

Nothing could seem more harmless, but the prosecution might have
argued that this letter was, as to the coming of the notary, a
'blind,' and that the real object was, under the plea of sending for
the notary, to send the messenger for William Stewart's 8_l._,
destined to aid Allan in his escape.[8] There was no proof or even
suggestion that, on May 12, James had asked old Mr. Stewart to send
money for Allan's use, or had asked William Stewart, as having none by
him he would have done--that is, if James had concerted the murder
with Allan. If, on May 14, James was trying to raise money to help a
man who, as he knew, would need it after committing a murder on that
day, he showed strange want of foresight. He might not get the money,
or might not be able to send it to Allan. In fact, that day James did
not get the money. The prosecution argued that the money was sent for
on May 14, to help Allan Breck, and did not even try to show that
James had sent for money on May 12; when it would have arrived in good
time. Indeed James did not, on May 12, send any message to William
Stewart at Fort William, from whom, not from Charles or the old
gentleman, he tried to raise the cash on May 14. A friendly or a just
jury would have noted that if James planned a murder on the night of
May 11, and had no money, his very first move, on May 12, would be to
try to raise money for the assassin's escape. No mortal would put off
that step till the morning of the crime; indeed, it is amazing that
Allan, if he meant to do the deed, did not first try to obtain cash
for his escape. The relations of Glenure suspected, at the time, that
Allan was not the assassin, that he fled merely to draw suspicion away
from the real criminal (as he does in _Kidnapped_), and they even
wished to advertise a pardon for him, if he would come in and give
evidence. These facts occur in a copious unpublished correspondence of
the day between Glenure's brothers and kinsmen; Mr. Stevenson had
never heard of these letters.[9] Thus, up to the day of the murder,
Allan may not have contemplated it; he may have been induced,
unprepared, to act as accessory to _the other man_.

[Footnote 8: Really, the prosecution did not make this point: an

[Footnote 9: They are in the possession of Mr. Walter Blaikie, who
kindly lent them to me.]

The point where, according to the prosecution, the evidence 'pinched'
James of the Glens was his attempt to raise money on May 14. What
could he want with so large a sum as 8_l._, so suddenly, as he had no
bill to meet? Well, as a number of his friends were to be thrown out
of their farms, with their cattle, next day, James might need money
for their relief, and it seems certain that he had made no effort to
raise money at the moment when he inevitably must have done so, if
guilty, that is, on May 12, immediately after concerting, as was
alleged, the plot with Allan Breck. Failing to get money from William
Stewart at Fort William on May 14, James did on May 15 procure a small
sum from him or his wife, and did send what he could scrape together
to Allan Breck at Coalisnacoan. This did not necessarily imply guilt
on James's part. Allan, whether guilty or not, was in danger as a
suspected man and a deserter; James was his father's friend, had been
his guardian, and so, in honour, was bound to help him.

But how did he know where Allan was to be found? If both were guilty
they would have arranged, on May 11, a place where Allan might lurk.
If they did arrange that, both were guilty. But Donald Stewart, who
went, as we have said, and saw Allan on the hillside on the night of
the murder, added to his evidence that Allan had then told him to tell
James of the Glens where he might be found, that is, at Coalisnacoan.
These tidings Donald gave to James on the morning of May 15. James
then sent a pedlar, Allan's cousin, back to William Stewart, got
3_l._, added, in the evening of the 16th, more money of his own, and
sent it to Allan. There was a slight discrepancy between the story of
the maid, Kate MacInnes, and that of Donald Stewart, as to what
exactly passed between them, concerning Allan, on the night of the
murder, and whether Allan did or did not give her a definite message
to Donald. The prosecution insisted on this discrepancy, which really,
as James's advocate told the jury, rather went to prove their want of
collusion in the manufacture of testimony. Had their memories been
absolutely coincident, we might suspect collusion--that they had been
'coached' in their parts. But a discrepancy of absolutely no
importance rather suggests independent and honest testimony. If this
be so, Allan and James had arranged no trysting-place on May 11, as
they must have done if Allan was to murder Glenure, and James was to
send him money for his escape.

But there was a discrepancy of evidence as to the hour when the pedlar
sent by James to Fort William on May 15 arrived there. Was he
despatched after the hour when Donald Stewart swore that he gave
Allan's message to James of the Glens, or earlier, with no knowledge
on James's part of the message carried by Donald? We really cannot
expect certainty of memory, after five months, as to hours of the
clock. Also James did not prove that he sent a message to Allan at
Coalisnacoan, bidding him draw on William Stewart for money; yet on
Friday, May 15, James did, by the pedlar, bid William Stewart give
Allan credit, and on Saturday, May 16, Allan did make a pen from a
bird's feather, and ink with powder and water, and write a letter for
money, on the strength of James's credit, to William Stewart. This is
certainly a difficulty for James, since he suggested John Breck
MacColl, a tenant of Appin's at Coalisnacoan, for the intermediary
between Allan and William Stewart, and Allan actually did employ this
man to carry his letter. But Allan knew this tenant well, as did
James, and there was nobody else at that desolate spot, Coalisnacoan,
whom Allan could employ. So lonely is the country that a few years ago
a gentleman of my acquaintance, climbing a rocky cliff, found the
bones of a man gnawed by foxes and eagles; a man who never had been
missed or inquired after. Remains of pencils and leather shoe strings
among the bones proved that the man had been a pedlar, like James
Stewart's messenger, who had fallen over the precipice in trying to
cross from Coalisnacoan to the road through Glencoe. But he never was
missed, nor is the date of his death known to this day.

The evidence of the lonely tenant at Coalisnacoan, as to his
interviews with Allan, is familiar to readers of _Kidnapped_. The
tenant had heard of the murder before he saw Allan. Two poor women,
who came up from Glencoe, told the story, saying that '_two men_ were
seen going from the spot where Glenure was killed, and that Allan
Breck was one of them.' Thus early does the mysterious figure of _the
other man_ haunt the evidence. The tenant's testimony was not regarded
as trustworthy by the Stewart party; it tended to prove that Allan
expected a change of clothes and money to be sent to him, and he also
wrote the letter (with a wood-pigeon's quill, and powder and water) to
William Stewart, asking for money. But Allan might do all this relying
on his own message sent by Donald Stewart, on the night of the murder,
to James of the Glens, and knowing, as he must have done, that William
Stewart was James's agent in his large financial operations.

On the whole, then, the evidence, even where it 'pinches' James most,
is by no means conclusive proof that on May 11 he had planned the
murder with Allan. If so, he must have begun to try to raise money
before the very day of the murder. James and his son were arrested on
May 16, and taken to Fort William; scores of other persons were
arrested, and the Campbells, to avenge Glenure, made the most minute
examinations of hundreds of people. Meanwhile Allan, having got 5_l._
and his French clothes by the agency of his cousin the pedlar,
decamped from Coalisnacoan in the night, and marched across country to
the house of an uncle in Rannoch. Thence he escaped to France, where
he was seen in Paris by an informant of Sir Walter Scott's in the dawn
of the French Revolution; a tall, thin, quiet old man, wearing the
cross of St. Louis, and looking on at a revolutionary procession.

The activities of the Campbells are narrated in their numerous
unpublished letters. We learn from a nephew of Glenure's that he had
been 'several days ago forewarned,' by whom we cannot guess;
tradition tells, as I have said, that he feared danger only in
Lochiel's country, Lochaber, and thought himself safe in Appin. The
warning, then, probably came from a Cameron in Lochaber, not from a
Stewart in Appin. In coincidence with this is a dark anonymous
blackmailing letter to Fassifern, as if _he_ had urged the writer to
do the deed:

'You will remember what you proposed on the night that Culchena was
buried, betwixt the hill and Culchena. I cannot deny but that I had
breathing' (a whisper), 'and not only that, but proposal of the same
to myself to do. Therefore you must excuse me, when it comes to the
push, for telling the thing that happened betwixt you and me that
night.... If you do not take this to heart, you may let it go as you
will.' (June 6, 1752.)

Fassifern, who had no hand in the murder, 'let it go,' and probably
handed the blackmailer's letter over to the Campbells. Later, ----,
---- of ----, the blackest villain in the country, offered to the
Government to accuse Fassifern of the murder. The writer of the
anonymous letter to Fassifern is styled 'Blarmachfildich,' or
'Blarmackfildoch,' in the correspondence. I think he was a Mr. Millar,
employed by Fassifern to agitate against Glenure.

In the beginning of July a man, suspected of being Allan, was arrested
at Annan on the Border, by a sergeant of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He
really seems to have changed clothes with Allan; at least he wore gay
French clothes like Allan's, but he was not that hero. Young
Ballachulish, at this time, knew that Allan was already across the
sea. Various guesses occur as to who _the other man_ was; for example,
a son of James of the Glens was suspected, so there _was_ another man.

The 'precognitions,' or private examinations of witnesses before the
trial, extended to more than seven hundred persons. It was matter of
complaint by the Stewart party that 'James Drummond's name appeared in
the list of witnesses;' this is Mr. Stevenson's James More, really
MacGregor, the son of Rob Roy, and father of Catriona, later Mrs.
David Balfour of Shaws, in _Kidnapped_ and _Catriona_. 'James More's
character is reflected upon, and I believe he cannot be called worse
than he deserves,' says one of the Campbells. He alleges, however,
that in April, before the murder, James of the Glens visited James
More, then a prisoner in Edinburgh Castle, 'caressed him,' and had a
private conversation with him. The abject James More averred that, in
this conversation, James of the Glens proposed that James More's
brother, Robin Oig, should kill Glenure for money. James More was not
examined at the trial of James of the Glens, perhaps because he had
already escaped, thanks to Catriona and collusion; but his evidence
appears to have reached the jury, almost all of them Campbells, who
sat at Inveraray, the Duke of Argyll on the bench, and made no
difficulty about finding James of the Glens 'Guilty.' To be sure,
James, if guilty, was guilty as an accessory to Allan, and that Allan
was guilty was not proved; he was not even before the court. It was
not proved that the bullets which slew Glenure fitted the bore of
James's small gun with which Allan was alleged to have perpetrated the
murder, but it was proved that the lock of that gun had only one
fault--it missed fire four times out of five, and, when the gun did
not miss fire, it did not carry straight--missed a blackcock, sitting!
_That_ gun was not the gun used in the murder.

The jury had the case for James of the Glens most clearly and
convincingly placed before them, in the speech of Mr. Brown for the
accused. He made, indeed, the very points on which I have insisted;
for example, that if James concerted a murder with Allan on May 11, he
would not begin to hunt for money for Allan's escape so late as May
14, the day of the murder. Again, he proved that, without any
information from James, Allan would _naturally_ send for money to
William Stewart, James's usual source of supply; while at Coalisnacoan
there was no man to go as messenger except the tenant, John Breck
MacColl. A few women composed his family, and, as John MacColl had
been the servant of James of the Glens, he was well known already to
Allan. In brief, there was literally no proof of concert, and had the
case been heard in Edinburgh, not in the heart of the Campbell
country, by a jury of Campbells, a verdict of 'Not Guilty' would have
been given: probably the jury would not even have fallen back upon
'Not Proven.' But, moved by clan hatred and political hatred, the
jury, on September 24, found a verdict against James of the Glens,
who, in a touching brief speech, solemnly asserted his innocence
before God, and chiefly regretted 'that after ages should think me
guilty of such a horrid and barbarous murder.'

He was duly hanged, and left hanging, on the little knoll above the
sea ferry, close to the Ballachulish Hotel.

And _the other man_?

Tradition avers that, on the day of the execution, he wished to give
himself up to justice, though his kinsmen told him that he could not
save James, and would merely share his fate; but, nevertheless, he
struggled so violently that his people mastered and bound him with
ropes, and laid him in a room still existing. Finally, it is said that
strange noises and knockings are still heard in that place, a
mysterious survival of strong human passions attested in other cases,
as on the supposed site of the murder of James I. of Scotland in

Do I believe in this identification of _the other man_? I have marked
every trace of him in the documents, published or unpublished, and I
remain in doubt. But if Allan had an accessory in the crime, who was
seen at the place, an accomplice who, for example, supplied the gun,
perhaps fired the shot, while Allan fled to distract suspicion, that
accessory was probably the person named by legend. Though he was
certainly under suspicion, so were scores of other people. The crime
does not seem to me to have been the result of a conspiracy in Appin,
but the act of one hot-headed man or of two hot-headed men. I hope I
have kept the Celtic secret, and I defy anyone to discover _the other
man_ by aid of this narrative.

That James would have been quite safe with an Edinburgh jury was
proved by the almost contemporary case of the murder of the English
sergeant Davies. He was shot on the hillside, and the evidence against
the assassins was quite strong enough to convict them. But some of the
Highland witnesses averred that the phantasm of the sergeant had
appeared to them, and given information against the criminals, and
though there was testimony independent of the ghost's, his
interference threw ridicule over the affair. Moreover the Edinburgh
jury was in sympathy with Mr. Lockhart, the Jacobite advocate who
defended the accused. Though undeniably guilty, they were acquitted:
much more would James of the Glens have obtained a favourable verdict.
He was practically murdered under forms of law, and what was thought
of the Duke of Argyll's conduct on the bench is familiar to readers of
_Kidnapped_. I have never seen a copy of the pamphlet put forth after
the hanging by the Stewart party, and only know it through a reply in
the Campbell MSS.

The tragedy remains as fresh in the memories of the people of Appin
and Lochaber as if it were an affair of yesterday. The reason is that
the crime of cowardly assassination was very rare indeed among the
Highlanders. Their traditions were favourable to driving 'creaghs' of
cattle, and to clan raids and onfalls, but in the wildest regions the
traveller was far more safe than on Hounslow or Bagshot Heaths, and
shooting from behind a wall was regarded as dastardly.



'Oh, Nature and Thackeray, which of you imitated the other?' One
inevitably thinks of the old question thus travestied, when one reads,
in the fifth edition, revised and augmented, of Monsieur
Funck-Brentano's _L'Affaire du Collier_,[10] the familiar story of
Jeanne de Valois, of Cardinal Rohan, and of the fatal diamond
necklace. Jeanne de Valois might have sat, though she probably did
not, for Becky Sharp. Her early poverty, her pride in the blood of
Valois, recall Becky's youth, and her boasts about 'the blood of the
Montmorencys.' Jeanne had her respectable friends, as Becky had the
Sedleys; like Becky, she imprudently married a heavy, unscrupulous
young officer; her expedients for living on nothing a year were
exactly those of Mrs. Rawdon Crawley; her personal charms, her fluent
tongue, her good nature, even, were those of that accomplished lady.
Finally she has her Marquis of Steyne in the wealthy, luxurious
Cardinal de Rohan; she robs him to a tune beyond the dreams of Becky,
and, incidentally, she drags to the dust the royal head of the fairest
and most unhappy of queens. Even now there seem to be people who
believe that Marie Antoinette was guilty, that she cajoled the
Cardinal, and robbed him of the diamonds, fateful as the jewels of

[Footnote 10: Hachette, Paris, 1903. The author has made valuable
additions and corrections.]

That theory is annihilated by M. Funck-Brentano. But the story is so
strangely complicated; the astuteness and the credulity of the
Cardinal are so oddly contrasted; a momentary folly of the Queen is so
astonishing and fatal; the general mismanagement of the Court is so
crazy, that, had we lived in Paris at the moment, perhaps we could
hardly have believed the Queen to be innocent. Even persons greatly
prejudiced in her favour might well have been deceived, and the people
'loveth to think the worst, and is hardly to be moved from that
opinion,' as was said of the Scottish public at the date of the Gowrie

An infidelity of Henri II. of France to his wedded wife, Catherine de
Médicis, and the misplaced affection of Louis XV. for Madame du Barry,
were the remote but real causes that helped to ruin the House of
France. Without the amour of Henri II., there would have been no
Jeanne de Valois; without the hope that Louis XV. would stick at
nothing to please Madame du Barry, the diamond necklace would never
have been woven.

Henri II. loved, about 1550, a lady named Nicole de Savigny, and by
her had a son, Henri de Saint-Remy, whom he legitimated. Saint-Remy
was the great, great, great, great-grandfather of Jeanne de Valois,
the flower of minxes. Her father, a ruined man, dwelt in a corner of
the family _château_, a predacious, poaching, athletic, broken scion
of royalty, who drank and brawled with the peasants, and married his
mistress, a servant-girl. Jeanne was born at the _château_ of
Fontette, near Bar-sur-Aube, on April 22, 1756, and she and her
brother and little sister starved in their mouldering tower, kept
alive by the charity of the neighbours and of the _curé_, who begged
clothes for these descendants of kings. But their scutcheon was--and
Jeanne never forgot the fact--argent, three _fleurs de lys_ or, on a
fesse azure. The _noblesse_ of the family was later scrutinised by the
famous d'Hozier and pronounced authentic. Jeanne, with bare feet, and
straws in her hair, is said to have herded the cows, a discontented
indolent child, often beaten by her peasant mother. When her father
had eaten up his last acre, he and the family tramped to Paris in
1760. As Jeanne was then but four years old, I doubt if she ever
'drove the cattle home,' as M. Funck-Brentano finds recorded in the
MSS. of the advocate Target, who defended Jeanne's victim, Cardinal

The Valois crew lived in a village near Paris. Jeanne's mother turned
Jeanne's father out of doors, took a soldier in his place, and sent
the child to beg daily in the streets. 'Pity a poor orphan of the
blood of Valois,' she piped; 'alms, in God's name, for two orphans of
the blood of Valois!' When she brought home little she was cruelly
flogged, so she says, and occasionally she deviated into the truth. A
kind lady, the Marquise de Boulainvilliers, investigated her story,
found it true, and took up the Valois orphans. The wicked mother went
back to Bar-sur-Aube, which Jeanne was to dazzle with her opulence,
after she got possession of the diamonds.

By the age of twenty-one (1777), Jeanne was a pretty enchanting girl,
with a heart full of greed and envy; two years later she and her
sister fled from the convent where her protectress had placed them: a
merry society convent it was. A Madame de Surmont now gave them
shelter, at Bar-sur-Aube, and Jeanne married, very disreputably, her
heavy admirer, La Motte, calling himself Count, and to all appearance
a stupid young officer of the _gendarmerie_. The pair lived as such
people do, and again made prey of Madame de Boulainvilliers, in 1781,
at Strasbourg. The lady was here the guest of the sumptuous, vain,
credulous, but honourable Cardinal Rohan, by this time a man of fifty,
and the fanatical adorer of Cagliostro, with his philosopher's stone,
his crystal gazers, his seeresses, his Egyptian mysteries, and his
powers of healing diseases, and creating diamonds out of nothing.

Cagliostro doubtless lowered the Cardinal's moral and mental tone, but
it does not appear that he had any connection with the great final
swindle. In his supernormal gifts and graces the Cardinal did
steadfastly believe. Ten years earlier, Rohan had blessed Marie
Antoinette on her entry into France, and had been ambassador at the
Court of Maria Theresa, the Empress. A sportsman who once fired off
1,300 cartridges in a day (can this be true?), a splendid festive
churchman, who bewitched Vienna, and even the Emperor and Count
Kaunitz, by his lavish entertainments, Rohan made himself positively
loathed--for his corrupting luxury and his wicked wit--by the austere
Empress. She procured Rohan's recall, and so worked on her daughter,
Marie Antoinette, the young Queen of France, that the prelate, though
Grand Almoner, was socially boycotted by the Court, his letters of
piteous appeal to the Queen were not even opened, and his ambitions to
sway politics, like a Tencin or a Fleury, were ruined.

So here are Rohan, Cagliostro, and Jeanne all brought acquainted. The
Cardinal (and this is one of the oddest features in the affair) was to
come to believe that Jeanne was the Queen's most intimate friend, and
could and would make his fortune with her; while, at the same time, he
was actually relieving her by little tips of from two to five louis!
This he was doing, even after, confiding in Jeanne, he handed to her
the diamond necklace for the Queen, and, as he believed, had himself
a solitary midnight interview with her Majesty. If Jeanne was so great
with the Queen as Rohan supposed, how could Jeanne also be in need of
small charities? Rohan was a man of the world. His incredible
credulity seems a fact so impossible to accept that it was not
accepted by public opinion. The Queen, people could not but argue,
must have taken his enormous gifts, and then robbed and denounced him.
With the case before our eyes of Madame Humbert, who swindled scores
of hard-headed financiers by the flimsiest fables, we can no longer
deem the credulity of the Cardinal incredible, even though he
displayed on occasion a sharpness almost as miraculous as his

Rohan conferred a few small favours on Jeanne; her audacity was as
great as that of Madame Humbert, and, late in 1781, she established
herself both at Paris and in Versailles. The one card in her hand was
the blood of the Valois, and for long she could not play it to any
purpose. Her claims were too old and musty. If a lady of the name of
Stewart were to appear to-day, able to prove that she was of royal
blood, as being descended from Francis, Earl of Bothwell (who used to
kidnap James VI., was forfeited, and died in exile about 1620), she
could not reasonably expect to be peculiarly cherished and comforted
by our royal family. Now Jeanne's claims were no better, and no
nearer, in 1781, than those of our supposed Stewart adventuress in
1904. But Jeanne was sanguine. Something must be done, by hook or by
crook, for the blood of the Valois. She must fasten on her great
relations, the royal family. By 1783 Jeanne was pawning her furniture
and dining at the expense of her young admirers, or of her servants,
for, somehow, they were attached to a mistress who did not pay their
wages. She bought goods on her credit as a countess, and sold them on
the same day. She fainted in the crowd at Versailles, and Madame
Elizabeth sent her a few louis, and had her tiny pension doubled.
Jeanne fainted again under the eyes of the Queen, who never noticed

Her plan was to persuade small suitors that she could get them what
they wanted by her backstairs influence with her royal cousin; she had
a lover, Retaux de Villette, who was an expert forger, and by April
1784, relying on his skill, she began to hint to Rohan that she could
win for him the Queen's forgiveness. Her Majesty had seen her faint
and had been full of kindness. Nothing should be refused to the
interesting daughter of the Valois. Letters from the Queen to Jeanne,
forged by Villette on paper stamped with blue _fleurs de lys_, were
laid before the eyes of the infatuated prelate. Villette later
confessed to his forgeries; all confessed; but as all recanted their
confessions, this did not impress the public. The letters proved that
the Queen was relenting, as regarded Rohan. Cagliostro confirmed the
fact. At a _séance_ in Rohan's house, he introduced a niece of
Jeanne's husband, a girl of fifteen, who played the part of crystal
gazer, and saw, in the crystal, whatever Cagliostro told her to see.
All was favourable to the wishes of Rohan, who was as easy of belief
as any spiritualist, being entirely dominated by the Neapolitan.
Cagliostro, none the less, knew nothing of the great final _coup_,
despite his clairvoyance.

So far, in the summer of 1784, the great diamond fraud had not risen
into Jeanne's consciousness. Her aim was merely to convince the
Cardinal that she could win for him the Queen's favour, and then to
work upon his gratitude. It was in July 1784 that Jeanne's husband
made the acquaintance of Marie Laguay, a pretty and good-humoured but
quite 'unfortunate' young woman--'the height of honesty and
dissoluteness'--who might be met in the public gardens, chaperoned
solely by a nice little boy. Jeanne de Valois was not of a jealous
temperament. Mademoiselle Laguay was the friend of her husband, the
tawdry Count. For Jeanne that was enough. She invited the young lady
to her house, and by her royal fantasy created her Baronne Gay d'Oliva
(_Valoi_, an easy anagram).

She presently assured the Baronne that the Queen desired her
collaboration in a practical joke, her Majesty would pay 600_l._ for
the freak. This is the Baronne's own version; her innocence, she
averred, readily believed that Marie Antoinette desired her

'You are only asked to give, some evening, a note and a rose to a
great lord, in an alley of the gardens of Versailles. My husband will
bring you hither to-morrow evening.'

Jeanne later confessed that the Baronne really was stupid enough to be
quite satisfied that the whole affair was a jest.

Judged by their portraits, d'Oliva, who was to personate the Queen, in
an interview with the Cardinal, was not at all like Marie Antoinette.
Her short, round, buxom face bears no resemblance to the long and
noble outlines of the features of the Queen. But both women were fair,
and of figures not dissimilar. On August 11, 1784, Jeanne dressed up
d'Oliva in the _chemise_ or _gaulle_, the very simple white blouse
which Marie Antoinette wears in the contemporary portrait by Madame
Vigée-Lebrun, a portrait exhibited at the Salon of 1783. The ladies,
with La Motte, then dined at the best restaurant in Versailles, and
went out into the park. The sky was heavy, without moon or starlight,
and they walked into the sombre mass of the Grove of Venus, so styled
from a statue of the goddess which was never actually placed there.
Nothing could be darker than the thicket below the sullen sky.

A shadow of a man appeared: _Vous voilà!_ said the Count, and the
shadow departed. It was Villette, the forger of the Queen's letters,
the lover and accomplice of Jeanne de Valois.

Then the gravel of a path crackled under the feet of three men. One
approached, heavily cloaked. D'Oliva was left alone, a rose fell from
her hand, she had a letter in her pocket which she forgot to give to
the cloaked man, who knelt, and kissed the skirt of her dress. She
murmured something; the cloaked Cardinal heard, or thought he heard,
her say: 'You may hope that the past is forgotten.'

Another shadow flitted past, whispering: 'Quick! Quick! Come on! Here
are Madame and Madame d'Artois!'

They dispersed. Later the Cardinal recognised the whispering shadow
that fled by, in Villette, the forger. How could he recognise a
fugitive shade vaguely beheld in a dark wood, on a sultry and starless
night? If he mistook the girl d'Oliva for the Queen, what is his
recognition of the shadow worth?

The conspirators had a jolly supper, and one Beugnot, a friend of
Jeanne, not conscious of the plot, escorted the Baronne d'Oliva back
to her rooms in Paris.

The trick, the transparent trick was played, and Jeanne could extract
from the Cardinal what money she wanted, in the name of the Queen that
gave him a rose in the Grove of Venus. Letters from the Queen were
administered at intervals by Jeanne, and the prelate never dreamed of
comparing them with the authentic handwriting of Marie Antoinette.

We naturally ask ourselves, was Rohan in love with the daughter of the
Valois? Does his passion account for his blindness? Most authors have
believed what Jeanne later proclaimed, that she was the Cardinal's
mistress. This the divine steadily denied. There was no shadow of
proof that they were even on familiar terms, except a number of erotic
letters, which Jeanne showed to a friend, Beugnot, saying that they
were from the Cardinal, and then burned. The Cardinal believed all
things, in short, and verified nothing, in obedience to his dominating
idea--the recovery of the Queen's good graces.

Meanwhile, Jeanne drew on him for large sums, which the Queen, she
said, needed for acts of charity. It was proved that Jeanne instantly
invested the money in her own name, bought a large house with another
loan, and filled it with splendid furniture. She was as extravagant as
she was greedy; _alieni appetens, sui profusa_.

The Cardinal was in Alsace, at his bishopric, when in
November-December 1784, Jeanne was brought acquainted with the
jewellers, Böhmer and Bassenge, who could not find a customer for
their enormous and very hideous necklace of diamonds, left on their
hands by the death of Louis XV. The European Courts were poor; Marie
Antoinette had again and again refused to purchase a bauble like a
'comforter' made of precious stones, or to accept it from the King.
'We have more need of a ship of war,' she said, and would not buy,
though the jeweller fell on his knees, and threatened to drown
himself. There were then no American millionaires, and the thickest
and ugliest of necklaces was 'eating its head off,' for the stones had
been bought with borrowed money.

In the jewellers Jeanne found new victims; they, too, believed in her
credit with the Queen; they, too, asked no questions, and held that
she could find them a purchaser. Jeanne imposed on them thus, while
the Cardinal was still in Alsace. He arrived at Paris in January 1785.
He learned, from Jeanne, that the Queen wished him to deal for her
with the jewellers! She would pay the price, 60,000_l._, by quarterly

The Cardinal could believe that the Queen, who, as he supposed, had
given him a darkling interview, would entrust him with such a
commission, for an article which she had notoriously refused. But
there is a sane spot in every man's mind, and on examining the
necklace (January 24, 1785), he said that it was in very poor taste.
However, as the Queen wanted to wear it at a ceremony on February 2,
he arranged the terms, and became responsible for the money. His
guarantee was a document produced by Jeanne, and signed 'Marie
Antoinette de France.' As Cagliostro pointed out to Rohan later, too
late, the Queen could not possibly use this signature. Neither the
prelate nor the tradesmen saw the manifest absurdity. Rohan carried
the necklace to Jeanne, who gave it to the alleged messenger of the
Queen. Rohan only saw the _silhouette_ of this man, in a dusky room,
through a glass door, but he later declared that in him he recognised
the fleeting shade who whispered the warning to fly, in the dark Grove
of Venus. It was Villette, the forger.

Naturally people asked, 'If you could not tell the Queen from Mlle.
d'Oliva when you kissed her robe in the grove, how could you
recognise, through a dim glass door, the man of whom you had only
caught a glimpse as a fleeting shadow? If you are so clever, why, it
_was_ the Queen whom you met in the wood. You cannot have been
mistaken in her.'

These obvious arguments told against the Queen as well as against the

The Queen did not wear the jewels at the feast for which she had
wanted them. Strange to say, she never wore them at all, to the
surprise of the vendors and of the Cardinal. The necklace was, in
fact, hastily cut to pieces with a blunt heavy knife, in Jeanne's
house; her husband crossed to England, and sold many stones, and
bartered more for all sorts of trinkets, to Grey, of New Bond Street,
and Jeffreys, of Piccadilly. Villette had already been arrested with
his pockets full of diamonds, but the luck of the House of Valois, and
the astuteness of Jeanne, procured his release. So the diamonds were,
in part, 'dumped down' in England; many were kept by the La Mottes;
and Jeanne paid some pressing debts in diamonds.

The happy La Mottes, with six carriages, a stud of horses, silver
plate of great value, and diamonds glittering on many portions of
their raiment, now went off to astonish their old friends at
Bar-sur-Aube. The inventories of their possessions read like pages out
of _The Arabian Nights_. All went merrily, till at a great
ecclesiastical feast, among her friends the aristocracy, on August 17,
1785, Jeanne learned that the Cardinal had been arrested at
Versailles, in full pontificals, when about to celebrate the Mass. She
rushed from table, fled to Versailles, and burned her papers. She
would not fly to England; she hoped to brazen out the affair.

The arrest of the Cardinal was caused thus: On July 12, 1785, the
jeweller, Böhmer, went to Versailles with a letter of thanks to the
Queen, dictated by Rohan. The date for the payment of the first
instalment had arrived, nothing had been paid, a reduction in price
had been suggested and accepted. Böhmer gave the letter of thanks to
the Queen, but the Controller-General entered, and Böhmer withdrew,
without waiting for a reply. The Queen presently read the letter of
thanks, could not understand it, and sent for the jeweller, who had
gone home. Marie Antoinette thought he was probably mad, certainly a
bore, and burned his note before the eyes of Madame Campan.

'Tell the man, when you next see him, that I do not want diamonds, and
shall never buy any more.'

Fatal folly! Had the Queen insisted on seeing Böhmer, all would have
been cleared up, and her innocence established. Böhmer's note spoke of
the recent arrangements, of the jeweller's joy that the greatest of
queens possesses the handsomest of necklaces--and Marie Antoinette
asked no questions!

Jeanne now (August 3) did a great stroke. She told Bassenge that the
Queen's guarantee to the Cardinal was a forgery. She calculated that
the Cardinal, to escape the scandal, would shield her, would sacrifice
himself and pay the 60,000_l._

But the jewellers dared not carry the news to the Cardinal. They went
to Madame Campan, who said that they had been gulled: the Queen had
never received the jewels. Still, they did not tell the Cardinal.
Jeanne now sent Villette out of the way, to Geneva, and on August 4
Bassenge asked the Cardinal whether he was sure that the man who was
to carry the jewels to the Queen had been honest? A pleasant question!
The Cardinal kept up his courage; all was well, he could not be
mistaken. Jeanne, with cunning audacity, did not fly: she went to her
splendid home at Bar-sur-Aube.

Villette was already out of reach; d'Oliva, with her latest lover, was
packed off to Brussels; there was no proof against Jeanne; her own
flight would have been proof. The Cardinal could not denounce her; he
had insulted the Queen by supposing that she gave him a lonely
midnight tryst, a matter of high treason; the Cardinal could not
speak. He consulted Cagliostro. 'The guarantee is forged,' said the
sage; 'the Queen could not sign "Marie Antoinette de France." Throw
yourself at the King's feet, and confess all.' The wretched Rohan now
compared the Queen's forged notes to him with authentic letters of
hers in the possession of his family. The forgery was conspicuous, but
he did not follow the advice of Cagliostro. On August 12, the Queen
extracted the whole facts, as far as known to them, from the
jewellers. On August 15, the day of the Assumption, when the Cardinal
was to celebrate, the King asked him: 'My cousin, what is this tale of
a diamond necklace bought by you in the name of the Queen?'

The unhappy man, unable to speak coherently, was allowed to write the
story, in fifteen lines.

'How could you believe,' asked the Queen with angry eyes, 'that I, who
have not spoken to you for eight years, entrusted you with this

How indeed could he believe it?

He offered to pay for the jewels. The thing might still have been
hushed up. The King is blamed, first for publicly arresting Rohan as
he did, an enormous scandal; next for handing over the case, for
public trial, to the Parlement, the hereditary foes of the Court.
Fréteau de Saint-Just, one of the Bar, cried: 'What a triumph for
Liberal ideas! A Cardinal a thief! The Queen implicated! Mud on the
crosier and the sceptre!'

He had his fill of Liberal ideas, for he was guillotined on June 14,

Kings and queens are human beings. They like a fair and open trial.
Mary Stuart prayed for it in vain, from the Estates of Scotland, and
from Elizabeth. Charles I. asked for public trial in vain, from the
Estates of Scotland, at the time of the unsolved puzzle of 'The
Incident.' Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette had the publicity they
wanted; to their undoing. The Parlement was to acquit Rohan of the
theft of the necklace (a charge which Jeanne tried to support by a
sub-plot of romantic complexity), and that acquittal was just. But
nothing was said of the fatal insult which he had dealt to the Queen.
Villette, who had forged the royal name, was merely exiled, left free
to publish fatal calumnies abroad, though high treason, as times went,
was about the measure of his crime. Gay d'Oliva, whose personation of
the Queen also verged on treason, was merely acquitted with a
recommendation 'not to do it again.' Pretty, a young mother, and
profoundly dissolute, she was the darling of Liberal and _sensible_

Jeanne de Valois, indeed, was whipped and branded, but Jeanne, in
public opinion, was the scapegoat of a cruel princess, and all the mud
was thrown on the face of the guiltless Queen. The friends of Rohan
were all the clergy, all the many nobles of his illustrious house, all
the courtly foes of the Queen (they began by the basest calumnies,
the ruin that the people achieved), all the friends of Liberal ideas,
who soon, like Fréteau de Saint-Just, had more of Liberalism than they

These were the results which the King obtained by offering to the
Cardinal his choice between the royal verdict and that of the public
Court of Justice. Rohan said that, if the King would pronounce him
innocent, he would prefer to abide by the royal decision. He _was_
innocent of all but being a presumptuous fool; the King might, even
now, have recognised the fact. Mud would have been thrown, but not all
the poached filth of the streets of Paris. On the other hand, had
Louis withheld the case from public trial, we might still be doubtful
of the Queen's innocence. Napoleon acknowledged it: 'The Queen was
innocent, and to make her innocence the more public, she wished the
Parlement to be the judge. The result was that she was taken to be
guilty.' Napoleon thought that the King should have taken the case
into his own hand. This might have been wisdom for the day, but not
for securing the verdict of posterity. The pyramidal documents of the
process, still in existence, demonstrate the guilt of the La Mottes
and their accomplices at every step, and prove the stainless character
of the Queen.

La Motte could not be caught. He had fled to Edinburgh, where he lived
with an aged Italian teacher of languages. This worthy man offered to
sell him for 10,000_l._, and a pretty plot was arranged by the French
ambassador to drug La Motte, put him on board a collier at South
Shields and carry him to France. But the old Italian lost heart, and,
after getting 1,000_l._ out of the French Government in advance,
deemed it more prudent to share the money with the Count. Perhaps the
Count invented the whole stratagem; it was worthy of the husband and
pupil of Jeanne de Valois. That poor lady's cause was lost when
Villette and Gay d'Oliva were brought back across the frontier,
confessed, and corroborated each other's stories. Yet she made a
wonderfully good fight, changing her whole defence into another as
plausible and futile, before the very eyes of the Court, and doing her
best to ruin Rohan as a thief, and Cagliostro as the forger of the
Queen's guarantee. The bold Neapolitan was acquitted, but compelled to
leave the country, and attempt England, where the phlegmatic islanders
trusted him no more than they trusted Madame Humbert. We expended our
main capital of credulity on Titus Oates and Bedloe, and the
warming-pan lie--our imaginative innocence being most accessible in
the region of religion. The French are more open to the appeal of
romance, and to dissolute honesty in the person of Miss Gay d'Oliva,
to injured innocence as represented by Jeanne de Valois. That class of
rogues suits a gay people, while we are well mated with such a
seductive divine as Dr. Oates.



The story of Kaspar Hauser, a boy, apparently idiotic, who appeared,
as if from the clouds, in Nuremberg (1828), divided Germany into
hostile parties, and caused legal proceedings as late as 1883. Whence
this lad came, and what his previous adventures had been, has never
been ascertained. His death by a dagger-wound, in 1833--whether
inflicted by his own hand or that of another--deepened the mystery.
According to one view, the boy was only a waif and an impostor, who
had strayed from some peasant home, where nobody desired his return.
According to the other theory, he was the Crown Prince of Baden,
stolen as an infant in the interests of a junior branch of the House,
reduced to imbecility by systematic ill-treatment, turned loose on the
world at the age of sixteen, and finally murdered, lest his secret
origin might be discovered.

I state first the theory of the second party in the dispute, which
believed that Kaspar was some great one: I employ language as
romantic as my vocabulary affords.

       *       *       *       *       *

Darkness in Karlsruhe! 'Tis the high noon of night: October 15, 1812.
Hark to the tread of the Twelve Hours as they pass on the palace
clock, and join their comrades that have been! The vast corridors are
still; in the shadows lurk two burly minions of ambitious crime,
Burkard and Sauerbeck. Is that a white moving shadow which approaches
through the gloom? There arises a shriek, a heavy body falls, 'tis a
lacquey who has seen and recognised _The White Lady of the Grand Ducal
House_, that walks before the deaths of Princes. Burkard and Sauerbeck
spurn the inanimate body of the menial witness. The white figure,
bearing in her arms a sleeping child, glides to the tapestried wall,
and vanishes through it, into the Chamber of the Crown Prince, a babe
of fourteen days. She returns carrying _another_ unconscious infant
form, she places it in the hands of the ruffian Sauerbeck, she
disappears. The miscreant speeds with the child through a postern into
the park, you hear the trample of four horses, and the roll of the
carriage on the road. Next day there is silence in the palace, broken
but by the shrieks of a bereaved though Royal (or at least Grand
Ducal) mother. Her babe lies a corpse! The Crown Prince has died in
the night! The path to the throne lies open to the offspring of the
Countess von Hochberg, morganatic wife of the reigning Prince, Karl
Friedrich, and mother of the children of Ludwig Wilhelm August, his
youngest son.

Sixteen years fleet by; years rich in Royal crimes. 'Tis four of a
golden Whit Monday afternoon, in old Nuremberg, May 26, 1828. The town
lies empty, dusty, silent; her merry people are rejoicing in the green
wood, and among the suburban beer-gardens. One man alone, a shoemaker,
stands by the door of his house in the Unschlitt Plas: around him lie
the vacant streets of the sleeping city. His eyes rest on the form,
risen as it were out of the earth or fallen from the skies, of a boy,
strangely clad, speechless, incapable either of standing erect or of
moving his limbs. That boy is the Royal infant placed of yore by the
White Shadow in the hands of the cloaked ruffian. Thus does the Crown
Prince of Baden return from the darkness to the daylight! He names
himself KASPAR HAUSER. He is to die by the dagger of a cruel courtier,
or of a hireling English Earl.

Thus briefly, and, I trust, impressively, have I sketched the history
of Kaspar Hauser, 'the Child of Europe,' as it was presented by
various foreign pamphleteers, and, in 1892, by Miss Elizabeth E.
Evans.[11] But, as for the 'authentic records' on which the partisans
of Kaspar Hauser based their version, they are anonymous,
unauthenticated, discredited by the results of a libel action in
1883; and, in short, are worthless and impudent rubbish.

[Footnote 11: _The Story of Kaspar Hauser from Authentic Records._
Swan Sonnenschein & Co., London, 1892.]

On all sides, indeed, the evidence as to Kaspar Hauser is in
bewildering confusion. In 1832, four years after his appearance, a
book about him was published by Paul John Anselm Von Feuerbach. The
man was mortal, had been a professor, and, though a legal reformer and
a learned jurist, was 'a nervous invalid' when he wrote, and he soon
after died of paralysis (or poison according to Kasparites). He was
approaching a period of life in which British judges write books to
prove that Bacon was Shakespeare, and his arguments were like theirs.
His _Kaspar Hauser_ is composed in a violently injudicial style. 'To
seek the giant perpetrator of such a crime' (as the injustice to
Kaspar), 'it would be necessary ... to be in possession of Joshua's
ram's horns, or at least of Oberon's horn, in order, for some time at
least, to suspend the activity of the powerful enchanted Colossi that
guard the golden gates of certain castles,' that is, of the palace at
Karlsruhe. Such early Nuremberg records of Kaspar's first exploits as
existed were ignored by Feuerbach, who told Lord Stanhope, that any
reader of these 'would conceive Kaspar to be an impostor.' 'They ought
to be burned.' The records, which were read and in part published, by
the younger Meyer (son of one of Kaspar's tutors) and by President
Karl Schmausz, have disappeared, and, in 1883, Schmausz could only
attest the general accuracy of Meyer's excerpts from the town's

Taking Feuerbach's romantic narrative of 1832, we find him averring
that, about 4.30 P.M. on Whit Monday, May 26, 1828, a citizen,
unnamed, was loitering at his door, in the Unschlitt Plas, Nuremberg,
intending to sally out by the New Gate, when he saw a young peasant,
standing in an attitude suggestive of intoxication, and apparently
suffering from locomotor ataxia, 'unable to govern fully the movements
of his legs.' The citizen went to the boy, who showed him a letter
directed to the captain of a cavalry regiment. The gallant captain
lived near the New Gate (654 paces from the citizen's house), and
thither the young peasant walked with the citizen. So he _could_
'govern fully the movements of his legs.' At the house, the captain
being out, the boy said, 'I would be a horseman as my father was,'
also 'Don't know.' Later he was taken to the prison, up a steep hill,
and the ascent to his room was one of over ninety steps. Thus he could
certainly walk, and when he spoke of himself he said 'I' like other
people. Later he took to speaking of himself as 'Kaspar,' in the
manner of small children, and some hysterical patients under
hypnotism. But this was an after-thought, for Kaspar's line came to be
that he had only learned a few words, like a parrot, words which he
used to express all senses indifferently. His eye-sight, when he first
appeared, seems to have been normal, at the prison he wrote his own
name as 'Kaspar Hauser,' and covered a sheet of paper with writing.
Later he could see best in the dark.

So says Feuerbach, in 1832. What he does not say is whence he got his
information as to Kaspar's earliest exploits. Now our earliest
evidence, on oath, before a magistrate, is dated November 4, 1829.
George Weichmann, shoemaker (Feuerbach's anonymous 'citizen'), then
swore that, on May 26, 1828, he saw Kaspar, not making paralysed
efforts to walk, but trudging down a hilly street, shouting 'Hi!' ('or
any loud cry'), and presently asking, 'with tolerable distinctness,'
'New Gate Street?' He took the boy that way, and the boy gave him the
letter for the captain. Weichmann said that they had better ask for
him at the New Gate Guard House, and the boy said 'Guard House? Guard
House? New Gate no doubt just built?' He said he came from Ratisbon,
and was in Nuremberg for the first time, but clearly did not
understand what Weichmann meant when he inquired as to the chances of
war breaking out. In May 1834 Weichmann repeated his evidence as to
Kaspar's power of talking and walking, and was corroborated by one
Jacob Beck, not heard of in 1829. On December 20, 1829, Merk, the
captain's servant, spoke to Kaspar's fatigue, 'he reeled as he
walked,' and would answer no questions. In 1834 Merk expanded, and
said 'we had a long chat.' Kaspar averred that he could read and
write, and had crossed the frontier daily on his way to school. 'He
did not know where he came from.' Certainly Merk, in 1834, remembered
much more than in 1829. Whether he suppressed facts in 1829, or, in
1834, invented fables, we do not know. The cavalry captain (November
2, 1829) remembered several intelligent remarks made by Kaspar. His
dress was new and clean (denied by Feuerbach), he was tired and
footsore. The evidence of the police, taken in 1834, was remote in
time, but went to prove that Kaspar's eyesight and power of writing
were normal. Feuerbach absolutely discredits all the sworn evidence of
1829, without giving his own sources. The early evidence shows that
Kaspar could both walk and talk, and see normally, by artificial and
natural light, all of which is absolutely inconsistent with Kaspar's
later account of himself.

The personal property of Kaspar was a horn rosary, and several
Catholic tracts with prayers to the Guardian Angel, and so forth.
Feuerbach holds that these were furnished by 'devout villains'--a very
sound Protestant was Feuerbach--and that Kaspar was ignorant of the
being of a Deity, at least of a Protestant Deity. The letter carried
by the boy said that the writer first took charge of him, as an
infant, in 1812, and had never let him 'take a single step out of my
house.... I have already taught him to read and write, _and he writes
my handwriting exactly as I do_.' In the same hand was a letter in
Latin characters, purporting to come from Kaspar's mother, 'a poor
girl,' as the author of the German letter was 'a poor day-labourer.'
Humbug as I take Kaspar to have been, I am not sure that he wrote
these pieces. If not, somebody else was in the affair; somebody who
wanted to get rid of Kaspar. As that youth was an useless, false,
convulsionary, and hysterical patient, no one was likely to want to
keep him, if he could do better. No specified reward was offered at
the time for information about Kaspar; no portrait of him was then
published and circulated. The Burgomaster, Binder, had a portrait, and
a facsimile of Kaspar's signature engraved, but Feuerbach would not
allow them to be circulated, heaven knows why.

How Kaspar fell, as it were from the clouds, and unseen, into the
middle of Nuremberg, even on a holiday when almost every one was out
of town, is certainly a puzzle. The earliest witnesses took him for a
journeyman tailor lad (he was about sixteen), and perhaps nobody paid
any attention to a dusty travelling tradesman, or groom out of place.
Feuerbach (who did not see Kaspar till July) says that his feet were
covered with blisters, the gaoler says that they were merely swollen
by the tightness of his boots.

Once in prison, Kaspar, who asked to be taken home, adopted the _rôle_
of 'a semi-unconscious animal,' playing with toy horses, 'blind though
he saw,' yet, not long after, he wrote a minute account of all that he
had then observed. He could only eat bread and water: meat made him
shudder, and Lord Stanhope says that this peculiarity did occur in the
cases of some peasant soldiers. He had no sense of hearing, which
means, perhaps, that he did not think of pretending to be amazed by
the sound of church bells till he had been in prison for some days.
Till then he had been deaf to their noise. This is Feuerbach's story,
but we shall see that it is contradicted by Kaspar himself, in
writing. Thus the alleged facts may be explained without recourse even
to a theory of intermittent deafness. Kaspar was no more deaf than
blind. He 'was all there,' and though, ten days after his arrival, he
denied that he had ever seen Weichmann, in ten days more his memory
for faces was deemed extraordinary, and he minutely described all
that, on May 26 and later, he had observed. Kaspar was taught to write
by the gaoler's little boy, though he could write when he came--in the
same hand as the author of his mysterious letter. Though he had but
half a dozen words on May 26, according to Feuerbach, by July 7 he had
furnished Binder with his history--pretty quick work! Later in 1828 he
was able to write that history himself. In 1829 he completed a work of

Kaspar wrote that till the age of sixteen he was kept in 'a prison,'
'perhaps six or seven feet long, four broad, and five high.' There
were two small windows, with closed black wooden shutters. He lay on
straw, lived on bread and water, and played with toy horses, and blue
and red ribbons. That he could see colours in total darkness is a
proof of his inconsistent fables, or of his 'hyperæsthesia'--abnormal
acuteness of the senses. 'The man' who kept him was not less
hyperæsthetic, for he taught Kaspar to write in the dark. He never
heard any noise, but avers that, in prison, he was alarmed by the town
clock striking, on the first morning, though Feuerbach says that he
did not hear the bells for several days.

Such is Kaspar's written account (1829); the published account of July
1828, derived from 'the expressions of a half-dumb animal' (as
Feuerbach puts it), is much more prolix and minute in detail. The
animal said that he had sat on the ground, and never seen daylight,
till he came to Nuremberg. He used to be hocussed with water of an
evil taste, and wake in a clean shirt. 'The man' once hit him and hurt
him, for making too much noise. The man taught him his letters and the
Arabic numerals. Later he gave him instructions in the art of
standing. Next he took him out, and taught him about nine words. He
was made by the man to walk he knew not how far, or how long, the man
leading him. Nobody saw this extraordinary pair on the march.
Feuerbach, who maintains that Kaspar's feet were covered with cruel
blisters, from walking, also supposes that 'perhaps for the greater
part of the way' he was carried in a carriage or waggon! Whence then
the cruel blisters caused by walking? There is medical evidence that
his legs were distorted by confinement, but the medical _post-mortem_
evidence says that this was not the case. He told Binder that his
windows were shuttered: he told Hiltel, the gaoler, that from his
windows he saw 'a pile of wood and above it the top of a tree.'

Obviously Kaspar's legends about himself, whether spoken in June 1828,
or written in February 1829, are absurdly false. He was for three
weeks in the tower, and was daily visited by the curious. Yet in these
three weeks the half-conscious animal 'learned to read tolerably well,
to count, to write figures' (_that_ he could do when he arrived,
Feuerbach says), 'he made progress in writing a good hand, and learned
a simple tune on the harpsichord,' pretty well for a half-unconscious

In July 1828, after being adopted by the excited town of Nuremberg, he
was sent to be educated by and live with a schoolmaster named Daumer,
and was studied by Feuerbach. They found, in Kaspar, a splendid
example of the 'sensitive,' and a noble proof of the powers of 'animal
magnetism.' In Germany, at this time, much was talked and written
about 'somnambulism' (the hypnotic state), and about a kind of 'animal
magnetism' which, in accordance with Mesmer's theory, was supposed to
pass between stars, metals, magnets, and human beings. The effects
produced on the patient by the hypnotist (now ascribed to
'suggestion') were attributed to a 'magnetic efflux,' and
Reichenbach's subjects saw strange currents flowing from metals and
magnets. His experiments have never, perhaps, been successfully
repeated, though hysterical persons have pretended to feel the
traditional effects, even when non-magnetic objects were pointed at
them. Now Kaspar was really a 'sensitive,' or feigned to be one, with
hysterical cunning. Anything unusual would throw him into convulsions,
or reduce him to unconsciousness. He was addicted to the tears of
sensibility. Years later Meyer read to him an account of the Noachian
Deluge, and he wept bitterly. Meyer thought this rather too much, the
Deluge being so remote an event, and, after that, though Meyer read
pathetic things in his best manner, Kaspar remained unmoved. He wrote
a long account of his remarkable magnetic sensations during and before
the first thunderstorm after his arrival at Nuremberg. Yet, before his
appearance there, he must have heard plenty of thunderstorms, though
he pretended that this was his first. The sight of the moon produced
in him 'emotions of horror.' He had visions, like the Rev. Ansel
Bourne, later to be described, of a beautiful male figure in a white
garment, who gave him a garland. He was taken to a 'somnambulist,' and
felt 'magnetic' pulls and pushes, and a strong current of air. Indeed
the tutor, Daumer, shared these sensations, obviously by virtue of
'suggestion.' They are out of fashion, the doctrine of animal
magnetism being as good as exploded, and nobody feels pulled or pushed
or blown upon, when he consults Mrs. Piper or any other 'medium.'

From a letter of Feuerbach of September 20, 1828, we learn that
Kaspar, '_without being an albino_,' can see as well in utter darkness
as in daylight. Perhaps the man who taught Kaspar to write, in the
dark, _was_ an albino: Kaspar never saw his face. Kaspar's powers of
vision abated, as he took to beef, but he remained hyperæsthetic, and
could see better in a bad light than Daumer or Feuerbach. Some
'dowsers,' we know, can detect subterranean water, by the sensations
of their hands, without using a twig, or divining rod, and others can
'spot' gold hidden under the carpet, with the twig. Kaspar, merely
with the bare hand, detected (without touching it?) a needle under a
table cloth. He gradually lost these gifts, and the theory seems to
have been that they were the result of his imprisonment in the dark,
and a proof of it. The one thing certain is that Kaspar had the
sensitive or 'mediumistic' temperament, which usually--though not
always--is accompanied by hysteria, while hysteria means cunning and
fraud, whether conscious or not so conscious. Meanwhile the boy was in
the hands of men credulous, curious, and, in the case of Daumer,
capable of odd sensations induced by suggestion. From such a boy, in
such company, the truth could not be expected, above all if, like some
other persons of his class, he was subject to 'dissociation' and
obliviousness as to his own past.

Rather curiously we find in Feuerbach's own published collection of
Trials the case of a boy, Sörgel, who had 'paroxysms of second
consciousness ... of which he was ignorant upon returning to his
ordinary state of consciousness.' We have also the famous case of the
atheistic carpenter, Ansel Bourne, who was struck deaf, dumb, and
blind, and miraculously healed, in a dissenting chapel, to the great
comfort of 'a large and warm congregation.' Mr. Bourne then became a
preacher, but later forgot who he was, strolled to a distant part of
the States, called himself Browne, set up a 'notions store,' and, one
day, awoke among his notions to the consciousness that he was Bourne,
not Browne, a preacher, not a dealer in cheap futilities. Bourne was
examined, under hypnotism, by Professor William James and others.[12]

[Footnote 12: _Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research_,
vol. vii. pp. 221-257.]

Many such instances of 'ambulatory automatism' are given. In my view,
Kaspar was, to put it mildly, an ambulatory automatist, who had
strayed away, like the Rev. Mr. Bourne, from some place where nobody
desired his return: rather his lifelong absence was an object of hope.
The longer Kaspar lived, the more frequently was he detected in every
sort of imposture that could make him notorious, or enable him to
shirk work.

Kaspar had for months been the pet mystery of Nuremberg. People were
sure that, like the mysterious prisoner of Pignerol, Les Exiles, and
the Isle Sainte-Marguerite (1669-1703?), Kaspar was some great one,
'kept out of his own.' Now the prisoner of Pignerol was really a
valet, and Kaspar was a peasant. Some thought him a son of Napoleon:
others averred (as we saw) that he was the infant son of the Grand
Duke Karl of Baden, born in 1812, who had not died within a fortnight
of his birth, but been spirited away by a lady disguised as the
spectral 'White Lady of Baden,' an aristocratic _ban-shie_. The subtle
conspirators had bred the Grand Duke Kaspar in a dark den, the theory
ran, hoping that he would prove, by virtue of such education, an
acceptable recruit for the Bavarian cavalry, and that no questions
would be asked. Unluckily questions were now being asked, for a boy
who could only occasionally see and hear was not (though he could
smell a cemetery at a distance of five hundred yards), an useful man
on a patrol, at least the military authorities thought not. Had they
known that Kaspar could see in the dark, they might have kept him as a
guide in night attacks, but they did not know. The promising young
hussar (he rode well but clumsily) was thus left in the hands of
civilians: the Grand Ducal secret might be discovered, so an assassin
was sent to take off the young prince.

The wonder was not unnaturally expressed that Kaspar had not smelled
out the villain, especially as he was probably the educational
albino, who taught him to write in the dark. On hearing of this,
later, Kaspar told Lord Stanhope that he _had_ smelled the man:
however, he did not mention this at the time. To make a long story
short, on October 17, 1829, Kaspar did not come to midday eating, but
was found weltering in his gore, in the cellar of Daumer's house.
Being offered refreshment in a cup, he bit out a piece of the
porcelain and swallowed it. He had 'an inconsiderable wound' on the
forehead; to that extent the assassin had effected his purpose.
Feuerbach thinks that the murderer had made a shot at Kaspar's throat
with a razor, that Kaspar ducked cleverly, and got it on the brow, and
that the assassin believed his crime to be consummated, and fled,
after uttering words in which Kaspar recognised the voice of his
tutor, the possible albino. No albino or other suspicious character
was observed. Herr Daumer, before this cruel outrage, had remarked, in
Kaspar, 'a highly regrettable tendency to dissimulation and
untruthfulness,' and, just before the attack, had told the pupil that
he was a humbug. Lord Stanhope quoted a paper of Daumer's in the
_Universal Gazette_ of February 6, 1834 (_Allgemeine Zeitung_), in
which he says that 'lying and deceit were become to Kaspar a second
nature.' When did they begin to become a second nature? In any case
Daumer clove to the romantic theory of Kaspar's origin. Kaspar left
Daumer's house and stayed with various good people, being accompanied
by a policeman in his walks. He was sent to school, and Feuerbach
bitterly complains that he was compelled to study the Latin grammar,
'and finally even Cæsar's Commentaries!' Like other boys, Kaspar
protested that he 'did not see the use of Latin,' and indeed many of
our modern authors too obviously share Kaspar's indifference to the
dead languages. He laughed, in 1831, says Feuerbach, at the popish
superstition 'of his early attendants' (we only hear of one, and about
_his_ theological predilections we learn nothing), and he also laughed
at ghosts. In his new homes Kaspar lied terribly, was angry when
detected, and wounded himself--he said accidentally--with a pistol,
after being reproached for shirking the Commentaries of Julius Cæsar,
and for mendacity. He was very vain, very agreeable as long as no one
found fault with him, very lazy, and very sentimental.

In May 1831 Lord Stanhope, who, since the attack on Kaspar in 1829,
had been curious about him, came to Nuremberg, and 'took up' the hero,
with fantastic fondness. Though he recognised Kaspar's mythopoeic
tendencies, he believed him to be the victim of some nefarious
criminals, and offered a reward of 500 florins, anonymously, for
information. It never was claimed.

Already had arisen a new theory, that Kaspar was the son of an
Hungarian magnate. Later, Lord Stanhope averred, on oath, that
inquiries made in Hungary proved Kaspar to be an impostor. In 1830, a
man named Müller, who had been a Protestant preacher, and was now a
Catholic priest, denounced a preacher named Wirth, and a Miss Dalbonn,
a governess, as kidnappers of Kaspar from the family of a Countess,
living near Pesth. Müller was exposed, his motives were revealed, and
the newspapers told the story. Kaspar was therefore tried with
Hungarian words, and seemed to recognise some, especially Posonbya
(Pressburg). He thought that some one had said that his father was at
Pressburg: and thither Lord Stanhope sent him, with Lieutenant Hickel.
This was in 1831, but Kaspar recognised nothing: his companions,
however, found that he pretended to be asleep in the carriage, to hear
what was said about him. They ceased to speak of him, and Kaspar
ceased to slumber. A later expedition into Hungary, by Hickel, in
February 1832, on the strength of more Hungarian excitement on
Kaspar's part, discovered that there was nothing to discover, and
shook the credulity of Lord Stanhope. He could not believe Kaspar's
narrative, but still hoped that he had been terrorised into falsehood.
He could not believe both that the albino had never spoken to Kaspar
in his prison, and also that 'the man always taught me to do what I
was told.' To Lord Stanhope Kaspar averred that 'the man with whom he
had always lived said nothing to him till he was on his journey.' Yet,
during his imprisonment, the man had taught him, he declared, the
phrases which, by his account, were all the words that he knew when he
arrived at Nuremberg.

For these and other obvious reasons, Lord Stanhope, though he had
relieved Nuremberg of Kaspar (November 1831), and made ample provision
for him, was deeply sceptical about his narrative. The town of
Nuremberg had already tried to shift the load of Kaspar on to the
shoulders of the Bavarian Government. Lord Stanhope did not adopt him,
but undertook to pay for his maintenance, and left him, in January
1832, under the charge of a Dr. Meyer, at Anspach. He had a curator,
and a guardian, and escaped from the Commentaries of Julius Cæsar into
the genial society of Feuerbach. That jurist died in May 1833
(poisoned, say the Kasparites), a new guardian was appointed, and
Kaspar lived with Dr. Meyer. Finding him incurably untruthful, the
doctor ceased to provoke him by comments on his inaccuracies, and
Kaspar got a small clerkly place. With this he was much dissatisfied,
for he, like Feuerbach, had expected Lord Stanhope to take him to
England. Feuerbach, in the dedication to Lord Stanhope of his book
(1832), writes, 'Beyond the sea, in fair old England, you have
prepared for him a secure retreat, until the rising sun of Truth shall
have dispersed the darkness which still hangs over his mysterious
fate.' If Lord Stanhope ever made this promise, his growing scepticism
about Kaspar prevented him from fulfilling it. On December 9, 1833,
Meyer was much provoked by Kaspar's inveterate falseness, and said
that he did not know how to face Lord Stanhope, who was expected to
visit Anspach at Christmas. For some weeks Kaspar had been sulky, and
there had been questions about a journal which he was supposed to
keep, but would not show. He was now especially resentful. On two
earlier occasions, after a scene with his tutor, Kaspar had been
injured, once by the assassin who cut his forehead; once by a pistol
accident. On December 14, he rushed into Dr. Meyer's room, pointed to
his side, and led Meyer to a place distant about five hundred yards
from his house. So agitated was he that Meyer would go no further,
especially as Kaspar would answer no questions. On their return,
Kaspar said, 'Went Court Garden--Man--had a knife--gave a
bag--struck--I ran as I could--bag must lie there.' Kaspar was found
to have a narrow wound, 'two inches and a half under the centre of the
left breast,' clearly caused by a very sharp double-edged weapon. In
three or four days he died, the heart had been injured. He was able to
depose, but not on oath, that on the morning of the 14th a man in a
blouse (who had addressed him some days earlier) brought him a verbal
message from the Court gardener, asking him to come and view some clay
from a newly bored well, where, in fact, no work was being done at
this time. He found no one at the well, and went to the monument of
the rather forgotten poet Uz. Here a man came forward, gave him a
bag, stabbed him, and fled. Of the man he gave discrepant
descriptions. He became incoherent, and died.

There was snow lying, when Kaspar was stabbed, but there were no
footmarks near the well, and elsewhere, only one man's track was in
the Hofgarten. Was that track Kaspar's? We are not told. No knife was
found. Kaspar was left-handed, and Dr. Horlacher declared that the
blow must have been dealt by a left-handed man. Lord Stanhope
suggested that Kaspar himself had inflicted the wound by pressure, and
that, after he had squeezed the point of the knife through his wadded
coat, it had penetrated much deeper than he had intended, a very
probable hypothesis.

As for the bag which the assassin gave him, it was found, and Dr.
Meyer said that it was very like a bag which he had seen in Kaspar's
possession. It contained a note, folded, said Madame Meyer, as Kaspar
folded his own notes. The writing was in pencil, in _Spiegelschrift_,
that is, it had to be read in a mirror. Kaspar, on his deathbed, kept
muttering incoherences about 'what is written with lead, no one can
read.' The note contained vague phrases about coming from the Bavarian

After Kaspar's death, the question of 'murder or suicide?' agitated
Germany, and gave birth to a long succession of pamphlets. A wild
woman, Countess Albersdorf ('_née_ Lady Graham,' says Miss Evans, who
later calls her 'Lady Caroline Albersdorf'), saw visions, dreamed
dreams, and published nonsense. Other pamphlets came out, directed
against the House of Baden. In 1870 an anonymous French pamphleteer
offered the Baden romance, as from the papers of a Major von
Hennenhofer, the villain in chief of the White Lady plot. Lord
Stanhope was named as the ringleader in the attacks on Kaspar, both at
Nuremberg and Anspach. In 1883 all the fables were revived in a
pamphlet produced at Ratisbon, a mere hash of the libels of 1834,
1839, 1840, and 1870. Dr. Meyer was especially attacked, his sons
defended his reputation by an action for libel on the dead, an action
which German law permits. There was no defence, and the publisher was
fined, and ordered to destroy all the copies. In 1892 the libels were
repeated, by 'Baron Alexander von Artin:' two documents of a palpably
fraudulent character were added, the rest was the old stuff. The
reader may find it in Miss Evans's _Kaspar Hauser_ (1892). For
example, Daumer knew a great deal. He even, in 1833, received an
anonymous letter from Anspach, containing the following statement:
'Lord Daniel Alban Durteal, advocate of the Royal Court in London,
said to me, "I am firmly convinced that Kaspar Hauser was murdered. It
was all done by bribery. Stanhope has no money, and lives by this
affair."' Daumer and Miss Evans appear to have seen nothing odd in
relying on an anonymous letter about Lord Daniel Alban Durteal!

Lord Stanhope, says Miss Evans, 'was known to have subsisted
principally upon the sale of his German hymnbook, and other
devotional works, for which he was a colporteur.' Weary of piety, Lord
Stanhope became a hired assassin. Perhaps this nonsense still has its
believers, seduced by 'Lady Caroline Albersdorf, _née_ Lady Graham,'
by Lord Daniel Alban Durteal, and by the spirit of Kaspar himself,
who, summoned by Daniel Dunglas Home, at a _séance_ with the Empress
Eugénie, apparently, announced himself as Prince of Baden. No
authority for this interesting ghost of one who disbelieved in ghosts
is given.

It is quite possible that Kaspar Hauser no more knew who he was than
the valet of 1669-1703 knew why he was a prisoner, no more than Mr.
Browne, when a dealer in 'notions,' knew that he was Mr. Bourne, a
dissenting preacher. Nothing is certain, except that Kaspar was an
hysterical humbug, whom people of sense suspected from the first, and
whom believers in animal magnetism and homoeopathy accepted as some
great one, educated by his Royal enemies in total darkness--to fit him
for the military profession.

It is difficult, of course, to account for the impossibility of
finding whence Kaspar had come to Nuremberg. But, in 1887, it proved
just as impossible to discover whither the Rev. Ansel Bourne had gone.
Mr. Bourne's lot was cast, not in the sleepy Royalist Bavaria of 1828,
but in the midst of the admired 'hustle' of the great Western
Republic. He was one of the most remarkable men in the country, not a
yokel of sixteen. He was last seen at his nephew's store, 121 Broad
Street, Providence, R.I., on January 17. On January 20, the hue and
cry arose in the able and energetic press of his State. Mr. Bourne, as
a travelling evangelist, was widely known, but, after a fortnight
unaccounted for, he arrived, as A.J. Browne, at Norristown, Pa., sold
notions there, and held forth with acceptance at religious meetings.
On March 14 he awoke, still undiscovered, and wondered where he was.
He remembered nothing since January 17, so he wired to Providence,
R.I., for information. He had a whole fortnight to account for,
between his departure from Providence, R.I., and his arrival at
Norristown, Pa. Nobody could help him, he had apparently walked
invisible, like Kaspar on his way to Nuremberg. He was hypnotised by
Professor William James, and brought into his Browne condition, but
could give practically no verifiable account of Browne's behaviour in
that missing fortnight. He said that he went from Providence to
Pawtucket, and was for some days at Philadelphia, Pa., where he really
seems to have been; as to the rest 'back of that it was mixed up.' We
do not hear that Kaspar was ever hypnotised and questioned, but
probably he also would have been 'mixed up,' like Mr. Bourne.

The fable about a Prince of Baden had not a single shred of evidence
in its favour. It is true that the Grand Duchess was too ill to be
permitted to see her dead baby, in 1812, but the baby's father,
grandmother, and aunt, with the ten Court physicians, the nurses and
others, must have seen it, in death, and it is too absurd to suppose,
on no authority, that they were all parties to the White Lady's plot.
We might as well believe, as Miss Evans seems to do, on the authority
of an unnamed Paris newspaper, that a Latin letter, complaining of
imprisonment, was picked up in the Rhine, signed 'S. Haues Spraucio,'
that the words ought to be read 'Hares Sprauka,' and that they are an
anagram of Kaspar Hauser. This occurred in 1816, when Kaspar, being
about four years of age, could not write Latin. No one in the secret
could have hoped that the Royal infant and captive would be recognised
under the name of Spraucio or even of Sprauka. Abject credulity, love
of mystery, love of scandal, and political passions, produced the
ludicrous mass of fables to which, as late as 1893, the Duchess of
Cleveland thought it advisable to reply. In England it is quite safe
to accuse a dead man of murder, or of what you please, as far as the
Duchess understood the law of libel, so she had no legal remedy.



The singular events called 'The Gowrie Conspiracy,' or 'The Slaying of
the Ruthvens,' fell out, on evidence which nobody disputes, in the
following manner. On August 5, 1600, the King, James VI., was leaving
the stables at the House of Falkland to hunt a buck, when the Master
of Ruthven rode up and had an interview with the monarch. This
occurred about seven o'clock in the morning. The Master was a youth of
nineteen; he was residing with his brother, the Earl of Gowrie, aged
twenty-two, at the family town house in Perth, some twelve or fourteen
miles from Falkland. The interview being ended, the King followed the
hounds, and the chase, 'long and sore,' ended in a kill, at about
eleven o'clock, near Falkland. Thence the King and the Master, with
some fifteen of the Royal retinue, including the Duke of Lennox and
the Earl of Mar, rode, without any delay, to Perth. Others of the
King's company followed: the whole number may have been, at most,

On their arrival at Perth it appeared that they had not been
expected. The Earl had dined at noon, the Royal dinner was delayed
till two o'clock, and after the scanty meal the King and the Master
went upstairs alone, while the Earl of Gowrie took Lennox and others
into his garden, bordering on the Tay, at the back of the house. While
they loitered there eating cherries, a retainer of Gowrie, Thomas
Cranstoun (brother of Sir John of that ilk), brought a report that the
King had already mounted, and ridden off through the Inch of Perth.
Gowrie called for horses, but Cranstoun told him that his horses were
at Scone, across the Tay, two miles off. The gentlemen then went to
the street door of the house, where the porter said that the King had
_not_ ridden away. Gowrie gave him the lie, re-entered the house, went
upstairs, and returning, assured Lennox that James had certainly
departed. All this is proved on oath by Lennox, Mar, Lindores, and
many other witnesses.

While the company stood in doubt, outside the gate, a turret window
above them opened, and the King looked forth, much agitated, shouting
'Treason!' and crying for help to Mar. With Lennox and most of the
others, Mar ran to the rescue up the main staircase of the house,
where they were stopped by a locked door, which they could not break
open. Gowrie had not gone with his guests to aid the King; he was
standing in the street, asking, 'What is the matter? I know nothing;'
when two of the King's household, Thomas and James Erskine, tried to
seize him, the 'treason' being perpetrated under Gowrie's own roof.
_His_ friends drove the Erskines off, and some of the Murrays of
Tullibardine, who were attending a wedding in Perth, surrounded him.
Gowrie retreated, drew a pair of 'twin swords,' and, accompanied by
Cranstoun and others, made his way into the quadrangle of his house.
At the foot of a small dark staircase they saw the body of a man
lying--wounded or dead. Cranstoun now rushed up the dark stairs,
followed by Gowrie, two Ruthvens, Hew Moncrieff, Patrick Eviot, and
perhaps others. At the head of the narrow spiral stair they found, in
a room called the Gallery Chamber, Sir Thomas Erskine, a lame Dr.
Herries, a young gentleman of the Royal Household named John Ramsay,
and Wilson, a servant, with drawn swords. A fight began; Cranstoun was
wounded; he and his friends fled, leaving Gowrie, who had been run
through the body by Ramsay. All this while the other door of the long
Gallery Chamber was ringing under the hammer-strokes of Lennox and his
company, and the town bell was summoning the citizens. Erskine and
Ramsay now locked the door opening on the narrow stair, at which the
retainers of Gowrie struck with axes. The King's party, by means of a
hammer handed by their friends through a hole in the other door of the
gallery, forced the lock, and admitted Lennox, Mar, and the rest of
the King's retinue. They let James out of a small turret opening from
the Gallery Chamber, and, after some dealings with the angry mob and
the magistrates of Perth, they conveyed the King to Falkland after

The whole results were the death of Gowrie and of his brother, the
Master (his body it was that lay at the foot of the narrow staircase),
and a few wounds to Ramsay, Dr. Herries, and some of Gowrie's

The death of the Master of Ruthven was explained thus:--When James
cried 'Treason!' young Ramsay, from the stable door, had heard his
voice, but not his words. He had sped into the quadrangle, charged up
the narrow stairs, found a door behind which was the sound of a
struggle, 'dang in' the door, and saw the King wrestling with the
Master. _Behind them stood a man, the centre of the mystery, of whom
he took no notice._ He drew his whinger, slashed the Master in the
face and throat, and pushed him downstairs. Ramsay then called from
the window to Sir Thomas Erskine, who, with Herries and Wilson, ran to
his assistance, slew the wounded Master, and shut up James (who had no
weapon) in the turret. Then came the struggle in which Gowrie died. No
more was seen of the mysterious man in the turret, except by a
townsman, who later withdrew his evidence.

Such was the whole affair, as witnessed by the King's men, the
retainers of Gowrie, and some citizens of Perth. Not a vestige of plot
or plan by Gowrie and his party was discoverable. His friends
maintained that he had meant, on that day, to leave Perth for
'Lothian,' that is, for his castle at Dirleton, near North Berwick,
whither he had sent most of his men and provisions. James had summoned
the Master to meet him at Falkland, they said, and Gowrie had never
expected the return of the Master with the King.

James's own version was given in a public letter of the night of the
events, which we only know through the report of Nicholson, the
English resident at Holyrood (August 6), and Nicholson only repeated
what Elphinstone, the secretary, told him of the contents of the
letter, written to the King's dictation at Falkland by David Moysie, a
notary. At the end of August James printed and circulated a full
narrative, practically identical with Nicholson's report of
Elphinstone's report of the contents of the Falkland letter of August

The King's narrative is universally accepted on all hands, till we
come to the point where he converses with Alexander Ruthven, at
Falkland, before the buck-hunt began. There was such an interview,
lasting for about a quarter of an hour, but James alone knew its
nature. He says that, after an unusually low obeisance, Ruthven told
the following tale:--Walking alone, on the previous evening, in the
fields near Perth, he had met 'a base-like fellow, unknown to him,
with a cloak cast about his mouth,' a common precaution to avoid
recognition. Asked who he was, and what his errand 'in so solitary a
part, being far from all ways,' the fellow was taken aback. Ruthven
seized him, and, under his arm, found 'a great wide pot, all full of
coined gold in great pieces.' Ruthven keeping the secret to himself,
took the man to Perth, and locked him in 'a privy derned house'--that
is, a room. At 4 A.M. he himself left Perth to tell the King, urging
him to 'take order' in the matter at once, as not even Lord Gowrie
knew of it. When James said that it was no business of his, the gold
not being treasure trove, Ruthven called him 'over scrupulous,' adding
that his brother, Gowrie, 'and other great men,' might interfere.
James then, suspecting that the gold might be foreign, brought in by
Jesuits for the use of Catholic intriguers, asked what the coins and
their bearer were like. Ruthven replied that the bearer seemed to be a
'Scots fellow,' hitherto unknown to him, and that the gold was
apparently of foreign mintage. Hereon James felt sure that the gold
was foreign and the bearer a disguised Scots priest. He therefore
proposed to send back with Ruthven a retainer of his own with a
warrant to Gowrie, then Provost of Perth, and the Bailies, to take
over the man and the money. Ruthven replied that, if they did, the
money would be ill reckoned, and begged the King to ride over at once,
be 'the first seer,' and reward him 'at his own honourable

The oddity of the tale and the strangeness of Ruthven's manner amazed
James, who replied that he would give an answer when the hunt was
over. Ruthven said the man might make a noise, and discover the whole
affair, causing the treasure to be meddled with. He himself would be
missed by Gowrie, whereas, if James came at once, Gowrie and the
townsfolk would be 'at the sermon.' James made no answer, but followed
the hounds. Still he brooded over the story, sent for Ruthven, and
said that the hunt once ended he would accompany him to Perth.

_Here James adds that, though he himself knew not that any man was
with Ruthven, he had two companions, one of whom, Andrew Henderson, he
now despatched to Gowrie, bidding him prepare dinner for the King._
This is not part of James's direct evidence. He was _unknowing and
unsuspecting that any man living had come_ with Ruthven.

Throughout the chase Ruthven was ever near the King, always urging him
'to hasten the end of the hunting.' The buck was slain close to the
stables, and Ruthven would not allow James to wait for a second horse:
that was sent after him. So the King did not even tarry to 'brittle'
the buck, and merely told the Duke of Lennox, Mar, and others that he
was riding to Perth to speak with Gowrie, and would return before
evening. Some of the Court went to Falkland for fresh horses, other
followed slowly with weary steeds. They followed 'undesired by him,'
because a report rose that the King had some purpose to apprehend the
oppressive Master of Oliphant. Ruthven implored James not to bring
Lennox and Mar, but only three or four servants, to which the King
answered 'half angrily.'

This odd conduct roused suspicion in James. He had been well
acquainted with Ruthven, who was suing for the place of a Gentleman of
the Bedchamber, or Cubicular. 'The farthest that the King's suspicion
could reach to was, that it might be that the Earl, his brother, had
handled him so hardly, that the young gentleman, being of a high
spirit, had taken such displeasure as he was beside himself;' hence
his curious, agitated, and moody behaviour. James, as they rode,
consulted Lennox, whose first wife had been a sister of Gowrie. Lennox
had never seen anything of mental unsettlement in young Ruthven, but
James bade the Duke 'accompany him into that house' (room), where the
gold and the bearer of it lay. Lennox thought the story of the gold
'unlikely.' Ruthven seeing them in talk, urged that James should be
secret, and bring nobody with him to the first inspection of the
treasure. The King thus rode forward 'between trust and distrust.'
About two miles from Perth, Ruthven sent on his other companion,
Andrew Ruthven, to Gowrie. When within a mile of Perth, Ruthven
himself rode forward in advance. Gowrie was at dinner, having taken no
notice of the two earlier messengers.

Gowrie, with fifty or sixty men, met James 'at the end of the Inch;'
the Royal retinue was then of fifteen persons, with swords alone, and
no daggers or 'whingers.' Dinner did not appear till an hour had gone
by (say 2 P.M.). James whispered to Ruthven that he had better see the
treasure at once: Ruthven bade him wait, and not arouse Gowrie's
suspicions by whispering ('rounding'). James therefore directed his
conversation to Gowrie, getting from him 'but half words and imperfect
sentences.' When dinner came Gowrie stood pensively by the King's
table, often whispering to the servants, 'and oft-times went in and
out,' as he also did before dinner. The suite stood about, as was
custom, till James had nearly dined, when Gowrie took them to their
dinner, separately in the hall; 'he sat not down with them as the
common manner is,' but again stood silent beside the King, who
bantered him 'in a homely manner.'

James having sat long enough, Ruthven whispered that he wished to be
rid of his brother, so James sent Gowrie into the hall to offer a kind
of grace-cup to the suite, as was usual--this by Ruthven's desire.
James then rose to follow Ruthven, asking him to bring Sir Thomas
Erskine with him. Ruthven requested James to 'command publicly' that
none should follow at once, promising that 'he should make any one or
two follow that he pleased to call for.'

The King then, expecting attendants who never came because Ruthven
never summoned them, walked alone with Ruthven across the end of the
hall, up a staircase, and through three or four chambers, Ruthven
'ever locking behind him every door as he passed.' We do not know
whether James observed the locking of the doors, or inferred it from
the later discovery that one door was locked. Then Ruthven showed 'a
more smiling countenance than he had all the day before, ever saying
that he had him sure and safe enough kept.' At last they reached 'a
little study' (a turret chamber), where James found, 'not a bondman,
but a freeman, with a dagger at his girdle,' and 'a very abased
countenance.' Ruthven locked the turret door, put his hat on his head,
drew the man's dagger, pointed it at the King's breast, 'avowing now
that the King behoved to be in his will and used as he list,'
threatening murder if James cried out, or opened the window. He also
reminded the King of the death of the late Gowrie, his father
(executed for treason in 1584). Meanwhile the other man stood
'trembling and quaking.' James made a long harangue on many points,
promising pardon and silence if Ruthven at once let him go. Ruthven
then uncovered, and promised that James's life should be safe if he
kept quiet; the rest Gowrie would explain. Then, bidding the other man
ward the King, he went out, locking the door behind him. He had first
made James swear not to open the window. In his brief absence James
learned from the armed man that he had but recently been locked up in
the turret, he knew not why. James bade him open the window 'on his
right hand.' The man did as he was commanded.

Here the King's narrative reverts to matter not within his own
observation (the events which occurred downstairs during his own
absence). His narrative is amply confirmed, on oath, by many nobles
and gentlemen. He says (here we repeat what we began by stating) that,
during his own absence, as his train was rising from dinner, one of
the Earl's servants, Cranstoun, came hastily in, assuring the Earl
that the King had got to horse, and 'was away through the Inch' (isle)
of Perth. The Earl reported this to the nobles, and all rushed to the
gate. The porter assured them that the King had not departed. Gowrie
gave the porter the lie, but, turning to Lennox and Mar, said that he
would get sure information. He then ran back across the court, and
upstairs, and returned, running, with the news that 'the King was
gone, long since, by the back gate, and, unless they hasted, would not
be overtaken.'

The nobles, going towards the stables for their horses, necessarily
passed under the window of the turret on the first floor where James
was imprisoned. Ruthven by this time had returned thither, 'casting
his hands abroad in a desperate manner as a man lost.' Then, saying
that there was no help for it, the King must die, he tried to bind the
royal hands with his garter. In the struggle James drew Ruthven
towards the window, already open. At this nick of time, when the
King's friends were standing in the street below, Gowrie with them,
James, 'holding out the right side of his head and his right elbow,'
shouted for help. Gowrie stood 'ever asking what it meant,' but
Lennox, Mar, and others, as we saw, instantly ran in, and up the chief
staircase to find the King. Meanwhile James, in his agony, pushed
Ruthven out of the turret, 'the said Mr. Alexander's head under his
arms, and himself on his knees,' towards the chamber door which opened
on the dark staircase. James was trying to get hold of Ruthven's sword
and draw it, 'the other fellow doing nothing but standing behind the
King's back and trembling all the time.' At this moment a young
gentleman of the Royal Household, John Ramsay, entered from the dark
_back_ staircase, and struck Ruthven with his dagger. 'The other
fellow' withdrew. James then pushed Ruthven down the back stairs,
where he was slain by Sir Thomas Erskine and Dr. Herries, who were
coming up by that way. The rest, with the death of Gowrie, followed. A
tumult of the townsmen, lasting for two or three hours, delayed the
return of James to Falkland.

Such is the King's published narrative. It tallies closely with the
letter written by Nicholson, the English agent, to Cecil, on August 6.

James had thus his version, from which he never varied, ready on the
evening of the fatal day, August 5. From his narrative only one
inference can be drawn. Gowrie and his brother had tried to lure
James, almost unattended, to their house. In the turret they had an
armed man, who would assist the Master to seize the King. Events
frustrated the conspiracy; James was well attended; the armed man
turned coward, and Gowrie proclaimed the King's departure falsely to
make his suite follow back to Falkland, and so leave the King in the
hands of his captors. The plot, once arranged, could not be abandoned,
because the plotters had no prisoner with a pot of gold to produce, so
their intended treason would have been manifest.

How far is James's tale corroborated? At the posthumous trial of the
Ruthvens in November, witnesses like Lennox swore to his quarter of an
hour of talk with Ruthven at Falkland before the hunt. The _early_
arrival of Andrew Henderson at Gowrie's house, about half-past ten, is
proved by two gentlemen named Hay, and one named Moncrieff, who were
then with Gowrie on business to which he at once refused to attend
further, in the case of the Hays. Henderson's presence with Ruthven at
Falkland is also confirmed by a manuscript vindication of the Ruthvens
issued at the time. None of the King's party saw him, and their
refusal to swear that they did see him shows their honesty, the point
being essential. Thus the circumstance that Gowrie ordered no dinner
for the King, despite Henderson's early arrival with news of his
coming, shows that Gowrie meant to affect being taken by surprise.
Again, the flight of Henderson on the very night of August 5 proves
that he was implicated: why else should a man fly who had not been
seen by anyone (except a Perth witness who withdrew his evidence) in
connection with the fatal events? No other man fled, except some of
Gowrie's retainers who took open part in the fighting.

James's opinion that Ruthven was deranged, in consequence of harsh
treatment by his brother, Gowrie, is explained by a dispute between
the brothers about the possession of the church lands of Scone, which
Gowrie held, and Ruthven desired, the King siding with Ruthven. This
is quite casually mentioned in a contemporary manuscript.[13] Again,
Lennox, on oath, averred that, as they rode to Perth, James told him
the story of the lure, the pot of gold. Lennox was a man of honour,
and he had married Gowrie's sister.

[Footnote 13: 'The True Discourse of the Late Treason,' _State
Papers_, Scotland, Elizabeth, vol. lvi. No. 50.]

Ruthven, on his return to Gowrie's house, told a retainer,
Craigingelt, that he 'had been on an errand not far off,' and
accounted for the King's arrival by saying that he was 'brought' by
the royal saddler to exact payment of a debt to the man. Now James had
just given Gowrie a year's immunity from pursuit of creditors, and
there is no trace of the saddler's presence. Clearly Ruthven lied to
Craigingelt; he had been at Falkland, _not_ 'on an errand not far

That Cranstoun, Gowrie's man, brought the news, or rumour, of the
King's departure was admitted by himself. That Gowrie went into the
house to verify the fact; insisted that it was true; gave the lie to
the porter, who denied it; and tried to make the King's party take
horse and follow, was proved by Lennox, Lindores, Ray (a magistrate of
Perth), the porter himself, and others, on oath.

That the King was locked in by a door which could not be burst open is
matter of undisputed certainty.

All these are facts that 'winna ding, and downa be disputed.' They
_were_ disputed, however, when Henderson, Gowrie's factor, or steward,
and a town councillor of Perth, came out of hiding between August 11
and August 20, told his story and confessed to having been the man in
the turret. He said that on the night of August 4 Gowrie bade him ride
very early next day with the Master of Ruthven to Falkland, and return
with any message that Ruthven might send. He did return--when the Hays
and Moncrieff saw him--with news that the King was coming. An hour
later Gowrie bade him put on a shirt of mail and plate sleeves, as he
meant to arrest a Highlander in the Shoe-gait. Later, the King
arriving, Henderson was sent to Ruthven, in the gallery, and told to
do whatever he was bidden. Ruthven then locked him up in the turret,
giving no explanation. Presently the King was brought into the turret,
and Henderson pretends that, to a faint extent, he hampered the
violence of Ruthven. During the struggle between Ramsay and Ruthven he
slunk downstairs, went home, and fled that night.

It was denied that Henderson had been at Falkland at all. Nobody swore
to his presence there, yet it is admitted by the contemporary
apologist, who accuses the King of having organised the whole
conspiracy against the Ruthvens. It was said that nobody saw Henderson
slink away out of the narrow stair, though the quadrangle was crowded.
One Robertson, however, a notary of Perth, gave evidence (September
23) that he did see Henderson creep out of the narrow staircase and
step over the Master's dead body; Robertson spoke to him, but he made
no reply. If Robertson perjured himself on September 23, he withdrew
his evidence, or rather, he omitted it, at the trial in November. His
life would not have been worth living in Perth--where the people were
partisans of the Ruthvens--if he had adhered to his first statement.
In the absence of other testimony many fables were circulated as to
Henderson's absence from Perth all through the day, and, on the other
hand, as to his presence, in the kitchen, during the crisis. He was
last seen, for certain, in the house just before the King's dinner,
and then, by his account, was locked up in the turret by the Master.
Probably Robertson's first story was true. Other witnesses, to shield
their neighbours, denied having seen retainers of Gowrie's who most
assuredly were present at the brawls in the quadrangle. It was never
explained why Henderson fled at once if he was not the man in the
turret. I therefore conceive that, as he certainly was at Falkland,
and certainly returned early, his story is true in the main.

Given all this, only one of two theories is possible. The affair was
not accidental; James did not fall into a panic and bellow 'Treason!'
out of the window, merely because he found himself alone in a
turret--and why in a secluded turret?--with the Master. To that theory
the locked door of the gallery is a conclusive reply. Somebody locked
it for some reason. Therefore either the Ruthvens plotted against the
King, or the King plotted against the Ruthvens. Both parties had good
grounds for hatred, as we shall show--that is, Gowrie and James had
motives for quarrel; but with the young Master, whose cause, as
regards the lands of Scone, the King espoused, he had no reason for
anger. If James was guilty, how did he manage his intrigue?

With motives for hating Gowrie, let us say, the King lays his plot. He
chooses for it a day when he knows that the Murrays of Tullibardine
will be in Perth at the wedding of one of the clan. They will defend
the King from the townsfolk, clients of their Provost, Gowrie. James
next invites Ruthven to Falkland (this was asserted by Ruthven's
defenders): he arrives at the strangely early hour of 6.30 A.M. James
has already invented the story of the pot of gold, to be confided to
Lennox, as proof that Ruthven is bringing him to Perth--that he has
not invited Ruthven.

Next, by secretly spreading a rumour that he means to apprehend the
Master of Oliphant, James secures a large train of retainers, let us
say twenty-five men, without firearms, while he escapes the suspicion
that would be aroused if he ordered them to accompany him. James has
determined to sacrifice Ruthven (with whom he had no quarrel
whatever), merely as bait to draw Gowrie into a trap.

Having put Lennox off with a false reason for his accompanying Ruthven
alone in the house of Gowrie, James privately arranges that Ruthven
shall quietly summon him, or Erskine, to follow upstairs, meaning to
goad Ruthven into a treasonable attitude just as they appear on the
scene. He calculates that Lennox, Erskine, or both, will then stab
Ruthven without asking questions, and that Gowrie will rush up, to
avenge his brother, and be slain.

But here his Majesty's deeply considered plot, on a superficial view,
breaks down, since Ruthven (for reasons best known to himself) summons
neither Lennox nor Erskine. James, observing this circumstance,
rapidly and cleverly remodels his plot, and does not begin to provoke
the brawl till, being, Heaven knows why, in the turret, he hears his
train talking outside in the street. He had shrewdly provided for
their presence there by ordering a servant of his own to spread the
false rumour of his departure, which Cranstoun innocently brought.
Why did the King do this, as his original idea involved no need of
such a stratagem? He had also, somehow, persuaded Gowrie to credit the
rumour, in the face of the porter's denial of its possibility, and to
persist in it, after making no very serious attempt to ascertain its
truth. To succeed in making Gowrie do this, in place of thoroughly
searching the house, is certainly the King's most striking and
inexplicable success.

The King has thus two strings to his nefarious bow. The first was that
Ruthven, by his orders, would bring Erskine and Lennox, and, just as
they appeared, James would goad Ruthven into a treasonable attitude,
whereon Lennox and Erskine would dirk him. The second plan, if this
failed (as it did, because Ruthven did not obey orders), was to
deceive Gowrie into bringing the retinue under the turret window, so
that the King could open the window and cry 'Treason!' as soon as he
heard their voices and footsteps below. This plan succeeds. James
yells out of the window. Not wanting many spectators, he has, somehow,
locked the door leading into the gallery, while giving Ramsay a hint
to wait outside of the house, within hearing, and to come up by the
back staircase, which was built in a conspicuous tower.

The rest is easy. Gowrie may bring up as many men as he pleases, but
Ramsay has had orders to horrify him by saying that the King is slain
(this was alleged), and then to run him through as he gives ground, or
drops his points; this after a decent form of resistance, in which
three of the King's four men are wounded.

'Master of the human heart,' like Lord Bateman, James knows that
Ruthven will not merely leave him, when goaded by insult, and that
Gowrie, hearing of his brother's death, will not simply stand in the
street and summon the citizens.

To secure a witness to the truth of his false version of the matter
James must have begun by artfully bribing Henderson, Gowrie's steward,
either simply to run away, and then come in later with corroboration,
or actually to be present in the turret, and then escape. Or perhaps
the King told his man-in-the-turret tale merely 'in the air;' and then
Henderson, having run away in causeless panic, later 'sees money in
it,' and appears, with a string of falsehoods. 'Chance loves Art,'
says Aristotle, and chance might well befriend an artist so capable
and conscientious as his Majesty. To be sure Mr. Hill Burton says 'the
theory that the whole was a plot of the Court to ruin the powerful
House of Gowrie must at once, after a calm weighing of the evidence,
be dismissed as beyond the range of sane conclusions. Those who formed
it had to put one of the very last men in the world to accept of such
a destiny into the position of an unarmed man who, without any
preparation, was to render himself into the hands of his armed
adversaries, and cause a succession of surprises and acts of violence,
which, by his own courage and dexterity, he would rule to a determined
and preconcerted plan.'[14]

[Footnote 14: Burton, _History of Scotland_, v. 336.]

If there was a royal plot, _without a plan_, then James merely
intended to raise a brawl and 'go it blind.' This, however, is almost
beyond the King's habitual and romantic recklessness. We must prefer
the theory of a subtly concerted and ably conducted plan, constructed
with alternatives, so that, if one string breaks, another will hold
fast. That plan, to the best of my poor powers, I have explained.

To drop the figure of irony, all this hypothesis is starkly
incredible. James was not a recklessly adventurous character to go
weaponless with Ruthven, who wore a sword, and provoke him into
insolence. If he had been ever so brave, the plot is of a complexity
quite impossible; no sane man, still less a timid man, could conceive
and execute a plot at the mercy of countless circumstances, not to be
foreseen. Suppose the Master slain, and Gowrie a free man in the
street. He had only to sound the tocsin, summon his devoted townsmen,
surround the house, and ask respectfully for explanations.

Take, on the other hand, the theory of Gowrie's guilt. Here the
motives for evil will on either side may be briefly stated. Since the
murder of Riccio (1566) the Ruthvens had been the foes of the Crown.
Gowrie's grandfather and father were leaders in the attack on Mary and
Riccio; Gowrie's father insulted Queen Mary, while caged in Loch Leven
Castle, by amorous advances--so she declares. In 1582 Gowrie's father
captured James and held him in degrading captivity. He escaped, and
was reconciled to his gaoler, who, in 1584, again conspired, and was
executed, while the Ruthven lands were forfeited. By a new revolution
(1585-1586) the Ruthvens were reinstated. In July 1593 Gowrie's
mother, by an artful ambuscade, enabled the Earl of Bothwell again to
kidnap the King. In 1594 our Gowrie, then a lad, joined Bothwell in
open rebellion. He was pardoned, and in August 1594 went abroad,
travelled as far as Rome, studied at Padua, and, summoned by the party
of the Kirk, came to England in March 1600. Here he was petted by
Elizabeth, then on almost warlike terms with James. For thirty years
every treason of the Ruthvens had been backed by Elizabeth; and Cecil,
ceaselessly and continuously, had abetted many attempts to kidnap
James. These plots were rife as late as April 1600. The object always
was to secure the dominance of the Kirk over the King, and Gowrie, as
the natural noble leader of the Kirk, was recalled to Scotland, in
1600, by the Rev. Mr. Bruce, the chief of the political preachers,
whom James had mastered in 1596-97. Gowrie, arriving, instantly headed
the Opposition, and, on June 21, 1600, successfully resisted the
King's request for supplies, rendered necessary by his hostile
relations with England. Gowrie then left the Court, and about July 20
went to hunt in Atholl; his mother (who had once already lured James
into a snare) residing at his Perth house. On August 1 Gowrie warned
his mother of his return, and she went to their strong castle of
Dirleton, near North Berwick and the sea, while Gowrie came to his
Perth house on August 3, it being understood that he was to ride to
Dirleton on August 5. Thither he had sent on most of his men and
provisions. On August 5, we know he went on a longer journey.

We have shown that a plot by James is incredible. There is no evidence
to prove a plot by Gowrie, beyond the whole nature of the events, and
the strange conduct of himself and his brother. But, if plot he did,
he merely carried out, in the interests of his English friends, the
traditional policy of his grandfather, his father, his mother, and his
ally, Bothwell, at this time an exile in Spain, maturing a conspiracy
in which he claimed Gowrie as one of his confederates. While the King
was a free man, Gowrie could not hope to raise the discontented
Barons, and emancipate the preachers--yet more bitterly
discontented--who had summoned him home. Let the King vanish, and the
coast was clear; the Kirk's party, the English party, would triumph.

The inference is that the King was to be made to disappear, and that
Gowrie undertook to do it. Two witnesses--Mr. Cowper, minister of
Perth, and Mr. Rhynd, Gowrie's old tutor--averred that he was wont to
speak of the need of extreme secrecy 'in the execution of a high and
dangerous purpose.' Such a purpose as the trapping of the King by a
secret and sudden onfall was the mere commonplace of Scottish
politics. Cecil's papers, at this period and later, are full of such
schemes, submitted by Scottish adventurers. That men so very young as
the two Ruthvens should plan such a device, romantic and perilous, is
no matter for marvel.

The plot itself must be judged by its original idea, namely, to lure
James to Perth, with only two or three servants, at an early hour in
the day. Matters fell out otherwise; but, had the King entered Gowrie
House early, and scantly attended, he might have been conveyed across
Fife, disguised, in the train of Gowrie as he went to Dirleton. Thence
he might be conveyed by sea to Fastcastle, the impregnable eyrie of
Gowrie's and Bothwell's old ally, the reckless intriguer, Logan of
Restalrig. The famous letters which Scott, Tytler, and Hill Burton
regarded as proof of that plot, I have shown, by comparison of
handwritings, to be all forged; but one of them, claimed by the forger
as his model for the rest, is, I think, a feigned copy of a genuine
original. In that letter (of Logan to Gowrie) he is made to speak of
their scheme as analogous to one contrived against 'a nobleman of
Padua,' where Gowrie had studied. This remark, in a postscript, can
hardly have been invented by the forger, Sprot, a low country
attorney, a creature of Logan's. All the other letters are mere
variations on the tune set by this piece.

A plot of this kind is, at least, not impossible, like the quite
incredible conspiracy attributed to James. The scheme was only one of
scores of the same sort, constantly devised at that time. The thing
next to impossible is that Henderson was left, as he declared, in the
turret, by Ruthven, without being tutored in his _rôle_. The King's
party did not believe that Henderson here told truth; he had accepted
the _rôle_, they said, but turned coward. This is the more likely as,
in December 1600, a gentleman named Robert Oliphant, a retainer of
Gowrie, fled from Edinburgh, where certain revelations blabbed by him
had come into publicity. He had said that, in Paris, early in 1600,
Gowrie moved him to take the part of the armed man in the turret; that
he had 'with good reason dissuaded him; that the Earl thereon left him
and dealt with Henderson in that matter; that Henderson undertook it
and yet fainted'--that is, turned craven. Though nine years later, in
England, the Privy Council acquitted Oliphant of concealing treason,
had he not escaped from Edinburgh in December 1600 the whole case
might have been made clear, for witnesses were then at hand.

We conclude that, as there certainly was a Ruthven plot, as the King
could not possibly have invented and carried out the affair, and that
as Gowrie, the leader of the Kirk party, was young, romantic, and
'Italianate,' he did plan a device of the regular and usual kind, but
was frustrated, and fell into the pit which he had digged. But the
Presbyterians would never believe that the young leader of the Kirk
party attempted what the leaders of the godly had often done, and far
more frequently had conspired to do, with the full approval of Cecil
and Elizabeth. The plot was an orthodox plot, but, to this day,
historians of Presbyterian and Liberal tendencies prefer to believe
that the King was the conspirator. The dead Ruthvens were long
lamented, and even in the nineteenth century the mothers, in
Perthshire, sang to their babes, 'Sleep ye, sleep ye, my bonny Earl o'

[Footnote 15: The story, with many new documents, is discussed at
quite full length in the author's _King James and the Gowrie Mystery_,
Longmans, 1902.]

A lady has even written to inform me that she is the descendant of the
younger Ruthven, who escaped after being stabbed by Ramsay and
Erskine, fled to England, married, and had a family. I in vain replied
that young Ruthven's body was embalmed, exhibited in the Scottish
Parliament, and hacked to pieces, which were set on spikes in public
places, and that after these sufferings he was unlikely to marry. The
lady was not to be shaken in her belief.

In _The Athenæum_ for August 28, 1902, Mr. Edmund Gosse recognises
Ramsay the Ruthven slayer as author of a Century of English Sonnets
(1619), of which Lord Cobham possesses a copy apparently unique. The
book was published at Paris, by Réné Giffart. The Scottish name,
Gifford, was at that time spelled 'Giffart,' so the publisher was of
Scottish descent.



The case of Daniel Dunglas Home is said, in the _Dictionary of
National Biography_, to present a curious and unsolved problem. It
really presents, I think, two problems equally unsolved, one
scientific, and the other social. How did Mr. Home, the son of a
Scottish mother in the lower middle class at highest, educated (as far
as he was educated at all) in a village of Connecticut, attain his
social position? I do not ask why he was 'taken up' by members of
noble English families: 'the caresses of the great' may be lavished on
athletes, and actors, and musicians, and Home's remarkable
performances were quite enough to make him welcome in country houses.
Moreover, he played the piano, the accordion, and other musical
instruments. For his mysterious 'gift' he might be invited to puzzle
and amuse royal people (not in England), and continental emperors, and
kings. But he did much more than what Houdin or Alexis, a conjuror and
a clairvoyant, could do. He successively married, with the permission
and good will of the Czar, two Russian ladies of noble birth, a feat
inexplicable when we think of the rules of the continental _noblesse_.
A duc, or a prince, or a marquis may marry the daughter of an American
citizen who has made a fortune in lard. But the daughters of the
Russian _noblesse_ do not marry poor American citizens with the good
will of the Czar. By his marriages Home far outwent such famous
charlatans as Cagliostro, Mesmer, and the mysterious Saint Germain the
deathless. Cagliostro and Saint Germain both came on the world with an
appearance of great wealth and display. The source of the opulence of
Saint Germain is as obscure as was the source of the sudden enrichment
of Beau Wilson, whom Law, the financier, killed in a duel. Cagliostro,
like Law, may have acquired his diamonds by gambling or swindling. But
neither these two men nor Mesmer, though much in the society of
princes, could have hoped, openly and with the approval of Louis XV.
or Louis XVI., to wed a noble lady. Yet Home did so twice, though he
had no wealth at all.

Cagliostro was a low-born Neapolitan ruffian. But he had a presence!
In the Memoirs of Madame d'Oberkirch she tells us how much she
disliked and distrusted Cagliostro, always avoiding him, and warning
Cardinal Rohan against him--in vain. But she admits that the man
dominated her, or would have dominated her, by something inexplicable
in his eyes, his bearing, and his unaccountable knowledge, as when he
publicly announced, on a certain day, the death of the great Empress,
Maria Theresa, of which the news did not arrive till five days later.
Now Home had none of this dominating personality. He has been
described to me, by a lady who knew him in his later years, when he
had ceased to work drawing-room miracles in society, as a gentle,
kindly, quiet person, with no obvious fault, unless a harmless and
childlike vanity be a fault. Thus he struck an observer not of his
intimate circle. He liked to give readings and recitations, and he
played the piano with a good deal of feeling. He was a fair linguist,
he had been a Catholic, he was of the middle order of intelligence, he
had no 'mission' except to prove that disembodied spirits exist, if
that were a legitimate inference from the marvels which attended him.

Mr. Robert Bell in _The Cornhill Magazine_, Vol. II., 1860, described
Home's miracles in an article called 'Stranger than Fiction.' His
account of the man's personality is exactly like what I have already
given. Home was 'a very mild specimen of familiar humanity.' His
health was bad. 'The expression of his face in repose' (he was only
twenty-seven) 'is that of physical suffering.... There is more
kindliness and gentleness than vigour in the character of his
features.... He is yet so young that the playfulness of boyhood has
not passed away, and he never seems so thoroughly at ease with himself
and others as when he is enjoying some light and temperate

Thus there was nothing in Home to dominate, or even to excite personal
curiosity. He and his more intimate friends, not marchionesses but
middle-class people, corresponded in a style of rather distasteful
effusiveness. He was a pleasant young man in a house, not a Don Juan.
I have never heard a whisper about light loves--unless Mr. Hamilton
Aïdé, to be quoted later, reports such a whisper--not a word against
his private character, except that he allowed a terribly vulgar rich
woman to adopt him, and give him a very large sum of money, later
withdrawn. We shall see that she probably had mixed motives both for
giving and for withdrawing the gift, but it was asserted, though on
evidence far from sound, that 'the spirits' had rapped out a command
to give Home some thirty thousand pounds. Spirits ought not to do
these things, and, certainly, it would have been wiser in Home to
refuse the widow's gold even if they did. Beyond this one affair, and
an alleged case of imposture at a _séance_, Home's private character
raised no scandals that have survived into our knowledge. It is a very
strange thing, as we shall see, that the origin of Home's miracles in
broad daylight or artificial light, could never be traced to fraud,
or, indeed, to any known cause; while the one case in which imposture
is alleged on first-hand evidence occurred under conditions of light
so bad as to make detection as difficult as belief in such
circumstances, ought to have been impossible. It is not easy to feel
sure that we have certainly detected a fraud in a dim light; but it is
absurd to believe in a miracle, when the conditions of light are such
as to make detection difficult.

Given this mild young musical man, the problems of how he achieved his
social successes, and how he managed to escape exposure, if he did his
miracles by conjuring, are almost equally perplexing. The second
puzzle is perhaps the less hard of the two, for Home did not make
money as a medium (though he took money's worth), and in private
society few seized and held the mystic hands that moved about, or when
they seized they could not hold them. The hands melted away, so people

A sketch of Home's life must now be given.[16] He was born in 1833, at
Currie, a village near Edinburgh. In his later years he sent to his
second wife a photograph of the street of cottages beside the burn, in
one of which he first saw the light. His father had a right to bear
the arms of the Earls of Home, with a _brisure_, being the natural son
of Alexander, tenth Earl of Home.[17] The Medium's ancestor had
fought, or, according to other accounts, had shirked fighting, at
Flodden Field, as is popularly known from the ballad _The Sutors of
Selkirk_. The maiden name of Home's mother was Macneil. He was adopted
by an aunt, who, about 1842, carried the wondrous child to America. He
had, since he was four years old, given examples of second sight; it
was in the family. Home's mother, who died in 1850, was
second-sighted, as were her great-uncle, an Urquhart, and her uncle, a
Mackenzie. So far there was nothing unusual or alarming in Home's
case, at least to any intelligent Highlander. Not till 1850, after his
mother's death, did Home begin to hear 'loud blows on the head of my
bed, as if struck by a hammer.' The Wesley family, in 1716-17, had
been quite familiar with this phenomenon, and with other rappings, and
movements of objects untouched. In fact all these things are of
world-wide diffusion, and I know no part of the world, savage or
civilised, where such events do not happen, according to the evidence.

[Footnote 16: I follow _Incidents in My Life_, Series i. ii., 1864,
1872. _The Gift of Daniel Home_, by Madame Douglas Home and other

[Footnote 17: Home mentions this fact in a note, correcting an error
of Sir David Brewster's, _Incidents_, ii. 48, Note 1. The Earl of Home
about 1856 asked questions on the subject, and Home 'stated what my
connection with the family was.' Dunglas is the second title in the

In no instance, as far as I am informed, did anything extraordinary
occur in connection with Home which cannot be paralleled in the
accounts of Egyptian mediums in Iamblichus.[18]

[Footnote 18: The curious reader may consult my _Cock Lane and Common
Sense_, and _The Making of Religion_, for examples of savage,
mediæval, ancient Egyptian, and European cases.]

In 1850 America was interested in 'The Rochester Knockings,' and the
case of the Fox girls, a replica of the old Cock Lane case which
amused Dr. Johnson and Horace Walpole. The Fox girls became
professional mediums, and, long afterwards, confessed that they were
impostors. They were so false that their confession is of no value as
evidence, but certainly they were humbugs. The air was full of talk
about them, and other people like them, when Home, aged seventeen, was
so constantly attended by noises of rappings that his aunt threw a
chair at him, summoned three preachers, an Independent, a Baptist, and
a Wesleyan (Home was then a Wesleyan), and plunged into conflict with
the devil. The furniture now began to move about, untouched by man,
and Home's aunt turned him out of the house. Home went to a friend in
another little town, people crowded to witness the phenomena, and the
press blazoned the matter abroad. Henceforth, Home was a wonder
worker; but once, for a whole year--February 1856 to February
1857--'the power' entirely deserted him, and afterwards, for shorter

In 1852 he was examined by the celebrated American poet, Bryant, by a
professor of Harvard, and others, who reported the usual physical
phenomena, and emphatically declared that 'we know we were not imposed
upon or deceived.' 'Spirits' spoke through the voice of the entranced
Home, or rapped out messages, usually gushing, and Home floated in the
air, at the house of Mr. Ward Cheney, at South Manchester,
Connecticut. This phenomenon is constantly reported in the Bible, in
the Lives of the Saints by the Bollandists, in the experiences of the
early Irvingites, in witch trials, in Iamblichus, and in savage and
European folklore. Lord Elcho, who was out with Prince Charles in the
Forty-Five, writes in his unpublished Memoirs that, being at Rome
about 1767, he went to hear the evidence in the process of canonising
a saint, recently dead, and heard witnesses swear that they had seen
the saint, while alive, floating about in the air, like Home. St.
Theresa was notorious for this accomplishment. Home's first feat of
this kind occurred 'in a darkened room,' a very dark room indeed, as
the evidence shows. It had been darkened on purpose to try an
experiment in seeing 'N rays,' which had been recently investigated by
Reichenbach. Science has brought them recently back into notice. The
evidence for the fact, in this case, was that people felt Home's feet
in mid air. 'I have been lifted in the light of day only once, and
that was in America;' also, in the light of four gas lamps 'in a room
in Sloane Street.'

After attracting a good deal of notice in New York, Home, on April 9,
1855, turned up at Cox's Hotel, Jermyn Street, where Mr. Cox gave him
hospitality as a _non_-'paying guest.' Now occurred the affair of Sir
David Brewster and Lord Brougham. Both were capable of hallucinations.
Lord Brougham published an account of a common death-bed wraith, which
he saw once while in a bath (the vision coincided with the death of
the owner of the wraith), and Sir David's daughter tells how that
philosopher saw that of the Rev. Mr. Lyon, in St. Leonard's College,
St. Andrews, a wraith whose owner was in perfect health. Sir David
sent letters, forming a journal, to his family, and, in June (no day
given) 1855, described his visit to Home. He says that he, Lord
Brougham, Mr. Cox, and Home sat down 'at a moderately sized table,
_the structure of which we were invited to examine_. In a short time
the table shuddered and a tremulous motion ran up our arms.... The
table actually rose from the ground, when no hand was upon it. A
larger table was produced, and exhibited similar movements. An
accordion was held in Lord Brougham's hand, and gave out a single
note.... A small hand-bell was then laid with its mouth on the carpet,
and after lying for some time, it actually rang when nothing could
have touched it. The bell was then placed upon the other side, still
upon the carpet, and it came over to me, and placed itself in my hand.
It did the same to Lord Brougham. These were the principal
experiments: we could give no explanation of them, and could not
conjecture how they could be produced by any kind of mechanism.... We
do not believe that it was the work of spirits.'

So Sir David wrote in a private letter of June 1855, just after the
events. But the affair came to be talked about, and, on September 29,
1855, Sir David wrote to _The Morning Advertiser_. He had seen, he
said, 'several mechanical effects which I was unable to explain....
But I saw enough to convince myself that they could all be produced by
human feet and hands,' though he also, in June, 'could not conjecture
how they could be produced by any kind of mechanism.' Later, October
9, Sir David again wrote to the newspaper. This time he said that he
might have discovered the fraud, had he 'been permitted to take a peep
beneath the drapery of the table.' But in June he said that he 'was
invited to examine the structure of the table.' He denied that 'a
large table was moved about in a most extraordinary way.' In June he
had asserted that this occurred. He declared that the bell did not
ring. In June he averred that it rang 'when nothing could have touched
it.' In October he suggested that machinery attached to 'the lower
extremities of Mr. Home's body' could produce the effects: in June 'we
could not conjecture how they could be produced by any kind of
mechanism.' On Sir David's death, his daughter and biographer, Mrs.
Gordon, published (1869) his letter of June 1855. Home then scored
rather freely, as the man of science had denied publicly, in October
1855, what he had privately written to his family in June 1855, when
the events were fresh in his memory. This was not the only case in
which 'a scientist of European reputation did not increase his
reputation' for common veracity in his attempts to put down Home.

The adventures of Home in the Courts of Europe, his desertion of the
errors of Wesleyan Methodism for those of the Church of Rome, his
handsome entertainment by diamond-giving emperors, his expulsion from
Rome as a sorcerer, and so forth, cannot be dealt with here for lack
of space. We come to the great Home-Browning problem.

In 1855, Home met Mr. and Mrs. Browning at the house of a Mr. Rymer,
at Ealing, the first of only two meetings.[19] On this occasion, says
Home, a wreath of clematis rose from the table and floated towards
Mrs. Browning, behind whom her husband went and stood. The wreath
settled on the lady's head, not on that of Mr. Browning, who, Home
thought, was jealous of the favour. This is manifestly absurd. Soon
after, all but Mr. Rymer were invited to leave the room. Two days
later, Mr. Browning asked to be allowed to bring a friend for another
_séance_, but the arrangements of the Rymers, with whom Home was
staying, made this impossible. Later, Home, with Mrs. Rymer, called on
the Brownings in town, and Mr. Browning declined to notice Home; there
was a scene, and Mrs. Browning (who was later a three-quarters
believer in 'spirits') was distressed. In 1864, after Mrs. Browning's
death, Mr. Browning published _Mr. Sludge, the Medium_, which had the
air of a personal attack on Home as a detected and confessing American
impostor. Such is Home's account. It was published in 1872, and was
open to contradiction. I am not aware that Mr. Browning took any
public notice of it.

[Footnote 19: _Incidents_, ii. 105.]

In July 1889 the late Mr. F.W.H. Myers and Professor W.F. Barrett
published, in the _Journal of the Society for Psychical Research_, p.
102, the following statement: 'We have found no allegations of
_fraud_' (in Home) 'on which we should be justified in laying much
stress. Mr. Robert Browning has told to one of us' (Mr. Myers) 'the
circumstances which mainly led to that opinion of Home which was
expressed in _Mr. Sludge, the Medium_.' It appears that a lady (since
dead) repeated to Mr. Browning a statement made to her by a lady and
gentleman (since dead) as to their finding Home in the act of
experimenting with phosphorus on the production of 'spirit lights,'
'which (so far as Mr. Browning remembers) were to be rubbed round the
walls of the room, near the ceiling, so as to appear when the room was
darkened. This piece of evidence powerfully impressed Mr. Browning;
but it comes to us at third hand, without written record, and at a
distance of nearly forty years.'

Clearly this story is not evidence against Home.

But, several years ago, an eminent writer, whom I need not name,
published in a newspaper another version. Mr. Browning had told him,
he said, that, sitting with Home and Mrs. Browning (apparently alone,
these three) in a darkened room, he saw a white object rise above the
table. This Home represented as the phantasm of a child of Mr. and
Mrs. Browning, which died in infancy. Mr. Browning seized the
phantasm, which was Home's naked foot.

But it must be remembered that (1) Mr. and Mrs. Browning had no child
which died in infancy; and (2) Mrs. Browning's belief survived the
shock. On December 5, 1902, in the _Times Literary Supplement_, a
letter by Mr. R. Barrett Browning appeared. He says: 'Mr. Hume, who
subsequently changed his name to Home' ('Home' is pronounced 'Hume' in
Scotland), 'was detected in a "vulgar fraud," for I have heard my
father repeatedly describe how he caught hold of his foot _under_ the
table.' In the other story the foot was _above_ the table; in the new
version no infant phantasm occurs. Moreover, to catch a man's foot
under a table in itself proves nothing. What was the foot doing, and
why did Mr. Browning not tell this, but quite a different story, to
Mr. Myers? We 'get no forrarder.'

On November 28, 1902, Mr. Merrifield, in the _Times Literary
Supplement_, published a letter on August 30 (?), 1855, from Mrs.
Browning to Miss De Gaudrion, as to the _séance_ with the Brownings at
Ealing. Mrs. Browning enclosed a letter from Mr. Browning, giving his
impressions. '_Mine, I must frankly say, were entirely different_,'
wrote Mrs. Browning; and Home says: 'Mrs. Browning was much moved, and
she not only then but ever since expressed her entire belief and
pleasure in what occurred.' In her letter, Mrs. Browning adds: 'For my
own part, and in my own conscience, I find no reason for considering
the medium in question responsible for anything seen or heard on that
occasion.' But 'I consider that the seeking for intercourse with any
particular spirit would be apt to end either in disappointment or
delusion,' and she uses the phrase 'the supposed spirits.'

This lady who wrote thus at the time cannot conceivably have been
looking for the ghost of a child that never was born, and been
deceived by Home's white foot, which Mr. Browning then caught hold
of--an incident which Mrs. Browning could not have forgotten by August
30, 1855, if it occurred in July of that year. Yet Mr. ---- has
published the statement that Mr. Browning told him that story of
Home's foot, dead child, and all, and Mr. ---- is a man of undoubted
honour, and of the acutest intelligence.

Mr. Browning (August 30, 1855) assured Miss De Gaudrion that he held
'the whole display of hands,' 'spirit utterances,' &c., to be 'a cheat
and imposture.' He acquitted the Rymers (at whose house the _séance_
was held) of collusion, and spoke very highly of their moral
character. But he gave no reason for his disbelief, and said nothing
about catching hold of Home's foot either under or above the table. He
simply states his opinion; the whole affair was 'melancholy stuff.'
How can we account for the story of Mr. Browning and Home's foot? Can
poets possess an imagination too exuberant, or a memory not wholly

But Mr. Merrifield had written, on August 18, 1855, a record of an
Ealing _séance_ of July 1855. About fourteen people sat round a table,
in a room of which two windows opened on the lawn. The nature of the
light is not stated. There was 'heaving up of the table, tapping,
playing an accordion under the table, and so on.' No details are
given; but there were no visible hands. Later, by such light as exists
when the moon has set on a July night, Home gave another _séance_.
'The outlines of the windows we could well see, and the form of any
large object intervening before them, though not with accuracy of
outline.' In these circumstances, in a light sufficient, he thinks,
Mr. Merrifield detected 'an object resembling a child's hand with a
long white sleeve attached to it' and also attached to Home's shoulder
and arm, and moving as Home moved. A lady, who later became Mrs.
Merrifield, corroborated.[20]

[Footnote 20: _Journal S.P.R._, May 1903, pp. 77, 78.]

This is the one known alleged case of detection of fraud, on Home's
part, given on first-hand evidence, and written only a few weeks after
the events. One other case I was told by the observer, very many years
after the event, and in this case fraud was not necessarily implied.
It is only fair to remark that Mr. F.W.H. Myers thought these
'phantasmal arms instructive in more than one respect,' as supplying
'a missing link between mere phantasms and ectoplastic phenomena.'[21]

[Footnote 21: _Human Personality_, ii. 546, 547. By 'Ectoplastic' Mr.
Myers appears to have meant small 'materialisations' exterior to the

Now this is the extraordinary feature in the puzzle. There are many
attested accounts of hands seen, in Home's presence, in a good light,
with no attachment; and no fraud is known ever to have been detected
in such instances. The strange fact is that if we have one record of a
detection of Home in a puerile fraud in a faint light, we have none of
a detection in his most notable phenomena in a good light. To take one
example. In _The Nineteenth Century_ for April 1896 Mr. Hamilton Aïdé
published the following statement, of which he had made the record in
his Diary, 'more than twenty years ago.' Mr. Aïdé also told me the
story in conversation. He was 'prejudiced' against Home, whom he met
at Nice, 'in the house of a Russian lady of distinction.' 'His _very_
physical manifestations, I was told, had caused his expulsion from
more than one private house.' Of these aberrations one has not heard
elsewhere. Mr. Aïdé was asked to meet M. Alphonse Karr, 'one of the
hardest-headed, the wittiest, and most sceptical men in France' (a
well-merited description), at a _séance_ with Home. Mr. Aïdé's
prejudice, M. Karr's hard-headed scepticism, prove them witnesses not
biassed in favour of hocus-pocus.

The two arrived first at the villa, and were shown into a very large,
uncarpeted, and brilliantly lighted salon. The furniture was very
heavy, the tables were 'mostly of marble, _and none of them had any
cloths upon them_.' There were about twenty candles in sconces, all
lit, and a moderator lamp in the centre of 'the ponderous round
rosewood table at which we were to sit.' Mr. Aïdé 'examined the room
carefully,' and observed that wires could not possibly be attached to
the heavy furniture ranged along the walls, and on the polished floor
wires could not escape notice. The number present, including Home, was
nine when all had arrived. All hands were on the table, but M.
Alphonse Karr insisted on being allowed to break the circle, go under
the table, or make any other sort of search whenever he pleased. 'This
Home made no objection to.' Raps 'went _round_ under the table,
fluttering hither and thither in a way difficult to account for by the
dislocation of the medium's toe' (or knee), 'the common explanation.'
(I may remark that this kind of rapping is now so rare that I think
Mr. Frederick Myers, with all his experience, never heard it.) Mr.
Aïdé was observant enough to notice that a lady had casually dropped
her bracelet, though she vowed that it 'was snatched from her by a
spirit.' 'It was certainly removed from her lap, and danced about
under the table....'

Then suddenly 'a heavy armchair, placed against the wall at the
further end of the _salotto_, ran violently out into the middle of
the room towards us.' Other chairs rushed about 'with still greater
velocity.' The heavy table then tilted up, and the moderator lamp,
with some pencils, slid to the lower edge of the table, but did not
fall off. Mr. Aïdé looked under the table: Home's legs were inactive.
Home said that he thought the table would 'ascend,' and Alphonse Karr
dived under it, and walked about on all fours, examining everybody's
feet--the others were standing up. The table rose 'three or four
feet,' at highest, and remained in air 'from two to three minutes.' It
rose so high that 'all could see Karr, and see also that no one's legs
moved.' M. Karr was not a little annoyed; but, as 'Sandow could not
have lifted the table evenly,' even if allowed to put his hands
beneath it, and as Home, at one side, had his hands above it, clearly
Home did not lift it.

All alike beheld this phenomenon, and Mr. Aïdé asks 'was I
hypnotised?' Were all hypnotised? People have tried to hypnotise Mr.
Aïdé, never with success, and certainly no form of hypnotism known to
science was here concerned. No process of that sort had been gone
through, and, except when Home said that he thought the table would
ascend, there had been no 'verbal suggestion;' nobody was told what to
look out for. In hypnotic experiment it is found that A. (if told to
see anything not present) will succeed, B. will fail, C. will see
something, and so on, though these subjects have been duly
hypnotised, which Mr. Aïdé and the rest had not. That an unhypnotised
company (or a company wholly unaware that any hypnotic process had
been performed on them) should all be subjected by any one to the same
hallucination, by an unuttered command, is a thing unknown to science,
and most men of science would deny that even one single person could
be hallucinated by a special suggestion not indicated by outward word,
gesture, or otherwise. We read of such feats in tales of 'glamour,'
like that of the Goblin Page in _The Lay of the Last Minstrel_, but to
psychological science, I repeat, they are absolutely unknown. The
explanation is not what is technically styled a _vera causa_. Mr.
Aïdé's story is absolutely unexplained, and it is one of scores,
attested in letters to Home from people of undoubted sense and good
position. Mr. Myers examined and authenticated the letters by post
marks, handwriting, and other tests.[22]

[Footnote 22: _Journal S.P.R._, July 1889, p. 101.]

In one case the theory of hallucination induced by Home, so that
people saw what did not occur, was asserted by Dr. Carpenter,
F.R.S.[23] Dr. Carpenter, who was a wondrously superior person, wrote:
'The most diverse accounts of a _séance_ will be given by a believer
and a sceptic. One will declare that a table rose in the air, while
another (who had been watching its feet) is confident that it never
left the ground.' Mr. Aïdé's statement proves that this explanation
does not fit _his_ case. Dr. Carpenter went on to say what was not
true: 'A whole party of believers will affirm that they saw Mr. Home
float in at one window and out at another, whilst a single honest
sceptic declares that Mr. Home was sitting in his chair all the
time.'[24] This was false. Dr. Carpenter referred to the published
statement of Lord Adare (Dunraven) and Lord Lindsay (the Earl of
Crawford), that they saw Home float into a window of the room where
they were sitting, out of the next room, where Home was, _and float
back again_, at Ashley Place, S.W., December 16, 1868. No 'honest
sceptic' was present and denied the facts. The other person present,
Captain Wynne, wrote to Home, in a letter printed (with excisions of
some contemptuous phrases) by Madame Home, and read in the original
MS. by Mr. Myers. He said: 'I wrote to the _Medium_ to say I was
present as a witness. I don't think that any one who knows me would
for one moment say that I was a victim to hallucination or any humbug
of that kind.' Dr. Carpenter, in 1871, writing in the _Quarterly
Review_ (Vol. 131, pp. 336, 337), had criticised Lord Lindsay's
account of what occurred on December 16, 1868. He took exception to a
point in Lord Lindsay's grammar, he asked why Lord Lindsay did not
cite the two other observers, and he said (what I doubt) that the
observations were made by moonlight. So Lord Lindsay had said; but the
curious may consult the almanack. Even in a fog, however, people in a
room can see a man come in by the window, and go out again, 'head
first, with the body rigid,' at a great height above the ground.

[Footnote 23: _Contemporary Review_, January 1876.]

[Footnote 24: _Contemporary Review_, vol. xxvii. p. 286.]

Mr. Podmore has suggested that Home thrust his head and shoulders out
of the window, and that the three excited friends fancied the rest;
but they first saw him in the air outside of the window of their
room.[25] Nothing is explained, in this case, by Dr. Carpenter's
explanation. Dr. Carpenter (1871) discredited the experiments made on
Home by Sir William Crookes and attested by Sir William Huggins,
because the latter was only 'an amateur in a branch of research which
tasks the keenest powers of observation,' not of experiment; while, in
the chemical experiments of Sir William Crookes, 'the ability he
displayed was purely _technical_.' Neither gentleman could dream 'that
there are _moral_ sources of error.'[26]

[Footnote 25: Cf. _Making of Religion_, p. 362, 1898.]

[Footnote 26: _Quarterly Review_, 1871, pp. 342, 343.]

Alas, Dr. Carpenter, when he boldly published (in 1876) the thing that
was not, proved that a 'scientist' may be misled by 'moral sources of

In 1890, in _Proceedings of the S.P.R._, Sir William Crookes published
full contemporary accounts, noted by himself, of his experiments on
Home in 1871, with elaborate mechanical tests as to alteration of
weights; and recorded Home's feats in handling red-hot coals, and
communicating the power of doing so to others, and to a fine cambric
handkerchief on which a piece of red-hot charcoal lay some time.
Beyond a hole of half an inch in diameter, to which Home drew
attention, the cambric was unharmed. Sir William tested it: it had
undergone no chemical preparation.

Into the details of the mechanical tests as to alterations of weights
I cannot go. Mr. Angelo Lewis (Professor Hoffman), an expert in
conjuring, says that, accepting Sir William's veracity, and that he
was not hallucinated, the phenomena 'seem to me distinctly to be
outside the range of trick, and therefore to be good evidence, so far
as we can trust personal evidence at all, of Home's power of producing
motion, without contact, in inanimate bodies.' Sir William himself
writes (1890): 'I have discovered no flaw in the experiments, or in
the reasoning I based upon them.'[27] The notes of the performances
were written while they were actually in course of proceeding. Thus
'the table rose completely off the ground several times, whilst the
gentlemen present took a candle, and, kneeling down, deliberately
examined the position of Mr. Home's knees and feet, and saw the three
feet of the table quite off the ground.' Every observer in turn
satisfied himself of the facts; they could not all be hallucinated.

[Footnote 27: _Proceedings S.P.R._ vi. 98.]

I have not entered on the 'spiritual' part of the puzzle, the
communications from 'spirits' of matters not _consciously_ known to
persons present, but found to be correct. That is too large a
subject. Nor have I entered into the case of Mrs. Lyon's gift to Home,
for the evidence only proved, as the judge held, that the gift was
prompted, at least to some extent, by what Home declared to be
spiritual rappings. But the only actual witness to the fact, Mrs. Lyon
herself, was the reverse of a trustworthy witness, being a foolish
capricious underbred woman. Hume's [Transcriber's Note: so in
original] mystery, as far as the best of the drawing-room miracles are
concerned, is solved by no theory or combination of theories, neither
by the hypothesis of conjuring, nor of collective hallucination, nor
of a blend of both. The cases of Sir David Brewster and of Dr.
Carpenter prove how far some 'scientists' will go, rather than appear
in an attitude of agnosticism, of not having a sound explanation.[28]

[Footnote 28: Mr. Merrifield has reiterated his opinion that the
conditions of light were adequate for his view of the object described
on p. 184, _supra_. _Journal S.P.R._ October 1904.]

     NOTE.--Since this paper was written, I have been obliged by
     several interesting communications from a person very
     intimate with Home. Nothing in these threw fresh light on
     the mystery of his career, still less tended to confirm any
     theory of dishonesty on his part. His legal adviser, a man
     of honour, saw no harm in his accepting Mrs. Lyon's
     proffered gift, though he tried, in vain, to prevent her
     from increasing her original present.



'Play on Captain Green's wuddie,'[29] said the caddy on Leith Links;
and his employer struck his ball in the direction of the Captain's
gibbet on the sands. Mr. Duncan Forbes of Culloden sighed, and, taking
off his hat, bowed in the direction of the unhappy mariner's monument.

One can imagine this little scene repeating itself many a time, long
after Captain Thomas Green, his mate, John Madder or Mather, and
another of his crew were taken to the sands at Leith on the second
Wednesday in April 1705, being April 11, and there hanged within the
floodmark upon a gibbet till they were dead. Mr. Forbes of Culloden,
later President of the Court of Session, and, far more than the
butcher Cumberland, the victor over the rising of 1745, believed in
the innocence of Captain Green, wore mourning for him, attended the
funeral at the risk of his own life, and, when the Porteous Riot was
discussed in Parliament, rose in his place and attested his conviction
that the captain was wrongfully done to death.

[Footnote 29: Gibbet.]

Green, like his namesake in the Popish Plot, was condemned for a crime
of which he was probably innocent. Nay more, he died for a crime which
was not proved to have been committed, though it really may have been
committed by persons with whom Green had no connection, while Green
may have been guilty of other misdeeds as bad as that for which he was
hanged. Like the other Green, executed for the murder of Sir Edmund
Berry Godfrey during the Popish Plot, the captain was the victim of a
fit of madness in a nation, that nation being the Scottish. The cause
of their fury was not religion--the fever of the Covenant had passed
away--but commerce.

'Twere long to tell and sad to trace the origin of the Caledonian
frenzy. In 1695 the Scottish Parliament had passed, with the royal
assent, an Act granting a patent to a Scottish company dealing with
Africa, the Indies, and, incidentally, with the globe at large. The
Act committed the occupant of the Scottish throne, William of Orange,
to backing the company if attacked by alien power. But it was unlucky
that England was then an alien power, and that the Scots Act infringed
the patent of the much older English East India Company. Englishmen
dared not take shares, finally, in the venture of the Scots; and when
the English Board of Trade found out, in 1697, the real purpose of the
Scottish company--namely, to set up a factory in Darien and anticipate
the advantages dreamed of by France in the case of M. de Lesseps's
Panama Canal--'a strange thing happened.' The celebrated philosopher,
Mr. John Locke, and the other members of a committee of the English
Board of Trade, advised the English Government to plagiarise the
Scottish project, and seize the section of the Isthmus of Panama on
which the Scots meant to settle. This was not done; but the Dutch
Usurper, far from backing the Scots company, bade his colonies hold no
sort of intercourse with them. The Scots were starved out of their
settlement. The few who remained fled to New York and Jamaica, and
there, perishing of hunger, were refused supplies by the English
colonial governors. A second Scottish colony succumbed to a Spanish
fleet and army, and the company, with a nominal capital of 400,000_l._
and with 220,000_l._ paid up, was bankrupt. Macaulay calculates the
loss at about the same as a loss of forty millions would have been to
the Scotland of his own day; let us say twenty-two millions.

We remember the excitement in France over the Panama failure.
Scotland, in 1700, was even more furious, and that led to the hanging
of Captain Green and his men. There were riots; the rioters were
imprisoned in the Heart of Midlothian--the Tolbooth--the crowd
released them; some of the crowd were feebly sentenced to the pillory,
the public pelted them--with white roses; and had the Chevalier de St.
George not been a child of twelve, he would have had a fair chance of
recovering his throne. The trouble was tided over; William III. died
in 1702. Queen Anne came to the Crown. But the bankrupt company was
not dead. Its charter was still legal, and, with borrowed money, it
sent out vessels to trade with the Indies. The company had a vessel,
the 'Annandale,' which was seized in the Thames, at the instance of
the East India Company, and condemned for a breach of that company's

This capture awakened the sleeping fury among my fiery countrymen
(1704). An English ship, connected with either the English East India
Company or the rival Million Company, put into Leith Road to repair.
Here was a chance; for the charter of the Scots company authorised
them 'to make reprisals and to seek and take reparation of damage done
by sea and land.' On the strength of this clause, which was never
meant to apply to Englishmen in Scottish waters, but to foreigners of
all kinds on the Spanish Main, the Scottish Admiralty took no steps.
But the company had a Celtic secretary, Mr. Roderick Mackenzie, and
the English Parliament, in 1695, had summoned Mr. Mackenzie before
them, and asked him many questions of an impertinent and disagreeable
nature. This outrageous proceeding he resented, for he was no more an
English than he was a Japanese subject. The situation of the
'Worcester' in Scottish waters gave Roderick his chance. His chief
difficulty, as he informed his directors, was 'to get together a
sufficient number of such genteel, pretty fellows as would, of their
own free accord, on a sudden advertisement, be willing to accompany me
on this adventure' (namely, the capture of the 'Worcester'), 'and
whose dress and behaviour would not render them suspected of any
uncommon design in going aboard.' A scheme more sudden and daring than
the seizure, by a few gentlemen, of a well-armed English vessel had
not been executed since the bold Buccleuch forced Carlisle Castle and
carried away Kinmont Willie. The day was Saturday, and Mr. Mackenzie
sauntered to the Cross in the High Street, and invited genteel and
pretty fellows to dine with him in the country. They were given an
inkling of what was going forward, and some dropped off, like the less
resolute guests in Mr. Stevenson's adventure of the hansom cabs. When
they reached Leith, Roderick found himself at the head of eleven
persons, of whom 'most be as good gentlemen, and (I must own) much
prettier fellows than I pretend to be.' They were of the same sort as
Roy, Middleton, Haliburton, and Dunbar, who, fourteen years earlier,
being prisoners on the Bass Rock, seized the castle, and, through
three long years, held it for King James against the English navy.

The eleven chose Mr. Mackenzie as chief, and, having swords, pistols,
'and some with bayonets, too,' set out. Mackenzie, his servant, and
three friends took a boat at Leith, with provision of wine, brandy,
sugar, and lime juice; four more came, as a separate party, from
Newhaven; the rest first visited an English man-of-war in the Firth,
and then, in a convivial manner, boarded the 'Worcester.' The
punch-bowls were produced, liquor was given to the sailors, while the
officers of the 'Worcester' drank with the visitors in the cabin.
Mackenzie was supposed to be a lord. All was festivity, 'a most
compleat scene of a comedy, acted to the life,' when, as a Scottish
song was being sung, each officer of the 'Worcester' found a pistol at
his ear. The carpenter and some of the crew rushed at the loaded
blunderbusses that hung in the cabin; but there were shining swords
between them and the blunderbusses. By nine at night, on August 12,
Mackenzie's followers were masters of the English ship, and the
hatches, gunroom, chests, and cabinets were sealed with the official
seal of the Scottish African and East India Company. In a day or two
the vessel lay without rudder or sails, in Bruntisland Harbour, 'as
secure as a thief in a mill.' Mackenzie landed eight of the ship's
guns and placed them in an old fort commanding the harbour entry,
manned them with gunners, and all this while an English man-of-war lay
in the Firth!

For a peaceful secretary of a commercial company, with a scratch
eleven picked up in the street on a Saturday afternoon, to capture a
vessel with a crew of twenty-four, well accustomed to desperate deeds,
was 'a sufficient camisado or onfall.' For three or four days and
nights Mr. Mackenzie had scarcely an hour's sleep. By the end of
August he had commenced an action in the High Court of Admiralty for
condemning the 'Worcester' and her cargo, to compensate for the
damages sustained by his company through the English seizure of their
ship, the 'Annandale.' When Mackenzie sent in his report on September
4, he added that, from 'very odd expressions dropt now and then from
some of the ship's crew,' he suspected that Captain Green, of the
'Worcester,' was 'guilty of some very unwarrantable practices.'

The Scottish Privy Council were now formally apprised of the affair,
which they cautiously handed over to the Admiralty. The Scottish
company had for about three years bewailed the absence of a ship of
their own, the 'Speedy Return,' which had never returned at all. Her
skipper was a Captain Drummond, who had been very active in the Darien
expedition; her surgeon was Mr. Andrew Wilkie, brother of James
Wilkie, tailor and burgess of Edinburgh. The pair were most probably
descendants of the Wilkie, tailor in the Canongate, who was mixed up
in the odd business of Mr. Robert Oliphant, in the Gowrie conspiracy
of 1600. Friends of Captain Drummond, Surgeon Wilkie, and others who
had disappeared in the 'Speedy Return,' began to wonder whether the
crew of the 'Worcester,' in their wanderings, had ever come across
news of the missing vessel. One George Haines, of the 'Worcester,'
hearing of a Captain Gordon, who was the terror of French privateers,
said: 'Our sloop was more terrible upon the coast of Malabar than
ever Captain Gordon will be to the French.' Mackenzie asking Haines if
he had ever heard of the 'Speedy Return,' the missing ship, Haines
replied: 'You need not trouble your head about her, for I believe you
won't see her in haste.' He thought that Captain Drummond had turned

Haines now fell in love with a girl at Bruntisland, aged nineteen,
named Anne Seaton, and told her a number of things, which she promised
to repeat to Mackenzie, but disappointed him, though she had blabbed
to others. It came to be reported that Captain Green had pirated the
'Speedy Return,' and murdered Captain Drummond and his crew. The Privy
Council, in January 1705, took the matter up. A seal, or forged copy
of the seal, of the Scottish African and East India Company was found
on board the 'Worcester,' and her captain and crew were judicially
interrogated, after the manner of the French _Juge d'Instruction_.

On March 5, 1705, the Scottish Court of Admiralty began the trial of
Green and his men. Charles May, surgeon of the 'Worcester,' and two
negroes, Antonio Ferdinando, cook's mate, and Antonio Francisco,
captain's man, were ready to give evidence against their comrades.
They were accused of attacking, between February and May, 1703, off
the coast of Malabar a vessel bearing a red flag, and having English
or Scots aboard. They pursued her in their sloop, seized and killed
the crew, and stole the goods.

Everyone in Scotland, except resolute Whigs, believed the vessel
attacked to have been Captain Drummond's 'Speedy Return.' But there
was nothing definite to prove the fact; there was no _corpus delicti_.
In fact the case was parallel to that of the Campden mystery, in which
three people were hanged for killing old Mr. Harrison, who later
turned up in perfect health. In Green's, as in the Campden case, some
of the accused confessed their guilt, and yet evidence later obtained
tends to prove that Captain Drummond and his ship and crew were all
quite safe at the date of the alleged piracy by Captain Green. None
the less, it does appear that Captain Green had been pirating
somebody, and perhaps he was 'none the waur o' a hanging,' though, as
he had an English commission to act against pirates, it was argued
that, if he had been fighting at all, it was against pirates that he
had been making war. Now Haines's remark that Captain Drummond, as he
heard, had turned pirate, looks very like a 'hedge' to be used in case
the 'Worcester' was proved to have attacked the 'Speedy Return.'

There was a great deal of preliminary sparring between the advocates
as to the propriety of the indictment. The jury of fifteen contained
five local skippers. Most of the others were traders. One of them,
William Blackwood, was of a family that had been very active in the
Darien affair. Captain Green had no better chance with these men than
James Stewart of the Glens in face of a jury of Campbells. The first
witness, Ferdinando, the black sea cook, deponed that he saw Green's
sloop take a ship under English colours, and that Green, his mate,
Madder, and others, killed the crew of the captured vessel with
hatchets. Ferdinando's coat was part of the spoil, and was said to be
of Scottish cloth. Charles May, surgeon of the 'Worcester,' being on
shore, heard firing at sea, and, later, dressed a wound, a gunshot he
believed, on the arm of the black cook; dressed wounds, also, of two
sailors, of the 'Worcester,' Mackay and Cuming--Scots obviously, by
their names. He found the deck of the 'Worcester,' when he came on
board, lumbered with goods and chests. He remarked on this, and
Madder, the mate, cursed him, and bade him 'mind his plaister box.' He
added that the 'Worcester,' before his eyes, while he stood on shore,
was towing another vessel, which, he heard, was sold to a native
dealer--Coge Commodo--who told the witness that the 'Worcester' 'had
been fighting.' The 'Worcester' sprang a leak, and sailed for five
weeks to a place where she was repaired, as if she were anxious to
avoid inquiries.

Antonio Francisco, Captain Green's black servant, swore that, being
chained and nailed to her forecastle, he heard the 'Worcester' fire
six shots. Two days later a quantity of goods was brought on board
(captured, it would seem, by the terrible sloop of the 'Worcester'),
and Ferdinando then told this witness about the killing of the
captured crew, and showed his own wounded arm. Francisco himself lay
in chains for two months, and, of course, had a grudge against Captain
Green. It was proved that the 'Worcester' had a cipher wherein to
communicate with her owners, who used great secrecy; that her cargo
consisted of arms, and was of such slight value as not to justify her
voyage, unless her real business was piracy. The ship was of 200 tons,
twenty guns, thirty-six men, and the value of the cargo was but
1,000_l._ Really, things do not look very well for the enterprise of
Captain Green! There was also found a suspicious letter to one of the
crew, Reynolds, from his sister-in-law, advising him to confess, and
referring to a letter of his own in which he said that some of the
crew 'had basely confessed.' The lady's letter and a copy of
Reynolds's, admitted by him to be correct, were before the Court.

Again, James Wilkie, tailor, had tried at Bruntisland to 'pump' Haines
about Captain Drummond; Haines swore profane, but later said that he
heard Drummond had turned pirate, and that off the coast of Malabar
they had manned their sloop, lest Drummond, whom they believed to be
on that coast, should attack them. Other witnesses corroborated
Wilkie, and had heard Haines say that it was a wonder the ground did
not open and swallow them for the wickedness 'that had been committed
during the last voyage on board of that old [I omit a nautical term of
endearment] _Bess_.' Some one telling Haines that the mate's uncle
had been 'burned in oil' for trying to burn Dutch ships at Amsterdam,
'the said George Haines did tell the deponent that if what Captain
Madder [the mate] had done during his last voyage were known, he
deserved as much as his uncle had met with.' Anne Seaton, the girl of
Haines's heart, admitted that Haines had told her 'that he knew more
of Captain Drummond than he would express at that time,' and she had
heard his expressions of remorse. He had blabbed to many witnesses of
a precious something hidden aboard the 'Worcester;' to Anne he said
that he had now thrown it overboard. We shall see later what this
object was. Anne was a reluctant witness. Glen, a goldsmith, had seen
a seal of the Scots East India Company in the hands of Madder, the
inference being that it was taken from the 'Speedy Return.'

Sir David Dalrymple, for the prosecution, made the most he could of
the evidence. The black cook's coat, taken from the captured vessel,
'in my judgment appears to be Scots rugg.' He also thought it a point
in favour of the cook's veracity that he was very ill, and forced to
lie down in court; in fact, the cook died suddenly on the day when
Captain Green was condemned, and the Scots had a high opinion of dying
confessions. The white cook, who joined the 'Worcester' after the
sea-fight, said that the black cook told him the whole story at that
time. Why did the 'Worcester' sail for thirty-five days to repair her
leak, which she might have done at Goa or Surat, instead of sailing
some 700 leagues for the purpose? The jury found that there was 'one
clear witness to robbery, piracy, and murder,' and accumulative

The judges ordered fourteen hangings, to begin with those of Green,
Madder, and three others on April 4. On March 16, at Edinburgh, Thomas
Linsteed made an affidavit that the 'Worcester' left him on shore, on
business, about January 1703; that fishing crews reported the fight of
the sloop against a vessel unknown; they left before the fight ended;
that the Dutch and Portuguese told him how the 'Worcester's' men had
sold a prize, and thought but little of it, 'because it is what is
ordinary on that coast,' and that the 'Worcester's' people told him to
ask them no questions. On March 27 George Haines made a full
confession of the murder of a captured crew, he being accessory
thereto, at Sacrifice Rock, between Tellicherry and Calicut; and that
he himself, after being seized by Mackenzie, threw his journal of the
exciting events overboard. Now, in his previous blabbings before the
trial, as we have seen, Haines had spoken several times about
something on board the 'Worcester' which the Scots would be very glad
to lay hands on, thereby indicating this journal of his; and he told
Anne Seaton, as she deponed at the trial, that he had thrown the
precious something overboard. In his confession of March 27 he
explained what the mysterious something was. He also declared (March
28) that the victims of the piracy 'spoke the Scots language.' A
sailor named Bruckley also made full confession. These men were
reprieved, and doubtless expected to be; but Haines, all the while
remorseful, I think, told the truth. The 'Worcester' had been guilty
of piracy.

But had she pirated the Scottish ship, the 'Speedy Return,' Captain
Drummond? As to that point, on April 5, in England, two of the crew of
the 'Worcester,' who must somehow have escaped from Mackenzie's raid,
made affidavit that the 'Worcester' fought no ship during her whole
voyage. This would be more satisfactory if we knew more of the
witnesses. On March 21, at Portsmouth, two other English mariners made
affidavit that they had been of the crew of the 'Speedy Return;' that
she was captured by pirates, while Captain Drummond and Surgeon Wilkie
were on shore, at Maritan in Madagascar; and that these two witnesses
'went on board a Moca ship called the "Defiance,"' escaped from her at
the Mauritius, and returned to England in the 'Raper' galley. Of the
fate of Drummond and Wilkie, left ashore in Madagascar, they naturally
knew nothing. If they spoke truth, Captain Green certainly did not
seize the 'Speedy Return,' whatever dark and bloody deeds he may have
done off the coast of Malabar.

In England, as Secretary Johnstone, son of the caitiff Covenanter,
Waristoun, wrote to Baillie of Jerviswoode, the Whigs made party
capital out of the proceedings against Green: they said it was a
Jacobite plot. I conceive that few Scottish Whigs, to be sure, marched
under Roderick Mackenzie.

In Scotland the Privy Council refused Queen Anne's demand that the
execution of Green should be suspended till her pleasure was known,
but they did grant a week's respite. On April 10 a mob, partly from
the country, gathered in Edinburgh; the Privy Council, between the mob
and the Queen, let matters take their course. On April 11 the mob
raged round the meeting-place of the Privy Council, rooms under the
Parliament House, and chevied the Chancellor into a narrow close,
whence he was hardly rescued. However, learning that Green was to
swing after all, the mob withdrew to Leith sands, where they enjoyed
the execution of an Englishman. The whole affair hastened the Union of
1707, for it was a clear case of Union or war between the two nations.

As for Drummond, many years later, on the occasion of the Porteous
riot, Forbes of Culloden declared in the House of Commons that a few
months after Green was hanged letters came from Captain Drummond, of
the 'Speedy Return,' 'and from the very ship for whose capture the
unfortunate person suffered, informing their friends that they were
all safe.' But the 'Speedy Return' was taken by pirates, two of her
crew say, off Madagascar, and burned. What was the date of the letters
from the 'Speedy Return' to which, long afterwards, Forbes, and he
alone, referred? What was the date of the capture of the 'Speedy
Return,' at Maritan, in Madagascar? Without the dates we are no wiser.

Now comes an incidental and subsidiary mystery. In 1729 was published
_Madagascar, or Robert Drury's Journal during Fifteen Years' Captivity
on that Island, written by Himself, digested into order, and now
published at the Request of his Friends_. Drury says, as we shall see,
that he, a lad of fifteen, was prisoner in Madagascar from _about_
1703 to 1718, and that there he met Captain Drummond, late of the
'Speedy Return.' If so, Green certainly did not kill Captain Drummond.
But Drury's narrative seems to be about as authentic and historical as
the so-called _Souvenirs of Madame de Créquy_. In the edition of
1890[30] of Drury's book, edited by Captain Pasfield Oliver, R.A.,
author of _Madagascar_, the Captain throws a lurid light on Drury and
his volume. Captain Pasfield Oliver first candidly produces what he
thinks the best evidence for the genuineness of Drury's story; namely
a letter of the Rev. Mr. Hirst, on board H.M.S. 'Lenox,' off
Madagascar, 1759. This gentleman praises Drury's book as the best and
most authentic, for Drury says that he was wrecked in the 'Degrave,'
East Indiaman, and his story 'exactly agrees, as far as it goes, with
the journal kept by Mr. John Benbow,' second mate of the 'Degrave.'
That journal of Benbow's was burned, in London, in 1714, but several
of his friends remembered that it tallied with Drury's narrative. But,
as Drury's narrative was certainly 'edited,' probably by Defoe, that
master of fiction may easily have known and used Benbow's journal.
Otherwise, if Benbow's journal contained the same references to
Captain Drummond in Madagascar as Drury gives, then the question is
settled: Drummond died in Madagascar after a stormy existence of some
eleven years on that island. As to Drury, Captain Pasfield Oliver
thinks that his editor, probably Defoe, or an imitator of Defoe,
'faked' the book, partly out of De Flacourt's _Histoire de Madagascar_
(1661), and a French authority adds another old French source,
Dapper's _Description de l'Afrique_. Drury was himself a pirate, his
editor thinks: Defoe picked his brains, or an imitator of Defoe did
so, and Defoe, or whoever was the editor, would know the story that
Drummond really lost the 'Speedy Return' in Madagascar, and could
introduce the Scottish adventurer into Drury's romance.

[Footnote 30: Fisher Unwin.]

We can never be absolutely certain that Captain Drummond lost his
ship, but lived on as a kind of _condottiere_ to a native prince in
Madagascar. Between us and complete satisfactory proof a great gulf
has been made by fire and water, 'foes of old' as the Greek poet
says, which conspired to destroy the journal kept by Haines and the
journal kept by Benbow. The former would have told us what piratical
adventures Captain Green achieved in the 'Worcester;' the latter, if
it spoke of Captain Drummond in Madagascar, would have proved that the
captain and the 'Speedy Return' were not among the 'Worcester's'
victims. If we could be sure that Benbow's journal corroborated
Drury's romance, we could not be sure that the editor of the romance
did not borrow the facts from the journal of Benbow, and we do not
know that this journal made mention of Captain Drummond, for the only
valid testimony as to the captain's appearance in Madagascar is the
affidavit of Israel Phippany and Peter Freeland, at Portsmouth, March
31, 1705, and these mariners may have perjured themselves to save the
lives of English seamen condemned by the Scots.

Yet, as a patriotic Scot, I have reason for believing in the English
affidavit at Portsmouth. The reason is simple, but sufficient. Captain
Drummond, if attacked by Captain Green, was the man to defeat that
officer, make prize of his ship, and hang at the yardarm the crew
which was so easily mastered by Mr. Roderick Mackenzie and eleven
pretty fellows. Hence I conclude that the 'Worcester' really had been
pirating off the coast of Malabar, but that the ship taken by Captain
Green in these waters was not the 'Speedy Return,' but another,
unknown. If so, there was no great miscarriage of justice, for the
indictment against Captain Green did not accuse him of seizing the
'Speedy Return,' but of piracy, robbery, and murder, though the affair
of the 'Speedy Return' was brought in to give local colour. This fact
and the national excitement in Scotland probably turned the scale with
the jury, who otherwise would have returned a verdict of 'Not Proven.'
That verdict, in fact, would have been fitted to the merits of the
case; but 'there was mair tint at Shirramuir' than when Captain Green
was hanged.[31] That Green was deeply guilty, I have inferred from the
evidence. To Mr. Stephen Ponder I owe corroboration. He cites a
passage from Hamilton's _New Account of the East Indies_ (1727), chap.
25, which is crucial.

[Footnote 31: The trial is in Howell's _State Trials_, vol. xiv. 1812.
Roderick Mackenzie's account of his seizure of the 'Worcester' was
discovered by the late Mr. Hill Burton, in an oak chest in the
Advocates' Library, and is published in his _Scottish Criminal
Trials_, vol. i., 1852.]

'The unfortunate Captain Green, who was afterwards hanged in Scotland,
came on board my ship at sunset, very much overtaken in drink and
several of his men in the like condition (at Calicut, February 1703).
He wanted to sell Hamilton some arms and ammunition, and told me that
they were what was left of a large quantity that he had brought from
England, but had been at Madagascar and had disposed of the rest to
good advantage among the pirates. I told him that in prudence he ought
to keep these as secrets lest he might be brought in trouble about
them. He made but little account of my advice, and so departed. About
ten in the night his chief mate Mr. Mather came on board of my ship
and seemed to be very melancholy.... He burst out in tears and told me
he was afraid that he was undone, that they had acted such things in
their voyage that would certainly bring them to shame and punishment,
if they should come to light; and he was assured that such a company
of drunkards as their crew was composed of could keep no secret. I
told him that I had heard at Coiloan (Quilon) that they had not acted
prudently nor honestly in relation to some Moors' ships they had
visited and plundered _and in sinking a sloop with ten or twelve
Europeans in her_ off Coiloan. Next day I went ashore and met Captain
Green and his supercargo Mr. Callant, who had sailed a voyage from
Surat to Sienly with me. Before dinner-time they were both drunk, and
Callant told me that he did not doubt of making the greatest voyage
that ever was made from England on so small a stock as 500_l._

'In the evening their surgeon accosted me and asked if I wanted a
surgeon. He said he wanted to stay in India, for his life was uneasy
on board of his ship, that though the captain was civil enough, yet
Mr. Mather had treated him with blows for asking a pertinent question
of some wounded men, who were hurt in the engagement with the sloop. I
heard too much to be contented with their conduct, and so I shunned
their conversation for the little time I staid at Calicut.

'Whether Captain Green and Mr. Mathew had justice impartially in their
trial and sentence I know not. I have heard of as great innocents
condemned to death as they were.'

The evidence of Hamilton settles the question of the guilt of Green
and his crew, as regards some unfortunate vessel, or sloop. Had the
'Speedy Return' a sloop with her?



(_In collaboration with_ MISS ALICE SHIELD).

'Her Oglethorpe majesty was kind, acute, resolute, and of good
counsel. She gave the Prince much good advice that he was too weak to
follow, and loved him with a fidelity which he returned with an
ingratitude quite Royal.'

So writes Colonel Henry Esmond, describing that journey of his to
Bar-le-Duc in Lorraine, whence he brought back 'Monsieur Baptiste,'
all to win fair Beatrix Esmond. We know how 'Monsieur Baptiste' stole
his lady-love from the glum Colonel, and ran after the maids, and
drank too much wine, and came to the King's Arms at Kensington the day
after the fair (he was always 'after the fair'), and found Argyll's
regiment in occupation, and heard King George proclaimed.

Where in the world did Thackeray pick up the materials of that
brilliant picture of James VIII., gay, witty, reckless, ready to fling
away three crowns for a fine pair of eyes or a neat pair of ankles?
His Majesty's enemies brought against him precisely the opposite kind
of charges. There is a broad-sheet of 1716, _Hue and Cry after the
Pretender_, which is either by Swift or by one of 'the gentlemen
whom,' like Captain Bobadil, he 'had taught to write almost or
altogether as well as himself.' As to gaiety in James, 'you tell him
it is a fine day, and he weeps, and says he was unfortunate from his
mother's womb.' As to ladies, 'a weakness for the sex remarked in many
popular monarchs' (as Atterbury said to Lady Castlewood), our
pamphleteer tells the opposite tale. Two Highland charmers being
introduced 'to comfort him after the comfort of a man,' James
displayed 'an incredible inhumanity to beauty and clean linen,' merely
asking them 'whether they thought the Duke of Argyll would stand
another battle?' It is hard on a man to be stamped by history as
recklessly gay and amorous, also as a perfect Mrs. Gummidge for
tearful sentiment, and culpably indifferent to the smiles of beauty.
James is greatly misunderstood: the romance of his youth--sword and
cloak and disguise, pistol, dagger and poison, prepared for him; story
of true love blighted by a humorous cast of destiny; voyages, perils,
shipwrecks, dances at inns--all is forgotten or is unknown.

Meanwhile, who was her 'Oglethorpean majesty,' and why does the
pamphleteer of 1716 talk of 'James Stuart, _alias_ Oglethorpe'? By a
strange combination of his bad luck, James is called Miss Oglethorpe's
ungrateful lover by Thackeray, and Miss Oglethorpe's brother by the
pamphleteer, and by Whig slander in general. Thackeray, in fact, took
Miss Oglethorpe from the letter which Bolingbroke wrote to Wyndham,
after St. Germains found him out, as St. James's had done, for a
traitor. Bolingbroke merely mentions Fanny Oglethorpe as a busy
intriguer. There is no evidence that she ever was at Bar-le-Duc in her
life, none that she ever was 'Queen Oglethorpe.' We propose to tell,
for the first time, the real story of this lady and her sisters.

The story centres round The Meath Home for Incurables! This excellent
institution occupies Westbrook Place, an old house at Godalming, close
to the railway, which passes so close as to cut off one corner of the
park, and of the malodorous tanyard between the remnant of grounds and
the river Wey that once washed them. On an October day, the Surrey
hills standing round about in shadowy distances, the silence of two
centuries is scarcely broken by the rustle of leaves dropping on their
own deep carpet, and the very spirit of a lost cause dwells here,
slowly dying. The house stands backed by a steep wooded hill, beyond
which corn-fields 'clothe the wold and meet the sky;' the mansion is a
grey, two-storied parallelogram flanked by square towers of only
slighter elevation; their projecting bays surmounted by open-work
cornices of leafy tracery in whiter stone.

The tale used to run (one has heard it vaguely in conversation) that
the old house at Godalming is haunted by the ghost of Prince Charlie,
and one naturally asks, 'What is _he_ doing there?' What he was doing
there will appear later.

In 1688, the year of the _Regifugium_, Westbrook Place was sold to
Theophilus Oglethorpe, who had helped to drive

                     the Whigs
    Frae Bothwell Brigs,

and, later, to rout Monmouth at Sedgemoor. This gentleman married
Eleanor Wall, of an Irish family, a Catholic--'a cunning devil,' says
Swift. The pair had five sons and four daughters, about whom county
histories and dictionaries of biography blunder in a helpless fashion.
We are concerned with Anne Henrietta, born, probably, about 1680-83,
Eleanor (1684), James (June 1, 1688, who died in infancy), and Frances
Charlotte, Bolingbroke's 'Fanny Oglethorpe.' The youngest brother,
James Edward, born 1696, became the famous philanthropist, General
Oglethorpe, governor of Georgia, patron of the Wesleys, and, in
extreme old age, the 'beau' of Hannah More, and the gentleman who
remembered shooting snipe on the site of Conduit Street.

After the Revolution Sir Theophilus was engaged with Sir John Fenwick,
was with him when he cocked his beaver in the face of the Princess of
Orange, had to fly to France, after the failure at La Hogue, and in
1693 was allowed to settle peacefully at Westbrook Place. Anne and
Eleanor were left in France, where they were brought up as Catholics
at St. Germains, and befriended by the exiled James and Mary of
Modena. Now in 1699 Theophilus, one of the Oglethorpe boys, was sent
out to his father's old friend Mr. Pitt, Governor of Fort St. George
in India, the man of the Pitt Diamond. His outfit had to be prepared
in a hurry, and a young gentlewoman, Frances Shaftoe, was engaged to
help with the sewing of his several dozens of linen shirts, 'the
flourishing of neckcloths and drawing of cotton stripes;' as young
gentlewomen of limited means were used to do before they discovered
hospitals and journalism. This girl, who developed a political romance
of her own, was of good Northumberland family, related to Sir John
Fenwick and the Delavals. Her father, a merchant in Newcastle, had
educated her 'in a civil and virtuous manner,' and she had lived there
about eighteen years, behaving herself discreetly, modestly, and
honestly, as nine Northumbrian justices of the peace were ready to
testify under their hand. The strange story she later told of her
experiences at Westbrook and afterwards cannot, therefore, be wholly
dismissed as a tale trumped up for political purposes, though its most
thrilling incident is so foolish a lie as to discredit the whole.

On the Saturday before Christmas 1699 (so ran her later
'revelations,'[32] made in 1707) she took the coach from Godalming,
obedient to instructions by letter from Sir Theophilus. A little way
down the Strand he joined her in the coach, accompanied by two young
ladies--friends, she was told, of Lady Oglethorpe; and for some time
she knew no more of who they were and whence they came. They were very
secret, appeared in no company, but made themselves useful in the
pleasant, homely ways of English country life of that time: helped
with the sewing, made their own bed, swept their chamber, dressed the
two little girls, Mary and Fanny, and waited on each other. Presently
it turned out that they were Anne and Eleanor Oglethorpe, who had been
eleven years in France, at the Court of James II., where they were
known as Anne and Eleanor Barkly. They had taken advantage of the
peace to come secretly 'over a long sea,' and had waited at the house
of their mother's brother-in-law, Mr. Cray the City wine-merchant,
until Parliament was up and their father could take them home for
Christmas. A member of Parliament must not be compromised by the
presence of Catholic daughters from St. Germains, whom it was treason
even to harbour.

[Footnote 32: _Narrative of Frances Shaftoe._ Printed 1707.]

Fanny Shaftoe was admitted into the family, she says, on quite
familiar terms, but 'always behaved very meek and humble, ready to
help any of the servants to make beds or to take care of the little
boy' (the General) 'when his nurse was busy helping in the garden.'
Anne and Eleanor were merry, friendly girls, and chatted only too
freely with Fanny Shaftoe over the sewing. She certainly heard a great
deal of 'treason' talked. She heard how Sir Theophilus and his wife
went back and forward, disguised, between England and St. Germains;
how Lady Oglethorpe had taken charge of the Queen's diamonds when she
fled from Whitehall and safely returned them three years later,
travelling as an old doctor-woman in a riding-hood, selling powders
and plasters in a little basket. There was unseemly jubilation over
the death of Queen Anne's son, the little Duke of Gloucester, in July
1700--though Fanny admits they were sorry at first--and somewhat
partisan comparisons were drawn between him, 'a poor, soft child who
had no wit' (he was really a very promising, spirited boy), and the
little Prince of Wales, 'who was very witty.'

To this careless chatter Fanny Shaftoe added exaggerations and
backstairs gossip, and an astounding statement which lived as the
feeblest lie _can_ live. Anne Oglethorpe, she said, informed her that
the real Prince of Wales (born June 10, 1688) had died at Windsor of
convulsions when five or six weeks old; that Lady Oglethorpe hurried
up to town with her little son James, born a few days before the
Prince, and that the Oglethorpe baby died, or _was lost on the road_.
The truth was a secret between her mother and the Queen! All they knew
was that their little brother never turned up again. Anne added,
confusing the story by too much detail, as all accounts of the royal
fraud are confused, that the children had been sick together; that the
Prince had then died, and her brother had been substituted for him.

In November 1700 Frances Shaftoe (according to her later revelations)
left Westbrook: her mother had written from Newcastle to say her
sister was dying. Anne and Eleanor were very sympathetic--they were
really nice girls. Lady Oglethorpe was very kind, and gave her four
guineas for her eleven months' services; and she seems to have been
satisfied with it as handsome remuneration. She asserts,
inconsistently, that she had much ado to get away; but she never went
to Newcastle. Three months later, being still in London, she was sent
for to a house in the Strand, where she met Anne Oglethorpe. Anne gave
her a letter from her mother, which had been kept back because Anne
had expected to come up sooner to town, otherwise she would have sent
it. Anne had a cold and a swelled face. She and Eleanor were going to
France, and she persuaded Fanny to go with them. To make a long tale
short, they shut her up in a convent lest she should blab the great
secret, 'James Stuart is really James Oglethorpe!'

In September 1701 James II. died, and Lady Oglethorpe carried to the
Princess Anne the affecting letter of farewell he wrote to her,
commending his family to her care. Anne and Eleanor went to England in
November 1702, and from that date until Easter 1706 Fanny Shaftoe says
she heard no more about them. In April 1702 Sir Theophilus died, and
was buried in St. James's, Piccadilly, where the memorial erected by
his widow may be seen.

Theophilus, the heir, probably remained a while in the far East with
Pitt; but there were Oglethorpes nearer home to dabble in the Scots
plot of that year (1704). In June several Scottish officers--Sir
George Maxwell, Captain Livingstone, and others, amounting to fifteen
or sixteen, with three ladies, one of whom was Anne Oglethorpe,
embarked at the Hague for Scotland. Sir George had tried in vain to
procure a passport from Queen Anne's envoy, so, though it was in
war-time, they sailed without one. Harley informed by Captain Lacan,
late of Galway's Foot in Piedmont, told Lord Treasurer Godolphin, who
had the party arrested on landing. The Queen, who plotted as much as
anybody on behalf of her brother, was indulgent to fellow-conspirators,
and, though it was proved their purpose had been 'to raise commotions
in Scotland,' they were soon set at liberty, and the informer sent
back to Holland with empty pockets.[33]

[Footnote 33: Boyer, _Reign of Queen Anne_.]

Anne Oglethorpe, nevertheless, having crossed without a pass, lay at
the mercy of the Government, but, as with Joseph in Egypt, her
misfortune turned into her great opportunity. The late Mr. H. Manners,
in an article in the _Dictionary of National Biography_,[34] supposes
she had been King James's mistress before she left St. Germains. Now,
see how Thackeray has misled historians! _He_ makes _Fanny_
Oglethorpe, James's mistress, 'Queen Oglethorpe,' at Bar-le-Duc in
1714. And, resting on this evidence, Mr. Manners represents _Anne_
Oglethorpe as James's mistress at St. Germains in 1704! Anne left St.
Germains before James was sixteen, and her character is blasted by the
easy plan of mistaking her for her younger sister, who was no more
Queen Oglethorpe than _she_ was.

[Footnote 34: Article, 'Oglethorpe (Sir Theophilus).']

Poor Anne did not 'scape calumny, perhaps deserved it. Boyer says that
Godolphin and Harley quarrelled for her smiles, which beamed on Harley
(Lord Oxford, Swift's 'Dragon'), and 'an irreconcilable enmity' arose.
In 1713 Schutz describes Anne Oglethorpe as Oxford's mistress, but she
had troubles of her own before that date. She arrived in England, a
Jacobite conspirator, in 1704. Her wit and beauty endeared her to
Harley, and she probably had a foot in both camps, Queen Anne's and
King James's.

But in 1706 strange rumours came from the North. Mrs. Shaftoe had,
after five years' silence, received letters from her daughter Fanny,
the sempstress, by a secret hand, and was filling Newcastle with
lamentations over trepanning, imprisonment, and compulsory conversion,
with the object of making Fanny a nun. A young English priest, agent
for supplying the Catholic squires of Northumberland with chaplains,
was sent to France by her Catholic cousin, Mrs. Delaval, to find out
the truth. The consequence of his inquiries was that Anne Oglethorpe
was arrested in England, and charged before the Queen and Council with
trepanning and trying to force Fanny Shaftoe to become a nun. Anne
flung herself at the Queen's feet and implored mercy. She escaped
being sent to Newgate, but was imprisoned in a Messenger's house to
await further proceedings, and ordered to produce Fanny Shaftoe as a

Eleanor Oglethorpe was in France, and rushed to the convent where
Fanny Shaftoe was held captive, told her how Anne was in prison on her
account, and entreated her to sign a statement that she had come to
France and become a Catholic of her own free will. But Fanny refused.
Her long detailed story was printed and published for the prosecution
in 1707, at the moment when the Chevalier's chances in Scotland were
most promising. Had he landed only with his valet, says Ker of
Kersland, Scotland would have been his. Cameronians and Cavaliers
alike would have risen. But the French Admiral would not put him on
shore. As for Anne she was discharged, having great allies; but Fanny
Shaftoe's story did its work. James Stuart, for Whig purposes, was
'James Oglethorpe,' Anne's brother. Fanny's narrative was republished
in 1745, to injure Prince Charlie.

Restored to society and Harley, Anne queened it royally. If we believe
old Tom Hearne, whose MSS. are in the Bodleian, Anne practically
negotiated the Treaty of Utrecht. She found a French priest, whose
sister was in the household of Madame de Maintenon, she wrote
mysterious letters to him, he showed them to Louis XIV., and the
priest was presently lurking in Miss Oglethorpe's town house. Harley
visited his Egeria; she introduced the abbé; Gauthier (the abbé
himself?) and Messager were appointed by France to treat. Harley
insisted on the surrender of Dunkirk! Louis offered Anne Oglethorpe
2,000,000 livres if she would save Dunkirk for France. Her
Oglethorpean majesty refused the gold, but did Louis's turn, on
condition that he would restore King James! For all this magnanimity
we have only Tom Hearne's word. Swift, for example, was not likely to
reveal these romantic circumstances about the Lady and the Dragon.

Swift does not mention Anne in his letters, but being so deep in the
greatest intrigues of the day and in the smallest, she was a valuable
source of information to Thomas Carte, the nonjuring historian and her
lifelong correspondent, when he was gathering materials for his Life
of the first Duke of Ormond and his _History of England_. In 1713,
Nairne, James's secretary, desires Abram (Menzies) to inquire if Mrs.
_Oglethorpe_ had credit with Honyton (Harley), and how far?[35]
Schutz, the Hanoverian envoy, writes to Bothmar, November 21, 1713:
'Miss Oglethorpe, the Lord Treasurer's mistress, said that the
Pretender was to travel, and she said it on the very day the news came
from Holland that the Bishop of London had declared to the
plenipotentiaries who are there, that the Queen entreated their
masters not to receive the Pretender in their dominions.'[36] She knew
all the particulars of Harley's opposition to the Duke of Ormond's
schemes for improving the army, and what the Exchequer could and could
not supply to back them.[37] She knew all about Lady Masham's quarrel
with her cousin, Lord Oxford, in 1713, over the 100,000_l._ in ten per
cents which Lady Masham had expected to make out of the Quebec
expedition and Assiento contract, had not his lordship so 'disobliged
her.' Anne acted as intermediary, hunting up her friend the Duke of
Ormond, with whom her mother had great influence, and fetching him to
meet Lady Masham at Kensington--who told him how ill the Queen was,
and how uneasy at nothing being done for her brother, the Chevalier.
If Ormond would but secure Lady Masham 30,000_l._ of the 100,000_l._,
she would join with him, and he should have the modelling of the army
as he pleased. Ormond also failed to oblige Lady Masham, but
Bolingbroke, whom she hated, snatched his opportunity in the quarrel
and got her the money; in return for which service, Lady Masham had
Harley turned out of office and Bolingbroke set in his place. And
then Queen Anne died.

[Footnote 35: Carte MSS.]

[Footnote 36: Macpherson, _Hanoverian Papers_.]

[Footnote 37: Carte MSS. In the Bodleian.]

Miss Oglethorpe also knew that Sir Thomas Hanmer and Bishop Atterbury
were the two persons who sent the messenger (mentioned only as Sir
C.P. in the Carte Papers) to warn Ormond to escape to France in 1715.
Women seem to have managed the whole political machine in those days,
as the lengthy and mysterious letters of 'Mrs. White,' 'Jean Murray,'
and others in the Carte MSS. testify.

We are not much concerned with the brothers of the Oglethorpe girls,
but the oldest, Theophilus, turned Jacobite. That he had transferred
his allegiance and active service to King James is proved by his
letters from Paris to James, and to Gualterio in 1720 and 1721.[38]
According to the second report on the Stuart Papers at Windsor, he was
created a baron by James III in 1717. In 1718 he was certainly
outlawed, for his younger brother, James Edward (the famous General
Oglethorpe), succeeded to the Westbrook property in that year.

[Footnote 38: Gualterio MSS. Add. MSS. British Museum.]

In July 1714 Fanny Oglethorpe, now about nineteen, turns up as an
active politician. The Chevalier at Bar and his adherents in Paris,
Scotland, and London, were breathlessly waiting for the death of Queen
Anne, which was expected to restore him to the throne of his
ancestors. Fanny had been brought up a Protestant by her mother in
England, under whose auspices she had served her apprenticeship to
plotting. Then she came to France, but Fanny cannot have been
Thackeray's 'Queen Oglethorpe' at Bar-le-Duc. In the first place, she
was not there; in the second, a lady of Lorraine was reigning

[Footnote 39: Wolff, _Odd Bits of History_ (1844), pp. 1-58.]

With the fall of Oxford in 1714 ended Anne's chief opportunity of
serving her King. The historian therefore turns to her sister Eleanor,
who had been with her in the Fanny Shaftoe affair, but remained in
France. Penniless as she was, Eleanor's beauty won the heart of the
Marquis de Mézières, a great noble, a man over fifty, ugly, brave,
misshapen. Theirs, none the less, was a love match, as the French
Court admiringly proclaimed. 'The frog-faced' Marquis, the vainest of
men, was one of the most courageous. Their daughters became the
Princesses de Montauban and de Ligne, whose brilliant marriages caused
much envy. Of their sons we shall hear later. Young Fanny Oglethorpe,
a girl of twenty in 1715, resided with her sister Eleanor (Madame de
Mézières), and now Bolingbroke, flying from the Tower, and become the
Minister of James, grumbles at the presence of Fanny, and of Olive
Trant, among the conspirators for a Restoration. Olive, the Regent's
mistress, was 'the great wheel of the machine,' in which Fanny 'had
her corner,' at Saint Germains. 'Your female teazers,' James calls
them in a letter to Bolingbroke. Not a word is said of a love affair.

How the Fifteen ended we all know. Ill-managed by Mar, perhaps
betrayed by Bolingbroke, the rising collapsed. Returning to France,
James dismissed Bolingbroke and retired to Avignon, thence to Urbino,
and last to Rome. In 1719 he describes 'Mrs. Oglethorpe's letters' as
politically valueless, and full of self-justifications, and 'old
stories.' He answers them only through his secretary; but in 1722 he
consoled poor Anne by making her a Countess of Ireland. Anne's bolt
was shot, she had had her day, but the day of her fair sisters was
dawning. Mr. John Law, of Lauriston _soi-disant_, had made England too
hot to hold him. His great genius for financial combinations was at
this time employed by him in gleek, trick-track, quadrille, whist,
loo, ombre, and other pastimes of mingled luck and skill. In
consequence of a quarrel about a lady, Mr. Law fought and slew Beau
Wilson, that mysterious person, who, from being a poverty-stricken
younger son, hanging loose on town, became in a day, no man knows how,
the richest and most splendid of blades. The Beau's secret died with
him; but Law fled to France with 100,000 crowns in his valise. Here
the swagger, courage, and undeniable genius of Mr. Law gained the
favour of the Regent d'Orléans, the Bank and the Mississippi Scheme
were floated, the Rue Quincampoix was crowded, France swam in a dream
of gold, and the friends of Mr. Law, 'coming in on the ground-floor,'
or buying stock before issue at the lowest prices, sold out at the
top of the market.

Paris was full of Jacobites from Ireland and Scotland--Seaforth,
Tullibardine, Campbell of Glendaruel, George Kelly (one of the Seven
Men of Moidart), Nick Wogan, gayest and bravest of Irishmen, all
engaged in a pleasing plan for invading England with a handful of
Irish soldiers in Spanish service. The Earl Marischal and Keith his
brother (the Field-Marshal) came into Paris broken men, fleeing from
Glenshiel. _They_ took no Mississippi shares, but George Kelly, Fanny
Oglethorpe, and Olive Trant, all _liés_ with Law and Orléans,
'plunged,' and emerged with burdens of gold. Fanny for her share had
800,000 livres, and carried it as her dowry to the Marquis des
Marches, whom she married in 1719, and so ceased conspiring. The
Oglethorpe girls, for penniless exiles, had played their cards well.
Fanny and Eleanor had won noble husbands. Poor Anne went back to
Godalming, where--in the very darkest days of the Jacobite party, when
James was a heart-broken widower, and the star of Prince Charles's
natal day shone only on the siege of Gaeta--she plotted with Thomas
Carte, the historian.

The race of 1715 was passing, the race of 1745 was coming on, and
touching it is to read in the brown old letters the same loyal
names--Floyds, Wogans, Gorings, Trants, Dillons, Staffords,
Sheridans, the Scots of course, and the French descendants of the
Oglethorpe girls. Eleanor's infants, the de Mézières family, had been
growing up in beauty and honour, as was to be expected of the children
of the valiant Marquis and the charming Eleanor. Their eldest
daughter, Eléonore Eugénie, married Charles de Rohan, Prince de
Montauban, younger brother of the Duc de Montbazon, whose wife was the
daughter of the Duc de Bouillon and Princess Caroline Sobieska, and so
first cousin to the sons of James III. That branch of Oglethorpes thus
became connected with the royal family, which would go far towards
rousing their hereditary Jacobitism when the Forty-Five cast its
shadow before.

In May 1740, Madame de Mézières took it into her head to run over to
England, and applied to Newcastle for a pass, through Lady Mary
Herbert of Powis--a very _suspect_ channel! The Minister made such
particular inquiries as to the names of the servants she intended to
bring, that she changed her mind and did not go. One wonders what
person purposed travelling in her suite whose identity dared not stand
too close scrutiny. There was a brave and eager Prince of Wales over
the water, nearly twenty, who had some years ago fleshed his maiden
sword with honour, and who was in secret correspondence on his own
account with his father's English supporters. Could he have had some
such plan even then of putting fate to the touch? He is reported in
Coxe's _Walpole_ to have been in Spain, in disguise, years before.

In 1742 Eleanor had the sorrow of losing a daughter in a tragic way.
She had recently become a canoness of Povesay, a very noble
foundation, indeed, in Lorraine, where the Sisters wore little black
ribbons on their heads which they called 'husbands.' She was
twenty-five, very pretty, and most irreligiously devoted to shooting
and hunting. Though these chapters of noble canonesses are not by any
means strict after the use of ordinary convents, there were serious
expostulations made when the novice insisted upon constantly carrying
a gun and shooting. She fell one day when out with her gun as usual.
It went off and killed her on the spot.

Whatever Eleanor aimed at in 1740 by a journey to England, was baulked
by Newcastle's caution. In 1743 the indefatigable lady, 'and a
Scottish lord,' submitted a scheme to Louis XV., but it was thwarted
by de Noailles. Then Prince Charles rode secretly out of Rome, landed,
like Napoleon, at Fréjus, and at the expedition of Dunkirk met the
Earl Marischal and young Glengarry.

The Chevalier de Mézières, too, Eleanor's son, went to Dunkirk with
Saxe to embark for England. There was a great storm, and the ships
went aground. Several officers and soldiers jumped into the sea, and
some were drowned. The Chevalier de Mézières came riding along the
shore, to hear that a dear friend was drowning. The sea was going
back, but very heavy, and de Mézières rode straight into the raging
waters to seek his friend. The waves went over his head and carried
away his hat, but he persevered until he had seized a man. He dragged
him ashore, to find it was a common soldier. He hastened back, and
saved several soldiers and two or three officers. His friend, after
all, had never been in danger.

The Saxe expedition never sailed, so Eugène de Mézières went to beat
Hanoverians elsewhere, and was wounded at Fontenoy. Consequently he
could not follow the Prince to Scotland. His mother, Eleanor, plunged
into intrigue for the forward party (Prince Charlie's party),
distrusted by James at Rome. 'She is a mad woman,' said James. She and
Carte, the historian, were working up an English rising to join the
Prince's Scottish adventure, but were baffled by James's cautious,
helpless advisers. Then came the Forty-Five. Eleanor was not subdued
by Culloden: the undefeated old lady was a guest at the great dinner,
with the splendid new service of plate, which the Prince gave to the
Princesse de Talmond and his friends in 1748. He was braving all
Europe, in his hopeless way, and refusing to leave France, in
accordance with the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. When he was imprisoned
at Vincennes, Eleanor was threatened. Catholic as she was, she frankly
declared that Prince Charles had better declare himself a Protestant,
and marry a German Protestant Princess. He therefore proposed to one,
a day or two before he disappeared from Avignon, in February 1749, and
he later went over to London, and embraced the Anglican faith.

It was too late; but Eleanor Oglethorpe was not beaten. In October
1752 'the great affair' was being incubated again. Alexander Murray,
of the Elibank family, exasperated by his imprisonment for a riot at
the Westminster election, had taken service with Prince Charles. He
had arranged that a body of young Jacobite officers in foreign
service, with four hundred Highlanders under young Glengarry, should
overpower the Guards, break into St. James's Palace, and seize King
George; while the Westminster mob, Murray's lambs, should create an
uproar. Next day Glengarry would post north, the Highlanders would
muster at the House of Touch, and Charles would appear among his
beloved subjects. The very medal to commemorate the event was struck,
with its motto, _Laetamini Cives_. The Prince was on the coast in
readiness--nay, if we are not mistaken, the Prince was in Westbrook
House at Godalming!

This we conjecture because, in that very budding time of the Elibank
Plot, Newcastle suddenly discovered that the unwearied Eleanor
Oglethorpe, Marquise de Mézières, was in England,--had arrived
secretly, without any passport. He tracked her down at Westbrook
House, that lay all desolate and deserted, the windows closed, the
right-of-way through the grounds illegally shut up. General Oglethorpe
after 1746 had abandoned his home, for he had been court-martialled on
a charge of not attacking Cluny and Lord George Murray, when the
Highlanders stood at bay, at Clifton, and defeated Cumberland's
advanced-guard. The general was acquitted, but, retiring to his wife's
house at Carham, he deserted Westbrook Place.

The empty house, retired in its woodlands, on the Portsmouth road,
convenient for the coast, was the very place for Prince Charles to
lurk in, while Murray and Glengarry cleared the way to the throne. And
so, in fact, we find Eleanor Oglethorpe secretly ensconced at
Westbrook Place while the plot ripened, and local tradition still
shows the vault in which 'the Pretender' could take refuge if the
house was searched. All this, again, coincides with the vague legend
of the tall, brown-haired ghost who haunts Westbrook Place,--last home
of a last hope.

The young Glengarry, as we know, carried all the tale of the plot to
the English Prime Minister, while he made a merit of his share in it
with James at Rome. Eleanor, too, was run to earth at Westbrook Place.
She held her own gallantly. As to having no passport, she reminded
Newcastle that she _had_ asked for a passport twelve years ago, in
1740. She was now visiting England merely to see her sister Anne, who
'could not outlast the winter,' but who did so, none the less. Nor
could Anne have been so very ill, for on arriving at Dover in October
Eleanor did not hasten to Anne's sick-bed. Far from that, she first
spent an agreeable week--with whom? With my Lady Westmoreland, at
Mereworth, in Kent. Now, Lord Westmoreland was the head of the English
Jacobites, and at Mereworth, according to authentic family tradition,
Prince Charles held his last Council on English ground. The whole plot
seems delightfully transparent, and it must be remembered that in
October Newcastle knew nothing of it; he only received Glengarry's
information early in November.

The letter of Madame de Mézières, with her account of her innocent
proceedings, is written in French exactly like that of the Dowager
Countess of Castlewood, in _Esmond_. She expressed her special
pleasure in the hope of making Newcastle's personal acquaintance. She
went to Bath; she made Lady Albemarle profoundly uncomfortable about
her lord's famous mistress in Paris, and no doubt she plunged, on her
return, into the plots with Prussia for a Restoration. In the Privy
Council, in November 1753, her arrest was decided on. Newcastle jots
down, on a paper of notes: 'To seize Madame de Mézières with her
papers. No expense to be spared to find the Pretender's son. Sir John
Gooderich to be sent after him. Lord Anson to have frigates on the
Scotch and Irish coasts.'

By 1759 Eleanor was, perhaps, weary of conspiring. Her daughter, the
Princesse de Ligne, was the fair patroness of that expedition which
Hawke crushed in Quibéron Bay, while Charles received the news at

All was ended. For seventy-two years the Oglethorpe women had used
their wit and beauty, through three generations, for a lost cause.
They were not more lucky, with the best intentions, than Eleanor's
grandson, the Prince de Lambesc. With hereditary courage he rescued an
old woman from a burning cottage, and flung her into a duck-pond to
extinguish her blazing clothes. The old woman was drowned!

Not long ago a lady of much wit, but of no occult pretensions, and
wholly ignorant of the Oglethorpes, looked over Westbrook Place, then
vacant, with the idea of renting it. On entering it she said, 'I have
a feeling that very interesting things have happened here'! Probably
they had.[40]

[Footnote 40: The facts are taken from Ailesbury's, de Luynes',
Dangeau's, and d'Argenson's _Memoirs_; from Boyer's _History_, and
other printed books, and from the Newcastle, Hearne, Carte, and
Gualterio MSS. in the Bodleian and the British Museum.]



The mystery of the Chevalier d'Éon (1728-1810), the question of his
sex, on which so many thousand pounds were betted, is no mystery at
all. The Chevalier was a man, and a man of extraordinary courage,
audacity, resource, physical activity, industry, and wit. The real
mystery is the problem why, at a mature age (forty-two) did d'Éon take
upon him, and endure for forty years, the travesty of feminine array,
which could only serve him as a source of notoriety--in short, as an
advertisement? The answer probably is that, having early seized
opportunity by the forelock, and having been obliged, after an
extraordinary struggle, to leave his hold, he was obliged to clutch at
some mode of keeping himself perpetually in the public eye. Hence,
probably, his persistent assumption of feminine costume. If he could
be distinguished in no other way, he could shine as a mystery; there
was even lucre in the pose.[41]

[Footnote 41: The most recent work on d'Éon, _Le Chevalier d'Éon_, par
Octave Homberg and Fernand Jousselin (Plon-Nourrit, Paris, 1904), is
rather disappointing. The authors aver that at a recent sale they
picked up many MSS. of d'Éon 'which had lain for more than a century
in the back shop of an English bookseller.' No other reference as to
authenticity is given, and some letters to d'Éon of supreme importance
are casually cited, but are not printed. On the other hand, we have
many new letters for the later period of the life of the hero. The
best modern accounts are that by the Duc de Broglie, who used the
French State archives and his own family papers in _Le Secret du Roi_
(Paris, 1888), and _The Strange Career of the Chevalier d'Éon_ (1885),
by Captain J. Buchan Telfer, R.N. (Longmans, 1885), a book now out of
print. The author was industrious, but not invariably happy in his
translations of French originals. D'Éon himself drew up various
accounts of his adventures, some of which he published. They are oddly
careless in the essential matter of dates, but contain many astounding
genuine documents, which lend a sort of 'doubtsome trust' to others,
hardly more incredible, which cannot be verified, and are supposed by
the Duc de Broglie to be 'interpolations.' Captain Buchan Telfer is
less sceptical. The doubtfulness, to put it mildly, of some papers,
and the pretty obvious interpolations in others, deepen the

Charles d'Éon was born on October 7, 1728, near Tonnerre. His family
was of _chétive noblesse_, but well protected, and provided for by
'patent places.' He was highly educated, took the degree of doctor of
law, and wrote with acceptance on finance and literature. His was a
studious youth, for he was as indifferent to female beauty as was
Frederick the Great, and his chief amusements were fencing, of which
art he was a perfect master, and society, in which his wit and gaiety
made the girlish-looking lad equally welcome to men and women. All
were fond of 'le petit d'Éon,' so audacious, so ambitious, and so

The Prince de Conti was his chief early patron, and it was originally
in support of Conti's ambition to be King of Poland that Louis XV.
began his incredibly foolish 'secret'--a system of foreign policy
conducted by hidden agents behind the backs of his responsible
ministers at Versailles and in the Courts of Europe. The results
naturally tend to recall a Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera of
diplomacy. We find magnificent ambassadors gravely trying to carry out
the royal orders, and thwarted by the King's secret agents. The King
seems to have been too lazy to face his ministers, and compel them to
take his own line, while he was energetic enough to work like Tiberius
or Philip II. of Spain at his secret Penelope's task of undoing by
night the warp and woof which his ministers wove by day. In these
mysterious labours of his the Comte de Broglie, later a firm friend of
d'Éon, was, with Tercier, one of his main assistants.

The King thus enjoyed all the pleasures and excitements of a
conspirator in his own kingdom, dealing in ciphered despatches, with
the usual cant names, carried in the false bottoms of snuff-boxes,
precisely as if he had been a Jacobite plotter. It was entertaining,
but it was not diplomacy, and, sooner or later, Louis was certain to
be 'blackmailed' by some underling in his service. That underling was
to be d'Éon.

In 1755 Louis wished to renew relations, long interrupted, with
Elizabeth, Empress of Russia, the lady whom Prince Charlie wanted to
marry, and from whose offered hand the brave James Keith fled as fast
as horses could carry him. Elizabeth, in 1755, was an ally of England,
but was known to be French in her personal sympathies, though she was
difficult of access. As a messenger, Louis chose a Scot, described by
Captain Buchan Telfer as a Mackenzie, a Jesuit, calling himself the
Chevalier Douglas, and a Jacobite exile. He is not to be found in the
_Dictionary of National Biography_. A Sir James and a Sir John
Douglas--if both were not the same man--were employed as political
agents between the English and Scottish Jacobites in 1746, and, in
1749, between the Prince and the Landgrave of Hesse. Whatever the true
name of the Douglas of Louis XV., I suspect that he was one or the
other of these dim Jacobites of the Douglas clan. In June 1755 this
Chevalier Douglas was sent by Louis to deal with Elizabeth. He was
certainly understood by Louis to be a real Douglas, a fugitive
Jacobite, and he was to use in ciphered despatches precisely the same
silly sort of veiled language about the fur trade as Prince Charles's
envoys had just been using about 'the timber trade' with Sweden.

Douglas set forth, disguised as an intellectual British tourist, in
the summer of 1755, and it is Captain Buchan Telfer's view that d'Éon
joined him, also as a political agent, in female apparel, on the road,
and that, while Douglas failed and left Russia by October 1755, d'Éon
remained at St. Petersburg, attired as a girl, Douglas's niece, and
acting as the _lectrice_ of the Empress, whom he converted to the
French alliance! This is the traditional theory, but is almost
certainly erroneous. Sometimes, in his vast MSS., d'Éon declares that
he went to Russia disguised in 1755. But he represents himself as then
aged twenty, whereas he was really twenty-seven, and this he does in
1773, before he made up his mind to pose for life as a woman. He had a
running claim against the French government for the expenses of his
first journey to Russia. This voyage, in 1776, he dates in 1755, but
in 1763, in an official letter, he dates his journey to Russia, of
which the expenses were not repaid, in 1756. That is the true
chronology. Nobody denies that he did visit Russia in 1756 attired as
a male diplomatist, but few now believe that in 1755 he accompanied
Douglas as that gentleman's pleasing young niece.

MM. Homberg and Jousselin, in their recent work,[42] declare that
among d'Éon's papers, which lay for a century in the back shop of a
London bookseller, they find letters to him, from June 1756, written
by Tercier, who managed the secret of Louis XV. There are no known
proofs of d'Éon's earlier presence in Russia, and in petticoats, in

[Footnote 42: _Le Chevalier d'Éon_, p. 18.]

He did talk later of a private letter of Louis XV., of October 4,
1763, in which the King wrote that he 'had served him usefully in the
guise of a female, and must now resume it,' and that letter is
published, but all the evidence, to which we shall return, tends to
prove that this paper is an ingenious deceptive 'interpolation.' If
the King did write it, then he was deceiving the manager of his
secret policy--Tercier--for, in the note, he bids d'Éon remain in
England, while he was at the same time telling Tercier that he was
uneasy as to what d'Éon might do in France, when he obeyed his
_public_ orders to return.[43] If, then, the royal letter of October
4, 1763, testifying to d'Éon's feminine disguise in Russia, be
genuine, Louis XV. had three strings to his bow. He had his public
orders to ministers, he had his private conspiracy worked through
Tercier, and he had his secret intrigue with d'Éon, of which Tercier
was allowed to know nothing. This hypothesis is difficult, if not
impossible, and the result is that d'Éon was not current in Russia as
Douglas's pretty French niece and as reader to the Empress Elizabeth
in 1755.

[Footnote 43: Broglie, _Secret du Roi_, ii. 51, note.]

In 1756, in his own character as a man and a secretary, he did work
under Douglas, then on his second visit, public and successful, to
gain Russia to the French alliance; for, dismissed in October 1755,
Douglas came back and publicly represented France at the Russian Court
in July 1756. This was, to the highest degree of probability, d'Éon's
first entrance into diplomacy, and he triumphed in his mission. He
certainly made the acquaintance of the Princess Dashkoff, and she, as
certainly, in 1769-1771, when on a visit to England, gave out that
d'Éon was received by Elizabeth in a manner more appropriate to a
woman than a man. It is not easy to ascertain precisely what the
tattle of the Princess really amounted to, but d'Éon represents it so
as to corroborate his tale about his residence at Elizabeth's Court,
as _lectrice_, in 1755. The evidence is of no value, being a biassed
third-hand report of the Russian lady's gossip. There is a mezzotint,
published in 1788, from what professes to be a copy, by Angelica
Kauffmann, of a portrait of d'Éon in female costume, at the age of
twenty-five. If these attributions are correct, d'Éon was masquerading
as a girl three years before he went to Russia, and, if the portrait
is exact, was wearing the order of St. Louis ten years before it was
conferred on him. The evidence as to this copy of an alleged portrait
of d'Éon is full of confusions and anachronisms, and does not even
prove that he thus travestied his sex in early life.

In Russia, when he joined Douglas there in the summer of 1756, d'Éon
was a busy secretary of legation. In April 1757, he went back to
Versailles bearing rich diplomatic sheaves with him, and one of those
huge presents of money in gold, to Voltaire, which no longer come in
the way of men of letters. While he was at Vienna, on his way back to
St. Petersburg, tidings came of the battle of Prague; d'Éon hurried to
Versailles with the news, and, though he broke his leg in a carriage
accident, he beat the messenger whom Count Kaunitz officially
despatched, by thirty-six hours. This unladylike proof of energy and
endurance procured for d'Éon a gold snuff-box (Elizabeth only gave
him a trumpery snuff-box in tortoiseshell), with the King's
miniature, a good deal of money, and a commission in the dragoons, for
the little man's heart was really set on a military rather than a
diplomatic career. However, as diplomat he ferreted out an important
secret of Russian internal treachery, and rejected a bribe of a
diamond of great value. The money's worth of the diamond was to be
paid to him by his own Government, but he no more got that than he got
the 10,000 livres for his travelling expenses.

Thus early was he accommodated with a grievance, and because d'Éon had
not the wisdom to see that a man with grievances is a ruined man, he
overthrew, later, a promising career, in the violence of his attempts
to obtain redress. This was d'Éon's bane, and the cause of the ruinous
eccentricities for which he is remembered. In 1759 he ably seconded
the egregious Louis XV. in upsetting the policy which de Choiseul was
carrying on by the King's orders. De Choiseul's duty was to make the
Empress mediate for peace in the Seven Years' War. The duty of d'Éon
was to secure the failure of de Choiseul, without the knowledge of the
French ambassador, the Marquis de l'Hospital, of whom he was the
secretary. Possessed of this pretty secret, d'Éon was a man whom Louis
could not safely offend and snub, and d'Éon must therefore have
thought that there could scarcely be a limit to his success in life.
But he disliked Russia, and left it for good in August 1760.

He received a life pension of 2,000 livres, and was appointed
aide-de-camp to the Maréchal de Broglie, commanding on the Upper
Rhine. He distinguished himself, in August 1761, by a very gallant
piece of service in which, he says, truly or not, he incurred the
ill-will of the Comte de Guerchy. The pair were destined to ruin each
other a few years later. D'Éon also declares that he led a force which
'dislodged the Highland mountaineers in a gorge of the mountain at
Einbeck.' I know not what Highland regiment is intended, but D'Éon's
orders bear that he was to _withdraw_ troops opposed to the
Highlanders, and a certificate in his favour from the Duc and the
Comte de Broglie does not allude to the circumstance that, instead of
retreating before the plaids, he drove them back to the English camp.
It may therefore be surmised that, though D'Éon often distinguished
himself, and was wounded in the thigh at Ultrop, his claim of a
victory over a Highland regiment is--'an interpolation.' De Broglie
writes, 'we purpose retreating. I send M. d'Éon to withdraw the Swiss
and Grenadiers of Champagne, who are holding in check the Scottish
Highlanders lining the wood on the crest of the mountain, whence they
have caused us much annoyance.' The English outposts were driven in;
but, after that was done, the French advance was checked by the
plaided Gael: d'Éon did not

              quell the mountaineer
    As their tinchel quells the game.

Not a word is said about his triumph even in the certificate of the
two de Broglies which d'Éon published in 1764.

In 1762, France and England, weary of war, began the preliminaries of
peace, and d'Éon was attached as secretary of legation to the French
negotiator in London, the Duc de Nivernais, who was on terms so
intimate with Madame de Pompadour that she addressed him, in writing,
as _petit époux_. In the language of the affections as employed by the
black natives of Australia, this would have meant that de Nivernais
was the recognised rival of Louis XV. in the favour of the lady; but
the inference must not be carried to that length. There are different
versions of a trick which d'Éon, as secretary, played on Mr. Robert
Wood, author of an interesting work on Homer, and with the Jacobite
_savant_, Jemmy Dawkins, the explorer of Palmyra. The story as given
by Nivernais is the most intelligible account. Mr. Wood, as under
secretary of state, brought to Nivernais, and read to him, a
diplomatic document, but gave him no copy. D'Éon, however, opened
Wood's portfolio, while he dined with Nivernais, and had the paper
transcribed. To this d'Éon himself adds that he had given Wood more
than his 'whack,' during dinner, of a heady wine grown in the
vineyards of his native Tonnerre.

In short, the little man was so serviceable that, in the autumn of
1762, de Nivernais proposed to leave him in England, as interim
Minister, after the Duc's own return to France. 'Little d'Éon is very
active, very discreet, never curious or officious, neither distrustful
nor a cause of distrust in others.' De Nivernais was so pleased with
him, and so anxious for his promotion, that he induced the British
Ministers, contrary to all precedent, to send d'Éon, instead of a
British subject, to Paris with the treaty, for ratification. He then
received from Louis XV. the order of St. Louis, and, as de Nivernais
was weary of England, where he had an eternal cold, and resigned,
d'Éon was made minister plenipotentiary in London till the arrival of
the new ambassador, de Guerchy.

Now de Guerchy, if we believe d'Éon, had shown the better part of
valour in a dangerous military task, the removal of ammunition under
fire, whereas d'Éon had certainly conducted the operation with courage
and success. The two men were thus on terms of jealousy, if the story
is true, while de Nivernais did not conceal from d'Éon that he was to
be the brain of the embassy, and that de Guerchy was only a dull
figure-head. D'Éon possessed letters of de Broglie and de Praslin, in
which de Guerchy was spoken of with pitying contempt; in short, his
despatch-boxes were magazines of dangerous diplomatic combustibles. He
also succeeded in irritating de Praslin, the French minister, before
returning to his new post in London, for d'Éon was a partisan of the
two de Broglies, now in the disgrace of Madame de Pompadour and of
Louis XV.; though the Comte de Broglie, 'disgraced' as he was, still
managed the secret policy of the French King.

D'Éon's position was thus full of traps. He was at odds with the
future ambassador, de Guerchy, and with the minister, de Praslin; and
would not have been promoted at all, had it been known to the minister
that he was in correspondence with, and was taking orders from, the
disgraced Comte de Broglie. But, by the fatuous system of the King,
d'Éon, in fact, was doing nothing else. De Broglie, exiled from Court,
was d'Éon's real master, he did not serve de Guerchy and de Praslin,
and Madame de Pompadour, who was not in the secret of her royal lover.

The King's secret now (1763) included a scheme for the invasion of
England, which d'Éon and a military agent were to organise, at the
very moment when peace had been concluded. There is fairly good
evidence that Prince Charles visited London in this year, no doubt
with an eye to mischief. In short, the new minister plenipotentiary to
St. James's, unknown to the French Government, and to the future
ambassador, de Guerchy, was to manage a scheme for the ruin of the
country to which he was accredited. If ever this came out, the result
would be, if not war with England, at least war between Louis XV., his
minister, and Madame de Pompadour, a result which frightened Louis XV.
more than any other disaster.

The importance of his position now turned d'Éon's head, in the
opinion of Horace Walpole, who, of course, had not a guess at the true
nature of the situation. D'Éon, in London, entertained French visitors
of eminence, and the best English society, it appears, with the
splendour of a full-blown ambassador, and at whose expense? Certainly
not at his own, and neither the late ambassador, de Nivernais, nor the
coming ambassador, de Guerchy, a man far from wealthy, had the
faintest desire to pay the bills. Angry and tactless letters,
therefore, passed between d'Éon in London and de Guerchy, de
Nivernais, and de Praslin in Paris. De Guerchy was dull and clumsy;
d'Éon used him as the whetstone of his wit, with a reckless
abandonment which proves that he was, as they say, 'rather above
himself,' like Napoleon before the march to Moscow. London, in short,
was the Moscow of little d'Éon. When de Guerchy arrived, and d'Éon was
reduced to _secrétariser_, and, indeed, was ordered to return to
France, and not to show himself at Court, he lost all self-control.
The recall came from the minister, de Praslin, but d'Éon, as we know,
though de Praslin knew it not, was secretly representing the King
himself. He declares that, at this juncture (October 11, 1763), Louis
XV. sent him the extraordinary private autograph letter, speaking of
his previous services in female attire, and bidding him remain with
his papers in England disguised as a woman. The improbability of this
action by the King has already been exposed. (Pp. 242, 243 _supra_.)

But when we consider the predicament of Louis, obliged to recall d'Éon
publicly, while all his ruinous secrets remained in the hands of that
disgraced and infuriated little man, it seems not quite impossible
that he may have committed the folly of writing this letter. For the
public recall says nothing about the secret papers of which d'Éon had
quantities. What was to become of them, if he returned to France in
disgrace? If they reached the hands of de Guerchy they meant an
explosion between Louis XV. and his mistress, and his ministers. To
parry the danger, then, according to d'Éon, Louis privately bade him
flee disguised, with his cargo of papers, and hide in female costume.
If Louis really did this (and d'Éon told the story to the father of
Madame de Campan), he had three strings to his bow, as we have shown,
and one string was concealed, a secret within a secret, even from
Tercier. Yet what folly was so great as to be beyond the capacity of

Meanwhile d'Éon simply refused to obey the King's public orders, and
denied their authenticity. They were only signed with a _griffe_, or
stamp, not by the King's pen and hand. He would not leave London. He
fought de Guerchy with every kind of arm, accused him of suborning an
assassin, published private letters and his own version of the affair,
fled from a charge of libel, could not be extradited (by virtue of
what MM. Homberg and Jousselin call 'the law of _Home Rule_!'),
fortified his house, and went armed. Probably there really were
designs to kidnap him, just as a regular plot was laid for the
kidnapping of de la Motte, at Newcastle, after the affair of the
Diamond Necklace. In 1752 a Marquis de Fratteau was collared by a sham
marshal court officer, put on board a boat at Gravesend, and carried
to the Bastille!

D'Éon, under charge of libel, lived a fugitive and cloistered
existence till the man who, he says, was to have assassinated him, de
Vergy, sought his alliance, and accused de Guerchy of having suborned
him to murder the little daredevil. A grand jury brought in a true
bill against the French ambassador, and the ambassador's butler,
accused of having drugged d'Éon, fled. But the English Government, by
aid of what the Duc de Broglie calls a _noli prosequi_ (_nolle_ being
usual), tided over a difficulty of the gravest kind. The granting of
the _nolle prosequi_ is denied.[44] The ambassador was mobbed and took
leave of absence, and Louis XV., through de Broglie, offered to d'Éon
terms humiliating to a king. The Chevalier finally gave up the warrant
for his secret mission in exchange for a pension of 12,000 livres, but
he retained all other secret correspondence and plans of invasion. As
for de Guerchy, he resigned (1767), and presently died of sheer
annoyance, while his enemy, the Chevalier, stayed in England as London
correspondent of Louis XV. He reported, in 1766, that Lord Bute was a
Jacobite, and de Broglie actually took seriously the chance of
restoring, by Bute's aid, Charles III., who had just succeeded, by the
death of the Old Chevalier, to 'a kingdom not of this world.'

[Footnote 44: _Political Register_, Sept. 1767; Buchan Telfer, p.

The death of Louis XV., in 1774, brought the folly of the secret
policy to an end, but in the same year rumours about d'Éon's dubious
sex appeared in the English newspapers on the occasion of his book,
_Les Loisirs du Chevalier d'Éon_, published at Amsterdam. Bets on his
sex were made, and d'Éon beat some bookmakers with his stick. But he
persuaded Drouet, an envoy from France, that the current stories were
true, and this can only be explained, if explained at all, by his
perception of the fact that, his secret employment being gone, he felt
the need of an advertisement. Overtures for the return of the secret
papers were again made to d'Éon, but he insisted on the restoration of
his diplomatic rank, and on receiving 14,000_l._ on account of
expenses. He had aimed too high, however, and was glad to come to a
compromise with the famous Beaumarchais. The extraordinary bargain was
struck that d'Éon, for a consideration, should yield the secret
papers, and, to avoid a duel with the son of de Guerchy, and the
consequent scandal, should pretend to be a woman, and wear the dress
of that sex. In his new capacity he might return to France and wear
the cross of the Order of St. Louis.

Beaumarchais was as thoroughly taken in as any dupe in his own
comedies. In d'Éon he 'saw a blushing spinster, a kind of Jeanne d'Arc
of the eighteenth century, pining for the weapons and uniform of the
martial sex, but yielding her secret, and forsaking her arms, in the
interest of her King. On the other side the blushless captain of
dragoons listened, with downcast eyes, to the sentimental compliments
of Beaumarchais, and suffered himself, without a smile, to be compared
to the Maid of Orleans,' says the Duc de Broglie. 'Our manners are
obviously softened,' wrote Voltaire. 'D'Éon is a Pucelle d'Orléans who
has not been burned.' To de Broglie, d'Éon described himself as 'the
most unfortunate of unfortunate females!' D'Éon returned to France,
where he found himself but a nine days' wonder. It was observed that
this _pucelle_ too obviously shaved; that in the matter of muscular
development she was a little Hercules; that she ran upstairs taking
four steps at a stride; that her hair, like that of Jeanne d'Arc, was
_coupé en rond_, of a military shortness; and that she wore the shoes
of men, with low heels, while she spoke like a grenadier! At first
d'Éon had all the social advertisement which was now his one desire,
but he became a nuisance, and, by his quarrels with Beaumarchais, a
scandal. In drawing-room plays he acted his English adventures with
the great play-writer, whose part was highly ridiculous. Now d'Éon
pretended to desire to 'take the veil' as a nun, now to join the
troops being sent to America. He was consigned to retreat in the
Castle of Dijon (1779); he had become a weariness to official mankind.
He withdrew (1781-85) to privacy at Tonnerre, and then returned to
London in the semblance of a bediamonded old dame, who, after dinner,
did not depart with the ladies. He took part in fencing matches with
great success, and in 1791 his library was sold at Christie's, with
his swords and jewels. The catalogue bears the motto, from Juvenal,

    Quale decus rerum, si virginis auctio fiat,

no doubt selected by the learned little man. The snuff-box of the
Empress Elizabeth, a gift to the diplomatist of 1756, fetched 2_l._
13_s._ 6_d._! The poor old boy was badly hurt at a fencing match in
his sixty-eighth year, and henceforth lived retired from arms in the
house of a Mrs. Cole, an object of charity. He might have risen to the
highest places if discretion had been among his gifts, and his career
proves the _quantula sapientia_ of the French Government before the
Revolution. In no other time or country could 'the King's Secret' have
run a course far more incredible than even the story of the Chevalier



Among the best brief masterpieces of fiction are Lytton's _The
Haunters and the Haunted_, and Thackeray's _Notch on the Axe_ in
_Roundabout Papers_. Both deal with a mysterious being who passes
through the ages, rich, powerful, always behind the scenes, coming no
man knows whence, and dying, or pretending to die, obscurely--you
never find authentic evidence of his decease. In other later times, at
other courts, such an one reappears and runs the same course of
luxury, marvel, and hidden potency.

Lytton returned to and elaborated his idea in the Margrave of _A
Strange Story_, who has no 'soul,' and prolongs his physical and
intellectual life by means of an elixir. Margrave is not bad, but he
is inferior to the hero, less elaborately designed, of _The Haunters
and the Haunted_. Thackeray's tale is written in a tone of mock
mysticism, but he confesses that he likes his own story, in which the
strange hero, through all his many lives or reappearances, and through
all the countless loves on which he fatuously plumes himself, retains
a slight German-Jewish accent.

It appears to me that the historic original of these romantic characters
is no other than the mysterious Comte de Saint-Germain--not, of course,
the contemporary and normal French soldier and minister, of 1707-1778,
who bore the same name. I have found the name, with dim allusions, in
the unpublished letters and MSS. of Prince Charles Edward Stuart, and
have not always been certain whether the reference was to the man of
action or to the man of mystery. On the secret of the latter, the
deathless one, I have no new light to throw, and only speak of him for
a single reason. Aristotle assures us, in his _Poetics_, that the
best known myths dramatised on the Athenian stage were known to very
few of the Athenian audience. It is not impossible that the story of
Saint-Germain, though it seems as familiar as the myth of Oedipus or
Thyestes, may, after all, not be vividly present to the memory of
every reader. The omniscient Larousse, of the _Dictionnaire Universel_,
certainly did not know one very accessible fact about Saint-Germain,
nor have I seen it mentioned in other versions of his legend. We read,
in Larousse, 'Saint-Germain is not heard of in France before 1750, when
he established himself in Paris. No adventure had called attention to
his existence; it was only known that he had moved about Europe, lived
in Italy, Holland, and in England, and had borne the names of Marquis
de Montferrat and of Comte de Bellamye, which he used at Venice.'

Lascelles Wraxall, again, in _Remarkable Adventures_ (1863), says:
'Whatever truth there may be in Saint-Germain's travels in England and
the East Indies, it is indubitable that, for from 1745 to 1755, he was
a man of high position in Vienna,' while in Paris he does not appear,
according to Wraxall, till 1757, having been brought from Germany by
the Maréchal de Belle-Isle, whose 'old boots,' says Macallester the
spy, Prince Charles freely damned, 'because they were always stuffed
with projects.' Now we hear of Saint-Germain, by that name, as
resident, not in Vienna, but in London, at the very moment when Prince
Charles, evading Cumberland, who lay with his army at Stone, in
Staffordshire, marched to Derby. Horace Walpole writes to Mann in
Florence (December 9, 1745):

'We begin to take up people ... the other day they seized an odd man
who goes by the name of Count Saint-Germain. He has been here these
two years, and will not tell who he is, or whence, but professes that
he does not go by his right name. He sings, plays on the violin
wonderfully, composes, is mad, and not very sensible. He is called an
Italian, a Spaniard, a Pole; a somebody that married a great fortune
in Mexico, and ran away with her jewels to Constantinople; a priest, a
fiddler, a vast nobleman. The Prince of Wales has had unsatiated
curiosity about him, but in vain. However, nothing has been made out
against him; he is released, and, what convinces me he is not a
gentleman, stays here, and talks of his being taken up for a spy.'

Here is our earliest authentic note on Saint-Germain; a note omitted
by his French students. He was in London from 1743 to 1745, under a
name not his own, but that which he later bore at the Court of France.
From the allusion to his jewels (those of a deserted Mexican bride?),
it appears that he was already as rich in these treasures as he was
afterwards, when his French acquaintances marvelled at them. As to his
being 'mad,' Walpole may refer to Saint-Germain's way of talking as if
he had lived in remote ages, and known famous people of the past.

Having caught this daylight glimpse of Saint-Germain in Walpole,
having learned that in December 1745 he was arrested and examined as a
possible Jacobite agent, we naturally expect to find contemporary
official documents about his examination by the Government. Scores of
such records exist, containing the questions put to, and the answers
given by, suspected persons. But we vainly hunt through the Newcastle
MSS. and the State Papers, Domestic, in the Record Office, for a trace
of the examination of Saint-Germain. I am not aware that he has
anywhere left his trail in official documents; he lives in more or
less legendary memoirs, alone.

At what precise date Saint-Germain became an intimate of Louis XV.,
the Duc de Choiseul, Madame de Pompadour, and the Maréchal de
Belle-Isle, one cannot ascertain. The writers of memoirs are the
vaguest of mortals about dates; only one discerns that Saint-Germain
was much about the French Court, and high in the favour of the King,
having rooms at Chambord, during the Seven Years' War, and just before
the time of the peace negotiations of 1762-1763. The art of compiling
false or forged memoirs of that period was widely practised; but the
memoirs of Madame du Hausset, who speaks of Saint-Germain, are
authentic. She was the widow of a poor man of noble family, and was
one of two _femmes de chambre_ of Madame de Pompadour. Her manuscript
was written, she explains, by aid of a brief diary which she kept
during her term of service. One day M. Senac de Meilhan found Madame
de Pompadour's brother, M. de Marigny, about to burn a packet of
papers. 'It is the journal,' he said, 'of a _femme de chambre_ of my
sister, a good kind woman.' De Meilhan asked for the manuscript, which
he later gave to Mr. Crawford, one of the Kilwinning family, in
Ayrshire, who later helped in the escape of Louis XVI. and Marie
Antoinette to Varennes, where they were captured. With the journal of
Madame du Hausset were several letters to Marigny on points of
historical anecdote.[45]

[Footnote 45: One of these gives Madame de Vieux-Maison as the author
of a _roman à clef_, _Secret Memoirs of the Court of Persia_, which
contains an early reference to the Man in the Iron Mask (died 1703).
The letter-writer avers that D'Argenson, the famous minister of Louis
XV., said that the Man in the Iron Mask was really a person _fort peu
de chose_, 'of very little account,' and that the Regent d'Orléans was
of the same opinion. This corroborates my theory, that the Mask was
merely the valet of a Huguenot conspirator, Roux de Marsilly, captured
in England, and imprisoned because he was supposed to know some
terrible secret--which he knew nothing about. See _The Valet's
Tragedy_, Longmans, 1903.]

Crawford published the manuscript of Madame du Hausset, which he was
given by de Meilhan, and the memoirs are thus from an authentic
source. The author says that Louis XV. was always kind to her, but
spoke little to her, whereas Madame de Pompadour remarked, 'The King
and I trust you so much that we treat you like a cat or a dog, and
talk freely before you.'

As to Saint-Germain, Madame du Hausset writes: 'A man who was as
amazing as a witch came often to see Madame de Pompadour. This was the
Comte de Saint-Germain, who wished to make people believe that he had
lived for several centuries. One day Madame said to him, while at her
toilet, "What sort of man was Francis I., a king whom I could have
loved?" "A good sort of fellow," said Saint-Germain; "too fiery--I
could have given him a useful piece of advice, but he would not have
listened." He then described, in very general terms, the beauty of
Mary Stuart and La Reine Margot. "You seem to have seen them all,"
said Madame de Pompadour, laughing. "Sometimes," said Saint-Germain,
"I amuse myself, not by making people believe, but by letting them
believe, that I have lived from time immemorial." "But you do not tell
us your age, and you give yourself out as very old. Madame de Gergy,
who was wife of the French ambassador at Venice fifty years ago, I
think, says that she knew you there, and that you are not changed in
the least." "It is true, madame, that I knew Madame de Gergy long
ago." "But according to her story you must now be over a century old."
"It may be so, but I admit that even more possibly the respected lady
is in her dotage."'

At this time Saint-Germain, says Madame du Hausset, looked about
fifty, was neither thin nor stout, seemed clever, and dressed simply,
as a rule, but in good taste. Say that the date was 1760,
Saint-Germain looked fifty; but he had looked the same age, according
to Madame de Gergy, at Venice, fifty years earlier, in 1710. We see
how pleasantly he left Madame de Pompadour in doubt on that point.

He pretended to have the secret of removing flaws from diamonds. The
King showed him a stone valued at 6,000 francs--without a flaw it
would have been worth 10,000. Saint-Germain said that he could remove
the flaw in a month, and in a month he brought back the
diamond--flawless. The King sent it, without any comment, to his
jeweller, who gave 9,600 francs for the stone, but the King returned
the money, and kept the gem as a curiosity. Probably it was not the
original stone, but another cut in the same fashion, Saint-Germain
sacrificing 3,000 or 4,000 francs to his practical joke. He also said
that he could increase the size of pearls, which he could have proved
very easily--in the same manner. He would not oblige Madame de
Pompadour by giving the King an elixir of life: 'I should be mad if I
gave the King a drug.' There seems to be a reference to this desire of
Madame de Pompadour in an unlikely place, a letter of Pickle the Spy
to Mr. Vaughn (1754)! This conversation Madame du Hausset wrote down
on the day of its occurrence.

Both Louis XV. and Madame de Pompadour treated Saint-Germain as a
person of consequence. 'He is a quack, for he says he has an elixir,'
said Dr. Quesnay, with medical scepticism. 'Moreover, our master, the
King, is obstinate; he sometimes speaks of Saint-Germain as a person
of illustrious birth.'

The age was sceptical, unscientific, and, by reaction, credulous. The
_philosophes_, Hume, Voltaire, and others, were exposing, like an
ingenious American gentleman, 'the mistakes of Moses.' The Earl
Marischal told Hume that life had been chemically produced in a
laboratory, so what becomes of Creation? Prince Charles, hidden in a
convent, was being tutored by Mlle. Luci in the sensational philosophy
of Locke, 'nothing in the intellect which does not come through the
senses'--a queer theme for a man of the sword to study. But, thirty
years earlier, the Regent d'Orléans had made crystal-gazing
fashionable, and stories of ghosts and second-sight in the highest
circles were popular. Mesmer had not yet appeared, to give a fresh
start to the old savage practice of hypnotism; Cagliostro was not yet
on the scene with his free-masonry of the ancient Egyptian school. But
people were already in extremes of doubt and of belief; there might be
something in the elixir of life and in the philosopher's stone; it
might be possible to make precious stones chemically, and
Saint-Germain, who seemed to be over a century old at least, might
have all these secrets.

Whence came his wealth in precious stones, people asked, unless from
some mysterious knowledge, or some equally mysterious and illustrious

He showed Madame de Pompadour a little box full of rubies, topazes,
and diamonds. Madame de Pompadour called Madame du Hausset to look at
them; she was dazzled, but sceptical, and made a sign to show that she
thought them paste. The Count then exhibited a superb ruby, tossing
aside contemptuously a cross covered with gems. 'That is not so
contemptible,' said Madame du Hausset, hanging it round her neck. The
Count begged her to keep the jewel; she refused, and Madame de
Pompadour backed her refusal. But Saint-Germain insisted, and Madame
de Pompadour, thinking that the cross might be worth forty louis, made
a sign to Madame du Hausset that she should accept. She did, and the
jewel was valued at 1,500 francs--which hardly proves that the other
large jewels were genuine, though Von Gleichen believed that they
were, and thought the Count's cabinet of old masters very valuable.

The fingers, the watch, the snuff-box, the shoe buckles, the garter
studs, the solitaires of the Count, on high days, all burned with
diamonds and rubies, which were estimated, one day, at 200,000 francs.
His wealth did not come from cards or swindling--no such charges are
ever hinted at; he did not sell elixirs, nor prophecies, nor
initiations. His habits do not seem to have been extravagant. One
might regard him as a clever eccentric person, the unacknowledged
child, perhaps, of some noble, who had put his capital mainly into
precious stones. But Louis XV. treated him as a serious personage, and
probably knew, or thought he knew, the secret of his birth. People
held that he was a bastard of a king of Portugal, says Madame du
Hausset. Perhaps the most ingenious and plausible theory of the birth
of Saint-Germain makes him the natural son, not of a king of Portugal,
but of a queen of Spain. The evidence is not evidence, but a series of
surmises. Saint-Germain, on this theory, 'wrop his buth up in a
mistry' (like that of Charles James Fitzjames de la Pluche), out of
regard for the character of his royal mamma. I believe this about as
much as I believe that a certain Rev. Mr. Douglas, an obstreperous
Covenanting minister, was a descendant of the captive Mary Stuart.
However, Saint-Germain is said, like Kaspar Hauser, to have murmured
of dim memories of his infancy, of diversions on magnificent
terraces, and of palaces glowing beneath an azure sky. This is
reported by Von Gleichen, who knew him very well, but thought him
rather a quack. Possibly he meant to convey the idea that he was
Moses, and that he had dwelt in the palaces of the Ramessids. The
grave of the prophet was never known, and Saint-Germain may have
insinuated that he began a new avatar in a cleft of Mount Pisgah; he
was capable of it.

However, a less wild surmise avers that, in 1763 the secrets of his
birth and the source of his opulence were known in Holland. The
authority is the 'Memoirs' of Grosley (1813). Grosley was an
archæologist of Troyes; he had travelled in Italy, and written an
account of his travels; he also visited Holland and England,[46] and
later, from a Dutchman, he picked up his information about
Saint-Germain. Grosley was a Fellow of our Royal Society, and I
greatly revere the authority of a F.R.S. His later years were occupied
in the compilation of his Memoirs, including an account of what he did
and heard in Holland, and he died in 1785. According to Grosley's
account of what the Dutchman knew, Saint-Germain was the son of a
princess who fled (obviously from Spain) to Bayonne, and of a
Portuguese Jew dwelling in Bordeaux.

[Footnote 46: _Voyage en Angleterre_, 1770.]

What fairy and fugitive princess can this be, whom not in vain the
ardent Hebrew wooed? She was, she must have been, as Grosley saw, the
heroine of Victor Hugo's _Ruy Blas_. The unhappy Charles II. of Spain,
a kind of 'mammet' (as the English called the Richard II. who appeared
up in Islay, having escaped from Pomfret Castle), had for his first
wife a daughter of Henrietta, the favourite sister of our Charles II.
This childless bride, after some ghostly years of matrimony, after
being exorcised in disgusting circumstances, died in February 1689. In
May 1690 a new bride, Marie de Neubourg, was brought to the grisly
side of the crowned mammet of Spain. She, too, failed to prevent the
wars of the Spanish Succession by giving an heir to the Crown of
Spain. Scandalous chronicles aver that Marie was chosen as Queen of
Spain for the levity of her character, and that the Crown was
expected, as in the Pictish monarchy, to descend on the female side;
the father of the prince might be anybody. What was needed was simply
a son of the _Queen_ of Spain. She had, while Queen, no son, as far as
is ascertained, but she had a favourite, a Count Andanero, whom she
made minister of finance. 'He was not a born Count,' he was a
financier, this favourite of the Queen of Spain. That lady did go to
live in Bayonne in 1706, six years after the death of Charles II., her
husband. The hypothesis is, then, that Saint-Germain was the son of
this ex-Queen of Spain, and of the financial Count, Andanero, a man,
'not born in the sphere of Counts,' and easily transformed by
tradition into a Jewish banker of Bordeaux. The Duc de Choiseul, who
disliked the intimacy of Louis XV. and of the Court with
Saint-Germain, said that the Count was 'the son of a Portuguese Jew,
_who deceives the Court_. It is strange that the King is so often
allowed to be almost alone with this man, though, when he goes out, he
is surrounded by guards, as if he feared assassins everywhere.' This
anecdote is from the 'Memoirs' of Gleichen, who had seen a great deal
of the world. He died in 1807.

It seems a fair inference that the Duc de Choiseul knew what the Dutch
bankers knew, the story of the Count's being a child of a princess
retired to Bayonne--namely, the ex-Queen of Spain--and of a
Portuguese-Hebrew financier. De Choiseul was ready to accept the
Jewish father, but thought that, in the matter of the royal mother,
Saint-Germain 'deceived the Court.'

A queen of Spain might have carried off any quantity of the diamonds
of Brazil. The presents of diamonds from her almost idiotic lord must
have been among the few comforts of her situation in a Court
overridden by etiquette. The reader of Madame d'Aulnoy's contemporary
account of the Court of Spain knows what a dreadful dungeon it was.
Again, if born at Bayonne about 1706, the Count would naturally seem
to be about fifty in 1760. The purity with which he spoke German, and
his familiarity with German princely Courts--where I do not remember
that Barry Lyndon ever met him--are easily accounted for if he had a
royal German to his mother. But, alas! if he was the son of a Hebrew
financier, Portuguese or Alsatian (as some said), he was likely,
whoever his mother may have been, to know German, and to be fond of
precious stones. That Oriental taste notoriously abides in the hearts
of the Chosen People.

    Nay, never shague your gory locks at me,
    Dou canst not say I did it.

quotes Pinto, the hero of Thackeray's _Notch on the Axe_. 'He
pronounced it, by the way, I _dit_ it, by which I _know_ that Pinto
was a German,' says Thackeray. I make little doubt but that
Saint-Germain, too, was a German, whether by the mother's side, and of
princely blood, or quite the reverse.

Grosley mixes Saint-Germain up with a lady as mysterious as himself,
who also lived in Holland, on wealth of an unknown source, and Grosley
inclines to think that the Count found his way into a French prison,
where he was treated with extraordinary respect.

Von Gleichen, on the other hand, shows the Count making love to a
daughter of Madame Lambert, and lodging in the house of the mother.
Here Von Gleichen met the man of mystery and became rather intimate
with him. Von Gleichen deemed him very much older than he looked, but
did not believe in his elixir.

In any case, he was not a cardsharper, a swindler, a professional
medium, or a spy. He passed many evenings almost alone with Louis
XV., who, where men were concerned, liked them to be of good family
(about ladies he was much less exclusive). The Count had a grand
manner; he treated some great personages in a cavalier way, as if he
were at least their equal. On the whole, if not really the son of a
princess, he probably persuaded Louis XV. that he did come of that
blue blood, and the King would have every access to authentic
information. Horace Walpole's reasons for thinking Saint-Germain 'not
a gentleman' scarcely seem convincing.

The Duc de Choiseul did not like the fashionable Saint-Germain. He
thought him a humbug, even when the doings of the deathless one were
perfectly harmless. As far as is known, his recipe for health
consisted in drinking a horrible mixture called 'senna tea'--which was
administered to small boys when I was a small boy--and in not drinking
anything at his meals. Many people still observe this regimen, in the
interest, it is said, of their figures. Saint-Germain used to come to
the house of de Choiseul, but one day, when Von Gleichen was present,
the minister lost his temper with his wife. He observed that she took
no wine at dinner, and told her she had learned that habit of
abstinence from Saint-Germain; that _he_ might do as he pleased, 'but
you, madame, whose health is precious to me, I forbid to imitate the
regimen of such a dubious character.' Gleichen, who tells the
anecdote, says that he was present when de Choiseul thus lost his
temper with his wife. The dislike of de Choiseul had a mournful effect
on the career of Saint-Germain.

In discussing the strange story of the Chevalier d'Éon, we have seen
that Louis XV. amused himself by carrying on a secret scheme of
fantastic diplomacy through subordinate agents, behind the backs and
without the knowledge of his responsible ministers. The Duc de
Choiseul, as Minister of Foreign Affairs, was excluded, it seems, from
all knowledge of these double intrigues, and the Maréchal de
Belle-Isle, Minister of War, was obviously kept in the dark, as was
Madame de Pompadour. Now it is stated by Von Gleichen that the
Maréchal de Belle-Isle, from the War Office, started a _new_ secret
diplomacy behind the back of de Choiseul, at the Foreign Office. The
King and Madame de Pompadour (who was not initiated into the general
scheme of the King's secret) were both acquainted with what de
Choiseul was not to know--namely, Belle-Isle's plan for secretly
making peace through the mediation, or management, at all events, of
Holland. All this must have been prior to the death of the Maréchal de
Belle-Isle in 1761; and probably de Broglie, who managed the regular
old secret policy of Louis XV., knew nothing about this new
clandestine adventure; at all events, the late Duc de Broglie says
nothing about it in his book _The King's Secret_.[47]

[Footnote 47: The Duc de Broglie, I am privately informed, could find
no clue to the mystery of Saint-Germain.]

The story, as given by Von Gleichen, goes on to say that Saint-Germain
offered to conduct the intrigue at the Hague. As Louis XV. certainly
allowed that maidenly captain of dragoons, d'Éon, to manage his hidden
policy in London, it is not at all improbable that he really entrusted
this fresh cabal in Holland to Saint-Germain, whom he admitted to
great intimacy. To the Hague went Saint-Germain, diamonds, rubies,
senna tea, and all, and began to diplomatise with the Dutch. But the
regular French minister at the Hague, d'Affry, found out what was
going on behind his back--found it out either because he was sharper
than other ambassadors, or because a personage so extraordinary as
Saint-Germain was certain to be very closely watched, or because the
Dutch did not take to the Undying One, and told d'Affry what he was
doing. D'Affry wrote to de Choiseul. An immortal but dubious
personage, he said, was treating, in the interests of France, for
peace, which it was d'Affry's business to do if the thing was to be
done at all. Choiseul replied in a rage by the same courier.
Saint-Germain, he said, must be extradited, bound hand and foot, and
sent to the Bastille. Choiseul thought that he might practise his
regimen and drink his senna tea, to the advantage of public affairs,
within those venerable walls. Then the angry minister went to the
King, told him what orders he had given, and said that, of course, in
a case of this kind it was superfluous to inquire as to the royal
pleasure. Louis XV. was caught; so was the Maréchal de Belle-Isle.
They blushed and were silent.

It must be remembered that this report of a private incident could
only come to the narrator, Von Gleichen, from de Choiseul, with whom
he professes to have been intimate. The King and the Maréchal de
Belle-Isle would not tell the story of their own discomfiture. It is
not very likely that de Choiseul himself would blab. However, the
anecdote avers that the King and the Minister for War thought it best
to say nothing, and the demand for Saint-Germain's extradition was
presented at the Hague. But the Dutch were not fond of giving up
political offenders. They let Saint-Germain have a hint; he slipped
over to London, and a London paper published a kind of veiled
interview with him in June 1760.

His name, we read, when announced after his death, will astonish the
world more than all the marvels of his life. He has been in England
already (1743-17--?); he is a great unknown. Nobody can accuse him of
anything dishonest or dishonourable. When he was here before we were
all mad about music, and so he enchanted us with his violin. But Italy
knows him as an expert in the plastic arts, and Germany admires in him
a master in chemical science. In France, where he was supposed to
possess the secret of the transmutation of metals, the police for two
years sought and failed to find any normal source of his opulence. A
lady of forty-five once swallowed a whole bottle of his elixir. Nobody
recognised her, for she had become a girl of sixteen without observing
the transformation!

Saint-Germain is said to have remained in London but for a short
period. Horace Walpole does not speak of him again, which is odd, but
probably the Count did not again go into society. Our information,
mainly from Von Gleichen, becomes very misty, a thing of surmises,
really worthless. The Count is credited with a great part in the
palace conspiracies of St. Petersburg; he lived at Berlin, and, under
the name of Tzarogy, at the Court of the Margrave of Anspach. Thence
he went, they say, to Italy, and then north to the Landgrave, Charles
of Hesse, who dabbled in alchemy. Here he is said to have died about
1780-85, leaving his papers to the Landgrave; but all is very vague
after he disappeared from Paris in 1760. When next I meet
Saint-Germain he is again at Paris, again mysteriously rich, again he
rather disappears than dies, he calls himself Major Fraser, and the
date is in the last years of Louis Philippe. My authority may be
cavilled at; it is that of the late ingenious Mr. Van Damme, who
describes Major Fraser in a book on the characters of the Second
Empire. He does not seem to have heard of Saint-Germain, whom he does
not mention.

Major Fraser, 'in spite of his English (_sic_) name, was decidedly not
English, though he spoke the language.' He was (like Saint-Germain)
'one of the best dressed men of the period.... He lived alone, and
never alluded to his parentage. He was always flush of money, though
the sources of his income were a mystery to every one.' The French
police vainly sought to detect the origin of Saint-Germain's supplies,
opening his letters at the post-office. Major Fraser's knowledge of
every civilised country at every period was marvellous, though he had
very few books. 'His memory was something prodigious.... Strange to
say, he used often to hint that his was no mere book knowledge. '"Of
course, it is perfectly ridiculous,"' he remarked, with a strange
smile, '"but every now and then I feel as if this did not come to me
from reading, but from personal experience. At times I become almost
convinced that I lived with Nero, that I knew Dante personally, and so
forth."'[48] At the major's death not a letter was found giving a clue
to his antecedents, and no money was discovered. _Did_ he die? As in
the case of Saint-Germain, no date is given. The author had an idea
that the major was 'an illegitimate son of some exalted person' of the
period of Charles IV. and Ferdinand VII. of Spain.

[Footnote 48: _An Englishman in Paris_, vol. i. pp. 130-133. London

The author does not mention Saint-Germain, and may never have heard of
him. If his account of Major Fraser is not mere romance, in that
warrior we have the undying friend of Louis XV. and Madame de
Pompadour. He had drunk at Medmenham with Jack Wilkes; as Riccio he
had sung duets with the fairest of unhappy queens; he had extracted
from Blanche de Béchamel the secret of Goby de Mouchy. As Pinto, he
told much of his secret history to Mr. Thackeray, who says: 'I am
rather sorry to lose him after three little bits of _Roundabout

Did Saint-Germain really die in a palace of Prince Charles of Hesse
about 1780-85? Did he, on the other hand, escape from the French
prison where Grosley thought he saw him, during the French Revolution?
Was he known to Lord Lytton about 1860? Was he then Major Fraser? Is
he the mysterious Muscovite adviser of the Dalai Lama? Who knows? He
is a will-o'-the-wisp of the memoir-writers of the eighteenth century.
Whenever you think you have a chance of finding him in good authentic
State papers, he gives you the slip; and if his existence were not
vouched for by Horace Walpole, I should incline to deem of him as
Betsy Prig thought of Mrs. Harris.

     NOTE.--Since the publication of these essays I have learned,
     through the courtesy of a Polish nobleman, that there was
     nothing mysterious in the origin and adventures of the Major
     Fraser mentioned in pp. 274-276. He was of the Saltoun
     family, and played a part in the civil wars of Spain during
     the second quarter of the nineteenth century. Major Fraser
     was known, in Paris, to the father of my Polish



No historical problem has proved more perplexing to Englishmen than
the nature of the differences between the various Kirks in Scotland.
The Southron found that, whether he worshipped in a church of the
Established Kirk ('The Auld Kirk'), of the Free Church, or of the
United Presbyterian Church (the U.P.'s), it was all the same thing.
The nature of the service was exactly similar, though sometimes the
congregation stood at prayers, and sat when it sang; sometimes stood
when it sang and knelt at prayer. Not one of the Kirks used a
prescribed liturgy. I have been in a Free Kirk which had no pulpit;
the pastor stood on a kind of raised platform, like a lecturer in a
lecture-room, but that practice is unessential. The Kirks, if I
mistake not, have different collections of hymns, which, till recent
years, were contemned as 'things of human invention,' and therefore
'idolatrous.' But hymns are now in use, as also are organs, or
harmoniums, or other musical instruments. Thus the faces of the Kirks
are similar and sisterly:

                    Facies non omnibus una
    Nec diversa tamen, qualem decet esse sororum.

What, then, the Southron used to ask, _is_ the difference between the
Free Church, the Established Church, and the United Presbyterian
Church? If the Southron put the question to a Scottish friend, the
odds were that the Scottish friend could not answer. He might be a
member of the Scottish 'Episcopal' community, and as ignorant as any
Anglican. Or he might not have made these profound studies in Scottish
history, which throw glimmerings of light on this obscure subject.

Indeed, the whole aspect of the mystery has shifted, of late, like the
colours in a kaleidoscope. The more conspicuous hues are no longer
'Auld Kirk,' 'Free Kirk,' and 'U.P.'s,' but 'Auld Kirk,' 'Free Kirk,'
and 'United Free Kirk.' The United Free Kirk was composed in 1900 of
the old 'United Presbyterians' (as old as 1847), with the overwhelming
majority of the old Free Kirk, while the Free Kirk, of the present
moment, consists of a tiny minority of the old Free Kirk, which
declined to join the recent union. By a judgment (one may well call it
a 'judgment') of the House of Lords (August 1, 1904), the Free Kirk,
commonly called 'The Wee Frees,' now possesses the wealth that was the
old Free Kirk's before, in 1900, it united with the United
Presbyterians, and became the United Free Church. It is to be hoped
that common sense will discover some 'outgait,' or issue, from this
distressing imbroglio. In the words which Mr. R.L. Stevenson, then a
sage of twenty-four, penned in 1874, we may say 'Those who are at all
open to a feeling of national disgrace look forward eagerly to such a
possibility; they have been witnesses already too long to the strife
that has divided this small corner of Christendom.' The eternal
schisms of the Kirk, said R.L.S., exhibit 'something pitiful for the
pitiful man, but bitterly humorous for others.'

The humour of the present situation is only too manifest. Two
generations ago about half of the ministers of the Kirk of Scotland
left their manses and pleasant glebes for the sake of certain ideas.
Of these ideas they abandoned some, or left them in suspense, a few
years since, and, as a result, they have lost, if only for the moment,
their manses, stipends, colleges, and pleasant glebes.

Why should all these things be so? The answer can only be found in the
history--and a history both sad and bitterly humorous it is--of the
Reformation in Scotland. When John Knox died, on November 24, 1572, a
decent burgess of Edinburgh wrote in his Diary, 'John Knox, minister,
deceased, who had, as was alleged, the most part of the blame of all
the sorrows of Scotland, since the slaughter of the late Cardinal,'
Beaton, murdered at St. Andrews in 1546. 'The sorrows of Scotland' had
endured when Knox died for but twenty-six years. Since his death, 332
years have gone by, and the present sorrows of the United Free Kirk
are the direct, though distant, result of some of the ideas of John

The whole trouble springs from his peculiar notions, and the notions
of his followers, about the relations between Church and State. In
1843, half the ministers of the Established Kirk in Scotland, or more,
left the Kirk, and went into the wilderness for what they believed to
be the ideal of Knox. In 1904 they have again a prospect of a similar
exodus, because they are no longer rigid adherents of the very same
ideal! A tiny minority of some twenty-seven ministers clings to what
it considers to be the Knoxian ideal, and is rewarded by all the
wealth bestowed on the Free Kirk by pious benefactors during sixty

The quarrel, for 344 years (1560-1904), has been, we know, about the
relations of Church and State. The disruption of 1843, the departure
of the Free Kirk out of the Established Kirk, arose thus, according to
Lord Macnaghten, who gave one of the two opinions in favour of the
United Free Kirk's claim to the possessions held by the Free Kirk
before its union, in 1900, with the United Presbyterians. Before 1843,
there were, says the sympathetic judge, two parties in the Established
Church--the 'Moderates' and the 'Evangelicals' (also called 'The Wild
Men', 'the Highland Host' or the 'High Flyers'). The Evangelicals
became the majority and 'they carried matters with a high hand. They
passed Acts in the Assembly ... altogether beyond the competence of a
Church established by law.... The State refused to admit their claims.
The strong arm of the law restrained their extravagancies. Still they
maintained that their proceedings were justified, and required by the
doctrine of the Headship of Christ ... to which they attached peculiar
and extraordinary significance.'

Now the State, in 1838-1843, could not and would not permit these
'extravagancies' in a State-paid Church. The Evangelical party
therefore seceded, maintaining, as one of their leaders said, that 'we
are still the Church of Scotland, the only Church that deserves the
name, the only Church that can be known and recognised by the
maintaining of those principles to which the Church of our fathers was
true when she was on the mountain and on the field, when she was under
persecution, when she was an outcast from the world.'

Thus the Free Kirk was _the_ Kirk, and the Established Kirk was
heretical, was what Knox would have called 'ane rottin Laodicean.' Now
the fact is that the Church of Scotland had been, since August 1560, a
Kirk established by law (or by what was said to be a legal
Parliament), yet had never, perhaps, for an hour attained its own full
ideal relation to the State; had never been granted its entire claims,
but only so much or so little of these as the political situation
compelled the State to concede, or enabled it to withdraw. There had
always been members of the Kirk who claimed all that the Free Kirk
claimed in 1843; but they never got quite as much as they asked; they
often got much less than they wanted; and the full sum of their
desires could be granted by no State to a State-paid Church. Entire
independence could be obtained only by cutting the Church adrift from
the State. The Free Kirk, then, did cut themselves adrift, but they
kept on maintaining that they were _the_ Church of Scotland, and that
the State _ought_ in duty to establish and maintain _them_, while
granting them absolute independence.

The position was stated thus, in 1851, by an Act and Declaration of
the Free Kirk's Assembly: 'She holds still, _and through God's grace
ever will hold_, that it is the duty of civil rulers to recognise the
truth of God according to His word, and to promote and support the
Kingdom of Christ without assuming any jurisdiction in it, or any
power over it....'

The State, in fact, if we may speak carnally, ought to pay the piper,
but must not presume to call the tune.

Now we touch the skirt of the mystery, what was the difference between
the Free Kirk and the United Presbyterians, who, since 1900, have been
blended with that body? The difference was that the Free Kirk held it
to be the duty of the State to establish _her_, and leave her perfect
independence; while the United Presbyterians maintained the absolutely
opposite opinion--namely, that the State cannot, and must not,
establish any Church, or pay any Church out of the national resources.
When the two Kirks united, in 1900, then, the Free Kirk either
abandoned the doctrine of which, in 1851, she said that 'she holds it
still, and through God's grace ever will hold it,' or she regarded it
as a mere pious opinion, which did not prevent her from coalescing
with a Kirk of contradictory ideas. The tiny minority--the Wee Frees,
the Free Kirk of to-day--would not accept this compromise, 'hence
these tears,' to leave differences in purely metaphysical theology out
of view.

Now the root of all the trouble, all the schisms and sufferings of
more than three centuries, lies, as we have said, in some of the ideas
of John Knox, and one asks, of what Kirk would John Knox be, if he
were alive in the present state of affairs? I venture to think that
the venerable Reformer would be found in the ranks of the Established
Kirk, 'the Auld Kirk.' He would not have gone out into the wilderness
in 1843, and he would most certainly have opposed the ideas of the
United Presbyterians. This theory may surprise at a first glance, but
it has been reached after many hours of earnest consideration.

Knox's ideas, as far as he ever reasoned them out, reposed on this
impregnable rock, namely that Calvinism, as held by himself, was an
absolutely certain thing in every detail. If the State or 'the civil
magistrate,' as he put the case, entirely agreed with Knox, then Knox
was delighted that the State should regulate religion. The magistrate
was to put down Catholicism, and other aberrations from the truth as
it was in John Knox, with every available engine of the law, corporal
punishment, prison, exile, and death. If the State was ready and
willing to do all this, then the State was to be implicitly obeyed in
matters of religion, and the power in its hands was God-given--in
fact, the State was the secular aspect of the Church. Looking at the
State in this ideal aspect, Knox writes about the obedience due to the
magistrate in matters religious, after the manner of what, in this
country, would be called the fiercest 'Erastianism.' The State 'rules
the roast' in all matters of religion and may do what Laud and Charles
I. perished in attempting, may alter forms of worship--always provided
that the State absolutely agrees with the Kirk.

Thus, under Edward VI., Knox would have desired the secular power in
England, the civil magistrate, to forbid people to kneel at the
celebration of the Sacrament. _That_ was entirely within the
competence of the State, simply and solely because Knox desired that
people should _not_ kneel. But when, long after Knox's death, the
civil magistrate insisted, in Scotland, that people should kneel, the
upholders of Knox's ideas denied that the magistrate (James VI.) had
any right to issue such an order, and they refused to obey while
remaining within the Established Church. They did not 'disrupt,' like
the Free Church; they simply acted as they pleased, and denounced
their obedient brethren as no 'lawful ministers.' The end of it all
was that they stirred up the Civil War, in which the first shot was
fired by the legendary Jenny Geddes, throwing her stool at the reader
in St. Giles's. Thus we see that the State was to be obeyed in matters
of religion, when the State did the bidding of the Kirk, and not
otherwise. When first employed as a 'licensed preacher,' and agent of
the State in England, Knox accepted just as much of the State's
liturgy as he pleased; the liturgy ordered the people to kneel, Knox
and his Berwick congregation disobeyed. With equal freedom, he and the
other royal chaplains, at Easter, preaching before the King, denounced
his ministers, Northumberland and the rest. Knox spoke of them in his
sermon as Judas, Shebna, and some other scriptural malignants. Later
he said that he repented having put things so mildly; he ought to have
called the ministers by their names, not veiled things in a hint. Now
we cannot easily conceive a chaplain of her late Majesty, in a sermon
preached before her, denouncing the Chancellor of the Exchequer, say
Mr. Gladstone, as 'Judas.' Yet Knox, a licensed preacher of a State
Church, indulged his 'spiritual independence' to that extent, and took
shame to himself that he had not gone further.

Obviously, if this is 'Erastianism,' it is of an unusual kind. The
idea of Knox is that in a Catholic State the ruler is not to be obeyed
in religious matters by the true believers; sometimes Knox wrote that
the Catholic ruler ought to be met by 'passive resistance;' sometimes
that he ought to be shot at sight. He stated these diverse doctrines
in the course of eighteen months. In a Protestant country, the
Catholics must obey the Protestant ruler, or take their chances of
prison, exile, fire and death. The Protestant ruler, in a Protestant
State, is to be obeyed, in spiritual matters, by Protestants, just as
far as the Kirk may happen to approve of his proceedings, or even
further, in practice, if there is no chance of successful resistance.

We may take it that Knox, if he had been alive and retained his old
ideas in 1843, would not have gone out of the Established Church with
the Free Church, because, in his time, he actually did submit to many
State regulations of which he did not approve. For example, he
certainly did not approve of bishops, and had no bishops in the Kirk
as established on his model in 1560. But, twelve years later, bishops
were reintroduced by the State, in the person of the Regent Morton, a
ruffian, and Knox did not retire to 'the mountain and the fields,' but
made the most practical efforts to get the best terms possible for the
Kirk. He was old and outworn, and he remained in the Established Kirk,
and advised no man to leave it. It was his theory, again, as it was
that of the Free Kirk, that there should be no 'patronage,' no
presentation of ministers to cures by the patron. The congregations
were to choose and 'call' any properly qualified person, at their own
pleasure, as they do now in all the Kirks, including (since 1874) the
Established Church. But the State, in Knox's lifetime, overrode this
privilege of the Church. The most infamous villain of the period,
Archibald Douglas, was presented to the Kirk of Glasgow, and, indeed,
the nobles made many such presentations of unscrupulous and ignorant
cadets to important livings. Morton gave a bishopric to one of the
murderers of Riccio! Yet Knox did not advise a secession; he merely
advised that non-residence, or a scandalous life, or erroneous
doctrine, on the part of the person presented, should make his
presentation 'null and of no force or effect, and this to have place
also in the nomination of the bishops.' Thus Knox was, on occasion,
something of an opportunist. If alive in 1843, he would probably have
remained in the Establishment, and worked for that abolition of
'patronage' which was secured, from within, in 1874. If this
conjecture is right the Free Kirk was more Knoxian than John Knox, and
departed from his standard. He was capable of sacrificing a good deal
of 'spiritual independence' rather than break with the State. Many
times, long after he was dead, the National Church, under stress of
circumstances, accepted compromises.

Knox knew the difference between the ideal and the practical. It was
the ideal that all non-convertible Catholics 'should die the death.'
But the ideal was never made real; the State was not prepared to
oblige the Kirk in this matter. It was the ideal that any of 'the
brethren,' conscious of a vocation, and seeing a good opportunity,
should treat an impenitent Catholic ruler as Jehu treated Jezebel. But
if any brother had consulted Knox as to the propriety of assassinating
Queen Mary, in 1561-67, he would have found out his mistake, and
probably have descended the Reformer's stairs much more rapidly than
he mounted them.

Yet Knox, though he could submit to compromise, really had a
remarkably mystical idea of what the Kirk was, and of the attributes
of her clergy. The editor of _The Free Church Union Case_, Mr. Taylor
Innes (himself author of a biography of the Reformer), writes, in his
preface to _The Judgment of the House of Lords_: 'The Church of
Scotland, as a Protestant Church, had its origin in the year 1560, for
its first Confession dates from August, and its first Assembly from
December in that year.' In fact, the Confession was accepted and
passed as law, by a very dubiously legal Convention of the Estates, in
August 1560. But Knox certainly conceived that the Protestant Church
_in_, if not _of_, Scotland existed a year before that date, and
before that date it possessed 'the power of the Keys' and even, it
would perhaps seem, 'the power of the Sword.' To his mind, as soon as
a local set of men of his own opinions met, and chose a pastor and
preacher, who also administered the Sacraments, the Protestant Church
was 'a Church in being.' The Catholic Church, then by law established,
was, Knox held, no Church at all; her priests were not 'lawful
ministers,' her Pope was the man of Sin _ex officio_, and the Church
was 'the Kirk of the malignants'--'a lady of pleasure in Babylon

On the other hand, the real Church--it might be of but 200 men--was
confronting the Kirk of the malignants, and alone was genuine. The
State did not make and could not unmake 'the Trew Church,' but was
bound to establish, foster, _and obey it_.

It was this last proviso which caused 130 years of bloodshed and
'persecution' and general unrest in Scotland, from 1559 to 1690. Why
was the Kirk so often out 'in the heather,' and hunted like a
partridge on the field and the mountain? The answer is that when the
wilder spirits of the Kirk were not being persecuted they were
persecuting the State and bullying the individual subject. All this
arose from Knox's idea of the Church. To constitute a Church no more
was needed than a local set of Calvinistic Protestants and 'a lawful
minister.' To constitute a lawful minister, at first (later far more
was required), no more was needed than a 'call' to a preacher from a
local set of Calvinistic Protestants. But, when once the 'call' was
given and accepted, that 'lawful minister' was, by the theory, as
superior to the laws of the State as the celebrated emperor was
superior to grammar. A few 'lawful ministers' of this kind possessed
'the power of the Keys;' they could hand anybody over to Satan by
excommunicating the man, and (apparently) they could present 'the
power of the Sword' to any town council, which could then decree
capital punishment against any Catholic priest who celebrated Mass,
as, by the law of the State, he was in duty bound to do. Such were the
moderate and reasonable claims of Knox's Kirk in May 1559, even before
it was accepted by the Convention of Estates in August 1560. It was
because, not the Church, but the wilder spirits among the ministers,
persevered in these claims, that the State, when it got the chance,
drove them into moors and mosses and hanged not a few of them.

I have never found these facts fully stated by any historian or by any
biographer of Knox, except by the Reformer himself, partly in his
_History_, partly in his letters to a lady of his acquaintance. The
mystery of the Kirks turns on the Knoxian conception of the 'lawful
minister,' and his claim to absolutism.

To give examples, Knox himself, about 1540-43, was 'a priest of the
altar,' 'one of Baal's shaven sort.' On that score he later claimed
nothing. After the murder of Cardinal Beaton, the murderers and their
associates, forming a congregation in the Castle of St. Andrews, gave
Knox a call to be their preacher. He was now 'a lawful minister.' In
May 1559 he, with about four or five equally lawful ministers, two of
them converted friars, one of them a baker, and one, Harlow, a tailor,
were in company with their Protestant backers, who destroyed the
monasteries in Perth, and the altars and ornaments of the church
there. They at once claimed 'the power of the Keys,' and threatened to
excommunicate such of their allies as did not join them in arms. They,
'the brethren,' also denounced capital punishment against any priest
who celebrated Mass at Perth. Now the lawful ministers could not think
of hanging the priests themselves. They must therefore have somehow
bestowed 'the power of the Sword' on the baillies and town council of
Perth, I presume, for the Regent, Mary of Guise, when she entered the
town, dismissed these men from office, which was regarded as an
unlawful and perfidious act on her part. Again, in the summer of 1560,
the baillies of Edinburgh--while Catholicism was still by law
established--denounced the death penalty against recalcitrant
Catholics. The Kirk also allotted lawful ministers to several of the
large towns, and thus established herself before she was established
by the Estates in August 1560. Thus nothing could be more free, and
more absolute, than the Kirk in her early bloom. On the other hand, as
we saw, even in Knox's lifetime, the State, having the upper hand
under the Regent Morton, a strong man, introduced prelacy of a
modified kind and patronage; did not restore to the Kirk her
'patrimony,'--the lands of the old Church; and only hanged one priest,
not improbably for a certain reason of a private character.

There was thus, from the first, a battle between the Protestant Church
and State. At various times one preacher is said to have declared that
he was the solitary 'lawful minister' in Scotland; and one of these
men, Mr. Cargill, excommunicated Charles II.; while another, Mr.
Renwick, denounced a war of assassination against the Government. Both
gentlemen were hanged.

These were extreme assertions of 'spiritual independence,' and the
Kirk, or at least the majority of the preachers, protested against
such conduct, which might be the logical development of the doctrine
of the 'lawful minister,' but was, in practice, highly inconvenient.
The Kirk, as a whole, was loyal.

Sometimes the State, under a strong man like Morton, or James Stewart,
Earl of Arran (a thoroughpaced ruffian), put down these pretensions of
the Church. At other times, as when Andrew Melville led the Kirk,
under James VI., she maintained that there was but one king in
Scotland, Christ, and that the actual King, the lad, James VI., was
but 'Christ's silly vassal.' He was supreme in temporal matters, but
the judicature of the Church was supreme in spiritual matters.

This sounds perfectly fair, but who was to decide what matters were
spiritual and what were temporal? The Kirk assumed the right to decide
that question; consequently it could give a spiritual colour to any
problem of statesmanship: for example, a royal marriage, trade with
Catholic Spain, which the Kirk forbade, or the expulsion of the
Catholic peers. 'There is a judgment above yours,' said the Rev. Mr.
Pont to James VI., 'and that is God's; _put in the hand of the
ministers_, for "we shall judge the angels," saith the apostle.'
Again, '"Ye shall sit upon twelve thrones and judge"' (quoted Mr.
Pont), 'which is chiefly referred to the apostles, and consequently to

Things came to a head in 1596. The King asked the representatives of
the Kirk whether he might call home certain earls, banished for being
Catholics, if they 'satisfied the Kirk.' The answer was that he might
not. Knox had long before maintained that 'a prophet' might preach
treason (he is quite explicit), and that the prophet, and whoever
carried his preaching into practical effect, would be blameless. A
minister was accused, at this moment, of preaching libellously, and he
declined to be judged except by men of his own cloth. If they
acquitted him, as they were morally certain to do, what Court of
Appeal could reverse the decision of men who claimed to 'judge
angels'? A riot arose in Edinburgh, the King seized his opportunity,
he grasped his nettle, the municipal authorities backed him, and, in
effect, the claims of true ministers thenceforth gave little trouble
till the folly of Charles I. led to the rise of the Covenant. The
Sovereign had overshot his limits of power as wildly as ever the Kirk
had tried to do, and the result was that the Kirk, having now the
nobles and the people in arms on her side, was absolutely despotic
for about twelve years. Her final triumph was to resist the Estates in
Parliament, with success, and to lay Scotland open to the Cromwellian
conquest. What Plantagenets and Tudors could never do Noll effected,
he conquered Scotland, the Kirk having paralysed the State. The
preachers found that Cromwell was a perfect 'Malignant,' that he would
not suffer prophets to preach treason, nor even allow the General
Assembly to meet. Angels they might judge if they pleased, but not
Ironsides; excommunication and 'Kirk discipline' were discountenanced;
even witches were less frequently burned. The preachers, Cromwell
said, 'had done their do,' had shot their bolt.

At this time they split into two parties: the Extremists, calling
themselves 'the godly,' and the men of milder mood.

Charles II., at the Restoration, ought probably to have sided with the
milder party, some of whom were anxious to see their fierce brethren
banished to Orkney, out of the way. But Charles's motto was 'Never
again,' and by a pettifogging fraud he reintroduced bishops without
the hated liturgy. After years of risings and suppressions the
ministers were brought to submission, accepting an 'indulgence' from
the State, while but a few upholders of the old pretensions of the
clergy stood out in the wildernesses of South-western Scotland. There
might be three or four such ministers, there might be only one, but
they, or he, to the mind of 'the Remnant,' were the only 'lawful
ministers.' At the Revolution of 1688-89 the Remnant did not accept
the compromise under which the Presbyterian Kirk was re-established.
They stood out, breaking into many sects; the spiritual descendants of
most of these blended into one body as 'The United Presbyterian Kirk'
in 1847. In the Established Kirk the Moderates were in the majority
till about 1837, when the inheritors of those extreme views which Knox
compromised about, and which the majority of ministers disclaimed
before the Revolution of 1688, obtained the upper hand. They had
planted the remotest parishes of the Highlands with their own kind of
ministers, who swamped, in 1838, the votes of the Lowland Moderates,
exactly as, under James VI., Highland 'Moderates' had swamped the
votes of the Lowland Extremists. The majority of Extremists, or most
of it, left the Kirk in 1843, and made the Free Kirk. In 1900, when
the Free Kirk joined the United Presbyterians, it was Highland
ministers, mainly, who formed the minority of twenty-seven, or so, who
would not accept the new union, and now constitute the actual Free
Kirk, or Wee Frees, and possess the endowments of the old Free Kirk of
1843. We can scarcely say _Beati possidentes_.

It has been shown, or I have tried, erroneously or not, to show that,
wild and impossible as were the ideal claims of Knox, of Andrew
Melville, of Mr. Pont, and others, the old Scottish Kirk of 1560, by
law established, was capable of giving up or suppressing these claims,
even under Knox, and even while the Covenant remained in being. The
mass of the ministers, after the return of Charles II. before
Worcester fight, before bloody Dunbar, were not irreconcilables. The
Auld Kirk, the Kirk Established, has some right to call herself the
Church of Scotland by historical continuity, while the opposite
claimants, the men of 1843, may seem rather to descend from people
like young Renwick, the last hero who died for their ideas, but not,
in himself, the only 'lawful minister' between Tweed and Cape Wrath.
'Other times, other manners.' All the Kirks are perfectly loyal; now
none persecutes; interference with private life, 'Kirk discipline,' is
a vanishing minimum; and, but for this recent 'garboil' (as our old
writers put it) we might have said that, under differences of
nomenclature, all the Kirks are united at last, in the only union
worth having, that of peace and goodwill. That union may be restored,
let us hope, by good temper and common sense, qualities that have not
hitherto been conspicuous in the ecclesiastical history of Scotland,
or of England.



In the latest and best book on Marie Antoinette and the Diamond
Necklace, _L'Affaire du Collier_, Monsieur Funck-Brentano does not
tell the sequel of the story of Jeanne de la Motte, _née_ de
Saint-Remy, and calling herself de Valois. He leaves this wicked woman
at the moment when (June 21, 1786) she has been publicly flogged and
branded, struggling, scratching, and biting like a wild cat. Her
husband, at about the same time, was in Edinburgh, and had just
escaped from being kidnapped by the French police. In another work
Monsieur Funck-Brentano criticises, with his remarkable learning, the
conclusion of the history of Jeanne de la Motte. Carlyle, in his
well-known essay, _The Diamond Necklace_, leaves Jeanne's later
adventures obscure, and is in doubt as to the particulars of her

Perhaps absolute certainty (except as to the cause of Jeanne's death)
is not to be obtained. How she managed to escape from her prison, the
Salpétrière, later so famous for Charcot's hypnotic experiments on
hysterical female patients, remains a mystery. It was certain that if
she was once at liberty Jeanne would tell the lies against the Queen
which she had told before, and tell some more equally false, popular,
and damaging. Yet escape she did in 1787, the year following that of
her imprisonment at the Salpétrière; she reached England, compiled the
libels which she called her memoirs, and died strangely in 1791.

On June 21, 1786, to follow M. Funck-Brentano, Jeanne was taken, after
her flogging, to her prison, reserved for dissolute women. The
majority of the captives slept as they might, confusedly, in one room.
To Jeanne was allotted one of thirty-six little cells of six feet
square, given up to her by a prisoner who went to join the promiscuous
horde. Probably the woman was paid for this generosity by some
partisan of Jeanne. On September 4 the property of the swindler and of
her husband, including their valuable furniture, jewels, books, and
plate, was sold at Bar-sur-Aube, where they had a house.

So far we can go, guided by M. Funck-Brentano, who relies on authentic
documents. For what followed we have only the story of Jeanne herself
in her memoirs: I quote the English translation, which appears to vary
from the French. How did such a dangerous prisoner make her escape? We
cannot but wonder that she was not placed in a prison more secure. Her
own version, of course, is not to be relied on. She would tell any
tale that suited her purpose. A version which contradicts hers has
reached me through the tradition of an English family, but it presents
some difficulties. Jeanne says that about the end of November or early
in December, 1786, she was allowed to have a maid named Angelica. This
woman was a prisoner of long standing, condemned on suspicion of
having killed her child. One evening a soldier on guard in the court
of the Salpétrière passed his musket through a hole in the wall (or a
broken window) and tried to touch Angelica. He told her that many
people of rank were grateful to her for her kindness to Madame La
Motte. He would procure writing materials for her that she might
represent her case to them. He did bring gilt-edged paper, pens, and
ink, and a letter for Angelica, who could not read.

The letter contained, in invisible ink, brought out by Jeanne, the
phrase, 'It is understood. Be sure to be discreet.' 'People are intent
on changing your condition' was another phrase which Jeanne applied to
herself. She conceived the probable hypothesis that her victims, the
Queen and the Cardinal de Rohan, had repented of their cruelty, had
discovered her to be innocent and were plotting for her escape. Of
course, nothing could be more remote from the interests of the Queen.
Presently the soldier brought another note. Jeanne must procure a
model of the key that locked her cell and other doors. By dint of
staring at the key in the hands of the nuns who looked after the
prisoners, Jeanne, though unable to draw, made two sketches of it,
and sent them out, the useful soldier managing all communications. How
Jeanne procured the necessary pencil she does not inform us. Practical
locksmiths may decide whether it is likely that, from two amateur
drawings, not to scale, any man could make a key which would fit the
locks. The task appears impossible. In any case, in a few days the
soldier pushed the key through the hole in the wall; Jeanne tried it
on the door of her cell and on two doors in the passages, found that
it opened them, and knelt in gratitude before her crucifix. In place
of running away Jeanne now wrote to ladies of her acquaintance,
begging them to procure the release of Angelica. Her nights she spent
in writing three statements for the woman, each occupying a hundred
and eighty pages, presumably of gilt-edged paper. Soon she heard that
the King had signed Angelica's pardon, and on May 1 the woman was

The next move of Jeanne was to ask her unknown friend outside to send
her a complete male costume, a large blue coat, a flannel waistcoat, a
pair of half boots, and a tall, round-shaped hat, with a switch. The
soldier presently pushed these commodities through the hole in the
wall. The chaplain next asked her to write out all her story, but
Sister Martha, her custodian, would not give her writing materials,
and it did not apparently occur to her to bid the soldier bring fresh
supplies. Cut off from the joys of literary composition, Jeanne
arranged with her unknown friend to escape on June 8. First the handy
soldier, having ample leisure, was to walk for days about 'the King's
garden,' disguised as a waggoner, and carrying a whip. The use of this
manoeuvre is not apparent, unless Jeanne, with her switch, was to be
mistaken for the familiar presence of the carter.

Jeanne ended by devising a means of keeping one of the female porters
away from her door. She dressed as a man, opened four doors in
succession, walked through a group of the nuns, or 'Sisters,' wandered
into many other courts, and at last joined herself to a crowd of
sight-seeing Parisians and left the prison in their company. She
crossed the Seine, and now walking, now hiring coaches, and using
various disguises, she reached Luxembourg. Here a Mrs. MacMahon met
her, bringing a note from M. de la Motte. This was on July 27. Mrs.
MacMahon and Jeanne started next day for Ostend, and arrived at Dover
after a passage of forty-two hours. Jeanne then repaired with Mr.
MacMahon to that lady's house in the Haymarket.

This tale is neither coherent nor credible. On the other hand, the
tradition of an English family avers that a Devonshire gentleman was
asked by an important personage in France to succour an unnamed lady
who was being smuggled over in a sailing boat to our south-west coast.
Another gentleman, not unknown to history, actually entertained this
French angel unawares, not even knowing her name, and Jeanne, when she
departed for London, left a miniature of herself which is still in
the possession of the English family. Which tale is true and who was
the unknown friend that suborned the versatile soldier, and sent in
not only gilt-edged paper and a suit of male attire, but money for
Jeanne's journey? Only the Liberals in France had an interest in
Jeanne's escape; she might exude more useful venom against the Queen
in books or pamphlets, and she did, while giving the world to
understand that the Queen had favoured her flight. The escape is the
real mystery of the affair of the Necklace; the rest we now

The death of Jeanne was strange. The sequel to her memoirs, in
English, avers that in 1791 a bailiff came to arrest her for a debt of
30_l._ She gave him a bottle of wine, slipped from the room, and
locked him in. But he managed to get out, and discovered the wretched
woman in a chamber in 'the two-pair back.' She threw up the window,
leaped out, struck against a tree, broke one knee, shattered one
thigh, knocked one eye out, yet was recovering, when, on August 21,
1791, she partook too freely of mulberries (to which she was very
partial), and died on Tuesday, August 23. This is confirmed by two
newspaper paragraphs, which I cite in full.

First, the _London Chronicle_ writes (from Saturday, August 27, to
Tuesday, August 30, 1791):

'The unfortunate Countess de la Motte, who died on Tuesday last in
consequence of a hurt from jumping out of a window, was the wife of
Count de la Motte, who killed young Grey, the jeweller, in a duel a
few days ago at Brussels.' (This duel is recorded in the _London
Chronicle_, August 20-23.)

Next, the _Public Advertiser_ remarks (Friday, August 26, 1791):

'The noted Countess de la Motte, of Necklace memory, and who lately
jumped out of a two-pair of stairs window to avoid the bailiffs, died
on Tuesday night last, at eleven o'clock, at her lodgings near
Astley's Riding School.'

But why did La Motte fight the young jeweller? It was to Grey, of New
Bond Street, that La Motte sold a number of the diamonds from the
necklace; Grey gave evidence to that fact, and La Motte killed him. La
Motte himself lived to a bad old age.

       *       *       *       *       *

On studying M. Funck-Brentano's work, styled _Cagliostro & Company_ in
the English translation, one observes a curious discrepancy. According
to the _Gazette d'Utrecht_, cited by M. Funck-Brentano, the window in
Jeanne's cell was 'at a height of ten feet above the floor.' Yet the
useful soldier, outside, introduced the end of his musket 'through a
broken pane of glass.' This does not seem plausible. Again, the
_Gazette d'Utrecht_ (August 1, 1780) says that Jeanne made a hole in
the wall of her room, but failed to get her body through that
aperture. Was _that_ the hole through which, in the English
translation published after Jeanne's death, the soldier introduced the
end of his musket? There are difficulties in both versions, and it is
not likely that Jeanne gave a truthful account of her escape.

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