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Title: Claimants to Royalty
Author: Ingram, John Henry, 1842-1916
Language: English
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"_Le public qui veut être dupé à tout prix, en était fort





Hazell, Watson, and Viney, Printers, London and Aylesbury




The History of Popular Delusions might well have contained another
chapter, and that one not calculated to have been the least
interesting, devoted to a record of aspirants to the names and titles
of deceased persons.  The list of claimants to the thrones of defunct
monarchs is a lengthy one, the chronicles of nearly every civilized
country affording more or less numerous instances of the appearance of
these pretenders to royalty.  Human credulity has afforded a tempting
bait for such impostors: _le public_, as Petrus Borel says, _qui veut
être dupé à tous prix, en était fort satisfait_, for the discontented
and ambitious have always been numerous enough and willing enough to
accept, either as a leader or as a tool, any one sufficiently daring to
assert his identity with that of the dead prince.

The subject of this volume should, indeed, possess sufficient
attraction in itself, without needing the adventitious aid of any
recent _causes célèbres_ to give it additional interest.  The mystery
which envelopes the histories of such men as the supposititious
Voldemar of Brandenburg, Perkin Warbeck, the _soi-disant_ Sebastian of
Portugal, and other renowned claimants to royalty, invests their
romantic adventures with a glamour surpassing that of acknowledged
fiction.  Whether impostors, or the persons they alleged themselves to
be, the record of their lives and fate forms one of the most
fascinating chapters of historic biography.  In many instances the
materials procurable are too scanty to admit of lengthy memoirs, whilst
even in cases where that is not so, only the most remarkable features
of a claimant's story have been selected, in order to render this work
as inclusive as possible.  In instances of suspicious evidence (and, it
must be premised, many of the incidents herein recorded are based upon
dubious testimony), only a bare recapitulation of an authority's
account is given, all expression of personal opinion being suppressed,
and the reader left to form his own theory as to the truth or falsity
of the aspirant's claim.

The numerous cases of claimants to royalty herein recorded constitute,
it is true, but a portion of those to be met with in history, yet it is
believed they include the most interesting.  In several instances the
evidence preserved of these adventurers' careers is too scanty for
separate mention, nevertheless passing allusion may be made to the
pseudo Perseus of Macedon, to the false Ariarathes of Cappadocia, and
to the remarkable case of Agrippa's slave, who concealed his master's
death and assumed his master's position, until the inevitable detection
and execution overtook him.  In the first and second centuries of the
Christian era many of these pretenders sprang up in different portions
of the Latin empire, and gave the Romans a great amount of trouble.
One of the most noteworthy, considering the long continuance of his
success, was a man claiming to be Achelaus, son of Mithridates, King of
Pontus.  According to the account given by Latin writers, so skilfully
did he play his part that the King of Egypt, one of the Ptolemys,
actually gave him his daughter in marriage, and appointed him heir and
successor to the kingdom of Egypt.  This claimant, however, like so
many of his class, met with an untimely end, being finally defeated and
slain on the battlefield by the Romans, under the Consul Gabrinus.

In the middle ages some curious but not very clearly chronicled
instances of these troublesome personages appear.  A mysterious case
occurred in Sicily in the twelfth century.  Roger the Third, dying in
1149, was succeeded by his brother, William the Fourth; and when he
expired, in 1186, a man came forward and claimed the crown, under the
pretext that he was son of the former monarch.  Eventually he was
overthrown, and the throne left to the possession of Tancred, the
legitimate heir.

In 1570 there was an insurrection against the existing imperial rule in
Russia that nearly met with success, and in which one of these
pretenders to royalty played an important part.  The rebels were led by
Stenko, a Cossack chief, and at one time gained such advantages that
the entire overthrow of the Romanoff dynasty appeared probable.
Alexis, the reigning Czar, had recently lost his eldest son, the
heir-apparent, towards whom his feelings were believed to have been
anything but paternal.  Availing himself of these circumstances, Stenko
proclaimed that the Czarewitch was not dead, but had fled to his camp
in order to seek refuge from his father's cruelty.  A young Circassian,
so it is alleged, was employed to personate the prince, whilst another
representative was found to personify Nikon, the late patriarch of the
Russian Church, who had been deposed and imprisoned by the Czar.  The
imposture was immensely successful for a time, as multitudes of the
High Church party joined the rebels, whose numbers ultimately exceeded
one hundred thousand men.  Their triumph, however, was but transient,
as they were entirely routed by the Imperial troops, whose taste for
blood was gratified by the massacre of several thousands of the rebels,
among whom, it is presumed, was the personator of the deceased

The nearer we approach our own time the fewer, it might be anticipated,
would be these claimants; but that they have not become an extinct
class our pages will show.  Not only has there been a numerous and
apparently inexhaustible supply of candidates for the name and title of
the so-called "Louis the Seventeenth" of France, the little Dauphin who
is believed to have perished in the first French revolution, but even
quite recently instances have occurred in England of persons claiming
to be the hereditary representatives of the royal houses of Stuart and
Brunswick.  A perusal of the following sketches will prove, however,
that only those pretenders have obtained any strong hold upon national
feeling who have appeared in times of general dissatisfaction or public
calamity, and when the people have been only too willing to swear
allegiance to any one having the slightest shadow of authority, and
who, at the same time, appeared disposed to rectify their grievances.
This will account, to some extent, for a curious phenomenon connected
with these claimants, and that is the fact that at certain epochs in
history they appear in clusters.  In Henry the Seventh's reign it was
thus in England; Portugal beheld four Sebastians appear successively;
whilst Russia has been quite a hotbed for these mushroom monarchs,
having produced, among others, four false Demetriuses and six pseudo

But enough has been said to prove the richness of the ground now
broken, and in leaving this book in the reader's hands, it may be
remarked that it is the result of several years' research amid "quaint
and curious volumes of forgotten lore;" amid, in some instances, old
tomes of considerable rarity.  A small portion of this work it should,
moreover, be added, was published in the pages of a magazine about ten
years ago, but that portion has been thoroughly revised for the present




B.C. 520.

The history of no country is more replete with strange incidents and
tragic events than is the history of Persia, and probably none of those
romantic episodes are more curious than is that of the pseudo Smerdis.

Herodotus is our chief authority for the few circumstances recounted of
this impostor's life and deeds, and those few circumstances, like so
many other wonderful things told of by the "Father of History," must be
taken _cum granô salis_.  It is very difficult to distinguish the facts
of so remote a period of the world's history as was the epoch of
Smerdis from the fable, and the safer plan is to accept all such
records, not strongly corroborated by a conformity of contemporary
opinion, as pure fiction, or as merely symbolic.  The migrations and
conquests of prehistoric peoples, as displayed by their philological
and ethnological remains, are far more reliable evidence than are
fables of the partial, or purposely misleading so-called "historians"
of antiquity, whose writings generally are little better than
collections of allegorical folk-lore.

The story of the pseudo Smerdis, with these qualifying reservations,
may be narrated thus:--Cyrus, the founder of the Persian empire, left
his extensive possessions to his eldest son, Cambyses.  This monarch,
whom it has been sought to identify with the Ahasuerus of Scripture,
commenced his reign with a great display of energy and warlike spirit,
but would appear to have incensed the priesthoods of the different
countries under his sway by manifesting an utter contempt for their
rites, and by deriding their ceremonies.

Urged by an insatiable ambition, he made war upon Egypt, added it to
his already overgrown empire, and then, with his vast hordes of
soldiery, overran the greater portion of North Africa.  Not, however,
possessing the ability or means of swaying such extended domains, he
found himself, after his armies had suffered most frightful loss of
life, compelled to retreat from Ethiopia and to return to Egypt.
Arriving in this latter country about the period of the festivals held
in honour of Apis, he is stated to have slain the sacred bull, under
which form the god was symbolically worshipped, and in consequence of
the sacrilegious deed, was punished with insanity.  Previous to this
catastrophe, in a fit of jealousy, he had sent his only brother Smerdis
back to Persia; and now his suspicions as to the good faith of his
nearest relative and heir were intensified by a dream he had, in which
he imagined that a courier had arrived from Persia to inform him that
Smerdis had usurped the Persian throne.

Filled with dread, Cambyses sent for Prexaspes, his most faithful
servitor, and persuaded him to undertake the assassination of Smerdis.
During the absence of his envoy, and whilst under the influence of
frightful attacks of mental aberration, he committed the most terrible
cruelties, amongst the crimes enumerated by the historian being the
brutal murder of his sister, whom he had espoused; the slaying of the
son of his favourite, Prexaspes, and the burying alive--head
downwards--of twelve of the principal noblemen of his court.

The assassination of Smerdis, which was undoubtedly carried out,
combined with the mental incapacity of Cambyses, offered a good
opportunity for a bold, energetic man to grasp the reins of power, and,
as is generally the case, the man presented himself.  There was a
certain member of the Magi, or priestly caste of Persia, who not only
greatly resembled the murdered prince in feature, but also, more
wonderful to relate, bore the same name of Smerdis.  _The ears of this
man had been cut off_ by Cyrus for some crime or offence.  He was,
therefore, as may be well imagined, only too ready to seize an
opportunity to avenge himself on his royal master.  Aided, if not
instigated, by his elder brother, Patizithes, a man of some influence,
and Governor of the Palace, Smerdis raised the standard of revolt, and,
the death of the real prince not being generally known, speedily
obtained possession of all the royal strongholds.  Tutored by his
brother, the pseudo prince usurped the throne, and then, as the
veritable son of Cyrus, sent envoys to all parts, but chiefly to the
chief men and commanders of the army in Egypt, ordering them to
relinquish their allegiance to Cambyses, and to do homage to him,
Smerdis, as King of Persia.

One of the pretender's envoys having arrived at Ecbatana, in Syria,
where the Persian monarch was, proclaimed his mission publicly in the
midst of the army.  When Cambyses heard the announcement he fancied
that he had been deceived by Prexaspes, and that he had not executed
his order to kill Smerdis.  He angrily accused his too faithful
servitor of having betrayed him, but he not only positively assured him
that he had done the deed, and buried the murdered prince with his own
hands, but also suggested to him that the envoy should be sent after
and interrogated.  This reasonable advice being approved of by
Cambyses, the messenger was at once sought for, discovered, brought
before the king, and promised a safe conduct if he confessed the truth.

"Have you seen Prince Smerdis personally?" demanded Prexaspes.  "Have
you received your instructions from his own mouth, or from one of his

"Verily," answered the man, "I have not beheld Prince Smerdis since the
Egyptian war; but the Magi, who was made governor of the palace by
Cambyses, gave me my orders, and informed me that Smerdis, the son of
Cyrus, had commanded that the proclamation should be published here."

Cambyses, on hearing this, exonerated his confidant from the charge of
having disobeyed his orders, but could not comprehend the meaning of
the conspiracy against his authority.  Prexaspes, however, who was well
acquainted with the Magi brothers, began to see through the mystery,
and said:

"This affair is brought about by the Magi, who are always conspiring
against you.  Patizithes, whom you left in Persia to take charge of
your affairs and his brother Smerdis, are the authors of this

Cambyses, on hearing the name of Smerdis pronounced, called to mind his
dream, and perceiving the inutility of his fratricidal crime, began to
bewail his brother's death.  Determined to set forth at once to expose
and punish the pretender, he hastily mounted his horse, and in so doing
the scabbard becoming detached from the sword, the naked weapon
penetrated his right thigh, exactly in the same way as he had mortally
wounded the sacred bull of Apis!

Finding himself severely wounded, the king demanded the name of the
place, and being informed that it was Ecbatana, at once concluded that
his end was near at hand, an oracle having formerly foretold that he
would die at Ecbatana.  He had hitherto believed that the prophecy
meant the town of that name in Media, but now saw that it meant
Ecbatana in Syria.

After lingering in a serious state for some days, he summoned the chief
Persian nobles who were with him, and said: "I must confess to you
what, above all things, I would have kept concealed.  When in Egypt I
had a dream which made me fear that my brother Smerdis would despoil me
of the empire; I therefore had him executed.  But his death has but
hastened the loss of my sovereignty, for it was the Magi Smerdis of
whom God spoke to me in a dream, and who has now taken up arms against
me.  Do not imagine that it is Smerdis, the son of Cyrus, still living;
but, believe me, the kingdom has been usurped by the Magi, one of whom
I left in Persia to manage my household affairs, and the other is his
brother named Smerdis."  He then conjured them to take vengeance upon
the pretenders, and with some shrewd injunctions, took leave of them.
After this interview his wound rapidly became mortal, and he died after
a reign of little more than seven years.

Upon the decease of Cambyses, no one cared to dispute possession of the
Persian throne with the pseudo Smerdis, who was, indeed, generally
believed to be the prince whose name he had assumed, most people
deeming the dying words of the late monarch to have been prompted by a
desire for vengeance upon his brother for seeking the Persian
sovereignty during his life.  As for Prexaspes, for obvious reasons he
refrained from proclaiming his share in the death of a son of Cyrus.

For seven months the pretender ruled this mighty empire, and with such
beneficence and justice that for long after his death he was deeply
regretted by all the peoples of Asia, with the exception of the warlike
Persians, whom he offended by exempting all his subjects from military
service for three years, and from all kinds of tribute.  In the eighth
month of his reign his imposture was thus singularly discovered.
Otanes, a Persian nobleman of the highest rank and wealth, had long
suspected the deceit, and by means of his daughter Phædyma was enabled
to detect it.  She had been wife to the late king, and after the death
of Cambyses was retained in the impostor's harem.  Otanes knew that the
Magian Smerdis, whom he guessed the impersonator of the dead prince to
be, had had his ears cut off.  He therefore commanded his daughter to
try and discover, during his slumbers, whether the present wearer of
the crown had lost his or not.  The girl consented, and, despite all
the pretender's care to conceal his deficiency, in the course of a few
days was enabled to inform her father that this Smerdis _had not any
ears_.  This intelligence was sufficient for Otanes, who summoned six
of the leading Persian nobles, and informed them of his discovery.
Whilst they were debating amongst themselves how to take vengeance upon
the Magians, another unlooked-for event hastened the pretender's

Feeling insecure, the party of the pseudo Smerdis summoned to them
Prexaspes, the only man who could prove the death of the murdered
prince, and by means of heavy bribes sought to win him to their party.
Knowing his influence amongst the people, and his knowledge of the
private affairs of the late king, they desired him to acknowledge the
present occupant of the throne as the veritable son and heir of Cyrus.
He appeared to consent.  The Persians were required to assemble, and
Prexaspes, addressing them from the summit of an adjacent tower,
frustrated all the Magi's plans by confessing himself to the multitude
as the assassin of the real Smerdis, the son of Cyrus the King.  As
soon as he had completed the story of the murder, he implored them to
oust the Magians from power, and then precipitating himself from the
tower, was killed on the spot.

In the meanwhile the seven Persian noblemen were not idle.  Having
arranged their plans, they penetrated into the palace, slew the
body-guards, and, despite their courageous resistance, put the
pretender and his brother to death.  Thus, after a most prosperous
reign of eight months, perished the pseudo Smerdis.  His death was
followed by a general attack upon the Magi, or so-called "wise men;"
and a very large number of them were ruthlessly slaughtered.  The fact
of their being Medes rendered them hateful to the Persians, and caused
the latter to be only too glad of an excuse for their extermination.


B.C. 186.

A pretender to the name and titles of Antiochus, surnamed the Great,
King of Syria, is mentioned by several ancient historians as having
appeared after the death of that monarch.  There is an unfathomable
mystery, however, about the whole affair.  This celebrated sovereign
having acquired considerable renown by his wars against the Romans, and
his efforts on behalf of Greek freedom, eventually falsified his
subjects' expectation by giving way to all kinds of debaucheries and
enervating excesses.  The last scene of his life's tragedy, which
followed fast upon his misdoings, is so variously stated by different
writers, that it is absolutely impossible to extract the truth from
their divers accounts.  He is generally supposed, after having been
defeated and put to flight by the Romans, to have been assassinated.
Pliny the Younger asserts that after his overthrow he fled to Mount
Tamus, and there endeavoured to drown his troubles in wine; but that at
last, growing quarrelsome and tyrannical towards the companions of his
debaucheries, they one day put an end to his existence.  Whatever may
have been the manner of this monarch's death, all historians agree that
after that event an impostor named Artemion was induced by the wife of
the deceased king to come forward and pretend that he was Antiochus.
Solinus states that this man was of ignoble birth, whilst according to
other authors, he was a relative of the late monarch.  Instructed by
the queen, he appealed to the people to protect the interests of his
putative wife and children; and the people, believing in his identity,
at once declined to elect any one for sovereign not approved of by the
queen, and she (Laodice), if Pliny's somewhat ambiguous terms are read
rightly, placed the diadem upon the head of Artemion.  Nothing is
recorded of his subsequent fate.


B.C. 149.

In some respects more fortunate than many of his successors in the art
of claiming royal kinship, Alexander Balas has obtained the sanction of
several Jewish and Roman historians to the legality of his pretensions.
In his "Antiquities of the Jews," Josephus, from obvious nationalistic
reasons, accepts without a query the pseudo Alexander as the legitimate
sovereign of Syria; and more recent Latin chroniclers have copied his
narration without doubting--probably without having heard anything to
the contrary.  Justin, and other later writers, however, positively
assert that the real name of this pretender was Prompale; and that so
far from having been born in the purple, his parents were of the very
lowest ranks of society.

According to these more reliable authorities, Balas was a Rhodian youth
employed by various monarchs hostile to the pretensions of Demetrius
Soter, then in possession of the kingdom of Syria, to personate
Alexander, a long deceased son of Antiochus Epiphanos.  The impostor,
assuming the name and title of the deceased prince, speedily found
himself, through the assistance of the allied sovereigns and the favour
of the Roman senate, at the head of a large army, with which he invaded
Syria.  The garrison of Ptolemais having been betrayed into his hands,
and other advantages accruing to him by reason of the hatred which the
Syrians entertained for Demetrius, awoke that king to the real danger
of the situation.  He sent an embassy with rich gifts, and still richer
promises, to Jonathan, the Jewish ruler, in order to obtain his
friendly assistance, and then, collecting his forces, marched against

The pretender was not ignorant of the great value of Jonathan's
services, and by means of greater presents and more flattering promises
managed to withdraw him from an alliance with Demetrius.  With the
loans obtained from his allies, and by means of extortion, Balas was
enabled to gather a large army of mercenary soldiers together, with
which to give battle to the Syrian monarch.  After a hardly-contested
fight Demetrius was slain, and the kingdom fell an easy prey into the
hands of the victor, who, elated with his triumph, demanded the hand of
Cleopatra, daughter of Ptolemy Philopater, King of Egypt, declaring
that as he had now recovered the principality of his forefathers, he
was worthy of his alliance.  The Egyptian monarch, pleased with this
offer, replied that he would meet Alexander at Ptolemais, and there
give him his daughter in marriage.

The meeting soon afterwards took place, and the new king was united in
marriage to the Princess Cleopatra, receiving with his bride a right
royal dower.  Jonathan, the Jew, assisted at the wedding _fêtes_, and
was very cordially and magnificently treated by the two monarchs.  A
short time, however, and the impostor began to show the cloven hoof.
He commenced his almost unaccountable perfidies by an attempt to
overthrow Jonathan, but his forces being defeated by that skilful
warrior, he repudiated the affair as carried out without his sanction,
and pretended to be pleased with the want of success of his own troops.
Aroused from the voluptuousness and profligacy into which he had
plunged by the intelligence of an invasion of his dominions by
Demetrius, a son of the late king of that name, he prepared for war.
About this time he treacherously endeavoured to destroy his
father-in-law, Ptolemy, by means of Ammonius, a friend of his; the plot
being discovered, Ptolemy wrote to Alexander, and demanded that condign
punishment should be administered to Ammonius, but when he found that
his demands were disregarded, he soon perceived whence the conspiracy
had originated, and repented of having given his daughter in marriage
to the pseudo Alexander.  Having succeeded in getting the princess back
into his own hands, he broke off his alliance with her husband, and at
once entered into a league of mutual assistance and friendship with the
young Demetrius, to whom he subsequently offered his daughter in

This prince was only too delighted with the terms of the embassage,
and, without troubling himself as to the existence of Balas's prior
claim, gladly accepted the hand of Cleopatra, coupled as it was with
the armed assistance of her father.  After some difficulty the Egyptian
king persuaded the people of Antioch to receive Demetrius as their
king, and then took the field with a force capable of supporting his
new son-in-law's claims.

In the meanwhile Balas was not idle; but, hastening into Syria from
Cecilia, where he was when the war broke out, he collected a large
army, and, in right royal fashion, burnt and pillaged the country
belonging to Antioch.  Forced to give battle to the combined strength
of Ptolemy and his son-in-law (for Demetrius had already espoused his
antagonist's wife), the pretender was, however, beaten and put to
flight.  Seeking refuge in Arabia, his head was cut off by Zabdiel, an
Arabian prince, and sent to Ptolemy.  The Egyptian monarch, however,
did not long enjoy his triumph, for shortly after the arrival of the
head of his first son-in-law, he died from the effect of the wounds
received in defeating him.  For five years the pseudo Alexander reigned
over a large portion of Asia, during which period he thoroughly
disgusted his subjects by his absurd vanity and profligate conduct.

Some years after the death of Balas, Diodotus Tryphon, one of his
commanders, finding the nation as dissatisfied with Demetrius as they
had been with Alexander, excited a rebellion against him, and set up a
son, or a pretended son, of his late master as king.  Tryphon
ultimately proving victorious over Demetrius, and obtaining the entire
control of the country, put his youthful _protégé_ to death, and,
according to the account of Livy and Josephus, usurped the government
himself; but after a reign of three years was overthrown and slain.


B.C. 144.

The condition of Greece after the usurpation of supreme power by Philip
of Macedon and his son, Alexander the Great, was truly deplorable, and,
despite the despairing efforts of the Achaian League to resuscitate the
expiring liberties of the glorious old republics, grew rapidly from bad
to worse.  Finally, the spirit of its people broken, their freedom
destroyed, and national feeling extinguished, the cradle of European
civilization fell an easy prey to the omnivorous greed of Rome.

A later Philip of Macedon incurred the anger of the Romans by forming a
league with Hannibal, the Carthaginian, and after suffering terrible
reverses in the wars which ensued, was compelled to accept peace upon
the most humiliating terms, including the surrender of several entire
provinces; of his navy, and the payment of a heavy indemnity to the
conquerors.  Twelve years after the death of this monarch (B.C. 178),
his son and successor, Perseus, recommenced hostilities with the
Romans.  After a long series of alternate victories and defeats, this
last and most unfortunate of the Macedonian kings was overthrown at the
battle of Pydna by Æmilius, the Roman consul, and sent captive, with
his children, to Rome.

About twenty years later, or B.C. 149, and whilst the Macedonians were
still newly smarting under the yoke of the victors, a man presented
himself to the people as Philip, their late king.  Livy, whose account
we must chiefly follow, states that this impostor was generally reputed
to have been a slave; in history he is known as Andriscus the
Pretender.  Our chief authority acknowledges that he manifested a truly
royal courage, and that he was found to greatly resemble the monarch
whose name and dignity he claimed, but who had died nearly thirty years
previously.  Incautiously underrating the power of this Andriscus, who
was well supported by the despairing Macedonians, the Romans contented
themselves with sending a few troops, under the Pretor Juventius,
against the insurgents, and consequently sustained a severe defeat, in
which an entire legion and the Pretor himself were completely cut to
pieces.  This success was short-lived.  The Consul Metellus taking the
field overthrew and pursued Andriscus to the Thracian mountains, and
compelled a neighbouring prince, with whom he had taken refuge, to
deliver him into his hands.  The capture of this impostor was made an
occasion for a great triumph by the Romans, who rejoiced as
much--records the historian--as if they had acquired possession of the
person of a veritable king.  His future story is not known, but the
unfortunate country which had placed itself under his guidance was, as
is but too well known, completely subjugated, and its people reduced to
a state of servitude, from the effects of which they never recovered.
It is worthy of note that after the overthrow of Andriscus, two or
three pseudo Philips from time to time came forward to agitate the
country, trouble the Roman rulers, and still further degrade the
people; but none of them ever displayed the same courageous bearing, or
attained to such notoriety as he did.


A.D. 3.

In the foremost ranks of classic claimants may be placed the false
Alexander, who claimed the Jewish crown under the pretence of being a
son of Herod Antipas.  Herod, although tributary to the Roman empire,
raised the Jewish kingdom to a higher pitch of grandeur than it had
reached since the days of Solomon.  Great, however, as were his
military successes, and extraordinary the pomp and magnificence of his
court, his tyranny and cruelty render the annals of his lengthy reign
almost unreadable.  The record of his crimes, as detailed by Josephus,
equals in enormity the worst page of Roman history.

Amongst the relatives whom he singled out to inflict death upon were
three of his own sons.  Having accused his two sons by his second wife,
the beautiful Marianne, of having plotted against his crown, he had
them both arrested and condemned to death.  After the barbarous
execution of an old soldier, Tero, who had nobly pleaded the cause of
the imprisoned princes, he sent them both--Alexander and
Aristobulus--to Sebaste, a city in the vicinity of Caesarea, and caused
them to be there strangled.  After the execution of his sons, whose
lives Herod had so embittered that, guilty or not of the terrible
accusation made against them, their fate was deplored by many of their
countrymen, he had their dead bodies brought to Alexandrium, and buried
by the side of their maternal grandfather, Alexander.

About twelve years after the tragic death of the princely brothers, and
when Herod himself had died in the horrible manner described by
Josephus, the Hebrew nation, subdivided by its Roman lord, and infested
by hordes of robbers, afforded a good opening for a royal claimant; and
accordingly one appeared.

A Jew resident in Sidon, greatly resembling Alexander, the elder of the
deceased brothers, in features, was persuaded by a Roman freedman, with
whom he had been brought up, to personate the late prince.  Before
airing his pretensions, the claimant obtained the assistance of a
countryman of his who was well versed in the affairs of the kingdom,
and under his instructions the pseudo Alexander came forth from his
obscurity with a plausible story of how the persons commissioned to
execute him and his brother Aristobulus had compassion upon them, and
putting dead bodies in their place, had allowed them to escape.  As
usual, a credulous multitude believed in the impostor, and from the
Cretan Jews he and his fellow plotters reaped a rich harvest.
Furnished with money, he next sailed to Mitylene, where he obtained a
further supply of cash, and persuaded some of the believers in his
identity to accompany him to Rome, where he probably expected the
Emperor Augustus would assist him to obtain possession of the kingdom
of Judea; although Josephus strangely asserts that he went to Rome in
hopes of avoiding detection.

On landing at Pozzuoli, near Naples, he was received by the Jews
resident there in truly regal manner, and treated in every respect as
if he were really the legitimate son and successor of Herod.  Many
persons who had been personally acquainted with Prince Alexander
positively asserted his identity with the claimant.  Accompanied by a
large concourse of people, and bearing with him his accumulated costly
gifts, the impostor entered Rome in regal state, the whole of the Jews
in the city going out in a body to welcome him.

Augustus Cæsar would appear to have suspected the deceit from the
first, but allowing the common belief to have some weight with him, he
sent Celadus, to whom Alexander had been well known, to bring the
pseudo prince to him.  "Directly the emperor saw the claimant," says
Josephus, "he discerned a difference in his countenance; and when he
had discovered that his whole body was of a more robust texture and
like that of a slave, he understood the whole was a contrivance."  The
emperor, however, in order to thoroughly sift the strange matter,
cross-questioned the pseudo prince, asking him what had become of his
brother Aristobulus, who, he had stated, was saved also, and why they
did not appear together.  The impudent impostor replied that his
brother had been left in the Isle of Cyprus, for fear of treachery, as,
if separated, it would be more difficult for their enemies to make away
with both of them.

Augustus, getting weary of the conspiracy, took the claimant aside, and
said to him privately: "Do not think to abuse my credulity as you have
done with so many.  I am not deceived.  Frankly confess the whole
truth, and I give you my word to spare your life.  Tell me who you are,
and what prompted you to engage in this plot, for this is too
considerable a piece of villany for one of your age to have undertaken

Seeing that there was no chance of escape, the pretender discovered the
whole affair to the emperor, pointing out to him the Jew who, noticing
his likeness to the murdered prince, had persuaded him to engage in the
daring undertaking; whose object in the contrivance of the plot, says
our principal authority, being only to get money, in which respect he
had so far succeeded that "he had received more presents in every city
than ever Alexander did when he was alive."

Augustus could not forbear laughing at the man's story; but, for all
his merriment, did not restrain his anger.  He had promised the
pretender his life, and, therefore, spared it; but he put him amongst
his rowers, doubtless deeming him fitter to wield an oar than a
sceptre.  The contriver of the plot, however, had to expiate his
cleverness with his life, and was crucified,--a usual method, in those
days, of executing important criminals.


A.D. 73.

About two years after the death of Nero, the Roman empire was startled
by the report that a man claiming to be the deceased monarch, and
closely resembling him in form and features, had appeared in the East,
with the proclaimed intention of resuming the crown which had been
wrested from him by an unjust and felonious act of the Senate.
Tacitus, who has left the most circumstantial account of this
impostor's story, declares him to have been a slave of Pontus in Asia;
but, according to others, he was originally an Italian freeman.  Many
different rumours spread through the various provinces of the empire,
causing great alarm, especially in Greece and Asia, where the Roman
power was not yet thoroughly consolidated, many persons firmly
believing, and many feigning to believe, that Nero was still living.
John Zonaras, in the second book of his Greek annals, confirms the
account given by Tacitus, and avers the pretender's name to have been
Terentius Maximus.

This pseudo Cæsar, having deceived many people by his resemblance to
the deceased emperor, speedily collected a multitude of rogues,
vagabonds, and fugitives, and having engaged them in his service by
means of grand promises, put to sea.  Driven by a tempest on to the
shore of the Island of Delos, he succeeded in gaining over some
soldiery there, who were returning from the East, and with this
reinforcement was enabled to despoil the various traders sheltering in
the port of their merchandize, and to arm all the most resolute of the
slaves.  He endeavoured, by all means at his command, to acquire the
confidence of Siana, a centurion of the Syrian army, who was deputed by
the Syrians to go to Rome, to make a treaty with the Pretorian cohorts,
or regiments of the guards.  He urged this captain so much that he was
compelled to quit the island and fly, in order to escape the danger
with which he was threatened.  This proceeding of the officer greatly
increased the fear which the name of the pseudo Nero began to inspire,
and caused many other discontented spirits to take service under him.
There is no knowing to what extent his power might have increased, had
not chance found an opportunity of causing his overthrow.

The late Emperor Galba had bestowed the government of Galatia and
Pamphilia upon Calphurnius Asprenas; two galleys from the fleet, which
was at Misena, had received orders to escort him to his new post.  They
anchored off the coast of Delos, without, however, disembarking their
crews.  Perceiving this, the pretender had a great desire to obtain
possession of these two galleys, but not being able to effect his
purpose by force, he had recourse to a ruse.  He embarked on board a
vessel, in order to reconnoitre the strange sails himself, and to learn
who they were, never dreaming that there was the governor of a province
on board.  He appeared at the prow of his vessel, and in his assumed
character movingly conjured the soldiers who appeared in the galleys to
be faithful to their oath of fidelity, which they had formerly sworn to
him their Emperor, Nero.

The pilots refused to have anything to do with him, saying they were
not the masters; but whilst they thus kept him engaged in conversation,
they informed Calphurnius of what was passing, and on representing to
him the small dimensions of the vessel in which the aspirant to
imperialism appeared, he gave instructions for it to be attacked.  The
false Nero, caught in his own snare, fought like a lion, but at last,
being overcome, he killed himself.

His corse, remarkable for its large eyes and beautiful hair, and, above
all, for its ferocity of visage, was carried through Asia to Rome,
where every one was allowed to see it, and admire the daring of him who
had attempted to usurp, by means of a bold imposture, the most powerful
empire of the universe.


A.D. 583.

The story of this claimant's adventures is, perhaps, the most romantic
of all our heroes, but unfortunately it is one of the most unreliable.
The Mezerays and other ancient writers, however, give the tale as
authentic, and as they recount it so it is detailed here; fact and
fiction being difficult in such cases to disentangle.

This pretender is styled in history Gondebaud, and would appear to have
had some real claims to a royal origin, his mother having educated him
from his earliest infancy as the king's son, and carefully preserved
from the desecrating shears his flowing locks--a mark of regal birth
amongst the ancient Franks.

Clotaire the First, who was then reigning at Soissons, refused to
accept the imputed parentage, and the woman accordingly fled with the
child to Paris, to claim the protection of Childebert, the king's
brother, who was reigning there.  Childebert, not having any male
children of his own, took a liking to the boy, and was desirous of
adopting him as his nephew, and educating him at his court; but when
the putative father heard this he was greatly incensed, and wrote to
his brother to send Gondebaud to him, as he would take care of him,
adding that it was false to call him his son, which he was not; that
educating him as a king's son was giving the boy honours to which he
was not entitled, and might hereafter afford him an opportunity of
deceiving the world.  Clotaire's care was the more necessary as
illegitimacy did not, amongst the ancient Franks, debar the offspring's
right to the crown.

The king of Soissons having obtained possession of his supposed son,
had his head shaved and sent him into a monastery.  Dying, however, in
561, his eldest son, Cherebert, who succeeded him, took compassion upon
Gondebaud, and, during the whole of his reign, treated him with
fraternal kindness.  Cherebert dying in 570, the crown passed to
Sigobert, who ordered our hero to come to his court.  He at once
obeyed, was seized, his flowing locks again severed from his head, and
he once more imprisoned in a monastery.  Finding means of escape, the
unfortunate youth fled into Italy, and made his way to the camp of
Narses, the Emperor Justinian's famous general.

By Narses, Gondebaud was kindly received and promised succour; but just
at the moment when he seemed on the point of being enabled to take the
field against his presumed relatives, his protector died, and he was
left once more a friendless wanderer.  In the meantime, the Emperor
Justinian had also died, and his successors, Justin the Second and
Sophia, determined to give the remains of their renowned warrior,
Narses, a superb funeral.  Our claimant availed himself of the
opportunity to make his court to the imperial couple, and travelled
with the body to Constantinople, where he was extremely well received,
his handsome figure and courtier-like manner obtaining him no little
favour from the empress.

Gondebaud dwelt at the Constantinopolitan court during the reigns of
Justin the Second and his successor Tiberius.  With Maurice, general
and subsequently successor of the latter, he served in several
campaigns against the Persians, and apparently with credit.  He would
probably have ended his days honourably in the Eastern Empire had not a
certain conspirator, Boson, tempted him to return to France with the
information that his supposed brother Sigobert had been treacherously
murdered; that the two infamous queens, Brunechild and Fredegonde, had
completely disorganized the country with their crimes and quarrels;
adding, that the time was ripe for his return, the people being only
too desirous of submitting to his rule, and that the two kings who now
divided the country between them, being childless, would not offer any
great opposition to his claims.  Deceived by these specious arguments,
Gondebaud, after a sojourn of twenty years in the Orient, returned to
France, taking with him good equipments and a large sum of money,
advanced by his friend the Emperor Tiberius.

Landing at Marseilles, he was received by the bishop of that city with
great honours, and the news of his arrival having spread abroad,
coupled with the rumour that he was accompanied by enormous wealth, the
result of having discovered the supposed hoard of Narses, caused large
numbers of people, including many of high rank, to come to his camp to
pay homage.  In addition to their expectation of bountiful gifts from
his hands, his visitors found Gondebaud good-looking, and apparently
worthy of the warlike reputation he had obtained from having served
under Narses and Maurice.  The Duke of Toulouse and other independent
nobles proffered their alliance; so that after all his tussles with
fortune our hero seemed at last nearly certain of a kingdom.  But at
this critical moment the traitor Boson turned against him, and, seizing
his treasures, compelled Gondebaud to fly, and take refuge in an
impregnable island at the mouth of the Rhone.

After having thus endured the ups and downs of fickle fortune, this
claimant, in hopes of ingratiating himself with the Franks, and at the
suggestion of his ally Childebert, king of Metz, took upon himself the
pseudo name of Clotaire, thus more distinctly marking his claim to the
throne of his putative father Clotaire the First.  But all the arts of
the pretender were unavailable to obtain the assistance or recognition
of Gontran, king of Orleans, who took up arms in defence of the real
heir to the throne, the veritable Clotaire the Second, a child of
tender years, and who, despite the fact that Gondebaud's forces were
commanded by the best generals of the country, by fight or stratagem
gradually deprived him of all his treasures, allies, and, finally, of
his life.  For the pretender's chief adherents finding that Gontran was
determined to resist him to the uttermost, and probably seeing little
prospect of his ultimately obtaining any permanent power in the
country, determined to abandon Gondebaud to his fate; he was, however,
so strongly fortified, and so well provided with every necessary of war
in his stronghold, that his foes found the only method of dislodging
him was by stratagem.

Gontran accordingly got Queen Brunechild, the mother of his adopted
heir, Childebert, to write to our hero, under the pretence of her being
secretly in his interest, and advise him to remove with all his
treasure to Bordeaux, where he would have the command of both land and
sea.  Duped by this woman, the unfortunate claimant forsook his refuge,
and put himself _en route_ for Bordeaux.  On the road he fell in with
an ambuscade of the enemy's, which succeeded in stripping him of all
the treasure he had accumulated, but did not prevent him arriving at
his destination.

Bordeaux sustained a siege of some weeks on the pretender's account,
but during the whole of that time traitors in and out of the city were
bargaining for his betrayal.  At last, his chief men, thinking to
ransom their lives with his, persuaded the pseudo Clotaire to go
outside the city to confer with the foe as to the terms of peace, and
as soon as he was without the walls they closed the gates upon him,
leaving him to his fate.  He was seized by the besiegers and dragged on
to a hillock outside their camp, where he was flung down by one of
their commanders; and as the unhappy man was still rolling, the traitor
Boson beat out his brains with a battle-axe.  Thus perished this
luckless pretender to the throne of the Franks, whether a son or not of
Clotaire the First, equally unfortunate.


A.D. 676.

When Clotaire the Third came to the French throne he was only five
years old; consequently the affairs of the kingdom had to be entrusted
to the guidance of a regent.  The man selected to fill this post was
Ebroin, and the choice appeared in every respect admirable.  Ebroin was
not only, apparently, fitted by birth and talent to sway the people,
but he also possessed the qualification most desirable of all others
for the time and clime in which he lived; that is to say, he was a
valiant and experienced warrior.

Associated, however, with him in power, was Batilde, the queen dowager,
a woman, according to all the priestly chroniclers, of great beauty and
discretion, but doubtless much swayed by bigoted ecclesiastics.  For
some years the country enjoyed considerable prosperity: Batilde ruled
with prudence and justice, and by keeping on good terms with the
prelates has obtained no little historic fame; whilst Ebroin, having
managed to quarrel with the Church, has left a reputation for all that
is bad.

The queen dowager, either by compulsion or inclination, having resigned
the cares of government, and taken refuge in the convent of Chelles,
the chief minister, Ebroin, or _Maire du Palais_, as he was styled, was
enabled to give full vent to all those evil qualities which
circumstances had hitherto compelled him to conceal.  Taking the entire
power into his own hands, he killed and ill-treated, confiscated and
exiled, with as much arrogance as a reigning king.  In the year 668 the
boy Clotaire died, aged about eighteen; and Ebroin, contrary to the
wish of the nobles, placed Thierry, the younger brother of the deceased
monarch, upon the throne, to the exclusion of the elder brother,
Childerick, the next heir.  He was induced to act thus in consequence
of Thierry's youth, he being but eight, affording him a good
opportunity of retaining the governing power in his own hands.  In this
act, however, he erred; for the nation, or at all events a powerful
portion of it, revolted against his authority, overthrew him, and took
both him and the prince Thierry prisoners.  More merciful than was the
wont in those days, the victors put neither of their prisoners to
death, but contented themselves with shaving Ebroin's head--then deemed
a terrible degradation--and confining him in a monastery, and with
placing his youthful protégé under priestly surveillance.

In 973, Childerick the Second, and his wife and child, were
assassinated by a gentleman whom he had had brutally beaten for
remonstrating with him somewhat freely on the danger of an excessive
imposition that he had wished to establish.  Taking advantage of the
confusion into which the country was thrown by this sudden event,
Ebroin made his escape from the monastery in which he had been immured,
and, aided by a large number of malcontents, set up the standard of
revolt against Thierry the Third, who now, in consequence of his
brother's death, became the legitimate king.  Ebroin was joined by the
Governor of Austrasia, by two deposed bishops, and by many other
influential men, all of whom shared with him an intense hatred of
Leger, Bishop of Autun, who now held the reins of power.  In order to
obtain more partisans amongst the people, Ebroin and his comrades
brought forward a lad of about twelve or thirteen years of age, and
asserted that he was a son of Clotaire the Third, who was believed to
have died in 670, in his nineteenth year.

There was just a possibility of this boy having been Clotaire's son,
although an illegitimate one, no proof of the deceased monarch's
marriage ever having been adduced; and as illegitimacy was not in those
days deemed a bar to the crown, the claim of little Clovis the Third,
as Ebroin had him styled, may have been as valid as that of his
competitors.  Be that as it may, historians have also termed this
youthful pretender, or rather tool of the conspirators, the _false_
Clovis.  The lad was attired in royal robes, and taught to affect a
majesty of deportment towards all those who came to render him homage,
whilst all those who refused to acknowledge him as king were
maltreated, and their goods seized by his followers.  His reign,
however, was of short duration.  Bishop Leger having been captured,
deprived of sight, and thrown into prison, the great nobles and
chieftains succumbed at once, and Ebroin found the whole power of the
country in his own hands; he, therefore, deemed it better to make terms
with Thierry, who willingly replaced him in his post of _Maire du
Palais_, conditionally upon being left in nominal possession of the

Having thus attained his purpose, Ebroin had no longer any need of his
puppet, and at once relinquished the imposture; but what afterwards
became of the boy king history does not relate.  As regards the
originator of the scheme, his cruelties and tyranny increased daily, so
that when in 683, or three or four years after the re-establishment of
his power, he was assassinated by a noble named Bermenfroy, whose
property he had seized, and whose life he had menaced, it must have
been a real relief to his country.  Through Ebroin's death it was that
a way was opened for the family of Pepin, the founder of the
Carlovingian race, to acquire the dignity of _Maire du Palais_, and
subsequently the monarchy of France.


A.D. 800.

To many casual readers it may seem a singular circumstance that nearly
every claimant to regal paternity has found authors, more or less
numerous, to espouse his cause, and assert his identity with the
monarch whose name he laid claim to.  On inspection the singularity
vanishes.  Putting on one side the difficulties of investigation which
ancient annalists had to encounter, and as a rule the defective
evidence they had to judge by, the undeniable fact is arrived at that
not a few of the so-called historians often wilfully misrepresented,
falsified, omitted, and even invented _facts_ to suit their own party

Many of these forgeries the acumen and research of later ages have
exposed; many more will doubtless, in course of time, be discovered,
but a still larger number in all probability linger undetected in the
pages of history, and will ever remain so.  It is unfortunate that the
class of men to whom we are compelled to resort chiefly for historic
and social information prior to the invention of printing, are the very
men whose writings it is necessary to hold in greatest doubt; and it
is, beyond dispute, well ascertained that history which had to filter
through a priest's brains, as a rule descended to posterity deeply
tinged, to say the best of it, with the hue its author wished it to
have in the eyes of the world.

Æneas Sylvius Piccolomini, better known as Pius the Second, amongst his
numerous works left a _History of Bohemia_, and the thirteenth chapter
of that history details the events which have caused us to insert
amongst the claimants to royalty the name of Suatocopius, leaving the
reader to decide for himself as to the credibility of the aspirant's
claim to the name and title of the supposed slain monarch.

The Marcomanni, or Moravians, are asserted to have been converted to
Christianity about the middle of the ninth century by Methodius and
Cyril, two Greek monks.  These two men, noted in history for having
implanted the Christian faith in Russia, Bulgaria, and the adjacent
lands, were brothers, members of an illustrious Thessalonican family,
and distinguished for their learning and the purity of their lives.
About the year 860 these missionaries are stated to have appeared at
the court of Suatocopius, a king whose sway was more or less
acknowledged, not only by the Moravians, but also, according to
priestly authority, by the Hungarians, Bohemians, Poles, and
inhabitants of Black Russia, but who, notwithstanding the extent of his
territories and the number of his subjects, was tributary to the
Emperor of Germany, as had been his predecessors since the days of

Converted by the Greek brothers to the Christian religion, Suatocopius
is stated for many years to have set a good example to his subjects of
all the virtues called royal; but finally, emboldened by the continuous
prosperity of a long reign and the representations of his courtiers, he
declined paying any more tribute into the imperial exchequer.  This
refusal at once involved him in warfare with the Emperor Arnulph, and
in a battle which ensued the Moravians were defeated, and, so it was
universally believed, their monarch slain.  The body of Suatocopius
could not be discovered, declares our chief authority, but the fact of
his death was deemed indisputable, and his son was permitted by his
godfather, the victor, to ascend the vacant throne.

Many years elapsed, and Suatocopius was probably forgotten, when some
monks brought his son the astounding information that his father, the
king, had only just expired, in the distant and mean hermitage whence
they came.  The tale which they told, and which their hearer placed
entire credence in, according to the history of Pope Pius, was to the
effect that for several years they had housed and fed a wanderer who
one day had besought their hospitality; during the whole time he had
lived with them he had cheerfully and patiently endured all the
hardships of their rough and indigent life, but finding his end
approaching, the unknown had summoned them to his side and said:--

"Until the present moment you have not known who I am.  Know then that
I am the King of Moravia, who, having lost a battle, took refuge
amongst you.  I die, after having tasted the joys of reigning and of
private life.  The royal state is certainly not preferable to the
repose of solitude.  Here I sleep without fear and without disquietude,
enjoying the calm and pleasures of life, tasting fruits and the purest
water, which is far more agreeable than the most precious beverages the
courts of kings afford.  I have spent with you happily the remainder of
the life God has granted me, and the time which I passed upon the
throne now seems to me to have been a continual death....  When I am
dead inter my body in this place, but go, I beg you, and inform my son,
if he be still alive, what I have told you."

Soon after this confession the supposed king died; his body was duly
interred by his fellow monks, and information of his decease sent to
the reigning monarch.  He, with all diligence, had the body disinterred
and brought to Volgrade, the capital of Moravia, and, notwithstanding
the years that had elapsed since the disappearance of Suatocopius, and
the length of time the corpse had been buried, recognized the body as
his father's, and had it deposited, with all due pomp and ceremony, in
the royal sepulchre, to moulder, royal or plebeian, amid the ashes of
his predecessors.


A.D. 1130.

Henry the Fifth of Germany, like so many other monarchs of the middle
ages, had wrested the imperial crown from the head of his unfortunate
father, Henry the Fourth.  This latter emperor, having been dethroned
by his unnatural son, took refuge with the Bishop of Liege, in whose
city he died of grief.

The fifth Henry was fully recompensed for his undutiful conduct by the
continual rebellion of his subjects in different portions of the
imperial dominions, by the bitter hostility of his former friend,
Archbishop Albert, of Mainz, and by the unceasing persecution of the
Papacy.  Henry the Fifth died childless in 1125, worn out with strife,
and the sceptre passed into the hands of Lothaire the Second.  Five
years after the Emperor's death, a Benedictine monk of the Abbey of
Cluny, in Burgundy, startled his brother recluses by the assertion that
he was the supposed deceased monarch, Henry the Fifth of Germany.  He
declared that being desirous of abdicating the crown which he had
forced his unhappy parent to resign to him, he had spread the false
intelligence of his own decease, and then had set out, in pilgrim garb,
for the Holy Land.  He narrated a pitiful tale of the indignities
heaped upon his imperial head during the years of his pilgrimage; how
he had narrowly escaped drowning through a man having brutally pushed
him into the sea when he was on the point of embarkation; how he had
been compelled by the Knights Templars, at Acre, to assist as a
labourer at the construction of fortifications there; and many other
equally edifying stories of his adventures.  The monks appear to have
believed in his identity, and some authors assert that by the express
commands of Pope Innocent the Second, a firm friend of the Emperor
Lothaire the Second, he was never permitted to pass beyond the
precincts of the abbey.

The historian Mezerai remarks that Henry was believed to have
eventually retired to Angers, and to have ended his days as a servitor
to the hospital there; having, however, previous to his death,
acknowledged his rank to his confessor, and been seen and recognized by
his wife Maud, daughter of Henry the Second of England, who had taken
another consort in the person of Geoffrey Plantagenet of Anjou.


A.D. 1186.

In Gibbon's grand work there is, probably, no episode more graphically
and characteristically described than the story of Andronicus Comnenus;
and no more hapless a fate than that which the unfortunate young
Emperor Alexis received at the hands of the miscreant.  The whole
narrative comes to us originally from the pen of the historian Nicetas,
who, being Secretary of State at the time, was not only a competent
recorder, but also a veritable eyewitness of many of the startling
incidents he relates.  Gibbon merely carries his account of the
youthful monarch up to the period of his death, but Nicetas favours his
readers with a record of the still more wonderful events which were
associated with the name of Alexis, long after his real or alleged

Upon the death of the renowned Alexis, Emperor of the Eastern Empire,
his nephew, bearing the same name, was called to the throne.  The young
monarch being only thirteen years of age, was placed under the
guardianship of his mother Xene, and of his cousin Andronicus, a man of
great audacity and courage, but who, despite his royal birth, had
suffered innumerable vicissitudes of fortune.  Her coadjutor speedily
contrived to get the empress mother banished, forcing her own son to
sign the warrant of exile; and then, still fearful of the poor woman's
influence in the state, had her strangled.  By these criminal
proceedings having got all the real power of the empire into his own
hands, Andronicus determined to secure himself against the probable
future competition of his nephew, whom he had already compelled to
accept him as a colleague in the government, by having him murdered.

It is surprising how readily the usurper appeared to find men of high
position ready to execute his nefarious schemes.  Amongst the names of
the five wretches who are recorded to have assassinated their youthful
sovereign, is that of John Camaterus, who subsequently became Patriarch
of Bulgaria, and that of a Secretary of State.  Three of the murderers
are said to have strangled the boy with a bowstring, and to have been
subsequently assisted by two others to fling the body into the sea.
After the assassination had been completed, Andronicus wished to view
the body of his deceased relative, who was only fifteen at the date of
his murder.  Upon the corpse being brought into his presence, the
inhuman monster is recorded to have spurned it with his foot, and to
have used opprobrious language to it, and of its dead parents.  The
head, it is averred, was then severed from the body, and, after having
been mutilated and stamped with the imperial seal, was flung out of
doors, whilst the rest of the poor lad's remains were enclosed in a
leaden chest, and were, as above remarked, flung into the sea.

This almost incredible tale of horror is but one out of the many
terrible crimes imputed to Andronicus, who amongst other deeds is
alleged to have obtained forcible possession of Agnes, daughter of
Louis the Seventh of France, the wife, or rather the betrothed, of the
murdered Alexis.  In a little while, and the cup of his enormity was
full.  Before the third year of his tyranny had expired the discovery
of his intention to have Isaac Angelus, a person of great popularity,
assassinated, drove that nobleman into open rebellion; the populace
espoused his cause, placed him on the throne, and having discovered and
seized Andronicus, put him to death by means of tortures too horrible
to detail.

Some two years or so elapsed, during which time Isaac Angelus remained
in unopposed possession of the imperial throne, when suddenly a most
unexpected claimant appeared in the person of a handsome young man of
about twenty years of age, who proclaimed himself to be the Emperor
Alexis, supposed to have been murdered some years before.  Travelling
from land to land in order to obtain armed assistance for the recovery
of his alleged rights, he ultimately arrived in Armenia, then under the
dominion of the old Sultan Saladin.  The Mohammedan sovereign was only
too pleased at the prospect of a war with his Christian neighbours; he
at once promised the needed assistance, asserting that it should not be
said of him that he allowed so noble and accomplished a prince (who
was, moreover, the son of his old friend, the Emperor Emanuel), to go
wandering about the earth, despoiled of his fine empire by a relative's

As soon as it was known that Saladin was raising troops with a view of
assisting the claimant to make war upon the empire, Isaac sent an
ambassador to beg him not to allow an impostor to deceive him into
supporting so bad a cause.  The Sultan caused the ambassador to be
introduced to the pseudo Alexis, who regarded the envoy with great
hauteur, and reproached him fiercely for undertaking the commission of
the man who was withholding from his legitimate monarch the rights
which Heaven had given him; indeed, to such an extent did his real or
simulated rage carry him, that had he not been withheld he would have
torn the ambassador's beard.

Whereupon Saladin stopped the interview, dismissing the ambassador with
the assurance that he was resolved to support the cause of his guest
unto the utmost.

Aided by the Sultan, the pretended Alexis set to work to raise troops,
and, in a short time, found himself at the head of eight thousand
well-equipped and determined men.  He soon became the idol of his
little host, which, gradually swelling by the incorporation of several
bands of redoubtable warriors, speedily assumed the proportions of a
regal army.  Having many able officers and experienced soldiers with
him, he was enabled to assume the offensive with great success, and in
a short time took several cities and fortified places by assault.  In
Halone his victorious arms met with great resistance, which so enraged
him that he put everybody to the sword, and destroyed the towns by
fire.  His success doubtless procured him many adherents, but there is
every reason to believe numbers flocked to his banners in the belief
that he was the veritable person he pretended to be; he bore a strong
resemblance to the deceased prince, especially in the colour and beauty
of his hair, and the hesitation or stutter in his voice.

Prince Alexis, brother of the Emperor Isaac, who commanded the army
sent to oppose his progress, hesitated to give him battle, preferring
stratagem to open warfare.  At last a priest, who was in the service of
the pretender, was suborned to relieve the imperialists of their
powerful foe.  Waiting his opportunity, he one night surprised his
master, sleeping soundly after the day's exertions, and with his own
sabre severed his head from the body.  The traitor carried his ghastly
spoil to the Emperor's brother, who was surprised at the remarkable
resemblance which it bore to the hair and features of the unfortunate
Alexis.  Parting, says Nicetas, the fair locks of the severed head with
his whip-handle, the imperial prince remarked that it was not without
reason that several towns had received the impostor as their lawful
sovereign; but, he added, "he is now punished for his crimes."

It is strange, but not unparalleled, that soon after the death of this
claimant to the name and title of the young Emperor, another impostor
appeared in Paphlagonia, and collected a very large number of partisans
together; but after a short course of rapine and murder, he was
defeated and slain by the imperial general.


A.D. 1225.

In 1205 the recently elected Emperor of Constantinople, Baldwin,
Hereditary Count of Flanders and Hainault, was defeated and taken
prisoner by Joannice, King of Bulgaria.  The release of the illustrious
captive was demanded by Pope Innocent the Third, but the barbarian
victor contented himself with replying that Baldwin had died in prison.
He did not condescend to furnish any particulars of his decease, but
rumour supplied the omission by inventing and retailing all kinds of
terrible tales of his murder, the most noteworthy of which the curious
reader may find upon referring to the pages of Gibbon.  The real
circumstances of his death never came to light, but there does not
appear to be the slightest reason for doubting the fact itself; the
intelligence was credited by his allies and subjects, and nothing
plausible has been advanced to account for Joannice asserting it if
untrue.  His brother Henry, however, who, upon the news of Baldwin's
defeat and capture, had been appointed Regent, would not consent to
receive the imperial crown until the lapse of a twelvemonth after the
fatal intelligence; and the mystery with which the barbarian victor's
prisons was enshrouded would appear to have inspired the Latins with a
belief in the prolonged existence of their monarch.

Be this as it may, twenty years passed away without any one appearing
to question the fact of Baldwin's death.  At the expiration of that
period, when the sovereignty of Flanders and Hainault had devolved upon
the Emperor-Count's eldest daughter Jean, a claimant appeared to assert
his identity with the lost monarch.  He maintained that after his
capture at Adrianople he had been kindly treated by his Bulgarian
captors, who, after a lapse of years, so far relaxed their watchfulness
that he was enabled to effect his escape from custody; taken prisoner,
however, by another barbarous tribe, unacquainted with his rank, he had
been treated by them as a slave, and finally taken into Syria and sold.
There for two years he had been compelled to toil as a common labourer.
Enabled, by accident, to make himself known to some German merchants,
who were permitted to trade in the vicinity, they had ransomed him for
a small amount; and as by the death of his brother the throne of
Constantinople had reverted to another, and probably hostile, branch of
the family, he had deemed the recovery of his hereditary dominions an
easier task than that of his Eastern empire.

The Countess Jean was at this time harassed by different feuds,
domestic and foreign, and a portion of her more martially disposed
subjects, wearied of female rule, received the impostor very
favourably.  His pretensions, however, were rejected _in toto_ by the
Countess, who refused to see him.  Advised to have him interrogated in
order to prove his imposture, she consented, and her chief counsellors
had a long and wearisome interview with the pseudo monarch, who assumed
a great gravity of mien and comported himself with much dignity; he
paid all due observance to the questions asked him, and replied to
everything with considerable plausibility.  He spoke at great length,
and bitterly reproached the counsellors present for not at once
acknowledging him as their rightful sovereign.  He was permitted
uninterruptedly to address the assembly, and his words would appear to
have made some impression upon the council, the president of which
broke up the meeting, alleging that it would not be lawful for them to
decide upon matters of such importance without learning the good will
and pleasure of the Countess.

His tale now gained eager credence with the Flemings, and his claims
were seconded by many noblemen, although, according to native
historians, Jean had received conclusive proofs of her father's death
from the hands of two envoys whom she had sent into Greece purposely to
obtain information.  Mezeray, the French chronicler, declares that the
impostor was not only recognized by a large portion of the Flemish
aristocracy, with whose genealogies, ancestors' deeds, and family names
he displayed a perfect knowledge, but was also put in possession of the
whole of Flanders by an enthusiastic people.  To impress the populace
he appeared in a scarlet garb, and carrying a white baton in his hand;
and his imposture was all the more successful because of his really
bearing no little resemblance to the veritable Baldwin.

Finding himself so well supported, he attempted to obtain possession of
the Countess Jean, but she fled into France, and besought the
protection of her cousin, Louis the Eighth, king of that country.
Louis came to Compiegne, whither also, under promise of a safe conduct,
came the pseudo Baldwin to meet him.  The pretender was accompanied in
a manner suited to his assumed rank, and upon being introduced to the
king saluted him proudly.  According to some annalists, Louis, after a
long discourse, in which he asked the claimant to produce some
document, or other authentic proof of his identity, was prompted by his
counsellor, the Bishop of Beauvais, to put three test questions, which
were: "Firstly, In what place he had rendered homage to Philip
Augustus, King of France, for his Countship of Flanders?  Secondly, By
whom, and in what place, had he been invested with knighthood?
Thirdly, In what place, and on what day, was he married to his wife
Marguerite, daughter of the Count of Champagne?"

Taken by surprise, the impostor requested three days in order to
prepare replies to these questions; and, as it was pointed out, as the
lapse of twenty years might have impaired his memory, this demand was
not, after all, so unreasonable.  King Louis, however, found his
answers so contradictory, and so generally unsatisfactory, that he
commanded him to leave France within three days, not being enabled, in
consequence of the safe conduct granted to him, to have him punished
for his deception.

The pseudo Baldwin, being thus deprived of all hopes of the French
king's aid or countenance, hastened to Valenciennes, where fresh
disappointments awaited him.  His allies, who from various reasons had
espoused his cause, now began rapidly to desert him, and in far less
time than it had taken him to attain his transient grandeur, he beheld
himself divested of his borrowed plumes, and forced to fly in disguise.
He attempted to get into Burgundy, where he had expectations of
support, but his disguise was penetrated, his path discovered, and he
himself captured by a Burgundian named Erard Castenac, who sold him to
the Countess Jean for four hundred silver marks.  The Countess at once
adopted the prevalent method of obtaining information by putting him to
the torture, and under it he is alleged to have confessed that he was
Bertrand de Rans, a native of Champagne, and had been led to attempt
his imposition whilst living as a hermit in a forest near Valenciennes.
An old Belgian chronicle, recording his confession at full length,
alleges that he had frequently heard the citizens bewailing the sad
fate of Flanders in having to submit to the rule of a woman, the
Countess Jean's husband being in perpetual imprisonment in France, and
how they praised their late ruler Baldwin, often exclaiming, "Ah! if
our dear prince could only return once more to Flanders, what a change
there would be!"

Thus incited, the idea gradually formed in the Champagner's mind to
personate the absent monarch, so that one day when some of these
citizens were bemoaning their loss in the usual style, he startled them
by exclaiming, "How do you know that your prince, after escaping from
captivity, did not at once return to his country?"  These words seemed
to coincide with some suspicions his visitors had formed, probably from
hints he had already dropped; and when they retired, although they did
not dare say anything to him personally, they took good care to let
everybody know what they had seen, heard, and suspected.  The
intelligence was rapidly disseminated all over Flanders, and was heard
in all ranks, both high and low.  Multitudes, including many of the
higher classes, visited the hermit, and were received with an
assumption of majesty that fully confirmed them in their belief.  In
the meanwhile Bertrand played his game so skilfully that it really
appeared as if he were desirous of not being recognized as the
long-lost Baldwin.  At last, one day, one of his visitors had the
courage or the impudence to say, "It is believed that you are Baldwin
disguised in this hermit's garb;" whereupon he, thinking that the
favourable opportunity for airing his pretensions had now arrived,
responded sharply, "Those who imagine this do not deceive themselves,
for besides me there never has been any Baldwin, Emperor of the Greeks,
Count of Flanders and Hainault."

Upon hearing this declaration, all present, both high and low, saluted
him as their sovereign, and furnished him with such money as they could
raise; in a little while he attained to the height of his short-lived
prosperity, whence, as has been seen, he as quickly fell.

After this confession had been obtained from the pretender he was
condemned to death, but previously to the carrying out of the capital
sentence was bound to a horse, and in that ignominious manner publicly
exhibited in all the chief cities of the Netherlands.  Finally he was
hanged at Lille.

His execution did not dissipate the belief in the justness of his
claim; the populace, says Mezeray, the French historian, preferring to
believe that rather than resign her sovereignty, the Countess had had
her father hanged.  Matthew Paris, in his brief account of this
imposture, declares that he was Baldwin, and that all his misfortunes
arose from him having murdered an Eastern maiden, whom he had promised
to marry and baptize; punishment overtaking him not because of the
murder, but for "the uncanonical omission of baptism before its

The Lilleois were fully confirmed in their belief of the hanged man's
identity with Baldwin from the somewhat singular circumstance that
after the execution the Countess Jean founded a great hospital in their
city, and had placed upon everything in and about the building the
bizarre design of a gibbet.


A.D. 1284.

Take it for all in all, the case of this claimant is certainly the most
wonderful one on record.  For thirty-eight years Frederick the Second
had nominally ruled Germany, but his foreign wars and Italian States
had occupied so much of his time that only seven years of his long
reign were really spent in his imperial dominions.  He died at
Férentino, in 1250, in the fifty-fifth year of his age; and in a little
while the enormously extended empire which he had obtained for his
family had passed from their hands, and his many sons, and even his
grandsons, were despoiled of their crowns, and lost their lives by

Warfare and contention in the various states succeeded Frederick's
decease.  In Germany a long interregnum of misery ensued, and it was
not until 1273, when Rudolph of Hapsburgh was elected to the imperial
crown, that the nation could obtain either the administration of
justice or respite from hostilities, foreign and intestine.  Rudolph's
long reign proved very beneficial to the distracted empire, and for
several years Germany enjoyed an unwonted amount of prosperity, when,
in 1284, the people were startled by the report that Frederick the
Second, whom for thirty-four years everybody had believed dead and
buried, was still alive, and, although nearly ninety years old, seeking
to recover the imperial crown.

And true it was that an aged man, claiming to be the supposed defunct
monarch, had appeared, giving so plausible an account of his lengthy
seclusion, and displaying so remarkable a knowledge of Frederick's most
private transactions, that multitudes, including the Landgrave of
Thuringia and other important personages, believed his story and
afforded him support.

The narration which he gave to account for his long silence, and
abstention from the exercise of his imperial functions, was as follows:
Declaring himself persistently to be Frederick the Second, Emperor of
Germany, King of Naples and Sicily, the old man traced the story of his
life back to A.D. 1250, when, as he truly stated, the last of the
Swabian emperors, worn out with his ceaseless conflicts with the
Papacy, disheartened by his own reverses and the capture by the
Bolognese of his illegitimate son Encius, King of Sardinia, retired to
his castle of Férentino, in the Capitanate of Naples.  Here, according
to historical records, Frederick died of dysentery, but, according to
the tale put forward by the aged claimant, no such event took place.
Wearied with the world, troubled by the bane of excommunication, and
sickened by the fatality which overtook his progeny one after the
other, he, Frederick, determined to forsake the pomp of royalty and
seek an undiscoverable retreat.  Feigning illness, he sent for one of
his former retainers, a man who had long since left his service, and
whose brother was Prior of the Carthusian Monastery of Squillace, in
Calabria.  To this old servitor he communicated his purpose, and
besought him to accompany his former master to this frightfully
secluded place, which St. Bruno, institutor of the Carthusian Monks,
had founded.  He consented to Frederick's wish.  A very faithful valet,
by the Emperor's order, now set to work to disinter the body of a man
of about fifty years of age, who, conveniently for the purpose, had
died the preceding day, and had, in accordance with southern custom,
been buried a few hours after his death.  Luckily for the success of
the scheme, the night was very obscure, so that the man was enabled
unobserved to bring his ghastly burden under the Emperor's window,
where, by means of a rope, the confederates succeeded in drawing it up
into the chamber.  The dead body was dressed in the Emperor's attire
and placed in the imperial bed, whereupon Frederick and his follower
descended by the rope into the garden, and, quite unnoticed by the
guards, made good their retreat.

By easy stages the Chartreuse was reached, and the Emperor, after
rewarding the Sicilian valet with diamonds of sufficient value to keep
him in comfort for the rest of his days, made rich offerings to the
Prior, and then, without revealing his real name or condition, was
received into the monastery as a simple brother, and as such was
employed in the cultivation of the adjacent garden.

In this healthy occupation, ran the pretender's story, he continued
until 1268, when his unfortunate young grandson Conradrin was
atrociously beheaded by order of Charles of Anjou.  He then changed his
abode to another Carthusian monastery in Champagne, near the town of
Luni, and thence he passed into Germany once more, and as all his male
descendants were deceased, asserted his right to reclaim the imperial

Many persons believed, or appeared to believe, this strange story.  The
Landgrave of Thuringia, and others of less note, publicly proffered
their allegiance.  The people of West Friesland, then at war with
Florentius, Count of Holland, sent deputies to him to complain of the
perpetual raids which the Dutch made into their lands, and to beg him
to protect them as vassals of the empire against the insults and
vexations of their enemies.  The pseudo Frederick, only too glad of the
opportunity of airing his pretensions, wrote to Count Florentius to the
effect that unless he at once desisted from this warfare, he would put
him under the ban of the empire, and attack him with the imperial
forces; moreover, if he had, as he asserted, any right to Friesland,
let him come to him, Frederick, at Misina, to produce his evidence and
receive the Imperial decision.

The Count of Holland was greatly enraged at this affront, but, as
recorded by Vossius in his History of Holland, condescended to reply,
to the effect that his correspondent had plenty of assurance to take
upon himself the name of the Emperor Frederick the Second, thirty-four
years after that monarch's death.  There were, however, he reminded the
claimant, yet living persons who had beheld Frederick's dead body;
whilst, as he pointed out, not only were the Emperor's affairs at the
time of his death far from desperate enough to cause him to conceal
himself, but also the impossibility for such an illustrious personage
to have remained for so long a time in obscurity.  He then strongly
advised the pretender to quietly return to his proper station in
society, adding that he could not have any dread of his armaments,
seeing that he possessed none, not even being master of Misina, where
he resided.

Not satisfied with this exhibition of his claims, the pseudo Frederick
now wrote to the Emperor Rudolph commanding him to resign the imperial
dignity, and unattended, and simply as a tributary prince, to come and
do homage to him, his sovereign.  This was too much for the patience of
Rudolph, who soon determined to dispose of this competitor for his
crown.  Historians differ somewhat as to how he obtained possession of
the claimant, but according to the most reliable accounts he would
appear to have been taken prisoner at Wetzlaer, in Hesse, after that
town had sustained a cruel siege on his account; thence he was taken to
Nuz, in the Electorate of Cologne, and, after having been subjected to
torture, confessed, so it was declared, that his real name was Tilon
Colup, and that the many private details of Frederick's life, of which
he had displayed such an intimate knowledge, were learnt whilst he was
in the Emperor's service as a domestic.  Contemporary records aver that
he bore great resemblance to Frederick, that he was perfectly
acquainted with the most minute particulars of that monarch's life,
both public and private, and that he simulated the deceased sovereign
so well in conversation that he convinced all with whom he conversed.

Ultimately, he was sentenced to death as a necromancer, and, together
with two of his chief adherents, burnt to death in Nuz.  The
inhabitants of Colmar, a large town in the hereditary dominions of
Frederick, who had embraced the claimant's cause with great zeal, were
inflicted with a heavy pecuniary fine in lieu of death, to which
punishment they were, at first, sentenced.


A.D. 1345-54.

The history of this adventurer is rendered more than usually
interesting from the fact that several authors have taken up cudgels on
his behalf, and vehemently assert that he was truly the man he asserted
himself to be.  Not only authors' ink, but, unfortunately, a great
quantity of human blood was wasted in the dispute, and that, too,
without the world being any the wiser.  The facts, as they are
recounted by historians, stand thus:

Voldemar the Second, Marquis of Brandenburg, was the thirteenth Elector
of the family of the Counts of Ascagne, a family closely related to
many of the royal houses of Europe.  After a reign of about three
years, Voldemar, following the example of so many of his
contemporaries, determined upon making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
Having settled all his temporal affairs, and left his brother, John the
Fourth, in possession of his electorate, he started upon his
pilgrimage, attended only by two men.  He set off on his journey
without informing his brother, or any of his subjects, what route he
intended taking, or, indeed, furnishing information of any kind
relative to his intentions.

Voldemar and his brother John were the only surviving members of the
elder branch of the House of Ascagne; but, previous to his departure,
the royal pilgrim obliged his subjects to swear that, in the event of
him and his brother dying childless, they would receive for their
sovereign a prince of the House of Anhalt, which was a branch of the
Ascagne family.  This was A.D. 1320.

Twenty-four days after Voldemar's departure his brother John died
suddenly, not without suspicion that he had been poisoned.  The absent
Elector, apparently unconscious of the sad event, did not return, and,
it was quickly noised abroad, had also met with a sudden death.

The Emperor Louis, acting in opposition to all right, save that of
might, instead of allowing the duly recognized prince to succeed, took
possession of the electorate, and invested his own son Louis with it.
This usurpation would appear to have been effected without exciting
much opposition at the time, but, eventually, after numberless
declarations and reservations of their rights had been made by
different princes of the empire, the whole question was reopened by the
appearance of a man claiming to be the long-lost Voldemar.  In order to
afford a fair idea of this pretender's claims, it will be necessary in
the first place to recount the story of his appearance as detailed by
the authors favouring the theory of his being an impostor, and then to
produce the evidence offered by those of the opposite party on his

The received opinion is that Rudolph, Duke and Elector of Saxony, being
desirous of wresting the Electorate of Brandenburg from Louis of
Bavaria, the Emperor's son, under the pretence that he himself was a
member of the House of Ascagne, and finding it difficult to get the two
electorates (of Saxony and Brandenburg) vested in one person, produced
a certain man, whom he doubtless meant to use as a tool.  This man he
declared to be his dear cousin Voldemar, who had disappeared nearly
twenty-five years previously, on a pilgrimage to the chief places of
the Holy Land; which he had, it was given forth, visited, but had been
taken prisoner and been kept in captivity by the infidels until
recently, when he had contrived to effect his escape.

Several different versions of this story exist; some writers assert
that the pseudo Voldemar was a miller of Sandreslaw, and others say a
native of Beltztize, named Jacques Reboc; he was, they moreover allege,
an habitual liar, and a cunning vagabond, possessing some resemblance,
in form and face, to the lost prince; such resemblance, indeed, as the
number of years that had elapsed since his disappearance, combined with
the fatigues and miseries he had endured, might have left in the
veritable Voldemar.  He had, they add, dwelt for a number of years in
Saxony, where he had been well instructed as to the former life and
family connections of the deceased Elector, as well as put in the way
of counterfeiting on his person the various marks by which he might
deceive the world.

Thus runs the story as told by the advocates for the imposture theory;
presently it will be seen what can be said on the other side; whilst
now it will be as well to hear what happened upon the appearance of the
claimant.  The rumour of Voldemar's return from a long and painful
captivity in Turkey having quickly spread over Germany, the people were
everywhere in a state of intense excitement to see him; and when he
reached Brandenburg, the populace at once declared for him, and
compelled the Elector Louis to retire.  Charles the Fourth, who had
succeeded Louis the Fourth as emperor, and was on bad terms with the
Elector Louis, the late monarch's son, declared for the claimant, as
did also the rulers of Brunswick, Pomerania, Mecklenburg, and several
others, including Voldemar's relatives, the Duke of Saxony and the
Princes of Anhalt.

In 1348, a Congress was held, at which almost all the nobility
recognized the claimant as the legitimate Elector; whilst, as for the
lower classes, they received him back with transports of joy; such was
their enthusiasm at getting their old ruler back, indeed, and their
delight at being delivered from the dominion of the Bavarians, who had
taken possession of their country after it had been for two hundred
years governed by the House of Ascagne, that they furnished the
supposed Voldemar bountifully with goods and money, and rendered him
every assistance towards driving out Louis.  Almost all the towns and
cities acknowledged his authority, and promised obedience to his rule.

Louis at once commenced proceedings for the recovery of his lost
electorate; aided by Casimir, King of Poland, the King of Denmark, who
singularly enough was also named Voldemar, and by some other potentates
equally desirous of having a hand in their neighbour's affairs, he soon
found himself able to place a good army in the field.  A desultory
warfare, that endured for some years, now commenced between the rival
electors, but finally Voldemar inflicted such a signal defeat upon his
opponent's forces that Louis relinquished the contest in disgust, and
retired to his domains in the Tyrol, making over his claim upon
Brandenburg to his two younger brothers.  This transference of the
electorate, it should be mentioned, the Emperor Charles afterwards
confirmed by letters patent in 1350, notwithstanding the contestation
of Voldemar and his partisans.

According to the popular account, the pseudo Voldemar was ultimately
overthrown, condemned to death, and burnt as an impostor; whilst the
veritable Marquis is stated to have died in 1322, either at a place
called Korekei, or at Stendell.

Thus runs the commonly accredited story; but summing up later and
equally reliable records, the favourers of the idea that it was really
the Elector himself who reappeared put the case thus.  The Archbishop
of Magdeburg, Primate of Germany, a man totally uninterested either
way, and known for his probity, would not, they say, have recognised
and have given his testimony on behalf of the claimant unless satisfied
as to his identity; nor, they further remark, would the Emperor Charles
and so many other princes have exposed their lives and caused the
effusion of so much human blood for an impostor.

Moreover, one historian shows from contemporary records that by the
Electoral College of Germany Voldemar was still believed to be alive in
1338, sixteen years after his alleged death; but as the official letter
is only founded on a belief, its citation is worthless.  The statement
as to his decease in 1322 is, they point out, contradictory, whilst had
the Elector Louis known of his predecessor's death, why did he not
procure documentary evidence of the same?  The Emperor Louis was known,
moreover, to have entertained great hatred against the House of
Ascagne, in consequence of its chiefs, Rudolph of Saxony and Voldemar
the First, uncle of the second Voldemar, having declared for his rival
for the empire, Frederick of Austria, in 1313.

What, however, chiefly confirms their view of the case in the eyes of
the claimant's advocates is, not only did Voldemar's relatives, the
Duke of Saxony and the Princes of Anhalt, and that apparently contrary
to their interest, acknowledge the wanderer, but they even, when he
died at Dessau, in 1354, nine years after his return, laid his bones
amongst those of the ancestors of their illustrious house.  According
to the chronicle of Magdeburg, he was buried at Dessau in the Chapel du
Saint Esprit, which was the general place of sepulture for the princes
of the sovereign house of Anhalt.


A.D. 1404.

English history, unfortunately, furnishes several examples of royal
claimants, whose pretensions have but too frequently caused great
effusion of blood.  One of the earliest of these cases occurred soon
after the mysterious disappearance of Richard the Second from
Pontefract Castle.  How the king died, and by what means, is an
unfathomable secret; but there is little reason for doubting that he
was murdered by the adherents of Henry the Fourth.  Many favoured the
idea, however, that he had escaped from the hands of his jailers and
had reached a place of safety.  "It is most strange," remarks the old
chronicler, Speed, "that King Richard was not suffered to be dead after
he had so long a time been buried."

For some years rumours of the king being still alive and in Scotland
were industriously circulated all over the country, and believed in by
many; so that in 1404, when Warde, a Court jester, who much resembled
the deceased monarch, was induced by a gentleman named Serle, or Serlo,
to personate him, numbers, including some titled personages, were
deceived into deeming that Richard was still alive.

The late king's privy seal was counterfeited, and letters despatched to
many of his old adherents to assure them of his being alive, and of his
intention to shortly show himself in England again.  These "forged
impositions" produced the desired effect upon many, including the old
Countess of Oxford, who either credited or pretended to credit the
intelligence, and distributed a number of gold and silver harts, such
as Richard was accustomed to give his followers, to be worn as

Henry soon heard of these proceedings, and Serle's messenger being
arrested, gave up the names of the parties with whom he communicated.
Several monks were arrested; the old Countess was imprisoned; and her
private secretary, who had repeatedly affirmed that he had spoken with
King Richard, was barbarously executed.  Serle was soon afterwards
betrayed into Henry's hands, and is declared to have confessed
everything connected with the conspiracy.  He was drawn on a sledge
through all the principal towns from Pontefract to London, and executed
at the latter place as a traitor.  The alleged originator of the scheme
and his abettors having been thus disposed of, the whole affair would
appear to have been speedily forgotten.


A.D. 1425.

Bajaret the First, surnamed Yilderim, or "The Lightning," from his
impetuosity, after a long, uninterrupted career of victory, during
which he had held all Europe at bay, in a single battle in 1402
succumbed to the irresistible power of Timur the Great, losing
everything but life.  Amongst those who fell in the almost
unprecedented carnage of this terrible field was, it is supposed,
Mustapha, the Turkish Sultan's eldest son and heir.

In 1403 Bajaret died, or, according to another authority, brained
himself against the iron bars of the cage in which his conqueror is
stated to have retained him.  The remaining sons of the deceased
monarch contrived to elude the vigilance of Tamerlane, and at once
commenced fighting amongst themselves.  For eleven years they kept the
tottering empire in a chronic state of intestine warfare, but finally,
Mohammed, the youngest, obtained the reins of power, and speedily
reinstated the nation in its former glory.  In 1422, after a short but
successful reign, Mohammed the First died, and was succeeded by his
son, Amurath the Second, who had just attained his eighteenth year.

Up to 1421 no one would appear to have entertained any doubt of the
death of Prince Mustapha at the famous battle of Angora, when suddenly
he, or a claimant to his name, appeared, and demanded the sovereignty
of the empire, by virtue of being Bajaret's eldest son.  Who this man
was still remains doubtful.  With the single exception of Nectori, who
is, however, a creditable authority, all the Turkish historians declare
this _soi disant_ Mustapha to have been an impostor, whilst Christian
writers, favouring the Greek cause, persistently assert him to have
been the veritable prince himself.

Be the pretender who he may, no sooner did he emerge from obscurity
than he obtained allies and adherents only too willing to share in the
promised plunder of an empire.  Joined by the Prince of Walachia, and
by Djouneid, Governor of Nicopolis, whom the too generous Sultan
Mohammed had already twice pardoned for rebellion, the claimant invaded
Thessaly.  Defeated and put to flight in the neighbourhood of Salonica,
he took refuge in that city, putting himself under the protection of
the Greek commandant, who justified his confidence by refusing to give
him up to the vengeance of his conquerors.  The Emperor Emanuel highly
approved of the commandant's conduct, and to the request of his
powerful neighbour, the Sultan, that he should surrender the fugitive,
responded that no monarch could act so shamelessly as to deliver up a
prince who sought an asylum at the foot of his throne.  He promised,
however, that during the lifetime of Mohammed, the _soi disant_
Mustapha should not be permitted to leave the Greek court.  The Sultan
contented himself with this promise of the Emperor, and agreed to pay a
pension of three hundred thousand _astres_* to the pretender; thus, it
has been pointed out, tacitly recognizing him as of the royal blood.
The Governor Djouneid and thirty of his companions were included in the
treaty of pardon, but Mohammed invaded and ravaged the dominions of the
Prince of Walachia, in revenge for the aid he had afforded the rebels.

* A Turkish coin value half-a-crown.

The following year Mohammed the First was struck with apoplexy, and
died suddenly, leaving his empire, as before stated, to his son,
Amurath the Second.  The new ruler immediately advised the neighbouring
princes of his accession to the Turkish throne, entering into
alliances, and making truces or treaties of peace with such as had been
hostile to the Ottoman power.  All but the Greek Emperor appeared to be
friendlily disposed, and he, doubtless thinking to take advantage of
the new monarch's youth, instantly summoned Amurath to place his
brothers in his hands, as hostages for the performance of some clause
in his father's testament.  Emanuel, moreover, threatened the youthful
Sultan that unless he complied with the demand, he would release
Mustapha, his uncle, the legitimate heir to the Turkish throne, and
assist him by force of arms to recover his usurped rights.

Amurath's clever minister refused the demand with indignation,
asserting that the law of the prophet did not permit the children of
true believers to be brought up amongst _ghiaours_.*  The Greek
Emperor, true to his menace, and all unmindful of the dangerous
vicinity of the Ottoman dominions to his own, set the pretender free,
and gave him every requisite for the commencement of his dangerous
adventure, upon condition that he made over Gallipoli, and several
other towns, to the Greeks.

* Infidels; literally, dogs.

Thus befriended, the royal claimant, accompanied by ten galleys
containing his followers and adherents, proceeded to Gallipoli, where
he no sooner disembarked than the town and suburbs acknowledged his
pretensions, only the garrison of the fortress holding out.  Leaving a
small besieging force before the town, he made rapid marches towards
the Isthmus of Athos, his army increasing rapidly as he proceeded, and
several places falling into his hands.  The Sultan sent his Vizier to
Adrianople, where he collected an army of thirty thousand men, with
which to oppose the invaders.  Several great vassals of the empire
having now declared for Mustapha, he was quite prepared to face the
imperial army, and as soon as it came in view he advanced courageously
towards it, and commanded the troops to lay down their arms.  As if by
magic, says one historian, the soldiers obeyed, and the pretender
suddenly found himself master of the situation without having to lose a
single man.  The unfortunate Vizier and his brother were captured; the
former was put to death, but the latter released.

On receipt of this intelligence the fortress of Gallipoli capitulated,
and Demetrius, the commander of the Greek forces, was about to garrison
it with his soldiers when Mustapha interposed, and, unmindful of his
treaty with Emanuel, said that he was not making war for the Emperor's
profit.  The Greeks, thus beholding all their hopes of aggrandizement
dissipated, sought to renew their alliance with the Sultan, but their
monarch obstinately persisting in his demand for Amurath's brothers
being placed in his hands as hostages, the negotiations fell through.

As soon as the Ottoman sovereign learnt the defection of his army, he
energetically set to work to collect another, and to obtain the aid of
surrounding nations.  Encouraged by the promise of victory given him by
the saintly Emir of Bokhara, he proceeded with his hastily improvised
forces to meet the rebels, ultimately taking up a strong position
behind the river Ouloubad.  Mustapha, on his side, was advancing
quickly to give battle, when he was suddenly seized with a violent
bleeding at the nose, which weakened him so much that for three days he
was compelled to suspend the attack.  The delay was fatal to him.
Taking advantage of the respite, emissaries of Amurath penetrated into
the hostile ranks, and persuaded large numbers of soldiers and officers
to return to their former master, whilst the Arabs, who remained
faithful to Mustapha, having attempted to surprise the imperial troops,
were cut into pieces by the Janissaries.  Djouneid, the thrice-dyed
traitor, seeing how matters were going, still further injured the
pretender's cause by passing over to the enemy with all his followers.
Believing themselves abandoned by their chiefs, the soldiers fled in
all directions in disorder, leaving their unfortunate leader in the
company of a few servants.  He took refuge in Gallipoli, but seeing the
fleet of his fortunate rival approaching to besiege the place, he
resumed his flight, and took shelter in Walachia.  Betrayed, however,
by some of his personal attendants, he was seized, taken to Adrianople,
and put to death, having been hanged, according to some accounts, from
the battlements of the city walls.

When the defeat and death of Mustapha was communicated to the Greek
Emperor, he began to fear for himself.  He despatched ambassadors to
the Sultan to make protestations of his friendship, and to leave no
stone unturned to avert his wrath.  His efforts were useless: at the
head of twenty thousand men, Amurath, aided by a Genoese fleet, crossed
over to Europe, and advancing to the walls of Constantinople, besieged
Emanuel in his capital.  Encouraged by the presence and prophecies of
the Emir of Bokhara, the Mussulmans were impatient for the assault on
the world-famed city.  After long meditations, the holy man solemnly
proclaimed that at one hour after midday of the 24th of August, 1422,
he should mount his steed, and thrice waving his scimitar, and thrice
giving the war-cry of "Allah and his prophet," the Mohammedans were to
advance, and the city would be theirs.

Accordingly, on the day and the hour promised, the Emir, mounted on a
magnificent charger, and escorted by five hundred dervishes, advancing
towards the beleaguered city, gave the anticipated signal; his words
were caught up and thrice repeated by the whole invading army.
Uttering defiant war-cries, the Greek soldiery advanced, and in a short
time both armies were hotly engaged.  And now was beheld one of the
most wonderful phenomena recorded in the annals of nations, but which
is, unfortunately, so differently stated by the Christian and
Mohammedan chroniclers, that it is difficult to reconcile the two
versions; the better way will be, doubtless, to believe neither.

The sun was sinking below the horizon, without victory having declared
for either side, when suddenly, say the favourers of the Greek version,
in the midst of the golden rays of the setting luminary was beheld a
virgin, clothed in a violet robe, and blinding the eyes of the
besiegers with the supernatural glare which surrounded her.  Panic
stricken, the Mohammedans fled, and Constantinople was saved; saved,
the Christians asserted, by the Virgin Mary herself.

As might be expected, the story told by the Mussulmans was very
different, the miracle, if they are to be believed, having been
performed on their behalf, and their withdrawal from before the city
having been caused by a totally different occurrence.  Their retreat,
indeed, was the result of the Emperor Emanuel's policy.  Seeing all his
plans frustrated by the pretender's death, he hit upon the idea of
resuscitating him.  Having obtained a man to suit his purpose, another
Mustapha was started, fresh revolts excited, and Amurath compelled to
raise the siege of the imperial city, in order to make use of his army
to put down the new aspirant to his throne.

The second _soi disant_ Mustapha did not enjoy his borrowed plumes for
long: some towns, it is true, succumbed to him, and others bought his
forbearance, but no sooner had he got within reach of the hostile army
than Elias, a man who had urged him to undertake the imposture, seduced
by the Sultan's gold, betrayed him to Amurath, and he was executed on
the field of battle.


A.D. 1486.

The frequency, in the middle ages, with which sovereigns and members of
royal families met with mysterious deaths afforded full scope for the
ingenious to exercise their talents in assuming the names and titles of
deceased princes.  As the murderers, or those who profited by the
murder, often could not conveniently produce proofs of the absent
person's decease, the claimant was frequently enabled to make good use
of his rival's reticence; but, almost invariably, even if the fraud
were not discovered, the pretender was overthrown, and nearly always
paid for his temerity by an ignominious or, at all events, a violent
death.  The subject of the present sketch is almost the only impostor,
proved to be one, who met with a luckier fate.

The manner in which Richard the Third disposed of his nephews, Edward
the Fifth and Richard, Duke of York, was so mysterious and secret, that
it is not strange that it gave rise to many curious complications, the
perplexities of which had to be suffered by his successor.  Presuming
the two young princes to have been put to death, the next male heir to
the throne, upon the demise of Richard the Third, was Edward, Earl of
Warwick, the son of the late Duke of Clarence.  At one time, indeed,
Richard had treated the boy as heir-apparent, but his jealousy becoming
aroused, he had him detained as a prisoner in the manor-house of
Sheriff Hutton, doubtless with a view of causing him to share
ultimately the sad fate of his cousins.  One of the earliest acts of
Henry the Seventh, after the defeat and death of Richard at Bosworth
Field, was to secure the person of the Earl of Warwick; he had the
youthful captive brought up to London, from Yorkshire, and then the
poor boy, "born to perpetual calamity," as Hall remarks, "was
incontinent in the Tower of London put under safe and sure custody."

The place of this unfortunate prince's durance, Henry's known
character, and the apparently parallel case of his two cousins, quickly
gave rise to the rumour that Edward had died suddenly.  This
intelligence corresponded with the projected schemes of a certain
Richard Simon, a priest residing at Oxford.  This man for some time
past, if Bacon and other authorities are to be believed, had been
educating a baker's son, Lambert Simnel by name, to play a daring and
apparently hopeless part in his ambitious game, and the news of the
Earl of Warwick's death afforded him the desired opportunity of taking
the first step.  The priest and his pupil, a lad of no small natural
dignity and tact, proceeded to Ireland, and in November, 1486, landed
at Dublin.

Simon introduced his pupil to the Earl of Kildare first, and finding
him only too willing to accept his story, openly proclaimed the boy to
be Edward, son of the Duke of Clarence, escaped from his imprisonment
in the Tower.  The nobles and gentry in Ireland crowded to see the
pseudo prince, who is recorded to have been "not only beautiful and
graceful in person, but witty and ingenious.  He told his touching
story with great consistency, and, when questioned, he could give
minute particulars relating to the royal family."  The Earl of Kildare,
who was Lord Lieutenant, or Deputy of Ireland, presented Simon's
_protégé_ to the people "as sole male heir left of the line of Richard,
Duke of York," and consequently the rightful ruler of that realm.  A
large number of Irish hereupon acknowledged him as their monarch; the
citizens of Dublin declaring unanimously in his favour; "so that," says
Bacon, "with marvellous consent and applause, this counterfeit
Plantagenet was brought with great solemnity to the castle of Dublin,
and there saluted, served, and honoured as king; the boy becoming it
well, and doing nothing that did betray the baseness of his condition."

Messengers were sent into England and Flanders for assistance, in the
meanwhile that the boy was solemnly crowned and anointed in the
cathedral of Dublin, by the Bishop of Meath, as Edward the Sixth, under
which name he issued writs, convoked a parliament, and performed other
acts of legal authority, without there being a single sword drawn in
King Henry's favour.

When intelligence of this affair reached Henry's ears, he at once
summoned a council to meet at the Charterhouse, near Shene, and the
result of their deliberations was that Edward Plantagenet should be
taken out of the Tower, and publicly shown to the citizens, to prove
the levity and imposture of the proceedings in Ireland; secondly, that
a general pardon or amnesty should be granted "to all that would reveal
their offences, and submit themselves by a certain day," and this
pardon was to be so ample that not even high treason--"no, not against
the King's own person"--should be excepted.  Lastly, it was resolved
the Queen Dowager, Henry's mother-in-law, should be arrested,
imprisoned, and _her goods confiscated_, under the absurd pretence that
she had broken her agreement with Henry in delivering her daughters out
of sanctuary into the late King Richard's hands.  This last resolution
every one could readily perceive was adopted from a motive different to
the alleged one, and Bacon hints that Henry suspected his royal
relative of having prompted, to suit her own purposes, the priest and
his protégé Lambert in their undertaking.  Whatever the cause of her
imprisonment, the King, says the historian, sustained great obloquy for
it, "which, nevertheless, was somewhat sweetened to him by a great

The pardon was accordingly proclaimed; the Queen-mother imprisoned in
the nunnery of Bermondsey; and the unfortunate veritable Prince Edward
was brought forth from his imprisonment in the Tower, and on a Sunday
taken through the principal streets to St. Paul's Cathedral, where a
large number of persons had congregated; "and it was provided also in
good fashion, that divers of the nobility and others of quality
(especially of those that the King most suspected and knew the person
of Plantagenet best), had communication with the young gentleman by the
way."  The poor lad was then re-conducted to his place of durance,
after having, so far as England was concerned, served his jailer's
purpose.  The Irish, however, had gone too far to be disconcerted by
this exhibition, and they loudly declared that it was Henry who had
"tricked up a boy in the likeness of Edward Plantagenet, and showed him
to the people," to suit his own plans.

At this time, also, unexpected succour arrived in Ireland for the
pretender.  John de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln, nephew of the two late
kings, Edward the Fourth and Richard the Third, and, after Edward
Plantagenet, the legitimate heir to the Yorkist claims, had fled from
the clutches of Henry the Seventh to the protection of his aunt,
Margaret of Burgundy.  The Duchess, ever ready to assist the Yorkist
cause, had at once entered into the Simnel plot, and promised all the
aid in her power.  She fitted out a regiment of two thousand
mercenaries, put them under the command of Martin Swartz, a skilled
veteran, and sent them with the Earl of Lincoln into Ireland.  Thus
assisted, the Irish malcontents insisted upon being led into England,
and, despite the more prudent advice of some of their council, this
plan was adopted.  Under the leadership of the Earls of Lincoln and
Kildare, the pretender and his adherents crossed over to Lanarkshire,
where they were joined by a small body of English under Sir Thomas

Henry, meanwhile, lost no time in raising troops, and by the time the
rebels had reached Stoke, near Newark, they came into contact with the
King's army.  The battle was obstinately contested, but the pretender's
small and ill-armed forces had no chance against the royal troops.
"Martin Swartz, with his Germans, performed bravely, and so did those
few English that were on that side; neither did the Irish fail in
courage or fierceness, but being almost naked men, only armed with
darts and skeans, it was rather an execution than a fight upon them;
insomuch as the furious slaughter of them was a great discouragement
and appalment to the rest."  The German veterans died in their ranks
almost to a man, and the rebels did not succumb until one-half of their
number, including nearly all their leaders, had fallen on the field;
while some hundreds of the royalists perished.  Amongst the slain were
the Earls of Lincoln and Kildare, Sir Thomas Broughton, Colonel Swartz,
and, it is presumed, Lord Lovel; whilst amongst the prisoners were the
pseudo king, and his tutor, Richard Simon.

As soon as the pretender was proved to be only plain Lambert Simnel,
Henry took him into his service, and employed him in the royal kitchen
as a turnspit; ultimately promoting him to be one of the King's
falconers,--"Henry," says Bacon, "out of wisdom, thinking that if he
suffered death he would be forgotten too soon; but being kept alive he
would be a continual spectacle, and a kind of remedy against the like
enchantments of people in time to come."  As for the priest, observes
this same authority, "he was committed close prisoner, and heard of no
more; _the King loving to seal up his own dangers_."


A.D. 1491-99.

The fate of the leading conspirators in Lambert Simnel's case, instead
of acting as a warning to deter others from similar attacks, really
appeared as if it were only designed as prelude to a far more serious
attempt to wrest the crown from Henry's head.  Unfortunately for the
welfare of England, no sooner had the pseudo Edward been disposed of,
than the King had to contend with another and a far more redoubtable
claimant to the throne.

In 1491 this new aspirant to the crown began to noise his pretensions
abroad, proclaiming himself to be Richard, the younger of the two sons
of the deceased King Edward, who were supposed to have been murdered in
the Tower by order of their uncle, the late King Richard the Third.
This young claimant, admitted to have been a youth of noble aspect, and
in features much resembling the late Edward the Fourth, whilst
acknowledging that his elder brother had been killed, asserted that he
had been permitted to escape.  In a letter, which is now in the British
Museum, and which the youth wrote to Isabella of Spain, he states that
at the time his brother was murdered he was nine years of age; that he
was sent out of England secretly, in the custody of two persons, and
was compelled to take an oath that he would not divulge his name and
rank to any one until after a certain number of years.  Having
fulfilled the conditions of his promise, he left Portugal, where he had
resided for some time, and in 1492 landed in Ireland.  The citizens of
Cork, which was the first city he honoured with a visit, undeterred by
the exposure of the late pretender to royalty, were for warmly
espousing the cause of this claimant, yet were somewhat restrained by
the prudence of the new Earl of Kildare.  At this critical moment
Charles, King of France, being at war with Henry the Seventh, sent a
cordial invitation to the _soi disant_ prince to come to Paris.  The
invitation was readily accepted, and the pretender once more crossed
the seas.  In France he was received everywhere with royal honours, and
treated by everybody as the Duke of York, heir to the English crown.
This courtesy was, however, as Bacon points out, doubtless only
trickery on the part of the French king in order to force Henry into a
peace.  A treaty was speedily concluded between the two monarchs, one
result of which was the dismissal of the young adventurer, King Charles
refusing, nevertheless, to deliver up his youthful guest to the English
king's untender mercies.

Forced to forsake France, the pretender betook himself to the Court of
Burgundy, where the old Duchess, whose nephew he claimed to be,
protected and assisted all adherents of the House of York.  The old
Duchess Margaret, sister of Edward the Fourth, had long asserted her
belief in the existence of one of her nephews, and was only too likely
to acknowledge any presentable claimant; but the support which she had
rendered Simnel in his recent exploit did not tell in favour of her
present _protégé_.  Upon this occasion she was, or pretended to be,
very searching in her scrutiny into the adventurer's story, but, at
last, appearing to be perfectly convinced of the justice of his claims
to kinship, she recognized him as her nephew; embraced him
affectionately; styled him "The White Rose of England;" appointed him a
guard of thirty persons, and furnished him with everything suitable for
the maintenance of his presumed princely rank.  The lad, indeed, is
universally admitted to have displayed in all his conduct a noble
bearing, and if he were, as Henry's partisans assert, only a wandering
trader's son, he certainly did credit to the alleged secret
instructions of his putative aunt.

Lord Verulam, to account for the likeness between the young pretender
and the late King Edward, as also to explain his courtly bearing and
princely deportment, tells a strange and extremely improbable story, to
the effect that the lad was son of a converted Jew, named variously
John, and Peter, Osbeck, a resident of Tournay, but whom business
brought to London.  This Osbeck resided in London for some time, having
with him his wife, who, during the period of their residence in the
English metropolis, was confined of a boy.  Osbeck, says Bacon, "being
known in Court, the King, either out of a religious nobleness, because
he" (the father) "was a convert, or upon some private acquaintance, did
him the honour to be godfather to his child," and, it is to be
presumed, endowed him with regal inclinations.  This needless legend is
set in contrast with another in the next page, wherein the chronicler,
forgetting the "religious nobleness" of the licentious monarch,
subjoins that it was said, "King Edward the Fourth was his godfather,
which, as it is somewhat suspicious for a wanton prince to become
gossip in so mean a house, and might make a man think that he might
indeed have in him some base blood of the House of York, so at the
least it might give occasion to the boy, in being called 'King Edward's
godson,' or, perhaps in sport, 'King Edward's son,' to entertain such
thoughts in his head.  For tutor he had none (for aught that appears),
as Lambert Simnel had, until he came unto the Lady Margaret, who
instructed him."

The advocate for the crafty, avaricious, old Tudor king, next indulges
in a lengthy and apparently imaginative account of the secret tuition
of the comely lad by the Duchess of Burgundy, with whose innermost
thoughts Bacon professes the closest acquaintanceship.  He shrewdly
guesses that "Perkin Warbeck" had counterfeited for so long a time the
person of the murdered prince, that at last, "with oft telling a lie,
he was turned by habit almost into the thing he seemed to be, and from
a liar to a believer."  Be this as it may, the _soi disant_ Richard,
comfortably installed at the Court of Flanders, speedily discovered
means of opening communications with England.  Many members of the
highest families, including, so it was alleged, Sir William Stanley, a
relative of the King, and who had even saved Henry's life and crown at
Bosworth, were involved in a plot, having for its object the overthrow
of the reigning monarch, and, apparently, the substitution for him of
the Burgundian protégé.  Henry was well provided with spies, who kept
him closely informed of all that was brewing; but his efforts to obtain
possession of "le garson," as he termed the claimant, were unavailable;
whilst all his declarations that he was perfectly at his ease with
respect to the "impostor, as every one knew who and what he was," only
served to display his anxiety.

By means of the King's gold, the whole of the conspiracy on foot was
revealed: Sir Robert Clifford, one of the conspirators, betrayed his
companions for five hundred pounds and a free pardon, and two other
accomplices for sums proportionate to their lower rank.  The whole
details of the plot were unravelled, and the chief members of it,
including Stanley, were brought to the block.  Stanley's complicity in
the "Perkin Warbeck" conspiracy has been doubted by modern historians,
who have not hesitated to aver that his wealth was his principal crime
in the King's eyes; indeed, the only charge that was made against him
was, that if he were sure the claimant was King Edward's son, he would
not bear arms against him.

The discovery of the plot, and the fate of its principal concocters,
appeared to be a death-blow to the young adventurer's cause; but he,
all undaunted, taking advantage of Henry's absence in the north, with
the aid of the Duchess of Burgundy fitted out an expedition, and tried
to effect a rising in England.  Some portion of his followers landed at
Deal, but instead of obtaining assistance were attacked by the Kentish
men, and either killed at once or made prisoners, and subsequently
hanged.  Discouraged by this hostile reception, "Perkin" returned to
Flanders, whence he shortly betook himself once more to Ireland.  There
he again failed to arouse the populace on his behalf, although joined
by Desmond and some others of less note.  "As," says Bacon, "there was
nothing left for Perkin but the blustering affection of wild and naked
people," and as he had lost three of his vessels in a futile attempt to
capture Waterford, he had to relinquish his efforts in that quarter.

Again repelled in his efforts to obtain a footing in Ireland, the
intrepid wanderer crossed over to Scotland, to the warlike monarch of
which country he carried recommendatory letters not only from the
Duchess of Burgundy, but also from the French King and the Emperor of
Germany.  By the Scottish King the presumed prince was received with
open arms, and in every way treated as if he were the personage he
claimed to be.  There is every reason for believing that James credited
his guest's story; outwardly, at least, he paid him all deference;
addressed him as "cousin," and gave him for wife his own relative, the
beautiful Lady Catherine Gordon, daughter of the Earl of Huntley, and
granddaughter of James the First of Scotland.  It seems very unlikely
that the Scottish monarch would have sanctioned the marriage of Lady
Catherine with the adventurer unless convinced of his royal birth.

Under the pretext of assisting his youthful guest to regain his
dominions, James headed two warlike incursions into England.  Unable to
resist so good an opportunity of looting, the Scottish army carried off
everything of value; and when the young adventurer, according to
Polydore Vergil, the historian, "feigning" to be distressed at the
devastation inflicted, implored the King to spare his miserable
subjects, James replied, sneeringly, that it was very generous to be so
careful of what did not belong to him, as not a man had yet joined his
standard.  No one, indeed, of any consequence did join the claimant
upon these occasions; and as the raids proved disastrous to the
Scottish forces, Henry was enabled to make peace on his own terms with
James; offered him his eldest daughter, Margaret, in marriage, and
forced him to withdraw his protection from Perkin.

Compelled once more to resume his search for an asylum, the luckless
pretender, accompanied by his beautiful wife and a few faithful
followers, left Scotland; not, however, without bearing away with him
some substantial proof of the Scottish King's regard.  Again he sought
shelter in Ireland, but the Irish appearing less disposed than before
to espouse his cause, he departed for Cornwall, where much discontent
prevailed on account of Henry's oppressive taxation.  With only three
vessels and seventy men the claimant landed at Whitsand Bay, near
Land's End, on the 7th September, 1497.  He sent his wife to St.
Michael's Mount for safety; and then, at the head of an irregular body
of three thousand men, whom he had got together by liberal promises, he
marched on Exeter, to which city he laid siege, in compliance with the
advice of his adherents that he should endeavour to make himself master
of some walled town.  He sent a demand to the citizens to surrender to
him, but as he had no artillery to enforce his claims, his assumed
title of Richard the Fourth, King of England, inspired little
reverence, and after some unsuccessful assaults he was compelled to
raise the siege and hastily retire to Taunton.  Seeing clearly how
utterly incompetent his undisciplined forces were to compete with the
veteran troops Henry was sending against him, he forsook them in the
night, and, accompanied by several of his principal followers, fled to
the monastery of Beaulieu, in the New Forest, and there claimed
sanctuary.  His followers, left without a leader, surrendered without
an effort; a number of them were hanged, and the rest heavily fined.

Not daring to violate the privileges of a sanctuary, Henry had the
Beaulieu Monastery securely guarded; the meanwhile he contrived to
obtain possession of the Lady Catherine Gordon, mightily afraid that
she might give birth to a child, in which case, as Bacon shrewdly
remarks, "the business would not have ended in Perkin's person."  The
politic king received the royal lady kindly, and sent her to the queen;
awarded her "honourable allowance for the support of her estate, which
she enjoyed both during the king's life and many years after."

Determined not to let go his hold on Perkin, the king promised him a
full pardon upon condition that he confessed himself an impostor.
Unable to discover any means of escape, the pretender accepted Henry's
conditions, and on the 5th October surrendered to the royal troops at
Taunton.  He did not reach London until the end of November, and on his
arrival was sent as a prisoner to the Tower.  At first the supposed
Richard was treated with much respect, and the evidence of his official
examination kept strictly secret; although the garbled and absurd
account of it which Henry caused to be published was so contradictory
and generally unsatisfactory, that "men missing of that they looked
for," says the chronicler, "looked about for they knew not what, and
were in more doubt than before."  Perkin, on his way to the Tower, was
made to traverse the city on horseback, but not in any ignominious
fashion; and although scoffed at by some, by the majority was treated
with respect.

After about six months of detention, the pretender contrived or was
permitted to escape; but such diligent pursuit was made that he was
compelled to again take sanctuary, and this time in the Priory of
Shene, in Surrey.  As soon as his retreat was publicly known, the King
was advised to take him forth and hang him, but Henry was too prudent
for such a course.  At the intercession of the Prior of Shene, the King
promised to spare the fugitive's life, bidding them "take him forth,
and set the knave in the stocks."  Taken from his place of refuge, and
brought back to London, the wretched youth was fettered and placed for
a whole day in the stocks, and on the following day, the 14th June,
1499, was compelled to read from a scaffold, erected in Cheapside, a
lengthy and rambling confession, in which, among other matters, he
acknowledged himself to be Perkin, son of John Warbeck, a Flemish
tradesman, and that he had been taught to enact his part by various
enemies of King Henry.

After the second reading of this "confession," which was so badly
composed that it served rather to confirm than dissipate the belief
that the so-called "Perkin" was the personage he had assumed to be, the
prisoner was again incarcerated in the Tower, where he became the
companion and friend of the unfortunate Edward, Earl of Warwick, whom
Lambert Simnel had formerly counterfeited.  Such was the fascination of
the claimant's manners that he not only won the friendship of his
fellow-prisoners, but also the favour of his keepers, the four servants
of Sir John Digby, the Lieutenant, who, apparently, conspired together
to permit the escape of the two captives, and to aid them to excite
another insurrection.  The whole plot in all probability originated in
the cunning of Henry, who made it a pretext for the trial and execution
of both his troublesome prisoners.  "The opinion of the King's great
wisdom," as Bacon dexterously recounts it, "did surcharge him with a
sinister fame, that Perkin was but his bait to entrap the Earl of

About the time of this presumed plot, and most opportunely for Henry,
another claimant to the name and title of the young Earl of Warwick
appeared in Suffolk.  Although this pretender was speedily taken and
executed, the state of disquietude these events kept the country in
afforded the King ample excuse for proceeding to extremities,
notwithstanding the fact that the whole affair was regarded as a subtle
device of the Sovereign.  Accordingly, on the 16th November, 1419,
Perkin was brought to trial, and was found guilty upon the indictment
of having conspired, in company with the hapless Earl of Warwick, "to
raise sedition and destroy the King."  Upon the 23rd of the month
Perkin was taken from the Tower to Tyburn, and, after having again read
his confession and vouched for its truth, was executed.  Such was the
end of this strange drama, which was, as Bacon remarks, "one of the
longest plays of that kind."

The case of Perkin Warbeck is one of the most mysterious on record; and
in attempting to gauge the truth or falsity of his claim to royalty it
must not be overlooked that the only contemporary records of him and
his adventures are by those who professedly wrote on King Henry's
behalf, and were not, therefore, likely to be over scrupulous in
suppressing any facts tending to support the pretender's claims.  The
confession wrung from him under fear of death is of little or no value;
the absence of all allusion in it to the Duchess of Burgundy seems to
disprove the assertion that it was written by Perkin himself; whilst
the absurd statement it contained that he, a thorough master apparently
of the language, did not learn English until forced to, after his
arrival at Cork, is most suspicious.  He was never confronted with his
supposed mother, the Queen Dowager, whom Henry had in safe keeping at
Bermondsey, nor were any judicial steps taken to expose his imposture,
if such it were.  The King was most studiously careful to keep all
records of the affair out of the people's sight; he took Tyrrell, the
supposed chief murderer of the young princes, into his favour, and
never had, what might have satisfied the suspicions of many, the
remains of the two lads publicly exhumed.  According to the account of
Sir Thomas More, the murdered princes were first buried "at the
stairfoot, deep in the ground, under a heap of stones," but were
afterwards taken up, at the desire of King Richard, and reburied by the
Tower Chaplain "privately, in a place that, by reason of his death,
never came to light."  This account, if true, would seem to cast a
doubt upon the identity of the "small bones" discovered under the
staircase in the reign of Charles the Second, and by him had interred
and commemorated as the remains of the royal princes.

The circumstantial account of Lord Verulam is so enveloped in mystery
and innuendo, and his desire to screen the Tudor King is so
self-evident, that it has caused many, including the sophistical and
shallow Walpole, to believe and assert that "Perkin Warbeck" was indeed
the royal personage he claimed to be.


A.D. 1555.

The Sultan Soliman the First, surnamed the Legislator, raised the
Turkish Empire to its highest pinnacle of glory.  Owing, however, to
the great extent of frontier which his dominions possessed, he was
continually at war with one or the other of the neighbouring powers.
In 1555 he was engaged in hostilities with Persia, but, despite his
desire to pursue the contest with vigour, the weight of sixty years,
and the fatigues of twelve personally conducted campaigns, rendered
repose necessary to him; he, therefore, left the command of his forces
to the Grand Vizier Rustem.

The repose which Soliman had promised himself did not last long; the
interruption came whence it was least expected.  Of his numerous sons
Mustapha, his eldest, was the child of a Circassian, whilst several
others were children of Roxelana, a jealous and ambitious woman.  The
sister of this latter woman, married to the Grand Vizier Rustem, was
the link by which she succeeded in obtaining his co-operation in her
schemes.  Seeing every probability of Mustapha eventually obtaining the
throne to the exclusion of her own sons, Roxelana determined upon his
death.  Conspiring with Rustem, she forged letters purporting to be
addressed by the heir-apparent to a friend of his, informing him that
he was treating with his father's foe, the King of Persia, with the
view of obtaining one of his daughters in marriage.  At the same time
that this communication was adroitly placed before Soliman, he received
intelligence from his Grand Vizier that Prince Mustapha displayed a
disposition to revolt, and was attending complacently to the seditious
propositions of the emissaries.

This startling news aroused the old hero; he immediately quitted his
palace and its pleasures, placed himself once more at the head of his
army, and summoned his son to his presence.  On the 21st September,
1555, ignorant of the charges against him, or relying upon his
innocence, the Prince arrived at his father's camp, was met by the
chief captains, and conducted with all the pomp due to his rank as
heir-apparent to an audience of the Sultan.  On entering the imperial
tent, the unfortunate man was seized by seven mutes, and strangled with
a bowstring, calling vainly upon his father, who, hidden by a silken
curtain, witnessed the horrible deed.  Not satisfied with his son's
death, the old monarch also caused his grandson Murat, Mustapha's
child, to be put to death in the same way as its parent.  Prince
Ziangir, a younger brother of the assassinated man, was so distressed
at the catastrophe, that, after reproaching his unnatural father, he
committed suicide.  The two princes were interred together, and a
mosque erected over their remains.

The army deeply deplored the loss of the unfortunate Mustapha, who was
held in great esteem, and attributing his death to the schemes of
Rustem clamoured for his dismissal.  Yielding to the universal
indignation, Soliman consented to deprive the Grand Vizier of his post,
which was bestowed on Ahmed Pacha.  The general feeling of grief which
the heir-apparent's death caused throughout the empire found expression
in numerous poems and elegies; and amongst others Yahïa, a celebrated
contemporary poet, composed verses that were known and repeated in all
parts of the empire.  Two years later, when Rustem returned to power,
he was desirous of having Yahïa executed, but this the Sultan would not
consent to; and the Grand Vizier had to satisfy his vengeance with
depriving the poet of his post of Administrator of Charity to the crown.

Meanwhile the death of Mustapha, so far from having secured rest for
either Soliman or the Empire, only gave rise to fresh complications.
Bajazet and Selim, two sons of the infamous but clever Roxelana, both
desirous of grasping the sceptre before their father's death, by means
of a deep-laid conspiracy, raised the standard of revolt; and in order
to obtain the sympathy and assistance of the army gave out that
Mustapha, instead of being dead as was generally imagined, was alive,
and heading the rebels.  It was averred that the prince had been
permitted to escape, someone else having been substituted in his place
for execution.  A man, bearing a resemblance to the deceased Mustapha,
was found and taught to play the part destined for him.

The army, eager to vent its rage upon Rustem, deserted largely to the
pretender, whom many officers of position recognized, or appeared to,
as their veritable prince.  The Sultan was equal to the emergency; he
sent vigorous instructions to the governors of the provinces where the
disorders were; raised large bodies of mercenaries, and, above all,
sowed his gold broadcast.  This latter method had the desired effect:
the impostor was betrayed, and by a man whom he had created his Grand
Vizier.  Conducted to Constantinople, and put to the torture, the
claimant revealed the whole plot.  Selim fled for refuge to Persia, but
was ultimately delivered up to his father for a large sum of money by
the Shah; and, together with his five little sons, put to death.
Bajazet's apparent contrition, and his mother Roxelana's intercession,
procured his pardon; but the unfortunate instrument of his villainy,
the pseudo Mustapha, was executed on the gallows.


A.D. 1598-1603.

No claimant's case is more remarkable than that of Don Sebastian of
Portugal, exhibiting, as it does, the tenacity of tradition; for,
although more than two hundred years had elapsed since their
sovereign's death, hopes of his return were entertained down to the
beginning of the present century by his superstitious countrymen, who
cherished his memory much as the memory of those semi-mythical
monarchs--Arthur of England, and Barbarossa of Germany--was cherished
by their respective countrymen in the middle ages.

Don Sebastian, King of Portugal, led by an insane desire to emulate the
deeds of his ancestors against the Arabs, availed himself of every
opportunity of mixing in the dynastic quarrels of the Moors.  In 1578,
contrary to the wishes and remonstrances of his allies, relatives, and
people, he accompanied an expedition to Africa, with the avowed purpose
of setting the Cross above the Crescent, but virtually in hopes of
gaining a warrior's renown.  His first battle on the field of
Alcaçarquivir was as ill-fated as it was ill-advised; the Portuguese
army was cut to pieces, and Sebastian, so it was supposed, was amongst
the slain.  After the fight, a corse, recognized by one of the
survivors as the King's, was discovered by the victorious Moors, and
forwarded by the Emperor of Morocco as a present to his ally, Philip
the Second of Spain.  In 1582 this monarch restored it to the
Portuguese, by whom it was interred with all due solemnity in the royal
mausoleum in the church of Our Lady of Belem.

The Crown of Portugal, upon the intelligence of Sebastian's death,
devolved upon Don Henry, an elderly Cardinal, who, enjoying a brief
reign of seventeen months, died without leaving any heirs.  After a
short but decisive struggle, Portugal fell an easy prey to Philip of
Spain, but he was not long allowed to enjoy quiet possession of the
usurped realm.  The people had never credited the account of their
idolized monarch's death, and rumour after rumour had been circulated
to prove his existence.  Three claimants to the name and title of the
slain Sebastian arose, one after the other, to disturb and perplex the
country, and afford the Spanish pretexts for further plunder and
murder.  Although these three played their part well, and occasioned
the Government much trouble, there is little doubt as to their having
been impostors; but over one, a fourth pretender, still hangs a cloud
of impenetrable mystery.

This last aspirant appeared at Venice about twenty years after the
battle of Alcaçarquivir, a very plausible account of his escape from
which he was enabled to give, further stating that he had subsequently
reached Portugal, and revealed his presence there to his great uncle
Henry, who was then reigning; but as he had then stated that, sick and
broken-hearted at his overthrow by the infidel, he had no present
intention of resuming his sceptre, no notice was taken of the
notification.  As soon as his wounds were healed, the _soi disant_ Don
Sebastian stated, he, and two Portuguese nobles who were alleged to
have saved themselves in his company, started on their travels, and
travelled over Europe, Africa, and Asia, visiting the colonial
possessions of Portugal, and even taking a personal share with the
Persians in their war against the Turks.  The King also paid visits to
the Grand Llama of Thibet, and to Prester John in Ethiopia,
encountering no end of marvellous adventures on his journeys, during
which, however, his two companions, worn out with wounds and fatigues,
succumbed to death.  The royal wanderer then retired to a hermitage in
the Georgian desert, and stayed there until the year 1597, when,
admonished by a dream to resume his crown, he returned to Europe.  He
landed in Sicily, and at once despatched letters to several of his most
attached nobles in Portugal.  Catizoni, his messenger, was arrested on
landing, and never heard of again; but through some unknown channels
the tidings of which he was the bearer transpired, and threw the whole
country into a profound state of excitement.  Had the _soi disant_
monarch had courage to have landed in Portugal at this time, it is
pretty generally believed that, whatever may have been the value of his
claims to the name of Don Sebastian, the whole people would have
acknowledged his rights; as one writer says, the nation "would have
acknowledged a negro to be their lost king, so that he delivered them
from the hated rule of the Spaniards."

Wanting the resolution, or the means, to seek Portugal, the claimant
fell from one state of wretchedness to another, until, at last, it is
averred he was discovered by some compatriots in Padua selling pies in
the street for a livelihood.  Convinced that they had discovered their
legitimate sovereign, the Portuguese residents and exiles at once
acknowledged his claims, and supplied him with all the necessaries of
life.  Apprised of this event, the Spanish ambassador immediately
requested the Venetian senate to banish the "insolent adventurer" from
their states.  The Podesta of Padua being commanded by the Seignory to
banish from his city within three days "a man calling himself falsely
Sebastian, King of Portugal," and this mandate being communicated to
the _soi disant_ monarch, he boldly repaired to Venice, and requested
the Senate, the only free tribunal in Europe, to investigate his
claims.  Upon his arrival, he was seized and thrown into a dungeon, at
the instance of Philip's ambassador, who suborned witnesses to accuse
him of horrible crimes.  This, however, caused his pretensions to be
speedily noised about all over Europe.  A large number of the
Portuguese in Italy presented several petitions to the Senate, calling
upon it to investigate the prisoner's claims, whilst Sampayo, a
Dominican of considerable influence in Padua, wrote and published a
full statement of the facts, and dedicated it to the potentates of

In the meantime the Spaniards were not idle.  They averred that the
claimant was a Calabrese impostor, of bad repute, if not a renegade
monk; they alluded to the gross improbabilities in his story, and the
little likelihood there was of Sebastian, even if he had escaped from
the battle of Alcaçarquivir, remaining out of the pale of civilization
for twenty years without affording anyone an intimation of his
existence.  They pointed out that the pretender's Portuguese was
anything but pure, and that whereas Sebastian's complexion was fair
this man's was dark.

Sampayo, on behalf of the prisoner, replied that the king's wounded
pride at his defeat, and youthful feelings of self-dependence, had
carried him into all his romantic wanderings, whilst his fair
complexion and native accent had necessarily changed during twenty
years' rambling in the sultry lands which he had visited.

Whilst this discussion was going on, the prisoner was being severely
examined by the Venetian Senate, and displayed, so all averred, such
knowledge of their most secret dealings with the true Don Sebastian as
fairly startled them.  He declared himself ready to undergo the
punishment of death if his claims were proved to be unfounded, and
petitioned that he might be personally examined for any marks which the
King of Portugal had been known to possess.  The Portuguese residents
warmly supporting the latter part of the memorial, the Seignory granted
their request, and sent Sampayo with a safe conduct to Lisbon to
ascertain these distinctive marks, and to get a written declaration of
them signed by competent people.  After an absence of two months the
Dominican returned, with an attestation, witnessed by persons who had
been attached to the late royal household, and countersigned by the
apostolical notary, as a proof of the document's genuineness.

During Sampayo's absence the Spanish Government had made such forcible
representations to the Venetian Senate, that on his return the Doge
stated "it did not beseem the Republic to take cognizance of the claims
of the pretender to the Portuguese Crown, unless at the request of a
member of the family of European potentates."  Nothing daunted, the
unwearied envoy of the _soi disant_ Sebastian undertook a journey to
Holland to procure the intervention of the House of Nassau.  His
exertions were aided by the warm support of several Portuguese nobles,
and by the influence of Henry the Fourth of France, who, through his
ambassador at Venice, intimated that if the Dutch intercession failed,
France would take the claimant under her protection.  The States of
Holland, however, having requested the Italian Republic to proceed with
the inquiry, the Spanish ambassador withdrew his protest, and
commissioners were appointed to examine the prisoner for the bodily
peculiarities which the king was known to have possessed.

These peculiarities were alleged to be "a right hand longer and larger
than the left; the upper part of the arms longer than the part between
the elbow and the wrist; a deep scar above the right eyebrow; a tooth
missing from the lower jaw, and a large excrescence or wart on the
instep of the right foot."  An investigation of the prisoner was then
made, in the presence of Sampayo, by four Venetian officers of justice;
and they reported that not only were all these peculiarities found upon
him, but that his head and face bore the scars of sabre wounds; whilst,
when his jaw was being examined, he had asked whether Sebastian Nero,
the Court barber at Lisbon, who had extracted the tooth, was still

The next day this evidence was laid before the senate, which held a
secret deliberation of four days' duration, shared in by the Spanish
ambassador and Don Christavao de Portugal, an apparent advocate of the
captive.  The threats of Philip are alleged to have overpowered the
intentions of the Seignory, and, accordingly when, at ten o'clock at
night, on the fourth day of the conference, the claimant was brought
before them, they, without expressing any opinion respecting his
identity with Don Sebastian, simply repeated the mandate formerly sent
to the Podesta of Padua, banishing the person who styled himself King
of Portugal from the Venetian states within the space of three days.
Sampayo, and the Portuguese with him, declare that a seat was provided
for the prisoner; and that whilst he remained covered during the
reading of the decree the senators stood around respectfully.  This
averred deference, and the evasion of a direct award after so lengthy
and solemn an assemblage, confirmed even waverers in the belief that
the pretender was indeed the true Sebastian.

Whatever may have been the belief or reason of the senate, they
contented themselves with banishing the _soi disant_ monarch, and
refused to deliver him up to the Spanish ambassador.  Countenanced by
all the enemies of Spain, the claimant now sought refuge in Tuscany,
_en route_, it is said, to Rome, to claim the protection and
recognition of his claims by the reigning Pontiff, Clement the Eighth.
The Grand Duke Ferdinand, desirous of propitiating his powerful foe
Philip, is alleged to have made an agreement with him, that if the
adventurer entered the Tuscan territories he should be at once arrested
and delivered up to the custody of the Spanish.  Be this as it may, the
pretender was seized as he was attempting to leave the Grand Duke's
dominions, put on board a small frigate, taken to Naples, and delivered
up to the Conde de Lemos, Philip's viceroy.

The unfortunate man, according to popular story, was placed in a
dungeon, and starved for three days, in order to compel him to confess
his imposture.  When the three days had expired he was visited by the
Auditor-General, and urged to acknowledge his fraud.  "Do with me as
you please, and say what you will, I am King Sebastian," is reported to
have been his response.  Subsequently taken before the Viceroy, he is
alleged to have referred to certain secret political transactions which
took place at Lisbon when the Conde de Lemos had been ambassador there.
Notwithstanding this revelation, the Conde affirmed his conviction that
"the prisoner was an impostor;" but had him transferred from his
dungeon to a pleasant chamber overlooking the Bay of Naples, and
allotted him the sum of five crowns daily for his support.

For a twelvemonth the claimant was left in peaceful possession of his
cell, when another insurrection breaking out in the Portuguese
possessions, a mandate arrived from Madrid, directing the claimant to
be returned to his dungeon, and again interrogated.  He persisted in
his protestations, and begged to be sent to Lisbon, where his
statements might be strictly investigated.  This was refused, and
sentence pronounced upon him as "a vagabond, impostor, and liar;" and
he was condemned to the galleys for life, after being paraded through
the streets of Naples on an ass, whilst his imposture was proclaimed by
the public crier.  On the 17th April, 1602, this punishment was carried
out.  "Behold the justice and severity of his Catholic Majesty!  He
commands that this miserable man shall be degraded and condemned for
life to the galleys, because he falsely and flagitiously declares
himself to be the late Don Sebastian, King of Portugal, when he is but
a vile impostor from Calabria!" was the proclamation made as the
prisoner was taken through the streets of Naples.  He was then clothed
in the garb of a galley slave, and, according to some authorities,
publicly flogged, all the while calmly and positively reiterating his
assertion that he was Sebastian, King of Portugal.

According to contemporary chronicles, his head was then shaved, and his
hands and feet put in irons; he was then sent to the galleys, and
compelled to row.  He was afterwards carried on board a vessel and
taken to St. Lucar, at that time the largest convict station of Spain.
During the voyage the prisoner's irons were removed, and his labours
suspended.  When the galley arrived at St. Lucar, the Duke and Duchess
of Medina Sidonia are asserted to have seen the captive and conversed
with him; and a curious story is told of the interview.  The Duke and
his consort had formerly given Don Sebastian a magnificent
entertainment when on his ill-fated expedition to Africa, and the
Portuguese monarch had then presented a sword to his host and a
valuable ring to the Duchess.  Upon the claimant's arrival at St.
Lucar, the Duke desired to be allowed to try and select him from
amongst the other felons, but failed to recognize him.  The _soi
disant_ King was then introduced to the nobleman and his wife, and
recounted many incidents of their interview with Don Sebastian.  He
asked the Duke if he still possessed the sword which he had presented
him upon that occasion, saying that he could identify it if conducted
to the ducal armoury.  Hearing this the Duke called for several swords,
but upon their production the prisoner exclaimed, "My sword is not
amongst these!"  Another quantity of swords, this time including the
veritable weapon, were now produced, and, so runs the story, the weapon
was instantly recognized and unsheathed by the claimant.  He then
reminded the Duchess of the ring given her by Sebastian as a memento of
his visit, and asked if she still retained it.  She thereupon sent for
her jewel-case and desired him to select it from amongst more than a
hundred rings which it contained, and this he did immediately.

The Duke and Duchess of Medina Sidonia, it is averred, then departed
sadly, and sorrowing at such an evidently unjust detention; but it is
somewhat singular, and throws much doubt upon the anecdote, that no
record appears of them having ever attempted to obtain an amelioration
of the captive's lot, which, from their position and interest at the
Spanish court, they could, undoubtedly, have procured.

The unfortunate pretender was now removed to Seville, but Sampayo
having excited an insurrection in Portugal, he was again taken to St.
Lucar, and on the 20th April, 1603, was hanged from its highest
bastion.  The Dominican, and several other of the claimant's adherents,
suffered the same fate shortly afterwards.


A.D. 1603-1606.

Ivan the Terrible of Russia, having murdered his eldest son, left the
crown to the next, Feodore, a prince so feeble in body and mind that
the government of the country had to be committed to the care of his
brother-in-law, Boris.  This bold and unscrupulous man aspired to the
throne, but between him and the imbecile who occupied it stood
Demetrius, another child of the late monarch.  The Regent left this boy
to the care of his mother, the Dowager Czarina, under whose charge he
attained to the age of ten.  One afternoon of May 1591, the child was
playing with four other boys in the palace courtyard, his governess,
nurse, and another female servant being close by.  According to the
testimony of these persons he had a knife in his hand.  For a moment he
disappeared, and the next instant was discovered dying, with a large
wound in his throat; he died without uttering a word.  Suspicion of
foul play was at once aroused, and some known emissaries of Boris being
discovered in the neighbourhood, they fell victims to the fury of the
populace.  The Regent instituted an inquiry, and the result was a
verdict that the boy had died from a wound accidentally inflicted upon
himself.  The towns-people were either put to death or dispersed for
their hasty judgment upon the supposed assassins, the palace was razed
to the ground, the flourishing town turned into a desert, and the
Dowager Czarina forced into a convent.  The slovenly way in which the
inquiry had been made, the fact that it had been conducted by creatures
of Boris, that the body was never examined, nor the knife compared with
the wound, together with the attempted obliteration of all surrounding
dwellings, afford very strong evidence that a murder had been done, and
by the instigation of the Regent; but that Demetrius died there can
scarcely be the shadow of a doubt.

After seven years Feodore died, and Boris succeeded in obtaining the
vacant throne.  Hated and feared by all classes, the whole country was
longing for a change from his tyrannical rule, when a rumour came from
the Lithuanian frontier that Demetrius, believed to have been murdered
at Uglitch, was still alive, and in Poland.  Amid the many
contradictory reports, one main fact was positively proclaimed--that
was, the young prince was alive, and preparing to contend for the
throne of his ancestors.

The story which this aspirant to empire gave to Prince Adam
Wiszniswiecki, of Brahin, in Lithuania, in whose employ he was, was
that the physician in attendance upon him (Demetrius), having been
solicited by Boris to destroy him, consented, but instead of doing so,
substituted the body of a serf's child for that of the to-be-slain
prince, and safely carried off the heir presumptive, and placed him in
the charge of a faithful adherent of the royal family.  Unfortunately,
both the physician and the faithful guardian being dead, the tale had
to be received for what it was worth; nevertheless, the unknown
produced a Russian seal, bearing the name and arms of the Czarevitch,
and a valuable jewelled cross.  This was in the summer of 1603, when
Demetrius, if living, would have been about twenty-two--an age
apparently corresponding with that of the claimant to his name.
Visitors arrived who quickly recognized their resuscitated prince;
warts which the late Emperor's son had had on the forehead, and under
the right eye, were discovered, whilst one arm being longer than
another was a still surer sign.  The deportment and acquirements of the
young pretender were suited to his birth, not the least of them being
his good horsemanship and skill in fencing.  The Poles, ready for
mischief, espoused his cause; George, the Palatine of Sandomir, gave
him his daughter in marriage, and the Pope of Rome, upon his secret
confession of the Catholic faith, sanctioned his pretensions.  Thus
encouraged, he invaded Russia with a small force, and, assisted by a
variety of conflicting circumstances, including the sudden death of
Boris, in the course of a few months found himself the undisputed
master of the whole empire.  On the 20th of June, 1605, the adventurer
entered Moscow in state, amid the acclamations of believing multitudes.
On entering the church of St. Michael, the pseudo Demetrius, according
to all accounts, acted his part admirably; kneeling before the tomb of
Ivan, his face suffused with tears, he clasped his hands and exclaimed,
"O father! thy orphan reigns!--this he owes to thy holy prayers!"  The
audience was convinced, sobbed in unison, and from all sides arose the
cry, "He is the son of the Terrible!"

But a still more formidable test was to be undergone.  The Dowager
Czarina forsook the convent in which she had so long been immured to
behold the man claiming to be her son.  Demetrius went to meet her in
regal state, and their first interview took place in a magnificent
tent, specially prepared for the interesting ceremony.  After they had
been left together for a few minutes they came out, and threw
themselves into one another's arms, in the full view of the enormous
multitude which had assembled.  Ivan's widow had recognized her son,
and the new monarch was master of the situation.  He respectfully
conducted the Czarina to a carriage, walking bare-headed by its side.
In the capital he treated her with every attention, visited her daily,
and provided her with a competent revenue to maintain her royal
dignity.  A few moments after the murder of her son at Uglitch, she was
on the spot and recognized the body; and yet, after having maintained
for fourteen years her belief in his death, she came forward and
recognized him in the successful adventurer, at the exact instant that
recantation was worth any price.

Demetrius now set to work to govern with humanity and justice; both
qualities quite unsuited to Russian tastes, who soon grew as tired of
their new Czar as they had been of his predecessors.  He appears to
have been an able and forbearing man, but he outraged the nobles by
pointing out their educational deficiencies, and the Greek priesthood
by a careless or irreverent demeanour towards their Church.  This
latter error was his ruin.  The treasury being exhausted, he began to
cast wistful glances at the swollen revenues of the clergy, who at once
determined upon his destruction.

On the 29th of May, 1606, "Death to the heretic!" rang through the
streets of Moscow.  The excited mobs, headed by priests and Shuiski, a
discontented noble, who had previously been pardoned for conspiracy,
broke into the palace, hunted their prey from room to room, until,
already bleeding from a sabre wound, the unfortunate victim leaped out
of a window into the court below, a height of thirty feet.  He broke
his leg in the fall, and fainted.  The insurgents speedily found him,
dragged him mid curses and blows into the palace, dressed him in a
pastrycook's caftan in mockery, and taunted him as to his birth.  The
wretched man, collecting his strength, exclaimed, "I am your Czar, the
son of Ivan Vassilievitch!" when his agony was terminated by a shot
from an arquebuss.

His followers were destroyed, his wife barely escaped with life, and
every kind of indignity was offered to the Polish ladies in attendance
upon her.  The body of the murdered man, after lying exposed for some
days, was unceremoniously buried without the walls, then disinterred
and burnt, the ashes collected, and, to make sure of no further
resuscitation, mixed with gunpowder and fired off from a cannon.

Shuiski, the leader of the revolution, was raised to the throne, but
finding the memory of his predecessor still cherished by many, he
sought to eradicate the feeling by proving him an impostor.  The
Dowager Czarina, ever complacent, gave him a written declaration that
the deposed Czar was not her son; but the nation placed little reliance
upon her testimony now.  Shuiski then pretended to have discovered the
body of young Demetrius in the ruins of Uglitch, and his clerical
friends contrived a miracle for the occasion.  When the body was
brought to Moscow, they recognized the corpse as that of the real
prince, and affirmed that by heavenly providence it had been preserved
in its then condition--it being found quite uncorrupt, and the glow of
life not even faded from the cheek.  But this miraculous interposition
did not satisfy everybody, and whilst the partizans of the late Czar
were affirming that a body had been substituted for the occasion, the
whole country was roused to a state of frenzy by a rumour that the
conspirators had murdered, burnt, and fired from the cannon's mouth
_the wrong man_!

This time a substituted corpse could not be produced.  A civil war
broke out, but it was some time before a suitable claimant could be
discovered.  At last a Lithuanian Jew was selected by the insurgents,
who, aided by the Poles, advanced into Russia at the head of a large
army.  A feasible story was invented to account for the escape of the
intended victim of the late massacre; and to confirm the nation in the
belief of his identity with their late Czar, Marina, the widowed
Czarina, publicly acknowledged him as her own Demetrius, lived with him
as his consort, and had a child by him.  Her father, the Palatine of
Sandomir, also recognized him as his son-in-law, and in a short time
almost the whole empire declared for him.

His reign, however, was short.  Deserted by his foreign allies, he was
forced to fly, and eventually was assassinated.  His consort, Marina,
died in prison, and Ivan, one of their children, although only three
years old, was publicly hanged--the most ghastly act in the entire


A.D. 1632-1653.

The account of this unfortunate young man is as romantic as any
novelist could possibly desire.  Its full details are probably only to
be found in one work, and that one a work of great rarity and
antiquity, by Jean Baptiste de Rocoles, historiographer of France in
the latter part of the seventeenth century.  The recital of Monsieur de
Rocoles acquires greater interest from the fact that he himself derived
a portion of his particulars from eye-witnesses, including the account
of the hero's death, which was witnessed by an Austrian colonel named

According to the most reliable accounts of the defeat and overthrow of
the second false Demetrius, his wife Marina was cast into prison, and
their infant son, only three years old, publicly hanged.  If this were
true, and the following history veracious, the Czarina must have given
birth to a second son whilst in captivity; but there does not appear to
be any historic evidence on the point.  The pretender always styled
himself the son of the Czar Demetrius; not, of course, in any way
admitting that there were two pseudo Demetriuses.

"The time of the confusion," as it is styled in Russian history, was
fruitful in the production of such impostors.  Besides the two more
important claimants already spoken of, and the man whose story claims
this chapter, another false Demetrius was started, under Polish
protection, in 1611; and a short time before that, a claimant to the
title of Czarevitch Peter appeared, and alleged that he was a son of
the Czar Feodor the First; but after some short-lived success both

According to the account of De Rocoles, the Czarina Marina, when thrown
into prison by the murderers of her husband, escaped maltreatment by
alleging that she was _enceinte_.  This excuse was sufficient to
preserve her from the terrible fate which befel many of her female
attendants, but she was carefully guarded henceforth by her captors,
who only waited for her child's birth to immediately put an end to its
existence.  Well aware of the fate which awaited her unborn babe, the
ex-Czarina procured the body of a dead infant, and at her
_accouchement_ had it substituted for the male child which she gave
birth to.

The newly-born boy was confided to the care of a Cossack woman, the
mother of the dead babe, and was duly baptized Demetrius by a priestly
confidant, and indelibly marked on the shoulder with a cross, to enable
its royal birth to be proved when the opportunity arose.  Some little
time after this Marina found herself dying, and on her deathbed she
confided to her attendants the stratagem by which she had preserved her
son's life, and by them the secret was re-told to the Poles, who, four
or five years later, came to Moscow with General Stanislas Solskonski.
In the meanwhile, the Cossack to whom young Demetrius had been
confided, and who brought him up in ignorance of his paternity, died
without having any opportunity, or at all events availing herself of
it, to reveal the secret of the boy's birth.

The year 1632 arrived, and the youthful Demetrius had nearly attained
his twenty-sixth year.  Going one day, by chance, to bathe in a small
river in the vicinity of the little town of Samburg, in Black Russia,
where he lived, another bather drew attention to the marks on his
shoulder, and upbraided him for coming to bathe with honest men,
deeming that he had been branded for some crime.  The poor young man
endeavoured to excuse himself by protesting that he had been born with
this cross on his shoulder, as, indeed, he believed he had; and upon
his companions examining the marks, they perceived that, though they
were legible, they were quite different to anything they had ever seen
upon the body of a malefactor.  The story of the strange cross upon the
young man's shoulder was soon noised about all over the neighbourhood,
and coming to the ears of John Danielonski, the Royal Treasurer, he
desired to see Demetrius.  A number of his domestics were sent after
the unknown, and he was soon found and taken before the grand official,
where the poverty of his attire, and the wretchedness of his condition,
were apparent to all.

The Treasurer, having some presentiment or knowledge of the way in
which the young Demetrius had been marked, spoke to the young man
kindly, and bidding him cast off all fear, asked to be allowed to see
the said figuring upon his shoulder.  The unknown, who was of handsome
form and features, drew open his poor vest, and baring his shoulder,
showed the marks which had been tattooed upon him at birth.
Danielonski was enabled to trace the cross, but could not decipher the
letters of which it was formed.  A Russian priest, however, being
found, he quickly read them, and affirmed that they stood for
"Demetrius, son of the Czar Demetrius."

The joy of the Treasurer was immense at having discovered a son of the
late Czar; he kissed the hands of the astounded prince, wished him
every happiness, and placed all that could be wished for at his
disposal.  The joyous tidings spread in every direction; a courier was
at once despatched to Vladislas the Fourth, who was then King of
Poland, and the young man's claims bruited about everywhere.
Vladislas, only too glad of an opportunity to annoy Alexis, the then
Czar of Moscovy, sent at once for the young claimant to come to his
court at Warsaw, and on his arrival awarded him an equipage suited to
his presumed dignity.  When the pseudo Czarewitch appeared at court,
decked out in all his newly-acquired finery, he excited favourable
attention by his handsome looks and kindly behaviour.  He contracted a
firm friendship with the nephew of the Grand Khan of Tartary, who,
having been ousted from his possessions by an uncle, had sought and
found an asylum in the Polish court.  An apparent similarity of
misfortune drew them together, and Vladislas, doubtlessly finding it
suit his policy to encourage their pretensions, treated the two young
men with every kindness, protested that he regarded them as sons, he
not having any of his own, and declared that he would not leave
anything undone to replace them upon their respective thrones.

Intelligence of the arrival and friendly reception of Demetrius at the
Polish court was not long in travelling to Moscow; the Czar was greatly
enraged when he heard of what had occurred, and sent an envoy to
Vladislas to demand that the person of the _soi disant_ Czarewitch
should be given up to him.  The Latin address which the Moscovite
ambassador delivered to the Polish King when he made his demand is
still preserved, and is chiefly remarkable for the hundred and one
titles by which the Russian monarch was designated.  Vladislas
responded to the wearisome harangue in the same language, to the effect
that no consideration would induce him to hand Prince Demetrius over to
his rival Alexis, and he took no pains to conceal from the envoy that
he meant to support the claims of his guest as far as lay in his power.
The fruitlessness of this mission gave great uneasiness to the Czar,
and caused him to seek out every possible alliance.  Fate soon assisted

In 1648 Vladislas died, and was succeeded on the Polish throne by John
Casimir, who, having to fight with Charles of Sweden, and other
European powers, found it necessary to secure the neutrality of Russia;
he was, therefore, obliged to banish Demetrius.  The unfortunate man at
first took refuge in Revel, in the little republic of Livonia.  The
magistrates and principal citizens received him with regal honours,
but, on their refusal to deliver him up to the Czar, were threatened by
that potentate with war.  Reluctantly his hosts were compelled to
request their luckless guest to seek another asylum, but on his
departure they made him handsome presents, and had him safely and
honourably escorted to the seaport of Riga.

The innocent impostor, as he has been termed, now made his way to
Sweden, but political reasons drove him quickly thence, and he next
sought safety with the Duke of Holstein Gottorp.  He met with a
friendly reception, but the fates had timed his visit at a most
inopportune moment.  The Duke had recently negotiated a treaty of
commerce with the Czar, and while engaged on the embassy, Eurchmann,
one of his envoys, had pledged his master's credit, without his
authority, for a large sum of money, variously stated at one hundred
thousand and three hundred thousand crowns; for which misdeed, upon his
return to Holstein, he was decapitated.  The Duke was, or appeared to
be, in a state of embarrassment as to the liquidation of the debt, when
a Russian agent, who was residing at Lubeck, and knew the value of the
claimant to the Russian Czar, opened negotiations with Holstein's
ruler, and, pretending to the only too willing prince that his guest
was merely a common impostor, arranged for his delivery to Alexis in
exchange for the receipts of the money brought away and owed for by his
envoy.  This is the common account of the nefarious transaction, but in
all probability the whole affair had been previously arranged between
the two sovereigns, and Eurchmann and Demetrius were the victims of the
royal plot.

Be the truth what it may, suffices to say that the Duke of Holstein
seized Demetrius, and delivered him up to the Russians sent to receive
him, obtaining in return the bills for the money owing.  The
unfortunate man was hurried on board a vessel, transported to the
Russian coast, and taken thence by rapid stages to Moscow.  Directly he
arrived in the metropolis the captive had a wooden gag forced into his
mouth to prevent him speaking, and was confronted by an old woman,
bribed for the purpose, who declared herself to be his mother, and
upbraided him for unnatural ingratitude to her, and his presumption in
disowning his parent; finally, desiring him to avow his misdeeds, and
not to let her endure the misery of beholding him executed for his

Averting his head, Demetrius showed plainly by significant gestures
that he neither acknowledged her claims, nor heeded them; whilst to the
priests, who addressed him in a similar strain, and urged him to
confess his imposture, he simply responded by uplifting his eyes and
hands towards heaven, as if resigning himself to its decree.  The
unhappy man was then taken out on to the great esplanade in front of
the castle of Moscow, and there executed on the 31st of December, 1653,
in the forty-seventh year of his age.

The Czar Alexis was not contented with the mere death of his hapless
rival, but had his head severed from his body, which was quartered and
elevated upon four poles, whilst portions of his remains were left
scattered on the frozen ground as a repast for the dogs.  The Polish
ambassador, who that same day had audience of the vindictive Emperor,
was conducted to the place of execution, and shown all that now
remained of the unfortunate being whom his late master had so delighted
to honour.

The biographer of this pseudo Demetrius finds no little pleasure in
recording that the Russian agent who negotiated the sale of our hero
met with a miserable death, "in punishment for causing innocent blood
to be shed;" that John Casimir, the King of Poland, who first drove him
from his place of safety, was obliged to abdicate his throne, and that
the Duke of Holstein was despoiled of his domains by his
brother-in-law, Christian the Fifth of Denmark.  He moreover records
the general opinion that unless the execution of Demetrius had taken
place as quickly as it did--that had it only been delayed for two
hours--the populace would have risen against Alexis to despoil him of
his kingdom, and place his victim on the throne in his stead.

It is a somewhat more agreeable pendant to this wretched story to know
that the old companion in misfortune of Demetrius, the nephew of the
Grand Khan of Tartary, ultimately succeeded to the throne of his uncle,
and that he seized every occasion of expressing his hatred of John
Casimir for having abandoned the beloved _protégé_ of his brother



The extremely romantic and improbable story of this _soi disant_ prince
is derived from the highly interesting work of De Rocoles; but
unsupported, as would appear to be the case, by any evidence beyond the
verbal testimony of the claimant himself, it may be safely regarded as
purely fictitious.  Nevertheless, the fact that his pretensions to
royalty were, to some extent, recognized in various parts of Europe,
entitles him to a place here.

According to De Rocoles, and the monks who favoured the pretender's
story, his father Jacob had reigned peaceably over Abyssinia for seven
years, when, having allowed it to transpire that he proposed
extirpating the Roman Catholics, Susneos, a cousin of his, who had
leagued himself with that body, availed himself of the pretext to
commence a civil war; and the result of it, in 1608, was the defeat and
death of Jacob, and the usurpation of the crown by the victor.  The
deceased monarch left two sons--Cosme, aged eighteen; and Zaga Christ,
or _The Treasure of Christ_, aged sixteen.

At the time of their father's death the two princes were at Aich, in
the Isle of Merse, where they resided for educational purposes.  The
new Emperor, beginning his reign by putting several of his
predecessor's adherents to death, caused Jacob's widow to fear for the
safety of her sons; she therefore sent trusty messengers to them with a
quantity of gold and precious stones, and bid them quit the country for
a more secure asylum until their friends had rallied sufficiently to
recover them their patrimony.  Acting on this advice, the two princes
forsook Aich; Cosme going in a southerly direction, by which route, it
is asserted, he ultimately reached the Cape of Good Hope; and Zaga
Christ going northwards.

Traversing the kingdom of Senaar, which was alleged to have been
tributary to his father, Zaga continued his journey to Tungi, where
Orbat, a pagan monarch, reigned.  This king, who also was a vassal of
the Abyssinian ruler, received the fugitive prince with great honours,
and for some months entertained him magnificently, having conceived the
design of giving him his daughter in marriage, and assisting him to
regain his father's dominions.  The claimant, according to his own
account, declined the proffered honour because the princess was an
idolater.  This rare example of royal abstinence naturally enraged
Orbat, who threw his guest into prison, and sent to inform the usurper
that Zaga was a captive in his hands.

As soon as he received this intelligence, Susneos sent a company of
guards to Orbat's capital to take possession of his young relative.
Zaga, however, being warned by a friendly Venetian, who was serving
under the usurper, managed, or was permitted, to elude his captors,
and, accompanied by a large body of followers, after a series of
dangerous adventures contrived to reach a portion of the Turkish
domain.  Desirous of traversing Arabia Deserta, with a view of reaching
Egypt, the young wanderer now dismissed all his followers with the
exception of fifty, who elected to share his dangers.  A few days after
this little band had penetrated into the desert, the greater portion of
its baggage was stolen by a native chieftain; and some days later, in
seeking for water, fifteen out of the fifty men were lost through the
giving way of the cistern walls.  After a tedious and trying passage,
however, the devoted band succeeded in reaching a small town on the
Egyptian frontiers.

After a rest of three months, the young pretender pursued his journey
to Cairo, where a large body of his countrymen and co-religionists
resided.  Zaga was enthusiastically received by his compatriots, whilst
the Turkish pacha, or governor of the city, treated him with every
respect, and for several days even lodged him in his own palace.  After
a short stay at Cairo, the young prince started for Jerusalem, taking
with him only fifteen servitors, the remainder electing to stay with
their brethren in Egypt.  A large number of pilgrims also accompanied
the caravan, which reached the Holy City safely about Lent, 1632.

The _soi disant_ prince, followed by all his adherents, took up his
abode with the Abyssinian priests then resident in Jerusalem.  His
servants, who appeared to treat him with immense deference, are
described at this stage of his adventures.  They are represented as
great black men, attired in blue cotton shirts, wound round with yellow
_bouracan_, six or eight yards long by one wide, and with turbans of
check silk.  Attended by these men, Zaga called on the pacha of
Jerusalem to pay his respects, and in the same style honoured with his
presence, during Holy Week, the ceremonies performed at the Holy
Sepulchre by the Christians.  After having spent some time in
Jerusalem, he began to imbibe conscientious scruples as to the
Abyssinian forms of Christianity, and at last requested the chief Roman
Catholic priest in the city to receive him into the communion of that
Church.  This, however, was refused, the Catholics fearing that the
pacha might take umbrage at so important a conversion, and make use of
it to instigate a persecution against them.  Nevertheless, desirous of
not losing so exalted a convert, the priests persuaded Zaga Christ to
quit the Holy City secretly, and, accompanied by some other pilgrims
and the two or three servants who still followed his fortunes, to
repair to Nazareth, where he would have perfect liberty to make his
profession, the place being under the domination of Emir Fechraddin, an
independent chief.

On the second Thursday after Easter, 1632, the _soi disant_ prince
arrived in Nazareth, and resided there until September of the same
year; during which time he learnt to read, write, and speak a little
French and Italian.  It is stated that after Zaga had spent a few days
at the Convent of Nazareth, the said religious house was visited by an
Armenian bishop and his train, who were returning from solemnizing
Easter at Jerusalem.  The prince, meeting the ecclesiastic in the
church, reproached him bitterly for teaching his countrymen such
manifold lies and errors, such as that the sacred fire at the Holy City
was sent from heaven instead of being merely ignited with a common
flint, and so forth.  The priest left Zaga without being able to make
any reply; but in revenge for the affront he had received, he went to
the prince's few remaining followers, informed them that their master
had determined to pass into Europe and become a Roman Catholic, and
warned them against accompanying the heretic; as Europe was, he told
them, a country of perpetual frost and snow, where natives of warmer
climes would speedily die, even if they escaped being captured by the
corsairs, and sold as galley-slaves, whilst on the journey.  Moreover,
he threatened them with excommunication if they continued to associate
with such a renegade to the true and pure faith.

Thus frightened, the poor Abyssinians went to their master, and
represented to him that they should have to quit him if he determined
to leave for Europe, as they neither wished to be frozen to death nor
made galley-slaves of.  Their master wept at this discourse, and
reproached them for their idea of abandoning him after having so long
shared his fortunes; they, the only three left out of all those who had
left Abyssinia with him.  He pointed out to them that if they went with
him they would only have the same risks he would have himself of dying
through cold, or of being sold into slavery; and that it would be far
better for them to live amongst fellow-Christians than with
Mohammedans, who might any day massacre them all.  They were much
afflicted at their master's grief, but the persuasions of the cunning
Armenian were too much for them; they abandoned their master to his
fate, and followed the priest to Aleppo, where two of them died, and
the third returned to Jerusalem.

Thus left alone, Zaga took up his abode in the convent, where he
finally abjured the heresies of the Abyssinian Church, and, on St.
Peter's Day, 1632, received communion and absolution in the Catholic
faith.  During the five months that the prince was residing at Nazareth
he was the subject of ceaseless plots and schemes, in which the
Abyssinians at Jerusalem took the chief part.  They tried, under
various pretexts, to persuade the pacha of that city to obtain
possession of Zaga; but as the convent was under the protection of a
friendly chief, the Emir Fechraddin, he would not undertake or permit
the expedition; and at last the prince, in obedience to an invitation
from the Pope, crossed over to Italy, and was received at Rome with
great magnificence, the head of the Church placing a palace at his

For two years the supposed prince was hospitably entertained in the
Eternal City, and at the end of that time he accepted the invitation of
the Duke de Cregui, the French ambassador, to visit France.  Zaga made
the journey, and for three more years resided in Paris, caressed and
supported by the French.  Going to Ruël, a village near the capital, to
pay his court to Cardinal Richelieu, he was attacked by pleurisy, and
died there in 1638, at the age of about twenty-eight years.  He had
been supported royally during his residence in France, and now, at his
death, was interred by the side of a prince of Portugal, and a monument
erected over his remains.  The epitaph, however, placed upon the tomb
of our _soi disant_ prince, expressed public opinion faithfully by
doubting the justness of his claims to royal lineage.


A.D. 1644.

The story of this pseudo prince is no less romantic than those of the
other claimants mentioned in this work, but it differs from most of
them inasmuch as the hero of it was an innocent victim rather than a
conscious impostor.  His history has been variously stated, some works
asserting that the man was the eldest son of the Sultan Ibrahim of
Turkey, and elder brother of Mehemet the Fourth, whilst others,
including De Rocoles (the chief authority for our version) describe him
as the illegitimate child of some unknown personage.

Tumbel Aga, according to the account given by De Rocoles, was chief of
the eunuchs to the Sultan Ibrahim, as he had also been to his
predecessor, Sultan Amurath.  Having had occasionally to employ a
certain well-known merchant of Constantinople, named Cesi, to execute
various commissions for the imperial seraglio, he fancied he might
entrust him with a delicate matter on his own behalf, and accordingly
favoured him with instructions to procure him as pretty and modest a
maiden as he could purchase in the market, regardless of cost.  It is,
of course, difficult to say what the Aga's object was in giving so
strange a commission to Cesi, nor is it material to the story to know
whether the girl was to be presented to the Sultan as a gift, or
whether she was to be retained as an ornament for Tumbel's own abode.
The merchant speedily informed the would-be purchaser that he had
obtained a girl--a Russian, named Sciabas--who was as modest as she was
beautiful.  Delighted at this intelligence, the Aga paid the price
demanded, and had his purchase sent to his rooms.  Her beauty and
manners were everything that could be desired, but Tumbel had not long
had his purchase home before he discovered that she was likely to
increase his household in a way neither wished for nor calculated upon.
Indignant at the deception which had been practised upon him, but
probably somewhat softened by the beautiful captive's manner, the old
Aga pretended to chase her out of the seraglio, but meanwhile gave
private orders that she should be cared for in every respect.

About five or six months after the _accouchement_ of Sciabas, her
master paid her a visit, and was so charmed with the beauty of her
child, a handsome boy--or, what is more probable, fancied he should be
enabled to recoup himself for his expenditure by the sale of both
mother and infant--that he ordered every care to be taken of them.  All
his efforts to discover the paternity of the boy were useless; Sciabas
would not gratify his curiosity, and nobody else, apparently, could.

About this time the Sultana presented her husband with a boy, for whom
the Aga was instructed to procure a nurse.  He recommended Sciabas,
doubtless to repay himself for his outlay, and, accordingly, the young
Russian and her baby took up their abode in the imperial apartments,
where, indeed, they continued to live for about two years.  The child
of Sciabas inherited not only her beauty, but also her gentle temper;
in which he contrasted so favourably with young Mehemet, the Grand
Sultana's child, that the Sultan noticed the difference, and began to
display a preference for it over his own offspring.  The wife speedily
discovered this alienation of the Sultan's affection, and not only
vented her rage on the innocent objects of it, whom she ejected from
the imperial apartments, but determined to avenge herself, on the first
convenient opportunity, upon the Aga for having introduced them.
Tumbel was not slow in perceiving his danger, and in order to escape
it, requested the Sultan to allow him to make a pilgrimage to Mecca,
doubtless not intending to return to Constantinople.  Ibrahim was loath
to let him go, as he greatly valued his services, and, according to the
custom of the Ottoman court, the slave who is permitted by the Sultan
to make this sacred journey becomes a free man, and is assigned an
annual pension.  Nothing daunted by refusal, Tumbel renewed his
request, offering to go as a captive, promising that on his return he
would resume his duties at the seraglio.  Ultimately the Sultan gave
his consent, and the Aga made grand preparations for his journey.

When everything was ready, Tumbel embarked on board a vessel bound for
Alexandria, taking with him, among other valuable possessions, Sciabas
and her beautiful child.  After various adventures their vessel got
separated from its convoy, and was attacked by six Maltese cruisers.
Headed by the Aga, the Mohammedans made a gallant resistance; but their
master being killed by a cannon-ball, they surrendered at discretion.
When the Maltese boarded their prize, their cupidity was gratified by
the richness of the cargo; they found Sciabas dead, apparently of
fright, and her handsome little boy playing about, unconscious of the
danger of his situation.  Surprised by his beauty, and the magnificence
of his garb, they inquired as to his parentage, and their captives,
hoping probably to obtain better treatment for themselves if they
exaggerated the value of the prize, declared that the child was Sultan
Ibrahim's eldest son, whom they were escorting to Mecca, to have him
circumcised.  The victors greedily swallowed this tale, and, delighted
with their good fortune, set sail for Malta, where they no sooner
arrived than they noised abroad the capture they had made of the Grand
Sultana and the Sultan's eldest son.  The joyful intelligence was
spread through all Christendom, and caused such excitement that
portraits of the mother and child were extensively sold all over
Europe.  So highly was their prize valued, that the Knights of St. John
talked of proposing the return of the Isle of Rhodes, which had been
won from their enfeebled grasp by the Turks, as a ransom for the child
and its mother; for they concealed the fact that she was dead, and
substituted a slave in her stead.  Letters were sent to Ibrahim to
inform him of the capture of his wife and child; but as a long time
elapsed and he vouchsafed no reply, the Maltese began to question the
identity and value of their little captive, who, in the meantime, had
been treated with regal attention.  Finally, in 1649, they were enabled
to make positive inquiries in Constantinople, by means of a certain
Master Pietro, who knew Turkish; and were intensely chagrined to learn
that the Grand Sultana and her eldest boy were both comfortably located
in the Mohammedan capital, whence, indeed, they had never departed.
This intelligence caused the grandees of Malta to treat their youthful
charge with less consideration; but as they did not desire to become
the laughing-stock of Europe, they concealed the truth, and allowed the
world to remain in ignorance of it.  As for the son of Sciabas, he was
christened with the name of Ottoman, and consigned to a monastery in
Italy.  When the young Turk grew up, he was treated with no slight
amount of consideration by many persons who believed in his royal
parentage, and as "Father Ottoman" was considered a shining light by
his fellow Dominicans.


A.D. 1668.

In 1668 a work appeared in France, with a license from the King, to
whom it was dedicated, bearing for title, _Histoire de Mahomet Bey, ou
de Jean Michel Cigale, Prince du Sang Ottoman, Basha et Plénipotentaire
Souverain de Jerusalem, du Royaume de Cypre, de Trebizonde_, etc.  This
work, which purported to contain the veritable adventures of its
author, was the production of a man declaring himself to be descended
from the illustrious Cigalas of Sicily, and who cited several passages
from various authors to prove that his family had intermarried with
most of the royal families of Europe.  His own immediate parentage was
ascribed to Scipio, son of that famous Viscount Cigala who was taken
prisoner by the Turks in 1561, just after Andrew Doria's grand victory
over them.  Scipio, having been captured with his father, according to
this book's account was taken to Constantinople, and in order to
ingratiate himself with the Sultan, Solyman the Magnificent, adopted
Mohammedanism, and was rewarded with the post of generalissimo of the
army, and the hand of a royal princess.  Mahomet Bey, said the
veritable history, was the result of this illustrious alliance.  Having
received a princely education, Mahomet, according to his book, was made
Viceroy of Palestine; and whilst in the Holy Land was so impressed by a
miraculous vision that he determined to become a Christian, and
abandoned the intention he had of pillaging the Holy Sepulchre at
Jerusalem.  Obliged for the present to disguise his conversion, he was
advanced to the governorship of the Isle of Cyprus, and made general of
the army destined for the conquest of Candia.  During the two following
years he contrived to hear mass, befriend and deliver several
Christians from slavery, and perform various notable deeds, of which,
strange to say, no one had heard until he published this wonderful
book.  The Sultan now assigned to him the sovereignty of Babylon,
Caramania, Magnesia, and numerous other provinces; but on his way to
take possession of his new domains he was favoured with another
miraculous vision, of a very singular character, which thoroughly
confirmed him in his Christianity.  Other marvels followed; but the
Jesuit dying to whom he had confided his idea of renouncing his high
duties and becoming a Christian, his public renunciation had to be
deferred.  Returning to Constantinople, he was compelled to accept the
Viceroyalty of Trebizond, and the Governor-Generalship of the Black
Sea.  On arrival at his new post, he collected all his valuables and
confided them to an envoy named Chamonsi, with instructions to carry
them into Moldavia, and there await his employer's arrival, he having
determined to abandon the Mohammedan territory and faith at the same
time.  Betrayed and robbed by his faithless messenger, he was set upon
by a party deputed by the Governor of Moldavia to seize him; but after
having performed prodigies of valour, only equalled by those of Baron
Münchausen, he succeeded in killing all his assailants, and escaping in
the borrowed garb of a peasant.

Reduced from his princely rank to the condition of a penniless
wanderer, but still bent on becoming a professed Christian, Mahomet
crossed the frontiers and made his way to the Cossacks, then at war
with Russia.  In the Cossack army, runs his tale, he discovered three
soldiers whom he had released from captivity in former times.  These
men recognized their deliverer, and making known his quality to their
chiefs, he was treated with respect, and invited to honour their
country by receiving baptism in it.  But Mahomet had resolved to make
his profession of the Christian faith in the city of Rome, and to
receive the sacrament from the Pope's own hands.  On learning this
resolve, the Cossacks, who were schismatics, became so unfriendly that
he was forced to fly their country, and take refuge in Poland.  There
he received a very kindly reception from the Queen, Maria Gonzaga, and
became so impressed with her friendliness that he yielded to her
persuasions, and was baptized by the name of John in the Cathedral of
Warsaw.  From Poland, according to his own story, he proceeded to Rome,
where the Pope no sooner heard of his arrival than he gave him
audience; and having heard his adventures, bestowed his apostolic
benediction upon him.  Still influenced by the kindness of the Polish
Queen, he returned to Warsaw, deviating somewhat from the way, however,
in order to assist the Emperor of Germany against the Turks.  To
display his zeal for Christianity, Mahomet tells his readers he
encountered and slew the Turkish general in single combat, and
performed such feats of daring, that had we not his own testimony for
their truthfulness, they would not be deemed credible.

The great things he had done for the German Emperor procured for him
from that potentate the post of guardian-captain of his artillery, but
that was not a sufficient inducement to retain him at Vienna; so, peace
being concluded, he departed for Sicily, to find out some of his
relatives and their allies.  As a scion of the illustrious house of
Cigala, he was received with royal honours by the Viceroy of the
island, as he was later on by the Viceroy of Naples, according to his
own veracious story.  After being fêted by the nobility of this latter
kingdom he revisited Rome, and was highly honoured by the new Pope,
Clement the Ninth, who introduced him to everybody of note.  After
various adventures he finally reached Paris, where the King and chief
members of the Court exerted themselves to the utmost in order to pay
him every respect and attention.  A palace was provided for him, and
when he left the country chains of gold and medallions of the King and
Queen were presented to him.

Such is the history of the life and adventures of Mahomet Bey as
detailed by himself.  A very different account is that given of him by
John Evelyn, author of the _Diary_, and other patient investigators.
According to their story, this pretended member of the chief royal
families of Europe was the son of an opulent citizen of Trogovisti, a
town of Wallachia.  Prince Matthias, of Moldavia, who had held the
claimant's father in much esteem, when he died took his son into his
service, and sent him on a mission to Constantinople.  When he returned
home an honourable career was open to him, but he took to such
disreputable courses that, had he not been warned in time to take to
flight, he would probably have ended his adventures on the gallows.  A
second visit to Constantinople, this time as a fugitive from justice,
did not improve his morality.  He resided in the Turkish capital until
the death of Prince Matthias, when he returned to Wallachia; but
receiving unequivocal proofs that his past offences were not forgotten,
he deemed it prudent to retire once more to Constantinople, where he
renounced Christianity for the usual pecuniary recompense.  Unable to
make much progress with the Turks, or finding the neighbourhood growing
too hot to be pleasant, he started on his travels through Christendom.
By pretending that he had resigned his Mohammedan honours in order to
embrace Christianity, this _soi disant_ scion of the Ottoman royal
family often obtained aid and protection from various dupes.  Finally
he came to England, and presented a copy of his mythical history to the
King.  For some time he was received at Court, but eventually some high
personage who had seen him at Vienna, and knew something of his true
history, exposed his imposture.  The last that is known of this
pretender is that he was drawing an annual pension from the imperial
treasures at Vienna in his old character of a Mohammedan prince
converted to Christianity.


A.D. 1747.

In 1747 a young man of elegant appearance arrived at Rochelle, in
France.  He was accompanied by an elderly person, who, from his
studious care of his young companion, appeared to be his tutor.  They
took apartments in a quiet house, and furnished them in a moderate
manner at their own expense.  The avowed object of their visit to this
French seaport was to procure a passage for the younger of the two to
some foreign port; but owing to the difficulty of evading the English
cruisers--the two nations then being at war with each other--it was a
long time before a vessel would put to sea.  Ultimately, a passage was
taken on board a small merchantman bound for Martinique, and the youth
and man prepared to embark.  When leaving his apartments, the landlady
enquired what was to be done with the furniture, and was told, with a
gracious smile, by the younger of the twain, to keep it as a souvenir
of him.

The elderly personage then parted from his young companion, who
embarked on board the West Indian merchantman, whither his reputation
had, apparently, preceded him.  Instinctively the captain and crew
recognized the fact that they had an important personage on board, and
therefore did all that they could to let him see they knew it.  The
elder man, who had taken a passage for the youth, had vouchsafed no
further information to the captain than that his passenger was a person
of distinction, whose friends would one day gratefully repay any
attention paid to him; but that was sufficient to procure him every
attention.  At one time he was enabled to do the crew a service, which
certainly increased their respect for him.  Alarmed by English
cruisers, nearly all the crew had taken to the shallop, and had hurried
off so quickly that no provisions had been taken with them;
consequently they were soon starving.  The young passenger, however,
purchased a quantity of refreshments from a native boat that came out
to them, and shared it equally amongst all on board.  They got back
safely to their ship, but the youth was taken with an illness, during
which he repaid their anxious inquiries and attentions more with a
courteous hauteur than with gratitude.  He appeared to shrink from all
familiarity, but, as it was necessary that he should have an attendant
during his illness, he selected a young sailor of about his own age,
named Rhodez, who was respectably connected, and fairly well educated.
Rhodez, with whom the youthful stranger became somewhat more confiding
than he had been with the others, stated that their passenger was Count
de Tarnaud, son of a field-marshal; but this scarcely satisfied the
inquisitive, who grew more mystified daily as they beheld the great
deference with which the confidant treated the interesting invalid.

On arrival off Martinique, the port was found to be too strictly
blockaded by the English cruisers to be entered; and, to save
themselves from capture, all had to take to the boats, and by
abandoning their ship and cargo, contrived to land safely, but
destitute.  The supposed count did not appear much grieved at his
misfortune, but, attended by Rhodez, at once put up at the best
establishment he could discover.  The attentions of his host, Ferrol,
he accepted as a matter of course, and behaved with such mysterious
assumption of grandeur, that the household at once put him down as a
prince in disguise.  Rhodez could not, or would not, afford any further
information than is already known, which it may be well imagined had
been thoroughly circulated through the place by the Count's
fellow-passengers.  Rumours spread rapidly, and at last attained such
dimensions that the commandant of the port thought it high time to make
the mysterious stranger's personal acquaintance.  He invited the _soi
disant_ count to his house, and his invitation was accepted.  Attended
by the useful Rhodez, the unknown removed to the commandant's dwelling,
and by a certain incident at the very first meal he partook of there,
contrived to impress his new host with an idea of his importance.  On
sitting down to dine, he found that he required a handkerchief,
whereupon Rhodez got up and brought him one.  This surprised the
company present, as at that time, as Rhodez knew well, it was not only
unusual, but even considered dishonourable, for one white man to wait
upon another.  Whilst everybody was in a state of perplexity at this
incident, a note from Ferrol was handed to the commandant, wherein it
stated: "You wish for information relative to the passenger who lodged
with me for some days; his signature will furnish more than I am able
to give.  I enclose you a letter I have just received from him."  This
letter, written in a schoolboy hand and badly worded, contained a few
words of thanks for Ferrol's services, and was signed "Este," and not
Tarnaud.  Here was more mystery.  All kinds of persons and books were
consulted in order to solve the enigma; and at last, by means of an
almanac, the youthful stranger was identified as Hercules Renaud
D'Este, hereditary Prince of Modena, and brother of the Duchess de
Penthièvre.  This discovery, which was substantiated by the testimony
of two officers of somewhat shady reputation, but who were reputed to
have seen the young prince in Europe, was quickly noised about, and the
stranger's health was drunk to a full accompaniment of all his supposed
titles.  The _soi disant_ "count" appeared to be extremely annoyed at
this discovery, having, so it seemed, signed the note with his real
name inadvertently; and although he did not deny the rank imputed to
him, the disclosure appeared to excite his haughty displeasure.

After a time, becoming accustomed to the loyal recognition of the
people, the supposed prince interested himself warmly in the interests
of the natives.  Owing to the strict blockade maintained by the
English, supplies from the neighbouring islands became scarcer and
dearer; and, to make matters worse, had to be obtained through the
intervention of certain monopolists, of whom the Marquis de Caylus, the
Governor of the Windward Islands himself, was the chief.  The
Commandant at Martinique, who hated the Marquis, sided with the people
in their murmurs, and sought to interest his princely guest in their
complaints.  The youthful scion of royalty declared himself indignant
against the monopolists, and swore to put an end to their exactions;
which being duly reported, rendered him more popular than ever.

News of all these things coming to the Governor's ears, he began to
grow uneasy, and, to judge for himself, invited the "Count de Tarnaud"
to visit him; but received for answer, that although to the rest of the
world the stranger might be the Count de Tarnaud, to the Marquis de
Caylus he was Hercules Renaud d'Este.  "If he desires to see me," said
his highness, "let him repair to Fort Royal, which is half way, and in
four or five days I shall be there."  At first the Governor was so
impressed by this imperative style, and the reports which his
emissaries brought him, that he started for Fort Royal, but growing
sceptical, he retraced his steps.  Not finding him at the appointed
place, "the prince," attended by quite a retinue of gentlemen,
proceeded to Fort St. Pierre, where the Governor beheld him from a
window, and exclaiming that he was the exact image of his royal mother
and sister, left the place in a panic and repaired to Fort Royal.

After this his "highness" threw off all further reserve, assumed the
honours of his position, appointed a household and a suite of
attendants, and accepted, without reserve, the generous hospitality of
the inhabitants.  As might be expected from his youth and exalted
birth, he never denied himself the gratification of a whim, and joined
in all the maddening dissipation of the place.  One remarkable thing
was noticed, and that was, that whatever frolic or excess he joined in
he never forgot his dignity of prince, and so continued to command the
respect of his companions.  At first he must have suffered much
inconvenience from the fact that although hospitably entertained from
the moment of his arrival, he had landed in the island without a coin
in his pocket; but his good fortune soon remedied this defect.  The
Duke de Penthièvre had a large property in the island, and his agent,
hearing of the awkward position in which the young prince, his
employer's brother-in-law, was placed, very friendlily put the funds in
hand at his disposal.  His highness graciously accepted this useful
offer, and henceforward was enabled to pay his way with royal

During this period of almost absolute power, the prince had written
home to his family, whilst the Marquis de Caylus sent a special
messenger to Europe to detail what had happened, and to ask for
instructions.  Meanwhile peace was proclaimed, the blockade raised, and
prices returned to their normal condition.  By this time the youthful
visitor, having contrived to spend fifty thousand crowns of the
Penthièvre funds, and strained the hospitality of the islanders to its
extreme limits, deemed it time to depart.  Accordingly, attended by all
his household and the royal physician, he hoisted an admiral's flag on
board a merchant vessel, and, under a royal salute from the fort, set
sail for Portugal.  Scarcely had their expensive guest departed before
a courier arrived with an order for the stranger's arrest, whilst the
agent of the Penthièvre family learnt, to his dismay, that he would be
expected, for his want of caution, to make good half of what he had
allowed the _soi disant_ prince to cheat him out of.

Meanwhile, the young adventurer arrived at Faro, in Portugal, and
landed amid an artillery salute.  He requested a courier should be sent
at once to Madrid, as also conveyance for himself and suite to Seville.
Everything was placed at his disposal, and, on his arrival at the
latter city, which he entered in triumphant-like style, he began a life
of festivity similar to that he had carried on in the West Indies.
Still provided with funds, he entertained right royally all those who
fêted him in return, and speedily won the admiration of the women and
the envy of the men.  In the midst of all this festivity, an order
arrived for the prince's arrest!  He was lodging with the Dominicans,
who, after a time, despite the indignation of the populace, agreed to
give him up, provided no blood were shed.  At first the officers found
it difficult to execute this agreement, the youth, who was a good
swordsman, making it a dangerous task to approach him; but ultimately
he was secured by stratagem, and thrown into a dungeon.  The following
day, for some inexplicable reason, he was released from his fetters,
and placed in the best apartment the prison afforded.  The "prince,"
who haughtily refused to answer any questions, was finally condemned to
the galleys; and his retinue, upon a charge of a supposititious nature,
were expelled the Spanish dominions.

Upon the prisoner's removal to Cadiz, great military precautions were
taken, as it was feared a riot on his behalf might be made.  On arrival
at Cadiz, he was consigned to Fort de la Caragna, and the commandant
was instructed to treat him, the convict, with politeness!  Being
allowed liberties not often granted to prisoners, he availed himself of
an opportunity to escape, and got on board an English vessel.  On
arrival at Gibraltar, the captain reported to the governor that he had
on board a personage claiming to be the Prince of Modena.  "Let him
beware of landing," responded the governor, "for I shall have him
apprehended immediately!"  The bewildered captain informed his
"highness" of the reply, and his passenger, warned by the past,
remained on board.  The vessel departed with this claimant to royalty,
of whose further proceedings history makes no mention.


A.D. 1752.

The Czarovitch Alexis, son of Peter the Great of Russia, was married in
October 1711, at Torgau, to the Princess Charlotte of Brunswick.  In
July of the following year, being then only eighteen years of age, the
young bride made her public entry into St. Petersburg.  She is always
described as an amiable and beautiful girl, and was, so it is averred,
the choice of Alexis himself.  Be this as it may, there can be no doubt
that the Czarovitch treated his youthful consort with neglect, even if
he did not brutally ill-use her; some authorities, indeed, asserting
that he frequently struck her, although, as she was liked and protected
by the Czar, his father, of whom he stood in considerable dread, this
scarcely seems probable.  Alexis gave up his time to the society of a
favourite girl of the lowest extraction, and amid various kinds of
debauchery forgot or ignored the existence of his wife, and the two
children she bore him, one of whom, a daughter, died in childhood;
whilst the other, a son, ultimately became Peter the Second.  Some
ascribe the intense antipathy Alexis appeared to entertain for his
unfortunate wife to a belief he entertained that she complained of him
to the Czar, who frequently, and in no very measured terms, took
occasion to expostulate with him on his conduct to his wife.

Soon after the birth of her second child the Princess grew dangerously
ill, and her malady was heightened by the deep melancholia which had
for some time past preyed upon her.  It was soon seen that her case was
hopeless; and every one, save the Princess herself, and her abandoned
husband, appeared to be deeply affected.  Alexis never came near his
dying wife, whilst the poor Princess herself appeared to be only too
willing to escape from the miseries of life.  She seemed to anticipate
death as a merciful release from her troubles, and implored the
physicians not to torment her any longer, as she was resolved to die.

On the day before her death she dictated a document addressed to the
Czar, in which she left all the funeral arrangements to him, and
recommended both her children to his care and affection, so that they
"might be educated according to their birth and position."  Her jewels
and valuables she left to her children; her dresses to her cousin and
dear companion, the Princess of Courland; requested that her debts
might be discharged, and the expenses of those who had accompanied her
to Russia defrayed home.  She thanked the Czar and his wife Catherine
for their kindness to her, and, in fact, left arrangements for all her
worldly matters.  On the following day, November 1st, 1715, she died,
and, despite the fact that she died in the Lutheran faith, although she
had been strongly solicited to abjure it for the Greek Church, out of
respect for her memory the Czar had her remains interred with regal
pomp in the Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. Paul at St.

The foregoing particulars have been thus minutely given in order that
the great improbability of the story told by the adventuress who
subsequently assumed her name and rank might be rendered the more
manifest.  According to the story told by a woman who appeared in
France about the middle of the last century, and claimed to be the
deceased Princess Charlotte, the Princess, soon after the birth of her
son, taking advantage of the Czar's absence from his capital, caused a
report of her death to be circulated.  The Czarovitch, who not having
paid any attention to her when alive, was scarcely likely to give
himself much trouble about her dead, was averred to have ordered the
body to be buried without delay; whereupon, according to the claimant's
statement, a piece of wood was substituted for the supposed corpse, and
was interred within the Cathedral, whilst the Princess made good her
escape into France.

A woman who had resigned her home and infant children in order to avoid
the worry of a husband's neglect or brutality, would be expected to
return to her father's home; but this princess, it is alleged, first
made good her retreat to France, and then, still apprehensive of
discovery, notwithstanding the fact of the burial of her supposed
remains, embarked for the United States, and settled in Louisiana.
There she met a French sergeant who had formerly been in St.
Petersburg, and all unregardful of her royal birth, married him, and
bore him a daughter.  In 1752, this _ci devant_ princess, accompanied
by her French husband, visited Paris, and as she was walking in the
Tuileries was seen and recognized, after all those years of change, by
Marshal Saxe, who, however, gallantly promised not to betray her
secret, and kindly procured a commission for her husband in the Isle of
Bourbon, whither the strangely assorted couple went.  Having lost her
second husband and her child, the doubly bereaved princess returned to
Paris in 1754, in the company of a negress.  Getting into difficulties,
in consequence of the East India Company refusing the bills she had
brought with her in her husband's name, through her inability to prove
herself to have been his wife, she took the opportunity of revealing
her real rank to a gentleman who had known her in the Isle of Bourbon
and, consequently, was induced to offer her his assistance.  Soon after
this wonderful revelation the _soi disant_ princess disappeared, but it
was supposed that she had retired to the court of her nephew, the Duke
of Brunswick.  The King of France, it was averred, had long known the
whole circumstances, and had even enjoined the Governor of the Isle of
Bourbon to pay her the honours due to her rank.  He also, it is said,
sent an account of the discovery in his own handwriting to Maria
Theresa, the Empress, who immediately wrote to the supposed princess,
her aunt, and, doubtless, thinking a woman who had abandoned one
husband and family would not be more particular over the next, advised
her to quit her present husband and child, whom the King of France
promised to provide for, and come and reside in Vienna.  This female
claimant seems to have utterly disappeared after the bill transaction
in Paris, but her story, told in a dozen different ways, may be read in
the histories and memoirs of the last century.


A.D. 1773.

The history of Russia has already furnished our records with some
remarkable cases of pseudo royalty in the tragic stories of the
Demetriuses and others, the suspicious circumstances so frequently
attendant upon the death of members of the royal family of the
Romanoffs having, doubtless, been the means of engendering such
impostures as herein detailed.  Yet the mystery surrounding the death
of Peter the Third was not very dense, scarcely any one doubting that
he was murdered at the instigation of his consort, Catherine the Second.

Well acquainted with the use schemers made of hasty and private
interments, the Empress determined that the body of her deceased
husband, upon whose vacated throne she was installed, should be
publicly exposed in accordance with ancient observances,
notwithstanding the circumstances of his death.  The corpse was
conveyed to the capital, and bedecked with his well-known Holstein
uniform, Peter the Third's remains were placed in the Church of St.
Alexander Newsky, and for three days the people were permitted to take
their last view of their murdered monarch.  The appearance of the
exhibited body is said to have confirmed the spectators in their idea
that the unfortunate Czar had been assassinated, whilst the forethought
of the Empress was quite ineffectual in preventing impostors
personating the deceased sovereign.  Soon after Peter's death rumours
were circulated to the effect that he had escaped from the hands of his
intended assassins, and was living in an obscure part of the country in
close concealment.  In consequence of these reports six several false
Peters, with stories more or less plausible, arose to excite
insurrections amongst the discontented people.  Five of these impostors
were easily disposed of, and without any great loss of life; but the
rebellions excited by the sixth shook the Empire to its foundations,
and caused a frightful effusion of blood and treasure.  Pugatchef, this
sixth and last claimant, was the son of a poor Cossack, and as a
private soldier had served some years in the Russian army.  At the
siege of Bender, in 1769, his extraordinary likeness to Peter the Third
had been much noticed, one officer observing, "If the Emperor, my
master, were not dead, I should believe that I saw him once more."  He
was of larger make and far greater vigour than Peter, but otherwise the
resemblance was great, as may be seen by comparing the portraits in the
British Museum of the Czar and the rebel.  Having deserted from the
army, and taken refuge amongst some religious sectaries of the Cossacks
of the Ural, Pugatchef, acquiring the support of these discontented
fanatics, boldly announced that he was Peter the Third himself, that he
had escaped from the daggers of the assassins, and that the story of
his death was an invention of his enemies.  In September 1773, he
raised the standard of revolt, and having some military skill and
experience, combined with personal activity and courage, and a perfect
knowledge of the country, he was enabled to entirely defeat the small
force sent against him.  This success swelled his band into an army,
and brought many skilled soldiers, especially discontented Poles, to
his aid.  Combining religious impositions with his regal one, he
tricked the populace into receiving him as their benefactor, and as the
supporter of the Church, as well as their Czar.  Force after force that
was sent against him was defeated, until even Moscow trembled before
his approach; and had he boldly marched upon the capital, the
probability is that it must have succumbed, and the imperial power
would have been completely overthrown.

He established a court, adopted the insignia of the empire, conferred
patents of nobility, and issued gold, silver, and copper coins, bearing
his image, and the inscription: "Peter the Third, Emperor of all the
Russias."  But as the adventurer became powerful, he cast off the mask,
and dissipated the confidence of his followers by his debauchery and
contempt for religious observances.  His natural ferocity, no longer
under curb, was exercised upon his opponents, whom he mercilessly
massacred without respect to sex or age.

Catherine and her advisers, no longer able to treat this rebellion as
the marauding expedition of a gang of robbers, were compelled to make
the most strenuous efforts to meet the impostor's forces.  An army of
veterans, chiefly recalled from the Turkish campaign (then being
prosecuted), and numbering forty-five thousand men, aided by a
formidable train of artillery, took the field under the command of an
experienced general.  Proclamations were issued, offering a pardon to
all who returned to their allegiance, and proffering a reward of one
hundred thousand silver roubles for the person of Pugatchef, alive or
dead.  The pretender, in return, circulated manifestoes, in which he
abolished servitude, freed unconditionally all the serfs, and created
them proprietors of the soil which they tilled.  This was an attack
upon the empire's weakest point; and had the insurgent leader been as
prudent as he was daring, he might easily have overturned the existing

During the spring of 1774, victory, followed by the most terrible
excesses, hovered between the two opposing powers, until at last
Palitzin, the imperial general, completely routed Pugatchef, and drove
him into the fastnesses of the Ural mountains.  Just as the Empress and
her courtiers were congratulating themselves upon the supposed
annihilation of the rebellion, however, the claimant reappeared with
recruited strength, and again obtained many successes.  Again was he
routed and driven back, and again did he return with fresh armies to
renewed victories.  Once more repulsed, he was still enabled, for the
fourth time, to gather together fresh legions of insurgents, who seemed
to spring into being at his call.  But his strength was nearly spent;
his experienced men had been destroyed; his new recruits were ill-armed
and untrained serfs, whilst peace with Turkey enabled the Empress to
concentrate all her strength for a crushing blow.  Pugatchef advanced
along the banks of the Volga towards Moscow, committing the most
terrible atrocities at the various places he captured.  Aware that the
late Czar, whom he still personified, spoke German, he carefully
executed any of his prisoners who owned to a knowledge of that
language.  Finally, surprised by the Imperial troops, his hordes were
routed with great slaughter, and he himself narrowly escaped by
swimming across the Volga, and gaining the almost inaccessible steppes
of the Ural.  Attended by three followers only, he lurked about for
some time, until at last betrayed and handed over to a Russian general.
Sent to Moscow, he was tried with all possible formality, condemned,
and executed on January 21st, 1775, having previously, according to
official report, confessed his real name, and been recognized by his
relatives.  Thus ended one of the most daring impostures on record,
after having cost the empire upwards of a year's panic and confusion,
an enormous loss of property, and, worse than all, the sacrifice of at
least three hundred and fifty thousand lives.


A.D. 1828-33.

No more innocent claimant to royalty, nor more undeserved a victim,
than was Caspar Hauser, is told of in history.  His birth, his death,
and his real parentage, are all enveloped in a mystery no amount of
research has, as yet, been able to pierce.  The world first heard of
him on Whit-Monday, the 26th of May, 1828.  On the afternoon of that
day a citizen of Nuremberg was interested in the appearance of a youth
in a peasant's dress, who seemed endeavouring to walk into the town,
but with unsteady gait and tottering step.  When approached and
accosted, he replied in the Bavarian idiom, "I want to be a trooper as
my father was," and held out a letter addressed to the captain of the
fourth squadron of the sixth regiment of Bavarian Light Horse.  As this
officer was quartered near the citizen's own house, he assisted the
crippled lad to the place indicated.  The captain was from home, and as
the bearer of the letter to him appeared to be little better than an
idiot, and incapable of giving other account of himself than that he
wanted to be a trooper as his father had been, he was conducted to the
stable and given some straw, upon which he laid himself down and fell
asleep.  When the captain came home the lad was sought for, but it
required no little exertion to awaken him.  He could not give any
account of himself, and recourse was had to the letter for an
explanation.  It was written in German, in an unknown hand, and
expressed a wish that the youth should be admitted into the captain's
troop of Light Horse.  A memorandum in Latin was enclosed, and was
stated by the writer of the letter to have been received by him on the
7th of October, 1812, when the present bearer, then a baby, had been
left at his house.  It proceeded to declare that the writer was a poor
labourer, and the father of ten children; but that he had complied with
the unknown mother's request by bringing up the little foundling
secretly, and by giving him instructions in reading, writing, and
Christianity.  This communication contained neither the writer's name
nor address, nor did the memorandum enclosed throw much light on the

It ran thus:--"The child is already baptized; you must give him a
surname yourself; you must educate the child.  His father was one of
the Light Horse.  When he is seventeen years old, send him to Nuremberg
to the sixth regiment of the Light Horse, for there his father was.  He
was born on the 30th April, 1812.  I am a poor girl, and cannot support
him.  His father is dead."

This unsatisfactory communication, and the utter inability of the youth
to furnish any account of himself, determined the captain to have
nothing to do in the matter; so he immediately handed his charge over
to the police.  Taken to the guardroom, a close examination was made of
the strange arrival.  His attire consisted of a coarse shirt,
pantaloons, and a peasant's jacket, in which was a white handkerchief
marked "K.H." (Kaspar Hauser).  He was of medium height,
broad-shouldered, and well built; his skin was white and fine, his
limbs delicately moulded, and his hands small and beautifully formed.
The soles of his feet were as soft as the palms of his hands, and were
covered with blisters, which seemed to account for his difficulty in
walking.  But subsequent investigation offered further elucidation upon
this point; it showed that his feet had never before been compressed by
shoes, and that owing to the confined position in which the unfortunate
boy had been retained, the joint at the knees, instead of being a
protuberance when the leg was straightened, formed a hole or
depression.  Whilst under examination he manifested neither dread nor
astonishment, but continued to cry and point to his feet.  His
behaviour excited the compassion of the officials, and one of them
offered him some meat and beer; but he rejected them with disgust,
partaking, however, of bread and water with apparent relish.

The usual interrogations were put to him, as to his name, whence he
came, and his travelling pass; but all in vain.  Beyond his frequently
repeated expression, "I want to be a trooper as my father was," little
could be got out of him.  Some of the spectators began to fancy the lad
was playing a part, and their suspicions were increased when, upon
writing materials being offered to him, he took a pen, and slowly and
clearly wrote "Kaspar Hauser."  Unable to make out whether he was an
idiot or an impostor, he was removed to a tower near the guard-house,
where rogues and vagabonds were confined.  Given a straw bed, he lay
down and slept soundly.

Although at first utterly unable to furnish any account of himself,
Caspar, under the kind and judicious treatment of his keepers,
gradually learnt to speak, and gather some idea of the world and its
ways.  As soon as ever he was really enabled to communicate with those
around him, the Burgermeister, Herr Binder, went to visit him, and take
down his deposition.  From what the poor lad then or subsequently
stated, the following extraordinary particulars were recorded, and are,
or were some few years ago, still preserved in the Nuremberg Police
Court.  Caspar's account was to the effect that he did not know who he
was, or whence he came; that as far back as he could recollect he had
always lived in a hole or cage, and always sat upon the ground, with
his back supported in an erect position,--a statement which the
condition of his knees fully corroborated.  He had been kept in a state
of semi-darkness in this subterranean place, clad only in shirt and
trousers, and fed only upon bread and water.  At times he had been
overpowered with heavy sleep, and on awakening from this state would
find his nails trimmed, his clothes changed, and his dungeon cleaned
out.  Every day a man, whose face he had never seen, would come and
bring him a loaf of bread and a pitcher of water.  Some time before
Caspar's removal into the outer world, "the man" was accustomed to come
every day with a small table or board, which he put over the lad's
feet, and putting a sheet of paper upon it, guided his hand, in which
he had placed a pencil, so that he gradually learnt to write.  By
constant imitation of the marks or lines "the man" guided him into
making, Caspar Hauser had learnt to make the letters composing his own
name, or rather the name he went by.  This writing appears to have
greatly delighted the poor captive and, beyond two wooden horses, would
seem to be all that he had to amuse himself with.  At last "the man"
came one night, lifted Caspar on to his shoulders, and taking him out
of the dungeon, carried him towards Nuremberg.  He made the lad try to
walk, but the unusual exercise caused him such pain that he fainted;
and when he recovered his senses he found himself alone by the city
gates, where he was discovered.

Everything appeared to corroborate this most extraordinary
circumstance; it was some time before he could walk without stumbling;
he appeared to have no control over his limbs; the attempt to compress
his feet into boots caused him great torture, whilst walking drew sighs
and groans from him.  His eyes, unaccustomed to the light, became
inflamed; he had no idea of the relative distances of things, and when
he first saw the flame of a candle was so delighted that he put his
finger into it.  When pretended thrusts were made at him he exhibited
no alarm, and did not recoil, and altogether showed such intense
ignorance of the operations of the senses that those about him were
convinced that he was no impostor, as strangers imagined him to be.
The meanwhile, whilst the lad was gradually becoming reconciled to the
wonders of the world around him, the strange story of his discovery was
spreading rapidly all over Europe.  The scientific and the curious
flocked to Nuremberg in order to behold this human phenomenon, and
presented him with toys and gifts.  But he complained that his visitors
teased him, and that he had headaches, which he never had when he was
in his cell.  At this time, the close scrutiny which his story
underwent began to excite curious suspicions as to the facts of his
parentage.  It was argued that a mother desirous of getting her child
adopted was not likely to have placed it at the door of a poor labourer
already burdened with ten children of his own, and with the hope that
he could support it for seventeen years; nor was it within the bounds
of probability that a man so situated could have kept the boy all that
period without putting him to work.  Moreover, what reason could the
labourer have had for keeping the boy concealed all that time?  The
mother might have wished concealment, but certainly not the adopting
labourer.  It was felt there was some deep mystery behind all this
secrecy, and everything about it pointed to a noble origin for Caspar.

These ideas, and the rumours they generated, had tragic consequences
for the poor lad.  On the 17th October, feeling unwell, he was excused
from a mathematical class he attended, and was allowed to stay at home.
A little after noon, whilst a woman in the house was sweeping, she
noticed blood spots and bloody footmarks, and following them to the
cellar, there found Caspar, apparently dead, and with a dreadful wound
across his forehead.  Medical assistance was procured, and the lad
removed to his bed.  After a time he recovered from his insensibility,
but for a long while was in a state of delirium, during which he
frequently murmured, "Man come--don't kill me--I love all men--do no
one anything.  Man, I love you too.  Don't kill--why man kill?"

The poor innocent lad was carefully tended, and as soon as he had
regained sufficient strength to be interrogated a judicial inquiry was
made into the affair.  According to the victim's account, "the man" had
entered the house, and as he was softly treading along a passage Caspar
noticed that he was masked, but before he could make any further
observation he was felled to the ground by the wound in his forehead,
and became insensible.  He could not explain how he got into the
cellar, but fancied he must have crawled there in a half-insensible
condition.  Nothing resulted from the judicial inquiry beyond the fact
that the extraordinary case excited more comment than ever.  Among
others who became interested in the strange matter was Earl Stanhope,
then in Germany.  This English nobleman was so pleased with the lad's
amiable ways and his misfortunes, that he placed him in the care of an
able tutor.  After a time Caspar received the appointment of Clerk to
the Registrar's Court of Appeal, and performed his duties so well that
Lord Stanhope spoke of adopting him and taking him to England.  This
probably induced his powerful foes to put him out of the way at once.
On the evening of the 14th December, 1833, as Caspar was returning home
from his official duties, a stranger accosted him, and by a promise of
revealing his parentage inveigled him into the palace gardens, where he
plunged a dagger into his side, and then instantly disappeared.  Caspar
just managed to get home and murmur a few words when he became
insensible, and before the police arrived he expired.

The police appear to have made great efforts to discover the assassin,
but without success.  The King of Bavaria caused an inquiry into Caspar
Hauser's case to be made, and the well-known jurist, Feuerbach, to whom
the inquiry was deputed, reported significantly, "_There are circles of
human society into which the arm of justice dares not penetrate._"

Who then was Caspar Hauser, and why include him among pretenders to
royal lineage?  It was surmised, and still is believed by many, that he
was elder son of the Grand Duke Karl of Baden and his much-admired
consort, the Grand Duchess Stephanie Tascher, Napoleon's adopted
daughter.  Their son, born in September 1812, was alleged to have died
when a few weeks old, but the popular idea in Baden was, and indeed
still is, that this boy was carried off and a dead child substituted in
his stead, at the instigation of the Grand Duke Karl's uncle and
successor, Ludwig, a man to whom the most disgraceful crimes and cruel
outrages are imputed.



Had not these pages already proved to what an extent human credulity
could go, it would be almost useless to offer the following most
extraordinary details as matters of fact.  That a dead person might be
personated by a living being is quite within the range of probability,
but that thirty or more totally different individuals should in this
nineteenth century not only deem it, but prove it, possible to dupe
numbers of people into believing that they were a prince whose decease
had been publicly certified and most zealously investigated into,
scarcely seems to come within the range of the possible.  In order to
better comprehend the various marvellous stories detailed by the
impostors about to be referred to, the true story of the little
dauphin, styled by the French royalists Louis the Seventeenth, should
be told.

On the 27th March, 1785, Louis Charles, the second son of Louis the
Sixteenth of France, was born at the Château de Versailles.  The birth
of this second son caused great rejoicings in the royal circle, where
his earliest years were environed with all the care and adulation
bestowed upon princes.  His father created the child Duke of Normandy,
whilst the death of his elder brother in 1789 brought him next in
succession to the throne, raised him to the rank of dauphin, and, if
possible, made him a greater idol than before in the eyes of the Court.
At four years of age he is described as of slight but well-shaped
figure, with a broad, open forehead, finely-arched eyebrows, and large
blue eyes; his complexion was fair, and his hair, of a dark chestnut
colour, curled naturally, and fell in ringlets over his shoulders.
Amid the gaieties of the French Court at Versailles doubtless the
little lad's mental faculties were rapidly developed, although it would
be idle to place any credence in the authenticity of the sage replies
and clever repartees ascribed to him by some Court writers.  But his
happy childish life was of short duration: the starving and infuriated
populace of Paris, driven from one misery to another, deemed if they
could only bring the king to the metropolis means would be discovered
for overcoming their distress.  Under the influence of this
infatuation, an enormous crowd, chiefly composed of women, marched from
Paris, invaded the regal precincts of Versailles, and deputed a few of
their number to see the king.  Louis the Sixteenth received the
deputation with great kindness, but the power of royal words was over,
and the following day he was compelled to return to the capital,
accompanied by the Queen and the dauphin.  The people, in their
destitute condition, could only think of bread, and believing the king
could command possession of it, familiarly styled him "The Baker," so
that now, seeing the royal family's return, they shouted joyously, "No
more poverty; we are bringing back the baker and his wife, and the
little shopboy."  The poor child so designated could not find anything
better to say of the Tuileries, as they entered that place, than,
"Everything is very ugly here."  His mother endeavoured to console the
prince for that by reminding him Louis the Fourteenth had lived there.

It is needless to recapitulate the well-known story of the precarious
state to which the royal family were speedily reduced in Paris, and how
they made secret preparations for leaving the capital in disguise.  On
the 20th of June, 1791, the attempted flight was commenced, the
dauphin, who had been dressed as a girl, deeming he was being attired
to play in a comedy.  The flight was, indeed, carried out, but the
royal party got no further than Varennes, where they were discovered,
and after being allowed to spend the night there were carried back to
Paris (although it was wonderful that they reached it alive), and five
days after their departure were again installed in the Tuileries.  From
that time until the 13th of August, 1792, when the royal family were
imprisoned in the Temple, the whole of its members had been under close
surveillance, and had no fresh opportunity of escaping from the
capital.  From the date of their incarceration in the Temple their doom
was sealed, and nothing but death released any one save the Princess
Marie Theresa from captivity.  After a while the king was separated
from his family, and placed in a portion of the prison called the Great
Tower, and there also the dauphin was placed, with his father, until
the trial and execution of the latter, when he was returned to his
mother's care.  On the 3rd of July, 1793, a most terrible trial awaited
the hapless boy: on that day, in accordance with a decree of the
"Committee of Public Safety," he was removed from the custody of his
mother, and consigned to the charge of Simon, formerly a cobbler, but
now appointed guardian to the dauphin at a salary of twenty pounds a
month, conditionally upon his never leaving his youthful prisoner, and
never, upon any pretence, leaving the tower where the child was

The fearful and miserable life which the poor boy endured whilst in
charge of the brutal Simon, and his scarcely less brutal wife, is so
well known that the saddening details need not be repeated; suffice to
recall the fact that by hard work, strong drinks, close confinement,
improper food, and even blows, the unfortunate child was brought to the
brink of the grave.  M. de Beauchesne, to whom the world is chiefly
indebted for the harrowing story of Louis the Seventeenth's wretched
fate, has, it is to be hoped, overdrawn the terrible picture; but,
after making every allowance for royalist exaggeration, enough of
horror remains to excite the pity of the hardest hearted.  Brutal and
debasing as was Simon's regimen, it was not rapid enough in its process
to satisfy "the Committee of Public Safety;" they, therefore, dismissed
him from his post, and made different arrangements.  For the future the
poor innocent little victim was confined in one room, into which his
coarse food was passed through a wicket, and from which he was never
permitted to emerge either for exercise or fresh air.  "He had a room
to walk in, and a bed to lie upon; he had bread and water, and linen,
and clothes, but he had neither fire nor candle."  For months this
system of solitary confinement was endured by the child, who, reduced
to a state of helpless stupidity, no longer attempted to change his
linen, or cleanse himself, and was allowed to drift into a condition of
utter imbecility.  Ultimately an improvement was effected in the little
captive's condition, and under the better treatment accorded him he
rallied for some time; but the cruelty he had endured had been too
certain in its operation to allow of any permanent restoration to
health.  In the month of May, 1795, his jailers reported to the
Government that "little Capet was dangerously ill."  A physician was
sent to attend on the child, but his prescriptions were no longer of
any use.  On the 8th of June he told one of his keepers, "I have
something to tell you!" but the man waited in vain for the revelation,
for whilst he listened the poor child's life had passed away.

When the dauphin died he was ten years and two months old.  The members
of the Committee of Public Safety having concluded their day's sitting
when the news was brought, it was deemed advisable to conceal the event
until the morrow.  Supper was prepared for the child as usual, and
Gomin, his attendant, took it up to the room.  Many years afterwards
this man stated that when he entered the apartment he went to the bed
and gazed upon the corpse of the little dauphin.  "His eyes, which
while suffering had half-closed," he relates, "were now open, and shone
as pure as the blue heaven, and his beautiful fair hair, which had not
been cut for two months, fell like a frame round his face."  The next
morning four medical men came to examine the body, and make their
report, which they did in somewhat ambiguous terms, stating that at the
Temple on a bed in a room of the second floor of the Tower they had
seen "the dead body of a child, apparently about ten years old, which
the commissaries declared to be that of the late Louis Capet's son, and
which two of our number recognized as that of the child they had been
attending for several days."  About twenty soldiers, however, who are
stated to have known the "little Capet" by sight when at the Tuileries,
were also admitted, at their own request, to view the body of the
child, and signed an attestation to the effect that they recognized it.
The body was finally put into a coffin, and on the 10th of June, 1795,
was taken to the cemetery of Sainte Marguerite, by the Rue St. Bernard,
and buried in an unknown spot, which to this day no one has been
enabled to find out.


Although the unfortunate dauphin's death had been officially certified
to by so many persons, the secret manner of his burial afforded full
scope for the propagators of strange rumours to exercise their talents.
The circulation amid provincial cliques of baseless reports of the
prince having made good his escape from the Temple, and of another
child having been substituted in his place, was not unlikely to meet
the ears of those able and willing to avail themselves of the popular
myth; it is not, therefore, so phenomenal that some impostors sought to
pass themselves off as the deceased dauphin; but the large number of
different individuals who made the attempt is, probably, unparalleled
in all history.  Out of the thirty, according to the computation of M.
de Beauchesne, claimants to the name of this luckless scion of royalty,
it will be only requisite to furnish accounts of the most notorious.
The first of the pretenders, in order of time, was Jean Marie
Hervagault, the putative son of a poor Normandy tailor.  He was born at
St. Lô on the 20th of September, 1781.  His mother had been a pretty
woman, and scandal had connected her name somewhat closely with that of
the Duke de Valentinois.  Young Hervagault had a delicate complexion,
fair hair curling naturally, an agreeable countenance, and dignified
manners that would not have discredited the child of royalty.  When he
was twelve years of age he set off on his travels, and after having
duped several persons by pretending to be a son of different members of
the aristocracy, he determined to, or was persuaded to, take upon
himself the name of the little prince, "Louis the Seventeenth."
According to the story given by his adherents, or accomplices, the
dauphin had not died in the Temple as was commonly supposed, but had
been carried forth in a basket of soiled linen, and the scrofulous and
idiotic child of the tailor Hervagault left in his stead.  The pseudo
Louis the Seventeenth had not made much progress in his first essay
before he was arrested as a vagabond, and sent to Cherbourg.  There his
father reclaimed him, and he was allowed to go free under parental
care.  Some few years later he recommenced his imposture, and being
again arrested was sentenced at Chalons-sur-Marne to a month's
detention.  Not deterred by this, he began his old tricks again, and
being speedily captured was condemned to two years' imprisonment.
Finally, he was caught the next time at Vitry, practising his favourite
imposture and living at the expense of his dupes.  On this occasion the
pretended prince was favoured with four years of detention.  These
successive rebuffs did not deter Hervagault from pursuing his game upon
the next opportunity.  When for the last time he presented himself
before the judge, his easy assurance and dignified mien greatly
impressed the court.  The large and influential crowd of his dupes, who
were spectators of his trial, remained firm believers in his case, and
would not be dissuaded from their belief by the most positive proofs as
to the falsity of his tale.  Men of exalted position and wealthy
persons accorded him their sympathetic aid, and considered themselves
well paid for whatever they might do if "the dauphin" condescended to
honour them with a bow, or if they were permitted to kiss his royal
hand.  The imperial police, however, would not stand much nonsense, and
shut up the youthful claimant in the asylum of Bicêtre, as an
incorrigible lunatic.  Hervagault now and for henceforth disappeared
from public gaze, but the vacant dauphinship was speedily claimed by
Jersat, an old soldier; and upon his being disposed of, Fontolive, a
mason at Lyons, started as a claimant for the honours.  He in his turn
vanished from the scene, and then Bruneau aspired to the title.


Mathurin Bruneau was the son of a maker of wooden shoes, and was born
at Vezin, in the department of the Marne-et-Loire.  By his eleventh
year the precocious rogue had already endeavoured to palm himself off
as a nobleman's son, and encouraged, apparently, by the facility with
which his claims were acknowledged, he determined to fly at a higher
game, ultimately giving forth that he was the Duke of Normandy.
Although this impostor never was anything but a vulgar peasant, devoid
of education and good manners, he acquired a large following, and
really became a source of danger to the Government.  In 1817, that is
to say, in the early days of the Bourbon restoration, when the throne
was in a very precarious condition, this claimant, taking advantage of
a famine and the general discontent, had placards posted on the walls
and public places of Rouen, denouncing the reigning monarch, Louis the
Eighteenth, claiming the crown for himself as the legitimate son of
Louis the Sixteenth, and promising, if placed on the throne, to reduce
the price of bread to three sous per pound.  The long wars of the
empire had exhausted France, and reduced the provinces to such a
condition of misery that any inflammatory leader was likely to obtain a
large retinue of discontented followers, so that even so mean and
insignificant a personage as Bruneau was, was dangerous.

Bruneau, according to the minute and circumstantial investigation which
Monsieur Verdière made into the past events of his life, had undergone
a series of adventures as surprising as those of Gil Blas, and had
perpetrated a variety of deceptions of a most extraordinary nature,
culminating in his grand assumption of the _rôle_ of the dauphin, the
titular "Louis the Seventeenth."  When this ridiculous pretender, who
had already undergone imprisonment as a rogue and an _imbecile_, first
attempted to take upon himself the royal title, he was attired, says
his historian, in nothing but a nankin vest, linen trousers, and a
cotton cap, stockingless and moneyless,--not even a claimant was ever
in worse condition.  According to the best account, this absurd
impostor was first prompted to assume the dauphin's name at the
suggestion of an eating-house keeper of Pont-de-Cé, who had formerly
been cook to Louis the Sixteenth.

Orders were issued for the arrest of the audacious pretender, but he
did not wait for them to be put into execution.  He decamped, and was
traced to St. Malo, and arrested there.  He was so illiterate that he
could neither read nor write; but for all that he caused a letter to be
written to the King, Louis the Eighteenth, in which, under the title of
the Dauphin, he reclaimed his paternal heritage.  Sent to Bicêtre, in
January 1816, Bruneau did not suffer himself to be cast down.  In his
leisure hours he employed himself at his juvenile occupation of making
wooden shoes; but with an eye to future opportunities he endeavoured to
make proselytes to his regal pretensions.  Among his companions in
misery he discovered some very useful converts or accomplices,
including Larcher, a pretended priest; Tourly, a forger; the Abbé
Matouillet; Branzon, condemned for robbery; and other equally
respectable associates.  The rumour was speedily noised abroad that
"Louis the Seventeenth" was at Bicêtre, and visitors continually came
to see "the unfortunate prince," and leave him substantial proofs of
their devotion and sympathy.  They raised a civil list for him,
overwhelmed him with unsolicited gifts, wrote the "Mémoires du Prince,"
and eventually made so great a stir in the city that the judicial
authorities were compelled to interfere, and on the 10th of February,
1818, had Bruneau up before the Police Tribunal.  The accused presented
himself in his invariable cotton cap; and mean, illiterate, and
miserable as was his appearance, was saluted by a few faint cries of
"_Vive Louis the Seventeenth!_"  What the man wanted in dignity he made
up for with assurance; and although Monsieur Dossier, the Procureur du
Roi, with pitiless severity disclosed the whole of the impostor's past
career, the insolent vagabond contested to the end of his
cross-examination that he was the veritable Duke of Normandy.  His
vulgarity, his contradictions, and his whole demeanour were so
palpable, it is wonderful that a single person could have been duped.
And yet numerous people, many of them holding respectable positions in
society, permitted themselves to be fooled, and even subscribed large
sums of money for the pretender's support.  The money which had been
subscribed for this _soi disant_ "Louis the Seventeenth" had been
chiefly deposited at the Bank of France--a fact of which the
prosecution was, of course, aware,--and therefore the judges did not
content themselves with condemning Bruneau to five years' imprisonment
for his imposture, and a further term of two years, to commence at the
expiration of the five, for his insolent behaviour during his trial,
but they also sentenced him to a fine of three thousand francs, to be
paid to the Government, and to defray three-quarters of the cost of his
prosecution, to meet which penalties the moneys standing to his credit
at the bank were confiscated.  It was also ordered that at the
expiration of his term of imprisonment Bruneau should remain at the
disposal of the Government, to determine what was thought fit as to his
future.  Bruneau's accomplice in the fraud was sentenced to two years'
imprisonment, and the payment of one-fourth of the cost of the
prosecution.  Bruneau died in prison.


Hitherto the claimants to the dignities and name of the deceased
Dauphin were persons of low origin, and with little or no pretensions
to education.  But the next pretender to be introduced was of
aristocratic appearance, talented, and furnished with a plausible story
to account for his past life.  His first appearance before the public
as a claimant, so far as history is cognizant of his adventures, was on
the 12th of April, 1818, when a young man was arrested by the Austrian
police, near Mantua, for styling himself Louis Charles de Bourbon.  He
declared himself to be French, and said that he was travelling for his
education, the truth or falsity of which assertions did not trouble the
police, but the surname of "De Bourbon" did, and they demanded an
explanation.  The arrested traveller declined to respond to their
interrogations; but desired that a communication which he had addressed
_A Sa Majesté Impériale seule_ should be forwarded to the Emperor.

From this communication, and other documents found in the prisoner's
possession, it was discovered that he claimed to be Louis Charles de
Bourbon, Duke of Normandy, and the legitimate heir to the crown of
France.  This illustrious captive was sent to Milan, and, without
undergoing the formality of a trial, was promptly incarcerated.  His
story, as fully detailed in the "_Mémoires du Duc de Normandie, fils de
Louis XVI., écrits et publié par lui-même_," at Paris in 1831, and
subsequently republished with modifications and additions in 1850, is
of a most interesting character, and is evidently as veracious as most
of those issued by his contemporary rival claimants.  According to the
Milan prisoner, whose memory, unlike that of most of the pretenders to
the dauphin's name, was clear as to the miseries he had endured during
captivity in the Temple, after the death of Marie Antoinette, the wife
of his jailer Simon consented to aid his escape, having been bought by
the gold of the Duke de Condé, who had sent two faithful emissaries,
the Count de Frotte, and Ojardias, a pretended physician, to Paris, in
hopes of rescuing the royal child.  The name of Ojardias, it is as well
to remark, notwithstanding the important part he was called upon to
play in this drama, has entirely escaped the researches of all
historians contemporary or recent, and appears only in the pages of
this remarkable narrative.  This pretended physician, having purchased
the co-operation of Madame Simon, and secured for himself, by
unrecounted means, the post of medical adviser to the dauphin,
counselled the invalid prince should be permitted a little exercise,
and recommended a wooden horse for that purpose.

The prison officials, who were in league with Ojardias, and ceded
everything to Madame Simon, consented to the proposed new treatment
being tried; the pretended physician therefore had a wooden horse
manufactured large enough to contain a child of the dauphin's size.
Simon, who was annoyed at having to resign his functions, and disgusted
at not being awarded any indemnity, was speedily talked over by his
wife to aid the escape of the prince, or at all events consented not to
offer any obstacle to his evasion.  The date fixed for the attempted
escape was the 19th January, 1794, on which day Simon had to resign his
guardianship.  Everything being prepared, and Simon gone to take a
parting glass with the prison officials, his wife, according to her
daily custom, conducted the little prince to a lower room.  In a few
moments Ojardias arrived with the horse designed for the dauphin's
exercise.  This new toy really contained in its interior a child of
about the same height as the prince, but dumb, and suffering from a
scrofulous complaint.  This unfortunate boy, who had been attired in
clothing similar to the dauphin's, had partaken of a strong narcotic,
and was consequently in a profound slumber.  The exercise horse was
conspicuously displayed before the prison officials, who, never having
read of the stratagem by which Troy was taken, or their vigilance
having been lulled by the pretended doctor's gold, did not find it
necessary to inspect it too minutely.  No sooner was Ojardias left
alone with the dauphin than he extricated the sleeping mute from his
prison-place and deposited him on the chair recently occupied by the
prince.  Rapidly explaining to little Louis what his purpose was, he
rolled him up in a bundle of linen Madame Simon had prepared for
departure, and proposed to that good lady, who was superintending the
dismantling of her rooms, that he should help her downstairs with the
said bundle.  The jailer's wife feigned that she could not allow the
doctor to do anything of the kind, nevertheless permitted him to carry
off the precious burden, whilst she took occasion to inveigh pointedly
against the nonchalance of some men, who would let a poor woman work
herself to death without stirring a finger to help her.  Meanwhile
Ojardias, accompanied by Simon, descended with the bundle, and
deposited it on the cart waiting to carry off the goods of the
ex-jailer, and which was immediately driven off.  On the same day that
the dauphin, according to the Milan prisoner's account, had been
rescued from the Temple, Simon, in vacating his post, handed over the
substituted child to the commissioners delegated by the commune to
replace the ex-jailer.  The child was still in a deep sleep, and the
commissioners had no motive for awakening it, as they had no suspicion
as to its identity.  They listened to Simon's declaration, and
certified on his affidavit that "the young Capet had been remitted to
them in good health."

Such was the story given by this claimant to account for his escape
from the Temple; but such is the unfortunate habit of these pretenders,
in a subsequent account he materially altered the narrative, and
instead of being taken away in a bundle of linen, averred that he had
been removed in the toy horse itself, which Simon's wife made Ojardias
carry downstairs again after he had effected the exchange of children,
notwithstanding the remonstrance of some of the officials, under the
pretext that she would not have it brought into the room without her
husband's consent, and he, when appealed to, refused to allow of its
being introduced.

Resuming the story, as given in the _Mémoires_, we read, that when the
dauphin was removed from his very confined place of imprisonment he was
cleansed, purified from the unpleasantness of his Temple captivity, and
then put to bed.  In the evening he was aroused, removed, and placed in
another artificial horse, but this time it was of life size.  In the
interior of this animal, which in the company of two real horses was
harnessed to a cart filled with straw, were placed every convenience
and comfort for the rescued prince.  This horse was covered with real
skin, and in every respect made to imitate a living animal, so that the
officers appointed to inspect all passing vehicles were in no way
suspectful of the deception, and permitted the conveyance and its
precious freight to pass without hindrance, so that the little Duke of
Normandy, after all his troubles and mishaps, arrived safely in
Belgium, and was delivered into the hands of the Prince de Condé.

Unfortunately De Condé, instead of at once proclaiming the rescue of
his youthful king, kept the whole affair mysteriously private, and
secretly sent the boy to General Kléber, of all persons in the world!
The revolutionary general accepted the strange trust reposed in him by
his opponent, and passing off the scion of royalty as his nephew,
Monsieur Louis, took him to Egypt with him.  Bonaparte was strangely
disquieted at the sight of this youth, in whom he foresaw a rival; but
the prince was once more carried away, and confided to the care of
another republican general, Desaix!  This officer made the royal
shuttlecock his _aide-de-camp_, and took him with him to Italy.  After
the battle of Marengo the dauphin revisited France, and instead of
seeking any of his family's adherents, confided his secret to Lucien
Bonaparte, and to Fouché, Napoleon's Minister of the Police.  Certainly
an eccentric youth, and one whom it was a great waste of time to have
rescued from the Temple precincts!  Fouché introduced the young prince
to Josephine, and the Empress at once recognized him from the scar
below the right eye, which Simon had caused with a serviette.
Unfortunately for his peace in France, the young man took part in
Moreau's conspiracy, and Pichegru's paper having revealed to Napoleon
the fact that Desaix's _aide-de-camp_ was none other than the Duke of
Normandy, the youthful conspirator had to fly, and, like most of his
rivals for the title of dauphin, took refuge in the United States.

The adventures of this claimant in the New World are too marvellous for
our pages; and as he prudently suppressed the account of them in the
second issue of his _Mémoires_, it is not necessary to allude to them
any further.  In 1815, according to his story, he returned to France,
determined to reclaim his rights.  His former protector, the Prince de
Condé, at once recognized him in private, and introduced him, by means
of a curious stratagem, to his sister, the Duchess d'Angoulême.  The
princess, however, regarding the dauphin as the enemy of her family,
because of the terrible avowals which Simon had wrung from him in the
Temple, refused to have anything to do with him.  Flying from this
cruel reception, the repulsed brother, so he averred, had travelled
through many foreign lands, including England, when, happening to visit
Italy, he was arrested and thrown into prison in the way already

Thanks to Silvio Pellico's charming prison records, this pretender's
story can be continued, and in a more truthful fashion.  In the same
prison of Ste. Marguerite, where the Italian author was confined, was
also held in durance vile the _soi disant_ Duke of Normandy.  The two
captives became acquainted, and the Frenchman, by this time probably
grown a half believer in his own imposture, declaimed so strongly
against his "uncle," Louis the Eighteenth, the usurper of his rights,
that Pellico appears to have been partly converted, whilst the jailers
were quite convinced of the authenticity of the prisoner's claims.
These guardians of the cells had seen so many changes of fortune during
the last few years, that it appeared to them by no means improbable
that one day their "royal" captive might leave his prison for a throne;
having this belief in view, they granted the pretender everything
available save freedom.

In 1825, the Austrians, deeming, doubtless, his "Royal Highness" had
had sufficient time to disabuse himself of his belief, released him
after a captivity of more than six years and a half.  The pretender
took himself off to Switzerland, where he made some dupes; and in 1826
re-entered France.  Grown prudent, however, he concealed his royalty
under the name of Hébert, and under that cognomen obtained employment
in the Préfecture of Rouen.  As Colonel Gustave he appeared in Paris,
in 1827, and in the following year reasserted his rights, as the
following communication addressed to the Chamber of Peers shows:--

"LUXEMBOURG, 2 _February_, 1828.

"NOBLE PEERS,--Organs of justice, it is to your exalted wisdom that the
unfortunate Louis Charles de Bourbon, Duke of Normandy, confides his
interests.  Saved, as by a miracle, from the hands of his ferocious
assassins, and after having languished for several years in various
countries of the globe, he addresses himself to your noble lordships.

"He does not reclaim the throne of his father; it belongs to the
nation, which alone possesses the right to dispose of it.  He only
demands from your justice an asylum for his head--which he cannot
repose anywhere without peril--and in a country which more than thirty
years of exile have not caused him to forget.


The only apparent result of this appeal was the proposition made by
Baron Mounier to the Chamber, that for the future no petition should be
received of which the petitioner's signature had not been legally
recognized, and which was not presented by a peer.

Meanwhile his "Royal Highness" was carefully sought for in Belgium and
Holland, although he was all the time concealed in Paris.  He managed
during this epoch to pick up a number of anecdotes and incidents
appertaining to the captivity of the royal family in the Temple, and by
displaying the ever useful cicatrice over his right eye, and the traces
on his knees and wrists of the malady contracted during his slavery
under Simon, was enabled to gather together a faithful band of
believers, who assisted him to the full length of their purses.  Among
other items of testimony, he declared that he had visited Madame Simon
on her death-bed at the Hospital of Incurables, where she did really
die on the 10th June, 1819, and that she instantly recognized him and
wept tears of pity.  What, however, he pointed to as the strongest
proof of his royalty was the fact, he alleged, that every one who could
have testified to his identity had been suddenly put out of the way.
He carefully, in fact, utilized the names of such persons as he had
been acquainted with during his life, and whose decease had been in any
way sudden, or not fully explained.  As, for instance, beginning with
the famous surgeon Desault, to whose care the dauphin had been
entrusted, and who had expired suddenly on the 4th of June, 1795, he
intimated that he had been poisoned, because he imprudently declined to
accept the substituted dumb child as the veritable Duke of Normandy.
In a similar way he accounted for the deaths of several well-known
personages whose lives he asserted had been sacrificed on his behalf.
He even went to the extent of asserting that Louis the Eighteenth knew
well that he was the veritable dauphin, and that when warmly
expostulated with by his nephew, the Duke de Berry, for concealing the
fact from the world, had not only excused himself by saying, "Do you
not comprehend that this recognition has become impossible, as it would
render all existing treaties invalid and imperil the general peace?"
but had even added significantly, "Take care of yourself, Berry!"  And
within a fortnight De Berry fell beneath the attack of Louvel.

These accounts of those who had suffered for their lawful king,
although they may have convinced his credulous dupes, did not render it
particularly safe for the claimant to put himself near the minions of
the French police; he therefore found it prudent to keep himself
concealed, and change his _noms de guerre_ at intervals.  The
revolution of 1830 afforded him, however, a fair opportunity for the
display of his talents.  No sooner was a provisional government
established than the claimant, now concealing his royalty under the
title of the Baron de Richemont, addressed a demand to it that his
rights should be observed, whilst he protested against the proclamation
of the new "king of the French," as Louis Philippe was designated.  The
pretender also published the following letter, which was, he averred, a
copy of one he had addressed to the Duchess d'Angoulême:--

"The time has now arrived, Madame, when, abjuring sentiments which
nature and humanity alike disavow, you should give to my case the
explanation necessary for putting an end to the ills that have
oppressed me for so many years.  I will not reproach you; your position
imposes a religious silence upon me; but mine--have you considered it?

"If your heart is still able to understand the plaintive cry of
outraged nature; if more than thirty-six years of suffering and exile
would appear to you sufficient punishment for the enormous crime of
being your nearest relation; if your hate is extinguished, break this
culpable silence; since fortune once more puts you at the mercy of
foreigners, would it not be better to throw yourself into the arms of
your unfortunate brother?


Notwithstanding this appeal, the princess did not seek out the
persevering claimant, although the police did, and on the 29th August,
1833, succeeded in arresting him.  He refused to give his name, but the
act of accusation styled him Ethelbert Louis Hector Alfred, calling
himself "Baron de Richemont."  His real name, however, was supposed to
be Hébert, as in all affairs of importance he had borne that, although
he had used a variety of others.  Among the witnesses called was
Andryane, who had been a fellow-prisoner with the accused in Italy;
Lasne, now seventy-four, who had been a personal attendant on the
dauphin in the Temple, and who testified that he was well acquainted
with the person of the little prince, who had died in his arms,
although two strangers had been to his house to vainly try and persuade
him that the child had been changed; the Duke de Choiseul, who, when
interrogated by the prisoner, acknowledged that certain words ascribed
to Marie Antoinette had been overheard by him; the Duke de Caraman
remembered that an intriguing individual named Ojardias had brought to
Thiers a sickly child, that for the moment passed for the dauphin;
whilst Monsieur Remusat, a medical man, deposed that Simon's widow, who
died in a hospital in 1815, had told him that the dauphin was not dead.

On this slender fabric the _soi disant_ "Duke of Normandy" based his
case, and with much dignity, and real or happily simulated emotion,
recounted the story the reader is already acquainted with.  At times
his audience did not fail to manifest interest and sympathy in his
recital.  When the prosecution had spoken, and his advocate had
presented the defence, the claimant said with calm dignity: "The
Advocate-General has told you that I am not the son of Louis the
Sixteenth; does he tell you who I am?  I have formally requested him to
do so, but he preserves silence.  Gentlemen, you will appreciate this
silence, as also the cause which hinders us from producing our titles.
This is neither the place nor the time.  Competent tribunals will have
to decree what is needed in that respect.  You have been informed that
inquiries have been made everywhere, but the Advocate-General is very
careful not to let you know the result: he is not able to, his power
does not extend so far as that, because another power forbids it.  And
what, gentlemen, would you think if, with a man like me, and at such a
moment, they had neglected to carry out their investigations in the
places where I have sojourned, and notably at Milan!  No, no,
gentlemen, do not believe but that they have written everywhere, and
everywhere have obtained that which they asked for, that which they
dare not make known to you.  If I am in error, it is in the best faith;
unfortunately, I have been in this belief for about fifty years, and I
see well that I shall bear this error with me to the grave."

Ultimately the Court, whilst acquitting Hébert of roguery and
conspiracy, found him guilty of sedition, and he was sentenced to
twelve years of detention.  He listened to his sentence without
manifesting any emotion, and in retiring said, "He who does not know
how to suffer is not worthy of the honour of persecution!"  In 1835
Hébert contrived to escape from prison, in company with two other
captives, and succeeded in getting out of France.  For some years this
pretender contented himself with urging his claims from abroad, and
with re-issuing revised and enlarged editions of his _Mémoires_, still
sustained by the credulity of his dupes; but in 1848, protected by the
general amnesty, he returned to his native land, and addressed a
declaration of his rights to the National Assembly.  This proclamation
did not appear to excite any public attention, any more than did his
declaration of adhesion to the Republic, or the notification of that
deed, which he forwarded to the Duchess d'Angoulême, on the 27th of
March, 1849.

This claimant, in many respects the most noteworthy of those who
aspired to the titles of the unfortunate dauphin, died in 1855, in the
little commune of Gleyzé, in the district of Villefranche-sur-Saône,
and was interred there on the 10th of August of that year.


During the trial of the _soi disant_ Baron de Richemont, the spectators
were surprised and amused by a singular declaration addressed to the
jury by another pseudo-dauphin.  This claimant, who varied the old
story by styling himself Charles Louis in lieu of Louis Charles,
protested that De Richemont was only an impostor put forward in order
to confuse public opinion, and stifle the voice of the veritable Duke
of Normandy, the author of this document!

This new pretender, if the royalists are to be believed, was a certain
Charles William Naundorff, member of a Jewish family of Polish Prussia,
and was born in 1775, or ten years earlier than the dauphin.  He turned
up at Berlin in 1810, and resided there for about two years, earning
his livelihood by selling clocks.  In 1812 he removed to Spandau,
obtained the rights of citizenship, and married the daughter of a
Heidelberg pipemaker.  He professed to be a Protestant, spoke French
with a villainous accent, and yet, in 1825, from some unaccountable
reason, gave out to the world that he was the son of Louis the
Sixteenth.  He had been in many difficulties before he complicated
matters by assuming the Duke of Normandy's titles, having been accused
of being an incendiary in 1824, and some months later of coining, for
which latter offence he was sentenced to three years' detention in the
Penitentiary of Brandenburg.  On being released from captivity he set
up a claim to be the son of Louis the Sixteenth, and actually had the
foolhardiness to institute proceedings against the ex-king, Charles the
Tenth, and the Duchess d'Angoulême.  All he gained by this audacity was
an immediate arrest, and expulsion from the frontiers of France, in
which country he had taken up his abode.  Nothing daunted by this
summary action, the pretender appealed to the Council of State, and
obtained the services of Monsieur Cremieux to defend his cause, not, it
is true, as the son of Louis the Sixteenth, but as a foreigner
illegally arrested and expelled.  Unsuccessful in his suit, Naundorff
passed into England, and continued to play his _rôle_ of ill-used
royalty.  By these means, and by practising as a spiritualist, the _soi
disant_ prince contrived to make enough dupes to live by.  In 1843 he
got into some difficulties with the English police, and being made
bankrupt, had to leave the country.  Taking refuge in Holland, he
expired at Delft, on the 10th of August, 1845.

Unfortunately Naundorff's pretensions did not die with him, for he left
two children, Louis and Marie Antoinette "de Bourbon," who some few
years since renewed their claims to the reversion of the French throne.
In 1873, the son, Louis, summoned the Count de Chambord before a Paris
court, to show cause why a judgment pronounced many years ago against
Naundorff's father, by the Civil Tribunal of the Seine, should not be
reversed in his, Louis's, favour.  Notwithstanding the fact that the
putative "grandson" of Louis the Sixteenth retained the services of
Jules Favre as an advocate, he was unable to soften the iron hearts of
the Parisian jury, and had to subside into oblivion.


Of all the tawdry fictions invented by pretenders to the name and title
of "Louis the Seventeenth," none are so ridiculous as the tale told by
the Meves family, if that really be their name, and yet none have so
persistently troubled the public with printed assertions of their
claims as they.  The quantum of probability in their story may be
gauged by telling it in the words of Augustus Meves, _alias_ "Auguste
de Bourbon, son of Louis the Seventeenth."  However, the tale cannot be
given _in extenso_ from the works issued by this illustrious man, as,
not only has it required several volumes to put it before the world,
but it is so contradictory, and at times obscure, that it requires no
slight manipulation to render it comprehensible.

Beginning his career with the Temple epoch, this pseudo-dauphin,
contrary to the accounts of his competitors, declares that he has no
recollection of Simon the jailer having ever wilfully ill-treated him,
and that owing to a person named Hébert having wounded him in a fit of
passion, Madame Simon's womanly feelings were aroused on his behalf,
and she determined to save him.  His rescue was thus brought about: Tom
Paine, author of "The Rights of Man," who was at this time a member of
the French National Convention, wrote to a lady friend in London, to
bring him a deaf and dumb boy to Paris.  This lady, unable to execute
the commission, communicated the secret to her bosom friend Mrs. Meves,
and she naturally informed her husband.  It so happened that Mr. Meves
had a son who, being in delicate health, his father was naturally
desirous of getting rid of.  Mr. Meves, therefore, without confiding in
his wife, went to Paris with his son, who, by the way, was neither deaf
nor dumb, and placed him in the hands of certain people, who
substituted him for the dauphin.  The exchange was effected at a time
when public interest being concentrated on the Queen's trial, the
vigilance at the Temple, says "Auguste de Bourbon," was relaxed.
According to the recollection of the dauphin, his escape was thus
managed: "It seems to my reflective powers that I was lying on the sofa
in the parlour of the small Tower of the Temple, and was awakened by
Madame Simon saying, '_Votre père est arrivé_.'  She then aroused me
from the sofa, taking the pillow therefrom, and putting it into a kind
of hamper-basket, and after placing me in it, she covered me with a
light dress, and carried the basket across the ground.  A coach was
waiting at the gate, into which she placed the basket, when we were
driven to where Mr. Meves resided.  The coach needed to carry Madame
Simon's linen disgorged its contents, and in due time the Duke of
Normandy was landed in England, where he took the place of Mr. Meves'
son, that iron-hearted gentleman having made a vow to Marie Antoinette,
whom he contrived to get an interview with, that the young prince
should be brought up in utter ignorance of his true origin.  And that
secret," says "Auguste de Bourbon," "he kept to the end of his

Whether Louis Charles so readily forgot his real parents and position
does not, probably, need investigation.  He was placed at a day-school,
where after a fashion he learnt English, and, subsequently, at a
boarding-school at Wandsworth.  Meanwhile, Mrs. Meves having discovered
that her son had had to take the place of young Louis in the Temple,
very naturally wished to effect _his_ release.  She obtained a deaf and
dumb boy, and by a roundabout route took him to Paris.  Vigilance
being, apparently, again relaxed at the Temple, the unfortunate deaf
and dumb scapegoat was now substituted for Augustus Meves, and his
escape was effected.  "At what precise date this was accomplished,"
says "Auguste de Bourbon," "is not definitely fixed, but it is
suggested after July 1794.  Mrs. Meves did not stay in Paris till its
accomplishment (_i.e._, her son's release), but returned to England in
the month of May."

Augustus Meves now disappears from the scene, although it is suggested
that he may have been the pretender Naundorff, but the "Dauphin King"
was carefully educated by the unnatural parents, who had their adopted
child taught the pianoforte.  The boy made such progress that an
unnamed Scotch newspaper deemed him "only to be equalled by the great
Mozart."  This success made the foster-father afraid the lad's origin
might come to light, so he placed him in the seclusion of a friend's
counting-house.  His Royal Highness did not admire this occupation, and
by Mrs. Meves' aid was enabled to resume his former vocation.  He
became a volunteer, and joined the "Loyal British Artificers," and in
1811 was promoted to the rank of captain.  In 1813 he relinquished the
musical profession to become "a speculator at the rotunda of the Bank
of England."  In 1814 he visited Calais, but the return of Napoleon in
1815 prevented him, says his son, "going to Paris."  In this latter
year he "observed a lady scrutinising him," at the Old Argyle Rooms,
Regent Street, and was informed that it was the Duchess d'Angoulême,
the unfortunate victim of all the pseudo dauphins.  In 1816 he visited
Paris, and found many of the sights quite familiar to his memory.  In
1818 Mr. Meves died, and so faithful was he to his promise to Marie
Antoinette of keeping the secret of the dauphin's origin, that in his
will he absolutely declared the young man to be "his illegitimate son."
This naturally aroused the ire of Mrs. Meves, who, bound by no oath,
informed her adopted son of his real parentage, declaring somewhat
rashly, "Your identity can be proved as positive as the sun at

"This disclosure," says "Auguste de Bourbon," "naturally unsettled and
perplexed the dauphin, for his early recollections were but vaguely
defined."  He obtained an order for his putative father's disinterment,
but that does not appear to have solved the mystery any more than did
the fact that "in 1821 the dauphin became a speculator, and experienced
its vicissitudes."  In 1823 Mrs. Meves died, after having advised the
"dauphin" not to be "induced to read any private memoirs of the queen
of France, as it will only set your mind wool-gathering."
Unfortunately, Augustus did not follow this prudent advice, and the
consequence was that the unfortunate Duchess d'Angoulême was bothered
with more fraternal appeals, and with the information that the writer
possessed a mole "on the middle of the stomach."  Ultimately a French
nobleman visited Augustus, and told him that in his opinion the British
Government knew who he was, but feared to acknowledge him, as, from the
energy of his character, he might put the whole of Europe in a state of
fermentation, because, pointed out this Frenchman, "he was not only
King of France in right of birth, but also heir to Maria Theresa,
Empress of Germany."

On the 9th of May, 1859, this pretender died, but unfortunately his
pretensions did not die with him.  He left two sons, of whom the elder,
known to the public generally as William Meves, has published several
ungrammatical and illogical works respecting his alleged royal lineage,
under the assumed name of "Auguste de Bourbon."


The story of this impostor has been a favourite theme with American
magazines, some of which, indeed, have sought to throw an air of
probability about his pretensions.  And, indeed, ridiculous as this
pretender's tale may seem, it would be dangerous to aver that it is
more absurd than those told by some of his rival claimants to the rank
and name of "Louis the Seventeenth."  During the years 1853 and 1854, a
series of papers on the claims of the Rev. Eleazar Williams to be
considered as the deceased dauphin were published in _Putnam's
Magazine_, and in the latter year the Rev. J. H. Hanson published a
work entitled "The Lost Prince," purporting to contain "Facts tending
to prove the identity of Louis the Seventeenth of France and the Rev.
Eleazar Williams, Missionary to the Indians."

In order to account for the strangeness of the story told, the
biographer carries his records back to 1795, when a family styling
themselves De Jardin are said to have arrived in Albany from France.
The family consisted of a Madame de Jardin, who appeared to be a
personage of some distinction, and a man who passed as this lady's
husband, but really appeared to be her servant, from the deferential
manner in which he treated her; and two children, a boy and a girl.
There appeared to be a considerable amount of mystery connected with
these children, or at all events with the boy, who was about ten years
of age, was always alluded to as "Monsieur Louis," and in whom visitors
had no difficulty in discovering a resemblance to portraits of the
French royal family.  Madame de Jardin acknowledged that she had been
maid of honour to Marie Antoinette, and still retained in her
possession several relics of her unfortunate mistress.  The De Jardins
did not inform their neighbours what had brought them to Albany, and,
what was still more tantalizing, they suddenly departed without saying
why they went away.

The next episode, although showing no very clear connection with the De
Jardin mystery, is suggestively allocated with it as its sequel.  It
tells how, later in the year 1795, two French strangers, having with
them a sickly boy of about ten years of age, visited the Iroquois
settlement at Ticonderoga, near Lake George.  This boy was left in
charge of Thomas Williams, a chief of the Iroquois settlement, who
adopted him and brought him up in the same way as his own eight
children, giving him the name of Lazar, the Iroquois equivalent for
Eleazar.  All went smoothly for three or four years, during which
period Eleazar, who was little better than an imbecile, forgot his
French, and remembered little or nothing of the past.  Some few
incidents of a noteworthy character, however, occurred.  One day two
strangers visited the settlement, and whilst one stood aside the other
met Eleazar, and embraced him, and shed a plenteous supply of tears
over him.  He talked a good deal to Eleazar, but as he spoke French,
and the boy only understood Iroquois, they could not derive much
information from one another.  The next day the Frenchman repeated his
visit, examined Eleazar's knees and ankles, wept more tears, and, what
seemed to him more reasonable, presented him with a piece of gold
before he went away.

Probably the most important event, however, that happened to him during
his stay at the Indian settlement occurred when he was supposed to be
about fourteen.  Up to that period he had been not far removed from an
idiot, when having been accidentally struck on the head by a stone, his
intelligence and memory were suddenly restored.  Eleazar now recalled
to mind visions of the past, especially recollecting a beautiful lady,
attired in a splendid dress with train, and who had been accustomed to
take him on her knees and play with him.  Other reminiscences of a less
pleasing nature were called to mind, including the figure of a
threatening, ignoble, and terrible man, undoubtedly that of Simon; for
when a portrait of the infamous cobbler was shown to Eleazar, he
recognised it with horror.

One night Eleazar overheard a conversation between his reputed parents
which revealed to him the fact that he was not their own, but only
their adopted, child; but the circumstances did not, apparently, make
any strong impression upon his mind, as he soon forgot it until after
events recalled it.  Eventually, he was sent to school at a village in
Massachusetts, in the company of John, one of his reputed brothers.
John could not be done much with, and returned to his Indian life, but
Eleazar made good progress in his studies, became very devout, and
acquired the cognomen of "the plausible boy."

Years passed by, and "the plausible boy" became a plausible man, in his
time playing many parts, some of which were scarcely worthy of the
descendant of a hundred kings, or even of a Christian missionary, which
was the _rôle_ he now chiefly assumed.  Sometimes he was an Indian
chieftain, sometimes a military spy; at one time one thing, at another
time another; but through all, as he firmly believed, and as his
countenance betrayed, and as the marks on his body testified, he was
"the Lost Prince," the dauphin who was supposed to have perished in the
Temple.  If he had had any doubts left on this matter, they were all
removed, according to his own account (and numbers of his faithful
adherents believed in him implicitly), in October 1841, in an interview
he had with the Prince de Joinville, who chanced to be travelling in
the United States that year.  According to the account furnished by the
Rev. Eleazar Williams, who by this time appears to have taken to the
missionary avocation permanently, he happened to be on board the same
steamer as the French prince, who after having made inquiries about him
of the captain, requested the honour of an interview.  This Eleazar
affably granted, and De Joinville was brought to him.  "I was sitting
at the time on a barrel," says plausible Eleazar; "the prince not only
started with evident and involuntary surprise when he saw me, but there
was great agitation in his face and manner--a slight paleness and a
quivering of the lips--which I could not help remarking at the time,
but which struck me more forcibly afterwards ... by contrast with his
usual self-possessed manner."  After paying Eleazar an amount of
respect that quite surprised that plausible priest, and astonished
everybody about them, the prince, upon landing at Green Bay, desired
the honour of a private conversation with him at the hotel.  To this
request Eleazar consented, and according to his account, the interview,
which was carried on in English, the prince speaking that language
fluently, but a little broken, indeed, as did Eleazar himself, yet
quite intelligibly, resulted in De Joinville acknowledging that the
missionary was indeed the veritable dauphin, the Duke of Normandy, the
legitimate heir to the crown of France and Navarre; but requesting him
to solemnly resign all his rights and titles in favour of Louis
Philippe, upon condition that a princely establishment should be
secured to him either in America or France, at his option, and "that
Louis Philippe would pledge himself on his part to secure the
restoration, or an equivalent for it, of all the private property of
the royal family rightfully belonging to me" [_i.e._ Eleazar Williams],
"which had been confiscated in France during the revolution, or in any
way got into other hands."  But Eleazar's ancestral pride was aroused,
and after informing De Joinville that he would not be the instrument of
bartering away with his own hand the rights pertaining to him by birth,
and sacrificing the interests of his family, he concluded by remarking
that he could only give the prince the answer which De Provence gave
Napoleon's envoy at Warsaw:--"Though I am in poverty and exile, I will
not sacrifice my honour!"

Upon receiving this reply the prince loudly accused his guest of
ingratitude for thus rejecting the overtures of the king, his father,
who, he declared, was only actuated by kindness and pity, as his claim
to the French throne rested on an entirely different basis to
Eleazar's; that is to say, not that of hereditary descent, but of
popular election.  "When he spoke in this strain," avers Eleazar, "I
spoke loud also, and said that as he, by his disclosure, had put me in
the position of a superior, I must assume that position, and frankly
say that my indignation was stirred by the memory that one of the
family of Orleans had imbued his hands in my father's blood, and that
another now wished to obtain from me an abdication of the throne."
"When I spoke of superiority," says Eleazar, "the prince immediately
assumed a respectful attitude, and remained silent for several
minutes."  On the following day, says "the plausible," he saw the
prince again, who, finding his renewed efforts to shake the
determination of the dauphin not to resign his hereditary titles were
vain, bade him good-bye with the words, "Though we part, I hope we part

Probably the strangest, if not the most ludicrous portion of this story
is, that Prince de Joinville deemed it requisite to publicly deny
"plausible" Eleazar's little romance, and to declare it to be a tissue
of lies, from beginning to end, and nothing but "a speculation upon the
public credulity."



Of all the wild stories which have been concocted by pretenders to
regal lineage, none that has obtained any public notice has been so
utterly absurd in its developments as that told by Lavinia Janneta
Horton Ryves.  In 1866 this individual, the daughter of Mr. Serres, an
artist, and the wife of a Mr. Ryves, actually brought her claim to be
recognized as Princess of Cumberland into a court of law.  According to
the statement which Mrs. Ryves made through her counsel, and which,
indeed, was only a recapitulation of what had already appeared in
various periodicals, her grandmother Olive had been married to the Duke
of Cumberland, brother of George the Third, and had had the marriage
acknowledged by that monarch.  This statement was supported by several
documents purporting to be signed by King George, and several other
persons of exalted position, but which were characterized by the
prosecution as impudent forgeries, the production, apparently, of Mrs.
Serres, and the jury would seem to have taken the same view of their

The story _in extenso_ was this: the Rev. Dr. James Wilmot, of
Barton-on-the-Heath, Warwickshire, met and became enamoured of the
sister of Count Poniatowski, subsequently King of Poland.  Dr. Wilmot
married this Polish lady, but, in order to retain his Fellowship, kept
the marriage a profound secret.  One child, Olive, a very beautiful
girl, was the sole issue of this love match.  When this lovely daughter
was seventeen years of age, she was seen at a nobleman's house by the
Duke of Cumberland, fallen in love with, and after a very brief
courtship married by the prince.  This marriage, which was alleged to
have been celebrated by the bride's father, Dr. Wilmot, on March 4th,
1767, was also a secret one.  On the 3rd of April, 1772, a daughter,
christened after her mother, Olive, was born of this clandestine union;
but, previous to the interesting event, the Duke of Cumberland,
availing himself of the secrecy of his first marriage, actually
committed bigamy by taking unto himself a second wife, in the person of
Lady Anne Horton, sister of the infamous Colonel Luttrel.  The second
Olive, according to the testimony of the claimant, was first baptized
as daughter of the Duke of Cumberland, and then, by command of George
the Third, in order to preserve her royal father from the penalty of
bigamy, was again baptized at another church as the daughter of Robert
Wilmot (Dr. Wilmot's brother), and Anna Maria his wife.  A certificate
to this effect was produced, purporting to be signed by the two Wilmot
brothers and the Earl of Warwick, and as means of the child Olive's
future identification it was certified that she had "a large mole on
the right side, and another crimson mark upon the back near the neck."

The so-called "Princess of Cumberland" died in France, on the 5th of
December, 1774, and, according to Dr. Wilmot's supposed certificate,
"in the prime of life of a broken heart," evidently caused by her royal
husband's desertion of her.  George the Third was perfectly cognizant
of his brother Cumberland's union with Olive Wilmot, and was therefore
deeply indignant at his heartless behaviour; but as, according to
another portion of the claimant's story, he had contracted a similar
bigamous union himself, he was necessarily compelled to keep quiet
about the occurrence.  However, in order to compensate his little niece
in some way for her loss of birthright, he not only allowed her
putative parents five hundred pounds per annum for her support, but
placed in their hands the following acknowledgment of her claims to

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

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

    "J. DUNNING."

When about seventeen this "Duchess of Lancaster" _in petto_ came to
London, and made the acquaintance of John Thomas Serres, proprietor of
the Coburg Theatre, and son of a royal academician.  Upon the 1st of
September, 1792, this descendant of the sovereigns of England and
Poland was married to Mr. Serres, but, as might be anticipated, the
union was not a very happy one, and in 1803 a separation took place.
Of the four children who were issue of this marriage, two daughters
grew up, one of whom, Lavinia, born in 1797, remained with her mother,
whilst the other went with her father.  Mrs. Serres, who became an
author and artist, and published a book to prove that the _Letters of
Junius_ were written by Dr. James Wilmot, would appear to have been
somewhat crazed, at least towards the latter part of her life.  She
assumed the title of Princess of Cumberland, and brought up her
daughter Lavinia in the belief that she was of royal lineage.  Dr.
Wilmot, who died in 1807, at the advanced age of eighty-five, was
supposed to have left his daughter the following remarkable document:--

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

    "_January_ 1791."

It was not until 1815, according to the evidence given by Mrs. Ryves at
the trial, that her mother knew anything of her royal parentage, she
having been brought up in the belief that she was the daughter of
Robert Wilmot, Dr. Wilmot's brother.  When the wonderful information
was conveyed to her, through the instrumentality of the Earl of
Warwick, she took the title of Princess, and, so said the witness, was
even acknowledged by the Duke of Kent and other members of the royal
family as a relative.  The Duke of Kent, so it was alleged, even
granted to the _soi disant_ princess one-third of his Canadian estates,
binding himself, his heirs, and executors to a solemn observance of the
covenant, and promised to see her reinstated in her royal rights.  In
1818 he further bound himself, his heirs, executors, and assigns
(according to the claimant's story), to pay the Princess Olive an
annuity of four hundred pounds; and this annuity, so it was averred,
was duly paid until the Duke's demise, after which event it was not
continued.  Indeed, such trust did the Duke of Kent repose in the
"Princess Olive," if the documents produced might be relied on, that he
constituted her guardian of his daughter Alexandrina (our present
Majesty), and directress of her education, on account of her
relationship, and because the Duchess of Kent was not familiar with
English modes of education.  Out of respect for a mother's feelings,
the "Princess Olive," as her daughter explained, did not attempt to
execute this desire of her deceased cousin of Kent.

So thoroughly were the "Princess Olive's" royal claims ventilated that,
it is averred, she was entertained at the civic banquet at the
Guildhall, on the 9th of November, 1820, and permitted, or invited, by
the Lord Mayor (Alderman Thorpe), to occupy one of the seats usually
assigned to members of the royal family.  In 1834 the putative
princess, otherwise Mrs. Serres, died, leaving her claims as an
inheritance to her daughter Lavinia Jannetta Horton, then the wife of
Mr. Anthony Thomas Ryves, and the mother of several children.  The
personal appearance of Mrs. Ryves, so believers in her claims asserted,
was greatly in favour of her alleged descent from the royal family;
but, unfortunately for her pretensions, neither judge nor jury would
admit such supposed resemblance as evidence.

In replying on the remarkable statements made at the trial, the
Attorney-General ruthlessly demolished the whole fabric of the
"Cumberland romance."  He did not impute aught to Mrs. Ryves more than
that having brooded over the matter for so many years she had at last
persuaded herself of the truth of the fiction she was representing; but
Mrs. Serres, he suggested, was really the concocter of the whole
scheme.  True it was, contended Sir Roundell Palmer, that the
petitioner's mother, Mrs. Serres, was not quite responsible for her
actions, so many of them having been of an ultra-eccentric character.
He described several of her crazy words and deeds, and showed how she
had varied her tale from time to time; at first only claiming to be an
illegitimate scion of the royal stock, and first making claims to regal
legitimacy in a time of great public agitation--at the period of Queen
Caroline's trial.  Indeed, said the Attorney-General, a revolution was
threatened by the deceased claimant if her pretensions were not
recognized within a few hours.

The jury were unanimous, and immediately pronounced against the claims
of the petitioner, Mrs. Ryves, whose wonderful documents and marvellous
certificates were all ordered to be impounded.  Since that trial, the
claims of Mrs. Ryves and her offspring appear to have passed into



The story of Prince Charles Edward Stuart, the "bonnie Prince Charlie"
of song, is too well known to need recapitulation here.  That he died
in 1788, without leaving any legitimate offspring, is a fact equally
well known; as also that his brother Henry Stuart, Cardinal York, who
died in 1807, was the last of his ill-fated race.  Notwithstanding the
incontrovertible nature of these circumstances, attempts have been made
within the last thirty or forty years to prove that Prince Charles did
leave a legitimate son, the child of his wife the Princess Louisa; and
that two brothers, who until quite recently were residing in London
under the pseudonyms of "Counts d'Albanie," were the children of this
unknown royal prince, and therefore grandchildren of "Charles the

This myth was first publicly propagated in a work entitled "Tales of
the Century; or, Sketches of the Romance of History between the years
1746 and 1846," published in 1847, and purporting to be by "John
Sobieski and Charles Edward Stuart."  Some suggestive hints, it is
true, had been thrown out as early as 1822, in a volume of poems by one
of these brothers; but that book was published as by "John Hay Allen,"
and no definite assumption of royal lineage would appear to have been
made until the Edinburgh publication of 1847.  According to the legend
detailed in the three sections into which the work was divided, in 1831
an ancient medical man, of extreme Jacobite views, finding himself
dying, confided to a young Highland gentleman, who was visiting him in
London, the long-hoarded secret that the Gaels "have yet a king."  The
young Scotchman is naturally inquisitive as to the meaning of this
mysterious communication, and has his curiosity gratified by a recital
of the following romantic story by Dr. Beaton.

According to that deceased gentleman, he chanced to be making a tour in
Italy, in 1773, and as he was walking along the road from Parma to
Florence, he was startled by the passing of a carriage with scarlet
outriders.  On glancing into the conveyance he was still more startled
by beholding the not-to-be-forgotten countenance of his beloved "Prince
Charlie," seated by a lady's side.  On the evening of the same day,
whilst meditating on what he had seen, he was accosted by a man of
military appearance, and asked whether he was Dr. Beaton, the Scotch
physician.  On replying in the affirmative, he was informed that his
immediate attendance was required in a case of urgency, and all his
questions as to the nature of the patient's malady were disposed of in
a very unceremonious manner.  His reluctance to be blindfolded before
entering a carriage that was in waiting was overcome by the intimation
that it was on behalf of him whom both recognised as their royal chief,
that is to say, Prince Charles.

After the usual style of such mystic tales, Dr. Beaton was taken to a
secluded palace, and after being led through the usual corridors and
apartments of such abodes, had his mask removed, and was permitted to
inspect the magnificent chamber into which he had been inducted.  His
conductor did not allow much time for investigation, but rang a silver
bell, and his summons being responded to by a little page in scarlet,
he was enabled to inform the doctor, after a short conversation in
German with the boy, that the _accouchement_ of the lady he had been
called in to attend, owing to the absence of her own regular medical
attendant, was over, and apparently "without more than exhaustion."
The news communicated through so uncustomary a channel was followed by
the request that he would render such services as were necessary.  He
was taken into a gorgeous bedroom, where a lady who spoke English led
him towards the bed, wherein he beheld the face of the lady he had seen
in the carriage with Prince Charles, whilst by the bedside was a woman
holding the newly-born babe wrapped in a mantle.  The patient was in a
somewhat critical condition, so Dr. Beaton hastily turned to a
writing-table near at hand to write a prescription for her, and in so
doing beheld among the trinkets on the table a miniature of Prince
Charles, attired in the very uniform the doctor had seen him in at
Culloden.  The lady who had spoken English approached the table as if
looking for something, and when Beaton looked again, the portrait had
been turned on its face.  Having performed his duties, the doctor was
persuaded to take an oath on a crucifix, "never to speak of what he had
seen, heard, or thought on that night, unless it should be in the
service of his king--King Charles;" he was, also, desired to leave
Tuscany that night, and then conducted from the dwelling in the same
needlessly mysterious manner as he had been taken to it.

The doctor obeyed his injunctions to the letter, and at once departed
from the neighbourhood.  A few days later he arrived at a certain
seaport, and one night, soon after his arrival, he was strolling along
the beach when his attention was attracted by an English-looking vessel
anchored off the coast.  Upon inquiry this proved to be the _Albina_,
an English frigate, commanded by Commodore O'Haleran.  Whilst he was
watching the vessel he beheld a small close carriage, accompanied by a
horseman, whom he recognized as his guide on the night he was conducted
to the residence of Prince Charles.  His curiosity aroused by this
singular coincidence, he stopped to watch what happened, and beheld a
lady, bearing a babe in her arms, descend from the mysterious vehicle.
This lady and her infantile charge were then conveyed on board the
frigate, and no sooner had they got on board than the vessel hoisted
sail and slowly disappeared.  The babe, it is implied, was the
legitimate son and heir of Prince Charles, thus mysteriously smuggled
off in order to preserve it from the machinations of the English

Many years are supposed to have elapsed, and the boy born at St.
Rosalie, in 1773, is next introduced as a grown man bearing the name of
Captain O'Haleran, and supposed to be the son of the admiral formerly
introduced as the commodore of that name.  This individual creates no
slight sensation in the Highlands by his supposed resemblance to the
unforgotten Prince Charlie, whose eagle eye and Stuart features he is
said to have; one ancient chieftain, indeed, of somewhat clouded mind,
when he beholds the mysterious stranger, who is known by the cognomen
of the "Red Eagle," addresses him as "Prince Charles," and reminds his
Royal Highness that their last meeting was at the fatal fight of
Culloden.  Moreover, to make the reader understand the personage's rank
beyond all question, his French attendant styles him "Monseigneur," and
"Son Altesse Royal."  In the final section of this fiction, the "Red
Eagle" makes a misalliance by marrying an untitled English lady, and
becomes the father, it is natural to infer, of the two individuals
whose names figure on the title-page of _Tales of the Century_.

The reader must not imagine that this marvellous romance was intended
to be regarded as myth; every effort was made to persuade the public
into accepting it as fact, and as fact several persons in Great Britain
and abroad have accepted it.  But in the _Quarterly Review_ for June
1847, the whole story was thoroughly analysed and ruthlessly demolished
by some one conversant with all the bearings of the whole case.  He
undeniably proved that the implied son of Prince Charles was no other
than Thomas, younger son of Admiral Allen, and himself an officer in
the Navy, who married, in 1792, Catherine Manning, a clergyman's
daughter; that in his will Admiral Allen termed him his son, and that
the sons of this Thomas Allen, the _soi disant_ "John Sobieski and
Charles Edward Stuart," had respectively published a volume of poems,
and had taken a wife in their proper names of Allen, thus completely
ignoring their pretended royal ancestry.

Even had not direct testimony been forthcoming, the circumstantial
evidence against the allegation that Prince Charles had left a
legitimate child is so strong that no amount of "Romance of History"
could upset it.  In his latter days, when separated from his wife, the
Princess Louisa, Prince Charles sent for his illegitimate daughter by
Miss Walkinshaw; created her Duchess of Albany, made her mistress of
his household, and left her by will almost everything that he
possessed, including such family jewels and plate as were still in his
possession.  Not only did he omit to make any provision for, or the
slightest bequest to, his supposed son and heir, but, what is still
less comprehensible, neither did the Princess Louisa, the child's
mother, ever appear to make any inquiry after it; nor when she died in
1824, when this pretended son must have been fifty years of age, did
she give any sign that she was aware of his existence; nor did he, this
son, come forward at any period of time to prove his birth and assert
his parentage.  After the death of Prince Charles, who, from the time
of his father's decease, had borne the title of King of England, his
brother, clearly ignorant of the existence of a nearer claimant to the
distinction, also assumed the royal title, and caused himself to be
addressed as a sovereign, and styled "Henry the Ninth, King of Great
Britain and Ireland."

Many other proofs could be furnished of the utterly baseless nature of
the claims of these pretenders to royalty, but it is needless; should
any one desire to peruse a fuller exposition of this romance he may be
referred to the number of the _Quarterly Review_ already alluded to.

"John Sobieski Stuart," the elder of these claimants, died in February
1872, leaving no issue; but the younger brother, the pretended "Charles
Edward Stuart," who is alleged to have received the cross of the Legion
d' Honneur from the hands of the first Napoleon for bravery on the
field of Waterloo, died on Christmas Eve, 1880, leaving several
grown-up children, all of whom, it is believed, have assumed the
pseudonym of "Stuart" and sham title of "d'Albany."

Hazell, Watson, and Viney, Printers, London and Aylesbury.

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use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.