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Title: Curiosities of Human Nature
Author: Anonymous
Language: English
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  12 School Street.



  ZERAH COLBURN,                         7
  BARATIERE,                            26
  GASSENDI,                             29
  PASCAL,                               33
  GROTIUS,                              39
  NEWTON,                               43
  MAGLIABECCHI,                         48
  CRICHTON,                             52
  BERONICIUS,                           59
  MASTER CLENCH,                        64
  JEDEDIAH BUXTON,                      67
  WILLIAM GIBSON,                       72
  EDMUND STONE,                         76
  RICHARD EVELYN,                       78
  QUENTIN MATSYS,                       82
  WEST,                                 87
  BERRETINI,                            93
  HENRY KIRK WHITE,                     96
  MOZART,                              100
  ELIHU BURRITT,                       108
  GEORGE MORLAND,                      112
  WILLIAM PENN,                        119
  JOHN SMITH,                          129
  ETHAN ALLEN,                         144
  DAVID CROCKETT,                      153
  DANIEL BOONE,                        163
  CHARLES XII. OF SWEDEN,              172
  THE CID,                             181
  ROBIN HOOD,                          191
  PAUL JONES,                          203
  MASANIELLO,                          213
  RIENZI,                              219
  SELKIRK,                             222
  JOHN LAW,                            226
  TRENCK,                              230
  JOHN DUNN HUNTER,                    236
  CASPAR HAUSER,                       254
  PSALMANAZAR,                         262
  VALENTINE GREATRAKES,                265
  MATTHEW HOPKINS,                     268
  PETER, THE WILD BOY,                 271
  JOHN KELSEY,                         274
  BAMFYLDE MOORE CAREW,                278
  JOHN ELWES,                          282
  BARON D'AGUILAR,                     290
  THOMAS GUY,                          292
  OLD PARR,                            294
  O'BRIEN,                             298
  HUYALAS,                             301
  THOMAS TOPHAM,                       303
  FOSTER POWELL,                       305
  JOSEPH CLARK,                        307
  EDWARD BRIGHT,                       309
  DANIEL LAMBERT,                      310
  JEFFREY HUDSON,                      312
  JOSEPH BORUWLASKI,                   314
  THE SIAMESE TWINS,                   318



Among the intellectual prodigies which sometimes appear to excite the
wonder and astonishment of mankind, Zerah Colburn was certainly one of
the most remarkable. He was born at Cabot, Vermont, Sept. 1st, 1804. He
was the sixth child of his parents, who were persons in low
circumstances and of little education. He was regarded as the most
backward of the children till he was about six years old, when he
suddenly attracted attention by the display of his astonishing powers.

In August, 1810, when his father, Abia Colburn, was one day employed at
a joiner's work-bench, Zerah was on the floor, playing among the chips;
suddenly, he began to say to himself,--5 times 7 are 35--6 times 8 are
48, &c. His father's attention was immediately arrested by hearing this,
so unexpected in a child so young, and who had hitherto possessed no
advantages, except perhaps six weeks' attendance at the district
school, that summer. He therefore left his work, and turning to the
child, began to examine him in the multiplication table. He thought it
possible that Zerah had learnt this from the other boys; but finding him
perfect in the table, his attention was more deeply fixed, and he asked
the product of 13×97, to which 1261 was instantly given as the answer.
He now concluded that something unusual had actually taken place;
indeed, he has often said he should not have been more surprised if some
one had risen up out of the earth and stood erect before him.

It was not long before a neighbor rode up, and stopping at the house,
was informed of the singular occurrence. He desired to be a witness of
the fact. Zerah was called, and the result of the examination astonished
every one present. The strange phenomenon was now rapidly spread
throughout the town. Though many were inclined to doubt the correctness
of the reports they heard, a personal examination attested their truth.
Thus the story originated, which within the short space of a year found
its way not only through the United States, but also reached Europe, and
extorted expressions of wonder from foreign journals of literature and
science in England, France and other countries.

Very soon after the discovery of his remarkable powers, many gentlemen,
at that time possessing influence and public confidence throughout the
state, being made acquainted with the circumstances, were desirous of
having such a course adopted as might most directly lead to a full
development of Zerah's talents, and their application to purposes of
general utility. Accordingly, it was proposed that Mr. Colburn should
carry his son to Danville, to be present during the session of the
court. This was done, and the boy was very generally seen and questioned
by the judges, members of the bar, and others.

The legislature of Vermont being about to convene at Montpelier, Mr.
Colburn was advised to visit that place with his son, which they did in
October. Here large numbers had an opportunity of witnessing his
calculating powers, and the conclusion was general that such a thing had
never been known before. Many questions, which were out of the common
limits of arithmetic, were proposed, with a view to puzzle the child,
but he answered them correctly; as, for instance,--which is the most,
twice twenty-five, or twice five and twenty? Ans. Twice twenty-five.
Which is the most, six dozen dozen, or half a dozen dozen? Ans. Six
dozen dozen. Somebody asked him how many black beans would make five
white ones. Ans. Five, if you skin them! Thus it appeared that the boy
could not only compute and combine numbers readily, but that he also
possessed a quickness of thought, somewhat uncommon among children, as
to other things.

Soon after this, Mr. Colburn took his son to other large towns, and at
last to Boston. Here the boy excited the most extraordinary sensation,
and several gentlemen of the highest standing proposed to undertake his
education. The terms, though very liberal, were not equal to the
high-raised expectations of the father. The offer was therefore refused,
and Mr. Colburn proceeded to the southern cities, exhibiting his son in
public, his performances everywhere exciting the utmost wonder.

The author of these pages had an opportunity of seeing Zerah Colburn, at
this period. He was a lively, active boy, of light complexion, his head
being rather larger than that of boys generally at his age. He was then
six years old, and had the manners common to children of his age. He was
playful, even while performing his calculations. The quickness and
precision with which he gave answers to arithmetical questions was
amazing. Among those proposed to him at Boston, in the autumn of the
year 1810, were the following:

What is the number of seconds in 2000 years? The answer, 63,072,000,000,
was readily and accurately given. Another question was this: Allowing
that a clock strikes 156 times in a day, how many times will it strike
in 2000 years? The child promptly replied, 113,800,000 times.

What is the product of 12,225, multiplied by 1,223? Ans. 14,951,175.
What is the square of 1,449? Ans. 2,099,601. Suppose I have a
corn-field, in which are seven acres, having seventeen rows to each
acre, sixty-four hills to each row, eight ears on a hill, and one
hundred and fifty kernels on an ear; how many kernels in the corn-field?
Ans. 9,139,200.

It will be recollected that the child who answered these questions was
but six years old; that he had then had no instruction whatever in
arithmetic; that he could neither read nor write, and that he performed
these immense calculations by mental processes, wholly his own. His
answers were usually given, and the calculations performed, while
engaged in his sports, and the longest process seemed hardly to divert
his mind from his amusements. His answers were often made almost as soon
as the question was proposed, and in most cases before the process could
be performed on paper.

His faculty for calculation seemed to increase, and as he became
acquainted with arithmetical terms, his performances were still more
remarkable. In June, 1811, he was asked the following question: If the
distance between Concord and Boston be sixty-five miles, how many steps
must I take in going this distance, supposing each step to be three
feet? The answer, 114,400 steps, was given in ten seconds. He was asked
how many days and hours had elapsed since the Christian era commenced.
In twenty seconds he replied, 661,015 days, 15,864,360 hours.

Questions still more difficult were answered with similar promptitude.
What sum multiplied by itself will produce 998,001? In less than four
seconds he replied 999. How many hours in thirty-eight years, two
months, and seven days? The answer, 334,488, was given in six seconds.

These extraordinary performances, witnessed by thousands of people, and
among them persons of the highest standing, were soon reported in the
papers, and attracted scarcely less attention in Europe than in this
country. In England, particularly, great curiosity was expressed, and
the plan of taking young Colburn thither was suggested. After some
deliberation, this project was resolved upon; and in the spring of
1812, the father and son embarked at Boston for Liverpool, where they
landed on the 11th of May. They proceeded to London, and taking rooms at
Spring Gardens, commenced their exhibition.

Great numbers came to witness the performances of the boy, among whom
Zerah, in his Life, enumerates the dukes of Gloucester and Cumberland,
Lord Ashburton, Sir James Mackintosh, Sir Humphrey Davy, and the
Princess Charlotte. The latter, attended by her tutor, the bishop of
Salisbury, remained a full hour, and asked a number of questions. Among
the rest was this: What is the square of 4001? The answer, 16,008,001,
was immediately given. The duke of Cambridge asked the number of seconds
in the time elapsed since the commencement of the Christian era, 1813
years, 7 months, 27 days. The answer was correctly given,

An extraordinary interest was excited in London in respect to this
remarkable youth, and schemes for giving him an education suited to his
turn of mind were suggested. At a meeting of several distinguished
gentlemen, to mature some plan of this sort, various questions were
proposed to the child. He multiplied the number eight by itself, and
each product by itself, till he had raised it to the sixteenth power,
giving, as the almost inconceivable result, 281,474,976,710,656. He was
asked the square root of 106,929, and before the number could be written
down, he answered 327. He was then requested to name the cube root of
268,336,125, and with equal facility and promptness he replied, 645.

A likeness of the young prodigy, drawn by Hull and engraved by Meyer,
was now published, and sold at a guinea each. Many were sold, and a
considerable profit was realized. Another scheme was now started,--a
memoir of the child,--and among the committee to superintend its
publication, were Sir James Mackintosh, Sir Humphrey Davy and Basil
Montague. Several hundred subscribers were obtained, but, though many
paid in advance, for some reason or other the work was never published.
Young Colburn and his father now made a tour to Ireland and Scotland.
Among his visitors in Scotland, were Dugald Stewart, Professor Playfair,
Doctor Brewster and Doctor Macknight. In March, 1814, they returned to
London. By the advice of friends, they now proceeded to Paris, where
they arrived in July, 1814.

Zerah was carefully examined before the French Institute. It is curious
that on this occasion he was longer in giving his answers than ever
before; probably owing to some embarrassment. His performances, however,
excited here, as everywhere else, the greatest astonishment. La Place,
the author of the Méchanique Celeste, was present. Guizot received the
youth at his house, and expressed in his behalf the liveliest interest.

Such was the feeling excited, that a project was set on foot for giving
Zerah an education at the Royal College of Henry IV. Nothing was wanting
but the sanction of the king; but at the precise moment when measures
were in progress to secure this object, Bonaparte came back from Elba,
sweeping everything before him. The Bourbons fled, and the emperor was
reinstated upon his throne. Application was now made to him in behalf of
young Colburn; his assent was obtained, and on the 13th May, 1815, he
entered the seminary, which was now restored to its original title, the
Lyceum Napoleon.

Mr. Colburn had, in England, Scotland and Paris, obtained a large number
of subscribers to the memoir. Having placed his son in the Lyceum, he
went to London to attend to the publication of the work. Here he met
with bitter disappointment. His agent, who had been authorized to
collect the money, had received about one third of the whole
subscriptions, and appropriated the money to his own use. As he was
poor, the whole sum was irretrievably lost. At the same time, Mr.
Colburn found that his former friends were greatly chagrined to find
that the French government, more liberal than themselves, had made
provision for his son. Under this influence, the project of the memoir
was abandoned, and a new scheme was proposed, the object of which was to
raise two hundred pounds a year for six years, to defray the expenses of
the boy's education.

While Mr. Colburn was pursuing this scheme, Zerah was at the Lyceum at
Paris, which now became the theatre of the most interesting events. The
battle of Waterloo was fought, Napoleon fled, and the French army
retreated toward the capital. To this point, the hostile armies were now
directing their march, and the citizens of Paris were roused for its
defence. Every effort was made to strengthen the walls and throw up
entrenchments. The scholars at the Lyceum received permission to join in
this work, and with enthusiastic ardor, heightened by their sympathy
for Napoleon, they went to their tasks, crying, "_Vive l'Empereur_." Our
little mathematician was among the number, and if he could have
multiplied forts as easily as he managed figures, Paris would,
doubtless, have been saved. But the fortune of war decided otherwise.
Paris was overwhelmed, Napoleon dethroned, and Louis XVIII. restored.

Zerah Colburn might have continued at the Lyceum, but his foolish
father, having embraced the London scheme, proceeded to Paris, and
carried him thence again to London, where they arrived February 7, 1816.

The scheme which had excited Mr. Colburn's hopes, was, however, a mere
illusion. His friends were worn out with his importunities, and,
doubtless, disgusted with his fickleness. They were dissatisfied by
discovering that while he wished to obtain a provision for his son, he
desired also that some emolument, sufficient for his own wants, should
come to himself. The result was, that both the father and son were
reduced to a state of poverty. While attempting, by means scarcely
better than beggary, to obtain transient support, they chanced to call
upon the Earl of Bristol, who received them kindly, and expressed great
interest in the youthful calculator. He invited them to his country
residence at Putney, whither they went, and spent several days. The
result of this fortunate acquaintance was, that the Earl made a
provision of six hundred and twenty dollars a year for young Colburn's
education at Westminster school, where he was regularly entered on the
19th September. At this period, he was a few days over twelve years old.

It now seemed that better fortunes had dawned upon this gifted, but
still unfortunate boy; but these were soon clouded by disappointment.
The custom of fagging existed in this school, as in all the higher
seminaries of England. By this system, the boys of the under classes
were required to be waiters and servants of those in the upper classes.
Zerah was subjected to this arrangement, and a youth in the upper school
was pitched upon for his master. This was the son of a baronet, Sir John
L. Kaye.

Soon after he had been initiated into these menial duties, one of the
upper scholars called upon him to perform some servile task. This he
accomplished, but not to the satisfaction of his employer. He therefore
complained to young Kaye, his proper master, whose wrath being greatly
excited, he fell upon poor Zerah, twisted his arm nearly out of joint,
and, placing him in a helpless situation, beat his shoulder black and
blue. Zerah went to his father, who immediately proceeded to Mr. Knox,
the usher. The latter expressed regret for the abuse Zerah had received,
but when the father claimed exemption for his son from the custom of
fagging, the usher positively refused compliance. Mr. Colburn enjoined
it upon his son by no means to submit to this system of drudgery again,
and departed. In the evening, he was called upon to clean a pair of
shoes. This he refused; whereupon, a number of the larger boys, who had
gathered around him, first threatened, and then beat him without mercy,
until at last he complied. All this occurred under the same roof where
the usher then was. In the morning, the father came, and appealing to
him, was treated with contempt. As he was going across the yard to see
Dr. Page, the head master, the boys yelled at him from their windows,
calling him Yankee; doubtless, deeming it the most opprobrious of
epithets. The final result of this matter was, that Zerah was exempted
from the custom of fagging, though no relaxation of the custom,
generally, was made in the school.

Zerah continued at Westminster, spending his vacations with the Reverend
Mr. Bullen, Lord Bristol's chaplain, at the village of Danton. His
father, in the mean time, picked up the means of subsistence, partly by
boarding his son and a few other scholars, and partly by contributions.
At length, the Earl, who was now in Germany, made an arrangement for the
removal of Zerah from the Westminster school to the exclusive charge of
Mr. Bullen. Mr. Colburn objected to this, and wrote accordingly to Lord
Bristol. The latter persisted in his plan, and in order to reconcile the
father to it, offered him fifty pounds a year for his own personal use.
With stubbornness, amounting to infatuation, he rejected the generous
offer, and withdrew his son from the Westminster school, and the
patronage of his noble friend.

Young Colburn had spent two years and nine months at the Westminster
seminary, where his progress in the acquisition of languages and other
studies was extremely rapid. Euclid's Elements of Geometry were mastered
with ease; but it is a curious fact that while the boy was fascinated
with arithmetical calculations, as he advanced into the abstruser
portions of mathematics, his taste revolted from a pursuit that was dry
and repulsive.

Again the father and son were afloat in the sea of London. What was to
be done now? The education of his son was, doubtless, an object to Mr.
Colburn; but, with blind selfishness, he seems to have thought more of
turning him to account as a means of raising money. With this view he
proposed that he should go upon the stage; no doubt supposing that the
youth's notoriety would render him available in this capacity. He was
put in training, under the care of Charles Kemble. After four months'
tuition, he appeared at Margate in the character of Norval. His
reception was tolerably flattering, but he obtained no compensation. Mr.
Colburn now determined to exhibit his son in his new profession, in
Scotland and Ireland; but being almost entirely destitute of money, they
were obliged to take a steerage passage in a vessel, and subsist upon
hard fare. They arrived at Edinburgh, but received no encouragement in
the theatrical line. Mr. Colburn called upon his former friends, and
they contributed to his immediate relief. They now proceeded by
canal-boat to Greenock, and thence in a vessel to Belfast. Here they
found a strolling company of players, with whom an arrangement was made
for Zerah's appearance at Londonderry, whither the party were about to
proceed; to that place father and son journeyed on foot. Here the latter
performed in some inferior characters, and soon returned with the band
to Belfast. At this place he played the part of Richard the Third--but
alas! even this master-stroke of policy failed. The father and son
pushed on to Dublin, but they could get no engagement at the theatre.

The inventive resources of Abia Colburn were not yet exhausted. Zerah
must now turn author--and the future Methodist preacher must write a
play! The subject chosen was that of Tasso's Jerusalem Delivered. The
drama was composed--and we believe it was actually performed. But, alas!
says Zerah, in his honest, modest book--"it never had any merit or any

After an absence of two months, the wanderers returned to London. A long
period of inaction follows, during which Zerah wrote plays, which were
never printed or performed, and the father picked up a precarious living
by levying contributions upon his former friends. These were at last
worn out with his importunities, and finally, one of the best of them
deliberately turned Zerah out of doors, when he came upon some errand
from his father.

Deprived of all other means save that of begging, which was now a poor
resource, the youth obtained employment in October, 1821, as an usher in
a school, and soon after established one on his own account. This
afforded so poor a support, that still another effort was made to raise
funds, ostensibly to provide for his permanent relief. To obtain
subscribers to this proposal, Zerah went to Edinburgh, Glasgow and
Belfast. At the former place, Mr. Combe took a cast of his head, seeking
thereby to throw light upon his phrenological theories. He returned to
London, with little success, and resumed his school.

The health of his father now began to give way. Unhappily, he had, from
the first discovery of his son's extraordinary gifts, looked upon them
with mercenary feelings--as a source of revenue. It is true he had a
father's love for his child--and in this respect, Zerah, in the simple
memoir of his own life, does his parent more than justice; but still, it
was this short-sighted selfishness which made him convert his child's
endowments into a curse to him, to his friends, and Zerah himself. His
expectations had been lifted to such a pitch, that nothing could satisfy
them. The most generous offers fell short of what he felt to be his due;
liberality was turned, in his mind, to parsimony--and even friends were
regarded as little short of enemies. His sanguine temper led him
constantly to indulge high hopes, which were as constantly doomed to
disappointment. Such a struggle could not always last. His mind was torn
with thoughts of his home and family neglected for twelve years; of his
life wasted; his prospects defeated; of fond dreams, ending at last in
failure, shame and poverty. He failed gradually, and on the 14th
February, 1824, he died. A few days after, the body was consigned to the
tomb, and Zerah, in his life, notices the fact that John Dunn Hunter was
among the mourners. We mention this, as coinciding with the account we
have given in this volume of that extraordinary character.

Zerah continued in London for a few months, in the employment of Mr.
Young, in making astronomical calculations. He had, however, a desire,
enforced by his father's death-bed injunctions, to return to his
country, and his mother, at Cabot. Again aided by his friend, Lord
Bristol, he was provided with necessary means, and in June, 1824, he
arrived at New York. On the third of July he approached his mother's
door. He found there an elderly woman, and being uncertain who it was,
he asked if she could tell him where the widow Colburn lived. "I am
she," was the reply.

The mother of Zerah Colburn was a remarkable woman. During the long
absence of her husband, with a family of eight children, and almost
entirely destitute of property, she had sustained the burthen with
indomitable energy. She wrought with her own hands, in house and field;
bargained away the little farm for a better; and, as her son says, "by a
course of persevering industry, hard fare, and trials such as few women
are accustomed to, she has hitherto succeeded in supporting herself,
besides doing a good deal for her children."

Zerah Colburn was now unable to offer much aid to his mother or the
family. He found employment for a time as a teacher; but his mind at
last was impressed with religious views, and after some vicissitudes of
life, and many fluctuations of feeling, he finally adopted the Methodist
faith, and became a humble but sincere preacher of that sect. With
pious, patient assiduity he continued in this career for a number of
years. He published a modest memoir of his life and adventures, from
which we have gathered the greater part of our account,--and at last
became professor of the Greek, Latin, French and Spanish languages, as
well as of classical literature, in the "Vermont University," at
Norwich. At this place he died, March 2d, 1840, in the thirty-eighth
year of his age.

Whoever has carefully attended to the facts stated in the early part of
this notice, will be prepared to admit that Zerah Colburn was one of the
most astonishing intellectual prodigies that has ever appeared. Totally
uninstructed in figures, at the age of six years, he was able to perform
mental operations which no man living, by all the training of art, is
able to accomplish. It had been stated by scientific men, that no rule
existed for finding the factors of numbers; yet this child discovered a
rule by which he ascertained results of this kind, accessible only to
skilful arithmeticians. In the London prospectus, the following facts,
in relation to this point, are stated, which cannot fail to excite

At one of his exhibitions, among various questions, it was proposed that
he should give the factors of 171,395--and he named the following as the
only ones: 5×34279; 7×22485; 59×2905; 83×2065; 35×4897; 295×581;
413×415. He was then asked to give the factors of 36,083; but he
immediately replied that it had none, which is the fact, it being a
prime number. "It had been asserted and maintained by the French
mathematicians that 4294967297, was a prime number; but the celebrated
Euler detected the error by discovering that it was equal to
641×6,700,417. The same number was proposed to this child, who found out
the factors by the mere operation of his mind."

Great pains were taken to discover the processes by which this boy
performed his operations. For a long time he was too ignorant of terms,
and too little accustomed to watch the operations of his mind, to do
this. He said to a lady, in Boston, who sought to make him disclose his
mode of calculation, "I cannot tell you how I do these things. God gave
me the power." At a subsequent time, however, while at the house of Mr.
Francis Bailey, in London, upon some remark being made, the boy said
suddenly, and without being asked--"I will tell you how I extract
roots." He then proceeded to tell his operations. This is detailed in
Zerah's book; but it in no degree abates our wonder. The rule does not
greatly facilitate the operation; it still demands an effort of mind
utterly beyond the capacity of most intellects; and after all, the very
rule itself was the invention of a child.

As he did not at first know the meaning of the word factor, when desired
to find the factors of a particular number, the question was put in this
form--"What two numbers multiplied together will produce such a number?"
His rule for solving such problems was sought for with much curiosity.
At last this was discovered. While in Edinburgh, in 1813, he being then
nine years old, he waked up one night, and said suddenly to his
father--"I can tell you how I find the factors!" His father rose,
obtained a light, and wrote down the rule, at Zerah's dictation.

It appears that when he came to maturity, these faculties did not
improve; and after a time he was even less expert in arithmetical
calculations than when he was ten years old. It is probable, his whole
mind was weakened, rather than strengthened, by the peculiar
circumstances of his life. As a preacher, he was in no way
distinguished. He says this in his book, with simple honesty; and seems
at a loss to understand the design of Providence in bestowing upon him
so stupendous a gift, which, so far as he was able to discover, had
produced no adequate results.

He suggests, indeed, a single instance, in which an atheist in Vermont,
who witnessed his performances in childhood, was induced to reflect upon
the almost miraculous powers of the mind, and led to the conclusion that
it must have an intelligent author. He saw that which was as hard to
believe, as much beyond the routine of experience, as any miracle--and
hence fairly concluded that miracles could be true. By this course of
reflection he was induced to reject his infidelity, and afterwards
became a sincere Christian.

This, we doubt not, was one of the designs of Providence, in the
bestowment of Zerah Colburn's wonderful gifts. But their use should not
be confined to an individual case. If there is argument for God in a
flower, how much more in a child of Zerah Colburn's endowments? What
infidelity can withstand such an instance, and still say, there is no
God? And farther, let us reflect upon the noble powers of the mind, and
rejoice, yet with fear and trembling, that we are possessors of an
inheritance, which, at God's bidding, is capable of such mighty

The history of Zerah Colburn may teach us one thing more--that the gifts
of genius are not always sources of happiness to the possessor; that
mental affluence, like worldly riches, often brings sorrow, rather than
peace to the possessor; and that moderate natural gifts, well
cultivated, are generally the most useful in society, and most conducive
to the happiness of the possessor.

[Illustration: _Zerah Colburn, at eight years of age._]


John Philip Baratiere was a most extraordinary instance of the early and
rapid exertion of mental faculties. He was the son of Francis Baratiere,
minister of the French church at Schwoback, near Nuremberg, where he was
born, January 10, 1721. The French was his mother tongue, and German was
the language of the people around him. His father talked to him in
Latin, and with this he became familiar; so that, without knowing the
rules of grammar, he, at four years of age, talked French to his mother,
Latin to his father, and High Dutch to the servants and neighboring
children, without mixing or confounding the respective languages.

About the middle of his fifth year, he acquired a knowledge of the
Greek: so that in fifteen months he perfectly understood all the Greek
books in the Old and New Testament, which he translated into Latin. When
five years and eight months old, he entered upon Hebrew; and in three
years more, was so expert in the Hebrew text, that, from a Bible without
points, he could give the sense of the original in Latin or French, or
translate, extempore, the Latin or French versions into Hebrew. He
composed a dictionary of rare and difficult Hebrew words; and about his
tenth year, amused himself, for twelve months, with the rabbinical

He now obtained a knowledge of the Chaldaic, Syriac and Arabic; and
acquired a taste for divinity and ecclesiastical antiquity, by studying
the Greek fathers of the first four ages of the church. In the midst of
these occupations, a pair of globes coming into his possession, he
could, in eight or ten days, resolve all the problems upon them; and in
January, 1735, at the age of fourteen, he devised his project for the
discovery of the longitude, which he communicated to the Royal Society
of London, and the Royal Academy of Sciences at Berlin!

In June, 1731, he was matriculated in the university of Altorf; and at
the close of 1732, he was presented by his father at the meeting of the
reformed churches of the circle, at Franconia; who, astonished at his
wonderful talents, admitted him to assist in the deliberations of the
synod; and, to preserve the memory of so singular an event, it was
registered in their acts. In 1734, the Margrave of Brandenburg, Anspach,
granted this young scholar a pension of fifty florins; and his father
receiving a call to the French church at Stettin, in Pomerania, young
Baratiere was, on the journey, admitted master of arts. At Berlin, he
was honored with several conversations with the king of Prussia, and was
received into the Royal Academy.

Towards the close of his life, he acquired a considerable taste for
medals, inscriptions, and antiquities, metaphysical inquiries, and
experimental philosophy. He wrote several essays and dissertations; made
astronomical remarks and laborious calculations; took great pains
towards a history of the heresies of the Anti-Trinitarians, and of the
thirty years' war in Germany. His last publication, which appeared in
1740, was on the succession of the bishops of Rome. The final work he
engaged in, and for which he had gathered large materials, was Inquiries
concerning the Egyptian Antiquities. But the substance of this blazing
meteor was now almost exhausted; he was always weak and sickly, and died
October 5th, 1740, aged nineteen years, eight months, and sixteen days.
Baratiere published eleven different pieces, and left twenty-six
manuscripts, on various subjects, the contents of which may be seen in
his Life, written by Mr. Formey, professor of philosophy at Berlin.



Pierre Gassendi, one of the most famous naturalists and philosophers of
France, was born at Chantersier, January 22, 1592, of poor parents. They
were, however, wise and virtuous people, and perceiving the
extraordinary gifts of their son, did everything in their power to
promote his education. At the age of four years, young Pierre used to
declaim little sermons of his own composition, which were quite
interesting. At the age of seven, he would steal away from his parents,
and spend a great part of the night in observing the stars. This made
his friends say he was born an astronomer. At this age, he had a dispute
with some boys, whether it was the moon or the clouds that moved so
rapidly; to convince them that it was the latter, he took them behind a
tree, and made them take notice that the moon kept its situation between
the same leaves, while the clouds passed on.

This early disposition to observation led his parents to place him under
the care of the clergyman of the village, who gave him the first
elements of learning. His ardor for study then became extreme: the day
was not long enough for him; and he often read a great part of the night
by the light of the lamp that was burning in the church of the village,
his family being too poor to allow him candles for his nocturnal
studies. He often took only four hours sleep in the night. At the age of
ten, he harangued his bishop in Latin, who was passing through the
village on his visitation; and he did this with such ease and spirit,
that the prelate exclaimed--"That lad will, one day or other, be the
wonder of his age." The modest and unassuming conduct of Gassendi gave
an additional charm to his talents.

[Illustration: _Gassendi and the Boys._]

In his manners, this remarkable youth was in general silent, never
ostentatiously obtruding upon others, either the acuteness of his
understanding, or the eloquence of his conversation; he was never in a
hurry to give his opinion before he knew that of the persons who were
conversing with him. When men of learning introduced themselves to him,
he was contented with behaving to them with great civility, and was not
anxious to surprise them into admiration. The entire tendency of his
studies was to make himself wiser and better; and to have his intention
more constantly before his eyes, he had all his books inscribed with
these words, _Sapere aude_; "Dare to be wise."

Such was Gassendi's reputation, that at sixteen he was called to teach
rhetoric at the seminary of Digne; in 1614, he was made professor of
theology in the same institution; and two years after, he was invited to
fill the chair of divinity and philosophy at Aix. After passing through
various promotions, and publishing several works of great merit on
philosophical subjects, Gassendi went at last to Paris, where he gained
the friendship of Cardinal Richelieu, and shared the admiration of the
learned world with the famous philosopher, Descartes.

Being appointed a professor of mathematics in the College Royal of
Paris, he gave his attention to astronomical subjects, and greatly
increased his reputation. After a life devoted to science, in which his
achievements were wonderful, he died at Paris, October 14, 1655, aged
sixty-three years. Distinguished by his vast learning, his admirable
clearness of mind, the diversity of his acquirements, the calmness and
dignity of his character, and the amiableness of his manners, Gassendi
was alike one of the brightest ornaments of his age and of human nature.



Blaise Pascal "perhaps the most brilliant intellect that ever lighted on
this lower world," was born at Clermont, in the province of Auvergne, on
the 19th of June, 1623. He was descended from one of the best families
in that province. As soon as he was able to speak, he discovered marks
of extraordinary capacity. This he evinced, not only by the general
pertinency and acuteness of his replies, but also by the questions which
he asked concerning the nature of things, and his reasonings upon them,
which were much superior to what is common at his age. His mother having
died in 1626, his father, who was an excellent scholar and an able
mathematician, and who lived in habits of intimacy with several persons
of the greatest learning and science at that time in France, determined
to take upon himself the whole charge of his son's education.

One of the instances in which young Pascal displayed his disposition to
reason upon everything, is the following. He had been told that God
rested from his labors on the seventh day, and hallowed it, and had
commanded all mankind to suspend their labor and do no work on the
Sabbath. When he was about seven years of age, he was seen, of a Sabbath
morning, measuring some blades of grass. When asked what he was doing,
he replied that he was going to see if the grass grew on Sunday, and if
God ceased working on the Sabbath, as he had commanded mankind to do!

Before young Pascal had attained his twelfth year, two circumstances
occurred, which deserve to be recorded, as they discovered the turn, and
evinced the superiority, of his mind. Having remarked one day, at table,
the sound produced by a person accidentally striking an earthenware
plate with a knife, and that the vibrations were immediately stopped by
putting his hand on the plate, he became anxious to investigate the
cause of this phenomenon; he employed himself in making a number of
experiments on sound, the results of which he committed to writing, so
as to form a little treatise on the subject, which was found very
correct and ingenious.

The other occurrence was his first acquisition, or, as it might not be
improperly termed, his invention of geometry. His father, though very
fond of mathematics, had studiously kept from his son all the means of
becoming acquainted with this subject. This he did, partly in conformity
to the maxim he had hitherto followed, of keeping his son superior to
his task; and partly from an apprehension that a science so engaging,
and at the same time so abstracted, and which, on that account, was
peculiarly suited to the turn of his son's mind, would probably absorb
too much of his attention, and stop the progress of his other studies,
if he were at once initiated into it.

But the activity of an inquisitive and penetrating mind is not to be so
easily restrained. As, from respect to his father's authority, however,
the youth had so far regarded his prohibition as to pursue this study
only in private, and at his hours of recreation, he went on for some
time undiscovered. But one day, while he was employed in this manner,
his father accidentally came into the room, unobserved by Pascal, who
was wholly intent on the subject of his investigation. His father stood
for some time unperceived, and observed, with the greatest astonishment,
that his son was surrounded with geometrical figures, and was then
actually employed in finding out the proportion of the angles formed by
a triangle, one side of which is produced; which is the subject of the
thirty-second proposition in the First Book of Euclid.

The father at length asked his son what he was doing. The latter,
surprised and confused to find his father was there, told him he wanted
to find out this and that, mentioning the different parts contained in
that theorem. His father then asked how he came to inquire about that.
He replied, that he had found out such a thing, naming some of the more
simple problems; and thus, in reply to different questions, he showed
that he had gone on his own investigations, totally unassisted, from the
most simple definition in geometry, to Euclid's thirty-second
proposition. This, it must be remembered, was when Pascal was but twelve
years of age.

His subsequent progress perfectly accorded with this extraordinary
display of talent. His father now gave him Euclid's Elements to peruse
at his hours of recreation. He read them, and understood them, without
any assistance. His progress was so rapid that he was soon admitted to
the meetings of a society of which his father, Roberval, and some other
celebrated mathematicians were members, and from which afterwards
originated the Royal Academy of Sciences, at Paris.

During Pascal's residence with his father at Rouen, and while he was
only in his nineteenth year, he invented his famous arithmetical
machine, by which all numerical calculations, however complex, can be
made by the mechanical operation of its different parts, without any
arithmetical skill in the person who uses it. He had a patent for this
invention in 1649. His studies, however, began to be interrupted when he
reached his eighteenth year by some symptoms of ill health, which were
thought to be the effect of intense application, and which never
afterwards entirely quitted him; so that he was sometimes accustomed to
say, that from the time he was eighteen, he had never passed a day
without pain. But Pascal, though out of health, was still Pascal; ever
active, ever inquiring, and satisfied only with that for which an
adequate reason could be assigned. Having heard of the experiments
instituted by Torricelli, to find out the cause of the rise of water in
fountains and pumps, and of the mercury in the barometer, he was induced
to repeat them, and to make others, to satisfy himself upon the

In 1654, he invented his arithmetical triangle, for the solution of
problems respecting the combinations of stakes, in unfinished games of
hazard; and long after that, he wrote his Demonstrations of the Problems
relating to the Cycloid; besides several pieces on other subjects in the
higher branches of the mathematics, for which his genius was probably
most fitted. Pascal, though not rich, was independent in his
circumstances; and as his peculiar talents, his former habits, and the
state of his health, all called for retirement, he adopted a secluded
mode of life. From 1655, he associated only with a few friends of the
same religious opinions with himself, and lived for the most part in
privacy in the society of Port Royal.

At this period, the Catholics being divided into Jesuits and Jansenists,
Pascal, being of the latter, published his famous Provincial Letters.
These are so distinguished for their admirable wit, their keen argument,
and their exquisite beauty of style, as to have even extorted praise
from Voltaire and D'Alembert. He also wrote other pieces against the
Jesuits, marked with great talent.

Pascal's health, however, continued to decline; and it is probable that
his mind suffered in consequence. Though his life had been singularly
blameless, still he seemed to be pained with a sense of inward sin. He
was accustomed to wear an iron belt around his waist, in which were
sharp points, upon which he would strike his elbows, or his arms, when
any unholy passion crossed his mind. He continued to practise charity
toward all mankind, and severe austerities to himself, until at last he
was attacked with sickness, and on the 19th of August, 1662, he died.
His last words were, "May God never forsake me!"

The latter part of his life was wholly spent in religious meditations,
though he committed to paper such pious thoughts as occurred to him.
These were published after his death, under the title of "Thoughts on
Religion and other Subjects." They have been greatly admired for their
depth, eloquence and Christian spirit.

[Illustration: _Pascal._]



Hugo Grotius, celebrated for his early display of genius and learning,
as well as for his adventures and writings in after life, was born at
Delft, in Holland, April 10, 1583. He had the best masters to direct his
education, and from childhood, was not only distinguished by the great
brilliancy of his mind, but also by his application to study. Such was
his progress, that, at eight years of age, he composed Latin elegiac
verses of great cleverness, and at fourteen, he maintained public theses
in mathematics, law, and philosophy with general applause. His
reputation by this time was established, and he was mentioned by the
principal scholars of the age, as a prodigy of learning, and as
destined to make a conspicuous figure in the republic of letters.

In 1598, he accompanied Barnevelt, ambassador extraordinary of the Dutch
Republic, in a journey to France, where he was introduced to Henry IV.,
who was so pleased with his learning, that he presented him with his
picture and a gold chain. While in France, he took the degree of doctor
of laws. The following year he commenced practice as an advocate, and
pleaded his first cause at Delft. In the same year, though then only
seventeen, he was chosen historiographer to the United Provinces, in
preference to several learned men who were candidates for that office.

Grotius now rapidly rose in rank and reputation: he published several
works of great merit, and was appointed to various public offices of
high trust. On one occasion he was sent by the government to England to
attend to some negotiations, at which time he became acquainted with
King James II. But serious religious difficulties now began to agitate
Holland. In 1618, a synod met at Dort to take these into consideration.
They proceeded to condemn the Arminian doctrines, and to banish all the
preachers who upheld them. Barnevelt, who was a celebrated statesman,
Grotius, and Hoogurbetz, advocated these sentiments; they were tried and
condemned; the first was executed and the two others were sentenced to
perpetual imprisonment.

In his prison of Louvestien, Grotius found consolation in literary
pursuits. His wife, after much entreaty, was permitted to visit him, and
she did everything which the most devoted affection could suggest, to
alleviate his confinement. She was accustomed to send him books in the
chest which was conveyed out and in, with his linen: this was carefully
examined by the jailer, for a time, but finding nothing amiss, he became
less suspicious and careful.

Taking notice of this, the wife of Grotius, after he had been confined
about two years, devised a scheme for his escape. She pretended to have
a large quantity of books to send away. Having a small chest of drawers,
about three feet and a half long, she packed her husband into it, and it
was carried out by two soldiers, who supposed they were transporting a
quantity of books. The chest was now put on a horse, and carried to
Gorcum, where the illustrious prisoner was set at liberty.

Disguised in the dress of a mason, with a rule and a trowel in his hand,
he fled to Antwerp, which was not under the government of the
Stadtholder, Prince Maurice, who had caused his imprisonment. Here he
wrote to the State's General of Holland, asserting his innocence of any
wrong, in the course he had taken, and for which he had been deprived of
liberty. He afterwards went to Paris, where he received a pension from
the king.

After the death of Prince Maurice, his confiscated property and estates
were restored, and he returned to Holland; but he still found such a
spirit of rancor against him, among the principal persons, that he left
the country forever, and took up his residence at Hamburgh. Here he
received the most flattering proposals from the kings of Portugal,
Spain, Denmark, and other countries, who admired his great abilities,
and desired him to seek shelter and protection with them.

He finally adopted Sweden as his country, and becoming the queen's
ambassador to France, he proceeded, in that character, to Paris, where,
for eight years, he sustained the interests of his patron with firmness
and dignity. At last, being weary of public life, he solicited his
recall. In August, 1648, he embarked for Lubec, where he intended to
reside; but, meeting with a dreadful storm, he was driven upon the coast
of Pomerania, and obliged to take a land journey of sixty miles, in
order to reach Rostock, during which he was exposed to the rain and
inclement weather. A fever soon set in, and at midnight, on the 28th of
August, the illustrious stranger died.

Grotius has left behind him many works, some of them of great value. His
treatise upon the "Truth of the Christian Religion," written in Latin,
like his other productions, is one of the best defences of that system
which has ever appeared. His work on the law of Peace and War, is still
of high authority. We must look upon Grotius as a man of great
acuteness, as well as vast expanse of mind. He was, indeed, in advance
of his generation, and, like other patriots and philanthropists, who see
farther than those around them, he was an object of hatred and disgust,
for those very things which in an after age brought him the homage and
gratitude of mankind. In an intolerant age, Grotius was in favor of
toleration, and this alone was a crime which his generation could not
forget or forgive.


Sir Isaac Newton, the greatest of natural philosophers, was born at
Woolsthorpe, in Lincolnshire, December 25, 1642, old style. At his birth
he was so small and weak that his life was despaired of. On the death of
his father, which took place while he was yet an infant, the manor of
Woolsthorpe became his heritage. His mother sent him, at an early age,
to the village school, and in his twelfth year, to the seminary of

While here he displayed a decided taste for mechanical and philosophical
inventions; and avoiding the society of other children, provided himself
with a collection of saws, hammers, and other instruments, with which he
constructed models of many kinds of machinery. He also made
hour-glasses, acting by the descent of water. A new windmill, of a
peculiar construction, having been erected in the town, he studied it
until he succeeded in imitating it, and placed a mouse inside, which he
called the miller.

Some knowledge of drawing being necessary in these operations, he
applied himself, without a master, to the study; and the walls of his
room were covered with all sorts of designs. After a short period,
however, his mother took him home, for the purpose of employing him on
the farm and about the affairs of the house. She sent him several times
to market, at Grantham, with the produce of the farm. A trusty servant
was sent with him, and the young philosopher left him to manage the
business, while he himself employed his time in reading. A sundial,
which he constructed on the wall of the house at Woolsthorpe, is still
shown. His irresistible passion for study and science finally induced
his mother to send him back to Grantham. Here he continued for a time,
and was entered at Trinity College, Cambridge, 1660.


At the latter place he studied mathematics with the utmost assiduity. In
1667, he obtained a fellowship; in 1669, the mathematical professorship;
and in 1671, he became a member of the Royal Society. It was during his
abode at Cambridge that he made his three great discoveries, of
fluxions, the nature of light and colors, and the laws of gravitation.
To the latter of these his attention was first turned by his seeing an
apple fall from a tree. The Principia, which unfolded to the world the
theory of the universe, was not published till 1687. In that year also
Newton was chosen one of the delegates to defend the privileges of the
university against James II.; and in 1688 and 1701 he was elected one of
the members of the university. He was appointed warden of the mint in
1696; he was made master of it in 1699; was chosen president of the
Royal Society in 1703; and was knighted in 1705. He died March 20,

His "Observations on the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse"
appeared in 1733, in quarto. "It is astonishing," says Dr. Hutton, "what
care and industry Newton employed about the papers relating to
chronology, church history, &c.; as, on examining them, it appears that
many are copies over and over again, often with little or no variation."
All the works of this eminent philosopher were published by Dr. Samuel
Horsley, in 1779, in five volumes, quarto; and an English translation of
his "Philosophæ Naturalis Principia Mathematicæ," is extant.

The character of this great man has been thus drawn by Mr. Hume, in his
history of England. "In Newton, Britain may boast of having produced the
greatest and rarest genius that ever rose for the ornament and
instruction of the human species. Cautious in admitting no principles
but such as were founded on experiment, but resolute to adopt every such
principle, however new or unusual; from modesty, ignorant of his
superiority over the rest of mankind, and thence less careful to
accommodate such reasonings to common apprehensions; more anxious to
merit than acquire fame:--he was from these causes long unknown to the
world; but his reputation at last broke out with a lustre, which
scarcely any writer, during his own lifetime, had ever before attained.
While Newton seemed to draw off the veil from some of the mysteries of
nature, he showed at the same time some of the imperfections of the
mechanical philosophy; and thereby restored her ultimate secrets to that
obscurity in which they ever did and ever will remain."

The remains of Sir Isaac Newton were interred in Westminster Abbey,
where a magnificent monument is erected to his memory, with a Latin
inscription, concluding thus:--"Let mortals congratulate themselves that
so great an ornament of human nature has existed." His character is
shown, by Dr. Brewster, to have been that of the humble and sincere
Christian. Of nature, antiquity, and the Holy Scriptures, he was a
diligent, sagacious, and faithful interpreter. He maintained by his
philosophy the dignity of the Supreme Being, and in his manners he
exhibited the simplicity of the Gospel. "I seem to myself," he said, "to
be like a child, picking up a shell here and there on the shore of the
great ocean of truth." He would hardly admit that he had a genius above
other men, but attributed his discoveries to the intentness with which
he applied to the study of philosophy. We cannot better close our notice
of this great man, than in the words of Pope:

  "Nature and nature's laws lay hid in night--
  God said, 'let Newton be'--and all was light!"



Antony Magliabecchi was born at Florence, on the 29th of October, in the
year 1633. His parents were so poor as to be well satisfied when they
got him into the service of a man who sold greens. He had not yet
learned to read, but he was perpetually poring over the leaves of old
books, that were used as waste paper in his master's shop. A bookseller
who lived in the neighborhood, observed this, and knowing that the boy
could not read, asked him one day what he meant by staring so much at
pieces of printed paper? He said, that he did not know how it was, but
that he loved it of all things; that he was very uneasy in the business
he was in, and should be the happiest creature in the world if he could
live with him, who had always so many books about him.

The bookseller was pleased with this answer; and at last told him, that
if his master were willing to part with him, he would take him. Young
Magliabecchi was highly delighted, and the more so, when his master,
agreeably to the bookseller's desire, gave him leave to go. He went,
therefore, directly to his new business. He had not long been there,
before he could find out any book that was asked for, as readily as the
bookseller himself. In a short period he had learned to read, and then
he was always reading when he could find time.

He seems never to have applied himself to any particular study. A love
of reading was his ruling passion, and a prodigious memory his great
talent. He read all kinds of books, almost indifferently, as they came
into his hands, and that with a surprising quickness; yet he retained
not only the sense, but often the words and the very manner of spelling.

His extraordinary application and talents soon recommended him to
Ermina, librarian to the Cardinal de Medicis, and Marmi, the Grand
Duke's librarian. He was by them introduced to the conversation of the
learned, and made known at court. He now began to be looked upon
everywhere as a prodigy, particularly for his unbounded memory.

In order to make an experiment in respect to this, a gentleman of
Florence, who had written a piece, which was to be printed, lent the
manuscript to Magliabecchi. Sometime after it had been returned, he came
to the librarian with a melancholy face, and told him that by some
accident he had lost his manuscript; and seemed almost inconsolable,
entreating Magliabecchi, at the same time, to endeavor to recollect as
much of it as he possibly could, and write it down. Magliabecchi assured
him he would do so, and on setting about it, wrote down the whole,
without missing a word.

By treasuring up everything he read, in this wonderful manner, or at
least the subject, and all the principal parts of the books he ran over,
his head became at last, as one of his acquaintance expressed it, "an
universal index, both of titles and matter."

By this time, Magliabecchi was grown so famous for the vast extent of
his reading, and his amazing retention of what he had read, that it
began to grow common amongst the learned to consult him when they were
writing on any subject. Thus, for instance, if a priest was going to
compose a panegyric upon any favorite saint, and came to communicate his
design to Magliabecchi, he would immediately tell him who had said
anything of that saint, and in what part of their works, and that,
sometimes, to the number of above a hundred authors. He would tell them
not only who had treated of their subject designedly, but of such, also,
as had touched upon it incidentally, in writing on other subjects. All
this he did with the greatest exactness, naming the author, the book,
the words, and often the very number of the page in which the passage
referred to was inserted. He did this so often, so readily, and so
exactly, that he came at last to be looked upon almost as an oracle, for
the ready and full answers that he gave to all questions proposed to him
in respect to any subject or science whatever.

It was his great eminence in this way, and his almost inconceivable
knowledge of books, that induced the Grand Duke, Cosmo the third, to
make him his librarian. What a happiness must it have been to one like
Magliabecchi, who delighted in nothing so much as reading, to have the
command and use of such a collection of books as that in the Duke's
palace! He was also very conversant with the books in the Lorenzo
library; and had the keeping of those of Leopoldo, and Francisco Maria,
the two cardinals of Tuscany.

Magliabecchi had a local memory, too, of the places where every book
stood, in the libraries which he frequented; he seems, indeed, to have
carried this even farther. One day the Grand Duke sent for him to ask
whether he could get him a book that was particularly scarce. "No, sir,"
answered Magliabecchi, "for there is but one in the world, and that is
in the Grand Signior's library at Constantinople; it is the seventh book
on the second shelf, on the right hand, as you go in."

Though Magliabecchi lived so sedentary a life, with such an intense and
almost perpetual application to books, yet he arrived to a good old age.
He died in his eighty-first year, on the 14th of July, 1714. By his will
he left a very fine library, of his own collection, for the use of the
public, with a fund to maintain it; and whatever should remain over, to
the poor.

In his manner of living, Magliabecchi affected the character of
Diogenes; three hard eggs, and a draught or two of water, were his usual
repast. When his friends went to see him, they generally found him
lolling in a sort of fixed wooden cradle, in the middle of his study,
with a multitude of books, some thrown in heaps, and others scattered
about the floor, around him. His cradle, or bed, was generally attached
to the nearest pile of books by a number of cobwebs: at the entrance of
any one, he used to call out, "Don't hurt my spiders!"



James Crichton, commonly called 'The Admirable,' son of Robert Crichton,
of Eliock, who was Lord Advocate to King James VI., was born in
Scotland, in the year 1561. The precise place of his birth is not
mentioned, but he received the best part of his education at St.
Andrews, at that time the most celebrated seminary in Scotland, where
the illustrious Buchanan was one of his masters. At the early age of
fourteen, he took his degree of Master of Arts, and was considered a
prodigy, not only in abilities, but in actual attainments.

It was the custom of the time for Scotchmen of birth to finish their
education abroad, and serve in some foreign army, previously to entering
that of their own country. When he was only sixteen or seventeen years
old, Crichton's father sent him to the Continent. He had scarcely
arrived in Paris, which was then a gay and splendid city, famous for
jousting, fencing, and dancing, when he publicly challenged all scholars
and philosophers to a disputation at the College of Navarre. He proposed
that it should be carried on in any one of twelve specified languages,
and have relation to any science or art, whether practical or
theoretical. The challenge was accepted; and, as if to show in how
little need he stood of preparation, or how lightly he held his
adversaries, he spent the six weeks that elapsed between the challenge
and the contest, in a continual round of tilting, hunting, and dancing.

On the appointed day, however, and in the contest, he is said to have
encountered all the gravest philosophers and divines, and to have
acquitted himself to the astonishment of all who heard him. He received
the public praises of the president and four of the most eminent
professors. The very next day he appeared at a tilting match in the
Louvre, and carried off the ring from all his accomplished and
experienced competitors.

Enthusiasm was now at its height, particularly among the ladies of the
court, and from the versatility of his talents, his youth, the
gracefulness of his manners, and the beauty of his person, he was named
_L'Admirable_. After serving two years in the army of Henry III., who
was engaged in a civil war with his Huguenot subjects, Crichton repaired
to Italy, and repeated at Rome, in the presence of the Pope and
cardinals, the literary challenge and triumph that had gained him so
much honor at Paris.

From Rome he went to Venice, at which gay city he arrived in a depressed
state of spirits. None of his Scottish biographers are very willing to
acknowledge the fact, but it appears quite certain, that, spite of his
noble birth and connexions, he was miserably poor, and became for some
time dependent on the bounty of a Venetian printer--the celebrated Aldus
Manutius. After a residence of four months at Venice, where his
learning, engaging manners, and various accomplishments, excited
universal wonder, as is made evident by several Italian writers who were
living at the time, and whose lives were published, Crichton went to the
neighboring city of Padua, in the learned university of which he reaped
fresh honors by Latin poetry, scholastic disputation, an exposition of
the errors of Aristotle and his commentators, and as a playful wind-up
of the day's labors, a declamation upon the happiness of ignorance.

Another day was fixed for a public disputation in the palace of the
bishop of Padua; but this being prevented from taking place, gave some
incredulous or envious men the opportunity of asserting that Crichton
was a literary impostor, whose acquirements were totally superficial.
His reply was a public challenge. The contest, which included the
Aristotelian and platonic philosophies, and the mathematics of the time,
was prolonged during three days, before an innumerable concourse of
people. His friend, Aldus Manutius, who was present at what he calls
"this miraculous encounter," says he proved completely victorious, and
that he was honored by such a rapture of applause as was never before

Crichton's journeying from university to university to stick up
challenges on church doors, and college pillars, though it is said to
have been in accordance with customs not then obsolete, certainly
attracted some ridicule among the Italians; for Boccalini, after copying
one of his placards, in which he announces his arrival, and his
readiness to dispute extemporaneously on all subjects, says that a wit
wrote under it, "and whosoever wishes to see him, let him go to the
Falcon Inn, where he will be shown,"--which is the formula used by
showmen for the exhibition of a wild beast, or any other monster.

We next hear of Crichton at Mantua, and as the hero of a combat more
tragical than those carried on by the tongue or the pen. A certain
Italian gentleman, "of a mighty, able, nimble, and vigorous body, but by
nature fierce, cruel, warlike, and audacious, and superlatively expert
and dexterous in the use of his weapon," was in the habit of going from
one city to another, to challenge men to fight with cold steel, just as
Crichton did to challenge them to scholastic combats. This itinerant
gladiator, who had marked his way through Italy with blood, had just
arrived in Mantua, and killed three young men, the best swordsmen of
that city. By universal consent, the Italians were the ablest masters of
fence in Europe; a reputation to which they seem still entitled. To
encounter a victor among such masters, was a stretch of courage; but
Crichton, who had studied the sword from his youth, and who had probably
improved himself in the use of the rapier in Italy, did not hesitate to
challenge the redoubtable bravo.

Though the duke was unwilling to expose so accomplished a gentleman to
so great a hazard, yet, relying upon the report he had heard of his
warlike qualifications, he agreed to the proposal; and the time and
place being appointed, the whole court attended to behold the
performance. At the beginning of the combat, Crichton stood only upon
his defence, while the Italian made his attack with such eagerness and
fury, that, having exhausted himself, he began to grow weary. The young
Scotsman now seized the opportunity of attacking his antagonist in
return; which he did with so much dexterity and vigor, that he ran him
through the body in three different places, of which wounds he
immediately died.

The acclamations of the spectators were loud and long-continued upon
this occasion; and it was acknowledged by all, that they had never seen
nature second the precepts of art in so lively and graceful a manner as
they had beheld it on that day. To crown the glory of the action,
Crichton bestowed the rich prize awarded for his victory, upon the
widows of the three persons who had lost their lives in fighting with
the gladiator.

In consequence of this and his other wonderful performances, the duke of
Mantua made choice of him for preceptor to his son, Vicentio de Gonzago,
who is represented as being of a riotous temper, and dissolute life. The
appointment was highly pleasing to the court. Crichton, to testify his
gratitude to his friends and benefactors, and to contribute to their
diversion, framed a comedy, wherein he exposed and ridiculed the
weaknesses and failures of the several occupations and pursuits in which
men are engaged. This composition was regarded as one of the most
ingenious satires that ever was made upon mankind. But the most
astonishing part of the story, is, that Crichton sustained fifteen
characters in the representation of his own play. Among the rest, he
acted the divine, the philosopher, the lawyer, the mathematician, the
physician, and the soldier, with such inimitable skill, that every time
he appeared upon the theatre, he seemed to be a different person.

From being the principal actor in a comedy, Crichton soon became the
subject of a dreadful tragedy. One night, during the time of Carnival,
as he was walking along the streets of Mantua, and playing upon his
guitar, he was attacked by half a dozen people in masks. The assailants
found that they had no ordinary person to deal with, for they were not
able to maintain their ground against him. At last the leader of the
company, being disarmed, pulled off his mask, and begged his life,
telling Crichton that he was the prince, his pupil. Crichton immediately
fell upon his knees, and expressed his concern for his mistake; alleging
that what he had done was only in his own defence, and that if Gonzago
had any design upon his life, he might always be master of it. Then,
taking his own sword by the point, he presented it to the prince, who
immediately received it, and was so irritated by the affront which he
thought he had sustained, in being foiled with all his attendants, that
he instantly ran Crichton through the heart.

His tragical end excited very great and general lamentation. The whole
court of Mantua went three-quarters of a year into mourning for him; and
numerous epitaphs and elegies were composed upon his death.

To account in some manner for the extent of Crichton's attainments, it
must be recollected that the first scholars of the age were his
instructors: for, besides having Rutherford as a tutor, it is stated by
Aldus Manutius, that he was also taught by Buchanan, Hessburn, and
Robertson; and hence his extraordinary proficiency in the languages, as
well as in the sciences, as then taught in the schools of Europe. It
must also be recollected that no expense would be spared in his
education, as his father was Lord Advocate in Queen Mary's reign, from
1561 to 1573, and his mother, the daughter of Sir James Stuart, was
allied to the royal family. It is evident, however, that these
advantages were seconded by powers of body and mind rarely united in any
human being.



The history of this man is involved in some obscurity, yet enough is
known to show that he was a person of wonderful endowments, and great
eccentricity of life and character.

In the year 1674, the celebrated Dutch poet, Antonides Vander Goes,
being in Zealand, happened to be in company with a young gentleman, who
spoke of the wonderful genius of his language master. Vander Goes
expressed a desire to see him, and while they were talking upon the
subject, the extraordinary man entered. He was a little, sallow dumpling
of a fellow, with fiery eyes, and nimble, fidgety motions; he was withal
a sight to see for the raggedness of his garments.

The strange man soon showed that he was drunk, and shortly after took
his leave. But in a subsequent interview with the Dutch poet, he fully
justified the character his pupil had given him. His great talent lay in
being able with almost miraculous quickness, to turn any written theme
into Latin or Greek verse. Upon being put to the trial, by Vander Goes,
he succeeded, to the admiration of all present.

The poet had just shown him his verses, and asked his opinion of them.
Beronicius read them twice, praised them, and said, "What should hinder
me from turning them into Latin instantly?" The company viewed him with
curiosity, and encouraged him by saying, "Well, pray let us see what you
can do." In the meantime, the man appeared to be startled. He trembled
from head to foot, as if possessed. However, he selected an epigram from
the poems, and asked the precise meaning of two or three Dutch words, of
which he did not clearly understand the force, and requested that he
might be allowed to Latinize the name of _Hare_, which occurred in the
poem, in some manner so as not to lose the pun. They agreed; and he
immediately said, "I have already found it,--I shall call him
_Dasypus_," which signifies an animal with rough legs, and is likewise
taken by the Greeks for a hare. "Now, read a couple of lines at a time
to me, and I shall give them in Latin," said he;--upon which a poet
named Buizero, began to read to him, and Beronicius burst out in the
following verses:--

  Egregia Dasypus referens virtute leonem
  In bello, adversus Britonas super æquora gesto,
  Impavidus pelago stetit, aggrediente molossum.
  Agmine quem tandem glans ferrea misit ad astra,
  Vindictæ cupidum violato jure profundi.
  Advena, quisquis ades, Zelandæ encomia gentis
  Ista refer, lepores demta quod pelle leonem,
  Assumant, quotquot nostro versantur in orbe.
  Epitaphium Herois Adriani de Haze, ex Belgico versum.

When the poet had finished, he laughed till his sides shook; at the same
time he was jeering and pointing at the company, who appeared surprised
at his having, contrary to their expectations, acquitted himself so
well; everybody highly praised him, which elated him so much that he
scratched his head three or four times; and fixing his fiery eyes on
the ground, repeated without hesitation, the same epigram in Greek
verse, calling out, "There ye have it in Greek." Every one was
astonished, which set him a-laughing and jeering for a quarter of an

The Greek he repeated so rapidly, that no one could write from his
recitation. John Frederick Gymnick, professor of the Greek language at
Duisburgh, who was one of the auditors, said that he esteemed the Greek
version as superior to the Latin. Beronicius was afterwards examined in
various ways, and gave such proofs of his wonderful learning, as amazed
all the audience.

This singular genius spoke several languages so perfectly, that each
might have passed for his mother tongue; especially Italian, French, and
English. But Greek was his favorite, and he used it as correctly and as
fluently as if he had always spoken it. He knew by heart the whole of
Horace and Virgil, the greatest part of Cicero, and both the Plinys; and
would immediately, if a line were mentioned, repeat the whole passage,
and tell the exact work, volume, chapter, and verse, of all these, and
many more, especially poets. The works of Juvenal were so interwoven
with his brain, that he retained every word.

Of the Greek poets, he had Homer strongly imprinted on his memory,
together with some of the comedies of Aristophanes; he could directly
turn to any line required, and repeat the whole contiguous passage. His
Latin was full of words selected from the most celebrated writers.

The reader will probably be desirous of knowing to what country
Beronicius belonged; but this is a secret he never would disclose. When
he was asked what was his native land, he always answered, "that the
country of every one, was that in which he could live most comfortably."
It was well known that he had wandered about many years in France,
England, and the Netherlands, carrying his whole property with him. He
was sometimes told that he deserved to be a professor in a college;--but
his reply was, that he could have no pleasure in such a worm-like life.

Strange to say, this eccentric being gained his living chiefly by
sweeping chimneys, grinding knives and scissors, and other mean
occupations. But his chief delight was in pursuing the profession of a
juggler, mountebank, or merry-andrew, among the lowest rabble. He never
gave himself any concern about his food or raiment; for it was equal to
him whether he was dressed like a nobleman or a beggar. His hours of
relaxation from his studies were chiefly spent in paltry wine-houses,
with the meanest company, where he would sometimes remain a whole week,
or more, drinking without rest or intermission.

His miserable death afforded reason to believe that he perished whilst
intoxicated, for he was found dead at Middleburgh, drowned and smothered
in mud, which circumstance is alluded to in the epitaph which the before
named poet, Buizero, wrote upon him, and which was as follows:--

  Here lies a wonderful genius,
  He lived and died like a beast;
  He was a most uncommon satyr--
  He lived in wine, and died in water.

This is all that is known of Beronicius. The poet, Vander Goes, often
witnessed the display of his talents, and he says that he could at once
render the newspapers into Greek and Latin verse. Professor John de
Raay, who was living at the time of Beronicius's death, which occurred
in 1676, saw and affirms the same wonderful fact.



Of this astonishing youth, we have no information except what is
furnished by the following account, extracted from Mr. Evelyn's diary,
of 1689, very shortly after the landing of William III. in England.

"I dined," says Mr. Evelyn, "at the Admiralty, where a child of twelve
years old was brought in, the son of Dr. Clench, of the most prodigious
maturity of knowledge, for I cannot call it altogether memory, but
something more extraordinary. Mr. Pepys and myself examined him, not in
any method, but with promiscuous questions, which required judgment and
discernment, to answer so readily and pertinently.

"There was not anything in chronology, history, geography, the several
systems of astronomy, courses of the stars, longitude, latitude,
doctrine of the spheres, courses and sources of rivers, creeks, harbors,
eminent cities, boundaries of countries, not only in Europe, but in
every part of the earth, which he did not readily resolve, and
demonstrate his knowledge of, readily drawing with a pen anything he
would describe.

"He was able not only to repeat the most famous things which are left us
in any of the Greek or Roman histories, monarchies, republics, wars,
colonies, exploits by sea and land, but all the Sacred Scriptures of the
Old and New Testaments; the succession of all the monarchies,
Babylonian, Persian, Greek and Roman; with all the lower emperors,
popes, heresiarchs, and councils; what they were called about; what they
determined; or in the controversy about Easter; the tenets of the
Sabellians, Arians, Nestorians; and the difference between St. Cyprian
and Stephen about re-baptization; the schisms.

"We leaped from that to other things totally different,--to Olympic
years and synchronisms; we asked him questions which could not be
answered without considerable meditation and judgment; nay, of some
particulars of the civil wars; of the digest and code. He gave a
stupendous account of both natural and moral philosophy, and even of

"Having thus exhausted ourselves, rather than this wonderful child, or
angel rather, for he was as beautiful and lovely in countenance as in
knowledge, we concluded with asking him, if, in all he had ever heard or
read of, he had ever met with anything which was like the expedition of
the Prince of Orange, with so small a force, as to obtain three kingdoms
without any contest. After a little thought, he told us that he knew of
nothing that resembled it, so much as the coming of Constantine the
Great out of Great Britain, through France and Italy, so tedious a
march, to meet Maxentius, whom he overthrew at Pons Melvius, with very
little conflict, and at the very gates of Rome, which he entered, and
was received with triumph, and obtained the empire not of three kingdoms
only, but of the then known world.

"He was perfect in the Latin authors, spoke French naturally, and gave
us a description of France, Italy, Savoy and Spain, anciently and
modernly divided; as also of ancient Greece, Scythia, and the northern
countries and tracts.

"He answered our questions without any set or formal repetitions, as one
who had learned things without book, but as if he minded other things,
going about the room, and toying with a parrot, seeming to be full of
play, of a lively, sprightly temper, always smiling, and exceedingly
pleasant; without the least levity, rudeness, or childishness."




This extraordinary man was born in 1705, at Elmeton, in Derbyshire. His
father was a schoolmaster; and yet, from some strange neglect, Jedediah
was never taught either to read or write. So great, however, were his
natural talents for calculation, that he became remarkable for his
knowledge of the relative proportions of numbers, their powers and
progressive denominations. To these objects he applied all the powers of
his mind, and his attention was so constantly rivetted upon them, that
he was often totally abstracted from external objects. Even when he did
notice them, it was only with respect to their numbers. If any space of
time happened to be mentioned before him, he would presently inform the
company that it contained so many minutes; and if any distance, he
would assign the number of hair-breadths in it, even though no question
were asked him.

Being, on one occasion, required to multiply 456 by 378, he gave the
product by mental arithmetic, as soon as a person in company had
completed it in the common way. Being requested to work it audibly, that
his method might be known, he first multiplied 456 by 5, which produced
2,280; this he again multiplied by 20, and found the product 45,600,
which was the multiplicand, multiplied by 100. This product he again
multiplied by 3, which gave 136,800, the product of the multiplicand by
300. It remained, therefore, to multiply this by 78, which he effected
by multiplying 2,280, or the product of the multiplicand, multiplied by
5, by 15, as 5 times 15 is 75. This product being 34,200, he added to
136,800, which gave 171,000, being the amount of 375 times 456. To
complete his operation, therefore, he multiplied 456 by 3, which
produced 1,368, and this being added to 171,000, yielded 172,368, as the
product of 456 multiplied by 378.

From these particulars, it appears that Jedediah's method of calculation
was entirely his own, and that he was so little acquainted with the
common rules of arithmetic, as to multiply first by 5, and the product
by 20, to find the amount when multiplied by 100, which the addition of
two ciphers to the multiplicand would have given at once.

A person who had heard of these efforts of memory, once meeting with him
accidentally, proposed the following question, in order to try his
calculating powers. If a field be 423 yards long, and 383 broad, what
is the area? After the figures were read to him distinctly, he gave the
true product, 162,009 yards, in the space of two minutes; for the
proposer observed by the watch, how long it took him. The same person
asked how many acres the said field measured; and in eleven minutes, he
replied, 33 acres, 1 rood, 35 perches, 20 yards and a quarter. He was
then asked how many barley-corns would reach eight miles. In a minute
and a half, he answered 1,520,640. The next question was: supposing the
distance between London and York to be 204 miles, how many times will a
coach-wheel turn round in that space, allowing the circumference of that
wheel to be six yards. In thirteen minutes, he answered, 59,840 times.

On another occasion a person proposed to him this question: in a body,
the three sides of which are 23,145,789 yards, 5,642,732 yards, and
54,965 yards, how many cubic eighths of an inch? In about five hours
Jedediah had accurately solved this intricate problem, though in the
midst of business, and surrounded by more than a hundred laborers.

Next to figures, the only objects of Jedediah's curiosity were the king
and royal family. So strong was his desire to see them, that in the
beginning of the spring of 1754, he walked up to London for that
purpose, but returned disappointed, as his majesty had removed to
Kensington just as he arrived in town. He was, however, introduced to
the Royal Society, whom he called the _Folk of the Siety Court_. The
gentlemen present asked him several questions in arithmetic to try his
abilities, and dismissed him with a handsome present.

During his residence in the metropolis, he was taken to see the tragedy
of King Richard the Third, performed at Drury Lane, Garrick being one of
the actors. It was expected that the novelty of everything in that
place, together with the splendor of the surrounding objects, would have
filled him with astonishment; or that his passions would have been
roused in some degree, by the action of the performers, even though he
might not fully comprehend the dialogue. This, certainly, was a rational
idea; but his thoughts were far otherwise employed. During the dances,
his attention was engaged in reckoning the number of steps; after a fine
piece of music, he declared that the innumerable sounds produced by the
instruments perplexed him beyond measure, but he counted the words
uttered by Mr. Garrick, in the whole course of the entertainment; and
declared that in this part of the business, he had perfectly succeeded.

Heir to no fortune, and educated to no particular profession, Jedediah
Buxton supported himself by the labor of his hands. His talents, had
they been properly cultivated, might have qualified him for acting a
distinguished part on the theatre of life; he, nevertheless, pursued the
"noiseless tenor of his way," content if he could satisfy the wants of
nature, and procure a daily subsistence for himself and family. He was
married and had several children. He died in the year 1775, aged seventy
years. Though a man of wonderful powers of arithmetical calculation,
and generally regarded as a prodigy in his way--it is still obvious
that, after the practice of years, he was incapable of solving
questions, which Zerah Colburn, at the age of six or seven years,
answered in the space of a few seconds.



William Gibson was born in the year 1720, at the village of Bolton, in
Westmoreland, England. On the death of his father, he put himself to a
farmer to learn his business. When he was about eighteen or nineteen, he
rented a small farm of his own, at a place called Hollins, where he
applied himself assiduously to study.

A short time previous to this, he had admired the operation of figures,
but labored under every disadvantage, for want of education. As he had
not yet been taught to read, he got a few lessons in English, and was
soon enabled to comprehend a plain author. He then purchased a treatise
on arithmetic; and though he could not write, he soon became so expert a
calculator, from mental operations only, that he could tell, without
setting down a figure, the product of any two numbers multiplied
together, although the multiplier and the multiplicand each of them
consisted of nine figures. It was equally astonishing that he could
answer, in the same manner, questions in division, in decimal fractions,
or in the extraction of the square or cube roots, where such a
multiplicity of figures is often required in the operation. Yet at this
time he did not know that any merit was due to himself, conceiving that
the capacity of other people was like his own.

Finding himself still laboring under farther difficulties for want of a
knowledge of writing, he taught himself to write a tolerable hand. As he
had not heard of mathematics, he had no idea of anything, in regard to
numbers, beyond what he had learned. He thought himself a master of
figures, and challenged all his companions and the members of a society
he attended, to a trial. Something, however, was proposed to him
concerning Euclid. As he did not understand the meaning of the word, he
was silent; but afterwards found it meant a book, containing the
elements of geometry; this he purchased, and applied himself very
diligently to the study of it, and against the next meeting he was
prepared with an answer in this new science.

He now found himself launching out into a field, of which before he had
no conception. He continued his geometrical studies; and as the
demonstration of the different propositions in Euclid depend entirely
upon a recollection of some of those preceding, his memory was of the
utmost service to him. Besides, it was a study exactly adapted to his
mind; and while he was attending to the business of his farm, and
humming over some tune or other, his attention was often engaged with
some of his geometrical propositions. A few figures with a piece of
chalk, upon the knee of his breeches, or any other convenient spot, were
all he needed to clear up the most difficult parts of the science.

He now began to be struck with the works of nature, and paid particular
attention to the theory of the earth, the moon, and the rest of the
planets belonging to this system, of which the sun is the centre; and
considering the distance and magnitude of the different bodies belonging
to it, and the distance of the fixed stars, he soon conceived each of
them to be the centre of a different system. He well considered the law
of gravity, and that of the centripetal and centrifugal forces, and the
cause of the ebbing and flowing of the tides; also the projection of the
sphere--stereographic, orthographic, and gnomical; also trigonometry and
astronomy. By this time he was possessed of a small library.

He next turned his thoughts to algebra, and took up Emerson's treatise
on that subject, and went through it with great success. He also
grounded himself in the art of navigation and the principles of
mechanics; likewise the doctrine of motion, of falling bodies, and the
elements of optics, &c., as a preliminary to fluxions, which had but
lately been discovered by Sir Isaac Newton; as the boundary of the
mathematics, he went through conic sections, &c. Though he experienced
some difficulty at his first entrance, yet he did not rest till he made
himself master of both a fluxion and a flowing quantity. As he had paid
a similar attention to the intermediate parts, he soon became so
conversant with every branch of the mathematics, that no question was
ever proposed to him which he could not answer.

He used to take pleasure in solving the arithmetical questions then
common in the magazines, but his answers were seldom inserted, except by
or in the name of some other person, for he had no ambition to make his
abilities known. He frequently had questions from his pupils and other
gentlemen in London; from the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and
different parts of the country, as well as from the university of
Gottingen in Germany. These, however difficult, he never failed to
answer; and from the minute inquiry he made into natural philosophy,
there was scarcely a phenomenon in nature, that ever came to his
knowledge or observation, but he could, in some measure at least,
reasonably account for it.

He went by the name of Willy-o'-th'-Hollins, for many years after he
left his residence in that place. The latter portion of his life was
spent in the neighborhood of Cartmell, where he was best known by the
name of Willy Gibson, still continuing his former occupation. For the
last forty years he kept a school of about eight or ten gentlemen, who
boarded and lodged at his own farm-house; and having a happy turn in
explaining his ideas, he formed a great number of very able
mathematicians, as well as expert accountants. This self-taught
philosopher and wonderful man, died on the 4th of October, 1792, at
Blaith, near Cartmell, in consequence of a fall, leaving behind him a
widow and ten children.


Of the life of this extraordinary man we have little information. He was
probably born in Argyleshire, Scotland, at the close of the seventeenth
century. His father was gardener to the Duke of Argyle, and the son
assisted him. The duke was walking one day in his garden, when he
observed a Latin copy of Newton's Principia, lying on the grass, and
supposing it had been brought from his own library, called some one to
carry it back to its place. Upon this, young Stone, who was in his
eighteenth year, claimed the book as his own. "Yours!" replied the duke;
"do you understand geometry, Latin, and Newton?" "I know a little of
them," said the young man.

The duke was surprised, and having a taste for the sciences, he entered
into conversation with the young mathematician. He proposed several
inquiries, and was astonished at the force, the accuracy and the
clearness of his answers. "But how," said the duke, "came you by the
knowledge of all these things?" Stone replied, "A servant taught me to
read ten years since. Does one need to know anything more than the
twenty-six letters, in order to learn everything else that one wishes?"

The duke's curiosity was now greatly increased, and he sat down upon a
bank and requested a detail of the whole process by which he had
acquired such knowledge. "I first learned to read," said Stone;
"afterwards, when the masons were at work at your house, I approached
them one day, and observed that the architect used a rule and compass,
and that he made calculations. I inquired what might be the meaning and
use of these things; and I was informed that there was a science called
arithmetic. I purchased a book of arithmetic, and studied it. I was told
that there was another science, called geometry. I bought the necessary
books, and learned geometry.

"By reading, I found there were good books on these two sciences in
Latin; I therefore bought a dictionary and learned Latin. I understood,
also, that there were good books of the same kind in French; I bought a
dictionary and learned French; and this, my lord, is what I have done.
It seems to me that we may learn everything when we know the twenty-six
letters of the alphabet."

Under the duke's patronage, Stone rose to be a very considerable
mathematician, and was elected a member of the Royal Society of London,
in 1725. He seems to have lost the favor of the Duke of Argyle, for, in
the latter part of his life, he gave lessons in mathematics, and at last
died in poverty.


John Evelyn, a very learned English writer, was born in 1620, and died
in 1706. He published several works, all of which are valuable. His
treatises upon Natural History are greatly valued. He kept a diary,
which has been published, and which contains much that is interesting.
Of one of his children, who died early, he gives us the following

"After six fits of ague, died, in the year 1658, my son Richard, five
years and three days old, but, at that tender age, a prodigy of wit and
understanding; for beauty of body, a very angel; for endowment of mind,
of incredible and rare hopes. To give only a little taste of some of
them, and thereby glory to God:

"At two years and a half old, he could perfectly read any of the
English, Latin, French, or Gothic letters, pronouncing the three first
languages exactly. He had, before the fifth year, not only skill to read
most written hands, but to decline all the nouns, conjugate the verbs
regular and most of the irregular; learned Pericles through; got by
heart almost the entire vocabulary of Latin and French primitives and
words, could make congruous syntax, turn English into Latin, and _vice
versa_, construe and prove what he read, and did the government and use
of relative verbs, substantives, ellipses, and many figures and tropes,
and made a considerable progress in Comenius's Janua; began himself to
write legibly, and had a strong passion for Greek.

"The number of verses he could recite was enormous; and when seeing a
Plautus in one's hand, he asked what book it was, and being told it was
comedy and too difficult for him, he wept for sorrow. Strange was his
apt and ingenious application of fables and morals, for he had read
Æsop. He had a wonderful disposition to mathematics, having by heart
divers propositions of Euclid, that were read to him in play, and he
would make lines and demonstrate them.

"As to his piety, astonishing were his applications of Scripture upon
occasion, and his sense of God: he had learned all his catechism early,
and understood the historical part of the Bible and Testament to a
wonder--how Christ came to mankind; and how, comprehending these
necessaries himself, his godfathers were discharged of their promise.
These and like illuminations, far exceeding his age and experience,
considering the prettiness of his address and behavior cannot but leave
impressions in me at the memory of him. When one told him how many days
a Quaker had fasted, he replied, that was no wonder, for Christ had said
'man should not live by bread alone, but by the word of God.'

"He would, of himself, select the most pathetic Psalms, and chapters out
of Job, to read to his maid during his sickness, telling her, when she
pitied him, that all God's children must suffer affliction. He declaimed
against the vanities of the world, before he had seen any. Often he
would desire those who came to see him, to pray by him, and a year
before he fell sick, to kneel and pray with him, alone in some corner.
How thankfully would he receive admonition! how soon be reconciled! how
indifferent, yet continually cheerful! He would give grave advice to his
brother John, bear with his impertinences, and say he was but a child.

"If he heard of, or saw any new thing, he was unquiet till he was told
how it was made; he brought to us all such difficulties as he found in
books, to be expounded. He had learned by heart divers sentences in
Greek and Latin, which on occasions he would produce even to wonder. He
was all life, all prettiness, far from morose, sullen, or childish in
anything he said or did. The last time he had been at church, which was
at Greenwich, I asked him, according to custom, what he remembered of
the sermon. 'Two good things, father,' said he, '_bonum gratiæ_, and
_bonum gloriæ_;" the excellence of grace, and the excellence of
glory,--with a just account of what the preacher said.

"The day before he died, he called to me, and, in a more serious manner
than usual, told me, that for all I loved him so dearly, I should give
my house, land, and all my fine things to his brother Jack,--he should
have none of them; and next morning, when he found himself ill, and I
persuaded him to keep his hands in bed, he demanded whether he might
pray to God with his hands unjoined; and a little after, whilst in
great agony, whether he should not offend God by using his holy name so
often by calling for ease.

"What shall I say of his frequent pathetical ejaculations uttered of
himself: 'Sweet Jesus, save me, deliver me, pardon my sins, let thine
angels receive me!' So early knowledge, so much piety and perfection!
But thus God, having dressed up a saint fit for himself, would no longer
permit him with us, unworthy of the future fruits of this incomparable,
hopeful blossom. Such a child I never saw! for such a child I bless God,
in whose bosom he is! May I and mine become as this little child, which
now follows the child Jesus, that lamb of God, in a white robe,
whithersoever he goes! Even so, Lord Jesus, let thy will be done. Thou
gavest him to us, thou hast taken him from us; blessed be the name of
the Lord! That I had anything acceptable to thee was from thy grace
alone, since from me he had nothing but sin; but that thou hast
pardoned, blessed be my God forever! Amen."



This great painter was born at Antwerp, in 1460, and followed the trade
of a blacksmith and farrier, till he approached manhood. His health at
that time was feeble, and rendered him unfit for so laborious a pursuit;
he therefore undertook to execute lighter work. He constructed an iron
railing around a well near the great church of Antwerp, which was
greatly admired for its delicacy and the devices with which it was
ornamented. He also executed an iron balustrade for the college of
Louvain, which displayed extraordinary taste and skill.

His father had died, when he was young, leaving him and his mother
entirely destitute. Notwithstanding his feeble constitution, he was
obliged to support both himself and her. While necessity thus urged him,
his taste guided his efforts toward works of art. At Louvain there was
an annual procession of lepers, who were accustomed to distribute little
images of saints upon that occasion. Matsys devoted himself to the
making of these, in which he was very successful.

[Illustration: MATSYS' WELL, AT ANTWERP.]

He had now reached the age of twenty, when it appears that he fell in
love with the daughter of a painter, of some cleverness, in Antwerp. His
affection was returned, but when he applied to the father to obtain his
consent to their union, he was answered by a flat refusal, and the
declaration, that no man but a painter, as good as himself, should wed
his daughter. Matsys endeavored in vain to overcome this resolution, and
finally, despairing of other means to accomplish the object which now
engrossed his whole soul, he determined to become a painter. The
difficulties in his way vanished before that confidence which genius
inspires, and taking advantage of his leisure hours, he began to
instruct himself secretly in the art of painting. His progress was
rapid, and the time of his triumph speedily approached.

He was one day on a visit to his mistress, where he found a picture on
the easel of her father, and nearly finished. The old man was absent,
and Quentin, seizing the pencil, painted a bee upon a flower in the
foreground of the painting, and departed. The artist soon returned, and
in sitting down to his picture, immediately discovered the insect, which
had so strangely intruded itself upon his canvass. It was so life-like
as to make it seem a real insect, that had been deceived by the mimic
flower, and had just alighted upon it. The artist was in raptures, for
it appears that he had a heart to appreciate excellence, even if it was
not his own. He inquired of his daughter who had painted the bee. Though
the details of the interview which followed are not handed down to us,
we may be permitted to fill up the scene.

_Father._ Tell me, child, who painted the insect?

_Daughter._ Who painted the insect? Really, how should I know?

_F._ You ought to know,--you must know. It was not one of my pupils. It
is beyond them all.

_D._ Is it as good as you could have done yourself, father?

_F._ Yes; I never painted anything better in my life. It is like
nature's own work, it is so light, so true; on my soul, I was deceived
at first, and was about to brush the insect away with my handkerchief.

_D._ And so, father, you think it is as well as you could have done

_F._ Yes.

_D._ Well, I will send for Quentin Matsys; perhaps he can tell you who
did it.

_F._ Aye, girl, is that it? Did Quentin do it? Then he is a clever
fellow, and shall marry you.

Whether such a dialogue as this actually took place, we cannot say; but
it appears that Quentin's acknowledged excellence as an artist soon won
the painter's consent, and he married the daughter. From this time he
devoted his life to the art which love alone had at first induced him to
pursue. He soon rose to the highest rank in his profession, and has left
behind him an enduring fame. Though he was destitute of early education,
and never had the advantage of studying the great masters of the Italian
school, he rivalled, in some respects, even their best productions. His
designs were correct and true to nature, and his coloring was forcible.
His pictures are now scarce and command great prices. One of them,
called the Two Misers, is in the Royal Gallery of Windsor, England, and
is greatly admired. Matsys died at Antwerp, in 1529.



Benjamin West was born at Springfield, Pennsylvania, October 10, 1738.
His father was a merchant, and Benjamin was the tenth child. The first
six years of his life passed away in calm uniformity, leaving only the
placid remembrance of enjoyment. In the month of June, 1745, one of his
sisters who was married, came with her infant daughter to spend a few
days at her father's. When the child was asleep in her cradle, Mrs. West
invited her daughter to gather flowers in the garden, and committed the
infant to the care of Benjamin, during their absence; giving him a fan
to drive away the flies from molesting his little charge.

After some time, the child happened to smile in its sleep, and its
beauty attracted the boy's attention. He looked at it with a pleasure,
which he never before experienced; and observing some paper on a table,
together with pens, and red and black ink, he seized them with
agitation, and endeavored to delineate a portrait, although at this
period, he was only in the seventh year of his age.

Hearing the approach of his mother and sister, he endeavored to
conceal what he had been doing; but the old lady observing his
confusion, inquired what he was about, and requested him to show her the
paper. He obeyed, entreating her not to be angry. Mrs. West, after
looking at the drawing with evident pleasure, said to her daughter, "I
declare, he has made a likeness of little Sally;" she kissed him with
much fondness and satisfaction. This encouraged him to say that if it
would give her any pleasure, he would make pictures of the flowers which
she held in her hand; for the instinct of his genius was now awakened,
and he felt that he could imitate the forms of those things which
pleased his sight.

[Illustration: _Christ healing the sick._]

Some time after this, Benjamin having heard that pencils for painting
were made in Europe of camel's hair, determined to manufacture a
substitute, for his own use: accordingly, seizing upon a black cat, kept
in the family, he extracted the requisite hairs from her tail for his
first brush, and afterwards pillaged it again for others.

Such was the commencement of a series of efforts which raised West to be
a favorite painter in England, and, at last, president of the Royal
Academy of London. His parents were Quakers, but they encouraged his
efforts. He, however, had no advantages, and for some time he was
obliged to pursue his labors with such pencils as he made himself, and
with red and yellow colors, which he learned to prepare from some
Indians who roamed about the town of Springfield: to these, his mother
added a little indigo.

He had a cousin by the name of Pennington, who was a merchant, and
having seen some of his sketches, sent him a box of paints and pencils,
with canvass prepared, and six engravings. The possession of this
treasure almost prevented West's sleeping. He now went into a garret as
soon as it was light, and began his work. He was so wrapt up in his
task, as to stay from school. This he continued till his master called
to inquire what had become of him. A search was consequently made, and
he was found at his easel, in the garret. His mother's anger soon
subsided, when she saw his picture, now nearly finished. He had not
servilely copied one of the engravings, as might have been expected, but
had formed a new picture by combining the parts of several of them. His
mother kissed the boy with rapture, and procured the pardon of his
father and teacher. Mr. Galt, who wrote West's life, says, that,
sixty-seven years after, he had the pleasure of seeing this very piece,
hanging by the side of the sublime picture of Christ Rejected.

Young West's fame was soon spread abroad, and he was shortly crowded
with applications for portraits, of which he painted a considerable
number. He was now of an age to require a decision of his parents in
respect to the profession he was to follow, in life. They deliberated
long and anxiously upon this subject, and at last concluded to refer the
matter to the society of Quakers to which they belonged. These decided,
that, although they did not acknowledge the utility of painting to
mankind, yet they would allow the youth to follow a path for which he
had so evident a genius.

At the age of eighteen, he established himself in Philadelphia, as a
portrait painter, and afterwards spent some time at New York, in the
same capacity. In both places, his success was considerable. In 1760,
aided by friends, he proceeded to Italy, to study his art; in 1763, he
went to London, where he soon became established for life. The king,
George III., was his steadfast friend, and he became painter to his
majesty. He was offered a salary of seven hundred pounds a year, by the
Marquis of Rockingham, to embellish his mansion at Yorkshire with
historical paintings, but this he declined.

On the death of Sir Joshua Reynolds, he was elected president of the
Royal Academy, and took his place in March, 1792. In his sixty-fifth
year, he painted his great picture of Christ healing the sick, to aid
the Quakers of Philadelphia in the erection of a hospital for that city.
It was so much admired that he was offered no less than fifteen thousand
dollars for this performance. He accepted the offer, as he was not rich,
upon condition that he should be allowed to make a copy for the Friends
of Philadelphia, for whom he had intended it. This great picture, of
which we give an engraving, was long exhibited at Philadelphia, and the
profits essentially aided the benevolent object which suggested the

West continued to pursue his profession, and painted several pictures of
great size, under the idea that his talent was best suited to such
performances. In 1817, his wife, with whom he had long lived in
uninterrupted happiness, died, and he followed her in 1820. If his
standing, as an artist, is not of the highest rank, it is still
respectable, and his history affords a striking instance of a natural
fitness and predilection for a particular pursuit. If we consider the
total want of encouragement to painting, in a Quaker family, in a
country town in Pennsylvania, more than a century ago, and advert to the
spontaneous display of his taste and its persevering cultivation, we
shall see that nature seems to have given him an irresistible impulse in
the direction of the art to which he devoted his life.

West was tall, firmly built, and of a fair complexion. He always
preserved something of the sedate, even and sober manners of the sect to
which his parents belonged; in disposition, he was mild, liberal and
generous. He seriously impaired his fortune by the aid he rendered to
indigent young artists. His works were very numerous, and the exhibition
and sale of those in his hands, at the time of his death, yielded a
handsome sum to his family. Though his early education was neglected, he
supplied the defect by study and observation, and his writings connected
with the arts are very creditable to him as a man, a philosopher and an



Pietro Berretini was born 1596, at Cortona, in Italy. He is called
Pietro Da Cortona, from the place of his birth. Even when a child, he
evinced uncommon genius for painting; but he appeared likely to remain
in obscurity and ignorance, as the extreme poverty of his situation
precluded him from the usual means of improving natural talent. He
struggled, however, with his difficulties, and ultimately overcame every
obstacle which opposed him.

When twelve years old, he went, alone and on foot, to Florence, the seat
of the fine arts, possessed of no money, and, in fact, completely
without resources of any kind. Notwithstanding this gloomy aspect of
affairs, he did not lose his courage, but still persevered in a
resolution he had thus early formed, to become "an eminent painter."
Pietro knew of no person to whom he could apply for assistance in
Florence, excepting a poor boy from Cortona, who was then a scullion in
the kitchen of Cardinal Sachetti. Pietro sought him out; his little
countryman welcomed him very kindly, shared with him his humble meal,
offered him the half of his little bed as a lodging, and promised to
supply him with food from the spare meat of his kitchen.

Thus provided with the necessaries of life, Pietro applied himself with
indefatigable diligence to the art to which he had devoted himself, and
soon made such progress in it, as, in his own opinion, amply recompensed
him for all the toil, privation and difficulties he had undergone. It
was interesting to observe this poor, destitute child, without a friend
to guide his conduct or direct his studies, devoting himself with such
unceasing assiduity to his own improvement. His little friend, the
scullion, did not relax in kindness and generosity towards him; for all
that he possessed he shared with Pietro, and the latter, in return,
brought him all the drawings he made, and with these he adorned the
walls of the little garret in which they slept.

Pietro was in the habit of wandering to a distance from Florence, to
take views of the beautiful scenery in the environs of that city. When
night overtook him unawares, which was often the case, he very
contentedly slept under the shelter of a tree, and arose as soon as
daylight dawned to renew his employment. During his absence, on one of
these excursions, some of his pictures accidentally fell into the hands
of Cardinal Sachetti, who, struck with the merit that distinguished
them, inquired by what artist they were executed. He was not a little
astonished to hear that they were the performances of a poor child, who
had, for more than two years, been supported by the bounty of one of his
kitchen boys. The cardinal desired to see Pietro; and when the young
artist was brought before him, he received him in a kind manner,
assigned him a pension and placed him as a scholar under one of the best
painters of Rome.

Pietro afterwards became a very eminent painter, and made the most
grateful returns to his friend, the scullion, for the kindness he had
shown him in poverty and wretchedness. He spent the latter part of his
life at Rome, where he enjoyed the patronage of successive pontiffs, and
was made a knight by Pope Alexander III. He was an architect as well as
a painter, and designed the church of Saint Martin, at Rome, where he
was buried, and to which he bequeathed a hundred thousand crowns. He
died 1669, full of wealth and honors. His works display admirable
talents, and his history affords a striking example of native genius,
overcoming all obstacles, and hewing its way to success in that pursuit
for which nature had seemed to create it.



This youthful bard, whose premature death was so sincerely regretted by
every admirer of genius, was the son of a butcher of Nottingham,
England, and born March 21, 1788. He manifested an ardent love of
reading in his infancy; this was, indeed, a passion to which everything
else gave way. "I could fancy," says his eldest sister, "that I see him
in his little chair, with a large book upon his knee, and my mother
calling, 'Henry, my love, come to dinner,' which was repeated so often
without being regarded, that she was obliged to change the tone of her
voice, before she could rouse him."

When he was seven years old, he would creep unperceived into the
kitchen, to teach the servant to read and write; and he continued this
for some time before it was discovered that he had been thus laudably
employed. He wrote a tale of a Swiss emigrant, which was probably his
first composition, and gave it to this servant, being ashamed to show it
to his mother. "The consciousness of genius," says his biographer, Mr.
Southey, "is always, at first, accompanied by this diffidence; it is a
sacred, solitary feeling. No forward child, however extraordinary the
promise of his childhood, ever produced anything truly great."

When Henry was about eleven years old, he one day wrote a separate theme
for every boy in his class, which consisted of about twelve or fourteen.
The master said he had never known them write so well upon any subject
before, and could not refrain from expressing his astonishment at the
excellence of Henry's own composition.

At the age of thirteen, he wrote a poem, "On being confined to school
one pleasant morning in spring," from which the following is an extract:

  "How gladly would my soul forego
  All that arithmeticians know,
  Or stiff grammarians quaintly teach,
  Or all that industry can reach,
  To taste each morn of all the joys
  That with the laughing sun arise;
  And unconstrained to rove along
  The bushy brakes and glens among;
  And woo the muse's gentle power
  In unfrequented rural bower;
  But ah! such heaven-approaching joys
  Will never greet my longing eyes;
  Still will they cheat in vision fine,
  Yet never but in fancy shine."

The parents of Henry were anxious to put him to some trade, and when he
was nearly fourteen, he was placed at a stocking loom, with the view, at
some future period, of getting a situation in a hosier's warehouse; but
the youth did not conceive that nature had intended to doom him to spend
seven years of his life in folding up stockings, and he remonstrated
with his friends against the employment. His temper and tone of mind at
this period, are displayed in the following extracts from his poems:

  ----"Men may rave,
  And blame and censure me, that I don't tie
  My ev'ry thought down to the desk, and spend
  The morning of my life in adding figures
  With accurate monotony; that so
  The good things of this world may be my lot,
  And I might taste the blessedness of wealth.
  But oh! I was not made for money-getting."

  * * * * * * *

  ----"For as still
  I tried to cast, with school dexterity,
  The interesting sums, my vagrant thoughts
  Would quick revert to many a woodland haunt,
  Which fond remembrance cherished; and the pen
  Dropt from my senseless fingers, as I pictur'd
  In my mind's eye, how on the shores of Trent
  I erewhile wander'd with my early friends
  In social intercourse."

  * * * * * * *

  "Yet still, oh contemplation! I do love
  T' indulge thy solemn musings; still the same
  With thee alone I know how to melt and weep,
  In thee alone delighting. Why along
  The dusty track of commerce should I toil,
  When with an easy competence content,
  I can alone be happy, where with thee
  I may enjoy the loveliness of nature,
  And loose the wings of Fancy? Thus alone
  Can I partake of happiness on earth;
  And to be happy here is man's chief end,
  For, to be happy, he must needs be good."

Young White was soon removed from the loom to the office of a solicitor,
which afforded a less obnoxious employment. He became a member of a
literary society in Nottingham, and delivered an extempore lecture on
genius, in which he displayed so much talent, that he received the
unanimous thanks of the society, and they elected him their professor of

At the age of fifteen, he gained a silver medal for a translation from
Horace; and the following year, a pair of globes, for an imaginary tour
from London to Edinburgh. He determined upon trying for this prize one
evening when at tea with his family, and at supper, he read them his
performance. In his seventeenth year, he published a small volume of
poems which possessed considerable merit.

Soon after, he was sent to Cambridge, and entered Saint John's College,
where he made the most rapid progress. But the intensity of his studies
ruined his constitution, and he fell a victim to his ardent thirst for
knowledge. He died October 19, 1806, leaving behind him several poems
and letters, which gave earnest of the high rank he would have attained
in the republic of letters, had his life been spared. His productions
were published, with an interesting memoir, by Mr. Southey.



John Chrysostomus Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, was born at Salzburg, in
1756. His father was an eminent musician, and the early proficiency of
his son in music was almost incredible. He began the piano at three
years of age; and from this period lost all pleasure in his other
amusements. His taste was so scientific that he would spend his time in
looking for thirds, and felt charmed with their harmony. At five years
old, he began to compose little pieces, of such ingenuity that his
father wrote them down.

He was a creature of universal sensibility, a natural enthusiast--from
his infancy fond, melancholy and tearful. When scarcely able to walk,
his first question to his friends, who took him on their knee, was,
whether they loved him; and a negative always made him weep. His mind
was all alive; and whatever touched it, made it palpitate throughout.
When he was taught the rudiments of arithmetic, the walls and tables of
his bed-chamber were found covered with figures. But the piano was the
grand object of his devotion.

At six years old, this singular child commenced, with his father, and
sister two years older than himself, one of those musical tours common
in Germany; and performed at Munich before the Elector, to the great
admiration of the most musical court on the continent. His ear now
signalized itself, by detecting the most minute irregularities in the
orchestra. But its refinement was almost a disease; a discord tortured
him; he conceived a horror of the trumpet, except as a single
accompaniment, and suffered from it so keenly, that his father, to
correct what he regarded as the effect of ignorant terror, one day
desired a trumpet to be blown in his apartment. The child entreated him
not to make the experiment; but the trumpet sounded. Young Mozart
suddenly turned pale, fell on the floor, and was on the point of going
into convulsions, when the trumpeter was sent out of the room.

When only seven years old, he taught himself the violin; and thus, by
the united effort of genius and industry, mastered the most difficult of
all instruments. From Munich, he went to Vienna, Paris, and London. His
reception in the British metropolis was such as the curious give to
novelty, the scientific to intelligence, and the great to what
administers to stately pleasure. He was flattered, honored, and
rewarded. Handel had then made the organ a favorite, and Mozart took the
way of popularity. His execution, which on the piano had astonished the
English musicians, was equally wonderful on the organ, and he overcame
all rivalry. On his departure from England, he gave a farewell concert,
of which all the symphonies were composed by himself. This was the
career of a child nine years old.

With the strengthening of his frame, the acuteness of his ear became
less painful; the trumpet had lost its terror for him at ten years old;
and before he had completed that period, he distinguished the church of
the Orphans, at Vienna, by the composition of a mass and a trumpet duet,
and acted as director of the concert.

Mozart had travelled the chief kingdoms of Europe, and seen all that
could be shown to him there, of wealth and grandeur. He had yet to see
the empire of musical genius. Italy was an untried land, and he went at
once to its capital. He was present at the performance of Handel's
admirable chant, the Miserere, which seems then to have been performed
with an effect unequalled since. The singers had been forbidden to give
a copy of this composition. Mozart bore it away in his memory, and wrote
it down. This is still quoted among musicians, as almost a miracle of
remembrance; but it may be more truly quoted as an evidence of the power
which diligence and determination give to the mind. Mozart was not
remarkable for memory; what he did, others may do; but the same triumph
is to be purchased only by the same exertion. The impression of this day
lasted during Mozart's life; his style was changed; he at once adopted a
solemn reverence for Handel, whom he called "The Thunderbolt," and
softened the fury of his inspiration, by the taste of Boccherini. He now
made a grand advance in his profession, and composed an opera,
"Mithridates," which was played twenty nights at Milan.

Mozart's reputation was soon established, and he was liberally
patronised by the Austrian court. The following anecdote shows the
goodness of his heart, and the estimation in which he was held. One
day, as he was walking in the suburbs of Vienna, he was accosted by a
mendicant, of a very prepossessing appearance and manner, who told his
tale of wo with such effect, as to interest the musician strongly in his
favor; but the state of his purse not corresponding with the impulse of
his humanity, he desired the applicant to follow him to a coffee-house.
Here Mozart, drawing paper from his pocket, in a few minutes composed a
minuet, which, with a letter, he gave to the distressed man, desiring
him to take it to his publisher. A composition from Mozart was a bill
payable at sight; and to his great surprise, the now happy beggar was
immediately presented with five double ducats.

The time which Mozart most willingly employed in compositions, was the
morning, from six or seven o'clock till about the hour of ten. After
this, he usually did no more for the rest of the day, unless he had to
finish some piece that was wanted. He however always worked irregularly.
When an idea struck him, he was not to be drawn from it, even if he were
in the midst of his friends. He sometimes passed whole nights with his
pen in his hand. At other times, he had such a disinclination to work,
that he could not complete a piece till the moment of its performance.
It once happened, that he put off some music which he had engaged to
furnish for a court concert, so long, that he had not time to write out
the part he was to perform himself. The Emperor Joseph, who was peeping
everywhere, happening to cast his eyes on the sheet which Mozart seemed
to be playing from, was surprised to see nothing but empty lines, and
said to him, "Where's your part?" "Here," said Mozart, putting his hand
to his forehead.

The Don Giovanni of this eminent composer, which is one of the most
popular compositions ever produced, was composed for the theatre at
Prague, and first performed in that city in 1787. This refined and
intellectual music was not at that time understood in Germany; a
circumstance which Mozart seems to have anticipated, for, previous to
its first representation, he remarked to a friend, "This opera is not
calculated for the people of Vienna; it will be more justly appreciated
at Prague; but in reality I have written it principally to please myself
and my friends." Ample justice has however at length been rendered to
this great production; it is heard with enthusiasm in nearly all the
principal cities of that quarter of the globe where music is cultivated
as a science--from the frozen regions of Russia, to the foot of Mount
Vesuvius. Its praise is not limited by the common attributes of good
musical composition; it is placed in the higher rank of fine poetry; for
not only are to be found in it exquisite melodies and profound
harmonies, but the playful, the tender, the pathetic, the mysterious,
the sublime, and the terrible, are to be distinctly traced in its
various parts.

The overture to this opera is generally esteemed Mozart's best effort;
yet it was only composed the night previous to the first representation,
after the general rehearsal had taken place. About eleven o'clock in the
evening, when retired to his apartment, he desired his wife to make him
some punch, and to stay with him, in order to keep him awake. She
accordingly began to tell him fairy tales, and odd stories, which made
him laugh till the tears came. The punch, however, made him so drowsy,
that he could go on only while his wife was talking, and dropped asleep
as soon as she ceased. The efforts which he made to keep himself awake,
the continual alternation of sleep and watching, so fatigued him, that
his wife persuaded him to take some rest, promising to awake him in an
hour's time. He slept so profoundly that she suffered him to repose for
two hours. At five o'clock in the morning, she awoke him. He had
appointed the music copiers to come at seven, and by the time they
arrived, the overture was finished. They had scarcely time to write out
the copy necessary for the orchestra, and the musicians were obliged to
play it without a rehearsal. Some persons pretend, that they can
discover in this overture the passages where Mozart dropped asleep and
those where he suddenly awoke again.

This great composer was so absorbed in music, that he was a child in
every other respect. He was extremely apprehensive of death; and it was
only by incessant application to his favorite study, that he prevented
his spirits from sinking totally under the fears of approaching
dissolution. At all other times he labored under a profound melancholy,
during which he composed some of his best pieces, particularly his
celebrated Requiem. The circumstances attending this were remarkable.

One day, when his spirits were unusually oppressed, a stranger, of a
tall, dignified appearance, was introduced. His manners were grave and
impressive. He told Mozart that he came from a person who did not wish
to be known, to request that he would compose a solemn mass, as a
requiem for the soul of a friend, whom he had recently lost, and whose
memory he was desirous of commemorating by this imposing service. Mozart
undertook the task, and engaged to have it completed in a month. The
stranger begged to know what price he set upon his work; and immediately
paying him one hundred ducats, he departed.

The mystery of this visit seemed to have a strong effect on the mind of
the musician. He brooded over it for some time; and then suddenly
calling for writing materials, began to compose with extraordinary
ardor. This application, however, was more than his strength could
support; it brought on fainting fits, and his increasing illness obliged
him to suspend his work. "I am writing the requiem for myself," said he
one day to his wife; "it will serve for my own funeral service;" and
this impression never afterwards left him. At the expiration of the
month, the mysterious stranger appeared, and demanded the requiem. "I
have found it impossible," said Mozart, "to keep my word; the work has
interested me more than I expected, and I have extended it beyond my
first design. I shall require another month to finish it."

The stranger made no objection; but observing that for this additional
trouble it was but just to increase the premium, laid down fifty ducats
more, and promised to return at the time appointed. Astonished at his
whole proceeding, Mozart ordered a servant to follow this singular
personage, and, if possible, to find out who he was. The man, however,
lost sight of him, and was obliged to return as he went. Mozart, now
more than ever persuaded that he was a messenger from the other world,
sent to warn him that his end was approaching, applied with fresh zeal
to the requiem; and in spite of his exhausted state, both of body and
mind, he completed it before the end of the month. At the appointed day,
the stranger returned; the requiem was finished; but Mozart was no more!
He died at Vienna, 1791, aged 35 years.



In an address delivered by Governor Everett, before a Mechanics'
Association, in Boston, 1837, he introduced a letter from Elihu Burritt,
a native of Connecticut, and then a resident of Worcester,
Massachusetts, of which the following is a copy:--

"I was the youngest of many brethren, and my parents were poor. My means
of education were limited to the advantages of a district school, and
those again were circumscribed by my father's death, which deprived me,
at the age of fifteen, of those scanty opportunities which I had
previously enjoyed.

"A few months after his decease, I apprenticed myself to a blacksmith in
my native village. Thither I carried an indomitable taste for reading,
which I had previously acquired through the medium of the society
library,--all the historical works in which I had at that time perused.
At the expiration of a little more than half my apprenticeship, I
suddenly conceived the idea of studying Latin.

"Through the assistance of an elder brother, who had himself obtained a
collegiate education by his own exertions, I completed my Virgil during
the evenings of one winter. After some time devoted to Cicero, and a few
other Latin authors, I commenced the Greek: at this time it was
necessary that I should devote every hour of daylight, and a part of the
evening, to the duties of my apprenticeship.

"Still I carried my Greek grammar in my hat, and often found a moment,
when I was heating some large iron, when I could place my book open
before me against the chimney of my forge, and go through with _tupto_,
_tupteis_, _tuptei_, unperceived by my fellow-apprentices. At evening I
sat down, unassisted, to the Iliad of Homer, twenty books of which
measured my progress in that language during the evenings of another

"I next turned to the modern languages, and was much gratified to learn
that my knowledge of Latin furnished me with a key to the literature of
most of the languages of Europe. This circumstance gave a new impulse to
the desire of acquainting myself with the philosophy, derivation, and
affinity of the different European tongues. I could not be reconciled to
limit myself in these investigations, to a few hours, after the arduous
labors of the day.

"I therefore laid down my hammer, and went to New Haven, where I recited
to native teachers, in French, Spanish, German, and Italian. I returned,
at the expiration of two years, to the forge, bringing with me such
books in those languages as I could procure. When I had read these
books through, I commenced the Hebrew, with an awakened desire of
examining another field; and, by assiduous application, I was enabled in
a few weeks to read this language with such facility, that I allotted it
to myself as a task to read two chapters in the Hebrew Bible before
breakfast, each morning; this, and an hour at noon, being all the time
that I could devote to myself during the day.

"After becoming somewhat familiar with this language, I looked around me
for the means of initiating myself into the fields of Oriental
literature; and, to my deep regret and concern, I found my progress in
this direction hedged in by the want of requisite books. I began
immediately to devise means of obviating this obstacle; and, after many
plans, I concluded to seek a place as a sailor on board some ship bound
to Europe, thinking in this way to have opportunities of collecting, at
different ports, such works in the modern and Oriental languages as I
found necessary for this object. I left the forge at my native place, to
carry this plan into execution.

"I travelled on foot to Boston, a distance of more than a hundred miles,
to find some vessel bound to Europe. In this I was disappointed; and,
while revolving in my mind what steps next to take, I accidentally heard
of the American Antiquarian Society, at Worcester. I immediately bent my
steps toward this place. I visited the hall of the American Antiquarian
Society, and found there, to my infinite gratification, such a
collection in ancient, modern, and Oriental languages, as I never before
conceived to be collected in one place; and, sir, you may imagine with
what sentiments of gratitude I was affected, when, upon evincing a
desire to examine some of these rich and rare works, I was kindly
invited to unlimited participation in all the benefits of this noble

"Availing myself of the kindness of the directors, I spent three hours
daily at the hall, which, with an hour at noon, and about three in the
evening, make up the portion of the day which I appropriate to my
studies, the rest being occupied in arduous manual labor. Through the
facilities afforded by this institution, I have added so much to my
previous acquaintance with the ancient, modern, and Oriental languages,
as to be able to read upwards of FIFTY of them with more or less

This statement, however extraordinary it may seem, is well known to be
but a modest account of Mr. Burritt's wonderful acquirements. He is
still (1843) a practical blacksmith, yet he finds time to pursue his
studies. Nor are his acquisitions his only merit. He has been frequently
invited to deliver lectures before lyceums, and other associations, and
in these he has displayed no small degree of eloquence and rhetorical
power. As he is still a young man, we may venture to affirm that his
history affords an instance of self-cultivation, which, having regard to
all the circumstances, is without a parallel.




This eccentric man and clever artist was born in London, in 1763. He
gave very early indications of genius, and when quite a child, used to
draw objects on the floor, with the implements of his father, who was a
painter, in crayons. He executed pictures of pencils, scissors, and
other things of the kind, with so much perfection, that his father often
mistook them for real ones, and stooped down to pick them up. Some of
George's drawings, executed before he was five years old, were exhibited
with great applause at the society of artists in London.

These and other evidences of talent rendered him a favorite child; his
father saw the germs of excellence in his own art, and, at the age of
fourteen, had him apprenticed to himself, for seven years, during which
his application was incessant. His father appears to have been harsh,
unfeeling and selfish, and to have thought more of obtaining money from
the talents and exertions of his son, than of giving him such training
as should insure his success in life.

During his apprenticeship, George was confined to an upper room, copying
drawings or pictures, and drawing from plaster casts. Being almost
entirely restricted from society, all the opportunities he had for
amusement were obtained by stealth, and his associates were a few boys
in the neighborhood. The means of enjoyment were obtained by such close
application to his business, as secretly to produce a few drawings or
pictures more than his father imagined he could complete in a given
time. These he lowered by a string from the window of his apartment, to
his youthful companions, by whom they were converted into money, which
they spent in common when opportunities offered.

In this manner passed the first seventeen years of the life of George
Morland; and to this unremitted diligence and application he was
indebted for the extraordinary power he possessed over the implements of
his art. Avarice, however, was the ruling passion of his father, and
this was so insatiable, that he kept his son incessantly at work, and
gave him little, if any, education, except as an artist. To this cause
must doubtless be attributed the irregularities of his subsequent life.

Morland's earlier compositions were small pictures of two or three
figures, chiefly from the ballads of the day. These his father put into
frames and sold for from one to three guineas. They were remarkable for
their simple truth, and were much admired. Many of them were engraved,
and widely circulated, which gave the young artist an extensive
reputation. About this time, he went to Margate to spend the summer,
and, by the advice of a friend, commenced portrait painting there. Great
numbers of fashionable persons came to sit to him, and he commenced
several pictures.

But the society of accomplished people made him feel his own ignorance
to such a degree as to render him unhappy, and he sought relief at pig
races and in other coarse amusements, projected for the lower order of
visitors at Margate. These at last engaged his whole attention, and the
portraits were thrown aside, to be finished in town. He at last
returned, with empty pockets and a large cargo of unfinished canvasses.

Morland continued, however, to rise rapidly in his profession, and he
might easily have secured an ample fortune. The subjects he selected for
his pencil, were, generally, rural scenes, familiar to every eye, and
the sentiment they conveyed was felt by every beholder. Many of these
were admirably engraved by the celebrated J. B. Smith, and immense
numbers were sold. Morland now had demands for more pictures than he
could execute, and at almost any price.

But, unhappily, this gifted artist had already become addicted to the
society of low picture dealers, and other dissipated persons, and his
habits were, consequently, exceedingly irregular. His chief pleasures
seemed to be--a ride into the country to a grinning match, a jolly
dinner with a drinking bout after it, and a mad scamper home with a
flounce in the mud.

Such, at last, was Morland's dislike of the society of gentlemen, and
his preference of low company, that he would not paint pictures for the
former class, but preferred selling them to certain artful dealers, who
were his associates, and who flattered his vices, so that they might
prey upon his genius. Of these persons, who pretended to be his friends,
he did not obtain more than half price for his paintings. This system
was carried to such an extent that Morland was at last entirely cut off
from all connection with the real admirers of his works. If a gentleman
wished to get one of his pictures, he could only do it by employing one
of these harpies who had access to the artist, and who would wheedle a
picture out of him for a mere trifle, and all under the mask of

About the year 1790, Morland lived in the neighborhood of Paddington. At
this period, he had reached the very summit of his professional fame,
and also of his extravagance. He kept, at one time, no less than eight
saddle horses at livery, at the sign of the White Lion, opposite to his
house, and affected to be a good judge of horse-flesh. Frequently,
horses, for which one day he would give thirty or forty guineas, he
would sell the next, for less than half that sum; but as the honest
fraternity of horse-dealers knew their man, and would take his note at
two months, he could the more easily indulge this propensity, and
appear, for a short time, in cash, until the day of payment came, when a
picture was produced as a douceur for a renewal of the notes.

This was one source of calamity which neither his industry, for which he
was not remarkable, nor his talents, were by any means adequate to
overcome. His wine merchant, who was also a gentleman in the discounting
line, would sometimes obtain a picture worth fifty pounds, for the
renewal of a bill. By this conduct, he heaped folly upon folly, to such
a degree, that a fortune of ten thousand a year would have proved
insufficient for the support of his waste and prodigality.

Morland's embarrassments, which now crowded upon him, were far from
producing any change in his conduct; and, at length, they conducted him,
through the hands of a bailiff, into prison, of which, by the way, he
had always entertained a foreboding apprehension. This, however, did not
render him immediately unhappy, but rather afforded him an opportunity
of indulging, without restraint of any kind, his fatal propensities.
There, he could mingle with such companions as were best adapted to his
taste, and there too, in his own way, he could, without check or
control, reign or revel, surrounded by the very lowest of the vicious

When in confinement, and even sometimes when he was at liberty, it was
common for him to have four guineas a day and his drink,--an object of
no small consequence, as he began to drink before he began to paint, and
continued to do both alternately, till he had painted as much as he
pleased, or till the liquor had completely overcome him, when he claimed
his money, and business was at an end for that day.

This laid his employer under the necessity of passing his whole time
with him, in order to keep him in a state fit for labor, and to carry
off the day's work when it was done; otherwise some eavesdropper snapped
up his picture, and his employer was left to obtain what redress he
could. By pursuing this fatal system, he ruined his health, enfeebled
his genius, and sunk himself into general contempt. His constitution
could not long sustain such an abuse of its powers. He was attacked with
paralysis, and soon after, he died.

Thus perished George Morland, at the early age of forty-one years; a man
whose best works will command esteem as long as any taste for the art of
painting remains; one whose talents might have insured him happiness and
distinction, if he had been educated with care, and if his entrance into
life had been guided by those who were able and willing to caution him
against the snares which are continually preparing by knavery for the
inexperience and heedlessness of youth. Many of the subjects of
Morland's pencil, are such as, of themselves, are far from pleasing. He
delighted in representations of the pigsty. Yet even these, through the
love we possess of truthful imitations, and the hallowing powers of
genius, excite emotions of pleasure. His pictures of scenery around the
cottage door, and of those rustic groups familiar to every eye, have the
effect of poetry, and call into exercise those gentle sentiments, which,
however latent, exist in every bosom. It is sad to reflect, that one who
did so much to refine and civilize mankind, should himself have been the
victim of the coarsest of vices.




This remarkable man was born in the parish of St Catherine's, near the
tower of London, on the 14th day of October, 1644. His father, who
served in the time of the Commonwealth, in some of the highest maritime
offices, was knighted by Charles the Second, and became a peculiar
favorite of the then Duke of York.

Young Penn had good advantages for education, and made such early
improvement, that, about the fifteenth year of his age, he was entered a
student in Christ's Church College, Oxford, where he continued two
years. He delighted much in manly sports at times of recreation; but at
length, being influenced by an ardent desire after pure and spiritual
religion, of which he had before received some taste through the
ministry of Thomas Lee, one of the people denominated Friends, or
Quakers, he, with certain other students of that University, withdrew
from the national way of worship, and held private meetings for the
exercise of religion. Here they both preached and prayed among
themselves. This gave great offence to the heads of the college, and
young Penn, being but sixteen years of age, was fined for
non-conformity, and at length, for persevering in his peculiar religious
practices, was expelled the college.

Having in consequence returned home, he still took great delight in the
company of sober and religious people. His father, perceiving that this
would be an obstacle in the way of his son's preferment, endeavored by
words, and even very severe measures, to persuade him to change his
conduct. Finding these methods ineffectual, he was at length so
incensed, that he turned young William out of doors. The latter was
patient under this trial, and at last the father's affection subdued his
anger. He then sent his son to France, in company with some persons of
quality that were making a tour thither.

He continued in France a considerable time, and, under the influence of
those around him, his mind was diverted from religious subjects. Upon
his return, his father, finding him not only a proficient in the French
language, but also possessed of courtly manners, joyfully received him,
hoping now that his point was gained. Indeed, some time after his return
from France, his carriage was such as justly to entitle him to the
character of a finished gentleman.

"Great about this time," says one of his biographers, "was his spiritual
conflict. His natural inclination, his lively and active disposition,
his father's favor, the respect of his friends and acquaintance,
strongly pressed him to embrace the glory and pleasures of this world,
then, as it were, courting and caressing him, in the bloom of youth, to
accept them. Such a combined force seemed almost invincible; but the
earnest supplication of his soul being to the Lord for preservation, He
was pleased to grant such a portion of his power or spirit, as enabled
him in due time to overcome all opposition, and with an holy resolution
to follow Christ, whatsoever reproaches or persecutions might attend

About the year 1666, and when he was twenty-two years of age, his father
committed to his care and management a considerable estate in Ireland,
which occasioned his residence in that country. Thomas Lee, whom we have
before mentioned, being at Cork, and Penn hearing that he was to be
shortly at a meeting in that city, went to hear him; and by the
preaching of this man, which had made some impression on his mind ten
years before, he was now thoroughly and effectually established in the
faith of the Friends, and afterwards constantly attended the meetings of
that people. Being again at a meeting at Cork, he, with many others, was
apprehended, and carried before the mayor, and, with eighteen of his
associates, was committed to prison; but he soon obtained his discharge.
This imprisonment was so far from terrifying, that it strengthened him
in his resolution of a closer union with that people, whose religious
innocence was the only crime for which they suffered. He now openly
joined with the Quakers, and brought himself under the reproach of that
name, then greatly ridiculed and hated. His former companions turned
their caresses and compliments into bitter gibes and malignant derision.

His father, receiving information of what had passed, ordered him home;
and the son readily obeyed. His deportment attested the truth of the
information his father had received. He now again attempted, by every
argument in his power, to move him; but finding it impossible to obtain
a general compliance with the customs of the times, he would have borne
with him, provided he would have taken off his hat, in the presence of
the king, the duke of York, and himself.

This being proposed to the son, he desired time to consider of it. His
father, supposing this to be with an intention of consulting his
friends, the Quakers, assured him that he should see the face of none of
them, but retire to his chamber till he could return him an answer.
"Accordingly he withdrew, humbling himself before God, with fasting and
supplication, to know his heavenly mind and will, and became so
strengthened in his resolution, that, returning to his father, he humbly
signified that he could not comply with his desire."

All endeavors proving ineffectual to shake his constancy, his father,
seeing himself utterly disappointed in his hopes, again turned him out
of doors. After a considerable time, his steady perseverance evincing
his integrity, his father's wrath became somewhat abated, so that he
winked at his return to, and continuance with, his family; and though he
did not publicly seem to countenance him, yet, when imprisoned for being
at meetings, he would privately use his interest to get him released. In
the twenty-fourth year of his age, he became a minister among the
Quakers, and continued his useful labors, inviting the people to that
serenity and peace of conscience he himself witnessed, till the close of
his life.

A spirit warmed with the love of God, and devoted to his service, ever
pursues its main purpose; thus, when restrained from preaching, Penn
applied himself to writing. The first of his publications appears to
have been entitled "Truth Exalted." Several treatises were also the
fruits of his solitude, particularly the one entitled "No Cross, no

In the year 1670, came forth the Conventicle Act, prohibiting
Dissenters' meetings, under severe penalties. The edge of this new
weapon was soon turned against the Quakers, who, not accustomed to
flinch in the cause of religion, stood particularly exposed. Being
forcibly kept out of their meeting-house in Grace Church street, they
met as near it, in the open street, as they could: and Penn, preaching
there, was apprehended, and committed to Newgate. At the next sessions
of the Old Bailey, together with William Mead, he was indicted for
"being present at, and preaching to, an unlawful, seditious, and riotous
assembly." At his trial he made a brave defence, discovering at once
both the free spirit of an Englishman and the undaunted magnanimity of a
Christian, insomuch that, notwithstanding the frowns and menaces of the
bench, the jury acquitted him.

Not long after this trial, and his discharge from Newgate, his father
died, perfectly reconciled to his son, and left him both his paternal
blessing, and an estate of fifteen hundred pounds a year. He took leave
of his son with these remarkable words: "Son William, if you and your
friends keep to your plain way of preaching, and keep to your plain way
of living, you will make an end of the priests to the end of the world.
Bury me by my mother; live all in love; shun all manner of evil; and I
pray God to bless you all; and he will bless you."

In February, 1670, Penn was preaching at a meeting in Wheeler street,
Spitalfields, when he was pulled down, and led out by soldiers into the
street, and carried away to the Tower, by order of Sir John Robinson,
lieutenant of the Tower. He was examined before Sir John and several
others, and then committed, by their orders, to Newgate, for six months.
Being at liberty at the expiration of that time, he soon after went to
Holland and Germany, where he zealously endeavored to propagate the
principles of the Quakers.

In March, 1680, he obtained from Charles II. a grant of the territory
which now bears the name of Pennsylvania. This was in compensation of a
crown debt due to his father. Having previously published an account of
the province, inviting emigrants to accompany him thither, he set sail
in June, 1682, with many friends, especially Quakers, and after a
prosperous voyage of six weeks, they came within sight of the American
coast. Sailing up the river Delaware, they were received by the
inhabitants with demonstrations of joy and satisfaction. Having landed
at Newcastle, a place mostly inhabited by the Dutch, Penn next day
summoned the people to the court-house, where possession of the country
was legally given him.

Having invited the Indians to meet him, many chiefs and persons of
distinction, appointed to represent them, came to see him. To these he
gave several valuable presents, the produce of English manufactures, as
a testimony of that treaty of amity and good understanding, which, by
his benevolent disposition, he ardently wished to establish with the
native inhabitants. He made a most favorable impression upon the
savages, and thus secured to Pennsylvania their favor. He then more
fully stated the purpose of his coming, to the people, and the
benevolent object of his government, giving them assurances of the free
enjoyment of liberty of conscience in things spiritual, and of perfect
civil freedom in matters temporal. He recommended to them to live in
sobriety and peace one with another. After about two years residence in
the country, all things being in a thriving and prosperous condition, he
returned to England; and James II. coming soon after to the throne, he
was taken into favor by that monarch, who, though a bigot in religion,
was nevertheless a friend to toleration.

At the revolution, being suspected of disaffection to the government,
and looked upon as a Papist or a Jesuit, under the mask of a Quaker, he
was examined before the Privy Council, Dec., 1688; but, on giving
security, was discharged. In 1690, when the French fleet threatened a
descent on England, he was again examined before the council, upon an
accusation of corresponding with King James, and was held to bail for
some time, but was released in Trinity Term. He was attacked a third
time the same year, and deprived of the privilege of appointing a
governor for Pennsylvania; till, upon his vindication, he was restored
to his right of government. He designed now to go over a second time to
Pennsylvania, and published proposals in print for another settlement
there; when a fresh accusation appeared against him, backed by one
William Fuller, who was afterwards declared by parliament to be a
notorious imposter. A warrant was granted for Penn's apprehension, which
he narrowly escaped at his return from the funeral of George Fox, the
founder and head of the Quakers. He now concealed himself for two or
three years, and during this recess, wrote several pieces. At the end of
1693, through the interest of Lord Somers and others, he was allowed to
appear before the king and council, when he represented his innocence so
effectually that he was acquitted.

In 1699, he again went out to Pennsylvania, accompanied by his family,
and was received by the colonists with demonstrations of the most
cordial welcome. During his absence, some persons endeavored to
undermine the American proprietary governments, under pretence of
advancing the prerogative of the crown, and a bill for that purpose was
brought into the H. of Lords. Penn's friends, the proprietors and
adventurers then in England, immediately represented the hardships of
their case to the parliament, soliciting time for his return, to answer
for himself, and accordingly pressing him to come over as soon as
possible. Seeing it necessary to comply, he summoned an assembly at
Philadelphia, to whom, Sept. 15th, 1701, he made a speech, declaring his
reasons for leaving them; and the next day he embarked for England,
where he arrived about the middle of December. After his return, the
bill, which, through the solicitations of his friends, had been
postponed the last session of parliament, was wholly laid aside.

In the year 1707, he was unhappily involved in a suit at law with the
executors of a person who had been formerly his steward, against whose
demands he thought both conscience and justice required his endeavors to
defend himself. But his cause, though many thought him aggrieved, was
attended with such circumstances, that the court of chancery did not
think it proper to relieve him; wherefore he was obliged to dwell in the
Old Bailey, within the rules of the Fleet, some part of this and the
ensuing year, until such time as the matter in dispute was accommodated.

In the year 1710, the air of London not agreeing with his declining
constitution, he took a seat at Rushcomb, in Buckinghamshire. Here he
experienced three successive shocks of apoplexy in 1712, the last of
which sensibly impaired his memory and his understanding. His religious
zeal, however, never abated, and up to 1716, he still frequently went to
the meeting at Reading. Two friends calling upon him at this time,
although very weak, he expressed himself sensibly, and when they were
about to take leave of him, he said, "My love is with you; the Lord
preserve you, and remember me in the Everlasting Covenant."

After a life of ceaseless activity and usefulness, Penn closed his
earthly career on the 13th of May, 1718, in the seventy-sixth year of
his age. He was buried at Jourdans, in Buckinghamshire, where several of
his family had been interred.




There are few names that excite more interest or awaken more romantic
associations than that of Captain John Smith. He passed through a series
of the most remarkable events in Europe; and coming to our country at a
period which was favorable to the exercise of his peculiar genius, he
became the hero of many stirring adventures.

He was born at Willoughby, in the county of Lincolnshire, England, in
the year 1579, and was descended from an ancient family. He displayed a
love of enterprise in his early childhood, and he says that at thirteen
years old he was "set upon brave adventures." This disposition led him
to dispose of his books, his satchel, and what other little property he
had, for the purpose of raising money to take him to sea; but losing his
parents about this time, he received from them a considerable fortune.
He was now induced to change his plans, and became apprenticed to an
eminent merchant in London.

As might be expected, the drudgery and confinement of a compting house
were very distasteful to one who was bent upon adventure; accordingly,
with but ten shillings in his pocket, he became a follower of the son of
Lord Willoughby, who was going to France. When he arrived there, he went
into the service of Captain Joseph Duxbury, with whom he remained four
years in Holland. How he was occupied during this period is uncertain.
About this time, a Scotch gentleman kindly gave him some money, and
letters to Scotland, assuring him of the favor of King James.

Smith now set sail, and arrived in Scotland after many disasters by sea,
and great sickness of body. He delivered his letters, and was treated
with kindness and hospitality; but his stay was short. Returning to his
native town, and disappointed in not having found food for his wild love
of adventure, he went into a forest, built himself a sort of hut, and
studied military history and tactics. Here he lived for a time, being
provided by his servant with the comforts of civilization, at the same
time that he pleased his imagination with the idea of being a hermit.
Accident throwing him into the society of an Italian gentleman, in
military service, his ardor for active life was revived, and he set out
again upon his travels, intending to fight against the Turks.

Being robbed of all his baggage and property in the Low Countries by
some dastardly Frenchmen, he fortunately met with great kindness and
generosity from several noble families. Prompted, however, by the same
restless spirit with which he commenced life, he left those who were
strongly interested in his welfare, and set out upon a journey, with a
light purse and a good sword. In the course of his travels, he was soon
in such a state of suffering from hunger and exposure, that he threw
himself down in a wood, and there expected to die. But relief again
appeared; a rich farmer chanced to come that way, who, upon hearing his
story, supplied his purse, thus giving him the means of prosecuting his
journey. There is scarcely an instance on record of a stranger receiving
such kindness from his fellow-men, as did this same Smith.

He now went from port to port in search of a ship of war. During his
rambles, he met, near a town in Brittany, with one of the villains who
had robbed him. Smith immediately fought and vanquished him, making him
confess his villany before a crowd of spectators. He then went to the
seat of the Earl of Ployer, who gave him money, with which he embarked
from Marseilles for Italy, in a ship in which there was a number of
Catholic pilgrims of various nations. A furious storm arising, these
devotees took it into their heads that Heaven, in anger at the presence
of a heretic, thus manifested its displeasure. They, therefore, set upon
our hero, who, in spite of a valorous defence, was, like a second
Jonah, thrown into the sea; but whether the angry elements were appeased
by the offering, history saith not.

Being near the island of Saint Mary's, Smith easily swam thither, and
was the next day taken on board a French ship, the commander of which,
fortunately for Smith, was a friend of the Earl of Ployer, and treated
him with great kindness. They then sailed to Alexandria, in Egypt. In
the course of their voyage in the Levant, they met with a rich Venetian
merchant ship, which, taking the French ship for a pirate, fired a
broadside into her. This rough salutation, of course, brought on an
engagement, in which the Venetians were defeated, and her cargo taken on
board the victorious ship. Smith here met with something congenial to
his wild and reckless spirit; and showing great valor on the occasion,
he was rewarded with a large share of the booty. With this, he was
enabled to travel in Italy, gratifying his curiosity by the interesting
objects with which that country is filled. He at length set off for
Gratz, the residence of Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria, and afterwards
emperor of Germany.

The war was now raging between Rodolph, emperor of Germany, and Mahomet
III., Grand Seignor of Turkey. Smith, by the aid of two of his
countrymen, became introduced to some officers of distinction in the
imperial army, who were very glad to obtain so valiant a soldier as
Smith was likely to prove. This was in the year 1601. The Turkish army,
under the command of Ibrahim Pasha, had besieged and taken a fortress in
Hungary, and were ravaging the country. They were also laying siege to
Olympach, which they had reduced to extremity.

Baron Kissel, who annoyed the besiegers from without, was desirous of
sending a message to the commander of the garrison. Here was now an
opportunity for Smith's talents and prowess to come into play. He
entered upon his duty, and by means of telegraphs, he communicated the
desired intelligence to the besieged fortress; and then, exercising his
ingenuity, he arranged some thousands of matches on strings, so that
when they were fired, the report deceived the Turks into the idea that a
body of men were there. They consequently marched out to attack them.
Smith's forces, with those of the garrison, which had been duly apprized
of the scheme, fell upon them, and routed them. The Turks were now
obliged to abandon the siege. This brilliant and successful exploit
placed our hero at the head of a troop of two hundred and fifty horse,
in the regiment of Count Meldritch.

The next adventure in which Smith's ingenuity was called into exercise
was at the siege of Alba Regalis, in Hungary. He here contrived a sort
of bomb, by which the Turks were greatly annoyed and their city set on
fire; a bold military manoeuvre being adopted at the critical moment,
the place was taken, the Turks suffering great loss. A number of sieges
and undecisive skirmishes now followed, which brought upon the
Christians the jeers and scoffs of the Turks. One of their number, Lord
Turbashaw, a man of military renown, sent a challenge to any captain of
the Christian army to fight with him in single combat. The choice fell
upon Smith, who ardently desired to meet the haughty Mussulman.

The day was appointed, the ground selected and lined with warlike
soldiers and fair ladies. Lord Turbashaw entered the lists in splendid
gilt armor, with wings on his shoulders, of eagle's feathers, garnished
with gold and jewels. A janizary bore his lance, and two soldiers walked
by the side of his horse. Smith was attended only by a page, bearing his
lance. He courteously saluted his antagonist, and, at the sound of the
trumpet, their horses set forward. They met with a deadly shock. Smith's
lance pierced the visor of the Turk, and he fell dead from his horse.
The day after, another challenge was sent to Smith; another encounter
took place; and he was again victorious. Still another challenge met
with the same result, and Smith was rewarded for his prowess in a signal
manner, being made major of his regiment, and receiving all sorts of
military honors. The Prince of Transylvania gave him a pension of three
hundred ducats a year, and bestowed upon him a patent of nobility.

These events occurred about the year 1600. Various military movements
followed in Moldavia, Smith taking an active part in whatever of
enterprise and daring was going forward. In one instance, he narrowly
escaped with his life.

In a mountainous pass, he was decoyed into an ambuscade, and though the
christians fought desperately, they were nearly all cut to pieces. Smith
was wounded and taken, but his life was spared by the cupidity of the
conquerors, who expected a large sum for his ransom. He was sold as a
slave and sent to Constantinople. He was afterwards removed to Tartary,
where he suffered abuse, cruelty, and hardships of every description. At
last he seized a favorable opportunity, rose against his master, slew
him, clothed himself in his dress, mounted his horse, and was again at

Roaming about in a vast desert for many days, chance at length directed
him to the main road, which led from Tartary to Russia, and in sixteen
days he arrived at a garrison, where the governor and his lady took off
his irons and treated him with great care and kindness. Thence he
travelled into Transylvania, where he arrived in 1603. Here he met many
of his old companions in arms, who overwhelmed him with honors and
attentions. They had thought him dead, and rejoiced over him as one
risen from the grave.

Still unsatisfied with perils and honors, hearing that a civil war had
broken out in Barbary, he sailed to Africa, but, not finding the cause
worthy of his sword, he returned to England in 1604, where a new field
of adventure opened before him. Attention had been awakened in England
upon the subject of colonizing America, by the representation of Captain
Gosnold, who, in 1602, had made a voyage to the coast of New England. He
gave delightful accounts of the fertility of the country and salubrity
of the climate, and was anxious to colonize it. Of course, this plan was
embraced with ardor by Smith, being a project just suited to his roving
disposition, and his love for "hair breadth 'scapes."

James I., who was now king, being inclined to the plan, an expedition
was fitted out in 1606, of one hundred and five colonists, in three
small vessels. Among the foremost of the adventurers were Gosnold and
Smith, who seemed to be drawn together by a kind of instinct. After a
voyage of four months, in which dissensions and mutiny caused much
trouble and uneasiness, and which resulted in Smith's imprisonment
during the voyage, the colonists arrived at Chesapeake Bay in April,
1607. The landscape, covered with the new grass of spring, and varied
with hills and valleys, seemed like enchantment to the worn-out
voyagers. With joy they left their ships, and passed many days in
choosing a spot for a resting-place and a home.

Here new troubles assailed them. The Indians in the vicinity looked upon
their encroachments with jealous eyes, and attacked them with their
arrows, but the colonists quickly dispersed them with muskets. Others,
however, more peaceable, treated our adventurers with kindness. A
settlement was now made upon a peninsula on James's river, to which they
gave the name of Jamestown.

Of course, in a settlement like this, there must be suffering, and
consequently, discontent. Much of this was manifested towards Smith,
who, by his energy and perseverance, excited the envy of those
associated with him in the management of the infant colony. At the same
time, he became the object of dread to the Indians, by his bravery and
resources. Many of the colonists died of hunger and disease; many were
dispirited; and at last, in despair, they turned to our adventurer as
their only hope in this hour of need. Like all generous spirits, he
forgot his injuries, and set himself to work to remedy the evils that
beset them. By his ingenuity and daring, he obtained from the Indians
liberal supplies of corn, venison, and wild fowl, and, under the
influence of good cheer, the colonists became, comparatively, happy.

But a new and unforeseen calamity awaited our hero. Having penetrated
into the country, with but few followers, he was beset by a large party
of Indians, and, after a brave resistance, was taken prisoner. But the
spirit and presence of mind of this remarkable man did not forsake him
in this alarming crisis. He did not ask for life, for this would,
probably, have hastened his death; but requesting that he might see the
Indian chief, he at the same time drew from his pocket a compass, and
directed attention to it, partly by signs and partly by words which he
had learned. The curious instrument amused and surprised his savage
captors, and averted, for a time, the fate that awaited him.

They soon, however, tied him to a tree, and prepared to shoot him with
their arrows. Changing their plans suddenly, they led him in a
procession to a village, where they confined him and fed him so
abundantly, that Smith thought they were probably fattening him for
food. After a variety of savage ceremonies, the Indians took him to
Werowcomoco--the residence of Powhatan, a celebrated chief, of a noble
and majestic figure, and a countenance bespeaking the severity and
haughtiness of one whose nod is law.

Powhatan was seated on a throne, with one of his daughters on each side
of him. Many Indians were standing in the hut, their skins covered with
paint, and ornamented with feathers and beads. As Smith was brought
bound into the room, there was a loud shout of triumph, which warned him
that his last hour had arrived. They gave him water to wash, and food to
eat, and then, holding a consultation, they determined to kill him. Two
large stones were brought in and placed before the unbending chief.
Smith was dragged forward, his head placed upon the stones, and the
fatal club raised for the cruel deed.

But what stays the savage arm? A child of twelve or thirteen, Pocahontas
by name, the chief's favorite child, melted by the pity that seldom
moves the heart of her race, ran to our hero, clasped his head in her
arms, laid herself down with him on the block, determined to share his
fate. Surely, of the numberless acts of kindness and benevolence which
had been showered at different times upon Smith, this transcended them
all! Startled by the act, and perhaps sympathizing with the feelings of
his child, Powhatan raised Smith from the earth, and in two days, sent
him with twelve Indian guides to Jamestown, from which place he had been
absent seven weeks.

Smith found the colony disheartened by his absence, and in want of
provisions. These he procured from the Indians, bartering blue beads for
corn and turkeys. A fire broke out about this time, and burned up many
of the houses of the colony; this damage, however, Smith set about
repairing--his patience and energy surmounting every evil.

In June, 1608, our adventurer, tired of his mode of life, set out, with
fourteen others, to explore Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac river. They
encountered many tribes of Indians, but Smith's boldness always averted
their assaults; and his frank and open demeanor generally turned his
enemies into friends. The party returned to Jamestown in July, when
Smith was made the president of the colony.

He now made several expeditions, frequently meeting with adventures, and
falling in with numerous tribes of Indians. He and his party had many
skirmishes, and suffered considerably from the assaults of the savages;
but Smith's sagacity and ingenuity rendered them comparatively harmless.
He explored the whole of Chesapeake Bay, sailing nearly 3000 miles, in
the space of three months.

About this time, an expedition arrived from the mother country, under
Capt. Newport, whose object was to make discoveries, and as they were to
pass through Powhatan's territories, it was thought best to secure his
favor by various presents. Accordingly, a bed and hangings, a chair of
state, a suit of scarlet clothes, a crown, and other articles, were
presented to him with great ceremony. At his coronation, having been
with difficulty persuaded by the English to kneel, the moment the crown
touched his head, a volley was fired from the boats, which caused the
newly-made monarch to start up with affright. By way of return for these
honors, Powhatan generously presented Captain Newport with his old shoes
and mantle!

Notwithstanding Smith's exertions in behalf of the colony, the council
in England were constantly dissatisfied with him. But he did not allow
anything to abate his zeal for the welfare of the colony under his
command; even though they were harassed by the Indians, and suffering
from sickness and privation, he still kept up his courage and energy. He
entreated the managers in England to send them out mechanics and
husbandmen, instead of the idle young gentlemen who had come with
Newport, and took every step in his power to promote the prosperity of
the settlement.

The colony being now in great want of supplies, Smith made many
exertions to procure them, but the Indians refused to part with any more
provisions. A great war of words ensued between Smith and Powhatan,
which ended in hostilities, Smith endeavoring to take the latter
prisoner. The Indians, in their turn, made preparations to attack the
English by night. Of this, they were warned by Pocahontas, who continued
her kind interpositions in favor of Smith.

Our hero had now experienced, it would seem, enough of adventure and
peril to satisfy his desires. He often narrowly escaped with his life,
for the Indians held him in dread, as one to whose prowess they were
always obliged to yield, and whose address was always an overmatch for
their own. If they suspected him of any hostile intentions towards them,
they propitiated him by loads of provisions. To give some idea of
this--Smith returned from one of his expeditions with two hundred pounds
of deer's flesh, and four hundred and seventy-nine bushels of corn. But
at length, growing weary of exertion, and of the animadversion of the
English company, with trouble abroad, and mutiny and sickness at home,
he returned to England in 1609.

From this period to 1614, little or nothing is known of him. At this
date, we again find him, true to his nature, sailing with two ships to
Maine, for the purpose of capturing whales and searching for gold.
Failing in these expectations, Smith left his men fishing for cod, while
he surveyed the coast, from Penobscot to Cape Cod, trafficking with the
Indians for furs. He then returned to England, and gave his map to the
king, Charles I., and requested him to change some of the barbarous
names which had been given to the places discovered. Smith gave the
country the name of New England. Cape Cod, the name given by Gosnold, on
account of the number of cod-fish found there, was altered by King
Charles to Cape James, but the old title has always been retained. With
the modesty ever manifested by Smith, he gave his own name only to a
small cluster of islands, which, by some strange caprice, are now called
the Isles of Shoals.

In January, 1615, Captain Smith set sail for New England, with two
ships, from Plymouth in England, but was driven back by a storm. He
embarked again in June, but met with all kinds of disasters, and was at
last captured by a French squadron, and obliged to remain all summer in
the admiral's ship. When this ship went to battle with English vessels,
Smith was sent below; but when they fell in with Spanish ships, they
obliged him to fight with them. They at length carried him to Rochelle,
where they put him on board a ship in the harbor. This was but a
miserable existence to our hero, and he sought various opportunities of

At length, a violent storm arising, all hands went below, to avoid the
pelting rain, and Smith pushed off in a boat, with a half pike for an
oar, hoping to reach the shore. But a strong current carried him out to
sea, where he passed twelve hours in imminent danger, being constantly
covered with the spray. At last, he was thrown upon a piece of marshy
land, where some fowlers found him, nearly drowned. He was relieved and
kindly treated at Rochelle, and soon returned to England.

While these adventures were happening to Smith, Pocahontas became
attached to an English gentleman, of the name of Rolfe, having
previously separated herself from her father. This would seem an
unnatural step, were it not for the fact that she had a more tender and
mild nature than that of her nation, and could not endure to see the
cruelties practised against the English, in whom she felt so strong an
interest. She was married in 1613, and by means of this event a lasting
peace was established with Powhatan and his tribe.

In 1616, Pocahontas visited England with her husband. She had learned to
speak English well, and was instructed in the doctrines of Christianity.
As soon as Smith heard of her arrival, he went immediately to see her,
and he describes her in this interview as "turning about and obscuring
her face," no doubt, overcome by old recollections. She afterwards,
however, held a long conversation with Smith. This interesting creature
was not destined to return to her own land, for, being taken sick at
Gravesend, in 1617, she died, being only twenty-two years old.

Much has been written concerning this friend of the whites, and all
agree in ascribing to her character almost every quality that may
command respect and esteem. She combined the utmost gentleness and
sweetness, with great decision of mind and nobleness of heart. Captain
Smith has immortalized her by his eloquent description of her kindness
to him and his people. From her child are descended some honorable
families now living in Virginia.

Captain Smith intended to sail for New England in 1617, but his plans
failed, and he remained in England, using constant exertions to persuade
his countrymen to settle in America. In 1622, the Indians made a
dreadful massacre at Jamestown, destroying three hundred and forty-seven
of the English settlers. This news affected Smith very much, and he
immediately made proposals to go over to New England, with forces
sufficient to keep the Indians in check. But the people of England made
so many objections to the plan, that it was given up by our hero, though
with great regret. From this period, his story is little known, and we
are only told that he died in 1631. His life is remarkable for the
variety of wild adventures in which he was engaged; his character is
marked as well by courage and daring, as by the somewhat opposite
qualities of boldness and perseverance. He seems also to have possessed
many noble and generous qualities of heart. He had, indeed, the elements
of greatness, and had he been called to a wider field of action, he
might have left a nobler fame among the annals of mankind.


This extraordinary man was born at Litchfield, or Salisbury,
Connecticut, about the year 1740. He had five brothers and two sisters,
named Heman, Heber, Levi, Zimri, Ira, Lydia and Lucy. Four or five of
the former emigrated to Vermont, with Ethan, where their bold, active
and enterprising spirits found an abundant opportunity for its display.
Many a wild legend, touching their adventures, still lingers among the
traditions of the Green Mountains.

About the year 1770, a dispute between New York and New Hampshire, as to
the dividing line between the two provinces, and which had long been
pending, came to a crisis. The territory of Vermont was claimed by both
parties; and some of the settlers who had received grants from Governor
Wentworth, of New Hampshire, were threatened with being ejected from
their lands by legal processes, proceeding from the province of New

The Allens had selected their lands in the township of Bennington, which
had now become a considerable place. The New York government, in
conformity with their interpretation of their rights, had proceeded to
grant patents, covering these very lands on which farms had now been
brought to an advanced state of culture, and where houses had been built
and orchards planted by the original purchasers. These proprietors were
now called upon to take out new patents, at considerable expense, from
New York, or lose their estates.

This privilege of purchasing their own property was regarded by the
Vermonters as rather an insult, than a benefit, and most of them refused
to comply. The question was at last brought to trial at Albany, before a
New York court, Allen being employed by the defendants as their agent.
The case was, of course, decided against them, and Allen was advised, by
the king's attorney-general, to go home and make the best terms he could
with his new masters, remarking, that "might generally makes right." The
reply of the mountaineer was brief and significant: "The gods of the
valley are not the gods of the hills;" by which he meant that the agents
of the New York government would find themselves baffled at Bennington,
should they undertake to enforce the decision of the court, against the
settlers there.

Allen's prediction was prophetic. The sheriffs sent by the government
were resisted, and finally, a considerable force was assembled, and
placed under the command of Allen, who obliged the officers to desist
from their proceedings. A proclamation was now issued by the governor of
New York, offering a reward of twenty pounds for the apprehension of
Allen. The latter issued a counter proclamation, offering a reward of
five pounds to any one who would deliver the attorney-general of the
colony into his power.

Various proceedings took place, and for several years, the present
territory of Vermont presented a constant series of disturbances. The
New York government persevered in its claims, and the settlers as
obstinately resisted. In all these measures, whether of peace or war,
Allen was the leader of the Green Mountain yeomanry. Various plots were
laid for his apprehension, but his address and courage always delivered
him from the impending danger. At last, the revolution broke out, and
the dispute was arrested by events which absorbed the public attention.
The rival claims being thus suspended, the people of Vermont were left
to pursue their own course.

A few days after the battle of Lexington, a project was started at
Hartford, Connecticut, for the capture of Fort Ticonderoga, then
belonging to the British. Several persons set out upon this enterprise,
and taking Bennington in their way, Allen joined them with some of his
"Green Mountain Boys," and was appointed commander of the expedition.
The little band arrived, without molestation, on the banks of Lake
George, opposite the fort. They procured boats sufficient to carry
eighty-three men. These crossed in the night, and landed just at the
dawn of day. While the boats were gone back with the remainder of the
troops, Allen resolved to attack the fort.

He drew up the men in three ranks, addressed them in a short harangue,
ordered them to face to the right, and placing himself at the head of
the middle file, led them silently, but with a quick step, up the
heights where the fortress stood; and before the sun rose, he had
entered the gate, and formed his men on the parade between the barracks.
Here they gave three huzzas, which aroused the sleeping inmates. When
Colonel Allen passed the gate, a sentinel snapped his fusee at him, and
then retreated under a covered way. Another sentinel made a thrust at an
officer with a bayonet, which slightly wounded him. Colonel Allen
returned the compliment with a cut on the side of the soldier's head, at
which he threw down his musket, and asked quarter.

No more resistance was made. Allen now demanded to be shown to the
apartment of Captain Delaplace, the commander of the garrison. It was
pointed out, and Allen, with Beman, his guide, at his elbow, hastily
ascended the stairs, which were attached to the outside of the barracks,
and called out with a voice of thunder at the door, ordering the
astonished captain instantly to appear, or the whole garrison should be

Startled at so strange and unexpected a summons, the commandant sprang
from his bed and opened the door, when the first salutation of his
boisterous and unseasonable visitor was an order immediately to
surrender the fort. Rubbing his eyes, and trying to collect his
scattered senses, the captain asked by what authority he presumed to
make such a demand. "In the name of the Great Jehovah, and the
Continental Congress!" said Allen.

Not accustomed to hear much of the continental congress in this remote
corner, nor to respect its authority when he did, the commandant began
to remonstrate; but Colonel Allen cut short the thread of his
discourse, by lifting his sword over his head, and reiterating the
demand for an immediate surrender. Having neither permission to argue,
nor power to resist, Captain Delaplace submitted, ordering his men to
parade, without arms, and the garrison was given up to the victors.[A]

The fruit of this victory was about fifty prisoners, with one hundred
and twenty pieces of cannon, beside other arms and military stores. A
few days after, the fort at Crown Point was taken, and some other
successful enterprises were achieved. Allen obtained great credit by
these performances.

In the following autumn, he was twice despatched into Canada, to engage
the inhabitants to lend their support to the American cause. In the last
of these expeditions, he formed a plan, in concert with Colonel Brown,
to reduce Montreal. Allen, accordingly, crossed the river in September,
1775, at the head of one hundred and ten men, but was attacked, before
Brown could join him, by the British troops, consisting of five hundred
men, and, after a most obstinate resistance, was taken prisoner. The
events of his captivity he himself has recorded in a narrative compiled
after his release, in the most singular style, but apparently with great

For some time he was kept in irons, and treated with much severity. He
was sent to England as a prisoner, with an assurance that, on his
arrival there, he would meet with the halter. During the passage,
extreme cruelty was exercised towards him and his fellow-prisoners. They
were all, to the number of thirty-four, thrust, handcuffed, into a small
place in the vessel, not more than twenty feet square. After about a
month's confinement in Pendennie castle, near Falmouth, he was put on
board a frigate, January 8, 1776, and carried to Halifax. Thence, after
an imprisonment of five months, he was removed to New York.

On the passage from Halifax to the latter place, he was treated with
great kindness by Captain Smith, the commander of the vessel, and he
evinced his gratitude by refusing to join in a conspiracy on board to
kill the British captain and seize the frigate. His refusal prevented
the execution of the plan. He remained at New York for a year and a
half, sometimes in confinement, and sometimes at large, on parole.

In 1778, Allen was exchanged for Colonel Campbell, and immediately
afterwards, repaired to the head quarters of General Washington, by whom
he was received with much respect. As his health was impaired, he
returned to Vermont, after having made an offer of his services to the
commander-in-chief, in case of his recovery. His arrival in Vermont was
celebrated by the discharge of cannon; and he was soon appointed to the
command of the state militia, as a mark of esteem for his patriotism and
military talents. A fruitless attempt was made by the British to bribe
him to lend his support to a union of Vermont with Canada. He died
suddenly at his estate at Colchester, February 13, 1789.

Allen was a man of gigantic stature, being nearly seven feet in height,
and every way of relative proportions. He possessed undaunted courage,
and blended bold enterprise with much sagacity. His early education was
imperfect, but he was the master-spirit in the society among which he
lived, and he exercised a powerful influence in laying the foundations
of the state of Vermont. He was a sincere friend of his country, and did
much in behalf of the revolution. When applied to by the rebel Shays, to
become the leader of the insurrection in 1786, he rejected the proffer
with indignation.

Allen was a man of great determination, and, living in the midst of
turmoil, was somewhat reckless in his temper. While he held a military
command, during the revolution, a notorious spy was taken and brought to
his quarters. Allen immediately sentenced him to be hung at the end of
two or three days, and arrangements were accordingly made for the
execution. At the appointed time, a large concourse of people had
collected around the gallows, to witness the hanging. In the mean time,
however, it had been intimated to Allen that it was necessary to have a
regular trial of the spy.

This was so obvious, that he felt compelled to postpone the execution of
the culprit. Irritated, however, at this delay of justice, he proceeded
to the gallows, and, mounting the scaffold, harangued the assembly
somewhat as follows: "I know, my friends, you have all come here to see
Rowley hanged, and, no doubt, you will be greatly disappointed to learn
that the performances can't take place to-day. Your disappointment
cannot be greater than mine, and I now declare that if you'll come here
a fortnight from this day, Rowley shall be hung, or I will be hung

The rude state of society in which Allen spent the greater part of his
life was little calculated to polish his manners. Being at Philadelphia,
before the election of General Washington as president, he was invited
to dinner, by the general upon an occasion of some ceremony. He took his
seat by the side of Mrs. Washington, and in the course of the meal,
seeing some Spanish olives before him, he took one of them, and put it
in his mouth. It was the first he had ever tasted, and, of course, his
palate revolted. "With your leave, ma'am," said he, turning to Lady
Washington, "I'll take this plaguy thing out of my mouth."

When Allen was in England, a prisoner, persons who had heard him
represented as a giant in stature, and scarcely short of a cannibal in
habits and disposition, came to see him, and gazed at him with mingled
wonder and disgust. It is said, that, on one occasion, a tenpenny nail
was thrown in to him, as if he were a wild animal. He is reported to
have picked it up, and, in his vexation, to have bitten it in two. It is
in allusion to this that Doctor Hopkins wrote,--

  "Lo, Allen 'scaped from British jails,
  His tushes broke by biting nails," &c.

But however rude were Allen's manners, he was a man of inflexible
integrity. He was sued, upon a certain occasion, for a note of hand,
which was witnessed by an individual residing at Boston. When the case
came on for trial in one of the Vermont courts, the lawyer whom Allen
had employed to manage it so as to get time, rose, and, for the purpose
of securing this object, pleaded a denial of the signature.

It chanced that Allen was in the court-house at this moment, and hearing
this plea, he strode across the court-room, and, while his eyes flashed
with indignation, he spoke to the court as follows: "May it please your
honors, that's a lie! I say I did sign that note, and I didn't employ
Lawyer C****** to come here and tell a falsehood. That's a genuine note,
and I signed it, please your honors, and I mean to pay it; all I want is
to put it over till next court, when I expect to have money enough to
meet it!" This speech gratified the opposing counsel so much, that he
immediately consented to the delay which Allen desired.

Though Allen's education was limited, by reading and reflection he had
acquired a considerable amount of knowledge. Presuming upon this, and
guided by the eccentricity which marked his character, he ventured to
assail the Christian religion, in a book entitled, "The Oracles of
Reason." Though he here expressed belief in a God, and a future state of
rewards and punishments, he rejected the Bible, and seemed to favor the
Pythagorian doctrine of transmigration of souls. He entertained the idea
that he was himself destined to reappear on earth in the condition of a
great white horse! These absurdities show into what depths of folly a
great man may be led, if he permit his self-conceit to involve him in
the discussion of subjects beyond his grasp.


This individual was one of those remarkable characters, formed by the
rough and adventurous circumstances of western life. His paternal
grandfather and grandmother, who were of Irish descent, were murdered by
the Creek Indians, in Tennessee. He had an uncle who was wounded at the
same time, and remained in captivity with the savages for seventeen
months. The subject of our memoir was born in 1786, on the banks of
Nola-chucky river, he being the fifth son.

At this period, Tennessee was nearly a wilderness, and the forests were
still, to a great extent, the dominion of the Indian and the wild beast.
Brought up in this condition, his youthful imagination tinged by the
tragic story of his ancestors, it was natural that our young hero should
have become an early lover of those wild enterprises and hazardous
adventures which belong to border life.

In the memoir with which Crockett has favored us, he gives an account of
many events, some of which are not a little marvellous, though we have
no reason to doubt their truth. The following will serve as a specimen
of his style, as well as of the circumstances which attended his
childhood. "Joseph Hawkins, who was a brother to my mother, was in the
woods hunting for deer. He was passing near a thicket of brush, in which
one of our neighbors was gathering some grapes, as it was in the fall of
the year, and the grape season. The body of the man was hid by the
brush, and it was only as he would raise his hand to pull the bunches,
that any part of him could be seen. It was a likely place for deer; and
my uncle, having no suspicion that it was any human being, but supposing
the raising of the hand to be the occasional twitch of a deer's ear,
fired at the lump, and as the devil would have it, unfortunately shot
the man through the body. I saw my father draw a silk handkerchief
through the bullet hole, and entirely through his body; yet, after a
little while, he got well, as little as any one would have thought it.
What became of him, or whether he is dead or alive, I don't know; but I
reckon he didn't fancy the business of gathering grapes in an
out-of-the-way thicket again."

When David was about eight years old, his father settled in Jefferson
county, Tennessee, and opened a small tavern, chiefly for wagoners. He
was poor, and his son says, "Here I remained with him, till I was twelve
years old. About that time, you may _guess_, if you are a yankee, and
_reckon_, if, like me, you belong to the backwoods, that I began to make
my acquaintance with hard times, and plenty of them."

At this period, an old Dutchman, who was proceeding to Rockbridge, a
distance of four hundred miles, stopped over night at his father's
house. He had a large stock of cattle, and needing assistance, David was
hired by him, and proceeded on foot the whole of the journey. He was
expected to continue with the Dutchman, but his love of home mastered
him, and taking his clothes in a bundle on his back, he stole away one
night, and begged his way among the straggling settlements, till he
reached his father's residence.

David was now sent to school; but at the end of four days he had a
quarrel with one of his mates, and having scratched his face badly, he
did not dare to go again. He therefore spent several days in the woods,
during school hours, leaving his father to suppose he was at his
lessons. When he found out, from the master, what David had done, he cut
a hickory stick, and approached him in great wrath, intending to
chastise him severely. The boy saw the danger, and fled. It was a tight
race, but youth had the advantage. David escaped, hid himself in the
woods for a time, and then, bidding adieu to his home, set forth upon
his adventures.

Passing through a great variety of conditions, he at last reached
Baltimore, and for the first time looked forth upon the blue ocean and
the ships that navigate it. He had heard of these things, but he tells
us, that until he actually saw them, he did not in his heart believe in
their existence. It seems that his first sight of the sea excited in his
bosom those deep, yet indescribable emotions, known only to those who
have had experience like his own.

He set out at length to return to his father's house; but, owing to a
variety of causes, it was three years before he reached it. It was
evening when he came to the tavern, and he concluded to ask for
lodging, and not make himself known, till he saw how the land lay. He
gives an account of what followed, in these terms:--

"After a while, we were all called to supper: I went with the rest. We
sat down to the table, and began to eat, when my eldest sister
recollected me: she sprung up, ran and seized me around the neck, and
exclaimed, 'Here is my lost brother!'

"My feelings at this time it would be vain and foolish for me to attempt
to describe. I had often thought I felt before, and I suppose I had; but
sure I am, I never had felt as I then did. The joy of my sisters, and my
mother, and indeed of all the family, was such that it humbled me, and
made me sorry that I hadn't submitted to a hundred whippings, sooner
than cause so much affliction as they had suffered on my account. I
found the family had never heard a word of me from the time my brother
left me. I was now almost fifteen years old, and my increased age and
size, together with the joy of my father, occasioned by my unexpected
return, I was sure would secure me against my long-dreaded whipping; and
so they did. But it will be a source of astonishment to many, who
reflect that I am now a member of the American Congress--the most
enlightened body of men in the world--that at so advanced an age, the
age of fifteen, I did not know the first letter in the book."

The following passage, continuing the narrative, evinces sense and
feeling, which are honorable to our hero's head and heart. "I had
remained for some short time at home with my father, when he informed
me that he owed a man, whose name was Abraham Wilson, the sum of
thirty-six dollars; and that if I would set in and work out the note, so
as to lift it for him, he would discharge me from his service, and I
might go free. I agreed to do this, and went immediately to the man who
held my father's note, and contracted with him to work six months for
it. I set in, and worked with all my might, not losing a single day in
the six months. When my time was out, I got my father's note, and then
declined working with the man any longer, though he wanted to hire me
mighty bad. The reason was, it was a place where a heap of bad company
met to drink and gamble, and I wanted to get away from them, for I
knowed very well if I staid there I should get a bad name, as nobody
could be respectable that would live there. I therefore returned to my
father, and gave him up his paper, which seemed to please him mightily,
for, though he was poor, he was an honest man, and always tried mighty
hard to pay off his debts.

"I next went to the house of an honest old Quaker, by the name of John
Kennedy, who had removed from North Carolina, and proposed to hire
myself to him, at two shillings a day. He agreed to take me a week on
trial, at the end of which he appeared pleased with my work, and
informed me that he held a note on my father for forty dollars, and that
he would give me that note if I would work for him six months. I was
certain enough that I should never get any part of the note; but then I
remembered it was my father that owed it, and I concluded it was my
duty, as a child, to help him along, and ease his lot as much as I
could. I told the Quaker I would take him up at his offer, and
immediately went to work. I never visited my father's house during the
whole of this engagement, though he lived only fifteen miles off. But
when it was finished, and I had got the note, I borrowed one of my
employer's horses, and, on a Sunday evening, went to pay my parents a
visit. Some time after I got there, I pulled out the note, and handed it
to my father, who supposed Mr. Kennedy had sent it for collection. The
old man looked mighty sorry, and said to me he had not the money to pay
it, and didn't know what he should do. I then told him I had paid it for
him, and it was then his own; that it was not presented for collection,
but as a present from me. At this, he shed a heap of tears; and as soon
as he got a little over it, he said he was sorry he couldn't give me
anything, but he was not able, he was too poor."

David continued to work for the Quaker, during which time he became
enamored of a girl in the vicinity, and when he was eighteen he engaged
to marry her; she, however, proved faithless, and wedded another man.
The youth took it much to heart, and observes, "I now began to think
that in making me, it was entirely forgotten to make my mate; that I was
born odd, and should always remain so." He, however, recovered, and paid
his addresses to a little girl of the neighborhood, whom he met one day
when he had got lost in the woods, and married her. She had for her
marriage portion two cows and two calves; and, with fifteen dollars'
worth of furniture, they commenced house-keeping. He rented a small
farm, and went to work. After a few years, he removed to another part
of the state, where there was plenty of game, in consequence of which he
became a hunter. About the year 1810, he settled on Bear Creek, where he
remained till after the war of 1812.

During the Creek war in Tennessee, in 1812, Crockett served as a private
soldier under General Jackson, and displayed no small share of
enterprise and daring. He also served in one of the expeditions to
Florida, meeting with a great variety of adventures. Soon after the
close of the war, in 1815, he lost his wife, but married again, and, as
he says, "went ahead."

After a time, he removed, with his family, to Shoal Creek, where the
settlers, living apart from the rest of the world, set up a government
for themselves; they established certain laws, and Crockett was elected
one of the magistrates. The operations of this forest republic are thus
described by our hero:--

"When a man owed a debt, and wouldn't pay it, I and my constable ordered
our warrant, and then he would take the man, and bring him before me for
trial. I would give judgment against him, and then an order for an
execution would easily scare the debt out of him. If any one was charged
with marking his neighbor's hogs, or with stealing anything,--which
happened pretty often in those days,--I would have him taken, and if
there was tolerable grounds for the charge, I would have him well
whipped, and cleared. We kept this up till our legislature added us to
the white settlements in Giles county, and appointed magistrates by law,
to organize matters in the parts where I lived. They appointed every
man a magistrate who had belonged to our corporation. I was then, of
course, made a squire according to law, though now the honor rested more
heavily on me than before. For, at first, whenever I told my constable,
says I,--'Catch that fellow, and bring him up for trial,' away he went;
and the fellow must come, dead or alive; for we considered this a good
warrant, though it was only in verbal writings. But after I was
appointed by the assembly, they told me my warrants must be in real
writing, and signed; and that I must keep a book, and write my
proceedings in it. This was a hard business on me, for I could just
barely write my own name."

Crockett now rose rapidly; he was elected a colonel in the militia, and,
by request of his friends, became a candidate for the state legislature.
He made an electioneering tour of nearly three months, addressing the
voters at various points. His account of this part of his life is full
of wit; and not only throws much light upon western manners, but
suggests many keen and sagacious reflections upon the character and
conduct of political leaders, seeking the suffrages of the people. His
success upon the stump was great, though he confesses he knew nothing
about government, and dared not even touch the subject. He told droll
stories, however, which answered a better purpose, and in the result,
was triumphantly elected. We must not omit to give Crockett's own
account of himself at this period.

"A short time after this," says he, "I was in Pulaski, where I met with
Colonel Polk, now a member of Congress from Tennessee. He was at that
time a member elected to the legislature, as well as myself; and in a
large company he said to me, 'Well, Colonel, I suppose we shall have a
radical change of the judiciary at the next session of the legislature.'
'Very likely, sir,' says I; and I put out quicker, for I was afraid some
one would ask me what the judiciary was; and if I knowed, I wish I may
be shot. I don't indeed believe I had ever before heard that there was
any such thing in all nature; but still I was not willing that the
people there should know how ignorant I was about it. When the time for
meeting of the legislature arrived, I went on, and before I had been
there long, I could have told what the judiciary was, and what the
government was too; and many other things that I had known nothing about

Crockett now removed to the borders of the Obion, and settled in the
woods, his nearest white neighbor being seven miles off. The country
around gradually became peopled, and in the course of a few years he was
again put in nomination, without his own consent or knowledge, for the
legislature. His antagonist was Dr. Butler, a relative of General
Jackson's, and, as Crockett describes him, "a clever fellow, and the
most talented man I ever run against, for any office." Two other
candidates were in the field, but David beat them all by a handsome
majority. This occurred in 1825. In 1827, he was elected to Congress,
and re-elected in 1829, by a majority of 3500 votes. No man could at
that time stand against him, with hopes of success. In 1831, however, he
lost his election, but succeeded in 1833. He was defeated in 1835, and,
having gone to Texas, engaged in the defence of Bexar, and was slain in
the storming of that place, March 6th, 1836.

The character of David Crockett is by no means to be set up as a model
for imitation, yet he was a man of excellent traits of character. Brave,
hospitable, honest, patriotic, and sincere, he was the representative of
the hardy hunters of the west--a race of men fast fading away, or
receding with the remote borders of our western settlements. Destitute
of school education, he supplied the defect, in a great degree, by ready
wit, and that talent which is developed strongly by the necessities of a
hard and hazardous course of life. In civilized society, he retained the
marks of his forest breeding, as well as the innate eccentricity of his
character, and became conspicuous as one of those humorists, whom
nothing can change from their original conformation.



There are few names in the West better known, or more respected, than
that of Colonel Daniel Boone. He is regarded as the founder of Kentucky,
and in his character, was a good specimen of the early settler, who
united in his own person the offices of hunter and husbandman, soldier
and statesman. He was born in Pennsylvania, in the year 1746, and in his
boyhood gave earnest of his future career, by his surpassing skill in
the use of a gun, as exercised against squirrels, raccoons, and

A love of hunting became his ruling passion, and he would wander, for
whole days alone, through the woods, seeming to take great delight in
these rambles, even if he found no game. One morning, when he was about
fourteen years old, he was observed, as usual, to throw the band that
suspended his shot bag, over the shoulder, and go forth, accompanied by
his dog. Night came, but, to the astonishment and alarm of his parents,
the boy came not. Another day and another night passed, and still he did
not return. The nearest neighbors, sympathizing with the distressed
parents, who considered him lost, at length turned out, to aid in
finding him.

After a long and weary search, a smoke was seen arising from a temporary
hovel of sods and branches, at a distance of a league from any
plantation, in which the astonished father found his child; he was,
apparently, most comfortably occupied in making an experiment in
housekeeping. Numerous skins of wild animals were stretched upon his
cabin, as trophies of his hunting prowess. Ample fragments of their
flesh were around--either thrown aside or prepared for cookery.

A few years after this, Boone removed, with his father, to North
Carolina, where they founded a settlement upon the banks of the Yadkin.
The country was new, and almost totally uninhabited; the game was
abundant, and afforded ample scope for young Boone's talents as a
hunter. One night, he went out with a friend, upon what is called a
_fire hunt_, the object of which was to shoot deer. In this sport, an
iron pan, filled with blazing knots of pitch pine, is carried by one of
the sportsmen. This casts a ruddy glare deep into the forest; and the
deer, as if bound by a spell of enchantment, stands still, and gazes at
the unwonted apparition. The lustrous eye of the animal is easily seen
by the hunter, and thus becomes a mark for the rifle.

On the present occasion, the two hunters had reached the corner of a
farmer's field early in the evening, when Boone's companion, who held
the fire pan, gave the signal that he _shined_ the eyes of a deer. Boone
approached with his ready rifle, and, perceiving the glistening eyes,
was about to fire, when the deer suddenly retreated. He pursued, and,
after a rapid chase through the woods, came suddenly out at the
farmer's house. What was the young hunter's astonishment then to
discover that the object upon which he had levelled his rifle a few
minutes before, was a beautiful girl of sixteen, and the daughter of the
farmer! Boone could do no less than enter the house. The scene that
followed is thus described by the biographer:

"The ruddy, flaxen-haired girl stood full in view of her terrible
pursuer, leaning upon his rifle, and surveying her with the most eager
admiration. 'Rebecca, this is young Boone, son of our neighbor,' was the
laconic introduction, offered by the father. Both were young, beautiful,
and at the period when the affections exercise their most energetic
influence. The circumstances of the introduction were favorable to the
result, and the young hunter felt that the eyes of the deer had _shined_
his bosom as fatally as his rifle-shot had ever done the innocent deer
of the thickets.

"She, too, when she saw the high, open, bold forehead--the clear, keen,
yet gentle and affectionate eye--the firm front, and the visible impress
of decision and fearlessness of the hunter; when she interpreted a look,
which said, as distinctly as looks could say it, 'how terrible it would
have been to have fired!' she can hardly be supposed to have regarded
him with indifference. Nor can it be wondered at that she saw in him her
_beau ideal_ of excellence and beauty.

"The inhabitants of cities, who live in splendid mansions, and read
novels stored with unreal pictures of life and the heart, are apt to
imagine that love, with all its golden illusions, is reserved
exclusively for them. It is a most egregious mistake. A model of ideal
beauty and perfection is woven in almost every youthful heart, of the
finest and most brilliant threads that compose the web of existence. It
may not be said that this forest maiden was deeply and foolishly smitten
at first sight. All reasonable time and space were granted to the claims
of maidenly modesty. As for Boone, he was incurably wounded by her,
whose eyes he had _shined_, and as he was remarkable for the backwoods'
attribute of never being beaten out of his track, he ceased not to woo,
until he gained the heart of Rebecca Bryan. In a word, he courted her
successfully, and they were married."

Boone removed with his wife to the head waters of the Yadkin, where he
remained for several years, engaged in the quiet pursuits of a
husbandman. But in process of time, the country was settled around him,
and the restraints of orderly society became established. These were
disagreeable to his love of unbounded liberty, and he began to think of
seeking a new home in the yet unoccupied wilderness. Having heard an
account of Kentucky from a man by the name of Finley, who had made an
expedition thither, he determined to explore the country. Accordingly,
in 1769, he set out with four associates, and soon, bidding adieu to the
habitations of man, plunged into the boundless forest.

They ascended and crossed the Alleganies, and at last stood on the
western summit of the Cumberland Ridge. What a scene opened before
them!--the illimitable forest, as yet unbroken by civilized man, and
occupied only by savage beasts and more savage men. Yet it bore the
marks of the highest fertility. Trees of every form, and touched with
every shade of verdure, rose to an unwonted height on every side. In the
distance, broad rivers flashed beneath the sun. How little did these
hunters imagine that this noble country, within the compass of fifty
years, was to be dotted with villages, and crowned with cities!

The party proceeded in their march. They met with an abundance of every
species of game. The buffalo occupied the plains by thousands; and on
one occasion, the whole party came near being crushed by a herd of these
animals, that came rushing like a torrent across a prairie.

They spent the summer in the woods, and in December divided themselves
into two parties, for the purpose of extending their means of
observation. Boone and Stewart formed one division of the party. As they
proceeded toward the Kentucky river, they were never out of sight of
buffaloes, deer and wild turkeys. While they were one day leisurely
descending a hill, the Indian yell suddenly broke upon their ears; a
moment after, they were surrounded by savages, who sprung up from the
cane-brakes around, and made them captives. Their hands were bound, and
they were compelled to march, a long distance, to the Indian camp. On
the second night, they escaped, and returned to the place where they
expected to meet their former companions. These, it appears, had
returned to Kentucky. That very day, however, Boone's brother arrived
with a single companion, having made his way through the trackless
forest, from his residence on the Yadkin.

The four adventurers now devoted themselves to hunting; but, one day,
while they were out, Boone and Stewart, being separated from their
companions, were attacked by Indians, and the latter was shot dead by an
arrow. Boone, with some difficulty, escaped to the camp. A short time
after this, the companion of the elder Boone wandered into the woods,
and was lost. The two brothers sought for him with anxious care, and at
last found traces of blood and fragments of his clothes in the vicinity
of a place where they had heard the howling of wolves. There was little
doubt that he had fallen a sacrifice to these terrible animals. Boone
and his brother were now the only white men west of the mountains, yet
their spirits were not damped by their condition or by the sad fate
which had befallen their companions. They hunted by day; cooked their
game, sat by their bright fires and sung the airs of their country at
night. They also devoted much of their time to the preparation of a
cabin for the approaching winter.

This came at length and passed away; but they were now in want of many
things, especially ammunition, which was beginning to fail them. After
long consultation, it was agreed that the elder Boone should return to
North Carolina, and bring back ammunition, horses, and supplies.

The character of Daniel Boone, in consenting to be left alone in the
wilderness, surrounded by perils from the Indians and wild beasts, of
which he had so recently and terribly been made aware, appears in its
true light. We have heard of a Robinson Crusoe, made so by the
necessities of shipwreck; but all history can scarcely furnish another
instance of a man, voluntarily consenting to be left alone among savages
and wild beasts, seven hundred miles from the nearest white inhabitants.

The separation at last came. The elder brother disappeared in the
forest, and Daniel Boone was left in the cabin, entirely alone. Their
only dog followed the departing brother, and our hunter had nothing but
his unconquerable spirit to sustain him during the long and lonely days
and nights, visited by the remembrance of his distant wife and children.

To prevent the recurrence of dark and lonely thoughts, soon after his
brother's departure, Boone set out on a tour of observation, and made an
excursion to the Ohio river. He returned at last to his camp, which he
found undisturbed. From this point he continued to make trips into the
woods, in which he met with a variety of adventures. It was in May that
his brother left him, and late in July he returned, with two horses and
an abundant supply of needful articles. He brought also the welcome
intelligence of the welfare of his brother's family and their kind
remembrance of him.

The two brothers now set about selecting a situation for a settlement,
where they intended to bring their families. One day, as they were
passing through the woods, they saw a herd of buffaloes in great uproar.
They were running, plunging, and bellowing, as if roused to fury. The
hunters approached the throng, and perceived that a panther had leaped
upon the back of one of these huge animals, and was gnawing away the
flesh. The buffalo, maddened by the agony, dashed among the herd, and
these were soon thrown into wild confusion. Boone picked his flint, took
a deliberate aim, and fired; the panther fell from his seat, and the
herd passed on.

We cannot pursue the history of our hero, in all its adventurous
details. We have told enough to display the leading traits of his
character, and we must now hasten on, only noting the principal events.
He returned with his brother to North Carolina, and in September, 1773,
commenced his removal to Kentucky, with his own family and five others,
for the purpose of settling there. They were joined by forty men, who
placed themselves under Boone's guidance. On their route they were
attacked by the Indians; six of the men were killed, and the cattle were
dispersed. The emigrants, therefore, returned as far as Clinch river,
where they made a temporary settlement.

In 1775, Boone assisted in building a fort at a place which was called
Boonesburgh, and when completed, he removed his family thither. Two
years after, he here sustained two formidable sieges from the Indians,
whom he repulsed. In the following year he was taken while hunting, by
the savages, and carried to Detroit. He escaped, and at last returned to
his family. Again the fort was invested by the Indians and Canadian
Frenchmen, four hundred and fifty strong. Boone, with fifty men, held
out, and finally the assailants withdrew. This was the last attack upon

In 1792, Kentucky was admitted into the Union as a state, and soon
after, Boone, being involved in one of the innumerable law-suits which
were about this time inflicted upon Kentucky, was deprived of his whole
estate by an adverse decision. The indignation of the old hunter, at
first, knew no bounds; but his tranquillity soon returned. He was,
however, thoroughly disgusted with civilized society, and determined
again, though gray with years, to find a home in the unbroken forest.

In 1798, having obtained a grant of two thousand acres of land from the
Spanish authorities in upper Louisiana, now Missouri, he removed thither
with his family, and settled at Charette. Here he devoted himself to his
familiar pursuits of hunting and trapping, and in September, 1822, he
died, being in his eighty-fifth year.



Charles XII. was born on the 27th June, 1682. He was the son of Charles
XI., a harsh and despotic prince. From his earliest years, he glowed to
imitate the heroic character of Alexander, and, in his eagerness to
reign, caused himself to be declared king of Sweden at the age of
fifteen. At his coronation, he boldly seized the crown from the hands of
the archbishop of Upsal, and set it on his own head.

His youth seemed to invite the attacks of his neighbors, of Poland,
Denmark and Russia; but Charles, unawed by the prospect of hostilities,
and though scarcely eighteen, determined to assail his enemies, one
after the other. He besieged Copenhagen, and, by his vigorous measures,
so terrified the Danish monarch, that, in less than six weeks, he
obliged him to sue for peace.

From humbled Denmark, he marched against the Russians; and though at the
head of only eight thousand men, he attacked the enemy who were
besieging Narva with one hundred thousand men. The conflict was
dreadful; thirty thousand were slain, twenty thousand asked for quarter,
and the rest were taken or destroyed; while the Swedes had only twelve
hundred killed, and eight hundred wounded. From Narva, the victorious
monarch advanced into Poland, defeated the Saxons who opposed his march,
and obliged the Polish king, in suing for peace, to renounce his crown
and acknowledge Stanislaus for his successor.

It was a disgraceful condition of the treaty made with Augustus that he
should give up Reinhold Patkul, a Polish nobleman, to the Swedish king.
This patriot had nobly defended the liberties of his country against its
enemies, and to escape the consequences, when Poland had fallen, went to
Russia, and entered into the service of the Czar. Peter sent him as
ambassador to Poland, and Augustus delivered him up to Charles. He was
taken to Stockholm, tried as a rebel and traitor, and broke on the
wheel. Such was the justice, such the mercy, of the chivalrous Charles

Fixing his head quarters near Leipsic, with a victorious army of fifty
thousand veteran Swedes, he now attracted the attention of all Europe.
He received ambassadors from the principal powers, and even the Duke of
Marlborough paid him a visit to induce him to join the allies against
Louis XIV. But Charles had other views, which were to dethrone his
rival, Peter of Russia. Accordingly, after adjusting various matters, he
proceeded to the north, with forty-three thousand men, in September,

In January, he defeated the Russians in Lithuania, and in June, 1708,
met Peter on the banks of the Berezina. The Swedes crossed the river,
and the Russians fled. Charles pursued them as far as Smolensk; but in
September he began to experience the real difficulties of a Russian
campaign. The country was desolate, the roads wretched, the winter
approaching, and the army had hardly provisions for a fortnight.
Charles, therefore, abandoned his plan of marching upon Moscow, and
turned to the south towards the Ukraine, where Mazeppa, hetman or chief
of the Cossacks, had agreed to join him against Peter.

Charles advanced towards the river Desna, an affluent of the Dnieper,
which it joins near Kiew; but he missed his way among the extensive
marshes which cover a great part of the country, and in which almost all
his artillery and wagons were lost. Meantime, the Russians had dispersed
Mazeppa's Cossacks, and Mazeppa himself came to join Charles as a
fugitive with a small body of followers. Lowenhaupt, also, who was
coming from Poland with fifteen thousand men, was defeated by Peter in

Charles thus found himself in the wilds of the Ukraine, hemmed in by the
Russians, without provisions, and the winter setting in with unusual
severity. His army, thinned by cold, hunger, fatigue and the sword, was
now reduced to twenty-four thousand men. In this condition, he passed
the winter in the Ukraine, his army subsisting chiefly by the exertions
of Mazeppa. In the spring, with eighteen thousand Swedes and as many
Cossacks, he laid siege to the town of Pultowa, where the Russians had
collected large stores. During the siege, he was severely wounded in the
foot; and soon after, Peter himself appeared to relieve Pultowa, at the
head of seventy thousand men. Charles had now no choice but to risk a
general battle, which was fought on the 8th of July, 1709, and ended in
the total defeat of the Swedes.

At the close of the battle, Charles was placed on horseback, and,
attended by about five hundred horse, who cut their way through more
than ten Russian regiments, was conducted, for the space of a league, to
the baggage of the Swedish army. In the flight, the king's horse was
killed under him, and he was placed upon another. They selected a coach
from the baggage, put Charles in it, and fled towards the Borysthenes
with the utmost precipitation. He was silent for a time, but, at last,
made some inquiries. Being informed of the fatal result of the battle,
he said, cheerfully, "Come then, let us go to the Turks."

While he was making his escape, the Russians seized his artillery in the
camp before Pultowa, his baggage and his military chest, in which they
found six millions in specie, the spoils of Poland and Saxony. Nine
thousand men, partly Swedes and partly Cossacks, were killed in the
battle, and about six thousand were taken prisoners. There still
remained about sixteen thousand men, including the Swedes, Poles and
Cossacks, who fled towards the Borysthenes, under conduct of General

He marched one way with his fugitive troops, and the king took another
with some of his horse. The coach in which he rode broke down by the
way, and they again set him on horseback. To complete his misfortune, he
was separated from his troops and wandered all night in the woods;
here, his courage being no longer able to support his exhausted spirits,
the pain of his wound became more intolerable from fatigue, and his
horse falling under him through excessive weariness, he lay some hours,
at the foot of a tree, in danger of being surprised every moment by the
conquerors, who were searching for him on every side.

At last, on the 10th July, at night, Charles reached the banks of the
Borysthenes. Lowenhaupt had just arrived with the shattered remains of
his army. It was with a mixture of joy and sorrow that the Swedes beheld
their king, whom they had supposed dead. The victorious enemy was now
approaching. The Swedes had neither a bridge to pass the river, nor time
to make one, nor powder to defend themselves, nor provisions to support
an army which had eaten nothing for two days. But more than all this,
Charles was reduced to a state of extreme weakness by his wound, and was
no longer himself. They carried him along like a sick person, in a state
of insensibility.

Happily there was at hand a sorry calash, which by chance the Swedes had
brought along with them; this they put on board a little boat, and the
king and General Mazeppa embarked in another. The latter had saved
several coffers of money; but the current being rapid, and a violent
wind beginning to blow, the Cossacks threw more than three fourths of
his treasure overboard to lighten the boat. Thus the king crossed the
river, together with a small troop of horse, belonging to his guards,
who succeeded in swimming the river. Every foot soldier who attempted
to cross the stream was drowned.

Guided by the dead carcasses of the Swedes, that thickly strewed their
path, a detachment of the Russian army came upon the fugitives. Some of
the Swedes, reduced to despair, threw themselves into the river, while
others took their own lives. The remainder capitulated, and were made
slaves. Thousands of them were dispersed over Siberia, and never again
returned to their country. In this barbarous region, rendered ingenious
through necessity, they exercised trades and employments, of which they
had not before the least idea.

All the distinctions which fortune had formerly established between them
before, were now banished. The officer, who could not follow any trade,
was obliged to cleave and carry wood for the soldier, now turned tailor,
clothier, joiner, mason, or goldsmith, and who got a subsistence by his
labors. Some of the officers became painters, and others architects;
some of them taught the languages and mathematics. They even established
some public schools, which in time became so useful and famous, that the
citizens of Moscow sent their children thither for education.

The Swedish army, which had left Saxony in such a triumphant manner, was
now no more. Three fourths had perished in battle, or by starvation, and
the rest were slaves. Charles XII. had lost the fruit of nine years'
labor, and almost one hundred battles. He had escaped in a wretched
calash, attended by a small troop. These followed, some on foot, some on
horseback, and others in wagons, through a desert, where neither huts,
tents, men, beasts, nor roads were to be seen. Everything was wanting,
even water itself.

It was now the beginning of July; the country lay in the forty-seventh
degree of latitude; the dry sand of the desert rendered the heat of the
sun the more insupportable; the horses fell by the way, and the men were
ready to die with thirst. A brook of muddy water, which they found
towards evening, was all they met with; they filled some bottles with
this water, which saved the lives of the king's troops.

Triumphing over incredible difficulties, Charles and his little guard at
last reached Benda, in the Turkish territory. He was hospitably received
by the governor; and the sultan, Achmet III., gave orders that he should
have entertainment and protection. He now attempted to induce the sultan
to engage in his cause, but the Russian agents at the Turkish court
produced an impression against him, and orders were sent to the governor
of Benda, to compel the king to depart, and in case he refused, to bring
him, living or dead, to Adrianople.

Little used to obey, Charles determined to resist. Having but two or
three hundred men, he still disposed them in the best manner he could,
and when attacked by the whole force of the Turkish army, he only
yielded step by step. His house at last took fire, yet the king and his
soldiers still resisted. When, involved in flames and smoke, he was
about to abandon it, his spurs became entangled, and he fell and was
taken prisoner. His eyelashes were singed by powder and his clothes were
covered with blood. He was now removed to Demotica, near Adrianople.
Here he spent two months in bed, feigning sickness, and employed in
reading and writing.

Convinced, at last, that he could expect no assistance from the Porte,
he set off, in disguise, with two officers. Accustomed to every
deprivation, he pursued his journey on horseback, through Hungary and
Germany, day and night, with such haste, that only one of his attendants
was able to keep up with him. Exhausted and haggard, he arrived before
Stralsund, about one o'clock, on the night of the 11th November, 1714.

Pretending to be a courier with important despatches from Turkey, he
caused himself to be immediately introduced to the commandant, Count
Dunker, who questioned him concerning the king, without recognising him
till he began to speak, when he sprang, joyfully from his bed, and
embraced the knees of his master. The report of Charles' arrival spread
rapidly through the city. The houses were illuminated, and every
demonstration of joy was exhibited.

A combined army of Danes, Saxons, Russians and Prussians now invested
Stralsund. Charles performed miracles of bravery in its defence, but was
obliged, at last, to surrender the fortress. Various events now took
place, and negotiations were entered into for pacification with Russia.
In the mean time, Charles had laid siege to Friedrichshall, in Norway.
On the 3d of November, 1718, while in the trenches, and leaning against
the parapet, examining the workmen, he was struck on the head by a
cannon ball, and instantly killed. He was found dead in the same
position, his hand on his sword; in his pocket were the portrait of
Gustavus Adolphus, and a prayer-book. It is probable that the fatal ball
was fired, not from the hostile fortress, but from the Swedish side; his
adjutant, Siguier, has been accused as an accomplice in his murder.

The life of Charles XII. presents a series of marvellous events, yet his
character inspires us with little respect or sympathy. He aspired only
to be a military hero, and to reign by the power of his arms. He had the
bravery, perseverance, and decision suited to the soldier, and that
utter selfishness, and recklessness of human life and happiness, which
are necessary ingredients in the character of a mere warrior. His
cheerfulness in adversity, and his patient endurance of pain and
privation, were counterbalanced by obstinacy, amounting almost to
insanity. Charles had, indeed, the power of attaching friends strongly
to his person; and there is something almost sublime in the utter
disregard of comfort, pleasure, and even life, displayed by his soldiers
and officers, in their care of his person, and their obedience to his
commands. Yet, however elevating may be the sentiment of loyalty, we
cannot feel that, in the present instance, it was bestowed upon a worthy



This celebrated hero of Spanish history has been for more than eight
centuries the theme of eulogy and song, and doubtless his wonderful
achievements and romantic fame have contributed to kindle an emulous
flame in many a youthful bosom, and to stir up even a nation to the
resistance of oppression. It is by no means improbable that many of the
deeds of valor and patriotic devotion witnessed during the invasion of
Spain by Napoleon's armies, had their source in the name and fame of the
Cid. In one of the numerous ballads which recount his history, and which
are among the popular poetry of Spain to this day, he is addressed in
the following vigorous lines:--

  "Mighty victor, never vanquished,
    Bulwark of our native land,
  Shield of Spain, her boast and glory,
    Knight of the far-dreaded brand,
  Venging scourge of Moors and traitors,
    Mighty thunderbolt of war,
  Mirror bright of chivalry,
    Ruy, my Cid Campeador!"

This chivalrous knight was born at Burgos, in the year 1025. His name
was Rodrigo, or Ruy Diaz, Count of Bivar. He was called the _Cid_, which
means lord; and the name of _Campeador_, or champion without an equal,
was appropriated as his peculiar title. At this period, the greater part
of the Peninsula was in the hands of the Arabs or Moors, who had invaded
them three centuries before. The few Goths who had remained unconquered
among the mountains, maintained a constant warfare upon the infidels,
and by the time of which we speak, they had recovered a large portion of
the country lying in the northwestern quarter. This territory was
divided into several petty kingdoms, or counties, the principal of
which, at the time of our hero's birth, were united under Ferdinand I.,
the founder of the kingdom of Castile. The rest of the Peninsula,
subject to the Arabs, was also divided into petty kingdoms.


The father of Rodrigo, Don Diego Lainez, was the representative of an
ancient, wealthy, and noble race. When our hero was a mere stripling,
his father was grossly insulted by the haughty and powerful Count of
Gormaz, Don Lozano Gomez, who smote him in the face, in the very
presence of the king and court. The dejection of the worthy hidalgo, who
was very aged, and therefore incapable of taking personal vengeance for
his wrong, is thus strongly depicted in one of the ballads:--

  "Sleep was banished from his eyelids;
    Not a mouthful could he taste;
  There he sat with downcast visage,--
    Direly had he been disgraced.

  Never stirred he from his chamber;
    With no friends would he converse,
  Lest the breath of his dishonor
    Should pollute them with its curse."

When young Rodrigo, the son, was informed of the indignity offered to
his father, he was greatly incensed, and determined to avenge it. He
accordingly took down an old sword, which had been the instrument of
mighty deeds in the hands of his ancestors, and, mounting a horse,
proceeded to challenge the haughty Count Gomez, in the following

  "How durst thou to smite my father?
    Craven caitiff! know that none
  Unto him shall do dishonor,
    While I live, save God alone.

  For this wrong, I must have vengeance,--
    Traitor, here I thee defy!
  With thy blood alone my sire
    Can wash out his infamy!"

The count despised his youth, and refused his challenge; but the boy set
bravely upon him, and, after a fierce conflict, was victorious. He bore
the bleeding head of his antagonist to his father, who greeted him with
rapture. His fame was soon spread abroad, and he was reckoned among the
bravest squires of the time.

But now there appeared before king Ferdinand and the court of Burgos the
lovely Ximena, daughter of the Count Gomez, demanding vengeance of the
sovereign for the death of her father. She fell on her knees at the
king's feet, crying for justice.

  "Justice, king! I sue for justice--
    Vengeance on a traitorous knight;
  Grant it me! so shall thy children
    Thrive, and prove thy soul's delight."

When she had spoken these words, her eye fell on Rodrigo, who stood
among the attendant nobles, and she exclaimed,--

  "Thou hast slain the best and bravest
    That e'er set a lance in rest,
  Of our holy faith the bulwark,--
    Terror of each Paynim breast.

  Traitorous murderer, slay me also!
    Though a woman, slaughter me!
  Spare not! I'm Ximena Gomez,
    Thine eternal enemy!

  Here's my heart,--smite, I beseech thee!
    Smite! and fatal be thy blow!
  Death is all I ask, thou caitiff,--
    Grant this boon unto thy foe."

Not a word, however, did Rodrigo reply, but, seizing the bridle of his
steed, he vaulted into the saddle, and rode slowly away. Ximena turned
to the crowd of nobles, and seeing that none prepared to follow him and
take up her cause, she cried aloud, "Vengeance, sirs, I pray you
vengeance!" A second time did the damsel disturb the king, when at a
banquet, with her cries for justice. She had now a fresh complaint.

  "Every day at early morning,
    To despite me more, I wist,
  He who slew my sire doth ride by,
    With a falcon on his fist.

  At my tender dove he flies it;
    Many of them hath it slain.
  See, their blood hath dyed my garments,
    With full many a crimson stain."

Rodrigo, however, was not punished, and the king suspected that this
conduct of the young count was only typical of his purpose to hawk at
the lady himself, and make her the captive of love. He was therefore
left to pursue his career; and he soon performed an achievement which
greatly increased his fame. Five Moorish chiefs or kings, and their
attendants, had made a foray into the Castilian territories, and, being
unresisted, were bearing off immense booty and many captives. Rodrigo,
though still a youth under twenty, mounted his horse, Babieca, as famous
in his story as is Bucephalus in that of Alexander, hastily gathered a
host of armed men, and fell suddenly upon the Moors, among the mountains
of Oca. He routed them with great slaughter, captured the five kings,
and recovered all that they had taken.

The spoil he divided among his followers, but reserved the kings for his
own share, and carried them home to his castle of Bivar, to present
them, as proofs of his prowess, to his mother. With his characteristic
generosity, which was conspicuous even at this early age, he then set
them at liberty, on their agreeing to pay him tribute; and they departed
to their respective territories, lauding his valor and magnanimity.

The fame of this exploit soon spread far and wide, through the land, and
as martial valor in those chivalrous times was the surest passport to
ladies' favor, it must have had its due effect on Ximena's mind, and
will, in a great measure, account for the entire change in her
sentiments towards the youth, which she manifested on another visit to
Burgos. Falling on her knees before the king, she spoke thus:--

  "I am daughter of Don Gomez,
    Count of Gormaz was he hight;
  Him Rodrigo by his valor
    Did o'erthrow in mortal fight.

  King! I come to crave a favor--
    This the boon for which I pray,
  That thou give me this Rodrigo
    For my wedded lord this day.

  Grant this precious boon, I pray thee;
    'Tis a duty thou dost owe;
  For the great God hath commanded
    That we should forgive a foe."

There is a touch of nature in all this, that is quite amusing: while the
lady's anger burns, she cries for justice; when love has taken
possession of her heart, she appeals to religion to enforce her wishes.
"Now I see," said the king, "how true it is, what I have often heard,
that the will of woman is wild and strange. Hitherto this damsel hath
sought deadly vengeance on the youth, and now she would have him to
husband. Howbeit, with right good will I will grant what she desireth."

He sent at once for Rodrigo, who, with a train of three hundred young
nobles, his friends and kinsmen, all arrayed in new armor and robes of
brilliant color, obeyed with all speed the royal summons. The king rode
forth to meet him, "for right well did he love Rodrigo," and opened the
matter to him, promising him great honors and much land if he would make
Ximena his bride. Rodrigo, who desired nothing better, and who doubtless
had hoped for this issue, at once acquiesced.

  "King and lord! right well it pleaseth
    Me thy wishes to fulfil:
  In this thing, as in all others,
    I obey thy sovereign will."

The young pair then plighted their troth in presence of the king, and in
pledge thereof gave him their hands. He kept his promise, and gave
Rodrigo Valduerna, Saldana, Belforado, and San Pedro de Cardena, for a
marriage portion.

The wedding was attended by vast pomp and great festivities. Rodrigo,
sumptuously attired, went with a long procession to the church. After a
while, Ximena came, with a veil over her head and her hair dressed in
large plaits, hanging over her ears. She wore an embroidered gown of
fine London cloth, and a close-fitting spencer. She walked on
high-heeled clogs of red leather. A necklace of eight medals or plates
of gold, with a small pendent image of St. Michael, which together were
"worth a city," encircled her white neck.

The happy pair met, seized each other's hands, and embraced. Then said
Rodrigo, with great emotion, as he gazed on his bride,--

  "I did slay thy sire, Ximena,
    But, God wot, not traitorously;
  'Twas in open fight I slew him:
    Sorely had he wronged me.

  A man I slew,--a man I give thee,--
    Here I stand thy will to bide!
  Thou, in place of a dead father,
    Hast a husband at thy side."

  All approved well his prudence,
    And extolled him with zeal;
  Thus they celebrate the nuptials
    Of Rodrigo of Castile.

We cannot attend this renowned hero through his long and brilliant
career. We must be content to say, that on all occasions he displayed
every noble and heroic quality. His life was an almost perpetual strife
with the Moors, whom he defeated in many combats. Having collected a
considerable force, on one occasion, he penetrated to the southeastern
extremity of Arragon, and established himself in a strong castle, still
called the Rock of the Cid. He afterwards pushed his victories to the
borders of the Mediterranean, and laid siege to the rich and powerful
Moorish city of Valencia, which he captured. Here he established his
kingdom, and continued to reign till his death, about the year 1099, at
the age of seventy-five.

While the Cid was living, his reputation was sufficient to keep the
Moors in awe; but when he was dead, their courage revived, and they
boldly attacked the Spaniards, even in Valencia, the city where his
remains were laid. The Spaniards went forth to meet them; and behold, a
warrior, with the well known dress of the Cid, but with the aspect of
death, was at their head. The Moors recognised his features, and they
fled in superstitious horror, fancying that a miracle had been performed
in behalf of the Spaniards. The truth was, however, that the latter had
taken him from the tomb, set him on his warhorse, and thus, even after
his death, he achieved a victory over his foes. This incident
sufficiently attests the wonderful power which the Cid's name exerted,
as well over his countrymen as their enemies.

The Spaniards have an immense number of ballads and romances, founded
upon the life of this wonderful hero. They all depict him as a noble and
high-minded chief, without fear and without reproach, the very _beau
ideal_ of a knight of the olden time. Some of these ballads are finely
rendered into English by Mr. Lockhart, and they have been published in a
style of unsurpassed beauty and splendor.



It may seem strange that an outlaw, a thief and a robber, should be a
favorite theme of song and of story, and continue to command the respect
of mankind for centuries after the period of his existence: yet such is
the fact in respect to the subject of the present sketch. He was born at
Lockslay, near Nottingham, about the year 1150, and flourished during
the time of Richard I. of England.

Nearly a century before this, William of Normandy had conquered England,
and established the Norman sway in that realm. The great estates passed
into the hands of French chiefs and barons; and while nearly all the
higher ranks of society, at the period of which we speak, were French,
the other classes consisted of native Saxons. Between these distinct
races and orders, a natural jealousy existed, which was in no small
degree cherished by the laws and policy of the government, which tended
at once to oppress the people and extend the privileges of the nobles.

The game laws, which punished those who should kill game in the royal
forests, by putting out the eyes, and other mutilations, excited the
deepest indignation. The yeomanry of the country were, at this time,
universally trained in the use of the bow, and, notwithstanding the
severity of the laws, those living around the king's parks frequently
shot the game. These persons were so numerous, that they finally
associated together in considerable bands, for mutual protection. Many
of them devoted themselves entirely to robbing the parks, and became not
only skilful in the use of the bow, but familiar with the recesses and
hiding-places of the forests, and expert in every device, either for
plunder, concealment, or escape.

Of all the leaders of these several bands, Robin Hood became the most
famous; for he was not only bold and skilful in forest craft, but he
appears to have been guided by noble and patriotic sentiments. According
to one of the many ballads which set forth his adventures, he displayed
his courage and dexterity at a very early age.

  "Robin Hood would into Nottingham go,
    When the summer days were fine,
  And there he saw fifteen foresters bold,
    A drinking good ale and wine.

  'What news? what news?' said bold Robin Hood,
    'The news I fain would know;
  If our king hath ordered a shooting match,
    I am ready with my bow.'"

The foresters stared at him, and said, "We hold it a scorn for one so
young, presuming to bear a bow, who is not able to draw a string." "I'll
hold you twenty marks," said Robin, "that I will hit a mark a hundred
rods off, and cause a hart to die." "We hold you twenty marks, by our
lady's leave," replied the foresters, "that you neither hit the mark at
that distance, nor kill a hart."

  "Then Robin Hood bent his noble bow,
    And a broad arrow he let fly;
  He hit the mark a hundred rod,
    And he caused a hart to die.

  The hart did skip, and the hart did leap,
    And the hart lay on the ground;
  'The wager is mine,' said bold Robin Hood,
    'An' 'twere for a thousand pounds.'"

The foresters laughed, and taunted the proud archer, and also refused to
pay the twenty marks, and advised him to be gone, lest blows should
follow. He picked up his arrows and his bow, and was observed to smile
as he retired from these discourteous churls. When at some distance, he

  "Then Robin he bent his noble bow,
    And broad arrows he let flye;
  Till fourteen of these fifteen foresters
    Upon the ground did lye."

Sherwood forest, near Nottingham, was the chief theatre of Robin Hood's
achievements. At one time he had no less than a hundred archers at his
command, a gallant woodsman, by the name of Little John, being his
particular friend and favorite. There was also among the merry crew, a
mock friar, by the name of Tuck, who appears to have been full of mirth
and humor.

Robin's orders to his men were, always to spare the common people; to
aid and assist the weak; to be scrupulous never to injure or insult a
woman; to be the friend of the poor, the timid, and the oppressed; but
to plunder fat bishops, lazy friars, purse-proud squires, and haughty
barons. His system was, to take from the rich, and give to the poor;
and while he ever observed this rule himself, he enforced it rigorously
among all his followers. His history is full of details in which he
illustrates these principles.

Robin became so notorious at last, that a price was offered for his
apprehension, and several attempts were made to deliver him up; but his
courage and dexterity, or his faithful friends, always saved him. One of
the old ballads relates an adventure with a stout tinker, who, among
others, sought to capture the redoubted outlaw. According to this story,
Robin met him in the greenwood, and bade him good morrow; adding, "pray
where live ye, and what is your trade? I hear there are sad news
stirring." "Aye, indeed!" answered the other; "I am a tinker, and live
at Banbury, and the news of which you speak have not reached me."

  "'As for the news,' quoth Robin Hood,
    'It is but, as I hear,
  Two tinkers were set in the stocks,
    For drinking ale and beer.'

  'If that be all,' the tinker said,
    'As I may say to you,
  Your tidings are not worth a groat,
    So be they were all true.'"

"Well," said Robin, "I love ale and beer when they are good, with all my
heart, and so the fault of thy brethren is small: but I have told all my
news; now tell me thine."

  "'All the news I have,' the tinker said,
    'And they are news for good;
  It is to seek the bold outlaw,
    Whom men call Robin Hood.

  I have a warrant from the king,
    To take him where I can,
  And if you can tell me where he dwells,
    I will make of you a man.'"

"That I can readily do," replied the outlaw; "let me look at the
warrant." "Nay, nay," said the tinker, "I'll trust that with no man."
"Well," answered the other, "be it as you please; come with me, and I'll
show you Robin Hood." To accomplish this, Robin took him to an inn,
where the ale and wine were so good and plentiful, and the tinker so
thirsty, that he drank till he fell asleep; and when he awoke, he found
that the outlaw had not only left him to pay the reckoning, which was
beyond his means, but had stolen the king's warrant. "Where is my
friend?" exclaimed the tinker, starting up. "Your friend?" said mine
host; "why, men call him Robin Hood, and he meant you evil when he met
with you." The tinker left his working-bag and hammer as a pledge for
the reckoning, and, snatching up his crab-tree club, sallied out after
Robin. "You'll find him killing the king's deer, I'll be sworn," shouted
the landlord; and, accordingly, among the deer he found him. "What knave
art thou," said the outlaw, "that dare come so near the king of

  "'No knave, no knave,' the tinker said,
    'And that you soon shall know;
  Which of us have done most wrong,
    My crab-tree staff shall show.'

  Then Robin drew his gallant blade,
    Made of the trusty steel,
  But the tinker he laid on so fast,
    That he made Robin reel."

This raised the outlaw's wrath, and he exerted his skill and courage so
well, that the tinker more than once thought of flight; but the man of
Banbury was stubborn stuff, and at last drove Robin to ask a favor.

  "'A boon, a boon,' Robin he cries,
    'If thou wilt grant it me;'
  'Before I'll do 't,' the tinker said,
    'I'll hang thee on a tree.'

  But the tinker looking him about,
    Robin his horn did blow;
  Then unto him came Little John,
    And brave Will Scarlet too."

"Now what is the matter, master," said Little John, "that you sit thus
by the way-side?" "You may ask the tinker there," said Robin; "he hath
paid me soundly." "I must have a bout with him, then," said the other,
"and see if he can do as much for me." "Hold, hold," cried Robin; "the
tinker's a jovial fellow, and a stout."

  "'In manhood he's a mettled man,
    And a metal man by trade;
  Never thought I that any man
    Should have made me so afraid.

  And if he will be one of us,
    We will take all one fare;
  Of gold and good, whate'er we get,
    The tinker he shall share.'"

The tinker was not a man of many words; he nodded assent, and added
another bold forester to the ranks of the outlaw.

Robin and his friends were so sharply hunted by the sheriff of
Nottinghamshire, that they deemed it prudent to retire to the forests
of Barnesdale, where they gaily pursued their calling. Their
interference in church matters, in various ways, gave offence to his
reverence, the Bishop of Hereford, who declared that measures should be
taken to repress the insolence of the outlaw, and he promised to look
strictly into the matter the first time he chanced to be near
Barnesdale. It was on a sunny morning that Robin heard of the bishop's
approach, "with all his company," and his joy was excessive.

  "'Go, kill me a fat buck,' said bold Robin Hood,
    'Go slay me a fair fat deer;
  The Bishop of Hereford dines with me to-day,
    And he shall pay well for his cheer.'"

Accordingly, the deer was killed and skinned, and laid to the fire, and,
with six of his men habited like shepherds, Robin was pacing round and
round, as the wooden spit with its savory load revolved, when up came
the Bishop of Hereford, who halted, and exclaimed, "What is all this, my
masters? For whom do you make such a feast, and of the king's venison?
Verily, I must look into this." "We are shepherds, simple shepherds,
sir," replied the outlaw meekly. "We keep sheep the whole year round,
and as this is our holiday, we thought there was no harm in holding it
on one of the king's deer, of which there are plenty." "You are fine
fellows," said the bishop, "mighty fine fellows; but the king shall know
of your doings; so quit your roast, for to him you shall go, and that

  "'O pardon, pardon,' cried bold Robin Hood,
    'O pardon of thee I pray;
  O it ill becomes a holy bishop's coat,
    For to take men's lives away.'

  'No pardon, no pardon,' the bishop he said,
    'No pardon to thee I owe;
  Therefore make haste, for I swear by St. Paul
    Before the king you shall go.'"

Upon this, the outlaw sprung back against a tree, and setting his horn
to his mouth, made in a moment all the wood to ring. It was answered, as
usual, by the sudden appearance of threescore and ten of his comrades,
who, with Little John at their head, overpowered the bishop's guard, and
then inquired of Robin what was the matter that he blew a blast so sharp
and startling.

  "'O here is the Bishop of Hereford,
    And no pardon shall we have;'
  'Ho, cut off his head, then,' quoth Little John,
    'And I'll go make him a grave.'

  'O pardon, pardon,' then cried the bishop,
    'O pardon of thee I pray;
  O had I known that you were so near,
    I'd have gone some other way.'"

Now Robin had no pleasure in shedding blood, but he loved to enjoy the
terrors of those whom he captured: and to keep them in suspense, while
he feasted them on the best, was a favorite practice of his. It was in
this spirit that he now spoke:

  "'No pardon, no pardon,' said bold Robin Hood,
    'No pardon to thee I owe;
  Therefore make haste, for I swear by my bow
    That to Barnesdale with me you go.'

  Then Robin he took the bishop by the hand,
    And led him to merry Barnesdale,
  And he supped that night in the clear moonlight,
    On the good red wine and ale."

How this was to end, the bishop seems to have had a guess. The parody
which the outlaw made on his threats of carrying him to the king, showed
that he was in a pleasant mood; and the venison collops, and the wine
and ale, all evinced a tendency to mercy; of which, as it was now late,
he took advantage. "I wish, mine host," said the bishop, with a sort of
grave good-nature, "that you would call a reckoning; it is growing late,
and I begin to fear that the cost of such an entertainment will be
high." Here Little John interposed, for Robin affected great ignorance
in domestic matters, leaving the task of fleecing his guests to his
expert dependents. "Lend me your purse, master," said his scrupulous
deputy to the bishop, "and I'll tell you all by-and-by."

  "Then Little John took the bishop's cloak,
    And spread it upon the ground,
  And out of the bishop's portmanteau
    He told three hundred pound.

  'Here's gold enough, master,' said Little John,
    ''Tis a comely thing for to see;
  It puts me in charity with the good bishop,
    Though he heartily loveth not me.'

  Robin Hood took the bishop by the hand,
    And causing the music to play,
  He made the good bishop to dance in his boots,
    And glad he could so get away."

If we may put trust in ballad and song, the loss of the three hundred
pounds dwelt on the bishop's mind, and at the head of a fair company he
went in quest of his entertainer. He had well nigh taken Robin by
surprise, for he was upon him before he was aware; but the outlaw
escaped into an old woman's house, to whom he called, "Save my life; I
am Robin Hood, and here comes the bishop, to take me and hang me." "Aye,
that I will," said the old woman, "and not the less willingly that you
gave me hose and shoon, when I greatly needed them." It was thus that
the robber always found friends among the poor, for he was uniformly
their protector and benefactor.

According to one of the ballads, king Edward had become deeply incensed
against Robin, and went to Nottingham to bring him to justice. But in
vain did he seek to get a sight of him; at last, however, dressed in the
disguise of a monk, he met him, and dined with him and his merry men in
the forest. After a time, the king was recognised by the outlaw, who
bent his knee in homage, and, upon an assurance of safety, went with him
to Nottingham, where he was nobly entertained, in the midst of the
court. He soon, however, became sick of this kind of life, and joyfully
returned to the greenwood.

But there is no safeguard against the approach of death. Time and toil
began to do with Robin Hood all that they do with lesser spirits. One
morning he had tried his shafts, and found that they neither flew so far
as they were wont, nor with their usual accuracy of aim; and he thus
addressed Little John, the most faithful of his companions:--

  "'I am not able to shoot a shot more,
    Mine arrows refuse to flee;
  But I have a cousin lives down below,
    Who, please God, will bleed me.'"

Now this cousin was prioress of Kirkley Nunnery, in Yorkshire, and seems
to have had no good-will to Robin, whom she doubtless regarded as a
godless and graceless person, who plundered church and churchmen, and
set laws, both sacred and profane, at defiance.

  "Now Robin is to fair Kirkley gone,
    He knocked low at the ring;
  And none came there save his cousin dear,
    To let bold Robin in.

  'Thrice welcome now, cousin Robin,' she said;
    'Come drink some wine with me;'
  'No, cousin, I'll neither eat nor drink
    Till I blooded am by thee.'"

She took him to a lonely room, and bled him, says the ballad, till one
drop more refused to run: then she locked him in the place, with the
vein unbound, and left him to die. This was in the morning; and the day
was near the close, when Robin, thinking the prioress was long in
returning, tried to rise, but was unable, and, bethinking him of his
bugle when it was too late, snatched it up, and blew three blasts. "My
master must be very ill," said Little John, "for he blows wearily," and,
hurrying to the nunnery, was refused admittance; but, "breaking locks
two or three," he found Robin all but dead, and, falling on his knee,
begged as a boon to be allowed to "burn Kirkley Hall, with all its
nunnery." "Nay, nay," replied Robin, "I never hurt a woman in all my
life, nor yet a man in woman's company. As it has been during my life,
so shall it be at my end."

  "'But give me my bent bow in my hand,
    A broad arrow I'll let flee,
  And where this shaft doth chance to fall,
    There shall my grave digged be.

  And lay my bent bow by my side,
    Which was my music sweet;
  And cover my grave with sod so green,
    As is both right and meet.

  And let me have breadth and length enough,
    By the side of yon green wood,
  That men may say, when they look on it,
    Here lies bold Robin Hood.'"

Having given these directions, he died, and was buried as he directed,
under some fine trees near Kirkley, and a stone with an inscription was
laid on the grave. Little John, it is said, survived only to see his
master buried. His burial-place is claimed by Scotland as well as by
England; but tradition inclines to the grave in the church-yard of

The bond of union which had held his men so long together, was now
broken; some made their peace with the government, others fled to
foreign parts, and nothing remained of Robin Hood but a name which is to
be found in history, in the drama, in ballads, in songs, in sayings, and
in proverbs.




This hero of the American Revolution was born on the 6th of July, 1747,
on the estate of Arbigland, in the parish of Kirkbean, Scotland. His
father was a gardener, whose name was Paul, but the son assumed that of
Jones, after his settlement in America. The birthplace of young Paul was
a bold promontory, jutting into the sea, and was well calculated to
excite a love of the briny element, for which he soon displayed a
decided predilection.

At the age of twelve, he was bound apprentice to a merchant of
Whitehaven, in the American trade. He soon after went to sea, in a
vessel bound for Virginia. While in port, he spent his time on shore
with his brother William, who was a respectable planter in the colony.
He devoted himself to the study of navigation and other subjects
connected with the profession he had chosen. These he pursued with great
steadiness, displaying those habits of industrious application, which
raised him to the distinguished place he afterwards attained. His good
conduct secured him the respect of his employers, and he rose rapidly in
his profession.

At the age of nineteen, he had become the chief mate of the Two Friends,
a slave ship, belonging to Jamaica. At this period, the traffic in
slaves was exceedingly profitable, and was followed without scruple or
reproach by the most respectable merchants of Bristol and Liverpool. But
young Paul had pursued this business for only a short time, when he
became so shocked and sickened at the misery which it inflicted upon the
negroes, that he left it forever in disgust.

In 1768, he sailed from Jamaica for Scotland, as a passenger. Both the
master and mate dying of fever on the voyage, he assumed the command,
and arrived safely at port. Gratified by his conduct, the owners placed
him on board the brig John, as master and supercargo, and despatched him
to the West Indies. He made a second voyage in the same vessel, during
which he inflicted punishment on the carpenter, named Maxwell, for
mutinous conduct. As Maxwell died of fever, soon after, Paul was
charged, by persons who envied his rising reputation, with having
caused his death by excessive punishment. This has been since abundantly
disproved. Paul continued some time in the West India trade, but in
1773, he went to Virginia to arrange the affairs of his brother William,
who had died without children, leaving no will. His brother was reported
to have left a large estate; but as Paul was, soon after, in a state of
penury, it is probable that this was a mistake. He now devoted himself
to agriculture, but his planting operations do not seem to have

The American Revolution soon broke out, and considering himself a
settled resident of the country, he determined to take her part in the
bloody struggle which was about to follow. Impelled by a noble
enthusiasm for the cause of liberty, a spirit of adventure, and a
chivalrous thirst for glory, he offered his services to Congress, which
were accepted, and he was commissioned as a lieutenant in the navy, in
December, 1775. At this time, he bore the name of Jones, which he had
perhaps assumed to conceal his conduct from his family, who might be
pained to know that one of their name had taken part against England.

Jones was appointed first lieutenant of the Alfred, a flag-ship, and
when the commander-in-chief came on board, he hoisted the American flag,
with his own hands, being the first time it was ever displayed. At that
time, the flag is said to have borne a device, representing a pine tree,
with a rattlesnake coiled at the root, as if about to strike. The
standard of the stars and stripes was not adopted till nearly two years

At this period, our hero was in the twenty-ninth year of his age. His
figure was light, graceful and active, yet his health was good, his
constitution vigorous, and he was capable of great endurance. There was
in his countenance an expression of mingled sternness and melancholy,
and his bearing was decidedly officer-like.

The first American squadron fitted out during the revolution, sailed in
1776. Jones was on board the Alfred in this expedition, but subsequently
received the command of the sloop of war Providence. In this he cruised
along the coast, meeting with a variety of adventures, in which he
displayed admirable skill and coolness of conduct. On one occasion, he
was chased by the British frigate Milford, off the Isle of Sable.
Finding his vessel the faster of the two, he hovered near the frigate,
yet beyond the reach of her shot. She, however, continued to pour forth
her broadsides. This excited the contempt of Jones, and, with a humor
peculiar to himself, he ordered the blustering battery of the frigate to
be answered by a single shot from the musket of a marine.

Jones pursued his career with great industry and success. He seemed to
glide over the seas like a hawk, passing rapidly from point to point,
and pouncing upon such prey as he could master. Some of his feats
resemble the prodigies of the days of chivalry. He seemed to court
adventure and to sport with danger, yet a cool discretion presided over
his conduct. In the year 1776, he captured no less than sixteen prizes
in the space of six weeks.

Notwithstanding these signal services, Jones was superseded in the
command of the Alfred, probably through the mean jealousy of Commodore
Hopkins. There is, perhaps, no higher proof of elevation of character
than is furnished by a calm and dignified endurance of injustice and
ingratitude. This evidence was afforded by Jones, who, while he
remonstrated against the injury that was done him, steadily adhered to
the cause he had espoused, and exerted his abilities to the utmost to
bear it forward with success. His letters of this period are full of
enlightened views on the subject of naval affairs, and of hearty zeal in
the cause of liberty. They show that his mind was far above mere
personal considerations, and that even with statesman-like sagacity he
looked forward to the establishment of a naval power in the United
States, suited to the exigencies of the country.

The time for a recognition of his services speedily arrived. In 1777, he
received orders from Congress to proceed in the French merchant ship
Amphitrite, with officers and seamen, to take command of a heavy ship,
to be provided for him by the American commissioners, Franklin, Dean and
Lee, on his arrival in Europe. These he met at Paris, and arrangements
were made by which he received the command of the Ranger, in which he
sailed from Brest, on the 10th of April, 1778.

An insight into the views of Jones, at this period, as well as his
general character, may be gathered from the following extract from one
of his letters:--"I have in contemplation several enterprises of some
importance. When an enemy thinks a design against him improbable, he can
always be surprised and attacked with advantage. It is true, I must run
great risk, but no gallant action was ever performed without danger.
Therefore, though I cannot ensure success, I will endeavor to deserve

In fulfilment of these views, he set sail, and in four days after,
captured and burnt a brigantine loaded with flaxseed, near Cape Clear.
On the 17th, he took a ship bound for Dublin, which he manned and
ordered to Brest. On the 19th, he took and sunk a schooner; on the 20th,
a sloop; and soon after, made a daring, but unsuccessful attempt to
capture, by surprise, the English sloop of war Drake, of twenty guns,
lying in the loch of Belfast.

On the 22d, he determined to attack Whitehaven, with which he was of
course well acquainted. The number of ships lying here amounted to two
hundred and fifty, and were protected by two batteries, mounting thirty
pieces of artillery. The attack was made in the dead of night, and while
the unsuspecting inhabitants lay wrapped in repose. Roused to this
daring enterprise by the fires, massacres, and ravages inflicted by the
British forces upon the unprotected inhabitants of the American coast,
and determined to check them by one signal and fearful act of
retaliation, Jones pursued his measures with a stern and daring hand.

He proceeded, in the first place, to secure the forts, which were
scaled, the soldiers made prisoners, and the guns spiked. He now
despatched the greater portion of his men to set fire to the shipping,
while he proceeded with a single follower to another fort, the guns of
which he spiked. On returning to the ships, he found, to his
mortification, that his orders had not been obeyed, from a reluctance,
on the part of the seamen, to perform the task assigned them. One ship
only was destroyed, which was set on fire by Jones himself.

Greatly disappointed at the partial failure of his scheme, Jones
proceeded to the Scottish shore, for the purpose of carrying off the
person of the Earl of Selkirk, whose gardener his father had been. The
earl, however, was absent, and this part of the design failed. His men,
however, proceeded to the earl's residence, and carried off his plate.
Lady Selkirk was present, but she was treated with respect. Jones took
no part in this enterprise, and only consented to it upon the urgent
demands of his crew.

By this time, the people on both sides of the Irish channel were
thoroughly roused by the daring proceedings of the Ranger. On the
morning of the 24th April, Jones was hovering near Belfast, and the
Drake worked out of the bay, to meet him. She had on board a large
number of volunteers, making her crew amount to one hundred and sixty
men. Alarm smokes were now seen rising on both sides of the channel, and
several vessels loaded with people, curious to witness the coming
engagement, were upon the water. As evening was approaching, however,
they prudently put back.

Soon after, the two vessels met, and Jones poured in his first
broadside. This was returned with energy, and a fearful conflict ensued.
Running broadside and broadside, the most deadly fire was kept up. At
last, after the struggle had been sustained at close quarters for more
than an hour, the captain of the Drake was shot through the head, and
his crew called for quarter. The loss of the Drake, in killed and
wounded, was forty-two, while the Ranger had one seaman killed and seven

This victory was the more remarkable as the Drake carried twenty guns,
and the Ranger but eighteen, and moreover belonged to a regular navy;
while the Ranger was fitted up with little experience and under few
advantages. Jones now set sail with his prize, and both vessels arrived
safely at Brest, on the 8th May. Immediately after, Jones despatched a
very romantic epistle to Lady Selkirk, apologizing for the violence that
had been committed at the estate of the earl, and explaining the motives
of his conduct. He promised to return the plate, which he afterwards
accomplished with infinite difficulty.

It eventually reached England, though some years after, in the same
condition in which it had been taken; even the tea leaves in the tea-pot
remaining as they were found. An acknowledgment of its receipt, by the
earl, was sent to Jones, with a recognition of the courteous behavior of
the Ranger's crew when they landed on Saint Mary's Isle.

Being now at Brest with two hundred prisoners of war, Jones became
involved in a variety of troubles, for want of means to support them,
pay his crew and refit his ship. After many delays and vexations, he
sailed from the road of Saint Croix, August 14, 1779, with a squadron of
seven sail, designing to annoy the coasts of England and Scotland. The
principal occurrence of this cruise was the capture of the British ship
of war Serapis, after a bloody and desperate engagement, off Flamborough
Head, September 23, 1779. The Serapis was a vessel much superior in
force to Jones' vessel, the Bon Homme Richard, which sunk not long after
the termination of the engagement.

The sensation produced by this battle was unexampled, and raised the
fame of Jones to its height. In a letter to him, Franklin says, "For
some days after the arrival of your express, scarce anything was talked
of at Paris and Versailles but your cool conduct and persevering bravery
during that terrible conflict. You may believe that the impression on my
mind was not less than on that of the others. But I do not choose to
say, in a letter to yourself, all I think on such an occasion."

His reception at Paris, whither he went on the invitation of Franklin,
was of the most flattering kind. He was everywhere caressed; the king
presented him with a gold sword, and requested permission of Congress to
invest him with the military order of merit--an honor never conferred on
any one before, who had not borne arms under the commission of France.

In 1781, Jones sailed for the United States, and arrived in
Philadelphia, February 18, of that year, after a variety of escapes and
encounters, where he underwent a sort of examination before the board of
admiralty, which resulted greatly to his honor. The board gave it as
their opinion, "that the conduct of Paul Jones merits particular
attention, and some distinguished mark of approbation from Congress."
That body accordingly passed a resolution highly complimentary to his
"zeal, prudence, and intrepidity." General Washington wrote him a letter
of congratulation, and he was afterwards voted a gold medal by Congress.

From Philadelphia, he went to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to superintend
the building of a ship of war, and, while there, drew up some admirable
observations on the subject of the American navy. By permission of
Congress, he subsequently went on board the French fleet, where he
remained until the peace, which put a period to his naval career in the
service of the United States. He then went to Paris as agent for prize
money, and while there, joined in a plan to establish a fur-trade
between the north-west coast of America and China, in conjunction with a
kindred spirit, the celebrated John Ledyard.

In Paris he continued to be treated with the greatest distinction. He
afterwards was invited into the Russian service, with the rank of
rear-admiral, where he was disappointed in not receiving the command of
the fleet acting against the Turks in the Black Sea. He condemned the
conduct of the prince of Nassau, the admiral; became restless and
impatient; was intrigued against at court, and calumniated by his
enemies; and had permission from the empress Catherine to retire from
the service with a pension, which, however, was never paid. He returned
to Paris, where he gradually sunk into poverty, neglect and ill health,
and finally died of dropsy, July 18, 1792.



Thomaso Aniello, called by corruption Masaniello, was born at Amalfi, in
Italy, about the year 1622. He established himself at Naples, where he
obtained a living by catching and vending fish. At this period, Naples
belonged to Spain, and the Duke D'Arcos governed it as viceroy. The city
was suffering under many political evils. Its treasures went to Spain,
and its youth were sent to fill up the ranks of the Spanish army; and
both were wasted in ruinous wars, for the ambition and selfish views of
a distant court.

In addition to all this, the people were oppressed with taxes, and
outraged by the wanton tyranny of the officers of a foreign power. At
last, in the year 1647, the Duke D'Arcos, in order to defray the
expenses of a war against France, laid a tax on fruit and vegetables,
the common articles of food of the Neapolitan people. This edict
occasioned the greatest ferment, especially among the poorer
inhabitants. Masaniello, who was now about twenty-five years of age, and
a great favorite at the market-place, on account of his natural
quickness and humor, denounced the tax in no measured terms. He seems to
have perceived and felt the despotism that oppressed the people, and
was, moreover, incited to opposition by an event which touched him

His wife was one day arrested, as she was entering the city, attempting
to smuggle a small quantity of flour,--an article which bore a heavy
tax. She was accordingly, seized and imprisoned; nor could Masaniello
obtain her release, but upon paying a considerable sum. Thus the fire
which was soon to burst forth into conflagration was already kindling in
his soul. Opportunity was only wanting, and this was soon offered.

Masaniello was at the head of a troop of young men who were preparing
for the great festival of our Lady of the Carmel, by exhibiting sham
combats, and a mock attack on a wooden castle. On the 7th July, 1647, he
and his juvenile troops were standing in the market-place, where, in
consequence of the obnoxious tax, but few countrymen had come with the
produce of their gardens. The people looked sullen and dissatisfied. A
dispute arose between a countryman and a customer who had bought some
figs, as to which of the two was to bear the burden of the tax.

The _eletto_, a municipal magistrate, acting as provost of the trade,
being appealed to, decided against the countryman; upon which the
latter, in a rage, upset the basket of figs upon the pavement. A crowd
soon collected round the man, who was cursing the tax and the
tax-gatherer. Masaniello ran to the spot, crying out, "No taxes, no more
taxes!" The cry was caught and repeated by a thousand voices. The
_eletto_ tried to speak to the multitude, but Masaniello threw a bunch
of figs in his face; the rest of the people fell upon him, and he and
his attendants escaped with difficulty.

Masaniello then addressed the people round him in a speech of coarse,
hot, fiery eloquence; he described their common grievances and miseries,
and pointed out the necessity of putting a stop to the oppression and
avarice of their rulers. "The Neapolitan people," said he, "must pay no
more taxes!" The people cried out, "Let Masaniello be our chief!"

The crowd now set itself in motion, with Masaniello at their head; it
rolled onward, increasing its numbers at every step. Their rage first
fell on the toll-houses and booths of the tax collectors, which were
burned, and next on the houses and palaces of those who had farmed the
taxes, or otherwise supported the obnoxious system. Armed with such
weapons as they could procure from the gunsmiths and others, they
proceeded to the viceroy's palace, forced their way in spite of the
guards; and Masaniello and others, his companions, having reached the
viceroy's presence, peremptorily demanded the abolition of all taxes.

The viceroy assented to this; but the tumult increasing, he tried to
escape, was personally ill-treated, and at last contrived, by throwing
money among the rioters, to withdraw himself into the castle. The
palaces were emptied of their furniture, which was carried into the
midst of the square, and there burnt by Masaniello's directions. He was
now saluted by acclamation, as "Captain General of the Neapolitan
people." A platform was immediately raised in the square, and he entered
upon the duties of his office.

The revolution was soon complete, and Naples, the metropolis of many
fertile provinces, the queen of many noble cities, the resort of
princes, of cavaliers, and of heroes;--Naples, inhabited by more than
six hundred thousand souls, abounding in all kinds of resources,
glorying in its strength, and proud of its wealth--saw itself forced in
one short day to yield to a man esteemed one of its meanest sons, such
obedience as in all its history it had never before shown to the
mightiest of its legitimate sovereigns.

In a few hours, the fisherman found himself at the head of one hundred
and fifty thousand men; in a few hours, there was no will in Naples but
his; and in a few hours, it was freed from all sorts of taxes and
restored to its ancient privileges. In a short space, the fishing wand
was exchanged for the truncheon of command; the sea-boy's jacket for
cloth of silver and gold. He set about his new duties with astonishing
vigor; he caused the town to be entrenched; he placed sentinels to guard
it against danger from without, and he established a system of police
within, which awed the worst banditti in the world, into fear.

Armies passed in review before him; even fleets owned his sway. He
dispensed punishments and rewards with the like liberal hand; the bad he
kept in awe; the disaffected he paralyzed; the wavering he resolved by
exhortation; the bold were encouraged by incitements; the valiant were
made more valiant by his approbation. Obeyed in whatever he commanded,
gratified in whatever he desired, never was there a chief more absolute,
never was an absolute chief, for a time, more powerful. He ordered that
all the nobles and cavaliers should deliver up their arms to such
officers as he should give commission to receive them. The order was
obeyed. He ordered that all men of all ranks should go without cloaks or
gowns, or wide cassocks, or any other sort of loose dress, under which
arms might be concealed; nay, that even the women, for the same reason,
should throw aside their farthingales, and tuck up their gowns somewhat

This order changed in an instant the whole fashions of the people; not
even the proudest and the fairest of Naples' daughters daring to
dispute, in the least, the pleasure of the people's idol. Nor was it
over the high and noble alone, that he exercised this unlimited
ascendancy. The fierce democracy were as acquiescent as the titled few.
On one occasion, when the people in vast numbers were assembled, he
commanded, with a loud voice, that every one present should, under the
penalty of death, retire to his home. The multitude instantly
dispersed. On another, he put his finger on his mouth, to command
silence; in a moment, every voice was hushed. At a sign from him, all
the bells tolled and the people shouted "_Vivas!_" at another, they all
became mute.

Yet the reign of this prodigy of power was short, lasting only from the
7th till the 16th of July, 1647; when he perished, the victim of another
political revolution. His sudden rise, and the multiplicity of affairs
that crowded upon him, began to derange his intellect. He complained of
sensations like that of boiling lead, in his head; he became suspicious,
wavering and cruel. In a fit of frenzy he went to one of the churches
and talked incoherently to the multitude. He was taken by the priests to
an adjoining convent, and advised to rest and calm himself. After
reposing for a time, he arose, and stood looking forth upon the tranquil
bay of Naples, no doubt thinking of happier days, when, as a poor
fisherman, he glided out contented upon its bosom--when all at once a
cry was heard, of "Masaniello!" At the same instant armed men appeared
at the cell door. "Here am I,--O, my people want me," said he. The
discharge of guns was their only reply; and the victim fell, exclaiming,
"Ungrateful traitors!" His head was now cut off, fixed on a pole, and
carried to the viceroy, while the body was dragged through the streets
and thrown into a ditch, by those who had followed it with acclamations
a few hours before!


Nicholas Gabrine de Rienzi was a native of Rome, and son of one of the
lowest order of tavernkeepers. He was, however, well educated, and early
distinguished himself by his talents and the elevation of his
sentiments. The glory of ancient Rome excited his enthusiasm, and he
soon came to be regarded by the people as destined to rescue them from
the despotism of the aristocracy that ruled the city.

The pope, Clement VI., had removed the papal see from Rome to Avignon,
in France, leaving the people under the sway of certain noble families,
who exercised every species of brutal and insolent tyranny towards their
inferiors. Rienzi saw this, and he felt all the indignation which a
generous sympathy for the oppressed could excite. His sentiments being
known, he was appointed, in 1346, among others, to proceed to Avignon,
and exhort the pope to bring back the papal court to its original seat.
He acted, on this occasion, with so much energy and eloquence, that the
pope, though he refused compliance with the request, conferred upon him
the office of apostolic notary, which, on his return, he executed with
the strictest probity.

It appears that Rienzi had long meditated some great effort for the
liberation of his countrymen. He now lost no opportunity to instruct the
people in their rights, and stir up indignation against their
oppressors. Having prepared men's minds for a change, and having
secretly engaged persons of all orders in his designs, he proceeded to
put them in execution. In April, 1347, Stephen Colonna, a nobleman, who
was governor of Rome, being absent from the city, Rienzi secretly
assembled his followers upon Mount Aventine, and, by an energetic
speech, induced them all to subscribe an oath for the establishment of a
new government, to be entitled the _Good Estate_.

Proceeding now with more boldness, another assembly was held in the
capital; a constitution of fifteen articles was produced and ratified,
and Rienzi was pronounced Tribune by acclamation, with the power of life
and death, and all the attributes of sovereignty. Colonna returned, and
threatened him with punishment; but the power had changed hands, and
Colonna himself was obliged to fly. Rienzi proceeded in the exercise of
his authority with strict justice. Some of the more culpable nobles were
executed, and others banished.

The power of the new tribune was established, and his reputation
extended throughout Italy. His friendship was solicited by kings and
princes; the pope sanctioned his authority, and even Petrarch, the
immortal poet, addressed him letters, which are still extant, bestowing
upon him eloquent praise, and urging him to perseverance in his glorious
career. But, unhappily, there was a weakness in Rienzi's character,
which disqualified him for this giddy elevation. Intoxicated with the
possession of supreme power, and the flatteries bestowed upon him, he
became capricious and tyrannical, and, in short, commenced a reign of

His descent was as rapid as his rise; soon finding that he had lost the
affection of the people, in 1348, he withdrew for safety to Naples. Two
years after, during a public jubilee at Rome, he secretly returned to
that city, but being discovered, he withdrew to Prague. He now fell into
the hands of Pope Clement, who kept him in prison for three years. His
successor, Innocent VI., caused him to be released, and sent him to
Rome, to oppose another demagogue, named Boroncelli.

The Romans received him with joy, and he suddenly recovered his former
authority. But he was still a tyrant, and after a turbulent
administration of a few months, another sedition was excited against
him, and he was stabbed to the heart. The fickle people now bestowed
every indignity upon the senseless remains of him, whom they had almost
worshipped a few weeks before. Such was the career of Rienzi, who was
endowed with noble sentiments and remarkable eloquence, but was
deficient in that steadiness of mind and firmness of principle, which
are necessary to the just exercise of unlimited sway.




Alexander Selkirk was born at Largo, Scotland, in 1676, and bred to the
sea. Having engaged in the half piratical, half exploring voyages in the
American seas, into which the spirit of adventure had led so many
Englishmen, he quarrelled with his captain, one Straddling, by whom he
was left ashore, September, 1704, on the uninhabited island of Juan
Fernandez, with a few books, his nautical instruments, a knife, boiler,
axe, gun, powder and ball. These constituted his whole equipment.

The island of Juan Fernandez lies in the Pacific Ocean, and is about
three hundred and thirty miles west of Chili. It is twelve miles long
and six wide. It is beautifully diversified with hills and valleys, and
has been long resorted to for water, fruits, and game, by vessels
navigating the Pacific Ocean. Upon this island, Selkirk now found
himself alone. He saw the vessel depart with sadness and sickness at
heart. His emotions of terror and loneliness overwhelmed him for a time,
and he remained in a state of stupor and inactivity.

But these feelings gradually faded away, and though his situation was
appalling, he concluded to make the best of it. He now set about
erecting himself two huts, one of which served him for a kitchen, the
other for a dining-room and bed-chamber. The pimento wood supplied him
with fire and candles, burning very clearly, and yielding a most
fragrant smell. The roofs of his huts were covered with long grass.

The island was stocked with wild goats. He supplied himself with meat by
shooting these, so long as his ammunition lasted. When this was
exhausted, he caught them by running; and so practised was he at last in
this exercise, that the swiftest goat on the island was scarcely a match
for him. When his clothes were worn out, he made himself a covering of
goat-skins. After a short space, he had no shoes, and was obliged to go
barefoot; his feet, however, became so callous, that he did not seem to
need them.

Soon after he had become settled in his hut, he was annoyed by rats,
which became so bold as to gnaw his clothes and nibble at his feet while
he slept. However, the same ships which had supplied the island with
rats, had left some cats ashore. Some of these, Selkirk domesticated,
and the rats were taught to keep themselves at a distance. He caught
also some young goats, which he reared, and amused himself by teaching
them to dance and perform many other tricks. During his stay upon the
island, Selkirk caught and killed nearly five hundred goats. A few he
set at liberty, having cropped their ears. Thirty years after, Lord
Anson's crew shot a goat upon the island, and found its ears marked in
the manner described.

Selkirk generally enjoyed good health, but in one case he nearly lost
his life by accident. In the eager pursuit of a goat among the
mountains, he fell over a precipice, and lay there for some time in a
state of insensibility. On recovering his senses, he found the animal
which had caused his fall, lying dead beneath him.

Selkirk often saw vessels pass by the island, and made frequent, but
vain attempts to hail them. At length, after he had lived here in
perfect solitude for four years and four months, he was taken off by an
English vessel, commanded by Captain Rogers. This occurred in February,
1709. Although he felt great joy at his deliverance, he still manifested
much difficulty in recovering his speech, and in returning to such food
as he found on board the ship. It was a long time before he could again
accustom himself to shoes.

Captain Rogers made him a mate of his ship, and he returned to England
in 1711. It has been supposed that he gave his papers to De Foe, who
wove, out of his adventures, the admirable story of Robinson Crusoe. It
appears, however, that he made little use of Selkirk's narrative, beyond
the mere idea of a man living alone for several years upon an
uninhabited island.




This celebrated financial projector was born at Edinburgh, in April,
1671. His father was a goldsmith, and gave him a liberal education. He
made considerable progress in polite literature, but his favorite study
was finance as connected with national prosperity.

In 1694, he visited London, where his talents and accomplishments gained
him access to the first circles. He possessed an easy address, with an
elegant person, and being a favorite with the fair, he acquired some
notoriety in fashionable life. He became involved in a duel, in which he
killed his antagonist, and was consequently committed to prison. He
contrived, however, to escape, and took refuge on the continent.

In 1700, he returned to Edinburgh, where he broached a scheme for
removing the difficulties which then existed in consequence of the
scarcity of money and the failure of the banks. Having confounded
currency with credit, he adopted the notion that paper money, equal to
the whole property of the nation, might safely be issued. Upon this
egregious error, his project was founded, and was, of course, rejected
by his wary and sagacious countrymen.

Law now visited the principal cities of Europe; his address gaining him
admittance to the highest circles in all countries. He finally settled
in Paris, and was there during the regency of the Duke of Orleans, as
guardian of Louis XV. The government of France was then on the verge of
bankruptcy, in consequence of the enormous expenditures of Louis XIV.
Law now brought forward his schemes for a free supply of money, and they
were seized upon with avidity.

He established a bank, for which, a royal charter was granted in 1718.
It was first composed of twelve hundred shares, of three thousand livres
each, but the number was afterwards increased and the price reduced.
This bank became the office at which all public moneys were received. A
Mississippi company was also attached to it, which had grants of land in
Louisiana, and which was expected to realize immense sums by planting
and commerce. One privilege after another was granted, until the
prospects of advantage appeared to be so great that crowds came forward
to make investments in the stock of what was called the Mississippi

Thousands embarked in the scheme with enthusiasm. The shares were
greedily bought up, and such was the rage for speculation, that even the
unimproved parts of the new colony were actually sold for thirty
thousand livres the square league! But the delusion did not stop here.
In consequence of the company promising an annual dividend of two
hundred livres per share, the price rose from five hundred and fifty to
five thousand livres, and the mania for purchasing the stock spread over
the nation like a tempest. Every class, clergy and laity, peers and
plebeians, statesmen and princes,--nay, even ladies, who had, or could
produce money for that purpose, turned stock-jobbers, outbidding each
other with such avidity, that, in November, 1719, after some
fluctuations, the price of shares rose to more than sixty times the sum
for which they were originally sold!

Law was now at the pinnacle of his fame. He was considered a man of so
great consequence, that his levee was constantly crowded by persons of
eminence, who flocked to Paris to partake of the golden shower. On one
occasion, he was taken sick, and such was the feverish state of the
public mind, that the shares of the company immediately fell nearly
eight per cent., and, upon the rumor of his convalescence, immediately
rose, even beyond their former price.

But the mighty bubble, now inflated to the utmost, was about to burst.
On the 21st of April, 1719, a royal order, under pretence of a previous
depreciation of the value of coin, declared it necessary to reduce the
nominal value of bank notes to one half, and the shares of the
Mississippi Company from nine thousand to five thousand livres. It is
not possible to describe the calamitous effects which immediately
followed, throughout France. The bank notes could not be circulated for
more than one tenth of their nominal value. Another order was issued,
intended to counteract the effect of the first; but the charm was
broken, and nothing could restore the confidence of the public. All was
panic and confusion. Bank notes were refused in all transactions of
business, and even a royal order, commanding their acceptance, was of no
avail. The public alarm was carried to its height, and at last the bank
suspended the payment of its notes.

The splendid scheme had now exploded; the institution was bankrupt, and
the shares were utterly worthless. Thousands of families, once wealthy,
were suddenly reduced to indigence. The indignation of the public was
speedily turned against the chief instrument of these delusions, and Law
found it necessary to seek safety by flight. He resided, for some time,
in different places in Germany, and settled at length in Venice, where
he died, in 1729.



Frederick, Baron Trenck was born in Konigsberg, in Prussia, on the 16th
February, 1726, of one of the most ancient families of the country. His
father, who died in 1740, with the rank of major-general of cavalry,
bestowed particular care on the education of his son, and sent him, at
the age of thirteen, to the university of his native city, where he made
a rapid progress in his studies. He soon began to manifest that
impetuous disposition and those violent passions, which were probably
the source of his subsequent misfortunes. By the time he was sixteen, he
had been engaged in three duels, in each of which he wounded his

He went into the army at an early period, and soon obtained the notice
and favor of the king. When arrived at manhood, he was remarkable for
personal beauty and mingled grace and dignity of bearing. Being
stationed at Berlin, he became acquainted with the Princess Amelia,
sister of Frederick the Great, and a mutual attachment followed. This
became a subject of conversation, and soon reached the ears of
Frederick. He warned Trenck to break off his intercourse with the
princess; but this being unheeded, the king sent him to Glatz, under
some pretext, and caused him to be imprisoned.

His confinement soon became insupportable to his impatient temper, and
he resolved to avail himself of the first opportunity of escape. The
window of his apartment looked toward the city, and was ninety feet from
the ground, in the tower of the citadel. With a notched penknife, he
sawed through three iron bars, and with a file, procured from one of the
officers, he effected a passage through five more, which barricaded the
windows. This done, he cut his leathern portmanteau into thongs, sewed
them end to end, added the sheets of his bed, and safely descended from
the astonishing height.

The night was dark, and everything seemed to promise success; but a
circumstance he had never considered was, that he had to wade through
moats full of mud, before he could enter the city. He sunk up to the
knees, and, after long struggling and incredible efforts to extricate
himself, he was obliged to call the sentinel, and desire him to go and
tell the governor that Trenck was stuck fast in the ditch!

After the failure of several other attempts, he finally succeeded in
effecting his escape, and fled to Vienna. From thence, he went to St.
Petersburg, where he was received with the highest distinction, and the
road to honors and emoluments was laid open before him. But at this
period, the death of a wealthy cousin in Austria, induced him to return
thither. Here, an immense property slipped through his hands, in
consequence of some legal flaws.

In 1754, his mother died, from whose estate he received a considerable
sum. With a view to the settlement of her affairs, he went to Dantzic,
not permitting his name to be known. He was, however, betrayed into the
hands of Frederick's officers, and being conveyed to the castle of
Magdeburg, was immured in a dungeon, and loaded with irons.

Round his neck was a broad band of iron, to the ring of which his chains
were suspended. These were of such weight, that, when he stood up, he
was obliged to sustain them with his hands, to prevent being strangled.
Various other massive irons were riveted to his body, and the whole were
fastened to a thick staple, which was set in the stone wall. Under this
staple was a seat of bricks, and on the opposite side a water jug.
Beneath his feet was a tombstone, with the name of Trenck carved over a
death's head.

His confinement in this dreadful cell continued for nine years and five
months. In vain did he attempt to bribe the sentinels, and by other
ingenious means, to effect his escape. His furniture consisted of a
bedstead, a mattress, and a small stove. His food was a pound and a half
of mouldy bread and a jug of water a day. He was permitted to hold no
intercourse with any one except his keepers, and even these returned no
answer to his thousand questions.

Such, however, were the vigor of his constitution and the elasticity of
his spirits, that, amid the gloomy horrors of his prison, he seemed
still to seek amusement by the exertion of his talents. He composed
verses, and, having no ink, wrote them with his blood. He also carved
curious emblems upon tin cups with his knife. His great ingenuity
excited the attention of many persons of rank, particularly the Empress
Maria Theresa, who ordered her minister to employ all his influence at
the court of Berlin to obtain his enlargement.

The Baron, in his Life, relates the following curious anecdote:--"I
tamed a mouse so perfectly that the little animal was continually
playing with me, and used to eat out of my mouth. One night it skipped
about so much, that the sentinels heard a noise, and made their report
to the officer of the guard. As the garrison had been changed at the
peace, and as I had not been able to form, at once, so close a
connection with the officers of the regular troops, as I had done with
those of the militia, an officer of the former, after ascertaining the
truth of the report with his own ears, sent to inform the commanding
officer that something extraordinary was going on in my prison.

"The town major arrived, in consequence, early in the morning,
accompanied by locksmiths and masons. The floor, the walls, my chains,
my body, everything, in short, was strictly examined. Finding all in
order, they asked me the cause of last evening's bustle. I had heard the
mouse myself, and told them frankly by what the noise had been
occasioned. They desired me to call my little favorite; I whistled, and
the mouse immediately leaped on my shoulder. I solicited its pardon, but
the officer of the guard took it into his possession, promising,
however, on his word of honor, to give it to a lady who would take great
care of it. Turning it afterwards loose in his chamber, the mouse, who
knew nobody but me, soon disappeared and hid itself in a hole.

"At the usual hour of visiting my prison, when the officers were just
going away, the poor little animal darted in, climbed up my legs, seated
itself on my shoulder, and played a thousand tricks to express the joy
it felt at seeing me again. Every one was astonished and wished to have
it. The major, to terminate the dispute, carried it away and gave it to
his wife, who had a light cage made for it; but the mouse refused to
eat, and a few days afterwards was found dead."

Trenck was at length released, and soon after married an amiable lady,
by whom he had eleven children. On the death of Frederick the Great, his
successor granted him a passport to Berlin, and restored his
confiscated estates, which he had not enjoyed for forty-two years. He
soon set off for Konigsburg, where he found his brother, who was very
sick, waiting for him with impatience, and who adopted his children as
his heirs. He was also received by all his friends with testimonies of
joy. Here, it would appear, that Trenck might have spent the remainder
of his days, in peace and quiet, but his restless disposition again made
him the football of fortune. After many vicissitudes, he terminated his
career in obscurity, and died in 1797.



About the year 1822, there appeared at New York a young man, of small
stature, light hair, light eyes, and in every respect of ordinary
appearance, who told of himself a strange and interesting story, which
was briefly this.

At an early period of his childhood, he, with two other white children,
living on the farthest bound of the western settlements, were one day
carried off by a party of Indians, probably Kickapoos. One of the
children was killed before his eyes, and he was soon separated from the
other. He was carried to a considerable distance by the Indians, who at
last arrived at their hunting grounds. He became gradually reconciled to
his situation, and, though he was occasionally taunted by being _white_,
he was finally regarded as one of the tribe.

He continued to live among the Indians for many years; travelled with
them in their migrations over the vast western wilds, visited the
borders of the Pacific Ocean, and shared in the wild adventures of
Indian life. He came, with his Indian friends, at last, to the Osage
settlements on the Arkansas, where he found some white traders, among
whom was a Colonel Watkins, who treated him with kindness, and sought
to persuade him to leave the Indians, and return to civilized life.
Such, however, was his attachment to his adopted friends, that he
rejected these suggestions.

Soon after, however, under the influence of intoxication, his Indian
friends having laid a deep scheme for murdering Colonel Watkins and his
party of hunters, the hero of our story deserted his tribe, and gave
timely notice to Watkins, thus saving his life, and that of his friends.

Though his mind was greatly agitated by a feeling of self-disgust for
the treachery he had committed toward his Indian brethren, he continued
with the party of Watkins for a time, and descended the Arkansas river
with them, nearly to its junction with the Mississippi. Here he left
them, having made up his mind to join some Indian tribe which might not
be acquainted with his breach of faith to the band of Osages, with whom
he had lived so long.

Being supplied with a rifle and plenty of ammunition, he struck into the
wilderness in a northerly direction, and pursued his wanderings alone,
amid the boundless solitude. In the volume which he afterwards
published, he thus describes this portion of his adventures:--

"The hunting season for furs had now gone by, and the time and labor
necessary to procure food for myself, was very inconsiderable. I knew of
no human being near me; my only companions were the grazing herds, the
rapacious animals that preyed on them, the beaver and other animals that
afforded pelts, and birds, fish and reptiles. Notwithstanding this
solitude, many sources of amusement presented themselves to me,
especially after I had become somewhat familiarized to it.

"The country around was delightful, and I roved over it almost
incessantly, in ardent expectation of falling in with some party of
Indians, with whom I might be permitted to associate myself. Apart from
the hunting that was essential to my subsistence, I practised various
arts to take fish, birds, and small game; frequently bathed in the
river, and took great pleasure in regarding the dispositions and habits
of such animals as were presented to my observation.

"The conflicts of the male buffaloes and deer, the attack of the latter
on the rattlesnake, the industry and ingenuity of the beaver in
constructing its dam, and the attacks of the panther on its prey,
afforded much interest, and engrossed much time. Indeed, I have lain for
half a day at a time, in the shade, to witness the management and policy
observed by the ants in storing up their food, the manoeuvres of the
spider in taking its prey, the artifice of the mason-fly in constructing
and storing its clayey cells, and the voraciousness and industry of the
dragon-fly to satisfy its appetite.

"In one instance, I vexed a rattlesnake, till it bit itself, and
subsequently saw it die from the poison of its own fangs. I also saw one
strangled in the wreathed folds of its inveterate enemy--the black
snake. But, in the midst of this extraordinary employment, my mind was
far from being satisfied. I looked back with the most painful
reflections on what I had been, and on what sacrifices I had made,
merely to become an outcast, to be hated and despised by those I
sincerely loved and esteemed. But, however much I was disposed to be
dissatisfied and quarrel with myself, the consolation of the most entire
conviction that I had acted rightly, always followed, and silenced my

"The anxiety and regrets about my nation, country and kindred, for a
long time held paramount dominion over all my feelings; but I looked
unwaveringly to the Great Spirit, in whom experience had taught me to
confide, and the tumultuous agitations of my mind gradually subsided
into a calm; I became satisfied with the loneliness of my situation,
could lie down to sleep among the rocks, ravines, and ferns, in careless
quietude, and hear the wolf and panther prowling around me; and I could
almost feel the venomous reptiles seeking shelter and repose under my
robe, with sensations bordering on indifference.

"In one of my excursions, while sitting in the shade of a large tree,
situated on a gentle declivity, with a view to procure some mitigation
from the oppressive heat of the mid-day sun, I was surprised by a
tremendous rushing noise. I sprang up, and discovered a herd, I believe,
of a thousand buffaloes, running at full speed, directly towards me;
with a view, as I supposed, to beat off the flies, which, at this
season, are inconceivably troublesome to those animals.

"I placed myself behind the tree, so as not to be seen, not apprehending
any danger, because they ran with too great rapidity, and too closely
together, to afford any one of them an opportunity of injuring me,
while protected in this manner.

"The buffaloes passed so near me on both sides that I could have touched
several of them, merely by extending my arm. In the rear of the herd,
was one on which a huge panther had fixed, and was voraciously engaged
in cutting off the muscles of the neck. I did not discover this
circumstance till it had nearly passed beyond rifle-shot distance, when
I discharged my piece, and wounded the panther. It instantly left its
hold on the buffalo, and bounded, with great rapidity, towards me. On
witnessing the result of my shot, the apprehensions I suffered can
hardly be imagined. I had, however, sufficient presence of mind to
retreat, and secrete myself behind the trunk of the tree, opposite to
its approaching direction. Here, solicitous for what possibly might be
the result of my unfortunate shot, I prepared both my knife and tomahawk
for what I supposed would be a deadly conflict with the terrible animal.

"In a few moments, however, I had the satisfaction to hear it in the
branches of the tree over my head. My rifle had just been discharged,
and I entertained fears that I could not reload it without discovering
and exposing myself to the fury of its destructive rage. I looked into
the tree with the utmost caution, but could not perceive it, though its
groans and vengeance-breathing growls told me that it was not far off,
and also what I had to expect in case it should discover me.

"In this situation, with my eyes almost constantly directed upwards to
observe its motions, I silently loaded my rifle, and then, creeping
softly round the trunk of the tree, saw my formidable enemy resting on a
considerable branch, about thirty feet from the ground, with his side
fairly exposed. I was unobserved, took deliberate aim, and shot it
through the heart. It made a single bound from the tree to the earth,
and died in a moment afterwards.

"I reloaded my rifle before I ventured to approach it, and even then not
without some apprehension. I took its skin, and was, with the assistance
of fire and smoke, enabled to preserve and dress it. I name this
circumstance, because it afterwards afforded a source of some amusement;
for I used frequently to array myself in it, as near as possible to the
costume and form of the original, and surprise the herds of buffaloes,
elk and deer, which, on my approach, uniformly fled with great
precipitation and dread.

"On several occasions, when I waked in the morning, I found a
rattlesnake coiled up close alongside of me: some precaution was
necessarily used to avoid them. In one instance, I lay quiet till the
snake saw fit to retire; in another, I rolled gradually and
imperceptibly away, till out of its reach; and in another, where the
snake was still more remote, but in which we simultaneously discovered
each other, I was obliged, while it was generously warning me of the
danger I had to fear from the venomous potency of its fangs, to kill it
with my tomahawk."

After Hunter had been engaged in roving about in this manner for several
months, hoping to meet with some party of Indians to whom he might
attach himself, he met with a company of French hunters, whom he
accompanied to Flee's settlement, on the White river. From this point,
after a stay of some months, in which he acquired a good deal of credit
for cures which he performed by means of Indian remedies, he set out on
a hunting expedition, during which he collected a large quantity of
furs. These he sold to a Yankee, for 650 dollars, as he supposed, but,
being ignorant on the subject of money, he found, on having the cash
counted, that it was only 22 dollars!

This took place at Maxwell's fort, on the White river. Disgusted with
the white people, by this act of plunder, he determined to quit them
forever, and set off again to join the Indians. He was, however,
diverted from his purpose, and went with a hunting party up the west
fork of the river St. Francis. Spending the season here, he returned,
and making his way down the Mississippi, sold his furs for 1100 dollars.
Thence he proceeded as a boatman to New Orleans, where his mind was
greatly astonished at the scenes he beheld, the streets, the houses, the
wharves, ships, &c.

He retraced his steps, and came to Cape Girardeau, in Missouri, where he
remained some time, acquiring the rudiments of the English language. His
acquaintances had given him the name of Hunter, because of his
expertness and success in the chase. His Christian name was adopted, as
he says in his book, from the following circumstance. "As Mr. John Dunn,
a gentleman of high respectability, of Cape Girardeau county, state of
Missouri, had treated me in every respect more like a brother or a son
than any other individual had, since my association with the white
people, I adopted his for that of my distinctive, and have since been
known by the name of John Dunn Hunter." It is important for the reader
to mark this passage, for important results afterwards turned upon it.

He now spent two or three years, a part of the time at school, making,
however, several expeditions to New Orleans, to dispose of furs he had
either taken in hunting or obtained by purchase. At last, in the autumn
of 1821, he crossed the Alleganies, and entered upon a new career. So
far, his story is told by himself, in his book, which we shall notice

On his way, Hunter paid a visit to Mr. Jefferson, who received him
kindly, and, taking a strong interest in his welfare, gave him letters
of introduction to several persons at Washington. Hunter went thither,
and, passing on, came to Philadelphia, and at last to New York,
everywhere exciting a lively interest, by the remarkable character of
his story, and the manner in which he related it. He was found to be
well-informed as to many things, then little known, respecting the
western country; he was, accordingly, much sought after, patronized and
flattered, especially by persons distinguished for science and wealth.
He was, in short, a lion. The project was soon suggested, that he should
write a book, detailing his adventures, and giving an account of the
Indians, and the Indian country, as far as he was acquainted with these
subjects. A subscription was started, and readily filled with a long
list of great names. The book was written by Mr. Edward Clark, and, in
1823, it was published, under the title of "Manners and Customs of the
several Indian Tribes located west of the Mississippi, &c."

This work, written in a clever style, detailed the wonderful life and
adventures of the hero, and gave a view of the Far West--the country,
the animals, the plants; and it described the Indian tribes, their
numbers, character, customs, &c. It also gave an account of their system
of medicine, and their practice of surgery. The book was well received,
and Hunter was borne along upon the full tide of public favor.

And now, another view was opened to him. It was suggested that he should
go to England, and publish his work there. Taking letters from several
men of the highest standing, and especially one to the Duke of Sussex,
from Mr. Jefferson, as we are informed, he crossed the Atlantic, and
made his appearance in the great metropolis. The career upon which he
now entered, affords a curious piece of history.

Hunter's letters, of course, secured him the favor and kind offices of
some of the leading men in London. His book was immediately published
and heralded forth by the press, as one of the most remarkable
productions of the day. The information it contained was treated as a
revelation of the most interesting facts, and the tale of the hero was
regarded as surpassing that of Robinson Crusoe, in point of interest.

Hunter was a man of extraordinary endowments, and sustained the part he
had to play with wonderful consistency. But all this would hardly
account for his success, without considering another point. In London,
as well among the high as the low, there is a yearning desire for
excitement. Imprisoned in a vast city, and denied companionship with the
thousand objects which occupy the mind and heart in the country, they go
about crying, "Who will show us any new thing?" Thus it is, that, in a
crowded street, there is always a mob ready to collect, like vultures to
the carcass, around every accident or incident that may happen: and
these seem to consist of persons who have no profession but to see what
is going on.

In high life, this passion for novelty is more refined, but it is
equally craving. There are thousands in the circles of rank and fashion,
who, having no business to occupy them, no cares, no sources of hope and
fear, are like travellers athirst in a desert; and to them, a new
scandal, a new fashion, a late joke, a strange animal, a queer monster,
is an oasis, greatly to be coveted. One quality this novelty must have;
it must, in some way or other, belong to "good society"--my Lord, or my
Lady, must have a finger in it: they must, at least, patronize it, so
that in naming it, the idea of rank may be associated with it.

Such a new thing was John Dunn Hunter. He was, supposing his story to be
true, remarkable for his adventures. There was something exceedingly
captivating to the fancy in the idea of a white man, who had lived so
long with savages, as to have been transformed into a savage himself:
beside, there was a mystery about him. Who was his father?--who his
mother? What a tale of romance lay in these pregnant inquiries, and
what a beautiful development might yet be in the womb of time!

Nor was this all: Hunter, as we have said, was a man of talent. Though
small and mean in his personal appearance, his manner was remarkable,
and his demeanor befitted his story. He had taken lodgings in Warwick
street, and occupied the very rooms which Washington Irving had once
inhabited. Another American author, of no mean fame, was his
fellow-lodger. He held free intercourse with all Americans who came to
London. He sought their society, and, in the height of his power, he
loved to exercise it in their behalf, and to their advantage.

In dress, Hunter adopted the simplest garb of a gentleman; in
conversation, he was peculiar. He said little till excited; he then
spoke rapidly, and often as if delivering an oration. He was accustomed
to inveigh against civilized society,--its luxuries and its vices,--and
to paint in glowing hues the pleasures and virtues of savage life. He
was very ingenious, and often truly eloquent. It was impossible,
believing in the genuineness of his character and the sincerity of his
motives, not to be touched by his wild enthusiasm.

It is easy to see, that such a man, unsuspected, introduced into society
by the brother of the king, and patronized by the heads of the learned
societies--launched upon the full tide of fashionable society, in the
world's metropolis,--had a brilliant voyage before him. During the
winter of 1823-4, Hunter was the lion of the patrician circles of
London. There was a real strife even among countesses, duchesses, and
the like, to signalize their parties by the presence of this
interesting wonder. In considering whether to go to a ball, a soirée, or
a jam, the deciding point of inquiry was, "Will Hunter be there?"--If
so, "Yes."--If not, "No!"

Nothing could be more curious than to see this singular man, in the
midst of a gorgeous party, where diamonds flashed and titles hung on
every individual around him. He seemed totally indifferent to the scene;
or, at least, unobservant of the splendors that encircled him. He was
the special object of regard to the ladies. There was something quite
piquant in his indifference. He seemed not to acknowledge the
flatteries, that fell like showers of roses, and that too from the ruby
lips and lustrous eyes of princes' daughters, thick upon him. He seldom
sat down: he stood erect, and, even when encircled by ladies, gazed a
little upward, and over them. He often answered a question without
looking at the querist. Sometimes, though quite rarely, he was roused,
and delivered a kind of speech. It was a great thing, if the oracle
would but hold forth! The lass or lady who chanced to hear this, was but
too happy. The burden of the oration was always nearly the same:--the
advantages of simple savage life over civilization. It was strange to
see those who were living on the pinnacle of artificial society,
intoxicated with such a theme; yet, such was the art of the juggler,
that even their fancy was captivated. Those who had been bred in the
downy lap of luxury, were charmed with tales of the hardy chase and
deadly encounter; those to whom the artifices of dress constituted more
than half the pleasures of existence, delighted to dwell upon the
simplicity of forest attire: those who gloried in the splendors of a
city mansion,--halls, boudoirs, saloons, and conservatories,--thought
how charming it would be to dwell beneath the wide canopy, or a
deer-skin tent! Surely, such triumphs display the skill and power of a

During the winter of which we speak, Hunter's card-rack was crowded with
cards, notes, and invitations, from lords and ladies of the very highest
rank and fashion, in London. Many a fair hand indited and sent billets
to him, that would have turned some loftier heads than his. On one
occasion, by some accident, he had dislocated his shoulder. The next
morning, Dr. Petingale, surgeon to the Duke of Sussex, called to see
him, by command of his Grace, and delivered to him a long note of
consolation. This note, from his Royal Highness, was somewhat in the
style of Hannah More, and kindly suggested all the topics of comfort
proper to such an hour of tribulation.

Hunter did not spend his whole time in fashionable dissipation. He
visited the various institutions of London, and often with persons of
the highest rank. He fell in with Robert Owen, of Lanarck, who had not
yet been pronounced mad, and the two characters seemed greatly delighted
with each other. Hunter seemed interested in the subject of education,
and made this a frequent topic of discussion. He visited the infant
school of Wilderspin, consisting of two hundred scholars, all of the
lower classes. When he heard forty of these children, under three years
of age, unite in singing "God save the King," his heart was evidently
touched, and the tears gathered in his eyes. It is not one of the least
curious facts in his history, that he patronized his countrymen, and was
the means of establishing a portrait painter from Kentucky, in his
profession. He induced the Duke of Sussex, with whom he regularly dined
once a week, to sit for him: the portrait was exhibited at Somerset
House, and our artist was at once famous.

Hunter now took a tour to Scotland. In his way, he spent some weeks with
Mr. Coke, of Norfolk, and experienced the noble hospitalities of that
truly noble gentleman. He passed on to Scotland, where he excited a deep
interest among such persons as the Duke of Hamilton, Sir Walter Scott,
Mr. Jeffrey, and others of the highest eminence. The ladies, also,
manifested the very liveliest sensations in his behalf.

During his stay in Scotland, he was invited to spend a few days at a
charming seat, in the vicinity of Edinburgh. Thither he went. One day,
as he was walking in the park with a fair lady, daughter of the
proprietor, they came to an open space, through which a bright stream
was running. At a particular point, and near the path of the ramblers,
was a large rock, at the base of which the rivulet swept round, forming
a small eddying pool. Over this the wild shrubs had gathered, growing
luxuriously, as if escaped from the restraints of culture. Hunter
paused, folded his arms, and gazed at the picturesque group of rock,
shrub, and stream. The lady looked at him with interest. She hesitated,
then gathered courage, and asked what it was that so moved him.

"Nothing! nothing!" said he, half starting, and passing on. "Nay, nay,"
said the fair one, "you must tell me." "Well, if I must," was the reply,
"I must. You may think it foolish, yet such is the truth,--that little
pool, gathered in the shelter of the rock and briar, reminds me of early
days--of my childhood, and the forest. Past memories come over my bosom,
like summer upon the snow; I think how I have often stooped at such a
stream as this, and quenched my thirst, with a relish nothing can now
bestow. I feel an emotion I can hardly resist; it seems to call me from
these scenes, this voluptuous, yet idle life. I have a sense of wrong,
of duty neglected, of happiness missed, which makes me sad even in such
a place as this, and with society like yours."

By this time Hunter had framed a design, either real or pretended, of
doing some great thing for the Indians. He insisted that the attempt to
civilize them at once, was idle and fallacious; he proposed, therefore,
to select some spot along the banks of the Wabash, and which he
represented as a wild kind of paradise, and here he would gather the
Indians, and, adopting a system which might blend the life of the hunter
with that of the cultivator, wile them gradually, and without shocking
their prejudices, into civilization. This scheme he set forth as the
great object of his wishes. He spoke of it frequently, and in Edinburgh,
especially, delighted his hearers with his enthusiastic eloquence in
dilating upon the subject. No one suspected his sincerity, and the
greatest men in Scotland avowed and felt the deepest interest in his

The summer came, and Hunter went back to London. He now announced his
intention to return to America: still, he lingered for several months.
His friends noticed that he was dejected, yet he assigned no cause for
this. Presents were made to him, and hints of assistance, to further his
scheme of Indian civilization, were suggested. He availed himself of
none of these advantages, save that he accepted a watch, richly
jewelled, from the Duke of Sussex, and a splendid set of mathematical
instruments, from Mr. Coke, of Norfolk. He also borrowed a hundred
pounds of a friend. He took his farewell of London, and bearing with him
the best wishes of all who had known him on that side of the Atlantic,
he embarked at Liverpool for America.

Immediately after his arrival, he hastened to the south, spent a few
days at New Orleans, and pushed into the wilds bordering upon Texas. In
some way, he excited the jealousy of the Indians, who resolved to take
his life. On a journey through the wilderness, he was attended by an
Indian guide. Having occasion to pass a river, he stopped a moment in
the middle of it, to let his horse drink. The guide was behind: obedient
to his orders, he lifted his carbine, and shot Hunter through the back.
He fell, a lifeless corpse, into the stream, and was borne away, as
little heeded as a forest leaf.

Such are the facts, as we have been able to gather them, in respect to
this remarkable man. The writer of this article saw him in London, and
the incidents related of him while he was in England and Scotland, are
stated upon personal knowledge. The events subsequent to his departure
are derived from current rumor. The question has often been asked, What
was the real character of John Dunn Hunter? That he was, to some extent,
an impostor, can hardly be doubted. Mr. Duponceau, of Philadelphia,
examined into some Indian words which Hunter had given him, and found
them to be fabrications. Mr. John Dunn, of Missouri, mentioned by Hunter
as his friend and benefactor, was written to, and he declared that he
had known no such person. These facts, with others, were laid before the
public in the North American Review, and were regarded as fatal to the
character of Hunter. The common judgment has been, that he was wholly an
impostor; we incline, however, to a different opinion.

We believe that the story of his early life, was, in the main,
correct;[B] that he did not originally intend any deception; that he
came to New York with honest intentions, but that the flatteries he
received led him by degrees to expand his views, and finally drew him
into a deliberate career of fraud. So long as he was in the tide of
prosperity abroad, he did not seem to reflect, and glided down contented
with the stream: when the time came that he must return, his real
situation presented itself, and weighed upon his spirits. It is to be
remarked, however, that, even in this condition, he availed himself of
no opportunities to amass money, which he might have done to the amount
of thousands. These facts, at war with the supposition that he was a
mere impostor, seem to show that he had still some principle of honor
left, and some hope as to his future career. At all events, he was a man
of extraordinary address, and his story shows how high a course of
duplicity may elevate a man, yet only to hurl him down the farther and
the more fatally, upon the sharp rocks of retribution.




In the year 1828, a great sensation was created throughout the civilized
world, by the story of Casper Hauser. This, as it appears, was in
substance as follows:--

On the 20th May, in the year above named, as a citizen of Nuremburg, in
Bavaria, was proceeding along one of the streets, he happened to see a
young man in the dress of a peasant, who was standing like one
intoxicated, attempting to move forward, yet appearing hardly to have
command of his legs. On the approach of the citizen, this stranger held
out to him a letter directed to a well-known and respectable military
officer, living in Nuremburg.

As the house of this person lay in the direction of the citizen's walk,
he took the youth thither with him. When the servant opened the door,
the stranger put the letter into his hand, uttering some unintelligible
words. The various questions which were asked, as to his name, whence he
came, &c., he seemed not to comprehend. He appeared excessively
fatigued, staggered as if exhausted, and pointed to his feet, shedding
tears, apparently from pain. As he seemed to be suffering from hunger, a
piece of meat was given to him, but scarcely had he tasted it, when he
spat it out, and shuddered as if with abhorrence. He manifested the same
aversion to beer. He ate some bread and drank water, with signs of

Meantime, all attempts to gain any information from him were fruitless.
To every question he answered with the same unintelligible jargon. He
seemed to hear without understanding, and to see without perceiving. He
shed many tears, and his whole language seemed to consist of moans and
unintelligible sounds.

The letter to the officer, above mentioned, contained no satisfactory
information. It stated that the writer was a poor day-laborer, with a
family of ten children; that the bearer had been left with him in
October, 1812, and he had never since been suffered to leave his house:
that he had received a Christian education, been baptized, &c. He was
sent to the officer with the request that he might be taken care of till
seventeen years old, and then be made a trooper, and placed in the sixth
regiment, as his father had been of that corps. This letter was
supposed, of course, to be designed to mislead, and no reliance was
placed upon it.

The officer, suspecting some imposition, sent the stranger to the
police. To all inquiries the latter replied as before, displaying a kind
of childish simplicity, and awkward dulness. He was continually
whimpering, and pointing to his feet. While he had the size of a young
man, his face had the expression of a child. When writing materials were
placed before him, he took the pen with alacrity, and wrote _Kaspar
Hauser_. This so contrasted with his previous signs of ignorance and
dulness, as to excite suspicions of imposture, and he was therefore
committed to a tower used for the confinement of rogues and vagabonds.
In going to this place, he sank down, groaning at every step.

The body of Caspar seemed perfectly formed, but his face bore a decided
aspect of vulgarity. When in a state of tranquillity, it was either
destitute of expression, or had a look of brutish indifference. The
formation of his face, however, changed in a few months, and rapidly
gained in expression and animation. His feet bore no marks of having
been confined by shoes, and were finely formed; the soles were soft as
the palms of his hands. His gait was a waddling, tottering progress,
groping with his hands as he went, and often falling at the slightest
impediment. He could not, for a long time, go up and down stairs
without assistance. He used his hands with the greatest awkwardness. In
all these respects, however, he rapidly improved.

Caspar Hauser soon ceased to be considered either an idiot or an
impostor. The mildness, good nature, and obedience he displayed,
precluded the idea that he had grown up with the beasts of the forest.
Yet he was destitute of words, and seemed to be disgusted with most of
the customs and habits of civilized life. All the circumstances combined
to create a belief that he had been brought up in a state of complete
imprisonment and seclusion, during the previous part of his existence.

He now became an object of general interest, and hundreds of persons
came to see him. He could be persuaded to taste no other food than bread
and water. Even the smell of most articles of food was sufficient to
make him shudder. When he first saw a lighted candle, he appeared
greatly delighted, and unsuspectingly put his fingers into the blaze.
When a mirror was shown him, he looked behind to find the image it
reflected. Like a child, he greedily reached for every glittering
object, and cried when any desired thing was denied him. His whole
vocabulary seemed hardly to exceed a dozen words, and that of ross
(horse) answered for all quadrupeds, such as horses, dogs, and cats.
When, at length, a wooden horse was given as a plaything, it seemed to
effect a great change in him; his spirits revived, and his lethargy and
indifference were dissipated. He would never eat or drink without first
offering a portion to his horse.

His powers seemed now to be rapidly developed; he soon quitted his toy,
and learned to ride the living horse with astonishing rapidity. He,
however, was greatly oppressed, as he acquired knowledge, at discovering
how much inferior he was in knowledge to those around him, and this led
him to express the wish that he could go back to the hole in which he
had always been confined. From his repeated statements, now that he had
learned to speak, it appeared that he had been, from his earliest
recollections, confined in a narrow space, his legs extended forward
upon the floor, and his body upright; and here, without light, and
without the power of locomotion, he had remained for years. The date or
period of his confinement he knew not, for in his dungeon there was no
sunrise or sunset, to mark the lapse of time. When he awoke from sleep,
he found some bread and water at his side; but who ministered to his
wants, he knew not; he never saw the face of his attendant, who never
spoke to him, except in some unintelligible jargon. In his hole he had
two wooden horses and some ribands as toys--and these afforded him his
only amusement. One day had passed as another; he had no dreams; time
run on, and life ebbed and flowed, with a dull and almost unconscious
movement. After a time his keeper gave him a pencil, of which he learned
the use; he was then partially taught to walk, and shortly after, was
carried from his prison, a letter put into his hand, and he was left,
as the beginning of our story finds him, in the streets of Nuremburg.

The journals were now filled with accounts of this mysterious young man.
A suspicion was at last started that he was of high birth, and that
important motives had led to the singular treatment he had received. He
was himself haunted with the fear of assassination, from the idea that
the circumstances which led to his incarceration, now that his story was
known, might tempt his enemies to put a period to his life--thus seeking
at once the removal of a hated object, and security against detection.
His fears were at last partially realized; while he was under the care
and protection of Professor Daumer, he was attacked and seriously
wounded by a blow upon the forehead.

After this event, Earl Stanhope, who happened to be in that part of
Germany, caused him to be removed to Anspach, where he was placed under
the care of an able schoolmaster. Here his fears subsided; but in
December, 1833, a stranger, wrapped in a large cloak, accosted him,
under the pretence of having an important communication to make, and
proposed a meeting. Caspar agreed, and they met in the palace garden,
alone. The stranger drew some papers from beneath his cloak, and while
Hauser was examining them, the russian stabbed him in the region of the
heart. The wound did not prove immediately fatal. He was able to return
home, and relate what had happened. Messengers were sent in pursuit of
the assassin, but in vain. Hauser lingered three or four days--that is,
till the 17th December, 1833, when he died. On dissection, it appeared
that the knife had pierced to the heart, making an incision in its outer
covering, and slightly cutting both the liver and stomach. A reward of
five thousand florins was offered by Lord Stanhope, for the discovery of
the assassin, but without effect--nor was the mystery which involved
Caspar's story ever fully unravelled.

Such was the tale of this extraordinary individual, as it appeared a few
years ago. Since that period, the facts in the case have been carefully
sifted, and the result is a settled conviction, that Hauser was an
impostor; that the story of his confinement was a fabrication; that his
pretended ignorance, his stupidity, his childishness, were but skilful
acting to enforce his story; and, strange as it may appear, there is no
good reason to doubt that the wounds he received, in both instances,
were inflicted by himself. Such were the deliberate convictions of Earl
Stanhope, and others who investigated the facts on the spot, and with
the best advantages for the discovery of the truth. Caspar's motive for
wounding himself doubtless was, to revive the flagging interest of the
public in his behalf--a source of excitement he had so long enjoyed, as
to feel unhappy without it. In the latter instance, he doubtless
inflicted a severer wound than he intended, and thus put an undesigned
period to his existence.

His story presents one of the most successful instances of imposture, on
record. It appears probable that he was aided in his imposition by the
narrative of Fuerbach, one of the judges of Bavaria, who adopted some
theory on the subject, which he supported with gross, though perhaps
undesigned misrepresentation. He published an interesting account of
Hauser, in which he rather colored and exaggerated the facts, thus
making the narrative far more wonderful than the reality would warrant.
It was, doubtless, owing to these statements of Fuerbach, that an
extraordinary interest in the case was everywhere excited; and it is
highly probable that Hauser himself was encouraged to deeper and more
extended duplicity, by the aid which the mistaken credulity of the judge
afforded him, than, at first, he had meditated. He probably looked with
surprise and wonder at the success of his trick, and marvelled at seeing
himself suddenly converted from a poor German mechanic, as he doubtless
was, into a prodigy and a hero--exciting a sensation throughout the four
quarters of the globe. The whole story affords a good illustration of
the folly of permitting the imagination to lead us in the investigation
of facts, and the extended impositions that may flow from the want of
exact and scrupulous veracity in a magistrate.



George Psalmanazar was born about the year 1679. All that we know of his
early history is from his own memoirs, which were published after his
death; but they do not tell us his true name, nor that of his native
country, though it is generally believed that he was born in the south
of France. His education was excellent, probably obtained in some of the
colleges of the Jesuits.

At an early period, he became a wandering adventurer, sometimes passing
himself off as a pilgrim, then as a Japanese, and then as a native of
Formosa--a large island lying to the east of China, and subject to that
country. His extensive learning and various knowledge enabled him to
sustain these and other disguises. Thus he travelled over several parts
of Europe, France, Germany, and the Netherlands. He was by turns a
soldier, a beggar, a menial, a monk; a preceptor, a Christian, a
heathen, a man of all trades. At last, he came to Liege in Belgium,
pretending to be a Formosan, converted to Christianity. Here he became
acquainted with the chaplain of an English regiment, and was solemnly

He now went to London, and was kindly received by Bishop Compton, who
gave him entertainment in his own house, and treated him with the utmost
confidence. His great abilities and extraordinary story, seconded by the
patronage of the bishop of London, gave him immediate currency with
literary men, and he soon became the wonder of the day.

Psalmanazar played his part to admiration. He shunned, rather than
sought, the notice of the public, and, avoiding meat, lived chiefly on
fruits, and a simple vegetable diet. At the same time, he appeared to
display the Christian characteristics, and devoted himself to study. He
began to prepare a grammar of the Formosan language, which he finally
completed. This was, of course, a fiction, yet he proceeded to translate
the Church Catechism into this fabricated tongue. He finally wrote an
extensive history of Formosa, which was also a fable; yet such was the
reputation of the author, that it was received with general confidence,
and speedily passed through several editions.

During this period, he had been sent to study at Oxford, where a
controversy was carried on between his patrons, and Dr. Halley, Dr.
Mead, and some others, in respect to his pretensions. Certain
discrepancies were at last detected in his history of Formosa, and, in
the result, Psalmanazar was completely exposed, and finally confessed
his imposture. Soon after this, a moral change took place in him: he
grew ashamed of his dishonorable courses, and determined to reform. He
applied himself intensely to study, and, after a time, became engaged in
literary pursuits, by which he earned an honest subsistence, and
considerable reputation during the rest of his life. He died in London,
in 1753.

He wrote for the large work, styled the Universal History, most of the
parts concerning ancient history, except that of Rome, and his writings
met with great success. He wrote a volume of essays on several
scriptural subjects, a version of the Psalms, beside his own memoirs,
already mentioned. He also wrote for the "Complete System of Geography,"
an article on the Island of Formosa, founded upon authentic information,
as a reparation for the stories which he had palmed upon the public in
his former account.

Psalmanazar is the name that he had assumed when he began his wandering
life, and which he retained till his death. Of the sincerity of his
piety, there can be no doubt. Dr. Johnson said that he never witnessed a
more beautiful example of humility, and tranquil resignation, combined
with an active discharge of duty, than was displayed by him during the
latter portion of his life!




This person, renowned in the annals of quackery, was born at Affane, in
Ireland, in 1628. He received a good education at the classical free
school of that town, and was preparing to enter Trinity College, Dublin,
when the rebellion broke out, and his mother, with a family of several
children, was obliged to fly to England for refuge.

Some years after, Valentine returned, but was so affected by the
wretched state of his country, and the scenes of misery that were
witnessed on every hand, that he shut himself up for a whole year,
spending his time in moody contemplations. He afterwards became a
lieutenant in the army, but in 1656, he retired to his estate in Affane,
where he was appointed justice of the peace for the county of Cork.

Greatrakes was now married, and appears to have held a respectable
station in society. About the year 1662, he began to conceive himself
possessed of an extraordinary power of removing scrofula, or king's
evil, by means of touching or stroking the parts affected, with his
hands. This imagination he concealed for some time, but, at last,
revealed it to his wife, who ridiculed the idea.

Having resolved, however, to make the trial, he began with one William
Maher, who was brought to the house by his father, for the purpose of
receiving some assistance from Mrs. Greatrakes, a lady who was always
ready to relieve the sick and indigent, as far as lay in her power. This
boy was sorely afflicted with the king's evil, but was to all appearance
cured by Mr. Greatrakes' laying his hand on the parts affected. Several
other persons having applied to him, to be cured, in the same manner, of
different disorders, his efforts seemed to be attended with success, and
he acquired considerable fame in his neighborhood.

His reputation now increased, and he was induced to go to England, where
he gained great celebrity by his supposed cures. Several pamphlets were
issued upon the subject; it being maintained by some that Greatrakes
possessed a sanative quality inherent in his constitution; by others,
that his cures were miraculous; and by others still, that they were
produced merely by the force of imagination. The reality of the cures
seemed to be admitted, and the reputation of the operator rose to a
prodigious height; but, after a brief period, it rapidly declined, and
the public became convinced that the whole excitement was the result of
illusion. Greatrakes, himself, possessed a high character for humility,
virtue and piety, and was doubtless the dupe of his own bewildered
fancy. He died in 1680, having afforded the world a striking caution not
to mistake recovery for cure, and not to yield to imagination and
popular delusion, especially in respect to the pretended cure of




About 250 years ago, the reality of witchcraft was very generally
admitted throughout Europe. The belief in the active agency of the
Spirit of Evil in human affairs, had existed among Christians from the
earliest period, and the legends of saints, their trials and
temptations, in which the devil plays so important a part, served to
extend and confirm these popular notions. At last, the direct agency of
diabolical powers, and its open manifestation, was assumed, and, at the
period of which we speak, was held to be a point of Christian faith. The
pious Baxter considered the disbelief of witchcraft as equivalent to
infidelity; the just and sagacious Sir Matthew Hale admitted its
reality, and pronounced sentence against those who were convicted of it;
and, alas! the pedantic king, James I. of England, wrote a book
entitled, "Dæmonologia, or a Discourse on Witchcraft."

The purpose of this work was to prove the reality of witchcraft, its
prevalence among mankind, its great enormity, and the means of its
detection and punishment. Its effect was to extend the belief in
witchcraft, and, of course, to multiply the apparent instances of its
existence. The insane fancies of diseased minds, unusual phenomena of
nature, and the artful machinery of designing malignity, ambition, or
hypocrisy, were all laid at Satan's door. Of the horrors that followed,
history furnishes a melancholy account. It is supposed that 30,000
persons were executed in England, from the year 1500 to 1722. The same
dreadful delusion prevailed in other parts of Europe, and extended in
due time to this country, and about the year 1692, twenty persons were
executed in Salem, Massachusetts, for the crime of witchcraft.

During the period in which this fearful mania was prevalent in England,
Matthew Hopkins, denominated Witch-Finder General, acted a conspicuous
part. He pretended to be a great critic in special marks or signs of
witchcraft. Moles, warts, scorbutic spots, were in his eyes teats to
suckle imps, and were sufficient evidences to bring a victim to the
halter. He was assisted by one John Stern, a kindred genius, and in the
year 1644, 5 and 6, they brought a great number of poor wretches to the
fatal tree. Matthew, himself, hung in one year no less than sixty
reputed witches of his own county of Essex. He received twenty shillings
a head from the public authorities for every witch he discovered. The
old, the ignorant, and the indigent,--such as could neither plead their
own cause nor hire an advocate, were the miserable victims of his
credulity, avarice, and spleen.

When other evidences of guilt were wanting, Hopkins adopted the trial by
water, which had been suggested by king James, who remarks that "as some
persons have renounced their baptism by water, so water refuses to
receive them." Those accused of diabolical practices, therefore, were
thrown into a pond. If they floated or swam, according to king James'
notion the water refused to receive them, and they were therefore
guilty. These were consequently taken out and burnt, or hung. If they
were innocent, they sunk, and were only drowned.

Suspicion was at last turned against Hopkins himself, and the ordeal of
swimming was applied in his own case. In consequence of this experiment,
he was convicted and executed as a wizard. An allusion to this
extraordinary character is made in the third canto of Hudibras, who

  Has not the present parliament
  A lodger to the devil sent,
  Fully empowered to treat about
  Finding revolted witches out?
  And has he not within a year
  Hanged threescore of them in one shire?



On the continent of Europe, portions of which are interspersed with vast
forests and uncultivated tracts, various individuals of the human
species have, at different times, been discovered in a state no better
than that of the brute creation. One of the most singular of these
unfortunate creatures was Peter the Wild Boy, whose origin and history,
previous to his discovery, must remain forever a secret. He was found in
the year 1725, in the woods, about twenty-five miles from Hanover, in
Germany. He walked on all fours, climbed trees like a squirrel, and fed
on grass and moss.

When he was taken, he was about thirteen years old, and could not speak.
He soon made his escape into the woods, where he concealed himself amid
the branches of a tree, which was sawed down to recover him. He was
brought over to England, in the year 1726, and exhibited to the king and
many of the nobility. He received the title of Peter the Wild Boy, which
name he ever afterwards retained.

He appeared to have scarcely any ideas, was uneasy at being obliged to
wear clothes, and could not be induced to lie in a bed, but sat and
slept in a corner of a room, whence it was conjectured that he used to
sleep on a tree for security against wild beasts. He was committed to
the care of Dr. Arbuthnot, at whose house he was to have been baptized;
but, notwithstanding all the doctor's pains, he never could bring the
wild youth to the use of speech, or the pronunciation of more than a
very few words. As every effort to give him an education was found to be
vain, he was placed with a farmer at a small distance from London, and a
pension was allowed him by the king, which he enjoyed till his death,
which occurred in 1785, at the age of about seventy-three years.

Peter was low of stature, and always wore his beard. He occasionally
wandered away from his place of residence, but either returned or was
brought back. He was never mischievous; was remarkable for his
strength; became fond of finery and dress, and at last, was taught to
love beer and gin. He was a lover of music, and acquired several tunes.
He also became able to count as far as twenty, and could answer a few
simple questions. He learned to eat the food of the family where he
lived, but in his excursions, he subsisted upon raw herbage, berries and
roots of young trees. He was evidently not an idiot, but seemed to
continue in a state of mental infancy, thinking of little beyond his
physical wants, and never being able to conceive of the existence of a




It is well for every person to be apprized of the fact, that, in all
ages and all countries, there are religious enthusiasts, who, having
given themselves up to heated imaginations, lose the power of judging
according to truth and reason upon this particular subject. They see
things by a false vision, and are not only deluded but they often delude
others. These persons are monomaniacs--insane upon the subject of
religion, though often sane upon all others.

It appears that every person is liable to this species of delusion, if
he gives up the reins to his fancy, and ceases to be guided by common
sense; and the frequency of such occurrences shows that this liability
is by no means remote. In a recent case, a man by the name of Elijah
Thayer, a native of Massachusetts, conceived the idea that the present
dispensation was speedily to pass away, and that the second coming of
Christ was to be realized in his own person.

Believing himself to be commanded by God to announce this event to the
great powers of England, Rome, and Jerusalem, he took passage in the
steamer Britannia, in September, 1842, and proceeded upon his mission.
He was a common laborer, but he possessed a good deal of knowledge,
especially of the Bible. He was rational and sagacious upon all subjects
except that of his peculiar religious views; and even in maintaining
these, he displayed much skill, and was singularly dexterous in the
quoting of Scripture.

Soon after his arrival, he proceeded to Windsor, where Queen Victoria
was then residing. He made application for an interview with her
majesty, saying that he had a most important communication to make to
her. Being requested to state the substance of it, he sent her word that
Elijah Thayer, the prophet of God, had come, by the command of the Most
High, to announce a mighty change, which was speedily to take place
throughout the universe. The present system of things was to pass away;
crowns, thrones and sceptres were to be trampled in the dust; kings and
queens were to be reduced to the level of common mortals; universal
equality was to be established among mankind; an era of peace was to
begin, and he himself, Elijah Thayer, passing from the prophetic to the
kingly state, was to reign in righteousness over the earth as Christ

This message was delivered by Elijah, in his fur cap, and his
long-skirted blue coat, with a perfectly sober face, to the queen's
servants at Windsor Castle. These received the extraordinary tidings
with decorous politeness, promised faithfully to deliver the message,
and the prophet, well satisfied, went his way. He now proceeded to
London, and visited the several Jewish synagogues, announcing to the
high priests his wonderful mission. The last we heard of him, he was
preparing to make his way to Rome, in fulfilment of his insane project.

It would be easy to add numerous instances of similar delusion. In 1790,
an Englishman, by the name of Richard Brothers, announced that he had a
mission for the restoration of the Jews and to make Jerusalem the
capital of the world. He said that he was commanded to notify the king,
the lords and the commons of the same, which he did in a manner so
obstreperous, that he was lodged in Newgate prison.

Roger North gives us an account of one John Kelsey, a Quaker, who, about
the year 1680, "went on a sort of pilgrimage to Constantinople, for
converting the Great Turk; and the first scene of his action was
standing up in a corner of the street, and preaching to the people. They
stared at him, and concluding him to be out of his wits, he was taken
and carried to the madhouse; there he lay six months. At last, some of
the keepers heard him speak the word _English_, and told of it so that
it came to the ambassador, Lord Winchelsea's ear, that he had a subject
in the madhouse.

"His lordship sent and had him at his house. The fellow stood before the
ambassador, with a dirty, ragged hat on, and would not put it off,
though he was so charged and admonished; thereupon the ambassador
ordered him down, and had him drubbed upon the feet, after the Turkish
manner. Then he was anything and would do anything, and afterwards did
own that that drubbing had a great effect upon his spirit.

"Upon searching him, there was found in his pouch, among a few beans, a
letter to the Grand Signior, very long and canting; but the substance
was to let him know that he was the scourge in God's hand with which he
chastised the wicked Christians; and now, their wickedness was so great,
that God, by the spirit, had sent him, to let him know that he must come
forthwith to scourge them.

"He was sent for England, but got off by the way, and came up a second
time to Constantinople, from whence he was more surely conveyed; and
some that knew John, told Sir Dudley North that they had seen him on the
Exchange, where he recognised the admirable virtue of Turkish



This eccentric character was born in 1693, at Bickley, in Devonshire, of
which place his father was many years rector. Being descended from an
ancient and honorable family, he was educated agreeably to his
condition. At the age of twelve, he was sent to the Tiverton school,
where his good behavior led his friends to hope that he might some day
shine in the clerical profession. But the Tiverton scholars having at
their command a fine pack of hounds, Carew, and two or three of his
companions, devoted themselves more to hunting than study.

One day they engaged in the chase of a deer, just before the
commencement of harvest. The animal took his course through the fields
of grain, and the young sportsmen, with their hounds, followed,
reckless of the damage that was done. The mischief was so considerable,
that the proprietors complained to the school-master. Carew and his
companions were so much frightened, that they absconded, and joined a
gang of gipsies, who happened to be in the neighborhood. This society
consisted of about eighteen persons of both sexes, who carried with them
such an air of mirth and gaiety, that the youngsters were quite
delighted with their company, and, expressing an inclination to enter
into their society, the gipsies admitted them, after the performance of
the requisite ceremonies and the administration of the customary oaths.

Young Carew was speedily initiated into all the arts of the wandering
tribe, for which he seemed to have a happy genius. His parents,
meanwhile, lamented him as one that was no more, for, though they had
repeatedly advertised his name and person, they could not obtain the
least intelligence of him. At length, after an interval of a year and a
half, hearing of their grief and repeated inquiries after him, his heart
relented, and he returned to Bickley. Being greatly disguised, both in
dress and appearance, he was not known at first by his parents; but when
he discovered himself, a scene followed which no words can describe, and
there were great rejoicings, both in Bickley and the neighboring parish
of Cadley.

Everything was done to render his home agreeable; but Carew had
contracted such a fondness for the society of the gipsies, that, after
various ineffectual struggles with the suggestions of filial piety, he
once more eloped to his former connections, and soon gave new proofs of
his aptitude for their peculiar calling.

Having remained with the gipsies for some time, he left them, and
proceeded on a voyage to Newfoundland. He soon returned, and, landing at
Newcastle, eloped with a young lady, the daughter of an eminent
apothecary of that town. Proceeding to Bath, they were married, and paid
a visit to Carew's uncle, a distinguished clergyman of Dorchester. He
received them with great kindness, and endeavored to persuade his nephew
to take a final leave of his gipsey life. This, however, proved vain,
for Carew soon returned to that vagrant community, with whom he spent
the remainder of his days.

He now led an adventurous career, seeming to be guided more by the humor
of enterprise than the love of gain. His art in transforming his person
so as to represent various characters, extorted from the gipsies
themselves the greatest applause, and, at last, when Clause Patch, their
king, died, Carew had the honor of being elected in his stead.

Though his character was known, he was rather a favorite with many
persons of good standing, and was on one occasion invited to spend
several days in hunting with Colonel Strangeways, at Milbury. The
conversation happened one day, at dinner, to turn on Carew's ingenuity,
and the colonel remarked that he would defy him to practise deception on
him. The next day, while the colonel was out with his hounds, he met
with a miserable object upon a pair of crutches, with a wound in his
thigh, a coat of rags, and a venerable, pity-moving beard. His
countenance expressed pain and sorrow, and as the colonel stopped to
gaze upon him, the tears trickled down his silver beard. As the colonel
was not proof against such an affecting sight, he threw him half a
crown, and passed on. While he was at dinner, the miserable object came
in, when lo, it was Carew himself!

The life of this singular man has afforded materials for a volume. His
friends in vain offered to provide him with a respectable maintenance;
no entreaty could prevail upon him to abandon the kind of life he had
adopted. He spent about forty years with gipsies and beggars, and died
in 1770, aged 77.




A monomaniac is generally made by dwelling for a long period upon one
object with intense interest, to the exclusion of others. By this
process, this one object at last occupies the whole soul, fills the
entire vision, and makes the mind blind to the relative importance of
other things. A man in this condition is insane, and resembles the
bedlamite, who, being asked why he was confined, replied, "I thought the
world mad, and the world thought me mad, and they outvoted me!" While
the world, guided by common sense, assigns to each subject its relative
importance, the monomaniac we have imagined, sees but one thing, his own
hobby, and pronounces mankind mad because they do not agree with him.

There are a thousand forms and shades of this insanity; one of the most
common is displayed by the miser, who has dwelt so long and so intently
upon the acquisition of money, that money becomes his idol: he thinks it
the supreme good: he has a mad delight in amassing it: his eagerness to
increase his store, quenches the lights of the soul--pity, benevolence,
charity, and mercy; he is beset by a horrid fear of its being taken from
him; and, as age creeps on and weakens his powers of body and mind, the
demon of avarice takes possession of the bosom, and, putting out the
light of reason, holds its revel in darkness and fear, till death closes
the scene.

Of misers, history has furnished us a long list. We are told of M.
Osterwald, a wealthy banker of Paris, who died in 1790, of want, yet
leaving an estate of 600,000 dollars! When he began life, and bought a
bottle of beer for his dinner, he took away the cork in his pocket. He
practised this for a long period, and had at last collected such a
quantity that they sold for nearly one hundred dollars! A few months
before his death, he refused to buy meat for soup. "I should like the
soup," said he, "well enough, but I do not want the meat. What, then, is
to become of that?" The fear of losing the meat, led him to starve
himself; yet, at the very moment, he had 800 assignats, of 200 dollars
each, in a silken bag, around his neck!

Another Frenchman, by the name of Fortescue, affords a curious piece of
history. He was a farmer-general of the taxes, and amassed an immense
fortune by grinding the poor. The government at length called upon him
for a considerable sum, but he pleaded poverty. Fearing that some of his
neighbors should testify to his wealth, he determined to conceal it. He
therefore dug a vault beneath his wine-cellar, where he deposited his
gold. He went down to it by a ladder, and fastened the door by a spring
lock. One day, while he was in the vault, the door closed, and the lock
fastened him in! In vain were his cries for help! There he remained,
till, worn out by horror of mind and starvation of body, he perished in
the very midst of his heaps of gold! His miserable fate was not known
till some years after, when, his house being sold, his bones were
discovered in the vault with his treasures.

The celebrated John Elwes, whose portrait we have placed at the head of
this article, has furnished a memorable instance of the inconsistency of
man. He has showed that the most sordid parsimony may be combined with
the greatest negligence and profusion, and that principles of the purest
honor may be associated with a degree of meanness, that is utterly
degrading to the human character. He was born in London, about the year
1714, his father's name being Meggot. He was educated at Westminster
school, and afterwards went to Geneva, where he seems to have led rather
a gay life.

On his return to England, his father being dead, he went to live with
his uncle, Sir Harvey Elwes, a wealthy miser, who resided at Stoke, in
Suffolk. In order to make a favorable impression upon his uncle, the
nephew doffed his gay attire, at the little inn at Chelmsford, and
appeared at Stoke with an old worn-out coat, a tattered waistcoat,
darned worsted stockings, and small iron buckles in his shoes. He was
received by Sir Harvey with satisfaction, who now adopted him as his
heir. Here the two lived together, shivering with a single stick on the
fire, occasionally dividing a glass of wine between them, and railing
against the extravagance of the times. When night approached, they went
to bed, to save the expense of candles!

But at last, Sir Harvey paid the debt of nature, and left his fortune,
of more than a million of dollars, to his nephew. John Meggot, who was
now about forty years old, adopted his uncle's surname agreeably to the
will, and, while he inherited Sir Harvey's parsimony, he still addicted
himself to gambling. He became a member of various clubs in London, and
often played for very high sums. He once played two days and a night
without intermission, the Duke of Northumberland being one of the party;
and, as it was the custom among these gamblers in high life to throw
aside the cards after being once used--at the close of the sitting, the
party were nearly up to their knees in cards.

While Elwes was thus engaged, he had the most grasping desire of money,
and, having sat up all night at play with persons of the highest rank,
he would walk out at four o'clock in the morning, to Smithfield, to meet
his cattle coming to market from his estates in Essex. There,
forgetting the scenes he had just left, he would stand in the cold or
rain, higgling with the butcher for a shilling. Sometimes, if the beasts
had not arrived, he would walk on in the mire to meet them; and more
than once he has gone on foot the whole way to his farm, which was
seventeen miles from London, without stopping, after sitting up all

Mr. Elwes usually resided at Meacham, in Berkshire. In travelling
between this place and London, he used to put two or three eggs, boiled
hard, with a few crusts of bread, into his great-coat pocket; then,
mounting one of his hunters, he would set off, taking the route with the
fewest turnpike gates. Avoiding the taverns, he would stop under a
hedge, and, while he ate his frugal meal, the horse would refresh
himself by nibbling the grass.

Notwithstanding this excessive meanness, Mr. Elwes displayed many
instances of generosity. On one occasion, he lent Lord Abington £7000,
at a very critical moment, and entirely unsolicited, and when he had
little reason to suppose the money would ever be repaid. Beside, he made
it a principle never to ask for money which he won at play, and thus he
lost many thousands of pounds, which he might have received by demanding
it. At the same time, he had an equanimity of temper which nothing could
disturb, and a gentleness and urbanity of manner, which never forsook

When he was somewhat advanced in life, he dismissed his fox-hounds,
retrenched his expenses, and lived in the most parsimonious manner.
Riches now rolled in upon him like a torrent; at the same time, his
mean, miserly propensities increased. When in London, he would walk home
in the rain, rather than pay a shilling for a coach; and sit in his wet
clothes, rather than have a fire to dry them. On one occasion, he wore a
black wig above a fortnight, which he picked out of a rut in a lane, and
which had probably been discarded by a beggar. While the black, stray
wig was thus atop of his own gray hair, he one day tore his coat, and,
in order to supply himself, resorted to an old chest of Sir Jervaise,
his uncle's father. From this, he took the first he came to, which was a
full-dress, green, velvet coat, with slashed sleeves. In this attire, he
sat down to dinner: not even the solemn severity of his poor old servant
could resist the ludicrous effect of his appearance.

In order to invest his immense property, Mr. Elwes erected a great
number of buildings in London, particularly about the Hay-Market. He was
the founder of a large part of Mary-le-bone, Portman Place, Portman
Square, and several of the adjacent streets. It was his custom in town,
to occupy any one of his numerous houses that was vacant. Two beds, two
chairs, a table and an old woman, comprised all his furniture. Thus he
travelled from street to street, and it was often difficult to find him.

One day, his nephew, Colonel Timms, came to town, and, wishing very much
to see him, made a long, but ineffectual search for him. At last, he was
directed to a particular house, which he found, and knocked loudly at
the door, but no answer was returned. He then entered, but all was
silent below. On ascending to one of the chambers, he found Mr. Elwes
on a shabby pallet bed, in a state of insensibility. The poor old woman,
the partner of his journeys, was found lifeless on a rug in one of the
garrets, where she had apparently been dead for at least two days, and
where she had probably expired for want of the comforts of life. Mr.
Elwes, being restored by cordials, stated that he had been sick for a
long time, and wondered that the old woman did not come to his

Notwithstanding the unfavorable traits in Mr. Elwes' character, yet such
was the confidence reposed in his integrity, that, without his own
solicitation, he was elected a member of the House of Commons, for
Berkshire, which he represented for three successive parliaments.
Nothing could exceed the rigid fidelity with which he fulfilled his
duties here. His vote was always given according to his conscience, and,
in all weathers, and during the latest sittings, he was in his seat.

One night, as he was returning from the House of Commons, it being
extremely dark, he ran against the pole of a sedan chair, and cut both
his legs very badly. As usual, he refused to have medical assistance,
but Colonel Timms insisted upon some one being called in. At length he
submitted, and a surgeon was sent for, who immediately began to
expatiate on the ill consequences of breaking the skin, the good fortune
of his being sent for, and the peculiarly bad appearance of the wounds.
"Very probable," replied Mr. Elwes, "but, Mr. ----, I have one thing to
say to you. In my opinion my legs are not much hurt; now you think they
are; so I will make this agreement. I will take one leg, and you shall
take the other; you shall do what you please with yours; I will do
nothing to mine; and I will wager your bill that my leg gets well before
yours." He exultingly beat the surgeon by a fortnight.

About the year 1785, Mr. Elwes paid a visit to his seat at Stoke, which
he had not seen for some years. On his arrival, he complained of the
expensive furniture of the rooms. To save fire, he would sit with a
servant in the kitchen, or walk about the remains of a ruinous
greenhouse. During harvest, he amused himself with gleaning the corn
upon the grounds of his own tenants. In the autumn, he would pick up
stray chips and carry them to the fire in his pocket. On one occasion,
he was seen robbing a crow's nest for fuel. He denied himself the common
necessaries of life: one day, he dined on a moor-fowl, which a rat had
drawn out of a river, and, on another, he ate the undigested part of a
pike, which was taken from the stomach of a larger fish, caught in a

At last, the powers of life began to decay, and, in the autumn of 1786,
his memory entirely failed him. On the 18th of November he sank into a
state of extreme debility; yet he lingered till the 26th, when he
expired without a sigh, leaving property to the amount of four millions
of dollars. More than half of this was bequeathed to his two natural
sons; the rest, being entailed, was inherited by Colonel Timms. Such was
John Elwes, a singular compound of parsimony and profusion, of
generosity and meanness, of honesty and avarice, of virtue and vice.



This strange character presents another remarkable instance of
inconsistency; of avarice and liberality, of cruelty and kindness, of
meanness and integrity, of misanthropy and benevolence. He was the son
of a German Jew, who settled in London, and left him his title, and a
large estate. In 1758, he was married to a lady whose fortune amounted
to 150,000 pounds. In 1763, being left a widower, he married a few days
after, another lady of fortune. Up to this time, he had lived in the
highest style of fashion, but, owing to the loss of an estate in
America, and domestic disagreements, he now suddenly withdrew from his
family connections and the society of the gay world, and established
himself at a farm-house in Islington. Here he professed to be a farmer;
he stocked his yard with cattle, pigs, and poultry, yet he kept them in
such a lean and miserable condition, that the place acquired the name of
Starvation Farmyard.

Everything in his establishment was conducted on the meanest scale; yet
D'Aguilar, at this very time, was a liberal patron of public
institutions, and profuse in his charities. While his cattle were
actually in the agonies of starvation, he was doing some kindly, yet
secret act, to alleviate the distresses of the poor. His wife had been
obliged to leave him, but, after a separation of twenty years, he called
to see her, and a reconciliation took place. In a short time, however,
his extreme rigor compelled her again to leave him, and, by the advice
of friends, she instituted legal proceedings against him. In this suit
she was successful, and he was compelled to make a liberal provision for

At last, he was taken severely ill, and a physician was sent for, but he
would not permit him to see him. He was therefore obliged to prescribe
from a report of his symptoms. His youngest daughter begged permission
to see him, but the stern father refused. In March, 1802, he died,
leaving a property estimated at a million of dollars. His diamonds alone
were worth thirty thousand pounds!



This gentleman was bred a bookseller, and began trade in the city of
London, with no more than two hundred pounds. By his industry and
uncommon frugality, but more particularly by purchasing seamen's tickets
in Queen Anne's wars, and by speculations in the South Sea stock, in the
memorable year 1720, he amassed an immense fortune.

In proof of his penurious disposition, it is recorded of him that he
invariably dined alone, and a soiled proof sheet, or an old newspaper,
was his common substitute for a table-cloth. One winter evening, as he
was sitting in his room, meditating over a handful of half-lighted
embers confined within the narrow precincts of a brick stove, and
without any candle, a person, who came to inquire for him, was
introduced, and, after the first compliments were passed and the guest
requested to take a seat, Mr. Guy lighted a farthing candle which lay on
the table by him, and desired to know the purport of the gentleman's

The stranger was the famous Vulture Hopkins, characterized by Pope in
his satires. "I have been told," said Hopkins, "that you, sir, are
better versed in the prudent and necessary art of saving than any man
now living, and I therefore wait upon you for a lesson of frugality; an
art in which I used to think I excelled, but I have been told by all who
know you, that you are greatly my superior." "And is that all you are
come about?" said Guy; "why, then, we can talk this matter over in the
dark." So saying, he extinguished his new-lighted farthing candle.
Struck with this instance of economy, Hopkins acknowledged that he was
convinced of Guy's superior thrift, and took his leave.

The penuriousness of this singular man seemed, however, to have for its
object the indulgence of a systematic benevolence. He was the founder of
a celebrated institution called Guy's Hospital, which cost him nearly
100,000 dollars, and, at his death, he endowed it with a fund amounting
to a million of dollars. Nor were his benefactions confined to this
institution. He made provision for his poor relations, founded a
hospital at Tamworth, and made various donations for benevolent and
charitable objects. He died in 1724, at the age of 81 years, having
never been married.



The extreme limit of human life, and the art of attaining it, has
attracted the attention of mankind in ancient as well as modern times.
Cornaro, an Italian, who died at the age of one hundred and four years,
in 1566, wrote several treatises on this subject, the purpose of which
was to prove that sobriety of life is the great secret of longevity. He
shows that in his own case he restored a constitution prostrated by
indulgence, to health and vigor. One of his papers was written at the
age of ninety-five, and is commended by Addison in the 195th paper of
the Spectator.

Sir George Baker gives us the history of a remarkable restoration of a
constitution broken down by indulgence, in the case of Thomas Wood, a
miller of Essex, England. He had been long addicted to high living and
the free use of fermented liquors, but, at the age of forty-five,
finding himself overwhelmed with a complication of painful disorders, he
set about changing his mode of life. He gradually became abstemious in
his diet, and in 1765 he began to drink nothing but water. Finding
himself one day better without taking any liquid, he at last took leave
of drinking altogether, and from October, 1765, to the time when Sir
George Baker's account was drawn up, in August, 1771, he had not tasted
a drop of water, or any other liquid, except in one instance. During all
this period his health seemed to improve, under the strict regimen he
had adopted.

The oldest man of whom we have any account in modern times, was Henry
Jenkins, who resided in Bolton, Yorkshire. The only history we have of
him was given by Mrs. Saville, who conversed with him, and made
inquiries respecting him of several aged persons in the vicinity. He was
twelve years old at the time the battle of Flodden Field was fought, in
1513, and he died, December 8th, 1670. He was, therefore, 169 years old
when he died.

Of the celebrated Thomas Parr, we have a more particular account,
furnished by Taylor, the Waterman, or Water-poet, as he is usually
called. This is entitled "The Olde, Olde, very Olde Man; or the Age and
Long Life of Thomas Parr, &c." It appears that the Earl of Arundel,
being in Thropshire, heard of Parr, who was then, 1635, one hundred and
fifty-two years old. Being interested in this extraordinary case of
longevity, the earl caused Parr to be brought to London, upon a litter
borne by two horses. His daughter-in-law, named Lucy, attended him, and,
"to cheer up the olde man, and make him merry, there was an
antique-faced fellow, called Jacke, or John the Foole," of the party.
Parr was taken to court, and presented to Charles I. He died in London
soon after his arrival, and was buried in Westminster Abbey, 1635.

Whether Parr's long life was greatly lengthened beyond that of ordinary
men by a peculiar mode of living, we have not the means of telling. It
is probable that there was something peculiar in his constitution. His
body was dissected after death, and all the organs were found in a
perfect state. We are also informed by an eye-witness, that

  "From head to heel, his body had all over
  A quick-set, thick-set, nat'ral hairy cover."

We may here mention an instance of longevity attained by an individual
who spent his whole life in London. This was Thomas Laugher, who was
born in 1700. His father died at the age of 97, and his mother at the
age of 108. Though he was a liquor dealer during the early part of his
life, yet he drank only milk, water, coffee, and tea. After a severe fit
of illness at the age of eighty, he had a fresh head of hair, and new
nails, both on his fingers and toes. He had a son who died at the age of
eighty, some years before him, whom he called "Poor Tommy," and who
appeared much older than his father. Laugher was greatly respected for
his gentle manners and uninterrupted cheerfulness. He died at the age of
107. We have placed a sketch of him at the head of this article.




That men of extraordinary stature, called giants, have frequently
existed, we know, but there is no good reason to believe that the
general stature of man was ever different from what it now is. If men
were either smaller or larger than they are, they would be ill
proportioned to the condition of things around them; beside, those of
extraordinary height have usually a feeble pulse, and short lives.
Those greatly below the usual stature, generally die early. It is fair
to infer from these facts, that the present average height of man is the
permanent standard. Among the mummies of Egypt, or the ancient remains
of mankind found in other countries, there appears to be no general
deviation from the common height.

Of the individual instances of great stature, Patrick O'Brien, born in
the county of Kinsale, Ireland, in 1761, affords a memorable instance.
He was put to the trade of a bricklayer, but such was his height at
eighteen, that he was taken to England, and shown as the Irish giant. At
twenty-five he attained the height of eight feet and seven inches; and,
though not well made, his bulk was proportioned to his height. He
continued to exhibit himself for several years, when, having realized an
independence, he retired to the vicinity of Epping forest, where he
died, in 1806. He was peculiarly mild and gentle in his character and
manners. His body was enclosed in a leaden coffin, 9 feet 2 inches long,
and to prevent any attempt to disturb his remains, his grave, by his own
direction, was sunk twelve feet in the solid rock.




This man was born at Leipsic, in 1694, and finally attained the height
of eight feet. He travelled through Europe, being exhibited as a giant.
He went to England in 1733, where he attracted attention by his great
size, his enormous head and face, and his fantastic attire. His hand
measured a foot, and his finger nine inches. He died in London, in 1734,
aged 40.



It was formerly said that the Patagonians were a race of giants, but it
seems that they are but little larger than other races of men. South
America appears to furnish its share of persons of extraordinary height.
An instance is furnished in Basileo Huyalas, who was a native Indian of
Peru, and was brought from the city of Ica to Lima, in May, 1792, to be
exhibited on account of his enormous stature and extraordinary

His height was seven feet two inches and a half: his head, and the upper
parts of his body, were monstrous. His arms were of such length as to
touch his knees, when he stood erect. His whole weight was 360 pounds.
At this period he was twenty-four years old. The annexed sketch gives a
good idea of his appearance.

We are furnished with an account of a giant of New Grenada, an Indian,
named Pedro Cano, who was seven feet five and a half inches high. His
shoe was half a yard in length!




This man, whose feats of strength might have figured with those of the
heroes of Homer, was born in London, about the year 1710. He was bred a
carpenter, and attained the height of five feet ten inches, being well
proportioned in other respects. At the age of twenty-four, he took a
tavern on the city road, and displayed his extraordinary powers in the
gymnastic exhibitions then common at Moorfields. He was here accustomed
to stop a horse by pulling against him, his feet being placed against a
low wall. A table six feet long, with half a hundred weight upon it, he
lifted with his teeth, and held it for some time in a horizontal

His fame for strength spread over the country, and his performances
excited universal wonder. He would throw a horse over a turnpike gate,
carry the beam of a house as a soldier his firelock, break a rope
capable of sustaining twenty-two hundred weight, and bend a bar of iron
an inch in diameter by striking it against his naked arm, into a bow! On
one occasion, he found a watchman asleep in his box; he took them both
on his shoulder, and carried them to the river, where he tipped them
into the water. In May, 1741, he lifted three hogsheads of water,
weighing 1836 pounds!

Though possessed of such wonderful strength, Topham was of a mild and
pacific temper. His mind does not appear to have possessed the energy of
his body, for, being deceived by a faithless woman, he resorted to the
desperate resolution of taking his own life, and died by suicide in the
flower of his age.




This famous pedestrian was born near Leeds, in 1734. In 1762, he came to
London, and articled himself to an attorney in the Temple. After the
expiration of his clerkship, he was in the service of different persons,
and in 1764, he walked fifty miles on the Bath road, in seven hours. He
now visited several parts of Switzerland and France, where he gained
much praise as a pedestrian. In 1773, he walked from London to York,
and back again, upon a wager, a distance of 402 miles, in five days and
eighteen hours. In 1778, he attempted to run two miles in ten minutes,
but lost it by half a minute.

In 1787, he undertook to walk from Canterbury to London bridge and back
again, in twenty-four hours, the distance being 112 miles, and he
accomplished it, to the great astonishment of thousands of spectators.
He performed many other extraordinary feats, and died in 1793. Though he
had great opportunities of amassing money, he was careless of wealth,
and died in indigent circumstances. His disposition was mild and gentle,
and he had many friends.




In a work devoted to the curiosities of human nature, we must not omit
Joseph Clark, of London, a man whose suppleness of body rendered him the
wonder of his time. Though he was well made, and rather gross than thin,
he could easily exhibit every species of deformity. The powers of his
face were even more extraordinary than the flexibility of his body. He
would suddenly transform himself so completely as not to be recognised
by his familiar acquaintances. He could dislocate almost any of the
joints of his body, and he often amused himself by imposing upon people
in this way.

He once dislocated the vertebræ of his back and other parts of his body,
in such a manner, that Molins, the famous surgeon, before whom he
appeared as a patient, was shocked at the sight, and would not even
attempt his cure. On one occasion, he ordered a coat of a tailor. When
the latter measured him, he had an enormous hump on his left shoulder;
when the coat came to be tried on, the hump was shifted to the right
side! The tailor expressed great astonishment, begged a thousand
pardons, and altered the coat as quickly as possible. When he again
tried it on, the deformity appeared in the middle of his back!

Of the life of this remarkable person, we have few details, and we can
only add that he died about the year 1700.




This individual, who was remarkable for his great size, combined with
active habits, was born in Essex, England, about the year 1720. He
weighed 144 pounds at the age of twelve years. When he grew to manhood,
he established himself as a grocer at Malden, about forty miles from
London. He gradually increased in size, till he weighed nearly 500
pounds. He was still industrious and active in his mode of life, riding
on horseback, and walking with ease. He paid close attention to his
business, and went frequently to London to purchase goods.

At the age of twenty-three, he was married, and had five children. He
was cheerful and good-natured, a kind husband, a tender father, a good
master, and an honest man. When thirty years of age, he was taken with
fever, and died, November 10th, 1750. At the period of his death he
weighed 616 pounds.



This individual was born at Leicester, England, in 1770, and was
apprenticed to the business of a die sinker and engraver. He afterwards
succeeded his father as keeper of the prison; and from this period, his
size began to increase in a remarkable degree. In this situation he
continued for some years, and so exemplary was his conduct, that when
his office was taken away, in consequence of some new arrangements, he
received an annuity of fifty pounds for life, as a mark of esteem, and
the universal satisfaction he had given in the discharge of his duties.

His size increased to such a degree, that he was an object of universal
wonder, and was at last persuaded to exhibit himself in London. Here he
was visited by crowds of people, and, among the rest, by Count
Boruwlaski, the Polish dwarf. The contrast between the two must have
been striking indeed; for as Lambert was the largest man ever known, so
the count was one of the smallest. The one weighed 739 pounds, and the
other probably not over 60. Here were the two extremes of human stature.

In general, the health of Lambert was good, his sleep sound, his
respiration free. His countenance was manly and intelligent; he
possessed great information, much ready politeness, and conversed with
ease and propriety. It is remarkable that he was an excellent singer,
his voice being a melodious tenor, and his articulation clear and
unembarrassed. He took several tours through the principal cities and
towns of Great Britain, retaining his health and spirits till within a
day of his death, which took place in June, 1809. His measure round the
body was 9 feet 4 inches, and a suit of clothes cost him a hundred



In the early ages of the world, when knowledge chiefly depends upon
tradition, it is natural for mankind to people the universe with a
thousand imaginary beings. Hence the stories of dragons, giants, and
dwarfs, all of which have some foundation in reality; but when these are
scrutinized, the dragon becomes only some wild beast of the forest, the
giant is a man of uncommon size, and the dwarf of uncommon littleness.

We have already given some account of giants: we must say a few words in
respect to dwarfs. These have never been known to be distinguished for
their talents, though their figures are often perfectly well formed.
They have generally one trait in common with children--a high opinion of
their own little persons, and great vanity. In the middle ages, and even
down to a much later period, dwarfs were a fashionable appendage to
royal courts and the families of nobles.

Among the most celebrated of this class of persons was Jeffrey Hudson,
born at Oakham, England, in 1619. At seven years of age, he was taken
into the service of the Duke of Buckingham, being then but eighteen
inches high. He afterwards was taken into the service of the queen of
Charles I., who sent him to the continent on several confidential
commissions. His size never exceeded three feet nine inches, but he
possessed a good share of spirit, and, on the breaking out of the civil
wars, he became a captain of horse.

On one occasion, he went to sea, and was taken by a Turkish corsair, and
sold for a slave; but he was fortunately ransomed, and enabled to return
to England. When the infamous Titus Oates pretended to reveal a plot
against the king, Charles II., Hudson was one of the suspected persons,
and, in consequence, lay some time in prison. He was at length released,
and died in 1678.



This little personage was one of the most famous and agreeable of the
pigmy race to which he belonged. He was a native of Poland, and, on
account of his diminutive size, was early taken under the care of a lady
of rank. She soon married, however, and he was transferred to the
Countess Humieska, and accompanied her to her residence in Podolia. Here
he remained for six months, and then attended the countess on a tour of
pleasure through Germany and France. At Vienna, he was presented to the
empress queen, Maria Theresa, being then fifteen years old. Her majesty
was pleased to say that he was the most astonishing being she ever saw.

She took him into her lap, and asked him what he thought most curious
and interesting at Vienna. "I have observed nothing," said the little
count, smartly, "so wonderful as to see such a little man on the lap of
so great a woman." This delighted the queen, and, taking a fine diamond
from the finger of a child five or six years old, who was present,
placed it on his finger. This child was Marie Antoinette, afterwards
queen of France; and it may be easily imagined that Boruwlaski preserved
the jewel, which was a very splendid one, with religious care.

From Vienna, they proceeded to Munich and other German cities, the
little companion of the countess everywhere exciting the greatest
interest and curiosity. At Luneville, they met with Bébé, a famous
French dwarf. A friendship immediately commenced between the two little
men, but Bébé was four inches the tallest, and Boruwlaski, being
therefore the smaller of the two, was the greatest wonder. He was also
remarkable for his amiable and cheerful manners. These things excited
the jealousy of Bébé, and he determined to take revenge. One day, when
they were alone, slily approaching his rival, he caught him by the
waist, and endeavored to push him into the fire. Boruwlaski sustained
himself against his adversary, till the servants, alarmed by the noise
of the scuffle, came in and rescued him. Bébé was now chastised and
disgraced with the king, his master, and soon after died of
mortification and spleen.

The travellers now proceeded to Paris, where they passed more than a
year, indulging in all the gaieties of that gay city. They were
entertained by the royal family and the principal nobility. M. Bouret,
renowned for his ambition and extravagance, gave a sumptuous
entertainment in honor of Boruwlaski, at which all the table service,
plates, knives and forks, were of a size suited to the guest. The chief
dishes consisted of ortolans and other small game.

The countess and her charge returned to Warsaw, where they resided for
many years. At twenty-five the count fell in love with a French actress,
but she made sport of his passion, and his little heart was nearly
broken. When he was forty years old, the black eyes of Isalina
Barboutan, a domestic companion of the countess, again disturbed his
peace; he declared his affection, but was again rejected. He, however,
persevered, even against the injunctions of his patroness. She was so
much offended with his obstinacy, that she ordered him to leave her
house forever, and sent Isalina home to her parents.

He now applied to prince Casimir, and, through his recommendation, was
taken under the patronage of the king. Continuing his addresses to
Isalina Barboutan, he was accepted, and they were soon after married. By
the recommendation of his friends, he set out in 1780 to exhibit himself
in the principal cities in Europe. His wife accompanied him, and, about
a year after their marriage, presented her husband with a daughter.

Passing through the great cities of Germany and France, the count
arrived in London, where he was liberally patronized. He not only had
exhibitions of his person, but he gave concerts which were well
attended. In 1788, he wrote his life, which was published in an octavo
volume, and was patronized by a long list of nobility. He at last
acquired a competence, and retired to Durham with his family, where he
spent the remainder of his days, and died at the age of nearly 100
years. He had several children, and lived happily with his wife, though
it is said, that, in an interview with Daniel Lambert, he remarked that
she used to set him on the mantel-piece, whenever he displeased her.




In the year 1829, Captain Coffin, of the American ship Sachem, arrived
in the United States, with two youths, born in the kingdom of Siam, and
united by a strong gristly ligature at the breast. Their names were Eng
and Chang, and they were natives of Maklong, a village on the coast of
Siam. They were born in May, 1811, of Chinese parents, who were in
humble circumstances. They were engaged in fishing, keeping poultry, and
manufacturing cocoa-nut oil, till they left their country. When they
arrived, they were five feet two inches in height, well made, and
muscular. They have been known to carry a person weighing 280 pounds.

The band that united these two persons was a cartilaginous substance, an
eighth of an inch thick, and an inch and a half wide. It was flexible,
and permitted the youths to turn in either direction. It was covered
with skin, and seemed to be without pulsation. It was very strong, and
of so little sensibility, that it might be smartly pulled, without
seeming to give uneasiness. When touched in the centre, it was equally
felt by both; but at half an inch from the centre, it was felt by only

They were agile, could walk or run with swiftness, and could swim well.
Their intellectual powers were acute; they played at chess and draughts
remarkably well, but never against each other. Their feelings were warm
and affectionate, and their conduct amiable and well-regulated. They
never entered into conversation with each other, beyond a simple remark
made by one to the other, which seemed to be rationally accounted for by
the fact, that, their experience being all in common, they had nothing
to communicate. The attempt has frequently been made to engage them in
separate conversations with different individuals, but always without
success, as they are invariably inclined to direct their attention to
the same thing at the same time.

In their movements perfect equanimity is observed; the one always
concurring with the other, so that they appear as if actuated by a
common mind. In their employments and amusements, they have never been
known to utter an angry word towards each other. Whatever pleases or
displeases one, has the same effect on the other. They feel hunger and
thirst at the same time, and the quantity of food taken by them as
nearly alike as possible. Both feel the desire to sleep simultaneously,
and they always awake at the same moment. Upon the possibility of
separating them with safety, there is some difference of opinion among
medical men.

These two youths excited an extraordinary sensation upon their arrival
in this country. For three or four years, they were exhibited here, and
in Europe, and, finally, having obtained a competence, they purchased a
farm in North Carolina, and established themselves as planters, where
they still reside. They furnish the only instance in which two
individuals have been thus united, and their case has probably excited
more interest than any other freak of nature that has ever happened.

The most curious part of the story of Eng and Chang, is, that on the
13th of April, 1843, they were married to two sisters, Sarah and
Adelaide Yeates, of Wilkes county, North Carolina!


  [Footnote A: Sparks' Biography.]

  [Footnote B: We have been informed that Mr. Catlin, in his excursions
  among the western Indians, often met with tribes who had known Hunter,
  and their accounts corroborated that which the latter gave in his


  Text in italics is surrounded with underscores: _italics_.

  Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

  Inconsistencies in spelling, hyphenation, and capitalization have
  been retained from the original.

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