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Title: The Depot for Prisoners of War at Norman Cross Huntingdonshire - 1796 to 1816
Author: Walker, Thomas James
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Depot for Prisoners of War at Norman Cross Huntingdonshire - 1796 to 1816" ***

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Transcribed from the 1913 Constable & Company Ltd edition by David Price,
email ccx074@pglaf.org

   [Picture: The Block House, Norman Cross Barracks, 1809, where French
 Prisoners of War were confined.  Drawn by Captain George Lloyd, 2nd West
    York Militia, 1809.  Royal United Service Institution, Whitehall]

                         THE DEPOT FOR PRISONERS
                          OF WAR AT NORMAN CROSS
                      HUNTINGDONSHIRE.  1796 to 1816

                                * * * * *

                   THOMAS JAMES WALKER, M.D., F.R.C.S.

   Fellow (Member of Council 1908–9) of the Royal Society of Medicine.
  Associate of the British Archæological Association.  Past President of
   the Peterborough Natural History Antiquarian and Scientific Society.

                                * * * * *

             “I pray you, in your letters,
    When you shall these unlucky deeds relate,
    Speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate,
    Nor set down aught in malice.”

                                                  SHAKESPEARE’S “OTHELLO.”

                                * * * * *

                         CONSTABLE & COMPANY LTD

                                * * * * *

                                PRINTED BY
                      HAZELL, WATSON AND VINEY LD.,
                          LONDON AND AYLESBURY.


FOREWORDS                                                           ix
                              CHAPTER I
                              CHAPTER II
THE PRISON AND ITS ESTABLISHMENT                                    17
                             CHAPTER III
                              CHAPTER IV
ADMINISTRATION AND DISCIPLINE                                       58
                              CHAPTER V
PRISON LIFE                                                         89
                              CHAPTER VI
                             CHAPTER VII
EMPLOYMENTS OF THE CAPTIVES—STRAW PLAIT                            124
                             CHAPTER VIII
THE SICK AND THE HOSPITAL                                          163
                              CHAPTER IX
                              CHAPTER X
                              CHAPTER XI
                             CHAPTER XII
APPENDICES                                                         257
INDEX                                                              343



    Drawn by Captain George Lloyd, 2nd West York
                    Militia, 1809
FIG. 2.—MR. HILL’S PLAN OF THE DEPOT, 1797 TO 1803,                 18
FIG. 3.—MAJOR KELLY’S PLAN OF THE DEPOT, 1800 TO                    18
PLATE IV.—THE OUTER SIDE OF THE WALL                                24
PLATE VIII, FIG. 1.—WOODEN TEA-CADDY RICHLY                         46
PARK (_v._ p. 133)
PLATE X.—MODEL OF GUILLOTINE: BONE WORK                            102
(_Peterborough Museum_)
WAR AT NORMAN CROSS (_Peterborough Museum_)
MARQUETRY (_Peterborough Museum_)
(_Peterborough Museum_)
CROSS PRISONERS OF WAR (_Peterborough Museum_)
CROSS (_Peterborough Museum_)
(_Peterborough Museum_)

 Photogravure of painting by A. C. Cooke, Esq., and
    reproduced here by the kind permission of the
PLATE XVIII.—THE BELL INN, STILTON                                 141

       From a photograph by Mr. A. C. Taylor.
PLATE XIX.—FACSIMILE OF ORDER FROM BOARD OF                        241
HUNTINGDON (_In the Musée de l’Armée_, _Hôtel des
Invalides_, _Paris_)
ONE OF THE WELLS ON THE SITE OF THE PRISON                         254

   From a photograph by the Rev. E. H. Brown, July


IN April 1894 an exhibition was held at the Grand Assembly Rooms,
Peterborough, under the auspices of the Local Natural History and
Antiquarian Society, the major portion of the exhibits being articles of
various descriptions made by the French prisoners of war at the barracks
built in 1796–97 for their confinement at Norman Cross.  On that
occasion, Dr. Walker drew up a short account of the buildings and their
inmates, derived principally from recollections of old people and from
old newspaper files.  Now that most of the relics then exhibited, and
many others collected from various quarters, have found a permanent home
in the Society’s Museum, it has been thought that the lecture embodying
that history, which exists to-day only as a newspaper report, should be
expanded and reproduced in the more accessible and permanent form of a
small volume.

The lecture was incomplete, and to produce an exhaustive history it has
been necessary to carry out systematic researches in the British Museum
Library, in the Public Record Office, and in other repositories of

The general reader of a book is not concerned with the method of its
construction, the complete structure is the only thing regarded, yet a
very amusing digression could be given describing the difficulties
attending the search, especially in the Government stores, for the
material which is incorporated in this volume.  Many of the documents
utilised had never been looked at since they were placed in sacks at the
close of the war, when Red Tape was more rampant than to-day, and when
the jurisdictions of several departments overlapped, causing obstructive
friction and consequent confusion.  The official calendars and indices
afford little or no indication as to the nature of the contents of
bundles and rolls; in several cases valuable information has been
obtained from bundles giving no hint of the contents, and simply marked
“Various” or “Miscellaneous.”

Under the cumbersome and complicated system in vogue in the various
offices at the close of the eighteenth century, the very limited staff
employed could not keep pace with the pressure of the war.  At Woolwich,
Sir William Congreve reported that in some branches of his department the
accounts were three and four years in arrears, in one branch as many as
seven years, and pleaded for an extra clerk, which request, after some
correspondence, was granted.  This pressure led to laxity of supervision,
culminating in corruption even in high places, and at last in 1804
General De Lancey, the Barrack Master-General, the head of the department
responsible for the buildings at Norman Cross and other depots, was
dismissed for defalcations, and the report of a Commission appointed to
investigate his accounts from 1792 to that date, affirms that he had
“made the most extravagant bargains both for land and buildings, and
actually entrusted the contract for the fittings of barracks to a single
individual, upon the easiest and most insecure of agreements. . . .  The
Commissioners of Audit were ignored, and the authority of the Treasury
set aside on the most ridiculous pretexts; and when inquiry was at last
made in 1804, it was found that over nine million pounds of public money
had been issued to the Barrack Master-General’s department, and that no
accurate account could be produced either of the public or private
expenditure of the same.” {0a}  This Report led to an inquiry by an
eminent firm of accountants as to the method of keeping the accounts, and
the following extract from their long and detailed report may be of
interest, as showing the confused nature of the materials through which
we have had to search for facts throwing light on our subject:

    “The Variety, extent and importance of the Business conducted by the
    Barrack Department, seems to require perhaps more than any other,
    that all the Accounts should be entered in the Books in such order,
    and with such precision as that a true Statement of the whole, or of
    any particular branch of the business may be produced whenever
    required without constant recurrence to the Vouchers and papers from
    which these Books are formed.  This cannot be effected in any way so
    well as by regular Books kept in a manner that has been in use for
    many hundred years, is familiar to Men of Business in all Countries,
    is equally applicable to the finances of a Kingdom as to the Accounts
    of a private family, and upon which the best Accomptants have not
    been able to make much improvement: but in the Barrack Office, so far
    from adopting this method, they have no Waste Book or Day Book, nor
    have they any Journal which is the most essential of all Books, where
    there is a number of Entries to make, and without which they cannot
    record any transfer of property, nor any transaction whatever which
    does not come through the Cash Book.  Their Ledgers are posted
    chiefly from Vouchers and accounts, and resemble more what is
    commonly called a Check Ledger, than one which has a regular
    reference to a Journal and Cash Book, from which only every Entry in
    the Ledger should be made.  Their Ledgers can never be regularly
    balanced, nor can an error that may be made, by placing a sum of
    money to a wrong account, be easily detected—indeed no Examination of
    any Account in the Ledger can be made without referring to the
    Vouchers.  Much time and labour is often uselessly spent in searching
    for them, and replacing them.”

This report led to an immediate reform, and research through the
documents bearing dates later than 1806 was far easier than that through
those of the previous decade, at the commencement of which the Norman
Cross Prison came into existence.

It is needless to say that the documents of the various Government
departments now concentrated in the Public Record Office are numbered by
millions, and of those relating to Prisoners of War there are over 700
volumes, besides hundreds of rolls, bundles, and packets, pertaining to
the Admiralty and War Office departments; these include various branches
now completely transformed, such as Transport Board, Commission for Sick
and Hurt, etc.  Huge Ledgers are not indexed, nor are the accounts
entered consecutively.  Rough minute books and letter books on all
conceivable subjects are in the same chaotic condition, so that whole
days have been wasted on a fruitless search, while on the other hand
important results have been unexpectedly obtained in unlikely and
unlooked-for quarters.

It may pardonably be allowed to refer to what little has been done by
others in the same direction, both with regard to barracks and to
prisons.  A comparison with the following pages will show that earlier
researches have been of a very superficial character.  Matters have been
left doubtful which a little further search would have made certain, and
points, which tradition and writers with some claim to authority had left
obscure, would have been cleared up.  It would be invidious to go into
further particulars, but it may be stated that Huntingdon, in which
county Norman Cross is situated, although it has an important and
eventful history, has as yet no exhaustive County History, and that the
local guide books are of little value.

The results of these researches through official documents, through old
newspaper files, and topographical works, in the British Museum Library,
are, in the following pages, incorporated with information obtained
locally from persons who in their early youth knew the prison, from
topical traditions, from printed narratives founded more or less on fact,
from parish registers, and from old private letters and diaries.

To the officials at the British Museum and the Record Office our thanks
are due for valuable assistance courteously rendered.

Unfortunately, for the completeness of this narrative, no record of the
life at the Depot, written by a Norman Cross prisoner or by any official,
is known to exist.  Such sources of information exist in the case of at
least one of the other prisons, and to fill a blank, which must have been
left in this history, we are, by the kind permission of the author, Mr.
Basil Thomson, enabled to include in this volume a reprint of Chapter V.
from _The Story of Dartmoor Prison_, {0b} and to make other extracts
which throw light on the life of Prisoners of War confined in Great
Britain between the years 1793–1815.

The Rev. E. H. Brown, Vicar of Yaxley, son of the late Rev. Arthur Brown,
author of a tale _The French Prisoners of Norman Cross_, {0c} and Mr. A.
C. Taylor have kindly taken photographs for the illustrations; Mr. C.
Dack, the Curator, and Mr. J. W. Bodger, the Secretary, of the
Peterborough Natural History and Scientific Society, have been assiduous
in collecting information.

Our thanks are also due to other friends too numerous to specify, who
have given items of valuable information, or have communicated traditions
the greater number of which have some foundation on fact.

The critical reader is asked to bear in mind the circumstances—so ill
adapted to literary work, especially of an historical character—under
which this book has been conceived and matured, to be lenient in his
criticisms, and to accept it as a humble contribution to the history of
those eventful twenty-two years, 1793–1815, when the pens of those
recording the contemporary history of their country were occupied with
the deeds of the British Army and Navy beyond her shores to the exclusion
of the minor details of her social and domestic life.

                                                                  T. J. W.
                                                                     A. R.

[Without the aid of Mr. A. Rhodes, the author, whose time, except during
his rare holidays, is wholly devoted to the active work of his
profession, could not possibly have carried out the researches by which
so much information has been obtained.  Mr. Rhodes has in these
“forewords” described some of the difficulties encountered, and the
author is desirous to emphasise his appreciation of the work of the
colleague whose services he was able to secure, and who now, unhappily,
is totally incapacitated from work by severe illness.—T. J. W.]



    I watched where against the blue
       The builders built on the height:
    And ever the great wall grew
       As their brown arms shone in the light.

    Trowel and mallet and brick
       Made a wedding of sounds in the air:
    And the dead clay took life from the quick
       As their strong arms girdled it there.

                                    LAURENCE HOUSMAN: _The Housebuilders_.

THE Depot for Prisoners of War, at Norman Cross in Huntingdonshire, was
the first, and during twelve years the only prison specially constructed
for the custody of the prisoners taken captive in the Revolutionary and
Napoleonic Wars between 1793 and 1815.  The Norman Cross Depot received
its first inmates on the 7th April 1797; while of the other great prisons
built for the same purpose, Dartmoor (since 1850 the Convict Prison) was
not occupied until 24th May 1809, and Perth (converted into the general
Prison for Scotland in 1839) received its first batch of 399 prisoners on
the 6th August 1812.

Eight years before the building of the Norman Cross Prison the French
Revolution had commenced.  The storming of the Bastille had taken place
in 1789, and during the following years events had advanced rapidly.  In
1792, Louis XVI, yielding to the demands of the assembly, the Girondists,
and the populace of Paris, had declared war against Austria.  In 1793 the
Republican Government had been established, Louis had been deposed and
executed, and on the 1st February of the same year France had declared
war against Britain, thus commencing that struggle which lasted, with two
short intermissions, to the final overthrow of Buonaparte at Waterloo on
the 18th June 1815.

This war—of which the historian Alison, writing in the first half of the
last century, said, “It was the longest, most costly and bloodiest war
mentioned in history”—cost England above two thousand millions of money,
a colossal sum, which represented a proportionate number of lives
sacrificed, and a proportionate amount of misery and want, not only to
the combatants on both sides, but to the great mass of the civil
population of every nation drawn into the conflict.

In recent years there have been wars of shorter duration, more costly and
more deadly, but none in which so fierce a spirit of animosity reigned in
the breasts of the combatants, none in which the miseries of war were
dragged out to the same calamitous length.

The history of the prison at Norman Cross brings forcibly before us those
prolonged miseries incidental to war, which are liable to be overlooked
by such students as contemplate only

    The neighing steed and the shrill trump,
    The spirit-stirring drum, the ear-piercing fife,
    The royal banner, and all quality,
    Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war!

The poet paints the close of a hard-fought day when

    Thousands had sunk on the ground overpowered,
    The weary to sleep and the wounded to die.

The matter-of-fact chronicler records the exact number of killed,
wounded, and missing, and of guns, standards, and prisoners captured on
either side; but the after-history of those prisoners is left unwritten,
their sufferings are unrevealed!  And yet, between 1793 and 1815,
literally hundreds of thousands of prisoners of war were held in
captivity by the various nations engaged in the conflict, and this
confinement meant for the great bulk of them years of misery, long vistas
of monotonous restraint, periods of indifferent treatment, occasionally
great physical suffering, and, worse than all, for many, moral
deterioration and degradation inseparable from the conditions in which
they dragged out their existence.  However humane the captors might be,
these consequences to the unfortunate captives were inevitable during the
protracted Napoleonic Wars of the close of the eighteenth and
commencement of the nineteenth centuries; and there is only too much
evidence that when matters on which not only the comforts, but the actual
lives of the prisoners depended, were being debated by the two hostile
Governments, the political and military interests of the nations
concerned were regarded before those of the wretched captives.

The great Napoleon revolutionised the art of warfare, as the great
Gustavus revolutionised the military organisations of Europe, and one
result of this revolution was that the chivalrous treatment of prisoners
of war and non-combatants, which prevailed up to Napoleon’s accession to
power, was materially changed.  A great French authority on International
Law, writing in 1758, said:

    “As soon as your enemy has laid down his arms and surrendered his
    body, you have no longer any right over his life.  Prisoners may be
    secured, and for this purpose may be put into confinement, and even
    fettered, if there be reason to apprehend that they will rise on
    their captors, or make their escape.  But they are not to be treated
    harshly, unless personally guilty of some crime against him who has
    them in his power. . . .

    “We extol the English and French, we feel our bosoms glow with love
    for them, when we hear accounts of the treatment which prisoners of
    war, on both sides, have experienced from those generous nations.
    And what is more, by a custom which equally displays the honour and
    humanity of the Europeans, an officer, taken prisoner-of-war, is
    released on his parole, and enjoys the comfort of passing the time of
    his captivity in his own country, in the midst of his family; and the
    party who have thus released him rest as perfectly sure of him as if
    they had him confined in irons.”

Abundant testimony can be adduced to the truth of what Vattel asserts
from contemporary records as to both nations. {4}  But between 1758 and
1773, the dates of the first and second editions of the French work just
quoted, there was born, in Ajaccio in Corsica, a man who was to change
all this—Napoleon Buonaparte, who, contemporaneously with the building of
Norman Cross Prison, was erecting the pedestal on which he afterwards
stood as Emperor, who for twenty years hung over Europe as a great
shadow, keeping our ancestors in this country in very pressing terror of
invasion, whom the British feared and hated, and whose dominant passion,
as time went on, was hatred of England as the insuperable obstacle in his
path of conquest.  This little history will reveal to some extent the
results of his methods as they affected the unfortunate soldiers and
sailors who became prisoners of war.  This is no place for discussing the
right and wrong of the devastating Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars; the
treatment of the prisoners of war, as shown in their prison life, alone
finds its place in a History of the Depot at Norman Cross.

At the commencement of the war the prisoners on either side were
comparatively few, but early in its progress embarrassment arose on the
British side from the large numbers of French and Dutch taken in the
great naval victories of Howe, Jervis, Collingwood, and Nelson.  To
maintain these prisoners on a foreign shore or in the face of the enemy
was impossible, and as their number increased it became evident that the
existing prisons, and the few fortresses remaining in Britain, such as
Porchester Castle near Portsmouth, Plymouth, Falmouth, and Fort George in
Scotland, which had been hurriedly fitted up and converted into war
prisons, were insufficient for the ever-increasing number of captives.
To supplement these it became necessary to fit up special ships and
maintain them as hulks, in the harbours of Portsmouth, Plymouth, and the
Medway.  These hulks were later used as places of confinement for
malefactors among the prisoners, and also to relieve the prisons from
overcrowding whenever an extraordinary accumulation took place in the

In an article published in _Chambers’ Journal_ in 1854, the writer points
out “the ships were large battleships, they were cleared of all
obstructions in each deck, and would hold 900 men prisoners and the
guard, without much overcrowding; the mortality was very low.” {5}

The French in the hulks and the English prisoners in France had
undoubtedly to endure great hardships, but these hardships did not
justify the exaggerated charges brought by each nation against the
other—Englishmen pointing to Verdun as the embodiment of French cruelty
and oppression, while Frenchmen enlarged with bitter invectives on the
condition of their countrymen in the hulks and prison-ships in English
harbours.  This exaggeration and these bitter recriminations went on to
the end of the war.  Buonaparte himself was never tired of seeking to
arouse in the hearts of his soldiers a spirit of hatred towards England
by allusions to this subject, and before Waterloo he included these words
in his address to the Army: “Soldiers, let those among you who have been
prisoners of the English describe to you the hulks, and detail the
frightful miseries which they have endured.” {6a}

The number of prisoners of war was so great that their care had been
handed over to a new department of the Admiralty thus described:

    “The Transport Office is a newly created Board, and was instituted in
    July 1794 at first for the superintendence of the Transport Service
    only; but to that employment has since been added the management of
    the Prisoners of War, in health, at home and abroad.” {6b}

To this department all communications in reference to the prisoners of
war had to be addressed, and through them all information reached the
Admiralty.  There was another special department of the Admiralty, that
for the care of the sick and hurt, into whose charge the prisoners of war
passed when they ceased to be “in health.”

The following extract gives further details of the Transport Department,
on which for twenty years the lot of the prisoners of war so greatly
depended.  The paragraph was written in 1803, when the war was supposed
to be at an end.

    “Transport Office, Dorset Square, Westminster, established in August
    1794, for the purpose of conducting the transport business which had
    hitherto been transacted by the Navy Office; it has also the care of
    the prisoners of war.  It was at first managed by three
    commissioners, but the business having much increased two more were
    added in the year 1795.  The salary of each commissioner is a
    thousand a year.  They have under them, several resident agents at
    the different sea-ports both at home and abroad, to superintend the
    particular service of embarking, re-embarking of troops, etc., and
    seeing that the contracts made in this particular service are
    strictly adhered to.  These agents are captains and lieutenants of
    the Royal Navy.  There are also several agents afloat.  The captains
    have one guinea a day; the lieutenants fifteen shillings, and
    nineteen shillings more per month for a servant.  At the conclusion
    of the war in 1802, the Board was reduced to three commissioners;
    Capt. Schank retired on a pension of £500 per annum, and Joseph Hunt,
    Esq., was removed to the ordnance as clerk of the deliveries.

Hugh Cloberry Christian, Esq., afterwards Sir Hugh, K.B.

Philip Patten, Esq.

Ambrose Serle, Esq.
                            September 1795.
Rupert George, Esq.

John Schank, Esq.

Wm. Albany Otway, Esq.

John Marsh, Esq.

Ambrose Serle, Esq.
                             January 1799.
Joseph Hunt, Esq., _vice_ March. {7}

In order properly to understand the establishment of the Depot at Norman
Cross, it is necessary to briefly review the events which led up to it.
It arose at a very momentous era in our history.  It was not officially
called a barracks, or a prison, but a Depot.  At that time there were few
barracks in England, practically none, and what we term garrison towns
were very scarce.  Our regular army was abroad fighting, and the internal
defence was in the hands of the Militia and Yeomanry.  Service in the
former was compulsory, but substitutes could be purchased, so that it is
easy to judge who would actually serve, especially at a time when
scarcity and high prices were the rule, while the Militia were well fed.
In the Yeomanry were enrolled the gentry and well-to-do persons of each
locality; this was a very large force.  There was a special troop of
Norman Cross Yeomanry, in which the farmers and others from the
neighbouring villages gave their services, and there were one or more
troops in Peterborough and the neighbouring towns.  The duty mainly
consisted in putting down the various small riots that arose in different
parts of the country.  In their travels they were “billeted” on the
publicans and the public at a tariff fixed by the Government, and which,
not being very extravagant, gave rise to much dissatisfaction,
oppression, and fraud.

As the foreign wars continued, the number of prisoners sent to Britain
multiplied and the military duty increased.  In 1793 the Supplementary
Militia Act was passed, and it was determined to spend about £2,000,000
in erecting barracks, and out of this sum Norman Cross was built.  It was
always hoped that peace was at hand, and the prisoners of war had
hitherto been confined not in places built for, or exactly suitable for,
their retention, but in fortresses or castles or ships, and when these
became overcrowded, in empty warehouses or similar buildings specially
hired.  It was not considered safe to keep prisoners of war in sea-ports,
or even near the coast.  Ireland was in a state of rebellion, and had to
be kept down with a strong military force, hence the great Depot at
Kinsale was formed.

We must bear in mind that at this period the Parliamentary Reports were
very closely watched by our enemies, and information which might be of
service to them was suppressed and consequently is sought for in vain
to-day.  The country was in a state of turmoil, the Government
departments were overladen to a terrible degree, and red tape, far more
than now, reigned supreme.  These conditions led to careless supervision
and defalcations even in high positions; the Barrack Master-General,
General Oliver de Lancey, was dismissed from the Army after a Commission
had investigated his accounts.  He was responsible for Norman Cross, and
it is in accordance with the finding of the commission referred to in
this preface that no official account of the original cost can be found.
The ground was purchased from Lord Carysfort. {9}  It is from
measurements of foundations remaining on the site, from plans, and from
scattered and brief references to reports, of which the originals cannot
up to the present be found, that a history and description of the
original buildings can be given.  They were begun in haste, hurriedly
built, and in a continual state of repair and alteration during the whole
of their existence.

In 1793 a large sum of money was voted by Parliament for barracks both
permanent and temporary.  A Barrack Master-General had already been
appointed.  The first measure taken by this official was the conversion
of existing buildings to meet their new object—viz. the safe custody of
the captive soldiers and sailors, and the provision of suitable
accommodation for lodging and maintaining them and the troops who guarded
them.  Even in the first three years of the war these efforts were barely
sufficient to meet the requirements, and in February 1796 the matter of
prison accommodation had become most urgent.  The Dutch Fleet was at sea,
and a meeting with the English Fleet being probable, it was reported to
the Admiralty, in reply to their inquiries as to the means of disposing
of the large number of prisoners expected in the event of a successful
battle, that Porchester Castle was capable of containing 2,000 men, and
the Dutch prisoners could be kept separate from the French.  Forton would
be of little use, as not more than 300 extra could be accommodated; it
was already full, 6,000 being incarcerated in the hospital there.

On the 20th June of the same year it was reported that the number of
prisoners had increased, until every prison was overcrowded.  At Mill
Prison, Plymouth, calculated to hold 3,300, there were confined 3,513,
and in consequence of the report 200 were transferred from this prison
into a ship; this in turn also became crowded, and another ship had to be
pressed into the service.  Fresh prisoners still poured into the country.
Sir Ralph Abercrombie reported that he was sending upwards of 4,000 from
the West Indies, and the urgency was such that it became absolutely
necessary to construct with the utmost rapidity a new prison.

In selecting a site, several requirements had to be considered.  To be
suitable for its purpose the prison must be within easy reach of a port,
in order that prisoners might be landed, and conveyed rapidly and at
small cost to their place of confinement.  At the same time it must not
be too near an unfortified port, as such a situation would offer
facilities for escape, and there would be danger of support from the sea,
in the event of a general rising, and a combined attempt to restore to
the fighting ranks of the enemy the thousands of captive soldiers and
sailors who were in captivity _hors de combat_.  The site must be
healthy, well supplied with water, and conveniently situated for the
provision of the necessaries of life—and further, it must be near trunk
roads, for convenience of administration, and in order that in the event
of a rising, troops sufficient to quell the mutinous prisoners could be
concentrated on the spot.

The site chosen for the Norman Cross Depot possessed all these
advantages.  It was situated on the Great North Road, one of the most
important in the country, the Ermine Street of the Romans, and it was
only seventy-six miles from London.  The situation was altogether
suitable from a sanitary point of view, although later, at a period when
the bulk were ill clad, the poor half-naked French, accustomed to a
warmer climate, complained bitterly of its cold and exposed position.  An
abundant supply of excellent water could be obtained by sinking deep
wells, the surrounding country was agricultural, the land fertile and
well stocked; there were small towns near from which supplies could be
obtained, and, finally, the transports could be brought to the ports of
Yarmouth, Lynn, or Wisbech, and the prisoners landed there could be
cheaply conveyed by water to Yaxley, Stanground, and Peterborough, all of
which places were within a few miles’ march from the prison gates.  As an
alternative the prisoner could march direct from the ports to the prison.

On the 8th December 1796 the Transport Commissioners applied to the
Barrack Office for estimates for a building to contain 10,000 prisoners,
but official red tape could not be disregarded, and the Barrack
Master-General replied that as the Admiralty had not authorised the
construction of any such buildings, he could not give any opinion on the
subject.  In the Transport Office, however, were officials who recognised
the urgency of the situation, and when at length on the 13th February
1797 the Barrack Master-General wrote to the Transport Board, referring
to his letter of the 19th December of the previous year, and asking for
an order for the building, he was too late.  The Transport Commissioners
were already at work, the prison had been planned, and the work, started
in the previous December, was, under the direction of William Adams,
Master Carpenter to the Board of Ordnance, already making such rapid
progress that portions were nearly complete.

The material selected for the structure was wood; this was economical,
and suited to the temporary character of the building.  No one, however
pessimistic, thought in 1796 that the prison would be required to house
prisoners of war, with only two short intervals, for another nineteen
years.  Such wooden buildings, the outer walls constructed of a strong
framework, with feather-edged boards overlapping one another covering and
casing in the framed work, were much used in domestic architecture at
this period, and many houses thus constructed may be seen in the
neighbourhood of London.  A good example of a village mansion of this
kind may be still seen in Lower Sydenham, where it is at present occupied
by Lady Grove, the widow of Sir George Grove.  The wooden buildings were
erected on a buried brick or stone foundation.

Above all, wood lent itself to rapidity of construction, which was an
urgent and essential requirement at this crisis.

When nine years later, in 1805, fresh accommodation for the
ever-increasing number of prisoners flowing into Great Britain was
necessary, and Dartmoor was selected as the site for a new prison,
granite was the material adopted for its construction.  The stone was
obtainable on the spot, while the price of timber was prohibitive, in
consequence of the blockading of the Prussian ports. {12}  The granite
prison at Dartmoor, commenced in 1805, received its first batch of
prisoners in May 1809.  The stone building took four years to build, it
served its original purpose for seven years, stood empty for thirty-four
years, and is at the present time, and has been for sixty-one years, a
convict prison.  The wooden buildings of Norman Cross, commenced in 1796,
were ready for use in four months, served their purpose for eighteen
years, and were rased to the ground in 1816.

The earliest official information, as to the plan and the buildings of
the Depot, is found in a long report by General Beathand dated 13th
January 1797; later official reports and documents, paragraphs in the
newspapers, and other sources of information show that the original plans
were modified and expanded as the work of the prison progressed.

The timber framework of the building was made in London, and was carted
down to Norman Cross, where 500 carpenters and others were employed day
and night, and seven days a week, those who would not work on Sunday
being discharged.  The erection of the prisons, the accessory offices,
and the barracks for the Military Guard progressed very rapidly, and on
the 4th February (nine days before the Barrack Master-General applied for
the order to start the work!) such progress had been made that the
Admiralty instructed Mr. Poore, a surveyor, to proceed to Stilton “to
survey the buildings erected near there for the confinement of prisoners
of war.”  He did so, and reported that a portion of the building was
already complete.  General Nicolls, the officer commanding the district,
was sanguine enough to report on the 13th February that the prison at
Norman Cross would be ready in about three weeks for the reception of
prisoners from the citadel (Plymouth).

This estimate of the date when the barracks would be finished was too
sanguine, although the work was being carried out with all possible
speed.  By the end of January the sum of £6,000 had been paid to and
disbursed by Mr. Adams in wages alone. {14}

The total amount paid on account of the Norman Cross Depot up to the 19th
November 1797 being so large, while the large expenditure on the
alterations of old prisons and fortresses in the country was going on
simultaneously, it is not surprising that on the 14th April 1797 a
question was asked by an economist in the House of Commons as to the
extraordinary expenditure on barracks; nor, looking to the rate at which
the building of the Norman Cross Depot was being pushed forward, can we
be surprised at the curt reply of the Secretary of State: “Extraordinary
exertions involve extraordinary expenses.”

There is reason to believe, however, that the question was not put
without good reason.  The want of method and the overlapping of
departments were not conducive to clear statements of accounts.  The
action of the newly appointed Transport Board in commencing the building
of the prison, while the Barrack Master was refusing to undertake this
urgent work because he considered that official routine had been
neglected, has already been alluded to.  The Barrack Master’s Accounts
were very confused.  In the Records of the Audit Office (Roll 354, Bundle
146, Declared Accounts) the total expenditure by the Barrack Master at
Norman Cross, from 1st January 1797 to Christmas 1802, is only £5,175
3_s._, and it is evident that the sum of £34,518 11_s._ 3_d._ does not
appear in the Barrack Master’s account.  The total expenditure of his
department amounted, when an inquiry was held, in 1802 to £1,324,680
12_s._ 5_d._ and there was a deficiency of £40,296 9_s._ 11¼_d._

Out of the confused chaos of figures there emerges the interesting fact
that, between the 25th December 1796 and the 24th June 1797, £390 10_s._
1_d._ was spent on coals supplied to the Norman Cross Depot!  A large
coal bill for half a year, when we consider that in none of the blocks
occupied by the prisoners, excepting the hospital blocks, was there any
artificial heat.

As the work went on, there were, as has been already stated, various
alterations in the plans; thus in February and March 1797 it was ordered,
that a hospital for the sick should be provided by adapting some of the
blocks originally intended as prisons to this purpose, and that increased
accommodation for prisoners should be obtained by adding a storey to each
block in course of erection, in preference to multiplying the buildings.

On 21st March a payment was made to Mr. Poore of £142 2_s._ for his
services in surveying and _settling the establishment_ at Norman Cross.
This shows that within three months from the commencement of the
buildings they were in a sufficiently advanced condition to make the
consideration of the necessary staff for the administration of the prison
when it should be opened, a matter requiring Mr. Poore’s immediate

By the 25th March the staff had been engaged, and on that day it was
reported that a section of the buildings, sufficient for the custody of
1,840 prisoners, was ready for their reception.  On the day before this
report was sent, a portion of the military barracks had been occupied by
the small number of troops considered sufficient for the moment.  These
marched in on the 24th, and were ready to mount guard over the expected

The work of building went rapidly on during the rest of the year, and
nine months from its commencement Mr. Craig, a principal architect of the
department, was sent down for the final inspection.  As will be seen by
the footnote, page 14, payments to W. Adams, Chief Carpenter, went on up
to 29th November 1797, when we may assume that the prison in its first
form was complete.

From the time of its occupation, this prison was, like others of its
class, known as a “depot”—“The Norman Cross Depot for Prisoners of War.”
Locally it was frequently spoken of and written about as the Norman Cross
Prison, or the Norman Cross Barracks, or even Yaxley or Stilton Barracks.
The term depot included the prison proper, the barracks, and all other
Government buildings.  In the succeeding chapter this Depot is fully
described, and its necessary establishment touched upon. {16}



    It is no flattery to a prisoner to gild his dungeon.

                               CALDERON, _Fortunas de Andromed et Persus_.

THE following description of the Depot is founded on personal
observations of the site, on contemporary plans and records, of greater
or less accuracy, on the meagre information which could be obtained from
the few old people who had in their early days seen and known the place,
and who were still alive in 1894, when the materials for the lecture on
which this narrative is based were collected, and on facts recorded by
recent writers the accuracy of which can be verified.

The site of the Depot was a space of forty-two acres, situated in the
angle formed where, seventy-six miles from London, “the Great North Road”
is joined, five miles from Peterborough by the old Coach Road from Boston
and East Lincolnshire.

The ground rises here, by a rapid slope from the south and east, to a
height of 120 feet above the level of the adjoining Fens, and it was in
this elevated and healthy spot that the prison and barracks were built.
It had been ascertained that by sinking deep wells an abundant supply of
good water could be obtained, and it is said that there were about thirty
such wells, although in the best extant plan of the Depot nineteen only
are shown.  Some of these are still in use at the present day, and each
well is nearly 100 feet deep.  Great attention was paid to the sanitary
arrangements, a very necessary matter, when one considers that it was
resolved suddenly to concentrate in one spot a population (including
prisoners and garrison) of nearly 8,000 adult males, who were to live for
several years on about forty acres of ground.  There is a legend that the
site is even now honeycombed with sewers, and that within recent years a
ferret turned into one of them, which had been accidentally opened, at
once took out 150 yards of line.  This, like many other traditions, is
not, I believe, founded on fact.  The main feature of the sanitary
arrangements was that all refuse should be removed in soil carts, without
the intervention of drains, cess-pools, or middens.  For further
information on this and many other matters connected with the structure
of the Depot, the reader may study the _Report of a Survey_ by Mr.
Fearnall in 1813.  It is evident from this report that the maintenance
and repair of the buildings had been greatly neglected during the
seventeen years which had elapsed between their erection and the date of
the report. {18}

The Peterborough Natural History Society, which has in its museum the
finest collection in Great Britain, if not in the world, of straw
marquetry work, bone carving, and other artistic manufactures executed by
the French prisoners, possesses three plans of the prison.  The earliest
of these is a pictorial plan (Plate II., Fig. 1, Plan A), which was
bought at a sale at Washingley Hall, and which I therefore call the
Washingley Plan.  It was presented in 1906 by the Mayor, T. Lamplugh,
Esq.; it is an east elevation.  Another (Plate II., Fig. 2, Plan B) of
about the same date is a ground plan, and was presented by Miss Hill, the
daughter of the late Mr. John Hill.  This is taken from the west.  Mr.
Hill, who was born in 1803, and was thus only thirteen when the prison
was demolished, was said to have drawn the plan himself; if he did so, it
must have been copied from one made a few years before he was born, as
the plan is that of the Depot in the first period of the war, which came
to a close in March 1802.

 [Picture: Plan A.—The Washingley Plan of the Depot, 1797 to 1803.  East

                                * * * * *

   [Picture: Plan B.—Mr. Hill’s Plan of the Depot, 1797 to 1803.  West

                                * * * * *

  [Picture: Plan C.—Major Kelly’s Plan of the Depot, 1800 to 1805.  (a)
  North Elevation.  (b) Ground Plan.  (c) Pictorial Plan from the East]

                                * * * * *

  [Picture: Plan D.—Bird’s-eye View of Norman Cross Barracks and Prison,
       East Elevation.  Executed by Lieutenant E. Macgregor, 1813]

                                * * * * *

Both these plans are of a very early date in the history of the prison.
A third (Plate II., Fig. 3, Plan C) is that which belonged to Major
Kelly, who, as Captain Kelly, was Brigade-Major at the time when the
prison was closed; this includes a pictorial plan, or bird’s-eye view,
with the Peterborough Road on the south to the left hand and the North
Road above, a ground plan, and above this the north elevation of the
whole group of buildings.  It is of later date, probably about 1803–4,
the commencement of the second period of the war.  A fourth plan (Plate
II., Fig. 4, Plan D) was made by Lieut. Macgregor of the West Kent
Militia, and dedicated to the officers of his regiment which was
quartered at Norman Cross in 1813.  This was engraved and published by
Sylvester of the Strand.  An almost perfect copy of the print is in the
possession of the Reverend Father Robert A. Davis; it shows the Depot in
its final state two years before Waterloo and three years before it was

In the Musée de l’Armée at the Hôtel des Invalides in Paris, is a model
of the Depot, the work of a French prisoner named Foulley, who was
confined at Norman Cross five years and three months.  M. Foulley
constructed the model after his return to France.  It represents the
prison as it appeared on the occasion of the rejoicings at the departure
of the first detachment of prisoners to France after the entry of the
allied armies into Paris, and the abdication of Buonaparte in 1814.  By
the courtesy of General Niox, the Director of the Museum, and of his
Adjutant, Lieut. Sculfort, a photograph of the model has been taken for
me; this is reproduced at page 251, chapter xii., where the final
clearing of the prison is described.  The model corresponds in its main
features with the plans which I have enumerated.  It is on a large scale,
beautifully executed, and its production must have required months of
hard work.  It is the only plan, or model, which shows a prisoners’
theatre in the centre of the south-east quadrangle.

M. Foulley’s model is incorrect in certain details.  It represents the
prison wall as quadrilateral inclosing a square, instead of an octagonal
space.  It omits the large and deep embrasures, in the recesses of which
each of the four gates of the prison stood.  The wide fosse which
encircled the prison at the foot of and within the wall is omitted, nor
is there a sufficient space left between the wall and the prison
buildings to admit of such a fosse being shown in the model.

Outside the wall of the prison M. Foulley had to rely probably on the
description of others, as from within the wall the prisoners could only
gaze at its dismal brick surface.  Of what was beyond he could have no
personal knowledge during the long years of his captivity, unless he was
fortunate enough on occasions to be a delegate to the market without the
Eastern Gate.  Hence probably it arises that the buildings representing
the quarters of the military guarding the prison are huddled together, in
confused order, which bears no relation to that which was their actual

Although the model is not, as a whole, made accurately to scale, the
reader will appreciate its size from the fact that the caserns are
modelled on a scale of about 1 to 171—the actual length of each casern
was 100 feet, the length in the model is nearly 7 inches.  A key plan of
the model and M. Foulley’s description are given with the photograph in
chapter xii., p. 251.

To avoid confusion in following the description, the reader must bear in
mind that the Washingley Pictorial Plan, Major Kelly’s plans, and Lieut.
Macgregor’s plan are all east elevations—that is, the observer is
supposed to face the west, with the Peterborough Road to his left
hand—whereas in the plan copied by Mr. Hill the figures and their
references are all placed to be read as the observer looks east, with the
Peterborough Road on his right hand; therefore the left-hand bottom
corner (where the military hospital was situated) in Mr. Hill’s Plan is
the right-hand upper corner in the three other plans.

The site was a right-angled oblong, with a small space sliced off at the
north-west angle.  It measured in its long diameter from east to west 500
yards (1,500 feet)—that is, 60 yards more than a quarter of a mile—while
across from north to south it was 412 yards (1,236 feet), or 28 yards
short of a quarter of a mile.  The space enclosed was 42 acres, 7 poles,
which is about six times the area of Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London, and
about four times that of Trafalgar Square.  To the south it was bounded
in its whole length by the Peterborough Road, on its other three sides it
was surrounded with fields.  A strip of land (B B in Mr. Hill’s plan),
crossed by a wide roadway leading to the West Barracks, and varying in
depth from 125 yards at the Norman Cross corner to 40 yards at the
north-west corner, intervened between the western boundary of the site
and the North Road.  The prison itself occupied 22 acres in the centre of
the space.  It was enclosed by an octagonal brick wall.  Originally the
structure was a strong stockade fence, but about the year 1805 the fence
was replaced by the brick wall, of which 30 yards are still standing.

The two east and two west sides of the octagonal space, which was the
prison proper, were longer than the two north and two south sides; the
long diameter of the octagon therefore ran across that of the site,
extending almost to its north and south limits, while the short diameter
stopping short of the boundary by 300 feet, left, east and west, ample
room for the barracks of the military garrison and for other buildings.

In the very centre of the site, which is also the centre of the prison,
was an octagonal block house, mounted with cannon.  This is represented
in the illustration, a photograph of one of several models made by the
prisoners.  This model is in the possession of Colonel Strong of Thorpe
Hall, by whose grandfather Archdeacon Strong it was bought from its maker
at the prison.

  [Picture: Plate III.—The Block House which stood in the Centre of the

The frontispiece is from a sketch of the centre of the prison, by Captain
George Lloyd of the Second West York Militia, taken in 1809.  The
original is in the collection of the United Service Institution,
Whitehall; it shows the accuracy of the model of the block house.  In
describing the various courts and buildings, it is best to start from the
centre, and to trace the arrangement of the parts of the Depot round this
point.  Symmetrically arranged round this block house, and commanded by
its guns, were four quadrangular courts, each strongly fenced by a high
stockade fence.  The area of each of these courts was about 3½ acres;
they were separated from one another by four cross roads, each about
twenty feet wide.  These roads met in the centre, where the corners of
the quadrangular courts were cut off to form the octagonal open space in
which stood the block house.

Each quadrangle contained four wooden two-storied barracks, or caserns,
100 feet long and 22 feet wide, roofed with red tiles, the shallowness of
their depth from back to front adding to their apparent height.  The
sixteen buildings faced the east, eight with their outer ends to the
south fence, and eight with their outer end to the north fence.  The four
caserns in each square were placed one behind the other, leaving between
each block and the next in front a space which was strongly fenced off at
either end, forming an enclosure about 100 by 70 feet, in which the
prisoners of each casern were confined when the gates opening into the
quadrangle, or airing-ground, were locked at sunset.  Each casern was
constructed to form the dwelling-place of about 500 prisoners, who slept
in rows of hammocks, closely packed in tiers one above the other.  It is
almost certain that each of the two floors in these caserns was divided
by partitions into three chambers, as at the sale each of the sixteen was
sold in three lots—the north end, the centre, and the south end.  The
north end of the hinder block in the north-east quadrangle was bought on
the 25th September 1816 by Mr. Dan Ruddle for £32. {23a}  He re-erected
it for workshops in his building-yard, where it still stands, and it is
thus possible to-day, to look upon the north end of the casern (No. 13,
or letter M), which stood behind the three blocks adapted for the
prisoners’ hospital, and which in the second period of the war {23b} was
occupied by the French petty officers and by civilians who were captured,
and whose position did not entitle them to parole.

In the south-east quadrangle, which was on the right of the central south
entrance to the prison from the Peterborough Road, there were, in
addition to these four caserns and their necessary offices, the
superintendent’s, or agent’s offices, a storehouse, a room set apart for
the clerks and other officials, a cooking-house, and, as in each of the
other quadrangles, two turnkeys’ lodges.

These smaller buildings in each quadrangle were in a court, cut off from
the large space which formed the prisoners’ airing-ground by stockade
fencing similar to that surrounding the whole quadrangle, the turnkeys’
lodges being immediately behind this fence.  The only exit from the part
of the quadrangle occupied by the prisoners was through this court, the
gate situated in the inner stockade fence being between the two turnkeys’
lodges, facing another in the main fence of the square, which opened into
the road between the quadrangles.  There were in each quadrangle three
wells, two in the airing-courts near the caserns, and one in the enclosed
space in which were the accessory buildings.

In the south-western quadrangle, in addition to the caserns, the
storehouse, and the cooking-house, there was a straw barn, from which,
whenever necessary, fresh straw was served out for the prisoners’
palliasses.  In the enclosed court near the turnkeys’ lodges was the
black hole, where prisoners were confined for gross offences.  This den
of misery contained twelve cells, each secured by bars and padlocks, and
had a cramped strongly fenced airing-court in front of it.

             [Picture: Plate IV.—The Outer Side of the Wall]

The north-eastern quadrangle was mainly given up to the hospital.  Of the
four caserns in the early years of the Depot, two, but later three, were
fitted up for the reception of the sick and wounded and for the
accommodation of the surgeon and assistant surgeons, the matron
sempstress and the hospital attendants.  Of the hospital blocks, one was
set apart for the officers and other prisoners of similar social status.
In the enclosed court behind the turnkeys’ lodges were the special
accessory buildings of the hospital, and in the corner behind the caserns
was the mortuary, where, between their death and their burial, were laid
the bodies of 1,770 unhappy men whose fate it was to end their captivity
in a foreign grave.

In this quadrangle, as shown in Lieut. Macgregor’s plan, was, in the year
1805, erected the surgeon’s house, which was a substantial brick
building, with an enclosed garden; this was built in the second period of
the war after the Peace of Amiens, about eleven years before the
demolition of the barracks.  After the closing of the Depot, when peace
was declared in 1814, we find Mr. George Walker the surgeon, on vacating
his post, making application for permission to remove the young fruit
trees which he had planted in the apparently newly laid-out garden. {24}
In each quadrangle a space of about two acres was unoccupied by
buildings, and constituted the airing-ground, in which the prisoners
spent the greater part of their waking lives.  This outdoor life, from
sunrise to sunset, except in bad weather, was enforced by the Prison

These airing-courts were bordered by a flag pavement, which enabled the
prisoners to use them in any but the worst weather.

Completely surrounding the four quadrangles, and enclosing around them a
vacant space, varying in width from 25 to 30 yards opposite the cross
roads, to as many feet at the abutting angles of each quadrangle, was the
prison wall.  This in the earlier years was a strong stockade fence, and
is so represented in the three earlier plans reproduced in the plates;
but at a later date it was replaced by the brick wall shown in
Macgregor’s plan, and it is described in the auctioneer’s catalogue of
the sale, when the prison and its contents were disposed of in September
1816, as “a substantial brick wall measuring 3,740 feet round, and
containing 282 rods of brickwork more or less.”  Of this wall, 30 yards
are still standing, forming a portion of the garden wall of the house
originally occupied by the superintendent.  The auctioneer’s description
does not altogether agree with that of the surveyor Mr. Fearnall, who in
1813 reported that it was “very indifferently built, and not of the best
materials,” and that much of it was in danger of falling, owing to the
excavation at its foot within the enclosure of a ditch.  This ditch, for
its full length of nearly three-quarters of a mile, can be traced at the
present day, with the deep embrasures shown in the plans, at each of the
four prison gates.  It was, at the time the buildings were demolished,
about 9 yards wide and 5 feet deep, and it was paved with stone flags;
this is supposed to be the “silent walk” of the sentries, excavated in
1809.  An item in the barrack master’s accounts for July in that year is
£420 19_s._ 6_d._, for the making a walk for the “silent sentries.”  The
area of the actual prison enclosed within the wall was in 1816 sold in
one lot, and is described in the catalogue as “containing by
admeasurement 22 acres, 2 roods, and 14 perches more or less.”

  [Picture: Plate V.—The Inner Side of the Prison Wall as it now Stands]

In the boundary wall were four gates, opening on to the ends of the cross
streets, which separated the four quadrangles.  The north gate opened
into a space at the back of the prison occupied by sheds and other
accessories; the east and west gates on roadways which ran between the
military barracks and the prison from the Peterborough Road; the south
gate was opposite the central main entrance from that road into the
Depot.  Later, as shown in Macgregor’s plan, there were, in addition to
these four large gates, a door in the south wall adjoining the house of
the agent, or superintendent, and another in the north wall, giving
admission to a court outside the wall, in which had been erected a
separate prison for the boys.

At each gate outside the prison wall was a guard house, a one-storied
building fitted with separate rooms for the officers and men of the
guard, with cells for prisoners, and with a wide-open shelter, or
verandah, in front.

The ground between the boundary wall and the quadrangles was not built
upon, but was studded over with the boxes of the sentries, who, with
muskets loaded with ball cartridge, day and night patrolled the vacant
area, ready to fire on any prisoner attempting to escape across it who
did not obey the order to halt.

Beyond the boundary wall of the prison were situated east and west the
military barracks.  These comprised at each end three large caserns,
similar to those in the prison, built to enclose, with the guard house,
the barrack square.  The casern facing the guard house was the officers’
quarters, and was partitioned off into twenty-three separate officers’
rooms, a mess-room, kitchen, and other offices.  Those at either side
accommodated the private soldiers; they were divided into ten separate
rooms, each with sleeping-berths for sixty men.  There were two smaller
buildings for the non-commissioned officers, a large canteen,
sutling-house, and various offices.  The whole of these buildings, with
the barrack yards, were enclosed by strong stockade fencing.  Outside
this fence there was, in the space allotted to the accommodation of the
troops, east and west of the prison, a detached house for the field
officers, two smaller houses for the staff sergeants, the powder
magazine, a fire-engine house, a range of stabling, with stalls for
thirty-five horses, {28a} rooms for the batmen, a schoolroom, and various
other necessary offices and sheds.

The Military Hospital occupied the north-west corner of the forty-two
acres; it served for the whole of the troops in both barracks, and was
complete in itself.  It was enclosed within a separate stockade fence.

On the south side of the area, between the boundary wall and the
Peterborough Road, were the houses of the barrack master, and of the
agent (or superintendent).  These are still standing, the former having
been purchased, when the prison and barracks were demolished and the site
and materials sold, by Captain Kelly (Brevet Major, 1854), the last
Brigade-Major.  This officer had, in 1814, married the daughter of Mr.
Vise, a surgeon practising in Stilton, {28b} and, wishing to settle in
the neighbourhood, he purchased the first of the lots into which the
freehold was divided, and in which was situated the barrack master’s
house, described in the catalogue as “a comfortable house in the cottage
stile,” “built of substantial fir carcase-framing and rough
weather-boarding on brick footings, and covered with pantiles.”

To this house Major Kelly made considerable additions.  It was occupied
by him for forty years.  He died, aged seventy-eight, in 1858. {29}  His
son Captain J. Kelly succeeded him, and the property has now passed into
the hands of Mr. J. A. Herbert, J.P., the present occupant of the house.
It is a useful landmark to those who visit the locality, as with its
grounds it occupies the south-east corner of the forty-two acres, which
were covered by the prison and barracks, and it forms a useful point from
which to start in an attempt to conjure up the Depot as it was at the
beginning of the last century.  The first effort of the imagination must
be to blot out the charming residence with its well-wooded grounds, and
to substitute the bare, treeless (except for one old ash) spot on which
stood the “comfortable house in the cottage stile, consisting of one room
20 ft. by 12 ft. 2 in., one ditto 14 ft. 8 in. by 12 ft. 3 in. . . .
built of substantial fir carcase-framing and rough weather-boarding on
brick footings, and covered with pantiles”—which was what Captain Kelly
bought in 1816. {30}

Immediately to the west of the barrack master’s house was the straw barn
and yard, in which was stored the straw for the beds of the soldiers.
Beyond the barn was a gate, from which a road or street ran across
between the prison proper and the east barracks.  Through this gate
passed all those who came to attend the market at the east gate of the
prison, or on other business.  Beyond this gate was the house of the
superintendent, or agent, who was practically the governor of the prison.
The block contained two houses, the second being occupied by other
officials.  These houses, like the barrack master’s, remain at the
present time where they stood in the twenty years of the prison’s
existence, but they have been much altered, and are now surrounded by
trees and shrubs, of which the ground was absolutely bare in the days of
the prison.

  [Picture: Plate VI.—The House of the Barrack Master, Enlarged in 1816,
             now the Residence of J. A. Herbert, Esq., J.P.]

The superintendent’s and the adjoining house were cased with brick in
1816 by the purchaser, Captain Handslip, and were thrown into one house,
which is now occupied by Mr. Franey.  In the catalogue of the sale they
are described as “two excellent contiguous dwelling-houses, built of
substantial fir carcase-framing, and stuccoed, with lead flat top.”
Another range of buildings, 100 feet long, “comprising a large storeroom,
coach-house, stable, etc.,” also stood on this south side between the
prison wall and the road, while in the centre was the main entrance,
with, beyond and to the west of the gate, the south guard house.

On the ground plan are shown four entrances to the depot—three from the
Peterborough Road, the centre entrance just mentioned, and two others,
one at either end, the roads from which ran between the barracks and the
prison.  The fourth entrance was approached from the North Road by a
broad drive, crossing the narrow field lying between the prison and the
Great North Road, from which it is now, as then, fenced off on either
side.  This entrance was exactly opposite the centre of the Western
Military Barracks, the main guard facing it.  It was by this western
entrance that the stores and provisions were daily brought into the
prison, {31} and through it the bodies of those who died were carried to
the prison cemetery on the opposite side of the North Road.

Macgregor’s plan shows a paled fence surrounding the forty-two acres and
forming the outer boundary of the whole site, but this may have been a
mere artistic finish to the plan.

The prison and barracks were excellently planned, although, as a place of
safe custody, the former would have been practically useless without the

The guns of the block house commanding the whole prison, the cordon of
sentries frequently changed, always alert, ceaselessly pacing their beats
within and without the wall, day and night; the strong guard mounted at
each gate of the prison, and the large force of military in the two
barracks, ready to act on the slightest alarm, constituted a more
efficient safeguard against mutiny or escape than would have been
afforded had trust been placed in strong stone structures instead of in
the wooden walls and buildings which had been so rapidly run up.

In the summer of 1911, when the heat and drought were exceptional, the
stone and rubble footings upon which the wooden buildings were erected
were, after the first few showers of rain, in many parts of the site,
mapped out clearly in brown on a field of green, the grass upon them
having withered, so that it could not spring up fresh as it did in the
surrounding pastures.  This enabled the author to demonstrate the actual
size of the buildings, and to correct many measurements which had been
taken from the plans.  It also proved that none of the extant plans were
drawn to scale.

These are the dry details taken from actual measurements on the ground,
from surveyors’ plans, and similar documents, but we have a word-picture
of the effect produced by these wooden buildings and their inhabitants on
the mind of an imaginative and emotional boy, who afterwards became one
of the most picturesque writers of the middle part of the nineteenth
century.  George Borrow’s father was quartered at Norman Cross in
1812–13, and his little boy, not yet in his teens, was moved from Norwich
to this place.  Forty years later, in the pages of _Lavengro_, he thus
describes in eloquent language the vivid, if not absolutely accurate
picture which the prison had impressed upon his receptive and observant

    “And a strange place it was, this Norman Cross, and, at the time of
    which I am speaking, a sad cross to many a Norman, being what was
    then styled a French prison, that is, a receptacle for captives made
    in the French war.  It consisted, if I remember right, of some five
    or six casernes, very long, and immensely high; each standing
    isolated from the rest, upon a spot of ground which might average ten
    acres, and which was fenced round with lofty palisades, the whole
    being compassed about by a towering wall, beneath which, at
    intervals, on both sides sentinels were stationed, whilst, outside,
    upon the field, stood commodious wooden barracks, capable of
    containing two regiments of infantry, intended to serve as guards
    upon the captives.  Such was the station or prison at Norman Cross,
    where some six thousand French and other foreigners, followers of the
    grand Corsican, were now immured.

    “What a strange appearance had those mighty casernes, with their
    blank blind walls, without windows or grating, and their slanting
    roofs, out of which, through orifices where the tiles had been
    removed, would be protruded dozens of grim heads, feasting their
    prison-sick eyes on the wide expanse of country unfolded from that
    airy height.  Ah! there was much misery in those casernes; and from
    those roofs, doubtless, many a wistful look was turned in the
    direction of lovely France.  Much had the poor inmates to endure, and
    much to complain of, to the disgrace of England be it said—of
    England, in general so kind and bountiful.  Rations of carrion meat,
    and bread from which I have seen the very hounds occasionally turn
    away, were unworthy entertainment even for the most ruffian enemy,
    when helpless and a captive; and such, alas! was the fare in these
    casernes.  And then, those visits, or rather ruthless inroads, called
    in the slang of the place ‘straw-plait hunts,’ when, in pursuit of a
    contraband article, which the prisoners, in order to procure
    themselves a few of the necessaries and comforts of existence, were
    in the habit of making, red-coated battalions were marched into the
    prisons, who, with the bayonet’s point, carried havoc and ruin into
    every poor convenience which ingenious wretchedness had been
    endeavouring to raise around it; and then the triumphant exit with
    the miserable booty; and, worst of all, the accursed bonfire, on the
    barrack parade, of the plait contraband, beneath the view of the
    glaring eyeballs from those lofty roofs, amidst the hurrahs of the
    troops, frequently drowned in the curses poured down from above like
    a tempest-shower, or in the terrific war-whoop of ‘Vive l’Empereur!’”

Another writer records his impression of the Depot, which he visited in
1807.  The quotation is from an article in _Notes and Queries_, 8th
series, vol. x., p. 197, which gives an account of a trip to Peterborough
made by the Rev. Robert Forby, vicar of Fincham, and a Mr. G. Miller of
the same place.  They started on their tour on the 25th June 1807, and
the vicar chronicles his visit to Norman Cross in the following words:

    “Pursuing our journey through suffocating clouds of dust, in the
    evening we reached Stilton, a miserable shabby town, where all we
    found to admire was some excellent cheese for our supper. {34}
    Having disposed of our horses at the inn and secured our own
    lodgings, we walked back a mile or so to Norman Cross to see the
    barracks for French prisoners, no less than 6,000 of whom are
    confined here.  It is a fine healthy spot.  Among them there is very
    little disease; their good looks in general prove the excellent care
    taken of them.  In particular the boys are kept apart and taught, so
    that in all probability their captivity is a benefit to them.  Their
    dexterity in little handicraft, nick-nacks, particularly in making
    toys of the bones of their meals, will put many pounds into the
    pockets of several of them.  We were very credibly assured that there
    are some who will carry away with them £200 or £300.  Their behaviour
    was not at all impudent or disrespectful as we passed the pallisades
    within which they are cooped.  Most of them have acquired English
    enough to chatter very volubly and to cheat adroitly.  They are
    guarded by two regiments of Militia, one of them the Cambridge; we
    had the advantage of knowing Captain Pemberton of that regiment, who
    gave us tea in his luggage-lumbered hut.  The country is under very
    great obligations to gentlemen of family and fortune who will forego
    the comforts of home for the miserable inconveniences of barrack
    service.  We had never seen it before, and have not the least wish to
    see it again.  It is horrible.  The only privacy of an officer by day
    or night is in these wretched hovels, in which they must alternately
    sweat and shiver.  The mess-room is open indeed at all hours.  It is
    a coffee-room, news room, lounging-room, at all times, as well as
    that of dinner, to the officers of a regiment.  Between eight and
    nine o’clock we found two who had outstayed the others; they were
    boozy and still at their wine, merely perhaps from having nothing to
    do.  Our friend, who is a man of great good sense and exemplary
    manners, must be strangely out of his element here.”

The wretched hovels of which Mr. Forby speaks were the rooms in the
officers’ barracks, the walls of which were only one thickness of boards.
There were sixty such little rooms, not luxuriously furnished, for at the
first day’s sale of the contents of the barracks, on the 18th September
1816, twenty-seven lots of the officers’ furniture, consisting of six
Windsor chairs and one deal table, realised for each lot from 9_s._ to
32_s._; for twenty-six lots, each comprising one table and two chairs,
the price varied from 2_s._ to 17_s._ 6_d._; while for sixty lots,
consisting of one officer’s shovel, poker, tongs, fender and bellows, the
price per lot varied from 1_s._ to 2_s._ 6_d._  The bellows in each room
suggest that the fuel supplied was the peat from the adjoining fens,
which was usually burned in the district, and which, although it warmed
the thatched cottage with thick walls, would give poor comfort to the
shivering officer with only a board between him and the outer air.

The account of the Depot is incomplete without the mention of a detached
field, situated a few hundred yards north of the site of the prison, on
the opposite, that is the west, side of the Great North Road.  Shortly
after the prison was occupied, the lower part of this field was purchased
by the Government for a burial place for the prisoners, and was resold in
1816.  To it, during the occupation of the Depot, were carried across the
bodies of some 1,750 prisoners, whose fate it was to die within the
prison walls.  There is nothing now to distinguish this prison cemetery,
except the mounds, called by the inhabitants of the district “The Lows”;
it will be dealt with in a further chapter.

It must be borne in mind that the buildings which have been described
were originally only intended to be of a temporary character, and that
from various causes detailed in the report given in the Appendix, certain
portions of the woodwork had perished during the seventeen years of the
Depot’s existence before the date of that report.  That document also
shows that there was occasional “scamping” by those employed in the work
required to maintain the fabrics.  The general excellence and durability
of the materials are however proved by the fact that even now, at the end
of a century, portions of them are still serving the purposes of
cottages, workshops, or farm buildings in the neighbouring towns and
villages to which they were transported at the sale in 1816.

  [Picture: Plate VII.—Lodge removed from the Prison in April, 1816, and
       re-erected as Cottages in St. Leonard Street, Peterborough]

Examples in Peterborough include the portion of a casern, already alluded
to as purchased by Mr. Ruddle and re-erected at his works—it still forms
part of a carpenters’ shop in the extensive works of the firm of John
Thompson, contractors, so famous as cathedral restorers; a group of
tenements known as Barrack Yard; and two cottages, the latter being one
of the turnkeys’ lodges reconstructed.  These cottages are still
inhabited, but are clearly destined to be very shortly improved off the
face of the earth.  That they were in old days vulgarly called “Bug Hall”
gives a hint as to one minor discomfort which the densely packed French
prisoners endured in these wooden buildings.  Such was the Depot, which
term included the prison, with its various necessary adjuncts, official
residences, offices, etc., and the military barracks, complete for a
force of two infantry regiments, with hospital, a sutling-house and
canteens, the two latter let to contractors at rents respectively of £12
and £10 16_s._ a month, bringing into the Government the sum of £270
6_s._ a year.  The Depot was unfortunately under a divided control, the
barrack master-general was responsible for the buildings and a barrack
master appointed by him resided in a detached house at the Depot.  The
“Transport Office” was responsible for the management of the prisoners of
war at home and abroad.  The responsibility of the Transport
Commissioners included the arrangements for the feeding and the
discipline of the prisoners.  The details were left to their
representative agent, who also resided in the Depot. {38a}

The military commander, the brigade-major, of course had control of the
troops (usually two Militia regiments) quartered in the barracks, east
and west of the prison. {38b}

As the first portion of the buildings approached completion, it became
necessary to make provision beforehand for the reception and maintenance
of the prisoners waiting to occupy it, and from the buildings attention
must now be directed to the officials and the organisation of the Depot.
To each Depot in the country an agent was appointed, who was at every
other prison a post captain in the Royal Navy on full pay; but at Norman
Cross in the first instance a departure from this rule was made.  The
following extracts from a letter written by the Transport Board to Mr.
Delafons on his appointment to the office are of interest as throwing
light on the nature of his duties.

                                                        “TRANSPORT OFFICE,
                                                         “18th March 1797.

    “_To_ John Delafons, Esq.


    “We direct you to proceed without delay to the prison at Norman
    Cross, to which you are appointed Agent, and report to us the present
    state thereof, as well as the time when in your judgement it will be
    ready for the reception of prisoners of War.

    “We have ordered bedding for six thousand prisoners to be sent to
    Norman Cross as soon as possible, and we expect it will arrive there
    before the end of this month.

    “As you are provided with a list of such articles and utensils as
    will be necessary for carrying on the service, we direct you to make
    enquiry at Peterborough respecting the terms on which those articles
    may be procured at that place; and you are to transmit to us a list
    of such of them as you may think are to be obtained at more
    reasonable rates, or of a better quality in London.  We have
    appointed Mr. Dent, now one of the clerks at Porchester Castle, to be
    your first Clerk and Interpreter, with a salary of £80 per annum, and
    have directed him to proceed forthwith to Norman Cross.  We have
    appointed Michael Brien as one of the Stewards in consequence of your
    recommendation.  A supply of printed Forms will be sent to you from
    this Office, and you are to be allowed ten guineas per annum for the

This letter went on to authorise the agent to procure tin mess-cans,
wooden bowls, platters, and spoons for 3,000 prisoners at Wisbeck [_sic_]
and Lynn, and to inform him that 1,000 hammocks, 1,000 palliasses, 1,000
bolster-cases, also 5,000 sets of bedding, were on their way from London,
and that the prisoners from Falmouth would bring their own hammocks with
them. {40}  At the end of the letter is a note as to stores as follows:

Heath brooms           40 dozen
Large twine            6 ,,
Small twine            4 ,,
Tow                    50 lb.
Black Paint            4 ,,
Turpentine             1 gall.
Boiled oil             1 ,,
Scrapers               3 dozen
Charcoal               50 bushel
Straw                  10 ton
Brimstone              1 cwt.
Dirt Baskets           2 dozen
Cartridge paper        6 quire
White brown thread     8 lb.
Also 2 Chauldrons of coal for the
dozen offices and Guard Room.

These stores, it must be borne in mind, were only for the use of the
occupants of that portion of the prison which was complete, about one
fourth of the whole.

Mr. Delafons does not appear to have taken up the duties assigned to him,
for on the 26th March, only eight days after the date of the letter
appointing him agent, he sent in his formal resignation.  Mr. Dent, the
storekeeper, in conjunction with Captain Woodriff, the transport officer,
acted till the appointment of James Perrot on 7th April 1797, at a salary
of £400 a year and £30 for house rent, until quarters could be built for
him in the prison.  This amount was double that of any other agent, but
it must be remembered that Mr. Perrot was not a naval officer in receipt
of full pay.  There was a difficulty in finding lodgings in the vicinity,
and the clerks were allowed 1_s._ a day extra till accommodation could be
found for them also at the prison.

To assist the agent, Mr. Challoner Dent was appointed storekeeper from
1st April 1797 on getting two gentlemen as security for £1,000.  There
were clerks and ten turnkeys, twelve labourers at 12_s._ a week, and a
lamplighter at 13_s._ a week.  The chief clerk and Dutch interpreter was
Mr. James Richards.

The transport officer in charge, Captain Woodriff, had to make
arrangements for the conveyance of the expected prisoners to Norman
Cross, and for the victualling.  As to the former, he was on the 23rd
March directed without loss of time to proceed to Norman Cross near
Stilton, and thence to Lynn to report as to the best anchorage there, and
the best mode of transporting the prisoners of war expected.  He was to
consult a Mr. Hadley, who proposed 1_s._ a head for removing the
prisoners, which was considered exorbitant and quite out of the question.

On 29th March, however, he was directed to enter into an agreement with
Mr. Kempt, to convey the prisoners from Lynn to Yaxley at 1_s._ 6_d._ per
head, and Kempt’s partner was to victual them on the following daily
ration: 1 lb. of bread or biscuit, ¾ lb. of good fresh or salt beef.

The time occupied by the barges in which the men were to be conveyed
would probably be about three days, and the dietary could not be much
varied.  At the date when this contract was made, nearly fifty years
before the first railway in this district was opened, the waterways
offered the easiest and cheapest channel for the transport of heavy goods
across the great Fen district.  The rivers, natural and artificial, and
the navigable drains and cuts, fulfilled a double purpose, and were
maintained by taxes and tolls not only for the drainage of the Fens, but
as waterways for the lucrative traffic which was constant along their

It was by water that George Borrow and his mother travelled to join his
father in his quarters at Norman Cross, and we have again a graphic
account of the impressions left on the child’s mind by the journey from
Lynn to Peterborough when the washes and Fenlands were flooded—an account
written long after the child had come to man’s estate, when distance had
lent enchantment to the view and certainly depth to the pools on the
towing paths.

    “At length my father was recalled to his regiment, which at that time
    was stationed at a place called Norman Cross, in Lincolnshire, or
    rather Huntingdonshire, at some distance from the old town of
    Peterborough.  For this place he departed, leaving my mother and
    myself to follow in a few days.  Our journey was a singular one.  On
    the second day we reached a marshy and fenny country, which owing to
    immense quantities of rain which had lately fallen, was completely
    submerged.  At a large town we got on board a kind of passage-boat,
    crowded with people; it had neither sails nor oars, and these were
    not the days of steam-vessels; it was a treck-schuyt, and was drawn
    by horses.

    “Young as I was, there was much connected with this journey which
    highly surprised me, and which brought to my remembrance particular
    scenes described in the book which I now generally carried in my
    bosom.  The country was, as I have already said, submerged—entirely
    drowned—no land was visible; the trees were growing bolt upright in
    the flood, whilst farmhouses and cottages were standing insulated;
    the horses which drew us were up to the knees in water, and, on
    coming to blind pools and ‘greedy depths,’ were not unfrequently
    swimming, in which case the boys or urchins who mounted them
    sometimes stood, sometimes knelt, upon the saddle and pillions.  No
    accident, however, occurred either to the quadrupeds or bipeds, who
    appeared respectively to be quite _au fait_ in their business, and
    extricated themselves with the greatest ease from places in which
    Pharaoh and all his host would have gone to the bottom.  Nightfall
    brought us to Peterborough, and from thence we were not slow in
    reaching the place of our destination.” {42}

A Mr. James Hay of Liverpool was the first contractor for victualling the
prisoners at Norman Cross, the specification for the quality of the food
supplied being as follows:

Beer, to be equal quality to that supplied to H.M. ships.
Bread, to be made of wheaten flour, equal to what is known by bakers
as thirds, to be baked into loaves of 4½ lb., each to be weighed 6
hours after baking.
Beef, to be good and wholesome and fresh and delivered in clean
Butter, to be good salt.
Cheese, to be good Gloucester, or Wiltshire, or of equal goodness.
Peas, to be of the white sort, and good boilers.
Greens, to be stripped of their outside leaves and fit for the copper.

The reader must bear these conditions in mind if he would be in a
position to discount George Borrow’s description (in the passage quoted a
few pages back) of the food supplied to those prisoners whom he
remembered with such sympathy in his later life; and he must, in forming
his judgment of the treatment accorded to the prisoners, remember that,
as evidence, the stern facts of a contract, with penalties of fine and
imprisonment for its breach, are of more value than the recollections of
a child, given in the rhetorical language of a romantic enthusiast.

The victualling under the terms of the contract commenced on the 12th
April 1797.  The contractor was called upon to supply per head daily, 1
lb. of beef, 1 lb. of biscuit, 2 quarts of beer, and to find casks and
water at 11_d._ per day, being the same terms as those on which the goods
were supplied at Plymouth and Falmouth.  Mr. Hay wrote that no butcher
within fifty miles of Norman Cross would supply cow, heifer, or ox beef
for less than 44_s._ per cwt., but he offered to supply it at 43_s._, and
this was agreed to. {44}

No tables or benches were to be provided.  Hammocks were supplied, but no
clews nor lanyards (the cords to suspend them by); these the prisoners
had to make for themselves, jute being supplied to them for that purpose,
one ton to every 400 men.

The new agent, Mr. Perrot, who came from the prison at Porchester Castle,
appears to have applied for other comforts, as we infer from the
following communication addressed to him from the Transport Office:

    “We cannot allow any razors or strops for the use of the prisoners at
    Norman Cross.  We see no reason for your appointing barbers, to shave
    the prisoners, the razors sent to Porchester having been intended
    more for shaving the Negro prisoners from the West Indies.”

Does the fact that the names of the two first agents appointed, Delafons
and Perrot, were French, and that they were not naval officers as at
other prisons, justify the supposition that our Government in their
anxiety to study the interests of the prisoners and to satisfy the
French, were trying the experiment of appointing a British subject of
French birth or of French origin as agent to this Depot?  Such a
supposition might account for the fact of Mr. Delafons’ resignation a few
days after his appointment.  A man in sympathy with the French might well
find, on entering into the particulars of his duties, that he could not
conform to the regulations regarded by the Government as necessary for
the discipline of prisons—regulations, for breaking which, many prisoners
lost their lives.  Does not this letter to Mr. Perrot also read as though
he were making a frivolous application to the Government?

Whatever the worth of this supposition may be, we find that on the 2nd
January 1799, less than two years after his appointment, Mr. Perrot’s
name disappears from the books, and that Captain Woodriff, R.N., the
transport officer who had been acting for the transport office in the
district, was asked to take over the duties of the agent, receiving a
small addition to his previous salary.

The duties of the Depot agent and the district agent must have previously
overlapped, for it was Captain Woodriff, the Transport officer, who two
years before was making all the arrangements for the reception and
maintenance of the prisoners, and who shortly after their arrival, having
employed some of them to spread the gravel in the exercise yards, paying
them 3_d._ a day for doing it, was called upon by the Government to
furnish the information as to the wages and the prices of provisions in
the neighbourhood, given in the extract from his report printed in the
footnote on p. 16.

Captain Woodriff held the post of agent at Norman Cross from his
appointment in 1799 to the Peace of Amiens in 1802, having previously
from 2nd September 1796, when he was appointed agent of the Transport
Office at Southampton, been engaged in duties associated with the care of
prisoners of war.  In July 1808 he was appointed agent for prisoners of
war at Forton, holding office until 1813.  He thus spent, in all, eleven
years of his long services as a naval officer, assisting the Transport
Board in their important work as the custodian of the prisoners.  In the
Appendix will he found a short biography of Captain Woodriff, collated by
Mr. Rhodes.  It gives an insight into the adventurous and uncertain
career which, during the epoch with which this history has to do, might
be that of a naval officer of distinction, and shows that the custodian
of the prisoners at Norman Cross and Forton was himself at one time an
English prisoner at Verdun. {46}

On the 24th March the troops who were to form the garrison had marched
into their quarters, this event being noted in his diary by John Lamb, a
farmer and miller living at Whittlesey, about seven miles from Norman
Cross—“24th March 1797 the soldiers came to guard the Barracks.  The
Volunteers did not much like it; they liked drinking better.”  All
arrangements being sufficiently advanced, the prisoners sent from
Falmouth, who for several days had been waiting, cooped up in the
Transports at Lynn, were disembarked and put into lighters, to be brought
by water to Yaxley and Peterborough, and the first prisoners passed
through the prison gates on 7th April 1797, just four months from the
commencement of the building.

   [Picture: Plate VIII, Fig. 1.—Wooden Tea-caddy richly decorated with
 “Paper Mosaic,” the Work of the Prisoners of War at the Falmouth Depot.
 The Specimen is in the Collection of Miss Lilley Paull, of Truro.  Fig.
  2.  Tea-caddy similarly decorated in the possession of the Countess of
                   Lindsey, Uffington Park (v. p. 133)]



    A prison is a house of care,
       A place where none can thrive;
    A touchstone true to try a friend,
       A grave for one alive;
    Sometimes a place of right,
       Sometimes a place of wrong,
    Sometimes a place of rogues and thieves,
       And honest men among.

                                      _Inscription in Edinburgh Tolbooth_.

WE have now arrived at that stage in the story of the Norman Cross Depot
when, although the whole of the buildings were not yet erected,
sufficient progress had been made for the occupation of a part of them.
Two quadrangles were ready, each of them containing caserns and the
necessary accessory buildings for the care and safe custody of 2,000 men.
The other two quadrangles were rapidly approaching completion, one for
2,000 prisoners, the other, the north-eastern block, for a smaller
number, as it was in part devoted to the accommodation of the sick, who
slept in bedsteads instead of in hammocks, and therefore occupied a far
greater space than the healthy men.

In this north-eastern square each casern was artificially warmed by
fires, and in every extant plan these blocks are shown to have chimneys,
while all the others have merely ventilators.  The buildings were cut up
by partition walls into wards, and surgeons’ and attendants’ rooms, which
further interfered with their capacity; but, notwithstanding the limited
number of the occupants of this quadrangle, it is probable that in the
most crowded period of its occupation the prison held, including the
sick, and the occupants of the boys’ prison outside the boundary wall, at
least 7,000 prisoners.

On the 10th April 1810 a return made of all the prisoners of war in
England on that day shows 6,272 at Norman Cross.  These returns are few
and far between, and may well have missed a period of overcrowding; the
lowest of any of them, one rendered in 1799, gives the number as 3,278.

To appreciate the details of the life of the prisoners, the reader must
grasp the magnitude of the experiment which was being initiated at this
Depot, where a number of men, equal to the adult male population of a
town of 30,000 inhabitants, were to be confined within four walls, with
no society but that of their fellow prisoners, no female element, no
intercourse with the outside world, except that in the prison market, in
which they were served by foreigners, whose language they did not
understand.  In this community order and discipline had to be maintained,
while at the same time ordinary humanity demanded that these unfortunate
men, who had committed no crime, who were in a foreign prison for doing
their duty and fighting their country’s enemies, must be treated with all
possible leniency.

The exigencies of the war, and the circumstances under which many of the
men arrived at the prison, were not conducive to peace and order, and the
posts of agent of the Depot and of transport officer carried great
responsibility.  This we can realise from an occurrence, a vivid example
of the horrors of war, concerning which Captain Woodriff had to hold an
inquiry as one of his first duties in connection with the Depot.  Among
the thousand prisoners who, when the prison was opened, were already on
their way to Norman Cross from Portsmouth, Falmouth, Kinsale, and
Chatham, were men who had been conveyed on board the _Marquis of
Carmarthen_ transport, on which ship there had been a mutiny of the
prisoners.  In the fray seven men were killed and thirty-seven
dangerously wounded, but the mutiny was quelled and all the prisoners
accounted for, except one, who was the murderer of one of the crew.  Next
day he was discovered and placed in irons, with a sentry over him.  He
asked to be shot, and in the absence of the captain of the vessel, who
protested against his wish being acceded to, the officer commanding the
troops, one Lieutenant Peter Ennis of the Caithness Militia, shot the
unfortunate man, and had the body thrown overboard.  This happened three
days after the mutiny.  The matter was investigated and reported upon by
Captain Woodriff at Norman Cross.  The prisoners gave evidence that they
had mutinied on account of the badness of the water and provisions, and
complained that Inglis, or Ennis, was brutal to them. {49}  The same
causes were assigned for another mutiny on the _British Queen_ transport,
which had to be reported upon by the agent at Norman Cross.  To quell
this outbreak, the mutineers were fired on by the captain’s orders,
twelve being wounded, but none killed.

The earliest arrivals on the 7th April 1797 were the sailors from the
frigate _Réunion_ and 172 from the _Révolutionnaire_ man-of-war, which
had been brought in by _The Saucy Arethusa_.  These were brought by water
to Yaxley.  The next batch arrived on the 10th, and were landed from the
barges at Peterborough, proceeding to Norman Cross guarded by troopers.

The latter detachment was landed, according to Mr. Lamb’s diary, at Mr.
Squire’s close on the south bank of the river at Peterborough.  This Mr.
Squire was later appointed the agent to look after the prisoners on
parole in Peterborough and its neighbourhood.

Other prisoners followed in rapid succession, their names, with certain
particulars, being entered in the French and the Dutch registers, which
were kept at the prison.  The French registers number six large volumes,
ruled in close vertical columns, which extend across the two open pages.
The first column, commencing at the left-hand margin, is for the numbers
(the current number), which run consecutively to the end of the series;
the second is headed, “Where and how taken”; the third, “When taken”;
fourth, “Name of vessel”; fifth, “Description of vessel,” such as
Man-of-War, Privateer, Fishing Vessel, Greenlander; sixth, “Name of
prisoner”; seventh, “Rank”; eighth, “Date of reception at the prison”;
ninth, a column of letters which signify D, “discharged,” E, “escaped,”
etc., and the date of discharge.  The Dutch register is in five volumes
only, but the entries are fuller than those in the French register, there
being thirteen columns across the two pages.  The first, the “Current
number”; second, “Number in general entry book”; third, “Quality”
(sailor, drummer, gunner, mate, etc.); fifth, “Ship”; sixth, “Age”;
seventh, “Height” (range from 4 ft. 11½ in. to 5 ft. 10½ in.); eighth,
“Hair” (all brown); ninth, “Eyes” (the majority blue, some brown and a
few grey); tenth, “Visage” (as round and dark, oval and ruddy); eleventh,
“Person” (middle size, rather stout); twelfth, “Marks or wounds” (e.g.
None—Pitted with small-pox—Has a continual motion with his eyes);
thirteenth, “When and how discharged” (Dead; Exchanged; etc.). {50}

In both registers there are occasional marginal notes.  A few examples of
the value of these registers as sources of information will suffice for
this history.  Commencing with the French, we find that 190 French
soldiers, captured on 7th January 1797 in _La Ville de L’Orient_, were
received into custody 26th April 1797.  Of these, the first one recorded
as dead was a soldier Jacques Glangetoy, on the 9th February 1798.  Of
ninety-four captured on 31st December 1796 on _La Tartuffe_ frigate, many
are only entered by their Christian names, as Félix, Hilaire, Eloy,
Guillaume, etc.  On 11th October 1799 there came a batch from Edinburgh,
captured 12th October 1798 in _La Coquille_ frigate, off the Irish Coast.
On the 28th July 1800 the garrison of Pondicherry, captured 23rd August
1793, were, after seven years of captivity at Chatham, transferred to
Norman Cross.  On the 6th October of the same year, 1,800 prisoners
captured at Goree, and other places in the West Indies, were transferred
from Porchester.

From the Dutch register we gather that it was the Dutch prisoners who
filled the prison to overflowing a few months after it was opened.  The
great naval battle already alluded to as imminent when the prison was
building, took place on 11th October 1797, off Camperdown, when Admiral
Duncan, after a severe engagement, defeated the Dutch fleet under Admiral
de Winter, capturing the _Cerberus_, 68 guns; _Jupiter_, 74; _Harleem_,
68; _Wassenaar_, 61; _Gelgkheld_, 68; _Vryheid_, 74; _Delft_, 56;
_Alkmaar_, 56; and _Munnikemdam_, 44.  The Dutch fought gallantly, and
the ships they surrendered were well battered.

The loss of life was appalling, and the number of Dutch prisoners brought
in by the English Admiral was 4,954, the majority of these being
ultimately sent to Norman Cross, where they began to arrive in November
1797.  The first entry of prisoners taken in this great battle is a list
of 261 from Admiral Ijirke’s ship _Admiral de Vries_.

Subsequent arrivals were crews of privateers and merchant ships,
fishermen, and soldiers.  Entries in later years show that among the
prisoners sent to Norman Cross were many other civilians besides the
fishermen; these were not retained in the prison, but were allowed out on
parole or were released.  Many fishing vessels were captured, the crew
averaging six; these sailors were sent to Norman Cross, and after a few
days’ confinement were “released” by the Board’s order.  The soldiers
were entered in a separate register.  The first batch were taken from the
_Furie_, captured by the _Sirius_ on the 14th October 1798, they were
received at Norman Cross on the 20th November of the same year, and are
described in the appropriate column as bombardiers, cannoniers,
passengers, etc.  To ascertain what was the ultimate destination of the
prisoners, Mr. Rhodes has made an analysis of the information given in
the registers for the individual members of the crew of selected ships.
As to the first ship to which he applied this method, he found that of
the crew, the quartermaster was exchanged, 7th April 1798, one of the
coopers was allowed to join the British Herring Fishery, the majority of
the officers were allowed on parole at Peterborough, several seamen
joined the British Navy, one was discharged on the condition he elected
to serve under the Prince of Orange, one enlisted in the York Hussars,
and at various dates many enlisted in the 60th Regiment of Foot.  Of the
soldiers, the officers were allowed on parole at Peterborough, some
privates joined the Royal Marines at Chatham, nine joined the 60th Foot,
and in 1800 the remainder, with the sailors, were sent to Holland under
the Alkmaar Cartel. {52}  An analysis of the columns giving the disposal
of the next ship’s company shows that nine were on parole at
Peterborough, two were sent to serve under the Prince of Orange, two
joined the British Herring Fishery, seven the British Navy, two the
Merchant Service, four the Dutch Artillery, three died, ninety-three
enlisted in the 60th Foot, and the rest were sent to Holland.

In explanation of the preponderance of recruits for the 60th Foot, it may
be pointed out that this regiment was originally raised in America in
1755, under the title of the 62nd Loyal American Provincials, and
consisted principally of German and Swiss Protestants who had settled in
America, the principal qualification being that they were “antagonistic
to the French.”

In 1757 the title was changed to the 60th Royal Americans, which title it
bore till 1816.  The regiment is now the King’s Royal Rifle Corps.  It
served in America and the West Indies up to 1796.  It was in England till
1808, when it went to the Peninsula.  At Quebec it was described by
General Wolfe as “Celer et Audax,” which is now the regimental motto.

The crew of the _Jupiter_, with the captain, four lieutenants, and the
Admiral’s steward, 144 in all, were received 8th November 1797, and were
ultimately distributed in much the same manner, fifty entering the 60th.
In December, a month after their reception, the Dutch captain and two
lieutenants of this ship were sent to London to give evidence against two
British subjects who were taken in arms against this country on board the
_Jupiter_ when it was captured.  Coach hire was allowed them, and double
the subsistence usually given to officers on parole.

Of the crew of the privateer _Stuyver_, numbering thirty-eight, captured
on 1st June 1797 by the _Astrea_, eight joined the English Navy.

From the registers we get information as to the length of time the
various crews, etc., remained in captivity.  Thus the crew of the
_Furie_, a Dutch frigate, numbering 115, received at Norman Cross on the
4th October 1798, remained there until the Peace of Amiens in February
1802; the officers were out on parole, and the majority of them were
released in February 1800, under the Alkmaar Cartel.

Unfortunately the registers are very imperfectly kept; they are filled in
without any regularity; the entries appear to have been copied from other
documents, and there are weeks and months when column after column is
left blank.  There is no doubt that the staff was too limited for the
work that was expected of it.  Incomplete and bad clerical work was the
result.  The names of several sloops and schooners are duly returned as
“Taken,” but in the columns “By whom and when taken,” is the entry
“Unknown.”  There is an entry of three names bracketed together, probably
the crew of a fishing-boat: “Andreas Anderson, 1st Steerman; Johanna
Maria Dorata Anderson, Woman, his wife; Margrita Dorothea Anderson,
child.  Received into custody 31st May 1800.”  On 3rd June they are
marked as “On parole at Peterborough.”

There are occasional marginal notes, of which the following is an

    “This man was brought in by an escort of the Anglesea Militia from
    Peterborough; never been here before.—Ideot.”

The reader must decide for himself, without any assistance from the
author, whether the word spelt “Ideot” was intended as a description of
the _supposed escaped PRISONER_, or as that of the officer who had sent
him in.

Norman Cross was not one of the prisons to which Americans were consigned
in any numbers, and was not affected by the positive order against any
natives of America being allowed to enter the British Service, or being
exchanged on any account whatever.  The surgeons captured were allowed
special privileges in consideration of their devoting their professional
skill to the service of their fellow prisoners.

The registers are sufficient to indicate the nationality and the social
position of the population of the prison.  The large number of the Dutch
who joined the English service shows that their hatred of imprisonment
was stronger than their hatred of the enemy who had captured them.  As to
the nationality of the prisoners, they were in the first period of the
war, from 1797 to 1802, almost all French or Dutch; in the second period,
1803 to 1814, they were almost all French, and for those eleven years,
although there were representatives of various nationalities who had been
fighting on the side of the French, either as allies or actually serving
in the French ranks, the captives were always spoken of in the
neighbourhood as the French prisoners.  There were published, in a recent
issue of the _Peterborough Advertiser_, extracts from newspapers
contemporary with the period of the Norman Cross Depot, the following
paragraph from a newspaper, the name of which is not given, is included:

    “March 25th, 1814, Yarmouth.  Yesterday morning the Dutch Volunteers
    from Yaxley Barracks, who were organised, and have been in training
    here about ten weeks, embarked in two divisions for the Dutch Coast.
    They amounted to over 1,000 men.  They were completely armed and
    clothed, and made a soldier-like appearance.  Their uniform was blue
    jackets, faced with red, white trimmings, orange sash, and white star
    on the caps.  The cry of Orange Bonon, just after starting from the
    Jetty, was universal.”

We have found no record of any numbers of Dutch prisoners being at Norman
Cross in this or any other year of the second period of the war.  The
great bulk of this contingent, going out to serve against Napoleon, were
probably not Dutch, but men of various nationalities, who had gained
their freedom by volunteering for service under the allies, who were, on
the 25th March, within five days’ march of Paris.  This Dutch contingent
was doubtless destined to join the army of Bernadotte.

The consideration of the prison life of our captives at the close of the
eighteenth century will serve to accentuate the difference between their
surroundings, their life, and their fate, and that of the prisoners taken
one hundred years later by either side in the South African War; and the
picture of the French and Dutch prisoners in the hulks or even in the
Depots in 1800, contrasted with that of the Boers in St. Helena and
Ceylon in 1900, must fill us with thankfulness for what the century’s
advance inhumanity, together with the altered conditions in which we
live, have enabled us and other nations to do to mitigate the miseries of
prisoners of war—woes which have existed from time immemorial, and which
are recognised in the prayer in the Litany, which has been offered up for
nearly two thousand years, invoking God’s pity “for all prisoners and

In 1900, steam navigation, telegraphic communication, and Britain’s
command of the sea made it possible for her to place her prisoners _hors
de combat_ in islands whence escape was almost impossible, and where the
conditions of life were comparatively comfortable.  In the war in which
we were engaged one hundred years before, there is abundant documentary
evidence to show that, although the conditions of that time made close
confinement within prison walls a cruel necessity, nevertheless, in the
treatment of our captives, the dictates of humanity were carried out, as
far as was possible, without defeating the main object of our
Government—the termination of the war with peace, safety, and honour for

In December 1795, M. Charretie, who had resided for some time in England,
was appointed the commissary for France to look after the interests of
his countrymen in captivity in this country, and he still occupied the
post sixteen months later, when the first prisoners arrived at Norman
Cross, Mr. Swinburne being the agent for the British Government in

At the time that the Norman Cross Prison was opened, the French and
British Governments were mutually accusing one another of inhumanity and
neglect in the treatment of their captives; the consideration of the
facts which led to these charges must be left until the internal
arrangements of the prison, disciplinary and economical, have been



    Wherever a Government knows when to _show_ the rod, it will not often
    be put to _use_ it.

                                                        SIR GEORGE SAVILE.

EXCELLENT organisation was necessary in order to keep these 6,000 foreign
soldiers and sailors in safe custody, in a good state of discipline, and
at the same time in the best health and greatest comfort compatible with
the circumstances.

To the heads of departments mentioned at the close of the second chapter
should be added the surgeon appointed by the Government.  He was
responsible for the sick and wounded, to a separate department of the
Admiralty, and not to the Transport Board.  He lodged in the hospital,
until in the early part of the nineteenth century the house was built for
him in the hospital quadrangle.

The subordinate officials were comparatively few in number—clerks,
interpreters, storekeepers, stewards, and turnkeys.  These last had
sleeping accommodation in their lodges; the others had lodging money, and
slept in the neighbouring villages, with the exception of the chief clerk
and interpreter, the head storekeeper, the hospital officials, and a few

A few selections from the appointments, which are recorded in official
documents among the thousands of papers which have been searched by Mr.
Rhodes for information, will show the status of these employés; they are
taken from lists referring to the second period of the war, when the
records are more numerous than before the Peace of Amiens.  The officials
enumerated were all in the establishment at Norman Cross when the prison
was finally emptied.

    “Mr. Todd, appointed, 27th June 1803, as French Interpreter at £30
    per annum, was, on 1st July 1813, appointed Agent’s first Clerk and
    Principal Storekeeper at a salary of £118 per annum with no abatement
    for taxes.”

    “J. A. Delapoux, entered, 19th August 1803, as Agent’s Clerk at
    30_s._ 6_d._ per week, and on March 1st 1806, as Steward, at an
    additional wage of 3_s._ 6_d._ per day, was a Roman Catholic, and
    probably of French birth, as it is recorded that it was necessary to
    satisfy his mind that the laws anent Aliens would not affect him.”

    “Con. Connell, entered 4th September 1804, as Agent’s clerk at 30_s._
    6_d._ per week, and on March 13th, 1810, as Steward at an additional
    wage of 3_s._ 6_d._ a day.”

    “Geo. Kuse, entered, 22nd June 1813, as Agent’s clerk at £80 per

    “Wm. Belcher, entered as Steward, 28th June 1803, at 3_s._ 6_d._ a

    “John Bunn, entered as Turnkey, 30th July 1811, at £50 per annum.”

    “John Hayward, entered, 12th March 1812, as Turnkey at £50 per

    “James Parker, 20th April 1812, Turnkey at £50.”

    “John Hubbard, 15th September 1813, Turnkey at £50.  (Discharged for
    misconduct, 17th July 1814.)”

    “Wm. Wakelin, 28th December 1813, Turnkey at £50.”

    “Samuel Thompson, 17th September 1812, Turnkey at £50, and £10 per
    annum as superintending carpenter.”

    “In March, J. Hayward received a rise of 5_s._ a week for acting as
    Lamplighter as well as labourer.”

    “In February 1804, Payne Pressland was added to the clerks.  He was
    discharged in the following June.”

    “In 1811, J. Draper signed on as agent.”

    “James Robinette, 10th June 1813, as Mason and labourer at £50 per

    “Benj. Werth, 22nd October 1813, Messenger at 15_s._ a week.”

    “W. Gardiner, 1st July 1813, superannuation £104 per annum.  (Paid at
    the Head Office, London, after 31st July 1814.)”

    “All these were paid off at the end of July 1814, the Board’s Order
    for the Abolition of the Establishment at Norman Cross being dated
    16th July 1814.”

    “There were six labourers put on for a few days, varying from three
    to twelve days in July 1814, at 3_s._ 4_d._ a day.”

    “The accounts certified by W. Hanwell, Agent.”

For the safe custody of the prisoners, the two regiments of Militia or
Regulars were quartered, one in the Eastern, the other in the Western
Barracks; they furnished strong guards at each entrance in the prison
wall, and cannon were mounted to command the whole area, while sentries
were posted in all directions, and lamps were numerous to prevent the
opportunity of escape in the darkness.  The regiments of the garrison
were continually changed, in order, among other reasons, that the
soldiers, who came in contact with the prisoners when on guard, might not
get too intimate with them, and render them assistance in their efforts
to escape—or in the illicit trading which will be described later.  For
the care of the buildings and the maintenance of all connected with them,
there was the barrack master and his assistant; the agent, or
superintendent, was responsible to the Transport Board for the care and
government of the prisoners; the care of the sick and wounded devolved
upon the surgeon, who was assisted by French surgeons appointed from
those who had been taken prisoners, the nurses being also men selected
from the prisoners, who were paid for their services.

Discipline was maintained in accordance with the following code of
regulations laid down for all prisons of war.  Those specially affecting
the prisoners were posted up in order that they might be familiar with

    “By the Commissioners for Conducting His Majesty’s Transport Service,
    and for the Care and Custody of Prisoners of War.  Rules to be
    observed by the Prisoners of War in Great Britain, Ireland, &c.:

    “1.  The Agent’s Orders are to be strictly obeyed by all the
    Prisoners; and it is expressly forbidden, that any Prisoners should
    insult, threaten, illtreat, and much less strike the Turnkeys, or any
    other Person who may be appointed by the Agent to superintend the
    Police of the Prison, under Pain of losing Turn of Exchange, of being
    closely confined, and deprived of half their Ration of Provisions,
    for such time as the Commissioner may direct.

    “2.  All the Prisoners are to answer to their Names when mustered,
    and to point out to the Agent any Errors they may discover in the
    Lists, with which he may be furnished, in order to prevent the
    Confusion which might result from erroneous Names: and such Prisoners
    as shall refuse to comply with this regulation, shall be put on Half

    “3.  Should any damage be done to the Buildings by the Prisoners,
    either through their endeavouring to escape, or otherwise, the
    expense of repairing the same shall be made good by a Reduction of
    the Rations of Provisions of such as may have been concerned; and
    should the Aggressors not be discovered, all the Prisoners confined
    in the particular Building so damaged, shall contribute by a similar
    Reduction of their Rations towards the expense of the said Repairs.

    “4.  Such Prisoners as shall escape from Prison, and be re-taken,
    shall be put into the Black Hole, and kept on Half Allowance, until
    the expenses occasioned by their Escape are made good; and they shall
    moreover lose their Turn of Exchange, and all Officers of the Navy or
    Army so offending shall, from that time, be considered and treated in
    all respects as common men.

    “5.  Fighting, quarrelling, or exciting the least Disorder is
    strictly forbidden, under Pain of a Punishment proportionate to the

    “6.  The Prisons are to be kept clean by the Prisoners in Turns, and
    every Person who shall refuse to do that Duty in his Turn, after
    having received Notice of the same, shall be deprived of his Rations,
    until he shall have complied.

    “7.  The Prisoners are from Time to Time to inform the Agent of the
    Clothing or other Articles which they may stand in need of, and have
    Money to purchase; and the Agent shall not only permit them to
    purchase such Articles, but also take care that they are not imposed
    on in the Price.

    “8.  The Prisoners in each Prison are to appoint Three or Five, from
    among their own number, as a Committee for examining the Quality of
    the Provisions supplied by the Contractor; for seeing that their full
    Rations, as to Weight and Measure, are conformable to the Scheme of
    Victualling at the Foot hereof: and if there should be any cause of
    Complaint they are to inform the Agent thereof; and should he find
    the Complaint well-founded, he is immediately to remedy the same.  If
    the Agent should neglect this part of his Duty, the Prisoners are to
    give information thereof to the Commissioners, who will not fail to
    do them justice in every respect.

    “9.  All Dealers (excepting such as Trade in Articles not proper to
    be admitted into the Prison) are to be allowed to remain at the
    principal Gate of the Prison from six o’clock in the morning until
    three in the Afternoon, to dispose of the Merchandize to the
    Prisoners; but any of the Prisoners who shall be detected in
    attempting to introduce into the Prison Spirituous Liquors, or other
    improper Articles, or in receiving or delivering any Letter, shall be
    punished for the Abuse of this Indulgence, in such Manner as the
    Commissioners may direct.”

The punishments inflicted for breach of the regulations and for other
offences, were:

    1st.  Reducing the ration of the offender, and should his messmates
    condone his offence, the rations of the whole mess of twelve men, to
    which he belonged, were reduced.  Thus it became the interest of the
    whole mess to prevent any breach of discipline or misconduct by a
    member.  If a whole mess were insubordinate, and the larger body into
    which the messes were grouped condoned the offence, the penalty was
    extended to them.

    2nd.  A more severe punishment was depriving a man of his chance of
    exchange by putting him at the bottom of the list; this was a fearful
    sentence, for although the actual chance of exchange was small, each
    man was daily longing and hoping for the arrival of the day when his
    cartel should come.

    3rd.  Imprisonment in the Black Hole, a veritable abode of misery,
    where solitude was added to the ills of imprisonment, was the penalty
    for serious offences, such as assaults on the staff, violent assaults
    on other prisoners, attempts to escape, and more heinous offences.

    4th.  Incorrigible prisoners, and those guilty of crimes which were
    considered as warranting even more severe punishment than
    imprisonment, in the Black Hole, were removed to the hulks, where, in
    addition to the discomfort of the crowded ships, they suffered all
    the other hardships experienced at that date by all criminals
    imprisoned in a gaol civil or military.

In case of heinous offences and obdurate insubordination, these
punishments were combined—a man might not only be put into the Black
Hole, but also be put on to reduced rations.

Closing the market at the east gate of the prison, either against the
whole body of the prisoners or against those of one only of the four
courts, was a punishment inflicted for some general malpractice, or in
order to compel their fellow prisoners to disclose the names of some
miscreants among them.

No record exists of those who were sentenced to confinement in the Black
Hole at Norman Cross, but to show the character of the delinquencies for
which this punishment was inflicted, we quote from Basil Thomson’s _Story
of Dartmoor Prison_ {65} the following selections from the records of the
“Cachot” at that Depot:


    “_February_ 24_th_.—Louis Constant and Olivier de Camp, for striking
    a sentinel on duty.”

    “_May_ 20_th_.—Jean Delchambre, for throwing a stone at a sentinel
    and severely cutting his head.”

    “_June_ 14_th_.—F. Rousseau, for striking Mr. Bennet, the
    store-keeper, when visiting the prisoners.”

    “_June_ 14_th_.—C. Lambourg, for striking and cutting open the head
    of a sentinel, and causing him dangerous injuries.”

    “_August_ 19_th_.—F. Lebot, for throwing a stone at the postman, as
    he was returning from Tavistock.”

    “_August_ 15_th_.—A. Creville, for drawing a knife on the hospital

    “_August_ 25_th_.—A.  Hourra, for attempting to stab William Norris,
    one of the turnkeys, with a knife.”

    “_September_ 4_th_.—Jean Swan, for drawing a knife on the hospital

    “_September_ 4_th_.—F. Champs, for striking R. Arnold, one of the
    turnkeys, with a stone and cutting his head.”

    “_September_ 24_th_.—S. Schamond, for throwing down a sentinel and
    attempting to take away his bayonet.”

    “_September_ 30_th_.—A. Normand, for striking Mr. Arnold, the

    “_October_ 16_th_.—G. Massieu, for attempting to stab one of the

    “_October_ 16_th_.—Pierre Fabre, for throwing a stone at a sentinel
    and cutting his face.”

    “_October_ 20_th_.—W. Johnson, for throwing stones at a sentinel.”

    “_October_ 23_rd_.—B.  Marie, for knocking down a turnkey and
    attempting to seize the arms of a sentinel.”  (See March 23rd,

    “_November_ 30_th_.—N. Moulle and B. Saluberry, for having daggers
    concealed on their persons.”

The cachot records for March and April, 1813, are even more significant:

    “_March_ 13_th_.—P. Boissard, for striking a turnkey and threatening
    to murder him on the first opportunity.”

    “_March_ 23_rd_.—F. Bilat, for striking a prisoner named B. Marie,
    who died shortly afterwards, and taking away his provisions by

    “_March_ 28_th_.—J. Beauclere, for threatening to stab Mr. Moore,
    because he could not procure employment for him on the Buildings.”

    “_April_ 6_th_.—F. Le Jeune, for being one of the principal provision
    buyers in the prison, and for repeatedly writing blood-thirsty and
    threatening letters.”

    “_April_ 10_th_.—M. Girandi and A. Moine, for being guilty of
    infamous vices.”

For offences against the laws of the land, more grave than those which
could be dealt with by the authorities of the various depots, the
prisoners, like British subjects, were liable to be tried at the
assizes—thus Nicholas Deschamps and Jean Roubillard were tried at
Huntingdon Assizes for forging £1 bank-notes (which they had done most
skilfully).  This was at that time a capital offence, and they were
sentenced to death, but were respited during His Majesty’s pleasure, and
remained in Huntingdon Gaol under sentence of death for nine terrible
years, until Buonaparte was sent to Elba in 1814; they were then
pardoned, and sent back to France with the rest of the liberated

On the 9th September 1808, Charles François Marie Bourchier, who had been
convicted at Huntingdon Assizes of having, in an attempt to escape,
stabbed Alexander Halliday with a knife, was hanged at the prison in the
sight of the whole garrison, who were under arms, and of all the
prisoners.  This is the only recorded civil execution at Norman Cross;
there are several recorded instances of summary military justice,
prisoners being shot dead in attempts to escape.  It must be borne in
mind that the prisoners were still our foes, who would, if they could
escape, be at once in the ranks of the enemy’s army fighting against us;
and to prevent their escape, there was, at Norman Cross, little beyond
the muskets and bayonets of the Norman Cross sentries—sixty of them
posted round and about the prison.

The cleanliness, sanitary and domestic, of the prison, the inhabitants of
which averaged probably about 5,500 men (6,270 being the highest number
of prisoners recorded in any official document as confined in Norman
Cross on a specified day), was provided for by systematic fatigue parties
from the prisoners themselves, one out of each mess of twelve being told
off in regular rotation for the duty of sweeping, washing, scraping, and
disinfecting the prisons; probably under this system the prison and
courts were kept as clean as a man-of-war.  Each man on leaving his
hammock, doubled it over so that both clews hung on one hook, leaving the
floor space clear.

The prisoners lived in the caserns day and night when the weather was too
bad for them to live out of doors, but in fair weather they were
compelled by the regulations to live outside “in the airing-court” from
morning to dusk, except when they were summoned to the casern for their
dinner.  The quadrangle is in Foulley’s description of his model always
called “_pré_,” and probably there was more or less grass on the surface.

Within the stockade fence which enclosed each quadrangle, the prisoners,
about 1,800 in each square, were left to themselves, no soldiers, no
sentries, no _free_ men, except the turnkeys, whose lodges were, with the
cooking-house, storehouses, &c., in a special court cut off from the
airing-court by the same unclimbable stockade fence.  In each compound
the prisoners formed a self-governing community, but all of them subject
to the laws which applied to the whole body—viz. the Prison Regulations.

These communities differed from every other community of human beings
(except perhaps the inmates of monasteries) in being deprived of any
participation in the two essential factors on which the bare existence of
every animal race depends—viz. the provision of the actual necessaries of
life, food and, in the case of man, clothing, for the preservation of its
own generation; and the reproduction of its kind, to insure a future
generation.  The necessaries of individual life were provided by the

The feeding of the prisoners and the troops in the barracks was an
enormous tax on the resources of the country, greatly as it must have
benefited the agriculturists, and purveyors of provisions of all kinds in
the neighbourhood.  A paragraph in the _Times_ of 14th August 1814,
states that “about £300,000 a year was spent by the Government in
Stilton, Yaxley, Peterborough, and neighbourhood in the necessary
provision of stores,” and this was not an exaggerated statement, as a
calculation based on the average number of the prisoners and garrison,
the dietary, and the price of provisions, shows that bread and meat alone
would cost more than half the amount named in the _Times_. {69}

The exact ration appears to have varied:

The contract for victualling commenced on 12th April 1797, when the
contractor was called upon to supply beef 1 lb., biscuit 1 lb., beer 2
quarts—as the daily ration of each prisoner.

This must have been a temporary ration on the first opening of the
prison.  In a later report the following is given as the scheme of
victualling for a week:

   Days       Beer.     Bread.     Beef.     Butter.    Cheese.    Tease.      Salt.
             quart.      lbs.       lbs.     ounces.    ounces.     pint.     ounces.
Sunday          1             1½     ¾          —          —          ½          ⅓
Monday          1             1½     ¾          —          —          —          ⅓
Tuesday         1             1½     ¾          —          —          ½          ⅓
Wednesday       1             1½     ¾          —          —          —          ⅓
Thursday        1             1½     ¾          —          —                     ⅓
Friday          1             1½     ¾          —          —          —          ⅓
Saturday        1             1½     ¾          4          6          ½          ⅓
Total           7            10½     5¼         4          6      2 pts.        2¾
                                                                  in lieu.

The ration for the greater period appears to have been beef ¾ lb., bread
½ lb., cabbage 1 lb., or a supply of pease; Wednesdays or Fridays,
herrings or cod substituted for the meat, and a pound of potatoes.

This change of the diet on Wednesday and Friday, made on account of the
religion of the majority of the prisoners, and also as being more in
accordance with their national diet, was recommended by the agent of the
prison; but there was considerable delay, and some hardship to the
prisoners, before the recommendation was granted.  The fish when it
reached the prison must have been several days old, and was no doubt
salted.  A new scale later on was fresh beef ½ lb., bread 1 lb., a quart
of soup composed of vegetables and pease.  The terms of the contracts
with those supplying the food were very stringent.  The conditions in the
first contract at Norman Cross have already been given at p. 43 in chap.

When in November 1797 it was agreed by the French and British Governments
that each Government should feed its own countrymen in the enemy’s
prisons, and the French took over the feeding of the prisoners in
Britain, they made only a slight change in the ration to suit it more to
French cookery.  The daily allowance per head being, beer 1 qt., beef 8
oz., bread 26 oz., cheese 2 oz. or good salt butter ⅓ oz., pease ½ pt.,
fresh vegetables 1½ lb.  The French also allowed each prisoner ½ lb. of
white soap and ¾ lb. of tobacco in leaf, per month.

The diet of hospital patients was on a very liberal scale: 1 pt. of tea
morning and evening, 16 oz. of white bread, 16 oz. of beef or mutton, 1
pt. of broth, 16 oz. of greens or good sound potatoes, and 2 qts. of malt
beer, and, in the case of patients requiring it, beef, fish, fowls, veal,
lamb, and eggs might be substituted.

The diet was investigated by a commissioner sent round to the various
prisons, who reported that, “although the amount of meat would seem
scarcely enough to an Englishman, the French, by their skill in cookery,
made such an excellent soup or broth out of it as to afford ample support
for men living without labour, such as our labouring poor rarely have at
any time, but certainly not during the present scarcity.”  The same
commissioner in July 1797 recommended that an alteration should be made
in the contracts, so as to insure early delivery, “as the lateness
prevents the cookery of the meat as the French desire, which is by
boiling it down for four or five hours with a strong and excellent broth,
after which the meat is good for but little, and but little regarded by
the prisoners.” {71}

The food was prepared by cooks chosen from the prisoners themselves, and
paid by the Government.  To insure the good quality and proper quantity
of the goods supplied, and to eliminate the possibility of the
storekeepers being bribed by the contractors to pass inferior goods, the
prisoners of each block were ordered by Clause 8 of the Prison Rules to
appoint delegates to attend when the food and other goods were delivered,
and to see that they were up to the standard specified in the contract.

There were in the various prisons occasional complaints, and if they were
justified the contractors were punished.  In one instance the defaulting
contractor at Plymouth was fined £300 and imprisoned for six months in
the County Gaol.  Beer at one time was supplied to the prisoners by the
Government, and when this allowance ceased, it could, under certain
regulations, be obtained on payment.  This beer was of a _very light and
cheap quality_, as attested by the books of the Oundle Brewery, but half
a gallon a day, given in the first ration of which we have found a note,
is so large an allowance, even for those bibulous days, that it suggests
an error in the memorandum.  Tea and coffee in those days were the
luxuries of the well-to-do only, and were not for prisoners or for our
own poorer countrymen and women.  There was no tea or coffee.

There can be no doubt that every possible precaution was taken to insure
that the food supplied by the Government was good, and sufficient to
maintain an average man in good health, and in the market held in the
enclosed space at the east gate, to which the prisoners had access, those
who had money could buy additional food and luxuries.  But although
beyond doubt the allowance of food was sufficient for an average man,
there must have been in those twenty years thousands of men with hearty
appetites who finished their ration hungry and dissatisfied—and the
sequel will show that there were others who actually died of starvation,
owing to their own vices.

Each prisoner was allowed a straw palliasse, a bolster, and a blanket or
coverlet, the straw being changed as often as was necessary.

The British Government never withdrew its contention that it was the duty
of each nation to provide clothing for its subjects in captivity in the
country of its enemy, and maintained that this had been the practice of
France and England in all previous wars, even in that in which they were
engaged up to the Treaty of Versailles in 1783, only ten years before the
outbreak in 1793 of the war under discussion; but as an act of humanity,
when the French obstinately declined to discharge this duty, the
Government clothed a certain number of the naked in a yellow suit, a grey
or yellow cap, a yellow jacket, a red waistcoat, yellow trousers, a
neckerchief, two shirts, two pairs of stockings, and one pair of shoes.

In M. Foulley’s model the greater number of the prisoners are represented
as clad in this uniform, the conspicuous colours of which were selected
to facilitate the detection of an escaped prisoner.  In the first year of
the occupation of Norman Cross an order was issued to the storekeeper to
supply such prisoners as were destitute of clothing with the articles
enumerated above.

There is every reason to believe that the provisions for the maintenance
of the prisoners were carried out with the utmost care and fidelity in
Norman Cross and all other prisons, but the complaints of the prisoners
gave rise to such prolonged controversy and serious disagreement between
the Governments of France and England, that a review of the discussion
finds an appropriate place here.  The complaints were not confined to one
side only, but there is ample documentary evidence that the accusations
of the French were greatly exaggerated or absolutely without foundation.
Their hatred of the enemy made the captives suspicious, and illness from
natural causes was attributed to cruelty and ill-treatment. {74a}

The British Government, according to Mr. Dundas, Secretary of State, on
6th October 1797, attributed many of the complaints to passion,
prejudice, and animosity (quotation by M. Niou in his letter to Mr.
Dundas, 15th February 1799), {74b} and it is certain that the French
Government would not object to the fact that the statements made by the
French generals, commissaries, and others, whether the effect was
intended or not, undoubtedly increased the anger of their nation against
the English, and thus infused greater fighting energy into their troops.
The words used by Buonaparte, in his address to his Army on the eve of
Waterloo, to stimulate his troops, have already been quoted.  As to his
reference to the hulks, we must bear in mind that, except under the
pressure of the earlier period of the war, when the prison accommodation
was insufficient, and again later on occasions when the prisoners had
accumulated to a larger number than could be accommodated on land, even
though Dartmoor, Perth, and other smaller prisons had been built, the
hulks were the place of imprisonment for the _criminal_ prisoners of war
only, and that a century since there was no place of confinement for
criminals in which the conditions could entail anything but misery.

Of the worst miseries endured by the prisoners at Norman Cross and other
depots, the real sources were the vices of the unfortunate men
themselves, especially gambling and usury, {75} and to the obstinacy of
the French Government in their determination to provide no clothing and
their neglect to fulfil their promises.  The evidence that this
accusation of neglect by the French is well founded, is furnished by M.
Charretie, the agent or commissary appointed by the French Directory to
look after the prisoners in England, who on the 19th November 1797, in a
letter to the Minister of Marine at Paris, after describing the pitiable
condition of many of the prisoners, who were half-naked for the want of
clothes, proceeds:

    “Consolation, Citizen Minister, might be felt by the unfortunate
    prisoners, if their want and misery had not reached their height, and
    if assistance could reach them in time to give foundation to their
    hopes, but, Citizen Minister, after all that I have said to them,
    after all that I have had the honour of writing to you, concerning
    their horrible situation and that in which I am myself placed,
    without resources, at the mercy of a crowd of creditors, scarcely
    able to find the means of providing for my own subsistence, what
    would you have me say more when I see you are deceived with respect
    to the Measures you take in regard to them?

    “Five thousand livres have long since been announced to me by your
    office—you now make mention of sixty thousand livres, but I have no
    intelligence of the arrival of the first farthing of either of these
    sums.  If promises remain unexecuted with respect to such sacred and
    necessary objects in a service which I can no longer continue, when
    shall I see those realised which relate to the providing of Funds for
    the clothing of Prisoners,” . . . “and if of about 9,000 confined at
    Norman Cross near 3,000, sick for want of clothing and an increase of
    diet, are already on the eve of perishing, what will be the case some
    time hence?  And upon whom will the responsibility fall for so many
    thousand victims?  My correspondence will justify me in the eyes of
    my country.  However expeditious you may be, Citizen Minister, all
    you can hope for is to save the remainder, whom strength of
    constitution may have kept longer alive—what then would be the case
    if the English Government should order the measure of driving them
    all [this must refer to the officers on parole—T. J. W.] into
    horrible prisons, and of reducing the allowance to half rations, to
    be put into execution.” {76}

The Republic had taken no notice of the propositions of Britain made on
the 6th October 1797, “that the prisoners should be furnished in the
countries where they were detained with clothing, subsistence, and
medicines at the expense of the Government to which they belonged.”  The
British Government threatened, in order to compel a reply, that they must
put the prisoners on a reduced allowance on 1st December 1797.

M. Charretie’s letter _may_ have assisted the French Government to
sanction the proposal of the British Minister.  What it _certainly did_,
by the statement it contained as to the proportion of sick among, and the
general condition of, the Norman Cross prisoners, was to enrage the
French against the English.  The British Government at once took steps to
prove the statement false.  On the 15th December 1797, Mr. James Perrot,
the agent for prisoners of war at Norman Cross, Dr. Higgins, the
physician, Mr. James Magennis, surgeon, and Messieurs Chatelin and
Savary, the French assistant surgeons, deposed on oath that at no time
since the opening of the prison in April had there been more than 5,170
in the prison at one time, that up to that day fifty-nine only had died
in the hospital, and that on the 19th November (the date of this letter
in which M. Charretie said that out of about 9,000 prisoners near 3,000
were sick) there were only 194 in hospital, in which number were included
twenty-four nurses; the doctors in addition certified that, “The
prisoners are visited every morning by the chief surgeons or their
assistants, and that, whether their disorders are slight or violent, they
are admitted into the hospital,” and the French assistant surgeons
(themselves prisoners of war) added, “While there, they are treated with
humanity and attention, and provided with everything necessary for the
re-establishment of their health.” {77}

In evidence before a commission held on the 2nd April 1798, M. Charretie
explained that he had received the information inserted in his letter to
the Minister of Marine from prisoners confined at Norman Cross; that he
had intended communicating with the Transport Board, but that soon after
writing to the Minister he had reason to alter his opinion; that he had
informed the French Government that he thought he had been too hasty,
especially as the Transport Board provided him with lists giving him the
number of prisoners in each prison, but, as fresh prisoners were
arriving, he thought the number might have increased from 5,000 to 9,000.
This is a fair sample of the French complaints, and of how little
foundation was found for most of them when they were investigated.  The
mortality at Norman Cross was exceptionally high during its first
occupation, but the majority of the earliest prisoners were those who had
been removed from the prisons, the overcrowded and consequent unhealthy
condition of which gave rise to the hurried building of Norman Cross;
they were therefore specially liable to disease, and unfit to withstand
its ravages.  The arrangement for maintaining the prisoners, from the
outbreak of the war in 1793 to November 1797, was that which had been in
force in previous wars between the two nations—viz. that each nation
should provide the captives detained in its prisons with food sufficient
to maintain life and health, while it clothed its own countrymen in the
enemy’s prisons.

To put an end to the complaints and the recriminations continually
renewed on both sides, relative to the treatment of the prisoners, our
Government had in October 1797 proposed the fresh arrangement “that the
Prisoners should be furnished, in the Country where they were detained,
with clothing, subsistence, and medicines at the expense of the
Government to which they belonged.”  The French Government took no notice
of this communication, not even acknowledging its receipt, and to enforce
its attention to this and other matters connected with the exchange of
prisoners (especially of Sir Sidney Smith), the British Government
threatened to confine all the officers out on parole, and to reduce the
prison ration, which was at that time equal to that of a British soldier,
to half—viz. 1 lb. bread, ½ lb. beef, ¼ lb. pease, and ½ lb. cabbage.

This threat, aided possibly by M. Charretie’s letter—the piteous appeal
of a servant of the Republic thwarted in the execution of his duties by
the neglect of the Directory to fulfil its promises and to discharge its
responsibilities—had effect.  The new arrangement was adopted, each
nation undertaking to provide food, medicine, and other necessaries for
its own countrymen.  While this arrangement lasted, neither combatant
could use the weapon, which Britain had threatened to employ, the
reduction of the ration of those of the enemy who were captive in its
prisons.  M. Gallois, who succeeded M. Charretie as commissary, brought
over M. Nettement, to whom the special task of providing the means of
subsistence for the prisoners was entrusted, the expense being borne by

The contention that the complaints made by the French as to the food,
etc., supplied under the old system, were mostly unfounded, is supported
by the fact that M. Nettement, except in one instance, employed the same
sub-agents, and, in general, the same contractors, who had been serving
the British, and that only slight modifications in the dietary were made
to adapt it more to French methods of cooking.  The new arrangement
lasted only two years; it was terminated abruptly by an Arrêté of the
French Consuls, dated 29th November 1799 (le Frimaire l’an 8 de la
République une et Indivisible).  A copy of this edict was sent by M. Niou
(the Commissary in England at that date) to Mr. Dundas, Secretary of
State for War, with a letter in which he stated that among other reasons
why the Consuls did not in any manner feel called upon to continue to
observe the arrangement, was the fact “that it was not founded on any
authentic stipulation; that the Cartel of Exchange, signed nearly ten
months afterwards, took not the least notice of it,” etc.

In consequence of this correspondence on the 15th December 1799, the Duke
of Portland, acting in the absence of Mr. Secretary Dundas, communicated
to the Admiralty the King’s wishes as to future arrangements.  After
protesting against the “departure (on the part of the French Government)
from the agreement entered into between the two countries, and which
tended so materially to mitigate the calamities of war,” he directed, as
to the British prisoners in France, that Captain Cotes, the British agent
in Paris, should ascertain exactly the daily allowance made to each man
by the French Government, and that he should, at the expense of the
British Government, make up any deficiency existing between that
allowance and the ration supplied by the British Government during the
years 1798 and 1799.  At the same time the Minister directed the
Transport Commissioners to supply the French prisoners in Britain, from
the date when the French agent ceased to supply them, with the same
rations of provisions as were granted before the arrangement of December
1797, and he adds:

    “As no mention is made of Clothing or other necessaries in Captain
    Cotes’ letter, I think it right to add that the Commissioners of
    Transports and for taking care of Prisoners of War are on no account
    to furnish any to the French Prisoners, as this charge has at all
    times been supported by the French Government.”

From this time to the termination of the war the arrangement as to the
feeding of the prisoners remained the same, but a terrible source of
misery to the French prisoners at Norman Cross, and to other French
prisoners of war in England, was the firm refusal of the French
Government to agree to the clause in Lord Portland’s letter, referring to
the clothing of the prisoners.

In another Edict, dated March 1800, signed by Buonaparte as First Consul,
Article 1, is “The Ministers of War and of the Marine shall ensure by
every possible means, subsistence and clothing to the Russian, Austrian
and English Prisoners of War”—“they shall take care that they are treated
with all Attention and Indulgence consistent with public safety.” {81}
The British Government declined to accept the arrangement implied in this
Arrêté, and adhered to what had been the uniform custom in the wars
between France and England, and they continued to supply, through their
agent in France, all clothing and similar necessaries to the British
captives, and even to the Russians who had been serving with them in
Holland; while the French, although they were not called upon to clothe
the British, refused, notwithstanding the miserable state to which their
countrymen in the prisons were reduced by the want of it, to supply them
with any clothing.

That the firmness of the two Governments led to terrible suffering in the
British prisons cannot be doubted—a suffering which was not shared by the
British in France, who were regularly clothed by the agent of their own
Government; and it has been already stated that at certain periods of the
struggle, including the latter part of 1797, the British Government did
provide, in the last extremity, clothing for the neglected subjects of
their enemy, protesting, that they did this only as an act of humanity,
and not as a duty.

In looking for the apparent unwillingness of the French to meet the
British on equal terms, we must remember certain differences in the great
principles in which the two nations conducted war.  Alison, commenting on
the Peninsular Campaign, says:

    “The British, according to the established mode of civilised warfare,
    at least in modern times, maintained themselves chiefly from
    magazines in their rear; and when they were obliged to depend upon
    the supplies of the provinces where the war was carried on, they paid
    for their food as they would have done in this country.” {82}

The French, on the other hand, by reverting to the old Roman system, of
making war maintain war, not only felt no additional burden, but
experienced the most sensible relief by their armies carrying on
hostilities in foreign states.  From the moment that his forces entered a
hostile territory, it was a fundamental principle of Napoleon’s that they
should “draw nothing from the French Exchequer.”  This principle applied
to the case of the prisoners of war would certainly never tolerate that
France should follow the mode of civilised warfare, at least in modern
times, and should maintain her soldiers (varying during the war from
20,000 to 67,000) incarcerated in Britain if, by starving them or leaving
them naked, she could thrust the burden of doing so on to the British

The great disparity between the number of the French prisoners in Britain
and the British in France must have strongly influenced the First Consul
to issue the Edict, which cancelled without ceremony the arrangement in
force for the two years 1798–99.  A return made in December 1799, when
our Government again took over the victualling of the French prisoners,
showed their number to be 25,646, of whom 10,128 were at Portsmouth,
7,477 at Forton (Portsmouth), 3,038 at Norman Cross, and the rest in
Liverpool, Chatham, Stapleton, Edinburgh, and Yarmouth.  The number of
English in France was about 5,000.  The French therefore, during 1798 and
1799, were feeding and clothing 25,646, while the British had to feed and
clothe only a little over 5,000.  This disparity in the number of the
captives of France and England lasted throughout the war, and, as will be
seen, interfered seriously with the exchange of prisoners.  With the
resumption of the old arrangement, there came again the old complaints;
that those of the British were in some degree justified, is clear from
words of explanation used by the French Commissary, “_If the situation of
the Finances of the Republic did not allow of the prisoners receiving the
whole of what the law allowed them_, it was not the less true that they
experienced in that respect the benefits of the solicitude of the
Government.”  The words in italics practically concede the fact that the
British prisoners in France were not receiving what the law allowed them.

The French never lost sight of the hope, by one means or another, of
getting the prisoners back into the fighting ranks, and when in answer to
a complaint of the French, M. Otto the commissary had been told “That the
people here are not better fed than the prisoners,” his retort in writing
to the Transport Commissioners was, “If the scarcity of Provisions is so
notorious that the Government [British], notwithstanding its solicitude,
cannot relieve the wants of its own people, why should it unnecessarily
increase the consumption by feeding more than 22,000 prisoners?”  M.
Otto’s solution of all the difficulties was, send us back our soldiers
and sailors, and cease to burden yourselves with them.

It may be difficult, even after this long lapse of time, for either a
Frenchman or an Englishman to make an impartial summing up of a
controversy carried on in hot blood and generating bad feeling which
lasted long after Waterloo and the return of the Bourbons.  The British
did not shrink from publishing at the time all the facts and
correspondence relating to these controversial matters, thus enabling
their contemporaries of all nationalities to come to a right judgment
and, fortunately for us, if exaggerated and even lying accusations came
from French sources, their exaggeration and falsehood could usually be
proved by French witnesses.

The piteous letter of M. Charretie has been already quoted as evidence of
where the fault really lay in November 1797.

In 1815 a work was published in Paris called _L’Angleterre vue à Londres
et dans ses Provinces_, _pendant un séjour de dix années_.  An English
translation was published in America in 1818, to the title being added,
“six of them as a prisoner of war.”  The author was René Martin Pillet,
who, according to his account, was taken prisoner at the Battle of
Vimiera, 1808.  He was confined at Norman Cross and Bishop’s Waltham, and
at Chatham on the Brunswick hulk.  Space forbids an examination of all
his statements regarding England and English society; his account of the
treatment of prisoners of war alone concerns us.  The nature of his
statements can best be understood by the replies made.  There was a
pamphlet by some one hailing from Warrington, issued in 1816, with the
title _A Defence of our National Character and our Fair Countrywomen_.
One paragraph must suffice:

    “It has been accurately calculated that not more than one in ten of
    the French prisoners died during the last two wars: if therefore
    150,000, as you state, died in the prison-ships by torture or
    otherwise, the amount of French prisoners in these ships must have
    been 1,500,000, to contain which it would have required 2,000 ships
    of the line, but as not half of the number of prisoners were confined
    in ships, we must have taken during the last twenty years double that
    number, namely, 3,000,000!  Any further comment would be idle and
    superfluous.” (P. 16.)

A detailed examination of Pillet’s book was published in 1816, entitled,
_Tableau de la Grande-Bretagne_.  The author was Jean Sarrazin, a very
remarkable man.  He was born in 1770, of humble parentage, and served as
a private soldier in the ranks of the French army, but rose very rapidly
to high rank, being General of Brigade in the expedition to Ireland in
1798, where he was taken prisoner, and, to use his own words, he was
treated as a prisoner of war “with the highest distinction,” and was
exchanged for the English Major-General Sir Harry Burral, an ensign, one
sergeant, and five privates.  He married an English lady, a native of
Exeter, who returned with him to France.

His brilliant military services under Napoleon, with whom he was on
intimate terms, were varied with literary works of high value on military
subjects.  Now comes the stain on his character.  His subsequent career
in England proves that he had a very exaggerated view of his abilities
and services, and when holding a high position in the French army
assembled at Boulogne, he deserted and came over to this country to sell
to the British Government the secrets of the French plan of campaign.  In
his absence he was condemned to death.  The nature of his claims on the
English Government were considered extravagant.  They comprised:

1.  Letters of naturalisation.

2.  His wife and son to be considered as prisoners of war in France
(thereby entitling them to an allowance from the British Government).

3.  That his rank of Lieut.-General be acknowledged in accordance with
the cartel of exchange of 1798.

4.  A pension of £3,000 a year for life.

5.  An indemnity of £10,000 for his losses at Boulogne, to enable him to
take a house suitable to his rank, such as he had in France.

6.  A sum of £50,000 in payment of his notes and plans (i.e. his

He also asked to be appointed a Secretary or Aide-de-camp to Lord
Wellington.  The Government altogether gave him £3,000, and he returned
to France at the Restoration.  In his book he speaks highly of the
English, and defends Captain Woodriff from the charges of embezzlement.
But the most scathing exposure was by one of high rank and a long
name—Paul Maximilian Casimir de Quellen de Stuer de Caussade de la
Vauguyon, Prince de Careney.  He was a proscribed Royalist, and his
French editor calls him “A Frenchman, as distinguished by birth, as by
the nobleness and independence of his character, and who has thoroughly
studied the country which these writers have feebly pretended to
pourtray, is desirous to evince his gratitude to the generous nation
which has provided him an asylum, at the same time that it has preserved
to the French their King and their Princes.  He has thought it his duty
to vindicate the truth which has been wantonly outraged.”

The following short extracts show his method of dealing with M. Pillet’s

    “When he does not fear to state, that ‘a hundred and fifty thousand
    Frenchmen have been killed, in the midst of tortures,’ in the British
    possessions, he states what is impossible, since the total number of
    the prisoners of war did not amount to above one hundred thousand,
    and more than eighty thousand Frenchmen were restored to liberty and
    to their country after the return of the French King to his

    “The nourishment of the prisoners of war was neither so scanty nor so
    inferior in quality as M. Pillet sets forth, a crowd of Frenchmen,
    returned from England, attest this.  It is from their authority that
    we speak.

    “The clothing given to the prisoners was of excellent stuff, many
    persons in France wear it to this day; and if some Commissary’s wife
    or clerk did turn a few ells of it to their own use, is that any
    reason to accuse the Transport Board and all England of robbery, per
    fas et per ne fas?”

He also deals with the alleged malpractices of Captain Woodriff, whom
Pillet even hints acted with the connivance of the English Government.

    “Have we not seen General Warne, at Verdun, in France, blow his
    brains out, after having employed the funds, destined for the English
    prisoners, to his own private purposes, because he saw it was
    impossible to conceal that prevarication, and to account for his

After dealing in detail with many of Pillet’s reckless assertions, he
finishes with the following summary:

    “M. Pillet observes a profound silence upon all these occurrences,
    yet they are perfectly within his knowledge, and he himself laboured
    to _organise_ the general rising of the prisoners!  M. Pillet
    complains bitterly of the numberless sufferings which he underwent at
    Norman Cross and Bishops Waltham; but he does not mention that he
    broke his parole of honour; or that placed on board of a pontoon
    (hulk), the consequence of this violation of his parole, some English
    Officers consented nevertheless to answer for him, and by them he
    obtained a security, although he had forfeited his parole.”

A pamphlet—_Aperçu du traitement qu’éprouvent les prisonniers de guerre
français en Angleterre_ (_Lettre écrite par le Colonel Lebetre_, _Paris_,
1800)—has been quoted by former writers as evidence of the maltreatment
by the English, and on the other hand the assertions have been
contradicted.  Unfortunately, the copy of the brochure in the British
Museum was, with some other French pamphlets, accidentally burned about
fifty years ago by a fire in the book-binders’ department, and no other
copy is accessible.  So that the opinion that Col. Lebetre’s accusations
were unjustifiable and self-contradictory can only be given second-hand.

The evidence which is supposed to establish the charges of inhuman
treatment of their prisoners by the British, including that of our own
countryman George Borrow, breaks down on examination.  But, when in April
1797 the Dutch and French victims of the war entered the prison at Norman
Cross, and started the community which for nearly twenty years had to
carry on its life under such strange conditions, the place was already
shrouded in this atmosphere of acrimonious contention—a stormy and
pestilent atmosphere which influenced for evil the lot of those within
its walls.



    The worst prisons are not of stone, they are of throbbing hearts,
    outraged by an infamous life.—H. W. BEECHER.

IT is on coming to the consideration of the life of the captives in their
prison that the want is felt of any contemporary account written by one
of themselves; such accounts are extant for the historian of the Dartmoor
Prison, but for Norman Cross the only sources from which a description of
the prison life can be given, are the meagre information gleaned from the
very few persons who had seen the prison and the prisoners, and who were
still alive when the writer commenced his inquiries; private letters
written during the period of the Depot’s existence; scanty paragraphs in
local and other newspapers; official reports and correspondence; and,
finally, the evidence of their pursuits, afforded by the extant examples
of the work executed by the prisoners during their captivity.

The prisoners were almost all, either soldiers or sailors, belonging to
the enemy’s army and navy, or the crews and officers of privateers.
Regulations as to parole varied greatly during the course of the war, but
the majority of the officers and the civilians of good social standing,
mostly passengers on board ships which had been captured, were out on
parole.  In each of three of the quadrangles there must have been an
average of about 1,750 prisoners, and in the fourth, the north-eastern,
in which two of the caserns were, from the opening of the Depot, divided
off for the hospital, to which a third was added later for the officers’
hospital, there were probably about 500.  This estimate is based upon
returns which show that on one occasion only was the number of prisoners
returned as low as 3,038.  This was in 1799—when the total number of
prisoners in Britain was only 25,646. {90}  The number had at that time
been reduced by a considerable exchange, and on other occasions the
numbers were much higher.  Thus on the 10th April 1810, out of 44,583
prisoners in Britain, 6,272 were at Norman Cross.  On the 11th June 1811,
out of 49,132 in all Britain, 5,951 were at Norman Cross.  From these
figures it is a fair deduction that the prison population with which we
have to deal averaged, in the eighteen years during which the prison was
occupied, about 6,000, distributed in four sections.  Each of the three
larger groups occupied a separate quadrangle about 2½ acres in extent,
their sleeping-places being four blocks of buildings, in each of which
slept 500 men, when they were absolutely packed, 300 in the lower
chambers, which were 12 feet high, and 200 in the upper chambers, the
height of which was 8 feet 6 inches; they occupied hammocks, arranged in
the lower and more lofty rooms, in three tiers, one above the other, and
suspended between posts 8 feet apart; in the upper room, the roof of
which was below the regulation height for three tiers, in two tiers only.

The size of each block, determined by actual measurement of the rubble
foundation, or footing, still lying below the turf, was 100 feet long by
22 feet wide.  The hooks for the clews of one end of the hammocks would
be fixed into rails on the wooden sides of the building, while for the
clews at the foot of the hammocks, posts running along the whole length
of the building were erected at the regulation distance (8 feet from the
wall of the building), and into these hammock-posts the stanchions were
driven.  Eight feet on the opposite side of the building was occupied in
the same way by the hammocks, and a clear space of 100 feet by 6 would be
left in the middle of the chamber through which, on the upper floor, the
single stair landed.

In the Royal Navy at the present day the average width of the hammock
with a man in it is 18 inches, and they are packed only one or two inches
apart (the midshipmen and other junior officers are allowed a foot
between each hammock).

Assuming that the prisoners were allowed a little more space than our
bluejackets, say, 2 feet for each hammock, there would be fifty hammocks
along each side, and as the hammocks were hung in tiers, three in the
lower chamber and two in the upper chamber, there would be 150 on each
side of the building in the lower chamber, and 100 in the upper chamber,
that is, 500 in each of the four caserns in the three quadrangles
occupied by the healthy prisoners.  This calculation, which the author
had worked out before he had seen M. Foulley’s description of his model,
corresponds with the figures he gives.

To the sailors the gymnastic performance necessary to get into the upper
hammock of a tier of three might be easy, but the soldier would probably
have many failures before he became expert.  When the head turnkey blew
his horn at sunrise, the first duty of the prisoners was to fold up the
palliasse, rug, and bolster allowed them, and then to take the clew off
the hook on the post, and to hang it with the other clew on the hook in
the wall, thus leaving the space which had been filled by the stretched
hammocks clear.  The general body of the prisoners would then turn out,
the fatigue party, one out of every twelve, that is about thirty-six men
for each casern, proceeding with their domestic duties.  These probably
in and out of doors gave them little spare time, when once in twelve days
their turn for duty came round for either amusement or other occupation.
There were all sorts and conditions of men among those who, starting the
day in this way, turned out into the airing-court.

An old Mr. Lewin of Yaxley, born in 1801, two miles from Norman Cross,
was accustomed in his boyhood to visit, and get occasional work at, the
Depot.  When interviewed by the writer in 1894, he thus described the
prisoners: “Some of them were very rich” [_Lewin himself had been an
agricultural labourer all his life_], “others very poor.  The poor ones
used to hang out bags, and would cry, as the people passed by, ‘Drop a
penny in my bag.’  [_See the Frontispiece_.]  They were not dressed in
uniform, but in ordinary clothes, some like gentlemen, others like
ragmen.”  “The place,” said Lewin, “was like a town.  There must have
been near 50,000 people there.”  He was ninety-three when he was
describing the prison, and to multiply the figures by ten was probably
due to the enchantment which distance casts over experiences eighty years

The morning meal was probably the next incident of the day.  The meals
can have occupied but little time for those poor fellows, who had nothing
more than the daily ration to depend upon; but probably, although the
French Government did nothing to supplement this ration, the French
people, as well as the relatives of the various prisoners, would remit
money, of which the poorer as well as the well-to-do would reap the

It has already been mentioned that the British agent in Paris had orders
to supplement the ration supplied by the French Government to the British
prisoners, wherever he thought it necessary, and, beyond this,
subscriptions for our captives in France were made in various parts of
the country.  Mr. Maberley Phillips, F.S.A., in a paper “On the escape of
the French Prisoners of War from Jedburgh in 1813,” gives the particulars
of an entry in the Vestry Book of St. Hilda’s, South Shields, which gives
the details of a subscription in 1807, by which the sum of £226 7_s._
8_d._ was collected for British prisoners in France, and remitted to the
committee at Lloyds, to be sent with the fund raised by them to the agent
in Paris.

The same spirit which influenced the British nation to send succour to
their countrymen would doubtless influence the French people, although
their Government, in accordance with their system of conducting war,
differed from the British Government as to what was the duty of a nation
at war towards its subjects in detention in the enemy’s country.  The
remittances from abroad to the whole of the prisoners amounted, from 1797
to 1800, to several thousands of pounds, and remittances were still
continually arriving (Commissioner Serle’s Report to the Transport Board,
28th July 1800).  This money passed through the hands of the agent in the
various prisons, and he was directed not to hand it over except in small
amounts, lest a recipient might have sufficient to offer a too tempting
bribe to a sentry.

As to how the prisoners prepared their ration for their several meals,
how they utilised the vegetables and the various table delicacies which
they purchased in the market, we know nothing.  The absence of chimneys
in the caserns shows that no fires were allowed in them.  It is possible
that under strict regulations they were allowed to make fires in the
courts, and abundance of peat from the neighbouring fen would be
obtainable at a very low price.  The fact that a cauldron for making the
soup, which was removed from one of the cook-houses and is now preserved
at Elton Hall, measures 5 feet 1 in. across and 3 feet 6 in. deep, shows
that the appointed and paid French cook made the bulk of the food.
Doubtless in nothing would there be more distinction between the several
prisoners than in the way they dealt with the ration.

 [Picture: Plate IX.—Emblematic Group of Seven Figures arranged in Three
               Tiers carved in Bone (Peterborough Museum)]

The prisoners in each casern were divided into messes of twelve, and one
of their number attended at the cook-house and brought the ration for the
whole mess.

The monotonous recurrence of the roll-call and the visit of the doctors
were daily incidents.  Next would possibly come the daily ablutions, more
or less extensive, probably performed, with the washing of the clothes,
at the wooden troughs, represented in some of the plans, on either side
of the wells, the ground around being paved with flagstones to obviate
mud and dirt from the slopping.  There was ample room in the airing-court
for such amusements and sports as these poor cooped-up young fellows,
many only boys (the separate prison for boys was a late addition to the
Depot, it is only shown in MacGregor’s plan and in Foulley’s model) could
devise, and in these courts was carried on much of the work in which so
many of the prisoners were engaged, and which will be discussed later on.

The domestic politics of the various prisons and the various blocks must
have run high; the prisoners were of course under a despotism, but the
choice of delegates for the market, for inspection of the food, etc., was
in their own hands.  The topic of conversation which must have most
interested them must have been the prospect of their liberation, and the
course of the war, as far as they could gather it, from the gossip of the
turnkeys and from what little they could hear in the market.  Each party
of fresh arrivals would bring news.  They would have accounts of the
escape of prisoners from other prisons, and would have secret confidences
and various schemes for their own escape; they would hear of the
incessant plots for a general rising of all the prisoners in Britain, of
the progress and failure of the negotiations for exchange, and they would
discuss these matters with the intensity of men, over all of whom at all
times hung the cloud of captivity, who all felt in a greater or less
degree the longing for freedom.

There was also the appointment by themselves of the delegates who were to
attend with the stewards of the prison and inspect the bread, meat, and
vegetables as they were delivered at the western gate, in order to make
sure that the goods were of proper quality.  One of the Prison
Regulations speaks of “the turnkey or any other officer” as the head of
the prison police.  As from various returns we know that there was no
part of the British staff of the Depot, except the turnkeys, who could be
acting in the quadrangle as police, it is probable that there was some
scheme imposing on individual prisoners the duties of assisting the
turnkeys in enforcing the regulations.  The brigade-major could
apparently march a patrol where he thought it was needed.  In case of any
violence or resistance, the turnkey called in the assistance of the
sentries or a squad from the barracks.

Even in the earlier years of the war there were doubtless many of the
prisoners who would adopt teaching as their work, and who would, among
the 1,500 who shared their quadrangle, find pupils willing to pay for
lessons, which would relieve the monotony of their existence.  There
would be fencing masters, who would fence with sticks, for any who had
clandestinely obtained or manufactured weapons dared not let them be
seen; there were many traders who made money legitimately, acting as
middlemen between the market at the gate and the prisoners in the
enclosure; and there were, the curse of the prison, those illicit traders
and usurers who bought the rations and clothes of their fellow prisoners
and reduced them to starvation, the unfortunate victims being, as a rule,
the slaves to the vice of gambling.  The moral degradation of the gambler
was, from the first, a source of trouble to the authorities, and it was
the wretched condition of this vicious class which was the foundation for
many of the complaints made by the French agents.  Both the usurious
traders and their victims were liable to punishment, as were also the
manufacturers of, and dealers in, contraband articles.  These last were
assisted by persons outside, who are best described as smugglers, their
part in the proceedings being to convey from this foreign community to
the British subjects outside, goods which, either from their intrinsic
character or from their liability to duty, could not be sold

In the reports of the Commissioners of the Transport Board, given in full
in Nos. 29 and 30 of the correspondence published in the Appendix to the
Parliamentary Report already referred to, it is stated that “the
prisoners in all the depots in the country are at full liberty to
exercise their industry within the prisons, in manufacturing and selling
any articles they may think proper excepting those which would affect the
Revenue in opposition to the Laws, obscene toys and drawings, or articles
made either from their clothing or the prison stores, and by means of
this privilege some of them have been known to carry off upon their
release more than 100 guineas each.”

At some of the depots, special restrictions had to be made, on account of
objections raised in the neighbourhood on the ground that the prisoners,
supported out of the revenue provided by the taxes which people had to
pay, were allowed to undersell the inhabitants in their own local
industries.  Thus at Penryn the Frenchmen were stopped from making pastry
and confectionery, and the prohibition of the manufacture of straw plait
at Norman Cross was supposed to be based on the same grounds, combined
with the fact that it was thrown on the market duty-free.  This point
will be dealt with later.

For the sale of these goods, and for the purchase of goods from without,
there was in each prison square a sort of market, where business was
carried on, the sellers putting up stalls.  Among other things, they sold
provisions and vegetables, doubtless making a profit on what they had
paid in the more important market which was held under strict
regulations, at the eastern gate of the prison (at one period of the war
twice a week only, at another period daily).  In this market delegates
from the prisoners met the dealers from without for traffic in the
produce of the neighbourhood and in such goods as the prisoners
required—clothes, feeding utensils, tools, and materials for carrying on
their work, etc.; here probably were handed out to the village turner
portions of bone carefully prepared for the lathe by the prisoner who
made the articles portions of which were turned.  Such examples are still
extant.  Here also opportunities were found for disposing of the illicit
articles, which were a source of some profit to the prisoner, but of far
larger profit to the middleman outside.

The market was, as I have said, held under strict regulations; every
article made in the prison had attached to it its price, and the name of
the prisoner who made it.  But, alas for the fame of the deft
individuals, who spent long years in the prison, in the manufacture of
these beautiful articles, the name was only attached in temporary
fashion, and the names of six only of the artists of the 500 specimens in
the Peterborough Museum are preserved: that of Jean de la Porte, the
producer of several beautiful pictures in straw marquetry, Peterborough
Cathedral being a favourite subject with him and with other accomplished
artists in the prison; that of a M. Grieg, whose name appears on a silk
holder decorated with figures, birds, and square and compass; Ribout, on
a small box; Jacques Gourny, on a similar specimen; Godfrov, on a highly
decorated work cabinet; and Corn on a silk holder.

The price of all the goods brought in from the neighbourhood was also
regulated by the agent, who saw that the prisoners were not charged
higher than the ordinary market price.  It is evident that there must
have been some regulation as to who, from among the prisoners, should be
admitted from each quadrangle.  It is certain that the gates of the
quadrangle were not thrown open for the whole of the 5,000 or 6,000 to go
to the market, and it is probable that certain trusted individuals,
delegates from each prison, were marched under guard across the turnkeys’
court, out on to the road between the squares, to the east gate, through
which they passed into the prison market held in the space formed by the
embrasure of the great outer wall.  Purchases for themselves and for
those of their comrades who had given them commissions were made by these
privileged men.  On their return to their own prison square, these men
probably traded with their fellow prisoners in the small market which was
held in each quadrangle.  There appear to have been at one time stalls to
which the public were admitted on Sundays to purchase the articles made
by the prisoners—that is, if the following paragraph is well founded:

    “Barracks were erected on a very liberal and excellent plan for the
    security of French prisoners who were confined here during the late
    war, and employed themselves in making bone toys, and straw boxes,
    and many other small articles, to which people of all descriptions
    were admitted on Sundays, when more than £200 a day has been
    frequently laid out in purchasing their labours of the preceding
    week.  It is capable of containing 7 or 8,000 men, and has barracks
    for two regiments of infantry.”  (_Crosby’s Complete Pocket Gazette_,
    2nd Edition, 1818, Yaxley.)

The paragraph is somewhat puzzling, but it is certain that it states that
people of all descriptions were admitted somewhere on Sundays, and it can
hardly have been into the bone toys, straw boxes, and other small
articles.  The extract was sent to me by the Rev. Father A. H. Davis (a
connection through his mother of one of the French prisoners).  He
remarks that this Sunday trading was “very unusual for the date of the
Norman Cross prison”; he suggests that the traffic may have been
regarded, on the part of the purchasers, as a pure act of charity, and
the sellers were of course accustomed to the Continental Sunday. {99}

The markets and the trading must have afforded one of the chief interests
in the prison life, and they have therefore been described as fully as is
possible from scanty records.  The daily inspection by the doctors has
been alluded to; sickness and death came within the precincts of the
Depot as to every other community of men.  These will be dealt with in a
later chapter.  There was no prison chapel.  It is possible there were
attempts at something like prison worship; it is certain that at one time
priests were allowed to reside in the prison, and in the last years of
its existence there was a ministering Roman Catholic priest, the Bishop
of Moulins, who was banished from France in 1791, and whose brief
history, written by himself, will be found in Appendix G.  An examination
of the records shows that a large number of the prisoners were from
Protestant districts of France, but the majority were, of course, if they
professed any religion, Roman Catholics.

This review of the chief factors in the prisoners’ life will enable the
reader to form in his own mind a picture of what that life was, the main
feature behind the stockade fences, which were enclosed by the outer
prison wall, being that the community lived year after year with no
female element—no solace from mother, wife, sweetheart, child, or female
friend or adviser of any kind—and yet we have the evidence of Mr. Comm.
Serle that they “show their satisfaction in the habits of cheerfulness
peculiar to themselves”; {100a} and the American prisoner who, under the
_nom de plume_ “Greenhorn,” published his experiences of Dartmoor in
1813, is reported by Mr. Basil Thomson {100b} to have been most struck on
entering the prison by “the high spirits of the multitude.”  He had
expected “to find hunger, misery and crime, but everything indicated
contentment, order and good fellowship.”

Let us hope that, notwithstanding the fact that at Norman Cross many of
the prisoners had been confined for ten years, while of those whom
“Greenhorn” gazed upon, none had been behind the granite walls of
Dartmoor more than four years, the dominant spirit was one of
“contentment, order and good-fellowship”; but, unfortunately, it is
beyond doubt that there was in the prison a submerged stratum of hungry,
miserable, criminal individuals, who had been unable to resist the evil
influence of their surroundings on natural or acquired tendencies.

The preceding pages should enable the reader, throwing his imagination
back a hundred years to Norman Cross, to conjure up, in place of the
photographic picture of forty acres of still and silent pasture, without
one human inhabitant, which the camera would produce to-day, a
cinematograph series exhibiting a moving panorama, set in the great group
of wooden buildings, barracks and prisons, in which lodged nearly 10,000
men, with all the busy life of such a crowd.  On the roads enclosing two
sides of the site (one of which—the great North Road—was then always
alive with the ever-flowing streams of traffic going and returning
between London and the North) are soldiers passing to and fro, and
civilians of all kinds having business at the Depot.  Entering the gate
on the Peterborough Road, are seen the prison market on the left and the
Eastern Barracks on the right, and in the space between are soldiers off
duty, local merchants carrying their goods to the market, the prisoners,
officers, and civilians allowed on parole, visitors with orders, friends
of the British officers, etc.; while at the western gate on the North
Road not only is the busy life of the main entrance to the western
barracks thrown on the screen, but also the carts and porters bringing in
the daily supplies for feeding the thousands within the walls, passing
through the gates, and filling with envy the half-starved British workmen
who, from the road, gaze on the piled-up loads of meat, bread, and
vegetables; beyond the gates the busy barrack life—companies of soldiers
changing guard, sentries on their beat pass by; and then appears the
outer wall of the prison, stockade fence or brick wall, according to the
year in which the imaginary camera is at work; at the eastern of the four
gates appears the busy market, with the vendors of the goods, vegetables,
eggs, and farm produce, clothes, hardware, and other necessaries for sale
at their stalls, and the prisoners from within making their purchases,
and offering for sale products of their skill in handicraft; a cannon
with its muzzle directed inwards to the prison commands the gate in the
market fence, that of the prison itself, and the roadway to the Central
Block House.  Between the wall and the stockade enclosing the separate
quadrangles, and on the cross roads which separate the four blocks, sixty
sentries, posted day and night, are pacing their beats; while fenced in
by the inner stockade are seen in each quadrangle crowds of prisoners,
the majority young, a few old veterans—well fed and half-starved, well
clothed and ragged, some in the yellow suit supplied by the British
Government, industrious and idle—all forced to live together under the
same conditions of isolation from the outer world.

 [Picture: Plate X.—Model of Guillotine: Bone Work (Peterborough Museum)]

Here appear, in a somewhat crowded quadrangle, the thickly packed 1,600
or 1,700 men, groups of whom appear on the screen, some availing
themselves of a clear space are dancing, others racing, or fencing with
single sticks; then is seen a group carrying on, with violent
gesticulation, a hot argument, so heated has it become between two of the
disputants that it may end in blows, and possibly in a duel, for duels
with extemporised weapons were not infrequent and were occasionally
fatal; another group are discussing earnestly, but quietly and in subdued
tones, the possibility of the general rising of all the prisoners in
England, news having been smuggled in to them that a plan for such a
rising is under consideration by the French Government.  Then follow
pictures of men at work; they are mostly seated on boxes or rough
prison-made stools on the flagged pavement which surrounds the
airing-court—they are very numerous.  Here a man in the corner, which he
has appropriated for months, is cutting, scraping, polishing, and fitting
together the pieces of bone which he is building into the beautiful model
of the guillotine which now, a hundred years later, has found its way to
the Peterborough Museum; he has bought in the market a good assortment of
tools, which lie beside him.  Then comes a group of men, who have
selected a spot sheltered from the wind, and who are skilled in straw
marquetry, employed in coating well-made work boxes, desks, etc., also
all prison work, with marquetry pictures of varied and beautiful designs,
so beautiful and so delicate, that we who, a hundred years after the
workers and their prison vanished from Norman Cross, see the objects, can
only marvel at the skill and the patient perseverance which could
accomplish such work in such conditions.

A Dutch sailor appears giving the finishing touch to a marvellous model
of a ship made from the bones received from the cooking-house, he is just
fastening the Dutch flag to the ship; grouped around him are many of his
admiring countrymen.  Then appears on the screen a group who reveal a
different side of the life in the quadrangles: a crowd surrounds a party
of gamblers, and crushing through them are several anxious, ragged,
emaciated men who, having just sold in advance their rations for several
days, in order to obtain money for the indulgence of their passion, are
eager to join in the game.  Here and there pass by wretched half-naked
members of the submerged tenth, which has developed within a year of the
opening of the prison, seeking for scraps of food to appease the hunger
pangs which have arisen from their selling their rations to the wretch,
the usurer, who now appears searching among the losers, in the dispersing
crowd for a fresh victim; this man is looked upon by the authorities as a
bigger sinner than the starving gamblers themselves. {103}

Another group of young fellows is seen taking lessons in English from a
polyglot; and so picture succeeds picture, until we see in another
quadrangle more men at work, but the crowd generally engaged in and
greatly excited over an election.  The commissary whose duty it is to
inspect, in the interest of his fellow prisoners, the supplies of food as
they are delivered at the prison, has proved unsatisfactory, and
permission has been given for the choice of another prisoner to replace
him.  There are several parties in the prison each anxious that one of
their own group should be selected, hence the contest and the excited
crowd of speakers and listeners.  Some of the prisoners are “mugwumps”
and take no interest in politics, even such as would touch their
personalinterests, and of these a crowd interested in theology fills the
screen; they are listening to a hot argument between a Protestant and a
Romanist—an argument frequently interrupted by a little party of those
who worship only the goddess of reason.  Then follow on the screen the
squad told off for fatigue duties for the day; they have just finished
their tasks, and are settling down to their usual occupations, some
throwing themselves down to rest, others joining a party whose sides are
shaking with laughter, as they listen to two or three young men,
excellent actors, who are improvising a scene, caricaturing the English,
and introducing the peculiarities of the agent, turnkey, and other
officials of the prison. {104}

The pictures of the next quadrangle are much the same.  A man is seen in
violent grief with the letter in his hand which has just announced to him
the death of wife, father, mother, or child, leaving him more desolate
than ever.  At the turnkey’s gate a group of men are being led off with a
guard of soldiers to the Black Hole for a brutal assault on one of their
fellow prisoners.  But what has happened to alter the characters of the
pictures when the fourth quadrangle appears on the screen?  Work has
stopped, arguments have ceased, the excellent meal, with numerous
luxuries which a party of prisoners well supplied with money have
prepared as the great event of their day, lies on the table before them
disregarded, the food untasted.  Where men are speaking at all, it is
with the intensity of bitter disappointment, here and there with violent
expressions of anger against the authors of their misery.

For some months it has been known to these men that negotiations were
going on between the two Governments for a General Exchange of prisoners,
and although there have been to the knowledge of the prisoners many
hitches, yet for the last few weeks it has been rumoured that these
difficulties were all overcome, and the announcement of the day when the
exchange should commence has been hourly expected; but, alas! in place of
the expected news, one of the turnkeys has just handed in an
authoritative statement that the negotiations have fallen through, and
that all hope of freedom must again be banished from their thoughts!

To know the agony of despair that must on such a day have seized those
6,000 men, one must have shared their captivity and gone through their

The news from the outside world, the progress of the war, the successes
and defeats on either side, the prospects of peace, must have varied the
mood of the prisoners from day to day; we can only hope that the national
contentment and cheerfulness was for the majority the usual tone.

This panorama of life in the prison represents only what that life was in
good weather.  When the weather was too inclement for the outdoor life
commanded by the regulations, and when the prisoners were crowded in the
bare and dismal caserns, contentment and high spirits can scarcely have
been the dominant tone of the inmates.  In the surveyor’s report, {105}
referred to in a former chapter, mention is made of the holes cut by the
prisoners in the walls of the caserns; on such a day these would be
valued not so much for light and ventilation as for the opportunity which
they afforded of a glimpse of the world outside—a view of the traffic on
the road and of rustic life which would remind many of similar scenes
from which the conscription had torn them to fight the battles of

What a tale is told by those holes cut by the prisoners in the outer

    ’Tis pleasant through the loopholes of retreat
             To peep at such a world.

Poor fellows, the peep they got through the holes they cut was their only
share for years of the world outside.

It must be borne in mind that the habits and customs of the various
depots would be almost identical; the Government regulations under which
they lived and which ruled the life of the prisoners were the same for
all.  There might be points of etiquette and social intercourse, derived
from local circumstances, traditional in each prison; but there were
constant interchanges of prisoners, and these men would take with them to
the new prison the habits, including unfortunately the worst vices, which
they had acquired in the old one.  At Norman Cross there were, before it
was completed, men waiting to be received into the prison who had been
captives at the Depot of Falmouth, where they had been distributed in the
town itself in Roskoff, Kerquillack, and Penryn, whence they were
removed, because, in consequence of this multiplication of the places of
confinement, the administration was not only inefficient, but
extravagant.  Many others were brought from Porchester and other prisons
on account of their overcrowded condition.  Mr. Perrot, the first agent
(Mr. Delafons, it will be remembered, though the first agent appointed,
served only a few days, ordering the first stores from the immediate
locality and from Lynn and Wisbech, but acting only until Mr. Perrot
arrived) came from Porchester, and thus both the administrators and the
prisoners would bring old prison customs with them.  It was not until the
influx of Dutch prisoners, after Duncan’s victory off Camperdown on the
11th October following the April in which the prison was opened, that any
number of prisoners passed, without intermediate imprisonment, direct
from the Transports to Norman Cross.

Whatever the cause may have been, whether it was owing to the phlegmatic
disposition of the Dutch or the mercurial temperament of the French, all
accounts show that the general conduct of the former was much more
commendable than that of the latter.  Beyond a few escapes, which were
only natural, no offences are attributed to the Dutch.  For the
misdemeanours and felonies, great and small, the French were responsible.
The gamblers who arrived from other prisons would doubtless find among
the fresh arrivals men, without other resources, ready to relieve the
dreary monotony of prison life by the excitement of dice box or cards.
However it may have originated, it is certain that, within three years
from the day when the first prisoner entered Norman Cross, the vice of
gambling was a curse in the prison, and its slaves had become the victims
of cruel, avaricious usurers, whose guilty practices thwarted the efforts
of the authorities to insure the health and comfort of those in their
charge.  Early in 1800, Captain Woodriff, the agent, sent a report to the
Transport Office which induced the commissioners to send to M. Otto, the
French commissary in London, a letter, {107} from which the following is
an extract:

    “There are in those prisons some men, if they deserve that name, who
    possess money, with which they purchase at the daily market whatever
    is allowed to enter, and with those articles they purchase of some
    unfortunate and unthinking Fellow-prisoner, his Rations of Bread for
    several days together, and frequently _both Bread and Beef for a
    month_, which he, the merchant, seizes upon daily, and sells it out
    again to some other unfortunate being, on the same usurious terms;
    allowing the former one halfpennyworth of potatoes daily to keep him
    alive; not contented with this more than savage barbarity he
    purchases next his clothes, and bedding, and sees the miserable man
    lie naked on the planks, unless he will consent to allow him one
    halfpenny a night to lie in his own hammock, and which he makes him
    pay by a further Deprivation of his rations when his original debt is

On the 9th September of the same year, 1800, the approach of winter
making the matter very urgent, Captain Woodriff again reported to the
commissioners that nothing he could do prevented the prisoners from
selling their rations of provisions for days to come, and their bedding,
that several of the French prisoners were destitute of clothing and
bedding, that one or two had died, and that in his opinion, unless some
clothing was issued to the prisoners, _many_ of them would die should the
winter be severe.  These poor victims of their vicious passions are
called in many documents “Les Misérables.”

There is no reason to doubt that the habits described in these reports
were the true explanation of the want of food and clothing, for which the
French Government blamed the British; but there is also too much reason
to believe that many of these prisoners, the victims of their fellow
captives the usurers, and of their own passion for gambling, died of want
in _our_ prisons, a fact for which we as a nation can only plead the
blinding animosity which filled the hearts and brains of the combatants
in the wars from 1793 to 1815.

It is possible that besides these, there were others who, although well
supplied with food, were at times clothed in rags owing to the obstinacy
with which each Government clung to its own view, as to whose duty it was
to clothe the prisoners.

On the 14th March 1800, the First Consul issued an Edict, in which among
other articles was one _directing_ that the British Government should
clothe their French prisoners.

To this Edict the French Minister for Foreign Affairs referred Captain
Cotes (the English commissary in Paris), in order that he might see,
among other things, that Buonaparte had determined “that the said
prisoners should be clothed by the British Government.” {109}  This
Edict, cancelling an agreement previously entered into between the two
Governments, was not communicated direct to the British Government; and
from a letter written by the Secretary of State for War to the Lords of
the Admiralty on the 4th December 1800, it is clear that the issuing of
this Edict, practically an order from the head of the Government of the
country with which we were at war, directing the British Government to
adopt a certain course, had only increased the determination of the
Government to hold its own.  The Secretary for War, Mr. Dundas, in this
letter justifies the action of the British Government, and to strengthen
his appeal to the French Authorities to do what he considered their duty,
and clothe the prisoners, he quotes the fact “that misery, sickness, and
a heavy mortality prevail among the French prisoners in the various
depots in this country, while the Dutch, under the same management, and
with the same allowances in every respect as the French, but clothed by
their own Government, continue to enjoy their usual health.”

Those who read this correspondence, now in this twentieth century, when
the bitter animosity between the two countries has died away, must feel
that the obstinacy was not confined to the French, and must wish that the
British had done sooner, what they ultimately did, clothe the prisoners
and debit the French Government with the cost.

In the correspondence I have quoted, the usurer, rather than his victims,
is spoken of as the cause of the misery, and no mention is made of
gambling.  But in other reports this vice is mentioned as the root of the
evil, the result of which was that when an epidemic broke out, the
mortality among these naked, starving wretches was terrible.  Among the
material relating to Norman Cross, picked out from the miscellaneous
thousands of papers at the Record Office, was a bundle of long slips of
paper—Certificates—ruled out with columns, eleven in all, corresponding
to those in the prison register, and ending with one for the date of
death, and another for the fatal disorder or casualty.  Among the large
bundle for the year 1800, a year of terrible mortality owing to the
presence of an epidemic, is a certificate, dated 14th June, which bears
an irregular note in pencil, made apparently by the surgeon when he
forwarded the slip to the agent; the pencilled note on this certificate
is a terrible revelation of what, in that year, was going on in the
prison at Norman Cross.

    “You see, my dear Sir, since our selection of the invalids, and the
    benefit of warm weather, we have had but one death this ten days.  If
    another batch of those vagabonds, who by their bad conduct defy all
    the benefits the Benevolence of this country bestows upon them, were
    to be sent away in September next, we might expect great benefit from
    it in the winter, for to a certainty all these blackguards will die
    in the winter.  Compare sixty a week with one in ten days.”

From this scrap we learn how terrible was the mortality, and how bad was
the character of these wretched men; we learn also that when all the
steps taken to reform them had failed, some system of segregation and
removal to the hulks or elsewhere was finally recommended.  There is
evidence in a letter of M. Otto’s that a large number of invalids and men
of the class spoken of as “Les Misérables,” or less sympathetically by
the surgeon as “these blackguards,” was sent back to France.  Two years
after this pencilled note was written, all the prisons, both in Britain
and France, were emptied, and the prisoners restored to their native
countries; but when they refilled after the renewal of the war in 1803
under the same conditions, the same depravity and suffering developed.

At Dartmoor, 1809 to 1816, there are records, especially those of the
Americans, which furnish full particulars of the internal life of that
prison, particulars which in the case of Norman Cross can only be
gathered from scraps such as the pencilled note just referred to.  Mr.
Basil Thomson has permitted the reprint in this history of his chapter on
these reprobates in Dartmoor.  It is terrible reading, but I avail myself
of Mr. Thomson’s permission, because there is little doubt that much of
the description of these self-styled “Romans” at Dartmoor would apply
equally to “Les Misérables” at Norman Cross, and that the Norman Cross
“Blackguards” were, like the “Romans,” ostracised by their fellow
prisoners, and were in a similar, if in a less systematic fashion than
their Dartmoor brethren, segregated by natural selection from their
comrades, and herded together in special parts of the prisons.

From a careful perusal of the death certificates for the year 1801, when
the terrible epidemic, commencing in November 1800, carried off a
thousand victims, it would appear that Block 13, that behind the hospital
caserns in the north-east quadrangle, was the habitat of “Les
Misérables.”  There are constantly recurring notes at the end of the
certificate to the effect: “This prisoner had sold his clothes and
rations; he was from No. 13.”  The cause of death given was debility.
There are other entries, with the simple note, “Debility, from 13.” {111}



             What are these
    So wither’d and so wild in their attire,
    That look not like th’ inhabitants o’ th’ earth,
    And yet are on’t?

                                                   SHAKESPEARE, _Macbeth_.

THE prototypes of the self-styled “Romans” of Dartmoor were the prisoners
of Norman Cross, known and mentioned, ten years before Dartmoor was
built, in various official documents as “Les Misérables.”

It has already been stated that the absence of any description of the
internal life of the Norman Cross Prison, written by an inmate, renders
it impossible to give details which in the case of Dartmoor can be
gathered from accounts published by French and American prisoners who
were there incarcerated.

The author has, therefore, gladly availed himself of the permission given
by Mr. Basil Thomson, to reproduce here the chapter of his book in which
he describes “Les Misérables” of Dartmoor.  The incidents in their life
presented by Thomson are not, of course, _identical_ with those of the
same class at Norman Cross.  The Norman Cross prisoners were not banished
to a cockloft, and, although they may have been confined to one floor in
one block, probably No. 13, they still retained the hammocks, in which
many (during the awful epidemic of 1801) died before they could be
removed to the hospital, succumbing at once to the malady owing to the
debility resulting from their nakedness and starvation.  The description
of the sleeping arrangements of the “Romans” does not therefore apply to
“Les Misérables” of Norman Cross.

Similar vices and similar conditions of life produce similar results, but
the impression left after reading Thomson’s graphic and terrible picture
of the “Romans” of Dartmoor is only more intense, in consequence of its
details, than that left after reading the laconic statements contained in
the letters and reports of Captain Woodriff, Commissioner Serle, and
others as to the same class at Norman Cross.

The authorities at both prisons were equally powerless to put down the
gambling and the usury with all its attendant miseries.  It is somewhat
singular that the “Romans” appear to have withstood disease, while in the
epidemic at Norman Cross, which was probably enteric fever, a disease at
that date not differentiated from other conditions, such as debility,
diarrhoea, simple fever, etc., “Les Misérables,” as evidenced by the
surgeon’s notes, succumbed. {113}

                                * * * * *

There were well-defined grades of society among the prisoners.  The
first, called “Les Lords,” consisted of men of good family who were
drawing on their bankers or receiving regular remittances from home; “Les
Labourers” were those who added to their rations by the manufacture of
articles for sale in the market; “Les Indifférents” did nothing but
lounge about the yards, and had to content themselves with the Government
rations; “Les Missables” were the gamblers and hatchers of mischief.  The
fifth grade is so remarkable that it deserves a chapter to itself.  It
was also composed of habitual gamblers, nick-named ironically “Les
Kaiserlies” by the other prisoners, but generally known by the title
chosen by themselves, “Les Romains,” because the cockloft, to which they
were banished in each prison, was called “Le Capitole.”  The cock-lofts
had been intended by the architect for promenade in wet weather, but they
had soon to be put to this baser use.

To the sociologist there can be nothing more significant than the fact
that a body of civilised men, some of them well educated, will under
certain circumstances adopt a savage and bestial mode of life, not as a
relapse, but as an organised proceeding for the gratification of their
appetites and as a revolt against the trammels of social law.  The
evolution of the “Romans” was natural enough.  The gambling fever seized
upon the entire prison, and the losers, having nothing but their clothes
and bedding to stake, turned these into money and lost them.  Unable to
obtain other garments, and feeling themselves shunned by their former
companions, they betook themselves to the society of men as unfortunate
as themselves, and went to live in the cockloft, because no one who lived
in the more desirable floors cared to have them as neighbours.  As they
grew in numbers they began to feel a pride in their isolation, and to
persuade themselves that they had come to it by their own choice.  In
imitation of the floors below, where a “Commissaire” was chosen by public
election, and implicitly obeyed, they elected some genial, devil-may-care
rascal to be their “General,” who only held office because he never
attempted to enforce his authority in the interests of decency and order.
At the end of the first six months the number of admitted “Romans” was
250, and in the later years it exceeded 500, though the number was always
fluctuating.  In order to qualify for the Order, it was necessary to
consent to the sale of every remaining garment and article of bedding to
purchase tobacco for the use of the community.  The communism was
complete.  Among the whole 500 there was no kind of private property,
except a few filthy rags, donned as a concession to social prejudice.  A
few old blankets held in common, with a hole in the middle for the head
like a poncho, were used by those whose business took them into the

In the Capitole itself every one lived in a state of nudity, and slept
naked on the concrete floor, for the only hammock allowed was that of the
“General,” who slept in the middle and allocated the lairs of his
constituents.  To this end a rough sort of discipline was maintained, for
whereas 500 men could sleep without much discomfort on a single floor in
three tiers of hammocks, the actual floor space was insufficient for more
than a third of that number of human bodies lying side by side.  At
night, therefore, the Capitole must have been an extraordinary spectacle.
The floor was carpeted with nude bodies, all lying on the same side, so
closely packed that it was impossible to get a foot between them.  At
nightfall the “General” shouted “Fall in,” and the men ranged themselves
in two lines facing one another.  At a second word of command, alternate
files took two paces to the front and rear and closed inward, and at the
word “Bas” they all lay down on their right sides.  At intervals during
the night the “General” would cry “Pare à viser” (Attention!), “A Dieu,
Va!” and they would all turn over.

From morning till night groups of Romans were to be seen raking the
garbage heaps for scraps of offal, potato peelings, rotten turnips, and
fish-heads, for though they drew their ration of soup at mid-day, they
were always famishing, partly because the ration itself was insufficient,
partly because they exchanged their rations with the infamous
provision-buyers for tobacco, with which they gambled.  Pride was
certainly not a failing of which they could be accused.  In the alleys
between the tiers of hammocks on the floors below you might always see
some of them lurking.  If a man were peeling a potato, a dozen of these
wretches would be round him in a moment to beg for the peel; they would
form a ring round every mess bucket, like hungry dogs, watching the
eaters in the hope that one would throw away a morsel of gristle, and
fighting over every bone.  Sometimes the continual state of starvation
and cold did its work, and the poor wretch was carried to the hospital to
die; but generally the bodies of the Romans acquired a toughened fibre,
which seemed immune from epidemic disease.

Very soon after the occupation of the prison the Romans had received
their nickname, and had been expelled from the society of decent men, for
we find that, on August 15th, 1809, five hundred Romans received
permission to pay a sort of state visit to No. 6 prison.  At the head of
the procession marched their “General,” clad in a flash uniform made of
blankets, embroidered with straw, which looked like gold lace at a
distance.  Behind him capered the band—twenty grotesque vagabonds blowing
flageolets and trumpets, and beating iron kettles and platters.  The
ragged battalion marched in column of fours along the grass between the
grille and the boundary wall without a rag on any of them but a breech
clout, and they would have kept their absurd gravity till the end, had
not a rat chanced to run out of the cookhouse.  This was too much for
them; breaking rank, they chased it back into the kitchen, and the most
nimble caught it and, after scuffling for it with a neighbour, tore it to
pieces with his teeth and ate it raw.  The rest, with whetted appetites,
fell upon the loaves and looted them.

The guard was called out, and the soldiers marched into the mêlée with
fixed bayonets; but were immediately surrounded by the naked mob,
disarmed with shouts of laughter, and marched off as prisoners towards
the main gate amid cries of “_Vive l’Empereur_!”  Here they were met by
Captain Cotgrave hurrying to the rescue at the head of a strong
detachment.  The “General” of the Romans halted his men and made a mock
heroic speech to the agent.  “Sir,” he said, striking a theatrical
attitude, “we were directing our steps to your house to hand over to your
care our prisoners and their arms.  This is only a little incidental joke
as far as your heroic soldiers are concerned, who are now as docile as
sheep.  We now beg you to order double rations to be issued as a reward
for our gallantry, and also to make good the breach which we have just
made in the provisions of our honourable hosts.”  Captain Cotgrave
struggled with his gravity during this harangue, but the “General” had
nevertheless to spend eight days in the _cachot_ for his escapade, while
his naked followers were driven back to their quarters with blows from
the flat of the muskets.  For a long time after this the life of the
soldiers was made miserable with banter, and they would bring their
bayonets down to the charge whenever a prisoner feigned to approach them.

Strange as it may seem, there were among the Romans a number of young men
of good family who were receiving a regular remittance from their friends
in France.  When the quarterly remittance arrived, the young man would
borrow a suit of clothes in which to fetch the money from the Agent’s
office, and, having handed over £1 to the “General” to be spent in
tobacco or potatoes for the community, would take his leave, buy clothes,
and settle down in one of the other floors as a civilised being.  But a
fortnight later the twenty-five louis would have melted away at the
gaming-tables, clothes and bedding followed, and the prodigal would slink
back to his old associates, who received him with a boisterous welcome.
During the brief intervals when he was clothed and in his right mind,
many efforts were made by the decent prisoners to restrain him from ruin;
but either the gambling fever or a natural distaste for restraint always
proved too strong, and no instance of permanent reclamation in the prison
is recorded.  It was otherwise when the Romans were restored to liberty.
One would think that such creatures—half-ape and half-hog—had finally cut
themselves off from civilised society, and that they ended their lives in
the slums and stews of Paris.  That this was not the case is the
strangest part of this social phenomenon.  In the year 1829 an officer
who had been in Dartmoor on forfeiture of parole attended mass in a
village in Picardy, through which he happened to be passing.  The curé
preached an eloquent and spiritual sermon, a little above the heads of
his rural congregation.  One of his auditors was strangely moved, not by
the matter of the sermon, but by vague reminiscences, gradually growing
clearer, evoked by the features and gestures of the preacher.  So certain
did he feel that he had last seen this suave and reverend priest raking
an offal heap in the garb of Adam that he knocked at the sacristy door
after the service.  The curé received him formally with the
“to-what-do-I-owe-the-honour” manner.  “Were you not once a prisoner at
the Depot of Dartmoor?”  The priest flushed to his tonsure and stammered,
but at last faltered an affirmative, adding sadly that imprisonment was
very harmful both to body and soul.

“Do you remember me?” the officer asked.

“Of course I do.  It was you who so often preached good morals to me.  It
is a long time ago, and, as you see, God has worked a miracle in my soul.
Evil example and a kind of fatal attraction towards vice dragged me down;
I was young then.  But do not let us talk of that horrible time, which I
look upon as an incurable wound in my life.”  An invitation to dinner
followed the interview, and the visitor noticed that his host was no
anchorite in the matter of food and drink.  As he warmed with wine he
became more confidential, and even a little scandalous, though he took
occasion more than once to remind his guest that if in his youth his life
had been shameful, at least he had the consolation of remembering that it
was never criminal.  Nevertheless, in the later stages of the repast,
there seemed to be a faint afterglow of the volcanic eruption of his
youth when he lived in the “Capitole.”  This man had been one of those
who had received regular remittances from his friends in France, and who,
after a brief orgy at the gaming-tables, had rooted his way back to the
swine-pen in the cockloft.  His parishioners affirmed him to be a man of
great piety and open-handed charity.  They knew nothing of his past, and
his guest was careful to respect his secret.

In August 1846 one of the highest administrative posts under Louis
Philippe was filled by a man of great ability, one of those officials who
are selected by the Press for flattering eulogium.  Yet he, too, had been
a Roman, and there must have been many in France who knew that the breast
then plastered with decorations had once been bare to the icy winds of

In 1844 there was in Paris a merchant who had amassed a large fortune in
trade.  His little circle of vulgar plutocrats was wearied with the
stories of his war service and the leading part he had taken in the
internal affairs of the war prison at Dartmoor.  He seemed quite to have
forgotten that the “leading part” was an unerring nose for fish offal in
the garbage heap, wherein he excelled all the other naked inmates of the

As they grew in numbers, from being objects of commiseration the Romans
became to be a terror to the community.  Theft, pillage, stabbings, and
the darkest form of vice were practised among them almost openly.
Unwashed and swarming with vermin, they stalked from prison to prison
begging, scavenging, quarrelling, pilfering from the provision carts,
throwing stones at any that interfered with them.

It was this formidable body whose condition so shocked the Americans on
their first arrival.  They were the analogues of the “Rough Alleys” in
the American prison, but they were more bestial and less aggressive.

As it is not mentioned in the official records, let us hope that one
horrible story, told by a French prisoner, is untrue.  He says that when
the bakehouse was burned down on October 8th, 1812, and the prisoners
refused to accept the bread sent in by the contractor, the whole prison
went without food for twenty-four hours.  The starving Romans fell upon
the offal heaps as usual, and when the two-horse waggon came in to remove
the filth, they resented the removal of their larder.  In the course of
the dispute, partly to revenge themselves upon the driver, partly to
appease their famishing blood thirst, these wretches fell upon the horses
with knives, stabbed them to death, and fastened their teeth in the
bleeding carcases.  This horror was too much for the stomachs of the
other prisoners, who helped to drive them off.

Occasionally the administration made an attempt to clothe them.  In April
1813, fourteen who were entitled to a fresh issue were caught, scrubbed
from head to foot in the bath-house, deprived of their filthy rags, and
properly clothed, but on the very next day they had sold every garment,
and were again seen in the yards with nothing to cover their nakedness
but the threadbare blanket common to the tenants of the “Capitole.”  In
1812 they were banished to No. 4 prison, and in order to keep them from
annoying their fellow prisoners the walls were built which separated No.
4 and its yard from the rest of the prison, for it was hoped that where
all were destitute, those who would sell their clothing, bedding and
provisions would be unable to find a purchaser.  But though new hammocks
and clothing were given to them by charitable French prisoners as well as
by the Government, they disposed of them all through the bars of the gate
and went naked as before.

Unquestionably, the greatest evil which Captain Cotgrave was called upon
to face was the sale of rations.  Serious crime could safely be left to
the prisoners themselves to punish, but this inhuman traffic was the
business of nobody but the persons who indulged in it.

Each prisoner was served with rations every day, but if he chose to sell
them instead of eating them, it was very difficult to interfere.  Certain
prisoners set up shops where they bought the rations of the improvident
and sold them again at a profit.  Gambling, of course, was at the bottom
of the evil.  To get a penny or two to stake at the tables, men who had
sold all their clothes would hypothecate their rations for several days,
and, having lost, and knowing that to beg would be useless, they would
sit down to starve, until, in the last stage of weakness, they were
carried to the infirmary to die.  Sometimes these miserable creatures
would forestall the end by hanging themselves to a hammock stanchion,
rather than be forced out of their beds by the guards.

In February 1813, very much to their surprise, Captain Cotgrave clapped a
few of the most notorious food buyers into the _Cachot_, and kept them
there for ten days, on two-thirds allowance.  To their remonstrances he
replied as follows:

         “_To the Prisoners in the Cachot for Purchasing Provisions_.

    “The orders to put you on short allowance from the Commissioners of
    His Majesty’s Transport Board is for purchasing the provisions of
    your fellow prisoners, by which means numbers have died from want of
    food, and the hospital is filled with sick not likely to recover.
    The number of deaths occasioned by this inhuman practice occasions
    considerable expense to the Government, not only in coffins, but the
    hospital filled with those poor unhappy wretches so far reduced from
    want of food that they linger a considerable time in the hospital at
    the Government’s expense, and then fall a victim to the cruelty of
    those who have purchased their provisions to the disgrace of
    Christians and whatever nation they belong to.

    “The testimony of your countrymen and the surgeons prove the fact.”

But it was all to no purpose, and in the following month we find him
appealing to the whole body of prisoners.

                   “_Notice to the Prisoners in General_.”

    “The infamous and horrible practice of a certain number of prisoners
    who buy the provisions of some evil-conducted and unfortunate of
    their fellow-countrymen, thereby tearing away from them the only
    means of existence they possess forces me to forewarn the whole of
    the prisoners that on the first appearance of a recurrence of this
    odious and abominable practice I shall, without any exception prevent
    any person from keeping shops in the prison, and I will stop the

    “As it would be entirely against my wishes and inclination to have
    recourse to these violent measures, I strongly request of the
    well-conducted of the prisoners to use all their exertions to put a
    stop thereto.”

The threat was an empty one; the well-conducted prisoners discountenanced
the practice, but the Romans bought and sold among themselves.

After their attack upon the American prisoners in July 1813, they were
further isolated, by being confined to the small yard on the south side
of No. 4 (now the separate cells yard).  For more than four years they
had skulked about the yards by day, almost naked, exposed to the damp
fogs of summer and the icy blasts of winter; had huddled by night upon a
wet and filthy stone floor, had subsisted half-starved upon garbage until
the wind seemed to blow through their skeleton ribs; had neglected every
elementary law of sanitation, and yet, strange to relate, every
succeeding epidemic had passed them by, and it was notorious throughout
the prison that sickness was almost unknown among the Romans.  When
General Stephenson and Mr. Hawker held their inquiry in 1813, the scandal
of their mode of life was so great that the principal recommendation of
the Commission was that “the prisoners calling themselves Romans” should
be removed and compelled to live like human beings in some place where
they could be kept under strict surveillance.  And so, on October 16th,
1813, the scarecrow battalion of 436 “Romans” was mustered at the gate,
decently clothed, and marched under a strong escort to a prison hulk in
Plymouth, and kept under strict discipline until the peace.  Fit products
of the Terror these Romans, who as children may have hooted after the
tumbrils in Paris, and shrieked with unholy glee as the boats went down
in the Noyades under the quai at Nantes.



    Ye, to your hot and constant task
          Heroically true,
    Soldiers of Industry! we ask,
          “Is there no Peace for you?”

                                        LORD HOUGHTON, _Occasional Poems_.

IT is a relief to turn over the last page of the chapter which
illustrates the darkest side of the prison’s history, and to pass on to
the consideration of what probably was the greatest solace which those in
confinement experienced.  This was work.  Not the work done daily by the
fatigue parties, but work by which the prisoners could earn something.
By far the largest amount of the earnings was money brought into the
prison from without, of which a portion circulated in the prison, finding
remunerative work for other inmates.  Much was spent in the market, and
again left the prison, but a considerable amount accumulated in the hands
of the thrifty, and sent the prisoners back to their own country all the
richer for having been in Norman Cross.

Although remunerative is as a rule more attractive than unremunerative
work, any work done by the prisoners must have been cheering and
elevating to those condemned to the deadly monotony of an idle prison
life.  To those gifted with artistic taste, the production of the
thousands of specimens of beautiful and ingenious articles of value must
have been a positive joy.

The work open to the industrious prisoners included that of an ordinary
labourer, of a skilled artisan, and of a man with a trade, and ranged up
to that of a teacher, an actor, an author, or an artist!

A complaint of the French Government was that the British did not employ
their prisoners on works outside the walls, as the British were employed
in France.  The answer to this is that the French male labour market was
exhausted by the serious depletion due to conscription of the adult male
population, and that the French Government, in the interests of France,
gladly availed itself of the services of the British, under military
surveillance, for public works, etc.  No such necessity pressed on the
British; there was an ample supply of labour, and the introduction of
competing gangs of prisoners of war would have led to trouble, and was in
fact a domestic impossibility.  There were occasions when the prisoners
were employed on large constructive works connected with their own
prisons.  Dartmoor Chapel was built by the prisoners in 1810–14; the
masons were paid 6_d._ a day, it being understood that the money should
accumulate, and that should any workman escape, the whole of the pay due
to the gang would be forfeited.  By this means every prisoner was made a
warder over his fellows. {125}

They were also regularly employed in their prisons as labourers, and
those who knew a trade as tradesmen.  From the accounts of Norman Cross
Prison (which are scattered among various bundles, and difficult to find)
has been selected the wage sheet for the midsummer quarter of 1789.  The
total is £408 1_s._ 6_d._; of this £13 7_s._ 6_d._ was paid to the Dutch,
and £32 to the French prisoners employed as labourers.  Under the head of
tradesmen’s bills for the same quarter are entered, French prisoners £35
3_s._ 4_d._; Dutch prisoners £541 6_s._ 2_d._  These sums represent the
employment of a considerable number of men, as, the recipients being
lodged and fed at the expense of the State, the wage each man received
was very small, much below the normally low wage paid for labour at that
date.  The accounts show that the practice of employing and paying the
prisoners was in vogue in the first years of the Depot’s existence, and
that it went on until its last year is shown in the report of Mr. William
Fearnall, the surveyor, {126} who recommends certain repairs, and states
that Captain Hanwell, the Agent, can find thirty-six carpenters, two
pairs of sawyers, and three masons from among the prisoners.  Further, as
already stated, the prisoners held several paid posts, such as cooks,
nurses, hospital porters, and the like, within the prison walls.

   [Picture: Plate XI.—Work-box made by the French Prisoners of War at
                   Norman Cross (Peterborough Museum)]

In the sketch of the prison life, allusion has been made to the retail
traders and merchants; there were also craftsmen—men who knew a
trade—tailors, shoemakers, cooks, etc.  These carried on a business,
their customers being their fellow prisoners.  The regulation made for
the protection of the revenue and in the interests of our own workers, to
the effect that in making slippers and shoes, they might use list, but no
leather, must have applied only to articles made for sale outside.  The
employments by which the prisoners earned money from outside and brought
it into the prison have, perhaps, the greatest interest to us.  The
greater part of this money was either transmitted for safe keeping to
France or Holland, banked with the agent, or hoarded until the hoped-for
day of release should come.

The industry, neatness of fingers, skill and artistic taste of the
prisoners, enabled them to produce a great variety of ornamental and
useful articles.  The materials used in these manufactures were usually
very simple, but it has puzzled writers on the subject to account for the
possession by the prisoners of the dyes with which they stained the
straws used in their brightly coloured and delicately tinted marquetry
decorative work.  One writer or imaginative person started the theory
that the colours were all obtained from the tea served out to the
prisoners, and this has been repeated in various literary notices on this
subject, in magazines, newspapers, and other documents.  The reader may
be spared the effort of trying to account for the loss of the art of
extracting such colours from such a source, by recognising the fact that
no tea was served out to a prisoner, except to those in the hospital, and
that it would be far cheaper for the prisoners to buy the dyes in the
outside market than to purchase tea—which was at that time a costly
article used only by persons with good incomes—from which to extract
these mythical dyes.

An entry in the diary of Archdeacon Strong, to whose model of the Block
House allusion has already been made, suggests that the work was often
bespoken, and that the dyes and other more expensive materials may have
been paid for beforehand by the purchaser.  The entry is: “23rd October
1801—Drove Margaret to ye Barracks.  Bought the model of the Block House
and provided the Mahogany.  £1 11_s._ 6_d._, sergt. 1_s._, man 1_s._,
soldier 1_s._ 3_d._”  The venerable gentleman’s diary contains other
items throwing light on the price received by the prisoners for the fruit
of their labours.  From one such entry we learn that the Archdeacon, in
1811, paid two guineas for a marquetry picture of the Minster, now the
property of his grandson, Colonel Strong.

The straw undoubtedly was bought from outside, and there can be no doubt
that what applied to this “raw product” applied to other material and to
tools necessary for the production of the works, by the sale of which we
have Commissioner Serle’s authority for the prevalent opinion that within
a few years of their confinement many of the prisoners had made one
hundred guineas.

The great speciality of the Norman Cross prisoners was straw marquetry
work, in which they greatly excelled, producing beautiful pictures in
straw, and manufacturing and decorating with varied, elaborate, and most
artistic designs, cabinets, work-boxes, desks, tea-caddies,
dressing-boxes, small boxes of various shapes, hand fire-screens,
snuff-boxes, silk holders, etc., etc.  It would appear that occasionally
the prisoners, skilled in this work, were applied to, to decorate with
their marquetry, articles such as picture frames, etc.  There have
recently been presented to the museum of the Peterborough Natural History
and Antiquarian Society, by a friend, through Mr. C. Dack, the Curator,
fourteen examples of straw marquetry work, among them a case containing a
telescope which was bought at the sale of Captain John Kelly, son of
Major Kelly, the last Brigade-Major at the barracks.  This resembles an
ordinary telescope, except that the tube is covered by straw marquetry,
the work of a prisoner, instead of the usual leather casing.

  [Picture: Plate XII.—Pair of Fire Screens decorated in Straw Marquetry
                          (Peterborough Museum)]

[Picture: Plate XIII.—North-west View of Peterborough Cathedral, Executed
                in Straw Marquetry (Peterborough Museum)]

The illustrations, which are reproductions of very perfect photographs
taken by Mr. A. C. Taylor of articles in the museum, show more
convincingly than any verbal description can, the beauty of the designs
and the workmanship of the most artistic of these articles, although they
fail to show the colour effects produced by the use of dyed straws.

In all there are in the museum 162 examples of straw work, almost all of
them being marquetry.  There is one straw bonnet which was found in the
roof of a house at Cottesmore, twenty-five miles from Norman Cross.  How
it is identified as Norman Cross work the author does not know, but if
made at Norman Cross, it was probably carried away surreptitiously by a
smuggler and hidden until a safe opportunity for its sale offered itself.
The manufacture in the prison of hats and bonnets was forbidden.

Returning to the legitimate and more artistic work of the prisoners, it
may be mentioned that the joinery and cabinet-makers’ work of the various
articles made for decoration by the straw workers, most of it, as it is
believed done in the prison, was of the best quality, and has made a
durable base for the straw marquetry with which the experts overlaid
them, in beautiful formal patterns with delicately coloured designs,
human figures, birds, flowers, etc., interspersed.  Pictures on panel, in
the same material, are also found in private houses in the neighbourhood,
but the most beautiful are now in the museum.  One, a view of the west
front of Peterborough Cathedral, bearing the name De la Porte as the
artist who constructed it, has been already mentioned, and in the course
of the researches made for the purpose of this history, the owner of the
name has been identified with Corporal Jean De la Porte, one of the
French heroes who on the 12th October 1805 fought against the British at
Trafalgar, where Nelson died, but not before he had settled the question
of our nation’s supremacy on the sea.  J. De la Porte was taken in
_L’Intrépide_. {129}

Another manufacture carried on very extensively by the prisoners was bone
work, the cooking-houses afforded the material, and in the Peterborough
Museum alone are 256 examples of the work produced by the skill and
industry of the prisoners in their manipulation of the bones of the
animals which were killed for their ration (of these 256 articles, 33
were the gift of Mr. C. Dack’s friend already referred to).  With this
material and the simplest tools were produced works, as a rule, more
crude and of less artistic design than the works of the marquetry
artists, but demanding skill, delicacy of touch, and untiring patience on
the part of the artificer, who must in some instances have spent months
and even years over their execution.  Such a work was that represented in
the illustration.  It appears to represent a stage, on which are placed
various figures.

[Picture: Elaborately Carved Ornamental Design in Bone Work, Representing
   a Theatre, with Figures in Carved Bone on the Stage, the Work of the
 Norman Cross Prisoners of War.  Height 14 inches, base 9 inches square.
                           Peterborough Museum]

The largest specimen in the museum of this class of work is the model of
a large château, with various mechanically working figures.  It was
presented by H. L. C. Brassey, M.P., on the recommendation of Mr. C.
Dack, the curator of the museum, who says that he has evidence of its
authenticity as a work of the Norman Cross prisoners.  There are nine
beautiful models of ships, most elaborate models of the guillotine (Plate
X, p. 102), crowded with little carved figures of soldiers, the victim,
the executioner, etc.; watch-stands, domino boxes, many elaborately
carved, a domino and cribbage box combined, containing cards, dice and
teetotum; chessmen, fans, work-boxes, working-models of the
spinning-jenny, and so on, down to tooth-picks, tobacco stoppers, apple
scoops, and such small articles.

The desk in the illustration (Plate XV) is one of the 256 articles made
from bone which are in the Peterborough Museum.

[Picture: Plate XV.—Desk made from the Bones obtained from the Cook-house
  by the French Prisoners of War at Norman Cross (Peterborough Museum)]

The group of figures on a platform (Plate XVI, Fig. 1), is one of many
such mechanical toys or ornaments known to the author.  This is
beautifully preserved, having been kept in the box in which it was
purchased for many years.  When the lower wheel below the platform is
turned, by an arrangement of the threads passing over the wheels, the
various figures move, the lady in the centre turns the winding-wheel, the
child moves forward, the soldier and the lady waltz, the mother tosses
her baby, turning her head to look at it, while the lady on the left
prepares the tea.  The owner of this ornament is the grandson of its

Some of the bone articles have parts that have been turned; one of the
minor exhibits is a pair of turned cribbage pegs.  This work does not
prove that there was a lathe in the prison.  The prisoner who made the
carved cribbage box would easily get the turned pegs finished off

Another material in which the prisoners worked was horn, but the examples
are few.  H. Akin, late Secretary of the Society of Arts, writing on
“Horn and Tortoise-shell,” {131a} says, “Another branch of industry
practised by the prisoners was horn work, and here again the artistic
ingenuity of the French was manifest at Norman Cross.  (The solid tips
were made into handles, buttons, ornaments, etc.)  Of the long pieces,
after certain processes the principal uses were for combs, the chief
manufactury of which was at Kenilworth, but combs ornamented with open
work were not made in England, on account of the expense, being imported
in great quantities from France.” {131b}  The passage quoted shows that
at the date it was written (1840) the Norman Cross bone work was well
known.  The specimens in the Museum are very few; they include horn fans,
three of which were a part of the gift of Mr. Dack’s friend.

Of articles made from wood there are but few in the museum.  The most
important is a beautifully carved figure of a Roman warrior, 11 inches
high on a bone carved pedestal; others are models of the Block House
(Plate III, p. 22), models of ships, domino and other boxes, and one
wooden block with the name Louis Chartiée (_sic_) carved in relief.  This
will be referred to later on.  It will be remembered that M. Charretie
(whose name was not always spelt correctly, even in official documents)
was the commissary for the French prisoners in England in the early days
of Norman Cross.

[Picture: Plate XVI, Fig. 1.—Mechanical Bone Work Group of Moving Figures
on Platform and Pedestal.  Figs. 2 and 3.—Groups of Flowers in Paper Work
                          (Peterborough Museum)]

One other material in which the French prisoners worked was paper.  It
was used to make artificial flowers, and there are two examples in the
museum (Plate XVI, Fig. 2).  One, a group representing roses, sweet peas,
passion flowers, a most valuable specimen, was among the gifts of Mr. C.
Dack’s friend; the other (Plate XVI, Fig. 3) was presented by the late
Dr. L. Cane of Peterborough, and has an authentic history.  Another form
in which paper was used was its application in strips, one eighth of an
inch wide, of stiff, gold-edged or coloured paper, to a surface prepared
with flanges, projecting to the exact width of the strip; the latter was
wound on its cut edge in a pattern of graceful curves, the cut edge being
glued to the wood or other material forming the base and the gilt edge
being left on the surface.  In order to complete the pattern, the
interstices left between the convolutions were at various parts of the
design filled with solidly rolled strips of coloured paper, giving the
appearance of cloisonnée work; at other parts a different device was
adopted to give variety, a plate of tinfoil, cut to the shape of a leaf
or other pattern, was fixed on the foundation before the coils of paper
were glued to it, the reflection giving the appearance of
mother-of-pearl. {133a}  A pair of wine slides and a box are the only
specimens of the work in the museum, but three other examples, all of
them tea-caddies, are known to the writer. {133b}

The collection in the Peterborough Museum embraces 450 articles
manufactured by the prisoners of war, but possibly not all at Norman
Cross.  It is probably the largest and finest collection in the world,
although the model of the Norman Cross Depot in the Musée de l’Armée,
Hôtel des Invalides, Paris, excels, both in its size and in the
multiplicity of its detail, any one object in the Peterborough Museum.  A
photograph of this beautiful model (Plate XX, p. 251) is reproduced in
the final chapter of this work, where it naturally finds a place, as it
represents the departure of the first detachment of the freed prisoners
at the final closing of the Depot.  The size of the model will be
appreciated from the measurements of each of the caserns, which are as
follows: length 169 millimetres, approximately 7 inches; width 70
millimetres, approximately 3 inches; height, from ground to eave, 9
centimetres, approximately 4½ inches.

The workers in straw did not confine their attention to these works of
art, they also manufactured straw hats and bonnets, although this
handicraft was forbidden from the earliest years of the prison’s
existence.  The manufacture of straw plait was not forbidden until a
later date.  There was good reason for these interdicts.  This branch of
trade was a staple industry of the neighbouring counties of Bedford and
Hertford, and to a less extent of Huntingdonshire and Northamptonshire,
and the prisoners who were fed by the State were competing on
advantageous terms with those who had to contribute to their maintenance,
but, worse than this, in the eyes of the Government, they were actually
defrauding the Revenue.  As the war continued year after year, fresh
articles had to be taxed to find the funds for carrying it on.  In his
Budget speech on 5th April 1802, the Chancellor of the Exchequer alluded
to the Schedule of 5,000 articles liable to duty. {134a}  Among these
were straw hats and bonnets. {134b}

Various accounts have been given of the part which was taken by the
outside accomplices of the prisoners, some speaking of their smuggling
the plait in, and others of their smuggling it out.  That they did
smuggle in “the Straw Manufactured for the purpose of being made into
Hats, Bonnets, etc., by which the Revenue of our country is injured, and
the poor who exist by that branch of trade would be turned out of
employ,” is proved by Sir Rupert George’s letter, {134c} printed in a
report to the House of Commons.  In this letter the Commissioner of the
Transport Office goes on to say, “I must observe that this, the
manufactured straw plait is the only article which the prisoners are
prevented from manufacturing.”  This letter is dated 19th March 1808; its
discovery destroys an illusion which the inscription publicly displayed
in the Town of Luton, beneath Mr. Arthur Cooke’s beautiful picture, would
establish, if its historical accuracy were not disproved.

The picture hangs in the Free Library of Luton, with the following
inscription attached:

    “Plait Merchants trading with the French Prisoners of War at Yaxley
    1806–1815.  Painted by A. C. Cooke.  Presented to the Town of Luton
    by J. C. Kershaw, Esq.”

In those years, Sir Rupert George’s letter, which only came to light in
1909, after the picture was painted, proves (without further evidence)
that the trade was illicit, that no such open dealing could have taken
place at that time, that it was an underground trade, carried on by the
help of middlemen and outside accomplices. {135}  The gesticulating
Frenchman and the keen, critical merchant at that time never met; between
the one in the prison and the other miles away came the old woman, to be
mentioned directly, and others like her.  Soldiers, the guards of the
mail coaches, innkeepers, hostlers, and tradesmen in Stilton and
elsewhere were not above purchasing the smuggled goods and disposing of
them to the Luton merchants.

 [Picture: Plate XVII.—Plait Merchants trading with the French Prisoners
 of War at Norman Cross, Hunts.  Photogravure of painting by A. C. Cooke,
     Esq., and reproduced here by the kind permission of the artist]

The existence of Macgregor’s plan of the Depot, and various documents
examined in the Record Office, also show that the date affixed to the
picture makes it an historical anachronism, the market in the years named
being held _outside_ the brick wall surrounding the prison, out of sight
of any stockade fencing, and with permanent stalls of brick and slate
built against the wall in the eastern embrasure.  In the earlier days of
the Depot’s existence, although the sale of straw hats and bonnets was
forbidden, such a scene as that depicted might possibly have been
witnessed.  Mr. Cooke will doubtless insist on the prompt alteration of
the dates in the inscription describing the picture.

The artist has kindly permitted the writer to introduce here a
photogravure of this work of art.  The typical figures alive on the
canvas each telling its own tale, the beautiful grouping, and the
background in which they are placed, present to the eye of the reader
what this work strives to convey to his mind in words.  An artist’s
licence doubtless sanctions the introduction of a tree, the light
open-paled fence, instead of the stockade posts and other minor details
which conflict with the precise ideas arrived at by the writer, who feels
constrained to notice these little inaccuracies.

Included in the Public Revenue Accounts for 1798, {136} among the returns
of produce are specified:

Chip hats         £1,209     17     10½
Straw hats           592      0      3½

On the 18th March 1806 the House of Commons resolved to go into committee
to consider the question of charging a duty on imported straw plait.
After formal stages, it was resolved, 26th June, to levy a duty of 7_s._
per lb. avoirdupois of plaiting for hats or bonnets, £1 16_s._ on every
dozen hats or bonnets not exceeding 22 inches in diameter, £3 12_s._ on
every dozen exceeding 22 inches in diameter.  The Act received the royal
assent on the 10th July.  After this date the sale of straw plait was
interdicted as had previously been the sale of hats, the hats and the
plait made at Norman Cross being alike regarded as foreign productions
and liable to tax.

In official documents constant reference is made to this traffic in the
plait as illegal and defrauding the Revenue.

George Borrow’s eloquent description of “the straw plait hunts” (poor
little ten-year-old George Borrow—his sympathetic soul went out to the
captives!) has helped to throw the glamour of romance over the irregular
proceedings of the Frenchmen, whom we were maintaining in our prisons,
and whom we would gladly have restored to their own country if only we
could be met on fair terms.

Persons in the neighbourhood, soldiers from the barracks, and others were
accessories in the illicit trade in straw plait.  They would conceal it
about their persons, wrap it round their bodies, etc.  They assisted in
two ways, they helped to get the straw into the prison and to carry the
manufactured article out. {137}

Although the interdict on the traffic was issued even before the articles
were taxed, in the interests of the trade and of the workers in the
district, so profitable was the illicit traffic to those who took part in
it, that the fact that they were interfering with the living of their own
countrymen and women had no deterrent effect, and such was the influence
of the merchants and the various persons in the neighbourhood engaged in
the trade that it was difficult to get convictions.  To get the straw
ready cut into proper lengths into the hands of the prisoners was
doubtless more easy than to get a sack of straw thrown over the prison
wall, carried across the open spaces up to the inner stockade fence, and
again thrown over them into the court of the caserns.  This proceeding
must have needed several soldier accomplices, some giving active
assistance and others closing their eyes to what was going on.  These
men, when detected, had severe punishment, receiving as many as 500
lashes.  Three civilians tried at Huntingdon for being engaged in the
traffic in 1811 were convicted and sentenced to imprisonment, one for
twelve and the two others for six months.

That the trade in straw plait was an extensive one, and that the
prisoners effected an improvement both in the character of the plait and
the method of producing it, are almost universally accepted facts.  In
Davis’ _History of Luton_, pp. 152–3, is a small section which, although
written under the mistaken conception that the French prisoners were at
Norman Cross only about eight years—1806–14—and that the merchants during
that period went to the barracks to purchase the plait, is probably
correct in saying that the trade is indebted to these prisoners for the
invention of the simple machine for splitting the straw from which such
great and beautiful varieties of plait are made.  There are two
descriptions of machines called splitters.

The writer of an article in _Chambers’ Journal_, {138} after instancing
industries introduced at various places where they were confined by the
prisoners of war, such as the knitting worsted gloves at Chesterfield,
goes on to say:

    “At Norman Cross they revolutionised the straw plaiting trade.  Up to
    their time the straw was plaited whole and called ‘Dunstable,’ but it
    was a case of necessity being the mother of invention.  Their supply
    not being equal to the demand, one of them invented the ‘splitter.’
    This consists of a small wheel, inserted in a mahogany frame, and
    furnished in the centre with small sharp divisions like spokes.  From
    the axle a small spike protrudes, on which a straw pipe is placed and
    pushed through, the cutters or spokes dividing it into as many strips
    as required.  By this contrivance the plait could be made much finer,
    the strips could be used alternately with the outside and inside, or
    even the inside alone, which is white, and is known in the trade as
    ‘rice’ straw.”

For a full description of this little implement called the splitter, the
reader is referred to the article, “Straw Plaiting and French Prisoners,”
by Maberly Phillips, F.S.A., _The Connoisseur_, vol. xxvii., No. 105.

There are in the Peterborough Museum three examples of different
varieties of straw splitters.  The neat splitting of the straw was
possibly not an invention of the prisoners, although it may have come
from France.  If it were, it is likely that it was not originally
contrived for the manufacture of straw plait, but for the straw used in
the marquetry, for which purpose it had to be most carefully prepared,
and much of it dyed, with material bought in the market.

From the first opening of the prison, straw work was carried on, although
in going through the copy in the Record Office of the register of deaths
of those who died in the prison, the late Mr. W. B. Sands, Secretary to
the association “L’entente cordiale,” and Mrs. Sands, the present acting
Secretary, found that very few of the prisoners, whose names and native
places were there entered, came from districts in France where this
industry was prevalent.  So long as the work was confined to ornamental
articles, which paid no import duty, it was allowed, but as early as June
1798 an order was issued prohibiting the introduction of any more straw
for the manufacture of hats, and ten years later, in June 1808, there is
a record that the general market was put under severe restrictions owing
to the illicit traffic in straw.  This restriction evidently pressed
harshly upon the marquetry workers, for we find, on the 11th November
1808, a letter from the Admiralty Board, saying that “If the manufacture
of _Plait_ could be effectually prevented, it is not our wish to prohibit
the Prisoners from making baskets, boxes, or such like articles of straw.
The Prisoners might purchase wool and make frocks, for their own use; if
any should be sold, a stop was to be put to the manufacture.”

On the 20th March 1809 a shop was opened for each building, with two
prisoners as salesmen, all articles being marked with the price and the
owner’s name.  The salesmen were to be searched going and returning, and
if any prohibited article were found, the shops were to be closed.  In
July of the same year, notwithstanding the precautions, the illicit
traffic was so rampant that stringent orders were issued to entirely
close one quadrangle for a month.  This was in consequence of the
Admiralty having intercepted a letter enclosing a £10 bill, the proceeds
of a sale at Thame of illicit articles made by the prisoners at Norman

The sympathies of the outside public appear to have been with those who
made the plait and those who sold it contrary to the law, as was usually
the case in the districts on the coast where smugglers carried on their
trade.  The number of those actually engaged in the traffic and making
profit out of it was no doubt very considerable.  A trial which took
place at Huntingdon in 1811 shows the number of hands through which a
packet of plait went before it reached the Luton bonnet makers.  Four
Stilton men, one the ostler at the Bell Inn, who had acted as
intermediaries between the Luton merchants and the prisoners, had bribed
the soldier who came in contact with the prisoners to take packets of
straw cut to the proper length into the prison, and to bring the
manufactured plait out; they were all four convicted and punished.
Whether the soldier, who was acting in defiance of a special order by the
Duke of York, escaped punishment is not known; they were paid by the
Stilton men a shilling for getting the straw in and another for getting
the plait out.  The merchants, no doubt, took care to escape the hands of
the law.

 [Picture: Plate XVIII.—The Bell Inn, Stilton.  From a photograph by Mr.
                              A. C. Taylor]

In _The Stamford Mercury_ of 12th February 1812 are related the
particulars of an outrage on Sergeant Ives of the West Essex Militia at
that time stationed at the Depot.  He was stopped between Stilton and
Norman Cross by a number of men, knocked down and robbed of his watch and
money, his jaws were wrenched open and a piece of his tongue cut off.  It
was said that the sergeant had been active in stopping the plait trade
and that this led to the outrage.  Another possible explanation of this
outrage is suggested in a later chapter on the health of the prisoners.

The Bishop of Moulins, of whom more shortly, was living at Stilton, and
although he has been raised by tradition to a very exalted position of
righteousness, he got into trouble by allowing his servant to become an
outside agent for those engaged in this illicit traffic.  The good Bishop
applied to the Government for another young prisoner to take the place of
Jean Baptiste David, and, his request being refused, he pressed into his
service the intercession of Lord Fitzwilliam, who had already befriended
him in other ways.  The letter from Mr. Commissioner George, to the
Secretary to the First Lord of the Admiralty, throws light not only on
the particular case of the Bishop, but on this question of the straw
plait manufacture in general, and it is therefore transcribed at length
in the text.

                                                        “TRANSPORT OFFICE,
                                                       “19_th March_ 1808.

    “DEAR SIR,

    “In answer to what is stated in Lord Fitzwilliam’s letter to Lord
    Mulgrave, I request you will inform His Lordship that the Bishop of
    Moulins was introduced to me by the Bishop of Montpellier, and at his
    request I prevailed on my colleagues to release a Prisoner of War
    from Norman Cross Prison, to attend upon him; this I am sorry to
    acknowledge was irregular and unauthorised, but I was actuated by
    motives of humanity as the Bishop complained that his finances were
    so limited, that he could not afford to keep any servant of a
    different description.  This should have influenced the Bishop to
    keep his servant from carrying on any improper traffic with the
    Prisoners; on the contrary he became the instrument of introducing
    straw manufactured to the prisoners, for the purpose of being made
    into hats, bonnets, etc., by which the Revenue of our country is
    injured, and the poor who exist by that branch of trade would be
    turned out of employment, as the Prisoners who are fed, clothed, and
    lodged at the public expense would be able to undersell them.  I must
    observe that this is the only article which the Prisoners are
    prevented from manufacturing.  When the Bishop’s servant had
    established himself in their trade, the Bishop wrote to me that he
    had found means of getting his livelihood and desired he might remain
    at large, and that another prisoner might be released to serve him,
    neither of which the Board thought proper to comply with, for the
    foregoing reasons, upon which the Bishop of Moulins complained to the
    Admiralty, who directed us to give such answer as the case called
    for.  I have only to add that the Bishop experienced greater
    indulgence from us than any other French Ecclesiastic ever did, to
    which, in my opinion, he has not made an adequate return, nor felt
    himself, as he ought to have done, answerable for the conduct of his
    servant, and if a strict discipline is not maintained in the prisons,
    as the prisoners are daily increasing the consequences may be

                                                          “I am, Dear Sir,
                                                   “Very faithfully yours,
                                                           “RUPERT GEORGE.

    “Captain Morson.”

It was George Borrow who, in the third chapter of _Lavengro_, published
in 1851, reintroduced the Norman Cross Depot to the British public.  A
generation had passed away since the buildings were rased to the ground,
and of the living inhabitants of these islands, only a very few knew that
such a place had ever existed.

In the striking passage, which has been quoted in full in a former
chapter, page 33, Borrow conveyed the impression that “England, in
general so kind and bountiful,” was guilty of disgraceful conduct in her
treatment of the French prisoners, and that the suppression of the
illicit straw-plait trade was associated with ruthless inroads into the
prison accompanied by acts of callous cruelty.

George Borrow’s father, Thomas Borrow, a Lieutenant in the West Norfolk
Militia, was quartered at Norman Cross from July 1811 to April 1813.  His
little son George, born in 1803, spent his ninth and tenth years in the
barracks, and in those years he received the impressions which led him to
publish this passage forty years later.

By a curious coincidence the agent, who, during the two years in which
the child was making his personal observations, practically ruled the
Depot, and carried out the necessary steps to suppress the traffic in
straw plait, had his record cut in stone at the actual time when the
events recorded in _Lavengro_ took place.  On the wall of St. Peter’s
Church, Yaxley, is a marble tablet with this legend:

    “Inscribed at the desire and the sole expense of the French Prisoners
    of War at Norman Cross to the memory of Captain John Draper, who for
    the last eighteen months of his life was Agent to the Depot, in
    testimony of their esteem and gratitude for his humane attention to
    their comfort during that too short period, he died Feb. 23, 1813,
    aged 53 years.”

Was ever a calumny more absolutely disproved than is this aspersion of
George Borrow’s upon the fair fame of his country, by the testimony of
the very persons whom he said she had maltreated and whose evidence, cut
in stone at their desire and sole expense at the very time the boy was in
the barracks, appeals to us from that marble slab?

This manufacture of straw plait went on not only at Norman Cross, but in
the other prisons, the manufacturers being no doubt assisted by all their
comrades in captivity to elude the efforts of the authorities to stop the
traffic.  The following amusing incident, narrated in Penny’s _Traditions
of Perth_, is retold by Mr. William Sievwright: {144}

    “As much straw plait as made a bonnet was sold for four shillings,
    and being exceedingly neat it was much enquired after.  In this trade
    many a one got a bite, for the straw was all made up in parcels, and
    smuggled into the pockets of purchasers for fear of detection.  The
    following is an instance of the manner in which the prisoners
    practised their deceptions.  An unsuspecting man having been induced
    by his wife to purchase a quantity of straw plait for a bonnet, he
    attended the market, and soon found a merchant; he paid the money,
    but lest he should be observed, he turned about his back to the
    seller and got the thing slipped into his hand, and then into his
    pocket.  Away he went with his parcel, well pleased that he had
    escaped detection.  On his way he thought he would examine his
    purchase, when, to his astonishment, and no doubt his deep
    mortification, he found instead of straw plait, a bundle of shavings
    very neatly tied up.  The man instantly returned and charged the
    prisoners with the deception and insisted on getting back his money,
    but the man could not be seen from where the purchase was made.
    Whilst hanging on to catch a glimpse of him, he was told that if he
    did not get away he would be informed on and tried for buying the
    article.  Seeing that there was no chance of getting amends, he was
    retiring, when one came forward and said he would find the man, and
    make him take back the shavings, and get the money.  Pretending deep
    commiseration, the prisoner said he had no change, but if he would
    give him sixteen shillings, he would give him a pound note and take
    his chance of the man.  The unfortunate ‘shavings’ dupe was simple
    enough to give the money and take the note, thinking himself well off
    to get quit of his purchase, but to his supreme chagrin he found the
    note to be a well-executed forgery on the Perth Bank.”

After this story, what further need is there to seek evidence of the
cleverness, the versatility, the neat-handedness, and the dexterity of
the French prisoners!

In all the prisons, forgery of bank-notes was a business to which the
captives applied their skill, and the fate of two who practised this art
at Norman Cross has already been alluded to.  The straw plait industry,
which probably originated at Norman Cross, would be passed on with the
transferred prisoners to Perth and other prisons.  Great embarrassment
having arisen from the increase of French prisoners, who numbered in 1811
50,000 (Norman Cross being greatly overcrowded with nearly 7,000), the
Depot at Perth was built, and in 1812 the first prisoners were admitted.

As another instance of the frivolous character of the complaints made by
the French Government as to our treatment of the prisoners, it may here
be mentioned that the detention of sailors in such a situation was made
the subject of loud and frequent complaint by the French Emperor, who
said in the _Moniteur_ that “by a refinement of cruelty the English
Government sends the French soldiers on board the hulks, and the sailors
into prisons in the interior of Scotland.”  Alison alludes to this in his
history, {146a} and in a footnote he adds:

    “The great Depot for French Prisoners in Scotland, which Napoleon
    held out as so deplorable a place of detention, was a noble edifice
    erected at a cost of nearly £100,000 in a beautiful and salubrious
    situation near Perth on the Tay, which was in 1839 converted into a
    great central jail for criminals.  It contained 7,000 prisoners, and
    so healthy was the situation, the lodging, and the fare, that the
    mortality, only five or six annually, was less than the average for
    healthy adults in Great Britain.” {146b}

Among the prisoners at Norman Cross were men who, before their enrolment
in the French or Dutch army or navy, were workers, skilled in branches of
industry unknown in England, and there is a record that, on the 5th April
1808, the agent was instructed to send a French prisoner, Louis Félix
Paris, to London, as he was an expert in the “ormolu business.”  To meet
the expense, two £1 Bank of England notes were sent.

The application by the French prisoners at Norman Cross of their skill to
the felonious forging of bank-notes has already been alluded to.  So
cleverly did they manage this, that it is said, that the only way in
which the forgery could be detected was by wetting the notes and
observing the different behaviour of the ink used by them and that used
by the printers of genuine notes.

A writer in _All the Year Round_ (1892, pp. 41–3) remarks that “when the
£1 note was introduced in the last decade of the eighteenth century,
forgery from the first was the great trouble, and the hasty manner in
which the notes were engraved and issued greatly facilitated the
operations of the forger.”  In _The Bankers’ Magazine_, vol. lxvii., pp.
390–410, {147} is an article by J. Macbeth Forbes, “French Prisoners of
War and Bank Note Forging,” in which is an illustration of a partially
executed forgery of a Guinea Note of the Bank of Scotland.  Another
illustration is that of the words “BANK OF SCOTLAND” carved on a bone by
the prisoners in Edinburgh, the letters measuring ⅞ inch, but so rough
and irregular are these, that, even if they were successfully reproduced,
they could hardly have deceived a simpleton, much less a Pawky Scot.
This block might have been an early effort to make a tool for imitating
the water-mark; the type is not reversed, so it cannot have been a stamp
for printing.  It is possible, however, that bone was the material used
for type by the Norman Cross forgers.  The deft fingers which executed
many of their legitimate works of art were sufficiently skilled to carve
an imitation of a £1 note.

The resemblance of the oak block with the name “Louis Chartie” carved on
it to that referred to in _The Bankers’ Magazine_, suggests the
possibility of its having been a tool for one step in the process of
forging M. Charretie’s name.

The fact that the prisoners were able to have in their possession, and to
use a plant and tools necessary for such a trade as forging, illustrates
the absence of any but a very casual supervision of the thousands of
prisoners concentrated in the four courts of the prison.

One would gladly pass over another illegal traffic which was with
difficulty suppressed.  To the disgrace of those British purchasers whose
depraved tastes made it worth the while of the prisoners to expend their
ingenuity on the production of obscene pictures and carvings, it must be
mentioned that an illicit, secret trade in such articles was carried on
at Norman Cross.  At one time in the year 1808 the trade in such goods,
clandestinely made and sold, reached such a pitch that respectable
inhabitants of the neighbourhood complained to the Transport
Commissioners, and on the 18th December an order was issued totally
closing the market.  It was a severe punishment, as it at once stopped
the supply of all the little necessaries, luxuries, and comforts the
prisoners could obtain—the vegetables, sugar, condiments, tobacco, beer,
clothing, which they were in the habit of purchasing—and it also stopped
the sale of their legitimate manufactures.  The offence merited such a
punishment, and the practice had to be stopped.

The order pointed out that the innocent had to suffer with the guilty,
“If they connive at such scandalous proceedings they themselves can no
longer be considered free from blame, but if they give the names of those
who make or sell the toys and drawings the market will again be opened.”
Prisoners’ letters were intercepted, and a Corporal Hayes of the garrison
and a prisoner known as Black Jimmy were found to be concerned in the
traffic.  Many articles were seized, and Black Jimmy and others were sent
to the hulks at Chatham—such scum were among the men to whom Buonaparte
appealed on the eve of Waterloo to tell their comrades how they had
suffered in the British hulks.

In the course of the investigations undertaken with a view to the
suppression of this vicious manufacture, it was found that those outside
the prison who shared in the profits of the smuggling trade in straw
plait, became sufficiently demoralised to assist the makers of these
obscene articles in the disposal of their goods, sharing with them the
profits of the business.  It was probably in the sacks of straw, smuggled
in by the accomplices of the prisoners, that the weapons discovered in
the prison were introduced.

Before leaving the subject of the employment of the prisoners, we must
again remind our readers that the inmates performed the fatigue duties of
their prisons, and that there were other distractions besides, which we
have attempted to show in the imaginary views of the life of the
quadrangles given in the last chapter.

As to the conduct of the captives, although it has been necessary in the
interests of truth to show the seamy side of the prison life, it must in
fairness be said that their general conduct was good.

Deeds of violence did occur at times, as was only natural in a community
circumstanced and constituted as was this crowd of prisoners of war; such
deeds were, however, apparently rare.  Some instances with a fatal
termination are culled from entries in the register of deaths.  “A
seaman, aged twenty-three, killed from a blow in Prison by the following
Black Man”—the next entry being one of a prisoner born in Dominique—“who
hung himself in the Black Hole”; this man, “born in Dominique,” being
undoubtedly the Black Man of the previous entry.  “A soldier, a French
prisoner, killed by one Jean François Pors in self-defence as the verdict
at Coroner’s inquest.”  A sailor, captured at Trafalgar, “shot by a
sergeant of the West Essex Militia, verdict by Coroner’s Inquest, Chance
Medley.”  As to this entry, is it not probable that this sergeant of the
West Essex Militia was the victim of the outrage reported in _The
Stamford Mercury_, 12th February 1812, and that the chance medley may
have been a struggle over a bundle of straw plait.  In another entry
death is occasioned by a stab from one of the prisoners accidentally;
this might well have been a death in a duel, the witnesses of the duel,
to exculpate the man who gave the fatal wound, giving evidence which
satisfied the authorities that the stab was accidental.

Duels were not infrequent, the weapons usually extemporised from knives
which were fastened to sticks, or swords made out of sharpened hoop-iron
or other similar material; and although there is no definite entry of a
death as occurring in a duel, it is more than probable that the above
entry as to the soldier killed by one Jean François Pors in self-defence
is a euphemistic way of expressing that he was killed in a duel, and that
this was the usual form of verdict on the victim of a fatal duel.  The
entries in the registers and in the certificates cannot be accepted as
evidence disproving the statements of those who say that such deaths
occurred, as there is good reason to believe that neither the registers
nor the certificates were at certain periods of the war kept with
sufficient accuracy to render them as valuable sources of information as
they should have been.  And in the event of a violent death,
necessitating an inquest, at which the jury pronounces and the coroner
records the cause of death, it was not improbable that the prison
surgeon’s certificate, confirmed by the signature of the agent, would be
missing from the records.  Mention has already been made of the
imperfection and hopeless incompleteness of the registers in the Record

As might have been expected, there were many suicides some of them while
insane, and other violent deaths are recorded which do not imply
misconduct of any kind.  Several prisoners were shot in attempts to
escape.  Inquests were held in all such cases, but the usual verdict was
“Justifiable homicide,” or “No criminality,” and the case went no further
than the coroner’s court.  In some instances the sentries were brought
before a civil tribunal, this probably depending on whether the death
took place within the precincts of the prison or outside.

Inquests were held in the following cases.  One night in 1812, a prisoner
carrying a bucket asked leave to pass a sentry on guard at one of the
inner gates (that of the Court in front of the casern, in which the
prisoners were confined after sunset), saying that he wanted to get some
water.  He apparently passed through, and threw the contents of the
bucket, which was actually _full_ of water at the time, into the face of
the sentry, who dropped his firelock; the prisoner picked it up, and
unscrewed and ran off with the bayonet.  The sentry, taking up the
firelock, fired and severely wounded the prisoner, who for some reason or
other was taken not to the prison hospital, but to the Huntingdon
Infirmary, where he died.  The sentry was tried for manslaughter and

At the Hunts Lent Assizes 1812, Timothy Wood, aged thirty-three, was
tried for shooting a French prisoner of war at Norman Cross, the Grand
Jury finding no true bill.  The victim was probably the man whose
certificate, one among a bundle of fifty-six, registers as the cause of
death, “Wound, Manslaughter, verdict by Coroner’s inquest.”  The prisoner
may actually have died outside the Depot, for the date corresponds with
the probable date when the mother of the donor to the Peterborough Museum
of the wine slides with paper decoration saw the prisoner shot as he was
scaling the boundary wall.  He probably dropped on the outside.

Among the causes of accidental death are several entries, “Fall from
hammock”; these cases, there is too much reason to fear, were those of
the poor debilitated, starving prisoners—victims, according to the
French, of British cruelty, according to the British, of their own vice.
Commissioner Serle was sent down to ascertain what foundation there was
for the French complaints, and he reports as follows:

    “I have been informed by some who are most qualified to know, that
    the French prisons have never had so few sick as at the present time.
    Some, indeed, who had sported away their allowance in gambling, to
    prevent which the agents have taken every precaution in their power,
    are in fact destitute enough, and so they might have been, if their
    ration had been ten times as great.”  (Commissioner Serle, 25th July

These instances will throw as much light on this side of the prison life
as if they were multiplied indefinitely.

Escapes and attempts to escape occurred, as might be expected, during the
whole eighteen years of the occupation of the prison.  From the records,
chiefly paragraphs in local papers, actual escapes or mere attempts to
escape do not appear to have been as numerous as in other prisons, which
were nearer the coast.  The stockade fencing and the wooden buildings
(even the central fort, the Block House, was only wood) gave little idea
of strength, and the fence round one of the quadrangles, when on one
occasion put to the test, did not withstand a united effort of the
prisoners who effected a breach, but the strong military force, the
judicious disposition of the guards, and the numerous sentries must have
impressed the prisoners with the hopelessness, when once within those
lines, of attempting to penetrate through to the fields beyond, where
again they had to encounter the inhabitants, who, for the sake of the
reward offered, would endeavour to recapture them.  This reward, paid to
their captors, was actually paid by themselves, for it will be remembered
that among the regulations posted in the prison, was one to the effect,
that any prisoner who shall be taken attempting to escape, shall have his
ration reduced, until the amount saved by such reduction shall have made
good any expense incurred in his recapture.

In 1804, and again in 1807, after periods of increasing insubordination
among the prisoners, combined attempts to escape were made.  On the
earlier date there were not more than some 3,000 prisoners at the Depot,
and on one day in October the whole of these were in a state of tumult.
The riot began in the morning, and by noon the disorder had reached such
a pitch that the Brigade-Major thought it advisable to send to
Peterborough for assistance, specifying the need of cavalry to scour the
country in case a body of prisoners broke out.  A troop of the yeomanry,
who had been having a field day, had not been dismissed, and instantly
galloped to Norman Cross, to be followed later by the rest of the
yeomanry and the volunteer infantry.  During the night a portion of the
wooden enclosure was broken down, and nine prisoners escaped; when
daylight broke, it was discovered that the prisoners had excavated a
tunnel thirty-four feet towards the North Road, under the ditch, but not
quite far enough to answer their purpose.  Four of those who escaped got
clear off, five were recaptured.

The engineering work for the construction of the tunnel must have taken a
long time; the soil is clay, but how such material, carried out in
pocketfuls and scattered about over the airing-court, not much more than
two acres in extent, can have escaped the eye of the turnkeys, the
doctors, and other officials, will ever remain a mystery.  If the word
“_pré_,” used by Foulley in his description of each court, may be
literally translated as “meadow,” implying that, the airing-courts,
except where they were paved for a space immediately within the boundary
fence, were covered with grass, it is quite conceivable that the
scattering of the soil, skilfully carried out, would scarcely be

The other attempt in 1807 occurred on 25th September, when 500 of the
prisoners, between ten and eleven at night, rushed simultaneously against
the interior paling of the prison and levelled one angle of it to the
ground.  From forty to fifty were severely wounded by the bayonet before
they were driven back; happily firearms were not used.  It was after this
incident, showing the feebleness of the interior paling, that the brick
wall was erected in place of the outer wooden fence.

A letter written in 1798, by the agent, Mr. Perrot, to the Transport
Officer, Captain Woodriff, illustrates some of the difficulties
encountered in this large and understaffed prison by the agent and others
holding responsible posts.  A rumour having reached Mr. Perrot’s ears
that on a certain day an attempt was to be made by seven prisoners to
escape from the south-eastern quadrangle, he had the usual count made
that night, and special counts twice on the following day, but the
irregularities in the response to the roll-call rendered it futile for
detecting any deficiency in the numbers.  To overcome the difficulty, Mr.
Perrot at 5 a.m. took all his clerks, a turnkey, and a file of soldiers
into that quadrangle, and had a separate muster of those confined within
the separate court of each of the four caserns; he thus discovered six
prisoners had escaped from the officers’ prison.  How they escaped was
not discovered.  In one fence a pale had been removed, and probably
bribery had overcome the other obstacles.  Any soldier or other person
about the prison who could be convicted of receiving a bribe or even
treating with a prisoner on the subject of an escape was severely
punished, soldiers having received 500 lashes for the offence.

How necessary it was for the agent and the garrison to be at all hours
prepared for such attempts is shown by the fact that in December 1808,
when there were 6,000 prisoners at the Depot, a search brought to light
no fewer than 700 daggers of various forms and workmanship.  These had
been introduced from outside, as they were evidently not of prison

On 26th October 1805, seven prisoners, taking advantage of the dark and
stormy night, escaped by cutting a large hole in their wooden prison.
After escaping through this opening, the prisoners would still have to
encounter the stockade fence of the quadrangle, the cordon of sentries
without it, the outer prison wall (at that time also a wooden fence), the
ditch, and another cordon of sentries beyond them.  It must almost of
necessity be assumed that these obstacles were overcome by the assistance
of others, individual sentries had probably been bribed to connive at the
escape, and the prisoners might have had a friend outside to assist them,
possibly a tender-hearted Huntingdonshire damsel, whom they had met in
the market and with whom they were on terms, which enabled them to speak
on more serious questions than the sale and purchase of her wares.

About 8 o’clock on the Sunday night a sergeant and corporal of the Durham
Division, out on leave from the Depot, encountered the escaped prisoners
near Stamford, recaptured two, marched to the inn and placed them in
security.  The prisoners were found to be a French naval captain and a
midshipman.  These officers would normally have been on parole; they were
probably in prison for having broken their parole, which was a crime
punished severely.  Two more were captured near the neighbouring village
of Ryhal, having been concealed in Uffington thicket for twenty-four
hours without food.

The following narrative of an escape from Pembroke Prison illustrates the
application of the maxim, “Cherchez la femme,” to these cases of escape:

    “Five hundred prisoners {156} were confined in a building on Golden
    Hill, near Pembroke, and, as was the custom, they were allowed to eke
    out the very meagre allowance voted for their subsistence by the sale
    of toys, which they carved out of wood and bone.  Two Pembroke lasses
    were employed in bringing the odds and ends requisite for this work,
    and in carrying away refuse from the prison.  These girls not having
    the law of nations or the high policy of Europe before their eyes,
    dared to fall in love with two of the Frenchmen, and formed a
    desperate resolve not only to rescue their lovers, but the whole of
    the prisoners in the same ward, 100 in number.  It was impossible to
    smuggle any tools into the prison, but a shin of horse beef seemed
    harmless even in the eyes of a Pembroke Cerberus.  With the bone
    extracted from this delicacy the Frenchmen undermined the walls, the
    faithful girls carrying off the soil in their refuse buckets.  When
    the subway was complete, the lasses watched until some vessel should
    arrive.  At length a sloop came in loaded with a consignment of culm
    for Stackpole.  That night the liberated men made their way down to
    the water, seized the sloop, and bound the crew hand and foot, but
    unfortunately the vessel was high and dry, and it was found
    impossible to get her off.  Alongside was a small yacht belonging to
    Lord Cawdor which they managed to launch.  This would not take them
    all; but the two women and twenty-five men got on board, taking with
    them the compass, water casks, and provisions from the sloop.  In the
    morning there was a great hue and cry.  Dr. Mansell, a leading man in
    Pembroke, posted handbills over the whole county, offering 500
    guineas for the recovery of these two traitorous women, alive or
    dead.  In a few days the stern of the yacht and other wreckage being
    picked up, the patriotic party were satisfied that the vengeance of
    Heaven had overtaken the traitors.  They were, however, mistaken, for
    the Frenchmen captured a sloop laden with corn, and, abandoning the
    yacht, compelled the crew to carry them to France.  When they were
    safe, it is pleasant to read that the commissary and engineer married
    the girls.  During the short peace, the engineer and his wife
    returned to Pembroke and told their story; they then went to Merthyr
    and obtained employment in the mines, but on the renewal of
    hostilities went back to France, where it is to be hoped they lived
    very happily ever afterwards.” {157a}

What happened in Pembroke probably happened in Hunts, and it is a simple
sum in proportion.

If 500 prisoners won the sympathy of two Welsh lasses, of how many
Huntingdon girls did 5,000 prisoners at Norman Cross win the sympathy?

Seven prisoners got away in April 1801.  Three privateer officers were
retaken at Boston, when they had already reached a port; three others
stole a boat at Freiston, and were taken, off the Norfolk coast, by a
Revenue cutter—one of them had a chart of the Lincolnshire coast in his
hat. {157b}

Maps of England showing the best lines of escape were said to be made in
the prison and sold at twenty francs each.  Attention was directed in an
earlier chapter to the few words in Franco-English designating
incorrectly in several instances, some of the buildings in the Washingley
plan (Plan A), which makes it probable that this plan had fallen into the
hands of a prisoner, who intended it to be an aid to his escape.
Although the sympathy of the public with the French prisoners was not
general, there were many outside Norman Cross who had been in the habit
of making money out of them in the straw-plait traffic; these would be
willing for a consideration to help them when once they were beyond the
prison walls and the lines of sentries.

An extraordinary recapture occurred in May 1804.  Two of the French
prisoners who had escaped, on clearing the precincts of the barracks
pursued different routes.  One of them was fortunate enough to get clear
away; the other, quitting the public road, had pursued his course a few
miles when he met with a most singular obstruction.  In crossing a stile
he was beset by a shepherd’s dog, “of the ordinary and true English
breed,” which absolutely opposed the poor fellow’s progress.  Neither
enticement nor resistance availed, the dog repeatedly fastened on the
legs and heels of the fugitive and held him at bay, until the continued
noise of the quarrel brought some persons to the spot and ultimately led
to the detection of the prisoner, and his reincarceration at the Depot.
{158}  Whether the dog got any share of the 10_s._ usually given for the
recapture of a prisoner is not recorded.

In the register of the Dutch prisoners confined at Norman Cross between
1797 and 1800, is the record of Jan Cramer, one of the sailors who were
taken in the great victory of Admiral Duncan off Camperdown, 11th October
1797; he was received at Norman Cross 23rd December of that year, and the
four words in the register which describe the method of his leaving the
prison, “_escaped in a chest_,” are sufficient to enable an imaginative
writer to compose an exciting narrative “founded on fact.”

Mention has already been made of the escape of one prisoner in a “manure

With the dread of the hulks before them, on 18th August 1809 twelve out
of a party of thirty prisoners marching from Norman Cross to Chatham,
having nearly reached the place of their punishment, were lodged for the
night in a stable at Bow and managed to escape.  A party of the
Westminster Militia formed the escort.

The mere dread of the long imprisonment before them and probably the
greater facility for the adventure led to several escapes while the
prisoners were on the march from the coast to Norman Cross; these were
sometimes successful.  Thus in September 1797 a batch of 142 left
Yarmouth for Yaxley; but only 141 entered Norman Cross, one having
slipped away at Norwich.

A cruel fate awaited some of the unfortunates who made such attempts.
Two deaths occurred in Peterborough.  On the 4th February 1808 a party of
prisoners were lodged for the night in a stable in the yard of the Angel
Inn, and one of them attempting to escape was shot by the sentinel, dying
in twenty minutes; the verdict at the inquest was, “justifiable
homicide.”  On another occasion, one of a company of the poor fellows
crossing the bridge, leapt over the low rail at the side, into the river,
and was shot by the escort.  On the 6th October 1799 a prisoner, Jean de
Narde, son of a notary public of St. Malo, escaped and was recaptured on
his way to the sea; he was confined for the night in the Bell Tower of
East Dereham Church, from which he again attempted to escape, but was
shot as he clambered down by a soldier on guard.  He was buried in the
churchyard, and fifty-eight years after a tombstone was erected by the
vicar and two friends “as a memorial to Jean de Narde and as a tribute of
respect to that brave and generous nation, once our foes, but now our
allies and brethren.”  The inscription on the stone is:

                                 IN MEMORY OF

                                JEAN DE NARDE

                            SON OF A NOTARY PUBLIC
                                 OF ST. MALO
                           A FRENCH PRISONER OF WAR
                              WHO HAVING ESCAPED
                             FROM THE BELL TOWER
                                OF THIS CHURCH
                             WAS PURSUED AND SHOT
                             BY A SOLDIER ON DUTY
                                OCT. 6, 1799.
                                 AGED 28 YRS.

Terribly handicapped as were the captives in their efforts to escape, the
game was not entirely in the hands of the man with the firelock, if a
tradition of the seven years’ war, 1756–63, is to be credited.  An old
family mansion at Sissinghurst was in that war used as a place of
confinement for the French.  In the Register of Burials is an entry in
1761, “William Bassuck, killed by a French Prisoner at Sissinghurst”;
this is supposed to be the sentry killed by a prisoner who, like poor
Jean de Narde forty years later at East Dereham, mounted the tower, and
dropping a pail of water on the head of the sentry below, killed him on
the spot. {160a}

Newspaper paragraphs are not always in strict accordance with fact, but
these few examples of escapes which took place may be accepted as types
of the many.  A narrative told with much detail and a vraisemblance,
which makes it excellent reading, supposed to be written by the prisoner
himself, but actually written by Mr. Bell, a schoolmaster of Oundle, who
was said to have been familiar with the Depot, where he was employed in
his early life, appeared first in _Chambers’ Miscellany_. {160b}  This
has since been reproduced in other journals and local almanacs.  It was,
according to local authorities, founded mainly on facts communicated to
its author, Mr. Bell, by a prisoner who had escaped, but at the end of
the article in _Chambers’ Miscellany_ the following note is appended:

    “The above narrative, which is a translation from the French,
    appeared a number of years ago, and has been obligingly placed at our
    disposal by the proprietors.  We believe we are warranted in saying
    that it is in every particular true.”

The following story would have appeared absolutely incredible had not
Basil Thomson {161} recorded the escape of eight prisoners from Dartmoor
by the same stratagem as that attributed to a Norman Cross prisoner in a
note in _The Soldiers’ Companion or Martial Recorder_, l. 190.  1824:

                               FRENCH INGENUITY

    “A French Prisoner in Norman Cross Barracks had recourse to the
    following stratagem to obtain his liberty: He made himself a complete
    uniform of the Hertfordshire Militia, and a wooden gun, stained,
    surmounted by a tin bayonet.  Thus equipped, he mixed with the guard
    (consisting of men from the Hertford Regiment), and when they were
    ordered to march out, having been relieved, Monsieur fell in and
    marched out too.  Thus far he was fortunate, but when arrived at the
    guard room, lo! what befel him.  His new comrades ranged their
    muskets on the rack, and he endeavoured to follow their example; but
    as his wooden piece was unfortunately a few inches too long, he was
    unabled to place it properly.  This was observed, and the unfortunate
    captive obliged to forego the hopes of that liberty for which he had
    so anxiously and so ingeniously laboured.”

Before concluding this chapter, which has dealt with the conduct of the
prisoners, two other facts may be mentioned.  Shortly after the opening
of the prison a disturbance among a batch of prisoners from Chatham led
to the construction of the Black Hole and the requisition for two dozen
handcuffs.  In October of the following year the Depot narrowly escaped
destruction by fire—whether accidental or the work of an incendiary is
not known; two thatched huts adjoining the wooden buildings were in
flames, but the exertions of the Military were sufficient to prevent the
spread of the conflagration which would so easily, in unfavourable
conditions as to wind, etc., have consumed the whole building.  It was
after this fire that an application was made for a fire-engine.



    Dangers stand thick through all the ground,
          To push us to the tomb;
    And fierce diseases wait around,
          To hurry mortals home.

                                                                DR. WATTS.

THE general health of the prisoners was good, but occasional epidemics
led to a temporary very heavy mortality, the miserable men who had sold
their rations and clothes to provide money for gambling dying off so
rapidly, and in such numbers, that no room could be found for them in the
well-equipped hospital.

In November 1800 there broke out an appalling epidemic, which raged for
five months and then began to abate; the daily average of deaths of the
prisoners at this Depot during the four worst months of the pestilence
was over eight.  In this epidemic, 1800–01, during the six months with
the heaviest mortality, 1,020 died.  In the corresponding six months,
1801–02, when the mortality had been almost restored to what was normal,
the deaths were only twenty.  The staff could evidently not keep abreast
of their work, the hospital was full to overflowing, and many of “Les
Misérables” died in their hammocks in the caserns.

Enteric or typhoid fever was not known as a distinct disease until the
last century was well advanced, and the epidemic was probably typhoid to
which “Les Misérables” succumbed at the first shock, the cause of their
death being registered as debility.  It is a safe conjecture that some of
the wells had been infected.  That the authorities did not take this
tragic visitation, without efforts to cope with it, is evidenced by short
notes among the certificates of death; delicate prisoners and invalids
were apparently sent to France, and others to special hulks.  How
inadequate was the meagre staff to meet an exceptional case such as this
is proved by the fact that twenty-nine prisoners in the first four months
of the year were taken out of their hammocks, dead or speechless, and
could not be identified for entry in the register, of which a copy was
regularly supplied to the French Government; they were buried unknown.
It was not until the epidemic had abated, and a special investigation had
been held, that Captain Woodriff was able to establish the identity of
these twenty-nine persons; a special list of them is inserted in the
register, and another list of five who were found to be alive in prison,
and who had been returned as dead owing to mistaken identity.

In 1804 the total mortality among all the prisoners for the whole year
was only eighteen.  On 1st January 1801 nine died in one day, and to this
day’s entry there is added the explanatory note, “These men being in the
habit of selling their bedding and rations, died of debility in this
prison, there not being room in the hospital to receive them.”  This is a
terrible indictment against someone, even though the victims were the
lost bestial creatures whose fuller history was written at
Dartmoor—prisoners ostracised by their comrades, banished to some one
compartment of the prison, apparently No. 13, and left to die there by
their compatriots who occupied the same quadrangle.  This single day’s
record justifies what was said in the introductory remarks as to the lot
of prisoners of war, but—_Laus Deo_—the advance in humanity, and the
consequent change of opinion as to the suitable treatment of prisoners of
all kinds, and the progress of hygienic, medical, and other sciences,
make it inconceivable that, under any circumstances, similar tragedies
could now occur in any European country.

No exact percentage of mortality for the seventeen years during which the
prison was occupied can be given, the records being incomplete, and the
population of the prison changing continually from week to week and month
to month, owing to the accession of fresh prisoners and the departure of
others, due to death, transference to other prisons, or exchange.  The
reports to the Commissioners for the sick and hurt, except in the
incomplete bundles of certificates, do not appear until the second period
of the war, although the sick and hurt passed at once under the care of
this Board as soon as they ceased to be prisoners in health.  The actual
number of deaths certified is 1,770, of which 1,000 occurred during the
epidemic 1800–01, the remainder being distributed over the remaining
fifteen years in which the prison was occupied.

It is possible that the original register kept at this prison before the
Peace of Amiens, 1797–1802, might have been sent to France and may yet be
found, but at present separate bundles of single certificates are for
many years the only records from which these figures are obtained.  The
total number of deaths registered of French prisoners who died at Norman
Cross in the second period of the war, 1803–14, was 559.  The highest
number recorded in any one year, was 98 in 1806.  The lowest, in any
complete year, was 18 in 1804.  One of those whose death is recorded in
that year is a boy of ten, a native of Bordeaux, captured on a privateer;
he died of consumption.  The diseases, phthisis, hæmoptysis, scrophula,
which appear again and again under the heading “Cause of Death,” were
all, as well as many of those entered as catarrh and debility, tubercular
diseases, due to the condition so favourable to contagion in which the
prisoners slept, herded together in closely packed chambers, ventilated
very imperfectly.  In all probability, in cold weather, every aperture by
which fresh air could enter was closed by the inmates themselves, who
would not be imbued with twentieth-century ideas as to the need of fresh

Putting on one side the tubercular cases and the rare epidemics, there
was comparatively little sickness among the prisoners.  When an epidemic
occurred, “Les Misérables,” whose powers of resistance had been lowered
by the semi-starvation which they had brought upon themselves, naturally
sickened and in too many instances succumbed.

Owing, doubtless, to three causes—the absence of facility for getting
drink, the spare but sufficient diet, and the regulation which appointed
that the prisoners should, unless in bad weather, live through the day in
the open air [“They have free access to the several apartments from the
opening of the prisons in the morning, until they are shut up on the
approach of night, with the exception only of the times when they are
fumigating, or cleansing for the preservation of health” (Commissioner
Serle, Appendix D, No. 31)]—the rate of mortality among the prisoners in
confinement was lower than that among those on parole, and, as far as it
has been possible to come approximately to the percentage rate of
mortality, than that also of the British soldiers who constituted the
garrison.  The absurd statements of Mr. Charretie, the falsehood of which
he had to acknowledge, and Colonel Lebertre’s lie, that at Norman Cross
4,000 out of 10,000 died, {166} gave rise to an impression which, once
made, has not been easily effaced.  Of those who read these statements in
France, few read the statement of facts which prove them false.  Taking
the total number of those who had been imprisoned at the Depot, up to
1813, as at least 30,000, and the deaths at 1,800 (these figures being
approximate only), the actual proportions of deaths would be 6 per cent.,
instead of 40 per cent. as affirmed by Lebertre.  A return showing the
total number of prisoners and the number of sick in every Depot or other
place of confinement for prisoners of war, called for on 10th April 1810,
and a similar return presented in the following year, show the
extraordinary healthiness of the prison at Norman Cross, and of all the
other prisons in Great Britain on each of those days. {167a}

In August 1812, in answer to the calumnies in the columns of the
_Moniteur_, a return was obtained as to the health of the prisoners in
the prison ships in Herne Bay and at the Dartmoor Depot.  In the former
there were 6,100 in health, 61 sick; in the latter, 7,500 well, 70 sick.
The proportion of sick was less than in other prisons not of war. {167b}

This was at a time when the influx of prisoners from the Peninsula and
elsewhere had caused the prisons to be so crowded, that it had become
necessary to again spend large amounts in building new prisons.  At the
time of the return in 1810, £130,000 was being expended on a new prison
at Perth; Norman Cross contained 272 more than the highest number for
whom it was calculated to provide accommodation, and there must have been
2,000 men in each quadrangle, except that for the sick.

In these two years the number of deaths at Norman Cross was respectively
only forty-one and thirty-three.  When a prisoner fell ill, and was
admitted into the prison hospital, he was treated as well as, or better
than, the soldiers in the military hospital outside the prison walls.

We have already dealt with the reckless statement of the French while
dealing with Mr. Pillet.  They are wicked calumnies, which, even on a
casual examination, carry with them their own contradiction.  The British
Government expended an enormous sum on the prisoners, and in 1817 made a
claim on the French for the maintenance of French prisoners in England.
{168}  The correctness of that claim was never questioned; whether it was
settled is another matter.  According to Alison, the British Government
generously forgave the debt.

The prisoners in each quadrangle were visited daily by the surgeons, and
any prisoner complaining of illness, and found by the doctors to have
good ground for his complaint, was removed at once to the hospital, where
he was, according to the sworn evidence of the French surgeons
themselves, carefully and liberally treated.  From the pay-sheets
accompanying the hospital accounts, the earliest of which at the Record
Office is for the year 1806, the staff of the hospital appears to have
been at that time, the surgeon (Mr. Geo. Walker), two assistant-surgeons
(M. Pierre Larfeuil and Mr. Anthony Howard), a dispenser, an
assistant-dispenser (prisoner), dispensary porter (do) and messenger
(do), two hospital mates and clerk, a steward of victualling, a steward
of bedding, with two assistants (prisoners), two turnkeys, matron, and
seamstress (the two last named and the wives of the married turnkeys
being, up to the advent of the surgeon’s bride in 1808, the only women
within the prison walls), a messenger, and the following thirteen, who
were all prisoners, two interpreters, one tailor, one washerman, one
carpenter (who made bed-cradles and other appliances for the ward and did
odd jobs), an assistant lamplighter (a more important post than it
sounds, as it would be very convenient for any prisoner or prisoners
wanting to escape to find a careless lamplighter, who would forget to
light, or supply with sufficient oil, one or two of the numerous lamps
which lighted the prison and its environs), two stocking-menders, two
labourers, one barber for the infirm and itchy, and two nurses—in all,
thirteen British and twenty French prisoners, the staff of nurses being,
of course, increased if necessary. {169}  The hospital was evidently
conducted on a liberal scale.  The dietary was ample; it was as follows:

                               ESTABLISHED DIET

                             1_st_.  _Full Diet_

    Tea, or water-gruel with salt, for breakfast; the same for supper.
    Meat 12 oz., with potatoes or greens, and 1 pint of broth, for
    dinner.  Bread 14 oz., sugar 2 oz., beer 2 pints (of beer at 16_s._
    the 38 gallons), and if any other drink is wanted, water, or toast
    and water.

                            2_nd_.  _Reduced Diet_

    Tea, or water-gruel with salt, for breakfast; the same for supper.
    Meat 6 oz., with potatoes or greens, and 1 pint of broth, for dinner.
    Sugar 2 oz.  The same quantity and quality of bread and beer as on
    full diet.

                              3_rd_.  _Low Diet_

    Water-gruel or tea for breakfast.  Water-gruel or barley-water for
    dinner.  The same or rice-water for supper.  Bread 7 oz.  Patients on
    low diet are supposed to require no stated meal, drinks only being
    allowable, or even desirable; a small quantity of beer may be given
    when anxiously wished for and permitted by their surgeon.  The bread
    is supposed to be chiefly for toast and water, or, should the patient
    incline, a bit of toasted bread without butter, with a little of his
    gruel or tea.  Sugar 2 oz.

                             4_th_.  _Milk Diet_

    Milk, 1 pint, for breakfast.  Rice-milk, 1 pint and a half (sweetened
    with sugar when desired), for dinner.  Milk, 1 pint, for supper.
    Bread 14 oz.  Drink—water, barley-water, or rice-water.  Sugar 2 oz.

                             5_th_.  _Mixed Diet_

    Milk, 1 pint, for breakfast.  Meat 4 oz., with potatoes or greens,
    and 1 pint of broth, for dinner.  Milk, 1 pint, for supper.  Bread 14
    oz.  Drinks as on milk diet.  Sugar 2 oz.  Beer 1 pint.


    The meat mentioned in the different diets to be beef and mutton
    alternately.  Should any patient particularly require a mutton-chop
    or beefsteak, instead of either the beef or mutton boiled and made
    into broth, the surgeon may direct it accordingly.

    The matron is allowed to purchase ripe fruit, or any other article
    not comprehended in the several diets, by permission and direction of
    the surgeon.

    Sago, when particularly ordered by the surgeon, will be furnished in
    the quantity equal to the value of one day’s ordinary diet, but then
    for that day the matron is to supply nothing else, save toast and
    water, water-gruel, or barley-water, and any bread which may be
    ordered by the surgeon.

    No beer is to be issued to any patient in the hospital until after
    dinner, unless particularly ordered by his surgeon, and no patient is
    allowed to give his allowance of beer to another, for when he does
    not choose the whole, or any part of it, it is to remain with the

In fact, when we look to the sanitary condition of the hospital, its
staff, its furnishing, the diet, the arrangements for the admission, the
retention, and the treatment of the patients, we find in the records
sufficient evidence that the provision for the care of the sick prisoners
was at Norman Cross equal to, if not superior to, that offered by any
civil institution of that date.

To pass from the discomforts of the prison to the luxurious life of the
hospital was a temptation which favoured malingering, especially in the
case of one of “Les Misérables,” who, having nothing left wherewith to
gamble, needed a bed and food.  The agent had in 1801, to issue a special
order as to the precautions necessary to prevent prisoners shamming
illness in order to obtain admission into the hospital.  This was the
year of the epidemic, when the hospital had been in the earlier months
overcrowded, and we can only trust that no mistake was ever made, and
that no prisoner sickening for the fatal disease was dealt with as a
malingerer and denied admission into the wards.

As stated in an early chapter, the prisoners passed out of the agent’s
charge when they fell sick, and the order of Captain Woodriff may have
been the result of friction between himself and the surgeons.

The excellent arrangements made by the Government department for the care
of the sick and wounded gave the sick prisoners the best chance of
recovery.  It was, nevertheless, the cruel fate of nearly 1,800 of those
incarcerated at Norman Cross between 1797 and 1814 to end a captivity
which had endured for a period varying from a few days to eleven years,
without the solace of a glimpse of their native land, away from
relatives, friends, and home, by death in the prison hospital, whence
their bodies were borne to be laid in the prisoners’ cemetery, where they
still lie, unknown and unhonoured. {171}

The succeeding chapter deals with this cemetery and cognate matters.



    No column high-lifted doth shadow their dust,
    And o’er their poor ruin no willow trees wave;
    Yet their honour is safe in the thought of the Just,
    And their agony fireth the hearts of the Brave
    Unto deeds that shall shine through Oblivion’s rust.

                                             NORMAN HILL, _Père Lechaise_.

FOR a short period after the occupation of the Depot, the prisoners who
died were buried outside the prison wall, in the north-east corner of the
site.  The discovery of human skeletons by workmen engaged in excavating
gravel in this locality gave rise to tales of violent deaths in duels and
of surreptitious burials, tales which have to be dismissed as idle since
our researches have brought to light the fact that the spot was for a
brief period—the exact length of which cannot be determined—the
burial-place of the prisoners.  It is certain that very few burials took
place in this corner.  Early in the history of the prison, as mentioned
in a previous chapter, the Government bought a portion of a field on the
opposite—the western—side of the North Road for use as the prisoners’
cemetery, and in this field rest the remains of at least 1,770 of the
captives taken by us in that long war.

There is nothing now to distinguish the prisoners’ cemetery from the
surrounding fields; it is only by careful observation that the
irregularities of the surface can be recognised as the mounds which mark
the graves, these in the course of a hundred years having become very ill

The occasional disturbance of the bones of the dead in agricultural
operations, or by irreverent explorations of the graves by the village
lads, alone keep alive in the minds of the rustic population the
knowledge of this burial-place.  The burial-places attached to other
depots for prisoners of war have one after the other been distinguished
by a monument erected to the memory of those who lie in them.  Too long
has the respect due to the memory of the brave men who fought and
suffered for their country, and died at Norman Cross, been forgotten.
Too long, alike by the nation whose foes these prisoners were and by the
nation whose sons they were, has this God’s Acre, doubly sacred, because
in it lie only patriots who died for their native land, been neglected
and left without a mark to show that it is a sacred spot.  Happily the
animosity of a hundred years ago has been replaced by _L’Entente
Cordiale_, and a movement originated by Mr. H. B. Sands, the late
Secretary of the Association which has adopted that title, is even now in
progress, the object of the movement being to acquire a portion of the
ground, to fence it, and to erect upon it, close to the North Road, a
monument with a suitable inscription to the memory of the foreign
soldiers and sailors who, after years of captivity, died in the prison,
and were buried in this neglected spot.

The information as to any provision for the spiritual welfare of the
prisoners is very meagre.  Marriages and births, calling for the
sanctification of a church, there were none, but 1,770 deaths and burials
there certainly were, as the certificates show.

Neither in the register nor on the certificate of those deaths, whether
the prisoners were Roman Catholic or Protestant, does the name of priest
or parson appear.

This applies only to the prisoners who died in confinement, not to the
soldiers who guarded them.  The Depot was in the parish of Yaxley, and in
the churchyard of St. Peter’s, the parish church, the majority of the
British soldiers who died while quartered at the barracks were buried,
and their names are entered in the parish register and signed by the
officiating minister.

The first entry connected with the Depot in the Yaxley Register is that
of “John Smart, suffocated at the Barracks, February 12th, 1797.”  He was
probably a workman employed during the erection of the buildings, which
were not occupied until two months later; after this date, and up to
1814, occur entries of soldiers’ burials at the rate of from twenty to
thirty per annum.

The last funeral from the barracks was that of Captain Pressland on 21st
March 1814.  After fifteen years the soldiers’ graves were crowding the
churchyard to such an extent, that in 1813 a plot of land adjoining the
barrack-master’s house was purchased by the Government for a special
burial-place for the barracks, and the ground was consecrated by the
Bishop of Lincoln on 29th October in that year.  The first soldier was
buried in it on 4th November 1813, just seven months before the clearing
of the barracks and the prisons was accomplished.  This plot has been
absorbed into the property on which stands the barrack-master’s house,
now owned by J. A. Herbert, J.P.  When and how the absorption took place
is not known; it is now an orchard, and the few gravestones there were in
it have disappeared.  From the Register of Folksworth, about a mile from
the barracks, it would appear that this village was a favourite place for
the wives of the married soldiers quartered at Norman Cross to reside;
several baptisms of the soldiers’ children, and one or two of the adult
soldiers themselves, are there registered.

The prisoners’ cemetery and the barracks were in the mission of the Roman
Catholic priest who lived at King’s Cliffe, but no register of deaths
kept by him is known to exist, nor is there any record by a minister of
religion of any burial service in this cemetery.

It must, I fear, be accepted that the men who were in captivity at Norman
Cross during the seventeen years the prison was occupied received very
little spiritual help, and in times of pressure many of those whose bones
lie in the prisoners’ burial-place were, too probably, interred without
religious rites of any kind, and scarcely ever with a single mourner at
the grave side.

From the possibilities, nay probabilities of the burials during the
epidemic of 1800–01, let us turn with a shudder and a sigh of regret for
whatever blame attaches to our country for that tragic year in the
history of Norman Cross.

Mrs. Sands says that, in examining the register in the Record Office, she
and her late husband found that a large number of those buried came from
Protestant provinces of France.

The Depot being in Yaxley parish, it is probable that during its
occupation the vicar would be asked to bury the Protestants and possibly
to minister to the sick and others in the prison.  But that no entry of
any such burial is found in the parish registers, nor any note by an
incumbent of duty performed either in the prison or cemetery, points to
the fact that the prison was considered extra-parochial.  The present
vicar, the Rev. E. H. Brown, who is keenly interested in the subject of
this narrative, has ascertained from a relative of the Rev. T. Hinde
that, to her certain knowledge, that clergyman, a former curate of
Yaxley, was “Protestant chaplain to Norman Cross Barracks.”  Mr. Brown
adds that Mr. Hinde was apparently curate from September 1813 to January
1816; this would cover the last eight months only of the prison

This statement, from a member of Mr. Hinde’s family, leaves room to
_hope_ that the Vicar of Yaxley or his curate actually officiated as
Protestant minister for those prisoners who were his co-religionists
during their enforced sojourn within the boundaries of his cure.

But it must be borne in mind that those days were not as ours, and that
there was little probability that Britain’s prisoners would be better
treated than her soldiers and sailors.  A writer in _Notes and Queries_
quotes, respecting the treatment of the latter:

    “Gleig—‘The Subaltern’ of 1813–14, who subsequently took holy orders
    and wrote a _Life of Wellington_—assures us that a hundred years ago
    Tommy Atkins was ‘spaded under’ without benefit of clergy, and it is
    highly improbable that any existing memorial marks, nay, that any
    memorial ever marked, the grave of even one of the thousands of
    British privates who lie among the Spanish hills and valleys.  All
    that the tourist can hope to find in these distant and lonely spots
    is the occasional tomb of a British officer, or (quite exceptionally)
    of a favourite ‘non-com.’” {177}

That priests did frequent the prison in the earlier years of the war,
1797–1802, before the Peace of Amiens, we know from the correspondence of
the Transport Commissioners with the agents.  The prisoners themselves
petitioned to have priests sent to them, and at length two priests were
permitted to reside in the prison.  That these gentlemen did not strictly
confine themselves to the spiritual duties of their office we have reason
to believe from an instruction given to Captain Pressland, the agent
appointed when the prison was reopened in 1803.  He was told that,
“profiting by experience gained during the previous war,” the Board had
decided that “no priests were to be admitted, except in extreme cases,
and then under carefully arranged restrictions, as they had abused the
privileges allowed them,” and that “a turnkey or clerk was to be present
during the whole time they were in the hospital.”  This memorandum
evidently implies that at this time there was no regular provision for
the spiritual needs of the general body of prisoners, no chaplain
appointed by the authorities, and that no regular visitation except to
the sick and dying was to be permitted.

The Government was not without evidence that many of these priests had
supplemented the spiritual aid by acting as go-betweens and secretly
conveying correspondence to and from the prisoners.  Any collusion
between the prisoners and possible foreign agents outside was provided
against by the regulation that all letters should pass through the
agent’s hands.

The continual recurrence throughout the war of plots for a general
rising, originating with the French Government; the frequent attempts
either of single prisoners or a combined body of them to escape, were
probably, at the period with which we are dealing, felt to be sufficient
reason for an order which in the present day would hardly be tolerated by
the British public.  A year later, in 1804, the commissioners, while
affirming that they had no power to prevent French priests living in
Stilton, were most decided in declining to allow them to live in the
Depot, saying that at such a critical time they could not possibly grant
such a privilege to foreigners “of that equivocal description”!

The Transport Board must have seen reason to relax the orders, for three
years after this direction was given we find the Bishop of Moulins not
resident in the Depot, but living at Stilton a mile from it, on an
allowance received from the British Government, and earning a high
character for his work among the prisoners.  He was also officiating
outside the prison, for in the register kept by the neighbouring priest,
the Rev. W. Hayes of King’s Cliffe, in whose mission Stilton was, are,
among others, the following three entries of baptisms to which allusion
has already been made in Chap. IV, p. 59:

1st.  “1807.—John Stephen Felix Delapoux, son of John Andrew Delapoux and
of Sarah Mason (his lawful wife), of Norman Cross, Yaxley,
Huntingdonshire, was born July 22 and baptised August 2nd, 1807,
following, by Charles Lewis de Salmon du Chattelier, formerly Vicar
General of the Diocese of Mans, and Canon of the Cathedral Church.
Sponsor, the Rt. Rev. Stephen John Baptist Lewis de Galois de la Tour,
residing at Stilton in the said county, which I, the undersigned, hereby
certify from the original.

                                                               “W. HAYES.”

2nd.  “1808.—William, son of Hugh and Margaret Drummond, was baptised by
the Bishop of Moulins at Stilton, Hunts., May 30th, 1808.  Sponsors,
Edward Courier and Margaret Anderson, attested by Mr. Wm. Hayes.”

3rd.  “1814.—Louis Stanilas Henry Paschal, son of John Andrew Delapoux
and of Sarah Mason (his lawful wife) of Yaxley, Huntingdonshire, on May
3rd, was baptised May 14th, 1814, by the Rt. Rev. Stephen John Baptist
Lewis de Galois de la Tour, residing at Stilton.  Sponsor, Mr. Paschal
Levisse of Oundle, Northamptonshire, which I, the undersigned, hereby
certify from the original act.

                                                               “W. HAYES.”

In the first entry, 1807, the officiating priest is “the late Vicar
General of the Diocese of Mans, and Canon of the Cathedral Church,” who
was possibly attending to the prisoners until the Sponsor, the Rt. Rev.
Stephen John Baptist Lewis de Galois de la Tours (the Bishop-designate of
Moulins), took up the work.  John Andrew Delapoux, the father of the
child, was a clerk at Norman Cross—many of the officials had French
names, and were probably naturalised British subjects, or children of
naturalised Frenchmen and familiar with the French language.  He had been
married to Miss Mason, in Stilton Parish Church, on 2nd September 1802,
and until the research undertaken for the purposes of this work revealed
his identity, these were supposed to be entries of the baptisms of
children of a French prisoner who had married an English wife.  In the
second, 1808, the Bishop of Moulins is entered as the officiating priest.
In the 3rd the priest performing the ceremony is the Rt. Rev. Stephen
John Baptist Lewis de Galois de la Tour.  The priest in whose mission the
Baptism took place and who made the entry, gave the Christian and family
names of the Bishop-designate of Moulins, but not the episcopal title, as
in the second entry.  The prefix Right Reverend marks the ecclesiastical
rank claimed by the Bishop; but a letter from Lord Mulgrave {180a} states
that he was only Bishop-designate.  He had never been consecrated, and he
would therefore not be always recognised by his brethren as Évêque de

It is unfortunate that it is the duty of the humblest historian to push
aside the glamour that tradition and the writers of romance weave around
a man and to show him as he is, and the traditional story of the Bishop
of Moulins is not the only illusion which has been dispelled in the
course of our investigations.

The Bishop of Moulins has been, by traditions authoritatively reproduced
in print, gradually elevated to the position of a saint who voluntarily
relinquished his high office in France, and sacrificed its emoluments _in
order that he might minister to his fellow countrymen in captivity_.  In
his little romance, {180b} the late Rev. Arthur Brown says, p. 44:

    “And the Chaplain was none other than the Bishop of Moulins.  _He had
    voluntarily come to England out of pure compassion for his imprisoned
    countrymen_, _and with true missionary zeal was giving himself up to
    their spiritual welfare_.  He was a venerable-looking man, much
    respected by the prisoners generally.  _It was a noble act of

In a romance it is quite legitimate to adopt a name for an imaginary
character, and to endow the fictitious individual with virtues which the
real owner of the name did not possess, but Mr. Brown emphatically
declares this passage to be _history_, and not fiction, by a footnote, of
which the first sentence is, “This is fact, not fiction.”  The note

    “It would be interesting to know the history of this good man after
    the prisoners were discharged in 1814.  One thing is certain, that he
    must ever have enjoyed a feast of memory to his dying day, in having
    been a shepherd and bishop of souls to these poor prisoners.”

The late Rev. G. N. Godwin, in the series of papers on “Norman Cross and
its French Prisoners,” published in the _Peterborough Advertiser_ in
February and March 1906, says:

    “The Depot had a noble Chaplain in the Bishop of Moulins, who
    voluntarily came over from France, and lived at his own charge and
    upon remittances from France, in the High Street, Stilton, near the
    Bell Inn.  (The house which is now shored up. {181})  He walked up
    every day to Norman Cross, and acted very charitably to the
    prisoners, doing his utmost to stop their frequent duels.  It is to
    be hoped that _ere long more will be known of this worthy prelate_.”

Mr. Godwin’s wish was soon fulfilled.  Two years after this was written
there came to light, among the family archives at Milton, near
Peterborough, the correspondence which the author is able to print
verbatim in the appendix, through the kind permission of Mr. George
Wentworth Fitzwilliam, the greatgrandson of the fourth Earl Fitzwilliam,
to whom the Bishop’s letters are addressed, and who is the present owner
of the estates and head of the Northamptonshire branch of the family.
This correspondence, with other information gathered from scanty but
authentic sources, enables the writer to put before his readers a picture
of the one priest of whose work at Norman Cross the memory remained in
the neighbourhood for more than a generation after the Depot was
destroyed.  The correspondence is of interest as throwing light on other
matters also.

The first part of this correspondence consists of letters from the Bishop
of Moulins begging for pecuniary assistance and for another favour from
Lord Fitzwilliam, with an accompanying document of great interest—viz. a
condensed autobiography of the Bishop, and the unfinished draft of the
Earl’s reply; these are all in French.  The last mentioned is
interesting, as it shows incidentally that the great Whig Earl
sympathised with the Bishop in his loyalty to the Bourbons, to whom he
was devoted, and in his firm resolve never to acknowledge the government
of the Emperor Napoleon, whom he regarded as an usurper.  It also gives
first-hand information as to an outside matter, the enormous cost of the
famous Yorkshire Election, in which the respective heads in the West
Riding of the contesting Whigs and Tories, Lord Fitzwilliam and Lord
Harewood, each represented by his own son, kept open house for the
fifteen days during which the Poll lasted, Lord Milton, the Whig,
beating, by a majority of 188, his Tory rival, the Hon. Henry Lascelles.
{182}  The condensed autobiography sent by the Bishop to Lord Fitzwilliam
upsets much that has been written to accentuate the saintly character
which has been, not altogether without reason, attributed to him.  The
remaining letters, one of which has been introduced in the text in
connection with the straw-plait trade, refer to the application made by
the Bishop for the release of another prisoner to take the place of his
servant Jean Baptiste David.

The autobiography is practically that of an émigré, although the
Bishop-designate was a “déporté.”  Most of these aristocrats,
ecclesiastics, and others who fled from France at a time when, had they
possessed the courage to remain, they might have much altered the course
of events, took refuge in Austria, Italy, and other continental Catholic
countries.  Comparatively few came to England.  From the Bishop we learn
that in 1791, having been designated Bishop of Moulins, he was expelled
from France.  He took refuge in Italy, where he had the good fortune to
become Chief Chaplain to the Bourbon Princess, Victoire of France, “to
whose bounty he owed his existence,” and at her death, in 1799, he was
left absolutely without any resources.  Under these circumstances he came
to England, where he received the allowance granted to bishops at that
time, £10 a month.  In his narrative the Bishop enters into further
details as to his misfortunes.  He found his relatives in London in
distress; he advanced them moneys which he obtained from money-lenders,
who made the loans on the security of his expectations—expectations which
came to nothing.  When the Bishop’s father died, leaving a goodly
inheritance, the whole was appropriated by his relatives, who took
advantage of the Bishop’s absence from France.  His brother suggested to
him that if he would return to France and submit to the Government, they
might help him.  This the Bishop would never do, his devotion and loyalty
to the Bourbons made it impossible, and in 1808 he is found at Stilton
writing a begging letter from the Bell Inn—not there “out of pure
compassion for his imprisoned countrymen,” but a “déporté” from France,
who, when he arrived in England, was without any resources beyond his
great expectations, on the strength of which the Bishop was able to
obtain money from usurers, to one of whom this unfortunate prelate was
paying 30 per cent. per annum for a loan of £200.  He was not “living on
his own charges and upon remittances from France,” but upon £240 a year
paid to him by the British Government.

To this payment by the British Government was added the extraordinary
privilege of the liberation of a lad from Norman Cross to act as his
servant.  This was a further favour from the Government which was feeding
him and clothing him.  The Bishop’s return for these acts of grace was to
allow the lad to join in the illegal straw-plait traffic, and then to
make the application which, reading between the lines of Sir Rupert
George’s letter, it was easy to see was regarded by the Transport Board
as a gross piece of effrontery.  The sequel was more letters in the
effusive begging-letter style of a century ago to the tender-hearted,
influential nobleman whose acquaintance he had made, and the ultimate
granting of another servant.

In one of his letters the Bishop denies that there is any truth in the
accusation that his servant was an accomplice in the illicit trading in
straw plait, and there is no extant evidence that he was so; but it is
clear, from the correspondence between the Transport Board and the
Secretary to the Admiralty, and between the latter and Earl Fitzwilliam,
that the Transport Board had no doubt about the fact.

There is something pathetic in the fact that these letters, in his, the
Bishop’s, beautiful handwriting, which is like the finest engrossing, but
so small that it is scarcely legible without the aid of a
magnifying-glass, should have come to light exactly 100 years after they
were written, and only two years after the wish had been expressed by the
writers quoted above, that more could be learned of “this worthy prelate”
and “this good man,” for in them the Bishop himself rises up to cast off
the adornments of self-sacrifice, etc., with which he has been decorated
by his biographers.

Divers writers, one after another, have attributed to him the
qualifications of a saint, finding everything he did so good and
wonderful, that the last, the late Rev. M. C. Godwin, mentions as a merit
that the Bishop walked a mile to his duties at the prison.

Mr. Brown, in the footnote just quoted, says: “It would be interesting to
know the history of this good man after the prisoners were discharged in

The Bishop’s association with Norman Cross entitles him to a prominent
place in this narrative, and such further particulars of his life as have
after much research been established add something to the little that is
known of the émigrés and the déportés who took refuge in England.

Without the halo of a saint, the Bishop is still revealed as a good
priest winning the hearts and the esteem of those among whom he
ministered, seeking to lighten the lot of the prisoners who were his
flock.  What light is thrown on his character by the legend written
against the boys’ prison on the prisoner Foulley’s model of the Norman
Cross Depot, in the _Invalides_! {185} (_vide_ Plate XX, p. 251).  The
Bishop was working when many another ecclesiastical emigrant was idle,
and there is every reason to believe that he was worthy of his hire, as
far as his work was concerned.  Probably the advent of the Bishop to
Norman Cross did for the prisoners what Buonaparte’s reinstatement of
religion did for the population of France.  The correspondence shows that
it was his strong political opinions, his stedfast loyalty to the House
of Bourbon, strengthened as it was by gratitude and affection, and his
determined refusal to accept office on the terms of the Concordat, and to
swear fealty to the Emperor, whom he regarded as a usurper, which kept
him in England as a mere Bishop-designate instead of a consecrated
endowed Bishop.  So strong were his feelings on these points, that he was
one of the ecclesiastics who signed the Remonstrance against the
Concordat and thus incurred the Pope’s displeasure.

Outside his office there is good ground for believing that he was an
accomplished and learned man, with a fine presence and attractive,
courteous manners. {186}  He was apparently _persona grata_ at Milton,
the residence of Earl Fitzwilliam, seven miles from Stilton.  But the
correspondence reveals the Bishop as a normally imperfect man.  In the
opinion of the authorities (with which the historian must agree) he
abused the extraordinary privileges granted to him by the British
Government, and on his own showing he was, to say the least of it,
injudicious in the management of his affairs.  He incurred heavy debts to
money-lenders without any certain prospect of being able to repay them.
In extenuation of these financial errors, it may be said that misfortune
and over-generosity, not personal extravagance, led to his impecuniosity
and his dealings with usurers, and as to the Bishop’s connivance in the
matter of his servant taking up as his occupation illicit dealing in the
straw plait made in the prison, Earl Fitzwilliam clearly did not regard
it as a heinous offence, when it was brought before his notice by Lord
Mulgrave, but continued his pleading for the Bishop, and eventually
succeeded in obtaining for him the favour he craved.

The Bishop’s work at Norman Cross continued until he returned with the
Bourbons to France after the banishment of Buonaparte to Elba in 1814.
Several articles in the Peterborough Museum are described in the
catalogue as presents from grateful prisoners to the Bishop.  If they
were, it would be interesting to know why he left them behind instead of
taking them to France when he returned.

From other sources we gather that the Rt. Rev. Etienne Jean Baptist,
Louis de Galois de la Tour, who was fifty-four years of age at the date
of the correspondence, {187} was an ecclesiastic of great distinction.
He was the son of Charles Jean Baptist de Galois de la Tour, who was
French Administrator in 1788 at Moulins and first President of the
Department of Aix, where the future Archbishop was born in 1754.  He
became Vicar-general of the See of Autun and doyen of the College of St.
Pierre at Moulins.  He had been designated to the See of Moulins, when in
1791 the order for his arrest was issued, and he was “déporté” according
to the official list of émigrés published in Paris in 1793.  In the
Bishop’s own narrative he says, “L’Évêque de Moulins, parti de France en
1791.”  Of his life and fortunes from that year until 1808 we have his
own account.  In 1814, after twenty-three years of exile, he returned
with the Bourbons to France, but he was not at once consecrated or even
appointed to the See of Moulins.

His attitude towards the Pope and the French Government during his
banishment can be seen in three rare pamphlets published in London in
1802 and 1803. {188a}  The Pope (Pius VII.) was remonstrated with for
coming to terms with the French Government.  To the first remonstrance,
dated 23rd December 1801, one archbishop and twelve bishops affix their
signatures, to which a cross is prefixed; Etienne de la Tour signs last,
as nominated Bishop of Moulins, without the cross.  In April 1803 he
signs at the end of three archbishops and thirty-five bishops, this time
with a cross. {188b}  The history of the quarrel between the parties and
final reconciliation can be seen in Thiers: _History of the French
Revolution_ (Shobul’s Trans.), 1895, vol. i., pp. 105–6, 145, 187.

After some correspondence and an acknowledgment of his error the
Bishop-designate was consecrated, and two years later he was elevated to
the archbishopric of Bourges.

The Archbishop did not live more than four years to occupy the lofty
position which he had won by his personal attributes, by his fidelity to
the House of Bourbon, by his services to the Church, by his twenty-three
years’ banishment from France involuntary and voluntary, by his
experiences at Norman Cross, {188c} among which the little incident of
his association, through Jean Baptiste David, with the straw-plait
smuggling business might, by the Roman Catholic hierarchy and even by the
Bourbon Government, not be reckoned as otherwise than meritorious.

The Archbishop, who had for so many years lived at Stilton on a pittance
allowed by the British Government, and had served his fellow countrymen
within the walls of the Norman Cross Prison, died in his palace at
Bourges on 20th March 1820.

No evidence has been procured, beyond the statement of the relative of
the Rev. T. Hinde (p. 176), that, at any time, a Protestant clergyman was
officially appointed as chaplain to the Depot.  There is, however,
sufficient evidence that, during the first period of the war, between the
opening of the prison (1797) and its evacuation (1802), the services of
Roman Catholic priests were accepted, a record existing that two priests
were for a short time allowed to reside within the walls.  After the
resumption of hostilities in 1803, notwithstanding the very strong
directions issued to Captain Pressland, on the reopening of the prison,
that “no priests were to be admitted except in extreme cases, etc.,” we
find the Bishop-designate of Moulins practically established as the
priest ministering to his countrymen in captivity, and living on the
income derived from the British Government.

The fact that the Vicar-general of Mans and the Bishop-designate of
Moulins differed in their politics from the bulk of the prisoners
probably led to their obtaining from the British Government the privilege
of thus exercising their office—a privilege not apparently without its
pecuniary advantages to themselves, for the Bishop in his autobiography
tells us that on coming to London he received from the British Government
the sum of £10 a month, the usual allowance to a man of his rank, while
at Stilton the sum paid to him is doubled, and he has £240 a year.

On the whole, the records of this chapter in the history of Norman Cross,
if painful to our national pride and self-respect in many details, would
probably not be regarded in the same light by those who, a century since,
were engaged in and suffering from this prolonged, sanguinary, bitter,
and costly war.



    Law that is obeyed is nothing else but law; law disobeyed is law and
    jailor both.

                                   PHILISTION, _Menandri et Philistionis_.

    They enjoy a moderate degree of liberty, which, when kept within
    bounds, is most salutary both for individuals and for communities,
    though when it degenerates into licence, it becomes alike burdensome
    to others, and uncontrollable and hazardous to those who possess it.

                                             LIVY, _Histories_, xxxiv. 49.

THE conditions of life for prisoners out on parole have hitherto not been
considered.  In more chivalrous days a prisoner on parole was allowed to
live free in his own country, pledged only on his word of honour to take
part in no action which should be directly or indirectly hostile to the
country which had captured him.  The spirit of animosity and mistrust
which animated the combatants in the struggle which filled with captives
Norman Cross and other prisons in both countries, would certainly admit
no such arrangement as this, although M. Otto, the French Commissary in
London, suggested it, either satirically or knowing that, if accepted,
the arrangement would mean that while England would receive back only
5,000, France would receive 22,000.

M. Otto’s words were:

    “If the scarcity of provisions is so notorious that the Government”
    (the British Government), “notwithstanding its solicitude cannot
    relieve the wants of its people, why should the Government
    unnecessarily increase the consumption, by feeding more than 22,000
    individuals?  I have already had the honour of laying before you, Two
    Proposals on this Subject, namely, that of ransoming the Prisoners,
    or that of sending them back to France on Parole.  Either of these
    alternatives would afford an efficient remedy for the evil in
    question; the plan of Parole has already been adopted with respect to
    French Fishermen.” {191a}

This proposal was not likely to be accepted, and the great bulk of the
prisoners in both countries remained in strict durance throughout the
war.  Those who were allowed on parole were naval and military officers,
commanders and first lieutenants of privateers mounting fourteen guns,
{191b} commanders and first mates of merchantmen, and non-combatants.
These latter, in the second period of the war, constituted a considerable
proportion of the parole prisoners.  One of the first duties imposed by
the regulations for the guidance of the agents at the various prisons was
that when a fresh party of prisoners arrived, he should go thoroughly
into the question of the rank, social condition, employment, and
character of each man, in order to determine who were qualified to go on
parole, and the captain of the ship in which the prisoners had been taken
was expected to send such information as he could to enable the agents to
carry out this duty.

The last sentence of the passage quoted from M. Otto’s letter to the
Transport Board shows that for one class of non-combatants, the French
fishermen, the British Government had adopted the plan of returning them
to France.

A note in the register of the soldiers received at Norman Cross states
that with certain chasseurs français who arrived at the prison on 9th
September 1809, arrived two women and a child.  How they were disposed of
between that date and 24th December of the same year, when they were
discharged to France, is not recorded.  One of the women got only as far
as Lynn on her way home, and in the following March returned to Norman
Cross; her further adventures are not recorded.

The numbers of those on parole varied greatly in the course of the war.
In the year 1796, in which the building of Norman Cross was commenced,
the number was 1,200; on 30th April 1810, out of a total of 44,583
prisoners, 2,710; and on 11th June 1811, out of 49,132 prisoners, 3,193.
The number on parole would greatly increase as more prisoners passed into
the country.  The Duke of Wellington, in one of his despatches dated 23rd
December 1812, summarising the result of the campaign in Spain, mentions
that “In the months which have elapsed since January, this army has sent
to England little short of 20,000 prisoners.”  Of these many came to
Norman Cross.  The number continued to increase until the total in
Britain reached 67,000, that being the number returned to France after
the Treaty of Paris was signed on 30th May 1814.

The prisoners on parole were widely distributed in various towns, many of
them distant from any large depot. {192}  Agents were appointed in each
place to look after and pay the prisoners who lodged either in the town
itself or in the neighbouring villages.  Of the 1,200 on parole in 1797,
100 were in Peterborough and its neighbourhood, and the agent who
accepted the responsibility of looking after them, paying them and
mustering them at stated intervals when they had to report themselves to
him, was Mr. Thomas Squire, a merchant and banker living in the Bridge
House, in whose field, on the river bank, the second batch of prisoners
consigned to Norman Cross in April 1797 landed from the barges which had
brought them from Lynn.  The only parole register relating to
Peterborough which the author could find in the Record Office is a volume
dating from 1795 to 1800, and refers mainly to the Dutch.  In this volume
there are entered, between 10th November 1797 and 3rd July 1800, the
names of 100 Dutch prisoners on parole at Peterborough.  The first French
were the captain, four lieutenants, the purser, surgeon, and first pilot
of _La Jalouse_, in June 1797.

No corresponding record has been found as to the disposal of those who
arrived at Norman Cross in the second period of the war, 1803–15, and who
by their rank or social status were entitled to parole.  It is probable
that on the officer who received them at the port where they landed,
devolved the duty of selecting the parole prisoners and sending them
direct to the towns where they were to be interned when the general body
of prisoners went to Norman Cross.

From the general register of the prisoners at Norman Cross between 1803
and 1810 we can, however, gather a few notes which sufficiently indicate
that the custom was _not_ to allocate them in the immediate
neighbourhood, but at more distant depots for parole prisoners.  Thus we
find that Jean Casquar, a boatswain’s mate, was sent to Tiverton; Antoine
Sivié, a passenger, to Leek; Pierre Kervain, a servant on parole, to
Ashbourne; Eustache, a black, to Ashbourne; Jean C. Le Prince, a clerk,
to Montgomery; Captain Nicholas Lanceraux to Lichfield; Jean Maistey,
second mate on a privateer, with three passengers taken in the same ship,
to Leek.  Then a more complicated transaction is shown: Louis Feyssier, a
passenger on parole at Leek, was sent to Norman Cross, it being noted
that he had not previously been there; he was probably sent for
imprisonment, as a punishment for breach of his parole at Leek.

Another transaction helps us to learn what was going on at home in the
long years of this terrible war, when only high polities and the military
and naval events beyond our bounds were occupying the pens of historical
writers.  Captain A. Strazynski escaped with a midshipman from Ashbourne
in September 1810.  The pair of them were retaken at Chesterfield, whence
they were sent to the Norman Cross Prison, where they arrived on 10th
December of the same year.  Again, Ensign Louis Pineau escaped from
Greenlaw.  He made his way south, until he was retaken and lodged in
Northampton Gaol, whence he was sent to Norman Cross.

These are almost all the notes bearing on the question of the parole
prisoners which occur in the register.

As has been already mentioned, these registers are very incomplete, and
the notes and remarks are few and far between, but there is one long note
dealing with the practice of one prisoner assuming the name of another.
This was sometimes done with the object of establishing a man’s right to
have the privileges of parole.  One instance noted is that of a man
entered as Mathuren Nazarean, his real name being Pierre Dussage; the
assumed name was that of the first lieutenant of the _Alerte_, who was
left ill at Lisbon.  Dussage hoped to pass himself off as the lieutenant,
and thus to be allowed out on parole.

No record has been found of the precise distribution in the town and the
surrounding villages of the 100 prisoners registered as on parole in
Peterborough.  On 25th November 1797 the whole of the prisoners on parole
in England were ordered, without any distinction of rank whatever, to be
imprisoned at Norman Cross.  For the sick and the baggage, covered
conveyances were provided.  The others of all ranks marched to the Depot,
some of them hundreds of miles.  This step was taken in part fulfilment
of the threat already referred to in Chapter V., which had been held out
against the French as a means of compelling them to clothe their own
countrymen in the English prisons, and to withdraw their opposition to
certain proposals of the English Government as to the terms of Exchange,
and especially as to the restoration of Captain Sir Sydney Smith, whose
liberation no expostulations of the Government could obtain.

In the later plans of the Depot is seen one block in the south-east
quadrangle fenced off for the officers’ prison.  It was probably in this
block, or in No. 13 in the north-eastern quadrangle, that Jean de la
Porte executed his wonderful straw marquetry pictures.  At what date the
order for the reincarceration of the officers was cancelled has not been
ascertained, but it is certain that their close confinement was not of
long duration, and that the privileges of parole were soon restored.
This was, however, not the only occasion when such an order was issued,
and when the prisoners on parole were placed in close confinement.
Parole was very frequently broken by the French officers, and a
considerable number were successful in making their escape.  Those who
failed to do so or were recaptured were severely treated.  In extreme
cases, such as repeated breaking of parole, officers were sent to the
hulks.  A cadet of the _Utrecht_, Dutch man-of-war, who broke his parole
at Tenterden, when recaptured was sent to the hulks at Chatham.  Unless
there had been some gross misconduct, this punishment cannot fail to be
regarded by some as unduly harsh.  On the other hand, it must not be
forgotten that the full term was _parole d’honneur_.  The word of honour
of an officer was assumed to be of a specially binding character; the
poor, ignorant soldier or sailor was not trusted, the officer was,
because his “word of honour” was deemed binding.  In addition, the
officer signed a document corresponding to the following parole paper,
which was the form used for a prisoner restored on parole to France.
This constituted a legal document.

                         _Form of Parole Engagement_.

    “Whereas the Commissioners for conducting His Britannic Majesty’s
    Transport Service, and for the Care and Custody of Prisoners of War,
    have been pleased to grant me, the undersigned . . . . . . as
    described on the back thereof, late . . . . . . and now a Prisoner of
    War, leave to return to France, upon my entering into an Engagement
    not to serve against Great Britain, or any of the Powers in Alliance
    with that Kingdom, until I shall be regularly exchanged for a British
    Prisoner of War, of equal Rank; and upon my also engaging, that
    immediately after my Arrival in France, I shall make known the Place
    of my Residence there, to the British Agent for Prisoners in Paris,
    and shall not change the same on any account, without first
    intimating my intention to the said Agent; and moreover, that at the
    Expiration of every Two Months, until my exchange shall be effected,
    I shall regularly and punctually transmit to the said Agent, a
    Certificate of my Residence, signed by the Magistrates or Municipal
    Officers of the Place.

    “Now, in Consideration of my Engagement, I do hereby declare that I
    have given my Parole of Honour accordingly, and that I will keep it

    “Given under my Hand at . . . . . . this . . . . . . Day of 17 . . .
    . . .

    “_On back_, Name, Rank, Age, Stature, Person, Visage, Complexion,
    Hair, Eyes, Marks or Wounds, etc.”

Further it must be borne in mind that military punishments are more
severe than civil; they follow more rapidly the crime.  A breach of
parole was a military crime as well as a civil offence, for which loss of
liberty on a Chatham hulk was perhaps a fitting punishment.  By Clause 4
of Rules to be observed by the prisoners of war in Great Britain,
Ireland, etc.—rules with which all prisoners, whether in captivity or on
parole, were familiar—very severe punishment for any escaped prisoner who
was retaken was laid down for every class.  In the case of officers
escaping, it was enacted that if recaptured they “shall from that time be
considered and treated in all respects like common men.”  An officer on
parole who escapes, not only escapes, but he breaks his word of honour,
and he therefore merits a more severe punishment than he who only breaks
his prison bars and does nothing dishonourable.

Both the French and British Governments, to their credit, were ever ready
to deal generously and even magnanimously in the way of exchange or
release as a reward for some uncalled-for act of bravery or kindness on
the part of prisoners in connection with their captors.  The following
are a few out of many such instances: In December 1811, twenty-one
English prisoners were released for assisting to extinguish a fire at
Auxonne; among these was the mate of an English merchant vessel, and for
him the mate of the French vessel _Achille_ was released from Lichfield,
he having assisted to put out a fire there.  The colonel of the (French)
36th Regiment was allowed to go to France on parole to try to effect the
exchange of Colonel Cox, and failing this to return in three months.  In
December 1810, Captain Bourde, of the French ship _Neptune_, was released
in consequence of his humanity to the officers and crew of the _Comet_, a
ship in the East India Company’s service.  A French surgeon detained on
the prison ship _Assistance_, at Portsmouth, was exchanged “in
consequence of his attention to the British sick soldiers on board the
_Spence_ transport as represented by Lieut. J. W. Lloyd of the 8th King’s
Regiment.”  A French captain of the land forces being taken prisoner, was
allowed to return to France “for his meritorious conduct in saving the
life of a British officer in the last war.”  Five French officers were
released from Andover “for their exertions in extinguishing a fire at
that town.”  A naval lieutenant was released by Admiralty order “for
saving a child’s life from a lion at Oswestry.”  In April 1812, Pierre
Marie Tong was released from Portsmouth “in consideration of services
offered by his father to assist the _Conquisador_ when on shore on the
coast of France.”  About the same date the second captain and clerk of a
privateer obtained their liberty “for saving the lives of seventy-nine
British seamen wrecked on the coast.”

Nor were these courtesies confined to officers.  A seaman, prisoner at
Plymouth, was to be exchanged “for having leaped overboard and saved the
life of Alexander Muir on board the _Brave_, as per letter 3rd June
(1810) from Captain Hawkins.”  A number of Lascars, prisoners at Dunkirk,
were exchanged for seamen at Norman Cross, the second captain for two,
and the captain at Chatham was considered worth three Lascars.  We have,
in Appendix B, alluded to the release of Captain Woodriff.  These bright
examples serve to illuminate what is otherwise a gloomy episode.

The allowance paid by the British Government to the officers on parole
was at first only 1_s._ a day.  This was increased to 1_s._ 6_d._; but
even that amount, although more than was paid by the French to the
English prisoners on parole in France, was altogether inadequate, owing
to the greater expense of living in England.  The inferior officers and
others received only 1_s._ 3_d._  The French scale varied from 7_s._ a
day for a General to 10_d._ a day for officers of merchantmen.  Frequent
complaints being made of the insufficiency of the English allowance, M.
Riviere, of the French Admiralty, who nine years before denied the right
of our Government to inquire into the treatment of British prisoners in
France, adding, “that it (the treatment) was the will of the Emperor,”
wrote a long letter to the Transport Board on the subject, stating that
the cost at which an English officer could live in France was 9_d._ a
day, while for a similar provision in England, a French officer must pay
2_s._ a day.  The Board called upon Lieut. Wallis, who had recently
escaped from France, to check each item by the market prices of
provisions in France and in England, and he arrived at the following

An English Gentleman in France will require daily:           A French Gentleman in
                                                             England will require
                                          _s._         _d._                  _s._   _d._
1 lb. Bread                                  0            2  ⅓ quartern         0      5
                                                             loaf of
1 lb. Beef                                   0            4  ¾ lb. of           0     7½
                                                             beef, 10_d._
                                                             a lb. at
¾ of beer (this measure is not known)        0            1  2 quarts of        0      6
Beer, very bad, is 3_d._ a bottle,           0           5¼  A pot of           0      5
wine 7½_d._; say they are taken                              porter
alternately, a bottle a day
Vegetables and fruit (vegetables are         0           0½  Vegetables,        0      2
very cheap)                                                  including
Milk                                         0           0½  Milk               0      2
Expense of cooking                           0            1  Cooking, at        0      2
                                                             least 2_d._
Wood (at Verdun very dear, 36 livres a       0            2
corde) 2_d._ per day probably
1 day’s subsistence in France,               0            9  1 day’s            2      0
according to M. Riviere                                      subsistence
                                                             in England,
                                                             according to
                                                             M. Riviere’s
1 day’s subsistence in France,               1           5¼  More           2      0½
according to Lieut. Wallis’s price                           probably
Average of the two estimates                 1     1¼ {200}

It therefore appeared clear that the least an officer could live on was
2_s._ a day in England and 1_s._ a day in France.  To double the
allowance to the French officers in England would, it was estimated, cost
the Government £43,823, and ultimately it was decided to increase the
allowance to 2_s._ for the higher ranks, coming down to 1_s._ 8_d._ in
the lower, at an increased cost of £28,000 a year.  When invalided, the
prisoners received an extra allowance, and were attended by doctors
practising in their neighbourhood selected by, and paid by, the
Government.  Their allowance was doubled when a nurse was required.
These extra charges were borne by the Commissioners for the Care of the
Sick and Hurt, not by the Transport Board.

The majority of the officers on parole were not entirely dependent on the
allowance received from the British Government, their income being
supplemented by remittances sent from France.

Several of the officers of high rank, and other prisoners whose means
enabled them to do so, sent for their wives and lived comfortably in
lodgings.  Judging from the traditions of the Norman Cross district, and
from the literature of the period, the presence of the prisoners on
parole made but little change in the social life of the towns and
villages in which they were quartered, not sufficient to leave an
enduring impression.  This is strange, for the presence of 100 foreigners
of varying social position in and round about a quiet little cathedral
city, such as Peterborough was a century ago, must certainly have
modified the usual routine of the social life of its citizens, and of the
dwellers in the neighbouring villages in which some of the prisoners

Although the bitter antagonism which existed between the French and the
British during this long war would militate against it, there is no doubt
that occasionally the prisoners on parole visited and formed friendships,
and even attachments, among their neighbours according to their degree.
This general statement made to the writer by his parents and other
nonagenarians is borne out by the marriages to be mentioned directly, but
although the writer has lived in Peterborough, excepting the few years
when his education took him away, for three-quarters of a century, he
does not recollect ever to have heard of any special instance of the
survival of such a friendship in the city or in the immediate
neighbourhood of Norman Cross, excepting those to be detailed when the
marriages of the prisoners are dealt with.

It has been thought not irrelevant to the history of Norman Cross to
devote the succeeding chapter to the subject of the English Prisoners in
France, and it will be there seen that in the letter written by Lieut.
Tucker from Verdun, he specially says, “there is no society between the
English and the French.”

When in 1814 Napoleon abdicated, and the Treaty of Paris was signed on
the 30th May, some 70,000 French prisoners, of whom nearly 4,000 were out
on parole, together with hundreds of émigrés, left our shores.  These
friendships and close associations were abruptly cut short, and the
foreign element in British Society appears to have been speedily
forgotten.  The intimacies which were kept up, of which we read in the
biographies and family archives of those who lived in the first half of
the last century, were almost all between the British and the French
émigré, not between the British and the prisoners on parole; they were
between persons who, although of different nationalities, agreed in their
political sympathies, and who were equally opposed to the existing French

Between 1793 and 1814 about 200,000 Frenchmen and other foreigners (at
various periods, not all at one time), either in durance or on parole,
spent a longer or shorter period of their lives in Great Britain.  In the
second period of the war (1803–15) there were 122,440, and of these
probably 4,000 at least were out on parole, including in this estimate
not only the commissioned officers, but also the large number of officers
of privateers and of civilians of various occupations who were all
reckoned as prisoners of war. {202}

A comparison of the Census Returns and the official returns as to
prisoners of war for the year 1810 justifies the conclusion that about 2
per cent. of the adult males in Great Britain of the average age of the
prisoners must have been Frenchmen.  Of this 2 per cent., the great
majority were, as has been already stated, in confinement; but as those
on parole were not scattered broadcast throughout the country, but were
concentrated in the various towns enumerated in the footnote to page 192,
they would in these towns constitute a far larger proportion than 2 per
cent. of the men of their own age.  In Peterborough the 100 parole
prisoners would be about 15 per cent. of their contemporaries in the town
and neighbourhood.  It is strange that this considerable element of
French in the society of that period figures so little in the pages of
contemporary authors who deal with social matters.  In explanation it
must be borne in mind that the allowance of the Government to the
prisoners on parole was only sufficient for a bare living, and that,
except in the case of those with good private means, these officers would
have to be very economical in their choice of lodgings, and would be
thrown chiefly into the society of persons who were by their
circumstances compelled to let cheap lodgings.  The prisoners would form
a little circle among themselves.

Mr. John T. Thorp has with infinite pains gone into the question of how
far Free Masonry brought the parole prisoners into association with their
brethren of the craft. {204}  The result of his investigations is that,
although in eleven of the towns in which parole prisoners were
detained—viz. Abergavenny, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leek, Melrose, Northampton,
Plymouth, Sanquhar, Tiverton, Penicuik, Wantage, and Wincanton—French
Lodges were established by the prisoners resident in the towns or their
neighbourhood, only in four is there any evidence of association with
British masons.  In _Abergavenny_ two English became members of the
Lodge.  In _Melrose_ the members of the French Lodge joined with the
Brethren of the Scotch Lodge in the ceremonial of the laying of the first
stone of a public reservoir, and among the archives of the Scotch Lodge
was a memorial presented by twenty of the members of the French Lodge
expressing their gratitude for the fraternal manner in which they had
uniformly been treated by the Brethren of the Melrose Lodge.

In _Wantage_, the Lodge “Cours unis” was formed by the prisoners, and
when seven members were transferred to Kelso, it is recorded that they
were received as visitors by the Scotch Lodge in that town.

At _Wincanton_ (“La Paix désirée”) two certificates were granted to
Englishmen, one as a joining member and the other as an initiate.

Very little more evidence is found in the minutes of the English Lodges.
At _Ashburton_ is the record of the Initiation of a Frenchman.  At
_Selkirk_ twenty-three parole prisoners who were masons were enrolled as
members of the Lodge, and they were allowed the use of the Lodge Room for
their own business and ceremonies.

At _Northampton_, in the neighbouring county to that in which Norman
Cross is situated, a French Lodge (“La Bonne Union”) was established, but
there is no tradition of any association with the English Brethren.

At _Ashby-de-la-Zouch_ a French Lodge was formed, but there is no record
of any intercourse with the English Brethren.  Ashby was a large depot
for parole prisoners, some 200 being located in the town and
neighbourhood, and there is a tradition that the French Lodge of
Freemasons gave a ball to which they invited many of the inhabitants.

One reason why the Brethren of the French and English nations apparently
associated to such a small extent, is that the British masons would, as a
rule, regard the French Lodges as irregular and self-constituted, they
having no mandate from the Grandmaster of England or Scotland.

In Peterborough there is no record or tradition of a French Lodge.

Mr. Thorp, in the little history from which these facts are drawn,
mentions the marriage of a member of the French Lodge at
Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Brother Louis Jan to a Miss Edwards, in 1809.  The
couple went to France in 1814, returned to England for some years, but
went back to Rouen, where M. Jan died.  His widow came back to Ashby,
where she supported herself and her children by teaching French.  She
died in 1867.

As regards the parole prisoners whose headquarters were at Peterborough,
a careful search through the marriage register of St. John’s Church has
failed to discover an entry of any marriage which can be identified as
that of a French prisoner and English girl; but in the years 1800–01 five
marriages between Dutch prisoners and English girls were celebrated in
the church and duly registered.

The first three bridegrooms were young officers, who were married on the
eve of their restoration to liberty under the terms of the Convention of
Alkmaar.  From the register of Dutch Prisoners of War in the Record
Office, we have been able to identify these bridegrooms.  In the Parish
Church Register there is absolutely no hint that the bridegrooms were
prisoners of war.  The names only are given, without any description,
although the statement that there are entries of French prisoners,
designated as such, in this marriage register having been once made, has
been adopted time after time by writers and lecturers on this subject.

1.  On the 17th February 1800, Albertus Coeymans was married to Ann
Whitwell.  Witnesses who signed the register, B. Pletsz and James Gibbs.
James Gibbs appears to have been the Parish Clerk, who usually witnessed
the marriages.  From the register in the Record Office we find that
Albertus Coeymans was 2nd Lieutenant in the _Furie_, was captured when
the ship was taken, received at Norman Cross 19th November 1798, and
“discharged to Holland” 19th February 1800.  The witness B. Pletsz was
Captain of the _Furie_, and was received at Norman Cross on the same date
as the Lieutenant.

2.  On the 17th February 1800, Adrian Roeland Robberts Roelans was
married to Mary Kingston.  Witnesses, Joseph Little and James Gibbs.  Mr.
Roelans was a midshipman on the _Jupiter_, and was received at Norman
Cross, with others of the captured crew, on the 4th November 1797, being
released on parole twelve days after his reception.  It is interesting to
note that the witness at this wedding was not another Dutch officer, but
Mr. Joseph Little of Thorpe, in which hamlet Miss Kingston resided.  That
the marriage of his friend was satisfactory to this witness, and that the
intimacy between them was kept up after the liberation of the midshipman
under the Alkmaar Cartel, may be accepted as established by an entry in
the register nine years later of the marriage of Joseph Little of Thorpe
to Mary Roelans, probably the sister of his friend the midshipman
captured on the _Jupiter_.

Mr. Joseph Little remained at home with his Dutch bride, and as far as
can be traced through the complicated connections of the large clan of
Littles, the blood of Roelans still runs in the blood of several of them.
A brother of Mr. Little’s had married a sister of the Miss Kingston who
became the wife of Cadet Roelans, thus creating another link in the
marriage connection of the Dutch Roelans and the Northamptonshire

3.  On the 18th February 1800, Charles Peter Vanderaa married Lucy Rose.
Witnesses to the marriage, J. Ysbrands and James Gibbs.  Mr. Vanderaa was
Lieutenant on a brig-of-war which was captured.  He was received at
Peterborough on parole on 11th June 1798, and was released on 19th
February 1800.  The witness J. Ysbrands was the Captain of the _Courier_,
taken prisoner and received at Peterborough on parole 21st June 1798,
released 19th February 1800 in accordance with the Alkmaar Convention.

4.  After an interval of six months, on 20th August 1800, is the entry of
the marriage of Antoni Staring to Nancy Rose.  Witnesses, E. B. Knogz and
James Gibbs.  The bridegroom was Captain on the _Duyffe_ man-of-war.  He
was received 27th May 1800, released 26th August, having been married on
the day previous.  The witness E. B. Knogz was surgeon on the _Duyffe_,
and was received at Peterborough and released on the same day as the

5.  The fifth marriage of the Dutch prisoners was that of Berthold
Johannas Justin Wyeth to Sarah Wotton.  These marriages were all by
licence and not by banns.  In this case the entry is “Licence with
consent of Parents,” but this by no means implies that the other
marriages took place without such consent; the addition of these words
depended upon the habit of the officiating minister.  The witness was B.
Pletsz.  Mr. Wyeth was 2nd Lieutenant of the _Furie_, and was received on
parole on 19th November 1798.  He was not exchanged under the Alkmaar
Cartel, but remained a prisoner until the 16th October 1801. {208}

As regards the absence of any evidence of the marriage of the French
prisoners and British women, it must be remembered that the vast majority
of the French were Roman Catholics, and that mixed marriages of members
of that Church with Protestants were discouraged by the authorities of
both Churches alike.  There existed also throughout these years a fierce
animosity between the French and the English, and when it is added that
the French Government did not acknowledge the legality of such marriages,
so that in many instances the unfortunate wives when they returned with
their husbands at the close of the war were not allowed to land, we can
understand that almost irresistible pressure would be exercised to
prevent these unions, and that intimacies and flirtations which might
ripen into love would very probably be strongly discouraged.

One instance of an attachment between a French prisoner confined at
Norman Cross and an English girl, and their subsequent marriage, was that
of Jean Marie Philippe Habart to Elizabeth Snow, of Stilton.  In the
prison register we find Jean Habart entered as a sailor, captured off
Calais, 20th June 1803, in _L’Abondance_, a small vessel of ten tons.  He
was put on board _L’Immortalité_, and from her transferred to the prison
ship _Sandwich_; was sent thence to Norman Cross, being received 27th
August 1803.  He acted as baker to Mr. Lindsay, the contractor, and was
discharged on 20th June 1811.  This official statement differs from the
family tradition in two points only: the register says (probably
incorrectly) that he was a sailor, the family that he was only
temporarily on the boat fishing; the register says that he was freed on
20th June 1811, his granddaughter believed that he was freed on the
emptying of the prison in 1814 (the register in this case is doubtless
correct).  His granddaughter’s account is, that M. Jean M. P. Habart was
the son of a gunsmith in a good position in a town on the north coast of
France, and that he was captured while fishing off the coast, and was
imprisoned at Norman Cross.  There, as we learn from the register, not
being a combatant, but a civilian prisoner of war, he was employed as
baker to the contractor.

His future wife, the daughter of a farmer in Stilton, was in the habit of
bringing up the milk bought for the prisoners’ use, and she would
probably have frequent interviews with the contractor’s assistant, and as
her granddaughter says, “she fell in love with him.”  The attachment was
mutual, and when after his release he returned to France, he left his
heart behind him.  During his imprisonment his father had died, leaving
property for his children, {210a} and Jean, when he had realised his
share, returned to England, married Miss Snow, and settled in business,
as a baker and corn merchant, in Stilton.  The years of his imprisonment
had been sweetened by love, but his end was a tragic one.  On 24th
January 1840, forty-three years after he passed through the prison gates
and first saw the hated caserns and fenced courts of Norman Cross, he was
killed within sight of the fields on which they stood.

He was returning from a round, which he had been making to collect money
from his customers, and it is supposed that at an inn in Peterborough he
had shown his well-filled purse, and was followed on the Norman Cross
Road to the spot about three miles from Peterborough, where he was found
with his head battered in and his pockets rifled, his empty purse being
found some time after in an adjacent field. {210b}

Such histories as have been here given from the writer’s long and
intimate knowledge of the locality might doubtless be collected in the
neighbourhood of other prisons, but the danger of assuming that the mere
occurrence of French names in the neighbourhood of a depot “still speak
of the old war time” has already been dealt with in Chap. IV, p. 59,

The parole-breakers who managed to escape, varied from the humblest and
poorest of the non-combatants, who had to pass through many hardships and
trying adventures before securing their freedom, to men in the position
and affluence of General Lefebre, who, in May 1812, accompanied by his
wife, escaped from Cheltenham.  He personated a German count; his wife,
in boy’s clothes, passed for his son, and his aide-de-camp acted as
valet.  They put up at an hotel in Jermyn Street, got a passport, and
reached Dover in style, whence they were conveyed to the French coast.
From France he wrote an insolent letter to the English Government in
justification of his breach of parole.

A slightly different version was that he reached London as a Russian
General Officer, with two aides-de-camp, one of whom was his wife dressed
in military costume; all conversed in German.

The conduct of the officers on parole both as regards the breaking of
their parole and their general orderly behaviour, varied greatly in
different districts, as also did the attitude of the surrounding
population towards the prisoners when they attempted to escape.  A
population which for centuries had been accustomed to receive the
benefits of, and to ignore or assist in, the trade of smuggling, would
view the attempt to escape in a different light to that in which the
quiet agricultural population of the Midlands and East Anglia would
regard it.

The father of the writer, who had seen and heard much of the prisoners of
war during his boyhood in Perth, said that while the British prisoners in
France contrasted unfavourably with the French in England, because they
showed none of the skill and industry which enabled the French to produce
work, by the sale of which they raised large sums of money, the French
displayed a moral inferiority by the frequency with which they broke
their parole, that is, disregarded the pledge given on their word of
honour.  The following return shows that in the three years included in
the table, about one in every ten of the officers of the army and navy
who were on parole broke their pledge.  The proportion cannot be
calculated in the case of other persons of promiscuous occupations, as
the table does not give the total number of the prisoners of this class,
but only the actual number, 218, who broke their parole.

                                                         TRANSPORT OFFICE,
                                                         25_th June_ 1812.

                             IN GREAT BRITAIN

              Total No.     No. that      Been          Effected
              of Com.       broke their   retaken.      escape.
              Off. on       Parole.
Year ending          1,685           104            47            57
5th June
,, ,, ,, ,,          2,087           118            47            71
,, ,, ,, ,,          2,142           242            63           179
                     5,914           462           157           307
Beside the above                     218            85           133
Commissioned Officers,
other French Prisoners,
such as Masters and Mates
of Merchant Vessels,
Captains, 2nd Captains,
and Lieutenants of
Privateers, Civilians
holding situations
connected with the Army
and Navy, Passengers and
other Persons of
respectability, have
broken their Parole in
the three years above
                                     682           242           440

N.B.—The numbers stated in this Account include those Persons only who
have actually absconded from the places appointed for their Residence.

A considerable number of Officers have been ordered into confinement, for
various other breaches of their Parole Engagements.

                       (Signed)  RUP. GEORGE, J. BOWEN, J. DOUGLAS. {213a}

                                * * * * *

There are no records to show that the conduct of those on parole from
Norman Cross, whether they were lodged in the prison or in the
neighbouring towns and villages, was otherwise than that of gentlemen,
and the records of broken parole are very scanty.

The prisoners reported themselves regularly twice a week, as the custom
was, to the agent at Peterborough, when he paid each his allowance; they
kept within bounds, and returned to their lodgings within the prescribed

No such amusing incident is told of any of them, as that told of the
French officer at Jedburgh, who, being an antiquarian, soon exhausted all
places of interest within the circle of one mile radius, beyond which the
country was out of bounds.  Being told of a most interesting building a
little beyond the first milestone from the town, he nobly struggled
against the longing to go beyond that stone, and he was rewarded for his
strict adherence to his “Parole d’honneur,” for an inspiration came to
him, and, borrowing a spade and a wheel-barrow, he laboriously dug up the
milestone, and, putting it into his wheel-barrow, carted it beyond the
spot of his heart’s desire, and, replanting it there, revelled in his
research with unspotted honour. {213b}

Mr. Palmer, who was born in 1812, three years before Waterloo, and lived
on the North Road in a pretty farmhouse at Stibbington, opposite the
first milestone from Wansford, told the writer that when his grandfather
took the farm in 1797, the house was the Wheat Sheaf, a coaching inn,
which came to grief in 1841, killed by the railways, the house being
rechristened The Road Side Farm.  The milestone was the outside limit for
those on parole who were quartered at Wansford (it was more than five
miles from Norman Cross), and Mr. Palmer pointed out the small room which
the prisoners used for smoking and recreation.  His grandmother was
renowned for cooking, and could even please the fastidious taste of the
French officers.  Mr. Palmer’s little baby eyes must often have looked
with wonder at the prisoners, talking in a language he could not
comprehend, and he must have gazed after them with childish curiosity, as
they turned—after a longing look into the forbidden land beyond—to
retrace their steps and reach their lodging within the time prescribed.

One point should be noted, that in searching the records to ascertain the
various regiments quartered at Norman Cross, in order to fix the date of
Macgregor’s plan, it was incidentally found that while the West Kent
Regiment was quartered there in 1813, detachments lay at Peterborough,
Whittlesea, and other neighbouring towns; these were probably for the
purpose of acting if any difficulty arose with the prisoners on parole.
The punishment for breaking parole was, as already mentioned, if the
prisoner were recaptured, very severe.  Not only was the ration allowance
reduced until all expenses incurred in the capture were paid off, but
committal to one of the prisons or to the hulks was also inflicted.

The local histories of various towns where depots for prisoners of war on
parole were established have been consulted with very disappointing
results.  There must be local sources of information in some of the
ninety-one towns enumerated in the footnote at page 192, and any future
writer on the subject of the prisoners of war confined in Britain between
1793–1814 is advised, if he has leisure for research, to seek information
from these districts.  The following condensed notes on the prisoners on
parole at Leek are given as an example of what took place in one of the
towns where facts have been put on record in a local history.
Unfortunately no such record is available for any of the towns in the
Norman Cross district.  It was only within the last fifty years that the
following scanty information was collected and recorded.  Sleigh’s
_History of Leek_ was published in 1862, only forty-seven years after
Waterloo, when Mr. Neau was still alive, and when the children of the few
parole prisoners who settled in Leek when their captivity was at an end
must have been still only middle-aged people, and yet in this first
edition the prisoners are not mentioned.

In 1883 there were published, in _Notes and Queries_, {215a} some
interesting paragraphs dealing with the subject of the prisoners of war,
and these were embodied in the second edition of Sleigh’s _Leek_,
published in 1883. {215b}  From these paragraphs the following condensed
notes are culled.  The officers received all courtesy and hospitality
from the principal inhabitants of the town and neighbourhood.  Those with
good private means used to dine out in full uniform, each with his body
servant stationed behind his chair.  It is also stated that these
prisoners used to go out early and collect snails as a bonne-bouche for
breakfast.  There were some men of mark among them.  Of these, three died
during their captivity, and were buried with many other parole prisoners
in the God’s acre attached to the old church.  There are memorial stones
to Joseph Dobee, Captain of _La Sophie_, ob. 2nd December 1811, æt. 54;
to Chevalier J. Baptiste Mullot, Captain of the 72nd French Regiment, ob.
9th June 1811, æt. 43; and to Charles Luneand, Captain in the French
Navy, ob. 4th March 1822.  The latter officer must have settled in Leek,
the date of his death being seven years after Waterloo.

There are short notes on several others who were on parole at the Depot.
General Brunet, captured at St. Domingo in 1803, his aide-de-camp, his
adjutant, Col. Felix of the Artillery, and Lieut. Devoust of the Navy,
son of the Senator of that name, are mentioned.  There is a note that M.
Bartin, a French naval officer, prisoner on parole about the space of
eleven years, behaved himself extremely well all the time he lived with
us.  John Mien, servant to General Brunet, who was living in his
eighty-fifth year in 1870, as a boy of seven witnessed the execution of
Louis XVI., and heard the drums roll at Santerre’s command to drown the
monarch’s speech.

Several of the parole prisoners married.  M. Salvert, commander in the
navy, married Helen Govstry of Leek Moor.  Jean Toufflet, a sea-captain,
left issue in the town; his widow, _née_ Lorouds, died the 5th February
1870, æt. 84.  M. Chouquet, a sea-captain, left a son living in 1870.
Joseph Vattel, cook to General Brunet, married Sarah Spilsbury.  One,
Vandome, a naval officer and a most excellent linguist, used to render
the English papers into his native tongue for the benefit of his comrades
at the billiard-tables established by the officers.

That the prisoners on parole, like their fellow countrymen in close
confinement, added to their means of living by their industry, is proved
by the note in the history of Leek that there is in existence an old
card, intimating that “James Francis Neau, of Derby Street, sold straw
hats, beautiful straw, ivory and bone fancy articles, made by the French
prisoners,” and many exquisite models of ships and other nick-nacks,
still in existence, testify to the facile talent and marvellously patient
industry of these prisoners.

This Francis Neau was a privateer officer who married a Mary Lees; she
was living in 1870.

There was a remarkable duel.  A Captain Decourbes had been fishing, and,
coming in after curfew bell had tolled at 8 p.m., had to report himself
to Captain Grey, R.N., the Commissary.  He afterwards met a Captain
Robert at the billiard-room at the Black’s Head, who grossly insulted him
and struck him in the face, so that the duel became inevitable.  Neau,
who was present, was deputed to furnish them with firearms; but after
ransacking the town, he could only succeed in borrowing one horse-pistol
from a private in the Yeomanry.  The two met on Balidone Moor at three
the next morning, and tossed for the first shot.  Decourbes won, and hit
his adversary in the breast so that the ball entered at one side and came
out at the other.  Robert, who was previously lame and had come on to the
ground on crutches, then, grievously wounded as he was, gathered himself
up and returned the fire, shooting Decourbes in the nape of the neck.
Lieut. Vird of the 72nd Regiment of Foot acted as Robert’s second; he was
subsequently killed at Waterloo.

They all walked back together to Leek, the two combatants treating their
wounds very lightly; but Decourbes’ wound went wrong, and he died of it
in the course of ten days or a fortnight.

The number of prisoners at Leek never exceeded 200, and they came by
detachments in 1803, 1805, 1809, and 1812, almost all clearing out after
Napoleon’s abdication 5th April 1814.

It will not be forgotten that in the earlier period of the war the
prisoners on parole in various parts of the country were all removed to
Norman Cross; whether any similar change in their condition was
experienced, after the resumption of hostilities in 1803, by the
prisoners out upon their parole, remains a matter of uncertainty.

Passing now to the subject of the Exchange of prisoners, and the chances
that a prisoner at Norman Cross or elsewhere had of obtaining his liberty
by an exchange for an English prisoner of equal rank, it must be borne in
mind that a large number of civilians were in captivity, especially in
the second period of the war.

This practice of taking captive so many civilians in the second period of
the war, 1803–15, was attributed to the British system of seizing all
French vessels of every kind and making their crews captive.  This
practice was adopted as a retaliation for the first act of Buonaparte,
then ruling France as First Consul, when hostilities were resumed in May
1803.  As a reprisal for what he considered the dishonourable action of
two British frigates in seizing in harbour French merchantmen before the
formal declaration of war had reached France, the Consul ordered the
immediate arrest of every British subject between the age of eighteen and
sixty who happened to be in France at that time, thus throwing 10,000
peaceable travellers and others into captivity.

Wellington, replying 4th September 1813 to an application from Mr. J. S.
Larpent requesting the General to obtain his release from captivity,

    “In this war, which on account of the violence of animosity with
    which it is conducted, it is to be hoped will be the last, for some
    time at least, everybody taken is considered a prisoner of war, and
    none are released without exchange.  There are several persons, now
    in _my_ power, in the same situation as yourself in that respect,
    that is to say, non-combatants according to the known and anciently
    practised rules of war; among others there is the secretary of the
    Governor of San Sebastian. . . .” {218}

Such being the spirit of the war, negotiations for exchange continually
fell through.

In the early period it was the want of good faith on the part of the
French, and the unfairness with which the exchange was conducted by them,
that on more than one occasion put a stop to the general exchange which
was going on.  Thus in 1798, when a general exchange had been arranged,
and the Depot at Norman Cross was rapidly emptying, the _Samaritan_
cartel took 201 French prisoners to France, but returned with only 71
British.  The _Britannia_ carried over 150, and 450 were conveyed by two
other cartels; the three returned without a single British prisoner.  The
captains of the vessels were told that there were no British prisoners to
return, and they were ordered to sea at once, regardless of wind or

During the early negotiations a return was furnished to show what had
been the result of the general exchange up to the date when fresh
arrangements were to be made, and it appeared that 6,056 British
prisoners had been received from France, while she had received from the
British 16,334, including 4,986 captured at Martinique and Guadeloupe.
On 19th March 1798 by the fresh exchange France had received 12,543,
Britain only 5,045, leaving a balance of 7,498 due to England.  The
earliest prisoners to be exchanged from Norman Cross left on 24th August
1797, only four months after the first prisoners had been received there.
The contingent was sent to Lynn; it numbered 305, and consisted of 7
captains of privateers, 4 sergeants, 6 corporals, 148 soldiers, 127
seamen and 7 boys, and 6 not specified.  They sailed in the _Rosine_,
which had brought the same number of British to England.

The article of the agreement providing that the prisoners for exchange
were not to be selected, but were to be taken according to the priority
of their capture, was afterwards modified, so as to select the aged, the
infirm, such as were not seamen, and boys under twelve years of age!
Amid all the bickering and obstinacy on both sides in the negotiations as
to the treatment and exchange of the prisoners, there is one instance
which shows that the chivalrous spirit of the French was not dead.

In March 1797 M. Charretie, the French Commissary in England, enclosed a
list of thirty-six British seamen to be released without exchange for
their humanity in rescuing and aiding the crew of a French vessel bearing
the appropriate name of _Les Droits de l’Homme_.

Although it was a traffic strictly forbidden, some of the prisoners sold
their turn of exchange to their more wealthy comrades, the purchaser
assuming the name of the vendor, and vice versa.  If detected, the vendor
forfeited his rights of exchange, and was kept a prisoner until the end
of the war.  Notwithstanding this regulation, it was said that one man
had contrived to carry on these transactions from 1797 to 13th January
1800 without detection.  This voluntary prolongation of the imprisonment
surely helps to prove the falsity of the statements of the French as to
the treatment of the prisoners by the British.

This practice of personating a fellow prisoner was carried out
occasionally under more tragic conditions.

In the course of the investigations to establish the facts of the
epidemic of 1800–01, a certificate was found with the name François le
Fevre crossed out, and the name of Bernard Batrille substituted, with a
note that the name of François le Fevre was assumed by Batrille when he
entered the hospital to die of consumption.  This was, doubtless, not the
sole instance of such practices among the prisoners.  A prisoner high up
in the list for exchange, who knew that he was dying, would, when about
to enter the hospital, for a sum of money or from friendship, exchange
his current number and his name with another man low down in the list,
the dying man, if this was done for payment, thus securing a sum of money
for his heirs in France, and the other increasing his chance of release
by exchange.

The case of Le Fevre and Batrille would have escaped detection, but for
the special investigation made by Captain Woodriff to establish the
identity of those who had died in the epidemic unrecognised.  The
investigation led to the identification among the living prisoners of
François le Fevre, who had been personating Batrille, since he entered
the hospital, and had died, and was buried in the name of the former man.

During the first period of the war, 1793–1802, exchange went on, with
interruptions from the causes mentioned.  The prisoners passed in a
sluggish stream through Norman Cross, but so sluggish that many of them
were there, confined or out on parole, during the whole five years.
Notwithstanding the exchange the prisons were at times greatly
overcrowded, and in 1801, when the French army in Egypt surrendered to
Abercrombie, such was the burden of prisoners that no attempt was made to
claim the troops as captives, but they were transported in British ships
to France.

During the second period of the war negotiations for exchange completely
failed.  In April 1810, when there were about 10,000 British prisoners in
France, and 50,000 French in Britain, Mr. Mackenzie was sent by the
British Ministry to treat for a general exchange, the main condition in
the British proposal being that for every French prisoner returned to
France, a British prisoner of equal rank should be returned to Britain;
that this should go on until the whole of the British prisoners were
restored; and after that was accomplished, the British Government would
continue the restoration of the French, on the understanding that France
on her part returned to his native country, man for man, one of the
prisoners of Britain’s allies—_i.e._ a Spanish or Portuguese of equal
rank with the French prisoner handed over by Britain.

To this the French Emperor would not agree; he insisted that the British
and their allies should be reckoned as one army, and that for four
Frenchmen released from the British prisons and returned to France, only
one British subject should be returned to England, and three other
prisoners of various nationalities restored to their respective
Governments.  On this plan, if the negotiations fell through while the
exchange was going on, say, when it was half way through, France would
have got back from Britain 20,000 of her veterans, England would have
received only 5,000 Britons, the balance, 15,000, being a rabble of
Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian levies of practically no value, and this
contention Buonaparte held to, although it was his opinion expressed a
few years later “that while as a fighting unit, you might set against
_one_ Frenchman _one_ Englishman, you would require _two_ Prussian,
Dutch, or soldiers of the Confederation.”

Buonaparte, referring to the failure of these negotiations, accounted for
his firmness by his want of faith in the British, and his conviction that
when they got their 10,000 countrymen back, they would find some excuse
to stop the further exchange.  Could we, on our part, after the unfair
conduct of the exchanges, in the early part of the war, instances of
which with the Norman Cross prisoners have been given, rely on the French
Government carrying out in good faith even its own scheme, which on the
face of it showed a disregard of British rights. {222}  The negotiations
fell through, and the great bulk of the prisoners at Norman Cross had to
drag out their weary life until the abdication of Buonaparte and his
retirement to Elba in 1814.



    Oh, to be in England,
    Now that April’s there,
    And whoever wakes in England
    Sees, some morning unaware,
    That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf,
    Round the Elm tree bole are in tiny leaf,
    While the Chaffinch sings in the orchard bough,
    In England—now.


IT has been necessary in the preceding chapters to allude occasionally to
the English prisoners in France, and a short chapter on their experiences
may be deemed not irrelevant to the scheme of this little history.  The
author having in his boyhood been personally acquainted with the Rev.
John Hopkinson, Rector of Alwalton, near Peterborough, who had been, from
February 1804 to April 1814, a prisoner of war in France, will avail
himself of the kind permission of this gentleman’s son, the Rev. W.
Hopkinson, J.P., of Sutton Grange, Northamptonshire, and commence the
chapter with a narrative of his experiences which Mr. J. Hopkinson had
himself written, and which was found among his papers after his death in

The prison at Verdun, where Mr. Hopkinson was confined at times closely,
at others on parole, was occupied by the subjects of Great Britain and
her allies, the British being the great majority.  The prisoners were of
the same class as those who were allowed on parole in Britain and who
were distributed either in special prisons such as Norman Cross or in
parties, which might vary from a few units to 300 or more, in one of the
towns enumerated in the footnote, Chapter X, p. 192.

Mr. Hopkinson was the son of the vicar of Morton, near Bourne in
Lincolnshire.  He was born in 1782 within three miles of the home of
Hereward the Wake, and early in life he showed that he was endowed with
some of that hero’s spirit—a spirit too adventurous for the quiet
parsonage.  After various experiences, commencing with his following as a
child a recruiting party, and joining it as a drummer boy, he entered His
Majesty’s service on the 5th March 1803 as a cadet (first-class
volunteer) on board the frigate _Hussar_.  This vessel, after some
brushes with the enemy while cruising in the Mediterranean, was wrecked
off the Isle of Saints on the Coast of France.  Mr. Hopkinson’s
experiences in this misfortune and up to the date of his entering Verdun
are given in his own words, while a brief biography added by his widow
brings the narrative up to the date of his release after the first
abdication of Buonaparte, and his arrival in England in April 1814,
simultaneously with the evacuation of Norman Cross to be described in the
next chapter.

    “Monday night, February 6th, 1804, weighed from Ares Bay near Ferrol,
    bound to England with despatches, made sail and worked out of Ferrol
    Bay.  Tuesday, Fresh breezes for the best part of the day from the
    Rd.  Wednesday the 8th—At noon by account Ushant bore from us N. 24
    Lat: distant 109 miles, towards the Evening the breeze died away and
    became variable, but sprung up from the Southward and Westward at 6
    o’clock.  At 8 o’clock P.M. Ushant distant 50 miles, went on deck to
    keep my watch, the ship steering N.E. by E. by the Captain’s orders,
    who had also left orders to be called at 12 o’clock.  The breeze
    continued, freshening considerably till 10 o’clock, when I was
    obliged to leave the deck to attend the Gunner in transporting
    powder, which duty we were on the point of finishing at 11.30, when
    the ship struck with great violence, put the lights out immediately
    and got on deck as soon as possible, where we found every person
    struck with terror, it being the general opinion, that the violent
    shock which they had felt proceeded from the powder magazine and
    expecting every moment to be their last; but when relieved from this
    dreadful impression by our appearing on deck, they immediately let go
    the small bower anchor and proceeded to take in sail.

    “It appears that at the time the ship struck she was going between 8
    and 9 knots, which hurried her on the rocks with such violence, that
    the tiller was carried away, the rudder unhung from the stern post,
    and a great hole made somewhere under the starboard bow, and after
    beating over the reef, the ship was running on an immense rock, which
    was prevented by the letting go of the anchor.  As soon as the sails
    were furled we manned the pumps, and found the ship made at the rate
    of 15 feet water per hour.  At 12, on the turning of the tide, the
    ship tailed on the rocks and struck with dreadful violence at times:
    let go the best bower anchor, scuttled the spirit room bulkhead to
    clear the water from aft.  Fired minute guns and rockets at times,
    with the signal of distress: discovered a light on our starboard
    beam, a small island, but no one on board knew for a certainty where
    we were, employed all night at the pumps, and clearing away booms to
    get spars out to shore the ship up, as also to be in readiness to get
    the boats out if requisite.

    “At 6 a.m. daylight discovered to us our situation, that we were upon
    a reef of rocks, extending from the island of Saints Westward in to
    the Atlantic, ‘_Hinc atque hinc vastœ rupes_’ at a distance of half a
    mile from the island.  Got the shores out on the starboard side,
    lowered the cutter, and sent the master to sound for a passage among
    the innumerable rocks with which we were perfectly surrounded.  At 7
    the ship had gained one foot on the pumps, and during the last hour
    had 3 ft. 8 inches water in the hold, at 8 the master returned, and
    had only found a narrow passage with 10 feet water in the deepest
    part, which report together with every appearance of an approaching
    gale from the S.W. confirmed the opinion already formed, that we were
    precluded from every means of saving the ship.  In consequence of
    which Capt. W. ordered the third division of seamen, and all the
    marines to land, and take possession of the island, in order to
    secure a retreat, and, if possible, the means of escape from the
    enemy.  Got the boats out and landed the force above mentioned, being
    given to understand by the Gunner, who pretended to know the place,
    that it was a Military Station, and consequently, that we should meet
    with some resistance; but on arriving at the town found it only
    occupied by a few fishermen.  Took possession of the church and made
    use of it as barracks for our ship’s company, whom we were occupied
    landing all the remaining part of the day, the current running with
    such rapidity between the rocks, that it was with the greatest
    difficulty and danger the boats could go to and fro.  This was
    however happily effected without any accident; landed also three
    days’ provisions: ‘_Tum celerem corruptam undis cerealiaque arma

    “The wind all this day very boisterous from the S.W. with heavy rain,
    and every symptom of an approaching gale.  Towards dusk, mustered the
    ship’s company, put them all into the Church and placed sentries over
    them, patrol’d the island all night, employed all the forenoon in
    burning the remnants of the ship, and fitting 13 sail of fishing
    boats, besides our Captain’s barge for our departure for England: the
    Captain’s boat distinguished by the Union Jack being destined to lead
    the way, and the other boats being formed into three divisions,
    commanded by the three Lieuts. with distinguishing names to follow in
    due order, the wind being fresh from the S.W.

    “I may now begin to speak on a smaller scale, and only mention the
    proceedings of our own boat, with occasional remarks concerning the
    others.  At noon, made sail from the Island, scudding under a fore
    and main sail alternately.  At 4, finding the wind heading us fast,
    hauled on a wind to endeavour to keep off shore as much as possible,
    in order to get on the Beniquet if necessary, most of the other boats
    being in sight, the Captain’s just perceptible ahead.  At 6, strong
    gales and squally, with rain and a tremendous heavy sea.  Observed
    the Hay stacks on our lee beam: at 6.30, observed the oars and
    rowlock of the Captain’s barge floating to leeward which made us
    fear, ‘_fraguntur remi_,’ that he had perished.  At 7, passed to
    leeward of the Parquet, which was very perceptible by the roaring and
    breaking of the sea, which was awful in the extreme.

    “At 9, finding we could not weather St. Matthew’s, Mr. B. and the
    commanding Officer, ‘_O socii passi graviora_,’ of the boat addressed
    the crew, to consult concerning the best means of saving their lives,
    when it was unanimously decided to bear up for Brest, a dire, but
    unavoidable alternative.  Employed continually pumping and baling the
    boat, over which the seas were continually breaking.  At 10.30, spoke
    one of our boats, which was laying broadside to the seas dismasted,
    but could not give her any assistance.  At 11 were hailed by the
    batteries, did not answer, but hauled close to the land; they fired
    at us several times, but without effect.

    “At 11.30 ran alongside a line of Battle ship which caused an
    immediate uproar on board of her.  They threw us a rope, but no one
    could hold it, on account of the cold and numbed state of all on
    board.  The ship (which proved to be the _Foudroyant_) immediately
    manned her boat, and boarded us, and when the Officer understood who
    we were, he took us out of our boat, which he left moored to a buoy,
    and put us on board of _L’Indienne_ frigate, the tide running too
    strong to regain his own ship.  We were uncommonly well treated on
    board, one of the Mids made me change my clothes, and they gave us
    every refreshment in their power, after which I fell asleep till 3
    a.m., when I was called to go on board the _Foudroyant_, the ship to
    which we had first surrendered.  Here the Captain behaved to us in a
    handsomer way than we had any right to expect, giving up his own
    cabin for our use, furnishing us with linen, and every delicacy he
    had to offer.  Got up at 6 and walked the deck with the French
    midshipmen, who gave me to understand that our countrymen had been
    coming in the harbour at all hours of the night, and they also told
    me that our boat had gone to the bottom.  After breakfast with the
    Capt. he expressed the greatest concern at being obliged to send us
    on board the Flagship.  We accordingly at 10 o’clock left him,
    impressed with the highest sense of his humanity and generosity.

    “On our arrival on board the Flagship we had the inexpressible
    pleasure of meeting with a great many of our shipmates, of whose fate
    till then we were totally ignorant.  After dining on board, we were
    all ordered on shore to be confined in the hospital, until the will
    of the Minister of War should be known.  When in the Hospital we were
    mustered and found that the following were missing, Capt. W. and his
    crew making altogether 12, whom some seamen affirmed to have seen
    sink, which statement was partly corroborated by our having seen his
    oars.  Mr. Gordon, midshipman and his crew, 15 in number, who, when
    last seen, were a long way to windward, and Mr. Thomas the En. who
    was drowned in landing.  The next day to our great astonishment Mr.
    Gordon and his crew joined us and gave us slight reasons to hope that
    Capt. W. had reached the Beniquet.

O’BRIEN.      SUTTON.       VINE.        GRAHAM.

    “During the next week we were visited by the Commissary of War, who
    told us that the Minister of War had given orders for our being
    removed to Verdun, and advised us to prepare as much as possible for
    our march to that place; he also had the goodness to send us a banker
    who gave money for bills on the Government, a thing that was very
    acceptable, as by the length of time we had been at sea all our
    Lieuts. had some pay due, and they supplied the Midshipmen with small
    sums, which, added to the allowance of the French, 1_s._ 3_d._ _per
    diem_, might enable us to travel very comfortably.

    “On the 17th we were told to hold ourselves in readiness to march the
    next morning at daylight.  We consequently were drawn up in the
    hospital yard the next morning to the number of 264—21 of whom were
    officers, the rest seamen.  ‘_Unus absit._’  We left Brest at 7 a.m.
    escorted by a strong guard of infantry and about twenty horsemen.
    The morning was fine and pleasant.  After marching about two hours we
    came to the summit of a hill, whence we had a fine view of Brest
    harbour and roads, with the adjacent coast, bounded by the Atlantic,
    on which, at about the distance of 15 miles, we could plainly see our
    whole Channel Fleet standing in, under easy sail—this sight,
    mortifying as it was, became still more so, by the jeerings of the
    French Soldiery, which, to his credit be it spoken, were repressed as
    much as possible by the Officer who conducted us.  About 1 p.m.
    reached Landernau, a small town, distant from Brest about 5 leagues.
    We went on in this way till the 24th, when our escort was relieved by
    another of a similar kind at St. Brieux, a small seaport town.  The
    officer on leaving us, requested us to give him a paper testifying
    his good treatment of us, to which we readily assented, his behaviour
    to us having been uniformly kind.

    “To repeat every day’s march would be useless, suffice it to say,
    that after passing thro’ Rennes, Alençon, Versailles, St. Cloud, St.
    Denis, within a mile of Paris, and divers other places of less note,
    we arrived at Verdun on Sunday, March 25th, having marched a distance
    of 204 leagues.”

Mr. Hopkinson, when liberated; did not continue in the service, but went
to Clare College, was ordained, became Precentor of Peterborough
Cathedral, and later Rector of Alwalton (about three miles from Norman
Cross), where he died in 1853.  The following note was added to the
prisoner’s own account by his widow:

    “And here with this interesting account of his shipwreck and the
    consequent imprisonment of himself and shipmates, the narrative
    ceases, and all that can be told of the eleven years’ captivity must
    be imperfect.  But, young and full of energy, after the first trial
    it was a time of mixed pain and pleasure.  From the age of fifteen to
    twenty-five is not often the period of despondency.  He formed during
    this time friendships and attachments which only ceased with life:
    and be it observed the circle which was bound together so closely,
    was composed entirely of those of honour and principle.  While there
    were unfortunately very many who by their conduct were a disgrace to
    their country, this small knot of friends to whom he belonged, who
    shared each other’s purse and each other’s poverty, left in France a
    reputation unsullied.

    “Many years after when he visited, under such different
    circumstances, these scenes of his youth with his brother, he was
    received everywhere with a warmth of affection and respect affecting
    to witness.  The friendships formed at this period under mutual
    hardships and privations were very lasting and peculiar; each saw the
    other without disguise and selfishness—that bane of worldly
    friendship could not exist, where all had the same privations.  He
    would tell of times, when penniless, he positively was without food,
    and the means of procuring it, till he and his friend, both good
    fishermen, procured a meal by fishing in the Meuse.  Many were the
    anecdotes they would relate when meeting under what seemed happier
    circumstances.  There were times when they heard nothing of home or
    England for a length of time.  On one occasion on the arrival of
    fresh prisoners, one of them unloosing his cravat, let fall a piece
    of newspaper, which he had wrapped in it to stiffen it; how anxiously
    was it snatched up by those poor captives.  In this piece of waste
    paper he read of some promotion to his brother in his profession when
    only to know that he lived was joy unspeakable.

    “He always spoke well of the French in general: it is true and must
    have been mortifying, they were on some occasions led out to be gazed
    at by the populace, as kind of trophies, and when Nelson died, their
    grief was embittered by the jeerings of the vulgar, ‘Votre Nelson est
    mort’—such is the fate of prisoners of war—but as a body he always
    said they were a kind people.

    “At the return of peace in 1814, hailed and welcomed as it was in
    every quarter of the globe, what must have been the joy of him, who
    had passed inactive wearisome years separated from his native land!
    The long march homeward was never wearisome.  Arrived in London, he
    repaired to the Hotel, where his brother was expecting him.  He had
    just stepped out.  Anxious and excited my husband went out too,
    hoping to find him: in the meantime his brother returned, and being
    told of his arrival, awaited him on the step of the door.  When he
    came back, the foreign look and dress at once assured his brother
    that it was himself, and he stood in his way.  Impatient at an
    impediment to entering the house, he hastily begged him to step
    aside, when the words, ‘John, do you not know me?’ told him he had
    found his brother.  Both were so changed that they should not have
    known each other.  How often, and with ever new delight, did he
    recall this meeting!

    “He returned home, and tho’ much, very much had happened to cloud his
    happiness, the feeling of liberty so long unknown, was in his heart!
    He brought home, not only from his own superior Officers, but also
    from those of the French, testimonials of good conduct, having most
    rigidly preserved his parole, tho’ with a fair chance of escape often
    urged to break it, and having suffered by close imprisonment for the
    breach of it in others.”

Mr. Hopkinson, during his imprisonment at Verdun, kept a register of his
fellow prisoners, and in his later years he filled in as far as he could
the after history of his prison comrades.  This, being probably a unique
document, is, by the kind permission of his son Mr. W. Hopkinson,
reproduced in the appendix. {232}  From this register it will be seen it
was not only the French prisoners at Leek and elsewhere who fought duels.
Four deaths from fatal wounds received in these affairs of honour are
recorded.  The duel, one hundred years ago, was the customary and
generally acknowledged method of settling questions of honour, libels,
etc., which are now in this country settled in the law courts.  As Mrs.
Hopkinson says in her note, the naval cadet never broke his parole, but
on three occasions when held captive, not by his word of honour, but by
bars and bolts, his respect for these did not prevent his attempting to
escape; for the first attempt he was confined in a cell for one month,
for his second attempt two months, and for his third, three.

Thirty-eight years after the termination of the war, Mr. Hopkinson
thought he would take his son to Verdun, to the spot where he, the lad’s
father, had spent ten years of what should have been the best period of
his life.  He found the chamber in which he had been confined unaltered,
and utilised as a barrack room.  Examining a bar in one of the windows,
he showed his son a cut three parts through it.

    “That,” said Mr. Hopkinson, “was made by me and some comrades with a
    file made from a watch-spring more than forty years ago, when we were
    on the eve of an attempt to escape.  We had almost finished cutting
    the bar, and a little midshipman was in the act of coiling the rope
    which one of our party had managed to secure from the well in the
    barrack yard, when the tread of the guard was heard coming to our
    room; the poor little midshipman dropped it, making sure that he
    would be killed.  The steps came nearer, and another of the party,
    quick as lightning and with the skill of a seaman, coiled it in the
    high earthen pitcher-shaped jar, in which was our supply of water.
    Hardly had he finished, when the guard entered and looked round, for
    the rope had been missed; they searched in the bedding, but not in
    the jar, and we escaped detection.”

This sketch of a young naval cadet’s experiences at Verdun represents, no
doubt, fairly faithfully what was going on at Norman Cross, and in many
another part of England, in those days of the terrible war. {233}

Before quitting Verdun, we may mention that it was not the only town
where English prisoners were confined.  They were also at Amiens,
Auxonne, Dunkirk, Saumur, Tangiers, Tours, Vitré, Givet, Saarlouis, and
other places.

For those guilty of misconduct, breach of parole, or attempts at escape,
the subterranean dungeons at the Fortress of Bitche were reserved.  If
the accounts of the lives of French prisoners in England are scanty,
those of the British in France are meagre in the extreme, being confined
principally to short notices of the _détenus_ in Verdun, generally
well-to-do people, and naval and military officers, who were fairly well
treated.  As to the prisoners in general we read:

    “The distress under which the British seamen suffered in France was
    excessive.  The scanty pittance allowed each man daily consisted of a
    small square piece of bullock’s liver, a slice of black bread, and a
    glass of new brandy.  Had it not been for the relief they received
    from the Patriotic Fund, forwarded to them through a private channel,
    many of them must have perished from want.

    “The object of the French, in treating our seamen with such
    inhumanity in this respect, was to make them dissatisfied with their
    own Government, by inducing a belief that they were neglected by it,
    and thus to tempt them to enter the French service.  Numerous were
    the offers made to them for that purpose, which, to the honour of our
    brave but unfortunate tars, were usually rejected with contempt and

    “They resolved to perish, rather than prove traitors to their

The following extract from a letter from Lieutenant Tucker, who was
captured with Captain Woodriff, gives a brief and good description of the
life of a prisoner of his position:

    “Lieutenants were allowed 56 francs a month from the French
    Government, which just paid their lodging.  No cause to complain of
    indulgence, allowed to walk or ride 6 miles in every direction,
    provided they were in before the shutting of the town gates at 9
    o’clock at night.  Captains were obliged to sign their names every 5
    days, Lieutenants once a day, all other prisoners twice a day.  No
    other restrictions, could lodge where they pleased, and as they
    liked.  There was a first class of society, very good, but very
    extravagant; they are chiefly people of fortune, who were detained
    when travelling at the commencement of the war.  The senior naval
    English officer was Captain Gower, late of the _Shannon_, then
    Captain Woodriff and 5 others, besides 38 Lieutenants.

    “There were 2 clubs, where there were all the French, and sometimes
    the English newspapers: in short, if a prisoner has health, he may
    spend his time pleasantly enough.

    “There is no society between the English and French; the latter are a
    few Military, and tradesmen, who had made their fortunes by the
    extravagance of Englishmen since the war.”

A fairly reliable picture of the life at Verdun may be gathered from a
comedy in two acts, called _The Prisoner of War_, by Douglas Jerrold,
produced at Drury Lane in 1812; the scene of the play is laid at Verdun.
Making allowance for dramatic licence, the situations are probably fairly
accurately described from the recollection of people known to the author.
There is the competition among landlords for prisoner lodgers, there is
the Jew money-lender who fattens on them, there are the breaches of
regulations, the escapes and punishments at the Fortress of Bitche, the
latter corresponding to the hulks at Chatham for delinquents in England.

From various detached sources we obtain other fragmentary glances of
Verdun, and learn that only British were confined there, the Austrians
and Prussians being at Chalons.  As late as 1805 ordinary sailors were
also confined there, as it is recorded that a party managed to escape to
England in May of that year.

In the latter part of the same year a party of 150 were removed from
Verdun to Valenciennes.  “The march took eight days.  The _real
gentlemen_ were allowed on parole; the _négociants_, or merchants, were
confined.”  The best account is from the portfolio of a _détenu_,
published in 1810.  One quotation must suffice:

    “The number of prisoners of war at Verdun has generally amounted to
    400, consisting chiefly of naval officers and masters of
    merchant-ships, and including a few officers of the Army, who had
    been shipwrecked on the French coast, and some passengers who had
    been taken on their voyage from the East Indies.  Add to these some
    common seamen, who, instead of being sent to Givet or Saarlouis, the
    usual depots for sailors, were permitted to remain at Verdun at the
    intercession of any persons of respectability who would take them
    into their service.”

There is another brief account by James Forbes, a member of the Society
of Antiquaries, who was detained for some months.  Beyond the fact that
he was a prisoner in the town, and had to answer the daily roll-call, his
lot was not a hard one.  By the interest of Sir Joseph Banks, the “Savant
Anglais” was released.

His book is valuable as giving the text of the release forms, etc.  As
throwing light on the lot of the rank and file of the army and the
ordinary seamen, information has been culled from the article, “Prisoners
of War,” published in _Chambers’ Journal_, 1854.  This article deals
shortly with the treatment and conduct of the British prisoners in
France.  The writer says that on the long march into the interior they
were often treated cruelly and harshly, occasionally handcuffed; they
were escorted by soldiers of the line, the character of their treatment
depending, naturally, greatly upon the officer in command.  This writer
confirms the dietary mentioned already.  The prisoners were paid by the
French Government a sou and a half (not quite three farthings) a day;
this was supplemented by a penny a day from a fund raised by public
subscription in England, the masters and mates of merchantmen
participating in this small but welcome addition to their subsistence.
In accordance with the directions of Othello quoted on our title page, we
must quote from the article the remarks on the conduct of our countrymen
in captivity.

    “Brandy and spirits being cheap, the Britishers often got intoxicated
    and gave endless troubles to the incensed officials.  Their conduct
    was that of the proverbial, reckless British seaman.  They did no
    work, but spent their time in playing rough games of every
    description, singing, speechifying, fighting, drinking, and taunting
    and defying the French, Frog-eating Mounseers, all and sundry, who,
    by the way, often made them rue their rough pranks.  Insubordination
    was commonly punished by separate confinement with bread and water,
    and worst of all, and unendurable to English Jack, a total
    deprivation of tobacco. . . .  Any personal assault on the soldiers
    or the gendarmes was a most serious offence, the punishment of death
    being assigned to the striking a gendarme.  In some instances this
    terrible and outrageous penalty was actually carried into effect.”

It will be in the recollection of the reader that the British Government
provided the clothing of their subjects who were captives in a foreign
prison of war.  The dress is described by the author of the article in
_Chambers’ Journal_ as a gray jacket and trousers and a straw hat; it
contrasted favourably with the suit of many colours in which our
Government clad their French prisoners.

In the paragraphs in which the article deals with the British prisoners
in Denmark, the anonymous writer shows a sympathy with Denmark which may
account for the severe language in which he deals with the British
prisoners in that country.  In describing their gambling propensities and
consequent moral depravity he uses almost the actual words used by
Captain Woodriff and others when they described Les Misérables and their
class in the English prisons.

Possibly some future searcher in the bypaths of history may take up the
subject of British prisoners of war in the countries of their captors,
and we may hope that the result of his researches will form a picture of
our countrymen more agreeable to the British eye than that depicted by
the writer in _Chambers’ Journal_. {238}


1814—DEMOLISHED, 1816

    Joyous presage of ultimate bliss
       For the heart long depressed by vain yearning;
    Timely token of pardon—the kiss
       That reviveth Faith’s innermost burning;
    Peace prevailing o’er War’s artifice,
       Love o’er Hate, and delight over Mourning.

                                          NORMAN HILL, _Lingering Winter_.

WITH what feverish anxiety must the occupants of the courts and caserns
of Norman Cross have listened to the garbled accounts of the progress of
the war which reached their ears towards the close of the eighteenth and
the dawn of the nineteenth centuries.  How their hopes must have been
raised when they heard of the defeat of the Austrians by Moreau at
Hohenlinden, of the sudden crossing of the Alps by their hero Buonaparte,
his swoop on to another Austrian army and its defeat at Marengo.  When
they learned that in 1800 Austria had signed a Treaty of Peace with
France (The Treaty of Lunéville, Feb. 1801) and that England was left to
fight single-handed, they must have thought delivery extremely near.  To
cheer them further would come the news of the alliance of Russia,
Denmark, Sweden, and Prussia to constitute “the armed neutrality,” which
though not actually at war with Great Britain, was formed to check her
progress and paralyse her navy.  The time when the French Army would have
England under its foot and the prison doors would be thrown open must be
close at hand.

Then would come to discourage them, and to dash their happy anticipations
to the ground, the news of Abercrombie’s victory at Alexandria, and the
defeat and surrender of the French Army of Egypt in March of the same
year.  This would be followed rapidly by the report that Nelson had in
April attacked the Danish Fleet at Copenhagen, destroying or capturing
the greater part of it, and thus breaking up the Armed Neutrality. {240}
The more astute of the prisoners may have seen that a pause in the
hostilities must come, but after five years’ confinement within a fence
enclosing two and a half acres of ground, despair must have prevailed and
almost drowned hope.  France’s prospect of defeating Britain in the
Mediterranean was slight, and on the other hand England, having taken
almost all the French colonies, and being compelled to hold them,
although supreme on the sea, had no army with which to attack France
itself.  Even though the news reached Norman Cross that in October 1801
the preliminaries of a treaty of peace had been signed, the prisoners
could feel no certainty that these would come through the troublesome
negotiations which must follow, and that peace would actually be

Therefore when at length the Treaty of Peace was signed at Amiens in
Picardy on 27th March 1802, and the news reached the captives, it was
received with frantic demonstrations of joy.  The great uncertain terror
had gone; captivity was at an end; France, Holland, Spain, with parents,
wives, children, sweethearts, and all they loved, were in sight.  At once
preparations for departure were made: the prisoners forced the sale of
their manufactures, they drew out their money, and got together their
various belongings ready to leave at the first chance.  The prisoners’
joy was unbounded, and left no room for a disturbing thought or feeling;
but great as was the sense of relief to the British nation at large,
there was much dissatisfaction as to the terms of the Treaty, and
naturally the storekeepers and prison officials, suddenly thrown out of
employment, had a dash of bitterness in their cup.

   [Picture: Plate XIX.—Facsimile of Order from Board of Transport, 9th
   April 1802, to Captain Holditch, Owner and Master of Cartel “Argo”]

After Amiens the Government took instant steps to relieve the country of
the expense and responsibility of the prisoners, the object being to get
the prison empty and the establishment closed at the first possible
moment.  Immediately after the signature of peace, cartels to carry 2,600
prisoners were chartered at Norman Cross.  The Admiralty allowed 15_s._
6_d._ per man as payment for conveying the prisoners to France.  A
facsimile of the order to Captain Holditch, Master of the _Argo_, is, by
the kind permission of his grandson, Mr. Share of Truro, here reproduced,
and it will be seen that it is dated only twelve days later than the
Treaty of Peace. {241}

The number of captives at Norman Cross was at that time very low, about
half the number of those confined at the time of the second clearance,
twelve years later.  They left in four detachments, the first 1,000
strong, the second 1,040, the third 600, the last 100.  With what joy did
they take that journey, cheered on their way by the good wishes of the
country folk, even if they did shout “Good-bye, Froggies!”  This return
of 3,100, as the number of those confined at Norman Cross on 27th March
1802, indicates the difference in the matter of exchange during the first
period of the war, 1793–1802, and the second, 1803–14.  In this second
period there was no steady outflow from the prisons to keep down the
numbers, and they were ever filling with the captives sent in by
Wellington and others.

On 29th April 1802 the prison was emptied, and although the Government
had not sufficient confidence in the permanence of the peace entirely to
dismantle the Depot, it was ordered that while all stoves, ranges, and
grates, with the large iron boilers, were to remain until further orders,
the copper boilers were to be sold, lamps and lamp irons were to be
securely locked up, the furniture to be delivered to the barrack master,
the hammocks to be sold at 1_s._ 3_d._ each, the coverlets at the best
price obtainable, and as the barrack master refused to take the soil
carts, these also were to be disposed of for what they would fetch. {242}
All books, letters, papers, etc., were to be sent to the Transport Office
in London.

The net proceeds of the sale amounted to £757 4_s._ 10_d._, to which must
be added £15 for old store at the Port of Lynn.  In the _Stamford
Mercury_ of the 17th September 1802 appeared the following advertisement:

                         NORMAN CROSS-BARRACKS TO LET

    “Sixteen large buildings, lately occupied as prisons, with sundry
    convenient buildings thereto belonging; with square yards, comprising
    about an acre of land in each, with good wells in the centre, and a
    quantity of land round the prisons fit for grazing sheep, etc.  Also
    sundry good dwellings, comprising Turnkeys’ lodges, stewards’ rooms,
    also two good houses lately occupied by the superintendents, well
    calculated for small families—may be viewed by applying to Mr.
    Henderson, Auctioneer, New Inn, Norman Cross.”

In their instructions to the auctioneer, the Government made conditions
that the tenants were to keep the buildings in repair, and to deliver
them up on three months’ notice if required.  The property does not read
in the advertisement as one that there would be a rush for.

The landlord of the Old Bell Inn, still in the glory of the coaching and
posting days, apparently treated for the wooden building, containing the
two houses occupied one by Captain Woodriff the agent and the other by
the steward and another officer, the rental of Captain Woodriff’s house
to be £12 and that adjoining £10; but even at that rent he did not close.

In January 1803 the whole was let to Mr. Henderson, on condition that he
lived on the premises, the barrack master keeping one key of the great
gate.  Mr. Henderson paid an extra sum of £10 for Captain Woodriff’s
house, which he probably wished to fit up either for his own residence or
for the man whom he proposed to leave in charge when he was in London
attending to another business which he had there; he also agreed to level
the huts, which are not represented on any of the plans, and to sow the
ground covered by them with grass seeds.

His tenancy lasted only six months.  Hostilities recommenced in May 1803,
and on 3rd July Henderson had to hand over everything to two clerks
appointed by the Admiralty.  He pleaded that he had ploughed and sown
crops, and claimed £30 18_s._ compensation; he received £18 13_s._  On
the whole the Government would probably have saved money if they had
locked the gates when Captain Woodriff, their agent, left the empty depot
in June 1802, kept the keys themselves, and unlocked them on the 3rd July

Between those dates much had taken place to affect the history of the
Depot.  The complete supremacy of the British Fleet, the blow given to
the Northern Alliance (the Armed Neutrality) by Nelson in the battle of
Copenhagen, and on the other hand the defeats inflicted on Austria,
England’s continental ally, on whom she relied for her land forces, and
the consequent Treaty of Lunéville, left England and France alike in a
position which made them in 1802 anxious for a cessation of hostilities,
the Treaty of Amiens being the result.

But its conditions were not such as to satisfy the British, who gave up
all their conquests but Trinidad and Ceylon, restored the Cape to
Holland, with the condition that it should be a free port, and agreed
that Malta was to go back to the Knights of St. John, under the guarantee
of one of the Great Powers.  France also made sacrifices and withdrew
claims, but to the British nation these did not appear to balance those
made by their own Government.  Buonaparte had no intention of allowing
the peace to be more than a truce.  Among other objects he had in view,
he recovered his veterans from their confinement in English prisons, and
he never paused in his ambitious schemes.  He strove to increase French
influence in Switzerland, Holland, and Italy.  Under the name of consuls
he sent agents to England and Ireland, their real object being to make
themselves acquainted with the resources of those countries and the
chance of their successful invasion.  Egypt had been restored to the
Porte by the Treaty, but instead of evacuating that country, the First
Consul was utilising his position there to equip a fresh army.

In the face of these proceedings Britain did not withdraw her troops from
Egypt, nor did she evacuate Malta, which she should have done in
fulfilment of the Article which restored that island to the Knights of
St. John.  Angry disputes arose over her action, or rather want of
action, in this matter.  Commenting on the Treaty of Amiens, Count
Guillaume de Garden {245} writes:

    “L’article est le plus important de tout le Traité, mais aucune des
    conditions qu’il renferme n’a été exécutée et il est devenu le
    prétexte d’une guerre, qui s’est renouvelée en 1803 et a duré sans
    interruption jusqu’en 1814.”

The complaint of the First Consul against the English Press, and his
demands that Britain should alter her laws, putting restraints on the
liberty of the Press, and depriving of their freedom those living under
her protection, roused the indignation of the country.  The British
Government prosecuted under her own laws a Frenchman, M. Peltier, who in
articles he had written had brought himself within the arm of the law of
the land, but it refused to alter those laws at the bidding of another
power.  M. Norvus, Napoleon’s apologist, wrote:

    “Napoleon demanded from Great Britain what was nearly the same thing
    as proposing the sacrifice of its constitution, and to insist upon
    its abandoning the two pillars of its freedom, the liberty of the
    press, and the privilege of Habeas Corpus.”

Some months later Buonaparte in a State paper practically challenged
Great Britain to fight him single-handed, as she would be if war broke
out again.  After much fruitless negotiation England declared war against
France on the 16th May 1803, and eleven years more were added to the
active existence of Norman Cross, as one factor in the gigantic struggle
between the two nations.  Six days after the declaration of war, France,
by the First Consul’s decree, filled her prisons with the 10,000 British
men of all degrees, between the age of eighteen and sixty, whom she found
within her bounds at that date.  This step she justified as a fair
reprisal for the action of an English captain who seized two French
merchant vessels before the declaration of war had reached the French
Minister.  Buonaparte knew that a bill for a _levée en masse_ had been
presented to Parliament, and that to secure, before they could be
enrolled, 10,000 of the able-bodied men of the nation, (the whole of the
population at that date was only twelve and a half million) was a wise

Our Admiralty, immediately after the renewal of the war, called upon the
Transport Board to find depots for the parole prisoners, whom we were
taking, in merchant vessels and other craft, not ships of war.  Bishops
Waltham and Tavistock were suggested, and should the numbers be
considerable, Oldham and Tiverton were to be added, while Stapleton
Prison was to be prepared for prisoners of war.  This, it will be
remembered, was the third and last time that Stapleton had been
requisitioned for such a purpose, it having been built originally in 1782
to receive prisoners taken in the war which was ended in the following
year by the Treaty of Versailles.  In 1833 it was converted into a

The prisons first suggested, being deemed insufficient, Peterborough was
proposed to the Transport Board, and the Board replied, that on receipt
of an intimation from the Admiralty, they would make the necessary
arrangements for the reception of prisoners at Norman Cross.

On 18th June 1803 the Admiralty appointed, as agents for prisoners of
war, Captain Thesiger at Portsmouth, Captain Baker at Stapleton, Captain
Pressland at Liverpool, Captain Poulden at Norman Cross.

In consequence of Stapleton being used instead of Liverpool, Captain
Pressland, R.N., was sent to Norman Cross, at a salary, in addition to
his full pay, of £200 per annum, and 7_s._ 6_d._ _per diem_ for expenses.
{247}  Thus manned for the work, the Norman Cross Depot started on the
eleven years of arduous work which lay before it.  The agents were to be
in supreme authority, but were not to interfere with the medical or
surgical treatment of the sick, this being entirely in the hands of the
Board of the Sick and Hurt.

Mr. Hadley of Lynn contracted to convey prisoners to and from Norman
Cross on lighters at 1_s._ 9_d._ each, and to victual them at 7_d._ each,
the military guard being carried on the same terms.

Prisoners soon arrived, the first detachment being 179 Frenchmen on 28th
August.  Then came 250 from Portsmouth.  They arrived at Portsmouth on
board the _Pegasus_, but deprived of the winged horse and reduced to
Shanks’ pony, their journey from Portsmouth to Norman Cross took them
from the 5th to the 18th September.  In October several detachments
arrived, among them one of over 200 French and 5 Dutch.

Between the years 1803 and 1814 no fewer than 122,440 prisoners of war of
various nationalities were brought to Great Britain, most of them during
the years 1805–10; of these 10,341 died in prison, and 17,607 were
exchanged or paroled to France as invalids. {248}  Norman Cross had its
full share of this enormous crowd of prisoners, and the discipline of the
prison, the life, and occupation of the prisoners can have differed
little from that of the previous seven years.  The greatly diminished
chance of a prisoner obtaining his freedom by exchange, and the longer
duration of each man’s term of durance, must, however, have greatly
aggravated for the worse their mental misery and physical discomfort.

On the other hand, experience had suggested to the authorities various
details in the treatment of their captives, which were adopted with the
object of bettering their lot.  In the structure of the prison itself
there were, during this period, several important changes.  The outer
stockade fence was replaced by the brick wall, within which ran the dry,
paved ditch.  The boys’ separate prison was built in a bricked-in
enclosure, outside the prison wall, through a door in which was the only
entrance into the new enclosure.  In 1805 the surgeon’s new brick house
was built in the hospital quadrangle, but beyond these points there is
nothing special to add to the description already given.

There would necessarily be the same anxious watching on the part of the
prisoners of the events of the war; they would probably mock at the
300,000 volunteers, foot and mounted, who came forward and rendered the
_levée en masse_ unnecessary.  With what elation they must have heard of
the Grande Armée de Bretagne, ranged opposite the southern shore of
England, separated only by the narrow channel, across which 150,000
French soldiers were to be floated by the 2,000 vessels assembled at
Boulogne, ready to transport them so soon as the weather and the
supporting fleet for which they were waiting combined to favour the
enterprise!  That threatened invasion, which hung like a black terror
over England in those early years of the nineteenth century, was for them
within their prison walls the bright light of hopeful expectation; and
when the news of the 21st October reached England, the news which was
communicated to Cadet Hopkinson at Verdun, shorn of its glory and its
fateful significance to the French in the taunting words, “Votre Nelson
est mort,” it would be told to the prisoners at Norman Cross, in words
conveying the whole truth, “Our Nelson has fallen, but not before he had
destroyed your fleet, and your country is now no longer a naval power.”
What despair must have again filled their hearts!  If they disbelieved
the fact at first, the arrival of Corporal de la Porte and his comrades,
followed by crew after crew of the captured sailors and soldiers, must
have too surely confirmed the news.

As the years of their captivity dragged on, they would hear of the
conquests and of the King-making by their idol Buonaparte, now the
Emperor Napoleon, and they would look forward in the near future to a
Buonaparte on the throne of George III, and to their triumphal progress
through the conquered country on the way back to their own dear France.
Then their hopes would fade again (as, alas! their bodily comfort would
be decreased) as there came crowding in the prisoners sent from the
Peninsula by Wellington, who although he had been ordered on the 3rd
February 1811 not to send any more prisoners on account of the crowded
state of the prisons, in 1811–12 sent 20,000. {250}  Later on would
spread through the courts the story of the disastrous invasion of Russia
and the awful retreat from Moscow.  In the next year, 1813, they might
hear that Wellington had crossed the Bidassoa, and thus secured for
England—their hated hostess in their accursed abode at Norman Cross—the
honour of being the first of the European powers to plant its victorious
standard on French soil.

Hurtful as such items of news—which reached them solely through English
sources or through equally unsympathetic French sources, such as the
Bishop of Moulins, whose France was not their France—were to their
patriotic feelings, they were all tending to bring about the day of their
release.  In 1814 the Allies invaded France, and successfully advanced
upon Paris.  Napoleon abdicated, and was allowed to retire to Elba, and
at length the news reached Norman Cross that on the 30th May the Treaty
of Paris, which meant freedom for all prisoners of war, had been signed.

 [Picture: Plate XX.—Model of the Prison of Norman Cross, England, in the
   County of, and 4½ Leagues from, Huntingdon (In the Musée de l’Armée,
                       Hôtel des Invalides, Paris)]

   [Picture: Plate XXI.—Key Plan of M. Foulley’s Model of the Prison of
                          Norman Cross, England]

Deeply as many an old soldier among the 4,617 of the prisoners at Norman
Cross on that date resented the fall of the hero he had worshipped, his
great general, the Emperor, bitterly as the majority resented the sight
of the white flag of the Bourbons which had been mounted in each
quadrangle, the one dominant feeling in the breasts of the prisoners was
wild joy at their imminent freedom and restoration to their own loved
country; they embraced, they danced, they sang, and they cried for joy.
The military barracks had not been an abode of luxury or comfort, and the
garrison caught the infection of exuberant joy; a party of them seized
the Glasgow Mail Coach, on its arrival at Stilton, and drew it to Norman
Cross, whither the coachman, horses, and guard were obliged to follow.

Among the prisoners who witnessed the scenes of rejoicing at this time
was M. Foulley, who had been confined at Norman Cross for five years and
three months.  The scene impressed him so strongly, that after his return
to France he made a model of the Depot as it appeared during the
celebration of the departure of the first detachment of liberated
prisoners for France.  This model has already been criticised and
described in Chapter II, but the place for the photograph is here, in the
last chapter of this volume.  The figures in the quadrangles, the
garrison drawn up in line, with its back to the prison, at attention,
ready to salute the departing prisoners, who only a day before it had to
guard with loaded muskets and fixed bayonets, tell of the buried hatchet,
of the new-born peace between France and England, which has endured for
ninety-eight years, and which is cemented and invigorated by the existing
_entente cordiale_.

The prisoners began to prepare for departure.  Some would set to work
with a will to finish articles which had been bespoken, or which they
wished to put in the market before their departure.  Some could afford to
take their stock of knick-knacks home, and would have money to draw from
the agent and clerks—money they had realised by their work during the
past eleven years.  Undoubtedly, in some instances, the sum earned
amounted to as much as one, two, or three hundred pounds, but without
seeing the banking account, it will hardly be credited that any prisoner
had actually made the rumoured thousand pounds. {252}  Others would pack
the articles they were taking home as memorials of their long sojourn in
the land of their enemy.  Every one would be in some way preparing for
departure.  Some permitted on parole would have to bid farewell to the
friends they had made within their bounds, others would have to write to
friends made in the market or in conversations surreptitiously carried on
through the pales of the stockade fences.

Speedily, detachments began to move off.  The Depot had been costing
£300,000 a year, and every day it remained full represented a large sum.
The local newspapers, where formerly they described the prisoners making
their weary way under a strong escort from the coast to Norman Cross were
now filled with reports of parties of released prisoners marching to the
coast in comparative freedom.  One paper notes how, of a detachment of
500, some got so drunk (is it much to be wondered at?) that they could
not go on; while, on the contrary on 6th May, according to the _Cambridge
Chronicle_, another detachment of 200, which was to embark from Chatham,
passing through Cambridge on their way to that port, walked about the
town and the University buildings, conducting themselves in an orderly

So detachment followed detachment, until in the _Times_ of 19th August
1814 appeared a paragraph, “Of all the great body of Prisoners of War,
who were lately at Norman Cross Barracks, at this time only one single
prisoner remains, and he, in consequence of illness preventing his
removal.”  What must have been this poor fellow’s feelings when he knew
that all his fellow prisoners had left for their native country.  Was he
happily unconscious?  We are sure that everything possible would be done
to lighten his sad fate.  Probably he was the last of his countrymen to
be laid in the now desolate cemetery. {253a}

One shudders to think that his disappointment may have been as
heartrending as that of the poor prisoner whose fate is narrated by Basil

    “On 20th June, when the last draft was being formed, it happened that
    one unfortunate man could not produce his bedding; probably it had
    been stolen by others to make up their complement.  On being refused
    at the gate, he rushed frantically back into his prison to look for
    it, and then, fearful of being left behind, he ran back to the gate
    to plead his cause with the guard.  On being again refused he became
    frantic with grief, and crying that he had been eleven years in
    prison, in an agony of despair he pulled out his knife, and there
    before the guards and his own countrymen cut his throat.  There is no
    more sorrowful incident in the history of Dartmoor.” {253b}

When the gate closed behind that man who had been left in Norman Cross on
the 19th August, it closed for the last time on a prisoner.  The campaign
of a hundred days which followed between the escape of Napoleon from Elba
and his final defeat at Waterloo sent no prisoners to the Depot, and in
1816 the buildings were demolished and the site sold.  The sale,
including that of the remaining stores, furniture, and fixtures, occupied
thirteen days and realised only £11,060 4_s._ 4_d._ {254}

 [Picture: One of the Wells on the Site of the Prison.  From a photograph
                   by the Rev. E. H. Brown, July 1910]

In Peterborough, Stilton, and the neighbouring villages much of the
material sold was re-erected and is still in use; but on the site itself,
the houses of the barrack master, the agent, and the steward, the wells,
the wide fosse which ran round inside the outer wall, and about 60 yards
of the wall itself, alone remain of that Norman Cross Prison which, for
twenty years in the most eventful period in the history of Europe, played
so important a part; over which, and its inmates, the two Governments,
French and English, argued and fought, while the prisoners suffered.
That prison, where these victims of war—our foemen, it is true, but
patriots, and foemen worthy of our steel—pined in prolonged confinement,
surrounded by prison walls, held down by cannon, muskets, and bayonets,
hoping for release which never came, enduring an agonising longing for
freedom—a longing so keen that many of them purchased it by enlisting in
the ranks of Britain, their country’s enemy—and suffering, alas! other
miseries, of which not the least was the moral deterioration and
degradation consequent on their condition and surroundings.  Gone are the
prisons and their miseries, gone the barracks and their busy life of
active duties, and gone, also, all personal recollection of the great
events of 1789 to 1816, of which the life here was a part.

But, standing on the great North Road, between the two fields, the one to
the right and the other to the left, nothing to distinguish them from the
thousands of similar fields in every county of England, the reader will,
if this narrative has in a measure aroused in him the interest with which
the writer has hoped to inspire him, be able to call up in his mind’s eye
the Norman Cross of a hundred years ago.  The courts, the caserns, and
the various other buildings rise before him; he sees them filled with the
Dutch and French sailors and soldiers who for years lived in the one
field, and of whom nearly two thousand for ever sleep in the other.  The
vision fades, and the gazer realises that of it nothing remains but a
name, the beautiful works of art made by the prisoners, some musty
documents, in the Public Record Office or British Museum, and 1,770
skeletons in the undistinguished field on the North Road.  Before him
lies the site of Norman Cross Prison, a typical scene of sylvan calm.

    We pass; the path that each man trod
       Is dim, or will be dim with woods:
       What fame is left for human deeds
    In endless age? it rests with God.


    Now bear in mind, as thou keep’st jogging,
    Each one’s a hole to put a cog in;
    So should the work seem awkward doing,
    The Appendix wheel sets all a-going.

                                                       W. HALL, _of Lynn_.


       THE DEPOT, 1799–1802


31ST MAY 1813

                        By MR. FEARNALL, Surveyor

THE Prisons, or Barracks, are built of fir quartering, and weather
boarded on the outside, and have no inside lining, except those
appropriated for the hospital, which are plastered.  The innumerable
holes cut through all parts of the buildings by the prisoners for the
admission of light have caused them to be extremely weak, by the braces
being cut through and destroyed in many parts, so as to render it
necessary they should be immediately replaced with new, and such
regulations adopted towards the prisoners as to prevent a recurrence of
the same practice.  The weather-boarding, stair-cases, hammock rails,
privies and fence are in a general bad state, as particularly stated in
this report, viz.:

_Prison No._ 1.—The ground floor is paved with stone, which is in many
parts broken and very irregular.  The story posts, that support the roof
and floor, are so much damaged by being cut by the prisoners, and in
parts decayed, as to require to be new in many places.  The upper floor
in the gangway, which has hitherto been laid with elm board, is stated to
require renewing every twenty months; the other parts of the floor very
much decayed.  The hammock rails in many parts worn out.  The braces and
quarterings of the building are very much cut and destroyed by the
prisoners, and must be new in many places.  The stair-case in very bad
condition, quite worn out.  As they are now constructed within the
building, they impede a free circulation of air, and occupy a space which
would allow twelve men to be berthed, in addition to the present number,
by having an accommodation ladder against the outside of the building,
with a landing place and door; this plan would stop the communication
between the two prison rooms, facilitate the escape of the prisoners in
case of fire, by having two doors instead of only one.  Mr. Walker, the
surgeon, is very desirous that the same alteration should be made at the
Hospital; it would separate the two wards, which in case of infectious
diseases would be attended with beneficial effects, also save the expense
of opening another ward in case of contagion.

The weather-boarding, from the prisoners cutting holes through for the
admission of light, to each berth, as well as from actual decay, is in
such bad condition as to require at least one third to be new.

_Privy_.—The weather-boarding and wood steps in bad condition, and many
pantiles stripped from the roof.  The ground under the privies on which
the soil cart stands, from the frequency of its being drawn out, has
occasioned deep ruts, so that when the cart is drawn out, it comes up
with a jerk, and the soil is thrown out, and becomes a dreadful nuisance,
which might be prevented by a few stumps of wood driven into the ground,
on which a piece of oak plank might form a railway, and the intermediate
space be filled up with stone rubbish at a very trifling expense.

_Court between the Buildings_.—Are paved next the Barracks only, and in
wet weather, the part not paved, from the nature of the soil, is in a
miserable condition, and would be very much improved by paving the whole,
leaving a gutter-way in the middle of the court; every shower of rain
would cleanse it, and add very much to the comfort of the prisoners.

_Cook Room_.—Stone floor broken; requires to be relayed and raised.
Weather-boarding, quartering and area gutters require repair.  The
dressers are of deal and worn out; recommend they should be made of elm

_Butchery_.—The floor in bad condition, the sashes decayed, the
weather-boarding and area gutters require repair.  The paving of the
cellar under the butchery should be relayed.  The effluvia from a
cesspool under the pavement are very offensive in the Stewards’
apartments immediately above it, the floor of which should be plugged to
prevent the smell passing through the open joists of the floor.

_Black Hole_.—The roof breaking through.  The fence of the covered walk
is in part decayed and should be new.

_Outside Fence at the End of the Barracks_.—The post rails and paling are
generally decayed, and require considerable repair, and in many parts
must be new.

_Tanks for the purpose of Washing_, _etc._—They are made of wood, and the
greater part decayed.

_Gates and Fence to the Quadrangles_.—Are very much decayed and were
never sufficiently strong and secure for the purpose intended, the gate;
require to be all new, the fence needs considerable repair, and in that
part next the gates, should be entirely new and raised much higher.

_Watch Box_.—Required for the Turnkey at the west gate.

_Pavement within the Quadrangles_.—In indifferent condition, and requires
relaying in many places.  A path is paved all round the quadrangles; in
the middle where it is not paved, it is impassable in bad weather, except
through mud.  Captain Hanwell is desirous that a path should be paved
across the middle.

_Wells_.—Are in tolerable condition, with the exception of one, the
brick-lining of which within about forty feet of the bottom has fallen
in, and rendered the well useless; the remainder of the brick-work is in
such a dangerous state, that no person will venture down to repair it.

_French Officers’ Apartments in No._ 8.—The floor and staircase in very
bad condition, and the circulation of air too much confined.  Might be
remedied by having a lattice instead of a close partition.

_Offices_.—Captain Harwell’s and the other offices in tolerable
condition, require painting and whitewashing; the first clerk’s office
has been papered long since, and it is falling from the wall.

_Storeroom_.—Under the same roof as above, the weather-boarding and
floors require repair, the hammocks and bales of clothing are liable to
injury from being in contact with the inside of the decayed
weather-board.  Recommend it should be lined with ¾-inch planed deal, 6
feet above the floor.

_Hospital_.—The buildings appropriated for the hospital are in better
condition than the other, have lath and plaster lining within, and the
weather-boarding, stair-cases, floor, etc., want less repairs.

_Officers’ Accommodation_.—Agent’s house is built of wood and plastered
on the outside, containing a basement, parlour, one pair story, and
attics, two rooms on each story, the largest room measures 16 feet by 13
feet, the small room 11 feet 6 inches by 9 feet 6 inches.  The Agent’s
house is said to have been partially painted and papered in the year
1808; the attics, the back parlour, and the kitchen were not done at that
time, and Mr. Todd informed me that they have not been painted since the
house was built.  Mr. Todd, the storekeeper, and Mr. Gardiner, the chief
clerk, have their accommodation under the same roof as the Agent and
contain the same number of rooms divided as follows: Mr. Todd occupies
the one pair story and one garret, Mr. Gardiner the ground floor and one
garret, Mr. Todd the back kitchen, Mr. Gardiner the front.  The before
mentioned apartments are said to have been painted in the year 1808.  The
surgeon has a good brick-built house, the rooms were papered before the
walls were dry, the damp has destroyed the paper of four rooms; this
house is said not to have been painted since built, about eight years
since.  The dispenser has three small rooms, and the hospital-mate two.
The stewards have each two very small rooms under the same roof as, and
leading out of the butchery, except the hospital steward, who is not very
properly accommodated in prison No. 8, separated from the French Officers
by a thin deal partition only; the space formerly allotted for the
hospital steward is now the hospital store.  This seems to require that
it should return to its original plan for two reasons; first, the
hospital steward is removed from his duty, and secondly, he is placed in
communication with the French Officers, by the deal partition which
separates them being cut through in holes.  There is a vacant space at
the end of the building next the dispenser’s and matron’s rooms, on which
an hospital store might be built, which would admit of the steward having
his proper apartments.

The stewards are respectable men, and with their wives and children have
only a common privy, to which all the French cooks have access, and the
path to which is exposed to the whole of the prisoners.  Submit that a
small room and privy may be added to the steward’s accommodation, as
desired by Captain Hanwell.

The sempstress who is now with the matron, and the clerk of the small
beer, who is accommodated in communication with the French Officers in
No. 8, being late appointments, have no other accommodation; they might
be provided for, by building a small place at the end of the wash-house.
The matron and sempstress have no access to the drying room without
passing round the whole buildings, which in bad weather would be more
convenient by having an entrance through the tool-house with a door at
the end.

_Boundary Wall_.—From the east gate to the north gate, and from the east
gate towards the south, is from 7 inches to 11 inches within a
perpendicular, and appears to be very indifferently built, and not of the
best materials; and, from the earth outside, being 5 feet higher than
that within, the lateral pressure has forced in the wall, which they have
endeavoured to prevent by introducing land tyes, and there is no doubt if
they had been properly executed, these would have answered the desired
purpose.  I sent for the master bricklayer that built the wall, by
contract.  He informed me that the piles to the land tyes were at least 7
feet long, but observing that the wall had given way since the tyes were
put in, I had the earth cleared and drew one of the piles, when, instead
of being 7, they were only 3 feet long, and totally insufficient to hold
the wall, and, if not prevented, the wall, land tyes, etc., will all fall
into the ditch.  To secure the wall will require that thirty-two new land
tyes, and additional piles of at least 10 feet long, should be driven to
secure the old tyes, and to be placed as described to Captain Hanwell.
The wall being built in such long lengths, being near 400 feet of
straight lines, with a weight of earth against the outside, could not be
expected to stand; there should have been a ditch on the outside, the
same as that within, not only for the security of the wall, but to
prevent the facility now afforded, of communication over the wall, it
being only 9 feet high on the outside.  Had it been built with an angle
as marked with a pencil on the plan, it would not only have been
infinitely stronger, but it would admit of the prisoners being better
guarded, by the sentinels, stationed at the angle, flanking the wall each
way.  I submit for the Board’s consideration whether the middle of the
wall, that has given way, had not better be taken down and rebuilt with
an angle as described, or whether it shall be secured in its present form
with land tyes.

I am of opinion it would require the sum of £5,000 to complete the whole
of the works mentioned in the aforegoing report of the Survey, one half
of which might be expended this year, and the remainder to complete the
whole in the year 1814.  Captain Hanwell informs me that he can employ 36
carpenters, 2 pair of sawyers, and 3 masons from among the prisoners; the
carpenters’ work can be done by them, but the principal part of the
masons’ and bricklayers’ work, I submit, should be done by contract as
heretofore, under the direction of the agent; it will also be necessary
to contract for a supply of timber and deals, converted into the
different scantlings required.



CAPTAIN WOODRIFF belonged to a naval family, his father and brothers and
son all being officers of various ranks.  He must have been ninety years
old at his death in 1842, as according to the return of his services in
the Admiralty records, filled and signed himself, he entered the navy as
gunner’s mate on the _Ludlow Castle_, 12th August 1762.

He served as midshipman in various parts of the world, becoming
lieutenant in 1782, and commander in 1795, this commission carrying the
brevet rank of captain.

He acted as Agent of Transports at Southampton, being appointed Resident
there as from 2nd September 1796 at a salary of 21_s._ a day, in addition
to his half-pay, and £50 a year for a clerk.  This office necessitated
his travelling much to the various ports, and in one of his voyages, the
vessel carrying cash belonging to him was captured by the Dutch, but the
Admiralty reimbursed him.

As we have seen, he was very actively superintending the arrival and
distribution of prisoners of war at Hull, Yarmouth and Lynn in the early
days of Norman Cross, to which Depot he was appointed Agent in 1799; he
filled the post up to the Peace of Amiens, giving every satisfaction to
the Admiralty and Transport Board, though on one occasion he was
reprimanded for striking a French prisoner, even though the blow was
given under great provocation.

His commission as Post Captain was dated 28th April 1802, and he was
appointed to command the _Calcutta_, a ship of 74 guns to convoy convicts
to Botany Bay.  He was next ordered to St. Helena, to collect a convoy of
East Indiamen; there were four full ships, a Prussian ship and a Swedish
ship which claimed protection.  They sailed on the 3rd August, and on
14th September picked up a leaky ship called _The Brothers_, which had
become separated from another convoy.  The bad condition of this vessel
was the cause of all the subsequent trouble.  Her bad sailing delayed the
others, and off the Scilly Islands Woodriff was attacked by a French
squadron of ten ships, one being a three-decker of 110 guns, with a crew
of 1,100 men, four 74-gun ships, three 40-gun, and two brigs.

Finding it impossible to save both the convoy and himself, he ordered the
convoy to make all sail to the north and escape, while he stayed and
fought for some hours.

Over fifty minutes he was engaged with the three-decker, and the fight
was under full sail as he steered to the south to enable the convoy to
escape.  The superior strength and overwhelming numbers of the French
dismantled the _Calcutta_, so to prevent loss of life he hauled down his
flag and surrendered, and _The Brothers_, which was leaky and could not
escape, was also captured.

The crews were not at once landed in France, but remained on the French
ships for four months.  At the end of that time they were landed at
Rochelle, and kept at an hotel for eighteen days at great expense.  Then
Captain Woodriff and his officers, an East India colonel and his lady,
and two gentlemen from the East Indies, hired a carriage to take them to
Verdun.  They were escorted all the way by troops; the journey lasted
thirty-six days and cost each of the prisoners £40.

In the Admiralty return of his services, there is a modest little note,
“Returned from France, June 1807,” but the circumstances attending his
return are so extraordinary as to demand attention.  He had made repeated
applications to Talleyrand for release, but without avail.  In June 1807,
he received an order, signed by Buonaparte, in Poland, directing him to
proceed immediately to England, and to take the route of St. Malves, a
town no Englishman was permitted to enter.  On his arrival there, he
received from an agent of the French Government the letters which had
been directed to him at Verdun.  He proceeded to hire a vessel to take
him to England, for which he was prepared to pay forty or fifty guineas,
but was told that a vessel was provided for him by the French Government,
free of any expense whatever.

Our Government, not to be outdone in this unexpected generosity on the
part of the enemy, immediately released a French officer of equal rank,
who returned to France on terms of equal liberality.  On his return to
England Captain Woodriff was tried by court-martial for the loss of his
ship the _Calcutta_, but after evidence, “The Court agreed that the
conduct of Captain Woodriff was that of a brave, cool, and intrepid
officer; and did adjudge him, his officers, and ship’s company to be most
honourably acquitted.”

The owners and underwriters of one of the East Indiamen he had saved from
capture raised a subscription for the officers and crew, which amounted
to about £4,000.

On the 29th July 1808 Captain Woodriff was appointed Agent for Prisoners
of War at Forton.

In December 1813 he was appointed Commissioner of the navy at Jamaica.
He refused flag rank and was admitted to Greenwich Hospital, 9th November
1830, where he died 24th February 1842. {267}

Captain Woodriff was undoubtedly an able and hardworking officer, and he
was fortunate in having to assist him the influence of Sir Evan Nepean,
Secretary of the Admiralty, himself an able administrator and industrious
official, whose correspondence at times exhibits traits of personal
kindness and consideration, as rare as valuable in official letters.




  Current      By what    Time when.     Prizes’     Regiment.    Company.    Prisoners’    Quality.     Time when       Ex.      Time when.       How
  number.      ship or                   names.                                 names.                   received                               disposed
             how taken.                                                                                    into         D.D.                   of, and by
                                                                                                         custody.                                 what
                                                                                                                        D. or                    order.

                                                                                                                        E. S.
          1  _Sirius_     24th Oct.    _Furie_      Bombardier   5th Cmp.     Pieter Van   Passenger    20th Nov.    D.           19th Feb.      Board’s
                          1798                                   3rd Batn.    Dyck                      1798                      1800            Order
         89  _Sirius_     24th Oct.    _Furie_      Infantry     Lieut.       Mr.          Lieut.       26th Sept.   D.           5th Jan.     On parole
                          1798                                                Ritmont                   1799                                   to
                                                                                                                                  1800 19th    Peterboro’
                                                                                                                                               To Holland


Current number.        No. on           Names.        Quality.     Ship or corps.    Age.       Stature.        Hair.       Eyes.         Visage or         Person.       Harks or        When
                                                                                                                                         complexion.                      wounds.     discharged.
                     the G.E.B.
                                                                                             ft.     in.
               1                  2  Hannes Lenor      Sailor     _Adml.  De        18       5       6½         Brown        Blue    Oval and Fair        Middle Size   None

              14                 24    B. Atken      2nd Cooper   _Adml.  De        27       5       7        Dark Brown    Brown       Oval and Dark     Middle Size   Pitted with   D. 20th
                                                                  Vries_                                                                                                Smallpox      July 1801


Current number.      No. on the        Names.       Rank.      Ship or     Man-of-war,     Place of     Age.      Time of     Disorder or
                       G.E.B.                                   corps.      privateer,    nativity.                death.      casualty.
                                                                           or merchant
             109               703      Jan       Sailor      _De Tonge      Fishing       Holland     47       28th June      Fever and
                                    Vanderzwet.               Leendert_       vessel                            1798           bad wound
                                                                                                                                in knee
             129               674   Corns. De    Sailor      _De Vries_      M. War       Holland     22       12th Decem.    Fever, &c.
                                       Baar.                                                                    1798


Current number.   Prizes’ names.   Prisoners’        Quality.       Of what          Time when        From whom or     D.D.D. or R.     Time when.       How disposed
                                   names.                           country.         received.        whence                                             of if
                  _Frigate_        A. Reins          3rd Lieut.                      19th Nov. 1798                    D.               7th February     Exchanged
                  _Waakzaamheyo_   M. Van Meirop     Captain                         1798                              D.               16th Oct. 1801   Permitted to
                                                                                                                                                         return to


 Current number.       By what ship or how         Time when.        Prizes’ names.         Whether         Of what country.   Prisoners’ names.    Quality.        Time when         Ex.  D.D.D. or        Time when.       How disposed of,
                             taken.                                                       man-of-war,                                                             received into            E.S.                                and by what
                                                                                         privateer, or                                                               custody.                                                     order.
                                                                                        merchant vessel.
                13  _Arethusa_                 21st October 1794   _Révolutionnaire_   Man-of-war                                 Louis Robert     Sailor       10th April 1797     Ex.                 10th October 1797   Board’s Order


  Current      By what    Time when.     Prizes’     Regiment.    Company.    Prisoners’    Quality.     Time when       Ex.      Time when.       How
  number.      ship or                   names.                                 names.                   received     D.D.D. or                 disposed
             how taken.                                                                                    into         E.S.                   of, and by
                                                                                                         custody.                                 what
        401  _Melampus_   14th         _La          Frigate      1 Battn.     Edw. André   Soldier      11th         D.               9th      To France
                          October      Résolue_                  81st                                   October                     January    Martha
                          1798                                   demi-                                  1799 from                    1800      Cartel
                                                                 brigade                                Edinburgh

              DURING THE FIRST PERIOD OF THE WAR, 1793–1802

Current number.    Number on the     Prisoners’     Rank.      Ship or     Man-of-war,     Place of     Age.       Where        Time of     Disorder or
                       G.E.B.          names.                   corps.      privateer,    nativity.                taken.        death.      casualty.
                                                                           or merchant
              41              1411  Vincent       Seaman     _La                            France          23                3rd August    Killed by a
                                    Lydyer                   Suffisante_                                                      1797          blow in
                                                                                                                                            prison by
                                                                                                                                            black man.
              42              2842  Jean          Seaman     _L’Emilie_                   Dominique         40                5th August    Hung
                                    Beautemps                                                                                 1797          himself in
                                                                                                                                            the Black

              DURING THE SECOND PERIOD OF THE WAR, 1803–1815

Current number.    Number on the    Prisoners’     Rank.       Ship or     Man-of-war,     Place of     Age.       Where        Time of     Disorder or
                      G.E.B.          names.                    corps.      privateer,    nativity.                taken.        death.      casualty.
                                                                           or merchant
             263             2384    Vincent      Soldier    _La Sophie_     Transp.     Veli          31       Off Port au    23rd March     Phthisis
                                     Fontaine                                            (départ, de               Prince         1808
               1              809      Jean        Sailor    _Le Hardi_      Merchant    Ganzeville,   48           Off           24th         Fever
                                     Benoist                                  vessel     near Fécamp              Barfleur      October
                                                                                         (départ.                                 1803
                                                                                         dela Seine


Two years ago I received from Mr. W. T. Mellows, Solicitor of
Peterborough, the loan of an imperfect copy of a Parliamentary paper
endorsed, “Supplement 1801 to Appendix No. 59, Report of the Transport
Board to the House of Commons 1798, being correspondence with the French
Government relative to Prisoners of War.”  The fragment contained, as far
as I recollect, thirty-eight out of the fifty-eight or fifty-nine letters
enumerated in the index of contents.  Those missing were apparently so
important that I went to the British Museum to search through the
Parliamentary Reports for this appendix.  Failing to find the document, I
left the imperfect copy with the assistant librarian, who finally
returned it to me, saying that extraordinary as it was, this supplement
was not in the Museum library.  A search in the library of the House of
Commons, in which I was assisted by Mr. George Greenwood, M.P., gave the
same result—this supplement was not to be found.  I have now to
acknowledge that last year this unique but imperfect copy disappeared
while under my care—my own impression is that it was lost in its travels
through an intermediary from my hands to those of the typist.
Fortunately I had already included some of the letters in the text of
this work, and Mr. W. T. Mellows, intending to present the document to
the Museum when I had done with it, had made his clerk copy six of the
letters and an extract from the report of Commissioner Serle; these I
reproduce in this appendix, regretting deeply that I am unable to publish
the whole of the thirty-eight letters which were once in my possession,
but are now lost and probably destroyed.—T. J. W.



AT a former period of the present War it became necessary in order to
vindicate the Character of this Country for good Faith and Humanity, to
render publick the Proceedings and Correspondence of the Governments of
Great Britain and France with respect to Prisoners of War.  The whole was
submitted to a Committee of the House of Commons and became the subject
of a Report, followed by certain Resolutions unanimously adopted by the
House.  The following Correspondence may be considered as a Supplement to
the Documents which were printed with that Report, and the motives for
rendering it publick are the same as on the former occasion.

         6_th January_ 1801.

                                                           DOWNING STREET,
                                                     15_th December_ 1799.


In the absence of Mr. Secretary Dundas, I lost no time in laying before
the King your Lordship’s Letter to Him of the 12th Instant inclosing the
Communication made to Captain Cotes at Paris, respecting the future
maintenance of the English and French Prisoners of War, now detained in
respective Countries.

It is the less necessary on this Occasion, to recall the Circumstances
which gave rise to the Arrangement under which Two Governments agreed to
provide for the wants of their respective subjects during their Detention
as they have been submitted to Parliament and published to the World, in
Refutation of the false and unwarrantable Assertions brought forward by
the French Government on this Subject; but His Majesty cannot witness the
Termination of an Arrangement, founded on the fairest principles of
Justice and Protection, due by the Powers at War to their respective
Prisoners, and proved by Experience to be the best calculated to provide
for their Comfort, without protesting against this Departure (on the Part
of the French Government) from an Agreement entered into between the Two
Countries, and which tended so materially to mitigate the Calamities of

To prevent the Effect of this Alteration as much as possible with respect
to the British Prisoners not on Parole in this Country, it is His
Majesty’s Command that from the Date of the French Agent, ceasing to
supply them, the Commissioners of Transports and for taking care of
Prisoners of War, should furnish them indiscriminately with the same
Rations of Provisions as were granted before the late Arrangement took

As no mention is made of Clothing, or other necessaries, in Captain
Cotes’ letter, I think it right to add that the Commissioners of
Transports and for taking care of Prisoners of War are on no Account to
furnish any to the French Prisoners, as this Charge has at all times been
supported by the French.

It will be proper that his letter should be communicated to Monsieur Niou
the French Agent in London, and to the Agents at the several Depots of
Prisoners, in order that the real Grounds of the Change which is about to
take place, may not be mistaken or misrepresented.

                                                               I am, etc.,
                                                        (Signed) PORTLAND.

To the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, &c., &c., &c.

                                * * * * *


Having received Directions from the Consuls of the Republic to inform you
of a Measure they have adopted upon an important Deliberation, the
Principles and Bearings of which they are perfectly well known to you, I
have felt it my duty to address myself directly to you in order to guard
against delay.

The Consuls of the Republic having been engaged in an Investigation of
its Interests, both at home and abroad, have turned their attention to
the mode at present observed by France and England with respect to the
Subsistence and Treatment of Prisoners of War in the Hands of these two
belligerent Powers.

They have caused all the papers relative to the Adoption of this system
to be carefully examined and a report having been made to them in this
subject they perceive.

1st.  That in your letter to the Lords of the Admiralty of the 6th of
October 1797 after having claimed the Admission of Captain Cotes into
France and the Exchange or at least the Liberation on Parole of Sir
Sidney Smith, you proposed in order to put an end to the Recriminations
relative to the Treatment of Prisoners continually renewed on both sides
that the Prisoners should be furnished in the Country where they were
detained with Clothing, Subsistence, and Medicines at the Expence of the
Government to which they belonged.

2ndly.  That the said Arrangement took place in consequence of the
Communications respecting this Proposal made to M. Charretie the French
Commissary by the Commissioners of the Transport Office on the 12th
October and the 13th November following in pursuance of the orders of the
Lords of the Admiralty.

I shall not revert here, Sir, to the circumstances which preceded this
Arrangement, but it is my Duty to declare to you, that the Consuls of the
Republic having remarked that it was not founded upon any authentic
Stipulation, that the Cartel of Exchange signed nearly Ten Months
afterwards took not the least notice of it and that it was an obvious
contradiction of all the usages and Laws of War, were of opinion, that on
the one Hand, the further execution of it was derogatory both to the
Interests and to the Dignity of the Republic, and, on the other that
neither the good Faith the Government wishes to manifest on every
occasion, nor the peculiar solicitude it owes to its Fellow Citizens, did
in any manner call upon it to continue to observe this Arrangement.

Indeed, Sir, you have yourself declared, in your letter of the 6th
October 1797 the one of the Motives which led you to wish for this
Arrangement, was the Difficulty of judging whether the Complaints of the
Prisoners were well or ill founded; that some of these Complaints were
dictated by Passion by Prejudice or Animosity, whilst others arose solely
from the Difference in their Mode of Living, and in the same Letter you
acknowledged that the belligerent Powers in preceding Wars when the
Account of Expences incurred for their respective Prisoners came to be
adjusted admitted only the sums advanced for their Clothing.

The principal Motives alleged by you, Sir, were therefore the necessity
of putting an end to the Complaints of the Prisoners and the Benefit they
would derive from being subsisted and treated in a Manner conformable to
their former Habits.

These motives were undoubtedly sufficient in support of your Proposal and
although you added that War, though giving to the Captors an
incontestable right over the Discipline and the Police of their Prisoners
does not however impose upon them the Obligation of providing for their
Wants you would certainly mean to allude to their secondary Wants only
and in Proof of this the English Government, as you have already
declared, always understood that it must have provided what was
absolutely necessary for the subsistence of the French Prisoners even on
the Supposition that none of the Demands contained in your letter had
been acceded to.  The respect paid by all civilized Nations to the
immutable Laws of Humanity and the Empire of those Laws over the English
Nation will not allow me to give any other Construction to your

The result of this explanation, Sir, is that the mode adopted since
November 1797 for the Subsistence and Treatment of Prisoners of War, had
chiefly in view to ameliorate their Condition; the Consuls of the
Republic in declining to observe this Mode any longer for the reasons
before stated are nevertheless determined to neglect no means in order to
ensure the same effect.

They have, in consequence, ordered me to assure you, that from the 1st of
Nivose next when all remittances of money from England to France and from
France to England for the Subsistence and Treatment of Prisoners of War
are to cease your Countrymen in France shall be treated whether in Health
or Sickness with every attention due to their Rank and Situation and that
with a View to their Food being better adapted to their Mode of Living in
their own Country; they shall receive both ashore and in any other Place
of Detention the Ration fixed by the Fourth Article of the Cartel of

As this Order of things will place France and England with regard to the
Prisoners made by each of the Two Powers on the Footing on which they
have stood previous to the 25th of November 1797 the Consuls of the
French Republic desire that the English Commissary at Paris and the
French Commissary at London may not interfere after the first of Nivose
next in any Details relative to the Prisoners of War except in the cases
specified in the 3rd Article of the Cartel of the 13th September 1798.

They have particularly directed me to assure you that the said Cartel
shall be executed with that strict Attention to good Faith, which will
characterize all the Acts of the French Consuls and that, if they have
felt it their duty under the present Circumstances to re-establish the
former System of Management with respect to Prisoners of War, they at the
same time, understand that the two belligerent Powers may on the Return
of a General Peace bring forward such Claims for Compensation as may then
be deemed necessary.

                                             I have the Honour to be, &c.,
                                                            (Signed) NIOU.

                                * * * * *

                                                         TRANSPORT OFFICE,
                                                    10_th September_ 1800.


We inclose for your Information, a copy of a Letter we have this Day
received from Captain Woodriff, the Superintendent at Norman Cross
Prison, stating the distressed situation to which many of the French
Prisoners confined to that place are reduced, from the want of Clothing
and by disposing of their Provisions and Bedding.

                                                              We are, &c.,
                                                   (Signed) RUPERT GEORGE.
                                                            AMBROSE SERLE.
                                                              W. A. OTWAY.

M. OTTO. {276}

                                * * * * *

                                                             NORMAN CROSS,
                                                     9_th September_ 1800.


Inclosed, I transmit a packet for M. Otto from which you will observe,
that notwithstanding all I have done, or can do to prevent the Prisoners
from selling their ration of Provisions for Days to come, and their
Bedding, it has not had, nor is likely to have the desired effect.

Since the commencement of the Wet weather many of them have been taken to
the Hospital in a very weak state, in consequence of having sold their
Provisions and Bedding and One or Two have died.

Several of the French Prisoners are without Clothing and having sold
their Bedding they are destitute of either, and the present wet weather
and the approaching winter will if they be not clothed fill the

I have, Gentlemen, thought it prudent to mention these circumstances to
you, as I am firmly of opinion, that unless some clothing is issued to
the Prisoners who are now destitute many of them will die should the
Winter be severe.

                                              I have the Honour to be, &c.
                                                     (Signed) D. WOODRIFF.

Commissioners for the Transport Service.

                                * * * * *


  7_th Brumaire_ 9_th Year of the French Republick_ 29_th October_ 1800

_The Commissary of the French Republick in England_, _To the
Commissioners of the Transport Office_.


I have had the honour of making various Representations to you relative
to the insufficiency of the Ration allowed by the British Government to
the French Prisoners whom the Fortune of War has thrown into its hands.
The fatal effects of this Diminution of Food are already but too sensibly
felt.  I have now before me a list of those who have died and I perceive
that the Number is almost Four times greater than that of last year at
the same period, for during the course of One month only, the number of
deaths has amounted to One Hundred And Ten while they did not exceed
twenty during the same month of the preceding year.  But this comparison
however afflicting it may appear is only the first outline of the
Picture, I shall be obliged to lay before you in a few months unless the
most effectual means are speedily adopted in order to prevent the
consequences which must otherwise result from the wretched situation of
the Prisoners.  Indeed it is impossible to look at the state of the
different depots without being convinced of the fate which infallibly
awaits them.

“It would be useless to state the misery endured by the Prisoners here
(writes my Correspondent at Norman Cross) many of them hasten by their
own Imprudence or Misconduct the Fate which awaits them all, if things
remain in the state they now are.  Hunger compels them to sell everything
they possess and in so doing they only add to their own wretchedness.
Many are literally naked.  Amongst those who by their Fortitude and good
Conduct have avoided these excesses are to be perceived the melancholy
and slow, but certain Effects of a ruined constitution, and if an
immediate remedy is not applied, a cruel death must soon terminate their

These details, Gentlemen, are accompanied by bitter Reflections which I
forbear to repeat.  I shall also pass over in Silence the Accounts
received from the other Depots which would only be an afflicting
repetition of what you have just read.  The Ration issued to the
Prisoners proved insufficient even during the fine weather.  On this
Point I appeal to Persons who have seen the Prisons and experience is a
sufficient Proof of it.  Urged by the most pressing wants, the Prisoners
have employed their small Resources in making up the Deficiency of the
Ration.  Those who were without pecuniary means Sold even their Clothing.
They are now naked and enfeebled by Privations of every kind.  The keen
air of Winter will sharpen the cravings of Hunger and they must soon
experience the Severity of cold Weather without possessing the means of
defending themselves against it.

Such is the situation of French Prisoners in England.  In France, on the
contrary, the English, the Russians, and the Austrians, who have fallen
into our hands, not only receive a wholesome and plentiful Subsistence,
but are clothed at the expense of the Republic and enjoy a Degree of
Liberty which the French Prisoners are not allowed in this Country.  At
every Period of the War, a great Number of Prisoners have had permission
to leave the depots to carry on different trades and to earn by the
Fruits of their Labour even more than would have provided them with a
comfortable support.

Whatever may be the intentions of the British Government with respect to
the Frenchmen now groaning in Irons I request, in the name of Humanity,
and the sacred Law of Nations that you will lay before that Government
this Picture of their Situation.  It cannot fail to affect every feeling
mind.  It has already made an impression upon you, Gentlemen, and you
have ordered a great number of Invalids to be sent home.  The Agents
entrusted with the charge of selecting the Prisoners falling under this
description have discharged their duty in the most humane manner and I
owe to you as well as to them my grateful Thanks for their Conduct on
this Occasion.

I cannot conclude this letter without replying to two Objections which
may appear at first sight to palliate the Difference of Treatment
experienced by the Prisoners of the Two Nations “The Republic (it has
been said) may easily provide for the subsistence of English Prisoners
because there are very few in France.”  But if the Chance of War has
thrown a greater number of Prisoners into the Power of Great Britain the
Duties of Humanity ought certainly to plead more forcibly in their favour
in proportion as their numbers Increase at the respective Depots.  And on
the other Hand, ought not the Russians, the Austrians, the Neapolitans
and the Bavarians now Prisoners in France to be taken into the account?
Their number is at least equal to that of the French confined in England.
Are they not subsisted at the expence of the Republic?  And do not the
Subsidies paid to their respective Sovereigns appear to assimilate them
to British Subjects?

I have also been told “That the People here are not better fed than the
Prisoners.”  If the scarcity of Provisions is so notorious that
Government notwithstanding its Solicitude cannot relieve the wants of the
people, why should Government unnecessarily increase the Consumption by
feeding more than 22,000 individuals?  I have already had the Honour of
laying before you two Proposals on this subject, namely that of ransoming
the Prisoners, or that of sending them back to France on Parole.  Either
of these alternatives would afford an effectual remedy for the Evil in
question; the Plan of Parole has already been adopted with respect to
French Fishermen.  No complaint of want of punctuality in this
Arrangement has hitherto arisen.  A measure of the same nature for all
the other Prisoners would be held equally sacred, for no Government
unquestionably would allow itself to break an Engagement of this

If neither of these proposals is acceded to by the British Government,
there still remains another resource hitherto solicited in vain by the
Prisoners themselves, but which however has never before been denied by
any Government, to the Greatest Criminals.  The resource of their own
Industry.  The ingenious but frivolous Articles manufactured by these
unfortunate Persons from the Bones which are left of their Rations are
admired.  What advantage might they not derive from their Industry, if
they were allowed to employ it upon Objects of Trade!  Labour would
beguile the Hours of tedious Captivity and even the Nation at whose
expence they are subsisted would be benefited by their exertions.

                                             I have the Honour to be, &c.,
                                                            (Signed) OTTO.

                                * * * * *


We have received your Letter of the 29th of last month relative to the
present state of the French Prisoners of War in this Country and have
agreeably to your Desire, transmitted it to the Lords Commissioners of
the Admiralty, for their consideration; but, at the same time, we cannot
help observing that the distressed situation which you represent the
Prisoners to be in is entirely owing either to their being totally
destitute of clothing or to their own Imprudence in disposing of their
Provisions by Gaming and not as you assert, to an Insufficiency of the
Rations of Provisions issued to them which is fully enough to keep men
living without labour, in a general state of good health and certainly
affords more subsistence than a great part of the labouring People of
this Country is able to procure, a full pound of bread, eight ounces of
fresh beef, and above a quart of soup compounded of Vegetables or Pease
for each Man per diem.

We reiterated to you in our several letters of the 21st March, 24th of
May, 28th of August, 11th of September, and 17th of last month the
miserable situation of the Prisoners at all the Depots from the Want of
Clothing and the melancholy consequences that were to be expected to
ensue if the French Government did not cause them to be supplied with
that necessary article previous to the commencement of the cold weather.

In giving you such timely premonition we certainly did all that was
incumbent on us to do, or that Humanity dictated, and we have no
hesitation in saying that if the French Government had expended a few
thousand pounds in providing clothing for their People in this Country in
proper time the greater part of the evils of which you now complain would
not have existed.

As it is certainly the Duty of every State to provide for the support of
its people while in Captivity, so whatever may have been its arrangements
with respect to victualling it has been the custom in all former wars
between Great Britain and France for each Country to provide Clothing for
its own Subjects and agreeably to this Custom all the British Prisoners
in France as well as the Russian Prisoners taken in Holland, are now
actually supplied with clothing by our Agent Captain Cotes at the expence
of this Country although you state as a reason for the French Government
not clothing their people here that the British Prisoners in France are
clothed at the expence of your Government.

Whatever may latterly have been the effects of the prisoners wanting
clothing it cannot be denied, that until very lately, the prisoners at
all the depots were generally in as good a state of health as at any
former period even when victualled by their own Country.  Some indeed had
fallen victims to an incurable spirit of Gaming, by sporting away their
allowance of Provisions as well as their clothing and the Bedding with
which they had been amply supplied by us, but we believe that the number
that has suffered has hitherto not been very considerable.  In our letter
of the 22nd April and 20th of May last we represented to you fully the
effects of this pernicuous Practise, which had become so prevalent in the
Prisons and we proposed to you a measure which if adopted we doubt not
would have greatly tended to put a stop to it, but for what reason we
know not, you have not hitherto taken any notice to us of our
communications on that subject and from the want of your concurrence the
utmost exertions of our Agents in pursuance of our orders for prohibiting
Gaming have as yet proved ineffectual.  While this practise continues it
is evident that if the Ration of the Prisoners were tenfold what it is
they would still sport it away, and the circumstance of their now
disposing of the Rations issued to them is a proof that it is not on
Account of the Insufficiency of those Rations, but merely from the
Gambling spirit above mentioned, that they also dispose of their bedding
and clothing.  Indeed, so far from their being obliged to part with their
clothing to purchase provisions it appears even from your own Statement
respecting the Prisoners at Liverpool that they actually dispose of a
part of their Subsistence to procure clothes.

With respect to your observation of the Prisoners not being permitted to
increase their means of Subsistence by Labour which you say “the most
severe Administration would not refuse to the greatest criminals” we
think it proper to acquaint you that the prisoners at all the depots in
this Country are at full liberty to exercise their Industry within the
Prisons in manufacturing and selling any articles they may think proper
excepting hats which would effect the Revenue in opposition to the Laws;
Obscene Toys, and drawings, and articles made either from their clothing
or the Prison Stores and by means of this privilege some of them have
been known to earn and to carry off upon their release, more than 100
guineas each.

Upon this occasion it has become highly expedient for us once more
solemnly to impress upon your mind the necessity of a speedy relief being
afforded to your people with respect to the article of Clothing a supply
of which would materially if not entirely remove the principal causes of
their present distress.

If you or rather your Government delay to furnish this supply whatever
evils may ensue and these may justly be apprehended, cannot, after such
repeated notices as we have for a long time, given you, be imputed to
this Country but to the state which in this instance has so entirely
neglected its own people.

                                                             We are, etc.,
                                                   (Signed) RUPERT GEORGE.
                                                            AMBROSE SERLE.
                                                              JOHN SCHANK.


                                * * * * *

_Extract from a Report made by Commissioner Serle to the Transport Board
dated_ 25_th July_, 1800.

The Prisoners complained of the smallness of the Ration but not of the
Quality supplied.  They wished for more bread and for beer instead of
water.  I found however that the ration by their mode of Cookery which is
left to themselves is not quite so insufficient and destitute as some of
them chose to represent it.

The French are generally great devourers of Bread and therefore what
would be a very competent allowance to an Englishman appears a contracted
one to them, while the meat which an Englishman would scarcely think
enough is to them a reasonable allowance.  The Ration of a pound of bread
with half a pound of meat Vegetables etc. digested into a Broth or soup
yielding seven quarts per diem to every six men affords a support which
our labouring poor rarely have at any time, but certainly not during the
present scarcity, and which to men living without labour seems enough to
maintain them in a general state of good health.  And I have been
informed by some who are most qualified to know, that the French Prisons
had never had so few sick as at the present time. {283}  Some indeed who
had sported away their allowance in Gambling to prevent which the Agents
have taken every precaution in their Power are in fact destitute enough
and so they might have been if their Ration had been ten times as great.
But this is their own fault entirely and it cannot be expected that if a
Prisoner be pleased to throw away his food by vice, that Government must
be at the expence of supplying him again.  However wherever this has been
discovered particularly as it may be in the Article of Bread the whole
has been seized by the agent of Officers of the Prison, from the Winners
or Purchasers and distributed amongst the Prisoners at large.

Many of the Prisoners have stalls in a kind of Market within the walls in
which among other articles they sell Provisions and vegetables and I am
told acquire considerable sums of money.  This interior market is
supplied by another without where there is a free access of the Country
People with all sorts of provisions Beer and Produce which they are not
allowed to sell but at the fair Market Price so that Destitution is only
to be found among those few who have been weak or wicked enough to lose
their allowance by Gambling.  I am also informed that many Thousand
pounds have been already remitted, and that sums of money are now
continually remitting from France, by the Friends of the Prisoners for
additional comforts in their situation.  This affords a considerable
supply to many of their requirements.

Their clothing in general for which the French Government has ceased to
provide (as well as for the victualling) is getting very bad, and to meet
the winter fairly must by some means or other be supplied.

Besides the remittances from France, the Prisoners are allowed to sell
any kinds of their own manufactures; Straw Hats (which would interfere
with the Revenue) and Articles made from Stores excepted, by which means
some have been known to earn and to carry off on their Release more than
a Hundred Guineas each.  This with an open Market as above mentioned
operates much to their advantage and Comfort and they show their
satisfaction in the Habits of Cheerfulness peculiar to themselves.  The
Prisoners have free access to the several Apartments from the opening of
the Prison in the morning until they are shut up on the approach of night
with the exception only of the times when they are fumigating or
cleansing for the preservation of Health.  Six Prisoners chosen by the
body at large have access to the Cook rooms every morning when the
Provisions are brought in that they may witness to their full weight and
object to any deficiency.

In case of sickness the patients are immediately removed under the
direction of the Medical people, to the Hospital and supplied with the
necessary assistance.

Nothing can exceed the cleanliness and decency of the Hospitals.

                                * * * * *


    _Brumaire_ 9_th Year of the French Republic_, 4_th November_ 1800

_The Commissary of the French Republic in England_, _to the Commissioners
of the Transport Office_.


I have just received the honour of your letter of the 1st of November in
answer to mine of the 29th October.  I shall immediately communicate it
to my Government.

In making mention of the deplorable situation to which the Prisoners are
reduced you appear to think that I have given no answer to the
Communications you made to me respecting the very censurable practise of
such of them as risk the loss of their Rations in Gambling.  I request
that you will refer to my letter of the 2nd of May in which you will find
the following Paragraph.  “I entirely approve of the Punishment you
propose to inflict upon those who according to the information you have
sent me, deal in Provisions; and I beg that you will communicate to me a
list of the Persons guilty of this conduct.  It even appears necessary in
order that the Punishment may be the more felt, to separate them from
their comrades and to collect them in a Depot for this purpose.”  I have
written to the Secretaries at the different Depots to the above effect,
and I Have procured authority from the Minister to treat with the utmost
severity those who made a traffic of the Rations of their comrades.  I
have done in this respect every thing my situation will admit of my
doing, but until I shall know, who are the guilty it will be impossible
for me to punish them.

                                             I have the honour to be, &c.,
                                                            (Signed) OTTO.


                                                         TRANSPORT OFFICE,
                                                         14_th June_ 1811.

                              GREAT BRITAIN


        In prison.                       30th April 1810.                                           11th June 1811.
                            Total No.     In health.     Sick. {286a}    Total No.     In health.     Sick.     Convalescent.   Cases of
                                                                                                                                wounds and
Chatham                            5,109          4,970             139         3,863          3,803        38              15               7
Dartmoor                           5,354          5,269              85         6,329          6,280        27               9              13
Edinburgh                        —              —              —                  288            282         4               2        —
Greenham                              17             17        —                    4              4     —            —               —
Norman Cross                       6,272          6,236              36         5,951          5,925        11              15        —
Porchester                       —              —              —                5,850          5,772        42              22              14
Forton Prison and prison          12,381         11,799             582         9,760          9,582        64              68              48
ships at Portsmouth
Plymouth and prison ships          7,907          7,725             182         6,918          6,775       104              23              16
Stapleton                          4,797          4,705              92         4,546          4,422        80              20       24 {286b}
Valleyfield                      —              —              —                2,425          2,384        10              29               2
Yarmouth                              36             18              18             3        —               1               1               1
                                  41,873         40,739           1,134        45,938     45,229           381             204             125
On Parole                          2,710          2,538             172         3,193          3,028       165               —               —
                                  44,583         43,277           1,306        49,132         48,257       546             204             125

                                                       (Signed) R. GEORGE.
                                                               J. DOUGLAS.
                                                               J. HARNERS.



THE Hospital accounts seem to commence in 1806; there are none extant
before.  The first document in the bundle of papers is a report from
Captain Pressland, the Agent, to the Board, enumerating the staff and the
date of appointment of each member.

George Walker, Surgeon, allowed for stationery by letter from the _Sick
and Hurt Board_, 12th August 1803, and by warrant from the Transport
Board, 11th February 1806, 15_s._ per diem and three guineas per annum
for stationery.

Samuel Waight, Dispenser, S. & H.B. warrant, 4th July 1803, and order for
stationery 24th August 1803.

Orbell Fairclough, Hospital Mate, S. & H.B. letter, 21st September 1805.

John Waller, Hospital Mate, S. & H.B. letter, 25th February 1805.

A. Munro, Clerk, 16th September 1803.

John Prethenan, Steward of Bedding, 6th July 1803, order for lodging 22nd
September 1803.

Thos. Giffard, Steward of Victualling, 7th October 1803, order for
lodging 15th October 1804.

Robert Hobart, Turnkey, S. & H.B. warrant, 22nd December 1803, Supert.
Carpenter, order, 30th April 1804.

Thos. Allan, Turnkey, warrant, 1st January 1806.

Ann Key, Matron, warrant, 14th March 1804.

Eliza Munro, Seamstress, letter, 22nd December 1803 (N. B.).  She was
formerly Eliza Key, and is the daughter of Mrs. Key.

Abraham Sevan, letter, 27th October 1804, to discharge the messenger
Collins, when Sevan was entered in his place, 3rd November 1804.  This
was the only member of the staff who made his mark on the pay-sheet.

Pierre Larfeuil, Asst.-Surgeon, S. & H.B. order, 18th May 1804.

Anty. Howard, ditto, order, 17th September 1804 and 18th April 1805.

Pierre Glize, Asst.-Dispenser, order, 6th March 1805.

P. E. Breand, Taylor.

P. Vanheekhoet, Interpreter.

Yves Gueonet, 26th October 1804.

Pierre Landean, to carry medicines, 26th October 1804.

Pierre Douvre, Washerman, order, 28th January 1805.

Pierre Avey, Carpenter, first employed to make cradles for keeping the
bedclothes off injured limbs, etc., and afterwards on odd jobs, then

Pierre Gradel, Asst.-Lamplighter, S. & H.B. order, 14th December 1804.

J. B. Anjou, Serving in Dispensary, order, 21st November 1804.

Louis Clairet, to refill beds, etc., employed by Dr. Gillespie.

Pierre Drissan, Asst. to Bedding-Steward, order 11th December 1805.

Pierre Jansen, Shoemender, order, 21st August 1805.

P. A. Daird, Stocking Mender, employed by Dr. Gillespie.

Francis Dening, ditto, 11th December 1805.

Louis Le Besse, Labourer, to clean drains, yards, etc., order, 15th
October 1804.

Pierre Andierne, ditto.

Pierre Vennin, Barber to infirm and itchy men, order 29th April and 29th
October 1805.

P. M. Langlais, Nurse to ditto.

John Rivet, ditto.

Jean Taste, ditto.  This man was appointed at the request of Mr. Walker,
on account of the increased number of patients with Fits and Mania.

The Surgeon, William Walker, quitted the Hospital in February 1806, and
was succeeded by George Walker, Surgeon, by warrant, dated 11th February
1806, and entered 21st February 1806.  On 1st October had an allowance of
£10 10_s._ per annum for coals and candles.  On 6th July 1809 his pay was
increased to 21_s._ per diem.

Orbell Fairclough resigned 20th September 1809.

Daird Povle appointed in his place.

Up to 1811 each had to sign the pay-sheet; this was discontinued, and the
payments certified by the Agent and two of the staff.  In the absence of
the Agent, the Surgeon and the Clerk certified.

                         SALARIES AND ALLOWANCES

George Walker, Surgeon, entered 21st February 1806 as Surgeon at £1 1_s._
per day, £3 3_s._ per annum for stationery, and £10 10_s._ per annum for
coals and candles.  Had an abatement of 3_d._ in the £ for Widows’
Pension Fund.

John Watkins, Dispenser, entered 7th May 1810, at 10_s._ per day, £1
1_s._ per annum for stationery, and £10 10_s._ for coals and candles.

Alexr. Gordon, 5th June 1812, Hospital Mate, 6_s._ 6_d._ per day.

John Wilkinson, Clerk, 25th December 1810 at 30_s._ 6_d._ per week.

Barnard Smith, Victualling Steward, 1st November 1806, 3_s._ 6_d._ per

A. E. Key, Matron, 1st March 1804, £25 per annum, 10_s._ 6_d._ per annum
for stationery, 1_s._ 3_d._ per day rations.

H. Key, Seamstress, 25th April 1804, at 4_s._ 6_d._ per week, and 1_s._
3_d._ per day rations.

After the prison was emptied in 1814 there were still sick in the
Hospital, and the pay-sheets show that it was not until the 31st July in
that year that the payments of the staff entirely ceased.

The Hospital Mate, Victualling Steward, Matron and Seamstress, were only
paid twenty days in July 1814, the Dispenser twenty-three and the Surgeon
the complete thirty-one days.



          TRANSLATION                                              292
          TRANSLATION                                              295
          THE BISHOP
          TRANSLATION                                              298
          TRANSLATION                                              300
          21ST MARCH 1808
          TRANSLATION                                              306
          TRANSLATION                                              310


_The Rt. Rev. Stephen John Baptist de Galois de la Tour_,
_Bishop-designate of Moulins_, _to the Rt. Hon. William_, 4_th Earl


Vous exprimer combien j’ai été touché de vos bontés et de l’accueil que
vous avez daigné me faire me seroit impossible.  Permettés moi de vous
offrir le juste hommage de ma reconnoissance.  Depuis vingt ans bientôt
que tous les genres de malheurs n’ont cessé de m’accabler, j’ose dire que
c’est à vous seul que je suis redevable d’avoir pu les oublier un
instant, et depuis ces vingt années les heures que j’ai passées à Milton
sont bien les plus heureuses que je puisse compter, ce n’est point ici ni
compliment ni phrase, le cœur seul parle dans ce moment et c’est le seul
hommage qui puisse vous plaire et qui soit digne de vous, je n’ai point
osé vous parler, Mylord, de tous les sentiments qui m’ont fait éprouver
la bienfaisance et la noblesse avec lesquelles vous avez daigné venir à
mon secours sur ma première demande et sans que j’eusse l’honneur d’être
connu de vous j’aurois craint de blesser votre délicatesse—j’ai encore
moins osé vous faire connoître tout le malheur de ma position actuelle,
mais je vous l’avoue, Mylord, en vous voyant, j’ai tout à la fois été
pénétré de respect et de confiance.  Je ne puis vous dire ce que j’ai
éprouvé, il n’appartient qu’à un cœur tel que le vôtre de pouvoir le
juger: j’ai tout perdu—fortune—amis—famille.  Il ne me reste que
l’honneur, en vous j’ai cru tout retrouver.  Pardonnés, Mylord, cet excès
de franchise et de liberté, je joins ici une note dont je vous supplie de
faire lecture; daignés y donner quelqu’ attention; elle est tout à la
fois importune et indiscrette, mais elle ne sauroit vous blesser.  Le
malheur a des droits sur une âme aussi grande et aussi élevée que la
vôtre, et elle pardonne l’importunité et l’indiscrétion.  La grâce que
j’implore de vous par dessus toutes les autres, Mylord, c’est que cette
note ne me fasse point tort auprès de vous; soit que vous daigniés y
avoir quelqu’ égard, soit que vous la rejettiés ne me privés pas de vos
bontés quoique je n’aye aucun titre pour y prétendre; permettés moi
d’espérer que l’excès de liberté que j’ose prendre ne m’en privera pas.
Tout chés vous et dans vous m’a persuadé que je trouvois un père, un

J’ai l’honneur d’être avec respect,


Votre très humble et très obéissant serviteur,

                                                      L’EVÊQUE DE MOULINS.

         _ce_ 21 _Mars_ 1808.

                                * * * * *



To express to you how much I have been touched by your goodness, and by
the reception you have given me, would be impossible.  Permit me to offer
you the just homage of my acknowledgement.  For almost twenty years all
sorts of misfortune have not ceased to overwhelm me, and I venture to
say, that it is to you alone that I am indebted for having been able to
forget them for an instant, and during these twenty years, the hours that
I have passed at Milton are the happiest that I am able to count up.
This is neither a compliment nor phrase, the heart alone speaks in this
moment, and it is the only homage which can please you, and which is
worthy of you.  I have never dared to speak to you, my lord, of all the
sentiments that have made me feel the goodness and the nobleness with
which you have deigned to come to my help on my first request, and if I
had not had the honour of being known to you I should have feared to
wound your delicacy; I have dared still less to acquaint you with all the
misfortune of my actual position, but I confess to you, my lord, that on
seeing you I was at once filled with respect and with confidence.  I
cannot tell you what I have felt, it only belongs to a nature such as
yours to be able to judge; I have lost all, fortune, friends, family—my
honour only remains.  In you I have believed to find all again—pardon, my
lord, this excess of frankness and freedom.  I enclose a note which I beg
you to read, please give it some attention.  It is both importunate and
indiscreet—but I am sure it will not hurt your feelings.  Misfortune has
claims upon a soul as great and as noble as yours, and it will pardon the
importunity and indiscretion.  The favour which I implore of you, above
all others, my lord, is, that this note may not be taken amiss by you;
whether you deign to have any regard for it, or whether you reject it,
pray do not deprive me of your goodness; although I have no right to lay
claim to it, permit me to hope that the excess of liberty that I dare to
take will not deprive me of it.  Everything with you and in you has
convinced me that I have found a father and a benefactor.

I have the honour to be, with respect, my lord,

               Your very humble and very obedient servant,

                                                    THE BISHOP OF MOULINS.

      21_st March_ 1808.


_The Memoir in the handwriting of the Bishop_, _inclosed in his letter of
the_ 21_st March_ 1808, _addressed to the Earl Fitzwilliam_.

L’EVÊQUE de Moulins parti de France en 1791, avec très peu de moyens, a
passé en Italie.  Assés heureux pour obtenir la place de premier Aumônier
de Mde. Victoire de France, c’est aux bontés de cette auguste Princesse
qu’il a dû son existence.  A sa mort arrivée en 1799, il s’est vu privé
de toutes ressources.  A cette époque, il a passé en Angleterre, où il a
obtenu le traitement fixé pour les Evêques, qui était alors de £10 par
mois.  Il s’est établi à Londres chés M. de Pontcarré, ancien Premier
Président du Parlement de Rouen, qui avoit épousé sa sœur en premières
noces, dont il a en deux enfans; il ne connoissoit point le malheureux
état des affaires de cette famille.  Son cœur et le désir de l’obliger,
l’ont entraíné fort au delà de ce que ses moyens lui permettoient de
faire.  Il ne eraint pas sur cela d’avouer ses torts, et de dire que pour
soutenir cette malheureuse famille, il a été jusqu’à se mettre en avant
pour plus de £1600, d’après les promesses qui lui étoient faites d’un
remboursement prochain.  Son père vivoit alors, et il avoit lieu de
croire qu’il pourroit en espérer quelques ressources.  Son neveu et sa
nièce étoient en France, et il avoit quelque droit d’espérer qu’ils
auroient égard à ce qu’il faisoit pour aider leur père et sa famille.  Il
ne prétend point diminuer ses torts, mais sur ces espérances, il s’est
laissé aller à la facilité de son caraetère, et n’ayant par lui-même
aucuns moyens, a contracté divers engagements dont il est aujourd’hui la
victime.  Son père est mort en 1802 sans avoir fait aucunes dispositions;
on l’a frustré de tout ce qu’il pouvoit prétendre, et un frère qu’il a
encore en France, ainsi que son neveu et sa nièce se sont emparés de la
succession sans lui en rendre aucun compte.  M. d’Aligre, son cousin
germain, à qui il a rendu le service de contribuer à lui conserver trois
millions qu’il avoit sur la banque d’Angleterre, est venu à Londres pour
recueillir cette somme, et lui a promis alors de lui prêter 12,000f. de
France sous le cautionnement de son neveu et de sa nièce, et lui en a
même donné parole.  La caution a été promise, et de retour en France, M.
d’Aligre ainsi que les autres n’ont tenu nul compte de leurs promesses.
Il peut dire avoir éprouvé sous tous les rapports tous les genres de
procédés les plus injustes et les moins délicats.  On a été jusqu’à lui
faire entrevoir qu’on ne penseroit à le secourir, qu’autant qu’il
retournerait en France, et qu’il se soumettroit au gouvernement qui y
domine, ce qu’il ne fera jamais, quelque malheureux qu’il puisse être.
Il y a donc bientôt 9 ans que l’évêque de Moulins gémit sous le poids du
malheur, et que ses jours ne sont comptés que par ses peines; ce n’est
que par des engagemens nouveaux qu’il a pu satisfaire aux plus anciens,
et ses embarras, par conséquent, loin de diminuer, n’ont fait
qu’augmenter.  Il ose avouer que dans le nombre de ses dettes, il y a une
de £200 pour laquelle il paye £60 d’intérêt par an.  Il a tout perdu:
rien ne lui reste en France, puisque d’une part le gouvernement, et de
l’autre, sa famille lui ont tout enlevé il ne lui reste uniquement pour
vivre que les £20 qu’il reçoit par mois de la générosité du gouvernement
Britannique.  Il commence à avancer en âge; il est affreux pour lui de
penser à l’avenir.  Il ne connoit personne en Angleterre, n’y a ni appui,
ni soutien.  Sa seule ressource étoit pour s’assurer une existence
tranquille de trouver une somme de £1000 sterlings à emprunter, et
n’ayant point d’autre assurance à donner, il a offert de faire assurer sa
vie pour cette somme, et de donner les sûretés nécessaires pour le
pavement des intérêts, et pour l’intérêt de l’assurance.  Par ce moyen on
seroit sûr à sa mort de ne rien perdre.  Il y a plus de deux ans qu’il
cherche ce moyen de se libérer sans avoir pu y réussir.  La somme de £200
pour laquelle il paye £60 d’intérêt par an est assurée au bureau
d’assurance.  Telle est la position exacte dans laquelle se trouve
l’Evêque de Moulins, sans cesse exposé à des embarras, à des inquiétudes,
et menant par conséquent la vie la plus pénible et la plus malheureuse.
Tels sont les faits dans la plus exacte vérité, qu’il ose exposer à
Milord Fitzwilliam.  C’est dans ces circonstances, qu’il vient se jeter
entre ses bras, et implorer, il ne craint pas de se servir de ce terme
vis-à-vis d’un homme tel que lui, non pas seulement ses bontés, mais sa
pitié,—si Mylord par quelques moyens peut alléger sa malheureuse
situation, il rendra en quelque manière la vie et l’existence à un homme
qui ne se croit pas indigne de son estime.


THE Bishop of Moulins, who left France in 1791, with very small means,
went into Italy and was fortunate enough to obtain the post of first
Chaplain to Madame Victoire of France.  It is to the bounty of this
august princess that he owed his existence.  At her death, which took
place in 1799, he found himself deprived of all his resources.  At this
period he went to England, where he got the salary fixed for Bishops,
which was then £10 a month.  He settled down in London in the house of M.
Pontcarré, the former First President of the Parliament of Rouen, whose
first wife was the Bishop’s sister; by her M. Pontcarré had two children.
He had no idea of the unhappy state of affairs in this family.  His
kindness of heart and his wish to help them involved him far beyond what
his means allowed him to do.  He is not afraid of confessing that in that
he did wrong, and of saying that to support that unhappy family he went
so far as to advance £1,600 on the strength of the promises which had
been made to him of an early repayment.  His father was still living, and
he had cause to believe that he might hope for some resources from him.
His nephew and niece were in France, and he had some right to hope that
they would be mindful of what he was doing to help their father and his
family.  He did not attempt to minimise his fault, but because of this
hope he gave way to the weakness of his character, and, not having any
means himself, contracted various bonds of which he is now the victim.
His father died in 1802 without having made any provision; he was
defrauded of all to which he could lay a claim, and a brother who was
still in France, as well as his nephew and his niece, took possession of
the inheritance without taking him into consideration.  M. d’Aligre, his
first cousin, to whom he had done a service by contributing to keep for
him three million which he had in the Bank of England, came to London to
collect that sum, and promised him then to lend him 12,000 francs (of
France) on the security of his nephew and niece, and even gave his word
for it.  The security was promised.  On his return to France neither M.
d’Aligre nor the others kept their promise.  He may be said to have had
to endure during this time the most unjust and indelicate behaviour.
They even went so far as to hint to him that they could not help him,
unless he returned to France and submitted himself to her government that
was then ruling, a thing which he would never do, however unfortunate he
might be.  It is now nearly nine years that the Bishop of Moulins has
groaned under the load of his misfortune.  His days could only be counted
by his struggles, and it was only by fresh bonds that he was able to
satisfy the older ones, and his embarrassments consequently, far from
diminishing, only increased.  He dares to confess that amongst his debts
there is one of £200 for which he pays £60 interest per annum.  He has
lost everything, nothing remains to him in France, as the government on
one side and his family on the other have taken everything from him.
There only remains for him to live on the £20 which he receives every
month through the generosity of the British Government.  He is beginning
to advance in age, and it is terrible for him to think of the future.  He
knows no one in England who can help or support him.  His only resource
was, to make sure of a quiet existence, to find the sum of £1,000
sterling to borrow, and having no other assurance to give, he offered to
have his life insured for that sum, and to give the sureties necessary
for the payment of the interests and for the interest of the insurance.
By these means they would be sure of losing nothing at his death.  For
more than two years he has been trying to get himself out of debt by this
means, but has not succeeded.  The sum of £200, for which he pays £60
interest per annum, is insured at the Insurance Office.  This is the
position the Bishop of Moulins finds himself in, always exposed to
embarrassments and anxiety, and consequently leading a most difficult and
unhappy life.  These are the exact facts, which he ventures to confide to
Lord Fitzwilliam.  It is under these circumstances that he throws himself
on his mercy and craves, he is not afraid of using such a word to such a
man, not only his favour, but his pity.  If his Lordship can by some
means alleviate this unhappy situation, he will in some manner give back
life and existence to a man who does not believe himself unworthy of his


_Unfinished draft of Lord Fitzwilliam’s reply to the letter of the Bishop
of Moulins_, _dated_ 21_st March_ 1808, _in which letter was enclosed the
autobiographical notes_.

DEPUIS la recette de l’exposé que vous m’avez fait l’honneur de me
confier, je me suis adonné à faire la revue, de mes propres moyens,
préliminaire très necessaire dans les circonstances dans lesquelles
moi-même je me trouve actuellement, ayant à payer la dépense de
l’élection de mon fils, une occasion que me coûte guère moins de £100,000
sterling.  Après cet aveu, vous voiez bien, monseigneur, qu’il doit me
rester que moyens bien serrés.  Cependant, sentant bien l’état
embarrassant de vos affaires, monseigneur, et touché du désir d’y porter
autant de soulagement que mes propres moyens peuvent fournir, et
considérant que l’interêt de £60 per annum que vous payez pour la somme
de £200 d’emprunt, doit peser fort, j’ai l’honneur de vous offrir le
montant pour vous libérer de cette charge.  Pour le reste, je suis au
désespoir de ne pouvoir aller plus loin, sentant bien que la situation
embarrassante dans laquelle vous vous trouvez, provient des circonstances
que vous ne pouviez pas avertir d’une conduite, qui ennoblit le
caractère, étant l’effet d’une probité patriotique, trop pure et trop
sincère, pour chercher faveur et protection des mains impies de


SINCE the receipt of the story of your life which you have done me the
honour to confide in me, I have been devoting myself to looking into my
own private means, a very necessary preliminary step in the circumstances
in which I find myself at the present moment, having had to pay the
expenses of the election of my son, a transaction which has cost me
hardly less than £100,000 sterling.  After this avowal, Monseigneur, you
will see that I must be left with very narrowed means.  In the meantime,
perceiving clearly, Monseigneur, the embarrassing state of your affairs,
and touched with the desire to relieve them to the extent which my
circumstances can furnish, and considering that the interest of £60 per
annum, that you pay for the loan of £200, must weigh heavily upon you, I
have the honour to offer you the amount to free you from that charge.  As
to the rest, I am in despair that I can go no further, perceiving well
that the embarrassing position in which you find yourself arises from
circumstances which you could not have avoided and from a conduct which
ennobles your character, being the result of a patriotic uprightness, too
pure and too sincere to seek favour and protection from the impious hands
of usurpation.


                 _Bishop of Moulins to Earl Fitzwilliam_


Les nouvelles bontés dont vous daignes me combler, me pénétrent d’une
reconnoissance qu’il m’est impossible de vous exprimer; mais si j’ose
vous le dire, ce sont encore moins ces bontés relatives au soulagement et
au secours qu’elles me procurent qui me font éprouver tout ce qu’un cœur
honnète et sensible doit sentir, que la lettre que vous m’avés fait
l’honneur de m’écrire, tout ce que je craignois, étoit d’avoir pu vous
déplaire par mon importunité et par mon indiscrétion et la manière
aimable et obligeante sous tous les rapports, dont vous avés daigné me
répondre, m’a fait éprouver une satisfaction dont il n’appartient qu’à un
cœur tel que le vôtre de juger, si vous eussiés pu être témoin de ce qui
se passoit en moi en la lisant, pensant comme vous le faites, je crois
pouvoir assurer que vous auriés eu une véritable jouissance vous faites
pour moi, Milord, bien au delà de ce que j’aurois pu espérer et en me
mettant à portée par vos dons de me libérer de la dette onéreuse de £200
que j’ai contractée c’est me procurer un soulagement tel que je n’aurois
pu l’espérer, et me mettre à portée de jouir de beaucoup plus de
tranquillité et d’aisance et ce qui y ajoutera infiniment, ce sera de
vous en être redevable, il me reste une grâce à vous demander, Mylord,
c’est de me permettre d’aller un jour vous dire de vive voix et tout ce
que je sens et tout ce que j’éprouve.  J’ai pris la liberté, Mylord, de
vous exposer tout ce qui s’étoit passé entre le transport office et moi
relativement au jeune prisonnier qu’on m’avoit accordé pour domestique,
et dont m’a privé en le faisant rentrer dans la prison, ma position vous
est connue, et d’après cela il vous est aisé de juger qu’elle ne me
permet pas d’avoir à mon service un domestique au même prix où sont les
domestiques Anglois, d’ailleurs je ne parle point assés cette langue pour
être servi par un Anglois, et cependant le malheureux état de ma santé,
même une sorte de décence ne me permettent pas de n’avoir personne pour
me servir, j’ai recours à votre protection, Mylord, et si par celle que
vous daigneriés y mettre et l’intérêt que vous avés la bonté de prendre à
moi, il étoit en votre pouvoir de me faire accorder soit par l’amirauté
principalement, ou du transport office, j’ai pensé espérer non pas, le
jeune homme qu’on m’avoit accordé, et que je ne réclame pas, pour des
raisons particulières, mais celui que j’ai demandè à sa place nommé
Sébastien _Lequelleux_, Mousse pris â bord de la Marie Françoise âgé
d’environ 15 ans, aux mêmes conditions, mises à la liberté du premier,
dont je joins ici le passeport en vous priant de ne pas vous en dessaisir
et de le garder entre vos mains, parce qu’il peut m’être utile, passeport
qui vous justifiera qu’on n’avoit point le droit de le reprendre, ni d’en
user à mon égard comme on l’a fait, je vous en aurois une bien véritable
obligation.  Depuis que je n’ai eu l’honneur de vous voir j’ai beaucoup
souffert de vomissements de sang auxquels je suis sujet, et il est bien
dur—et bien pénible pour moi—si je hazarde cette demande, Milord; ce sont
vos bontés seules qui m’inspirent cette confiance.  Mais je vous supplie
de la regarder comme non avenue et de n’y avoir aueun égard pour peu qui
vous y voyez la moindre difficulté et qu’elle puisse vous compromettre
sous le moindre rapport.  Si je puis avoir le jeune homme que je demande
c’est à vous seul que je veux en être redevable, c’est à vous seul qu’il
sera accordé de manière que le Transport Office ne puisse voir dans tout
cela que l’intérêt que vous daignés m’accorder.  Pardonnés moi tant de
liberté, tant d’importunités, mais un françois honnête et malheureux qui
a le bonheur de vous voir, voit en vous son appui et son soutien.

J’ai l’honneur d’être avec respect, Mylord,

              Votre très humble et très obéissant serviteur,

                                                      L’EVÊQUE DE MOULINS.

         _ce_ 27 _Mars_ 1808.



The fresh bounties with which you deign to overwhelm me fill me with a
gratitude which it is impossible for me to express, but if I dare say so,
it is again, less, the kindnesses, in their relation to the comfort and
help they have given me, which make me feel all that an upright and
sensitive nature should feel, than the letter which you have done me the
honour to write.

All that I feared was to displease you, by my importunity and
indiscretion, but the amiable and obliging manner in which under all
circumstances you have deigned to reply to me, has made me experience a
satisfaction, of which only a heart like yours can judge.  If you had
been able to see what passed within me when reading it, I feel sure that
you, thinking as you do, would have had real pleasure, and by putting me,
through your gifts, in a position to free myself of this heavy debt of
£200 which I have contracted, you have relieved me far beyond my
expectations, and made it possible for me to enjoy much more peace and
ease of mind—and what will add to it still more, is the fact of my being
indebted to you.  There still remains one more request, my lord, and that
is to allow me to go and see you some day, and tell you in person all
that I feel.

I have taken the liberty, my lord, of telling you all that passed between
the Transport Office and me, about the young prisoner, whom they allotted
to me, as servant, and of whom they deprived me, by sending him back to
prison.  My circumstances are known to you, and therefore it is easy for
you to judge that they will not allow me an expensive servant, such as
are the English ones, moreover, I do not speak the English language well
enough to be served by one of these, and yet the unfortunate state of my
health and a sort of propriety do not allow me to have any servants.  I
have recourse to your protection, my lord, and, if by what you deign to
give me, and the interest which you have the goodness to take in me, it
were in your power to have awarded to me, either by the Admiralty
principally, or by the Transport Office, I might hope, not for the young
man whom they allowed me before, and whom I do not ask back for private
reasons, but for him whom I asked in his place, called Sebastian
Sequelleux, a cabin boy, taken on board the _Marie Françoise_, aged about
fifteen years, under the same conditions as the first whose passport I
enclose, begging you not to give it up, but to keep it in your own hands,
because it may be useful to me—a passport which will justify you that
they had not the right to take him back again, nor to act in the manner
towards me that they have done—I should be under a real obligation to

Since I had the honour of seeing you I have suffered much from vomiting
of blood, to which I am subject, it is very hard and very trying for me,
under these circumstances, to have no one near me.  If I hazard this
request, my lord, it is your kindness alone, which inspires this
confidence, and I implore you to consider it null and void, if you see
the least difficulty—and if it should compromise you in the least.  If I
can have the young man that I ask for, it is to you alone that I wish to
be indebted, and to you alone that he will be granted, so that the
Transport Office can see in all that, only the interest you have deigned
to take in me.  Forgive so much liberty, so much importunity—but an
honest and unhappy Frenchman, who has the happiness to see you, finds in
you his prop and stay.

I have the honour to be, with respect, my lord,

               Your very humble and very obedient servant,

                                                    THE BISHOP OF MOULINS.

         27_th March_ 1808.


_Mr. Commissioner Rupert George to Captain Moorsom_, _Secretary to Lord

                                                         TRANSPORT OFFICE,
                                                        19_th March_ 1808.


In answer to what is stated in Lord Fitzwilliam’s letter to Lord
Mulgrave, I request you will inform his Lordship that the Bishop of
Moulins was introduced to me by the Bishop of Montpellier, and at his
request I prevailed on my colleagues to release a Prisoner of War from
Norman Cross Prison to attend upon him; this, I am sorry to acknowledge,
was irregular and unauthorised, but I was actuated by motives of
humanity, as the Bishop complained that his finances were so limited that
he could not afford to keep any servant of a different description.  This
should have influenced the Bishop to keep his servant from carrying on
any improper traffic with the Prisoners; on the contrary he became the
instrument of introducing straw, manufactured, to the Prisoners for the
purpose of being made into hats, bonnets, etc., by which the Revenue of
our country is injured, and the poor who exist by that branch of trade
would be turned out of employ, as the prisoners who are fed, clothed, and
lodged at the public expense would be able to undersell them.

I must observe that this is the only article which the Prisoners are
prevented from manufacturing.

When the Bishop’s servant had established himself in this trade the
Bishop wrote to me, that he had found means of getting his livelihood,
and desired he might remain at large, and that another prisoner might be
released to serve him, neither of which the Board thought proper to
comply with, for the foregoing reasons; upon which the Bishop of Moulins
complained to the Admiralty, who directed us to give such answer as the
case called for.

I have only to add that the Bishop experienced greater indulgence from us
than any other French Ecclesiastick ever did, to which in my opinion he
has not made an adequate return, nor felt himself, as he ought to have
done, answerable for the conduct of his servant; and if a strict
discipline is not maintained in the Prisons as the Prisoners are daily
increasing, the consequences may be incalculable.

                                                           I am, Dear Sir,
                                                    Very faithfully yours,
                                                              RUP. GEORGE.



                   _Lord Mulgrave to Lord Fitzwilliam_

                                                        21_st March_ 1808.


On receipt of your Lordship’s letter, I made immediate enquiry at the
Transport Board into the circumstances of the case of the Bishop of
Moulins.  I enclose the answer of Sir Rupert George, for your Lordship’s
information, and am sorry to find that the conduct of the Bishop of
Moulins has not been such as to justify a repetition of the indulgences
which have heretofore been extended to him.  I have the honour to be, my

Your Lordship’s

                    Most Humble and obedient Servant,




                 _Bishop of Moulins to Earl Fitzwilliam_


C’est à votre âme généreuse et bienfaisante qu’il appartient de sentir
tout ce que j’éprouve, privé de tout secours, de toutes consolations,
plongé dans le malheur depuis près de vingt ans, la providence m’a
conduit à Stilton pour y trouver dans vous, ce que je n’aurois jamais osé
espérer, sans aucun mérite, sans aucun titre, auprès de vous, vous seul
avés daigné me servir de consolation, d’appui, et me procurer des
secours, que je n’aurois jamais cru devoir attendre.  Il n’est ici
question ni de phrases, ni de tournures Françoises, que ne puissiés vous
lire dans mon cœur, vous y verriés tout ce qu’il sent, et de quelle
reconnoissance il est pénétré.  Vous avés la bonté de vous intéresser à
ma santé: elle a été bien misérable depuis que je n’ai eu l’honneur de
vous voir, les accidents de sang auxquels je suis sujet m’ont fort
fatigué; ces deux derniers jours-ei j’ai été extrêmement souffrant, comme
depuis longues années, je suis accoutumé à souffrir, cela ne m’empêche
pas de continuer ma besogne comme à l’ordinaire, et bien certainement,
cela ne m’empêchera pas de profiter de vos bontés, et de vous aller faire
ma cour à Milton, le jour que vous m’indiquerés; le désir que Monsieur
votre fils veut bien avoir de faire connaissance avec moi me flatte au
delà de tout ce que je puis vous exprimer, et il sera bien heureux pour
moi d’être à portée en lui rendant mes hommages de lui exprimer tout ce
que je sens et tout ce dont je suis redevable au père qu’il a le bonheur
d’avoir, et qui en est devenu un pour moi.  A l’exception des dimanches,
et du jeudi et du vendredi de la Semaine Sainte, c’est à dire de celle
qui précède la fête de Pâques, tous les jours, où vous daigneriés me
proposer de venir à Milton seront libres pour moi, parce que je puis
m’arranger pour que vers les trois heures ou trois heures et demie après
je puisse être libre.

Je ne saurois vous dire, Milord, combien je suis touché de toutes les
démarches que vous avés eu la bonté de faire pour me procurer un jeune
prisonnier pour me servir de domestique, ce que j’ai souffert dans ces
derniers temps m’a encore plus prouvé combien il étoit nécessaire d’avoir
auprès de moi quelqu’un pour me servir.  Je désire bien que les démarches
que vous avés daigné faire ne soient pas sans succès, c’est à vous, si la
chose réussit que j’en serai uniquement redevable, et dès lors j’en
sentirai doublement le poids.  J’ose dire qu’il y avoit une véritable
injustice à m’en refuser un, car, indépendamment de ce qu’on n’avoit pas
le droit à ce que je crois, de m’ôter celui qui j’avois d’après le
passeport qui avoit été donne, je puis certifier que les raisons qu’on a
mises en avance pour le faire rentrer dans la prison, et surtout celle
qu’on a alléguées d’avoir introduit de la paille dans les prisons, est
dénuée de toute vérité, et à l’égard de cette dernière raison qui n’est
aujourd’hui mise en avant que pour la première fois, je crois pouvoir
répondre que l’accusation est absolument fausse.  Mais comme je ne
reviens pas sur le passé si l’on m’en accorde un autre par votre
protection, j’en aurois une vraie satisfaction, car je suis réellement
malheureux, dans la position où je me trouve, de n’avoir personne pour me

Vous avés la bonté de me dire, Milord, que lorsque j’aurai fait mes
arrangements pour liquider la somme de £200, vous voudrés bien me faire
transmettre cette somme de la manière qui me sera la plue commode.  Comme
de raison ce sera à l’époque qui vous sera la plus convenable, ce que
vous faites pour moi, est trop au delà de tout ce que je pouvois jamais
espérer, pour que le terme qui vous sera le plus agréable ne soit le

A la vérité plutôt je pourrai être libéré de cette dette, plutôt ce sera
le mieux pour moi.  Et puisque vous me permettés de vous parler avec
franchise, si cela vous convient, je prendrai la liberté de vous observer
que comme dans ce moment-ci il nous est dû quatre mois de notre
traitement, ce qui ne laisse pas pour l’instant de rendre la position un
peu embarrassante, si vous daigniés me faire passer ici 100 livres
sterlings en papiers du pays, ou en papiers de la banque d’Angleterre, et
un draft de 100 livres sterlings sur votre banquier à Londres, alors je
laisserois les 4 mois qui avec celui qui sera dû au premier mai feroient
la somme de £100 pour compléter les £200, et ce que vous auriés la bonté
de m’envoyer ici, me serviroit à ma dépense habituelle et nécessaire.
Pardonnés ma franchise et ma liberté, vos bontés seules m’y autorisent,
mais d’ailleurs, ce qui vous conviendra le mieux à cet égard, fera
toujours mon arrangement.  Pou-vois-je jamais espérer tant de bonté de
quelqu’un dont je n’avois pas seulement l’honneur d’être connu.

J’ai l’honneur d’être avec respect, permettés moi d’ajouter avec une
reconnoissance qui durera autant que ma vie,


                           Votre très humble et
                        très obéissant serviteur,

                                                      L’EVÊQUE DE MOULINS.

         _ce_ 3 _Avril_ 1808.

                                * * * * *



It is of the nature of your generous and kind soul to understand all that
I feel.  Deprived of all help and all consolation, plunged in the depths
of misery for almost twenty years, Providence led me to Stilton to find
in you what I had never dared to hope for without any merits, without any
title.  Near you, you alone deigned to give me comfort, support, and have
secured me the help which I should never have dared to hope for.  There
is no language in which I can tell you what I feel.  If you could only
read into my heart you would see there all that it feels and with what
gratitude it is filled.  You have the kindness to show interest in my
health.  It has been very wretched since I last had the honour of seeing
you.  The blood complaint to which I am subject has exhausted me very
much, and these last two days I have suffered a great deal; but as I have
been used to suffering for many years, it does not prevent me from going
about as usual, and it certainly will not stop me from profiting by your
kindness to go and pay my respects to you at Milton the day which you
name.  The desire that your son has to make my acquaintance flatters me
more than I can say, and it will give me great pleasure to pay my
respects to him, and to express to him all that I feel and how indebted I
am to the father whom he has the happiness to possess and who has become
such for me.  With the exception of Sundays, Thursday and Friday in Holy
Week, that is to say that which precedes Eastertide, any day which you
propose to me for coming to Milton will be free for me, for I can arrange
to be free at about three or half-past three o’clock in the afternoon.  I
cannot tell you, my lord, how much I have been touched by the steps you
have taken in trying to procure me a young prisoner to act as my servant.
What I have suffered lately has proved to me still more how necessary it
was to have somebody to wait on me.  I hope very much that the steps
which you have so kindly taken will not be without success, and it is to
you only, if the affair proves successful, that I shall be indebted, and
from then onwards I shall be doubly grateful.  I take the liberty to say,
that it was a real injustice to refuse me one, because, independently of
the fact that they have not the right as far as I can make out, to take
away the one I had, according to the passport which had been given to
him, I can certify that the reasons they put forward for sending him back
to prison, and especially that of his alleged taking of straw into the
prison, is devoid of all truth; and with regard to this last reason,
which to-day has been advanced for the first time, I believe that I can
take upon myself to answer that the accusation is absolutely false; but
as I do not wish to rake up the past, if I am granted another under your
protection, I shall have a real satisfaction, for I am really miserable
in the position in which I find myself, without anyone to wait upon me.
You had the goodness to tell me, my lord, that when I had made my
arrangements to pay off the sum of £200, you would forward me that sum in
the manner which would be most convenient to me.  Of course that would be
at the time most convenient to you.  That which you are doing for me is
far beyond all that I could ever have hoped, and so the date which is
most agreeable to you will be mine too.  Indeed, the sooner I shall be
freed from that debt the sooner my position will improve.  And as you
allow me to speak to you candidly, if it is convenient to you, I take the
liberty of pointing out to you that four months of my salary is owing to
me at the present time, which does not make the position less
embarrassing at present.  If you will deign to send me here £100 sterling
in notes or in English bank-notes and a draft of £100 on your bank in
London, then I would lay aside the four months’ salary, which, together
with that which I ought to receive on the first of May, would make the
sum of £100 to complete the £200, and what you will have the goodness to
send to me here will serve me for my usual and necessary expenses.
Pardon my frankness and the liberty; your kindness alone authorises me,
but after all, whatever suits you best in this matter will suit me also.
Could I ever have hoped for so much kindness from someone I had not even
the honour of knowing?

I have the honour to be with respect, allow me to add with a gratitude
which will last all my life.

My Lord,

                                    Your very humble and obedient servant,
                                                    THE BISHOP OF MOULINS.

         3rd _April_ 1808.


                   _Lord Mulgrave to Earl Fitzwilliam_

                                                         6_th April_ 1808.


The earnest interest which your Lordship takes in the Request of the
Bishop of Moulins could not fail to determine me to make further enquiry
respecting that person, from Sir Rupert George:—From him I learn, that in
point of fact the Bishop of Moulins was only designated as such, and has
not, in addition to his other sacrifices, to lament the splendour of a
Bishop’s establishment.  The allowance of a servant from amongst the
Prisoners was a particular indulgence to the Bishop of Moulins, which has
in no instance been extended to any other person, and could not indeed,
from the general conduct of the French Prisoners, be admitted as a
general practice; under all these circumstances the Bishop of Moulins has
certainly not conducted himself with the discretion and propriety which
might have been expected from him.  But if I can have the pledge of your
Lordship’s assurance that the Bishop of Moulins will not again abuse the
indulgence of Government, as a mark of respect to your Lordship I will
certainly give directions that a servant shall be again allowed to that
Prelate, from amongst the Prisoners.

I have the honour to be, my Lord,

                             Your Lordship’s

                                             Most obedient Humble servant,



                 _Bishop of Moulins to Earl Fitzwilliam_


J’ai reçu avec la lettre que vous m’avés fait l’honneur de m’écrire, les
£200 sterl. qui y étoient jointcs, donc £100 en billets de banque, et
£100 en une traite sur votre Banquier à Londres.  Vos bontés pour moi
sont à leur comble, ma reconnoissance leur est proportionnée, les
expressions me manquent pour vous la témoigner.

A tant de choses que vous faites pour moi, My lord, vous daignés encore y
ajouter de vous occuper du domestique: je désire si la chose réussit ce
sera bien à vous que je le devrai, et ce sera un nouveau bienfait dont je
vous serai redevable.  Ce sera un jour bien heureux pour moi que celui
qui me mettra à portée de vous renouveller de vive voix à Milton,
l’assurance du respect avec lequel j’ai l’honneur d’être,


                        Votre très humble et très

                                                      Obéissant serviteur,
                                                      L’EVÊQUE DE MOULINS.

         ce 7 _April_ 1808.

                                * * * * *



I have received with the letter you have done me the honour to write, the
£200 sterling which were enclosed—£100 in bank-notes and £100 in a draft
on your Banker in London.

Your kindness to me has reached its highest point, and my gratitude is
commensurate, I cannot say enough to convince you how deep it is.  To the
many things you have done for me, my lord, you still deign to add by
busying yourself about the servant I want, and if the affair is
successful it will be to you that I owe him, and it will be a fresh
kindness for which I shall be indebted to you.  It will be a happy day
for me when I shall be able personally to renew to you at Milton the
assurance of the respect with which I have the honour to be

                                    Your very humble and obedient servant,
                                                    THE BISHOP OF MOULINS.

         7_th April_ 1808.


  _Passport of Jean Baptiste David referred to in the Bishop’s Letters_

By the Commissioners for conducting His Majesty’s Transport Service, for
the care of sick and wounded seamen, and for the care and custody of
Prisoners of War.

These are to certify, that Jean Baptiste David, as described on the back
hereof, a French boy taken in the capacity of Domestic on board
_L’Aigle_, French ship of War, has been released from Norman Cross
Prison, for the purpose of his entering into the service of the French
Bishop of Moulins, upon his having engaged that he will not enter into
any Naval, Military, or Civil Service, which may directly or indirectly
tend to hostility against Great Britain or her Allies during the present
War, unless he be regularly exchanged for a British Prisoner of the same
description and rank with himself.

Given under our hands and Seal of Office at London, the 2nd of June 1807.

                                                            RUPERT GEORGE.
                                                            AMBROSE SERLE.
                                                                 J. BOMAN.


Name                Jean Baptiste David.
Rank                Servant.
Age                 Sixteen years.
Stature             Five feet one inch and ½.
Person              Inclined to be stout.
Visage              Oval.
Complexion          Rather fair.
Hair                Dark brown.
Eyes                Dark brown.
Marks or wounds     Has a few marks of small-pox, and a scar just
                    below the left ear, cut on the right
                    thigh—another scar under his chin.



Name of the       Rank or           Date of Arrival   Date of           Mode and Date
Officer.          Condition.        at Verdun.        Capture.          of the
                                                                        Termination of
                                                                        Imprisonment at
                              POST-CAPTAINS AND COMMANDERS
Jahleel Brenton   Post-Captain,     15th Dec. 1803    3rd July 1803     Tours 31st Oct.
                  _Minerve_                                             1805; returned
                                                                        to England
Simon Miller      Do., _Hostage_    18th Dec. do.
Ed. Lov Gower     Do., _Shannon_    10th Jan. 1804    10th Dec. 1803    Returned to
                                                                        England 21st
                                                                        May 1806
Henry Gordon      Commander,        1st June do.      24th Mar. 1804    Melun 10th May;
                  _Woolverene_                                          escaped Nov.
Will. Lyall       Post-Captain,     10th Aug. 1805
                  Passenger in a
Dan. Woodriff     Do., _Calcutta_   18th Feb. 1806                      Returned to
                                                                        England 1807
Sir Thos. Lavie   Do., _Blanche_    20th April 1807   4th Mar. 1807     Melun 1811
Chs. Strachey     Commander,        29th June do.     19th May do.
Ch. Otter         Post-Captain,     7th April 1809    28th Feb. 1809
Fr. W. Fane       Do., _Cambrian_   29th Jan. 1811    18th Dec. 1810    England 1811
Benj. Walker      Do., Passenger    14th Mar. do.     1st Feb. 1811
God.              Commander,        26th April do.    12th Mar. 1811
Blemverhapet      _Challenger_
Hen. Fanshaw      Do.,              7th Feb. 1812     25th Dec. 1811
John Joyce        Post-Captain,     17th do.          28th Jan. do.
Frederick         Commander,        27th May do.      3rd May do.
Hoffman           _Apelles_
                              LIEUTENANTS, SUB-LIEUTENANTS
J. Lucas Yeo      Lieutenant,       20th Nov. 1803                      England parole
                  _Hostage_                                             1804
W. H. Dillon      Do.,              13th Dec. 1803    25th July 1803    England 1807
Jno. Fennell      Do., _Minerve_    15th Dec. do.     3rd July do.
Wm. Fitzgerald    Do., do.
Wm. Walpole                                                             Paris 1807,
                                                                        then to England
Lewis Nanny       A Détenu          17th Dec. 1803                      Escaped Arras
T. L. Prescott    Do.               Do.                                 Escaped 1813
T. P. Crosdale    Do.               Do.                                 Escaped 1811
G. Gratrix        Lieut.,           24th Dec. 1803
Jno. Lambert      Do., _Shannon_    10th Jan. 1804    Dec. 1803
Rod. T. Douglas   Do., do.                                              England by
                                                                        Russia 1809
G. A. Simer       Do., do.                                              Died 1806
Jno. Mackenzie    Do.,                                Aug. 1803
A. W. Thomas      Do., _Grappler                      30th Dec. 1803
Richard Pridham   Do., _Hussar_     25th Mar. 1804    10th Feb. 1804
H. T. Lutwidge    Do., do.
Edward Barker     Do., do.                                              Killed in a
                                                                        duel 18th Feb.
Philip            Do.,                                25th Mar. 1804    Escaped 1810;
Levesconte        _Magnificent_                                         died 1850
Geo. Ingham       Do.,                                24th Mar. 1804
James Wallis      Do., _El          8th May 1804                        Escaped 10th
                  Vincego_                                              July 1813; died
T. S. Hall        Do., do.
T. W. Miles       Do., _Mallard_    25th Dec. 1804                      Killed in duel
                                                                        13th July 1806
Francis Bassan    Do., _Bouncer_    22nd Feb. 1805                      Died 1811
Aug. Donaldson    Do.,              4th Jan. 1805                       Died
R. B. Cooban      Lieutenant,       19th Jan. 1805                      Died 1810
W. C. C.          Do., _Rattler_    4th Jan. do.                        Left for
Dalzell                                                                 Greenwich,
                                                                        England 1813
G. L. Ker         Do., _Tearer_     16th July do.                       Died 1809
G. S. Bourne      Sub-Lieutenant,
Wm. Richards      Do., _Plumper_
G. S. Wingate     Lieutenant,       10th Nov. 1805
Thos. Scandlan    Sub-Lieutenant,                                       Escaped 1811
Thos. Innes       Lieutenant,       14th Nov. 1805
Richard C. Ross   Sub-Lieutenant,
Jno. Essel        Do., _Archer_                                         Killed in
                                                                        escaping from
J. Cotham Penny   Lieutenant,       19th July 1805
W. Spence         Do., do.                                              Died at Verdun
Alen Bozark       Do., _Dove_       5th Aug. 1805
T. G. Westlake    Sub-Lieutenant,
W. Tuckey         Lieutenant,
Richard Donovon   Do., do.          26th Sept. 1805
John Collas       Do., do.          Do.
Nich. Wray        Do., _Venus_      Do.                                 Died at Verdun
Rich. Ross        Sub-Lieutenant,   Do.                                 Escaped 1807
Will. Richards    Lieutenant,       12th Oct. 1806
Molyn. Shuldham   Do., _Adder_      9th Dec. 1806
Edward Johnson    Do., _Magpie_     18th Feb. 1807
Robt. Basten      Do., _Blanche_    4th Mar. 1807
Will. Apreece     Do., do.          Do.
James Allan       Do., do.          Do.
G. M. Higginson   Do., _Pigmy_      5th Mar. 1807
John McDougal     Do., Passenger
Will. Japper      Do.,              19th May 1807
W. B. Fabien      Acting, do.       Do.
Will. Arnold      Lieu.,            Do.
Robt. Crosbie     Do.,              19th Oct. 1807
Matt. Young       Do., do.          Do.
W. I. Dixon       Sub-Lieutenant,   Do.
John Bingham      Lieutenant,       Do.
John Carslake     Do.,              28th Feb. 1809
R. P. Rigby       Do., do.          Do.
V. W. H. Bogle    Do., do.          Do.
I. H. Sanders     Do., _Statira_    2nd June 1809
C. C. Owen        Do.,              26th July 1809                      Escaped 21st
                  _Dreadnought_                                         Mar. 1810
Allen Stewart     Do., _Alceste_
W. C. Jervoise    Do., do.          Do.
Alex. Davidson    Sub., _Bruizer_   3rd Nov. 1808
Wm. Miln          Lieu.,            18th Jan. 1808
Chas. Stewart     Do., _Jackall_    29th May 1807
Thos. Smith       Do., _Lyra_       28th Oct. 1809
Henry Conn        Do., _Junon_      13th Dec. 1809                      Escaped 22nd
                                                                        Sept. 1812
Evelyn Norio      Do.,
Daniel Nuller     Do., _Racer_      28th Oct. 1810
Francis Duval     Do., _Unité_                                          To England
Gilbert           Do., _Minorca_    27th Nov. 1810
G. W. Brown       Do., Passenger    1st Feb. 1811
John Taylor       Do., _Reynard_
Robert Snell      Do., _Minotaur_   23rd Dec. 1810
G. P. Cowley      Do.,              12th Mar. 1811
Joseph Miller     Do., do.          Do.
Geo. Norton       Do.,              18th Feb. 1807
Thos. Connell     Do.,              12th June 1811                      Died 28th Aug.
                  _Téméraire_                                           in consequence
                                                                        of a wound
                                                                        received in a
                                                                        duel with
                                                                        Captain Penrice
                                                                        on the 13th
Geo. V. Jackson   Lieutenant,       13th Dec. 1809
Henry Taylor      Do., _Olympia_    2nd Mar. 1811
Henry             Do., _Snapper_    14th July 1811
Henry Guy         Sub., do.         Do.
James Brown       Lieu.,            11th Oct. 1811
Edmond            Do.,              25th Dec. 1811
Stackpoole        _Conquistador_
John Hawkins      Do.,              25th Dec. 1811
Alex. McKnockie   Do., do.          Do.
J. L. Robins      Do., _Manilla_    28th Jan. 1812
J. G. Wigley      Do., do.          Do.
Fredrick Lloyd    Do., do.          Do.
John Brine        Do., _Laurel_     31st Jan. 1812
Chas. Green       Do., do.          Do.
W. W. P.          Do., _Curaçoa_    20th May 1812
Chas. Simeon      Do., do.          Do.
R. J. Gunnell     Sub., _Martial_   12th Nov. 1812
John Tracey       Lieu., _Linnet_   27th Feb. 1813
Geo. Smithers     Do.,
                          MASTERS, PILOTS, AND SECOND MASTERS
Thos. Price       Pilot,            3rd July 1803
Henry Gooch       Master,           10th Dec. do.
Henry Edwards     2nd Master,       4th Aug. do.
Jas. Dillon       Master,           24th Mar. 1804                      Died at Verdun
                  _Woolverene_                                          15th May 1805
G. L. Bishop      Do.,              23rd May 1804
Caleb Hiller      Ac.-M.,           8th May 1804
Richard Skinner   Do., Pass,        1st Aug. do.                        Escaped 1808
Thos. James       Pilot,            24th Mar. do.
Philip Bandains   Do. _Grappler_    30th Dec. 1803
Will. Cochran     Master,           3rd July do.                        Died Verdun
                  _Minerve_                                             30th Nov. 1807
Geo. Brown        2nd Master,       25th Dec. 1804                      Escaped 22nd
                  _Mallard_                                             May 1811
Jas. Ayles        Pilot, do.                                            Died Sarrelibre
Fras. Rebour      _Teazer_          16th July 1805
Jno. le           Pilot,                                                Died Sarrelibre
Rougetelle        _Plumper_
John Beatson      2nd Master,       14th Nov. 1805
John Steedman     Pilot
Benj. Hazell      Master,           19th July do.
David Beynon      2nd Master,       28th Feb. 1806
Hugh Ross         Pilot, _Ranger_   19th July 1805
Joseph Giles      2nd Master,       16th Sept. 1806
Fras. Hernaman    Do., _United      9th Dec. 1806
John McDougal     Master, _Pigmy_   5th Mar. 1807
Henry Fraser      Do.,              12th Oct. 1806
John Atherdon     Pilot,            18th Feb. 1807
Alex. Handisyde   2nd Master, do.
Thos. Knockner    Pilot,            19th Feb. 1807                      Escaped 14th
                  _Ignition_                                            Jan. 1811
John Dear         2nd Master,       29th Jan. 1807
Roger Taylor      Master,           4th Mar. 1807
Robt. Adamson     2nd Master,       10th Nov. 1805
John Goodson      Master,           19th May 1807
Robert Pope       Pilot
Henry Brown       Master,           26th Sept. 1805
Thos. Menton      Acting-Master,    6th April 1809
Ed. Brown         Master,           28th Feb. 1809                      Died at Verdun
                  _Proserpine_                                          6th Oct. 1813
John le Corney    Pilot, _Amelia_   16th July 1809
Jas. Long         Master,           12th Aug. 1809
John Cowan        2nd Master,       16th May 1808
Samuel Tuck       Master,           3rd April 1810
Thos. Foster      Do., _Racer_      28th Oct. 1810
Richard Vannall   Pilot, do.                                            Escaped 22nd
                                                                        May 1811
Jer. Mcnamara     2nd Master,       8th July 1810
J. H. Gillo       Do., _Thresher_   9th July 1810
Henry Taylor      Master,           15th Aug. 1809
John Harrow       2nd Master,       12th Jan. 1808
Robert Thomson    Master,           23rd Oct. 1810
John Filleule     Do., _Thunder_    24th April 1811
John Sullivan     Do.,              2nd Mar. 1811
Robert            2nd Master,       22nd Oct. 1810
Templeton         _Bloodhound_
Jer. Tapley       Do., _Olympia_    2nd Nov. 1811
Field Moytham     Do., _Monkey_     28th Dec. 1810
Wm. Walker        Do., _Growler_    18th June 1811
Peter Priaulx     Pilot, _Royal     30th Oct. 1811
Thos. Read        Master,           25th Dec. 1811
John Hales        Master,           28th Jan. 1812
Andrew Napier     2nd Master,       9th Dec. 1806
Geo. Crockett     Acting-Master,    25th Feb. 1813
Alex. Allen       Surgeon,          3rd July 1803
Robert Gordon     Mate, Do.                                             Died at Verdun
                                                                        8th Feb. 1803
Chas. Taylor      Assistant-        18th Dec. 1803
John Bell         Do., _Shannon_    10th Dec. 1803
Alex. Crigan      Mate, Do.                                             Escaped from
Wm. Porteus       Assistant-Mate,   30th Dec. 1803                      Escaped 1808
John Graham,      Surgeon,          10th Feb. 1804                      As surgeon to
living at         _Hussar_                                              the depot to
Verdun 1853                                                             England, 4th
                                                                        Jan. 1814
J. P. Hayden      Surgeon’s-Mate,                                       Died at Blois
                  _Hussar_                                              18th Mar. 1814
Chas. Newman      Do., do.
Wm. Hill          Surgeon,          24th April 1804                     Escaped 18th
                  Passenger, _M.                                        Nov. 1809.
Morgan Williams   Do.,              24th March 1804                     Escaped 18th
                  _Woolverene_                                          Nov. 1809
John Lawmont      Do., _Vincego_    8th May 1804
Ed. McGrath       Surgeon-Mate,     30th June 1804                      Died at Verdun
                  _Acasta_                                              9th June 1808
Bernard Allcock   Do., _Mallard_    24th Dec. 1804                      Died at Metz
                                                                        March 1808
Benjm. Lawder     Assistant-Mate,   22nd Feb. 1805                      Poisoned
                  _Bouncer_                                             himself at
                                                                        Verdun 25th May
Dan. Cameron      Do., _Biler_      10th Nov. 1804                      Escaped 11th
                                                                        May 1809
James Moir        Do., _Woodlark_   14th Nov. 1805
Alexr. Simpson    Surgeon,          19th July 1805                      Strasburg 5th
                  _Ranger_                                              Jan. 1807; died
John Roberts      Assistant-Mate,   11th Feb. 1806
Robert Stewart    Surgeon, Do.      18th Feb. 1806
Jas. Breman       Do., _Blanche_    20th April 1807
John Patterson    Assistant-
                  Surgeon, do.
Chas. Mitchell    Surgeon,          24th April 1807
Robert Hoggan     Assistant-        18th Feb. 1807
David Gray        Surgeon-Mate,     16th Sept. 1806
John Roberts      Do., _United      9th Dec. 1806                       Died Sar Libre
                  Brothers_                                             10th Oct. 1808
Jos. H. Hughes    Do.,              19th May 1807
John Watson       Assistant-        29th Mar. 1807                      Died at Verdun
                  Surgeon,                                              17th Dec. 1809
Fras. Connin      Surgeon,          28th Feb. 1809
Jos. Hawthorn     Surgeon-Mate,                                         Escaped 10th
                  do.                                                   Nov. 1810
Robert Abbott     Surgeon,          28th Oct. 1810
Lewes Jones       Surgeon-Mate,     23rd Oct. 1810
Danl. Godbehere   Assistant-        12th Mar. 1811
Thos. Wells       Do., _Monkey_     28th Dec. 1810                      Died, 20th Jan.
                                                                        1812, in
                                                                        consequence of
                                                                        a wound
                                                                        received in a
                                                                        duel on the
                                                                        27th with Mr.
P. H. Scott       Acting-Assistant- 2nd Mar. 1811
M. C. Woods       Assistant-        18th June 1811
Wm. Campbell      Do., _Colossus_   30th Jan. 1812
Thos. Sanderson   Surgeon,          25th Oct. 1811
Wm. Donaldson     Do., _Manilla_    28th Jan. 1812
Richard Tobin     Do., _Laurel_     31st Jan. 1812
Wm. Watts         Assistant-        28th Jan. 1812
P. T. Maiming     Surgeon,          3rd May 1812
Jas. Hunter       Assistant-        25th Dec. 1811
                  Passenger in
C. M. Snooke      Surgeon,          8th May 1813
John Hyslop       _Shannon_         10th Dec. 1803
Saml. Trewin      _Vincego_         8th May 1804                        Died 2nd Mar.
John Innes        _Ranger_          July 1805
Alex. Livie       _Calcutta_        26th Sept. 1805                     Died 12th Aug.
Jas. Wilson       _Diligence_       24th Mar. 1806
H. F. Willcocks   _Blanche_         4th Mar. 1807
I. C. Cummings    _Constance_       12th Oct. 1807                      England, by
                                                                        order of French
                                                                        Government 13th
Arch. McMillar    _Atalante_        12th Feb. 1807
Dan. Sullivan     _Dauntless_       19th May 1807
Wm. Lamotte       _Falcon_,                                             Escaped 22nd
                  Passenger in                                          May 1811
Geo. Ellis        _Proserpine_      28th Feb. 1809
Simon Heley       _Amphion_         28th Sept. 1809
W. S. Black       _Briseis_         10th Oct. 1809
Hugh Corbyn       _Goldfinch_       10th May 1810
John Boone        _Trident_,
                  Passenger in a
John Richardson   _Challenger_      12th Mar. 1811
Chas. Ross        _Alacrity_        26th May 1811                       Died 22nd Nov.
Thos. Bastin      _Grasshopper_     25th Dec. 1811
John Paterson     _Manilla_         28th Jan. 1812                      Died 31st Oct.
Hugh Hannay       _Apelles_         3rd May 1812
                                    MARINE OFFICERS
Geo. Aug. Bell    Lieutenant,       3rd July 1803
Alex. Eckford     Do., _Shannon_    10th Dec. 1803
Robt. Phillips    Do., _Hussar_     10th Feb. 1804
Geo. Jones        Captain,          25th Mar. 1804
John Ridley       Do., do.          Do.
Jasper Farmer     Lieutenant, do.   Do.
Chas. Stanser     Captain,
Wm. Sampdon       Lieutenant,       26th Sept. 1805
Robt. Alexander   Captain,          18th Feb. 1806
John Campbell     Lieutenant,       4th Mar. 1807                       Escaped 1810
Henry Loveridge   Captain,          16th Nov. 1807
R. R. Bignall     Lieutenant,       28th Feb. 1809
John Blackeney    Do., _Statira_    2nd June 1809
Thos. Morgan      Do., _Cambrian_   25th Mar. 1810
Jerh. Collins     Do., _Manilla_    28th Jan, 1812
B. Chaproniere    Do., _Laurel_     31st Jan. 1812
Phillips          Do., _Hussar_     10th Feb. 1804
                                     PETTY OFFICERS
Chas. Halford     Master-Mate,      3rd July 1803                       Escaped 14th
                  _Minerve_                                             May 1811
John Moore                                                              Died 14th Nov.
John Hawkey       Midshipman
John Nelson                                                             Died 8th March
Geo. Hall Dacre   Do.                                                   Escaped in 1809
Robert Sutton                                                           Escaped in 1811
C. S. Ricketts                                                          Escaped in 1809
Sam Mottley                                                             Died in 1809
Robert Burridge                                                         Escaped in 1806
Jack Pearson                                                            Died 11th Mar.
W. J. Bradshaw
Chas. Hare        Midshipman,       3rd July 1803                       Escaped 1809
William           1st Class,                                            Escaped 1811
Streeting         _Minerve_
Frank Cutler      _Minerve_                                             Escaped 12th
                                                                        May 1809
Wm. Wymer         Do.
Geo. Fitzgerald   Do.                                                   Escaped 9th
                                                                        Nov. 1810
Robert Marsden    Clerk
Ed. Dillon        Midshipman,       24th Dec. 1803                      Escaped 25th
                  _Cruiser_                                             April 1809
Wm. Gilpin        Master-Mate,      10th Dec. 1803
                  _Shannon_, made
                  Lieutenant at
Abr. Robinson     Midshipman                                            Escaped 4th
                                                                        June 1805
T. W. Cecil                         Do.                                 Bitche escaped
                                                                        when on road,
                                                                        14th July 1807
Wm. Allen                           Do.
Fras Little                         Do.                                 Escaped 19th
                                                                        July 1805
Edw. Knipp        Clerk             Do.
Maurice Hewson    Midshipman,       Do.                                 Escaped 1809
John Barclay      Master-Mate,      2nd Aug. 1803
Ed. Boys          Midshipman,                                           Escaped
F. J.             _Phoebe_                                              Escaped;
Whitehurst                                                              retaken on
                                                                        board _La Juno_
John Murray       Do.                                                   Escaped 4th
                                                                        June 1805
Fras. Maxwell     Clerk,            4th Aug. 1803                       Bitche; escaped
                  _Redbridge_                                           on road
Robert Blakeney   Midshipman,                                           Returned to
                  _Amphion_                                             England
E. E. Temple      _Narcissus_                                           Escaped 19th
                                                                        April 1807
Richard Morris    _Minerve_         3rd July 1805
John Whitefield   _Grappler_        30th Aug. 1805
Henry Leworthy    A.B., do.         13th Dec. 1803                      Escaped from
                                                                        Port Chaussée
                                                                        1st Dec. 1810;
                                                                        retaken; sent
                                                                        to Bitche
Henry Worth       Midshipman,       Jan. 1804                           Run 5th Dec.
                  _Argus_;                                              1811; retaken;
                  Passenger on                                          sent to Bitche
                  merchant vessel
R. L. Gordon      _Hussar_          10th Feb. 1804                      Bitche; escaped
                                                                        on road
W. C. Smithson    Do.                                                   Died 30th Nov.
Eran Nepean
Henry Ashworth                                                          Escaped 1808
Edward Nickoll
Arthur Vine                                                             Died at Verdun
                                                                        24th Oct. 1812
J. R. Lichford                                                          Died at Gt.
Jas. Mathias
Wm. Sutton
John Hopkinson    1st Class                                             Died 4th Feb.
                                                                        1853, aged 65
Jas. Mascal       Clerk                                                 Died at Verdun
                                                                        4th Nov. 1806
Chas. Parker      Midshipman,       13th Mar. 1804                      Escaped 3rd
                  _Tribune_                                             Aug. 1810
John Parkman      Master-Mate,      25th Mar. 1804
                  made Lieutenant
                  at Verdun
Chas. Shaw        Midshipman                                            Escaped 1809
John Vale
Robt. Thorley     Master-Mate,                                          Escaped 10th
                  _Impetueux_;                                          July 1813; died
                  made Lieutenant                                       at
                  at Verdun                                             Godmanchester
Christ Tutthill   Midshipman,       25th Mar. 1804                      Escaped 1808
Martin Miller     _Woolverene_      24th Mar. 1804                      Escaped 14th
                                                                        Dec. 1809
Philip Race       Do.
Wm. Richards      Do.
I. S. Fletcher    Do.                                                   Escaped 14th
                                                                        Dec. 1807
Denis O’Brien     Master-Mate,      10th Feb. 1804                      Escaped 1808
Jer. Mahoney      Do.
Jas. Wood         _Vincego_         8th May                             Died 20th May
Robt. Morland     Midshipman,                                           Died 16th July
                  _Vincego_                                             1806
I. R. J. Wright   Do.                                                   Escaped 24th
                                                                        Dec. 1810
Geo. Sidney       1st Class, Do.
Wm. L. Mansall    Do.                                                   Escaped 1808
John Trewin       Do.
Isaac Brown       Clerk,            8th May 1804                        Died 16th Feb.
                  _Vincego_                                             1809
Thos. G. Wills    Master-Mate,      30th June 1804
Thos. Dawson      Midshipman,       3rd June 1804                       Died at Verdun
                  _Morgiana_                                            15th Oct. 1810
Matthew Low       Master-Mate,                                          Died Nov. 1809
John Adams        Clerk,            24th Mar. 1804
John Perryman     Clerk,            10th Dec. 1803                      Died 11th Mar.
                  _Grappler_                                            1813
B. Belchambers    Do., _Leda_       31st July 1804
Edward Hunt       Midshipman,       4th Feb. 1804                       Escaped 8th
                  _Imperial                                             Dec. 1813
Geo. P. Potts     Midshipman,       8th May 1804
Robt. James       _Rambler_         11th Aug. 1804
Obediah Waller    _Mallard_         24th Dec. 1804                      Escaped on the
                                                                        road from Blois
                                                                        to Guéret 14th
                                                                        Feb.; retaken
                                                                        21st Mar. 1814
Richard           Clerk, do.
Scroope Ayston    Midshipman,       22nd Feb. 1805
John Lynch        Clerk, do.        Do.
Thos. Webb        Master-Mate,      16th Feb. 1805
Thos. Davies      1st Class, do.    Do.
I. M. A. Hervey   Midshipman,       20th April 1805                     Died at Metz
Samuel            Do., _Imperial    25th Mar. 1805
Blackmore         Service_
Augs. O.          Midshipman,       16th Feb. 1805
Kenessy           _Nautilus_
Andrew McDougal   Do., do.          Do.                                 Died Verdun
John Woodroffe    Do., _Teazer_     16th July 1805
Jas. March        Do., do.          Do.
John McGraw       Do., do           Do.
W. I.             Do., _Biter_      10th Nov. 1805                      Escaped 21st
Devonshire                                                              July 1811
John Wingate      1st Class, do.    Do.                                 Escaped 27th
                                                                        April 1809;
                                                                        retaken 29th
                                                                        May 1809
Roger Aitkin      Do., _Woodlark_   14th Nov. 1805
Wm. Hamilton      Do., do.          Do.
Robert Rawlins    Master-Mate,      Do.
                  Passenger in
                  _Woodlark_ to
                  join _Eagle_
Valent. Stone     Midshipman,       14th Nov. 1805
                  Passenger in
                  _Woodlark_ to
                  join _Eagle_
R. B. Robertson   Do., do.          Do.                                 Died 1810
John Crick        Do., do.          Do.                                 Died 1808
Joseph Harries    1st Class do.,    Do.
John Robertson    Clerk, do.        Do.
Patrick Nairne    Midshipman,       Do.
                  do., _Eagle_
Aug. Arabin       Do., do.          Do.
Robert Legg       Master-Mate,      25th Sept. 1805
Andrew Munro      Master-Mate,      19th July 1805
                  _Ranger_; made
                  Lieutenant at
Robert Ed.        Midshipman,       Do.                                 Escaped 1808
Hunter            _Ranger_
Geo. Bissett      Do., do.          Do.                                 Escaped Dec.
Chas. Robinson    1st Class, do.    Do.                                 Escaped do.
Theos. Thomson    Midshipman,       5th Aug. 1805                       Killed 21st
                  _Dove_                                                Mar. 1811
Robt. Rochford    Master-Mate,      26th Sept. 1805                     Escaped 1809
John Low          Midshipman,       Do.
                  made Lieutenant
                  at Verdun
Thos. Denniston   Do., do.          Do.                                 Died at Verdun
                                                                        29th June 1806
Rich. Nason       Do., do.          Do.                                 Escaped 28th
                                                                        Jan. 1811
W. W. Kingstone   Do., do.          Do.                                 Escaped 14th
                                                                        Sept. 1807
Donald Mackey     Clerk, _Dove_     5th Aug. 1805
Geo. C.           Do., _Calcutta_   26th Sept. 1805                     Died at Verdun
Chappell                                                                19th Feb. 1813
J. F. Hughes      Midshipman, do.   Do.
John Hallows      1st Class,        19th July                           Escaped 9th
                  _Ranger_                                              Nov. 1810
J. H. Wall        Midshipman,       26th Sept. 1805
Andrew Scott      Do., do.          Do.                                 Killed in a
                                                                        duel 14th Oct.
                                                                        1811, by M. P.
Wm. Hall          Do., do.          Do.
Thos. Sheers      Do., do.          Do.
Geo. Carter       Do., do.          26th Sept. 1805
Cornels Randel    Clerk, _Ranger_   19th July 1805                      Escaped 1809
Henry Lewis       Master-Mate,      Do.                                 Escaped 1809
Lochlan Grant     Midshipman,       10th Mar. 1806
Richard Dew       Master-Mate,      Do.                                 Died at S.
                  _Impétueux_                                           Libre Feb. 1811
Wm. Campbell      Clerk, _Teazer_   16th July 1805
Thos.             Midshipman,                                           Escaped 1809
Blackinston       _Revenge_
Thos. Marriott    Clerk, _Adder_    9th Dec. 1806                       Escaped and
Jas. H.           Midshipman, do.   Do.                                 Died at Verdun
Glasscott                                                               3rd Mar. 1807
Isaac             Do., _United      Do.
Haberfield        Brothers_
J. B. Tatnall     Do.,              Do.                                 Escaped 1809
Roger Hall        Midshipman, do.   Do.                                 Escaped 1809
Roger Grant       Master-Mate,      10th Feb. 1807                      Escaped 1809
John Wildey       Midshipman, do.   Do.
W. Herniman       Do., _United      9th Dec. 1806
Joseph Stingsby   Master-Mate,      4th Mar. 1807
Henry Stanhope    Midshipman, do.   Do.                                 Escaped 14th
                                                                        May 1811
J. S. P.          Do., do.          Do.                                 Escaped 27th
Masters                                                                 Nov. 1808
John Rootes       Do., do.          4th Mar. 1807                       Died 22nd April
F. C. L. Viret    Do., do.          Do.
W. T. Williams    Do., do.          Do.
Chs. Street       1st Class, do     Do.                                 Escaped 21st
                                                                        July 1811
Geo. Gordon       Do., do.          Do.                                 Escaped do.
Robert Hoy        1st Class, do.    4th May 1807
J. F. Secretan    Do., do.          Do.
J. C. G. Mowatt   Clerk, do.        Do.
Wm. Moyses        Master-Mate,      Do.
                  Passenger in
Wm. McLeod        Midshipman,       4th May 1807                        Escaped in 1809
John              Do.,              Do.                                 Deserted and
Butterfield       _Impétueux_                                           retaken
Chas. Turrell     Do., _Minerva_    16th Dec. 1806
Joseph Meek       Clerk,            18th Feb. 1807                      Escaped in 1809
David Wilson      Master-Mate,      Do.
Wm. Heard         Midshipman,       Do.                                 Escaped and
                  _Magpie_                                              retaken
Robert Mortimer   Do., do.          Do.                                 Entered French
                                                                        service 1809;
                                                                        quitted it in
Jas. H. Gale      Do., _Ignition_   18th Feb. 1807
Alfred Parr       Do., do.          Do.                                 Entered French
                                                                        service 1809;
                                                                        quitted it in
Chas. F.          Do., _Kangaroo_   24th Feb. 1807
H. J. Hill        Do.,              26th Dec. 1806
John Sheckleton   Master-Mate,      5th Aug. 1805
J. N. Lyall       Ord.-             4th Mar. 1807
Thos. Greg        Do., do.          Do.
Simn.             Midshipman,       26th June 1807
Ounkovesky        _Egyptienne_
John Wier         Do.,              12th July 1807
Reuben Paine      Master-Mate,      4th Mar. 1807
Andr. Russel      Do., _Hydra_      30th Oct. 1807
Lord John Boyle   Do., _Gibralta_   22nd July 1807
Wm. Brander       Do., _Amphion_    10th Sept. 1807
Jas. S. G.        Do., _Monkey_     19th Oct. 1807
Geo. Blake        Midshipman,       14th Oct. 1807
Wm. Heywood       Do., _Alfred_     6th Jan. 1808
Edward Brydges    Do., _Rose_       26th Dec. 1807
Wm. Hutchinson    Master-Mate,      Jan. 1808                           Escaped 14th
                  _Rose_                                                Jan. 1811
Wm. Astley        Midshipman,       20th Feb. 1808
John McFee        Master-Mate,      30th April 1808                     Escaped 14th
                  _Alfred_                                              Jan. 1811
W. Hearbour       Midshipman,       18th Jan. 1808
David             Master-Mate,      6th Dec. 1808                       Escaped 21st
Littlejohn        _Shannon_                                             Dec. 1810; died
J. W. Dupre       Do.,              7th Jan. 1809
E. P. Montague    Midshipman,       28th Feb. 1809                      Escaped 21st
                  _Proserpine_                                          July 1811
Wm. Pratt         Do., do.          Do.                                 Died 6th Jan.
Chas. Lardner     1st Class, do.    28th Feb. 1809
R. G. M.          Midshipman,       18th Feb. 1809                      Escaped 15th
Darrocott         _Bonne                                                Dec. 1811;
                  Citoyenne_                                            retaken to
N. J. Reynolds    Master-Mate,      28th do.
Jos. Petfield     Do., do.          Do.                                 Escaped 21st
                                                                        Dec. 1810
John Wilcke       Midshipman, do.   Do.
W. H. Savigny     Do., do.          Do.
Geo. Forbes       1st Class, do.    Do.                                 Escaped 20th
                                                                        Feb. 1810
Peter Allen       Do.,
Thos. Rodnell     Midshipman,       6th April 1809                      Afterward in
                  _Arethusa_                                            Customs at Hull
Henry Thomas      Do., do.          Do.                                 Escaped 20th
                                                                        July 1810
Edward Crowe      1st Class, do.    Do.                                 Do., do.
Geo. Back         Do., do.          Do.
Jas. Reid         Midshipman,       2nd July 1809
Robert Hemer      Midshipman,       26th July 1809
John Bee          Do., _Padmus_     29th May 1809
Ed. Herbert       Do., _Amelia_     16th July 1809
Geo. Powell       Master-Mate,      28th Sept. 1809                     Escaped 20th
                  _Amphion_                                             July 1810
H. B. Mason       Midshipman, do.   Do.                                 Escaped 9th
                                                                        Nov. 1810
J. R. Drew        Do., _Belle       28th Sept. 1809                     Escaped do.
Wm. Randal        Master-Mate,      Do.                                 Escaped 24th
                  _Wizard_                                              Dec. 1809
Jas. P. Parker    Midshipman,       30th Sept. 1809                     Escaped 20th
                  _Alceste_                                             Jan. 1810
Edward Walker     Master-Mate,      14th Dec. 1808
Fredk. Lacaste    Do., _Thames_     2nd Mar. 1808
Geo. Cordry       Midshipman,       20th Dec. 1805
Geo. Bateman      Do.,              12th Jan. 1807
                  made Lieutenant
                  at Sarrelibre
Thos. Lowis       Midshipman,       26th Sept. 1805
Peter Stark       Do., _Eudymion_   19th Nov. 1809                      Escaped 9th
                                                                        Nov. 1810
Saml. Kneeshaw    Master-Mate,      15th Jan. 1809
John Atkinson     Do., do.          30th Mar. 1809
Wm. Walker        Clerk,            28th May 1807
John Taylor       Midshipman, do.   Do.
Henry             Do., _Rapid_      14th Nov. 1807                      Died 23rd Feb.
Richardson                                                              1812
Wm. Baker         Do.,              27th June 1808
Thos. Morris      Do.,              19th Feb. 1807
H. E. Hawkins     Master-Mate,      9th Sept. 1809
Ralph Cornutt     Midshipman,       28th Oct. 1809
Chas. Mayo        Do., _Jackall_    29th May 1807                       Escaped 28th
                                                                        Jan. 1811
Hamilton Davies   Do.,              20th Jan. 1808
                  made Lieutenant
                  at Verdun
Robert McWha      Do., _Sylvia_     10th Sept. 1807
John Coulson      Do.,              25th Feb. 1808
Thos. McDougal    Do., _Medusa_     11th Sept. 1809
Wm. Radford       Master-Mate,      3rd Oct. 1809
Adam Gordon       Midshipman,       21st Oct. 1809
Ed. Bold          Master-Mate,      16th Jan. 1810
Godfrey Fosbery   Midshipman, do.   Do.
Wm. Thomas        Master-Mate,      13th Dec. 1809
Chas. Paynter     Midshipman,       14th Jan. 1810                      Escaped 27th
                  _Indefatigable_                                       Dec. 1813
Peter Morris      Master-Mate,      April 1810
P. H. Mollett     Midshipman,       20th June 1810                      Died in
                  _Escort_                                              hospital at
John Brothers     Midshipman,       8th May 1810
Wm. Handby        Do., _Atlas_      8th Mar. 1810
John Webster      Master-Mate,      10th Nov. 1810
Henry Jackson     Midshipman,       28th Oct. 1810
Thos. Jackson     Do., do.          Do.
E. F. Price       Midshipman, do.   28th Oct. 1810
Geo. Jenson       Clerk, do.        Do.                                 Died 1st June
I. C. Taylor      Midshipman,       9th July 1810
Robert Holder     Do., _Spencer_    10th Jan. 1811                      Escaped 28th
                                                                        Jan. 1811
I. P. Campbell    Do., _Blazer_     9th Nov. 1808
John S. Smith     Master-Mate,      13th Dec. 1810
John Parsons      Do., _Podargus_   15th Aug. 1809                      Escaped 24th
                                                                        Dec. 1813
Benj. Hart        Midshipman,       23rd Dec. 1810
Jos. O’Brien      Do., do.          Do.                                 Escaped 24th
                                                                        Dec. 1813
G. T. Mitchell    Do., do.          Do.
Geo. Elry         Do., do.          Do.
I. I. Hamilton    Master-Mate,      27th Nov. 1810
Wm. Lyth          Clerk, _Biter_    10th Nov. 1805                      Died 15th May
Wm. Hains         Midshipman,       13th Oct. 1810
Jos. Barrett      Do., _Cadmus_     6th Mar. 1811
Henry Davis       Do.,              12th Mar. 1811
Thos. Jennings    Do., do.          Do.
Francis           1st Class, do.    Do.
Wheatley Byass    Do., do.          12th Mar. 1811
Stephen Green     Clerk, do.        Do.
Geo. Norton       1st Class,        18th Feb. 1807
F. Wahtstrand     Midshipman,       2nd Mar. 1811
Jas. I.           Do., do.          Do.
Thos. Rowe        Master-Mate,      12th Mar. 1811
Anth. Gibbs       Midshipman,       21st Feb. 1811
Chas. Blissett    Do., _Vesuvius_   20th Nov. 1809
F. I.             Midshipman,       13th Dec. 1809
Whitehurst        _Junon_; made
                  Lieutenant at
Ed. Turner        Master-Mate       21st May 1811
Henry             Midshipman,       Do.                                 Deserted from
Kirkpatrick       _Poictiers_                                           Gueret 30th
                                                                        Mar. 1814
Jas. Barton       Master-Mate,      14th July 1811
Richard           Midshipman, do.   Do.
Robert Furze      Do.,              16th July 1811
I. P. Were        Do., _Sceptre_    15th Sept. 1811
Jas. Woolcock     Do., _Hibernia_   15th July 1808
Dal. Baird        Master-Mate,      27th Dec. 1811
Fra. Sutherland   Midshipman, do.   Do.
Geo. Peard        Do., do.          17th Dec. 1811
Edwin I.          Do., do.          Do.
Donet O’Brien     Vol.. do.         Do.
John Franklyn     Midshipman,       Do.
Peter Hodder      Do., do.; made    Do.
                  Lieutenant at
Niel Malcolm      Do., do.          Do.
H. L. Parry       Master-Mate,      25th Dec. 1811                      Escaped 11th
                  _Grasshopper_                                         Feb. 1814
Edw. Yelland      Midshipman, do.   Do.
Thos. W. Tyler    Do., do.          Do.
John Strong       Clerk, do.        Do.
Dk. Sarsfield     Midshipman,       Do.
                  _Flypass_, do.
Phil. Harvey      Master-Mate,      16th Dec. 1811
W. C. Robins      Vol., _Manilla_   28th Jan. 1812
W. A. Willis      Do., do.          17th Feb. 1812
David Harrop      Midshipman,       7th Feb. 1812
John Gowdie       Master-Mate,      Do.
Wm. Hubbard       Do., do.          Do.                                 Escaped from
                                                                        Blois 11th Feb.
Geo. Bland        Midshipman, Do.   Do.
M. W. Batty       Do., do.          28th Jan. 1812
J. H. Johnstone   Do., do.          Do.
Henry Randall     Do., do.          Do.
Henry Sadler      Do., do.          Do.
I. M. Johnson     Vol., do.         Do.
John Ward         Clerk, do.        Do.
Geo. Maryon       Midshipman,       28th Aug. 1811
Jos. Townsend     Do., _Rose_       23rd Jan. 1812                      Escaped 24th
                                                                        Dec. 1812
Hanbury           Do., _Laurel_     31st Jan. 1812
Danl. Galway      Vol., do.         Do.
Montg. Digges     Do., do.          Do.
Thos. Pettigrew   Do., do.          Do.
Robert Tighe      Do., do.          Do.
Danl. McCarthy    Clerk, _Laurel_   31st Jan. 1812
G. E. Davies      Midshipman,       26th May 1811                       Escaped 27th
                  _Alacrity_                                            Dec. 1818
J. E. Sterling    Do.,              25th Dec. 1811                      Escaped 11th
                  _Grasshopper_                                         Feb. 1814
J. Lechmere       Do., do.          Do.
Chas.             Do., _Manilla_    31st Jan. 1812                      Escaped Feb.
Jeaffreson                                                              1814
W. S. Johnston    Do., _Apelles_    3rd May 1812
Jas. Craggs       Do., _Calypso_    25th Dec. 1811
W. B. Hare        Do., _St.         14th Dec. 1810
John Downey       Master-Mate,      22nd July 1812
Jas. Birch        Midshipman,       8th July 1812
Henry King        Do.,              17th July 1812
J. J. Lane        Do., do.          Do.
Arch. Grant       Do., _New         Do.
Richard Rosser    Do.,              Do.
Henry Barrow      Do.,              25th June 1812                      Escaped 27th
                  _Strenuous_                                           Dec. 1813
Henry Carrique    Midshipman,       24th Aug. 1812
A. W. Nicholls    Clerk, _Pigmy_    24th Nov. 1812
H. A. Whitcomb    Do., _Apelles_    5th Mar. 1807
J. H. Hindley     Clerk, _La        2nd Oct. 1806
Henry Jho.        Midshipman,       26th Jan. 1813
Callaghan         _Arrow_
Geo. Simmonds     Clerk, _Osprey_   29th July 1812
John Barnes       Midshipman,       Do.
Saml. Cornish     Do., _Linnet_     25th Feb. 1813
Hugh Carroll      Clerk, do.        Do.
Bendon Sharvell   Master-Mate,      23rd Dec. 1812
Robert O’Neil     Do., _Dispatch_   14th April 1813                     Escaped Feb.
Geo. Evans        Midshipman,       13th Jan. 1813
Thos. Keith       Master-Mate,      18th Sept. 1813                     Escaped Feb.
Steward           _Clarence_                                            1814
Wm. Alex.         Midshipman,       21st Sept. 1813
Longmore          _Hannibal_
John Frith        1st Class,        3rd Dec. 1813
Wm. Litheby       Midshipman,       4th Mar. 1814
Saml. Edwards     Do.,              Do.
                                    WARRANT OFFICERS
Wm. Little        Gunner,           3rd July 1803                       Died 26th Sept.
                  _Minerve_                                             1806
Andrew Brown      Boatswain, do.    Do.
Wm. Rice          Carpenter, do.    Do.
John Johnson      Gunner,           24th Mar. 1804
Robert Bulger     Boatswain,        8th May 1804
Andrew Allen      Carpenter, do.    Do.
Wm. Cliff         Boatswain,        24th Mar. 1804                      Escaped from
                  _Woolverene_                                          Bitche
John Richards     Carpenter,        Do.
Ed. Gilligan      Boatswain,        10th Dec. 1803
Rd. Carne         Gunner,           8th May 1804
Danl. Chadwick    Do., _Shannon_    10th Dec. 1803
Jas. Dobbins      Do., _Shark_;     20th April 1805
                  taken in a
Wm. Lennard       Do., _Calcutta_   26th Sept. 1805
Geo. Heard        Carpenter, do.    Do.
Tim. Quin         Gunner,           19th July 1805
John Windham      Carpenter, do.    Do.                                 Died 1st Oct.
Wm. Richardson    Boatswain, do.    Do.                                 Died Jan. 1810
Wm. Carey         Do., _Hussar_     10th Feb. 1804                      Died 25th May
Thos. Simpson     Gunner, do.       Do.                                 Escaped 1809
John Treacher     Do.,              24th Mar. 1806
Thos. Strong      Do.,              19th May 1807
Thos. Gray        Boatswain, do.    Do.
Peter Lunn        Carpenter, do.    Do.
John Osborn       Boatswain,        18th Jan. 1808
Alex. Henderson   Do.,              28th Feb. 1809
                               FIELD OFFICERS OF THE ARMY
Henry de          Lieutenant-       3rd Jan. 1806
Bernier           Colonel, 9th
George I. Hall    Major             Do.
Campbell          Captain, 88th     18th Feb. 1806
Callender         Foot
Guy L’Estrange    Major, 31st       1st Jan. 1809
Thos. W. Gordon   Captain, 3rd      3rd Nov. 1809
                  Foot Guards
Wm. Guard         Lieutenant-       Do.
                  Colonel, 45th
Thos.             Lieutenant, 3rd   6th Dec. 1809
Fotheringham      Foot Guards
S. T. Popham      Major, 24th       13th Dec. 1809
Sir W. W.         Captain, 2nd      17th Jan. 1810
Sheridan          Foot Guards
Thos. N.          Major, 1st        19th Oct. 1810
Wyndham           Dragoons
Wm. Cox           Lieutenant-       12th Nov. 1810
                  Colonel, late
                  61st Foot
Andw. Lord        Major-General,    15th April 1811
Blaney            61st Foot
Redmond Morris    Captain, 13th     20th June 1811
Geo. Hill         Captain, 1st      7th Aug. 1811
                  Foot Guards
H. Falconer       Captain, 1st      12th Jan. 1804
Thos. Roberts     Do., 30th Foot    3rd Jan. 1806
P. R. Hawker      Do., do.          Do.
P. W. Lambert     Do., 9th Foot     8th Jan. 1806
Danl. Orchard     Do., do.          Do.
G. H. Sarjant     Do., do.          Do.
Samps Godfrey     Captain 1st       4th May 1807
Geo. Barrow       Do., 15th Foot    7th May 1808
Chas. de          Do., _Royal       26th Sept. 1809
Haviland          Malta_
J. Somerfield     Do., 83rd Foot    26th Oct. 1809
J. Laing          Do., 61st do.     27th Oct. 1809
Jas. Allen        Do., 23rd         31st Oct. 1809
D. Goodsman       Do., 61st Foot    2nd Nov. 1809
T. H. Blair       Do., 91st Foot    3rd Nov. 1809
Wm. Cowran        Do., 21st Foot    18th Nov. 1809
Andv. Patison     Do., 29th Foot    Do.
Savil Spear       Do., 1st Foot     26th Nov. 1809
F. M. Milman      Lieutenant-       1st Dec. 1809
                  Colonel Guards
Hartley           Captain, 61st     9th Dec. 1809
Geo. Coleman      Do., 31st Foot    12th Jan. 1810
Geo. Brice        Do., 3rd          13th May 1810
                  Dragoon Guards
Chas. Collis      Do. 24th Foot     Do.
Henry Stephens    Do., 66th Foot    6th July 1810
J. A. Wolff       Do., 60th Foot    15th Aug. 1810
H. J. Shaw        Do., 4th Foot     Do.
J. W. Hewitt      Do., 6th Foot     12th Nov. 1810
L. Lazzarini      Do., _Royal       29th Dec. 1810
P. Jestaferrati   Do., do.          Do.
Fredk.            Do., do.          Do.
F. Kertsberg      Do., do.          Do.
J. P. Howard      Do., 23rd         7th May 1811
John Taylor       2nd Captain,      Do.
                  Royal Artillery
P. Matthews       Captain, 47th     26th May 1811
Jas. Reynolds     Do., 83rd Foot    4th June 1811                       Died
— Belli           Do., 13th         20th June 1811
Thos. Andrews     Do., 24th Foot
                                LIEUTENANTS AND ENSIGNS
Thos. Prater      Lieutenant,       21st Jan. 1804
                  21st Foot
C. E. Freeman     Ensign, 29th      1st Mar. 1805
Robert Howard     Lieutenant,       3rd Jan. 1806
                  30th Foot
Wm. Sullivan      Ensign, do.       Do.
Alex. Simpson     Lieutenant, 9th   8th Jan. 1806
Geo. Saunderson   Do., do.          Do.
Wm. Armstrong     Do., do.          Do.
R. G. Thomson     Ensign, do.       Do.
Edward Worth      Do., do.          Do.                                 Living at
Newenham                                                                Verdun 1853
Peter Sutton      Do. and           Do.
Joseph Smith      Lieutenant,       6th Sept. 1806
                  65th Foot
H. Bermingham     Do., 29th Foot    8th May 1807
Joseph R. Welsh   Do., 6 W. I.      7th May 1808
Alex. Fraser      Do., Royal        Do.
John Harper       Do., do.          Do.
J. E. De          Ensign, 16th      Do.
Lappinot          Foot
Robert Lewis      Lieutenant,       15th do.
                  15th Foot
John Seaver       Ensign            Do.
Edward            Lieutenant,       6th May 1809
l’Estrange        71st Foot
John Penrice      Do., 15th         21st May 1809
Rd. M. Brennan    Do., 14th Foot    26th June 1809
Colin Campbell    Ensign, 26th      Do.
Wm. Laurie        Do.               12th July 1809
G. L. Davies      Do., 9th Foot     6th Sept. 1809
Angus Mackay      1st Lieutenant,   25th Sept. 1809
                  21st Fusiliers
Henry Perry       Ensign, Royal     Do.
Peter Wallace     Lieutenant and    26th Sept. 1809
Wm. Auhagen       2nd Dragoon       1st Oct. 1809
G. L. Shipley     Lieutenant,       2nd, do.
                  97th Foot
Fras. Abell       Do., 83rd Foot    27th do.
Fras. Johnstone   Do., do.          Do.
Rd. Kirwan        Do., 7th Foot     30th do.
Thos. Allen       Do., 24th Foot    Do.
Henry Tench       Do., 61st Foot    Do.
Robert Mitchell   Do., 60th Foot    Do.
W. E. Page        Do. and           12th Nov. 1809
                  Adjutant, 7th
John Clarke       Lieutenant        18th Nov. 1809
Jas. McNab        Do., 21st         Do.
Fredk. Gaban      Do., 1 Batt.      Do.
Lewis Mordaunt    Do., 61st Foot    3rd Dec. 1809                       Died at Verdun
                                                                        17th April 1850
Wm. Friess        Do., 60th Foot    1st Jan. 1810
Robert Muter      Do., 7th Foot     5th Jan. 1810
Wm. Pennyfather   Ensign, 3rd       Do.
Chas. Jackson     Lieutenant, do.   Do.
Henry Letoler     Ensign, 83rd      Do.
Thos. Boggie      Lieutenant, do.   Do.
Henry             Ensign, 60th      Do.
Altenstein        Foot
A. W. Gamble      Lieutenant        Do.
Geo. Mackay       Do., 48th Foot    9th Jan. 1810
E. P. During      Do., 5 Batt.      Do.
Geo. Beamish      Do., 31st Foot    14th Jan. 1810
Add. Beamish      Do., do.          Do.
Fredk. Kitcher    Do., Royal        29th Mar. 1810
Fredk.            Do., do.          Do.
Lewis Schlozer    Do., Royal        3rd April 1810
Graves Collins    Do., 61st Foot    13th May 1810                       England
Theod. Butler     Ensign, 87th      Do.                                 Died 1st July
                  Foot                                                  1813
Chas. Stanhope    Lieutenant,       Do.
                  29th Foot
App. Morris       Do., 66th Foot    29th May 1810
John Nicholson    Do., 83rd Foot    Do.                                 England
Wm. Graham        Ensign, 4th       13th July 1810
W. H. Scott       Ensign and        18th July 1810
                  Lieutenant, 3rd
Geo. Richardson   Lieutenant, 4th   20th July 1810
Edmd. Field       Do., do.          Do.
J. M. Foley       Do., 28th Foot    12th Nov. 1810
L. Canehi         Do., Royal        29th Dec. 1810
Fras. Bucere      Do., do.          Do.
J. H. Rodmer      Do., do.          Do.
Ph. Prochaska     Lieutenant,       29th Dec. 1810
                  Royal Malta
Chas.             Do., Royal        9th Mar. 1811
Saintcroix        Artillery
R. H. Daley       Do., 64th Foot    Do.
Jas. Fulcher      Do., York Vol.    14th Mar. 1811
Roger Sheehy      Do., 89th Foot    22nd Mar. 1811
Chas. Watts       Ensign, do.       Do.
Thos. Reeve       Lieutenant,       26th Mar. 1811
                  48th Foot
E. P. Dormer      Do., 14th         11th April 1811
Edward Moulson    Ensign, 89th      15th April 1811
Alex. Skeen       Lieutenant,       5th May 1811
                  24th Foot
I. I. Moss        Do., 13th         20th June 1811
Fredk. Wood       Do., 11th do.
Geo. Baker        Do., 16th do.
Frs. Grant        Do., 24th Foot                                        England
— Binney          Do., 13th Light
Herbert Morgan    Do., 66th Foot                                        England
                               SURGEONS, PAYMASTERS, ETC.
Jas. Johnston     Surgeon, 9th      8th Jan. 1806
H. W. Hall        Pay-Master, 9th   Do.
Renny Langley     Artillery Store   18th Feb. 1806
Andrew Blake      Assistant-        28th April 1807
                  Surgeon, 98th
Wm. Bartley       Artillery Store   7th May 1808
John Gregory      Assistant-        Do.
                  Surgeon, Royal
Arch. Armstrong   Do., 26th Foot    26th June 1809
Joph. Brown       Surgeon, do.      Do.                                 England
Geo. Winter       Hospital          12th July 1809                      England
John McCoy        Quarter-Master,   25th July 1809
                  Royal Malta
Clement Banks     Surgeon, do.      26th July 1809
Thos. Walker      Assistant-        28th July 1809                      England
                  Surgeon, 52nd
James Dunn        Do., 53rd Foot    30th July 1809                      Do.
Henry Cowan       Do., 23rd         Do.                                 Do.
Fredk. Fiorillo   Assistant-        2nd Nov. 1809                       Do.
                  Surgeon, 9th
                  Hussars, Ks.
                  Gn. Ln.
Jas. O’Meally     Do., 16th         8th Nov. 1809                       Do.
John Glasco       Do., 83rd Foot    28th Nov. 1809                      Do.
Montn. Mahoney    Do., 7th Foot     5th Jan. 1810                       Do.
Edward Kirby      Do., 29th Foot    12th Jan. 1810                      Do.
J. G. Elkington   Do., 24th Foot    14th Jan. 1810                      Do.
Alex McDowall     Surgeon, Staff    17th Jan. 1810                      Do.
Saml. Higgins     Do., do.          Do.                                 Do.
Thos. Rule        Assistant-        19th Jan. 1810                      Do.
                  Surgeon, 87th
John Herriott     Do., 61st Foot    20th Jan. 1810                      Do.
Fredk. Depper     Do., 5th          20th Jan. 1810                      Do.
                  Battalion, K.
                  Han. Legion
Henry Bruggeman   Do., 7th          3rd Doc. 1810
                  Battalion D.
Fras. Camillere   Do., Royal        29th Dec. 1810
J. Bertis         Chaplin, Royal    Do.
Thos. Richards    Quarter-Master,   11th June 1810
                  4th Foot
— Coleman         Assistant-
                  Surgeon, 3rd
                  Dragoon Guards


Abercrombie, Sir Ralph, prisoners of war sent home, 19

_Admiral de Vries_, ship, capture, 51

Akin, H., on horn work of prisoners, 131

Aligre, M. d’, referred to, 294

Alison, Sir Archibald:

   British mode of obtaining supplies in war, 82

   Perth Depot for French prisoners, 146

Alkmaar Cartel, references to, 52, 54

Amiens, treaty of, 1802:

   Release of prisoners of war under, 240–242

   Terms, 241

Ashby-de-la-Zouch, depot for parole prisoners, 205

                                * * * * *

Baker, Captain, agent for prisoners of war, 247

Banks, Sir Joseph, reference to, 236

Baptismal register at Peterborough, 59

Barracks, sum allotted for building (1793), 8, 9

Bartin, M., parole prisoner, 216

Bathorse, meaning of term, 28

Batman, meaning of term, 28

Batrille, Bernard, personated by Le Fevre, 220–221

Beathand, General, report on construction of Norman Cross Prison, 13

Beef, rations allowed, 69

Beer, rations allowed, 69, 72

Bell, Mr., schoolmaster of Oundle, on attempt of a prisoner to escape,

Bitche, fortress of, prisoners of war sent to dungeons, 234

Black Hole at Norman Cross, 24, 64, 162

Bone work by prisoners, 130–131

Borrow, George:

   Description of Norman Cross Prison, 32–34

   Journey across the Fens described, 41–42

   Statement respecting prisoners’ food, 33, 71

   “Straw-plait hunts” mentioned, 34, 137, 143–144

Borrow, Thomas, at Norman Cross, 143

Bourchier, Charles François Marie, hanged at Norman Cross, 67

Bourde, Captain, release, 198

Bradley, Rev. E., on illicit trade in straw plaits, 135

Brassey, H. L. C., M.P., reference to, 139

_British Queen_, transport ship, mutiny of prisoners, 49

Brown, Rev. Arthur, romance on Norman Cross prisoners, 28, 180–181, 185

Brown, Rev. E. H., information on Norman Cross prisoners, 176

Brunet, General, parole prisoner, 216

Burral, Major General Sir Harry, exchange of, 85

                                * * * * *

Camperdown, battle of, 51

Cane, Dr. L., reference to, 132

Capitole, at Dartmoor Prison, 113–121

Careney, Prince de, refutation of Pillet’s accusations as to British
treatment of prisoners, 86–88

Cartel, meaning of term, 52

Carysfort, Lord, sale of site for Norman Cross Prison, 9

Caussade, de la Vauguyon, Prince de Carency: _See_ Carency, Prince de

Cawdor, Lord, reference to, 156

Cemetery at Norman Cross, 173–176

Charretie, M., commissioner for France:

   Appointment, 56–57

   Correspondence on maintenance of prisoners of war, 75–79, 166, 273

   Forging of name, 132, 147

   Release of British seamen without exchange, 229

Chartiée, Louis, name carved on block, 132, 147

Chatelin, M., French surgeon at Norman Cross, 77–78

Chouquet, M., marriage, 216

Christian, Sir Hugh Cloberry, transport commissioner, 7


   British prisoners in France, 238

   Correspondence with French government relative to provision of, for
prisoners, 75–88, 108–109, 272–285

   Uniform provided by British Government, 73

Coeymans, Albertus, marriage with Ann Whitwell, 206

Cooke, Arthur, picture of plait merchants and French prisoners, 135–136

_Coquille_, _La_, frigate, capture, 51

Corn, prisoner, name on a silk holder, 97

Cotes, Captain, British agent in Paris, correspondence relative to
treatment of prisoners of war, 80, 81, 109, 271–272, 281

Cotgrave, Captain, agent at Dartmoor, treatment of the “Romans,” 116–117,

Cox, Colonel, effort to effect exchange, 198

Craig, Mr., inspection of Norman Cross Prison, 16

Cramer, Jan, escape, 158

                                * * * * *

Dack, C., curator, references to, 128, 130, 132

Dartmoor Prison:

   Account of the “Romans,” 111, 112–123

   Chapel built by prisoners, 125

   Cheerfulness of prisoners, 109

   Date of construction, 1

   Granite used for, 12–13

   Health of prisoners, 167

   Numbers at, in 1811, 286

   Records of the “Cachot” quoted, 65–66

   Tragic suicide of a prisoner in 1814, 253

David, Jean Baptiste:

   Engaged in illicit trade, 141, 183, 184–185, 187, 188

   Passport of, 310–311

Davis, Rev. Father A. H., on Sunday trading at Norman Cross Prison, 99

Davis, Rev. Father Robert A., reference to, 19

Davis, _History of Luton_, on straw plait industry, 138

Decourbes, Captain, duel with Captain Robert, 216–217

Delafons, John, appointed agent, and instructions to, 38–40, 44

De Lancey, General, defalcations and inquiry into, x.–xii., 9

De la Porte, Jean: _See_ La Porte, Jean de

Delapoux, John Andrew:

   Appointment at Norman Cross, 59, 247

   Baptism of children, 178–179

   Marriage register, 59


   British prisoners of war in, reference to, 238

   Prisoners of war in England, 249

Dent, Challoner, storekeeper at Norman Cross, 49

Deschamps, Nicholas, trial for forgery, 66–67

Devoust, Lieut., parole prisoner, 216

De Winter, Admiral, defeat of Camperdown, 51

Dobee, Joseph, Captain of _La Sophie_, parole prisoner, 215

Draper, Captain John, R.N.:

   Agent at Norman Cross, 38

   Humane treatment of prisoners, 143–144

Drummond, Hugh, baptism of son, 179

Du Chattelier, Charles Lewis de Salmon: _See_ Salmon du Chattelier


   Frequency, 159

   Record of those at Verdun, 315, 320, 327

Duncan, Admiral, battle of Camperdown, 51

Dundas, Mr., Secretary of State, prisoners of war controversy with
France, 71, 80, 109

Dussage, Pierre, assumed name of Nazarean, 195

Dutch prisoners of war:

   English service joined by, 55

   Good conduct of, 107

   Marriages to English girls, 206–209

   Number in England, 203

   Parole prisoners at Peterborough, 194

   Registers at Norman Cross, 268

   Sent to Norman Cross, 51

                                * * * * *

Ennis, Lieutenant Peter, 49

_Entente Cordiale_, _L’_, proposal of association to erect monument at
Norman Cross, 174

Exchange of prisoners:

   Failure of negotiations, 217–222

   Punishment by deprivation of chance, 64

                                * * * * *

Fearnall, William, report on Norman Cross Prison, 18, 26, 126, 259–264

Felix, Colonel, parole prisoner, 216

Fens, the waterways the cheapest mode of transport, 41–42

Fitzwilliam, George Wentworth, 181–182

Fitzwilliam, William, Fourth Earl:

   Correspondence with and relative to the Bishop of Moulins, 141, 180,
181–187, 291–311

   Yorkshire election of 1807, 182–183

Folksworth, village, residence at, of wives of soldiers, 175

Fontaine, Vincent, death certificate, 172


   Contracts for and rations allowed, 69–72

   Correspondence with French Government on provision of, for prisoners
of war, 270–285

   Cost to the country of providing, 68–69

   Diet allowed to British prisoners in France, 234, 237

   Hospital diet, 169–179

   Insufficiency of rations complained of, 270–285

   Prices in 1797, 19

   Prisoners’ committee of inspection, 63, 72

   Punishment by reduction of rations, 64

   Sale of rations, and measures to prevent, 121–123

   Specifications for quality for Norman Cross Prison, 43

Forbes, James, prisoner at Verdun, 236

Forbes, J. Macbeth, on forgery by prisoners, 147

Forby, Rev. Robert, description of Norman Cross Prison, 34–35

Forgery of banknotes by prisoners, 145, 147–148

Foulley, French prisoner, model of Norman Cross Prison, 19–20, 91, 251

Fowkes, Mr., references to, 182, 183


   Correspondence with British Government relative to prisoners of war,
73–88, 108–109, 270–285

   Exchange of prisoners, failure of negotiations, 217–222

   Treaty of Amiens and return of prisoners of war, 239–242

   War of 1793, cost to England, 2

   _See also_ Norman Cross Prison and Prisoners of War

Franey, Mr., house at Norman Cross, 31

Freemasons, Masonic Lodges of prisoners of war, 204–205

_Furie_, capture, 52, 53–54

                                * * * * *

Gallois, M., appointment as French agent, 79

Gambling, misery and evil from, 95–96, 107–111, 113–123, 276, 280–282,
283, 285

Garden, Count Guillaume de, on treaty of Amiens, 245

Gardiner, William, clerk at Norman Cross, 247, 262

George, Sir Rupert:

   Appointment as Transport Commissioner, 7

   Correspondence on maintenance and treatment of prisoners, 275–282

   Correspondence relative to the Bishop of Moulins, 141–143, 302–303,

   Letter on manufacture of straw plait, 134–135

Godfrov, prisoner of war, 97

Godwin, Rev. G. N.:

   On the Bishop of Moulins, 181, 185

   Reference to, 241

Gourny, Jacques, prisoner of war, 97

Govstry, Helen, marriage with M. Salvert, 216

Gower, Captain, prisoner of war, 235

Grieg, M., artistic work, 97

                                * * * * *

Habart, Jean Marie Philippe, marriage with Elizabeth Snow, 209–219

Hadley, Mr., of Lynn, contract for conveyance of prisoners, 248

Halliday, Alexander, stabbed by a prisoner, 67

Hammocks, use of by prisoners, 90–91

Handslip, Captain, purchase of house at Norman Cross, 31

Hansell, Captain W., R.N.: _See_ Hanwell

Hanwell, Captain W., R.N.:

   Agent at Norman Cross, 38

   Death certificate of Vincent Fontaine, 172

   References to, 126, 263, 264

Harewood, Lord, Yorkshire Election of 1807, 182–183

Hawker, Mr., inquiry into condition of prisoners, 123

Hawkins, Captain, reference to, 199

Hay, James, of Liverpool, contractor for Norman Cross, 42–44

Hayes, Corporal, reference to, 148

Hayes, Rev. W., of King’s Cliffe, baptismal register kept by, 178–179

Henderson, Mr., lease of Norman Cross Barracks 1802, 243–244

Herbert, J. A., J.P., house at Norman Cross, 30, 175

Higgins, Dr., physician at Norman Cross, on condition of prisoners, 76–78

Hill, John, plan of Norman Cross Prison, 18–19

Hinde, Rev. T., Protestant Chaplain to Norman Cross Barracks, 176

Holditch, Captain:

   Conveyance of released prisoners to France, 241

   Kindness to French prisoners, 241

Hopkinson, Rev. John:

   Career, 224, 230–233

   Narrative of English prisoners at Verdun, 223–233

   Register of fellow prisoners at Verdun, 312–341

Horn work of prisoners, 131–132

Hospital at Norman Cross Prison:

   Description of building, 24–25

   Diet allowed, 71

   Number of patients (1797), 76–79

   Staff, 168–169, 287–289

   Treatment of prisoners in, 168–171

Howard, Anthony, assistant surgeon at Norman Cross, 168, 288


   Criminal prisoners of war imprisoned in, 74

   Fitted up for prisoners of war, 5–6

   Health of prisoners in Herne Bay, 167

   Offences punished by removal to, 64

   Parole breakers sent to, 196

Hunt, Joseph, Transport Commissioner, 7

                                * * * * *

Ijirke, Admiral, capture of ship, 51

“Indifférents, Les,” grade of society among prisoners, 113

Inquests, 151

International Law, on treatment of prisoners of war prior to Napoleon’s
wars, 3–4

_Intrépide_, _L’_, surrender, 129

Ives, Sergeant, outrage on and probable cause, 141

                                * * * * *

Jan, Louis, marriage with a Miss Edwards, 205–206

Jerrold, Douglas, comedy of _The Prisoner of War_, 235–236

_Jupiter_, capture, 53

                                * * * * *

“Kaiserlies, Les”: _See_ “Romans”

Kelly, Captain John, 29–30, 128

Kelly, Major:

   Lines written on death of, 29

   Plan of Norman Cross Prison, 19

   Purchase of house on sale of Norman Cross Prison, 28–39

King’s Royal Rifle Corps, 53

Kingston, Mary, marriage with Adrian Roelans, 207

Knogz, E. B., surgeon on the _Duyffe_, 208

                                * * * * *

“Laboureurs, Les,” grade of society among prisoners, 113

Lamb, John, diary quoted, 46

Lambertini, Petronio, death at Norman Cross, 253

Lamplugh, T., reference to, 18

La Porte, Jean de, straw marquetry work, 97, 129

Larfeuil, Pierre, assistant surgeon, 168, 288

Larpent, J. S., application for release, 218

Lascelles, Hon. Henry, defeat in Yorkshire election of 1807, 182–183

La Tour, Stephen John Baptiste de Galois de, bishop of Moulins:

   Career, 182–189, 293–297

   Correspondence with Earl Fitzwilliam, 181–187, 291–319

   Religious ministrations at Norman Cross, 99, 178–189

   Servant engaged in illicit trade, 141

   Traditional story erroneous, 180–185

_Lavengro_, by Borrow:

   Journey across the Fens described, 41–42

   Norman Cross Prison described, 32–34

   “Straw-plait hunts” described, 34, 137, 143–144

Lebetre (Lebertre), Colonel, pamphlet on British ill-treatment of
prisoners of war, 88, 166–167

Leek, parole prisoners at, 214–217

Lefebre, General, breaking of his parole, 211

Le Fevre, Francis, personation of Batrille, 220–221

_Leviathan_, in action at Trafalgar, 129

Lewin, Mr., of Yaxley, description of prisoners, 92

Little, Joseph, of Thorpe, marriage with Mary Roelans, 207

Lloyd, Captain George, sketch of Norman Cross Prison, 22

Lloyd, Lieutenant J. W., 198

“Lords, Les,” grade of society among the prisoners, 113

Luneand, Charles, parole prisoner, 215

                                * * * * *

Macgregor, Lieutenant, plan of Norman Cross Prison, 19

Mackenzie, Mr., exchange of prisoners’ negotiations, 221

Magennis, James, surgeon at Norman Cross, 77–78

Mansell, Dr., of Pembroke, 157

Markets in prison walls:

   Closed by Transport Commissioners, 148

   Offences punished by closing, 65

   Permission to hold, 72, 283

   Regulations, 63, 97–99

Marquetry work:

   Dyes used in, discussion on, 126–127

   Straw, skill of prisoners, 128–129

_Marquis of Carmarthen_, transport ship, mutiny on, 49


   Dutch prisoners to English women, 206–209

   French prisoners to English women, reason for opposition to, 209

Marsh, John, Transport Commissioner, 7

Mason, Sarah, marriage with J. A. Delapoux, 179

Mellows, W. T., parliamentary paper relative to prisoners of war, 279

Mien, John, servant to General Brunet, 216

Militia, service compulsory, but purchase of substitutes, 8

Milton, C. W. Wentworth, Viscount, defeat of Tory rival in 1807, 182–183

“Misérables, Les,” of Norman Cross, account of, 111, 112–123

Moorsom, Captain, secretary to Lord Mulgrave, 302

Moulins, Bishop of: _See_ La Tour, S. J. B. de Galois de

Muir, Alexander, life saved by prisoner, 199

Mulgrave, Lord, correspondence on the Bishop of Moulins, 180, 187,

Mullot, Chevalier J. Baptiste, parole prisoner, 215

                                * * * * *

Napoleon Buonaparte:

   Abdication and retirement to Elba, 250–251

   Change in treatment of prisoners of war under, 3–6

   Edict as to treatment of prisoners of war 1800, 81, 83, 108–109

   Exchange of prisoners, failure of negotiations, 221–222

   Mode of obtaining supplies in war, 82

   Re-opening of hostilities with England 1803, 244–246

Narde, Jean de, attempts to escape and shot, 159–169

Neau, James Francis, sale of articles made by prisoners, 216

Nepean, Sir Evan, secretary of the Admiralty, 267

Nettement, M., entrusted with provision of supplies for prisoners of war,

Nicolls, General, construction of Norman Cross Prison, 13

Niou, M., prisoners of war controversy, 74, 80, 272–275

Norman Cross Prison:

   Arrival and registration of prisoners, 47–57

   Borrow’s description, 32–34

   Burials, 173–175

   Clothing and maintenance, provision of and controversy over, 73,
75–88, 108–109, 276–285

   Conduct of prisoners, 149–162

   Construction of, 1–16, 17–38

   Demolished and site sold, 254–255

   Discipline, regulations, 62–68

   Employment of prisoners, 124–149

   Escapes and attempts to escape, 152–161

   Establishment, 37–46, 58–61

   Exchange of prisoners, negotiations, 217–222

   Exhibition at Peterborough of articles made by prisoners, ix.

   Hospital staff, 287–289

   “Los Misérables,” account of, 111, 112–123

   Life of the prisoners, 89–111

   Model of, by M. Foulley, 251

   Mortality and sickness at, 110–111, 163–172

   Numbers at, 1811, 286

   Parole prisoners sent to, 195–196, 213–215

   Rations allowed, 68–72

   Registers, specimens of entries, 268–269

   Release of prisoners 1802 and 1814, 239–242, 251–253

   Religious ministration at, 174–189

   Re-opening 1803, 247–251

   Report on survey by Fearnall, 259–264

   Sale of goods and barracks let 1802, 242–244

Norvus, M., on Napoleon’s demands on Britain, 245

                                * * * * *

Obscene pictures and carvings, traffic in, 148–149

Otto, M., correspondence on treatment of prisoners of war, 83–84, 111,
190–191, 276–285

Otway, Wm. Albany:

   Appointed Transport Commissioner, 7

   Correspondence on treatment of prisoners of war, 275–282

                                * * * * *

Palmer, Mr., on parole prisoners, 213–214

Paper work by prisoners, 132–133

Paris, Louis Felix, expert in the ormolu business, 146

Paris, Treaty of, 1814, release of prisoners of war, 251–253

Parole prisoners:

   Allowance to, 199–201

   Breaking of parole, 211–214

   Conditions of life of, 190–222

   Form of engagement, 196–197

   French suggestions for liberating, 279

   Imprisoned at Norman Cross, 195–196, 213–215

   Masonic Lodges, 204–205

   Number and distribution, 89, 192–195, 202–203, 212, 286

   Patten, Philip, Transport Commissioner, 7

   Paull, Miss, of Truro, 133

   Peltier, M., prosecution by British Government, 245

   Pemberton, Captain, at Norman Cross, 35

   Pembroke Prison, escape of prisoners, 156–157

Perrot, James:

   Agent at Norman Cross Prison, 38, 40, 44–45, 106

   Escape of prisoners, 154

   Statements as to condition and treatment of prisoners, 76–78

Perth Prison:

   Date of construction, 1–2

   Description, 149

Peterborough, buildings constructed from Norman Cross material, 37

Peterborough Museum:

   Plans of Norman Cross Prison, 18–19

   Specimens of prisoners’ industries, ix., 97, 128–133, 139

Phillips, Maberley, F.S.A., reference to, 93

Pillet, René Martin, misrepresentations as to British treatment of
prisoners of war, 84–88

Pineau, Ensign Louis, escape and recapture, 195

Pius VII., pope, remonstrance with on French policy, 188

Pletsz, B., Captain of the _Furie_, 206

Plymouth Mill Prison, number of prisoners at, 19

Pondicherry, captured garrison sent to Norman Cross, 51

Pontcarré, M. de, and the Bishop of Moulins, 293–294

Poore, Mr., construction of Norman Cross Prison, 13, 15

Porchester Castle, prisoners of war sent to, 19

Pors, Jean François, French prisoner killed by, 149, 159

Portland, Duke of, treatment of prisoners of war, correspondence, 80,

Poulden, Captain, agent for prisoners of war, 247

Press, English, Napoleon’s demand for restricting liberty of, 245

Pressland, Elizabeth Colinette, marriage to G. H. Walker, 24

Pressland, Captain Thomas, R.N.:

   Agent at Norman Cross Depot, 24, 38, 247

   Death at Norman Cross and burial, 175

   Hospital staff report, 287–289

   Instructions to, respecting religious ministrations to prisoners, 177

Priests, prisoners’ request for and attitude of Government, 177–189

Prisoners of War:

   Accommodation of, difficulties and arrangements, 8–16

   Agents for appointed, 38, 247

   Allowances made to British in France, 234, 235, 237

   Code of regulations, 62–65

   Controversy between France and Britain over treatment of, 73–88,
108–109, 270–285

   Employments, 96–99, 124–149

   Escapes and attempts to escape, 152–161

   Exchange of, negotiations, 217–222

   “Les Misérables” and the “Romans,” 112–123

   Managed by Transport Office, 6–7

   Modern improvement in manner of treating, 56

   Mortality and sickness among, 110–111, 163–172

   Napoleon’s influence on treatment of, 3–6

   Narratives of British in France, 223–238

   Norman Cross Prison: _See_ that title

   Number of, 5–6, 83, 90, 248, 286

   Parole prisoners: _See_ that title

   Personation of fellow prisoners, 220–221

   Register of prisoners at Verdun kept, by Rev. John Hopkinson, 312–341

   Release after Treaty of Paris, 251–253

   Seized by Napoleon 1803, 246

Punishments, enumeration of, 64–65

                                * * * * *

Rations of prisoners: _See_ under Food


   Description and value of those at Norman Cross, 50–56

   Verdun prisoners, kept by Rev. J. Hopkinson, 312–341

_Réunion_, frigate, sailors from, sent to Norman Cross, 49

_Révolutionnaire_, man-of-war, sailors from, sent to Norman Cross, 49

Ribout, prisoner of war, 97

Richards, James, chief clerk and interpreter at Norman Cross, 49

Riviere, M., of the French Admiralty, 199

Robert, Captain, duel with Captain Decourbes, 217

Robinette family, family tradition erroneous, 59–69

Roelans, Adrian Roeland Robberts, marriage to Mary Kingston, 206–207

Roelans, Mary, marriage to Joseph Little, 207, 208

“Romans” of Dartmoor Prison, 111, 112–123

Rose, Lucy, marriage with C. P. Vanderaa, 207

Rose, Nancy, marriage with Antoni Staring, 207–208

Roubillard, Jean, trial for forgery, 66–67

Ruddle, Dan, purchase of block of Norman Cross Prison, 23, 37

                                * * * * *

Salmon du Chattelier, C. L. de, formerly Vicar-General of the Diocese of
Mans, 179

Salvert, M., marriage with Helen Govstry, 216

Sands, H. B., proposal to erect monument at Norman Cross, 174

Sands, Mrs., 139

Sarrazin, Jean:

   Career, 85–86

   Refutation of statements made by Pillet, 85–86

Savary, M., French surgeon at Norman Cross, 77–78

Schank, John, Transport Commissioner, 7

Seamen, British:

   Conduct as prisoners of war, 237–238

   Efforts to induce prisoners to enter French service, 234

Serle (Searle), Ambrose:

   Appointed Transport Commissioner, 7

   Correspondence and report on treatment of prisoners, 100, 127, 152,

Sievwright, William, on illicit straw-plait trade, 144

Sissinghurst Prison, 109

Sixtieth Foot (60th): _See_ King’s Royal Rifle Corps

Sixtieth Royal Americans: _See_ King’s Royal Rifle Corps

Sleigh, _History of Leek_, on parole prisoners, 215–217

Smith, Captain Sir Sidney, efforts to obtain release, 79, 195, 273

Snow, Elizabeth, marriage with Jean Habart, 209–219

Spilsbury, Sarah, marriage with Joseph Vattel, 216

Squire, Thomas, agent for supervision of parole prisoners, 49–50, 193

Stapleton Prison, prisoners of war sent to, 246

Staring, Antoni, marriage with Nancy Rose, 207–208

Stephenson, General, inquiry into condition of prisoners, 123

Stilton cheese, origin of name, 34

_Story of Dartmoor Prison_, quoted, xiii., 65–66, 112–123, 253

Straw hats and bonnets, illicit trade by prisoners, 133–145

Straw marquetry: _See_ Marquetry work

Straw plait:

   Manufacture by prisoners, 134–145, 302–319

   Splitter machine invented by prisoners of war, 138–139

   “Straw-plait hunts” described by Borrow, 34, 137, 143

Strazynski, Captain A., escape and recapture, 194–195

Strong, Archdeacon, 22, 127

_Stuyver_, privateer, capture, 53

Suicides, large number, 159

Sunday trading at Norman Cross Prison, 98–99

Swinburne, Mr., agent for British Government in France, 57

                                * * * * *

_Tableau de la Grande-Bretagne_, by Jean Sarrazin, 85

_Tartuffe_, _La_, frigate, capture, 51

Taylor, A. C, 128

Thesiger, Captain, agent for prisoners of war, 247

Thomson, Basil:

   Indebtedness to, acknowledged, xiii.

   _Story of Dartmoor Prison_, quoted, 65–66, 111, 112–123, 253

Thornhill, Cooper, sale of Stilton cheese, 34

Thorpe, John T., on Masonic Lodges of prisoners, 204–205

Todd, William, store-clerk at Norman Cross, 59, 247, 262

Tong, Pierre Marie, release of, 198–199

Toufflet, Jean, marriage, 216

Trafalgar, battle of, 129

Transport Office:

   Creation and duties, 6, 37–38

   Prisoners’ traffic in obscene articles reported to, 148

Tucker, Lieutenant, description of life as prisoner of war, 234–235

                                * * * * *

Usury, misery caused by, and efforts to prevent, 107–111, 113–123, 276,
281, 283, 285

                                * * * * *

Valenciennes, prisoners of war sent to, 236

Vanderaa, Charles Peter:

   Career, 208

   Marriage with Lucy Rose, 207

Vandome, naval officer, linguist, 216

Vattel, Emérie de, on treatment of prisoners of war, 4

Vattel, Joseph, marriage with Sarah Spilsbury, 216

Verdun, British prisoners of war at:

   Experiences of, 223–238

   Register kept by the Rev. John Hopkinson, 312–341

Vergette family, descent, 69

Victoire, Mme, of France, patroness of the Bishop of Moulins, 183, 293

_Ville de L’Orient_, _La_, capture, 51

Vinter, Mr., 133

Vird, Lieutenant, 217

                                * * * * *


   Paid to prisoners of war, 125

   Rates of, in Norman Cross district (1797), 16

Walker, George, Surgeon:

   Appointment, salary, and allowances, 168, 287, 288, 289

   Marriage, 24–25

   Reference to, 260

Wallis, Lieutenant, on allowance to parole prisoners, 199–209

Warne, General, suicide at Verdun, 87

Wellington, Duke of:

   On exchange of prisoners, 218

   Prisoners of war sent from the Peninsula, 259

Whitwell, Ann, marriage with Albertus Coeymans, 206

Wilberforce, William, Yorkshire election of 1807, 182–183

Wood, Timothy, tried for murder, 151

Wood carving by prisoners of war, 132

Woodriff, Captain, R.N.:

   Agent at Norman Cross, 38, 40, 45–46

   Biography, 265–267

   Charges against, refuted, 86

   Epidemic among prisoners, 164

   Gambling and usury in prison, report on, 107–108

   House at Norman Cross let (1802), 243

   Inquiry into causes of mutiny on the _Marquis of Carmarthen_, 48–49

   Letter on clothing for prisoners, 275–276

   Order to prevent malingering, 171

   Price of provisions and rates of wages, report on, 16

   Prisoner of war in France, 235

Wotton, Sarah, marriage with Berthold Wyeth, 208

Wyeth, Berthold J. J., marriage, 208

                                * * * * *

Yeomanry, class enlisted from and duties of, 8

Yorkshire election 1807, 182–183

Ysbrands, J., Captain of the _Courier_, 207

                                * * * * *

                                PRINTED BY
                      HAZELL, WATSON AND VINEY, LD.,
                          LONDON AND AYLESBURY.


{0a}  Fortescue: _History of the British Army_, iv. 904–6.  Clode:
_Military Forces of the Crown_, i. 240.

{0b}  _The Story of Dartmoor Prison_, by Basil Thomson.  (London: William
Heinemann. 1907.)

{0c}  _The French Prisoners of Norman Cross_.  A Tale by the Rev. Arthur
Brown, Rector of Catfield, Norfolk.  (London: Hodder Brothers, 18, New
Bridge Street, E.C.)

{4}  Vattel, _Les Droits des Gens_, book iii, chap, iii, sec. 49, p. 150.

{5}  “Prisoners of War,” _Chambers’ Journal_, No. 21, 1854, p. 330.

{6a}  It will be seen in a later chapter what class of men the prisoners
were to whom these words would come home.

{6b}  July 1797—_Reports House of Commons_, “18th Report of Committee of

{7}  Schomberg, _Naval Chronology_, chap. v., p. 213.

{9}  In 1803 the Earl of Carysfort of the Irish Peerage took the title of
Lord Carysfort of Norman Cross, as a Peer of the United Kingdom.

{12}  The price of timber had risen in December 1806 to £8 8_s._ a load;
at one date the contractor complained that even by paying £12 a load he
could not obtain fifty loads in Plymouth.  _The Story of Dartmoor
Prison_, Basil Thomson.  (London: William Heinemann, 1907.)

{14}  The sum of £14,800 was paid to Adams between the 1st January 1797
and 29th November 1797 in the following instalments:

Jan.             1797     £1,500   April 12th 1797     £1,000
  ,,         2nd 1797      1,000      May 5th 1797        500
  ,,         6th 1797      1,000     Aug. 5th 1797        150
  ,,        13th 1797      1,000       „ 15th 1797        400
  ,,        17th 1797        500   Sept. 28th 1797        500
  ,,        31st 1797      1,000     Oct. 6th 1797        370
Feb.         9th 1797        500      ,,  9th 1797        500
  ,,        21st 1797        600      ,, 13th 1797        500
Mar.         5th 1797        500    Nov. 23rd 1797      1,000
  ,,        19th 1797        500      ,, 28th 1797        500
  ,,        26th 1797        450       „ 29th 1797        500
  ,,        30th 1797        330

The total amount paid to 19th November 1797 for the Norman Cross Prison
was £34,518 11_s._ 3_d._, for Hull £22,600, for Lewes £12,400, and for
Colchester £15,620.

{16}  As illustrating the hardship which, already in its fourth year,
this war had imposed upon the nation, the following extract from the
report furnished to the Transport Office, by Captain Woodriff, R.N.,
agent to the Commissioners, of the average price of provisions and the
rate of wages in the district in which the Depot had been established,
during the time that the prison and barracks were erecting, may be of
interest.  Mutton was 10½_d._ per lb., beef 1_s._ per lb., bread 1s. per
quartern loaf.  Carpenters’ wages were 12s. per week, shoemakers’ 10_s._,
bakers’ 9_s._, blacksmiths’ 8_s._, and husbandmen 7_s._  Starvation wages
were then a literal truth.  Four years later from a Parliamentary Report
we find the Government granting a bounty on all imported wheat, in order
to keep the price down to £5 a quarter, other grain being treated in the
same way.  We can well understand that, as the price of provisions went
up, and the taxation increased with the prolongation of the war (a war
which, however it originated, was prolonged for years by the ambitious
projects of Buonaparte for the aggrandisement of himself and of France),
the animosity not only of the actual combatants, but also of the
suffering men, women, and children, steadily grew against the man and the
nation whom they regarded as the authors of all their misery.

{18}  Appendix A.

{23a}  _Auctioneer’s Catalogue_, (Jacobs’ Peterborough, 1816).

{23b}  M. Foulley’s description of his model on Key Plan, Pl. xx., p.

{24}  The following entry in the Register of Marriages in St. John’s
Church, Peterborough, probably explains the reason for the housing of the
surgeon in a comfortable brick house within those prison walls, instead
of in the very indifferent quarters in the hospital casern:—

    “October 18th, 1808, George H. Walker of Yaxley to Elizabeth
    Colinette Pressland of St. John’s.—Witnesses: Thomas Pressland,
    Thomas Alderson Cook, James Gibbs.”

Mr. George H. Walker was the surgeon to the Prison, which was in the
Parish of Yaxley, and Captain Pressland, R.N., had been for some years,
after the renewal of the war in 1803, Superintendent of the Prison, so
among all these dry details crops up the picture of our human life.  We
see the young medical officer passing through the door in the Prison wall
which communicated with the Superintendent’s house (the door over which
the wall is seen rising with a ramp in the photographs of the only
fragments of the wall now remaining) to spend happy hours with Captain
Pressland’s family.  We see friendship ripening into love, the story told
by the entry in the Register of St. John’s Church, Peterborough, and then
in the Register of St. Peter’s, Yaxley, we are brought face to face with
a tragedy, for the last entry of a burial from the Depot is “Captain
Thomas Pressland, Norman Cross.  March 21st, 1814.  59 years.  Signed, J.
Hinde, Curate,” and there can be little doubt that from the house to
which, mainly through his future father-in-law’s influence, Surgeon
Walker was able in the third year of its existence to bring Elizabeth
Colinette Pressland as his bride, while the bells of Yaxley Church rang
out a merry marriage peal, six years later passed the body of Captain
Pressland himself to be laid in Yaxley Churchyard, while the death bell
tolled its solemn note.  For six years this house was the house of the
couple for whom it was built.  It was in the auctioneer’s catalogue, when
it was sold on the 2nd October 1810, nothing more than “An excellent
brick dwelling-house, containing a cellar 12 ft. 6 in. by 11 ft. 2 in.,
parlour 13 ft. 3 in. by 13 ft. 8 in., etc., etc.”  To us, 100 years
later, it is a part of the great tragedy of Norman Cross, and by the
light of the registers we see it in those short eight years from its
building to its destruction the scone of the brightest joys and the
deepest griefs of men and women whose names we know, whose persons we can
imagine, and who help to clothe those cold, dry records with the warmth
of human life.

{28a}  On a range of the stabling purchased in 1816 to be re-erected as
farm buildings in a neighbouring village, over one of the doors there
stands out in bold relief, owing to the protective influence of the
paint, the letters B. A. T., and in the auctioneer’s catalogue the Range
is described as Bathorse Stable Range.  From Stœqueler’s _Military
Encyclopædia_, we learn that “Bat” signified a pack saddle; “Bathorse,”
one which carried a pack; “Batman,” the man in charge of the Bathorse.
The latter term came to be used for an officer’s servant, while the
Bathorse Stable was applied to a military stable for draught and other

{28b}  In his interesting romance, _The French Prisoners of Norman
Cross_, the Rev. Arthur Brown speaks of Mr. Vise as Chief Surgeon at the
Prison; this, of course, is an error, the prisoners were not attended by
the neighbouring practitioners.  The statement that the surgeons were all
English is also erroneous.

{29}  Major Kelly was highly esteemed and at the time of his death (when
the Indian Mutiny was not yet quelled) the following lines were published
in a local newspaper:—

                       A MONODY ON THE LATE MAJOR KELLY

    Peace to the virtuous brave!
       Another son of chivalry lies low:
    Not in the flush of youth he finds a grave,
       Not stricken to the dust by foreign foe
    He fainting falls;—but laden with full years,
       With white-hair’d glory crown’d, he lays him down
       In earth’s maternal lap, and with him bears
       Benevolence, high honour, renown,
    And love-begetting mem’ries, such as throw
    A halo round the thoughts of mortals here below.

    Earth! keep thy treasured dead
       Awhile, in holy trust!  Not with vain tears
    Wail we the loss of him who bravely bled
       For England’s might and weal, in early years,
    When life’s warm pulse beat high, and buoyant hopes
       On tip-toe look’d afar at distant fame;
    When views of greatness fill’d his vision’s scope,
       And daring deeds lent glory to a name:
    Here on our soldier’s grave no tear should fall;
    All hidden be our grief, as ’neath a funeral pall.

    O! that in this, our need,
       This hour of trial, when the swart Sepoy
    Blurs the fair front of nature, with each deed
       Of villainy conceiving; when the joy
    That, like the sun, lights up affection’s eyes,
       Is blotted out by Indian hate and lust—
    O! that a host of Kellys could arise,
       And with avenging steel, unto the dust,
    Smite down the Smiter, that the world might know
    How true the Briton as a friend, how mighty as a foe!

                                                                     O. P.

                        _The Peterborough Advertiser_, 13th February 1858.

This monody not only shows the esteem in which the Major was held by the
local poet and his neighbours, but in the last stanza it revives the
memory of a crisis in the history of the empire, and of the throes of the
Indian Mutiny, from which our country was suffering when Major Kelly

{30}  _Auctioneer’s Catalogue_ (Peterborough: G. Robertson, Bookseller.

{31}  The most valuable direct evidence as to the appearance of the
barracks and prison which I was able to obtain in 1891, was from an old
Mr. Lewin of Yaxley, who was born in 1802, and had been very familiar
with the Depot in his childhood.  He used frequently to ride in through
this west gate in the tradesmen’s carts, but he spoke always of the
entrance on the south front as the main entrance.  This old gentleman’s
memory was wonderfully clear, and his accounts I regarded as thoroughly

{34}  The well-known Stilton cheese was never made at Stilton, which was
not in a dairy district; it was made in Leicestershire and sent to
Stilton, where Mr. Cooper Thornhill, the sporting landlord of the old
sixteenth-century coaching inn, The Bell (he once for a wager rode 218
miles on horseback in 12 hours and 15 minutes), used to supply it to his
customers, selling the cheeses, it is said, at half a crown a pound.

{38a}  To the post of agent at Norman Cross there were appointed, during
the seventeen years in which the prison was occupied, two civilians and
four naval officers.  Of the two civilians, Mr. John Delafons sent in his
formal resignation eight days after his appointment.

Mr. James Perrot, appointed on the 7th April 1797, held his office until
January 1799.

Captain Woodriff, R.N., appointed January 1799, held his office until the
Peace of Amiens, April 1802 (see Appendix B).

Captain Thos. Pressland, R.N., was appointed after the War was renewed in
May 1803, and served from 18th June 1803 until August 1811.

Captain J. Draper, R.N., succeeded to the post, and held it until his
death in February 1813.

Captain W. Hansell, R.N., became agent on the death of Captain Draper,
and relinquished the post in August 1814 after the Abdication of
Buonaparte and his retirement to Elba.

{38b}  There is evidence in correspondence still extant, that much
friction arose between the commander of the Military Guard and the agent,
as to the power of the latter to interfere in the steps required for the
safe custody of the prisoners.

{40}  This shows that about 4,000 prisoners were to be removed from
Falmouth to Norman Cross, their hammocks, added to the 1,000 on the way
from London, making the number correspond with the 5,000 sets of bedding.

{42}  _Lavengro_, chap. iii.

{44}  Evidence that two years later meat could be obtained at a much
lower rate has come under my notice, from an unexpected source.  On the
fly-leaf of a copy of Batty’s Bible, in the possession of a descendant of
Mr. W. Fowler, is written below the name W. Fowler (in the same writing,
but in paler ink), “Came down to Norman Cross March 10th, 1799, to serve
the prisoners of War at Yaxley.”  In a different handwriting has been
inserted after “Came down,” “from London,” and after Yaxley, “with Beef
at 28_s._ the cwt.”  The date 1799 has also been altered in dark ink to
1795, which was of course a wrong correction, as there was no prison at
Norman Cross until 1797.—T. J. W.

{46}  Appendix B, Biographical Sketch of Captain Woodriff.

{49}  So slowly did the Government inquiry which followed on Captain
Woodriff’s report progress, that it was not until two years later that
judgment was pronounced.—_Naval Chronicle_, vol. i., pp. 523–6.

{50}  For examples of the individual entries in the General Register, the
Death Register, and the Register of Prisoners on Parole, see Appendix C.

{52}  Cartel is an agreement between foreign states as to the exchange of
the prisoners; its meaning was extended to the document authorising the
exchange of an individual prisoner, and it was even used to signify the
transport vessel engaged to convey the exchanged prisoners to their
native country.

{59}  In All Souls’ Church at Peterborough is preserved the Register,
kept by the resident Priest at King’s Cliff, of the baptisms performed by
priests within the mission of his church.  Stilton, the Depot, and the
surrounding villages were within that district.  Two of the entries are
baptisms of the sons of Delapoux; they will be referred to in a future
chapter.  They have always been supposed to be those of the baptism of
the children of a French prisoner, who had married an English wife (these
marriages were of rare occurrence), and the discovery in the Record
Office of this entry of John Andrew Delapoux’s appointment as a clerk is
an instance of the way in which research upsets old traditions.  I find
the entry of Delapoux’s marriage to Sarah Mason on the 2nd September
1802, in the Register of Stilton church.  His children were baptized as
Catholics, and the priest specially calls Sarah Mason his lawful wife.
Another instance in this list, selected haphazard by Mr. Rhodes from
papers in the Record Office, shows how in two generations a false family
tradition may arise.  In 1894 I visited, in search of information, the
daughter-in-law, then a widow aged eighty-six, of the James Robinette
whose engagement as a permanent mason and labourer at the Depot is
recorded on page 61.  She told me her husband’s father was a French
prisoner, who had been made a turnkey at the Barracks!  On searching the
church Register, 1 found that the Robinettes had been residents in Yaxley
fifty years at least before the arrival of the prisoners at Norman Cross,
and between 1748 and 1796 the records of three generations appear in the
register—James, the son of James and Catherine Robinette, born in 1780,
was doubtless the man appointed in 1813 to the job at the Barracks.

The Robinettes were probably some of the many French Huguenots who came
over after the repeal, on the 15th October 1685, of the Edict of Nantes,
and settled in the neighbourhood of Peterborough to further reclaim and
cultivate the lately drained fens.  The fallacy of coming to conclusions,
founded on names only without other evidence, is illustrated by the
following sentence in a series of papers on Norman Cross published in the
_Peterborough Advertiser_ by the late Rev. G. N. Godwin: “At Stilton the
names of Habarte, of Drage, and of Tesloff, and near Thorney the name of
Egar, and at Peterborough, among others, the name of Vergette, still
speak of the old war time.”  Of these names, Habarte alone is that of
descendants of a French prisoner, the majority of those bearing the
others are of the old Huguenot stock, while the Vergettes, who formerly
believed themselves to be descendants of an ancestor of this same stock,
now know that they were an old-established English family in 1555, when
their ancestor, Robert Vergette, was Sheriff of Lincoln.

{65}  _Loc. cit._, 93–95.

{69}  In a Parliamentary Report for the year 1800 it is stated that the
price of wheat was only kept down to £5 a quarter by the system of
bounties on imported wheat, the same applying to the prices of other
grain.  The present proprietor of “The Oundle Brewery” kindly extracted
from the Books of the Firm particulars as to the beer supplied to the
Regiments quartered at Norman Cross in the year 1799.  The total amount
was 4,449 barrels of 36 gallons each.  This gentleman adds, the beer
could not be very good, the price being about 6_d._ a gallon.  His father
said that _he_ had often been told by _his_ father, that the great
expansion of the business was due to the contract with the Barracks.
Buckles Brewery, a Peterborough business, also flourished on a large
contract to supply the prisoners with “Small Beer.”  Mr. George Gaunt,
who was formerly in a large business as a butcher, informed me that,
taking the figures which I gave him as a basis, and the average weight of
a bullock at about 850 lb., he considered that from five to six would be
required every day, if beef alone and no other meat were supplied.  These
figures give some idea of the advantages derived by the neighbouring
traders from this great Government Establishment.

The following extract from a letter addressed to me by Mr. Samuel Booth
shows how many people in one family group alone found employment in
connection with the Depot:

    “I send you a few particulars about my relatives, which may, or may
    not, be useful to you.

    “My great-grandmother, Mrs. Allen, who lies in the old graveyard,
    used to carry green-grocery to sell to the prisoners.

    “My father’s father was Pay-Sergeant at the Barracks.

    “My grandfather, Samuel Briggs, of Ailsworth, was constable; he was
    also in the Militia, and was told off to keep guard on Thorpe Road,
    at the entrance to Peterboro’, on the escape of some prisoners, but
    who went the way to Ramsay.  I have a box made by the prisoners,
    presented to my grandfather, who was also a carpenter, and at times
    went to work there.  The prisoners used to beg pieces of wood and
    other materials of him.  He used to speak of their cleverness in the
    making of fancy articles, and of their endeavours to escape—one got
    in the manure cart, and got away.”

{70}  When Greens are issued in lieu of Pease, one pound stripped of the
outer leaves and fit for the copper shall be issued to each prisoner.

Each prisoner shall receive two ounces of Soap per week.

{71}  Knowing how dogs as a rule refuse to eat meat impregnated with
herbs and condiments, we probably have here the explanation of little
George Borrow’s impression of the food of the prisoners, which forty
years later made him write of it, “Rations of Carrion meat and bread from
which I have seen the very hounds occasionally turn away.”  Every one who
knows the habit of dogs, knows that many of them would turn away from the
meat which had been boiled for four or five hours with a broth
impregnated with herbs.

{74a}  In the light of modern science, we can well understand the origin
of the accusation by the British that the wells had been purposely
poisoned in order to kill the English prisoners.  Enteric fever had not
then been differentiated from typhus, the mode of its spread was unknown,
and probably defective sanitation had led to poisoning of the well, as it
has done and still is doing in many a British town and village.

{74b}  Correspondence with the French Government relative to Prisoners of
War Supplement, 1801, to Appendix No. 59.  Report of the Transport Board
to the House of Commons, 1798.

{75}  This will be dealt with in the following chapter.

{76}  Report of the Transport Board to the House of Commons, 1798,
Appendix No. 59—Most valuable information on the merits of the dispute
between the two Governments has been obtained from the Report and its
Appendix, and from an imperfect copy of a Supplement to the Appendix,
issued from Downing Street, 6th Jan. 1801.  This supplement is not to be
found either in the Library of the House of Commons or in the British
Museum, and the Fragment which contained thirty-nine out of fifty-three
letters indexed in the table of contents, in the course of its travels
through my hands and my agents’ and the typewriters’, has been lost.
This loss is irreparable, but I am able to publish in the text or in the
Appendix five of the fifty-three letters which were printed in this
supplement to the report.  Appendix D.


_Copy of an Affidavit made by Mr. James Perrot_, _Agent for Prisoners of
War at Norman Cross_.  _Dated Peterboro’_, 15_th December_ 1797.

These are to certify, that James Perrot, Agent for Prisoners of War at
Norman Cross, voluntarily maketh Oath, that to the best of his knowledge
and belief, the Certificate and Affidavits given by Dr. Higgins,
Physician, Mr. James Magennis, Surgeon, and Messiours Chatelin and
Savary, the French Assistant Surgeons to the Hospital at Norman Cross
Prisons, are strictly true, and corresponding with the accounts, daily
brought to him; and that the number of Patients in the said Hospital on
the 19th day of November last, were one hundred and ninety-four,
including twenty-four nurses, and the whole number of Prisoners,
including the Sick, were on that day confined in the said Prisons, 5028,
and from the first the establishment never exceeded 5178, and that to the
present date only 59 have died in the said Hospital; and further to the
best of his knowledge, neither contagious or epidemic disorders have ever
prevailed in the said Hospital or Prisons.

                                              (Signed) J. PERROT, _Agent_.

Given under my hand at Peterboro’ this 15th day of December 1797.

                                                      (Signed) H. FREEMAN.

Copy of an Affidavit made by Dr. Higgins, Physician, and Dr. Magennis,

We the undersigned do voluntarily certify upon Oath that the number of
Sick in the Hospital under our care at Norman Cross, on the 19th November
last, was 194, including 24 nurses; that the daily number from the 7th
August was always less; and that at no one period since the commencement
of the establishment did the actual number exceed 260.  That the prisons
are systematically visited and searched every morning by the surgeon or
his assistants, and that every prisoner having feverish symptoms, however
slight, is immediately removed to the hospital.

No epidemic or contagious Fever.

                                (Signed) JAMES HIGGINS, M.D., _Physician_,
                                                JAMES MAGENNIS, _Surgeon_.

_Translation of a certificate by the French Surgeons_, _M. Savary of the_
Hardy, _and M. Chatelaine_, _Surgeon-Major of the_ Ville de l’Orient.

The 24 men were employed as nurses.  Whenever the prisoners are sent to
the Hospital, they are admitted, whether their disorders are slight or
violent, and while there, they are treated with humanity and attention,
and provided with everything necessary for the re-establishment of their
health.  No epidemic or contagious distemper.

(_Ref. Parly. Paper_, 1797–8, vol. 50. pp. 131–3.)

{81}  These extracts are from the lost supplement of date 1801 to the
_Parliamentary Report_, 1798.

{82}  Alison’s _History of Europe_, from the commencement of the French
Revolution in 1789 to the Restoration of the Bourbons in 1815.

{90}  The total number of prisoners in Britain increased greatly during
the second period of the war, until in 1814, after the abdication of
Buonaparte, there were 67,000 prisoners to be returned to France.  To
provide for this vast body, Dartmoor and Perth, each capable of holding
as many prisoners as Norman Cross, had been built.

{99}  My mother, who remembered being driven over at the age of five to
the stalls at the prison gate to buy a toy, could recall the appearance
of the stalls and the toys, but nothing more.  It was probably one of the
fixed stalls shown at the eastern gate in MacGregor’s plan.  The
materials of the stalls, the pebble paving, and the paled fence in front
of the market were sold, when the prison was demolished, for £20.

                                                                 —T. J. W.

{100a}  Appendix D.

{100b}  _Loc. cit._, p. 131.

{103}  Capt. Woodriff’s letter, Appendix D.

{104}  In July 1799 the Dutch prisoners applied for the use of a building
for theatrical exhibitions, but “My Lords” would not hear of such a
thing, as “not being according to law, and might be attended with
inconvenience to the neighbourhood”; but about ten years later, as seen
in Foulley’s model, there is a theatre in the centre of the south-west

{105}  Appendix A.

{107}  Appendix D.

{109}  No. 10, Appendix D.

{111}  When M. Foulley knew the prison seven years later, this block was
set apart for petty-officers and civilians.

{113}  The remainder of this chapter is quoted verbatim from the _Story
of Dartmoor Prison_ (Basil Thomson).

{125}  Basil Thomson, _loc. cit._, chap, xix., p. 202.

{126}  _Vide_ Appendix A.

{129}  In the great action off Cape Trafalgar on 21st October 1805, the
_Leviathan_, seventy-four guns, under Captain Bayton, was next to the
_Victory_.  After passing through the enemy’s line she dismasted her
opponent, raked the _Santissima Trinidad_, and passed on to the _San
Augustin_, one of seven coming to surround her; this ship was silenced in
fifteen minutes, and the crew of the _Leviathan_, making her fast with a
hawser, towed her into the English Fleet with the English Jack flying.
The French ship _L’Intrépide_ had by distant firing cut into the sails
and rigging of the _Leviathan_, but three more British ships coming up,
_L’Intrépide_ was, after a noble resistance, also compelled to surrender,
and was set on fire by the _Britannia_.  The crews were landed at
Portsmouth and transferred to Norman Cross, where they were received on
8th January 1806.  One was Corporal Jean De la Porte, whose name appears
as the maker of signed straw marquetry pictures, and to whom are
attributed many other unsigned pictures of the same character.  Mr. Jean
De la Porte is spoken of as an officer; had he been of that rank he would
not have been in the prison, but out on parole.  He was a Petty Officer,
and would be in the Petty Officers’ prison.  He was confined at Norman
Cross for nearly nine years, and during this long captivity his artistic
skill and taste must have enormously mitigated his suffering.

{131a}  _On Horn and Tortoiseshell_, by H. Akin, late Secretary of the
Society of Arts, London.  _Journal of the Franklin Institute_, _London_.
Series vol. xxvi., pp. 256–9.  1840.

{131b}  I have a drinking-horn, given to me by the daughter-in-law of the
man for whom it was made, engraved with his name—J. Bates—surrounded by a
floral pattern.—T. J. W.

{133a}  This art was practised by amateurs in the 18th century.  In 1875
an attempt was made to reintroduce the work.  “Mosaicon, or Paper
Mosaic,” W. Bemrose, jun.  (Bemrose & Sons, 10, Paternoster Buildings,
E.C., and Irongate, Derby.)

{133b}  The authenticity of the wine slides as Norman Cross work is
absolute.  Mr. Vinter, who gave them to the author for presentation to
the museum, affirmed that his mother had known them all her life in the
house of her parents, an inn opposite the prison.  Her father had
purchased them in the prison market.  Mr. Vinter’s mother had herself
seen from a window of the house a prisoner shot by a sentinel as he was
attempting to escape.  Of the caddies, one is in the possession of the
Countess of Lindsey at Uffington Park, twelve miles from Norman Cross
(Plate VII., Fig. 2, p. 40).  Mr. Bodger has the second; it is of
beautiful design, but dilapidated.  The third is in the collection of
Miss Paull, of Truro, and is known as the work of a French prisoner at
the Falmouth Depot (Plate VIII, Fig. 1, p. 46).  It is possible that the
three caddies were all the work of the same artist, who may have been one
of the thousands of prisoners who were sent from Falmouth to Norman

{134a}  _Parliamentary History_, xxxvi. 450.

{134b}  There were two rates for the tax on hats, those of a wider
diameter being taxed at the higher rate.

{134c}  Norman Cross.  Correspondence with the French Government relative
to prisoners of war, issued from Downing Street 1st January 1801, as a
supplement to Appendix 59.  Report of the Transport Board to the House of
Commons, 1798.

{135}  The Rev. E. Bradley (Cuthbert Bede), who half a century ago was
the incumbent of Denton, a village a little over a mile from Norman
Cross, left the following note among the MSS. which were prepared for a
history of Huntingdon, or, as he called it, _Cromwell’s County_, which
was never completed:

    “The French prisoners at the prison made beautiful straw plaits,
    which were purchased by people in Stilton and sold at a high rate.
    For a long time they were forbidden to sell these plaits, but they
    found means to do so through the soldiers.  No doubt the soldiers
    made a great deal of money in this way, although the plaits were sold
    so cheaply that many people in Stilton made very respectable fortunes
    by their sale.  The soldiers secretly brought the straw plaits to the
    houses, sometimes wrapped round their bodies under their clothes; in
    this case they would go upstairs and undress, and then come down with
    the straw plaits.

    “I do not know how the prisoners got the straw, but as they could no
    more make straw plaits without straw than the Israelites could make
    bricks, I suppose the soldiers helped them to it.  Much of the plait
    (which was more neatly made than the English manufacture) was made up
    and sold in Stilton.  Other was hawked about round the district; also
    sent to wholesale houses in London or elsewhere.  One vendor of the
    straw plaits cleared a thousand pounds in a few years.”

{136}  Vol. 106.

{137}  An old lady friend of mine, recently deceased, remembered in her
childhood seeing the children following a woman in the streets of
Peterborough, and singing, “Wind or storm, hail or snow, To the Barracks
she will go,” a doggerel which had been fastened on to her when she
carried over goods for sale at the market, and was supposed to smuggle in
cut straw and to bring back concealed about her person straw plait, which
she disposed of to the bonnet makers.—T. J. W.

{138}  _Chambers’ Journal_, xxiii. 327.  In the same journal (issue of
September 1908) is an article by A. F. Morris upon straw marquetry, in
which the introduction of that art into this country is ascribed to the

{144}  _Historical Sketch of the Old Depot_, _Perth_, William Sievwright,

{146a}  Vol. ix., chap. lxiv., par. 127.

{146b}  This information Alison gave from his own personal recollection.
I can confirm his account from what I have been told by my father, who in
his sixteenth and seventeenth years was living in Perth, and was in the
habit of going to the prison to take lessons in French and in fencing
from one of the officers confined there.—T. J. W.

{147}  Curiously this article does not appear in Poole’s original Index,
but in the second supplement under “Banker’s Notes.”

{156}  These were a part of the troops who in 1797 landed at Fishguard to
invade England through Wales.  This long-planned invasion ended in a

{157a}  Laws, _Little England Beyond Wales_, pp. 373–4.

{157b}  _Legends of Huntingdonshire_, W. B. Saunders.

{158}  W. H. Bernard Saunders, _loc. cit._, 1888.

{160a}  _Archæologia Cantiana_, ix.–xciii.

{160b}  _Chambers’ Miscellany_, No. 92, vol. vi., p. 32, New Edition.
_Story of a French Prisoner of War in England_.

{161}  _Story of Dartmoor Prison_, pp. 32, 33.

{166}  _Aperçu du Traitement qu’éprouvent les Prisonniers de Guerre
français en Angleterre_: Paris, 1813.

{167a}  Appendix E.

{167b}  _Naval Chronicle_, xxviii., 282.

{168}  The expense of the prisoners’ clothing, provision, and supervision
was £1,000 a day exclusive of buildings.—_Naval Chronicle_, xxxiv., 460.

{169}  Appendix F.  Full return, with names, etc., of the hospital staff.

{171}  The following, copied from a loose paper lying between the pages
of Reg. 628 at the Record Office, is evidently an answer to the inquiries
of a prisoner’s friends, made ten years after his death.  It gives a
chance insight into one of the duties of the agent, and is evidence that
the French were at least treated with courtesy:

    “Le Soussigné Agent du Gouvernement Britannique Chargé du soin et de
    la Surveillance des Prisonniers de Guerre au Dépôt de Norman Cross,
    Certifie que le Nommé Vincent Fontaine, natif de Veli, Pris à Bord du
    transport _La Sophie_, en qualité de soldat, entre en Prison au Dépôt
    de Norman Cross le 25 Septembre 1804, est mort à l’hospital du susdit
    Dépôt le Vingt trois mars, mil huit cent huit, âgé de Trente ans et
    demi, ainsi qu’il couste par les Registres de la Prison.

    “En foi de quoi j’ai délivré le Présent Extrait pour servir à qui de

    “Norman Cross le 1er Juin 1814.

                                 “(Signed) W. HANWELL, Capt. R.N., Agent.”


    “The Undersigned Agent of the British Government in charge of the
    care and the superintendence of the Prisoners of War at the Depot of
    the Norman Cross, certifies that the named Vincent Fontaine, native
    of Veli, taken on board the transport _La Sophie_, as being a
    soldier, entered into the Prison at the Depot of Norman Cross on the
    25th September 1804, died in the Hospital of the above-mentioned
    Depot, 23rd March 1808, Age 30½ years, as shown by the Prison

    “In Witness whereof I have delivered the present Extract to be used
    by Whom it may concern.

    “Norman Cross, 1st June 1814.

                                 “(Signed) W. HANWELL, Capt. R.N., Agent.”

Vincent Fontaine was the only prisoner who died during the week ending
27th March 1808.  The certificate was signed by Thos. Pressland, the
agent at that date.

{177}  _Notes and Queries_, Ser. ii., v. 204.

{180a}  Appendix G.—Letter enclosing short autobiography from the Bishop
of Moulins to Earl Fitzwilliam.  Reply from Earl Fitzwilliam and
correspondence between his lordship and Lord Mulgrave, etc.

{180b}  _The French Prisoners of Norman Cross_.  A tale by the Rev.
Arthur Brown, Rector of Catfield, Norfolk.  (Hodder Brothers.)

{181}  This house is selected by tradition as that of the Bishop, being
the one most suited to a wealthy ecclesiastic of high rank.  The Bishop’s
letters are dated from the Bell Inn, where he probably could live, _en
pension_, on what was left out of his £240 a year, after paying the
interest due to the money-lenders.

{182}  This was a remarkable election, and created immense excitement at
the time.  There had been no contested election for forty-six years, and
in 1807 there were four candidates for the two seats.  One, a Mr. Fowkes,
received two votes.  William Wilberforce, the great advocate for the
abolition of slavery, led all the way; the real contest was between
Milton and Lascelles.  Wilberforce’s expenses were largely met by
subscription; the cost to the other two was enormous.  _The Recorder_ of
Leeds said, “The yellow had not only been in the hats, but had also been
in the pockets of the voters for Lord Milton.”  The state of the poll at
the end was:

Wilberforce        11,806
Milton             11,177
Lascelles          10,988
Fowkes                  2

Smith, _Parliaments of England_, ii. 136, 140.  _The Times_, 26th, 28th,
30th May, 2nd, 4th, 6th June 1807.

Wm. Wilberforce, Esq.; Rt. Hon. Chas. Wm. Wentworth, commonly called
Viscount Milton; Hon. Henry Lascelles.

{185}  “Ces jeunes captifs furent instruits par les soins de M. l’Évêque
de Moulins.”

{186}  As these pages are passing through the press, the opportunity
offers of seeing through the observant eyes of Mrs. Larpent the Bishop as
he was when she met him in London, about 1804, and for the “man with a
fine presence” we must substitute the “little deformed lively man,”
described in that lady’s diary, “Nineteenth Century and After,” No. 438,
August 1913, p. 318.

{187}  Appendix G.

{188a}  _Mémoire des Évêques français résidant à Londres qui n’ont pas
donné leur démission_, Londres, May 1802; _Biographie des Hommes vivant_,
1818, Paris; _Biographie des Contemporains_, Paris.

{188b}  _Mémoire des Évêques français résidant à Londres_, pp. 108, 217,

{188c}  The only reference by his French biographer to his work at Norman
Cross, which looms so large in this book, is that “he is said to have
visited the prisoners of war when in England.”

{191a}  Supplement to Appendix 59, _Report of the Transport Board to the
House of Commons_, 1798.  Issued from Downing Street 6th January 1801.

{191b}  If the commander of a privateer before lowering his flag threw
overboard as many of his guns as he could, in order to prevent their
falling into the hands of the enemy, and thus reduced their number below
fourteen, he was no longer eligible for parole, but remained in prison.

{192}  List of places where French prisoners of war were allowed on
parole at different periods of the war.

Abergavenny.           Eye.                    Penrith.
Alresford.             Falmouth.               Penryn.
Andover.               Fareham.                Perth.
Ashbourne.             Foxton.                 Peterborough
Ashburton.             Greenlaw.               Petersfield.
Ashby-de-la-Zouch.     Hawick.                 Plymouth.
Bandon.                Jedburgh.               Pontefract.
Basingstoke.           Kelso.                  Porchester.
Bedale.                Knaresborough.          Portsmouth.
Bideford.              Lanark.                 Reading.
Biggar.                Landore.                Redruth.
Bishops Castle.        Launceston.             Regilliack.
Bishops Waltham.       Leek.                   Richmond.
Bodmin.                Lichfield.              Roscor.
Boroughbridge.         Llanfyllin.             Sanquhar.
Brecon.                Lockerbie.              Selkirk.
Bridgnorth.            Lockmaben.              Stapleton.
Bristol.               London.                 Tavistock.
Callington.            Melrose.                Thame.
Carlisle.              Mill Prison Hospital.   Tiverton.
Carnarvon.             Montgomery.             Tynemouth.
Chatham.               Montrose.               Valleyfield.
Chepstow.              Moreton Hampstead.      Wakefield.
Chesterfield.          Newton.                 Wantage.
Crediton.              Norman Cross.           Welshpool.
Cupar.                 Northampton.            Whitchurch.
Dartmoor.              Okehampton.             Wincanton.
Derby.                 Oldham.                 Winchester.
Dover.                 Oswestry.               Wisbech.
Dumfries.              Peebles.                York.
Edinburgh.             Pembroke.

{200}  Basil Thomson, _loc. cit._, pp. 28, 29.


                                                         TRANSPORT OFFICE,
                                                         26_th June_ 1812.

        On Parole.           French Prisoners.     Danish Prisoners.
Officers, Army                             1,615           —
Officers, Navy                               718           —
Masters and Mates of                         211                    33
Merchant Vessels
Captains, etc., of                           176           —
Passengers and other                         211                     3
Persons of Respectability
Servants to Officers                         149           —
Women and children                           115           —
                                           3,231                    36
      In Confinement
Soldiers                                  22,916                     5
Seamen, taken in                          11,198                   305
Seamen, taken in Merchant                  4,076                   977
Seamen, taken in                          10,146                   530
All others                                 1,045                    15
Women and Children                            37           —
                                          49,418                 1,832
Prisoners belonging to                    24,567                     5
the Army
Prisoners belonging to                    26,525                 1,845
the Navy
Others                                     1,557                    18
                                          52,649                 1,868
N.B.—There are not any prisoners in Ireland.
Total, French prisoners                                         52,649
Total, Dutch prisoners                                           1,868

                               (Signed) RUP. GEORGE, J. BOWEN, J. DOUGLAS.
                                    (_Parl. Pap._ 1812, vol. ix., p. 225.)

In reference to this return it may be here mentioned that very few of the
Danes were brought to Norman Cross, either in the first period of the
war, or in the second period in which this return was made.

{204}  _French Prisoners’ Lodges_, by John T. Thorp, Leicester.  Printed
by Bro. Geo. Gilbert, King Street, 1900.

{208}  Of the after history of the young men and maidens who contracted
these romantic marriages I can give information in only two cases.
Charles Peter Vanderaa, entered in the register of the Record Office as
lieutenant on a brig-of-war, was married on the day of his release.
Whether he took his wife to Holland or not, his grandson, from whom I got
my information, did not know.  All he knew was that his grandfather, in
some capacity or other, again took to the sea, and that he died of yellow
fever in Spain or one of the Spanish colonies, leaving his widow with two
sons, Thomas and Peter.  The widow, after his death, lived in
Peterborough in very poor circumstances.  The second son, Peter, I well
remember earning a living as a schoolmaster in Peterborough, where he had
at one time been in the police force; he married and had one daughter,
who married a blacksmith named Dawson.  The couple moved to London, where
there may be a colony of the cadet’s descendants, recking nothing of
their Dutch blood.  The oldest son, Thomas Vanderaa, had two sons, one of
whom I knew well.  His mental capacity was not very high; he got his
living as a casual, respectable gardener and handy man.  He died a few
years since, but I have preserved the letter in which he gave me the
information about his relatives.

When in 1894 Mr. Vanderaa gave me the information about his family, he
said he had a brother, who was, he believed, alive, but he did not know
where he was living.

Of the descendants of the Miss Roelans, who married Mr. Joseph Little,
several are living in a good social position; but the Dutch blood does
not seem to have passed into the collateral branches of Moores, Buckles,
and other well-known families who have intermarried with the Littles.

{210a}  The gunsmith’s business was a good one, and remained in the
family, and the grandson, M. Hubert Habart, who had succeeded to it, had
an exhibit of guns in the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in Hyde
Park in 1851.

{210b}  Several of M. Habart’s descendants are still alive.  One of his
granddaughters, Miss Habart, is my consulting-room attendant.  The family
of the Rev. Father Robert A. Davis, from whose copy of Macgregor’s plan
the plate on p. 18 is taken, is connected by marriage with that of the
Habarts.—T. J. W.

{213a}  _Parl. Paper_, 1812, vol. ix., p. 223.

{213b}  Maberly Phillips, _The Connoisseur_, xxvii., No. 105, May 1910.

{215a}  _Notes and Queries_, ser. iv., vol. v., pp. 376, 546.

{215b}  Sleigh, _History of Leek_, 2nd edn., p. 221.

{218}  Wellington’s _Despatches_.

{222}  This is how the naval authorities summed up the failure of the
negotiations for exchange: “There is no fixing the French Government to
any basis of exchange.  Every concession on our part has produced fresh
demands.  We have about 50,000 prisoners of war in England, in France
there are about 12,000, two-thirds of whom are not prisoners, but
_détenus_, many of them women and children.  Even these our Government
were willing to exchange, when the French Government proposed that their
50,000 should be sent over _en masse_, for the 12,000, and then
afterwards the Spaniards would be released.  This would enable it to man
twenty-five sail of the line, and still retain the Spaniards, our allies,
in his hands.”—_Naval Chronicle_, vol. xxiv., p. 327.

{232}  Appendix H.

{233}  A good description of Verdun in 1811 will be found in the
_Narrative of a Forced Journey through Spain and France an a Prisoner of
War in the Years_ 1810 _to_ 1814, by Major-Gen. Lord Blanfrey.  In 2
vols. 1814.  Vol. ii., chaps, xxxvi.-xxxvii., good account, viii., ix.,
xl., xli., xlii., xliii., xliv.

The author says he was confined for seven weeks as a hostage to prevent
the English Government from punishing a French officer who had projected
a rising of the French prisoners in England.

{238}  _Naval Chronicle_, xiv., 17; xv., 122; xvi., 108; xvii., 108;
Douglas Jerrold, _The Prisoner of War_, 1842; _A Picture of Verdun_, _or
the English detained in France_, from the Portfolio of a Détenue, 1810, 2
vols.; _Letters from France_, _written in the Years_ 1803 _and_ 1804,
_including a Particular Account of Verdun and the Situation of the
British Captives in that City_, 2 vols.  1806; _Chambers’ Journal of
Literature_, _Science_, _and Art_, 1854, vol. i., p. 330.

{240}  Few of the Danes were brought to Norman Cross, either at this
period of the war or in the second period when there were a considerable
number confined in Great Britain.  From a return made to the House of
Commons in 1812, it appears that of 54,508 prisoners confined at the
various depots, 52,640 were French and 1,868 Danes, but no register of
Danish prisoners confined at Norman Cross has been found.

{241}  Mr. Share often heard his grandmother speak of her husband’s acts
of kindness to the prisoners who were landed at Plymouth.  One incident
which he recollects was, that one day, just as the family were sitting
down to dinner, Captain Holditch ran in, seized the large beefsteak pie
just placed on the table, and carried it off, saying, “I want this, there
are a batch of French prisoners going by, and they look famished, they
must have it.”

Mr. Godwin (_loc. cit._), mentioning that on Christmas Day 1805 some 250
French prisoners from Porchester Castle marched into Basingstoke on their
cheerless way to Norman Cross (probably some of the heroes who had fought
against Nelson and his captains on the 21st October), asks the question,
“Did the Hampshire folk give them a share in their festivities?”  The
above anecdote justifies us, I hope, in saying that the answer to this
question would be “Yes.”

{242}  These had been a considerable source of profit to the farmers, who
had contracted to remove them regularly from their positions below the
latrines, and had used their contents, with the rest of the refuse of the
prison, as a guano to the great benefit of their land.

{245}  Histoire générale des traités de paix et autres transactions
principales entre toutes les puissances de l’Europe depuis la paix de
Westphalie.  Ouvrage comprenant les travaux de Koch, Schoell, etc.,
entièrement refondus et continués jusqu’à ce jour.  Paris 1848–87, 15
tom., vol. vi., p. 49.

{247}  His staff was as follows:

Wm. Gardiner, entered first clerk 1st September 1803 at £118 per annum,
abate taxes 1_s._ in the pound, £9 6_s._, Civil List at 6_d._, leaving £8
19_s._ 8¾_d._ net per month.

Wm. Todd, 1st September, as store-clerk, at £118 per annum, and an extra
£30 as French interpreter, with 18_s._ abatement; net per month £11 5_s._

John Andrew Delapoux, extra clerk, 1st September, at 3_s._ 6_d._ _per
diem_.  He was very uneasy about the proclamation against aliens, but was
assured it would not apply to him.

Wm. Belcher, steward, at 3_s._ per day.

Thos. Adams, steward, 3rd September, at 3_s._ per day.

John Hobbs, turnkey, £50 per annum.

John Nolt, turnkey, £50 per annum.

John Belcher, turnkey, £50 per annum.

Alex Halliday, ditto, and as superintendent carpenter, £20, with 2_s._
10½_d._ abatement for Civil List.

John Hayward, labourer, 12_s._ a week.

Wm. Powell, labourer, 12_s._ a week.

Captain Pressland was informed that no clothing of any kind was to be
served out to any prisoner, though most were captured with none beyond
what they stood upright in.  No soup was to be served out, except to the
prisoners who acted as barbers.  He asked for some modification of this,
but was refused.  He was allowed £25 per annum for coals and candles, and
10_s._ 6_d._ each time he went to Peterborough on the Board’s Order or to
make affidavits as to his accounts, etc.  A few days afterwards this was
increased to 12_s._ 6_d._  The military guard consisted of 400 of the
North Lincoln Militia.

{248}  _Chambers’ Journal of Literature_, etc., _loc. cit._

{250}  At this time Norman Cross and the other existing prisons were
greatly overcrowded, but Wellington found it impossible to guard and
maintain his prisoners on the Continent.  Not only were the troops
actually captured overwhelmingly numerous, but to their number were added
deserters.  In one of his dispatches, he writes: “Two battalions of the
Regiment of Nassau, and one of Frankfort having quitted the enemies’ Army
and passed over to that under my command. . . .  I now send these troops
to England.”  The long-delayed completion of the prisons at Dartmoor and
Perth would relieve the overcrowding of Norman Cross; but the resources
of the staff must, in the meantime, have been strained to an extreme
point to prevent the evils which might result from the state of matters.
The breakdown of the various negotiations for exchange prevented the
relief which was afforded during the first period of the war by the
steady drain of prisoners sent back to their own country.

{252}  It is said that a memorandum exists in a private diary that the
price paid for a picture of straw marquetry of Peterborough Cathedral was
only £2; the picture must have taken weeks to construct.

{253a}  The prison register confirms this paragraph.  The last death
certificate is that of Petronio Lambertini, a soldier of the Italian
Regiment of the French Army.  He died of consumption, and was presumably
the last prisoner buried in the cemetery adjoining the North Road.

{253b}  _Loc. cit._, p. 120.

{254}  The copy of the catalogue used by the auctioneer, with his note of
the purchaser of and the price paid for each lot, is for the time in the
writer’s hands, and has afforded much information, especially as to the
construction of the buildings and the use to which each was appropriated.

Two years before this sale took place the Depot had been evacuated, and
in the Public Record Office is the Barrack Master’s receipt to Captain
Hanwell, dated 30th October 1814, for the Depot at Norman Cross,
delivered over to him, agreeably to the Transport Board’s order of 24th
September 1814.  The document consists of ten pages in double columns.

{267}  _Admiralty Records_, _Transport Department_, _Minutes No._ 38;
_Records of Captains’ Services_, O’ Byrne; _Naval Biographical
Dictionary_; _Naval Chronicle_, vol. viii., 438; xiv., 283; xvi., 107,
108; xviii., 28; xix., 170–2; _The Times_, 26th February 1842.

{276}  M. Otto had at the date of this letter succeeded M. Niou as
Commissary for the French Prisoners of War confined in Great Britain.

{283}  This was written three months before the fatal epidemic broke out
in the prison.—T. J. W.

{286a}  The number stated to be sick, on the 30th April 1810, includes
convalescents, cases of wounds, accidents, etc.

{286b}  _Parliamentary Papers_, 1810–11, vol. xi. (263), p. 115.

{312}  This is not a facsimile copy of the Register, which contains many
abbreviations; it has been set out in columns, and abbreviated words have
been written in full.

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