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Title: Willis's Current Notes, No. XV., March 1852
Author: Various
Language: English
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WILLIS'S CURRENT NOTES

FOR THE MONTH.

    No. XV.]         [MARCH, 1852.
    "I will make a prief of it in my Note-Book."--SHAKSPERE.



NOTICE TO SUBSCRIBERS

TO THE "PRICE CURRENT OF LITERATURE."


G. WILLIS gratefully acknowledges the various interesting documents
and letters he has received. He is anxious that it should be perfectly
understood that he is not the author of any statement, representation,
or opinion, that may appear in his "Current Notes," which are merely
selections from communications made to him in the course of his
business, and which appear to him to merit attention. Every statement
therefore is open to correction or discussion, and the writers of the
several paragraphs should be considered as alone responsible for their
assertions. Although many notes have hitherto appeared anonymously, or
with initial letters, yet wherever a serious contradiction is involved,
G. Willis trusts that his Correspondents will feel the necessity of
allowing him to make use of their names when properly required.



MEDIÆVAL MUMMIES.


                                         British Museum, Jan. 1852.

SIR,--The late discovery of the remains of a human body in a complete
state of preservation, in St. Stephen's Chapel, has induced me to
send you a brief notice of several similar occurrences recorded by
our early chroniclers and historians. Bede relates that eleven years
after the death of St. Cuthbert, bishop of Lindisfarne, the monks took
up his body, expecting to see it reduced to ashes, but found, "all
the body whole, as if it had been alive, and the joints pliable more
like one asleep than a dead person; besides all the vestments the body
had on were wonderful for their freshness and glossness." We learn
from William of Malmesbury that the body was again found incorrupt
415 years afterwards at Durham, and publicly shewn. Lingard gives an
interesting account of the event, taken "from a memoir written at
the time by an eye-witness," in all probability Simeon, the Durham
historian. From this narrative it appears that when the monks removed
the masonry of the tomb, "they beheld a large and ponderous chest,
which had been entirely covered with leather, and strongly secured
with nails and plates of iron. To separate the top from the sides
required their utmost exertion, and within it they discovered a second
chest, of dimensions more proportionate to the human body. It was of
black oak, carved with figures of animals and flowers, and wrapped in
a coarse linen cloth, which had previously been dipped in melted wax,
to exclude the air and damp." By the direction of Turgot, the prior,
"they conveyed the smaller chest from behind the altar to a more
convenient place, in the middle of the choir, unrolled the cloth, and
with trembling hands forced open the lid. Instead of the remains of the
Saint, they found a copy of the Gospels lying on a second lid, which
had not been fastened with nails, but rested on three transverse bars
of wood. By the help of two iron rings, fixed at the extremities, it
was easily removed, and disclosed the body apparently entire, lying
on its right side, on a pallet of silk. At the sight they gazed on
each other in silent astonishment, and then retiring a few paces,
fell prostrate on the floor, and repeated, in a low tone, the seven
penitential psalms. After this preparation, they approached the coffin,
and three of them, by order of the prior, placing their hands under the
head, the feet, and the middle of the body, raised it up, and laid it
on a carpet spread on the floor. It was found to have been wrapped in a
cerecloth of linen. Over this appeared the usual episcopal vestments,
the amice, alb, stole, fanon tunic and dalmatic;--the chasuble alone
was wanting, which had been removed at the former translation in 689.
On the forehead lay a thin plate of gold, or metal gilt, thickly
encrusted with small stones; and a mitre covered the head, round which
had been wound a napkin of purple colour. A cerecloth of the finest
linen adhered so closely to the face, that no part of it could be
loosened, but between the neck and the shoulders the skin was exposed
to the sight and touch. The arms could be moved with ease; the hands
were joined over the lower part of the chest, and the fingers, which
were still flexible, pointed upwards. With the body were found a
chalice, patine, a portable altar, a burse to hold the linen for the
altar, and an ivory comb, with scissors of silver." When the shrine of
St. Cuthbert was plundered and demolished by order of that sacrilegious
scoundrel King Harry the Eighth, the body was still found entire, as
Harpsfield testifies.

Audry, a daughter of Annas, King of the East Angles, and abbess of Ely
Monastery, died A.D. 679, and was buried in a wooden coffin. Sixteen
years afterwards her sister caused her body to be exhumed. It was found
"free from corruption, and all the linen cloths in which the body had
been wrapped appeared entire, and as fresh as if they had been that
very day wrapped about her limbs." Such are the words of the physician
who attended her in her last illness, and who saw the occurrence.
(Bede, B. 4. c. 19).

Wereburge, a daughter of Wulfere, king of Mercia, died about the close
of the seventh century. Her body, according to her own desire, was
interred at Hanbury. Nine years afterwards, in 708, it was taken up
in presence of King Cöelred, his Council, and many bishops, and being
found entire and incorrupt, was laid in a costly shrine. In 875 her
body was still entire; when, for fear of the Danish pirates, it was
removed to Chester, and soon after its translation, fell into decay.

St. Elphege, Archbishop of Canterbury, was barbarously murdered by the
Danes in 1012, and buried in St. Paul's Cathedral. Twelve years after
his martyrdom, his body was found entire, and solemnly translated to
Canterbury. The King and Queen, and an incredible multitude of persons
following the procession from London. A long narrative of the event is
amongst the Harleian MSS.

When King Edmund was cruelly slain by the Danes in 870, his head
was carried by the infidels into a wood, and thrown into a brake of
bushes; but being afterwards discovered, it was deposited with the
royal remains at Hoxon, which were soon afterwards conveyed to Bury St.
Edmunds, and there honourably interred. Fifty-seven years rolled on,
when his body was taken up by order of the good Bishop of London; on
which occasion, says the author of Britannia Sancta, "his body, to the
admiration of all, was not only found entire, and without any blemish
of corruption, much more like to one lying in a sweet sleep than one
dead; but also his wounds were found all closed up, and his head united
to the rest of his body, only a slender mark remaining like a red
thread around the neck, testifying their former separation."

                                               Yours, truly,
                                                      A BOOKWORM.



ARMS OF THE ISLE OF MAN.


                                            Southwick, near Oundle,
                                                 Feb. 27th, 1852.

SIR,--The accompanying woodcut, taken from Gesenii Monumenta
Phœnicia, Tab. 23, fig. 59, has induced me to send you a description
of the remaining figures of the precious fragment, and the history
written underneath them.

[Illustration]

The upper part of the stone contained, _probably_, the infant Jesus
and his mother Mary. Immediately beneath her feet is the figure here
described; and below it is an ox at his manger; and underneath the feet
of the ox, an ancient writing, of which the following is the meaning.

"The illuminated star (spica Virginis) of Virgo led the Magi slowly to
the inn filled within, and in the court-yard, with crowds of people.
Arriving at the mean cattle-stable, the Magi were." The names of
the _three_ chiefs of the Magi in the place of the erasions? From a
Mukatteb inscription I get the name of one of them, viz. "Nathan Hafi,
the Grandfather."

Now what can the three legs, with the _man's_ head in the middle
denote, but the three _chiefs_ of the Magi? And how is it that the
people of Mona adopted it as _their_ peculiar coat of arms, if _a
portion_ of that sect did not establish themselves, after the nativity,
in the isle of Mona? The passage in Matt. ii. 12, does not militate
against the idea.

Let us now take that most valuable auxiliary, Etymology, in order that
we may further elucidate the subject.

Mannin, the Isle of Man, Mana, or Mona, may be thus divided, Man-n-in.
Persian, _māna_, a sect of the Magi. Sanscrit, _māna_, to
investigate, seek or desire knowledge, to give knowledge, to respect,
_revere_, _worship_. A. Saxon _mont-ige_, _Mona_ insula; _monige_,
monitiæ; _monigean_, monere, to teach, instruct, &c. Gaelic, _man-ach_,
a monk.

And lastly, let us not despise tradition, however absurd it may at
first sight appear.

Among a few legends, I have been told one, probably imperfectly, by a
lady; viz. "A man was thrown from the top of a mountain in Mona; and
was afterwards, sometimes seen as a sheep in the plain below, sometimes
as a goat." Will any person of _Mannin veg veen_ do me the favour of
giving the _complete_ legend; with any other legend respecting the
peopling of their island? It may throw more light on the _peculiar_
occupation of the Magi.

                                               Your's truly,
                                                       T. R. BROWN.



G. W. _fears, with regret, that the_ "PUNCH" _Artist, to whom his
learned Correspondent's sketch was forwarded to copy, has been more
humourous than correct in its transfer._



DANIEL O'ROURKE.


There is a sort of mystery attached to this legend or story, as to the
authorship of it, that requires some clearing up.

The first time I read it was in T. C. Croker's "Fairy Legends,"
which appeared in 1825, 3 vols. small 8vo.; but what the editor or
writer calls a compressed edition, forms a volume of "Murray's Family
Library," and was published in 1834. At page 134 of this latter edition
the story commences, as if narrated by Daniel himself, and the writer
says, "I knew the man well,--an old man was he at the time _he told me
the story_, and it was on the 25th of June, 1813, that _I heard it from
his own lips_."

All this seems very circumstantial, but it is somewhat singular that
this same story, with very slight variation, is to be found in the 18th
volume of Dr. Anderson's "Bee," for January, 1794, p. 338, the party
communicating it, saying, "The inclosed is genuine, and I honour the
_lady_ who had the merit of putting it in writing."

There is also some account of its previous publication, communicated
in the 34th volume of the "Dublin University Magazine," p. 202, but
not having the volume at hand, I do not recollect the particulars, my
chief object being to refer to Prior's "Memoir of the Life of Burke,"
third edition, 1839, at p. 100 of which we are distinctly told that
Mr. Doyle, a surgeon, of Dublin, was the _author_ of Daniel O'Rourke's
Dream.

Now it is right that the real author should not be deprived of the
merit of a story, which has even been translated into French, and
published in the "Magasin Pittoresque" for 1843, with two humorous wood
cuts.

                                                      A.

Oak House.



TRADESMEN'S TOKENS.


                                         Dublin, March 5th, 1852.

SIR,--I was much pleased with the observations which appeared in
the last number of your Current Notes, (p. 11) by your intelligent
Correspondent, Mr. Boyne of Leeds, respecting the tokens issued by
tradesmen in the seventeenth century. But as he states that the only
instance with which he is acquainted of one bearing the Arms of the
Commonwealth is that which you have engraved to illustrate his paper,
it is evident that Mr. Boyne cannot have seen Dr. Aquilla Smith's
Catalogue of the Tradesmen's Tokens current in Ireland between the
years 1637 and 1679 which was printed in 1849 in the 2nd part of the
4th volume (8vo.) of the Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy, for
on the very same page in which John Whittle's issue is enumerated, a
token for the County of Kerry issued by T. S. is mentioned as bearing
"_The Commonwealth Arms_." From my own collection I can give another
instance, inscribed on both sides A. CORKE. FARTHING.

The list of Irish Tokens formed by Lindsay in 1839 amounts to only
195; while that published ten years afterwards by Dr. Smith extends to
552;--and I would respectfully call Mr. Boyne's attention to it.

                                      Your very humble servant,
                                                            K. L.



                                          Southwick, near Oundle,
                                                Feb. 27th, 1852.

SIR,--Finding by Mr. Boyne's communication in your Current Notes,
that Tradesmen's Tokens are worth collecting, I beg to send for your
acceptance five dug up in my own gardens. You may make what use you
please of them.

                                               Yours truly,
                                                     T. R. BROWN.

    IOHN. EATON. OUNDLE (_dug up in my garden at Southwick
    by myself._)

    IAMES MEAD, 1667 (an Angel) IN TENTARDEN. HIS HALFPENY.

    IOHN COVITER (Coat of Arms) GROCER. IN. WYE, 1662,

And two German Counters.

_Dug up in my garden at Woodchurch, near Tenterden, Kent, by myself._



G. W. _sincerely thanks his Correspondent, and with his permission will
consider these tokens at Mr. Boyne's service should he wish for them._



SIR,--Mr. William Boyne, in your "Current Notes" for February, asks
any of your readers to inform him if there were any Tradesmen's Tokens
of Scotland issued during the seventeenth century. I find in a small
collection of Tokens I possess, an Edinburgh and Glasgow halfpenny,
dates 1791 and 1793, proving there were some during the eighteenth
century, though I have never met with any of an earlier date.

                                                   Yours, &c.
                                                         M. A. M.

March 12, 1852.



THE HISTORIC SOCIETY OF LANCASHIRE AND CHESHIRE.--T. M. considers the
Rev. Dr. Hume's "attack" upon him ("Current Notes," for February,
p. 10) to be "most unfair and uncalled for." He, however, admits
the accuracy of Dr. Hume's statement, and withdraws his charge of
the unacknowledged appropriation of his communication, although he
questions the Rev. Gentleman's taste or temper in accusing him of want
of patience or civility. "My copy," writes T. M. "does not contain
the pages which were forwarded to you by Dr. Hume, and you have sent
on to me. How, therefore, could I overlook pages which do not exist
in my copy? Now, suppose no such pipe ever existed, but in the fumes
of my brain (for I sometimes have strange fancies), and that I, in a
hoaxing humour, transferred it to paper, and transmitted it to you.
I say, again, suppose that no such inn ever existed at Fulham as the
Golden Lion--would not I have an everlasting laugh at the learned
Doctor Hume, and the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, and
"Willis's Current Notes?" And would it not make as good a story as
Bishop Heber's, or James Smith's hoaxes upon the venerable 'Gentleman's
Magazine,' or Dr. Maginn's Correspondence with the trusty 'Times;' or
Hook's political information to the 'Morning Post;' or the recent Roman
Bridge affair, and Lord Goring's cobbler's bill, about his corns, in
the York papers? Look to this, Mr. Willis; and don't encourage men to
try and defend themselves at the expense of your Correspondent."

                                                        T. M.



TOBACCO.--The charge made against the Historical Society of Lancashire
and Cheshire, by your correspondent T. M. in your "Current Notes" for
January (p. 5), induced me to refer to the former numbers, of which, as
I do not possess a complete set, I will thank you to forward me a copy
of the Collected Edition you have announced. But, as by looking over
the numbers which I have, I find that T. M. (see "Current Notes" for
Feb. 1851, p. 13), is curious upon the subject of smoking and tobacco,
I send you the following extract from an old miscellaneous manuscript
book which came into my possession a few years since at Gloucester, and
has the dates 1699 and 1703, with the names Bubb or Butt and Richard
Smith in it--but part of which is written in a much earlier hand.

    "_I was tempted to smoke no tobac
     And to smoke.
    "When the_ (HOLY) _Angel_ (SPIRIT) _torn'd I
     Discorst on to the other
     I told him that I
     Did think not to smoke no more
     Tobacko nor drink no more Alle
     And I have. I hope the Lord
     Will forgive me, as he told the
     Spirit blind me, and ever since
     I have been tempted to smoke and
     Not to smok. The Angel Spirit
     Is you when I do smok no tobac
     But when I do he comes to me
     Again and I am tempted to smok._"

What an extraordinary record is this of a mental struggle to overcome
the cravings for Tobacco and Ale.

                                                        S. T.

Chester, February 4th.



WHAT HAS BEEN THE HIGHEST PRICE EVER PAID FOR A VOLUME?--In the course
of my reading lately on Bibliography, I observe that at the sale of
the Duke of Roxburgh's Library in May, 1812, the first edition of the
Decamerone of Boccaccio produced the enormous sum of £2260. In the
Catalogue the work is entitled--

    "Boccaccio il Decamerone. Fol. M. G. Ediz. Prim. Venet.
    Valdarfer, 1471."

It was bought by the Duke of Marlborough, and again sold by public
auction from his Library, by Mr. Evans, Pall Mall, in June, 1819, for
the large price of £918. 15_s._ In that Catalogue it is entitled--

    "Boccaccio il Decamerone, (Venezia), per Christoful
    Valdarfer di Ratispona, MCCCCLXXI."

At this time it was purchased by Mr. Longman, apparently for Lord
Spencer, in whose library it is said at present to be. A note to the
above Catalogue mentions that, "notwithstanding the publicity of the
extraordinary sum which this book produced at the Roxburgh Sale, all
researches throughout Europe to procure another copy have proved
entirely fruitless. This volume still continues to be the only known
perfect copy of this edition, and is, in all probability, the only copy
which will ever be offered for public sale. Its unparalleled rarity,
however, is not its only recommendation, as it contains many important
readings which have not been followed in any subsequent edition."

If any of your learned correspondents could give us additional
information as to this rare and apparently valuable volume, it would be
doubtless interesting to Bibliographers. Has any volume ever brought a
higher price, or any work even in a series of volumes?

It is most probable that the other copies of this Edition have fallen
under the ban of the Pope.

                                                   W. B. M.



JAMES SMITH. The mention of this gentleman by your Correspondent J. in
your "Current Notes" for January (p. 7), reminds me that no author in
the English language ever received so high a remuneration "per line"
for his verses as James Smith. Longman's famous payment to Moore of a
guinea a line for "Lalla Rookh" is as nothing to it, for Mr. Strachan,
the King's printer, was so pleased with an epigram by Smith of eight
lines, that he actually, in a codicil to his will bequeathed him £3000,
or £375 per line.

                                                     R. S.



O. SMITH! The name of the "far famed Ruffian of the Adelphi," as your
Correspondent, Mr. John Smith, in your Current Notes for January last,
p. 7, is pleased to style a gentleman of quiet habits and literary
tastes, whose real Christian names, are Richard John--the O being
merely his theatrical soubriquet, possesses in his Album among many
other interesting records the following witty testimonial from the late
Mr. Mathews:

"_I am happy to have it in my power to express my perfect belief that
Mr. O. Smith is a most respectable character in private life, though a
Great Ruffian on the Stage._

    C. MATHEWS.

  "_Theatre Royal,
  English Opera House,
      August 21st, 1827._"


I was so much pleased with this impromptu by Mathews, that I asked Mr.
Smith's permission to copy it, and I have no hesitation in sending you
my transcript to make what use of it you like.

                                                         A. B. C.



CAMPANALOGIA.


SIR,--I thank you for amending the errors and omissions about the
_Bawdrick_, though at the cost of publishing to all the world that "my
writing is indistinct."

I also thank your Strood Correspondent for his extract from an old
Churchwarden's book, bearing on the item _Baldrick_.

I would request the favour of any of your readers who have access to
old parish accounts, to publish, through the medium of your "Current
Notes," (pace tuâ) any entry relating to that _item_, or to the
"_Wheles of ye Belles_."

It is a desideratum in Campanalogical history, _when_ and by _whom_ the
ingenious and beautiful Bell-wheel now in use was first introduced.
In some retired villages, and indeed very generally in Dorsetshire,
the _half wheel_ may still be found. Bells so hung and rung, are said
to be with a "_Dead Rope_." The Bell can only be "_set_" one way, and
changes could not be rung on the system now practised, viz. changing
the position of each bell at every half pull.

The mention of this original sort of wheel may induce some of
your readers to wend their way into the Bell-chambers in their
neighbourhood, and, regardless of the filthy state in which most will
be found when they get there, they will, perhaps, crawl under the bells
(minding their heads), and hunt out and report if they meet with any
clappers hung with Bawdricks and Busk Boards, obliging many others
besides your scribbler.

                                                      H. T. E.

Feb. 26, 1852.



THE UNION JACK.


SIR,--I have met in some collection of National papers with an account
of the formation of our British Union Jack; but the book has altogether
escaped my memory. Can you or your readers kindly name it, to yours, &c.

                                                            H. M.

London, Feb. 17, 1852.



PILLAR PRINT OF OLIVER CROMWELL.


SIR,--All I can tell your correspondent, "A Young Print and Portrait
Collector," in reply to his inquiry, p. 7, in your "Current Notes" for
January, is, that I hope I may congratulate him on the possession of a
very valuable and historically interesting engraving.

Horace Walpole mentions it as in "Dugdale's Origines Juridiciales," and
describes it as "a large emblematic sheet print of Oliver Cromwell,
whole-length, in armour, with variety of devices and mottoes."--_Proof._

Granger describes it thus: "Oliver Cromwell standing with a book in
his hand betwixt two pillars; various emblems. Faithorne, sc. sh." And
Granger adds: "I do not remember to have seen more than two proofs of
this fine print. Mr. Walpole had one, and Mr. Gulston another. Mr. Bull
has the original drawing. The face was altered to that of King William."

A manuscript note upon my interleaved copy of Granger, which you may
remember I purchased of you, states that, "_Caulfield had not less than
ten or twelve of this print, but in consequence of the size they were
mostly damaged: Coram had a tolerable good one which he sold to Mr.
Townley for thirty guineas._" Caulfield, who was a well known print
dealer, says in his "Calcographiana," (1814), "The late Mr. Bull shewed
me Faithorne's original drawing, from which he engraved the print, and
a most brilliant proof impression; from him I also learnt the face was
afterwards altered to that of William III., in which state, however,
I never saw it." He describes the print as "Oliver Cromwell standing
between two pillars, inscribed the 'EMBLEM OF ENGLAND'S DISTRACTIONS AS
ALSO HER ATTAINED AND FURTHER HAPPINESS:' _large sheet_;" and values
the print at no less a sum than £36. This was all very well for a
dealer's valuation; however, if your correspondent will refer to the
records of the Strawberry Hill Sale, he will find in the Sixth Day's
Sale of the Prints, (18th June, 1842), that mentioned by Granger,
Lot. "761. Oliver Cromwell, whole-length, in armour, standing between
two columns, and otherwise surrounded by a variety of allegories and
emblematic devices, entitled, THE EMBLEME OF ENGLAND'S DISTRACTIONS,
AS ALSO OF HER ATTAINED AND FURTHER EXPECTED FREEDOME AND HAPPINESS:
sheet, _extra rare_;" which Mr. Evans, (a dealer also), then secured
for £7 15_s._ The discrepancies between the two Inscriptions appear
to me to be worthy of remark, and if both have been correctly copied,
with what has been stated respecting the appropriation of the head
to William III., would shew that the plate had been altered more
than once. The original plate is supposed to have been engraved
by Faithorne, while a prisoner in London for his adherence to the
cause of Charles I., and to have been so favourably received by the
Parliamentary party, as to have occasioned his liberation; and the
alteration of the head is attributed to his son, William Faithorne, who
was an engraver also.

                                                 A COLLECTOR.

Mr. Willis.



ROMAN REMAINS AT ASHTEAD, SURREY.


[Illustration]

A Subscriber writes--"I am not aware that this locality has received
from Mr. Roach Smith, the eminent Antiquary--in fact our best authority
upon Roman remains--that attention which I am convinced it deserves.
The arch of a small window on the North side of Ashtead Church is
turned with Roman tiles, and a variety of interesting fragments have
been found in the vicinity--particularly portions of a Hypocaust,
of one of which you have a representation half the size of the
original--the subject is evidently a wolf attacking a stag."

                                                     F. K.



THE DEVONSHIRE COLLECTION.


                                                    ---- Castle,
                                                 16th January, 1852.

SIR,--I rather think the Devonshire Collection is either at the Duke's
residence at Chiswick or Chatsworth. But your correspondent, (who
signs himself "A Young Numismatist," p. 95, of your "Current Notes"
for December), would be best answered if inquiry were made at the
fountain-head; for a more amiable or kinder-hearted nobleman does not
exist, than his Grace the Duke of Devonshire. Is your correspondent
quite sure, however, that the Collection _is_ Numismatic? I know the
Duke of Devonshire has an invaluable Collection of Antique Gems, both
Cameo and Intaglio.

                                        Your obedient Servant,
                                                           B.

Mr. Willis.



ROWLAND HILL AND THE PENNY POSTAGE.


                                       Bristol, 5, Lodge Street,
                                            February 26th, 1852.

SIR,--Seeing that the inquiry made by your Correspondent, I. E., and
which appeared in your "Current Notes" for January last, p. 6, in a
paragraph entitled, "Rowland Hill and the Penny Postage," has not been
answered in the "Current Notes," for this month, I will inform you that
the traveller mentioned in that paragraph was not _Rowland Hill_, but
_Coleridge_. The fact was mentioned by Mr. Commissioner Hill (brother
to Rowland Hill), in the last of two lectures, which he gave at the
Bristol Philosophical Institution, on the evening of the 29th ultimo,
"on Postal Arrangements," which I attended. An extract of the Lecture
is to be found in the Bristol newspapers, and especially in the Times
and Gazette, from which I copy the portion which has reference to the
"Inquiry:"

    "Many instances were related of the uselessness of the
    Post-office of those days to the poor; and the Lecturer
    took occasion to remark how often we were wrong and
    selfish in measuring any expense by our shillings and
    pence, forgetting that these nothings to us were pounds
    to the poor. Amongst other instances he referred to
    one mentioned in the Autobiography of Coleridge, who,
    whilst travelling, observed the postman offering a
    letter to a poor woman, urging upon her the necessity
    of taking it in, as it was evidently from her son.
    The poor woman refused; she could not afford it; but
    Coleridge charitably paid the shilling for her, and the
    postman left, when the woman expressed her grateful
    thanks, but was sorry he had wasted the shilling, for
    it was only a blank sheet addressed by her son, as a
    means of informing her he had reached his destination
    safely. Hundreds of such expedients were then employed,
    nor could it be wondered at."

If this communication can be of any use for your "Current Notes," it
will give great pleasure, Sir, to

                                       Your subscriber,
                                                    F. S. DONATO.



BISHOP GIBSON.


                                           _London, Feb. 11, 1852._

SIR,--I will be much obliged to any of your correspondents who can
inform me to whom Edmund Gibson, the Bishop of London, and a great
authority on ecclesiastical laws, was married? and, if possible, the
date of such marriage. The biographies of him which have fallen under
my notice, have named no domestic circumstances but those of parentage
and infancy. I think he died in 1745.

                                       Your obedient servant,
                                                  GENEALOGIST.



_G. W.'s Correspondent will find it stated in Faulkner's History of
Fulham, that "the Bishop died at Bath, September 6, 1748, aged 79,
and was buried at Fulham. He married the sister of the wife of Dr.
Bettesworth, Dean of the Arches, who died suddenly in her chair,
December 28, 1741, and by whom he had several children."_



JEWISH SUPERSTITIONS.


The superstitious notions and practices of the Jews in the middle ages,
concerning the names of God, were singular. Of these they reckoned 72,
from which, by different arrangements in sevens, they produced 720. The
principal of these was אגלא, _agla_, which they disposed of
in two triangles intersecting each other. This they called the "Shield
of David," and pretended that it was a security against wounds, and
would extinguish fires, and was able to perform other wonders.

       *       *       *       *       *

  A B R A C A D A B R A.
   א ר ב א ד א כ א ר ב א
    א ר ב א ד א כ א ר ב
     א ר ב א ד א כ א ר
      א ר ב א ד א כ א
       א ר ב א ד א כ
        א ר ב א ד א
         א ר ב א ד
          א ר ב א
           א ר ב
            א ר
             א

This word, thus written, is a charm for fever or ague, still used
by some superstitious persons; it was invented by Basilides, of
Alexandria, in the beginning of the 2nd century, to signify the 365
divine processions which he invented, (see Moreri); the value of the
letters according to the Greek numbers, make 365 thus:

       Α   Β     Ρ     Α    Ξ     Α      Σ       _Abraxas._
       1.  2.  100.   1.   60.   1.    200.       365.

Abraxas was a deity adored by the author, and was the root of his
charm, as the more mysterious they were the more serviceable they were
considered.

The mode of cure described in these verses, _viz._

    Inscribes Chartæ quod dicitur Abracadabra
    Sæpius, et subter repetes, sed detrahe Summam,
    Et magis atq. magis desint elementa figuris
    Singula qua semper capies, et cætera figes
    Donec in augustum redigatur Litera Conum.
    His lino nexis collum redimere memento.
    Talia languentis conducent vincula collo,
    Lethalesq. abigent (miranda potentia) morbos.



ARCHÆOLOGY.--Numerous Archæological Societies now exist in different
parts of England, of a local character, as in Norfolk, Suffolk,
Sussex, Cheshire; and from the Councils of which some printed volumes
of Transactions have issued, as appears by occasional references in
the public prints. If any of your correspondents have the means of
supplying, through your "Current Notes," a list, or short account of
the _titles_ and _number_ of volumes published, it would not only be
interesting, but a very useful contribution to the current knowledge of
the day, and by the publicity promote their sale, for we folks in the
South know but little of what is doing in the North, East, or West.

                                                         S. E.



RING OF MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS.


SIR,--Many years ago, when there was a mania for making _Gum_ Seals,
originating (with me, at least,) from reading of "Lord Oldborough's"
seal in "Patronage," by Miss Edgeworth, I had a wax impression given me
of Mary Queen of Scots' diamond ring, and its history, which was shewn
with it at a sale in London, I think, in 1817. I send you the account
and seal, with the copy I made in gum. If it may tend to elucidate what
your Correspondent, R. B. ("Current Notes," for February, p. 16) wishes
to know, I shall be glad. If it is useless, you can destroy my letter.

                                                         M. C. S.

Feb. 28th, 1852.


    "1817, June. The original diamond ring of Mary Queen
    of Scots, upon which are engraved the arms of England,
    Scotland, and Ireland, quartered, and which was
    produced in evidence at the trial of the unfortunate
    Mary, as a proof of her pretensions to the Crown of
    England, was in possession of the late Mr. Blachford,
    a Lord of the Admiralty, at the time of his death.[A]
    The history of this fatal ring is curious: it descended
    from Mary to her grandson, Charles the First, who gave
    it, on the scaffold, to Archbishop Juxon, for his son,
    Charles the Second, who, in his troubles, pawned it
    in Holland for £300, when it was bought by Governor
    Yale, and sold at his sale for £320, supposed to the
    Pretender. Afterwards it came into possession of the
    Earl of Ilay, Duke of Argyll, and probably from him
    to the family of Mr. Blachford, at the sale of whose
    effects it was said to have been purchased for the
    Prince Regent."



J. W. B. (F. S. A.) writes--"In answer to your correspondent R. B.
("Current Notes," February) I beg to remind him, that the attendants
who shew Holyrood Palace offer for sale to the visitors a _Tassie
facsimile_ impression seal of "Queen Mary's Signet ring." I myself
purchased one last summer, and on looking to the box in which it is
enclosed, I find it is stated to be copied from that "in the collection
of the late Earl of Buchan." I know not whether the collection alluded
to has been dispersed or not. However, if this fact be not already
familiar to R. B. it may afford him some clue in his enquiry. I add an
impression from the Seal, which exactly tallies with the one engraved
in 'Current Notes.'"



RING OF MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS.


SIR,--Having noticed your correspondent R. B.'s communication
respecting the above curious relic, I beg to state that I also possess
a facsimile of the same engraved upon crystal, an impression of which I
enclose for your inspection. I believe the original is in Her Majesty's
collection at Windsor Castle.

                              I am, Sir, respectfully yours,
                                                         J. G. P.

15, Park Road, Stockwell.



LITHOGRAPHY.--Your Correspondent, Mr. Cole, is very much mistaken
("Current Notes," for February, p. 12) in supposing that he possesses
the very _first_ impression in Lithography in England, although it may
be from Ackerman's press, and is certainly a curiosity. If Mr. Cole
will turn to the second article in the "Foreign Review," No. VII. p.
47, he may find that Lithography was practised in England so early as
1802, and was introduced into France about 1807.

                                                         AN ARTIST.



MR. MEADLEY.

    March 4, 1852.

SIR,--Can you tell me anything respecting a G. W. Meadley of Bishop
Wearmouth, Sunderland? I believe he was author of some two or three
works published by Baldwin and Cradock many years since.

                                                     Yours truly,
                                                           H. K.



SHOVEL BOARD.


                                                       New York,
                                              14th January, 1852.

SIR,--It may possibly be amusing to some of your antiquarian friends
to know that we have a game in use here, which I never saw or heard of
in England, except in Shakspere's "Merry Wives of Windsor." I allude
to Shovel-board, and I can assure you a capital game it is, requiring
an eye as quick, and a hand and arm as steady, and much stronger, than
billiards, which it somewhat resembles. If you wish it described with
the rules of the game, say the word and I'm your man.

                                                        SS. R.

Mr. Willis.


_G. W. will be glad to receive the information so kindly offered by his
Correspondent._



LATIN AND ITALIAN INSCRIPTION.--At Savona, on the Church of the Virgin
Mary, occurs the following inscription:--

    IN MARE IRATO, IN TORBIDA PROCELLA,
    INVOCO TE, NOSTRA BENIGNA STELLA.

Each of the words are both Latin and Italian.

                                                        A. A.



MONOGRAM.--The allusion made by your Correspondent C., in your "Current
Notes" for February last, p. 11, to my relative Lord Glenelg's
signature, reminds me that the letters of the following singular lines,
if read backwards, will be found the same as if read in the usual
manner.

    _Signa te, signa, temere me tangis et angis
    Româ tibi subito motibus ibit amor._

                                                      A. A.

Bombay, July 16th, 1851.



MRS. CRABB.


Mr. Butterworth (7, Fleet Street) requests the attention of the readers
of G. W.'s "Current Notes" to the distressing case of the Widow of the
late Rev. George Crabb, whose death was recorded in the Literary and
Scientific Obituary of last month (p. 16).

This highly respectable lady was, at the age of 80, left perfectly
destitute, had it not been for the sum of £60 immediately forwarded
for her relief by the Royal Literary Fund. Some friends have since
subscribed about the same amount, and Mr. Butterworth's benevolent
object is to raise a sum sufficient to purchase an annuity of £50 per
annum for Mrs. Crabb--as the "relict of one who has laboured for nearly
half a century in the preparation of works of standard usefulness."



TO CORRESPONDENTS.


G. W. fears that he has been taken for a conjuror, and that a
serious conspiracy has been organised against him by his esteemed
Correspondents (to whose commands he is always happy to respond) and
the Post Office. But how is he to get on? He can only in the way of
business gratefully acknowledge the favours conferred on him--execute
orders--and do his best to reply in the smallest type and space in his
power--one column; and with four woodcuts, which would more than occupy
it without the illustrative letter-press, being before his eyes.

For these obvious reasons

    AUSPICE TEUCRO. (_18th March_) _cannot, according to
    his request be inserted, as received too late._

    S. S. _will find in the Piazza upon enquiry a
    communication and facsimile most politely forwarded
    by Mr. Cole, in reply to a note headed_ "AUTOGRAPHIC
    BIOGRAPHY," _in_ C. N. _for Feb. p. 15._

    G. S. B. Gainsborough. _Thanked: his communication will
    probably appear next month._

    _Newspaper paragraphs of the nature referred to (about
    Shakspere) seldom require contradiction; but_ G. W.'s
    _correspondent, as he has kindly mentioned the name
    of an accomplished Prelate, will perhaps name that of
    the stupid Newspaper in which the paragraph originally
    appeared, or the more stupid Newspapers into which such
    a paragraph could have been copied?_

    X.'s _"extraordinary" communication about "a most
    extraordinary Story" was duly received. It reminds_
    G. W. _of an Old Bailey piece of evidence in the case
    of a man who stole--not a joke, but a pair of boots
    that were hanging outside of a shop in Holborn; when
    followed and apprehended he attempted to excuse himself
    by saying he had taken them as a joke. The question
    in consequence by the Counsel was, "And pray how far
    did he carry the joke?" "About forty yards"--the
    reply. Now_ G. W.'s _correspondent admits upon_ X.'s
    _statement having currently carried the joke from
    Lincoln's Inn Fields to Covent Garden, and he only
    wishes that_ X. _would take it back again, without the
    interest, with some of Rogers's lost Notes._

    Mr. Foss, Surgeon, &c., Stockton-on-Tees, _9th March.
    Thanked. In "Current Notes" for last month no such
    assertion was made as the discovery of a "City of
    Pigmies," although it was stated that two dwarfs had
    been brought from Central America, and were exhibiting
    in New York. However, for the information of those who
    are curious upon this subject, G. W.'s correspondent
    C. F. D. has most kindly forwarded_ "MORE ABOUT THOSE
    AZTIC BIPEDS," _an extract from the New York Herald,
    which will be forwarded in the proper quarter._

    _To_ G. W.'s AMERICAN CORRESPONDENTS _what can he say?
    beyond sincerely acknowledging his gratitude for the
    favour of their communications, and at once declaring
    his belief in the Great Sea Serpent, so voluminous, so
    overwhelming and really so important has been his Catch
    from the U. S._

    _It would literally occupy the space that he will have
    it in his power to devote to Current Monthly Notes for
    the current year; and he scarcely knows how to proceed
    in the task of American Selection._

    G. W. _however cannot deny himself the pleasure of
    acknowledging these Catches--respecting Niebuhr and
    Daniel Webster--"Lord Mahon_ versus _Franklin" is
    important--but must stand over. So must the Sermon
    of Dr. Adams of Boston upon the death of Professor
    Stuart (see "Current Notes" for Feb. p. 16)--"Dickens'
    American Notes," with Laura Bridgman and Longfellow's
    Evangeline, appears to be a twaddlish puff. Smarter
    American verses than Saxe's tribute to Jenny Lind
    Goldschmidt have come into_ G. W.'s _possession. With
    Lady Byron's "sayings and doings" at Southampton, on
    board the American Frigate_, G. W. _is quite as well
    informed as any American Newspaper paragraph writer
    from the "Oriental Hotel" there, can be. The Memory of
    James Fennimore Cooper is as dear to the Literature of
    both countries as that of Thomas Moore must be. But
    alas, their names can only be recorded in the "Literary
    and Scientific Obituary" of_ G. W.'s _"Current Notes,"
    almost, it is sad to think, in juxta position. Morris's
    "Yankee Doodle"_ G. W. _must take in hand next month._

    ACTA SANCTORUM _received after going to press._



Literary and Scientific Obituary.


  BENTLEY, Joseph Clayton. Engraver and Painter. Sydenham.
      9th October, 1851. Aged 42.

  BLACKWOOD, Robert. Publisher, (Firm of Blackwood and
      Sons, Edinburgh). 14th February.

  DOANE, A. S. Dr. Health Officer, (Author and Translator
      of Medical Works). New York. 27th January.

  KEATE, Rev. John, D.D. Many years Head Master of Eton
      College. Hartley Westpall, Hants. 5th Feb.

  KIRK, Rev. John, D.D. Theology, "The Faith of Catholics,"
      &c. Lichfield. 20th December, 1851.

  LAROCHE, Benjamin. Translator of Shakspere and Byron.
      Paris, (_lately_). Aged 54.

  LEES, Rev. Sir Harcourt, Bart. Political Writer.
      Blackrock, Dublin. 7th February. Aged 75.

  MOORE, Thomas. Poet. Sloperton Cottage, Wiltshire. 25th
      February. Aged 72.

  NEWELL, Rev. Robert Hasell, (Rector of Little Hormead,
      Herts). Author of three Illustrated works, "On the
      locality of Goldsmith's Deserted Village," "The
      Scenery of Wales," and "The Zoology of the English
      Poets." 31st January. Aged 73.

  OXBERRY, William H. Actor. Author of Dramatic Chronology
      and Dramas. 28th February. Aged 44.

  PARANT, S. B. Painter on Porcelain and Ivory. Paris,
      (_lately_). Aged 54.

  THOMPSON, W. C. Natural History. London. 17th February.
      Aged 47.

FOOTNOTE:

[A] _Barrington Pope Blachford, Esq. M.P. was appointed a Lord
of the Admiralty on the 23rd August, 1814. He died 14th May, 1816._

                                                           G. W.


       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes:

Obvious punctuation errors repaired.

Page 22, "ב" changed to "ג" so that אלבא is now
אגלא





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