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Title: Eighteenth Century Waifs
Author: Ashton, John
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.

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It was probably Solomon, who, in Ecclesiastes, cap. 12, v. 12, said,
‘Of making many books there is no end.’ But, if this book had to have
been written by him, he might, probably, have modified his opinion.

I have read some books in my life-time, _re_ the sixteenth,
seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, and therefore was not taken
aback when I was advised by a learned friend, whom I consulted as to
the subject of a new book, to try the ‘Musgrave Tracts,’ in the British
Museum. I thanked him, and wrote for them, when I was politely asked,
‘Did I want them all?’ ‘Of course,’ was my reply; when I was told, with
the courtesy that particularly distinguishes the establishment, that I
had better come into an inner room, and have them down shelf by shelf.

The books came in a continuous stream, until I asked if there were
any more. ‘Oh, yes,’ was the reply; and, when I had finished my job,
I found I had gone through more than 1760 volumes. Add to this over
200 other books and newspapers used for reference, &c., and that will
represent some amount of the labour employed in writing a book.

I have strung together a series of chapters of different phases of
social life and biography of the last century, none of which have (as
far as I am concerned) appeared in any magazine, but which have all
been specially written for this book. And this I have done so that the
book may be taken up at any time, and laid down again at the end of
an article; and perhaps the best reason for my publishing this book
is, that it gives the reader a brief _resumé_ of each subject treated,
taken from sources, thoroughly original, which are usually inaccessible
to the general public, and known but to few students.

They are diverse, to suit all tastes; and if this, my venture, is
successful, I may bashfully hint that my store is not yet exhausted.




  A FORGOTTEN FANATIC                                 1

  A FASHIONABLE LADY’S LIFE                          17

  GEORGE BARRINGTON                                  31

  MILTON’S BONES                                     55

  THE TRUE STORY OF EUGENE ARAM                      83

  REDEMPTIONERS                                     112

  A TRIP TO RICHMOND IN SURREY                      131

  GEORGE ROBERT FITZGERALD                          135

  EIGHTEENTH CENTURY AMAZONS                        177

  ‘THE TIMES’ AND ITS FOUNDER                       203

  IMPRISONMENT FOR DEBT                             227

  JONAS HANWAY                                      254


  QUACKS OF THE CENTURY                             287

  CAGLIOSTRO IN LONDON                              333



One of the most curious phases of religious mania is that where the
patient is under the impression that he is divinely inspired, and has
a special mission to his fellow-men, which he is impelled to fulfil at
all costs and under all circumstances.

From the earliest ages of Christianity _pseudo-Christoi_, or false
Christs, existed. Simon Magus, Dositheus, and the famous Barcochab were
among the first of them, and they were followed by Moses, in Crete, in
the fifth century; Julian, in Palestine, _circa_ A.D. 530; and Serenus,
in Spain, _circa_ A.D. 714. There were, in the twelfth century, some
seven or eight in France, Spain, and Persia; and, coming to more modern
times, there was Sabbatai Zewi, a native of Aleppo, or Smyrna, who
proclaimed himself to be the Messiah, in Jerusalem, _circa_ 1666.
The list of religious fanatics is a long one. Mahomet, Munzer, John
of Leyden, Brothers, Matthews, Joanna Southcott, ‘Courtenay,’ or
Thomas, and Joe Smith are among them, and are well-known; but there
are hundreds of others whose work has not been on so grand a scale, or
whose influence has not been of the national importance of the above;
and it is of one of these forgotten fanatics that I now treat.

Well out in the Atlantic Ocean, far west, indeed, even of the Western
Isles, stands the lonely island of St. Kilda, or Hirta, as it used to
be called, from _h-Iar-tir_, the Gaelic for West land, or West country.
Its rocky sides are inaccessible, except at one landing-place, at a bay
on the south-east, and it is the home and breeding-place of millions of
sea-birds, whose flesh and eggs form the main supply of food for the
inhabitants, and whose feathers, together with a few sheep and cattle,
and what little barley can be grown, or butter can be made, pay the
trifling rent required, and help to provide the bare necessaries of
civilized existence.

The inhabitants are not healthy, so many dying, as young children, of
a disease locally known as the ‘eight day sickness,’ a disease which
generally attacks them on the eighth or ninth day after birth, and
mostly proves fatal in the course of a day or two. From this and other
causes, including falls from cliffs, the population has remained nearly
stationary, as is evidenced by the fact that for the last hundred years
the inhabitants have averaged under a hundred. Indeed, at one time, in
1724, small-pox attacked the islanders, being imported by one of them
on his return from a visit to Harris, and all the adults died except
four, who were left to take care of twenty-six orphans, all that were
left of twenty-four families.

Lying out of the ordinary track of boats, even of yachts, it is, even
now, seldom visited, and in the last century no one except the steward
of Macleod (whose family have been the possessors of St. Kilda for
hundreds of years), who made an annual pilgrimage to collect the rent,
ever came near the place. Its loneliness was proverbial, so much so
that it was an article of faith that the arrival of strangers brought
with them a kind of influenza called boat-cough, which was sometimes
fatal. This singular disease does not seem to be confined to St. Kilda,
for Bates, in ‘The Naturalist on the River Amazon,’ mentions certain
tribes near Ega who are gradually becoming extinct from a slow fever
and cold, which attacks them after they have been visited by civilised
people. And in the ‘Cruise of H.M.S. Galatea,’ in 1867-68, it says,
‘Tristran d’Acunha is a remarkably healthy island; but it is a singular
fact that any vessel touching there from St. Helena invariably brings
with it a disease resembling influenza.’

This belief is amusingly illustrated in Boswell’s ‘Journal of a Tour
to the Hebrides.’ ‘This evening he (Dr. Johnson) disputed the truth
of what is said as to the people of St. Kilda catching cold whenever
strangers come. “How can there,” said he, “be a physical effect without
a physical cause?” He added, laughing, “The arrival of a ship full of
strangers would kill them; for, if one stranger gives them one cold,
two strangers must give them two colds, and so on in proportion.” I
wondered to hear him ridicule this, as he had praised McAulay for
putting it in his book,[2] saying that it was manly in him to tell
a fact, however strange, if he himself believed it. They said it
was annually proved by Macleod’s steward, on whose arrival all the
inhabitants caught cold. He jocularly remarked, “The steward always
comes to demand something from them, and so they fall a-coughing. I
suppose the people in Skye all take a cold when----” (naming a certain
person) “comes.” They said he only came in summer. _Johnson_--“That is
out of tenderness to you. Bad weather and he at the same time would be
too much.”’

The first printed account of this poor lonely island is, probably, in a
little book by Donald Monro, High Dean of the Isles,[3] 1594. He there
says, ‘The inhabitants therof ar simple poor people, scarce learnit in
aney religion, but McCloyd of Herray,[4] his stewart, or he quhom he
deputs in sic office, sailes anes in the zeir ther at midsummer, with
some chaplaine to baptize bairns ther, and if they want[5] a chaplaine,
they baptize their bairns themselfes.’

At the end of the seventeenth century, when Roderick, the religious
impostor, or fanatic, lived, things spiritual were somewhat improved,
although they only had the annual clerical visit. There were three
chapels on the island, to serve a population of one hundred and
eighty. One was called Christ’s Chapel, hardly discernible from one of
their dwellings, being built and thatched in a similar manner; but it
contained one of their chief treasures, a brass crucifix, which lay
upon an altar therein. They paid no adoration or worship to this, but
it was their most precious possession, being used, as are the gospels
elsewhere, for the purpose of solemn asseveration, and it was also made
use of at marriages and the healing of strife.

The people observed as Holy-days Christmas, Easter, Good Friday, St.
Columba’s Day, and All Saints. They ceased all work at midnight on
Saturday, and kept the Sabbath, in this respect, very strictly, only
resuming their ordinary avocations on Monday morning. They believed in
the Trinity, and in a future state of happiness and misery, and that
God ordains all things. They took great care with their churchyard,
which they fenced round with stone, so that no cattle should desecrate
God’s Acre, and they had a peculiar belief in the embodiment of
spirits, and fancied that they could, at will, incorporate themselves
with the rocks, hills, etc.

Of the three chapels, one only seems to have been used, and this, not
being large enough to accommodate the islanders, the whole of the
inhabitants would assemble, on every Sunday morning, in the churchyard,
and there devoutly say the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, and the Ten
Commandments. This form of worship was simple enough; but it seems to
have been of recent introduction--_i.e._, about the beginning of the
seventeenth century; when, somehow or other, there was a man upon the
island who passed for a Roman Catholic priest, but who was so ignorant
that he did not know the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, or the Decalogue
correctly; and, consequently, he taught the poor people an incorrect
version, but to him they owed the crucifix, and the observance of the
Holy-days before mentioned, and with this teacher they were content
until the year 1641, when one Coll McDonald, or Ketoch, fled from
Ireland, and, with a few men, landed at St. Kilda, where he lived in
amity with the inhabitants for nearly a year. He rebuked the so-called
priest for his ignorance, and he taught the poor simple folk the
correct version of the text of their very primitive worship--in fine,
he was considered so far superior to the priest, that the natives would
fain have deposed the latter; but this McDonald would not suffer.

Martin Martin,[6] writing in 1698, describes the happy condition of the
islanders at that date. ‘The Inhabitants of St. Kilda are much happier
than the generality of Mankind, as being almost the only People in
the World who feel the sweetness of true Liberty: What the Condition
of the People in the Golden Age is feign’d by the Poets to be, that
theirs really is; I mean, in Innocency and Simplicity, Purity, Mutual
Love, and Cordial Friendship, free from solicitous Cares and anxious
Covetousness; from Envy, Deceit, and Dissimulation; from Ambition and
Pride, and the Consequences that attend them. They are altogether
ignorant of the Vices of Foreigners, and governed by the Dictates of
Reason and Christianity, as it was first delivered to them by those
Heroick Souls whose Zeal moved them to undergo danger and trouble, to
plant Religion here in one of the remotest Corners of the World.’

This Eden, however, was doomed to have its Serpent, and these simple
folk were fated to be led into error by a man who seems to have been
physically above the average of the islanders, for he is described as
‘a Comely, well-proportioned fellow, Red-hair’d, and exceeding all
the Inhabitants of St. Kilda in Strength, Climbing, &c.’ Naturally he
was illiterate, for the means of culture were altogether lacking in
that lonely isle; but he was above his fellows, inasmuch as he was a
poet, and, moreover, he claimed to have the gift of ‘second sight,’ a
pretension which would naturally cause him to be looked up to by these
Gaelic islanders. These qualifications which Roderick (for such was his
name) claimed, naturally pointed to his becoming a leader of some sort;
and he seems to have entered upon his vocation early in life, for, when
we first hear of him in his public capacity, he was but eighteen years
of age.

We have read how strictly the islands kept the Sabbath, and Roderick
seems to have been the first to break through their customs--by going
fishing on that day. As, according to all moral ethics, something
dreadful will surely overtake the Sabbath breaker, it is comforting
to know that Roderick formed no exception to the rule. One Sunday he
committed the heinous and, hitherto, unknown sin of fishing--and, on
his return, he declared that, as he was coming home, a ‘Man, dressed in
a Cloak and Hat,’ suddenly appeared in the road before him. Needless to
say, this apparition frightened him, and he fell upon his face before
the supernatural being, but the Man desired him not to be afraid,
for he was John the Baptist, who had come specially from Heaven, the
bearer of good tidings to the inhabitants of St. Kilda, and with a
divine commission to instruct Roderick in religious matters, which
instruction he was to impart to his neighbours for their spiritual

Roderick diffidently objected to thus being made a medium, and alleged
his incapacity to receive such revelations and act upon them; but the
pseudo-saint cheered him, and bade him be of good courage, declaring
that he would immediately make him fit for his predestined purpose,
and, according to the poor fanatic’s account, gave him the following

It was to be of primary importance, and as a visible sign of their
belief, that his followers should observe Friday as a strict fast--so
strict, indeed, that not a particle of food of any description must
pass their lips on that day, nor might they even indulge in a pinch of
snuff--a small luxury which they dearly loved. He next promulgated the
comforting assurance that many of the deceased islanders were Saints in
Heaven, and there interceded for those living; that everyone had his
own particular advocate, and, on the anniversary of the day peculiar
to each Saint, his _protégé_ on earth was to make a feast to his
neighbours of the very best of his substance, such as mutton, fowls,
&c., Roderick, of course, to be the chief and honoured guest on the

A sheep was to be sacrificed on the threshold of each house by every
family (presumably only once a year), and this was to be done in a
specially cruel manner, for no knife was to touch it, but its throat
was to be hacked with the crooked spades they used in husbandry, whose
edges were about half-an-inch thick. This was to be done at night,
but no one might partake of the mutton that night under penalty of
similarly slaughtering a sheep the next day for every person that
had eaten of it. It is difficult to see what was his object in these
ordinances--except to make sure of good living at the expense of
his poor dupes, who, if they turned refractory, and disobeyed his
injunctions, were threatened with the most awful Judgment to come.

That he was keen enough in his own interests is exemplified in one of
his promulgations. He picked out a bush upon a rising ground, which he
christened ‘John the Baptist’s Bush,’ for there, he declared, the Saint
had appeared to him; and this he ordered should be holy ground, which
must never be defiled by the tread of sheep or cattle. He also built a
wall--certainly not a high one--round it: and should, by chance, any
unhappy sheep, in the lightsomeness of its heart, or succumbing to the
temptation of the herbage, overleap this wall, and dare to browse upon
the sacred soil, it was staightway to be slain--and Roderick and its
owner were to eat its carcase. But, as the Saint evidently foresaw that
some stiff-necked, and not properly-converted proselyte, might object
to this disposition of his personal property and might refuse to have
the sheep slaughtered, he commanded that such a recusant should be
ANATHEMA, cast out, and excluded from all fellowship, until such time
as he saw the error of his ways, recanted, and expiated his sin by
permitting the sacrifice.

For discipline must be maintained in a religious body, as well as in
a purely secular society; and Roderick had no intention of having his
authority disputed. For minor offences he had a cheerful penance. No
matter what was the weather, the sinner must strip, and forthwith walk
or jump into the water, there to stand until the divinely-inspired
one chose to release him, and, if more than one were thus punished at
the same time, they were to beguile the moments, and somewhat increase
their penance, by pouring cold water upon each other’s heads.

He was for no half-measures. This new Divine revelation must thoroughly
supersede and root out the old superstitions; so he forbade the use
of the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, and the Ten Commandments--the whole
formulary of the islanders’ simple faith--and substituted forms of his
own. His prayers are described as rhapsodical productions, in which, in
spite of the abolition of the old form of worship, he introduced the
names of God, our Saviour, and the immaculate Virgin, together with
words unintelligible either to himself or his hearers, but which he
declared to have received direct from the Baptist, and delivered to his
hearers, as in duty bound.

He kept up his connection with St. John, and used to assert that every
night, when the people were assembled, he heard a voice, saying,
‘Come you out, and then he lost all control over himself, and was
constrained to go. Then would the Baptist meet him, and instruct him
in what he was to say to the people. St. John evidently expected his
disciple to exercise all his intelligence, for he would only say his
message once, and never could be got to repeat it. On one occasion,
Roderick could not understand it, or hardly remember a sentence; so
he naturally inquired of the Saint how he was to behave. He got no
comfort, however, only a brusque, ‘Go, you have it,’ with which he was
fain to be content, and, wonderful to relate, on his return to his
flock, he remembered every word he had been told, and could retail it
fluently--but, as a rule, his discourses were discursive, and apt to
send his auditors to sleep.

Naturally the women flocked to him, and he took them specially (some
said too specially) under his protection. To them he revealed that, if
they followed him faithfully, eternal bliss should be their portion,
and that they should go to heaven in glorious state, riding upon
milk-white steeds. For them he exercised his poetic talents (for he
composed long, rhapsodical rhymes, which he called psalms, and which
were sung by his flock), and he taught them a devout hymn, called the
‘Virgin Mary’s,’ which he declared she had sent specially to them, and
that it was of such wonderful efficacy, that whoever could repeat it
by heart would not die in child-bearing; but, of course, so valuable a
gift could not be imparted gratis, so every scholar was mulcted in a
sheep before she was instructed in the potent hymn.

Yet, as with many another, a woman was the primary cause of his
downfall. It was his behaviour to a woman that first opened the eyes of
his deluded followers, and showed them that their idol was fallible,
and that his feet were ‘part of iron, and part of clay.’ The wife
of Macleod’s representative found favour in his sight; but, being a
virtuous woman, she told her husband of the Prophet’s wicked advances;
and these two laid a little trap, into which the unsuspecting, but
naughty, Roderick walked.

It was very simple: the husband hid himself until he judged proper to
appear--confronted the guilty man--spoke burning words of reproof to
him--thoroughly disorganised him, and brought him very low--made him
beg his pardon, and promise he would never so sin again. But although
a hollow peace was patched up between them, and the injured husband
even gave the greatest sign of friendship possible, according to their
notions (_i.e._, taking Roderick’s place as sponsor at the baptism
of one of his own children), yet the story leaked out. The Prophet’s
father plainly and openly told him he was a deceiver, and would come
to a bad end; and the thinking portion of the community began to have
serious doubts of the Divine origin of his mission.

These doubts were further confirmed by one or two little facts which
led the people to somewhat distrust his infallibility, especially in
one case in which his cousin-german Lewis was concerned. This man had
an ewe which had brought forth three lambs at one time, and these
wicked sheep actually browsed upon the sacred bush! Of course we
know the Baptist had decreed their slaughter, and Lewis was promptly
reminded of the fact--but he did not see it in that light. His heart
was hard, and his sheep were dear to him. He argued that, from his
point of view, it was unreasonable to kill so many animals, and inflict
such serious damage to their proprietor, for so trivial a fault--and,
besides, he would not. Of course there was nothing to be done with such
an hardened sinner but to carry out the law, and excommunicate him;
which was accordingly done--with the usual result. The poor simple
folk, in their faith, looked for a speedy and awful judgment to fall
upon Lewis and his sheep.

    ‘But what gave rise
    To no little surprise,
    Nobody seem’d one penny the worse!’

And then they bethought them that, if it were their own case, they
might as well treat the matter as Lewis had done--seeing he was none
the worse, and four sheep to the good; and so his authority over them
gradually grew laxer and laxer: and, when the steward paid his annual
visit in 1697, they denounced Roderick as an impostor, and expressed
contrition for their own back-slidings.

The chaplain who accompanied the steward, and who was sent over from
Harris by Macleod, purposely to look into this matter, made the Prophet
publicly proclaim himself an impostor, compelled him to commence with
his own hands the destruction of the enclosure round the sacred bush,
and scatter the stones broadcast--and, finally, the steward, whose
word was absolute law to these poor people, took him away, never to
return. The poor credulous dupes, on being reproved for so easily
complying to this impostor, with one voice answered that what they did
was unaccountable; but, seeing one of their own number and stamp in all
respects endued, as they fancied, with a powerful faculty of preaching
so fluently and frequently, and pretending to converse with John the
Baptist, they were induced to believe in his mission from Heaven, and
therefore complied with his commands without dispute.

Of his ultimate fate nothing is known, the last record of him being
that, after having been taken to Harris, he was brought before the
awful Macleod, to be judged, ‘who, being informed of this Fellow’s
Impostures, did forbid him from that time forward to Preach any
more on pain of Death. This was a great mortification, as well as
disappointment, to the Impostor, who was possessed with a fancy
that _Mack-Leod_ would hear him preach, and expected no less than
to persuade him to become one of his Proselytes, as he has since
confessed.’ He was sent to Skye, where he made public recantation of
his errors, and confessed in several churches that it was the Devil,
and not St. John, with whom he conversed--and, arguing from that fact,
he probably was docile, and lived the remainder of his life in Skye--a
harmless lunatic.

       *       *       *       *       *

In October, 1885, public attention was particularly directed to St.
Kilda, and the story cannot be better told than by reproducing some
contemporary newspaper paragraphs.

_Morning Post_, October 9, 1885.--‘A letter has been received by
Principal Rainy, Edinburgh, and has been forwarded to the Home
Secretary from St. Kilda. The letter was found on the shore of Harris,
having been floated from St. Kilda in a little boat made of a piece
of plank. The letter was written by the clergyman of St. Kilda, by
direction of the islanders, asking that the Government should be
informed that their corn, barley, and potatoes were destroyed by
a great storm, in the hope that Government would send a supply of
corn-seed, barley, and potatoes, as the crop was quite useless.’

_Ibid_, October 21, 1885.--‘The steamer from Glasgow, carrying supplies
to the starving people of St. Kilda, reached the island on Monday,
and safely landed the stores. The islanders were in good health, but
their crops have been swept away, and, but for the supplies sent by
the steamer, they would have been in very perilous straits for food.
Intelligence of the distress of St. Kilda was first made known by
bottles thrown into the sea.’

_Times_, April 8, 1886.--‘A Parliamentary paper has been issued
containing a report of Mr. Malcolm McNeill, inspecting officer of the
Board of Supervision, on the alleged destitution in the island of St.
Kilda, in October, 1885, with supplementary reports by Lieutenant
Osborne, R.N., commanding officer, and by the medical officer of H.M.S.
_Jackal_. The report shows that, news from St. Kilda having reached
Harris by means of letters enclosed in a small boat a yard long, found
on the shore, to the effect that the corn, barley, and potatoes of
the inhabitants had been destroyed by a great storm that had passed
over the island early in September, and that, in consequence, the
crofters of St. Kilda were suffering great privations, a steamer, the
_Hebridean_, was despatched from Glasgow to the island with stores on
the 13th of October, and, by arrangement with the Admiralty, H.M.S.
_Jackal_, conveying Mr. McNeill, left Rothesay Bay for St. Kilda on
Wednesday, October 21, 1885. Mr. McNeill reported that, so far from
being destitute, the inhabitants of the island were amply, indeed
luxuriously, supplied with food, and in possession of sums of money
said to average not less than £20 a family. Dr. Acheson, of H.M.S.
_Jackal_, reported that the inhabitants of St. Kilda were well-clad and
well-fed, being much better off in these respects than the peasants in
many other parts of Great Britain.’

Another newspaper paragraph not only confirms this, but adds to our
knowledge of the island and its inhabitants. ‘Mr. Malcolm McNeill
... reported on the 24th of October that the population of St.
Kilda--seventy-seven souls in all--were amply, “indeed, luxuriously,”
supplied with food for the winter. The supplies included sheep, fulmar,
solan geese, meal, potatoes, milk, fish, tea, and sugar; and a large
sum of money, said to average not less than £20 a family, was known to
be hoarded in the island--a large profit being derived from tourists.
Mr. McNeill states that a former emigrant, who returned from Australia
for a few months in 1884, spread discontent among the people, who now
showed a strong desire to emigrate, and in this he suggested that the
Government should assist them. Dr. Acheson of the _Jackal_, reporting
on visits paid both then and in 1884, notes that the people seemed
to be better clad and fed than the peasants of many other parts of
Great Britain. He was struck by the comparatively large number of
infirm persons--by the large number of women compared with men, and
by the comparatively small number of children. The food was abundant,
but lacked variety; was rather indigestible, and was nearly devoid
of vegetables for six months each year. He saw no signs of vinegar,
pepper, mustard, pickles, or other condiments, but there was a great
liking for tobacco and spirits. The diet he pronounces quite unfit for
children, aged persons, or invalids; and, to remedy this, he suggests
that an endeavour should be made to grow cabbages, turnips, carrots,
and other vegetables on the island; that fowls should be introduced,
and that pressed vegetables and lime juice might be issued when no
fresh vegetables are procurable. Judging from the amount of clothing
worn, the doctor thinks the people are more likely to suffer from
excess than from the other extreme, for, on September 14th, 1884, with
the thermometer sixty-eight degrees Fahrenheit in the shade, he found a
healthy adult male wearing “a thick tweed waistcoat, with flannel back
and sleeves, two thick flannel undervests, tweed trousers, a flannel
shirt, flannel drawers, boots, and stockings, Tam o’ Shanter cap, and a
thick, scarlet worsted muffler around his neck.” The furniture he found
scanty, and very rough, and the houses very dirty. St. Kilda is not a
desirable retreat, for Dr. Acheson reports that at present there are
no games nor music in the island, and--strangest fact of all in this
official document--“whistling is strictly forbidden.”’


There is a little poem by Dean Swift, published by him in Dublin, in
1728, and reprinted in London, in 1729. Its price was only fourpence,
and it is called, ‘The Journal of a Modern Lady, in a Letter to a
Person of Quality.’ It is so small, that it is absolutely lost in
the Dean’s voluminous works, yet it is very amusing, and, as far as
I can judge (having made an especial study of the Social Life of
the Eighteenth Century), it is not at all exaggerated; and for this
reason I have ventured to reproduce it. It is borne out in similar
descriptions both in the early and latter portions of the century; as,
for instance, in ‘The English Lady’s Catechism,’ 1703, of which the
following is a portion:


‘I lie in Bed till Noon, dress all the Afternoon, Dine in the Evening,
and Play at Cards till Midnight.’

‘How do you spend the Sabbath?’

‘In Chit-Chat.’

‘What do you talk of?’

‘New Fashions and New Plays.’

‘How often do you go to Church?’

‘Twice a year or oftener, according as my Husband gives me new Cloaths.’

‘Why do you go to Church when you have new Cloaths?’

‘To see other People’s Finery, and to show my own, and to laugh at
those scurvy, out-of-fashion Creatures that come there for Devotion.’

‘Pray, Madam, what Books do you read?’

‘I read lewd Plays and winning Romances.’

‘Who is it you love?’


‘What! nobody else?’

‘My Page, my Monkey, and my Lap Dog.’

‘Why do you love them?’

‘Why, because I am an English lady, and they are Foreign Creatures: my
Page from Genoa, my Monkey from the East Indies, and my Lap Dog from

‘Would they not have pleased you as well if they had been English?’

‘No, for I hate everything that Old England brings forth, except it be
the temper of an English Husband, and the liberty of an English Wife. I
love the French Bread, French Wines, French Sauces, and a French Cook;
in short, I have all about me French or Foreign, from my Waiting Woman
to my Parrot.’

‘How do you pay your debts?’

‘Some with money, and some with fair promises. I seldom pay anybody’s
bills, but run more into their debt. I give poor Tradesmen ill words,
and the rich I treat civilly, in hopes to get further in their debt.’

Addison, in the _Spectator_ (No. 323, March 11th, 1712), gives
Clarinda’s Journal for a week, from which I will only extract one day
as a sample.

‘WEDNESDAY. _From Eight to Ten._ Drank two Dishes of Chocolate in Bed,
and fell asleep after ’em.

‘_From Ten to Eleven._ Eat a Slice of Bread and Butter, drank a Dish of
Bohea, read the _Spectator_.

‘_From Eleven to One._ At my Toilet, try’d a new Head.[7] Gave orders
for _Veney_[8] to be combed and washed. _Mem._ I look best in Blue.

‘_From One till Half an Hour after Two._ Drove to the Change. Cheapened
a couple of Fans.

‘_Till Four._ At Dinner. _Mem._ Mr. Frost passed by in his new Liveries.

‘_From Four to Six._ Dressed, paid a visit to old Lady Blithe and her
Sister, having heard they were gone out of Town that Day.

‘_From Six to Eleven._ At Basset.[9] _Mem._ Never sit again upon the
Ace of Diamond.’

Gambling was one of the curses of the Eighteenth Century. From Royalty
downwards, all played Cards--the men, perhaps, preferred dice, and
‘Casting a Main’--but the women were inveterate card-players, until,
in the latter part of the century, it became a national scandal, owing
to the number of ladies who, from their social position, should have
acted better, who kept Faro-tables, and to whom the nickname of _Faro’s
Daughters_ was applied. There were Ladies Buckinghamshire and Archer,
Mrs. Concannon, Mrs. Hobart, Mrs. Sturt, and others, whose houses
were neither more nor less than gaming-houses. The evil was so great,
that Lord Kenyon, in delivering judgment in a trial to recover £15
won at card-playing, said that the higher classes set a bad example
in this matter to the lower, and, he added, ‘They think they are too
great for the law; I wish they could be punished. If any prosecutions
of this kind are fairly brought before me, and the parties are justly
convicted, whatever be their rank or station in the country--though
they be the first ladies in the land--they shall certainly exhibit
themselves in the pillory.’

The caricaturists got hold of his Lordship’s speech, and depicted
Lady Archer and others in the pillory, and Lady Buckinghamshire being
whipped at a cart’s-tail by Lord Kenyon. With the century this kind of
play died out; but some mention of it was necessary in order to show
that Swift’s description of ladies gambling was not exaggerated.



    It was a most unfriendly Part
    In you who ought to know my Heart;
    And well acquainted with my Zeal
    For all the Females’ Common-weal.
    How cou’d it come into your Mind
    To pitch on me of all Mankind,
    Against the Sex to write a Satire,
    And brand me for a Woman-Hater?
    On me, who think them all so fair,
    They rival Venus to a Hair:
    Their Virtues never ceas’d to sing,
    Since first I learn’d to tune a String.
    Methinks I hear the Ladies cry,
    Will he his Character belye?
    Must never our Misfortunes end?
    And have we lost our only Friend?
    Ah! lovely Nymph, remove your Fears,
    No more let fall those precious Tears,
    Sooner shall, etc.

(_Here several verses are omitted._)

    The Hound be hunted by the Hare,
    Than I turn Rebel to the Fair.

       *       *       *       *       *

    ’Twas you engaged me first to write,
    Then gave the Subject out of Spite.
    The Journal of a Modern Dame,
    Is by my Promise what you claim;
    My Word is past, I must submit,
    And yet perhaps you may be bit.
    I but transcribe, for not a Line
    Of all the Satire shall be mine.
    Compell’d by you to tag in Rhimes
    The common Slanders of the Times,
    Of modern Times, the Guilt is yours
    And me my Innocence secures:
    Unwilling Muse, begin thy Lay,
    The Annals of a Female Day.
        By Nature turn’d to play the Rake well,
    As we shall shew you in the Sequel;
    The modern Dame is wak’d by Noon,
    Some authors say not quite so soon;
    Because, though sore against her Will,
    She sat all Night up at Quadrill.[10]
    She stretches, gapes, unglues her Eyes,
    And asks if it be time to rise.
    Of Head-ach and the Spleen complains;
    And then to cool her heated Brains,
    Her Night-gown![11] and her Slippers brought her,
    Takes a large Dram of Citron Water.
    Then to her Glass; and, Betty, pray
    Don’t I look frightfully to-Day?
    But, was it not confounded hard?
    Well, if I ever touch a Card;
    Four Mattadores, and lose Codill;
    Depend upon’t I never will!
    But run to Tom, and bid him fix
    The Ladies here to-Night by Six.
    Madam, the Goldsmith waits below,
    He says his Business is to know
    If you’ll redeem the Silver Cup
    You pawn’d to him. First, shew him up.
    Your Dressing Plate he’ll be content
    To take for Interest Cent. per Cent.
    And, Madam, there’s my Lady Spade
    Hath sent this Letter by her Maid.
    Well, I remember what she won;
    And hath she sent so soon to dun?
    Here, carry down those ten Pistoles
    My Husband left to pay for Coals:
    I thank my Stars they are all light;
    And I may have Revenge to-Night.
    Now, loitering o’er her Tea and Cream,
    She enters on her usual Theme;
    Her last Night’s ill Success repeats,
    Calls Lady Spade a hundred Cheats.
    She slipt Spadillo in her Breast,
    Then thought to turn it to a Jest.
    There’s Mrs. Cut and she combine,
    And to each other give the Sign.
    Through ev’ry Game pursues her Tale,
    Like Hunters o’er their Evening Ale.
          Now to another Scene give Place,
    Enter the Folks with Silks and Lace;
    Fresh Matter for a World of Chat,
    Right Indian this, right Macklin that;
    Observe this Pattern; there’s a Stuff,
    I can have Customers enough.
    Dear Madam, you are grown so hard,
    This Lace is worth twelve Pounds a Yard
    Madam, if there be Truth in Man,
    I never sold so cheap a Fan.
          This Business of Importance o’er,
    And Madam, almost dress’d by Four;
    The Footman, in his usual Phrase,
    Comes up with: Madam, Dinner stays;
    She answers in her usual Style,
    The Cook must keep it back a while;
    I never can have time to Dress,
    No Woman breathing takes up less;
    I’m hurried so, it makes me sick,
    I wish the dinner at Old Nick.
    At Table now she acts her part,
    Has all the Dinner Cant by Heart:
    I thought we were to Dine alone,
    My Dear, for sure if I had known
    This Company would come to-Day,
    But really ’tis my Spouse’s Way;
    He’s so unkind, he never sends
    To tell, when he invites his Friends:
    I wish ye may but have enough;
    And while, with all this paultry Stuff,
    She sits tormenting every Guest,
    Nor gives her Tongue one Moment’s Rest,
    In Phrases batter’d stale and trite,
    Which modern Ladies call polite;
    You see the Booby Husband sit
    In Admiration at her Wit.
        But let me now a while Survey
    Our Madam o’er her Ev’ning Tea;
    Surrounded with her Noisy Clans
    Of Prudes, Coquets, and Harridans;
    When frighted at the clamorous Crew,
    Away the God of Silence flew;
    And fair Discretion left the Place,
    And Modesty with blushing Face;
    Now enters over-weening Pride,
    And Scandal ever gaping wide,
    Hypocrisy with Frown severe,
    Scurrility with gibing Air;
    Rude Laughter seeming like to burst,
    And Malice always judging worst;
    And Vanity with Pocket-Glass,
    And Impudence, with Front of Brass;
    And studied Affectation came,
    Each Limb and Feature out of Frame;
    While Ignorance, with Brain of Lead,
    Flew hov’ring o’er each Female Head.
        Why should I ask of thee, my Muse,
    An Hundred Tongues, as Poets use,
    When, to give ev’ry Dame her due,
    An Hundred Thousand were too few!
    Or how should I, alas! relate,
    The Sum of all their Senseless Prate,
    Their Inuendo’s, Hints, and Slanders,
    Their Meanings lewd, and double Entanders.[12]
    Now comes the general Scandal Charge,
    What some invent, the rest enlarge;
    And, Madam, if it he a Lye,
    You have the tale as cheap as I:
    I must conceal my Author’s Name,
    But now ’tis known to common Fame.
        Say, foolish Females, Old and Blind,
    Say, by what fatal Turn of Mind,
    Are you on Vices most severe,
    Wherein yourselves have greatest Share?
    Thus every Fool herself deludes,
    The Prudes condemn the absent Prudes.
    Mopsa who stinks her Spouse to Death,
    Accuses Chloe’s tainted Breath:
    Hircina, rank with Sweat, presumes
    To censure Phillis for Perfumes:
    While crooked Cynthia swearing, says,
    That Florimel wears Iron Stays.
    Chloe’s of ev’ry Coxcomb jealous,
    Admires[13] how Girls can talk with Fellows,
    And, full of Indignation, frets
    That Women should be such Coquets.
    Iris, for Scandal most notorious,
    Cries, Lord, the world is so censorious;
    And Rufa, with her Combs of Lead,[14]
    Whispers that Sappho’s Hair is Red.
    Aura, whose Tongue you hear a Mile hence,
    Talks half a day in Praise of Silence:
    And Silvia, full of inward Guilt,
    Calls Amoret an arrant Jilt.
        Now Voices over Voices rise;
    While each to be the loudest vies,
    They contradict, affirm, dispute,
    No single Tongue one Moment mute;
    All mad to speak, and none to hearken,
    They set the very Lap-Dog barking;
    Their Chattering makes a louder Din
    Than Fish-Wives o’er a Cup of Gin;
    Not School-boys at a Barring-out,
    Raised ever such incessant Rout:
    The Shumbling (_sic_) Particles of Matter
    In Chaos make not such a Clatter;
    Far less the Rabble roar and rail,
    When Drunk with sour Election Ale.
        Nor do they trust their Tongue alone,
    To speak a Language of their own;
    Can read a Nod, a Shrug, a Look;
    Far better than a printed Book;
    Convey a Libel in a Frown,
    And wink a Reputation down;
    Or, by the tossing of the Fan,
    Describe the Lady and the Man.
        But, see the Female Club disbands,
    Each, twenty Visits on her Hands:
    Now, all alone, poor Madam sits,
    In Vapours and Hysterick Fits;
    And was not Tom this Morning sent?
    I’d lay my Life he never went:
    Past Six, and not a living Soul!
    I might by this have won a Vole.
    A dreadful Interval of Spleen!
    How shall we pass the Time between?
    Here, Betty, let me take my Drops,
    And feel my Pulse, I know it stops:
    This Head of mine, Lord, how it Swims!
    And such a Pain in all my Limbs!
    Dear Madam, try to take a Nap:
    But now they hear a Foot-Man’s Rap;
    Go, run, and light the Ladies up;
    It must be One before we Sup.
        The Table, Cards, and Counters set,
    And all the Gamester Ladies met,
    Her Spleen and Fits recover’d quite,
    Our Madam can sit up all Night;
    Whoever comes, I’m not within,
    Quadrill the Word, and so begin.
        How can the Muse her Aid impart,
    Unskill’d in all the Terms of Art?
    Or, in harmonious Numbers, put
    The Deal, the Shuffle, and the Cut?
    The Superfluous Whims relate,
    That fill a Female Gamester’s Pate:
    What Agony of Soul she feels
    To see a Knave’s inverted Heels;
    She draws up Card by Card, to find
    Good Fortune peeping from behind;
    With panting Heart and earnest Eyes,
    In hope to see Spadillo rise;
    In vain, alas! her Hope is fed,
    She draws an Ace, and sees it red.
    In ready Counters never pays,
    But pawns her Snuff-Box, Rings, and Keys.
    Ever with some new Fancy struck,
    Tries twenty Charms to mend her Luck.
    This Morning when the Parson came,
    I said I could not win a Game.
    This odious Chair, how came I stuck in’t?
    I think I’ve never had good Luck in’t.
    I’m so uneasy in my Stays:
    Your Fan, a Moment, if you please.
    Stand further, Girl, or get you gone,
    I always lose when you look on.
    Lord! Madam, you have lost Codill;
    I never saw you play so ill.
    Nay, Madam, give me leave to say
    ’Twas you that threw the game away;
    When Lady Tricksy play’d a Four,
    You took it with a Matadore;
    I saw you touch your Wedding-Ring
    Before my Lady call’d a King.
    You spoke a Word began with H,
    And I know whom you mean to teach,
    Because you held the King of Hearts;
    Fie, Madam, leave these little Arts.
    That’s not so bad as one that rubs
    Her Chair to call the King of Clubs,
    And makes her Partner understand
    A Matadore is in her Hand.
    Madam, you have no Cause to flounce,
    I swear I saw you twice renounce.
    And truly, Madam, I know when
    Instead of Five you scor’d me Ten.
    Spadillo here has got a Mark,
    A Child may know it in the Dark:
    I Guess the Hand, it seldom fails,
    I wish some Folks would pare their Nails.
        While thus they rail, and scold, and storm,
    It passes but for common Form;
    Are conscious that they all speak true,
    And give each other but their due;
    It never interrupts the Game,
    Or makes ’em sensible of Shame.
        Time too precious now to waste,
    The Supper gobbled up in haste:
    Again a-fresh to Cards they run,
    As if they had but just begun;
    Yet shall I not again repeat
    How oft they Squabble, Snarl, and Cheat:
    At last they hear the Watchman Knock,
    _A frosty Morn ... Past Four a-clock_.
    The Chair-men are not to be found,
    Come, let us play the t’other Round.
        Now all in haste they huddle on
    Their Hoods, their Cloaks, and get them gone;
    But first, the Winner must invite
    The Company to-morrow Night.
        Unlucky Madam left in Tears,
    Who now again Quadrill forswears,
    With empty Purse and aching Head,
    Steals to her sleeping Spouse to Bed.


There is much and curious food for reflection, in the tendency that
mankind has ever shown to sympathise with the daring and ingenious
depredators who relieve the rich of their superfluity, which may
possibly be owing to the romantic adventures and hair-breadth escapes
which the robbers, in their career, have undergone. But, be the cause
what it may, it is certain that the populace of all nations view with
admiration great and successful thieves: for instance, what greater
popular hero, and one that has been popular for centuries, could be
found than Robin Hood?

Almost every country in Europe has its traditional thief, whose
exploits are recorded both in prose and poetry. In England, Claude
Duval, Captain Hind, Dick Turpin, Jonathan Wild, and Jack Sheppard have
each in their turn occupied a prominent place in the annals of crime;
whilst in France, amongst the light-fingered heroes that have, from
time to time, extorted respect from the multitude, Cartouche and Vidocq
take first rank. Germany is proud of its Schinderhannes, the Robber of
the Rhine, the stories of whose generosity and courage still render
his memory a favourite on the banks of that river, the travellers
on which he so long kept in awe. In Italy and Spain, those homes of
brigands and banditti, the inhabitants have ever-ready sympathy for the
men whose names and exploits are as familiar among them as ‘household

Cartouche, however, is the only rival to Barrington in their particular
line, and Barrington, certainly, was no mere common pick-pocket, only
fit to figure in the ‘Newgate Calendar,’ but he possessed talents
which, had they been properly directed on his first setting out in
life, might have enabled him to have played a distinguished part either
in literature or in business. But, unfortunately, very early in his
youth, poverty led him to adopt theft as his professed vocation; and,
by his ingenuity and constant practice, he contrived to render himself
so expert, as almost to have conducted his depredations on systematic
rules, and elevated his crime into a ‘high art.’ Barrington, too, by
his winning manners, gentlemanly address, and the fair education he
contrived to pick up, was a man eminently fitted (if such an expression
may be allowed) for his profession! his personal appearance was
almost sufficient to disarm suspicion, and this, in all probability,
contributed greatly to the success which he met with in his career.

George Barrington, or Waldron (for it is not known which was his right
name), was born on the 14th of May, 1755, at the village of Maynooth,
county Kildare, in Ireland, now famous for the Royal College of St.
Patrick, which is there situated. His reputed father was Henry Waldron,
who was a working silversmith, and his mother, whose maiden name was
Naish, was a dressmaker, or mantua-maker, as it was then called (also
occasionally acting as midwife), in the same village; but, whether they
had ever been legally united, is a matter open to doubt.

To have their parentage disputed is a fate which the great ones of the
earth have frequently to undergo, and George Barrington, or Waldron, is
an instance of this, for more than one of his historians assert that he
was the son of a Captain Barrington, an officer in a marching regiment
quartered at Rush, and the date of his birth is given as 1758; but the
most trustworthy evidence places it on record as above stated.

His parents’ characters stood high among their neighbours for integrity
and industry, but they were, unfortunately, always behindhand with
the world, and never able to extricate themselves from the state of
abject poverty in which they were sunk, in consequence of unsuccessful
litigation with a wealthy relation. This want of means prevented them
from giving George any education until he was seven years of age, when
he was sent to the village school, and there was taught to read and
write. A benevolent surgeon in the neighbourhood afterwards instructed
him in arithmetic, geography, and grammar; but, if the anecdote related
of him is true, he repaid the kindness by the blackest ingratitude in
stealing some coins from his benefactor’s daughter.

Young Waldron was lucky enough to attract the notice of the Rev.
Dr. Westropp, a dignitary of the Church of Ireland, who placed him,
when he was sixteen years of age, at a grammar-school in Dublin, and
this patron proposed that he should fit himself for the university.
But fate had decreed otherwise and he enjoyed the benefits of this
gentleman’s kindness but a short time, for, in a moment of passion,
when quarrelling with another boy, he stabbed his antagonist with a
pen-knife, wounding him severely. Instead of making the matter one
for legal investigation, the boy received a thorough good flogging, a
degradation he could by no means forgive, and he resolved to run away
from school, and leave family, friends, and all his fair prospects
behind him. But, previous to carrying his plan of escape into action,
he found means to appropriate ten or twelve guineas belonging to
the master of the school, and a gold repeating-watch, which was the
property of his master’s sister. Not content with this booty, he took a
few shirts and pairs of stockings, and safely effected his retreat, one
still night in 1771, starting off for Drogheda.

There happened to be staying at the obscure inn at which he put up,
on his arrival at Drogheda, a set of strolling players, whose manager
was one John Price, who had once been a lawyer’s clerk, and had been
convicted of some fraud at the Old Bailey. He soon wormed the boy’s
whole story out of him, and persuaded him to join the theatrical
company, which he did, and he applied himself to study so diligently
that he was cast for the part, and played, four days after his
enrolment, Jaffier in Otway’s tragedy of ‘Venice Preserved,’ in a barn
in the suburbs of Drogheda. Both he and Price were of opinion that it
would be dangerous for him to remain so near the scene of his late
depredations, but were unable to move for want of money. To overcome
this difficulty, Waldron, who had assumed the name of Barrington, gave
Price the gold repeater he had stolen, which was sold for the benefit
of the company, and they set out for Londonderry.

But it was found that the expenses of travelling for so numerous a
body, with their _impedimenta_, were too great to be balanced by the
receipts of rural audiences, and, on their arrival at Londonderry,
their finances were found to be at a very low ebb indeed. Under these
circumstances, Price insinuated that Barrington, with his good address
and appearance, could easily introduce himself to the chief places of
resort in the city, and, by picking pockets, might refill their empty
exchequer. This scheme he at once put into practice, with such success
that, at the close of the evening, he was the possessor of about forty
guineas in cash, and one hundred and fifty pounds in Irish bank-notes.

The picking of pockets being a crime almost unknown in that part of
Ireland, the town took the alarm, and a great stir was made over the
matter; but it being fair-time, and many strangers in the city, neither
Barrington nor Price were suspected; still they thought it but prudent
to leave as soon as they could with propriety, and, after playing a few
more nights, they moved to Ballyshannon. For some time he continued
this vagabond life, travelling about the North of Ireland, acting every
Tuesday and Saturday, and picking pockets every day in the week, a
business which he found more lucrative and entertaining than that of
the theatre, where his fame was by no means equal to the expectation he
had raised.

At Cork, Price and he came to the conclusion never to think any more
of the stage, a resolution which was the more easily executed, as
the company to which they originally belonged was now broken up and
dispersed. It was settled between them that Price should pass for
Barrington’s servant, and that Barrington should act the part of a
young gentleman of large fortune and of noble family, who was not yet
quite of age, travelling for his amusement. They carried out their
scheme well, purchasing horses and dressing up to their parts, and,
during the summer and autumn of 1772, they visited all the race-courses
in the South of Ireland, making a remarkably successful campaign.
Pocket-picking was a novel experience to the Irish gentry, and their
unsuspicious ways made them an easy prey to Barrington’s skill and
nimble fingers; so much so that when, at the setting-in of winter, they
returned to Cork, they found themselves in possession of a large sum
of money (over £1,000), having been fortunate enough to have escaped
detection or even suspicion.

At length their partnership was rudely dissolved, as, at the close of
winter, Price was detected in the very act of picking a gentleman’s
pocket at Cork, and for this offence he was sentenced to be transported
to America (as was customary then) for seven years. Barrington
immediately converted all his moveable property into cash, and beat
a precipitate flight to Dublin, where, for a time, he lived a very
private and retired life, only stealing out occasionally of a dark
night to visit some gaming-house, where he might pick up a few guineas,
or a watch, etc., a mode of life which was by no means congenial to
his ambitious nature, and he again frequented the race-courses. He
met with his first check at Carlow, where he was detected in picking
a nobleman’s pocket. It was a clear case; the stolen property was
found on his person, and immediately restored to its owner, who did not
prosecute, preferring to let the rascal receive the treatment known as
‘the discipline of the course,’ a punishment very similar to that meted
out to ‘Welchers’ at the present day. But Ireland was getting too warm
for him, and, having realised his property, he set sail for London,
where he arrived in the summer of 1773, a remarkably precocious youth
of eighteen.

On his voyage across the Channel, he became acquainted with several
persons of respectability, with one of whom he travelled post to
London, having gulled him with a specious tale about his family and
fortune; and, having gained his confidence, he procured by his means
introductions into the politest circles, from whom, for a long time, he
extracted abundant plunder. But, in order to do this, he had to dress
well, and live extravagantly, so that he very soon had to cast about
for the means wherewith to supply his needs. Among the earliest visits
he paid, after his arrival in London, and in his friend’s company,
was, of course, Ranelagh, where he found two of his acquaintance on
the Irish packet talking to the Duke of Leinster. Bowing to them, and
stationing himself near them, he soon eased the duke of above eighty
pounds, a baronet of five-and-thirty guineas, and one of the ladies of
her watch; and, with this plunder, he rejoined his party as if nothing
had happened out of the ordinary course of things.

But his proceedings had been watched by another member of the thieving
fraternity, who was in the gardens, and who took a speedy opportunity
of letting Barrington know that he had witnessed his crime, and
threatened to denounce him to the plundered parties, unless a division
of the spoil was made between them. His manner being very impressive,
left Barrington no alternative but to comply; and the lady’s watch
and chain, with a ten-pound note, fell to his share. The two supped
together, and it ended with their entering into a mutual alliance,
which, for the time, suited Barrington well, as his companion knew
town much better than he did, and was especially well-informed in the
knowledge of those places where the plunder could be disposed of: but
this partnership only continued for a short time, in consequence of
their quarrels, there being nothing in common to bind these two rogues
together save their crime.

In the course of his depredations, he visited Brighton, or, as it was
then called, Brighthelmstone, which was beginning to be the resort of
the wealthier classes, but, as yet, had not dreamed of the rise it was
to take under George the Magnificent--and no conception could have been
formed of the present ‘London-on-the-Sea.’ Here, thanks to his pleasant
manners and address, as well as to the company he frequented, he became
acquainted, and intimate, with the Duke of Ancaster, Lord Ferrers,
Lord Lyttleton, and many other noblemen, who all considered him as a
man of genius and ability (which he certainly was), and were under the
impression that he was a gentleman of fortune and family.

His manners were good, and he had a pleasant wit--so that it is not
difficult to imagine that his society was welcome. As a specimen of
his wit, I may relate an anecdote told of him when on a visit to
Chichester from Brighton. In company of several noblemen, he was
shown the curiosities and notable things in the town and cathedral.
In the latter, their attention was directed to a family vault for the
interment of the Dukes of Richmond, which had been erected by the late
duke, and which was inscribed ‘Domus ultima’ (the last house). On this
inscription he is said to have written the following epigram:

    ‘Did he, who thus inscribed this wall,
    Not _read_, or not _believe_, St. Paul?
    Who says, “There is, where e’er it stands,
    _Another_ house, not made with hands;”
    Or shall we gather, from the words,
    That _House_ is not a _House_ of Lords.’

After living at the expense of the pockets of his new-found friends
as long as he deemed it prudent, he returned to London, and began a
dissolute and profligate career; but, though his time was pretty well
employed between his infamous occupation and his amusements, he yet
found opportunity for intervals of study and literary pursuits, and
composed several odes and poems, which are said to have been not devoid
of merit.

As before stated, he broke with his partner, who retired to a
monastery, where, in all probability, he ended his days in penitence
and peace. But, in the winter of 1775, Barrington became acquainted
with one Lowe, whom he first employed in the useful capacity of
receiver of stolen goods, and afterwards went into partnership
with. This Lowe was a singular character. Originally he had been a
livery-servant, and after that he kept a public-house for some time,
when, having saved some money, he turned usurer or money-lender, in
which business he accumulated a small fortune, when he assumed the
character of a gentleman, and lived in a genteel house near Bloomsbury
Square, then a fashionable neighbourhood. Here he passed for a very
charitable and benevolent person, and was appointed treasurer or
manager of a new hospital for the blind in Kentish Town, in which
capacity, it is said, he contrived to become possessed of some five
thousand pounds, when he set fire to the institution. Being suspected
thereof, he was apprehended at Liverpool, in 1779, when he committed
suicide by taking poison, and was buried at a cross-road, in the
neighbourhood of Prescott in Lancashire.

On forming his partnership with Lowe, it was resolved on between
them that Barrington should repair to Court on the Queen’s birthday,
disguised as a clergyman, and there endeavour not only to pick the
pockets of the company, but, what was a far bolder and more novel
attempt, to cut off the diamond stars of the Knights of the Garter,
Bath, or Thistle, who on such days generally wore the ribands of their
respective orders over their coats. In this enterprise he succeeded
beyond the most sanguine expectations that could have been formed,
either by himself or his partner; for he managed to take a diamond star
from a nobleman, and to get away from St. James’s unsuspected. But this
prize was too valuable to dispose of in England, and it is said to have
been sold to a Dutch Jew, who came over from Holland twice a year on
purpose to buy stolen goods, for eight hundred pounds. This haul only
whetted his appetite for yet more profitable plunder, and a chance of
his skill shortly presented itself.

In the course of the winter of 1775, Prince Orloff, a Russian nobleman
of the first rank and consequence, visited England. The splendour in
which he lived, and the stories of his immense wealth, were frequently
noticed and commented on in the public prints, and attention was
particularly drawn to a gold snuff-box, set with brilliants, which was
one of the many marks of favour showered upon him by Catherine, Empress
of Russia, and which was generally valued at the enormous sum of
between thirty and forty thousand pounds. This precious trinket excited
Barrington’s cupidity in an extraordinary degree, and he determined to
exert himself, in order, by some means or other, to get it into his

A favourable opportunity occurred one night at Covent Garden Theatre,
where he contrived to get near the prince, and dexterously conveyed
the treasure from his excellency’s waistcoat pocket (in which,
according to Russian custom, it was usually carried) into his own.
This operation was not, however, performed with sufficient delicacy to
escape detection, for the prince felt the attack that was so impudently
made upon his property, and, having reason to entertain some suspicion
of Barrington, he immediately seized him by the collar. During the
confusion that naturally ensued upon such an unusual scene, Barrington
slipped the box into the hand of the prince, who, doubtless, was only
too rejoiced to recover it with so much ease. The thief, however, was
secured, and committed to Tothill Fields Bridewell.[15]

When examined before Sir John Fielding, Barrington trumped up a story
that he was a native of Ireland, of an affluent and respectable family;
that he had been educated for the medical profession, and had come to
England to improve himself by means of his connections. This story,
which was told with extreme modesty and many tears, induced the prince
to think of him more as an unfortunate gentleman than a guilty culprit,
and he declined to proceed against him, so that he was dismissed,
with an admonition from Sir John to amend his future conduct; and he
must have left the court congratulating himself on his narrow, but
lucky, escape. The publicity which was given to this attempt lost him
the society of most of his friends, as he was held up to view in the
disgraceful light of an impostor; and it also was the means of giving
him a further taste of prison discipline.

In the pursuit of his peculiar industry, he frequented both Houses of
Parliament, where he acquired considerable plunder. Some weeks after
the Covent Garden affair, he was in the House of Lords during an
interesting debate that attracted a great number of people, amongst
whom was a gentleman who recognised Barrington, and who informed the
Deputy Usher of the Black Rod of his probable business there. That
official promptly ejected him, though, perhaps, not with the gentleness
that he considered his due, and he uttered such threats of vengeance
against his accuser that the latter made application to a magistrate,
who granted a warrant to take Barrington into custody, and to bind him
over to keep the peace. But his credit was now sunk so low that none of
his former companions would come forward with the necessary sureties,
and Barrington, in default, was relegated to his former place of
detention, Tothill Fields Bridewell, where he remained a considerable
time before he was released.

During his incarceration, the story of his misdeeds was industriously
circulated, and his character as _bon camarade_ was completely
destroyed, so that the entry to all decent company was absolutely shut
against him, and from this time forward he was obliged to abandon
the _rôle_ of a ‘gentleman’ pickpocket, and descend to all the mean
artifices of a common pilferer. Even in this humble branch of his
infamous industry, his good fortune seems to have deserted him, for he
was detected in picking the pocket of a low woman at Drury Lane Theatre
in December, 1776, and, though he made a remarkably clever speech in
his defence, he was sentenced to three years of ballast-heaving, or
hard labour in the hulks at Woolwich. Here, herded with the vilest
of the vile, he kept as much as possible from them, and, by his good
conduct, attracted the attention of the superintendents of convicts,
and by their intervention he was set free, after having sustained an
imprisonment of somewhat less than twelve months.

On his liberation, he lost no time in re-commencing his vicious
occupation, under various disguises, sometimes as a quack doctor, or
as a clergyman; or he would assume the character of a grave commercial
traveller, only to appear, a few days later on, as the keeper of a
gambling-house, and he had many a narrow escape from capture.

Justice, however, again laid her hands upon him, for, less than six
months after his liberation, he was detected in picking the pocket of
one, Elizabeth Ironmonger, of a watch, was convicted on the clearest
evidence, and, in spite of the very eloquent and skilful defence he
made, he was a second time sentenced to the hulks with hard labour,
this time for five years. His speeches to the court, which were
remarked in the public prints, as well as the letters that he wrote
seeking mitigation of his punishment, display such talent that it is a
matter of great regret that it was not turned to more honest account.
On one occasion, when tried for stealing Sir G. Webster’s purse at the
opera, in February, 1784, he was able, by his eloquence, to influence
the jury to return a verdict of not guilty; and a similar piece of good
fortune was vouchsafed to him a year after, when arraigned for the
robbery of a gentleman’s watch at Drury Lane Theatre, when his most
ingenious and well-chosen address to the jury resulted in his acquittal.

He could not stand his second imprisonment on the hulks, and to end
it he attempted suicide by stabbing himself in the breast with a
pen-knife. Medical aid was at hand, and the wound slowly healed, but
he still continued to linger in a miserable state, until he came
under the notice of a gentleman of position, who used his influence
with the government so successfully that he obtained Barrington’s
release, subject to the condition that he should leave the country.
His benefactor also gave him money for that purpose, and he was
soon on the Chester coach, _en route_ for Ireland. When he arrived
in Dublin, he found his character had preceded him, and he was so
closely watched that it was not long before he was again arrested,
and acquitted only from want of evidence. The judge admonished him
most seriously, which gave Barrington an opportunity of airing his
eloquence, and he delivered an oration on the unaccountable force of
prejudice that existed against him; but, when once he got away, he came
to the conclusion that the Irish capital was not a desirable place of
residence for him, so he travelled northwards, and ultimately reached

However, the police of that city knew all about him, and were more
vigilant than their _confrères_ in London and Dublin, so that
Barrington, finding himself both suspected and watched, came to the
conclusion that the air of Scotland was not good for him, and turned
his face southward. Unmindful of the terms of his liberation, or
careless as to the result of his return, he again sought London,
where, once more, he frequented the theatres, the opera-house, and the
Pantheon, for some little time, with tolerable success--but he was now
too notorious to be long secure; he was closely watched, and well-nigh
detected at the latter of these places; and, such strong suspicions of
his behaviour were entertained by the magistrates, he was committed to
Newgate, though on his trial he was acquitted.

But he only escaped Scylla to be engulphed in Charybdis, for one of
the superintendents of convicts had him detained for violating the
conditions under which he was liberated, and the consequence was that
he was made what was called ‘a fine in Newgate,’ that is, he had to
serve out his unexpired term of imprisonment there. This punishment
he duly suffered, and when he was once more set free, he at once
re-commenced his old practices, and lived a life of shifts and roguery,
until, in January, 1787, he was detected in picking the pocket of a
Mrs. Le Mesurier, at Drury Lane Theatre, and was at once apprehended.
He was given in charge of a constable named Blandy, but by some means,
either by negligence of his custodian, or by bribing him, he made his

For this he was outlawed, and, whilst the offended majesty of the law
was thus seeking to vindicate itself, he was making a progress of the
northern counties under various disguises, sometimes appearing as a
quack doctor, or a clergyman, then in connection with a gaming-table,
and occasionally playing the _rôle_ of a rider (as commercial
travellers were then called) for some manufacturing firm. Although
frequently meeting with people who knew him, he was never molested
by them, until he was recognised at Newcastle (whilst being examined
in the justice-room there, regarding a theft he had committed) by a
gentleman from London as being ‘wanted’ for the robbery at Drury Lane
Theatre, and he was promptly despatched to Bow Street once more. On
his arrival, he was committed to Newgate as an outlaw, and, miserable
and dejected, his spirits sank within him. His friends, however (for
even he had friends) made up a purse of a hundred guineas for his
defence. His trial took place in November, 1789, when he conducted his
own defence, as usual, with extraordinary ability, arguing the various
points of law with the judge with surprising acuteness and elegant
language, till, eventually, being aided by the absence of a material
witness, he made such an impression upon the court that a verdict of
acquittal was recorded.

All these escapes, however, seem to have had no deterrent effect upon
him, and he again set off for Ireland, where he joined an accomplice
named Hubert, who was speedily apprehended, in the act of picking a
pocket, and sentenced to seven years transportation. Dublin after this
was far too hot for Barrington, so he adroitly made his escape to
England, where, after rambling about the country for some time, he
re-appeared in London. But he had not been in the metropolis very long
before he was apprehended, as his indictment says, for ‘stealing on
the 1st of September, 1780, in the parish of Enfield, in the county of
Middlesex, a gold watch, chain, seals, and a metal key, the property of
Henry Hare Townsend.’ The case was very clear, but Barrington defended
himself very ingeniously, and with a certain amount of oratory, of
which the following is a sample:

‘I am well convinced of the noble nature of a British Court of Justice;
the dignified and benign principles of its judges, and the liberal and
candid spirit of its jurors.

‘Gentlemen, life is the gift of God, and liberty its greatest blessing;
the power of disposing of both or either is the greatest man can
enjoy. It is also adventitious that, great as that power is, it cannot
be better placed than in the hands of an English jury; for they will
not exercise it like tyrants, who delight in blood, but like generous
and brave men, who delight to spare rather than destroy; and who,
forgetting they are men themselves, lean, when they can, to the side
of compassion. It may be thought, gentlemen of the jury, that I am
appealing to your passions, and, if I had the power to do it, I would
not fail to employ it. The passions animate the heart, and to the
passions we are indebted for the noblest actions, and to the passions
we owe our dearest and finest feelings; and, when it is considered, the
mighty power you now possess, whatever leads to a cautious and tender
discharge of it, must be thought of great consequence: as long as the
passions conduct us on the side of benevolence, they are our best, our
safest, and our most friendly guides.’

But all his eloquence was thrown away on a jury of practical men, and
they found him guilty. His trial took place on the 15th of September,
1790, and on the 22nd of September he received his sentence, which was
seven years’ transportation. He took his leave dramatically, and made a
speech lamenting his hard fate throughout life.

‘The world, my Lord, has given me credit for abilities, indeed much
greater than I possess, and, therefore, much more than I deserved; but
I have never found any kind hand to foster those abilities.

‘I might ask, where was the generous and powerful hand that was ever
stretched forth to rescue George Barrington from infamy? In an age
like this, which, in several respects, is so justly famed for liberal
sentiments, it was my severe lot that no nobleminded gentleman stepped
forward and said to me, “Barrington, you are possessed of talents which
may be useful to society. I feel for your situation, and, as long as
you act the part of a good citizen, I will be your protector; you will
then have time and opportunity to rescue yourself from the obloquy of
your former conduct.”

‘Alas, my Lord, George Barrington had never the supreme felicity of
having such comfort administered to his wounded spirit. As matters
have unfortunately turned out, the die is cast; and, as it is, I bend,
resigned to my fate, without one murmur or complaint.’

Thus ended his life in England, which he was never to see again, and it
is with pleasure that we can turn to a brighter page in his history.

In his account of his voyage to New South Wales, he says that it was
with unspeakable satisfaction that he received orders to embark,
agreeably to his sentence; and it is pleasing to observe that, under
his adverse circumstances, the friends he had made in his prosperity
did not forsake him in his adversity, for many of them came to bid him
adieu, and not one of them came empty-handed; in fact, their generosity
was so great, that he had difficulty in getting permission to take all
their gifts on board.

His account of their embarkation gives us an extremely graphic
description not only of the treatment of convicts, but of the unhappy
wretches themselves.

‘About a quarter before five, a general muster took place, and,
having bid farewell to my fellow-prisoners, we were escorted from the
prison to Blackfriars Bridge by the City Guard, where two lighters
were waiting to receive us. This procession, though early, and but
few spectators, made a deep impression on my mind, and the ignominy
of being thus mingled with felons of all descriptions, many scarce a
degree above the brute creation, intoxicated with liquor, and shocking
the ears of those they passed with blasphemy, oaths, and songs, the
most offensive to modesty, inflicted a punishment more severe than the
sentence of my country, and fully avenged that society I had so much

And there is little doubt but that the moral repugnance to his
miserable, and vicious companions was mainly the cause of the
reformation which took place in him.

The condition of convicts at that day was not enviable. There were two
hundred and fifty of them in the ship with Barrington, all packed
in the hold, their hammocks being slung within seventeen inches of
each other: being encumbered with their irons, and deprived of fresh
air, their condition was soon rendered deplorable. To alleviate their
sufferings as much as possible, they were permitted to walk the deck
(as much as was consistent with the safety of the ship), ten at a time;
and the women, of whom there were six on board, had a snug berth to
themselves. But, in spite of this humane and considerate treatment,
thirty-six of them died on the voyage.

Barrington, however, was not in such evil case, for a friend had
accompanied him on board, and, by his influence and exertions, had
not only procured stowage for his packages, but also liberty to walk
the deck unencumbered with irons. Nor did his help stop here, for
he prevailed upon the boatswain to admit him into his mess, which
consisted of the second mate, carpenter, and gunner, on condition that
he paid his proportion towards defraying the extra requisites for the
mess during the voyage. The boatswain, too, had his hammock slung next
to his own, so that his life was made as comfortable as it could be,
under the circumstances, and he had not to herd with the convicts.

Soon after leaving the Bay of Biscay, these gentlemen began to give
trouble. The captain, very humanely, had released many of the weaker
convicts of their galling chains, and allowed them to walk on deck, ten
at a time. Two of them, who were Americans, and had some knowledge of
navigation, prevailed upon the majority of their comrades to attempt to
seize the ship, impressing upon them that it would be an easy task,
and that when captured, they would sail to America, where every man
would not only obtain his liberty, but receive a tract of land from
Congress, besides a share of the money arising from the sale of the
ship and cargo.

The poor dupes swallowed the bait, and the mutineers determined that
on the first opportunity, whilst the officers were at dinner, those
convicts who were on deck should force the arm-chest, which was kept
on the quarter-deck, and, at the same time, would make a signal to
two of them to attack the sentinels, and obtain possession of their
arms, while word was passed for those below to come on deck. And, as
they planned, so they carried out the mutiny: when the captain and
officers were below examining the stowage of some wine--a cask, in the
spirit-room, being leaky--and the only persons on deck were Barrington
and the man at the helm.

Barrington was going forward, but was stopped by one of the Americans,
followed by another convict, who struck at him with a sword, which
luckily hit against a pistol that the American had pointed at him.
Barrington snatched up a handspike, and felled one of them, and the
steersman left his wheel and called up the captain and crew. For a few
moments Barrington kept the mutineers at bay, when assistance came--and
a blunderbuss being fired amongst the convicts, wounding several, they
retreated, and were all driven into the hold. An attempt of this kind
required the most exemplary punishment; and two of the ring-leaders,
with very short shrift, were soon dangling at the yard-arm, whilst
others were tasting the cat-o’-nine-tails at the gangway.

The mutiny having been thus quelled, and the convicts re-ironed, the
captain had leisure to thank Barrington, and to compliment him on his
gallant behaviour in the emergency. He assured Barrington that, when
they arrived at the Cape, he would reward him, and that, meanwhile,
he was to have every liberty; and orders were given to the steward to
supply him with anything he might have occasion for during the voyage.
As Barrington observes:

‘I soon experienced the good effects of my late behaviour; as seldom
a day passed but some fresh meat or poultry was sent to me by the
captain, which considerably raised me in the estimation of my
messmates, who were no ways displeased at the substitution of a sea-pie
of fowl or fresh meat to a dish of lobscouse, or a piece of salt-junk.’

On the ship’s arrival at the Cape, the captain gave Barrington an order
on a merchant there for one hundred dollars, telling him he might at
any time avail himself of the ship’s boat going ashore, and visit the
town as often as he pleased, if he would only tell the officers when
he felt so inclined. It is needless to say he fully availed himself of
his privilege, and laid out his money in the purchase of goods most in
demand in New South Wales.

On reaching Port Jackson, in consequence of the captain’s report, he
had a most gracious reception from the governor, who, finding him a
man of ability and intelligence, almost immediately appointed him
superintendent of the convicts at Paramatta: his business being chiefly
to report the progress made in the different works that were carried
on there. Here he had ample leisure and opportunities of studying
the natives and their habits and customs, and in his ‘History of New
South Wales,’ he gives an interesting account of the aborigines of
Australia, now so rapidly approaching extinction. The governor, Philip,
made unceasing efforts to win their friendship, and even went to the
extent of forcing his acquaintance on them, by the summary method
of capturing a few, and keeping them in friendly durance; hoping
thus to gain their good-will, so that, on their release, they might
report to their friends that the white man was not so bad as he was
represented. But it was all in vain; for, beyond a very few converts to
civilisation, the savage remained untameable.

By the purchases which Barrington had made at the Cape, as well as the
presents he had brought from England, he was enabled to furnish his
house in a rather better style than his neighbours, and, moreover,
he managed to collect around him a few farm-yard animals, which,
together with his great love for horticulture, made his life far from
unendurable. His position, as peace-officer of the district, was no
sinecure; for the criminal population over whom he had jurisdiction
gave him very considerable trouble, more especially after the
introduction into the settlement, by some American vessels, of New
England rum, the baneful effects of which were very soon apparent: the
partiality of the convicts for it being incredible, for they preferred
receiving it as the price of their labour to any other article, either
of provisions or clothing.

Barrington’s tact and good management in the numerous disturbances
that arose, as more convicts were poured into the station, were very
conspicuous, and his conduct was altogether such as compensated, in a
great measure, for his former misdeeds. His domestic matters improved
by degrees, so that his situation was equal, if not preferable, to
that of most of the settlers there, and, to crown all, in September,
1799, the Governor--Hunter--presented him with an absolute pardon,
complimenting him on his faithful discharge of the duties which had
been entrusted to him, and the integrity and uniform uprightness of
his conduct, and, furthermore, said that his general behaviour, during
his whole residence, perfectly obliterated every trace of his former

Barrington was further appointed a principal superintendent of the
district of Paramatta, with a permanent salary of £50 per annum (his
situation having been, hitherto, only provisional) and, eventually,
the confidence he inspired was such that he was raised to the office
of Chief of the constabulary force of the Colony, on the principle, it
may be presumed, of ‘setting a thief to catch a thief.’ In this post he
gave great satisfaction, and died, much respected by all who knew him,
at Botany Bay.

He wrote ‘The History of New South Wales,’ &c. London, 1802; a most
valuable and interesting book. ‘An Account of a Voyage to New South
Wales,’ London, 1803. ‘The History of New Holland,’ London, 1808; and
a book was published with his name as author, ‘The London Spy,’ which
went through several editions.


In the first series of _Notes and Queries_, vol. v. p. 369 (April 17,
1852), is a note from which the following is an extract: ‘In vol. v,
p. 275, mention is made of Cromwell’s skull; so it may not be out of
place to tell you that I have handled one of Milton’s ribs. Cowper
speaks indignantly of the desecration of our divine poet’s grave,
on which shameful occurrence some of the bones were clandestinely
distributed. One fell to the lot of an old and esteemed friend, and
between forty-five and fifty years ago, at his house, not many miles
from London, I have often examined the said rib-bone.’

The lines of Cowper’s to which he refers were written in August, 1790,
and are entitled


_On the late indecent Liberties taken with the remains of the great
Milton. Anno 1790._

    ‘Me too, perchance, in future days,
    The sculptured stone shall show,
    With Paphian myrtle or with bays
    Parnassian on my brow.

    But I, or ere that season come,
    Escaped from every care,
    Shall reach my refuge in the tomb,
    And sleep securely there.’[16]

    So sang, in Roman tone and style,
    The youthful bard, ere long
    Ordain’d to grace his native isle
    With her sublimest song.

    Who then but must conceive disdain,
    Hearing the deed unblest,
    Of wretches who have dared profane
    His dread sepulchral rest?

    Ill fare the hands that heaved the stones
    Where Milton’s ashes lay,
    That trembled not to grasp his bones
    And steal his dust away!

    O ill-requited bard! neglect
    Thy living worth repaid,
    And blind idolatrous respect
    As much affronts thee dead.

Leigh Hunt possessed a lock of Milton’s hair which had been given to
him by a physician--and over which he went into such rhapsodies that he
composed no less than three sonnets addressed to the donor--which may
be found in his ‘Foliage,’ ed. 1818, pp. 131, 132, 133. The following
is the best:--

TO ---- ---- MD.,

_On his giving me a lock of Milton’s hair_.

    It lies before me there, and my own breath
    Stirs its thin outer threads, as though beside
    The living head I stood in honoured pride,
    Talking of lovely things that conquered death.
    Perhaps he pressed it once, or underneath
    Ran his fine fingers, when he leant, blank-eyed,
    And saw, in fancy, Adam and his bride
    With their heaped locks, or his own Delphic wreath.
    There seems a love in hair, though it be dead.
    It is the gentlest, yet the strongest thread
    Of our frail plant--a blossom from the tree
    Surviving the proud trunk;--as if it said,
    Patience and Gentleness is Power. In me
    Behold affectionate eternity.

How were these personal relics obtained? By rifling his tomb.
Shakespeare solemnly cursed anyone who should dare to meddle with his
dead body, and his remains are believed to be intact.

    ‘Good friend, for Jesus’ sake, forbear
    To dig the dust inclosed here:
    Blest be the man who spares these stones,
    And cursed be he who moves my bones.’

But Milton laid no such interdict upon his poor dead body--and it
was not very long after his burial, which took place in 1674, that
the stone which covered it, and indicated his resting-place, was
removed, as Aubrey tells us in his ‘Lives’ (vol. iii, p. 450). ‘His
stone is now removed. About two years since (1681) the two steppes to
the communion-table were raysed, Ighesse, Jo. Speed,[17] and he lie
together.’ And so it came to pass that, in the church of St. Giles’,
Cripplegate, where he was buried, there was no memorial of the place
where he was laid, nor, indeed, anything to mark the fact of his burial
in that church until, in 1793, Samuel Whitbread set up a fine marble
bust of the poet, by Bacon, with an inscription giving the dates of
his birth and death, and recording the fact that his father was also
interred there.

It is probable that Mr. Whitbread was moved thereto by the alleged
desecration of Milton’s tomb in 1790, of which there is a good account
written by Philip Neve, of Furnival’s Inn, which is entitled, ‘A
NARRATIVE of the DISINTERMENT of MILTON’S coffin, in the Parish-Church
of ST. GILES, Cripplegate, on Wednesday, August 4th, 1790; and the
TREATMENT OF THE CORPSE during that and the following day.’

As this narrative is not long, I propose to give it in its entirety,
because to condense it would be to spoil it, and, by giving it _in
extenso_, the reader will be better able to judge whether it was really
Milton’s body which was exhumed.


Having read in the _Public Advertiser_, on Saturday, the 7th of August,
1790, that _Milton’s_ coffin had been dug up in the parish church of
St. Giles, Cripplegate, and was there to be seen, I went immediately
to the church, and found the latter part of the information to be
untrue; but, from conversations on that day, on Monday, the 9th, and on
Tuesday, the 10th of August, with Mr. Thomas _Strong_, Solicitor and
F.A.S., Red Cross Street, _Vestry-Clerk_; Mr. John _Cole_, Barbican,
Silversmith, _Churchwarden_; Mr. John _Laming_, Barbican, _Pawnbroker_;
and Mr. _Fountain_, Beech Lane, Publican, _Overseers_; Mr. _Taylor_, of
Stanton, Derbyshire, _Surgeon_; a friend of Mr. _Laming_, and a visitor
in his house; Mr. William _Ascough_, Coffin-maker, Fore Street, _Parish
Clerk_; Benjamin _Holmes_ and Thomas _Hawkesworth_, journeymen to Mr.
Ascough; Mrs. _Hoppey_, Fore Street, _Sexton_; Mr. _Ellis_, No. 9,
Lamb’s Chapel, comedian of the Royalty-theatre; and John _Poole_ (son
of Rowland Poole), Watch-spring maker, Jacob’s Passage, Barbican, the
following facts are established:

It being in the contemplation of some persons to bestow a considerable
sum of money in erecting a monument, in the parish church of _St.
Giles_, Cripplegate, to the memory of _Milton_, and the particular
spot of his interment in that church having for many years past been
ascertained only by tradition, several of the principal parishioners
have, at their meetings, frequently expressed a wish that his coffin
should be dug for, that incontestable evidence of its exact situation
might be established, before the said monument should be erected. The
entry, among the burials, in the register-book, 12th of November,
1674, is ‘_John Milton_, Gentleman, consumption, _chancell_.’ The
church of St. Giles, Cripplegate, was built in 1030, was burnt down
(except the steeple) and rebuilt in 1545; was repaired in 1682; and
again in 1710. In the repair of 1782, an alteration took place in the
disposition of the inside of the church; the pulpit was removed from
the second pillar, against which it stood, north of the chancel, to
the south side of the present chancel, which was then formed, and
pews were built over the old chancel. The tradition has always been
that _Milton_ was buried in the chancel, under the clerk’s desk; but
the circumstance of the alteration in the church, not having, of late
years, been attended to, the clerk, sexton, and other officers of the
parish have misguided inquirers, by showing the spot under the clerk’s
desk, in the present chancel, as the place of _Milton’s_ interment.
I have twice, at different periods, been shown that spot as the place
where _Milton_ lay. Even Mr. _Baskerville_, who died a few years
ago, and who had requested, in his will, to be buried by _Milton_,
was deposited in the above-mentioned spot of the present chancel, in
pious intention of compliance with his request. The church is now,
August, 1790, under a general repair, by contract, for £1,350, and Mr.
_Strong_, Mr. _Cole_, and other parishioners, having very prudently
judged that the search would be made with much less inconvenience to
the parish at this time, when the church is under repair, than at any
period after the said repair should be completed, Mr. _Cole_, in the
last days of July, ordered the workmen to dig in search of the coffin.
Mr. _Ascough_, his father, and grandfather, have been parish clerks
of _St. Giles_ for upwards of ninety years past. His grandfather,
who died in February, 1759-60, aged eighty-four, used often to say
that _Milton_ had been buried under the clerk’s desk in the chancel.
John _Poole_, aged seventy, used to hear his father talk of Milton’s
person, from those who had seen him; and also, that he lay under the
common-councilmen’s pew. The common-councilmen’s pew is built over
that very part of the old chancel, where the former clerk’s desk
stood. These traditions in the parish reported to Mr. _Strong_ and
Mr. _Cole_ readily directed them to dig from the present chancel,
northwards, towards the pillar, against which the former pulpit and
desk had stood. On Tuesday afternoon, August 3rd, notice was brought
to Messrs. _Strong_ and _Cole_ that the coffin was discovered. They
went immediately to the church, and, by help of a candle, proceeded
under the common-councilmen’s pew to the place where the coffin lay.
It was in a chalky soil, and directly over a wooden coffin, supposed
to be that of _Milton’s_ father; tradition having always reported that
_Milton_ was buried next to his father. The registry of the father of
_Milton_, among the burials, in the parish-book, is ‘_John Melton_,
Gentleman, 15th of March, 1646-7.’ In digging through the whole space
from the present chancel, where the ground was opened, to the situation
of the former clerk’s desk, there was not found any other coffin, which
could raise the smallest doubt of this being _Milton’s_. The two oldest
found in the ground had inscriptions, which Mr. _Strong_ copied; they
were of as late dates as 1727 and 1739. When he and Mr. _Cole_ had
examined the coffin, they ordered water and a brush to be brought, that
they might wash it, in search of an inscription, or initials, or date;
but, upon its being carefully cleansed, none was found.

The following particulars were given me in writing by Mr. _Strong_, and
they contain the admeasurement of the coffin, as taken by him, with a
rule. ‘A leaden coffin, found under the common-councilmen’s pew, on
the north side of the chancel, nearly under the place where the old
pulpit and clerk’s desk stood. The coffin appeared to be old, much
corroded, and without any inscription or plate upon it. It was, in
length, five feet ten inches, and in width, at the broadest part, over
the shoulders, one foot four inches.’ Conjecture naturally pointed out,
both to Mr. _Strong_ and Mr. _Cole_, that, by moving the leaden coffin,
there would be a great chance of finding some inscription on the wooden
one underneath; but, with a just and laudable piety, they disdained to
disturb the sacred ashes, after a requiem of one hundred and sixteen
years; and having satisfied their curiosity, and ascertained the fact,
which was the subject of it, Mr. _Cole_ ordered the ground to be
closed. This was on the afternoon of Tuesday, August the 3rd; and, when
I waited on Mr. _Strong_, on Saturday morning, the 7th, he informed
me that the coffin had been found on the Tuesday, had been examined,
washed, and measured by him and Mr. _Cole_; but that the ground had
been immediately closed, when they left the church;--not doubting that
Mr. _Cole’s_ order had been punctually obeyed. But the direct contrary
appears to have been the fact.

On Tuesday evening, the 3rd, Mr. _Cole_, Messrs. _Laming_ and _Taylor_,
_Holmes_, &c., had a _merry meeting_, as Mr. _Cole_ expresses himself,
at Fountain’s house; the conversation there turned upon _Milton’s_
coffin having been discovered; and, in the course of the evening,
several of those present expressing a desire to see it, Mr. _Cole_
assented that, if the ground was not already closed, the closing of it
should be deferred until they should have satisfied their curiosity.
Between eight and nine on Wednesday morning, the 4th, the two overseers
(_Laming_ and _Fountain_) and Mr. _Taylor_, went to the house of
_Ascough_, the clerk, which leads into the church-yard, and asked for
_Holmes_; they then went with _Holmes_ into the church, and pulled the
coffin, which lay deep in the ground, from its original station to the
edge of the excavation, into day-light. Mr. _Laming_ told me that, to
assist in thus removing it, he put his hand into a corroded hole, which
he saw in the lead, at the coffin foot. When they had thus removed it,
the overseers asked _Holmes_ if he could open it, that they might see
the body. _Holmes_ immediately fetched a mallet and a chisel, and cut
open the top of the coffin, slantwise from the head, as low as the
breast; so that the top, being doubled backward, they could see the
corpse; he cut it open also at the foot. Upon first view of the body,
it appeared perfect, and completely enveloped in the shroud, which was
of many folds; the ribs standing up regularly. When they disturbed
the shroud, the ribs fell. Mr. _Fountain_ told me that he pulled hard
at the teeth, which resisted, until some one hit them a knock with a
stone, when they easily came out. There were but five in the upper
jaw, which were all perfectly sound and white, and all taken by Mr.
_Fountain_; he gave one of them to Mr. _Laming_; Mr. _Laming_ also took
one from the lower jaw; and Mr. _Taylor_ took two from it. Mr. _Laming_
told me that he had, at one time, a mind to bring away the whole
under-jaw, with the teeth in it; he had it in his hand, but tossed it
back again. Also that he lifted up the head, and saw a great quantity
of hair, which lay straight and even behind the head, and in the state
of hair which had been combed and tied together before interment; but
it was wet, the coffin having considerable corroded holes, both at
the head and foot, and a great part of the water with which it had
been washed on the Tuesday afternoon having run into it. The overseers
and Mr. _Taylor_ went away soon afterwards, and Messrs. _Laming_ and
_Taylor_ went home to get scissors to cut off some of the hair: they
returned about ten, when Mr. _Laming_ poked his stick against the head,
and brought some of the hair over the forehead; but, as they saw the
scissors were not necessary, Mr. _Taylor_ took up the hair, as it lay
on the forehead, and carried it home. The water, which had got into
the coffin on the Tuesday afternoon, had made a sludge at the bottom
of it, emitting a nauseous smell, and which occasioned Mr. _Laming_ to
use his stick to procure the hair, and not to lift up the head a second
time. Mr. _Laming_ also took out one of the leg-bones, but threw it in
again. _Holmes_ went out of church, whilst Messrs. _Laming_, _Taylor_,
and _Fountain_ were there the first time, and he returned when the two
former were come the second time. When Messrs. _Laming_ and _Taylor_
had finally quitted the church, the coffin was removed from the edge
of the excavation back to its original station; but was no otherwise
closed than by the lid, where it had been cut and reversed, being bent
down again. Mr. _Ascough_, the clerk, was from home the greater part of
that day, and Mrs. _Hoppey_, the sexton, was from home the whole day.
Elizabeth _Grant_, the grave-digger, who is servant to Mrs. _Hoppey_,
therefore now took possession of the coffin; and, as its situation
under the common-councilmen’s pew would not admit of its being seen
without the help of a candle, she kept a tinder-box in the excavation,
and, when any persons came, struck a light, and conducted them under
the pew, where, by reversing the part of the lid which had been cut,
she exhibited the body, at first for sixpence, and afterwards for
threepence and twopence each person. The workers in the church kept the
doors locked to all those who would not pay the price of a pot of beer
for entrance, and many, to avoid that payment, got in at a window at
the west end of the church, near to Mr. _Ascough’s_ counting-house.

I went on Saturday, the 7th, to Mr. _Laming’s_ house, to request a
lock of the hair; but, not meeting with Mr. _Taylor_ at home, went
again on Monday, the 9th, when Mr. _Taylor_ gave me part of what hair
he had reserved for himself. _Hawkesworth_ having informed me, on the
Saturday, that Mr. _Ellis_, the player, had taken some hair, and that
he had seen him take a rib-bone, and carry it away in paper under his
coat, I went from Mr. _Laming’s_ on Monday to Mr. _Ellis_, who told me
that he had paid 6^d. to Elizabeth _Grant_ for seeing the body; and
that he had lifted up the head, and taken from the sludge under it a
small quantity of hair, with which was a piece of the shroud, and,
adhering to the hair, a bit of the skin of the skull, of about the size
of a shilling. He then put them all into my hands, with the rib-bone,
which appeared to be one of the upper ribs. The piece of the shroud was
of coarse linen. The hair which he had taken was short; a small part of
it he had washed, and the remainder was in the clotted state in which
he had taken it. He told me that he had tried to reach down as low as
the hands of the corpse, but had not been able to effect it. The washed
hair corresponded exactly with that in my possession, and which I had
just received from Mr. _Taylor_. _Ellis_ is a very ingenious worker
in hair, and he said that, thinking it would be of great advantage to
him to possess a quantity of Milton’s hair, he had returned to the
church on Thursday, and had made his endeavours to get access a second
time to the body; but had been refused admittance. _Hawkesworth_ took
a tooth, and broke a bit off the coffin; of which I was informed by
Mr. _Ascough_. I purchased them both of _Hawkesworth_, on Saturday the
7th, for 2^s.; and he told me that, when he took the tooth out, there
were but two more remaining; one of which was afterwards taken by
another of Mr. _Ascough’s_ men. And _Ellis_ informed me that, at the
time when he was there, on Wednesday, the teeth were all gone; but the
overseers say they think that all the teeth were not taken out of the
coffin, though displaced from the jaws, but that some of them must have
fallen among the other bones, as they very readily came out, after the
first were drawn. _Haslib_, son of William _Haslib_, of Jewin Street,
undertaker, took one of the small bones, which I purchased of him, on
Monday, the 9th, for 2^s.

With respect to the identity of the person; anyone must be a skeptic
against violent presumptions to entertain a doubt of its being that
of _Milton_. The parish traditions of the spot; the age of the
coffin--none other found in the ground which can at all contest with
it, or render it suspicious--_Poole’s_ tradition that those who had
conversed with his father about _Milton’s_ person always described
him to have been thin, with long hair; the entry in the register-book
that _Milton_ died of consumption, are all strong confirmations,
with the size of the coffin, of the identity of the person. If it be
objected that, against the pillar where the pulpit formerly stood, and
immediately over the common-councilmen’s pew, is a monument to the
family of _Smith_, which shows that ‘near that place’ were buried, in
1653, _Richard Smith_, aged 17; in 1655, _John Smith_, aged 32; and in
1664, _Elizabeth Smith_, the mother, aged 64; and in 1675, _Richard
Smith_, the father, aged 85; it may be answered that, if the coffin
in question be one of these, the others should be there also. The
corpse is certainly not that of a man of 85; and, if it be supposed
one of the first named males of the _Smith_ family, certainly the
two later coffins should appear; but none such were found, nor could
that monument have been erected until many years after the death of
the last person mentioned in the inscription; and it was then placed
there, as it expresses, not by any of the family, but at the expense of
friends. The flatness of the pillar, after the pulpit had been removed,
offered an advantageous situation for it; and ‘_near this place_,’
upon a mural monument, will always admit of a liberal construction.
_Holmes_, who is much respected in that parish, and very ingenious and
intelligent in his business, says that a leaden coffin, when the inner
wooden-case is perished, must, from pressure and its own weight, shrink
in breadth, and that, therefore, more than the present admeasurement of
this coffin across the shoulders must have been its original breadth.
There is evidence, also, that it was incurvated, both on the top and
at the sides, at the time when it was discovered. But the strongest of
all confirmations is the hair, both in its length and colour. Behold
_Faithorne’s_ quarto-print of _Milton_ taken _ad vivum_ in 1760, five
years before _Milton’s_ death. Observe the short locks growing towards
the forehead, and the long ones flowing from the same place down the
sides of the face. The whole quantity of hair which Mr. _Taylor_ took
was from the forehead, and all taken at one grasp. I measured on Monday
morning, the 9th, that lock of it which he had given to Mr. _Laming_,
six inches and a half by a rule; and the lock of it which he gave to
me, taken at the same time, and from the same place, measures only
two inches and a half. In the reign of _Charles_ II. how few, besides
_Milton_, wore their own hair! _Wood_ says _Milton_ had light-brown
hair, the very description of that which we possess; and, what may
seem extraordinary, it is yet so strong that Mr. _Laming_, to cleanse
it from its clotted state, let the cistern-cock run on it for near a
minute, and then rubbed it between his fingers without injury.

_Milton’s_ coffin lay open from Wednesday morning, the 4th, at 9
o’clock until 4 o’clock in the afternoon of the following day, when the
ground was closed.

With respect to there being no inscriptions on the coffin, _Holmes_
says that inscription-plates were not used, nor invented at the time
when _Milton_ was buried; that the practice then was to paint the
inscription on the outside wooden coffin, which in this case was
entirely perished.

It has never been pretended that any hair was taken except by Mr.
_Taylor_, and by _Ellis_ the player; and all which the latter took
would, when cleansed, easily lie in a small locket. Mr. _Taylor_
has divided his share into many small parcels; and the lock which I
saw in Mr. _Laming’s_ hands on Saturday morning, the 7th, and which
then measured six inches and a half, had been so cut and reduced by
divisions among Mr. _Laming’s_ friends, at noon, on Monday, the 9th,
that he thus possessed only a small bit, from two to three inches in

All the teeth are remarkably short, below the gums. The five which
were in the upper jaw, and the middle teeth of the lower, are perfect
and white. Mr. _Fountain_ took the five upper jaw teeth; Mr. _Laming_
one from the lower jaw; Mr. _Taylor_ two from it; _Hawkesworth_ one;
and another of Mr. _Ascough’s_ men one; besides these, I have not been
able to trace any, nor have I heard that any more were taken. It is
not probable that more than ten should have been brought away, if the
conjecture of the overseers, that some dropped among the other bones,
be founded.

       *       *       *       *       *

In recording a transaction which will strike every liberal mind with
horror and disgust, I cannot omit to declare that I have procured
those relics which I possess, only in hope of bearing part in a pious
and honourable restitution of all that has been taken; the sole
atonement which can now be made to the violated rights of the dead; to
the insulted parishioners at large; and to the feelings of all good
men. During the present repair of the church, the mode is obvious and
easy. Unless that be done, in vain will the parish hereafter boast a
sumptuous monument to the memory of _Milton_; it will but display their
shame in proportion to its magnificence.

I collected this account from the mouths of those who were immediate
actors in this most sacrilegious scene; and before the voice of charity
had reproached them with their impiety. By it those are exculpated
whose just and liberal sentiments restrained their hands from an act of
violation, and the blood of the lamb is dashed against the door-posts
of the perpetrators, not to save, but to mark them to posterity.


  Furnival’s Inn,
  14th of August, 1790.

This Mr. Neve, whose pious horror at the sacrilegious desecration of
the poet’s tomb seems only to have been awakened at the eleventh hour,
and whose restitution of the relics he obtained does not appear, was
probably the P.N. who was the author, in 1789, of ‘Cursory Remarks
on some of the Ancient English Poets, particularly Milton.’ It is a
work of some erudition, but the hero of the book, as its title plainly
shows, was Milton. Neve places him in the first rank, and can hardly
find words with which to extol his genius and intellect, so that,
probably, some hero-worship was interwoven in the foregoing relation
of the discovery of Milton’s body; and it may be as well if the other
side were heard, although the attempt at refutation is by no means as
well authenticated as Neve’s narrative. It is anonymous, and appeared
in the _St. James’s Chronicle_, September 4-7th, 1790, and in the
_European Magazine_, vol. xviii, pp. 206-7, for September, 1790, and is
as follows:


    _Reasons why it is impossible that the Coffin lately dug up in
    the Parish Church of St. Giles, Cripplegate, should contain the
    reliques of_ MILTON.

_First._ BECAUSE _Milton_ was buried in 1674, and this coffin was found
in a situation previously allotted to a wealthy family, unconnected
with his own.--See the mural monument of the _Smiths_, dated 1653, &c.,
immediately over the place of the supposed MILTON’S interment.--In
the time that the fragments of several other sarcophagi were found;
together with two skulls, many bones, and a leaden coffin, which was
left untouched because it lay further to the north, and (for some
reason, or no reason at all) was unsuspected of being the _Miltonic_

_Secondly._ The hair of MILTON is uniformly described and represented
as of a light hue; but far the greater part of the ornament of his
pretended skull is of the darkest brown, without any mixture of
gray.[18] This difference is irreconcilable to probability. Our hair,
after childhood, is rarely found to undergo a total change of colour,
and MILTON was 66 years old when he died, a period at which human
locks, in a greater or less degree, are interspersed with white. Why
did the Overseers, &c., bring away only such hair as corresponded with
the description of _Milton’s_? Of the light hair there was little; of
the dark a considerable quantity. But this circumstance would have been
wholly suppressed, had not a second scrutiny taken place.

_Thirdly._ Because the skull in question is remarkably flat and small,
and with the lowest of all possible foreheads; whereas the head of
MILTON was large, and his brow conspicuously high. See his portrait so
often engraved by the accurate _Vertue_, who was completely satisfied
with the authenticity of his original. We are assured that the surgeon
who attended at the second disinterment of the corpse only remarked,
‘that the little forehead there was, was prominent.’

_Fourthly._ Because the hands of MILTON were full of chalk stones.
Now it chances that his substitute’s left hand had been undisturbed,
and therefore was in a condition to be properly examined. No vestige,
however, of cretaceous substances was visible in it, although they
are of a lasting nature, and have been found on the fingers of a dead
person almost coeval with MILTON.

_Fifthly._ Because there is reason to believe that the aforesaid
remains are those of a young female (one of the three Miss _Smiths_);
for the bones are delicate, the teeth small, slightly inserted in the
jaw, and perfectly white, even, and sound. From the corroded state
of the pelvis, nothing could, with certainty, be inferred; nor would
the surgeon already mentioned pronounce _absolutely_ on the sex of the
deceased. Admitting, however, that the body was a male one, its very
situation points it out to be a male of the _Smith_ family; perhaps
the favourite son _John_, whom _Richard Smith_, Esq., his father, so
feelingly laments. (See Peck’s ‘_Desiderata Curiosa_,’ p. 536).[19]
To this darling child a receptacle of lead might have been allotted,
though many other relatives of the same house were left to putrefy in

_Sixthly._ Because MILTON was not in affluence[20]--expired in an
emaciated state, in a cold month, and was interred by direction of his
widow. An expensive outward coffin of lead, therefore, was needless,
and unlikely to have been provided by a rapacious woman who oppressed
her husband’s children while he was living, and cheated them after he
was dead.

_Seventhly._ Because it is improbable that the circumstance of MILTON’S
having been deposited under the desk should, if true, have been so
effectually concealed from the whole train of his biographers. It was,
nevertheless, produced as an ancient and well-known tradition, as soon
as the parishioners of Cripplegate were aware that such an incident
was gaped for by antiquarian appetence, and would be swallowed by
antiquarian credulity. How happened it that Bishop _Newton_, who urged
similar inquiries concerning MILTON above forty years ago in the same
parish, could obtain no such information?[21]

_Eighthly._ Because Mr. _Laming_ (see Mr. _Neve’s_ pamphlet, second
edition, p. 19) observes that the ‘sludge’ at the bottom of the coffin
‘emitted a nauseous smell.’ But, had this corpse been as old as that
of MILTON, it must have been disarmed of its power to offend, nor
would have supplied the least effluvium to disgust the nostrils of
our delicate inquirer into the secrets of the grave. The last remark
will seem to militate against a foregoing one. The whole difficulty,
however, may be solved by a resolution not to believe a single word
said on such an occasion by any of those who invaded the presumptive
sepulchre of MILTON. The man who can handle pawned stays, breeches,
and petticoats without disgust may be supposed to have his organs of
smelling in no very high state of perfection.

_Ninthly._ Because we have not been told by _Wood_, _Philips_,
_Richardson_, _Toland_, etc., that Nature, among her other partialities
to MILTON, had indulged him with an uncommon share of teeth. And yet
above a hundred have been sold as the furniture of his mouth by the
conscientious worthies who assisted in the plunder of his supposed
carcase, and finally submitted it to every insult that brutal vulgarity
could devise and express. Thanks to fortune, however, his corpse
has hitherto been violated but by proxy! May his genuine reliques
(if aught of him remains unmingled with common earth) continue to
elude research, at least while the present overseers of the poor of
Cripplegate are in office. Hard, indeed, would have been the fate of
the author of ‘Paradise Lost’ to have received shelter in a chancel,
that a hundred and sixteen years after his interment his _domus ultima_
might be ransacked by two of the lowest human beings, a retailer of
spirituous liquors, and a man who lends sixpences to beggars on such
despicable securities as tattered bed-gowns, cankered porridge-pots,
and rusty gridirons.[22] _Cape saxa manu, cape robora, pastor!_ But an
Ecclesiastical Court may yet have cognisance of this more than savage
transaction. It will then be determined whether our tombs are our own,
or may be robbed with impunity by the little tyrants of a workhouse.

    ‘If charnel-houses, and our graves, must send
    Those that we bury back, our monuments
    Shall be the maws of kites.’

It should be added that our Pawnbroker, Gin-seller, and Company, by
deranging the contents of their ideal MILTON’S coffin, by carrying away
his lower jaw, ribs, and right hand--and by employing one bone as an
instrument to batter the rest--by tearing the shroud and winding-sheet
to pieces, &c., &c., had annihilated all such further evidence as might
have been collected from a skilful and complete examination of these
nameless fragments of mortality. So far, indeed, were they mutilated
that, had they been genuine, we could not have said with Horace,

    ‘Invenies etiam disjecti membra Poetæ.’

Who, after a perusal of the foregoing remarks (which are founded on
circumstantial truth), will congratulate the parishioners of St. Giles,
Cripplegate, on their discovery and treatment of the imaginary dust
of MILTON? His favourite, _Shakespeare_, most fortunately reposes at
a secure distance from the paws of Messieurs _Laming_ and _Fountain_,
who, otherwise, might have provoked the vengeance imprecated by our
great dramatic poet on the remover of his bones.

From the preceding censures, however, Mr. _Cole_ (Churchwarden), and
Messrs. _Strong_ and _Ascough_ (Vestry and Parish Clerks), should,
in the most distinguished manner, be exempted. Throughout the whole
of this extraordinary business, they conducted themselves with the
strictest decency and propriety. It should also be confessed, by those
whom curiosity has since attracted to the place of MILTON’S supposed
disinterment, that the politeness of the same parish officers could
only be exceeded by their respect for our illustrious author’s memory,
and their concern at the complicated indignity which his nominal ashes
have sustained.’

Now it was hardly likely that Mr. Neve, with the extremely plausible
case that he had, would sit still and see his pet theory knocked on the
head, so he issued a second edition of his pamphlet with this


As some reports have been circulated, and some anonymous papers have
appeared, since the publication of this pamphlet, with intent to induce
a belief that the corpse mentioned in it is that of a woman, and as
the curiosity of the public now calls for a second impression of it,
an opportunity is offered of relating a few circumstances which have
happened since the 14th of August, and which, in some degree, may
confirm the opinion that the corpse is that of _Milton_.

On Monday, the 16th, I called upon the overseer, Mr. _Fountain_, when
he told me that the parish officers had then seen a surgeon who, on
Wednesday the 4th, had got through a window into the church, and who
had, upon inspection, pronounced the corpse to be that of a woman.
I thought it very improbable that a surgeon should creep through a
window, who could go through a door for a few half-pence; but I no
otherwise expressed my doubts of the truth of the information than by
asking for the surgeon’s address. I was answered ‘that the gentleman
begged not to have it known, that he might not be interrupted by
enquiries.’ A trifling relic was, nevertheless, at the same time
withholden, which I had expected to receive through Mr. _Fountain’s_
hands; by which it appeared that those in possession of them were,
still tenacious of the spoils of the coffin, although they affected to
be convinced they were not those of _Milton_. These contradictions,
however, I reserved for the test of an inquiry elsewhere.

In the course of that week I was informed that some gentlemen had, on
Tuesday, the 17th, prevailed on the churchwardens to suffer a second
disinterment of the coffin, which had taken place on that day. On
Saturday, the 21st, I waited on Mr. _Strong_, who told me that he had
been present at such second disinterment, and that he had then sent
for an experienced surgeon of the neighbourhood, who, upon inspection
and examination of the corpse, had pronounced it to be that of a man.
I was also informed, on that day, the 21st, by a principal person of
the parish, whose information cannot be suspected, that the parish
officers had agreed among themselves that, from my frequent visits and
inquiries, I must have an intention of delivering some account of the
transaction to the world; and that, therefore, to stop the narrative
from going forth, they must invent some story of a surgeon’s inspection
on the 4th, and of his declaration that the corpse was that of a woman.
From this information it was easy to judge what would be the fate of
any personal application to the parish officers, with intent to obtain
a restitution of what had been taken from the coffin I, therefore, on
Wednesday, the 25th, addressed the following letter to Mr. _Strong_:--

       *       *       *       *       *


‘The reflection of a few moments, after I left you on Saturday,
clearly showed me that the probability of the coffin in question being
_Milton’s_ was not at all weakened, either by the dates, or the number
of persons on the _Smiths’_ monument; but that it was rather confirmed
by the latter circumstance. By the evidence which you told me was given
by the surgeon, called in on Tuesday, the 17th, the corpse is that of a
male; it is certainly not that of a man of eighty-five; if, therefore,
it be one of the earlier buried _Smiths_, all the later coffins of that
family should appear, but not one of them is found. I, then, suppose
the monument to have been put there because the flat pillar, after
the pulpit was removed, offered a convenient situation for it, and
“_near this place_” to be open, as it is in almost every case where it
appears, to very liberal interpretation.

‘It is, therefore, to be believed that the unworthy treatment, on the
4th, was offered to the corpse of _Milton_. Knowing what I know, I must
not be silent. It is a very unpleasant story to relate; but, as it has
fallen to my task, I will not shrink from it. I respect nothing in
this world more than truth, and the memory of _Milton_; and to swerve
in a tittle from the first would offend the latter. I shall give the
plain and simple narrative, as delivered by the parties themselves.
If it sit heavy on any of their shoulders, it is a burthen of their
own taking up, and their own backs must bear it. They are all, as I
find, very fond of deriving honour to themselves from _Milton_, as
their parishioner; perhaps the mode, which I have hinted, is the only
one which they have now left themselves of proving an equal desire
to do honour to him. If I had thought that, in personally proposing
to the parish officers a general search for, and collection of, all
the spoils, and to put them, together with the mangled corpse and old
coffin, into a new leaden one, I should have been attended to, I would
have taken that method; but, when I found such impertinent inventions
as setting up a fabulous surgeon to creep in at a window practised, I
felt that so low an attempt at derision would ensure that, whatever I
should afterwards propose, would be equally derided, and I had then
left no other means than to call in the public opinion in aid of my
own, and to hope that we should, at length, see the bones of an honest
man, and the first scholar and poet our country can boast, restored to
their sepulchre.

‘The narrative will appear, I believe, either to-morrow or on Friday;
whenever it does, your withers are unwrung, and Mr. _Cole_ has shown
himself an upright churchwarden.

‘I cannot conclude without returning you many thanks for your great
civilities, and am, &c.’

The corpse was found entirely mutilated by those who disinterred it
on the 17th; almost all the ribs, the lower jaw, and one of the hands
gone. Of all those who saw the body on Wednesday, the 4th, and on
Thursday, the 5th, there is not one person who discovered a single hair
of any other colour than light brown, although both Mr. _Laming_ and
Mr. _Ellis_ lifted up the head, and although the considerable quantity
of hair which Mr. _Taylor_ took was from the top of the head, and that
which _Ellis_ took was from behind it; yet, from the accounts of those
who saw it on the 17th, it appears that the hair on the back of the
head was found of dark brown, nearly approaching to black, although all
the front hair remaining was of the same light brown as that taken on
the 4th. It does not belong to me either to account for or to prove the

On Wednesday, September the 1st, I waited on Mr. _Dyson_, who was the
gentleman sent for on the 17th, to examine the corpse. I asked him
simply, whether, from what had then appeared before him, he judged it
to be male or female? His answer was that, having examined the pelvis
and the skull, he judged the corpse to be that of a man. I asked what
was the shape of the head? He said that the forehead was high and
erect, though the top of the head was flat; and added that the skull
was of that shape and flatness at the top which, differing from those
of blacks, is observed to be common and almost peculiar to persons
of very comprehensive intellects. I am a stranger to this sort of
knowledge, but the opinion is a strong confirmation that, from all the
premises before him, he judged the head to be that of _Milton_. On a
paper, which he showed me, enclosing a bit of the hair, he had written
‘_Milton’s hair_.’

Mr. _Dyson_ is a surgeon, who received his professional education under
the late Dr. _Hunter_, is in partnership with Mr. _Price_, in Fore
Street, where the church stands, is of easy access, and his affability
can be exceeded only by his skill in an extensive line of practice.

Mr. _Taylor_, too, who is a surgeon of considerable practice and
eminence in his county, judged the corpse, on the 4th, to be that of a

A man, also, who has for many years acted as grave-digger in that
parish, and who was present on the 17th, decided, upon first sight of
the skull, that it was male; with as little hesitation, he pronounced
another, which had been thrown out of the ground in digging, to be that
of a woman. Decisions obviously the result of practical, rather than
of scientific knowledge; for, being asked his reasons, he could give
none, but that observation had taught him to distinguish such subjects.
Yet this latter sort of evidence is not to be too hastily rejected; it
may not be understood by everybody, but to anyone acquainted with those
who are eminently skilled in judging of the genuineness of ancient
coins, it will be perfectly intelligible. In that difficult and useful
art, the eye of a proficient decides at once; a novice, however, who
should inquire for the reasons of such decision, would seldom receive
a further answer than that the decision itself is the result of
experience and observation, and that the eye can be instructed only by
long familiarity with the subject; yet all numismatic knowledge rests
upon this sort of judgment.

After these evidences, what proofs are there, or what probable
presumptions, that the corpse is that of a woman?

It was necessary to relate these facts, not only as they belonged to
the subject, but lest, from the reports and papers above mentioned, I
might, otherwise, seem to have given either an unfaithful or a partial
statement of the evidences before me; whereas now it will clearly be
seen what facts appeared on the first disinterment, which preceded, and
what are to be attributed to the second, which succeeded the date of
the narrative.

I have now added every circumstance which has hitherto come to my
knowledge relative to this extraordinary transaction, and conclude with
this declaration, that I should be very glad if any person would, from
facts, give me reason to believe that the corpse in question is rather
that of _Elizabeth Smith_, whose name I know only from her monument,
than that of _John Milton_.

  P. N.’

  ‘8th of September, 1790.’


The only knowledge which very many people possess of the life and crime
of Eugene Aram has been derived from the popular romance bearing his
name, written by the late Lord Lytton. And this nobleman, influenced
by his individual bias, has so woven fiction with a small modicum of
fact, as to render the story, as a history of a celebrated crime,
totally unreliable. Stripped of the gloss Lord Lytton has given it,
and revealed in its bare nakedness, it shows Eugene Aram in a very
different light from the solitary scholar, surrounded by books, with
high, romantic aspirations and noble thoughts, winning the love of a
pure and lovely girl; it shows us instead a poor country school-master,
clever, but self-taught, married to a common woman, whose very faith
he doubted, struggling with poverty, and heavily weighed down with
several children; it paints him as a man whose companions were sordid
and dishonest, whilst he himself was a liar, a thief, and a murderer,
a selfish man who scrupled not to leave wife and children to shift for
themselves, a man untrustworthy in his relations of life.

Eugenius, or Eugene Aram was born in the year 1704,[23] at Ramsgill, a
little village in Netherdale, Yorkshire, and his father was a gardener,
as he says, of great abilities in botany, and an excellent draughtsman,
who served Dr. Compton, Bishop of London, and, afterwards, Sir Edward
Blackett, of Newby, and Sir John Ingilby, of Ripley. When he was five
or six years of age, the family removed to Bondgate, near Ripon, his
father having purchased a little property there. Here he was sent to
school, and was taught in a purely elementary manner to be capable of
reading the New Testament, and this was all the education his parents
gave him, with the exception of about a month’s schooling some long
time afterwards with the Rev. Mr. Alcock of Burnsal.

When about thirteen or fourteen, he joined his father at Newby, till
the death of Sir Edward Blackett, and, his father having several
books on mathematics, and the boy being of a studious turn of mind,
he mastered their contents, and laid the foundation of his future
scholarship. When about sixteen years of age, he went to London to
be in the counting-house of Mr. Christopher Blackett as bookkeeper;
but he had not been there more than a year or two when he caught
the small-pox, and, on his recovery, went home into Yorkshire. His
native air soon restored him to health, and he studied hard at poetry,
history, and antiquities. He thus fitted himself for keeping a school,
which he opened in Netherdale, and continued there for many years
teaching and studying. There he married, as he says, ‘unfortunately
enough for me, for the misconduct of the wife which that place afforded
me has procured for me this place, this prosecution, this infamy, and
this sentence.’

During these years he read the Latin and Greek authors, and obtained
such a name for scholarship that he was invited to Knaresborough to
keep a school there. He removed thither in the year 1734, and continued
there until about six weeks after the murder of Daniel Clark. In the
meantime he had mastered Hebrew, and when he went to London he got a
situation to teach Latin, and writing, at a school in Piccadilly, kept
by a Monsieur Painblanc, who not only gave him a salary, but taught
him French. There he remained over two years, then went to Hays as a
writing-master, after which he wandered from situation to situation, at
one time earning his living by copying for a law-stationer. At last,
somehow, he found himself an usher at the Free School at Lynn, where he
lived until he was arrested for the murder of Daniel Clark.

This man was a shoemaker at Knaresborough, and was an intimate visitor
at Aram’s house--too intimate, indeed, Aram thought, with his wife,
hence the reference to his wife previously quoted. He was a man of
bad character, and was more than suspected of having, in company of
another vagabond named Houseman, murdered a Jew boy, who travelled the
country for one Levi as a pedlar, carrying a box containing watches and
jewellery. The poor lad was decoyed to a place called Thistle Hill,
where he was robbed, murdered, and buried. This was about the year
1744, and his bones were not found until 1758.

Richard Houseman, who was born the same year as Aram, was a near
neighbour of the latter’s--in fact, he lived next door, and his
occupation was that of a heckler of flax, when he gave out to the women
of the village to spin for him. But, according to his own statement, he
was a most unscrupulous black-guard.

Another intimate of Aram’s was a publican, named Terry, but he only
played a subsidiary part in the drama, and nothing was ever brought
home to him.

In January, 1745, Clark married a woman with a small fortune of about
two hundred pounds, and, immediately afterwards, this little nest of
rogues contrived and carried out the following swindle. Clark, as he
was known to have married a woman of some little money, was to obtain
goods of any description from whomsoever would part with them on
credit; these goods were to be deposited with, and hidden by, Aram and
Houseman, and, after plundering all that was possible, Clark was to
decamp, and leave his young wife to do the best she could. This was the
scheme in which the noble and refined Eugene Aram of Lord Lytton was
to, and did, bear his full part.

Velvet from one man, leather from another, whips from a third, table
and bed linen from a fourth, money lent by a fifth--all was fish that
came to their net; and, when obtained, they were hidden on the premises
either of Aram or Houseman, or else in a place called St. Robert’s
Cave, which was situated in a field adjoining the Nid, a river near
Knaresborough. When this source was thoroughly exploited, a new scheme
was hit on by this ‘long firm.’ Clark should pretend to be about to
give a great wedding-feast, and he went about gaily, borrowing silver
tankards, salvers, salts, spoons, &c., from whoever would lend them.
Indeed, so multifarious were his perquisitions, that, according to one
contemporary account, he got, among other goods, the following: ‘three
silver tankards, four silver pints, one silver milk-pot, one ring set
with an emerald, and two brilliant diamonds, another with three rose
diamonds, a third with an amethyst in the shape of a heart, and six
plain rings, eight watches, two snuff-boxes, Chambers’ Dictionary, two
vols. folio, Pope’s “Homer,” six vols., bound.’

Having got all that could be got, it was now high time that Clark
should disappear. He was last seen on the early morning of the 8th
February, 1745, and from that time until August 1, 1758, nothing
was heard of him. He was supposed to have gone away with all his
booty--and yet not all of it, for suspicion was aroused that both Aram
and Houseman, from their intimacy with Clark, were accomplices in his
frauds. And so it clearly proved, for, on Aram’s house being searched,
several articles were found the produce of their joint roguery, and
in his garden were found buried, cambric and other goods, wrapped
in coarse canvas. Still, neither he, nor Houseman, nor Terry were
prosecuted,[24] but Aram thought it prudent to change his residence;
so one fine day he left his wife and family, and wandered forth. We
have seen the roving life he led, restless, and always changing his
abode; yet, during those thirteen years of shifting exile, it must be
said, to his credit, that no breath of scandal attached to him; he was
studious, somewhat morose, yet he was so liked by the boys at the
grammar-school at Lynn, that, when he was taken thence by the officers
of justice, they cried at losing him.

Whilst at Lynn, he was recognised in June, 1758, by a horse-dealer,
and this recognition eventually led to his apprehension; for, during
that summer, a labourer, digging for stone or gravel at a place
called Thistle Hill, near Knaresborough, found, at the depth of two
feet, a skeleton, which appeared to have been buried doubled up. The
remembrance of Clark’s disappearance was at once awakened, and the body
was set down as being his.

A country town has a keen recollection of anything which has occurred
disturbing its equal pace, and the connection of Aram and Houseman
with Clark was duly remembered. Aram was away, but Houseman still
lived among them, and he was ordered by the coroner to attend the
inquest. The principal witness was Anna Aram, Eugene’s wife, and she
had frequently, since her husband’s departure, dropped hints of her
suspicion that Clark had been murdered. Her evidence is clear. She
said that Daniel Clark was an intimate acquaintance of her husband’s,
and that they had frequent transactions together before the 8th of
February, 1744-5, and that Richard Houseman was often with them;
particularly that, on the 7th of February, 1744-5, about six o’clock
in the evening, Aram came home when she was washing in the kitchen,
upon which he directed her to put out the fire, and make one above
stairs; she accordingly did so. About two o’clock in the morning of the
8th of February, Aram, Clark, and Houseman came to Aram’s house, and
went upstairs to the room where she was. They stayed about an hour.
Her husband asked her for a handkerchief for Dickey (meaning Richard
Houseman) to tie about his head; she accordingly lent him one. Then
Clark said, ‘It will soon be morning, and we must get off.’ After which
Aram, Houseman, and Clark all went out together; that, upon Clark’s
going out, she observed him take a sack or wallet upon his back, which
he carried along with him; whither they went she could not tell. That
about five o’clock the same morning her husband and Houseman returned,
but Clark did not come with them. Her husband came upstairs, and
desired to have a candle that he might make a fire below. To which she
objected, and said, ‘There was no occasion for two fires, as there was
a good one in the room above, where she then was.’ To which Aram, her
husband, answered, ‘Dickey’ (meaning Richard Houseman) ‘was below,
and did not choose to come upstairs.’ Upon which she asked (Clark not
returning with them), ‘What had they done with Daniel?’ To this her
husband gave her no answer, but desired her to go to bed, which she
refused to do, and told him, ‘They had been doing something bad.’ Then
Aram went down with the candle.

She, being desirous to know what her husband and Houseman were doing,
and being about to go downstairs, she heard Houseman say to Aram,

‘She is coming.’

Her husband replied, ‘We’ll not let her.’

Houseman then said, ‘If she does, she’ll tell.’

‘What can she tell?’ replied Aram. ‘Poor simple thing! she knows

To which Houseman said, ‘If she tells that I am here, ‘twill be

Her husband then said, ‘I will hold the door to prevent her from

Whereupon Houseman said, ‘Something must be done to prevent her
telling,’ and pressed him to it very much, and said, ‘If she does not
tell now, she may at some other time.’

‘No,’ said her husband, ‘we will coax her a little until her passion be
off, and then take an opportunity to shoot her.’

Upon which Houseman appeared satisfied and said, ‘What must be done
with her clothes?’ Whereupon they both agreed that they would let her
lie where she was shot in her clothes.

She, hearing this discourse, was much terrified, but remained quiet,
until near seven o’clock in the same morning, when Aram and Houseman
went out of the house. Upon which Mrs. Aram, coming down-stairs, and
seeing there had been a fire below and all the ashes taken out of the
grate, she went and examined the dung-hill; and, perceiving ashes of
a different kind to lie upon it, she searched amongst them, and found
several pieces of linen and woollen cloth, very near burnt, which had
the appearance of belonging to wearing apparel. When she returned into
the house from the dung-hill, she found the handkerchief she had lent
Houseman the night before; and, looking at it, she found some blood
upon it, about the size of a shilling. Upon which she immediately went
to Houseman, and showed him the pieces of cloth she had found, and said
‘she was afraid they had done something bad to Clark.’ But Houseman
then pretended he was a stranger to her accusation, and said ‘he knew
nothing what she meant.’

From the above circumstances she believed Daniel Clark to have been
murdered by Richard Houseman and Eugene Aram, on the 8th of February,

Several witnesses gave evidence that the last persons seen with Clark
were Aram and Houseman, and two surgeons gave it as their opinion that
the body might have lain in the ground about thirteen or fourteen years.

During the inquiry Houseman seemed very uneasy: he trembled, turned
pale, and faltered in his speech; and when, at the instigation of the
coroner, in accordance with the superstitious practice of the time,
he went to touch the bones, he was very averse so to do. At last he
mustered up courage enough to take up one of the bones in his hand;
but, immediately throwing it down again, he exclaimed: ‘This is no more
Dan Clark’s bone than it is mine!’ He further said he could produce a
witness who had seen Clark after the 8th of February; and he called on
Parkinson, who deposed that, personally, he had not seen Clark after
that time, but a friend of his (Parkinson’s) had told him that he had
met a person like Daniel Clark, but as it was a snowy day, and the
person had the cape of his great-coat up, he could not say with the
least degree of certainty who he was.

Of course, this witness did not help Houseman a bit, and then the
suspicion increased that he was either the principal, or an accomplice
in Clark’s murder. Application was made to a magistrate, who granted a
warrant for his apprehension. At his examination he made a statement,
which he would not sign, saying, ‘He chose to waive it for the present;
for he might have something to add, and therefore desired to have time
to consider of it.’ This confirmed former suspicions, and he was
committed to York Castle.

On his way thither he was very uneasy, and, hearing that the magistrate
who committed him was at that time in York, he asked him to be sent
for, and he made the following statement:

_The examination of Richard Houseman, of Knaresbrough, flax-dresser._

‘This examinant saies that true it is that Daniel Clark was murdered by
Eugene Aram, late of Knaresbrough, schoolmaster, and, as he believes,
it was on Friday morning, the 8th of February, 1744, as set forth by
other informations, as to matter of time; for that he, and Eugene Aram
and Daniel Clark were together at Aram’s house early in the morning,
when there was snow on the ground, and moonlight, and went out of
Aram’s house a little before them, and went up the street a little
before them, and they called to him to go a little way with them; and
he accordingly went with them to a place called St. Robert’s Cave, near
Grimble Bridge, where Aram and Clark stopt a little; and then he saw
Aram strike him several times over the breast and head, and saw him
fall, as if he was dead, and he, the examinant, came away and left them
together, but whether Aram used any weapon or not to kill him with, he
can’t tell, nor does he know what he did with the body afterwards, but
believes Aram left it at the Cave’s mouth; for this examinant, seeing
Aram do this, to which, he declares, he was no way abetting, or privy
to, nor knew of his design to kill him at all. This made the examinant
make the best of his way from him, lest he might share the same fate;
and got to the bridge-end, and then lookt back, and saw him coming from
the Caveside, which is in a private rock adjoining the river; and he
could discern some bundle in his hand, but does not know what it was.
On which he, this informant, made the best of his way to the town,
without joining Aram again, or seeing him again till the next day, and
from that time to this, he has never had any private discourse with

After signing this statement, Houseman said that Clark’s body would be
found in St. Robert’s Cave, in the turn at the entrance of the cave,
its head lying to the right; and, sure enough, in the spot described,
and in that position, was a skeleton found, with two holes in its
skull, made apparently with a pickaxe or hammer.

A warrant was at once issued for the apprehension of Aram, and duly
executed at Lynn. When first questioned, he denied ever having been at
Knaresborough, or that he had ever known Daniel Clark; but when he was
confronted with the constable from Knaresborough, he was obliged to
retract his words. On the journey to York, Aram was restless, inquiring
after his old neighbours, and what they said of him. He was told
that they were much enraged against him for the loss of their goods.
Whereupon he asked if it would not be possible to make up the matter?
and the answer was, perhaps it might be, if he restored what they had
lost. He then said that was impossible, but he might, perhaps, find
them an equivalent.

On his arrival at York, he was taken before a magistrate, to whom he
made a statement, which was a parcel of lies. He was committed to York
Castle, but had not gone more than a mile on his way thither when he
wished to return and make a second statement, which was as follows:

‘That he was at his own house on the 7th of February, 1744-5, at night,
when Richard Houseman and Daniel Clark came to him with some plate;
and both of them went for more, several times, and came back with
several pieces of plate, of which Clark was endeavouring to defraud his
neighbours; that he could not but observe that Houseman was all night
very diligent to assist him to the utmost of his power, and insisted
that this was Houseman’s business that night, and not the signing any
note or instrument, as is pretended by Houseman; that Henry Terry,
then of Knaresborough, ale-keeper, was as much concerned in abetting
the said frauds as either Houseman or Clark; but was not now at Aram’s
house, because as it was market-day--his absence from his guests might
have occasioned some suspicion; that Terry, notwithstanding, brought
two silver tankards that night, upon Clark’s account, which had been
fraudulently obtained; and that Clark, so far from having borrowed
twenty pounds of Houseman, to his knowledge never borrowed more than
nine pounds, which he paid again before that night.

‘That all the leather Clark had--which amounted to a considerable
value--he well knows was concealed under flax in Houseman’s house, with
intent to be disposed of by little and little, in order to prevent
suspicion of his being concerned in Clark’s fraudulent practices.

‘That Terry took the plate in a bag, as Clark and Houseman did the
watches, rings, and several small things of value, and carried them
into the flat, where they and he’ (Aram) ‘went together to St. Robert’s
Cave, and beat most of the plate flat. It was thought too late in the
morning, being about four o’clock, on the 8th of February, 1744-5, for
Clark to go off, so as to get to any distance; it was therefore agreed
he should stay there till the night following, and Clark, accordingly,
stayed there all that day, as he believes, they having agreed to send
him victuals, which were carried to him by Henry Terry, he being judged
the most likely person to do it without suspicion; for, as he was a
shooter, he might go thither under the pretence of sporting; that the
next night, in order to give Clark more time to get off, Henry Terry,
Richard Houseman, and himself went down to the cave very early; but he’
(Aram) ‘did not go in, or see Clark at all; that Richard Houseman and
Henry Terry only went into the cave, he staying to watch at a little
distance on the outside, lest anybody should surprise them.

‘That he believes they were beating some plate, for he heard them make
a noise. They stayed there about an hour, and then came out of the
cave, and told him that Clark was gone off. Observing a bag they had
along with them, he took it in his hand, and saw that it contained
plate. On asking why Daniel did not take the plate along with him,
Terry and Houseman replied that they had bought it of him, as well as
the watches, and had given him money for it, that being more convenient
for him to go off with, as less cumbersome and dangerous. After which
they all three went into Houseman’s warehouse, and concealed the
watches, with the small plate, there; but that Terry carried away with
him the great plate; that, afterwards, Terry told him he carried it to
How Hill, and hid it there, and then went into Scotland and disposed of
it; but as to Clark, he could not tell whether he was murdered or not,
he knew nothing of him, only they told him he was gone off.’

Terry, being thus implicated, was arrested and committed to gaol; but
the prosecutors for the crown, after the bills of indictment were
preferred against all three, finding their proof insufficient to obtain
a conviction at the coming assizes, prevailed on the judge to hold
the case over until the Lammas Assizes. There was not enough outside
evidence to convict them all; evidence, if any, could only be furnished
by the criminals themselves. There was sufficient to convict either
Aram or Houseman singly, if one or other would tell the truth, and all
he knew; so after many consultations as to the person whom it was most
advisable and just to punish, it was unanimously agreed that Aram,
who from his education and position was the worst of the lot, should
be punished, and in order to do so it was necessary to try to acquit
Houseman, who would then be available as evidence against Aram. The
case against Terry was so slight, that he was, perforce, let go.

On Friday, 3rd of August, 1759, the trials took place, and Houseman
was first arraigned, but there being no evidence against him he was
acquitted, to the great surprise and regret of everyone who was not
behind the scenes.

Then Aram was put in the dock to stand his trial, and deep, indeed,
must have been his disgust, when he found his accomplice, Houseman,
step into the witness-box and tell his version (undoubtedly perjured)
of the murder. His evidence was, except in a few minor particulars,
similar to his previous statement. Sweet innocent! When he saw Aram
strike Clark, he made haste home, and knew nothing of the disposal of
the body until the next morning, when Aram called on him, and told him
he had left it in the cave, and dire were his threats of vengeance
should Houseman ever disclose the dread secret of that eventful night.

After this sensational evidence the other witnesses must have seemed
very tame. Clark’s servant proved that his master had just received
his wife’s little portion, and that Aram was perfectly cognizant
thereof. Another witness deposed to seeing Houseman come out of Aram’s
house about one o’clock in the morning of the 8th of February. A
third deposed to the recovery of some of his own goods of which Clark
had defrauded him, and which were found buried in Aram’s garden. The
constable who arrested him had a few words to say, and the skull was
produced in Court, when a surgical expert declared that the fractures
must have been produced by blows from some blunt instrument, and could
not possibly proceed from natural decay.

Aram was then called upon for his defence, and he produced a manuscript
of which the following is a copy. It is, as will be perceived, a
laboured and casuistical defence, not having a true ring about it, and
not at all like the utterance of a perfectly innocent man.

       *       *       *       *       *


I know not whether it is of right or through some indulgence of your
Lordship that I am allowed the liberty at this Bar and at this time to
attempt a defence, incapable, and uninstructed as I am to speak. Since,
while I see so many eyes upon me, so numerous and awful a concourse,
fixed with attention, and filled with I know not what expectancy, I
labour, not with guilt, my Lord, but with perplexity. For having never
seen a Court but this, being wholly unacquainted with law, the customs
of the Bar, and all judiciary proceedings, I fear I shall be so little
capable of speaking with propriety in this place, that it exceeds my
hope, if I shall be able to speak at all.

I have heard, my Lord, the indictment read, wherein I find myself
charged with the highest crime, with an enormity I am altogether
incapable of, a fact to the commission of which there goes far more
insensibility of heart, more profligacy of morals, than ever fell to my
lot. And nothing, possibly, could have admitted a presumption of this
nature, but a depravity not inferior to that imputed to me. However, as
I stand indicted at your Lordship’s Bar, and have heard what is called
evidence induced in support of such a charge, I very humbly solicit
your Lordship’s patience, and beg the hearing of this respectable
audience, while I, single and unskilful, destitute of friends, and
unassisted by counsel, say something, perhaps like an argument, in my
defence. I shall consume but little of your Lordship’s time; what I
have to say will be short, and this brevity, probably, will be the best
part of it. However, it is offered with all possible regard, and the
greatest submission to your Lordship’s consideration, and that of this
honourable Court.

_First._ My Lord, the whole tenor of my conduct in life contradicts
every particular of this indictment. Yet I had never said this, did
not my present circumstances extort it from me, and seem to make it
necessary. Permit me here, my Lord, to call upon malignity itself,
so long and cruelly busied in this prosecution, to charge upon me
any immorality, of which prejudice was not the author. No, my Lord,
I concerted not schemes of fraud, projected no violence, injured no
man’s person or property. My days were honestly laborious, my nights
intensely studious. And I humbly conceive my notice of this, especially
at this time, will not be thought impertinent or unreasonable, but, at
least, deserving some attention. Because, my Lord, that any person,
after a temperate use of life, a series of thinking and acting
regularly, and without one single deviation from sobriety, should
plunge into the very depth of profligacy, precipitately, and at once,
is altogether improbable and unprecedented, and absolutely inconsistent
with the course of things. Mankind is never corrupted at once; villainy
is always progressive, and declines from right, step after step, till
every regard of probity is lost, and all moral obligation totally

Again, my Lord, a suspicion of this kind, which nothing but malevolence
could entertain, and ignorance propagate, is violently opposed by my
very situation at that time, with respect to health. For, but a little
space before, I had been confined to my bed, and suffered under a very
long and severe disorder, and was not able, for half a year together,
so much as to walk. The distemper left me, indeed, yet slowly, and in
part; but so macerated, so enfeebled, that I was reduced to crutches,
and was so far from being well about the time I am charged with this
fact, that I never to this day perfectly recovered. Could, then, a
person in this condition take anything into his head so unlikely, so
extravagant? I, past the vigour of my age, feeble and valetudinary,
with no inducement to engage, no ability to accomplish, no weapon
wherewith to perpetrate such a fact; without interest, without power,
without motive, without means.

Besides, it must needs occur to everyone that an action of this
atrocious nature is never heard of, but, when its springs are laid
open, it appears that it was to support some indolence or supply some
luxury, to satisfy some avarice or oblige some malice, to prevent some
real, or some imaginary want; yet I lay not under the influence of any
one of these. Surely, my Lord, I may, consistent with both truth and
modesty, affirm thus much; and none who have any veracity, and knew me,
will ever question this.

In the second plea, the disappearance of Clark is suggested as an
argument of his being dead; but the uncertainty of such an inference
from that, and the fallibility of all conclusions of such a sort, from
such a circumstance, are too obvious and too notorious to require
instances; yet, superseding many, permit me to produce a very recent
one, and that afforded by this castle.

In June, 1757, William Thompson, for all the vigilance of this
place, in open daylight, and double-ironed, made his escape, and,
notwithstanding an immediate inquiry set on foot, the strictest search,
and all advertisements, was never seen or heard of since. If, then,
Thompson got off unseen, through all these difficulties, how very
easy was it for Clark, when none of them opposed him? But what would
be thought of a prosecution commenced against any one seen last with

Permit me next, my Lord, to observe a little upon the bones which have
been discovered. It is said, which, perhaps, is saying very far, that
these are the skeleton of a man. It is possible, indeed it may; but is
there any certain known criterion which incontestably distinguishes
the sex in human bones? Let it be considered, my Lord, whether the
ascertaining of this point ought not to precede any attempt to identify

The place of their deposition, too, claims much more attention than is
commonly bestowed upon it. For, of all places in the world, none could
have mentioned anyone wherein there was greater certainty of finding
human bones than an hermitage, except he should point out a churchyard.
Hermitages, in times past, being not only places of religious
retirement, but of burial, too, and it has scarce or never been heard
of, but that every cell now known, contains, or contained, these relics
of humanity, some mutilated and some entire. I do not inform, but give
me leave to remind, your Lordship, that here sat solitary sanctity, and
here the hermit, or the anchoress, hoped that repose for their bones,
when dead, they here enjoyed when living.

All this while, my Lord, I am sensible this is known to your Lordship,
and many in this Court, better than I. But it seems necessary to my
case, that others, who have not at all, perhaps, adverted to things
of this nature, and may have concern in my trial, should be made
acquainted with it. Suffer me, then, my Lord, to produce a few of many
evidences that these cells were used as repositories of the dead,
and to enumerate a few, in which human bones have been found, as it
happened in this in question, lest, to some, that accident might seem
extraordinary, and, consequently, occasion prejudice.

1. The bones, as was supposed, of the Saxon, St. Dubritius, were
discovered buried in his cell at Guy’s Cliff near Warwick, as appears
from the authority of Sir William Dugdale.

2. The bones, thought to be those of the anchoress Rosia, were but
lately discovered in a cell at Royston, entire, fair, and undecayed,
though they must have lain interred for several centuries, as is proved
by Dr. Stukeley.

3. But our own country, nay, almost this neighbourhood, supplies
another instance; for in January, 1747, was found by Mr. Stovin,
accompanied by a reverend gentleman, the bones in part of some recluse,
in the cell at Lindholm, near Hatfield. They were believed to be those
of William of Lindholm, a hermit, who had long made this cave his

4. In February, 1744, part of Woburn Abbey being pulled down, a large
portion of a corpse appeared, even with the flesh on, and which bore
cutting with a knife, though it is certain this had lain above two
hundred years, and how much longer is doubtful, for this abbey was
founded in 1145, and dissolved in 1558 or 1559.

What would have been said, what believed, if this had been an accident
to the bones in question?

Further, my Lord, it is not yet out of living memory that a little
distance from Knaresborough, in a field, part of the manor of the
worthy and patriotic baronet who does that borough the honour to
represent it in Parliament, were found, in digging for gravel, not one
human skeleton alone, but five or six, deposited side by side, with
each an urn placed at its head, as your Lordship knows was usual in
ancient interments.

About the same time, and in another field, almost close to this
borough, was discovered also, in searching for gravel, another human
skeleton; but the piety of the same worthy gentleman ordered both pits
to be filled up again, commendably unwilling to disturb the dead.

Is the invention[25] of these bones forgotten, then, or industriously
concealed, that the discovery of those in question may appear the
more singular and extraordinary? whereas, in fact, there is nothing
extraordinary in it. My Lord, almost every place conceals such remains.
In fields, in hills, in highway sides, and in commons lie frequent
and unsuspected bones. And our present allotments for rest for the
departed, is but of some centuries.

Another particular seems not to claim a little of your Lordship’s
notice, and that of the gentlemen of the jury; which is, that perhaps
no example occurs of more than _one_ skeleton being found in _one_
cell, and in the cell in question was found but _one_; agreeable, in
this, to the peculiarity of every other known cell in Britain. Not
the invention of one skeleton, then, but of two, would have appeared
suspicious and uncommon.

But then, my Lord, to attempt to identify these, when even to identify
living men sometimes has proved so difficult--as in the case of Perkin
Warbeck and Lambert Symnel at home, and of Don Sebastian abroad--will
be looked upon, perhaps, as an attempt to determine what is
indeterminable. And I hope, too, it will not pass unconsidered here,
where gentlemen believe with caution, think with reason, and decide
with humanity, what interest the endeavour to do this is calculated to
serve, in assigning proper personality to those bones, whose particular
appropriation can only appear to eternal omniscience.

Permit me, my Lord, also, very humbly to remonstrate that, as human
bones appear to have been the inseparable adjuncts of every cell, even
any person’s naming such a place at random as containing them, in this
case, shows him rather unfortunate, than conscious prescient, and that
these attendants on every hermitage only accidentally concurred with
this conjecture. A mere casual coincidence of _words_ and _things_.

But it seems another skeleton has been discovered by some labourer,
which was full as confidently averred to be Clark’s as this. My
Lord, must some of the living, if it promotes some interest, be made
answerable for all the bones that earth has concealed, and chance
exposed! and might not a place where bones lay, be mentioned by a
person by chance, as well as found by a labourer by chance? Or, is it
more criminal accidentally to _name_ where bones lie, than accidentally
to _find_ where they lie?

Here, too, is a human skull produced, which is fractured; but was
this the _cause_ or was it the consequence of death--was it owing to
violence, or was it the effect of natural decay? If it was violence,
was that violence before or after death? My Lord, in May, 1732, the
remains of William, Lord Archbishop of this province, were taken up by
permission, in this cathedral, and the bones of the skull were found
broken; yet certainly he died by no violence offered to him alive, that
could occasion that fracture there.

Let it be considered, my Lord, that upon the dissolution of religious
houses, and the commencement of the Reformation, the ravages of those
times affected the living and the dead. In search after imaginary
treasures, coffins were broken up, graves and vaults broken open,
monuments ransacked, and shrines demolished; your Lordship knows
that these violations proceeded so far, as to occasion parliamentary
authority to restrain them; and it did, about the beginning of the
reign of Queen Elizabeth. I entreat your Lordship, suffer not the
violence, the depredations, and the iniquities of these times to be
imputed to this.

Moreover, what gentleman here is ignorant that Knaresborough had a
castle, which, though How a ruin, was once considerable, both for its
strength and garrison. All know it was vigorously besieged by the arms
of the Parliament. At which siege, in sallies, conflicts, flights,
pursuits, many fell in all the places around it; and where they fell
were buried. For every place, my Lord, is burial-earth in war; and
many, questionless, of these yet rest unknown, whose bones futurity
shall discover.

I hope, with all imaginable submission, that what has been said will
not be thought impertinent to this indictment, and that it will be
far from the wisdom, the learning, and the integrity of this place to
impute to the living what zeal, in its fury, may have done; what nature
may have taken off, and piety interred; or what war alone may have
destroyed, alone deposited.

As to the circumstances that have been raked together, I have nothing
to observe; but that all circumstances whatsoever are precarious,
and have been but too frequently found lamentably fallible; even
the strongest have failed. They may rise to the utmost degree of
probability, yet they are but probability still. Why should I name
to your Lordship the two Harrisons, recorded in Dr. Howel, who both
suffered upon circumstances, because of the sudden disappearance of
their lodger, who was in credit, had contracted debts, borrowed money,
and went off unseen, and returned again a great many years after their
execution. Why name the intricate affair of Jaques du Moulin under King
Charles II., related by a gentleman who was counsel for the Crown.
And why the unhappy Coleman, who suffered innocent, though convicted
upon positive evidence, and whose children perished for want, because
the world uncharitably believed the father guilty. Why mention the
perjury of Smith, incautiously admitted king’s evidence; who, to screen
himself, equally accused Fainlotte and Loveday of the murder of Dunn;
the first of whom, in 1749, was executed at Winchester; and Loveday was
about to suffer at Reading, had not Smith been proved perjured, to the
satisfaction of the court, by the surgeon of Gosport Hospital.

Now, my Lord, having endeavoured to show that the whole of this
process is altogether repugnant to every part of my life; that it is
inconsistent with my condition of health about that time; that no
rational inference can be drawn that a person is dead who suddenly
disappears; that hermitages were the constant repositories of the bones
of the recluse; that the proofs of this are well authenticated; that
the revolution in religion, or the fortunes of war, has mangled, or
buried, the dead; the conclusion remains, perhaps no less reasonably,
than impatiently, wished for. I, last, after a year’s confinement,
equal to either fortune, put myself upon the candour, the justice, and
the humanity of your Lordship, and upon yours, my countrymen, gentlemen
of the jury.’

It will be seen from this elaborate defence that it must have been
written long before his trial, and before his hopes of acquittal were
crushed by the appearance of Houseman in the witness-box to give
evidence against him; for he did not attempt to discredit his evidence,
nor did he attempt to shake his testimony by cross-examination, and
he must have anticipated the result. The judge summed up carefully;
he recapitulated the evidence, and showed how Houseman’s testimony
was confirmed by the other witnesses; and, taking Aram’s defence, he
pointed out that he had alleged nothing that could invalidate the
positive evidence against him. The jury, without leaving the court,
returned a verdict of ‘Guilty,’ and the judge pronounced the awful
sentence of the law. Aram had behaved with great firmness and dignity
during the whole of his trial, and he heard his conviction, and his
doom, with profound composure, leaving the bar with a smile upon his

In those days the law allowed but little time for appeal. Aram was
tried, convicted, and sentenced on Friday, the 3rd of August, 1759,
and he had to die on the following Monday--only two whole days of
life being allowed him. Those days must have been days of exquisite
torture to him, when he thought of the upturned faces of the mob, all
fixing their gaze upon him, yelling at, and execrating him, and we can
scarcely wonder at his attempting to commit suicide. On the Monday
morning, when the clergyman came to visit him, and at his request
to administer the Sacrament to him, he was astonished to find Aram
stretched on the floor of his cell in a pool of blood. He had managed
to secrete a razor, and had cut the veins of his arms in two places.
Surgeons were sent for, and they brought him back to life, when he was
put into the cart and led to execution. Arrived at the gallows, he was
asked if he had any speech to make, and he replied in the negative. He
was then hanged, and, when dead, his body was cut down, put in a cart,
taken to Knaresborough, and there suspended in chains, on a gibbet
which was erected on Knaresborough forest, south or south-east of the
Low Bridge, on the right hand side going thence to Plumpton. It was
taken down in 1778, when the forest was enclosed.

He left his latest thoughts in writing, for, on the table in his cell,
was found a paper on which was written,

‘What am I better than my fathers? To die is natural and necessary.
Perfectly sensible of this, I fear no more to die than I did to be
born. But the manner of it is something which should, in my opinion, be
decent and manly. I think I have regarded both these points. Certainly
nobody has a better right to dispose of man’s life than himself; and
he, not others, should determine how. As for any indignities offered to
anybody, or silly reflections on my faith and morals, they are (as they
were) things indifferent to me. I think, though, contrary to the common
way of thinking; I wrong no man by this, and I hope it is not offensive
to that eternal being who formed me and the world; and as by this I
injure no man, no man can be reasonably offended. I solicitously
recommend myself to the eternal and almighty Being, the God of Nature,
if I have done amiss. But perhaps I have not, and I hope this thing
will never be imputed to me. Though I am now stained by malevolence,
and suffer by prejudice, I hope to rise fair and unblemished. My life
was not polluted, my morals irreproachable, and my opinions orthodox.

‘I slept soundly till three o’clock, awak’d, and then writ these lines.

    ‘“Come, pleasing Rest, eternal Slumber fall;
    Seal mine, that once must seal the eyes of all;
    Calm and compos’d my soul her journey takes,
    No guilt that troubles, and no heart that aches.
    Adieu! thou sun, all bright like her arise;
    Adieu! fair friends, and all that’s good and wise.”’

Aram never made any regular confession of his guilt--but in a
letter he wrote to the vicar of Knaresborough, in which he gives
his autobiography, he says, ‘Something is expected as to the affair
upon which I was committed, to which I say, as I mentioned in my
examination, that all the plate of Knaresborough, except the watches
and rings, were in Houseman’s possession; as for me, I had nothing at
all. My wife knows that Terry had the large plate, and that Houseman
himself took both that and the watches, at my house, from Clark’s own
hands; and, if she will not give this in evidence for the town, she
wrongs both that and her own conscience; and, if it is not done soon,
Houseman will prevent her. She likewise knows that Terry’s wife had
some velvet, and, if she will, can testify it. She deserves not the
regard of the town, if she will not. That part of Houseman’s evidence,
wherein he said I threatened him, was absolutely false; for what
hindered him, when I was so long absent and far distant? I must need
observe another thing to be perjury in Houseman’s evidence, in which he
said he went home from Clark; whereas he went straight to my house, as
my wife can also testify, if I be not believed.’

The contemporary accounts of his trial, whether published in York or
London, have the following:

‘Aram’s sentence was a just one, and he submitted to it with that
stoicism he so much affected; and the morning after he was condemned,
he confessed the justness of it to two clergymen (who had a licence
from the judge to attend him), by declaring that he murdered Clark.
Being asked by one of them what his motive was for doing that
abominable action, he told them, ‘he suspected Clark of having an
unlawful commerce with his wife; that he was persuaded at the time,
when he committed the murder, he did right, but, since, he had thought
it wrong.’

‘After this, pray,’ said Aram, ‘what became of Clark’s body, if
Houseman went home (as he said upon my trial) immediately on seeing him

One of the clergymen replied, ‘I’ll tell you what became of it. You
and Houseman dragged it into the cave, stripped and buried it there;
brought away his clothes, and burnt them at your own house.’

To which he assented. He was asked whether Houseman did not earnestly
press him to murder his wife, for fear she should discover the business
they had been about. He hastily replied,

‘He did, and pressed me several times to do it.’

Aram’s wife lived some years after his execution; indeed, she did not
die until 1774. She lived in a small house near Low Bridge, within
sight of her husband’s gibbet; and here she sold pies, sausages, &c.
It is said that she used to search under the gibbet for any of her
husband’s bones that might have fallen, and then bury them.

Aram, by his wife, had six children, who survived their
childhood--three sons and three daughters. All these children, save
one, Sally, took after their mother; but Sally resembled her father,
both physically and mentally. She was well read in the classics, and
Aram would sometimes put his scholars to the blush, by having Sally in
their class. Her father was very fond of her, and she was living with
him at Lynn when he was arrested, and she clung to him when in prison
at York. On his death, she went to London, and, after a time, she
married, and, with her husband, kept a public-house on the Surrey side
of Westminster Bridge.

Houseman went back to Knaresborough, where he abode until his death.
He was naturally mobbed, and never dared stir out in the day time, but
sometimes slunk out at night. Despised and detested by all, his life
must have been a burden to him, and his punishment in this world far
heavier than Aram was called upon to bear.


Slavery, properly so called, appears to have been from the earliest
ages, and in almost every country, the condition of a large portion
of the human race; the weakest had ever to serve the strong--whether
the slave was a captive in battle, or an impecunious debtor unable to
satisfy the claims of his creditor, save with his body. Climate made
no difference. Slavery existed in Europe, Asia, and Africa, and in our
own ‘right little, tight little island,’ our early annals show that
a large proportion of the Anglo-Saxon population was in a state of
slavery. These unfortunate bondsmen, who were called theows, thrœls,
and esnes,[26] were bought and sold with land, and were classed in the
inventory of their lord’s wealth, with his sheep, swine, and oxen, and
were bequeathed by will, precisely as we now dispose of our money, or

The condition of the Anglo-Saxon slaves was very degraded indeed;
their master might put them in bonds, might whip them, nay, might even
brand them, like cattle, with his own distinguishing mark, a state of
things which existed until Alfred the Great enacted some laws, whereby
the time of the servitude of these unhappy people was limited to six
years, and the institution of slavery received such a blow, that it
speedily became a thing of the past. They were no longer slaves, but
redemptioners, _i.e._, they had the hope of redemption from servitude,
and the law gave them the power to enforce their freedom.

We have only to turn to the pages of holy writ to find slavery
flourishing in rank luxuriance in the time of the patriarchs, and
before the birth of Moses. Euphemistically described in Scripture
history as servants, they were mostly unconditional and perpetual
slaves. They were strangers, either taken prisoners in war or purchased
from the neighbouring nations; but the Jews also had a class of
servants who only were in compulsory bondage for a limited time, and
they were men of their own nation.

These were men who, by reason of their poverty, were obliged to
give their bodies in exchange for the wherewithal to support them,
or they were insolvent debtors, and thus sought to liquidate their
indebtedness, or men who had committed a theft, and had not the means
of making the double, or fourfold, restitution that the law required.
Their thraldom was not perpetual, they might be redeemed, and, if not
redeemed, they became free on the completion of their seventh year of

Exodus, chap. 21, vv. 2-6. ‘If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years
shall he serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. If
he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself; if he were married,
then his wife shall go out with him. If his master have given him a
wife, and she have borne him sons or daughters, the wife and her
children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself. And
if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my
children: I will not go out free: then his master shall bring him unto
the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door-post;
and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall
serve for ever.’

Here, then, we have a redemptioner, one whose servitude was not a
hopeless one, and we find this limited bondage again referred to in
Leviticus, chap. 25, vv. 39, 40, 41.

‘And if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold
unto thee, thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bond servant: but as
an hired servant, and as a sojourner, he shall be with thee, and shall
serve thee unto the year of jubilee. And then shall he depart from
thee, both he and his children with him, and shall return unto his own
family, and unto the possession of his fathers shall he return.’

Here in England we are accustomed to look upon the slave from one point
of view only, as an unhappy being of a different race and colour to
ourselves, few of us knowing that there has been a time (and that not
so very long ago) when members of our own nation, so utterly forlorn
and miserable from the rude buffetings Fortune had given them in their
way through the world, have been glad to sell their bodies for a time,
to enable them to commence afresh the struggle for existence, in
another land, and, perchance, under more favourable circumstances.

In ‘his Majesty’s plantations’ of Virginia, Maryland, and New England,
and in the West Indies, these unfortunates were first called servants,
and as such are officially described; but in America in later times
they received the appellation of redemptioners, a name by which they
were certainly called in the middle of this century, for in Dorsey’s
‘Laws of Maryland,’ published in 1840, we find an Act[27] (cap. 226)
was passed in 1817 to alleviate the condition of these poor people.
The preamble sets forth, ‘Whereas it has been found that German and
Swiss emigrants, who for the discharge of the debt contracted for their
passage to this country are often obliged to subject themselves to
temporary servitude, are frequently exposed to cruel and oppressive
impositions by the masters of the vessels in which they arrive, and
likewise by those to whom they become servants,’ &c.

It is impossible to fix any date when this iniquitous traffic
first began. It arose, probably, from the want of labourers in the
plantations of our colonies in their early days, and the employment
of unscrupulous agents on this side to supply their needs in this
respect. A man in pecuniary difficulties in the seventeenth and
eighteen centuries was indeed in woeful plight: a gaol was his certain
destination, and there he might rot his life away, cut off from all
hope of release, unless death came mercifully to his relief. All
knew of the horrors of a debtor’s prison, and, to escape them, an
able-bodied man had recourse to the dreadful expedient of selling
himself into bondage, for a term of years, in one of the plantations,
either in America or the West Indies, or he would believe the specious
tales of the ‘kidnappers,’ as they were called, who would promise
anything, a free passage, and a glorious life of ease and prosperity in
a new land.

Thoroughly broken down, wretched, and miserable, his thoughts would
naturally turn towards a new country, wherein he might rehabilitate
himself, and, in an evil hour, he would apply to some (as we should
term it) emigration agent, who would even kindly advance him a trifle
for an outfit. The voyage out would be an unhappy experience, as
the emigrants would be huddled together, with scant food, and, on
his arrival at his destination, he would early discover the further
miseries in store for him; for, immediately on landing, or even before
he left the ship, his body would be seized as security for passage
money, which had, in all probability, been promised him free, and for
money lent for his outfit; and, having no means of paying either,
utterly friendless, and in a strange country, he would be sold to
slavery for a term of years to some planter who would pay the debt for

Having obtained his flesh and blood at such a cheap rate, his owner
would not part with him lightly, and it was an easy thing to arrange
matters so that he was always kept in debt for clothes and tobacco,
&c., in order that he never should free himself. It was a far cry to
England, and with no one to help him, or to draw public attention to
his case, the poor wretch had to linger until death mercifully released
him from his bondage; his condition being truly deplorable, as he would
be under the same regulations as the convicts, and one may be very sure
that _their_ lot was not enviable in those harsh and merciless times.
It was not for many years, until the beginning of this century, that
the American laws took a beneficial turn in favour of these unhappy
people; and it was then too late, for the institution of redemptioners
died a speedy death, owing to the influx of free emigration.

One of the earliest notices of these unfortunates is in a collection
of Old Black letter ballads, in the British Museum, where there is one
entitled, ‘The Trappan’d Maiden, or the Distressed Damsel,’ (c. 22, e.
2)/186 in which are depicted some of the sorrows which were undergone
by these unwilling emigrants, at that time. The date, as nearly as can
be assigned to it, is about 1670.

    The Girl was cunningly trapan’d,
    Sent to Virginny from England;
    Where she doth Hardship undergo,
    There is no cure, it must be so;
    But if she lives to cross the main,
    She vows she’ll ne’er go there again.

      Give ear unto a Maid
      That lately was betray’d,
      And sent into Virginny, O:
      In brief I shall declare,
      What I have suffered there,
      When that I was weary, O.

      When that first I came
      To this Land of Fame,
      Which is called Virginny, O:
      The Axe and the Hoe
      Have wrought my overthrow,
      When that I was weary, O.

      Five years served I
      Under Master Guy,
      In the land of Virginny, O:
      Which made me for to know
      Sorrow, Grief, and Woe,
      When that I was weary, O.

      When my Dame says, Go,
      Then must I do so,
      In the land of Virginny, O:
      When she sits at meat
      Then I have none to eat,
      When that I was weary, O.

      The cloathes that I brought in,
      They are worn very thin,
      In the land of Virginny, O:
      Which makes me for to say
      Alas! and well-a-day,
      When that I was weary, O.

      Instead of Beds of Ease,
      To lye down when I please,
      In the land of Virginny, O:
      Upon a bed of straw,
      I lay down full of woe,
      When that I was weary, O.

      Then the Spider, she
      Daily waits on me,
      In the land of Virginny, O:
      Round about my bed
      She spins her tender web,
      When that I was weary, O.

      So soon as it is day,
      To work I must away,
      In the land of Virginny, O:
      Then my Dame she knocks
      With her tinder-box,
      When that I was weary, O.

      I have played my part
      Both at Plow and Cart,
      In the land of Virginny, O;
      Billats from the Wood,
      Upon my back they load,
      When that I was weary, O.

      Instead of drinking Beer,
      I drink the waters clear,
      In the land of Virginny, O;
      Which makes me pale and wan,
      Do all that e’er I can,
      When that I was weary, O.

      If my Dame says, Go,
      I dare not say no,
      In the land of Virginny, O;
      The water from the spring
      Upon my head I bring,
      When that I was weary, O.

      When the Mill doth stand,
      I’m ready at command,
      In the land of Virginny, O;
      The Morter for to make,
      Which made my heart to ake,
      When that I was weary, O.

      When the child doth cry,
      I must sing, By-a-by,
      In the land of Virginny, O;
      No rest that I can have
      Whilst I am here a slave,
      When that I was weary, O.

      A thousand Woes beside,
      That I do here abide,
      In the land of Virginny, O;
      In misery I spend
      My time that hath no end,
      When that I was weary, O.

      Then let Maids beware,
      All by my ill-fare,
      In the land of Virginny, O:
      Be sure thou stay at home,
      For if you do here come,
      You will all be weary, O.

      But if it be my chance,
      Homeward to advance,
      From the land of Virginny, O:
      If that I once more
      Land on English shore,
      I’ll no more be weary, O.

Some of these complaints would seem to us to be rather of the ‘crumpled
rose-leaf’ order, but probably there was enough humanity left in their
owners to treat their female ‘servants’ more tenderly than the male,
whose sorrows were genuine enough.

Ned Ward, in his ‘London Spy,’ 1703, gives a most graphic account of
the sort of men who enticed these human chattels to the plantations. He
was pursuing his perambulations about the City, exercising those sharp
eyes of his, which saw everything, and was in the neighbourhood of the
Custom-house, when he turned down a place called Pig Hill (so called,
he says, from its resembling the steep descent down which the Devil
drove his Hogs to a Bad Market).

‘As we walked up the Hill, as Lazily as an Artillery Captain before
his Company upon a Lord Mayor’s Day, or a Paul’s Labourer up a Ladder,
with a Hod of Mortar, we peeped in at a Gateway, where we saw two or
three Blades, well drest, but with Hawkes’ Countenances, attended with
half-a-dozen Ragamuffingly Fellows, showing Poverty in their Rags and
Despair in their Faces, mixt with a parcel of young, wild striplings,
like runaway ‘Prentices. I could not forbear enquiring of my Friend
about the ill-favoured multitude, patched up of such awkward Figures,
that it would have puzzled a Moor-Fields Artist,[28] well-read in
physiognomy, to have discovered their Dispositions by their Looks.

‘“That House,” says my Friend, “which they there are entering is
an Office where Servants for the Plantations bind themselves to be
miserable as long as they live, without a special Providence prevents
it. Those fine Fellows, who look like Footmen upon a Holy day, crept
into cast suits of their Masters, that want Gentility in their
Deportments answerable to their Apparel, are Kidnappers, who walk the
‘Change and other parts of the Town, in order to seduce People who
want services and young Fools crost in Love, and under an uneasiness
of mind, to go beyond the seas, getting so much a head of Masters
of Ships and Merchants who go over, for every Wretch they trepan
into this Misery. These young Rakes and Tatterdemallions you see so
lovingly hearded are drawn by their fair promises to sell themselves
into Slavery, and the Kidnappers are the Rogues that run away with the

And again, when he goes on ‘Change, he further attacks these villains.

‘“Now,” says my Friend, “we are got amongst the Plantation Traders.
This may be call’d Kidnapper’s Walk; for a great many of these
Jamaicans and Barbadians, with their Kitchen-stuff Countenances, are
looking as sharp for servants as a Gang of Pick-pockets for Booty....
Within that Entry is an Office of Intelligence, pretending to help
Servants to Places, and Masters to Servants. They have a knack of
Bubbling silly wenches out of their Money; who loiter hereabouts upon
the expectancy, till they are pick’d up by the Plantation Kidnappers,
and spirited away into a state of misery.”’

And yet once more Ward, in his ‘Trip to America,’ says,

‘We had on board an Irishman going over as Servant, who, I suppose, was
Kidnapped. I asked him whose Servant he was, “By my Fait,” said he, “I
cannot tell. I was upon ’Change, looking for a good Master, and a brave
Gentleman came to me, and asked me who I was, and I told him I was myn
own self; and he gave me some good Wine and good Ale, and brought me on
Board, and I have not seen him since.”’

Then, as since, the emigration from Great Britain was mostly fed by the
poorer classes of Ireland; and, in the latter part of William III.‘s
reign, such was the numbers that were sent over to the plantations as
‘servants,’ or in other words, slaves, that it was found necessary to
enact special laws, in Maryland, to check the excessive importation,
it being considered a source of danger to the State, as tending to
introduce Popery. Accordingly, several acts were passed, placing a
duty of twenty shillings per head on each Irish person landed; which,
proving insufficient for the purpose, was further increased to forty
shillings a few years afterwards.

In 1743, there was a _cause célèbre_, in which James Annesley, Esq.,
appeared as the plaintiff, and claimed the earldom of Anglesey from his
uncle Richard, who, he maintained (and he got a verdict in his favour),
had caused him to be kidnapped when a lad of thirteen years of age, and
sent to America, there to be sold as a slave. That this was absolutely
the fact, no one who has read the evidence can possibly doubt, and
the hardships endured by the ‘servants’ at that time are plaintively
alluded to in a little book, called, ‘The Adventure of an Unfortunate
Young Nobleman,’ published 1743. ‘Here the Captain repeating his former
Assurances, he was sold to a rich Planter in Newcastle County called
Drummond, who immediately took him home, and entered him in the Number
of his Slaves.

‘A new World now opened to him, and, being set to the felling of
Timber, a Work no way proportioned to his Strength, he did it so
awkwardly, that he was severely corrected. Drummond was a hard,
inexorable Master, who, like too many of the Planters, consider their
Slaves, or Servants, as a different Species, and use them accordingly.
Our American Planters are not famous for Humanity, being often Persons
of no Education, and, having been formerly Slaves themselves, they
revenge the ill-usage they received on those who fall into their Hands.
The Condition of European Servants in that Climate is very wretched;
their Work is hard, and for the most part abroad, exposed to an
unwholesome Air, their Diet coarse, being either Poul or bread made of
Indian Corn, or Homine or Mush, which is Meal made of the same kind,
moistened with the Fat of Bacon, and their Drink Water sweetened with a
little Ginger and Molasses.’

Although, as before stated, Mr. Annesley won his case with regard
to his legitimacy and property, for some reason or other he never
contested the title with his usurping uncle, who continued to be
recognized as Earl of Anglesey until his death.

Defoe, writing in 1738 in his ‘History of Colonel Jack,’ makes his
hero to be kidnapped by the master of a vessel at Leith, and carried
to Virginia, where he was consigned to a merchant, and disposed of
as he saw fit--in fact, treated with the same _nonchalance_ us an
ordinary bale of goods would be. He was sold to a planter for five
years, and had three hard things to endure, viz., hard work, hard
fare, and hard lodging. He describes the arrival of a ship from
London with several ‘servants,’ and amongst the rest were seventeen
transported felons, some burnt in the hand, and some not, eight of whom
his master purchased for the time specified in the warrant for their
transportation, so that the unfortunate men were in no better position
than, and were under the same severe laws as, the convict. Their ranks
were recruited by many gentlemen concerned in the Rebellion, and taken
prisoners at Preston, who were spared from execution and sold into
slavery at the plantations, a condition which must often have made them
dissatisfied with the clemency extended to them. In many cases, with
kind masters, their lot was not so hard, and when their time of bondage
was expired they had encouragement given them to plant for themselves,
a certain number of acres being allotted to them by the State; and, if
they could get the necessary credit for clothes, tools, &c., they were
in time enabled to put by money, and, in some rare instances, became
men of renown in the colony.

The usage these poor people endured on their passage to the plantations
was frequently abominable, and a writer in 1796 describes the arrival,
at Baltimore, of a vessel containing three hundred Irish ‘passengers’
who had been nearly starved by the captain, the ship’s water being sold
by him at so much a pint, and this treatment, combined with other
cruelties too shocking to relate, caused a contagious disorder to break
out on board, which carried off great numbers, whilst most of these
unhappy folk who were spared at that time, subsequently died whilst
performing quarantine in the Delaware.

The redemptioners mainly sailed from the northern ports of Ireland,
Belfast or Londonderry, though this country by no means enjoyed the
unenviable monopoly of this traffic: Holland and Germany sending
their wretched quota of white slaves. The particular class of vessels
employed in this iniquitous trade were known by the name of ‘White
Guineamen,’ and belonged to the ‘free and enlightened’ citizens of the
sea-ports in America, who had their kidnappers stationed at certain
parts of Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and also in Holland, to provide
them with human cargoes. Seduced by the glowing descriptions of a
trans-Atlantic paradise, with bright and alluring visions of American
happiness and liberty, the miserable, the idle, and the unwary among
the lower classes of Europe were entrapped into the voyage, the offer
of gratuitous conveyance being an additional bait, which was eagerly
accepted; but we have seen how, on their arrival at the promised land,
they were speedily disillusioned. The difficulty of hiring tolerable
servants was so great, that many persons were obliged to deal with
their fellow-creatures in this way, who would otherwise have utterly
abhorred the thought of being slave-dealers.

Some of the laws for their regulation in the colonies are curious. For
instance, in Virginia, after they had served their time, they were
obliged to have a certificate from their master to say that they had
done so, and if any person should entertain any hired servant running
away without such a certificate, he had to pay the master of such
servant thirty pounds weight of tobacco for every day and night he
should so harbour him.

Pursuit after runaway servants was made at the public expense, and, if
caught, they had to serve for the time of their absence, and the charge
disbursed. In case the master refused to pay the charge, the servant
was sold, or hired out, until by their services they had reimbursed
the amount expended in capturing them, after which they were returned
to their master to serve out their time. Whoever apprehended them was
to have as reward two hundred pounds weight of tobacco, if the capture
took place about ten miles from the master’s house, or one hundred
pounds weight if above five miles, and under ten. This reward was to be
paid by the public, and the servant had to serve some one four months
for every two hundred pounds weight of tobacco paid for him.

‘Every Master that hath a Servant that hath run away twice, shall keep
his Hair close cut, and not so doing, shall be fined one hundred pounds
weight of Tobacco for every time the said Fugitive shall, after the
second time, be taken up.’

If they ran away in company with any negro, then they had to serve the
master of that negro as long as the negro was at large. If any servant
laid violent hands on his master, mistress, or overseer, and was
convicted of the same in any court, he had to serve one year longer at
the expiration of his term.

‘A Woman-servant got with Child by her Master, shall, after her time of
indenture or custom is expired, be, by the Church-wardens of the Parish
where she lived, sold for two Years, and the Tobacco employed for the
use of the Parish.’

‘No Minister shall publish the Banns, or celebrate the Contract of
Marriage between any Servants, unless he hath a Certificate from both
their Masters that it is with their consent, under the Penalty of
10,000 lbs. of Tobacco. And the Servants that procure themselves to be
married without their Masters’ consent, shall each of them serve their
respective Master a year longer than their time; and if any person,
being free, shall marry with a Servant without the Master’s Licence, he
or she so marrying shall pay the Master 1500 lbs. of Tobacco, or one
year’s service.’

In Maryland, the laws respecting servants were somewhat milder, but, if
they ran away, they had to serve ten days for every one day’s absence.
In this colony, however, ‘Every Man-Servant shall have given him at
the time of the expiration of his Service, one new Hat, a good Cloath
Suit, a new Shift of White Linnen, a pair of new French full Shooes
and Stockings, two Hoes, and one Axe, and one gun of 20s. price, not
above four foot Barrel, nor less than three and a half. And every
Woman-Servant shall have given her, at the expiration of her Servitude,
the like Provision of Cloaths, and three Barrels of Indian Corn.’

In New England they dealt still more tenderly and fairly by their
servants. If a servant fled from the cruelty of his or her master, he
or she was to be protected and harboured, provided that they fled to
the house of some free man of the same town, and ‘If any Man or Woman
Hurt, Maim, or Disfigure a Servant, unless it be by mere Casualty,
the Servant shall go free, and the Master or Mistress shall make
such recompense as the Court shall award. Servants that have serv’d
diligently, and faithfully, to the end of their Times, shall not be
sent away empty; and such as have been unfaithful, negligent, or
unprofitable shall not be sent away unpunished, but shall make such
satisfaction as Authority shall direct.’

In Jamaica the laws were pretty fair, and in Barbadoes there was a very
just enactment. ‘Whatever Master or Mistress shall turn off a Sick
Servant, or not use, or endeavour, all lawful means for the recovery
of such servant, during the time of Servitude, he or she shall forfeit
2,200 lbs of Sugar. To be levyed by Warrant of a Justice of Peace, and
disposed towards the maintenance of such Servant, and the said Servant
so neglected, or turned off, shall be Free.’

In the last few years of the eighteenth century, it was no uncommon
thing to meet with advertisements in the American papers, couched in
the following strain: ‘To be disposed of, the indentures of a strong,
healthy Irishwoman; who has two years to serve, and is fit for all
kinds of house work. Enquire of the Printer.’


‘Ran away this morning, an Irish Servant, named Michael Day, by trade
a Tailor, about five feet eight inches high, fair complexion, has a
down look when spoken to, light bushy hair, speaks much in the Irish
dialect, &c. Whoever secures the above-described in any gaol, shall
receive thirty dollars reward, and all reasonable charges paid.
N.B.--All masters of Vessels are forbid harbouring or carrying off the
said Servant at their peril.’

       *       *       *       *       *

The laws which regulated them were originally framed for the English
convicts before the Revolution, and were not repealed. They were,
of necessity, harsh and severe, so much so that, towards the end of
the eighteenth century, several societies sprang up, both Irish and
German, whose members did all in their power to mitigate the severity
of these laws, and render their countrymen, during their servitude, as
comfortable as circumstances would permit. These societies were in all
the large towns south of Connecticut.

When the yellow fever was raging in Baltimore in the year 1793, but
few vessels would venture near the city, and every one that could do
so fled from the doomed place. But a ‘White Guinea-man,’ from Germany,
arrived in the river, and, hearing that such was the fatal nature of
the infection that for no sum of money could a sufficient number of
nurses be procured to attend the sick, conceived the philanthropic
idea of supplying this deficiency from his redemption passengers, and,
sailing boldly up to the city, he advertised his cargo for sale thus:
‘A few healthy Servants, generally between seventeen and twenty-one
years of age; their times will be disposed of by applying on board the
brig.’ It was a truly generous thought to thus nobly sacrifice his own
countrywomen _pro bono publico_!

As the eighteenth century drew to a close a more humane state of things
came into existence; and in Maryland, in 1817, as before stated, a law
was passed for the relief of the German and Swiss redemptioners. It
was enacted that there should be, in every port, a person to register
the apprenticeship, or servitude, of these emigrants, and, unless
drawn up or approved by him, no agreement to service was binding.
Minors, under twenty-one, were not allowed to be sold, unless by their
parents or next-of-kin, and the indentures covenanted that at least two
months schooling must be given, annually, to them by their masters. No
emigrant was bound to serve more than four years, except males under
seventeen, and females under fourteen, who were to serve, respectively,
till twenty-one and eighteen. There were many other clauses that
related both to their better treatment on board the vessels and on
land, and, if this law had been strictly acted up to, the condition of
these poor people would have been much ameliorated.

But, happily, in course of years, as the prosperity of the United
States of America grew by ‘leaps and bounds,’ attracting labour in
abundance from all parts of Europe, there was no longer any need for
the traffic in human flesh and blood, and the redemptioner became a
thing of the past.


The following _morceau_ gives so quaint an account of a day’s outing in
the last century that I have thought it a pity to let it remain buried.
It is by J. West, and was published in 1787:

    From London to Richmond I took an excursion,
    For the sake of my health and in hopes of diversion:
    Thus, walking without any cumbersome load,
    I mark’d ev’ry singular sight on the road.

    In Hyde Park I met a hump-back’d macarony
    Who was pleased I should see how he manag’d his pony.
    The Cockney was dresst in true blue and in buff,
    In buckskin elastic, but all in the rough;
    He wore patent spurs on his boots, with light soles,
    And buttons as big as some halfpenny rolls;
    His hair out of curls, with a tail like a rat,
    And sideways he clapt on his head a round hat;
    His cravat was tied up in a monstrous large bunch,
    No wonder the ladies should smile at his hunch.

    The next figure I saw, ’twas a milliner’s maid,
    A high cap and pink ribbons adorning her head,
    Which was made to sit well, but a little fantastic,
    With a hundred black pins and a cushion elastic.
    She stalked like a peacock when waving her fan,
    And us’d an umbrella upon a new plan;
    Her elbows she lean’d on her hoop as on crutches,
    And wagg’d her silk gown with the air of a duchess.
    Now forward I stept to behold her sweet face;
    She ogled and smil’d with a seeming good grace;
    However, there was no dependence upon it,
    Although her eyes sparkled from under her bonnet,
    I question’d her love, so I wished her farewel;
    But something more clever I’m ready to tell.

    From yon spot in the Park, just where the Parade is,
    Approach’d a grand sportsman, attended by ladies
    On bay horses mounted; they swift tore the ground,
    Escorted by servants and terriers around;
    I guess’d that my Lord went to sport with his Graces
    To Windsor’s wide forest or Maidenhead races.

    Through Kensington passing I saw a fine show
    Of chaises, gigs, coaches, there all in a row!
    When I came to a well where a girl stood close by,
    Who ask’d to what place do these folk go? and why?
    I, smiling, replied, ‘They, my dear, go to Windsor,
    To see king and queen,’--but could not convince her.
    On tiptoe the titt’ring girl ran off the stand,
    And broke half the pitcher she had in her hand.

    In Hammersmith’s parish I stopp’d for a minute;
    A stage-coach here halted--I saw who was in it,
    A grave-looking man with a long nose and chin,
    Two sparks and three damsels were laughing within;
    The outside was crowded, good Lord! what a rabble!
    Some Cits from Fleet Market, some Jews from Whitechapel,
    Some sailors from Wapping, and other such crew;
    But now in the basket[29] I took a short view,
    Two wenches, one jolly, the other but lean,
    With barrels of oysters and shrimp-sacks between.
    The spirited coachman, o’ercharg’d with stout ale,
    When he started, drove faster than Palmer’s[30] new mail;
    He smack’d his long whip--and zounds! what a flight!
    His six horses running were soon out of sight;
    A lad standing by, cried (as if in a swoon),
    ‘By Jove! they fly up like Lunardi’s[31] balloon.’

    Much pleas’d with my path when I march’d on apace,
    I reach’d Turnham Green; on that sweet rural place
    I stopp’d at an inn near a lane down to Chiswick,
    I call’d for some ale, but it tasted like physick.
    As good luck would have it, I could not drink more,
    When, seeing Jack Tar and his wife at the door,
    Join’d close arm-in-arm like a hook on a link,
    I reach’d him my mug and invited to drink;
    Jack, pleased with the draught, gave me thanks with an echo,
    And cramm’d in his jaw a large quid of tobacco.

    Again I set off on my way to Kew Bridge,
    Some boys and some girls came from under a hedge;
    They jump’d and they tumbled headforemost around,
    Each vied with the other to measure the ground;
    For halfpence they begg’d, and I gave ’em a penny,
    When I found that I’d left myself without any
    To pay toll at the bridge and to buy a few plumbs;
    My silver I chang’d for a handful of Brums.[32]

    But, my sight being struck with the beauty of Kew,
    I forgot my expenses, when, having in view
    The new Royal Bridge[33] and its elegant Arches
    There o’er the bright Thames, where the people in barges
    And pleasure-boats sail!--how delightful the scene!
    ‘Twixt the shades of Old Brentford and smiling Kew Green.

    Now forward for Richmond, and happy my lot!
    I soon reach’d that lofty and beautiful spot
    Which is called Richmond Hill--what a prospect amazing!
    Extensive and pleasant; I could not help gazing
    On yonder fine landscape of Twick’nam’s sweet plains,
    Where kind Nature its thousandfold beauty maintains.
    To trace all its pleasures too short was the day;
    The dinner-bell ringing, I hasten’d away
    To a cheerful repast at a Gentleman’s seat,
    Whose friendship vouchsaf’d me a happy retreat.



Should anyone wish for a graphic account of Irish life in the
later portion of the eighteenth century, he should read Sir Jonah
Barrington’s ‘Personal Sketches of Ireland,’ and he will find
afterwards that Lever’s novels afford but a faint reflection of
the manners and customs existing in the west and south of Ireland.
Ignorance, idleness, and dissipation were the characteristic of
the wealthier classes, and a meeting of the ‘gentry’ could seldom
take place without quarrelling and bloodshed. At races, fairs, and
elections, the lower class enjoyed themselves likewise, after their
kind, in breaking of heads and drunkenness. It was a singular state
of things, but it must be borne in mind, whilst reading the following
memoirs, as, otherwise, the facts therein related would scarcely be

The Fitzgeralds of County Mayo come of an ancient stock, from no
less than the great Geraldine family, through the Desmond branch,
and George, the father of George Robert Fitzgerald, had a very good
property at Turlough, near Castlebar. It probably had some influence
in his future career that ‘Fighting Fitzgerald’ should have had for
his mother Lady Mary Hervey, who had been maid-of-honour to the
Princess Amelia, and who was the daughter of one, and the sister of
two, Earls of Bristol. The family from which she sprang was noted for
eccentricity, so much so, that it passed into a saying that ‘God made
Men, Women, and Herveys.’ She did not live long with her husband, his
lax morality and dissipated manners could not be borne, and she left
him to his own devices and returned to England. By him she had two
sons, George Robert (born 1749), and Charles Lionel. The elder, in due
time, was sent to Eton, where he seems to have learnt as much Latin
and Greek as was requisite for a gentleman of those days, and he used
occasionally in after life to write a little poetry now and again, of
which one piece, ‘The Riddle,’ was printed after his execution.

From Eton he, in 1766, being then in his seventeenth year, was
gazetted to a lieutenancy in the 69th regiment, and was quartered at
Galway, a nice place for a newly-emancipated schoolboy, and a red-hot,
wild Irishman to boot. Here he soon got into a scrape, owing to his
conduct with a shop-girl, which ended in a duel, in which neither
the combatants were hurt. He next managed to pick a quarrel with a
young officer of his own regiment, named Thompson, who was a quiet
and inoffensive man, and they met. The first round was fired by
both without injury, but Lieutenant Thompson’s second bullet struck
Fitzgerald’s forehead, and he fell. The surgeons, after examination,
came to the conclusion that the only way to save his life was by
performing upon him the operation of trepanning, or cutting a round
piece out of the skull in order to relieve the pressure on the brain.
It was an operation that was very risky, but in this case it was
successful. Still, one cannot help thinking, judging by his after
career, that his brain then received some permanent injury which
deprived him of the power of reasoning, and of control over his actions.

He now left the army, and went home to live with his father. Here he
lived the regular Irishman’s life of the period: hunting, shooting,
cock-fighting, &c., until he fell in love with a lady of good family, a
Miss Conolly of Castletown; but even here he could not act as other men
do. He could not be married quietly, but ran away with his bride, and
an incident in their elopement is amusingly told, it being put in the
mouth of his servant.

‘But hoo did the Captain mak’ it up again wi’ the Square? Ye omadhaun,
it was with the young misthress he med it up; and she took Frinch lave
with him, wan fine moonlight night soon afther. It was mysel’ that
had the chaise an’ four waitin’ for them; an’ a divilish good thing
happened at the first inn we stopt at. The Captain in coorse ordhered
the best dhrawin’-room for the misthress; an’ sure, if it was goold,
she was worthy ov it. But the beggarly-lookin’ waither sed it was taken
up with some grand Englishmen.

‘“Request thim,” sis the Captain, “to accommodate a lady that’s
fatigued, with the apartment.”

‘Well an’ good, the waither delivered the message, when one of the
Englishers roars out, “Damn the fellow’s cursed insolence, we shan’t
give up the room to any rascal.”

‘“Here,” sis one of thim, “show Paddy this watch, an’ ax him to tell
what o’clock it is.”

‘So the waither brings the watch with the message in to where the
Captain and mysel’ was--the misthress had gone with her maid to another
room to change her dhress.

‘“Very well,” sis the Captain, “I think I can show them what o’clock
it is.” So he dhraws his soord, and puts the point through his chain;
“Channor,” thin says he to me, “attend me.”

‘With that we went in among them, an’ the Captain sthretched over the
watch at the sword’s point to ache of them, beggin’, with a polite bow,
to know to which o’ thim it belonged. But little notions, ye may swair,
they had ov ownin’ it _theirs_. Every wan o’ the cowardly rascals swore
it did not belong to himsel’!

‘“Oh, I was thinkin’, jintlemen, it was all a bit ov a mistake,” sis
the Captain, “so I think you must have it, Channor, for want of a
betther owner.” So with that he hands it over to mysel’. It was a fine
goold watch, an’ here I have it still.’

Not only was young Mrs. Fitzgerald reconciled to her relations, but an
arrangement was made with old Fitzgerald that, on payment of a certain
sum of money down, he would give his son a rent charge of £1,000 a
year on his estate, and he had a very handsome fortune with his wife

The young couple thereupon went to France, and, having introductions
to the best society in Paris, enjoyed themselves immensely. He dressed
splendidly, and he astonished the Parisians, who asked each other,
‘Qui est ce seigneur? d’où vient il? Il n’est pas Français,--Quelle
magnificence! Quelle politesse! Est-il possible qu’il soit étranger?’
In his hat he wore diamonds, and the same precious stones adorned
his buckles and his sword-knot; indeed, all through his life he was
fond of such gewgaws, and when his house at Turlough was wrecked by
the mob--no one preventing--he estimated his loss in jewellery, &c.,
at £20,000. They must have been costly, for he enumerates among the
stolen collection: ‘A casquet containing a complete set of diamond
vest buttons, two large emeralds, a hat-band with five or six rows
of Oriental pearls, worth £1,500, a large engraved amethyst, a gold
watch and chain studded with diamonds, several other gold watches and
seals, a great number of antique and modern rings, gold shoe and knee
buckles, silver shaving apparatus, several pairs of silver shoe and
knee buckles, with £6,300 worth of other jewels.’

He joined eagerly in the dissipations of the gay French capital,
especially in gaming, and the twenty thousand pounds he had with his
wife soon came to an end; and among other people to whom he was in
debt was the Comte d’Artois, afterwards Charles X., to whom he owed
three thousand pounds. One evening afterwards he offered a bet of one
thousand pounds on the prince’s hand of cards, which the Comte d’Artois
overhearing, he asked Fitzgerald for payment, and, being told that
it was not then convenient, the prince took the Irishman by the arm,
led him to the top of the stairs, and then, giving him one kick, left
him to get downstairs as quickly as he could. This indignity was one
which it was very hard on the hot-blooded Irishman to be obliged to
endure, for he might not challenge with impunity a prince of the blood,
and from the public nature of the insult he naturally lost his place
in society. It was certain he must leave France; but before he left
he must somehow distinguish himself. And he did it in this wise. The
king was hunting at Fontainebleau, and Fitzgerald, regardless of the
etiquette which always allowed the foremost place to the king and royal
family, took the hunting of the pack upon himself, riding close to the
hounds, cheering and encouraging them. But for some time the stag kept
well in the open, and gave Fitzgerald no opportunity of showing off his
horsemanship, until it suddenly turned off towards the river Seine, on
the banks of which a wall had been built. This it leaped, and, to use a
hunting phrase, ‘took soil’ in the river. Over streamed the hounds, and
over flew Fitzgerald, reckless of a drop of fourteen feet on the other
side, going plump into the river. The hunt stopped at that wall, none
daring to take it, and watched with amazement Fitzgerald emerge, his
feet still in the stirrups, and, swimming the river, climb the opposite
bank and ride away.

He went to London, where he was well received in society,
notwithstanding that his fame as a duellist was well known, he having
fought eleven duels by the time he was twenty-four years of age.
Whether it was then that he forced his way into Brookes’ Club I know
not, but it is certain that he did, and as I cannot tell the story as
well as it is told in that most amusing but anonymously written book,
‘The Clubs of London,’ I extract it.

‘Fitzgerald having once applied to Admiral Keith Stewart to propose
him as a candidate for “Brookes’s,” the worthy admiral, well knowing
that he must either fight or comply with his request, chose the
latter alternative. Accordingly, on the night in which the balloting
was to take place (which was only a mere form in this case, for even
Keith Stewart himself had resolved to _black-ball_ him), the duellist
accompanied the gallant admiral to St. James’s Street, and waited in
the room below, whilst the suffrages were taken, in order to know the

‘The ballot was soon over, for without hesitation every member threw
in a _black ball_, and, when the scrutiny took place, the company were
not a little amazed to find not even _one_ white one among the number.
However, the point of rejection being carried _nem. con._, the grand
affair now was as to which of the members had the hardihood to announce
the same to the expectant candidate. No one would undertake the office,
for the announcement was sure to produce a challenge, and a duel
with Fighting Fitzgerald had in almost every case been fatal to his
opponent. The general opinion, however, was that the proposer, Admiral
Stewart, should convey the intelligence, and that in as polite terms as
possible; but the admiral, who was certainly on all proper occasions a
very gallant officer, was not inclined to go on any such embassy.

‘“No, gentlemen,” said he; “I proposed the fellow because I knew you
would not admit him; but, by G--d, I have no inclination to risk my
life against that of a madman.”

‘“But, admiral,” replied the Duke of Devonshire, “there being no _white
ball_ in the box, he must know that _you_ have black-balled him as well
as the rest, and he is sure to call you out, at all events.”

‘This was a poser for the poor admiral, who sat silent for a few
seconds amidst the half-suppressed titter of the members. At length,
joining in the laugh against himself, he exclaimed,

‘“Upon my soul, a pleasant job I’ve got into! D----n the fellow! No
matter! I won’t go. Let the waiter tell him that there was _one_ black
ball, and that his name must be put up again if he wishes it.”

‘This plan appeared so judicious that all concurred in its propriety.
Accordingly the waiter was a few minutes after despatched on the

‘In the meantime Mr. Fitzgerald showed evident symptoms of impatience
at being kept so long from his “dear friends” above stairs, and
frequently rang the bell to know _the state of the poll_. On the first
occasion he thus addressed the waiter who answered his summons:

‘“Come here, my tight little fellow. Do you know if I am _chose_ yet?”

‘“I really can’t say, sir,” replied the young man, “but I’ll see.”

‘“There’s a nice little man; be quick, d’ye see, and I’ll give ye
sixpence when ye come with the good news.”

‘Away went the _little man_; but he was in no hurry to come back,
for he as well as his fellows was sufficiently aware of Fitzgerald’s
violent temper, and wished to come in contact with him as seldom as

‘The bell rang again, and to another waiter the impatient candidate put
the same question:

‘“Am I chose yet, waither?”

‘“The balloting is not over yet, sir,” replied the man.

‘“Not over yet!” exclaimed Fitzgerald. “But, sure, there is no use of
balloting at all when my dear friends are all unanimous for me to come
in. Run, my man, and let me know how they are getting on.”

‘After the lapse of another quarter-of-an-hour, the bell was rung so
violently as to produce a contest among the poor servants, as to whose
turn it was to visit the lion in his den! and Mr. Brookes, seeing no
alternative but resolution, took the message from the waiter, who was
descending the staircase, and boldly entered the room with a coffee
equipage in his hand.

‘“Did you call for coffee, sir?”

‘“D--n your coffee, sur! and you too,” answered Mr. Fitzgerald, in a
voice which made the host’s blood curdle in his veins--“I want to know,
sur, and that without a moment’s delay, sur, if I am _chose_ yet.”

‘“Oh, sir!” replied Mr. Brookes, who trembled from head to foot, but
attempted to smile away the appearance of fear, “I beg your pardon,
sir; but I was just coming to announce to you, sir, with Admiral
Stewart’s compliments, sir, that unfortunately there was one black ball
in the box, sir; and, consequently, by the rules of the club, sir, no
candidate can be admitted without a new election, sir; which cannot
take place, by the standing regulations of the club, sir, until one
month from this time, sir!”

‘During this address Fitzgerald’s irascibility appeared to undergo
considerable mollification; and, at its conclusion, the terrified
landlord was not a little surprised and pleased to find his guest
shake him by the hand, which he squeezed heartily between his own two,

‘“My dear Mr. Brookes, _I’m chose_; and I give ye much joy: for I’ll
warrant ye’ll find me the best customer in your house! But there
must be a small matter of mistake in my election; and, as I should
not wish to be so ungenteel as to take my sate among my dear friends
above-stairs, until that mistake is duly rectified, you’ll just step
up and make my compliments to the gentlemen, and say, as it is only
a mistake of _one_ black ball, they will be so good as to waive all
ceremony on my account, and proceed to re-elect their humble servant
without any more delay at all; so now, my dear Mr. Brookes, you may put
down the coffee, and I’ll be drinking it whilst the new election is
going on!”

‘Away went Mr. Brookes, glad enough to escape with whole bones, for
this time at least. On announcing the purport of his errand to the
assembly above-stairs, many of the members were panic-struck, for they
clearly foresaw that some disagreeable circumstance was likely to be
the finale of the farce they had been playing. Mr. Brookes stood silent
for some minutes, waiting for an answer, whilst several of the members
whispered, and laughed, in groups, at the ludicrous figure which they
all cut. At length the Earl of March (afterwards Duke of Queensbury)
said aloud,

‘“Try the effect of _two_ black balls; d----n his Irish impudence; if
two balls don’t take effect upon him, I don’t know what will.” This
proposition met with unanimous approbation, and Mr. Brookes was ordered
to communicate accordingly.

‘On re-entering the waiting-room, Mr. Fitzgerald rose hastily from his
chair, and, seizing him by the hand, eagerly inquired,

‘“Have they elected me right now, Mr. Brookes?”

‘“I hope no offence, Mr. Fitzgerald,” said the landlord, “but I am
sorry to inform you that the result of the second balloting is--that
_two_ black balls were dropped in, sir.”

‘“By J----s, then,” exclaimed Fitzgerald, “there’s now _two_ mistakes
instead of one. Go back, my dear friend, and tell the honourable
members that it is a very uncivil thing to keep a gentleman waiting
below-stairs, with no one to keep him company but himself, whilst
they are enjoying themselves with their champagne, and their cards,
and their Tokay, up above. Tell them to try again, and I hope they
will have better luck this time, and make no more mistakes, because
it’s getting late, and I won’t be chose to-night at all. So now, Mr.
Brookes, be off with yourself, and lave the door open till I see what
despatch you make.”’

Away went Mr. Brookes for the last time. On announcing his unwelcome
errand, everyone saw that palliative measures only prolonged the
dilemma: and General Fitzpatrick proposed that Brookes should tell him:
“His cause was hopeless, for that he was _black-balled all over_ from
head to foot, and it was hoped by all the members that Mr. Fitzgerald
would not persist in thrusting himself into society where his company
was declined.”

‘This message, it was generally believed, would prove a sickener, as
it certainly would have done to any other candidate under similar
circumstances. Not so, however, to Fitzgerald, who no sooner heard the
purport of it, than he exclaimed,

‘“Oh, I perceive it is _a mistake altogether_, Mr. Brookes, and I must
see to the rectifying of it myself; there’s nothing like dealing with
principals, and so I’ll step up at once, and put the thing to rights,
without any more unnecessary delay.”

‘In spite of Mr. Brookes’s remonstrance that his entrance into the
club-room was against all rule and etiquette, Fitzgerald found his
way up-stairs, threatening to throw the landlord over the bannisters
for endeavouring to stop him. He entered the room without any further
ceremony than a bow, saying to the members, who indignantly rose up at
this most unexpected intrusion,

‘“Your servant, gentlemen! I beg ye will be sated.” Walking up to the
fire-place, he thus addressed Admiral Stewart: “So, my dear admiral,
Mr. Brookes informs me that I have been _elected_ three times.”

‘“You have been balloted for, Mr. Fitzgerald, but I am sorry to say you
have not been chosen,” said Stewart.

‘“Well, then,” replied the duellist, “did you black-ball me?”

‘“My good sir,” answered the admiral, “how could you suppose such a

‘“Oh, I _supposed_ no such thing, my dear fellow, I only want to know
who it was dropped the black balls in by accident, as it were.”

‘Fitzgerald now went up to each individual member, and put the same
question _seriatim_, “Did you black-ball me, sir?” until he made the
round of the whole club; and it may well be supposed that in every
case he obtained similar answers to that of the admiral. When he
had finished his inquisition, he thus addressed the whole body, who
preserved as dread and dead a silence as the urchins at a parish school
do on a Saturday when the pedagogue orders half-a-score of them to be
_horsed_ for neglecting their catechism, which they have to repeat to
the parson on Sunday:

‘“You see, gentlemen, that as none of ye have black-balled me, _I
must be chose_; and it is Misthur Brookes that has made the mistake.
But I was convinced of it from the beginning, and I am only sorry
that so much time has been lost as to prevent honourable gentlemen
from enjoying each other’s good company sooner. Waither! Come here,
you rascal, and bring me a bottle of champagne, till I drink long
life to the club, and wish them joy of their unanimous election of a
raal gentleman by father and mother, and--” this part of Fitzgerald’s
address excited the risible muscles of everyone present; but he soon
restored them to their former lugubrious position by casting around
him a ferocious look, and saying, in a voice of thunder--“_and who
never missed his man_! Go for the champagne, waithur; and, d’ye hear,
sur, tell your masthur--Misthur Brookes, that is--not to make any more
mistakes about black balls, for, though it is below a gentleman to
call him out, I will find other means of giving him a bagful of broken

‘The members now saw that there was nothing for it but to send the
intruder to Coventry, which they appeared to do by tacit agreement; for
when Admiral Stewart departed, which he did almost immediately, Mr.
Fitzgerald found himself completely cut by all “his dear friends.” The
gentlemen now found themselves in groups at the several whist-tables,
and no one chose to reply to his observations, nor to return even
a nod to the toasts and healths which he drank whilst discussing
three bottles of the sparkling liquor which the terrified waiter
placed before him in succession. At length, finding that no one would
communicate with him in either kind, either for drinking or for
fighting, he arose, and, making a low bow, took his leave as follows:

‘“Gentlemen, I bid you all good night; I am glad to find ye so
_sociable_. I’ll take care to come earlier next night, and we’ll have a
little more of it, please G--d.”

‘The departure of this bully was a great relief to everyone present,
for the restraint caused by his vapouring and insolent behaviour was
intolerable. The conversation immediately became general, and it was
unanimously agreed that half-a-dozen stout constables should be in
waiting the next evening to lay him by the heels and bear him off
to the watch-house if he attempted again to intrude. Of some such
measure Fitzgerald seemed to be aware, for he never showed himself
at “Brookes’s” again, though he boasted everywhere that he had been
unanimously chosen a member of the club.’

He lived the life of a man about town, and not a very reputable one,
either a bully whom everyone feared and no one liked, until the summer
of 1773, when he appeared before the public in a dispute of which
there is a long account in a contemporary pamphlet, ‘The Vauxhall
Affray, or Macaronies defeated.’ The Rev. Henry Bate (afterwards Sir
H. B. Dudley), the proprietor and editor of the _Morning Post_, was
at Vauxhall in company with Mrs. Hartley, the actress, her husband,
Mr. Colman, and a friend, when Fitzgerald, accompanied by the Hon.
Thomas Lyttleton, Captain Croftes, and some others, all more or less
intoxicated, behaved so rudely to Mrs. Hartley that she could stand it
no longer, and complained. Parson Bate was a notable ‘bruiser,’ and he
took her part, and struck Croftes a blow. Cards were exchanged, and
next morning an interview was arranged, at which the clergyman and
officer were reconciled, when in bounced Fitzgerald, and declared, in a
most insolent manner, that Mr. Bate should give immediate satisfaction
to his friend, Captain Miles, whom, he said, the former had grossly
insulted the evening before. Miles was introduced, and declared that
he had been affronted by the clergyman, and if he did not immediately
strip and fight with him, he (Miles) would post him as a coward, and
cane him wherever he met him.

Mindful of his cloth, Mr. Bate hesitated; but Miles, saying something
about cowardice, the parson threw all consideration of his calling to
the winds, a ring was formed, and Captain Miles received the handsomest
thrashing he ever had. Soon afterwards it transpired that Captain Miles
was Fitzgerald’s own servant, who had been compelled by his master so
to behave. Mr. Bate very properly exposed the affair in the _Morning

We next hear of him engaged in a duel with Captain Scawen of the
Guards, which was fought at Lille, and twice he fired before his
adversary. Luckily he missed him, and the second time the captain,
having fired in the air, the affair ended.

He was concerned in another duel, which made some stir at the time
(1775). There was a young fellow named Walker, the son of a plumber
and painter, whose father left him a large fortune, and Daisy Walker,
as he was called, became a cornet in Burgoyne’s Light Dragoons. His
fortune soon went in gambling, and he had to retire from the service,
whilst his guardians looked into his affairs. At that time Fitzgerald
held a bill of his for three thousand pounds, and pressed for payment.
It was ultimately compromised, and, on receipt of five hundred pounds,
he gave up the bill. Subsequently Daisy Walker made some lucky bets,
and Fitzgerald at once became clamourous for payment of two thousand
five hundred pounds. Walker denied his liability, saying the matter was
settled by the payment of five hundred pounds and the return of the
bill; but this was not Fitzgerald’s view of the matter, and he dunned
young Walker whenever he met him, and at last, at Ascot races, he cut
him across the face with his cane.

Of course, in those days, there could be but one course to be taken,
and a challenge was sent, and accepted. Walker, as being the insulted
party, should fire first. They duly met, and the distance was fixed
at ten paces, but the second who measured the ground took such
strides that it was virtually twelve paces. Walker fired, and his
antagonist was unhurt. Fitzgerald, who had the whole etiquette of the
duello at his finger’s ends, then stepped forward and apologised for
having struck Walker--which apology was accepted. But, as soon as
this ceremony was finished, Fitzgerald again began dunning for his
£2,500, and, when he was told that it was not owing, he prepared to
take his shot, offering to bet £1,000 that he hit his adversary. The
pistol missed fire, and he calmly chipped the flint, reiterating his
offer to bet. He fired, and the ball grazed Walker in the arm just
below the shoulder, but did not wound him, and they left the field.
Subsequently, however, Fitzgerald declared that Walker was ‘papered,’
_i.e._, protected in some way, and published an account of the duel in
a pamphlet, addressed to the Jockey Club. To this Walker replied, and
Fitzgerald followed up with another pamphlet, in which he says:--

‘I should most certainly have fixed it at _six_ instead of _ten_ paces.
My predilection for that admeasurement of ground is founded upon the
strictest principles of humanity. For I know, from trials successively
repeated, twenty times one after the other, I can, at that distance,
hit any part of the human body to a _line_, which, possibly you may
know, is only the _twelfth part of an inch_.’

And he again refers to his pistol-practice. ‘So, then, you had one
Surtout on; are you certain you had not half-a-dozen? If no more than
one Surtout, pray how many coats and waistcoats? You give us no account
of your under-garments. I ask these questions, Sir, because, after
reading your pamphlet, I took the same pistol, charged it with the same
quantity of powder, used a bullet cast in the same mould, measured out
twelve good paces with a yard wand, and then fired at a thick stick,
which I had previously covered over with two waistcoats lined, one coat
lined, and one double-milled drab Surtout. What think you, Sir, was the
result? Why, Sir, the ball penetrated through the Surtout, the coat,
two waistcoats, and lodged itself an inch deep in the stick. There
is nothing like experimental philosophy for a fair proof, it beats
your _ipse dixits_ all halloo. You see how ingeniously I pass away my
private hours--I am always hard at study.’

This affair made London too hot for him, and he went over to France
with an old brother officer named Baggs, and they picked up a living
by horse-racing and gambling--which led to a duel between the two, for
Baggs had fleeced a young Englishman named Sandford, and there was a
quarrel as to the division of the spoil, which ended in Fitzgerald
drawing his gloves across Baggs’ face, and Baggs returning the
compliment by dashing his hat in his partner’s face. Of course the
outcome of this was a duel, which is graphically described by Hamilton
Rowan in his ‘Autobiography.’

‘They fired together, and were in the act of levelling their second
pistols, when Baggs fell on his side, saying,

‘“Sir, I am wounded.”

‘“But you are not dead!” said Fitzgerald.

‘At the same moment he discharged his second pistol at his fallen

‘Baggs immediately started on his legs and advanced on Fitzgerald,
who, throwing the empty pistol at him, quitted his station, and kept a
zig-zag course across the field, Baggs following. I saw the flash of
Bagg’s second pistol, and, at the same moment, Fitzgerald lay stretched
on the ground. I was just in time to catch Baggs as he fell, after
firing his second shot. He swooned from intense pain, the small bone of
his leg being broken. Mr. Fitzgerald now came up, saying,

‘“We are both wounded; let us go back to our ground.”’

But this could not be allowed, and the wounded were carried home.
Fitzgerald’s wound was in the thigh, and rendered him slightly lame
ever after.

When he got well, he returned to Ireland, and, thanks to his uncle,
the Earl of Bristol and Bishop of Derry, he lived in very fair style,
either in Merrion Street, Dublin, or at Rockfield, near Turlough. While
living in Dublin he fought a duel with John Toler (afterwards Lord
Norbury), fired a pistol at Denis Browne, Lord Altamont’s brother,
in Sackville Street, in broad daylight, and insulted and struck John
Fitzgibbon, afterwards Lord Chancellor Clare.

Death now took away his guardian-angel, his amiable and patient wife,
leaving him a little daughter. His grief for her loss was extravagant,
and amounted to little short of frenzy. After the funeral he behaved
more than ever like a madman. He took to hunting by night, and hunted
anything that was about after dark. In this wild chase he was always
accompanied by a band of mounted servants, carrying torches, and, when
the peasants were roused from their slumbers by the noise of hounds,
and the cries of men, they knew that Mad Fitzgerald was abroad.

When he hunted by day, he would peremptorily order home anyone to whom
he had even a fancied dislike. He would tell one man to go home for he
was more fitted to follow the plough than the hounds; another would be
bidden to go and mind his sheep, and a third would be told to quit the
field, as he was too fat for the sport. And they had to go, for their
monitor would not have scrupled to have used his whip, and, if that had
been objected to, there was always the _ultima ratio_ of a duel, and
men were rather shy of meeting ‘Fighting Fitzgerald.’

He had a particular dislike to the family of Lord Altamont, and
behaved in a most high-handed and outrageous manner towards them. For
instance, he heard that a relation of my lord’s, a Mr. Browne, was out
shooting on a bog near Westport, so he got together his men and dogs,
and went in quest of him. When Mr. Browne saw him enter on the scene,
he retired; Fitzgerald pursued, Mr. Browne increased his pace, so did
Fitzgerald, until he literally hunted the offending sportsman home.
Another time he rode over to Lord Altamont’s house, and asked to see
the wolf-dog, which, for its size and fierceness, was the admiration
and terror of the neighbourhood. No sooner was he shown the dog than
he shot it, charging the servants to tell their master that, until he
became more charitable to the poor, who only came to his door to be
barked at and bitten, he should not allow such a beast to be kept, but
that he had no objection to the three ladies of the family each keeping
a lap-dog.

After a time, his grief at the loss of his wife subsided, and he
fell in love with the only child and heiress of a Mr. Vaughan, of
Carrowmore, County Mayo, and singularly, although she well knew his
reckless character, she returned his affection. We know how he ran away
with his first wife; the story of his wedding with his second is yet
more romantic.

Mr. Vaughan was, not unnaturally, averse to Fitzgerald marrying his
daughter, but, at the same time, he did not forbid him the house. So
one night Fitzgerald was suddenly attacked by a very acute illness,
writhing about in great agony, and at last begged to be allowed to
remain there that night. In the morning he was much worse, and at
death’s door, lamenting the iniquity of his past life, and begging
that a priest should be sent for. Of course one soon came, but, in the
midst of his spiritual exercises, Fitzgerald sprang out of bed, and,
presenting a pistol to the head of the priest, swore he would blow out
his brains if he did not instantly marry him to Miss Vaughan, and the
terror-stricken priest had no option but to comply. Mr. Vaughan had to
bow to the inevitable, and the new Mrs. Fitzgerald never had reason to
complain of her husband’s treatment of her, as he was uniformly kind
and affectionate to her.

When Fitzgerald returned to Ireland, he found his father, a weak,
false, vicious old man, almost in his dotage, and entirely under the
control of his younger son Lionel, a low woman whom he had taken as
his mistress, and an unscrupulous pettifogger named Patrick Randal
MacDonnell. Charles Lionel, the younger son, was his brother’s enemy,
because he saw nothing but poverty before him if his father paid
George Robert the £1,000 a year to which he was entitled, for the old
spendthrift was always in debt. The mistress had every reason to keep
things as they were, and MacDonnell did not like to see his pickings
done away with. It is questionable whether Fitzgerald had ever received
any portion of his settlement--at all events, it was £12,000 in arrear.
He saw the estate that was ultimately to come to him being wasted, his
father getting more hopelessly into debt, and spending his substance
on an immoral and greedy woman, and he was determined to put a stop to
it. He had a difficulty to get a solicitor in Dublin to undertake his
case, but at last he found one, and arranged with him to accompany him
in his carriage to Mayo. The story of that ride is told by Sir Jonah
Barrington (vol. iii, p. 170, ed. 1832) as follows:

‘Mr. Fitzgerald sent for the attorney, and told him that, if his
going down was previously known, there would be several of the
tenants and others, under the adverse influence of his father and
brother, who would probably abscond, and that, therefore, since spies
were watching him perpetually, to give notice in the county of his
every movement, it was expedient that he should set out two or three
hours before daybreak, so as to have the start of them. That his own
travelling-carriage should be ready near the gate of the Phœnix Park to
take up Mr. T----, who might bring his trunk of papers with him in a
hack-carriage, so that there should be no suspicion.

‘All this was reasonable and proper, and accordingly done. Mr.
Fitzgerald’s carriage was on the spot named, near the wall of the
Phœnix Park. The attorney was punctual, the night pitch dark, and the
trunk of papers put into the boot; the windows were all drawn up. Mr.
T---- stepped into the carriage with as great satisfaction as ever he
had felt in his whole lifetime, and away they drove cheerily, at a good
round pace, for the county of Galway.

‘Mr. T---- had no idea that anybody else was coming with them, Mr.
Fitzgerald not having mentioned such a thing. He found, however, a
third gentleman in a travelling-cloak sitting between himself and
his client, who was dozing in the far corner. The stranger, too, he
found not over-courteous; for, though the carriage was not very roomy,
and the gentleman was bulky, he showed no disposition whatever to
accommodate the attorney, who begged him, with great suavity and
politeness, to “move a little.” To this he received no reply, but
a snoring both from the strange traveller and Mr. Fitzgerald. Mr.
T---- now felt himself much crowded and pressed, and again earnestly
requested “the gentleman” to allow him, if possible, a little more
room; but he only received a snore in return. He now concluded that his
companion was a low, vulgar fellow. His nerves became rather lax; he
got alarmed, without well knowing why; he began to twitter--the twitter
turned into a shake, and, as is generally the case, the shake ended
with a cold sweat, and Mr. T---- found himself in a state of mind and
body far more disagreeable than he had ever before experienced.

‘The closeness and pressure had elicited a hot perspiration on the
one side, while his fears produced a cold perspiration on the other,
so that (quite unlike the ague he had not long recovered from) he
had hot and cold fits at the same moment. All his apprehensions
were now awakened; his memory opened her stores, and he began to
recollect dreadful anecdotes of Mr. Fitzgerald, which he never before
had credited, or indeed had any occasion to remember. The ruffians
of Turlow passed as the ghosts in “Macbeth” before his imagination.
Mr. Fitzgerald, he supposed, was in a fox’s sleep, and his bravo in
another, who, instead of receding at all, on the contrary, squeezed the
attorney closer and closer. His respiration now grew impeded, and every
fresh idea exaggerated his horror; his untaxed costs, he anticipated,
would prove his certain death, and that a cruel one. Neither of his
companions would answer him a single question, the one replying only by
a rude snore, and the other by a still ruder.

‘“Now,” thought Mr. T----, “my fate is consummated. I have often
heard how Mr. Fitzgerald cut a Jew’s throat in Italy, and slaughtered
numerous creditors while on the grand tour of Europe. God help me!
unfortunate solicitor that I am, my last day, or rather night, has

‘He thought to let down the window and admit a little fresh air, but it
was quite fast. The whole situation was insupportable, and at length he
addressed Mr. Fitzgerald, most pathetically, thus:

‘“Mr. Fitzgerald, I’ll date the receipt the moment you choose, and
whenever it’s your convenience I have no doubt you’ll pay it most
honourably--no doubt, no doubt, Mr. Fitzgerald--but not necessary at
all till perfectly convenient, or never, if more agreeable to you and
this other gentleman.”

‘Fitzgerald could now contain himself no longer, but said, quite in
good humour,

‘“Oh, very well, Mr. T----, very well, quite time enough; make yourself
easy on that head.”

‘The carriage now arrived at Maynooth, where the horses were instantly
changed, and they proceeded rapidly on their journey, Mr. Fitzgerald
declaring he would not alight till he reached Turlow, for fear of

‘The attorney now took courage, and, very truly surmising that the
other gentleman was a foreigner, ventured to beg of Mr. Fitzgerald to
ask “his friend” to sit over a little, as he was quite crushed.

‘Mr. Fitzgerald replied, “That the party in question did not speak
English, but when they arrived at Killcock the matter should be better

‘The attorney was now compelled for some time longer to suffer the hot
press, inflicted with as little compunction as if he were only a sheet
of paper; but, on arriving at the inn at Killcock, dawn just appeared,
and Mr. Fitzgerald, letting down a window, desired his servant, who
was riding with a pair of large horse-pistols before him, to rouse
the people at the inn, and get some cold provisions and a bottle of
wine brought to the carriage. “And, Thomas,” said he, “get five or
six pounds of raw meat, if you can--no matter of what kind--for this
foreign gentleman.”

‘The attorney was now petrified; a little twilight glanced into the
carriage, and nearly turned him into stone. The stranger was wrapped
up in a blue travelling cloak with a scarlet cape, and had a great
white cloth tied round his head and under his chin; but when Mr.
Solicitor saw the face of his companion he uttered a piteous cry, and
involuntarily ejaculated, “Murder! murder!” On hearing this cry, the
servant rode back to the carriage window and pointed to his pistols.
Mr. T---- now offered up his soul to God, the stranger grumbled, and
Mr. Fitzgerald, leaning across, put his hand to the attorney’s mouth,
and said he should direct his servant to give him reason for that cry,
if he attempted to alarm the people of the house. Thomas went into the
inn, and immediately returned with a bottle of wine and some bread, but
reported that there was no raw meat to be had; on hearing which, Mr.
Fitzgerald ordered him to seek some at another house.

‘The attorney now exclaimed again, “God protect me!” Streaming
with perspiration, his eye every now and then glancing towards his
mysterious companion, and then, starting aside with horror, he at
length shook as if he were relapsing into his old ague; and the
stranger, finding so much unusual motion beside him, turned his
countenance upon the attorney. Their cheeks came in contact, and
the reader must imagine--because it is impossible adequately to
describe--the scene that followed. The stranger’s profile was of
uncommon prominence; his mouth stretched from ear to ear, he had
enormous grinders, with a small twinkling eye, and his visage was all
be-whiskered and mustachioed--more, even, than Count Platoff’s of the

‘Mr. T----’s optic nerves were paralysed as he gazed instinctively at
his horrid companion, in whom, when he recovered his sense of vision
sufficiently to scrutinize him, he could trace no similitude to any
being on earth save a bear!

‘And the attorney was quite correct in this comparison. It was actually
a Russian bear, which Mr. Fitzgerald had educated from a cub, and which
generally accompanied his master on his travels. He now gave Bruin a
rap upon the nose with a stick which he carried, and desired him to
hold up his head. The brute obeyed. Fitzgerald then ordered him to
“kiss his neighbour,” and the bear did as he was told, but accompanied
his salute with such a tremendous roar as roused the attorney (then
almost swooning) to a full sense of his danger. Self-preservation
is the first law of Nature, and at once gives courage, and suggests
devices. On this occasion, every other kind of law--civil, criminal,
or equitable--was set aside by the attorney. All his ideas, if any he
had, were centred in one word--“escape”; and as a weasel, it is said,
will attack a man if driven to desperation, so did the attorney spurn
the menaces of Mr. Fitzgerald, who endeavoured to hold and detain him.

‘The struggle was violent, but brief; Bruin roared loud, but
interfered not. Horror strengthened the solicitor. Dashing against the
carriage-door, he burst it open, and, tumbling out, reeled into the
public-house--then rushing through a back-door, and up a narrow lane
that led to the village of Summer Hill (Mr. Roly’s demesne), about
two miles distant, he stumbled over hillocks, tore through hedges and
ditches, and never stopped till he came, breathless, to the little
alehouse, completely covered with mud, and his clothes in rags. He
there told so incoherent a story, that the people all took him for
a man either bitten by a mad dog, or broken loose from his keepers,
and considered it their duty to tie him, to prevent his biting, or
other mischief. In that manner they led him to Squire Roly’s, at the
great house, where the hapless attorney was pinioned and confined in a
stable for some hours, till the squire got up. They put plenty of milk,
bread, butter, and cheese into the manger, from the cock-loft above, to
prevent accidents, as they said.’

Fitzgerald, finding the estate going to the dogs--for his father was
letting the lands at absurdly low prices to his favourites; as, for
instance, he let his son Charles Lionel a valuable tract of land worth
fifteen shillings an acre at one shilling and sixpence, and the deer
park at the same price--took the necessary legal proceedings to protect
himself; and, whilst they were pending, his father was arrested for
a debt of £8,000, and taken to a Dublin sponging-house. Although his
father had been trying to injure him by all the means in his power, yet
Fitzgerald paid the debt, and became responsible for the other debts of
his father, who, in return, ratified the settlement which had been in
abeyance so long.

Fitzgerald then applied to the Lord Chancellor for possession of the
estate, on the grounds that, under its present management, the property
was deteriorating, and as security for the money his father owed him,
which amounted to £20,000--£12,000 of which were arrears of his income
of £1,000 per annum, and £8,000 lent to obtain his release; and, in
1780, the Chancellor made the order as prayed. Had Fitzgerald gone with
bailiffs, and demanded possession, there would have been bloodshed,
in all probability; for the King’s writs did not run easily in that
part of Ireland. So he waited until one day, when his father went over
to Turlough, and he then made a forcible entry into Rockfield, with a
troop of armed dependants, and dislodged the servants then in the house.

Naturally his father did not take this quietly, and possession was
not held peacefully. There were many collisions; and old Fitzgerald
indicted his son for having headed a riotous mob, one of whom, he
alleged, had, at his son’s instigation, attempted to take away his
life, by firing a loaded musket at him. The charge could not be
sufficiently proved, and Fitzgerald was acquitted.

He now turned his attention towards improving his estate, and imported
some Scotch Presbyterians, a sober and industrious set of men, to whom
he gave five hundred pounds towards building a meeting-house, and
settled fifty pounds per annum on their minister; but his father’s
party were always annoying him, and, in consequence, he refused to
give maintenance to his father, who, thereupon, had recourse to the
law-courts in Dublin to compel him so to do; and a writ was issued
empowering the father to secure the body of his son until a maintenance
was granted him. It would have been perfectly useless to have served
the writ upon him at Turlough: it is probable no man could have been
found bold enough to attempt it. So they waited until the next assizes
at Balinrobe; and then, when they thought they had him safe in the
grand jury room, they made application to the judge to arrest him
there. Leave was granted, but Fitzgerald got wind of it, and when they
went to capture him, lo! he was not to be found.

He evidently thought two could play at that game, and he determined to
get the old man into his power. In those days, in that part of Ireland,
law was not much regarded, especially by men of Fighting Fitzgerald’s
stamp; and he speedily put his plan into execution. As his father was
going from Balinrobe to Dublin, he was waylaid by his son and a party
of armed men, and carried off _vi et armis_ to George Robert’s house at

This open violation of the law could not be submitted to tamely, and
his younger brother went to Dublin, and stated his case before the
judges, who granted him a writ of _habeas corpus_. But no one would
serve that at Turlough, so they waited, as of aforetime, until he was
at the grand jury room, and, leave having been given, his brother, who
was bigger and stronger than he, went in, and, literally collaring
him, dragged him out, spite of all his protests that he was a grand
jury man, and could not be touched while in the exercise of his
functions. He was at once put on his trial, and the grand jury found a
true bill against him, unanimously: nay, more, they publicly addressed
the judge in court, expressing their abhorrence of the charge made
against Fitzgerald. After the finding of a true bill, his trial at
once took place, in despite of all efforts to postpone it to the next
assizes, and it lasted from nine in the morning until nearly twelve at
night, when, the judge having summed up, the jury found him guilty, and
he was fined £1,000, to be imprisoned for three years, and until he
should pay the fine.

What happens next in this man’s extraordinary career is almost
difficult to believe, and shows the lawless state of the country.
Fitzgerald was committed to Castlebar prison, but he seems to have been
at large therein, for, four days after his committal, he calmly walked
out of gaol, armed with a brace of pistols, and scattering a bag of
silver to be scrambled for by the gaolers. The doors were all open, a
horse was in readiness, and off he went, tantivy, for Turlough, where
he was welcomed by his people with volleys of small arms and discharge
of cannon. These latter Fitzgerald had procured from a ship, under
the pretext that they would be useful for his volunteers, of which he
was the colonel. These he mounted as a regular battery, and it was
garrisoned in a perfectly military manner by his volunteers.

But an escape from prison was, by the law of Ireland, deemed a capital
felony, and the sheriff of the county issued proclamations and rewards
for his apprehension, at which Fitzgerald only laughed, for he could
rely on his men, and he had his father still in his custody, as the old
man did not go away when his son was, as he thought, safely imprisoned.
He was some fifteen months at large before the majesty of the law
asserted itself. Then a little army, consisting of three companies of
foot, a troop of horse, and a battery of artillery, under the command
of Major Longford, was sent to reduce this rebel. But, when they got
to Rockfield, they found the cannon spiked, and the birds flown to
Killala, whither they were followed by Charles Lionel, at the head of
the Castlebar volunteers. But many people gathered round Fitzgerald,
and he soon had a party which was too strong for them to attack. But,
a large reinforcement arriving, he had to flee, and, with his father,
and two or three attendants, he put to sea in an open boat, landing on
a small island in the bay of Sligo.

Here his father offered him terms, that if he would give him £3,000 to
clear off his debts, and pay him a small annuity, he would give him up
the estate, and completely exonerate him of all blame in his capture
and detention. To these terms Fitzgerald assented, and set off with his
father through bye, and unfrequented roads to Dublin. But no sooner had
the old man got into his old lodging, than he refused to ratify his
bargain, and set his son at defiance.

Fitzgerald, although there was a reward out of £300 for his
apprehension, took no pains to conceal himself, and, consequently,
had not been long in Dublin, before Town-Major Hall heard of his
whereabouts, and, taking twelve soldiers of the Castle guard with him,
arrested Fitzgerald, and safely lodged him in the Castle, where he was
confined in the officer’s room; and there he abode till the general
election, when, through the influence of his powerful friends, he was
released. During his incarceration he wrote an appeal to the public on
his case, although some say the author was one Timothy Brecknock, a
somewhat unscrupulous lawyer whom Fitzgerald employed.

The first use he made of his newly-acquired liberty was to revenge
himself on a man who he fancied had done him some grievous injury, a
somewhat eccentric gentleman named Dick Martin, and he determined to
insult him in the most public manner. He met him at the theatre, struck
him with his cane, calling him the bully of the Altamonts, and walked
away. Of course, in those days a gentleman so insulted could but do one
thing, and that was to send a challenge--and Martin did send Fitzgerald
one by the hand of a cousin of the latter, a Mr. Lyster. While he was
explaining the object of his visit, Fitzgerald rang the bell, and
requested his footman to bring him his cudgel ‘with the green ribbon.’
This being brought, he walked up to his cousin, and ferociously asked
how _he_ dared to deliver such a message to _him_: then, not waiting
for a reply, he belaboured him most unmercifully, with such violence
indeed, as to break a diamond ring from off his finger. When he
considered him sufficiently punished, he made him pick up his ring and
present it to him--but he did not keep it, he wrapped it up in paper,
and returned it, telling his cousin not to go about swearing that he
had robbed him of it.

Martin could get no satisfaction out of Fitzgerald in Dublin, the
object of the latter being to let his adversary have the reputation of
being an insulted man. But, afterwards, they met at Castlebar, and a
meeting was arranged. Martin was hit, and his bullet struck Fitzgerald,
but glanced off: according to some it hit a button; according to
others, Fitzgerald was _plastroné_, or armoured.

His behaviour was more like that of a lunatic than of a sane man. Take
the following example, for instance. He had a house and grounds near
Dublin, and his neighbours all fought shy of him--nay, one of them, a
retired officer, Captain Boulton, would neither accept his invitations
nor invite him to his mansion. This conduct galled Fitzgerald, and he
devised a novel method of avenging himself of the insult. He would
shoot on the captain’s grounds without leave. So he went down with
his man and dogs and began killing the game in fine style. This soon
brought out the steward, who began to remonstrate with the trespasser.
Fitzgerald’s answer was a bullet, which whizzed close to the head of
the poor steward, who turned, and ran for his life, Fitzgerald after
him with a second gun, with the certain determination of shooting him.
Luckily the man got safely into the mansion. Baffled of his victim,
Fitzgerald began abusing Captain Boulton, calling on him to come out,
and give him satisfaction for his man’s behaviour. But the captain, not
seeing the force of the argument, refrained, and Fitzgerald fired his
gun at the dining-room window. As this, however, did not bring out the
captain, he fired at the windows as fast as his man could load, and
only left off when he had smashed every one of them.

Another time he waged war against all the dogs in Castlebar, shooting
them whenever he got a chance; but the people did not stand it tamely;
they rose, visited his kennels, and shot his dogs.

His father died; but his brother, his father’s mistress, and
MacDonnell, took advantage of every circumstance in their power to
maliciously vex him. Law-suits were stirred up against him, and had to
be met with the assistance of Timothy Brecknock, who was Fitzgerald’s
legal adviser, and the followers of both parties were not particular in
exchanging a shot or two, one with the other.

At length MacDonnell kidnapped one of Fitzgerald’s servants, and kept
him prisoner for twenty days. Then the man escaped, and Fitzgerald
applied for, and obtained warrants against, MacDonnell and two other
men, named Hipson and Gallagher. To execute these warrants personally
must have been a congenial task to Fitzgerald, and he set out for that
purpose, followed by a large body of men. On their approach, MacDonnell
fled to the neighbouring village of Ballivary, and his friends did the
best they could to defend themselves, firing on his party and wounding
six or seven of them. They then went after MacDonnell, and, after more
firing, succeeded in apprehending MacDonnell, Hipson, and Gallagher.
These unfortunate men begged to be taken before the nearest magistrate;
but Fitzgerald had them bound, and taken to his house, where they
remained all night.

Early the next morning they were sent, guarded by a man of his, one
Andrew Craig, and about eighteen or twenty more, all well armed, to be
examined by the magistrates. Before their departure Fitzgerald gave the
guard strict instructions to kill the prisoners should they attempt to
escape. When they had gone about three-quarters of a mile a shot was
fired, and one of the escort was laid low. But very little was wanted
to rouse their wild blood, and it was at once considered that a rescue
was intended. Remembering the instructions given them by Fitzgerald,
they fired on their prisoners, killing Hipson, who fell into a ditch,
dragging Gallagher with him, wounded with three bullets in his arm.
MacDonnell, by the same volley, had both his arms broken, but he was
soon afterwards despatched. Gallagher was then discovered, and they
were about to kill him, only Fitzgerald ordered him to be taken to his

News was sent to Castlebar of what had taken place, and Fitzgerald
calmly awaited the result. Fully aware of the dangerous character they
had to deal with, the authorities sent a large body, both of regular
troops, and volunteers, to Turlough, and these were accompanied by an
immense mob of people. What happened is best related in the following
graphic account:

‘Brecknock was for remaining, as with the calmness of conscious
innocence, and boldly demanding a warrant against Gallagher and
others. This opinion, however, did not agree with Fitzgerald’s own,
who justly dreaded the fury of the volunteers and the populace, with
whom MacDonnell had been so popular. Neither did it coincide with that
of the Rev. Mr. Henry, the Presbyterian clergyman of Turlough, who had
been latterly a resident in the house, and was now wringing his hands
in wild alarm for what had occurred. This gentleman’s horse was at the
door, and he strongly urged George Robert to mount, and ride for his
life out of the country altogether, till the powerful intercession he
could command might be made for him. In compliance with this advice,
which entirely coincided with his own opinion, it is stated that he
made several attempts to mount; but that, splendid horseman as he was,
whether through nervous excitement, guilty terror, or the restiveness
of the animal, he was unable to attain the saddle, and, in consequence,
obliged to fly into the house again, as the military were announced to
be approaching near. It is also generally asserted that the Rev. Mr.
Ellison, who headed the soldiers, sent them on to Gurth-na-fullagh,
without halting them at Turlough, where he himself stopped.

‘Were this circumstance even true, however, Fitzgerald gained but a
short respite by it, as the volunteers, with many of the populace, came
furiously up immediately after; and, some of them being placed about
the house, the remainder entered to search and pillage it. Brecknock
and Fulton were immediately captured, but, after ransacking every
corner and crevice more than once without finding him, the volunteers
were beginning to think that Fitzgerald must have effected his escape
before their arrival, when one of them, forcing open a clothes-chest in
a lower apartment, discovered him among a heap of bed-clothes in his
place of concealment.

‘“What do you want, you ruffian?” he said, on finding himself detected.

‘“To dhrag ye, like a dog’s head, to a bonfire,” replied another
volunteer, named Morran, a powerful man, who seized him at the same
time by the breast, and drew him forth by main force.

‘A pistol was now presented at him by a third to take summary
vengeance; but a comrade snapped it from his hands, asking if there was
not murder enough already.

‘“What mercy did himself or his murdherers show to those every way
their betthers?”

‘“Well, let them pay for that on the gallows, but let us be no
murdherers; let us give him up to the law.”

‘He was, accordingly, hauled out to the front of the house, where,
perceiving Mr. Ellison, he exclaimed,

‘“Ellison, will you allow me to be handled thus by such rabble?”

‘Mr. Ellison’s response to this saved him from further molestation for
a time, and exertions were then made to withdraw the pillagers from the
wholesale plundering they were practising within. One fellow had girded
his loins with linen almost as fine as Holland--so fine that he made
some hundred yards fit round his body without being much observable.
Another, among other valuables, made himself master of the duellist’s
diamond-buttoned coat; while a third contrived to appropriate to
himself all the jewels, valued at a very high amount. In short, so
entire were the spoliation and destruction that, before sunset, not a
single pane of glass was left in the windows.

‘The remainder of those implicated in the murders were speedily
apprehended, except Craig, who escaped for the time, but was taken soon
after near Dublin.

‘We must now pause to sustain our character as an accurate chronicler
to relate an act as unprecedented, as lawless, and as terrible as the
most terrible of Fitzgerald’s own. He was alone, on the night of his
capture, in the room assigned to him in the gaol. It was not a felon’s
apartment, but was guarded on the outside by two armed soldiers, lest
he should make any desperate attempt to escape. It was some hours after
nightfall that Clarke, the then sub-sheriff, removed one of those
sentinels to another portion of the prison, where he stated he required
his presence. They had scarcely disappeared, when the remaining
soldier, McBeth (according to his own account), was knocked down, and
his musket taken from him, while the door was burst open, and a number
of men, all armed with pistols, sword-canes, and the sentinel’s musket,
commenced a furious and deadly attack on Fitzgerald, who, though
totally unarmed, made a most extraordinary defence. Several shots were
discharged rapidly at him, one of which lodged in his thigh, while
another broke a ring on the finger of one of his hands, which he put up
to change the direction of the ball.

He was then secured by John Gallagher, one of the assailants, and
a powerful man, and, whilst struggling in his grip, thrust at
with blades and bayonets, one of the former of which broke in the
fleshy part of his arm. The latter, too, in forcing out two of his
teeth, had its point broken, and was thereby prevented from passing
through his throat. After having freed himself, by great exertions,
from Gallagher’s grasp, he was next assaulted with musket-stock,
pistol-butts, and the candlestick, which had been seized by one of the
assailants, who gave the candle to a boy to hold. By one of the blows
inflicted by these weapons he was prostrated under the table, and,
while lying there, defending himself with unimpaired powers against
other deadly-aimed blows, he exclaimed,

‘Cowardly rascals, you may now desist; you have done for me, which was,
of course, your object.’

The candle had by this time been quenched in the struggling, and the
gaol and streets thoroughly alarmed, so that the assailants, fearing to
injure one another, and deeming that their intended victim was really
dispatched, retreated from the prison, leaving Fitzgerald, though
wounded, once more in security.

In consequence of this outrage, his trial was postponed for two
months, and the government ordered his assailants to be prosecuted,
but on trial they were acquitted. Fitzgerald himself was tried the
same day (June 8, 1786), the chief witnesses against him being his own
man, Andrew Craig, and Andrew Gallagher, the latter of whom deposed
that when he, Hipson, and MacDonnell, were confined in Fitzgerald’s
house, there was a pane broken in the window, and ‘At day he saw a
number of men regularly drawn up, to the number of twenty or thirty.
He saw Andrew Craig and James Foy settling them. Mr. Fitzgerald and
Mr. Brecknock came to the flag of the hall-door; through the broken
pane he heard them conversing; they spoke in French for some time, and
afterwards in English, but he could not hear what they said, but the
names of himself, MacDonnell, and Hipson were severally mentioned. He
heard at that time nothing more than their names. Mr. Fitzgerald called
over James Foy and Andrew Craig, who were settling the guard, and
ordered them to move a little higher, about ten or twelve yards above
the house. There was some other conversation which he did not hear.
As soon as the guard were settled, Mr. Fitzgerald gave them--Foy and
Craig--orders “If they saw any rescue, or colour of a rescue, be sure
they shot the prisoners, and take care of them.”

‘When these orders were given, Mr. Fitzgerald said to Mr. Brecknock,

‘“Ha! we shall soon get rid of them now.”

‘Mr. Brecknock replied: “Oh, then we shall be easy indeed.”

‘After the guard was settled, Mr. Fitzgerald called back Andrew Craig,
and when Craig came within ten yards of him, he, Mr. Fitzgerald, said,

‘“Andrew, be sure you kill them. Do not let one of the villains escape.”

‘Andrew answered: “Oh, never fear, please your honour.”’

At his trial he had a bitter enemy both in the judge, Yelverton, and
the prosecuting counsel, Fitzgibbon. Nor could he reckon the high
sheriff, Denis Browne, among his friends, so that it was scarcely
possible that it should have but one issue, and the jury returned
a verdict of guilty against both him and Brecknock, and the judge
sentenced them to immediate execution. Fitzgerald begged for a little
delay, so that he might settle his worldly affairs; it was denied him,
and, at six in the evening, he walked forth to his doom. Brecknock had
already suffered. Fitzgerald dreaded the scene of the scaffold and the
journey thither along the high road, in a cart, and asked, as a last
favour from the sheriff, to be allowed to walk and go by a by-way. It
was granted, and he went to his doom preceded by the hangman, who wore
a large mask. He walked very fast, and was dressed in a ragged coat of
the Castletown hunt, a dirty flannel waistcoat and drawers, both of
which were without buttons, brown worsted or yarn stockings, a pair of
coarse shoes without buckles, and an old round hat, tied round with a
pack-thread band.

When he jumped off the ladder the rope broke, although he was but
a slightly-built man and a light weight, and he had to wait until
another, and a stronger, one was procured. After forty minutes’ hanging
his body was cut down, and was waked by the light of a few candles in
a barn at Turlough; it was interred, the next morning, in the family
tomb, situated in a ruined chapel adjoining a round tower, but his
remains were disturbed some years afterwards at the burial of his
brother in the same tomb. He was thirty-eight years of age.

His daughter had a portion of £10,000 left her by him, and she was a
very gentle and interesting girl. She mostly resided with her uncle at
Castletown, and was unaware, for a long time, of her father’s fate. But
it so happened that, being one day alone in the library, and looking
over the upper shelves, she lit upon a copy of his trial. She read it,
and from that time never lifted up her head, nor smiled--she could not
bear her position as the daughter of a felon, and she gradually pined
away, and died at an early age.


Pugnacity is not confined to the male sex, as everyone well knows, and
none better than the police-force, but in these latter and, presumably,
degenerate days, the efforts, in this direction, of the softer sex
are confined to social exhibitions, there being, as far as is known,
no woman serving in Her Majesty’s force either by land or by sea.
Indeed, with the present medical examination, it would be impossible;
and so it would have been in the old days, only then all was fish that
came to the net. His, or Her Majesty, as the case might be, never had
enough men, and ‘food for powder’ was ever acceptable, and its quality
never closely scrutinised. It is incredible, were it not true, that
these women, whose stories I am about to relate, were not discovered
to be such--they were wounded, they were flogged, and yet there was no
suspicion as to their sex.

We get the particulars of the life of the first of that century’s
Amazons in a book of one hundred and eighty-one pages, published
(second edition) in 1744, entitled, ‘The British Heroine: or, an
Abridgment of the Life and Adventures of Mrs. Christian Davis, commonly
called Mother Ross.’ She was born in Dublin, A.D. 1667, and was the
daughter of a maltster and brewer, named Cavanagh, who occupied a
small farm about two miles from Dublin. Here Miss Christian resided
with her mother, and, although her education was not neglected, for
she learned to read and sew, yet the charms of physical exertion were
more attractive, and she took greater delight in using the flail, or
following the plough, than in sedentary occupations. She was a regular
tomboy, bestriding bare-backed horses and, without saddle or bridle,
scampering about, taking hedges and ditches whenever they came in her

After the abdication of James II. her father sold all his standing
corn, &c., and with the produce, and the money he had by him, he raised
a troop of horse and joined the king’s army. He was wounded at the
battle of Aghrim, and soon afterwards died of fever. His wife had very
prudently negotiated a pardon for him, but, as soon as he was dead, the
government confiscated all his goods; yet still the mother and daughter
managed to get along somehow or other.

She grew up to be a buxom and sprightly lass, when it was her
misfortune to meet with her cousin, the Reverend Thomas Howell, a
Fellow of Dublin University, who first seduced and then abandoned
her. Her grief at this told upon her health, and her mother sent her
for a change of air to Dublin, there to stop with an aunt, who kept a
public-house. With her she lived for four years, when her aunt died and
left her all she had, including the business. She afterwards married
a servant of her aunt’s, one Richard Welch, and lived very happily
with him for four years, when her husband one day went out, with fifty
pounds in his pocket, to pay his brewer, and never returned.

For nearly twelve months she heard no tidings of him, but one day came
a letter, in which he told her he had met a friend, and with him had
too much drink, went on board ship, and had more drink; and when he
recovered from the effects of his debauch, found himself classed as a
recruit for his Majesty’s army, sailing for Helvoetsluys. The receipt
of this letter completely upset his wife, but only for a short time,
when she took the extraordinary resolution of entering the army as a
recruit, in order that she might be sent to Flanders, and there might
possibly meet with her husband. She let her house, left her furniture
in charge of her neighbours, sent one child to her mother’s, and put
the other out to nurse. She then cut her hair short, put on a suit of
her husband’s clothes, hat and wig, and buckled on a silver-hilted
sword. There was a law then in existence by which it was an offence to
carry out of the kingdom any sum exceeding five pounds, but this she
evaded by quilting fifty guineas in the waistband of her breeches.

She then enlisted in a foot regiment under the name of Christopher
Welch, and was soon shipped, with other recruits, and sent to Holland.
She was, with the others, put through some sort of drill, but much
time could not then be wasted on drill, and then they were sent to the
grand army, and incorporated in different regiments. Almost directly
after joining, she was wounded by a musket-ball in the leg, at the
battle of Landen, and had to quit the field. This wound laid her up for
two months, and when she rejoined her regiment they were ordered into
winter quarters. Here she, in common with the other British soldiers,
helped the Dutch to repair their dykes.

In the following campaign she had the ill-luck to be taken prisoner by
the French, and was sent to St. Germains en Laye, where Mary of Modena,
the wife of James II. paid particular attention to the wants of the
English prisoners, having them separated from the Dutch, and allowing
each man five farthings for tobacco, a pound of bread, and a pint of
wine daily. She was imprisoned for nine days, when an exchange of
prisoners took place, and she was released.

Once more the troops went into winter quarters, and Mrs. Welch must
needs ape the gallantry of her comrades. She made fierce love to
the daughter of a rich burgher, and succeeded so well that the girl
would fain have married her. Now it so happened that a sergeant of
the same regiment loved the same girl, but with other than honourable
intentions, and one day he endeavoured to gain her compliance by force.
The girl resisted and in the scuffle got nearly all the clothes torn
off her back. When Mrs. Welch heard of this affair she ‘went for’ that
sergeant, and the result was a duel with swords. Mrs. Welch received
two wounds in her right arm, but she nearly killed the sergeant, and
afterwards, dreading his animosity when he should have recovered, she
exchanged into a dragoon regiment (Lord John Hayes) and was present at
the taking of Namur.

When the troops again went into winter quarters a curious adventure
befell her, which goes to prove how completely masculine was her
appearance. She resisted the advances of a woman, who thereby was so
angered that she swore she would be revenged, and accordingly, when a
child was born to her, she swore that the trooper, Christopher Welch,
was its father. This, of course, could have been easily disproved,
but then good-bye to her hopes of meeting with her husband; so, after
mature deliberation, she accepted the paternity of the child, who,
however, did not trouble her for long, as it died in a month.

After the peace of Ryswick in 1697, the army was partially disbanded,
and Mrs. Welch returned home to Dublin. She found her mother, children,
and friends all well, but finding that she was unrecognized, owing to
her dress and the hardships of campaigning, she did not make herself
known, but re-enlisted in 1701 in her old regiment of dragoons, on the
breaking out of the War of Succession. She went through the campaigns
of 1702 and 1703, and was present at many of the engagements therein,
receiving a wound in the hip, at Donawert, and, although attended
by three surgeons, her sex was not discovered. She never forgot her
quest, but all her inquiries after her husband were in vain. Yet
she unexpectedly came upon him, after the battle of Hochstadt in
1704, caressing and toying with a Dutch camp-follower. A little time
afterwards she discovered herself to him. Having seen what she had, she
would not return to her husband as his wife, but passed as a long-lost
brother, and they met frequently.

At the battle of Ramilies, in 1705, a piece of a shell struck the back
of her head, and fractured her skull, for which she underwent the
operation of trepanning, and then it was, whilst unconscious, that her
sex was discovered, and her husband came forward and claimed her as his
wife. Her pay went on until she was cured, when the officers of the
regiment, who, naturally, were interested in this very romantic affair,
made up a new wardrobe for her, and she was re-married to her husband
with great solemnity, and many and valuable were her marriage-presents.
She could not be idle, so she turned sutler, and, by the indulgence of
the officers, she was allowed to pitch her tent in the front, whilst
all the others were sent to the rear, but she was virtually unsexed by
the rough ways of the camp, although a child was born to her amongst
the din and confusion of the campaign.

Her husband was killed at the battle of Malplaquet, in 1709, and then
this rough woman could not help showing that she possessed some of the
softer feelings of her sex. Her grief was overpowering. She bit a great
piece out of her arm, tore her hair, and then threw herself upon the
corpse in an ecstasy of passion, and, had any weapon been handy, she
would, undoubtedly, have killed herself. With her own hands she dug his
grave, and with her own hands would she have scraped the earth away,
in order to get one more glimpse of her husband’s face, had she not
been prevented. She refused food; she became absolutely ill from grief,
and yet, within eleven weeks from her husband’s death, she married a
grenadier named Hugh Jones! Her second married life was brief--for her
husband was mortally wounded at the siege of St. Venant.

After her husband’s death, she got a living by cooking for the
officers, and went through the whole campaign, till 1712, when she
applied to the Duke of Ormond for a pass to England--which he not only
gave her, but also money enough to defray her expenses on the way. On
her arrival in England, she called on the Duke of Marlborough, to see
whether he could not get some provision made for her; but he was not
in power, and, however good his will towards her might have been, he
had not the means. She then tried the Duke of Argyle, who advised her
to have a petition to the Queen drawn up, and take it to the Duke of
Hamilton, and he himself would back it up.

She did so, and took it to the duke, who, when he was assured she was
no impostor, advised her to get a new petition drawn up, and present
herself to the Queen. So, the next day, she dressed herself in her
best, and went to Court, waiting patiently at the foot of the great
staircase, and when Queen Anne, supported by the Duke of Argyle, came
down, she dropped on one knee, and presented her petition to the Queen,
who received it with a smile, and bade her rise and be of good cheer,
for that she would provide for her; and, perceiving her to be with
child, she added, ‘If you are delivered of a boy, I will give him a
commission as soon as he is born.’ Her Majesty also ordered her fifty
pounds, to defray the expenses of her lying-in. She lived some little
time in London, being helped very materially by the officers to whom
she was known; and it was during this time, on Saturday morning, the
15th of November, 1712, she was going through Hyde Park, and was an
eye-witness of the historical duel between Lord Mohun and the Duke of

A natural longing came upon her to see her mother and her children, and
she wrote to her to say she would be in Dublin by a certain date. The
old woman, although over a hundred years of age, trudged the whole ten
miles to Dublin, to see this daughter whom she had so long given up as
dead; and the meeting was very affecting. When she came to inquire
after her children, she found one had died at the age of eighteen, and
the other was in the workhouse, where it had very speedily been placed
by the nurse in whose charge it had been left. She went to look after
the furniture and goods which she had housed with her neighbours; but
there was only one who would give any account of them. A man had taken
possession of her freehold house, and refused to give it up; and,
having lost the title-deeds, she could not force him, besides which she
had no money to carry on a lawsuit.

These misfortunes did not dishearten her; she always had been used to
victualling. So she took a public-house, and stocked it, and made pies,
and altogether was doing very well, when she must needs go and marry
a soldier named Davies, whose discharge she bought, but he afterwards
enlisted in the Guards.

Queen Anne, besides her gift of fifty pounds, ordered Mrs. Davies a
shilling a day for life, which Harley, Earl of Oxford, for some reason
or other, cut down to fivepence, with which she was fain to be content
until a change of ministry took place. Then she applied to Mr. Craggs,
and she got her original pension restored.

She did not do very well in her business, but she found plenty of
friends in the officers of the Army who knew her. She once more bought
her husband’s discharge, and got him into Chelsea Hospital, with the
rank of sergeant. She also was received into that institution; and
there she died on the 7th of July, 1739, and was interred in the
burying-ground attached to Chelsea Hospital, with military honours.

HANNAH SNELL’S grandfather entered the Army in the reign of William
III. as a volunteer, and, by his personal bravery, he earned a
commission as lieutenant, with the rank of captain. He was wounded at
Blenheim, and mortally wounded at Malplaquet. Her brother was also a
soldier, and was killed at Fontenoy; so that she may be said to have
come of a martial race. Her father was a hosier and dyer, and she was
born at Worcester on St. George’s Day, 23rd of April, 1723.

According to a contemporary biography of her,[35] ‘Hannah, when
she was scarce Ten Years of Age, had the seeds of Heroinism, as it
were, implanted in her nature, and she used often to declare to
her Companions that she would be a Soldier, if she lived; and, as
a preceding Testimony of the Truth, she formed a Company of young
Soldiers among her Playfellows, and of which she was chief Commander,
at the Head of whom she often appeared, and was used to parade the
whole City of Worcester. This Body of young Volunteers were admired all
over the Town, and they were styled young “Amazon Snell’s Company”; and
this Martial Spirit grew up with her, until it carried her through the
many Scenes and Vicissitudes she encountered for nigh five Years.’

Her father and mother being dead, she, in 1740, moved to London, where
she arrived on Christmas Day, and took up her abode with one of her
sisters, who had married a carpenter named Gray, and was living at
Wapping. Two years afterwards she was married, at the Fleet, to a
German or Dutch sailor named James Summs, on the 6th of January, 1743;
but he was a worthless fellow, and as soon as he found she was with
child by him, having spent all her money, he deserted her. She heard of
his death subsequently; he was at Genoa, and, in a quarrel, he killed a
Genoese. For this he was condemned to death, sewn up in a sack with a
quantity of stones, and sunk in the sea. Her child survived its birth
but seven months, and she was left a free woman.

Up to this time her story presents nothing of particular interest;
but, like ‘Long Meg of Westminster,’ she was a _virago_, more man
than woman, and, with the hope of some day meeting with her husband,
she donned male attire, and set forth on her quest. She soon fell in
with a recruiting party at Coventry, whither she had walked, and where
she found her funds exhausted. A little drink, the acceptance of a
shilling, a visit to a magistrate, were the slight preliminaries to her
military career, and the 27th of November, 1743, found her a private
in the army of King George II. The guinea, and five shillings, her
little ‘bounty money,’ had to follow the fate of all similar sums, in
treating her comrades. There was scant time for drills, and she was,
after about three weeks’ preparation, drafted off to Carlisle to join
her regiment. There were no railway passes in those days, so the weary
march northward took twenty-two days.

She had not been long in Carlisle before her sergeant, named Davis,
requested her aid in an intrigue he was endeavouring to establish with
a young woman of that town; but, instead of helping him, she warned the
young person of his intentions, and absolutely won the girl’s heart.
Davis’s jealousy was excited, and to punish Jemmy Gray (which was the
name under which Hannah Snell had enlisted), he reported her for some
neglect of duty, and, as commanding officers then were rather severe
than lenient in their punishments, she was sentenced to receive six
hundred lashes, five hundred of which she absolutely received, and
would have taken the whole had not some officers interfered. It seems
marvellous that her sex, when she was tied up and partially stripped,
was not discovered, and in a romance it would be a weak spot; but, as a
matter-of-fact, no one suspected she was a woman, and when her back was
healed she returned to her duty. Flogging was common enough in those

But a worse danger of exposure threatened her, for a fellow-townsman
from Worcester enlisted in the same regiment, and so she determined to
desert. The female friend on whose account she had suffered such severe
punishment, found some money, and Hannah Snell fled towards Portsmouth,
surreptitiously changing coats in a field by the way. She stopped but
little time in Portsmouth, and then she enlisted in the Marines, in
which corps she was certain to be sent abroad on service, and might
have greater opportunities of meeting with her husband.

Scarce three weeks after her enlistment had elapsed when a draft was
made to join Admiral Boscawen’s fleet for the East Indies, and she was
sent on board the sloop of war, the _Swallow_. Here she soon became
very popular with her mess-mates, her skill in cooking, washing, and
mending their shirts made her a general favourite, and she did her
duty with the best of her comrades, being especially noted for her
smartness, so much so, indeed, that she was made an officer’s servant.

Those old ships were not very good sailors in a gale. The French beat
us hollow at ship-building, and we much improved by studying the make
of the prizes we were constantly taking, so it is not to be wondered
at if that rolling old tub, the _Swallow_, came to grief. The marvel
would have been had it not occurred. Twice, before the Cape was made,
they had to repair and refit. They were then ordered to the Mauritius,
and eventually they went to the Coromandel coast, where they landed and
laid siege to and took Areacopong. They then besieged Pondicherry (in
September, 1748); but that town was not fated to fall into the hands of
the British until 1760. In all the hardships of the siege Hannah Snell
bore her full part, fording rivers breast high, sleeping in and working
at the trenches, &c., until at last she was desperately wounded,
receiving six shots in her right leg, five in her left, and a bullet in
her groin. Anyone would think that thus wounded, and in hospital, her
sex would have been discovered; but it was not. She managed to extract
the ball from her groin, and with the connivance of an old black nurse,
she always dressed the wound herself, so that the surgeons did not know
of its existence.

Three months she lay in hospital, going back to her duty as a Marine on
her discharge. But her comrades bantered her on her somewhat feminine
appearance, her smooth cheeks not being in accordance with her age.
Besides, she was somewhat quiet, and different from the rollicking
Jack Tars by whom she was surrounded, and so she earned the name of
Miss Molly Gray. A continuance of this quiet _rôle_ might have led to
discovery, so when they came to Lisbon, and the ‘liberty men’ went on
shore, she was as racketty as any of them, and ‘Miss Molly’ was soon
lost, and in her place was ‘Hearty Jemmy.’ From Lisbon they sailed for
home, and on her arrival at Spithead, she was either discharged, or
sent on furlough; at all events, there ended her military and naval
career, for she went straight to her sister at Wapping, and was at once

Campaigning had made her restless, and, although many of the officers
who had known her assisted her pecuniarily, it was light come, light
go, and the money was soon spent. So her friends advised her to
petition the Duke of Cumberland, pointing out her services, and also
dilating upon her wounds. On the 16th of June, 1750, she found a very
favourable opportunity of presenting her memorandum to the duke, and,
after full inquiry, she was awarded a pension of a shilling a day.
This, however, would not keep her, and finding that, as an Amazon, she
had a market value, she engaged with the proprietor of the New Wells in
Goodman’s Fields (the Royalty Theatre, Wellclose Square) to appear on
the stage as a soldier. In this character she sang several songs, and
‘She appears regularly dress’d in her Regimentals from Top to Toe, with
all the Accoutrements requisite for the due Performance of her Military
Exercises. Here she and her Attendants fill up the Stage in a very
agreeable Manner. The tabor and Drum give Life to her March, and she
traverses the stage two or three times over, Step by Step, in the same
Manner as our Soldiers march on the Parade in St. James’s Park.

‘After the Spectators have been sufficiently amused with this formal
Procession, she begins her Military exercises, and goes through the
whole Catechism (if I may be allowed the Expression) with so much
Dexterity and Address, and with so little Hesitation or Default, that
great Numbers even of Veteran Soldiers, who have resorted to the Wells
out of mere curiosity only, have frankly acknowledged that she executes
what she undertakes to Admiration, and that the universal Applause
which she meets with is by no means the Result of Partiality to her
in Consideration of her Sex, but is due to her, without Favour or
Affection, as the Effect of her extraordinary Merit.

‘As our Readers may be desirous of being informed in what Dress she
now appears, we think it proper to inform them that she wears Men’s
Cloaths, being, as she says, determined so to do, and having bought new
Cloathing for that Purpose.’

This theatrical performance, of course, could not last long; so, with
her savings, she took a public-house at Wapping, which she christened
‘The Widow in Masquerade,’ and on one side of the sign she was
delineated in her full regimentals, on the other in plain clothes.

She afterwards married, for in the _Universal Chronicle_ (November
3/10, 1759, p. 359, col. 3) may be read: ‘Marriages. At Newbury, in the
county of Berks, the famous Hannah Snell, who served as a marine in the
last war, and was wounded at the siege of Pondicherry, to a carpenter
of that place.’ His name was Eyles. In 1789 she became insane, and was
taken to Bethlehem, where she died on the 8th of February, 1792, aged

The examples quoted of women joining the army are by no means singular,
for in 1761 a lynx-eyed sergeant detected a woman who wished to enlist
under the name of Paul Daniel, in the hope that she might be sent to
Germany, where her husband was then serving in the army. And in the
same year a woman named Hannah Witney was masquerading at Plymouth
in man’s attire, and was laid hold of by a press-gang and lodged in
Plymouth gaol. She was so disgusted at the treatment she received
that she disclosed her sex, at the same time telling the astonished
authorities that she had served as a marine for five years.

There is a curious little chap-book, now very rare, of the ‘Life and
Adventures of Maria Knowles ... by William Fairbank, Sergeant-major of
the 66th Regiment of Foot,’ and, as it is very short, it may be as well
to give its _ipsissima verba_.

‘The heroine of the following story is the only daughter of Mr. John
Knowles, a reputed farmer,[36] of the parish of Bridworth, in the
county of Cheshire, where Maria was born, and was her father’s only
daughter. At an early age she lost her mother, and was brought up under
the care of a mother-in-law, who treated her with more kindness than is
usually done to motherless children. Her father having no other child,
his house might have proved a comfortable home for one of a more sober
disposition. At the age of nineteen she was so very tall that she was
styled the ‘Tall Girl.’ She had a very handsome face, which gained her
plenty of sweethearts. Many young men felt the weight of her fists for
giving her offences. She refused many offers of marriage, and that from
persons of fortune.

‘Being one day at the market in Warrington, she saw one Cliff, a
sergeant of the Guards on the recruiting service, with whom she fell
deeply in love; he in a short time was called to join the regiment,
and she, not being able to bear her love-sick passion, eloped from
her father’s house, immediately went up to London, disguised in man’s
apparel, and enlisted in the same regiment with her sweetheart, in
which she made a most martial appearance in her regimentals; her height
covered the deception. As a red coat captivates the fair sex, our
female soldier made great advances, being a lover of mirth and a smart

‘A part of the Guards were ordered to Holland, with whom sailed Maria
and her sweetheart. The British troops were stationed at Dort, and a
party was sent in gunboats to annoy the French, who were then besieging
Williamstadt. From Holland they were ordered to French Flanders, where
Maria was at several desperate battles and sieges. At Dunkirk she was
wounded in three different parts, in her right shoulder, in her right
arm, and thigh, which discovered her sex, and, of course, her secret.

‘After being recovered from her wounds, and questioned by her
commanding officer, she related to him the particulars of her life, and
the reason of her being disguised, and entering for a soldier, which
was to seek her fortune, and share the fate of the man on whom she had
irrevocably fixed her affection.

‘The news soon reached her lover, who flew to the arms of so faithful
a girl, whom he embraced with the most ardent zeal, vowing an eternal
constancy to her; and, in order to reward such faithful love, the
officers raised a handsome subscription for them, after which they
were married by the chaplain of the regiment, to their great joy....

‘But this was not all, for the adjutant of the 66th Regiment of Foot
dying of his wounds, Sergeant Cliff was promoted to that berth, and
Sergeant Fairbank to sergeant-major, as Cliff and him were always
comrades together. In a little time the regiment was sent to Gibraltar,
where they stayed most part of the year, during which Mrs. Cliff was
delivered of a fine son, after which the regiment was sent to the West
Indies, and, after a passage of twenty-eight days, landed safely on the
island of St. Vincent, where they remained some time; but, the yellow
fever raging among the troops, Mr. Cliff died, to the great grief of
his disconsolate wife and her young son. She was still afraid of the
raging distemper, but, happily for her and her son, neither of them
took it.

‘Great indulgence was given her, and also provisions allowed them
both; but this did not suffice, for Mrs. Cliff, losing the man she
had ventured her life so many times for, was now very unhappy, and
made application to the commanding officer for her passage to England;
and a great many men, unfit for duty, coming home, she was admitted
a passenger. I, being unfit to act as sergeant-major, on account of
a wound that I received in my left leg, the same day Mrs. Cliff was
wounded, and although it was cured, as soon as I came into a hot
country it broke out again, and I, being unfit for duty, was sent
home, and recommended.[37] So I came home in the same ship, with this
difference, that she was in the cabin, and I among the men. We sailed
in the _Eleanor_ on the 25th of January, 1798, and, after forty days’
sail, we reached Spithead, and, after performing a short quarantine, we
landed at Portsmouth on the 16th of March, where I left Mrs. Cliff to
pursue her journey to her father’s, and I came to London.’

I have been unable to trace the fate of this heroine any further.

There is yet another woman of the eighteenth century, who acted the
part both of soldier and sailor; and we read of her in the _Times_, 4th
of November, 1799.

‘There is at present in the Middlesex Hospital a young and delicate
female, who calls herself Miss T--lb--t, and who is said to be related
to some families of distinction; her story is very singular:--At an
early period of her life, having been deprived, by the villainy of a
trustee, of a sum of money bequeathed to her by a deceased relation
of high rank, she followed the fortunes of a young naval officer to
whom she was attached, and personated a common sailor before the mast,
during a cruise in the north seas. In consequence of a lover’s quarrel
she quitted the ship, and assumed, for a time, the military character;
but her passion for the sea prevailing, she returned to her favourite
element, did good service, and received a severe wound on board Earl
St. Vincent’s ship, on the glorious 14th of February,[38] and again
bled in the cause of her country in the engagement off Camperdown. On
this last occasion her knee was shattered, and an amputation is likely
to ensue. This spirited female, we understand, receives a pension of
£20 from an illustrious lady, which is about to be doubled.’

_Voilà comment on écrit l’histoire!_ This newspaper report is about
as truthful as nine-tenths of the paragraphs now-a-days; there is a
substratum of truth, but not ‘the whole truth and nothing but the
truth.’ But this can be read in a little tractate entitled, ‘The Life
and Surprising Adventures of Mary Ann Talbot, in the name of John
Taylor. Related by herself.’ London, 1809. This pamphlet is extracted
from ‘Kirby’s Wonderful Museum of Remarkable Characters, &c.,’ and
professes to be an autobiography. It is highly probable that it is so,
as she was a domestic servant in Mr. Kirby’s house for three years
before her death.

According to this relation she was the youngest of sixteen natural
children whom her mother had by Lord William Talbot, Baron of Hensol,
steward of his Majesty’s household, and colonel of the Glamorganshire
Militia. She was born the 2nd of February, 1778, and her mother died
on giving her birth. She was put out to nurse in the country, until
she was five years of age, when she was placed in a boarding-school at
Chester, where she remained nine years, being looked after by a married
sister who lived at Trevalyn, county Denbigh. At her death a man named
Sucker, living at Newport, county Salop, became her guardian, and he
behaved to her with such severity that she cordially hated him. He
introduced her to a Captain Bowen, of the 82nd Regiment of Foot, who
took her to London in January, 1792, where, friendless and alone, she
soon became his victim.

His regiment was ordered to embark for Santo Domingo, and he had
so thoroughly subjugated her to his will, and she was so utterly
helpless, that she accompanied him on board as his ‘little foot page.’
Captain Bowen made John Taylor (for such was the name Miss Talbot then
took) thoroughly act up to her assumed character, and she had to live
and mess with the lowest of the ship’s company, and, what was more, had
to do her turn of duty with the ship’s crew.

After a stormy voyage, with short provisions, they arrived at
Port-au-Prince, but stayed there a very short time, as orders came for
them to return to Europe, and join the troops on the Continent, under
the command of His Royal Highness the Duke of York. Then it was that
Captain Bowen made her enrol herself as a drummer in his regiment,
threatening her unless she did so he would sell her up-country for
a slave. There was nothing for her but to comply, so she put on the
clothes and learned the business of a drummer-boy, having, besides,
still to be the drudge of her paramour.

At the siege of Valenciennes she received two wounds, neither of them
severe enough to incapacitate her from serving, and she cured them,
without going into hospital, with a little basilicon, lint, and Dutch
drops. In this siege Captain Bowen was killed, and she, finding the key
of his desk in his pocket, searched the desk and found several letters
relating to her, from her quondam guardian, Sucker.

Being now released from her servitude, she began to think of quitting
the service, and, having changed her military dress for one she had
worn on ship-board, she deserted, and, after some wandering, reached
Luxembourg, but, it being in the occupation of the French, she was not
permitted to go further. Being thus foiled in her design of reaching
England, and destitute of every necessary of life, she was compelled
to engage on board a French lugger, a cruiser. In the course of their
voyage, they fell in with the British fleet under the command of Lord
Howe. The French vessel made a show of fighting, and John Taylor
refused to fight against her countrymen, for which she received a
severe thrashing from the French captain.

After a very faint resistance the lugger was captured, and she,
as being English, was taken on board the _Queen Charlotte_ to be
interrogated by Lord Howe. Her story, being backed up by the French
captain, gained her release, and she was allowed to join the navy, a
berth being found for her on board the _Brunswick_ as powder-monkey,
her duty being to hand powder, &c., for the guns when in action.
Captain Harvey, of the _Brunswick_, noticed the pseudo lad, and
straightly examined her as to whether she had not run away from school,
or if she had any friends; but she disarmed his suspicions by telling
him her father and mother were dead, and she had not a friend in the
world; yet the kindly captain took such a friendly interest in her that
he made her principal cabin-boy.

In the memorable fight off Brest, on the ‘Glorious First of June,’
Captain Harvey was killed, and our heroine severely wounded both in the
ankle by a grape-shot and in the thigh a little above the knee. She
was, of course, taken to the cockpit; but the surgeon could not extract
the ball in the ankle, and would not venture to cut it out; nor, when
they arrived home, and she was taken to Haslar Hospital, could they
extract the ball. Partially cured, she was discharged, and shipped on
board the _Vesuvius_ bomb, belonging to Sir Sydney Smith’s squadron,
where she acted as midshipman, although she did not receive the pay
which should have accompanied the position; and, while thus serving,
a little anecdote she tells give us a fair idea of what stuff she was

‘It was necessary for some one on board to go to the jib-boom to catch
the jib-sheet, which in the gale had got loose. The continual lungeing
of the ship rendered this duty particularly hazardous, and there was
not a seaman on board but rejected this office. I was acting in the
capacity of midshipman, though I never received pay for my service in
this ship but as a common man. The circumstance I mention only to show
that it was not my particular duty to undertake the task, which, on the
refusal of several who were asked, I voluntarily undertook. Indeed,
the preservation of us all depended on this exertion. On reaching the
jib-boom I was under the necessity of lashing myself fast to it, for
the ship every minute making a fresh lunge, without such a precaution
I should inevitably have been washed away. The surges continually
breaking over me, I suffered an uninterrupted wash and fatigue for six
hours before I could quit the post I occupied. When danger is over, a
sailor has little thought or reflection, and my mess-mates, who had
witnessed the perilous situation in which I was placed, passed it off
with a joke observing, “that I had only been sipping sea broth”; but it
was a broth of a quality that, though most seamen relish, yet few, I
imagine, would like to take it in the quantity I was compelled to do.’

By the fortune of war the _Vesuvius_ was captured, and the crew were
conveyed to Dunkirk, where they were lodged in the prison of St.
Clair, and the rigour of their captivity seems to have been extreme,
especially in the case of Mary Anne Talbot, who perhaps partially
deserved it, as she attempted, in company with a mess-mate, to escape.
‘We were both confined in separate dungeons, where it was so dark that
I never saw daylight during the space of eleven weeks, and the only
allowance I received was bread and water, let down to me from the top
of the cell. My bed consisted only of a little straw, not more than
half a truss, which was never changed. For two days I was so ill in
this dreadful place that I was unable to stir from my wretched couch
to reach the miserable pittance, which, in consequence, was drawn up
in the same state. The next morning, a person--who, I suppose, was the
keeper of the place--came into the dungeon without a light (which way
he came I know not, but I suppose through a private door through which
I afterwards passed to be released), and called to me, “Are you dead?”
To this question I was only able to reply by requesting a little water,
being parched almost to death by thirst, resulting from the fever which
preyed on me. He told me he had none, and left me in a brutal manner,
without offering the least relief. Nature quickly restored me to
health, and I sought the bread and water with as eager an inclination
as a glutton would seek a feast. About five weeks after my illness, an
exchange of prisoners taking place, I obtained my liberty.’

She then shipped to America as steward, and from thence to England, and
was going on a voyage to the Mediterranean, when she was seized by a
press-gang, and sent on board a tender. But she had no wish to serve
His Majesty at sea any more, and, discovering her sex, she was examined
by a surgeon, and of course at once discharged.

Her little stock of money getting low, she applied at the Navy
pay-office, in Somerset House, for the cash due to her whilst serving
in the _Brunswick_ and _Vesuvius_, as well as her share of prize-money,
arising from her being present on the ‘glorious 1st of June.’ She was
referred to a prize-agent, who directed her to call again; this not
being to her taste, she returned to Somerset House, and indulged in
very rough language, for which she was taken off to Bow Street. She
told her story, and was ordered to appear again, when a subscription
was got up in her behalf; and she was paid twelve shillings a week,
until she received her money from the Government.

Her old wound in the leg became bad again, and she went into St.
Bartholomew’s Hospital, and on her discharge, partially cured, she
petitioned the King and the Duke of York for relief. The latter gave
her five pounds. Then she cast about for the means of earning a
livelihood, and bethought her that, when she was a prisoner at Dunkirk,
she had watched a German make little ornaments out of gold-wire, which
he sold at a good profit; and she did the same, working at the shop
of a jeweller in St. Giles’s, and so expert was she that she made the
chains for a gold bracelet worn by Queen Charlotte. But the old wound
still broke out, and she went into St. George’s Hospital for seven
months. When she came out, she led a shiftless, loafing existence,
always begging for money--of Mr. Dundas, of the Duke of York, or
anyone else that might possibly be generous.

At last these kind friends got her case introduced in the very highest
quarters, and she kissed the Queen’s hand at Buckingham House, as it
was then called; and soon afterwards she was directed to apply at the
War Office, in her sailor’s dress, to receive a half-year’s payment of
a pension the Queen had granted her, in the name of John Taylor. Still
her wound kept breaking out, and twice she had to go into Middlesex
Hospital. She had some idea of going on the stage, and performed
several parts at the Thespian Society in Tottenham Court Road, but she
gave it up, finding begging a more profitable business; but even then
she had to go to Newgate for a small debt. She took in washing, but the
people did not pay her, and misfortune pursued her everywhere.

One night, in September, 1804, she was thrown from a coach into a hole
left by the carelessness of some firemen, in Church Lane, Whitechapel,
and she broke her arm, besides bruising herself badly. The fire office
would give her no compensation, but many people were interested in
her case, among them a Mr. Kirby, a publisher in Paternoster Row, who
employed her as a domestic servant. In 1807, she fell into a decline,
doubtless induced by the very free life she had led; and she died on
the 4th of February, 1808, having just completed her thirtieth year.

It is not to be thought that England enjoyed the monopoly of these
viragos--the country of Jeanne d’Arc was quite equal to the occasion,
and Renée Bordereau affords an illustration for the last century. She
was born, of peasant parents, in 1770, at the village of Soulaine, near
Angers; and at the time of the insurrection in La Vendée, when the
royalists were so cruelly punished, she lost forty-two relations in the
struggle, her father being murdered before her eyes.

This crushed out of her any soft and feminine feelings she might
have possessed, and she vowed vengeance on the hated Republicans.
She obtained a musket, taught herself how to use it, learned some
elementary drill, and then, donning man’s attire, joined the royalists.
Among them she was known by the name of Langevin, and where the
fight was fiercest, there she would be, and none suspected that the
daring trooper was a woman. On horseback, and on foot, she fought in
above two hundred battles and skirmishes, frequently wounded, but
seldom much hurt. Such was the terror with which she inspired the
Bonapartists, that, when the rebellion was put down, Napoleon specially
exempted Langevin from pardon, and she languished in prison until the
Restoration. She died in 1828.


A discursive book anent the eighteenth century, as this is, would be
incomplete without a mention of one of the greatest powers which it
produced. This marvellous newspaper, whose utterances, at one time,
exercised a sensible influence over the whole of the civilised world,
and which, even now, is the most potent of all the English press, was
founded by Mr. John Walter, on January 1, 1788.

This gentleman was born either in 1738 or 1739, and his father followed
the business of a ‘coal buyer,’ which meant that he bought coals at
the pit’s mouth, and then shipped them to any desired port, or market.
In those days almost all coals came, by sea, from Newcastle, and its
district, because of the facility of carriage; the great inland beds
being practically unworked, and in many cases utterly unknown: it
being reserved for the giant age of steam to develop their marvellous

His father died in 1755, John Walter then being seventeen and, boy
though he was, he at once succeeded to his father’s business. In it
he was diligent and throve well, and he so won the confidence and
respect of his brother ‘coal buyers’ that when a larger Coal Exchange
was found necessary, in order to accommodate, and keep pace with
its increasing business, the whole of the arrangements, plans, and
directions were left in his hands. When the building was completed, he
was rewarded by his brethren in trade with the position of manager, and
afterwards he became Chairman to the Body of Coal Buyers.

He married, and, in 1771, things had gone so prosperously with him
that he bought a house with some ground at Battersea Rise, and here he
lived, and reared his family of six children, until his bankruptcy,
when it was sold. He also took unto himself partners, and was the head
of the firm of Walter, Bradley, and Sage. For some time all went well,
but competition arose, and the old-fashioned way of doing business
could not hold its own against the keenness, and cutting, of the new
style. Let us hear him tell his own story.[39]

‘I shall forbear relating the various scenes of business I was engaged
in prior to my embarking in Lloyd’s Rooms; sufficient it is to remark
that a very extensive trade I entered into at the early age of
seventeen, when my father died, rewarded a strong spirit of industry,
and, for the first ten or twelve years, with a satisfactory increase
of fortune; but a number of inconsiderable dealers, by undermining the
fair trader, and other dishonourable practices, reduced the profits,
and made them inadequate to the risque and capital employed. It
happened unfortunately for me, about that time, some policy brokers,
who had large orders for insurances on foreign Indiamen and other
adventures, found their way to the Coal Market, a building of which I
was the principal planner and manager.

‘I was accustomed, with a few others, to underwrite the vessels
particularly employed in that trade, and success attended the step,
because the risque was fair, and the premiums adequate. This was my
temptation for inclining to their solicitations of frequenting Lloyd’s
Rooms.[40] With great reluctance I complain that I quitted a trade
where low art and cunning combated the fair principles of commerce,
which my mind resisted as my fortune increased; but from the change I
had to encounter deception and fraud, in a more dangerous but subtle

‘The misfortunes of the war were of great magnitude to the
Underwriters, but they were considerably multiplied by the villainy and
depravity of Mankind. In the year 1776, at a time when they received
only peace premiums, American privateers swarmed on the seas, drove
to desperation by the Boston port act passing at the close of the
preceding year, to prohibit their fisheries, and our trade fell a
rapid prey before government had notice to apply the least protection.
Flushed with success, it increased the number of their armed vessels,
and proved such a source of riches as enabled them to open a trade with
France, who had, hitherto, been only a silent spectator, and produced
the sinews of a war which then unhappily commenced.’

He then details the causes which led to his bankruptcy--how the
wars with the French, Spaniards, and Dutch, all of whom had their
men-of-war and privateers, which preyed upon our commerce, ruined the
underwriters, and continues,

‘In two years only of the war I lost, on a balance, thirty-one thousand
pounds, which obliged me, in 1781, to quit the Coal Trade, after
carrying it on so many years, when I had returned’ (? turned over)
‘above a Million of money, the profits of which have been sunk as an
Underwriter, that I might have the use of my capital employed in it,
to pay my unfortunate losses.... Last year, I was obliged to make a
sacrifice of my desirable habitation at Battersea Rise, where I had
resided ten years, and expended a considerable sum of money, the fruits
of many years of industry, before I became acquainted with Lloyd’s

‘These reserves, however, proved ineffectual, and I found it necessary,
on examining the state of my accounts early in January last, to call
my Creditors together; for, though some months preceding I found my
fortune rapidly on the decline, I never suspected my being insolvent
till that view of my affairs, when I found a balance in my favour of
only nine thousand pounds, from which was to be deducted a fourth part
owing me by brokers, who, unfortunately for me as well as themselves,
were become bankrupts. This surplus, it was clear, would not bear me
through known, though unsettled, losses, besides what might arise on
unexpired risques. I therefore, without attempting to borrow a shilling
from a friend, resorting to false Credit, or using any subterfuge
whatever, after depositing what money remained in my hands, the
property of others, laid the state of my affairs before my Creditors.

‘This upright conduct made them my friends; they immediately invested
me with full power to settle my own affairs, and have acted with
liberality and kindness. They were indebted for the early knowledge I
gave them of my affairs to the regularity of my accounts; for, had I
rested my inquiry till after the broker’s yearly accounts were chequed,
in all probability a very trifling dividend would have ensued. Had the
merchant been obliged to stand his own risque during the late war, few
concerned on the seas would have been able to withstand the magnitude
of their losses.

‘The only alleviation to comfort me in this affliction has arose from
the consideration that I have acted honourably by all men; that,
neither in prosperity nor adversity, have I ever been influenced
by mean or mercenary motives in my connections with the world, of
which I can give the most satisfactory proofs; that, when in my
power, benevolence ever attended my steps; the deserving and needy
never resorted to me in vain, nor has gratitude ever been wanting to
express any obligations or kindnesses received from those I have had
transactions with by every return in my power. I have the further
consolation of declaring that, in winding up my affairs, I have acted
with the strictest impartiality in every demand both for and against my
estate; that I have (unsolicited) attended every meeting at Guildhall
to protect it against plunder. A dividend was made as soon as the
bankrupt laws would permit, and the surplus laid out in interest for
the benefit of the estate, till a fair time is allowed to know what
demands may come against it. I am fully convinced that it will not be
£15,000 deficient; above double that sum I have left in Lloyd’s Rooms
as a profit among the brokers.

‘No prospect opening of embarking again in business for want of
Capital to carry it on, I was advised to make my case known to the
administration, which has been done both by public and private
application of my friends, who kindly interceded in my behalf for some
respectable post under Government, and met with that kind reception
from the Minister which gave me every prospect of success, which I
flatter myself I have some natural claim to, from the consideration
that, as trade is the support of the nation, it could not be carried on
without Underwriters.

‘And as the want of protection to the trade of the Country, from
the host of enemies we had to combat, occasioned by misfortunes,
whom could I fly to with more propriety than to Government? as, by
endeavouring to protect commerce, I fell a martyr on the conclusion
of an unfortunate war. I was flattered with hopes that my pretensions
to an appointment were not visionary, and that I was not wanting in
ability to discharge the duties of any place I might have the honour to
fill. The change of administration[41] which happened soon after was
death to my hopes, and, as I had little expectation of making equal
interest with the Minister who succeeded, I have turned my thoughts to
a matter which appeared capable of being a most essential improvement
in the conduct of the Press;[42] and, by great attention and assiduity
for a year past, it is now reduced from a very voluminous state and
great incorrectness to a system which, I hope, will meet the public
approbation and countenance.

‘Such is the brief state of a Case which I trust humanity will consider
deserving a better fate. Judge what must be my sensations on this
trying occasion: twenty-six years in the prime of life passed away,
all the fortune I had acquired by a studious attention to business
sunk by hasty strides, and the world to begin afresh, with the daily
introduction to my view of a wife and six children unprovided for,
and dependent on me for support. Feeling hearts may sympathise at the
relation, none but parents can conceive the anxiety of my mind in such
a state of uncertainty and suspense.’

From an unprejudiced perusal of this ‘case,’ the reader can but come
to the conclusion that Mr. John Walter was not overburdened with that
inconvenient commodity--modesty; and that his logic--judged by ordinary
rules--is decidedly faulty. But that he did try to help himself, is
evidenced by the following advertisement in the _Morning Post_ of July
21, 1784:

    _‘To the Right Hon. the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and
    Common-councilmen of the City of London._


‘The Office of Principal Land Coal Meter of this City being at present
vacant by the death of Mr. John Evans, permit me to solicit the honour
of succeeding him. My pretensions to your countenance on this occasion
are the misfortunes in which (in common with many other respectable
Citizens) I have been involved by the calamities of the late war, and
an unblemished reputation, which has survived the wreck of my fortune.
Having been a Liveryman twenty-four years, during which time I carried
on an extensive branch of the coal trade, my fellow-citizens cannot
well be unacquainted with my character; and my having been greatly
instrumental in establishing the very office which I solicit your
interest to fill, will, I hope, be deemed an additional recommendation
to your patronage.

‘If my pretensions should meet your approbation, and be crowned with
success, I shall ever retain a lively sense of so signal an obligation

  ‘My Lord and Gentlemen,
  ‘Your most obedient, devoted, humble servant,


  ‘Printing House Square, Blackfriars.’

We hear of him again in connection with this situation, which he did
not succeed in obtaining, in an advertisement in the _Morning Post_,
30th of July, 1784.

    ‘_To the Right Hon. the Lord Mayor, &c._

‘The Report, which a few days ago was credited by few, is now confirmed
by many, and believed by all men, that a Coalition has been formed for
the purpose of forcing you to bestow the emoluments of the Principal
Land Coal Meter Office on two Aldermen, and it has been agreed that,
on the day of the Election, one of them shall decline the Contest,
and make a transfer to the other of the votes which some of you were
pleased to engage to him....

‘My pretensions I submit to the Corporation at large, and I strongly
solicit the assistance of the merchants and traders of the Metropolis
to join their efforts, and endeavour to wrest the power of appointment
from the hands of a Junto, and restore the freedom of Election. Assert
your independence, and consequence, in time; with your breath you can
blast the Coalition in its infancy; but, if you suffer it to conquer
you in its present state, it will become a Hydra that will swallow up
your Franchises, and leave you, like a Cathedral Chapter, the liberty
of obeying a _congé d’èlire_ sent to you by a self-constituted faction.

  ‘I am, &c., &c.,


  ‘Printing House Square, Blackfriars.’

How did he come to this (to us) familiar address? It was by a chance
which came in his way, and he seized it. In 1782 he, somehow, became
acquainted with a compositor named Henry Johnson, who pointed out the
trouble and loss of time occasioned by setting up words with types of
a single letter, and proposed that at all events those words mostly
in use should be cast in one. These were called ‘Logotypes’ (or word
types), and printing, therefore, was called ‘Logography.’ Caslon at
first made the types--but there is evidence that they quarrelled, for
in a letter of August 12, 1785, in the _Daily Universal Register_ of
that date, which he reprinted in broadside form, he says, ‘Mr. Caslon,
the founder (whom I at first employed to cast my types), calumniated my
plan, he censured what he did not understand, wantonly disappointed me
in the work he engaged to execute, and would meanly have sacrificed me,
to establish the fallacious opinion he had promulgated.’

People had their little jokes about the ‘Logotypes,’ and Mr. Knight
Hunt, in his ‘Fourth Estate,’ writes, ‘It was said that the orders to
the type-founder ran after this fashion, “Send me a hundred-weight
of heat, cold, wet, dry, murder, fire, dreadful robbery, atrocious
outrage, fearful calamity, and alarming explosion.”’ That he obtained
not only literary, but royal recognition of his pet type, is shown by a
foot-note to the letter above quoted (respecting Mr. Caslon),

‘Any gentleman who chuses may inspect the Logographic Founts and Types,
at the Printing-office, or at the British Museum, to which place they
have been removed from the Queen’s Palace.’

Where he got his money from he does not say, but on the 17th of May,
1784, he advertised that ‘Mr. Walter begs to inform the public that
he has purchased the printing-house formerly occupied by Mr. Basket
near Apothecaries Hall, which will be opened on the first day of next
month for printing words entire, under his Majesty’s Patent;’ and he
commenced business June 1, 1784.

Printing House Square stands on the site of the old Monastery of
Blackfriars. After the dissolution of the monasteries, in Henry the
Eighth’s time, it passed through several hands, until it became the
workshop of the royal printer. Here was printed, in 1666, the _London
Gazette_, the oldest surviving paper in England; and, the same year,
the all-devouring Great Fire completely destroyed it. Phœnix-like, it
arose from its ashes, more beautiful than before--for the writer of ‘A
New View of London,’ published in 1708, thus describes it: _Printing
House Lane_, on the E side of Blackfryars: a passage to the _Queen’s
Printing House_ (which is a stately building).’

‘Formerly occupied by Mr. Basket,’ a printer, under the royal
patent, of Bibles and Prayer-books. To him succeeded other royal and
privileged printers. Eyre and Strahan, afterwards Eyre, Strahan, and
Spottiswoode, now Spottiswoode and Co., who, in 1770, left Printing
House Square, and moved to New Street, Fleet Street, a neighbourhood of
which, now, that firm have a virtual monopoly.

John Walter could not have dreamed of the palace now built at Bearwood;
for, like most mercantile men of his day, he was quite content to
‘live over the shop’; and there, in Printing House Square, his son,
and successor, John (who lived to build Bearwood), was born, and there
James Carden, Esq., received his bride, John Walter’s eldest daughter,
who was the mother of the present venerable alderman, Sir Robert
Carden. There, too, died his wife, the partner of his successes and his
failures, in the year 1798.

The first work printed at this logographic printing establishment
was a little story called, ‘Gabriel, the Outcast.’ Many other slight
works followed; but these were not enough to satisfy the ambitions
of John Walter, who, six months after he commenced business, started
a newspaper, the _Daily Universal Register_, on the 1st of January,
1785.[43] Even at that date there was no lack of newspapers, although
our grandfathers were lucky to have escaped the infliction of the
plague of periodicals under which we groan; for there were the _Morning
Post_, the _Morning Chronicle_, the _General Advertiser_, _London
Gazette_, _London Chronicle_, _Gazetteer_, _Morning Herald_, _St.
James’s Chronicle_, _London Recorder_, _General Evening Post_, _Public
Advertiser_, _Lounger_, _Parker’s General Advertiser_, &c. So we must
conclude that John Walter’s far-seeing intelligence foretold that a
good daily paper, ably edited, would pay. It was logographically
printed, and was made the vehicle of puffs of the proprietor’s hobby.
The _Times_ was also so printed for a short period, but, eventually,
it proved so cumbersome in practice, as absolutely to hinder the
compositors, instead of aiding them.

On the 1st of January, 1788, was born a baby that has since grown into
a mighty giant. On that day was published the first number of THE
TIMES, _or Daily Universal Register_, for it had a dual surname, and
the reasons for the alteration are given in the following ‘editorial.’


‘Why change the head?

‘This question will naturally come from the Public--and _we_, the
_Times_, being the PUBLIC’S most humble and obedient Servants, think
ourselves bound to answer:--

‘All things have _heads_--and all _heads_ are liable to _change_.

‘Every sentence and opinion advanced by Mr. _Shandy_ on the influence
and utility of a well-chosen surname may be properly applied in showing
the recommendations and advantages which result from placing a striking
title-page before a book, or an inviting HEAD on the front page of a

‘A HEAD so placed, like those _heads_ which once ornamented _Temple
Bar_, or those of the _great Attorney_, or _great Contractor_,
which, not long since, were conspicuously elevated for their _great
actions_, and were exhibited, in wooden frames, at the _East_ and
_West_ Ends of this Metropolis, never fails of attracting the eyes of
passengers--though, indeed, we do not expect to experience the lenity
shown to these _great exhibitors_, for probably the TIMES will be
pelted without mercy.

‘But then, a _head_ with a _good face_ is a harbinger, a
gentleman-usher, that often strongly recommends even DULNESS, FOLLY,
IMMORALITY, or VICE. The immortal Locke gives evidence to the truth
of this observation. That great philosopher has declared that, though
repeatedly taken in, he never could withstand the solicitations of
a well-drawn title-page--authority sufficient to justify _us_ in
assuming a _new head_ and a _new set of features_, but not with a
design to impose; for we flatter ourselves the HEAD of the TIMES will
not be found deficient in _intellect_, but, by putting a _new face_ on
affairs, will be admired for the _light of its countenance_, whenever
it appears.

‘To advert to our first position.

‘The UNIVERSAL REGISTER has been a name as injurious to the
_Logographic Newspaper_, as TRISTRAM was to MR. SHANDY’S SON. But OLD
SHANDY forgot he might have rectified by _confirmation_ the mistakes of
the _parson_ at _baptism_--with the touch of a _Bishop_ have changed
TRISTRAM to Trismegistus.

‘The UNIVERSAL REGISTER, from the day of its first appearance to the
day of its _confirmation_, has, like TRISTRAM, suffered from unusual
casualties, both laughable and serious, arising from its name, which,
on its introduction, was immediately curtailed of its fair proportion
by all who called for it--the word _Universal_ being _Universally_
omitted, and the word _Register_ being only retained.

‘“Boy, bring me the _Register_.”

‘The waiter answers: “Sir, we have not a library, but you may see it at
the _New Exchange Coffee House_.”

‘“Then I’ll see it there,” answers the disappointed politician; and he
goes to the _New Exchange_, and calls for the _Register_; upon which
the waiter tells him he cannot have it, as he is not a subscriber,
and presents him with the _Court and City Register_, the _Old Annual
Register_, or, if the Coffee-house be within the Purlieus of Covent
Garden, or the hundreds of Drury, slips into the politician’s hand
_Harris’s Register_ of Ladies.

‘For these and other reasons the parents of the UNIVERSAL REGISTER have
added to its original name that of the


Which, being a _monosyllable_, bids defiance to _corrupters_ and
_mutilaters_ of the language.

‘THE TIMES! What a monstrous name! Granted, for THE TIMES _is_ a
many-headed monster, that speaks with an hundred tongues, and displays
a thousand characters, and, in the course of _its_ transformations in
life, assumes innumerable shapes and humours.

‘The critical reader will observe we personify our _new name_; but as
we give it no distinction of sex, and though _it_ will be _active_ in
_its_ vocations, yet we apply to _it_ the _neuter gender_.

‘THE TIMES, being formed of materials, and possessing qualities of
opposite and heterogeneous natures, cannot be classed either in the
animal or vegetable _genus_; but, like the _Polypus_, is doubtful,
and in the discussion, description, dissection, and illustration will
employ the pens of the most celebrated among the _Literati_.

‘The HEADS OF THE TIMES, as has been said, are many; they will,
however, not always appear at the same time, but casually, as public
or private affairs may call them forth.

‘The principal, or leading heads are--

  The Literary;
      Witty, &c.

‘Each of which are supplied with a competent share of intellects for
the pursuit of their several functions; an endowment which is not in
_all times_ to be found even in the HEADS of the _State_, the _heads_
of the _Church_, the _heads_ of the _Law_, the _heads_ of the _Navy_,
the _heads_ of the _Army_, and though _last_, not least, the great
_heads_ of the _Universities_.

‘The _Political Head_ of THE TIMES, like that of _Janus_, the Roman
Deity, is doubly faced; with one countenance it will smile continually
on the friends of _Old England_, and with the other will frown
incessantly on her _enemies_.

‘The alteration we have made in our _head_ is not without precedents.
The WORLD has parted with half its CAPUT MORTUUM, and a moiety of
its brains. The HERALD has cut off half its head, and has lost its
original humour. The POST, it is true, retains its whole head and
its old features; and, as to the other public prints, they appear as
having neither _heads_ nor _tails_. On the PARLIAMENTARY HEAD every
communication that ability and industry can produce may be expected.
To this great _National object_, THE TIMES will be most sedulously
attentive, most accurately correct, and strictly impartial in its

The early career of the _Times_ was not all prosperity, and Mr.
Walter was soon taught a practical lesson in keeping his pen within
due bounds, for, on July 11th, 1788, he was tried for two libellous
paragraphs published in the _Times_, reflecting on the characters
of the Duke of York, Gloucester, and Cumberland, stating them to be
‘insincere’ in their profession of joy at his Majesty’s recovery. It
might have been an absolute fact, but it was impolitic to print it, and
so he found it, for a jury found him guilty.

He came up for judgment at the King’s Bench on the 23rd of November
next, when he was sentenced by the Court to pay a fine of fifty pounds,
to be imprisoned twelve months in Newgate, to stand in the pillory at
Charing Cross, when his punishment should have come to an end, and to
find security for his good behaviour.

He seems to have ridden a-tilt at all the royal princes, for we next
hear of him under date of 3rd of February, 1790, being brought from
Newgate to the Court of King’s Bench to receive sentence for the
following libels:

For charging their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and Duke of
York with having demeaned themselves so as to incur the displeasure
of his Majesty. This, doubtless, was strictly true, but it cost the
luckless Walter one hundred pounds as a fine, and another twelve
months’ imprisonment in Newgate.

This, however, was not all; he was arraigned on another indictment
for asserting that His Royal Highness the Duke of Clarence returned
from his station without leave of the Admiralty, or of his commanding
officer, and for this he was found guilty, and sentenced to pay another
hundred pounds.

Whether he made due submission, or had powerful friends to assist him,
I know not,--but it is said that it was at the request of the Prince of
Wales--at all events, he received the king’s pardon, and was released
from confinement on 7th of March, 1791, after which time he never wrote
about the king’s sons in a way likely to bring him within the grip of
the Law.

From time to time we get little _avisos_ as to the progress of the
paper, for John Walter was not one of those who hide their light
under a bushel. Contrast the printing power then with the magnificent
‘Walter’ machines of the present day, which, in their turn, will
assuredly be superseded by some greater improvement.

The _Times_, 7th of February, 1794. ‘The Proprietors have for some
time past been engaged in making alterations which they trust will be
adequate to remedy the inconvenience of the late delivery complained
of; and after Monday next the TIMES will be worked off with three
Presses, and occasionally with four, instead of TWO, as is done in
all other Printing-offices, by which mode two hours will be saved
in printing the Paper, which, notwithstanding the lateness of the
delivery, is now upwards of FOUR THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED in sale, daily.’

The following statement is curious, as showing us some of the interior
economy of the newspaper in its early days. From the _Times_, April 19,


‘It is with very great regret that the Proprietors of this Paper,
in Common with those of other Newspapers, find themselves obliged to
increase the daily price of it ONE HALFPENNY, a measure which they have
been forced to adopt in consequence of the Tax laid by the _Minister_
on _Paper_, during the present Session of Parliament, and which took
place on the 5th instant.

‘While the Bill was still pending, we not only stated in our Newspaper,
but the Minister was himself informed by a Committee of Proprietors,
that the new Duty would be so extremely oppressive as to amount to a
necessity of raising the price, which it was not only their earnest
Wish, but also their Interest, to avoid. The Bill, however, passed,
after a long consideration and delay occasioned by the great doubts
that were entertained of its efficacy. We wish a still longer time
had been taken to consider it; for we entertain the same opinion as
formerly, that the late Duty on Paper will not be productive to the
Revenue, while it is extremely injurious to a particular class of
Individuals, whose property was very heavily taxed before.

‘In fact, it amounts either to a Prohibition of printing a Newspaper at
the present price, or obliges the Proprietors to advance it. There is
no option left; the price of Paper is now so high that the Proprietors
have no longer an interest to render their sale extensive, as far as
regards the profits of a large circulation. The more they sell at the
present price, the more they will lose; to us alone the _Advance_ on
Paper will make a difference of £1,200 sterling per Annum more than it
formerly cost us--a sum which the Public must be convinced neither can,
nor ought to be afforded by any Property of the limited nature of a
Newspaper, the profits on the sale of which are precisely as follows:


  2,000 Newspapers sold to the Newshawkers at 3½d., with a
      further deduction of allowing them a Paper in every Quire
      of 24                          £26 18 6.

  ‘COST OF 2,000 PAPERS.

  A Bundle of Paper containing 2,000 Half-sheets, or 2,000 Newspapers
      at Four Guineas per Bundle, which is the price it will
      be sold at under the new Duty is £4 4 0.

                                          £4 4 0  £26 18 6
  2,000 Stamps at 2d., deducting discount 16 0 0   20  4 0
                        Profits                    £6 14 6

‘This is the whole Profit on the sale of two thousand Newspapers, out
of which is to be deducted the charges of printing a Newspaper (which,
on account of the Rise in Printers’ Wages last year, is £100 a year
more than it ever was before), the charges of Rent, Taxes, Coals,
Candles (which are very high in every Printing-office), Clerks, general
Superintendance, Editing, Parliamentary and Law Reports, and, above
all, the Expenses of FOREIGN CORRESPONDENCE, which, under the present
difficulties of obtaining it, and the different Channels which must
be employed to secure a regular and uninterrupted Communication, is
immense. If this Paper is in high estimation, surely the Proprietors
ought to receive the advantage of their success, and not the Revenue,
which already monopolises such an immense income from this property, no
less than to the amount of £14,000 sterling during last year only. We
trust that these reasons will have sufficient weight with the Public
to excuse us when we announce, though with very great regret, that on
Monday next the price of this Paper will be _Fourpence Halfpenny_.’

Occasionally, the proprietor fell foul of his neighbours; vide the
_Times_, November 16, 1795:

‘All the abuse so lavishly bestowed on this Paper by other Public
Prints, seems as if designed to betray, that in proportion as our sale
is _good_, it is _bad_ TIMES with them.’

In the early part of 1797, Pitt proposed, among other methods of
augmenting the revenue, an additional stamp of three halfpence on every
newspaper. The _Times_, April 28, 1797, groaned over it thus:

‘The present daily sale of the TIMES is known to be between four and
five thousand Newspapers. For the sake of perspicuity, we will make our
calculation on four thousand only, and it will hold good in proportion
to every other Paper.

‘The Newsvendors are now allowed by the Proprietors of every Newspaper
two sheets in every quire, viz., twenty-six for every twenty-four
Papers sold. The stamp duty on two Papers in every quire in four
thousand Papers daily at the old Duty of 2d., amounts to £780 a year,
besides the value of the Paper. An additional Duty of 1½d. will
occasion a further loss of £585 in this one instance only, for which
there is not, according to Mr. PITT’S view of the subject, to be the
smallest remuneration to the Proprietors. Is it possible that anything
can be so unjust? If the Minister persists in his proposed plan, it
will be impossible for Newspapers to be sold at a lower rate than
sixpence halfpenny per Paper.’

Pitt, of course, carried out his financial plan, and the newspapers had
to grin, and bear it as best they could--the weaker going to the wall,
as may be seen by the following notices which appeared in the _Times_,
July 5:


‘We think it proper to remind our Readers and the Public at large that,
in consequence of the heavy additional Duty of Three Half-pence imposed
on every Newspaper, by a late Act of Parliament, which begins to have
effect from and after this day, the Proprietors are placed in the very
unpleasant position of being compelled to raise the price of their
Newspapers to the amount of the said Duty. To the Proprietors of this
Paper it will prove a very considerable diminution of the fair profits
of the Trade; they will not, however, withdraw in the smallest degree
any part of the Expenses which they employ in rendering the TIMES an
Intelligent and Entertaining source of Information: and they trust with
confidence that the Public will bestow on it the same liberal and kind
Patronage which they have shown for many years past; and for which the
Proprietors have to offer sentiments of sincere gratitude. From this
day, the price of every Newspaper will be Sixpence.’

July 19, 1797. ‘Some of the COUNTRY NEWSPAPERS have actually given up
the Trade, rather than stand the risk of the late enormous heavy Duty:
many others have advertised them for Sale: some of those printed in
Town must soon do the like, for the fair profits of Trade have been so
curtailed, that no Paper can stand the loss without having a very large
proportion of Advertisements. We have very little doubt but that, so
far from Mr. Pitt’s calculation of a profit of £114,000 sterling by the
New Tax on Newspapers, the Duty, the same as on WINE, will fall very
short of the original Revenue.’

July 13, 1797. ‘As a proof of the diminution in the general sale of
Newspapers since the last impolitic Tax laid on them, we have to
observe, as one instance, that the number of Newspapers sent through
the General Post Office on Monday the 3rd instant, was 24,700, and on
Monday last, only 16,800, a falling off of nearly _one-third_.’

Once again we find John Walter falling foul of a contemporary--and
indulging in editorial amenities.

July 2, 1798. ‘The _Morning Herald_ has, no doubt, acted from _very
prudent motives_ in declining to state any circumstances respecting
its sale. All that we hope and expect, in future, is--that it will not
attempt to injure this Paper by insinuating that it was in a declining
state; an assertion which it knows to be false, and which will be taken
notice of in a different way if repeated. The _Morning Herald_ is at
liberty to make any other comments it pleases.’

Have the _Daily Telegraph_ and the _Standard_ copied from John Walter,
when they give public notice that their circulation is so-and-so, as
is vouched for by a respectable accountant? It would seem so, for this
notice appeared in the _Times_:

       *       *       *       *       *

‘We have subjoined an Affidavit sworn yesterday before a Magistrate of
the City, as to the present sale of the TIMES.

‘“We, C. Bentley and G. Burroughs, Pressmen of the _Times_, do make
Oath, and declare, That the number printed of the _Times_ Paper for the
last two months, has never been, on any one day, below 3 thousand, and
has fluctuated from that number to three thousand three hundred and

‘And, in order to avoid every subterfuge, I moreover attest, That the
above Papers of the TIMES were paid for to me, previous to their being
taken by the Newsmen from the Office, with the exception of about a
dozen Papers each morning which are spoiled in Printing.

  ‘J. BONSOR, Publisher.

  ‘Sworn before me December 31, 1798.

  ‘W. CURTIS.’

From this time the career of the _Times_ seems to have been prosperous,
for we read, January 1, 1799,


‘The New Year finds the TIMES in the same situation which it has
invariably enjoyed during a long period of public approbation. It
still continues to maintain its character among the Morning Papers, as
the most considerable in point of sale, as of general dependence with
respect to information, and as proceeding on the general principles of
the British Constitution. While we thus proudly declare our possession
of the public favour, we beg leave to express our grateful sense of the
unexampled patronage we have derived from it.’

Mr. John Walter was never conspicuous for his modesty, and its absence
is fully shown in the preceding and succeeding examples (January 1,

‘It is always with satisfaction that we avail ourselves of the return
of the present Season to acknowledge our sense of the obligation we lay
under to the Public, for the very liberal Patronage with which they
have honoured the TIMES, during many years; a constancy of favour,
which, we believe, has never before distinguished any Newspaper, and
for which the Proprietors cannot sufficiently express their most
grateful thanks.

‘This Favour is too valuable and too honourable to excite no envy in
contemporary Prints, whose frequent habit it is to express it by the
grossest calumnies and abuse. The Public, we believe, has done them
ample justice, and applauded the contempt with which it is our practice
to receive them.’

As this self-gratulatory notice brings us down to the last year of
the eighteenth century, I close this notice of ‘The _Times_ and its
Founder.’ John Walter died at Teddington, Middlesex, on the 26th of
January, 1812.


Imprisonment for debt has long ceased to exist in England; debtors now
only suffering incarceration for contempt of Court: that is to say,
that the judge has satisfied himself that the debtor has the means to
pay, and will not. But, in the eighteenth century, it was a fearful
fact, and many languished in prison for life, for most trifling sums.
Of course, there were debtors _and_ debtors. If a man had money or
friends, much might be done to mitigate his position; he might even
live outside the prison, in the Rules, as they were called, a limited
district surrounding the prison; but for this advantage he must find
substantial bail--enough to cover his debt and fees. But the friendless
poor debtor had a very hard lot, subsisting on charity, going, in turn,
to beg of passers-by for a coin, however small, rattling a box to call
attention, and dolorously repeating, ‘Remember the poor prisoners.’

There were many debtors’ prisons, and one of the principal, the Fleet,
was over-crowded; in fact, they all were full. Newgate, the Marshalsea,
the Gate House, Westminster, the Queen’s Bench, the Fleet, Ludgate,
Whitecross Street, Whitechapel, and a peculiar one belonging to St.
Katharine’s (where are now the docks).

Arrest for debt was very prompt; a writ was taken out, and no poor
debtor dare stir out without walking ‘beard on shoulder,’ dreading
a bailiff in every passer-by. The profession of bailiff was not an
honoured one, and, probably, the best men did not enter it; but they
had to be men of keen wit and ready resource, for they had equally
keen wits, sharpened by the dread of capture, pitted against them.
Some rose to eminence in their profession, and as, occasionally, there
is a humorous side even to misery, I will tell a few stories of their
exploits. As I am not inventing them, and am too honest to pass off
another man’s work as my own, I prefer telling the stories in the
quaint language in which I find them.

‘_Abram Wood_ had a Writ against an _Engraver_, who kept a House
opposite to _Long Acre_ in _Drury Lane_, and having been several times
to serve it, but could never light on the Man, because he work’d at
his business above Stairs, as not daring to shew his Head for fear of
being arrested, for he owed a great deal of Money, Mr. _Bum_ was in
a Resolution of spending no more Time over him; till, shortly after,
hearing that one _Tom Sharp_, a House-breaker, was to be hang’d at
the end of _Long Acre_, for murdering a Watchman, he and his Follower
dress’d themselves like Carpenters, having Leather Aprons on, and Rules
tuck’d in at the Apron Strings: then going early the morning or two
before the Malefactor was to be executed, to the place appointed for
Execution, they there began to pull out their Rules, and were very
busie in marking out the Ground where they thought best for erecting
the Gibbet. This drew several of the Housekeepers about ’em presently,
and among the rest the _Engraver_, who, out of a selfish humour of
thinking he might make somewhat the more by People standing in his
House to see the Execution, in Case this Gibbet was near it, gave
_Abram_ a Crown, saying,

‘“_I’ll give you a Crown more if you’ll put the Gibbet hereabouts_;” at
the same time pointing where he would have it.

‘Quoth _Abram_: “_We must put it fronting exactly up_ Long Acre;
_besides, could I put it nearer your door, I should require more Money
than you propose, even as much as this_” (at the same time pulling it
out of his pocket) “_Writ requires, which is twenty-five Pounds._” So,
taking his prisoner away, who could not give in Bail to the Action, he
was carried to Jayl, without seeing _Tom Sharp_ executed.’

       *       *       *       *       *

‘_William Browne_ had an Action given him against one _Mark Blowen_,
a Butcher, who, being much in debt, was never at his Stall, except on
_Saturdays_, and then not properly neither, for the opposite side of
the way to his Shop being in the Duchy Liberty[44] (with the Bailiff
whereof he kept in Fee) a Bailiff of the Marshal’s Court could not
arrest him. From hence he could call to his Wife and Customers as there
was occasion; and there could _Browne_ once a week see his Prey, but
durst not meddle with him. Many a Saturday his Mouth watered at him;
but one Saturday above the rest, _Browne_, stooping for a Purse, as if
he found it, just by his Stall, and pulling five or six guineas out of
it, the Butcher’s Wife cry’d “Halves;” his Follower, who was at some
little distance behind him, cry’d out, “Halves” too.

‘_Browne_ refused Halves to either, whereupon they both took hold of
him, the Woman swearing it was found by her Stall, therefore she would
have half; and the Follower saying, As he saw it as soon t’other, he
would have a Share of it too, or he would acquaint the Lord of the
Mannor with it. _Mark Blowen_, in the meantime, seeing his Wife and
another pulling and haling the Man about, whom he did not suspect to be
a Bailiff, asked, “What’s the Matter?” His wife telling him the Man had
found a Purse with Gold in it by her Stall, and therefore she thought
it nothing but Justice but she ought to have some of it.

“‘_Ay ay_,” (quoth the Butcher), “_and nothing but Reason, Wife_.”

‘So, coming from his privileged side of the Way, he takes hold of
_Browne_ too, bidding his Wife look after the Shop, for he would take
care of him before they parted.

‘_Browne_, being thus hemm’d in by his Follower and the Butcher, quoth

‘“_Look’ee here, Gentlemen, I have Six Guineas here, ’tis true, but,
if I should give you one half of it, why, then there is but a quarter
Share of the other two._”

‘“_No, no_”, (replyed they), “_we’ll have Man and Man alike, which is
Two Guineas apiece_.”

‘“_Well_,” (quoth Browne), “_if it must be so, I’m contented; but,
then, I’ll tell you what, I’ll have the odd Eighteen Pence spent_.”

‘“_With all my heart_,” said Blowen. “_We’ll never make a dry Bargain

‘They are all agreed, and _Browne_ leads them up to the _Blackmore’s
Head_ Alehouse, in _Exeter Street_, where a couple of Fowls are
ordered to be laid down, and Stout and Ale is called for by wholesale.
At last they went to Dinner, and, afterwards, _Browne_, changing his
Six Guineas for Silver, gave his Follower (to carry on the jest) Forty
Shillings, and put the rest in his pocket. _Mark Blowen_, seeing that,
began to look surly, and asked for his Share.

‘Said _Browne_: “_What Share, friend?_”

‘Quoth _Mark Blowen_: “_Forty Shillings, as you gave this Man here._”

‘_Browne_ reply’d: “_Why, truly, Sir, I shall have an urgent Occasion
to Night for what Sum I have about me, and if you’ll be pleas’d to lend
me your Share but till_ Monday _Morning, I’ll come and pay you then at
this House without fail, and return you, with infinite thanks, for the

‘Quoth _Mark_ (who was a blundering, rustical sort of a Fellow):
“_D---- me, Sir, don’t think to Tongue-Pad me out of my Due. I’ll have
my Share now, or else he that’s the best Man here of us three shall
have it all, win it, and wear it._”

‘“_Pray, Sir_,” (said _Browne_), “_don’t be in this Passion. I’ll leave
you a sufficient Pledge for it till_ Monday.”

‘Quoth _Mark_: “_Let’s see it._”

‘Hereupon _Browne_ pulls out his Tip-Staff, and lays it on the Table;
but the Butcher, not liking the Complexion of it, began to be moving,
when the Follower, laying Hands on him, they arrested him in an Action
of Eighteen Pounds, and carried him to the _Marshalsea_, where, after a
Confinement of Nine Months, he ended his Days.’

There is another famous bailiff on record, named Jacob Broad; and
of him it is narrated that, ‘being employed to arrest a Justice of
the Peace living near _Uxbridge_, he went down there very often,
and had us’d several Stratagems to take him, but, his Worship being
very cautious in conversing with any of _Jacob’s_ Fraternity, his
Contrivances to nap him prov’d always abortive. However, a great deal
of Money was proffer’d by the Creditor to take the worshipful Debtor;
so one Day _Jacob_, with a couple of his Followers, took a Journey in
the Country, and, being near the end of their Journey, _Jacob_ alights,
and flings his Bridle, Saddle, and Boots into a Thick Hedge, and then
puts a Fetlock[45] on his Horse. The Followers tramp’d it a-foot, to
one of whom giving the Horse, he leads it to a Smith at _Uxbridge_,
and, telling him he had lost the Key of the Fetlock, he desir’d him
to unlock it, whilst he went to a neighbouring Alehouse, where he
would give him a Pot or two of Drink for his Pains. Accordingly the
Smith unlockt it, and carried the Horse to the Alehouse; and, after he
had drank Part of half-a-dozen of Drink, return’d to his Work again.
Shortly after, came the other Follower to the Smith, inquiring if he
did not see such a Horse come by that way, describing at the same time
the Colour and Marks of it, and how his Master had lost him out of his
Grounds that Morning. The Smith reply’d, that such a Horse was brought
to him but a little before, to have a Fetlock taken off, and that he
did imagine the Fellow to be a Rogue that had him; but, however, he
believ’d he was still at such an Alehouse hard by, and might be there
apprehended. Hereupon the Smith and Follower went to the Alehouse,
where they found the Horse standing at the Door, and the other Follower
in the House, whom they call’d a thousand Rogues, and charg’d with a
Constable for a Thief. In the meantime, came _Jacob Broad_, who own’d
the Horse to be his, and the Town-People, being all in a hurly-burly,
they carried him before the Justice whom _Jacob_ wanted; but no sooner
were _Jacob_, the supposed Thief, and the other Follower entered the
House, but charging the Constable to keep the Peace, they arrested his
Worship, and brought him forthwith to _London_, where he was forc’d
to pay the Debt of two hundred and thirty-four Pounds before he could
reach home again.’

Another story is related of Jacob Broad.

‘A certain Gentleman who liv’d at _Hackney_, and had been a Collector
of the late Queen’s Duties, but cheated her of several thousands of
Pounds, goes home, and pretends himself sick. Upon this he keeps his
Bed, and, after a Fortnight’s pretended Illness, it was given out that
he was Dead. Great preparations were then made for his Funeral. His
Coffin, which was filled with Bricks and Saw-Dust, was covered with
black Velvet, and his Wife, and Six Sons and Daughters, all in deep
Mourning, follow’d it to the Grave, which was made in St. _John’s_
Church, at _Hackney_. This sham Funeral was so well carried on, that
all the People of the Town would have sworn the Collector was really
Dead. About a Week after his supposed Interment, _Jacob Broad_ had
an Action of one hundred and fifty Pounds against him. He went to
_Hackney_ to serve the Writ, but, enquiring after the Person he was to
arrest, and being told that he was dead and buried, he return’d home

‘About Seven Years afterwards, the Creditor being certainly inform’d
that the Collector was alive and well in his own House, he employed
_Jacob_ again to arrest him, and accordingly he and another went to
execute the Writ. _Jacob_ planted himself in an Alehouse adjacent to
the long-supposed Deceased’s Habitation, and, while his Aid-de-Camp,
or Follower, was doing something else, he told a Woman, coming by with
a great Load of Turnips on her Head, that the People of such a House
wanted some, which was the House where the Seven Years dead Man dwelt.
She went forthwith and knockt at the Door, which was open’d to let
her in, and the Follower, who was close at her Heels, rush’d in after
her, and ran into a Back Parlour, where he saw the Person (according
to the Description of him) whom he wanted sitting by the Fire Side.
It happening then to be a festival Day, for the Entertainment of the
Collector’s Children, and Grand Children, the Table was spread with
Variety of Dainties; the Follower leapt over the Table, overthrowing
the Viands on it, and laying hold of the Prisoner, all their Mirth was
spoilt at once. In the mean Time came _Jacob Broad_, and, taking out
the supposed dead Man, he seem’d to be overjoy’d at his Resurrection
from a Seven Years’ Confinement and for tasting the fresh Air. _Jacob_
brings him to _London_, whence he remov’d himself by a Writ of _Habeas
Corpus_ to the King’s Bench Prison in _Southwark_, where he died again
in a Week’s time, for he was never heard of till he was seen about
Three Years after in _Denmark_.

‘_Jacob Broad_ was always very happy in having Followers as acute
as himself in any sort of Roguery, especially one _Andrew Vaughan_,
afterwards a Bailiff himself on Saffron Hill, and one _Volly Vance_,
otherwise call’d _Glym Jack_ from his having been a Moon Curser,[46]
or Link Boy ... From a Link Boy _Glym Jack_ came to be _Jacob Broad’s_
Follower, who, together with _Andrew Vaughan_, he once took into the
Country along with him to arrest a Justice of Peace, who was one of the
shyest cocks that ever _Jacob_ had to take by Stratagem. In order to
accomplish this Undertaking, _Jacob_, _Andrew_, and _Glym Jack_ were
very well drest in Apparel, and mounted on good Geldings, having fine
Hangers on their Sides, and Pistols in their Holsters, beside Pocket
Pops sticking in their Bosoms. Being thus accoutred they rid into an
Inn in the Town where the Justice of Peace they wanted dwelt, and,
putting up their Horses, they ask’d the Landlord for a private Room,
which, being accommodated with, they refresh’d themselves with a good
Dinner, and afterwards set to play.

‘Whilst they were shaking their Elbows at 7 or 11 nick it, a great
deal of Money and three or four Watches lying on the Table, when at
last one of ’em cry’d, this Watch is my Snack, for I’m sure I first
attackt the Gentleman from whom we took it; another swore such a Purse
of Gold was his, which they had taken that Morning from a Gentlewoman,
and, in short, everyone of ’em was swearing such a Prize was his, all
which the Landlord (who listened at the Door) overhearing, thought to
himself they were all Highwaymen. Hereupon he goes and acquaints the
shy Justice of Peace with the matter, who ask’d _If he were sure they
were Rogues_.

‘“_Nothing,_” (quoth the Innkeeper), “_is more certain, for they are
all arm’d with more Pistols than ordinary,_ _swearing, damning,
cursing, and sinking every Word they speak, and falling out about
dividing their Booty.”_

‘“_Ay, ay_,” (reply’d the Justice), “_they are then certainly
Highwaymen_,” and so order’d him to secure them.

‘The Innholder went for a Constable, who, with a great many Rusticks,
arm’d with Pitch Forks, long Poles, and other Country Weapons, went
with the Landlord to the Inn, suddenly rush’d into the Room, and
surpriz’d _Jacob_ and his Followers, with Money and Watches lying
before them.

‘“_So_,” (says the Constable), “_pretty Gentlemen, are not ye, that
honest people can’t travel the Country without being robb’d by such
villains as you are?--Well_,” (quoth the Constable to _Jacob_),
“_what’s your Name?_”

‘His answer was _Sice-Ace_.[47]

‘“_A fine Rogue, indeed!_” said the Constable, at the same time asking
_Andrew_ his Name, whose answer was,


‘“_Another Rogue in Grain!_” quoth the Constable; and then ask’d _Glym
Jack_ what his Name was, who reply’d,


‘“_Rogues! Rogues all!_” said the Constable; “_ay, worse than all, they
are mear Infidels, Heathens, for I never heard such names before in a
Christian Country. Come, Neighbours, bring ’em away before Mr. Justice,
his Worship will soon make them change their Notes._”

‘Accordingly the Rusticks haled them along the Town to his Worship’s
House, into which they were no sooner enter’d but he began to revile
_Jacob_ and his Brethren for Highwaymen, and asking them their Names,
they still were in the same Tone of _Sice-Ace_, _Cinque-Duce_, and
_Quater-Tray_, at which the Justice, lifting up his Hands and Eyes to
the Ceiling, cry’d out, _Such audacious Rogues as these were never seen

‘“_Here, Tom,_” (quoth his Worship to his Clerk), “_write their_
Mittimus, _for I will send them everyone to_ Newgate.”

‘Whilst their Commitment was writing, _Jacob_ pulls a Bit of Parchment
out of his Pocket, and, asking the Constable if he could read it, he
put on his Spectacles, and posing and mumbling over it a Minute or two,

‘“_I cannot tell what to make of it. It is Latin, I think._”

‘“_Well, then,_” (quoth Jacob), “_I’ll tell you what it is, it is the
King’s Process against this Gentleman that is going to commit us to_
Newgate; _therefore, in my Execution of it, I require you, as you are a
Constable, to keep the Peace._”

‘This turn of the Dice made the Magistrate, the Peace Officer, and all
the Rusticks stare at one another as if they were out of their Senses.
However, _Jacob_ brought his Prisoner to _London_, and oblig’d him to
make Satisfaction before he got out of his Clutches.’

The above anecdotes illustrate the humorous side of a bailiff’s life,
but sometimes they met with very rough treatment, nay, were even
killed. On the 4th of August, 1722, a bailiff named Boyce was killed
by a blacksmith, who ran a red-hot iron into him; and the book I have
quoted from thus speaks of bailiffs as ‘such Villains, whose Clan is
suppos’d to descend from the cursed Seed of _Ham_, and therefore
stinks in the Nostrils of all honest Men. Some of them have been paid
in their own Coyn, for Captain _Bew_ kill’d a Sergeant of one of the
Compters. Shortly after, a Bailiff was kill’d in _Grays-Inn_ Walks;
another Bailiff had his Hand chopt off by a Butcher in _Hungerford_
Market, in the _Strand_, of which Wound he dyed the next Day, and
another Man kill’d two Bailiffs at once with a couple of Pistols in
_Houghton Street_, by _Clare Market_, for which he was touch’d with a
cold iron[48] at the Sessions House at the _Old Baily_, besides several
others of that detestable Tribe have deservedly suffer’d the same

‘But, by the way, we must take Notice that a Bailiff is Universally
hated by Man, Woman, or Child, who dearly love to see them duckt
(Pick-pocket like) in the _Muse_ Pond,[49] or the cleanly Pond of
the Horse Guards, at _Whitehall_, and sometimes well rinsed at the
_Temple_, or _Grays-Inn_ Pump; and if any of these napping Scoundrels
is taken within the Liberty of the _Mint_, the enraged Inhabitants
of this Place tye him fast with Ropes in a Wheelbarrow; then they
trundle him about the Streets, with great Shouts and Huzzas.... After
he is convey’d in the like Order to a stinking Ditch, near _St.
George’s_ Fields, where he is plunged over Head and Ears, _à la mode
de Pickpocket_; and then, to finish the Procession, he is solemnly
convey’d to a Pump, according to the antient Custom of the Place,
where he is sufficiently drench’d for all his dirty Doings.’

This, as I have said, shows the humorous side of imprisonment for
debt. An unimpeachable and veracious authority, one who only gave dry
statistics, and did not draw upon his imagination for his facts, was
John Howard, the philanthropist, who published, in 1777, ‘The State of
the Prisons in England and Wales.’ From his report we learn that the
allowance to debtors was a penny loaf a day--and when we consider that,
during the French war, bread at one time rose to a price equivalent
to our half-crown per quartern loaf, it could hardly be called a
sufficient diet. But the City of London, generous then, as ever,
supplemented this with a daily (? weekly) supply of sixteen stone, or
one hundred and twenty-eight pounds, of beef, which, as Howard gives
the average of debtors in two years (1775-6) at thirty-eight, would
be more than ample for their needs--and there were other charities
amounting to fifty or sixty pounds a year--but, before they were
discharged, they were compelled to pay the keeper a fee of eight
shillings and tenpence.

In the Fleet Prison they had no allowance, but, if they made an
affidavit that they were not worth five pounds, and could not subsist
without charity, they had divided amongst them the proceeds of the
begging-box and grate, and the donations which were sent to the prison.
Of these, Howard says, at the time of his visit, there were seventeen.
But the other prisoners who had any money had every facility afforded
them to spend it. There was a tap, at which they could purchase
whatever liquor they required; there was a billiard-table, and, in the
yard, they could play at skittles, Mississippi, fives, tennis, &c.
On Monday nights there was a wine club, and on Thursday nights a beer
club, both of which usually lasted until one or two in the morning; and
pretty scenes of riot and drunkenness took place. The prisoners were
allowed to have their wives and children to live with them.

Ludgate had ceased to exist, and the debtors were transferred to New
Ludgate, in Bishopsgate Street. It was a comparatively aristocratic
debtors’ prison, for it was only for debtors who were free of the City,
for clergymen, proctors, and attorneys. Here, again, the generosity
of the City stepped in; and, for an average number of prisoners of
twenty-five, ten stone, or eighty pounds of beef, were given weekly,
together with a daily penny loaf for each prisoner. The lord mayor and
sheriffs sent them coals, and Messrs. Calvert, the brewers, sent weekly
two barrels of small beer, besides which, there were some bequests.

The Poultry Compter was in the hands of a keeper who had bought the
place for life, and was so crowded that some of the prisoners had to
sleep on shelves over the others, and neither straw nor bedding was
allowed them. The City gave a penny loaf daily to the prisoners, and
remitted for their benefit the rent of thirty pounds annually; the
Calverts also sent them beer. At Howard’s visits, eight men had their
wives and children with them.

Wood Street Compter was not a pleasant abode, for Howard says the place
swarmed with bugs. There were thirty-nine debtors, and their allowance
was a daily penny loaf from the City, two barrels of beer weekly from
the Calverts; the sheriffs gave them thirty-two pounds of beef on
Saturdays, and for some years a benevolent baker sent them, weekly, a
large leg and shin of beef.

At Whitechapel was a prison for debtors, in the liberty and manor of
Stepney and Hackney, but it was only for very small debtors, those
owing above two pounds, and under five. Howard’s story of this prison
is a very sad one, the occupants being so very poor:

‘The Master’s-side Prisoners have four sizeable chambers fronting the
road--_i.e._, two on each storey. They pay two shillings and sixpence a
week, and lie two in a bed; two beds in a room. The Common-side Debtors
are in two long rooms in the Court Yard, near the Tap-room. Men in one
room, women in the other: the Court Yard in common. They hang out a
begging-box from a little closet in the front of the House, and attend
it in turn. It brings them only a few pence a day, and of this pittance
none partake but those who, at entrance, have paid the keeper two
shillings and sixpence, and treated the Prisoners with half a gallon of
beer. The last time I was there, no more than three had purchased this

‘At my first visit there were, on the Common-side, two Prisoners in
Hammocks, sick and very poor. No chaplain. A compassionate Man, who
is not a regular Clergyman, sometimes preaches to them on Sunday, and
gives them some small relief. Lady Townsend sends a Guinea twice a
year, which her Servant distributes equally among the Prisoners.

‘As Debtors here are generally very poor, I was surprised to see,
once, ten or twelve noisy men at skittles; but the Turnkey said they
were only visitants. I found they were admitted here as at another
public-house. No Prisoners were at play with them.’

At St. Catherine’s, without the Tower, was another small debtors’
prison. This parish was a ‘_peculiar_,’ the Bishop of London having no
jurisdiction over it, and the place was under the especial patronage
of the Queens of England ever since the time of Matilda, the wife
of Stephen, who founded a hospital there, now removed to Regent’s
Park. It was a wonderful little parish, for there people could take
sanctuary--and there also were tried civil and ecclesiastical cases.
Howard says that the prison for debtors had been rebuilt seven years
before he wrote. It was a small house of two storeys; two rooms on
a floor. In April, 1774, there was a keeper, but no prisoners. ‘I
have since called two or three times, and always found the House

No notice of debtors’ prisons would be complete without mention of the
King’s Bench, which was in Southwark. Howard reports:

‘The Prisoners are numerous. At more than one of my visits, some had
the Small Pox. It was so crowded this last summer, that a Prisoner paid
five shillings a week for half a bed, and many lay in the chapel. In
May, 1766, the number of Prisoners within the Walls was three hundred
and ninety-five, and, by an accurate list which I procured, their wives
(including a few only called so) were two hundred and seventy-nine,
children seven hundred and twenty-five--total, one thousand and four;
about two-thirds of these were in the Prison.’

The prisoners had, as in the Fleet, their weekly wine and beer clubs,
and they also indulged in similar outdoor sports. The Marshalsea and
Horsemonger Lane gaol complete the list of London debtors’ prisons.

Howard’s description of the county prisons is something appalling.
Gaol-fever, distemper, or small-pox being recorded against most of
them. At Chelmsford there had been no divine service for above a year
past, except to condemned criminals. At Warwick the debtors’ common
day-room was the hall, which was also used as a chapel. At Derby a
person went about the country, at Christmas-time, to gentlemen’s
houses, and begged for the benefit of the debtors. The donations were
entered in a book, and signed by each donor. About fourteen pounds were
generally collected in this manner.

Chesterfield gaol was the property of the Duke of Portland, and Howard
describes it thus:

‘Only one room, with a cellar under it, to which the Prisoners
occasionally descend through a hole in the floor. The cellar had not
been cleaned for many months. The Prison door had not been opened for
several weeks, when I was there first. There were four Prisoners, who
told me they were almost starved; one of them said, with tears in his
eyes, “he had not eaten a morsel that day,”--it was afternoon. They
had borrowed a book of Dr. Manton’s; one of them was reading it to the
rest. Each of them had a wife, and they had, in the whole, thirteen
children, cast on their respective parishes. Two had their groats from
the Creditors, and out of that pittance they relieved the other two.
No allowance: no straw: no firing: water a halfpenny for about three
gallons, put in (as other things are) at the window. Gaoler lives

At Salisbury gaol, just outside the prison gate, a round staple was
fixed in the wall, through which was passed a chain, at each end of
which was a debtor padlocked by the leg, who offered for sale to
the passers-by, nets, laces, purses, etc., made in the prison. At
Knaresborough the debtors’ prison is thus described:

‘Of difficult access; the door about four feet from the ground. Only
one room, about fourteen feet by twelve. Earth floor: no fireplace:
very offensive: a common sewer from the town running through it
uncovered. I was informed that an Officer confined here some years
since, for only a few days, took in with him a dog to defend him from
vermin; but the dog was soon destroyed, and the Prisoner’s face much
disfigured by them.’

The gaolers were not always the most gentle of men, as may be seen by
the trial of one Acton, deputy-keeper and turnkey of the Marshalsea,
for the murder of a prisoner named Thomas Bliss. The indictment will
briefly tell the story:

‘That the said _William Acton_, being Deputy Keeper, under _John
Darby_, of the said prison, being a person of inhuman and cruel
disposition, did, on the 21st of October, in the Year of our Lord,
1726, cruelly, barbarously, and feloniously Beat, Assault, and Wound
the said _Thomas Bliss_ in the said Prison, _viz._, in the Parish of
Saint George’s-in-the-Fields, in the Borough of _Southwark_, in the
County of _Surrey_, and did put Irons and Fetters of great and immense
weight upon his legs, and an Iron Instrument, and Engine of Torture,
upon the Head of the said _Thomas Bliss_, called the Scull-cap, and
also Thumb-screws upon his Thumbs; and the said _Thomas Bliss_ was
so wounded, fettered, tortured and tormented in the Strong Room of
the said Prison (which is a dangerous, damp, noisome, filthy, and
unwholesome place) did put, and him did there detain several days; by
means of which excruciating Tortures, close Confinement, Duress, and
cruel Abuses, the said _Thomas Bliss_ got so ill an Habit of Body, that
he continued in a languishing Condition till the 25th Day of _March_
following, and then died.’

Although the facts of the indictment were fully borne out by the
evidence, the jury acquitted Acton. I should mention that Bliss had
twice attempted to escape from the prison.

Let us pass to a pleasanter theme, and see what was the inner life of a
debtor’s prison about 1750, the story of which is told in a little book
undated.[50] The foot-notes are taken from the book.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Close by the Borders of a slimy Flood,
    Which now in secret rumbles through the Mud;
    (Tho’ heretofore it roll’d expos’d to light,
    Obnoxious to th’ offended City’s Sight).[51]

    Twin Arches now the sable Stream enclose,
    Upon whose Basis late a Fabrick rose;
    In whose extended oblong Boundaries,               }
    Are Shops and Sheds, and Stalls of all Degrees,    }
    For Fruit, Meat, Herbage, Trinkets, Pork and Peas. }
    A prudent City Scheme, and kindly meant;
    The Town’s oblig’d, their Worships touch the Rent.
    Near this commodious Market’s miry Verge,
    The Prince of Prisons stands, compact and large;
    Where by the Jigger’s[52] more than magick Charm,
    Kept from the Power of doing Good--or Harm,
    Relenting Captives inly ruminate
    Misconduct past, and curse their present State;
    Tho’ sorely griev’d, few are so void of Grace,
    As not to wear a seeming cheerful face:
    In Drink or Sports ungrateful Thoughts must die,
    For who can bear Heart-wounding Calumny?
    Therefore Cabals engage of various Sorts,
    To walk, to drink, or play at different Sports,
    Here oblong Table’s verdant Plain,
    The ivory Ball bounds and rebounds again[53];
    There at Backgammon two sit _tête-à-tête_,
    And curse alternately their adverse fate;
    These are at Cribbage, those at Whist engag’d,
    And, as they lose, by turns become enrag’d;
    Some of more sedentary Temper, read
    Chance-medley Books, which duller Dulness breeds;
    Or Politick in Coffee-room, some pore
    The Papers and Advertisements thrice o’er;
    Warm’d with the Alderman,[54] some sit up late,
    To fix th’ Insolvent Bill, and Nation’s fate:
    Hence, Knotty Points at different Tables rise,
    And either Party’s wond’rous, wond’rous wise;
    Some of low Taste, ring Hand-Bells, direful Noise!
    And interrupt their Fellows’ harmless Joys;
    Disputes more noisy now a Quarrel breeds,
    And Fools on both Sides fall to Loggerheads;
    Till, wearied with persuasive Thumps and Blows,
    They drink, are Friends, as tho’ they ne’er were Foes.
    Without distinction, intermixed is seen,
    A ‘Squire dirty, and Mechanick clean:
    The Spendthrift Heir, who in his Chariot roll’d,
    All his Possessions gone, Reversions sold,
    Now mean, as one profuse, the stupid Sot
    Sits by a Runner’s Side,[55] and shules[56] a Pot.

    Some Sots, ill-mannered, drunk, a harmless Flight!
    Rant noisy thro’ the Galleries all Night;
    For which, if Justice had been done of late,
    The Pump[57] had been three pretty Masters’ Fate,
    With Stomach’s empty, and Heads full of Care,
    Some Wretches swill the Pump, and walk the Bare.[58]
    Within whose ample Oval is a Court,      }
    Where the more Active and Robust resort, }
    And glowing, exercise a manly Sport.     }
    (Strong Exercise with mod’rate Food is good,
    It drives in sprightful Streams the circling Blood;)
    While these, with Rackets strike the flying Ball,
    Some play at Nine-pins, Wrestlers take a Fall;
    Beneath a Tent some drink, and some above
    Are slily in their Chambers making Love;
    Venus and Bacchus each keeps here a Shrine,
    And many Vot’ries have to Love and Wine.

    Such the Amusements of this merry Jail,
    Which you’ll not reach, if Friends or Money fail;
    For e’er it’s threefold Gates it will unfold,
    The destin’d Captive must produce some Gold;
    Four Guineas at the least for diff’rent Fees,
    Compleats your _Habeas_, and commands the Keys;
    Which done, and safely in, no more you’re led,
    If you have Cash, you’ll find a Friend and Bed;
    But, that deficient, you’ll but ill betide,
    Lie in the Hall,[59] perhaps on Common Side.[60]

    But now around you gazing Jiggers swarm,[61]
    To draw your Picture, that’s their usual Term;
    Your Form and Features strictly they survey,
    Then leave you (if you can) to run away.

    To them succeeds the Chamberlain, to see               }
    If you and he are likely to agree;                     }
    Whether you’ll tip,[62] and pay you’re Master’s Fee.[63] }
    Ask him how much? ‘Tis one Pound, six, and eight;
    And, if you want, he’ll not the Twopence bate;
    When paid, he puts on an important Face,
    And shows Mount-scoundrel[64] for a charming Place;
    You stand astonish’d at the darken’d Hole,
    Sighing, the Lord have Mercy on my Soul!
    And ask, Have you no other Rooms, Sir, pray?
    Perhaps inquire what Rent, too, you’re to pay:
    Entreating that he would a better seek;
    The Rent (cries gruffly) ‘s Half-a-Crown a Week.
    The Rooms have all a Price, some good, some bad,
    But pleasant ones, at present, can’t be had;
    This Room, in my Opinion’s not amiss;           }
    Then cross his venal Palm with Half a Piece,[65] }
    He strait accosts you with another face.        }

    How your Affairs may stand, I do not know;
    But here, Sir, Cash does frequently run low.
    I’ll serve you--don’t be lavish--only mum!
    Take my Advice, I’ll help you to a Chum.[66]
    A Gentleman, Sir, see--and hear him speak,
    With him you’ll pay but fifteen Pence a Week,[67]
    Yet his Apartments on the Upper Floor,[68]
    Well-furnished, clean and nice; who’d wish for more?
    A Gentleman of Wit and Judgement too!
    Who knows the Place,[69] what’s what, and who is who;
    My Praise, alas! can’t equal his Deserts;
    In brief--you’ll find him, Sir, a Man of Parts.

    Thus, while his fav’rite Friend he recommends,
    He compasses at once their several Ends;
    The new-come Guest is pleas’d that he shou’d meet
    So kind a Chamberlain, a Chum so neat;
    But, as conversing thus, they nearer come,
    Behold before his Door the destin’d Chum.
    Why he stood there, himself you’d scarcely tell,
    But there he had not stood had Things gone well;
    Had one poor Half-penny but blest his Fob,       }
    Or if in prospect he had seen a Job,             }
    H’ had strain’d his Credit for a Dram of Bob.[70] }
    But now, in pensive Mood, with Head downcast,
    His Eyes transfix’d as tho’ they look’d their last;
    One Hand his open Bosom lightly held,
    And one an empty Breeches Pocket fill’d;
    His Dowlas Shirt no Stock, nor Cravat, bore,
    And on his Head, no Hat, nor Wig he wore,
    But a once black shag Cap, surcharg’d with Sweat;
    His Collar, here a Hole, and there a Pleat,
    Both grown alike in Colour, that--alack!
    This neither now was White, nor was that Black,
    But matched his dirty yellow Beard so true,
    They form’d a threefold Cast of Brickdust Hue.
    Meagre his Look, and in his nether Jaw
    Was stuff’d an eleemosynary Chaw.[71]
    (Whose Juice serves present Hunger to asswage,
    Which yet returns again with tenfold Rage.)
    His Coat, which catch’d the Droppings from his Chin,
    Was clos’d, at Bottom, with a Corking Pin;

       *       *       *       *       *

    Loose were his Knee-bands, and unty’d his Hose,
    Coax’d[72] in the Heel, in pulling o’er his Toes;
    Which, spite of all his circumspective Care,
    Did thro’ his broken, dirty Shoes appear.

    Just in this hapless Trim, and pensive Plight,
    The old Collegian[73] stood confess’d to Sight;
    Whom, when our new-come Guest at first beheld,
    He started back, with great Amazement fill’d;
    Turns to the Chamberlain, says, Bless my Eyes!   }
    Is this the Man you told me was so nice?         }
    I meant, his Room was so, Sir, he replies;       }
    The Man is now in Dishabille and Dirt,
    He shaves To-morrow, tho’, and turns his Shirt;
    Stand not at Distance, I’ll present you--Come,
    My Friend, how is’t? I’ve brought you here a Chum;
    One that’s a Gentleman; a worthy Man,
    And you’ll oblige me, serve him all you can.

    The Chums salute, the old Collegian first,
    Bending his Body almost to the Dust;
    Upon his Face unusual Smiles appear,
    And long-abandon’d Hope his Spirits cheer;
    Thought he, Relief’s at hand, and I shall eat;   }
    Will you walk in, good Sir, and take a seat?     }
    We have what’s decent here, though not compleat. }
    As for myself, I scandalize the Room,
    But you’ll consider, Sir, that I’m at Home;
    Tho’ had I thought a Stranger to have seen,
    I should have ordered Matters to’ve been clean;
    But here, amongst ourselves, we never mind,
    Borrow or lend--reciprocally kind;
    Regard not Dress, tho’, Sir, I have a Friend
    Has Shirts enough, and, if you please, I’ll send.
    No Ceremony, Sir,--You give me Pain,
    I have a clean Shirt, Sir, but have you twain?
    Oh yes, and twain to boot, and those twice told,
    Besides, I thank my Stars, a Piece of Gold.
    Why then, I’ll be so free, Sir, as to borrow,
    I mean a Shirt, Sir--only till To-morrow.
    You’re welcome, Sir;--I’m glad you are so free;
    Then turns the old Collegian round with Glee,
    Whispers the Chamberlain with secret Joy,
    We live To-night!--I’m sure he’ll pay his Foy;
    Turns to his Chum again with Eagerness,
    And thus bespeaks him with his best Address:

    See, Sir, how pleasant, what a Prospect’s there;
    Below you see them sporting on the Bare;
    Above, the Sun, Moon, Stars, engage the Eye,
    And those Abroad can’t see beyond the Sky;
    These Rooms are better far than those beneath,
    A clearer Light, a sweeter Air we breathe;
    A decent Garden does our Window grace
    With Plants untainted, undisturb’d the Glass;
    In short, Sir, nothing can be well more sweet;
    But I forgot--perhaps you chuse to eat,
    Tho’, for my Part, I’ve nothing of my own,
    To-day I scraped my Yesterday’s Blade-bone;
    But we can send--Ay, Sir, with all my Heart,
    (Then, very opportunely, enters Smart[74])
    Oh, here’s our Cook, he dresses all Things well;
    Will you sup here, or do you chuse the Cell?
    There’s mighty good Accommodations there,
    Rooms plenty, or a Box in Bartholm’[75] Fair;
    There, too, we can divert you, and may show
    Some Characters are worth your while to know.
    Replies the new Collegian, Nothing more       }
    I wish to see, be pleas’d to go before;       }
    And, Smart, provide a handsome Dish for Four. }

       *       *       *       *       *

    But I forget; the Stranger and his Chum,
    With t’other two, to Barth’lomew Fair are come;
    Where, being seated, and the supper past,
    They drink so deep, and put about so fast,
    That, e’re the warning Watchman walks about,
    With dismal tone Repeating, Who goes out?[76]
    Ere St. Paul’s Clock no longer will withold
    From striking Ten, and the voice cries--All told;[77]
    Ere this, our new Companions, everyone
    In roaring Mirth and Wine so far were gone,
    That ev’ry Sense from ev’ry Part was fled,
    And were with Difficulty got to Bed;
    Where, in the Morn, recover’d from his Drink,
    The new Collegian may have Time to think;
    And recollecting how he spent the Night,
    Explore his Pockets, and not find a Doit.

    Too thoughtless Man! to lavish thus away
    A Week’s support in less than half a Day,
    But ’tis a Curse attends this wretched Place,
    To pay for dear-bought Wit in little Space,
    Till Time shall come when this new Tenant here,
    Will in his turn shule for a Pot of Beer,
    Repent the melting of his Cash too fast,
    And Snap at Strangers for a Night’s Repast.


If Jonas Hanway had lived before Fuller, he certainly would have been
enshrined among his ‘Worthies;’ and it is astonishing to find how
comparatively ignorant of him and his works are even well-read men.
Ask one about him, and he will reply that he was a philanthropist,
but he will hardly be able to say in what way he was philanthropic:
ask another, and the reply will be that he was the man who introduced
umbrellas into England--but it is very questionable if he could tell
whence he got the umbrella to introduce. But in his time he was a
man of mark, and his memory deserves more than a short notice in
‘Chalmers,’ the ‘Biographie Universelle,’ or any other biographical

He was born at Portsmouth on the 12th of August, 1712, in the reign
of ‘good Queen Anne.’ History is silent as to his pedigree, save and
except that his father was connected with the navy, and was for some
years store-keeper to the dockyard at Portsmouth, and his uncle by
the father’s side was a Major John Hanway, who translated some odes
of Horace, &c. His father died whilst Jonas was still a boy, and Mrs.
Hanway had much trouble to bring up her young family, who all turned
out well, and were prosperous in after life: one son, Thomas, filling
the post of commander-in-chief of his Majesty’s ships at Plymouth, and
afterwards commissioner of the dockyard at Chatham.

On his father’s death, his mother removed to London, where, somehow
or other, she brought up her children by her own exertions, and with
such care and affection that Jonas never spoke, or wrote, of his mother
but in terms of the highest reverence and gratitude. He was sent to
school, where he was not only educated commercially, but classically.
Still, he had his bread to win, and, when he was seventeen years of
age, he was sent to Lisbon, which he reached June, 1729, and was
bound apprentice to a merchant, under whose auspices he developed the
business qualities which afterwards stood him in good stead. At the end
of his apprenticeship he set up in business for himself in Lisbon, but
soon removed to the wider field of London. What pursuit he followed
there, neither he, nor any biographer of his, has told us, but in 1743
he accepted the offer of a partnership in Mr. Dingley’s house at St.

What a difference in the voyage from London to St. Petersburg, then and
now! Now, overland: it only takes two days and a half.

Then, in April, 1743, he embarked on the Thames in a crazy old tub,
bound for Riga, and got to Elsinore in May. As everything then was
done in a leisurely manner, they stopped there for some days, arriving
at Riga by the end of May, having taken twenty-six days to go from
Elsinore to Riga, now done by steam, under fair conditions, in two days.

Here he found, as most people do, the Russian spring as hot as he ever
remembered summer in Portugal, and was most hospitably entertained by
the British factors. But Russia was at war with Sweden, and, although
he had plenty of letters of recommendation, the Governor of Riga would
not allow him to proceed on his journey, until he had communicated with
the authorities at St. Petersburg, thus causing a delay of a fortnight,
and he did not leave until the 7th of June. His sojourn at Riga,
however, was not lost, for he kept his eyes open, and looked about him.

Travelling by post in Russia, even now, is not a luxury; it must
have been ten times worse then, when he started on his journey in
his sleeping-wagon, which was ‘made of leather, resembling a cradle,
and hung upon braces,’ and his report of his journey was that ‘the
post-horses are exceedingly bad, but as the stages are short, and the
houses clean, the inconvenience is supportable.’ He made the journey in
four days.

On his arrival, he soon set to work on the business that he came out
to execute, namely, the opening of trade through the Caspian Sea to
Persia, a journey which involved crossing Russia in Europe from the
north-west to the south-east. This route had already been trodden
by a sailor named Elton, who had spent some years among the nomadic
Tartar tribes, and had, in 1739, descended the Volga with a cargo of
goods, intending to go to Mesched; but he sold them before he reached
there, at Resched, for a good price, and obtained leave to trade for
the future. He returned to St. Petersburg, went again to Persia, and
remained there in the service of Nadir Shah. It was to supply his
defection that Jonas Hanway went out to Russia.

On the 10th of September, 1743, he set out on his veritably perilous
journey, and it is really worth while to describe the despatch of
goods in Russia at that day. ‘In Russia carriages for merchandize are
drawn only by one horse. These vehicles are nine or ten feet long, and
two or three broad, and are principally composed of two strong poles,
supported by four wheels, of near an equal size, and about as high as
the fore wheels of our ordinary coaches, but made very slight, many of
the rounds of the wheels are of a single piece of wood, and open, in
one part, for near an inch, and some of them are not shod with iron.

‘The first care is to lay the bales as high as the cart will admit on a
bed of mats of the thickest sort. Besides the original package, which
is calculated to stand the weather, the bales are usually covered with
very thick mats, and over these other mats are laid to prevent the
friction of the ropes; lastly, there is another covering of mats, in
the want of raw cowhides, which are always best to defend goods from
rain, or from the snow, which, when it melts, is yet more penetrating.
Each bale is sealed up with a leaden seal, to prevent its being opened
on the road, or any of the goods vended in the Country, that is, when
they are intended for Persia....

‘The Caravans generally set out about twelve, both in the night
and day, except in the heat of summer. In the winter, between St.
Petersburg and Moscow, they usually travel seventy wersts[78] (about
forty-seven English miles) in twenty-four hours, but from Moscow
to Zaritzen only forty or fifty wersts: in summer their stages are
shorter. Great part of the last-mentioned road being through an
uninhabited country, makes the Carriers cautious not to jade their
horses. Every time they set out, the conductors ought to count the
loads. When necessity requires that the Caravan should be drawn within
fences, or into yards, the heads of the waggons ought to stand towards
the door in regular order, and a guard, who will keep a better watch
than an ordinary carrier, should be set over it: for want of this
precaution, whole Caravans in Russia have been sometimes consumed by
fire. It is most eligible to stop in the field, where the usual method
is to form the Carriages into a ring, and bring the horses, as well as
the men, within it, always observing to keep in such a position as best
to prevent an attack, or repulse an enemy.

‘The Khalmucks on the banks of the Volga are ever ready to embrace
an opportunity of plundering and destroying passengers; therefore,
when there is any occasion to travel on those banks, which should be
avoided as much as possible, an advance guard of at least four Cossacks
is of great use, especially to patrole in the night; it is not often
practised, but I found it indispensably necessary when I travelled on
those banks....

‘A hundred carriages take up two-thirds of a mile in length, so that,
when no horseman is at hand to spread the alarm, the rear might be
easily carried off. They have not even a trumpet, horn, or other
instrument for this purpose; they trust in providence, and think any
care of this kind unnecessary, though the neglect has sometimes proved
of fatal consequence.’

In this primitive style he set forth on his trading venture to Persia,
taking with him a clerk, a Russian, as menial servant, a Tartar boy,
and a soldier, by way of guard. He had ‘a convenient sleeping-waggon’
for himself, and another for his clerk--the Russ, the Tartar, and the
soldier evidently having to shift as the drivers of the twenty loads of
goods (consisting of thirty-seven bales of English cloth) did. It is
interesting to follow out this little venture. The caravan started on
the 1st of September, 1743, and ten days afterwards he set out to join
it, which he did at Tver, arriving at Moscow on the 20th of September.

Here he looked about him, saw the Great Bell, &c. received no little
hospitality, and repaired the defects of his caravan, starting again
on the 24th of September, and his instructions to his limited suite
were to avoid all occasion of dispute, and, should such unfortunately
arise, he should be informed of it, in order that he might deal with it
according to the best of his judgment. But he went among the Tartars
without any misadventure, noting some very curious facts, until he
came to Tzaritzin, on the Volga, whence he proposed to commence his
somewhat perilous journey by water, to the Caspian Sea. He arrived
at Tzaritzin on the 9th of October, but, as there was not the same
pushing and driving in business then as now, he stopped there for a
month to recruit, and hire a vessel. He succeeded in getting one, such
a thing as it was, but then he only paid a nominal sum for it. As he
justly observes: ‘The reader will imagine that forty roubles[79] cannot
purchase a good vessel; however, this price produced the best I could
find. Their decks were only loose pieces of the barks of trees; they
have no knees, and but few beams: hardly any pitch or tar is used, in
place of it are long slips of bark, which they nail over the gaping
seams, to prevent the loose and bad corking (caulking) from falling
out. Instead of iron bolts, they have spikes of deal with round heads.
The method of keeping them clear of water is by a large scoop, which
is suspended by the beam over the well-way, and through a scuttle at a
proper height they scoop out the water with great facility.’

He bought two of these A.1. vessels, and put a crew of five fishermen
on board each, besides his own suite, and, because of the pirates who
infested those waters, he hired a guard of six soldiers. By-the-way,
they had a rough and ready way of dealing with these pirates when
they did catch them. ‘As their cruelties are very great, so is the
punishment inflicted on them when they are taken. A float is built, in
size according to the number of delinquents, and a gallows erected on
it, to contain a sufficient number of iron hooks, on which they are
hung alive, by the ribs. The float is launched into the stream, with
labels over their heads, signifying their crimes; and orders are given
to all towns and villages on the borders of the river, upon pain of
death, not only to afford no relief to any of these wretches, but to
push off the float, should it land near them. Sometimes their partners
in wickedness meet them, and, if there are any signs of life, take
him down, otherwise they shoot them dead; but, if they are catched in
these acts of illegal mercy, they are hung up without the ceremony of a
trial, as happened about eight years ago. They tell me of one of these
miscreants who had the fortune to disengage himself from the hook,
and though naked, and trembling with pain and loss of blood, he got
ashore. The first object he saw who could afford him any relief was
a poor shepherd, whose brains he beat out with a stone, and took his
clothes. These malefactors sometimes hang thus three, four, and five
days alive. The pain generally produces a raging fever, in which they
utter the most horrid imprecations, and implore the relief of water, or
other small liquors.’

He was observant, and, on his journey down the Volga, he noted many
things which throw much light on the social life in Russia of these
days. Take for instance the following: ‘The 14th of October I sent
letters to my friends, by messengers who are appointed to attend a box
of grapes, which is sent from Astrachan to the Empress’s Court every
three days during the season. It is carried by two horses, supported
in the manner of a litter. The grapes are preserved in sand, but, at
best, are ill worth the expense of the conveyance for one thousand two
hundred English miles.’

He sailed from Tzaritzin on the 14th of October, and on the 19th of
the same month he reached Astrachan, where he was kindly received by
Mr. George Thompson, agent to the British merchants trading to Persia;
and also by the Russian governor (a quondam page to Peter the Great)
who gave him many assurances that every help should be afforded him
in his trade with Persia--but candidly informed him what rogues the
Armenian traders were: ‘They are the most crafty people in all Asia,
and delight in fraud. Let them get fifty per Cent. in a fair way, they
are not contented without cheating five, and the five is sweeter than
the fifty.’

Lapow, even then, was a recognized institution in Russia, for Hanway
observes, ‘The Officers of the the Admiralty and Custom-House of
Astrachan have very small salaries, which is the case in all other
places in Russia: so that, instead of doing their duty to despatch
business, they often seek pretences to protract it, in order to obtain
the more considerable presents. Upon these occasions French Brandy,
white wine, hats, stockings, ribbons, and such like are acceptable.’
Now-a-days, things are managed in a less cumbrous form. Rouble Notes
take the place of gross material--but the Russian Official is unchanged.

Again, ‘Whilst I was busied in getting what informations were
necessary, the governor invited me to a feast, at which there were
nearly a hundred dishes; here I saw a singular specimen of Russian
intemperance, for there were above thirty people who drank to excess,
in goblets, a kind of cherry brandy. This feast was made for the
birth of his granddaughter, on which occasion the guests presented an
offering each according to his rank. This is a civil way of levying a
heavy tax on the merchants, and a custom, tho’ not elegant, less absurd
than that of some politer countries; for here, without disguise or
ceremony, you leave one or two ducats, or some richer present on the
lady’s bed, who sits up with great formality to be saluted.’

From Astrachan he went to Yerkie, at the mouth of the Volga, and
virtually on the Caspian Sea, whence he set sail on the 22nd of
November, arriving at Astrabad Bay on the 18th of December, where his
vessel was taken for a pirate, and signal fires were, in consequence,
lit on the hill-tops, etc. So he lay at anchor for a few days,
employing his men in packing his goods so that they might be easily
carried on land; and he gives us a curious insight into the life of
sailors of that period.

‘The 25th being Christmas Day, I excused the seamen from the package
of cloth, and prevailed on them to hear prayers, and a sermon. English
seamen, of all mankind, seem the most indifferent with regard to
religious duties; but their indifference is more the effect of want
of reflection than the irreligious carelessness of their leaders. It
is not to be imagined they would fight less if they prayed more; at
least we find the praying warriors in Cromwell’s days fought as if
they were sure of becoming saints in heaven. Certain it is our seamen
do not entertain the same impressions of religion as the common run of
labouring people.’

Hanway had been warned that he must take care of himself at Astrabad;
that, probably, he would be robbed, and most certainly cheated; but
never having received such treatment, and with his conscious faith of
being an honest Englishman, he gave but little heed to the caution, but
spent many days on ship-board, making up his merchandize into suitable
packages for land carriage, and when he did land, he went in state,
on horseback, to visit the governor, taking with him the invariable
Oriental present, which, in his case, consisted of fine cloth, and
loaves of sugar. He was kindly received by the governor, but soon
having experienced the deceit and duplicity of the people, he hurried
forward his departure for Mesched, sending ten camel loads of goods in
advance. Luckily he did so, for the next day the town was besieged by
Turcomans, who wanted to get possession of the Shah’s treasure, then
in Astrabad, as well as the English goods, which presented an almost
irresistible temptation to them.

Hanway was advised to disguise himself and fly, but he was an
Englishman, and had the pluck of his race; so he concluded to stay, in
spite of the objurgations and maledictions of some of the inhabitants,
who cursed him as being the cause of their misfortunes. The town made
but a feeble resistance, and, soon after its fall, Hanway received a
visit from the captors, the story of which he thus tells:

‘I had collected my servants in one room, from whence I sent a little
boy, a servant, who understood the Turkish language, which is most
known to the Khajars, to conduct these hostile visitors to us, and to
tell them that, as we were at their mercy, we hoped they would treat
us with humanity. They immediately entered, and assured us they did
not mean to hurt us; on the contrary, that as soon as their government
was established, they would pay me for my goods. They demanded, at
the same time, where they were lodged; and informed me that the forty
bales which I had sent out of the town some days before, were already
in their possession. Mahommed Khan Beg then demanded my purse, which I
had prepared with about thirty crowns in gold and silver; he contented
himself for the present with counting it, and then returned it to me,
demanding if I had any more, for that it would be the worse for me if
I concealed any. I thought it warrantable, however, to make an evasive
answer, though it was a true one as to the fact; _viz._, that all the
town knew very well that I had been searching for money in exchange
for my bill on Mr. Elton, not having sufficient to convey my Caravan
to Mesched. As gold can purchase anything except virtue and health,
understanding and beauty, I thought it might now administer to our
safety. I therefore reserved a purse of one hundred and sixty crowns
in gold, apprehending that the skilful application of it might ward
off the danger which threatened us; but I afterwards found that our
security was in our supposed poverty, for in near three weeks distress,
I durst not show a single piece of gold, much less acknowledge that I
had saved any money.’

He made up his mind to leave Astrabad as soon as possible, and, having
obtained an acknowledgment of the value of his goods, at last set out
with an escort of about two dozen armed men, under the command of a
Hadji, or a holy man, who had made a pilgrimage to Mecca. Needless to
say his escort were a pack of rogues, and it was by sheer good luck,
and at some risk, that, at last, he fell in with some officers of the
Shah, who were recruiting for forces wherewith to re-conquer Astrabad.
They helped him to horses, although he complained of their quality.
He got along somehow, although he lost his servants, and at last he
reached Langarood, where the renegade Captain Elton lived, seven weeks
after he had left Astrabad, and was received by Elton with open arms.
Here he stayed some days to recruit, and then pushed on to Reshd.

A few days more of journeying, and he fell in with the Shah’s camp,
but failed to have an interview with that exalted potentate. Still his
case was brought before Nadir Shah, and, the bill Hanway had received
from Mohammed Hassan being produced as evidence, a decree was issued
‘that I should give the particulars of the loss to Behbud Khan, the
Shah’s general at Astrabad, who had orders to deliver to me whatever
part of the goods might possibly be found, and to restore them in kind,
and the deficiency to be paid out of the sequestered estates of the
rebels to the last denier. This was not quite the thing which I wished
for, because it laid me under a necessity of returning to that wretched
place, Astrabad; however, I could not but acknowledge the highest
obligation for so signal a mark of justice and clemency.’

This act of justice was somewhat unusual with Nadir Shah, of whose
cruelty Hanway gives several examples. As, however, one perhaps
outstrips its companions in brutality, I venture to give it in his
words. ‘I will give another example of Nadir’s avarice and barbarity,
which happened a little before I was in camp. The Shah, having
appointed a certain general as governor of a province, imposed an
exorbitant tax on it, to be levied in six months: at the expiration of
the time the governor was sent for to the camp, and ordered to produce
the account. He did so, but it amounted to only half the sum demanded.
The Shah called him a rascal; and, telling him he had stolen the other
half of the money, ordered the executioner to bastonade him to death:
his estates also being confiscated, all his effects fell very short of
the demands. The servants of the deceased were then ordered to come
into the Shah’s presence, and he inquired of them if there was anything
left belonging to their master; to which they answered, _Only a dog_.
He then commanded the dog to be brought before him; and observed that
he appeared to be much honester than his master had been; however,
that he should be led through the camp from tent to tent, and beaten
with sticks, and wherever he expired, the master of such tent should
pay the sum deficient. Accordingly the dog was carried to the tents of
the ministers, successively, who, hearing the case, immediately gave
sums of money, according to their abilities, to procure the removal of
the dog: by which the whole sum the Shah demanded was raised in a few
hours’ time.’

On the 27th of March they set out on their return journey, accompanied
by a small escort; they were detained for some time at Langarood,
where Hanway had hoped to find a vessel, as the way by land was
insecure. But, although a ship was sighted, she never put in; and
the land journey was therefore, perforce, undertaken, and Astrabad
was reached on the 16th of May. He saw the Shah’s general, who said
‘the decree must be obeyed.’ Those who had insulted Hanway were most
brutally punished--some of his cloth was recovered and given back to
him, but there was a difficulty in raising the money for the missing
portions, and he was pressed to take payment in women slaves. On his
refusal, they begged of him to give them a receipt as if he had been
paid, assuring him the money should be forthcoming in a very few days;
but the British merchant was too wary to be caught in such a palpable
trap. Eventually he got the greater part of it, and with it returned
to Langarood, where he waited for some little while, and, at last, he
recovered eighty-five per cent. of the value of his goods, according to
his own valuation, so that, probably, he made a good sale.

At Langarood he fell ill of a low fever, but was cured by a French
missionary, who administered Jesuit’s bark (quinine) to him, and he
then set out on his return journey, having invested all his cash in
raw silk. He met with no particular adventures, and arrived safely at
St. Petersburg on the 1st of January, 1745, ‘having been absent a year
and sixteen weeks, in which time I had travelled about four thousand
English miles by land.’

In noticing this trip of Hanway’s to the Caspian, it would be a pity
if attention were not called to his description of Baku, now coming
so much to the front (thanks to the industry and intelligence of the
Messrs. Nobel) in providing the world with petroleum. This was the
chief shrine of the followers of Zoroaster, who considered light,
which was typified by fire, (which is bright both by day and night) as
emblematical of all good, and they therefore worshipped Ormuzd, or the
good god, whilst they regarded Ahriman, or darkness, as the evil god.
Here, near Baku, the soil is so soaked and saturated with petroleum
that a fire, natural and never-ceasing, could easily be obtained, and
consequently, being perfectly unartificial, was looked upon as the
personification of Ormuzd. Hanway writes, ‘The earth round this place,
for above two miles, has this surprizing property, that by taking up
two or three inches of the surface and applying a live coal, the part
which is so uncovered immediately takes fire, almost before the coal
touches the earth.... If a cane, or tube even of paper, be set about
two inches in the ground, confined and closed with earth below, and
the top of it touched with a live coal, and blown upon, immediately a
flame issues without hurting either the cane or the paper, provided the
edges be covered with clay, and this method they use for light in their
houses, which have only the earth for the floor; three or four of
these lighted canes will boil water in a pot; and thus they dress their

Baku, the seat of this natural symbol of Ormuzd, was then a place
of pilgrimage for the Parsees--and it is not so long since that
fire-worship there has been discontinued. Mr. Charles Marvin (writing
in 1884) commences his most interesting book, ‘The Region of the
Eternal Fire,’ thus: ‘A few years ago a solitary figure might have
been daily seen on the shore of the Caspian Sea, worshipping a fire
springing naturally from the petroleum gases in the ground. The devotee
was a Parsee from India, the last of a series of priests who for more
than two thousand five hundred years had tended the sacred flame upon
the spot. Round about his crumbling temple was rising greasy derricks,
and dingy distilleries--symbols of a fresh cult, the worship of
mammon--but, absorbed in his devotions, the Parsee took no heed of the
intruders. And so time passed on, and the last of the Fire-Worshippers
died, and with him perished the flame that was older than history.’

He stayed some time in Russia, but undertook no more arduous journeys.
Even when he did leave St. Petersburg, on the 9th of July, 1750, he
travelled very leisurely overland, reaching Harwich on the 28th of
October, 1750, after an absence from England of nearly eight years.
He lived in London in a modest fashion, for his fortune was but
modest--yet it was sufficient for him to keep a _solo_ carriage,
_i.e._, only carrying one person, and on its panels was painted a
device allusive to his dangers in Persia, especially of a somewhat
perilous voyage on the Caspian. It consisted of ‘a man dressed in the
Persian habit, just landed in a storm on a rude coast, and leaning on
his sword, his countenance calm and resigned. In the background was
depicted a boat tossed about by the billows; in front, a shield charged
with his arms leaning against a tree, and underneath the motto, in
English, _Never Despair_.’

As a result of his eastern experiences,[80] on his return to England
he used an umbrella, which at that time for a man to carry was
considered somewhat effeminate. He is often credited with having
introduced that useful article into England; but it had been
generally used by women for fifty years previously--nay, there is in
the British Museum (Harl. 630 fol. 15b,) an Anglo-Saxon MS. of the
eleventh century--unmistakeably English in its drawing--wherein is
an illustration of an umbrella being held (by an attendant) over the
head of a king, or nobleman. It is a veritable ‘Sangster,’ and, as
far as form goes, it would pass muster now. From this time the use of
the umbrella became familiar, and in general use among men--probably
because he introduced them of pure silk, whereas hitherto they had been
cumbrous and heavy, being made of oiled paper, muslin, or silk.

He had enough to live on, and, as in those days no one cared about
making a colossal fortune, he lived contentedly on his competence,
and wrote a long description of his travels, which was very well
illustrated, and which cost him £700 to produce his first edition
of one thousand two hundred copies, after which he disposed of the
copyright, and second, third, and fourth editions were published.
Still, the climate of Russia had not agreed with him, and he had to go
to the then fashionable Spa, Tunbridge Wells, and afterwards to Paris,
thence to Brussels, Antwerp, and Amsterdam.

He returned to Tunbridge Wells, where he wrote (in 1753) a treatise
against the Naturalisation of the Jews,[81] which was a question then
being agitated. One can scarcely imagine a man with large sympathies,
as was Jonas Hanway, a travelled man, also, of great experience of
men, taking the narrow view of such a question of social polity.
After a severe fight the Bill was carried (26 Geo. 2) and his Majesty
gave his consent on the 7th of June, 1753,[82] but the opposition
to it was so great that when Parliament next met (15th of November,
1753) the very first business after the address (which only occupied
half-an-hour or so--a valuable hint to present M.P.’s) was to bring in
a bill repealing the privilege of Naturalization to the Jews. Popular
clamour on its behalf was senseless, as it usually is, but it was too
strong to resist, and in the debate thereon, on the 27th of November,
1753, William Pitt (all honour to him) said, ‘Thus, sir, though we
repeal this law, out of complaisance to the people, yet we ought to
let them know that we do not altogether approve of what they ask.’[83]
The Bill was carried on the 28th of November, and received the Royal
Assent on the 20th of December, the same year, and consequently an
injustice was for some time done to some of the loyalest, quietest,
and most law-abiding citizens we have. Hanway, however, thought so
strongly on the subject that he wrote four tractates upon it, which, as
the question is now happily settled, may be dismissed with this brief

He was naturally of a busy turn of mind, and could not sit still. He
wrote about anything--it did not much matter what--of the paving, etc.
of Westminster and its adjacent parishes; he even wrote a big book,
beautifully illustrated, on a little trip he took, when travelling
was not so common as now, ‘A Journal of Eight days’ Journey from
Portsmouth to Kingston-on-Thames,’ (1756) a second edition of which
was published in two volumes in 1757, with the addition of ‘An Essay
on Tea, considered as pernicious to Health, obstructing Industry, and
impoverishing the Nation.’ So we see he took strong views on things in
general, which have since, by experience, been modified.

His scribbling propensities probably did some good, for in 1757 we
find him taking up the cause of that very meritorious charity, the
Marine Society, to which he was a subscriber to the extent of fifteen
guineas. This society, whose house is in Bishopsgate Street, is still
alive, and, what is more, flourishing. About this he wrote four or five
pamphlets and books. This seems only to have served as a whet to his
appetite for philanthropy, for in 1758 he paid £50 to qualify himself
as a Life-Governor of the Foundling Hospital. This, naturally, led him
to think upon the source whence the foundlings principally came: and he
turned his attention towards the foundation of a Magdalen (?) Hospital,
which was, with the cooperation of several gentlemen, established in
London in 1758, in Great Prescott Street, Goodman’s Fields (the site of
which is now, or used to be, called Magdalen Row).

Many more books and pamphlets on the above subjects, the Foundling
Hospital, the Marine and Stepney Societies, the Encouragement of
British Troops, etc., occupied his leisure until 1760, when he took
in hand the social question of giving fees, or _vails_, to servants,
and wrote two pamphlets on the subject. In one of them are some very
humorous stories of this absurd custom, one, especially, which from its
raciness has become somewhat hackneyed.[84] ‘It is a more _humorous_
Story they tell of ---- after he had dined with ----. The Servants with
assiduous duty had taken the best care of his friend’s _Hat_, _Sword_,
_Cane_, _Cloak_, and among the rest his _Gloves_ also. When he came to
demand them, every Servant, with the most submissive respect, brought
his part of the Old Gentleman’s _personal furniture_, and so many
_Shillings_ were distributed with his usual liberality; but, as he was
going away without his _Gloves_, one of the Servants reminded him of
it, to which he answered, “_No matter, friend, you may keep the Gloves,
they are not worth a Shilling._”’

Hanway tried to do away with this social tax, which, however, remains
to this day. But a very good story is told of Robert Hamilton of
Kilbrachmont.[85] ‘After a party at Kellie Castle the guests were
passing through the Hall where the servants were drawn up to receive
their vails, in those days a customary exaction at great houses. The
gifts of those who preceded “Robbie” (as the Laird was commonly called)
drew forth no expression of gratitude, not even a smile, but when his
turn came for performing the ceremony their features were at once
lighted up with something even approaching to a laugh.

‘“What did you give the fellows, Robbie?” said his friends, when they
got outside; “they looked as sour as vinegar till your turn came.”

‘“Deil a bawbee they got frae me,” said Robbie, “I just kittled their

This system of feeing servants received a crushing blow on the
production (in 1759) of the Rev. James Townley’s farce of ‘High Life
below Stairs,’ which probably led to Hanway’s writing his two pamphlets
on the subject.

He used occasionally to go to Court--but never solicited any place for
himself; still it was thought that his philanthropic exertions should
be rewarded, more especially as he had by no means a large fortune. So
a deputation of five prominent citizens of London, amongst whom was
Hoare the banker, waited on Lord Bute (who was then Prime Minister),
and asked that some substantial recognition of his services should
made. Their representations had weight, and, in July, 1762, he was
appointed one of the commissioners for victualling the Navy.

He was now in easy circumstances, and his official duties could not
have been very heavy, for in that year he wrote four pamphlets on
‘Meditations on Life, &c.,’ ‘Registration of the Parish Poor, and
Ventilation,’ his pet Magdalens, and a ‘Disquisition on Peace and
War’ themes so diverse that they show the variety of subjects that
occupied his serious attention. In fact, he scribbled on an infinity
of things--all having for their aim the benefit of mankind. He had
a financial scheme ‘for saving from Seventy Thousand Pounds to One
Hundred and Fifty Thousand Pounds to the Public;’ he wrote on the ‘Uses
and Advantages of Music;’ the ‘Case of the Canadians at Montreal;’ ‘The
Soldier’s Faithful Friend, being Moral and Religious Advice to private
Men in the Army and Militia;’ the ‘Registration of the Children of
the Poor;’ another pamphlet on the rising generation of the labouring
poor; and, not content with addressing the private soldier, he must
needs write ‘The Christian Officer, addressed to the Officers of his
Majesty’s forces, &c.’

About this time he was evidently most _goody-goody_. He wrote ‘Moral
and Religious Instruction to young Persons;’ ‘Moral and Religious
Instructions, intended for Apprentices among the lower Classes of the
People;’ ‘Letters to the Guardians of the Infant Poor;’ ‘Rules and
Regulations of the Magdalene Hospital, with Prayers, &c.;’ ‘Advice to
a Daughter, on her going to Service, &c.;’ ‘Advice from a Farmer to
his Daughter;’ ‘Observations on the Causes of the Dissoluteness which
reigns among the lower Classes of the People.’

He could not even leave to Mrs. Elizabeth Montague of the
‘Blue-Stocking Club’ notoriety, her championship and patronage of the
poor little climbing boys--and he fired off a pamphlet on ‘The State of
Chimney-Sweepers’ young Apprentices, &c.’ These poor little friendless
mortals excited his pity, and his first efforts in their behalf were
to get them regularly bound apprentices, so as to bring them under
the cognizance of the magistracy; he advocated and inaugurated a
subscription to defray the expense, and supply them with clothes. And
this movement was attended with considerable success, for many boys
were bound apprentices, and some of the masters were prosecuted for
cruelty to their boys.

Then, to show the diversity of his talents, he wrote two pamphlets on
bread, and a book in two volumes on ‘Virtue in humble life, &c.’ In
1775 he published a large quarto volume on ‘The Defects of Police, the
Causes of Immorality, &c.,’ and in the copy which I have before me, is
written, ‘TO THE KING, _with the Author’s most humble Duty_.’ In this
book, among other things, he advocated solitary, or rather isolated
confinement--permitting the prisoners to work, and giving them an
increased dietary according to their labour, This was followed in 1776
by a pamphlet on ‘Solitude in Imprisonment, with proper labour, &c.’

He was now sixty-four years of age, but he was as bodily active as
he was mentally, and in February, 1776, he had to go over to Hamburg
in connection with his duties as one of the commissioners of the
Victualling Board. In 1777, 1778, and 1782, he wrote three books on
the Lord’s Supper--and from that time he wrote, until he died in 1786,
on all sorts of subjects, religious, social, and political, a list of
which would only be wearisome. In the summer of 1786 his health gave
way, and he was evidently sinking, but he lingered until the 5th of
September, when he calmly passed away--perfectly prepared for the great
change, putting on a fine ruffled shirt, giving up his keys, disposing
of some trinkets, and having his will read to him. Death came easily to
him, and he expired with the word ‘Christ’ upon his lips.

Such was the life, and such was the death, of Jonas Hanway, whose
biography is not half well enough known.


This little story, which I very much condense, is most amusing, and is
the work of ‘Henry Blaine, Minister of the Gospel at Tring, Herts.’
I only give it as showing the dread with which any country-bred man,
at that time, put his precious body at the mercy of Father Neptune.
Steam has changed all our habits, but then there were no ‘Globe
Trotters,’--few, if any, climbed the Alps for amusement; the Dolomites
were unknown; people had no steam-yachts and went in pursuit of
perpetual summer; a cruise to the Pacific Islands and Japan was never
dreamt of; there was no Mudie’s library to scatter broadcast holiday
tours, for they never existed--so that we must look upon this relation
of an inland-bred ‘Minister of the Gospel’ (whose long and extremely
pious, but wearisome, exordia I omit) with very different eyes, to a
similar one published in the present day.

It is a tract of fifty-four pages, and commences, ‘In hopes of
recovering that invaluable blessing, health, on Friday, August 10,
1787, I embarked on board the ship FRIENDS bound for RAMSGATE, in
KENT. I had heard there was such a place; and many had raised my
expectations by their reports of the efficacy of sea-bathing; and
others encouraged my hopes by repeating their own experience of benefit
received. By these means I was induced to determine on this little
voyage. It reminded me of the never-to-be-forgotten season, when, urged
by some motives, and impelled by a power unseen, but not unfelt, I
entered on board that stately vessel which the Lord’s prophet saw in a
storm. _Isaiah 54.--11._’

This is a sample of the tract. He then goes on to say: ‘While we waited
for the time of sailing (for different purposes, I suppose), many came
on board, and appeared, to me at least, as if they intended to embark
with us: but they left not the harbour, but, urged by other occasions
and inducements, they took leave of their friends and departed; while
we, who were bound for a distant place, kept steady to our purpose,
turned our backs upon home and waited patiently for the gentle breeze
and driving tide to convey us to the desired port.’

We can well imagine the good man, when he got back to Tring, giving,
for a long time, his soul-harrowing experiences of that memorable
voyage. He should have lived in our days and have been ‘Our Special
Correspondent’ on whom the editor of the newspaper relies to fill so
many columns--for every detail is taken, evidently note-book in hand.
Witness this: ‘When our sails were displayed, and our cable unloosed,
assisted by a gentle gale, we began by degrees to view the lofty
towers, the aspiring churches, and all the grandeurs of London at a
distance behind us: in hopes of finding something we could not find in
town, we turned our attention from the pleasures, and riches, and pomps
of London; we bid farewel, for a time, to our dearest friends; we laid
aside our daily and domestic cares, and cheerfully forsook the dear
delights of home.’

At length they were fairly started on their voyage, which from the
crowded state of the river, and the excessive timidity of the writer,
must have been vastly perilous. ‘Our vessel, though it set sail with
a fair wind, and gently fell down the river towards her destined
port, yet once or twice was nearly striking against other vessels in
the river, to her own injury; but, by the care of the steersman and
sailors, she was timely prevented.... There was no spectacle more
affecting, in all the little voyage, than the bodies of those unhappy
malefactors which were hung up, _in terrorem_, on the margin of the
river Thames. Surely these was some of the execrable characters whom
Justice pursued, who, though “they escaped the sea, yet vengeance
suffered not to live. _Acts 28.--4._” ... Having passed these
spectacles of horror, a fair wind and flowing tide smoothly carried us
towards the boundless ocean....

‘When we drew towards the conflux of the river Thames there were two
objects that attracted our notice: the one, the King’s guardship,
placed there for the purposes of good œconomy, the other a large
painted vessel which floated on the surface of the water, and is called
a buoy. While we were passing the king’s ship, I heard the report
of a cannon, and saw the flash of the charge at some distance; and,
on inquiring the reason of such a circumstance, was informed it was
customary for every ship which passed, by way of obedience, to lower
her topsail; but the firing of the gun made them hasten to show their
obedience, for fear of a more unfavourable salute; for, though a flash
of powder might give us some alarm, the discharge of a ball might make
us _feel_ the effects of disobedience.... Hitherto the generality of
our company appeared to carry jollity and mirth in their countenances;
but now we began to see the blushing rose die in the sickly cheek,
and several of our passengers began to feel the sickening effects
of the rolling sea; they withdrew from their mirth, and in pleasure
crept into a corner, and silently mourned their lost pleasures in
solitude.... Thrice happy the souls who are by divine grace made sick
of unsatisfying delights, and compelled to withdraw from unsatisfying
objects, and seek and find permanent bliss in the friendship of

‘There had been the appearance of affability and good-humour kept
up among the passengers of our vessel, and a reciprocal exchange of
civilities had passed between them; our bad tempers were for awhile
laid aside, and we seemed mutually agreed to make each other as
innocently happy as our present. If the same mode of conduct was
observed through the whole of our department, how would the ills of
life be softened, and the ties of society sweetened!...

‘The eyelid of the day was now nearly closed upon us, and the gloom
of darkness began to surround us, which, together with the hollow
bellowing of the wind, and dashing waves, had a tendency to create very
solemn ideas in the mind; and I, being a stranger to such scenes, had
my mind exercised upon things of greater importance....

‘About ten o’clock on Friday night we were brought safely into the
harbour of Margate, and then cast anchor in order to set a great
number of our passengers on shore, who were bound for that place of
rendezvous. How great are the advantages of navigation! By the skill
and care of three men and a boy, a number of persons were in safety
conveyed from one part to another of the kingdom....

‘When we had safely landed our passengers at Margate, we weighed anchor
at eleven o’clock at night, in order to sail round the North Foreland
for Ramsgate. The North Foreland is a point of land which stretches out
some way into the sea, and is the extreme part of our country on the
right hand, when we sail down the river Thames; and sailing round the
point into the British Channel is esteemed by sailors rather dangerous.
However, there was danger enough to awaken the apprehensions of a
freshwater sailor. Yet here with some degree of confidence in Him who
exercises His power over the sea and dry land, I laid me down and slept
in quietness, while the rattling waves drove against the sides of our
vessel, and the rustling winds shook our sails, and made our yielding
masts to speak. I was led to reflect that now there was but a feeble
plank between me and the bottomless deep, yet, by a reliance on the
divine goodness, my fears were hushed, and a divine calm prevailed
within. “Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is staid on
thee.” _Isaiah 26.--3._

‘On Saturday morning I awoke and heard a peaceful sound from shore,
which informed me it was two o’clock; and, inquiring where we were, I
found we were safe anchored within the commodious harbour of Ramsgate.
Being so early an hour, we again composed ourselves to sleep, and lay
till five o’clock; then leaving our sleeping apartment, and mounting
the peaceful deck--not like the frighted sailor, who leaves the horrid
hulk to view a thousand deaths from winds, and waves, and rocks,
without a friendly shore in view--but to see one of the finest retreats
from all these dangers, which Providence has provided for the safety of
those who are exposed to the violence and rage of angry elements. The
commodious Pier of Ramsgate seems admirably calculated to shelter and
protect vessels which are threatened with destruction from winds and
waves. This beautiful piece of architecture is built in the form of a
Crescent, or half-moon, the points of which join to the land.... The
whole of this building of utility appeared to bear a clear resemblance
to the glorious Mediator in his offices, who is appointed for a refuge
from the storm....

‘By six in the morning we went on shore, and joyfully met our friends,
who were brought down the day before; but in their passage were
overtaken by a violent storm of thunder and lightning, whilst our
voyage was smooth and prosperous; but, in the morning, we all met
in peace and safety. Thus we sat down to a friendly breakfast, and
cheerfully talked over the adventures of the little voyage. Something
like this, I think, may take place in the state of blessedness....
While we were thus employed, we consulted how to dispose of ourselves
while we continued at Ramsgate; we mutually agreed to form ourselves
into a little family, and though we could not all lodge, yet we wished
to board together in the same house.’ This is a pleasing instance
of _bonne camaraderie_ engendered, in a short time, among agreeable

‘In order to pursue the design of our coming, some of our company
mixed among the bathers at the seaside. The convenience of bathing,
the coolness of a fine summer’s morning, the agreeable appearance of
company so early, and the novelty of the scene, had a very pleasing
effect.... We began to look around us; and though we were not presented
with objects of taste and elegance, yet the town and environs afforded
us some rural prospects, which yielded both instruction and pleasure.
Upon our left hand, as we ascended from the sea-side, stands the seat
of observation, erected on a point of land, and commanding an extensive
prospect over that part of the sea called the Downs, where you behold
a number of ships lying at anchor, or on their passage to different
parts of the world. From thence you may likewise see the lofty cliffs
of France, and reverberating the light of the sun; while, at the same
time, you may, by way of amusement, watch the motions of every boat
coming in and going out of the harbour; and, as the sea is always
varying, its appearance altogether affords an agreeable amusement. Here
the Company frequently stop to rest themselves after a morning’s or an
evening’s walk, and are sweetly regaled by the cool refreshing breezes
of the sea....

‘It might be thought strange was I to say nothing of Margate, that
being the chief resort for bathers, and of growing repute. The town
of Margate is in a very increasing state, and its principal ornaments
consist of its late additions. The chief concern of the publick seems
to render it as much a place for pleasure as utility, as, under colour
of utility, persons can pursue pleasure without censure. A mother,
for instance, might be highly blamed by her acquaintance for leaving
her family for a month, and going to spend her husband’s money; but
who can blame her when her health requires it? They are modelling
it according to the taste of the times. They have, indeed, built one
place of worship, but a playhouse nearly four times as large. Thus,
when ill-health does not interrupt the company’s pursuit of amusement,
they are likely soon to be accommodated to their minds. Such is the
provision already made, that the consumptive cough of a delicate
lady may be furnished with the relief of the fumes of a smoking hot
assembly-room, and the embarrassed citizen may drown his anxiety in the
amusements of the Card-table....

‘The libraries are decently furnished, and may serve as a kind of
lounging Exchange, where persons overburdened with money and time may
ease themselves with great facility. The most healthful amusement, and
best suited to invalids, that is pursued at Margate, is that of the
bowling-green, where, upon the top of a hill, and in full prospect of
the sea, in a free open air, gentlemen may exercise their bodies, and
unbend their minds; this, if pursued for the benefit of health and
innocent recreation, with a serious friend, appears to have no more
criminality in it than Peter’s going a fishing....

‘Having staid as long at Ramsgate as our affairs at home would, with
prudence, admit; we went on board the same ship, and re-embarked for
London. In order, I suppose, to take the better advantage, we sailed
some leagues right out to sea; but, it being a dead calm, we hardly
experienced any other motion than was occasioned by the tide and swell
of the sea for that night. The cry of the sailors, Blow! Blow! reminded
me of that pathetick exclamation of the ancient Church! The next day
proved equally calm, so that we had little else to divert us but walk
about the deck, and watch the rolling of the porpoises in the sea.
We had an old sailor on board, whose patience being tired, declared
he preferred being at sea in a storm to being becalmed on the ocean,
which struck me with the propriety of the observation, when applied to
Christian experience; for a storm, under Divine direction, is often
made the means of hastening the Christian’s progress, while a dead calm
is useless and unsafe.’

It took them two days to get to Margate, and another day to reach
Gravesend. On their way they passed a vessel cast on shore, which ‘cut
a dismal figure, such as they make, to an enlightened eye, who make
shipwreck of faith, whom Christians see, as they pursue their course,
run aground, and dash to pieces.’

By the time they came to Gravesend some of the passengers had had
enough of the Hoy--so they hired a boat and four men to row them to
London, but the wind getting up, the river became rough, and the
boat being over-loaded, the boatmen begged them to get on board a
fishing-smack, which they did, and arrived at Billingsgate safely.
We can hardly imagine, in these days of steam, that a journey from
Ramsgate to London would last from Monday morning to Wednesday night,
but people did not hurry themselves too much in those days.


In all ages there have been pretenders to medical science, and it has
been reserved to the present century to elevate the healing art into
a real science, based on proper physiological facts, aided by the
searching analyses of modern chemistry. The old alchemists had died
out, yet they had some pretensions to learning, but the pharmacopœia
at the commencement of the eighteenth century was in a deplorable
condition. Surgery, for rough purposes, had existed since the earliest
ages, because accidents would happen, then as now; and, moreover,
there were wars, which necessitated the amputation of limbs, etc., but
medicine, except in the knowledge of the virtue of herbs and simples,
was in more than a primitive state. Anyone who chose, could dub himself
Doctor, and, naturally, the privilege was largely taken advantage of.

The name of quack, or quacksalver, does not seem to have been much
used before the seventeenth century, and its derivation has not been
distinctly settled. In the ‘Antiquities of Egypt,’ etc., by William
Osburn, junior, London, 1847, p. 94, he says: ‘The idea of a physician
is frequently represented by a species of duck, the name of which is
CHIN: the Egyptian word for physician was also CHINI.’ But neither
Pierret, in his ‘Vocabulaire Hieroglyphique,’ nor Bunsen, in ‘Egypt’s
Place in Universal History,’ endorse this statement. Still the Egyptian
equivalent for cackling, or the noise of a goose, was _Ka ka_, and in
Coptic _Ouok_, pronounced very much like quack.

The Germans also use the word _Quacksalber_, and the Dutch
_Kwaksalver_, a term which Bilderdijk, in his ‘Geslachtlijst der
Naamwoorden,’ (derivation or gender of men’s names) says, ought more
properly to be _Kwabsalver_, from _Kwab_, a wen, and _Salver_, to
anoint. Be this as it may, the English word quack certainly means an
illegitimate medical practitioner, a pretender to medical science,
whose pretensions are not warranted by his knowledge.

The seventeenth century was prolific in quacks--a notable example being
John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester. Both Bishop Burnet and De Gramont agree
that, during one of his banishments from Court, he lived in Tower
Street (next door to the sign of the ‘Black Swan,’ at a goldsmith’s
house), and there practised as a quack doctor, as one Alexander Bendo,
newly arrived from Germany. There is a famous mountebank speech of his
extant, copies of which exist not only in broad sheets, but in some of
the jest-books of the seventeenth century, which, genuine or not, is
very amusing. It is far too long to transcribe here, but perhaps I may
be pardoned if I give a short extract.

‘The knowledge of these secrets I gathered in my travels abroad (where
I have spent my time ever since I was fifteen years old to this, my
nine and twentieth year) in France and Italy. Those that have travelled
in Italy will tell you what a miracle of art does there assist
nature in the preservation of beauty: how women of forty bear the
same countenance with them of fifteen: ages are no way distinguished
by faces; whereas, here in England, look a horse in the mouth and a
woman in the face, you presently know both their ages to a year. I
will, therefore, give you such remedies that, without destroying your
complexion (as most of your paints and daubings do) shall render them
perfectly fair; clearing and preserving them from all spots, freckles,
heats, pimples, and marks of the small-pox, or any other accidental
ones, so that the face be not seamed or scarred.

‘I will also cleanse and preserve your _teeth_ white and round as
pearls, fastening them that are loose: your gums shall be kept entire,
as red as coral; your lips of the same colour, and soft as you could
wish your lawful kisses.

‘I will likewise administer that which shall cure the worst of breaths,
provided the lungs be not totally perished and imposthumated; as
also certain and infallible remedies for those whose breaths are yet
untainted; so that nothing but either a very long sickness, or old age
itself, shall ever be able to spoil them.

‘I will, besides, (if it be desired) _take away_ from their fatness
who have over much, and _add_ flesh to those that want it, without the
least detriment to their constitutions.’

By his plausible manners and good address, he soon gathered round him
a large _clientèle_ of servants, etc., for he told fortunes as well
as cured diseases. These told their mistresses, and they too came to
consult the wise man. Even the Court ladies came _incognito_ to see
him, and _la belle_ Jennings, sister to the famous Sarah, first Duchess
of Marlborough, went, with the beautiful Miss Price, to have their
fortunes told, disguised as orange-wenches, and in all probability
their visit would never have been heard of, had they not met with
a disagreeable adventure with a somewhat dissolute gentleman named
Brounker, who was gentleman of the chamber to the Duke of York, and
brother to Viscount Brounker, President of the Royal Society.

John Cotgrave[87] thus describes the quack of his time:

    ‘My name is Pulse-feel, a poor Doctor of Physick,
    That does wear three pile Velvet in his Hat,
    Has paid a quarter’s Rent of his house before-hand,
    And (simple as he stands here) was made Doctor beyond sea.
    I vow, as I am Right worshipful, the taking
    Of my Degree cost me twelve French Crowns, and
    Thirty-five pounds of Butter in upper _Germany_.
    I can make your beauty and preserve it,
    Rectifie your body and maintaine it,
    Clarifie your blood, surfle[88] your cheeks, perfume
    Your skin, tinct your hair, enliven your eye,
    Heighten your Appetite; and, as for Jellies,
    Dentifrizes, Dyets, Minerals, Fucusses,[89]
    Pomatums, Fumes, Italia Masks to sleep in,
    Either to moisten or dry the superficies, _Paugh_, _Galen_
    Was a Goose, and _Paracelsus_ a patch
    To Doctor _Pulse-feel_.’

Then there was that arch quack and empiric, Sir Kenelm Digby, with his
‘sympathetic powder,’ etc., and Dr. Saffold, originally a weaver, who
distributed his handbills broadcast, advertising his ability to cure
every disease under the sun.

Also in this century is a poem called ‘The Dispensary,’[90] by Sir
Samuel Garth, who lived in Queen Anne’s time, which gives the following
account of a quack and his surroundings:

    ‘So truly _Horoscope_ its Virtues knows,
    To this bright Idol[91] ’tis, alone, he bows;
    And fancies that a Thousand Pound supplies
    The want of twenty Thousand Qualities.
    Long has he been of that amphibious Fry,
    Bold to prescribe, and busie to apply.
    His Shop the gazing Vulgar’s Eyes employs
    With foreign Trinkets, and domestick Toys.
    Here _Mummies_ lay, most reverently stale,
    And there, the _Tortois_ hung her Coat o’ Mail;
    Not far from some huge _Shark’s_ devouring Head,
    The flying Fish their finny Pinions spread.
    Aloft in rows large Poppy Heads were strung,
    And near, a scaly Alligator hung.
    In this place, Drugs in Musty heaps decay’d,
    In that, dry’d Bladders, and drawn Teeth were laid.
    An inner Room receives the numerous Shoals
    Of such as pay to be reputed Fools.
    Globes stand by Globes, Volumns on Volumns lie,
    And Planitary Schemes amuse the eye
    The Sage, in Velvet Chair, here lolls at ease,
    To promise future Health for present Fees.
    Then, as from _Tripod_, solemn shams reveals,
    And what the Stars know nothing of, reveals.’

Medicine in the last century was very crude. Bleeding and purging were
matters of course; but some of the remedies in the pharmacopœia were
very curious. Happy the patient who knew not the composition of his
dose. Take the following:[92]

‘Or sometimes a quarter of a pint of the following decoction may be
drank alone four times a day:

‘Take a fresh viper, freed from the head, skin, and intestines, cut in
pieces; candied eryngo root, sliced, two ounces. Boil them gently in
three pints of water, to a pint and three-quarters, and to the strained
liquor add simple and spiritous cinnamon waters, of each two ounces.
Mix them together, to be taken as above directed.

‘The following viper broth (taken from the London Dispensatory) is a
very nutritious and proper restorative food in this case, and seems to
be one of the best preparations of the viper: for all the benefit that
can be expected from that animal is by this means obtained:

‘Take a middle-sized viper, freed from head, skin, and intestines; and
two pints of water. Boil them to a pint and a half; then remove the
vessel from the fire; and when the liquor is grown cold, let the fat,
which congeals upon the surface, if the viper was fresh, be taken off.
Into this broth, whilst warm, put a pullet of a moderate size, drawn
and freed from the skin, and all the fat, but with the flesh intire.
Set the vessel on the fire again, that the liquor may boil; then
remove it from the fire, take out the chicken, and immediately chop
its flesh into little pieces: put these into the liquor again, set it
over the fire, and as soon as it boils up, pour out the broth, first
carefully taking off the scum.

‘Of this broth let the patient take half a pint every morning, at two
of the clock in the afternoon, and at supper-time.’

In the same book, also (p. 97), we find the following remedy for cancer:

‘Dr. Heister, professor of physic and surgery in the university of
_Helmstadt_ in _Germany_, with many others, greatly extols the virtue
of millepedes, or wood-lice, in this case; and, perhaps, the best way
of administering them is as follows:

‘Take of live wood-lice, one ounce; fine sugar, two drams; a little
powder of nutmeg; and half a pint of alexeterial water. Let the
wood-lice and sugar, with the nutmeg, be ground together in a marble
mortar, then gradually add the water, which being well mixed, strain it
with hard pressing. Two ounces of this expression are to be taken twice
a day, shaking the vessel, so that no part of it may be lost.’

And it also seems that much virtue was attached to the great number
of component parts in a medicine, as may be seen in the recipe for
_Arquebusade Water_[93] (from the same book, p. 101).

‘Take of comfrey leaves and root, sage, mugwort, bugloss, each four
handfulls; betony, sanicle, ox-eye daisy, common daisy, greater
figwort, plantane, agrimony, vervain, wormwood, fennel, each two
handfulls; St. John’s wort, long birthwort, orpine, veronica, lesser
centaury, milfoil, tobacco, mouse-ear, mint, hyssop, each one handfull;
wine twenty-four pounds. Having cut and bruised the herbs, pour on them
the wine, and let them stand together, in digestion, in horse dung, or
any other equivalent heat, for three days: afterwards distill in an
alembic with a moderate fire.

‘This celebrated water has for some time been held in great esteem, in
contusions, for resolving coagulated blood, discussing the tumors that
arise on fractures and dislocations, for preventing the progress of
gangrenes, and cleansing and healing ulcers and wounds, particularly
gunshot wounds....’

Amongst the empyrical medicines, the following is much cried up by many
people, as an infallible remedy:

‘Take two ounces of the worts that grow dangling to the hinder heels
of a stone horse,[94] wash them in common water, then infuse them in
white wine all night, and afterwards let them be dried, and reduced to
powder. The dose is half a dram twice a day, in any proper vehicle. A
dram of Venice soap given twice a day, either in pills, or dissolved in
some proper liquor, is likewise said to cure a Cancer.’

In the early part of the eighteenth century, the regular physicians
were very ignorant. Ward[95] thus describes them, and, although his
language was coarse, he was a keen observer.

‘They rail mightily in their Writings against the ignorance of _Quacks_
and _Mountebanks_, yet, for the sake of _Lucre_, they Licence all the
Cozening Pretenders about Town, or they could not Practise; which
shows it is by their Toleration that the People are Cheated out of
their Lives and Money; and yet they think themselves so Honest, as to
be no ways answerable for this Publick Injury; as if they could not
kill People fast enough themselves, but must depute all the Knaves
in the Town to be Death’s Journeymen. Thus do they License what they
ought carefully to Suppress; and Practise themselves what they Blame
and Condemn in others; And that the Town may not be deceived by
_Apothecaries_, they have made themselves _Medicine-Mongers_,[96] under
a pretence of serving the Publick with more faithful preparations; in
order to perswade the World to a belief of which, they have publish’d
Bills, where, in the true _Quack’s_ Dialect, they tell you the Poor
shall be supply’d for nothing; but whoever is so Needy as to make a
Challenge of their promise empty-handed, will find, according to the
_Mountebank’s_ saying, _No Money, No Cure_. The disposal of their
Medicines they leave to a Boy’s management, who scarce knows _Mercurius
Dulcis_ from _White Sugar_, or _Mint Water_ from _Aqua Fortis_: So that
People are likely to be well serv’d, or Prescriptions truly observed by
such an Agent.’

If this was a faithful portrait of a physician in the commencement
of the century, what must a charlatan have been? They sowed their
hand-bills broadcast. Gay, in his ‘Trivia,’ book ii., says,

    ‘If the pale Walker pants with weak’ning Ills,
    His sickly Hand is stor’d with Friendly Bills:
    From hence he learns the seventh born[97] Doctor’s Fame,
    From hence he learns the cheapest Tailor’s name.’

So universal was this practice of advertising that, to quote Ward[98]
once more, when talking of the Royal Exchange, he says,

‘The Wainscote was adorn’d with Quacks’ Bills, instead of Pictures;
never an Emperick in the Town, but had his Name in a Lacquered Frame,
containing a fair Invitation for a Fool and his Money to be soon

The newspapers teemed with quack advertisements. These, of course, we
have; but we also have preserved to us a quantity of the ephemeral
hand-bills, which, presumably, were kept on account of the intrinsic
merits they possessed. They are a curious study. There was the ‘Oxford
Doctor at the Fleet Prison, near Fleet Bridge, London,’ who would sell
ten pills in a box for sixpence, warranted a cure for the ‘_Scurvy_,
_Dropsie_, and _Colt-evil_,’ would provide a remedy for ‘_Headach_,
_Sore Eyes_, _Toothach_, _Stomachach_, _Bleeding_, _Scorbutick Gums_,
_Black_, _Yellow_, _foul Teeth_, _Cramp_, _Worms_, _Itch_, _Kibes_,
_and Chilblains_; the Price of each proper Specifick, Twopence. Teeth
or stumps of Teeth, Drawn with Ease and Safety, Let Blood neatly,
Issues or Setons Curiously made; _For Two Pence each, and welcome_.
By the Doctor that puts forth this paper, you may be Taught Writing,
Arithmetick, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, at reasonable Rates by the
great, _Or Two Pence each of them by the Week_.’ Presumably, as he does
not advertise it, he could not teach manners at the same traditional

There was another who sold the _Elixir Stomachum_ which was sold at the
various coffee-houses about town, and he complains thus: ‘☞ Garrowaye,
the Apple-man at the Exchange, who had it of me, to sell, for five or
six years, I have lately found out, is Counterfeiting it, and have
removed mine from him; and what he now sells is a Counterfeit sort, and
not the Right, as was formerly Sold there.’

There was a man, living in Blackfriars, who was so modest that he
veiled his identity under the initials R.C., who, from two in the
afternoon till night, ‘will give to all People a Secret how they may
utterly destroy _Buggs_ without injury to their Goods, at reasonable
rates; do as you are Taught, and if any be doubtful of the truth of it,
they may have full satisfaction of them that have Experienced it.’

Here is a gentleman who gives a minute address. ‘_In Petty France,
Westminster, at a house with a black dore_, and a Red Knocker, between
the Sign of the _Rose and Crown_ and _Jacob’s Well_, is a _German_ who
hath a Powder which, with the blessing of God upon it, certainly cures
the Stone, &c.... If any person of known Integrity will affirm that
upon following their directions the cure is not perfected, they shall
have their Money returned. Therefore be not unwilling to come for help,
but suspend your Judgment till you have try’d, and then speak as you

There is another, which may belong to the previous century--but it is
so hard to tell, either by means of type or wood blocks--put forth
by ‘_Salvator Winter_, an _Italian_ of the City of _Naples_, Aged 98
years, Yet, by the Blessing of God, finds himself in health, and as
strong as anyone of Fifty, as to the Sensitive part; Which first he
attributes to God, and then to his _Elixir Vitæ_, which he always
carries in his pocket adayes, and at Night under his pillow; And when
he finds himself distemper’d, he taketh a Spoonful or two, according
as need requireth.‘ It is needless to say that the _Elixir_ was
warranted to cure every evil under the sun, including such diverse
maladies as catarrhs, sore eyes, hardness of hearing, toothache, sore
throat, consumption, obstructions in the stomach, and worms. The net
was arranged to catch every kind of fish. In fact, his business was so
profitable that he had a successor, ‘_Salvator Winter, Junior_,’ who
says thus: ‘My father, aged 98 years, yet enjoys his perfect health,
which, next to the blessing of God, he attributes to the _Elixir Vitæ_
having alway a bottle of it in his pocket, drinking a spoonful thereof
four or five times a day; snuffing it very strongly up his Nostrils,
and bathing his Temples; thus by prevention, he fortifies his vital

Nor did the sterner sex monopolise the profession of quackdom, for
‘At the _Blew-Ball_ in _Grays-Inn Lane_, near _Holborn Barrs_, next
Door to a _Tallow-Chandler_, where you may see my Name upon a Board
over the Door, _liveth_ Elizabeth Maris, _the True German Gentlewoman_
lately arrived.’ It seems that we were much indebted to Germany for
our quacks, for ‘At the _Boot_ and _Spatter dash_,[99] next Door but
One to the _Vine Tavern_, in _Long-Acre_, near _Drury Lane_, Liveth
a German D^r. and Surgeon, Who by the blessing of GOD on his great
Pains, Travels and Experience, hath had wonderful Success in the Cure
of the Diseases following,’ &c. There was also ‘_Cornelius à Tilbourg_,
Sworn Chirurgeon in _Ordinary_ to K. _Charles_ the II., to our late
Sovereign K. _William_, as also to Her present Majesty Queen _Ann_.’

A certain _John Choke_, whose motto was ‘NOTHING WITHOUT GOD,’ and
was ‘an approved Physician; and farther, Priviledged by his Majesty,’
advertised ‘an Arcane which I had in _Germany_, from the Famous and
most Learned _Baptista Van Helmont_, of worthy Memory (whose Daughter I
Wedded), and whose Prœscripts most Physicians follow.’

Curative and magical powers seem to have extended from seventh sons
of seventh sons to women--for I find an advertisement, ‘At the Sign
of the _Blew-Ball_, at the upper end of _Labour in vain-Street_, next
_Shadwell-New-Market_, Liveth a Seventh Daughter, who learn’d her
Skill by one of the ablest Physicians in _England_ (her uncle was
one of K. Charles’s and K. James’s twelve Doctors), who resolves all
manner of Questions, and interprets Dreams to admiration, and hath
never fail’d (with God’s Blessing) what she took in hand.’ Also there
was a book published late in the seventeenth century, called ‘The
WOMAN’S PROPHECY, or the Rare and Wonderful DOCTRESS, foretelling a
Thousand strange monstrous things that shall come to pass before New
Year’s day next, or afterwards--. She likewise undertakes to cure
the most desperate Diseases of the Female Sex, as the _Glim’ring of
the Gizzard_, the _Quavering of the Kidneys_, the _Wambling Trot_,
&c.’ A man who lived at the ‘Three Compasses’ in Maiden Lane, also
issued a hand bill that he would infallibly cure ‘several strange
diseases, which (though as yet not known to the world) he will plainly
demonstrate to any Ingenious Artist to be the greatest Causes of the
most common Distempers incident to the Body of Man. The Names of which
take as follow: The _Strong Fives_, the _Marthambles_, the _Moon-Pall_,
the _Hockogrocle_.’

Then there was a medicine which was administered to children even
in my young days, ‘DAFFY’S _famous_ ELIXIR SALUTIS, prepared by
_Katharine Daffy_. The finest now exposed to Sale, prepar’d from the
best Druggs, according to Art, and the Original Receipt, which my
Father, Mr. _Thomas Daffy_, late Rector of _Redmile_, in the Valley
of _Belvoir_, having experienc’d the Virtues of it, imparted to his
Kinsman, Mr. _Anthony Daffy_, who publish’d the same to the Benefit of
the Community, and his own great Advantage. This very Original Receipt
is now in my possession, left to me by my father aforesaid, under his
own Hand. My own Brother, Mr. _Daniel Daffy_, formerly Apothecary in
_Nottingham_, made this ELIXIR from the same Receipt, and Sold it there
during his Life. Those, who know me, will believe what I Declare;
and those who do not, may be convinc’d that I am no Countefeit, by
the Colour, Tast, Smell, and just Operation of my ELIXIR.’ This was,
however, disputed by one John Harrison--and the rivals of nearly two
centuries ago, remind us forcibly of the claimants to the original
recipe of Bond’s Marking Ink.

A man sold a useful medicine. ‘A most excellent Eye Water, which cures
in a very short time all Distempers relating to the Eyes, from whatever
Cause soever they proceed, even tho’ they have been of seven, eight,
nine, or ten Years’ continuance.... This excellent Water effectually
takes away all Rabies or Pimples in the face, or any Part of the Body;
it also dissolves any small, or new-come Wens or Bunches under the
Skin, so easily that it can hardly be perceived.’

One quack blossomed forth in verse, and thus describes himself: ‘_In_
Cripplegate Parish, _in_ Whitecross Street, _almost at the farther End,
near_ Old Street _(turning in by the sign of the_ Black Croe, _in_ Goat
Alley, _straightforward down three steps, at the sign of the_ Blew
Ball), _liveth one of above Forty Years’ Experience, who with God’s
Blessing performeth these cures following_:

    ‘To all that please to come, he will and can
    Cure most Diseases incident to Man.
    The Leprosie, the Cholic, and the Spleen,
    And most Diseases common to be seen.
    Although not cured by Quack Doctors’ proud,
    And yet their Name doth ring and range aloud,
    With Riches, and for Cures which others do,
    Which they could not perform, and this is true.
    This Doctor he performeth without doubt, }
    The Ileak Passion, Scurvy, and the gout, }
    Even to those the Hospitals turn out.’   }

Such ground as one did not cover, another did. Take, for instance, the
following: ‘In _Surry-Street_, in the _Strand_, at the Corner House
with a White-Balcony and Blue-Flower pots, liveth a Gentlewoman, who

‘Hath a most excellent Wash to beautifie the Face, which cures all
Redness, Flushings, or Pimples. Takes off any Yellowness, Morpheu,
Sunburn, or Spots on the Skin, and takes away Wrinckles and Driness,
caused too often by Mercurial Poysonous Washes, rendring the worst of
Faces fair and tender, and preserves ’em so. You may have from half a
Crown to five Pound a Bottle. You may also have Night Masks, Forehead
Pieces, incomparable whitepots, and Red Pomatum for the lips, which
keeps them all the Year plump and smooth, and of a delicate natural
colour. She has an admirable Paste to smooth and whiten the Hands, with
a very good Tooth powder, which cleanses and whitens the Teeth. And
a Water to wash the Mouth, which prevents the Scurvy in the Gums and
cures where ’tis already come.

‘You may have a Plaster and Water which takes off Hair from any part
of the Body, so that it shall never come again. She has also a most
excellent Secret to prevent the Hair from falling, causing it to grow
where it is wanting in any part of the Head. She also shapes the
Eye-brows, making them perfectly beautiful, without any pain, and
raises low Foreheads as high as you please. And colours Grey or Red
Hair to a lovely Brown, which never decays, changes, or smoots the
Linnen. She has excellent Cosmeticks to anoint the Face after the
_Small Pox_, which wears out any Scars, Marks, or Redness; and has
great skill in all manner of sore Eyes.

‘She has a most excellent Dyet Drink which cures the worst of
Consumptions, or any Impurity of the Blood: And an Antiscorbutick
spirit, which, being taken one spoonful in the Morning, and another
at Night, with moderate Exercise, cures the _Scurvy_, tho’ never so
far gone, and all broke out in Blotches: with many other Secrets in
Physick, which you may be satisfied in when you speak with her.... She
has an approved Remedy for Barrenness in Women.’

Very late in the preceding century (he died May 12, 1691), there was a
most famous quack, Dr. Thomas Saffold, one of whose handbills I give as
a curiosity:

    ‘Dear Friends, let your Disease be what God will,
    Pray to Him for a Cure--try _Saffold’s_ Skill,
    Who may be such a healing Instrument
    As will Cure you to your own Heart’s Content.
    His Medicines are Cheap, and truly Good,
    Being full as safe as your daily Food.
    Saffold he can do what may be done, by
    Either Physick or true Astrology:
    His Best Pills, Rare Elixirs, and Powder,
    Do each Day Praise him Lowder and Lowder.
    Dear Country-men, I pray be you so Wise,        }
    When Men Back-bite him, believe not their Lyes, }
    But go see him and believe your own Eyes;       }
    Then he will say you are Honest and Kind,
    Try before you Judge, and Speak as you Find.

‘By _Thomas Saffold_, an Approved and Licensed Physician and Student
in Astrology, who (through God’s Mercy), to do good, still liveth at
the _Black Ball_ and Old _Lilly’s Head_, next Door to the Feather-Shops
that are within _Black-fryers_ Gate-way, which is over against
_Ludgate_ Church, just by _Ludgate_ in _London_. Of him the Poor,
Sore, Sick, and Lame may have Advice for nothing, and proper Medicines
for every particular Distemper, at reasonable Rates ready prepared,
with plain Directions how to use them, to cure either Men, Women, or
Children of any Disease or Diseases afflicting any Body, whether inward
or outward, of what Name or Nature soever (if Curable); Also of this
you may be sure, he hath Medicines to prevent as well as Cure.

‘Lastly, He doth with great certainty and privacy: Resolve all manner
of Lawful Questions, according to the Rules of Christian Astrology, and
more than Twenty One Years’ Experience.’

Talk of modern quacks--they are but second-rate to Saffold! His
_Pillulæ Londinenses_, or London pills, were advertised that ‘not only
the meaner sort of all Ages and each Sex, but people of Eminence, both
for their Rank in the World and their parts, have found admirable
success in taking these Pills.’

This _panacea_ was warranted to cure ‘Gout, Dropsy, Coma, Lethargy,
Caries, Apoplexy, Palsy, Convulsions, Falling Sickness, Vertigo,
Madness, Catarrhs, Headache, Scald, and Sore Heads, sore Eyes,
Deafness, Toothache, sore Mouth, sore and swollen Throat, foul Stomach,
bad Digestion, Vomiting, Pain at the Stomach, sour Belching, Colic,
Twisting of the Guts, Looseness, Worms, all Obstructions of the
Pancreas, of the Mesaraic Veins, of the passages of the Chyle, and of
the Liver and Spleen, the Jaundice, Cachexy, Hypochondriac Melancholy,
Agues, Itch, Boils, Rheumatism, Pains and Aches, Surfeits by Eating and
Hard Drinking, or by Heats and Colds (as some call them).’

Then there comes a charming bit of candour almost sufficient to disarm
the unwary: ‘They are also good in taking the Waters. I would not
advise them by any means in the Bloody Flux, nor in continual Fevers,
but they are good to purge after either of those Diseases is over, or
to carry off the Humor aforehand. They must also be foreborn by Women
with Child. Otherwise they are good for any Constitution, and in any
Clime. They are Durable many years, and good at Sea as well as on Land.’

Thomas Saffold knew well the value of advertising, and scattered his
very varied handbills broadcast. Presumably, like modern quacks, he
made money. Of course he died, and his epitaph is as follows (he
originally was a weaver):

    ‘Here lies the Corpse of Thomas Saffold,
    By Death, in spite of Physick, baffled;
    Who, leaving off his working loom,
    Did learned doctor soon become.
    To poetry he made pretence,
    Too plain to any man’s own sense;
    But he when living thought it sin
    To hide his talent in napkin;
    Now Death does Doctor (poet) crowd
    Within the limits of a shroud.’

There was a harmless remedy advertised, even though it was a fraud--and
this was the loan, or sale, of necklaces to be worn by children in


‘One of them being of no greater weight than a small _Nutmeg_,
absolutely easing Children in Breeding _Teeth_ without _Pain_; thereby
preventing _Feavers_, _Ruptures_, _Convulsions_, _Rickets_, and such
attendant Distempers, to the Admiration of thousands of the City of
_London_, and Counties adjoining, who have experienced the same, to
their great comfort and satisfaction of the Parents of the Children
who have used them. Besides the Decrease in the _Bills of Mortality_,
apparent (within this Year and a half) of above one half of what
formerly Dyed; and are now Exposed to sale for the Publick good, at
_five shillings_ each _Necklace_, &c.’

Then there was a far higher-priced necklace, but, as it also operated
on adults, it was perhaps stronger and more efficacious. ‘A necklace
that cures all sorts of fits in children, occasioned by Teeth or
any other Cause; as also Fits in Men and Women. To be had at Mr.
Larance’s in Somerset Court, near Northumberland House in the Strand;
price ten shillings for eight days, though the cure will be performed
immediately.’ And there was the famous ‘_Anodyne Necklace_.’

In the preceding century there were some famous quacks, notably Sir
Kenelm Digby, who, with his sympathetic powder, worked wonders,
especially one instance, an account of which he read to a learned
society at Montpellier. He recounted how a certain learned gentleman,
named Howell, found two of his friends engaged in a duel with swords,
how he rushed to part them, and catching hold of one of their blades,
his hand was severely cut, the other antagonist cutting him severely
on the back of his hand. Seeing the mischief they had done, they bound
up his hand with his garter, and took him home. Mr. Howell was of such
note that the King sent his own physician to him, but without avail;
and there was expectation that the hand would mortify and have to
be amputated. Here Sir Kenelm, who knew him, stepped in, and, being
applied to by his friend to try his remedies, consented. Let him tell
his own tale.

‘I asked him then for anything that had blood upon it; so he presently
sent for his garter, wherewith his hand was first bound, and as I
called for a basin of water, as if I would wash my hands, I took a
handful of powder of vitriol, which I had in my study, and presently
dissolved it. As soon as the bloody garter was brought me, I put it in
the basin, observing, in the interim, what Mr. Howell did, who stood
talking with a gentleman in a corner of my chamber, not regarding at
all what I was doing. He started suddenly, as if he had found some
strange alteration in himself. I asked him what he ailed.

‘“I know not what ails me; but I feel no more pain. Methinks that a
pleasing kind of freshness, as it were a wet cold napkin, did spread
over my hand, which hath taken away the inflammation that tormented me

‘I replied, “Since, then, you feel already so much good of my
medicament, I advise you to cast away all your plasters; only keep the
wound clean, and in a moderate temper, betwixt heat and cold.”

‘This was presently reported to the Duke of Buckingham, and, a
little after, to the King, who were both very curious to know the
circumstances of the business; which was, that after dinner, I took
the garter out of the water, and put it to dry before a great fire. It
was scarce dry before Mr. Howell’s servant came running, and saying
that his master felt as much burning as ever he had done, if not more;
for the heat was such as if his hand were betwixt coals of fire. I
answered that although that had happened at present, yet he should
find ease in a short time; for I knew the reason of this new accident,
and would provide accordingly; for his master should be free from that
inflammation, it might be, before he could possibly return to him; but,
in case he found no ease, I wished him to come presently back again; if
not, he might forbear coming. Thereupon he went; and, at the instant,
I did put the garter again into the water; thereupon he found his
master without any pain at all. To be brief, there was no sense of pain
afterwards; but within five or six days the wounds were cicatrized, and
entirely healed.’

Faith worked wonders, and a credulous imagination formed an excellent
foundation for healing. Take another instance in the same century--the
case of Valentine Greatraks (who cured by the imposition of hands),
who was nearly contemporary with Sir Kenelm. It would serve no good
purpose to go minutely into his history: suffice it to say that he was
an Irishman of good family, and, as a young man, served under Cromwell.
After the disbandment of the army he was made Clerk of the Peace for
the County of Cork, Registrar for Transplantation (ejection of Papists
who would not go to church) and Justice of the Peace, so that we see he
occupied a respectable position in society.

After Greatraks settled down in his civil capacity, he seems to have
been a blameless member of society; but his religious convictions
were extremely rabid, and strong on the Protestant side. Writing in
1668, he says: ‘About four years since I had an Impulse, or a strange
perswasion, in my own mind (of which I am not able to give any rational
account to another) which did very frequently suggest to me that there
was bestowed on me the gift of curing the King’s Evil: which, for the
extraordinariness of it, I thought fit to conceal for some time, but at
length I communicated this to my Wife, and told her, That I did verily
believe that God had given me the blessing of curing the King’s Evil;
for, whether I were in private or publick, sleeping or waking, still
I had the same Impulse; but her reply was to me, That she conceived
this was a strange imagination: but, to prove the contrary, a few daies
after there was one _William Maher_ of _Salterbridge_, in the Parish of
_Lissmore_, that brought his Son _William Maher_ to my house, desiring
my Wife to cure him, who was a person ready to afford her Charity to
her Neighbours, according to her small skill in Chirurgery; on which my
Wife told me there was one that had the King’s Evil very grievously in
the Eyes, Cheek, and Throat; whereupon I told her that she should now
see whether this were a bare fancy, or imagination, as she thought it,
or the Dictates of God’s Spirit on my heart; and thereupon I laid my
hands on the places affected, and prayed to God for Jesus’ sake to heal
him, and then I bid the Parent two or three days afterwards to bring
the Child to me again, which accordingly he did, and then I saw the
Eye was almost quite whole, and the Node, which was almost as big as a
Pullet’s Egg, was suppurated, and the throat strangely amended, and, to
be brief (to God’s glory I speak it), within a month discharged itself
quite, and was perfectly healed, and so continues, God be praised.’

This may be taken as a sample of his cures, albeit his first; and,
although he excited the enmity of the licensed medical profession, he
seems to have cured the Countess of Conway of an inveterate head-ache,
which greatly enhanced his reputation. He died no one knows when, but
some time early in the century.

And in our time, too, have been the quacks, the Zouave Jacob and Dr.
Newton, who pretended to have the miraculous gift of healing by the
imposition of hands, so that we can scarcely wonder that, in an age
when the dissemination of accurate and scientific knowledge as the
present is (imperfect though it be), a man like Valentine Greatraks
was believed in as of almost divine authority at the period at which
he lived. But it is a very curious thing that some men either imagine
that they have, or feign to have a miraculous gift of healing. Witness
in our own day the ‘Peculiar People,’ who base their peculiar gift of
healing on a text from the Epistle of St. James, chap. 5, v. 14--‘Is
any sick among you? let him call upon the elders of the Church; and let
them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.’

So also the _Catholic and Apostolic Church_ (Irvingites) teach this
practice as a dogma, vide their catechism,[100] ‘What are the benefits
to be derived from this rite?’ ‘St. James teaches us again that the
prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up;
and, if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.’ After
this, who can say that the age of faith is passed away?

With them, also, is a great function for the benediction of oil for
anointing the sick; the rubric for which is as follows:[101] ‘In the
Celebration of the Holy Eucharist on a Week-day, immediately before the
elements are brought up and placed on the Altar, the Elder or Elders
present shall bring the vessel containing the oil to the Angel, who
shall present it uncovered upon the Altar; and then kneeling down at
the Altar, and the Elders kneeling down at the access to the Sanctuary,
the Angel shall say this PRAYER OF BENEDICTION.’

Here follows a not very long prayer, in which the Almighty is intreated
to impart to the oil the virtue which is dogmatically asserted that it
possesses, in the catechism. The rubric then continues, ‘The oil which
has been blessed shall remain on the Altar until after the Service,
and shall then be delivered by the Angel to the senior Elder, that it
may be reverently carried to the Sacristy, and there deposited in the
proper place by the Angel.’

In the ‘Order for anointing the Sick’ (p. 602), the rubric says: ‘This
rite shall be administered only to such as have, in time past, received
the Holy Communion, or to whom it is intended presently to administer
the Communion; also, only in such cases of sickness as are of a
serious or dangerous character. In order to the receiving of the rite,
opportunity should, if possible, be previously given to the sick person
to make confession of his sins.

‘A table should be provided in the sick person’s room, with a clean
cloth thereon, upon which may be placed the vessel of holy oil....
The Elder in charge shall be accompanied, when possible, by the other
Elders, the Pastor, and the Deacon.’

A somewhat lengthy service follows, and in the middle is this rubric:
‘Then the Elders present shall anoint the sick person with the oil on
the head or forehead, and, if the sick person request it, also on any
part affected.’ And it winds up with the subjoined direction, ‘All
the holy oil that shall remain after the anointing shall be forthwith
consumed by Fire.’

I had intended to confine my subject entirely to English quacks, but
the name of Mesmer is so allied to quackery in England that I must
needs refer to him. He was born at Merseburg in Germany on May 23,
1733, and died at the same place March 5, 1815. He studied medicine,
and took a doctor’s degree in 1766. He started his extraordinary theory
in 1772 by publishing a tract entitled, ‘_De Planetarium_ _Influxu_,’
in which he upheld that tides exist in the air as in the sea, and were
similarly produced. He maintained that the sun and the moon acted
upon an etherial fluid which penetrated everything, and this force he
termed _Animal Magnetism_. But there is every reason to believe that
he was indebted for his discovery to a Jesuit father named Hel, who
was professor of astronomy at Vienna. Hel used peculiarly made steel
plates, which he applied to different portions of his patient’s body.
Hel and Mesmer subsequently quarrelling about the prior discovery of
each, the latter discontinued the use of the plates, and substituted
his fingers. Then he found it was unnecessary to touch his patient, but
that the same magnetic influence could be induced by waving his hands,
and making what are called _mesmeric passes_ at a distance.

But the Viennese are a practical race, and his failures to cure,
notably in one case, that of Mademoiselle Paradis (a singer), who was
blind, caused charges of deceit to be brought against him, and he was
told to leave Vienna at a day’s notice. He obeyed, and went to Paris,
where he set up a superb establishment, fitted up most luxuriously. The
novelty-loving Parisians soon visited him, and here, in a dimly lit
room, with pseudo-scientific apparatus to excite the imagination, and
a great deal of corporal manipulation, tending to the same purpose, to
the accompaniment of soft music or singing, hysterical women went into
convulsive fits, and laughed, sobbed, and shrieked, according to their
different temperaments.

Having reached this stage, Mesmer made his appearance, clad in a gold
embroidered robe of violet silk, holding in his hand a magnetic rod of
wondrous power. With slow and solemn steps he approached his patients,
and the exceeding gravity of his deportment, added to their ignorance
of what might be coming next, generally calmed and subdued those who
were not insensible. Those who had lost their senses he awoke by
stroking them, and tracing figures upon their bodies with his magnetic
wand, and, on their recovery, they used to testify to the great good
his treatment had done them.

A commission of scientific and medical men sat to make inquiry into
‘Animal Magnetism,’ and they reported adversely. He then endeavoured to
get a pecuniary recognition of his services from the French Government,
but this being declined, he retired to Spa, where, the bubble having
been pricked, he lived for some time in comparative obscurity.

Mesmerism was introduced into England in the year 1788, by a Dr. De
Mainauduc, who, on his arrival at Bristol, delivered lectures on
‘Animal Magnetism’; and, as his somewhat cautious biographer, Dr.
George Winter, observes, he ‘was reported to have cured diseased
persons, _even_ without the aid of medicines, and of his having
the power of treating and curing diseased persons at a distance.’
He found many dupes, for the said authority remarks, ‘On looking
over the lists of Students that had been, or then were under the
Doctor’s tuition, it appeared that there was 1 Duke--1 Duchess--1
Marchioness--2 Countesses--1 Earl--1 Lord--3 Ladies--1 Bishop--5 Right
Honourable Gentlemen and Ladies--2 Baronets--7 Members of Parliament--1
Clergyman--2 Physicians--7 Surgeons--exclusive of 92 Gentlemen and
Ladies of respectability, in the whole 127.

‘Naturally fond of study, and my thirst after knowledge being
insatiable, I also was allured to do myself the honour of adding my
name to the list; and to investigate this very extraordinary Science:
and, according to the general terms, I paid 25 Guineas to the Doctor,
and 5 Guineas for the use of the Room; I also signed a bond for
£10,000, and took an affidavit that I would not discover the secrets of
the Science _during the Doctor’s natural life_.’

So we see that this wonderful power had a market value of no mean
consideration, and, indeed, an anonymous authority, who wrote on
‘Animal Magnetism,’ states that Dr. Mainauduc realised £100,000. So
lucrative was its practice, that many pretenders sprung up, notable
one Holloway who gave lectures at the rate of five guineas the course,
besides Miss Prescott, Mrs. Pratt, Monsieur de Loutherbourg the
painter, Mr. Parker, and Dr. Yeldal; but the chief of these quacks was
Dr. Loutherbourg, who was assisted in his operations by his wife. A
book about his wonderful cures was written by one of his believers,
Mary Pratt, ‘A lover of the Lamb of God,’ in which he is described as
‘A Gentleman of superior abilities, well known in the scientific and
polite Assemblies for his brilliancy of talents as a Philosopher, and
Painter: this Gentleman is no other than Mr. De Loutherbourg, who with
his Lady, Mrs. De Loutherbourg, have been made by the Almighty power
of the Lord Jehovah, proper Recipients to receive divine Manuductions,
which heavenly and divine Influx coming from the Radix _God_, his
divine Majesty has most graciously condescended to bestow on them (_his
blessing_) to diffuse healing to _all_ who have faith in the Lord as
mediator, be they Deaf, Dumb, Lame, Halt, or Blind.’

That thousands flocked to these charlatans is undoubted, for Dr.
George Winter (above quoted) says, ‘It was credibly reported that
3,000 persons have attended at one time, to get admission at Mr.
Loutherbourg’s, at Hammersmith; and that some persons sold their
tickets for from One, to Three Guineas each.’ And this is corroborated
by crazy Mary Pratt. ‘Report says three Thousand People have waited
for Tickets at a time. For my own part, the Croud was so immense that
I could with difficulty gain the Door on Healing Days, and I suppose,
upon conviction, Report spoke Truth.’ De Loutherbourg charged nothing
for his cures, and Mary Pratt is extremely scandalized at those who,
having received a ticket gratis, sold them from two to five guineas.

Many cases are given in her book of the cures effected by this
benevolent couple; how the blind were made to see, the deaf to hear,
the lame to walk, or the dumb to speak--nay, could even cast out
devils--as the following testimonial will show.

‘The second case I shall mention is that of a woman possessed with Evil
Spirits, her name Pennier, lives at No. 33 Ogle Street, Mary-le-bone,
near Portland-Chapel; her husband lives with the French Ambassador:
her case was too terrific to describe; her eyes and mouth distorted,
she was like a Lunatic in every sense of the word; she used to say
that it was not her voice that spoke, but the devil in her. In short,
her case was most truly distressing, not only to her family, but the
neighbourhood; she used to invite people in with apparent civility,
then bite them, and scratch like a cat; nay, she would beg a pin of
women, and then scratch them with it, &c., &c., &c.’

‘Mrs. De Loutherbourg, a lady of most exquisite sensibility and
tenderness, administered to this Mrs. Pennier; she daily amended, and
is now in her right mind, praising God, who has through his servant
performed such an amazing cure, to the astonishment of hundreds who saw
her and heard her.’

Mrs. De Loutherbourg’s system of cure was extremely simple, as this
example will show: ‘Mrs. Hook, Stable Yard, St. James’s, has two
daughters, born Deaf and Dumb. She waited on the Lady above mentioned,
who looked on them with an eye of benignity, and healed them. (I heard
both of them speak.)’

Her husband’s plan was rather more clumsy. He imposed hands. ‘A
News-Carrier at Chelsea cured of an Abscess in his Side. Mr. De
Loutherbourg held his hand on the Abscess half a minute, and it broke

Perhaps these cures were not permanent, for ‘Mr. De Loutherbourg told
me he had cured by the blessing of God, two Thousand since Christmas.
But, as our Lord said, of the ten healed, one only returned to thank
him; so many hundreds have acted, that have never returned to Mr. De

One of the most impudent of these quacks was named Benjamin Douglas
Perkins, whose father claimed to be the inventor of the metallic
tractors, which were rods made either of a combination of copper,
zinc, and gold, or of iron, silver, and platinum, and he explains, in
the specification to his patent, that ‘the point of the instrument
thus formed, I apply to those parts of the body which are affected
with diseases, and draw them off on the skin, to a distance from the
complaint, and usually towards the extremities.’

He charged the moderate sum of five guineas a set for these precious
instruments, and made a good thing out of them. He was a member of the
Society of Friends, and, as a proof that his charlatanism was believed
in, this benevolent society subscribed largely, and built for him the
_Perkinean Institution_, an hospital where the poor could be treated on
his system, free of cost.

He was an adept in the art of puffing, and his ‘Testimonials’ are
quite equal to those of modern times. I will only cite two. ‘My little
infant child was _scalded_ with hot tea on the forehead, about three
and a half inches in length, and three-fourths of an inch in breadth,
which raised a vesicle before I had time to apply anything to it. The
_Tractors_ were solely used, and the whole redness disappeared. The
Blister broke, &c.’

‘A lady fell from her horse, and _dislocated_ her ancle, which remained
several hours before it was reduced, by which it became very much
_swelled_, _inflamed_, and _painful_. Two or three applications of the
_Tractor_ relieved the pain, and in a day or two she walked the house,
and had no further complaint.’

Then also was Dominicetti, who, in 1765, established a house in
Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, for medicated baths, but he hardly belongs to
the magnetisers. Then there was Katterfelto, but he, too, hovers on
the borderland of quackism--vide the following one of hundreds of

    ‘By particular Desire of many of the First Nobility.
        At late COX’S MUSEUM, Spring Gardens,

A SON of the late Colonel KATTERFELTO of the Death’s Head Hussars,
belonging to the King of Prussia, is to exhibit the same variety of
Performances as he did exhibit on Wednesday the 13th of March, before
many Foreign Ministers, with great applause.


Has had the honour in his travels to exhibit before the Empress of
Russia, the Queen of Hungary, the Kings of Prussia, Sweden, Denmark,
and Poland.


Lectures are Philosophical, Mathematical, Optical, Magnetical,
Electrical, Physical, Chymical, Pneumatic, Hydraulic, Hydrostatic,
Styangraphic, Palenchic, and Caprimantic Art.


Will deliver a different Lecture every night in the week, and show
various uncommon experiments, and his apparatus are very numerous, and
elegantly finished: all are on the newest construction, many of which
are not to be equalled in Europe.


Will, after his Philosophical Lecture, discover various arts by which
many persons lose their fortunes by Dice, Cards, Billiards, and E.O.
Tables, &c.’

He was a charlatan _pur et simple_, and to his other attractions he
added a performing black cat,[103] ‘but Colonel Katterfelto is very
sorry that many persons will have it that he and his famous BLACK
CAT were DEVILS but such suspicion only arises through his various
wonderful and uncommon performances: he only professes to be a moral
and divine Philosopher, and he says, that all persons on earth live
in darkness, if they are able, but won’t see that most enterprizing,
extraordinary, astonishing, wonderful, and uncommon exhibition on the
Solar Microscope. He will this day, and every day this week, show, from
eight in the morning till five in the afternoon, his various new Occult
Secrets, which have surprized the King and the whole Royal Family: and
his evening lecture begins this, and every night, precisely at eight
o’clock; but no person will be admitted after eight; and after his
lecture he will exhibit many new deceptions. His Black Cat will also
make her appearance this evening at No. 24, Piccadilly. His exhibition
of the Solar Microscope has caused him lately very grand houses; also
his wonderful Black Cat at night; many thousands could not receive
admission lately for want of room, and Katterfelto expects to clear at
least above £30,000, in a year’s time, through his Solar Microscope and
surprizing Black Cat.’

He also invented a sort of lucifer-match.[104] ‘Dr. Katterfelto will
also, for 2/6_d._ sell such a quantity of his new invented _Alarum_,
which is better than £20 worth of Phosphorus matches, and is better in
a house or ship than £20,000, as many lives may be saved by it, and
is more useful to the Nation than 30,000 Air Balloons. It will light
900 candles, pistols or cannons, and never misses. He also sells the
very best Solid, Liquid, and Powder Phosphorus, Phosphorus Matches,
Diamond Beetles, &c.’ Katterfelto died at Bedale, in Yorkshire, 25th of
November, 1799.

There also lived Dr. Graham, who was not heard of before 1780, and
he was an arch quack. About that year he took a mansion in the Royal
Terrace, Adelphi, which he fitted up sumptuously. It was inscribed
‘Templum Æsculapio Sacrum,’ and was called both the ‘Temple of
Health,’ and the ‘Hymeneal Temple.’ Here, in air heavy with incense,
he lectured on electricity and magnetism. He was a past master in
the art of puffing, and published several books in glorification
of himself. In one, called ‘MEDICAL TRANSACTIONS at the Temple of
Health in London, in the course of the years 1781 & 1782,’ he gives
a wonderful list of cures worked by his ‘Electrical Æther, Nervous
Æthereal Balsam, Imperial Pills, Liquid Amber, British Pills,’ and his
‘Bracing, or Restorative Balsam,’ which, in order to bring within the
reach of ordinary people, he kindly consented to sell at half-price,
namely, ‘that the bottles marked, and formerly sold at one guinea, may
_now_ be had at only half-a-guinea; the half-guinea bottles at five
shillings and threepence; the five shilling at half-a-crown, and the
two-and-sixpenny vials at _only one shilling and threepence_.’

In this book, too, are some choice specimens of poetry, all laudatory
of Dr. Graham, one of which is worth repeating, as a specimen--

‘_An_ ACROSTIC, _by a_ LADY.

    D EIGN, to accept the tribute which I owe,
    O ne grateful, joyful tear, permit to flow;
    C an I be silent when good health is given?
    T hat first--that best--that richest gift of heaven!
    O Muse! descend, in most exalted lays,
    R eplete with softest notes, attune his praise.

    G en’rous by nature, matchless in thy skill!
    R ich in the God-like art--to ease--to heal;
    A ll bless thy gifts! the sick--the lame--the blind,
    H ail thee with rapture for the cure they find!
    A rm’d by the DEITY with power divine,
    M ortals revere HIS attributes in thine.’

In this temple of ‘Health and Hymen’ he had a wonderful ‘Celestial
Bed,’ which he pretended cost sixty thousand pounds. He guaranteed
that the sleepers therein, although hitherto childless, should
become prolific; but it was somewhat costly, for the fee for its
use for a single night was one hundred pounds. Still, he had some
magneto-electric beds, which, probably, were as efficacious, at a lower
rate, only fifty pounds nightly. The title-page of a pamphlet on his
establishment is noteworthy.

  Or a Serio--comico--philosophical
  on the
  _Causes, Nature, and Effects of Love and Beauty_,
  At the Different Periods of Human Life, in Persons, and
  Personages, Male, Female, and Demi-Charactêre;
  And in Praise of the Genial and Prolific Influences of the


  As Delivered by HEBE VESTINA,
  The Rosy Goddess of Youth and of Health!
  from the
  _Electrical Throne! in the Great Apollo-Chamber_,

  At the TEMPLE of HYMEN, in LONDON,

Before a glowing and brilliant Audience of near Three Hundred Ladies
and Gentlemen, who were commanded by VENUS, CUPID, and HYMEN! to
assist, in joyous Assembly, at the Grand Feast of very FAT THINGS,
which was held at their Temple, on Monday Evening, the 25th of
November, 1782; but which was interrupted by the rude and unexpected
Arrival of his Worship MIDAS NEUTERSEX, Esq^{re.} ... just as the
Dessert was about to be served up.

    Published at the earnest Desire of many of the Company, and to
    gratify the impatient and very intense longings of Thousands of
    Adepts, Hibernian and British;--of the Cognoscenti;--et de les
    Amateur ardens des _delices exquise_ de Venus!

    To which is subjoined, a description of the Stupendous Nature
    and Effects of the Celebrated


The ‘VESTINA, or Goddess of Health,’ was no mean person. She began
life as a domestic servant, and was named Emma Lyons. She was a
good-looking, florid, buxom wench, and, after having played her part as
priestess at the ‘Temple of Health and Hymen,’ became the wife of the
dilletante Sir William Hamilton, English Minister at Naples, and was
afterwards notorious for her connection with Lord Nelson.

Graham wrote in 1790, ‘A short Treatise on the All cleansing--all
healing--and all invigorating Qualities of the SIMPLE EARTH, when long
and repeatedly applied to the naked Human Body and Lungs, for the safe,
speedy, and radical Cure of all Diseases, internal as well as external,
which are, in their Nature or Stage, susceptible of being cured;--for
the preservation of the Health, Vigour, Bloom, and Beauty of Body and
of Mind; for rejuvenating the aged and decaying Human Body;--and for
prolonging Life to the very longest possible Period, &c.’

For the benefit of those who would try the doctor’s earth-cure, I
extract the following: ‘I generally, or always, prefer the sides or
tops of hills or mountains, as the air and the earth are the more
pure and salubrious; but the air and earth of ordinary pasture
or corn-fields, especially those that are called upland, and even
good clean garden-ground, or the higher commons, especially fallow
corn-fields, are all salutary and good.

‘As to the colour and nature of the earth or soil, I prefer a good
brown or reddish blooming mould, and light, sandy, crumbly, mellow and
marrowy earth; or that which feels when I am in it, and crumbling with
my hands and fingers, like bits of marrow among fine Flour; and that
which has a strong, sweet, earthly smell----’

So that my readers now know exactly what to do.

He had a fairly comprehensive idea of modern hygiene, as will be seen
from the following extract from ‘General Instructions to the persons
who consult Dr. Graham as a Physician’:

‘It will be unreasonable for Dr. Graham’s Patients to expect a complete
and a lasting cure, or even great alleviation of their peculiar
maladies, unless they keep the body and limbs most perfectly clean with
very frequent washings,--breathe fresh, open air day and night,--be
simple in the quality and moderate in the quantity of their food and
drink,--and totally give up using the deadly poisons and weakeners
of both body and soul, and the cankerworm of estates called foreign
Tea and Coffee, Red Port Wine, Spirituous Liquors, Tobacco and Snuff,
gaming and late hours, and all sinful, unnatural, and excessive
indulgence of the animal appetites, and of the diabolical and degrading
mental passions. On practising the above rules--on a widely open window
day and night--and on washing with cold water, and going to bed every
night by eight or nine, and rising by four or five, depends the very
perfection of bodily and mental health, strength and happiness.’

He wrote many pamphlets, some of them on religious matters, and the
fools who patronised him paid him large fees; yet his expenses were
very heavy, and his manner of living luxurious, so that we experience
but little wonder when we find the ‘Temple of Health’ sold up, and that
Graham himself died poor--either in, or near, Glasgow.

Early in the century there were (in surgery) two noted quacks, namely,
Dr. (afterwards Sir William) Read, and Roger, or, as he called himself,
Doctor, Grant--both oculists. Read originally was a tailor, and Grant
had been a tinker and Anabaptist preacher. The list of cures of both
are marvellous--Grant even advertising in the _Daily Courant_, of July
20, 1709, that he had cured, in five minutes, a young man that had been
born blind. But at that time, when people believed in their sovereign
being able to cure scrofula by touching the patient with a gold coin, a
little faith went a long way.

But quackery was not confined to the masculine gender--the ladies
competed with them in the field. Notably Mrs. Map, the bone-setter of
Epsom, of whom Mr. Pulteney writes so amusingly to Swift on December
21, 1736: ‘I must tell you a ridiculous incident; perhaps you have
not heard it. One Mrs. Mapp, a famous she bone-setter and mountebank,
coming to town with a coach and six horses, on the Kentish road, was
met by a rabble of people, who, seeing her very oddly and tawdrily
dressed, took her for a foreigner, and concluded she must be a certain
great person’s mistress. Upon this they followed the coach, bawling
out, “No Hanover w----! No Hanover w----!” The lady within the coach
was much offended, let down the glass, and screamed louder than any of
them, “She was no Hanover w----! she was an English one!” Upon which
they cried out, “God bless your ladyship!” quitted the pursuit, and
wished her a good journey.’

This woman sprang into notoriety all at once. The first authentic
account of her is on page 457 of the _London Magazine_ for 1836, under
the date of August 2: ‘The Town has been surprized lately with the fame
of a young woman at _Epsom_, who, tho’ not very regular, it is said,
in her Conduct, has wrought such Cures that seem miraculous in the
Bone-setting way. The Concourse of People to _Epsom_ on this occasion
is incredible, and ’tis reckon’d she gets near 20 Guineas a Day, she
executing what she does in a very quick Manner: She has strength enough
to put in any Man’s Shoulder without any assistance; and this her
strength makes the following Story the more credible. A Man came to
her, sent, as ’tis supposed, by some Surgeons, on purpose to try her
Skill, with his Hand bound up, and pretended his Wrist was put out,
which upon Examination she found to be false; but, to be even with him
for his Imposition, she gave it a Wrench, and really put it out, and
bad him _go to the Fools who sent him, and get it set again_, or, if he
would come to her that day month, she would do it herself.

‘This remarkable person is Daughter to one _Wallin_, a Bone-setter of
_Hindon, Wilts_. Upon some family Quarrel, she left her Father, and
Wander’d up and down the Country in a very miserable Manner, calling
herself _Crazy Salley_. Since she became thus famous, she married one
Mr. _Hill Mapp_, late servant to a Mercer on _Ludgate Hill_, who, ’tis
said, soon left her, and carried off £100 of her Money.’

She was not long making her way in the world, for we read in the same
magazine, under date, September 19, 1736: ‘Mrs. _Mapp_, the famous
Bone-setter at _Epsom_, continues making extraordinary Cures. She has
now set up an Equipage, and this Day came to _Kensington_ and waited on
her Majesty.’

The _Gentleman’s Magazine_, under date of August 31, 1736, gives a
similar account of her private life, adding that her husband did not
stay with her above a fortnight, but adds that she was wonderfully
clever in her calling, having ‘cured Persons who have been above 20
years disabled, and has given incredible Relief in most difficult

‘Mrs. _Mapp_ the Bone-setter, with Dr. Taylor the Oculist, being
present at the Playhouse in _Lincoln’s Inns Fields_, to see a Comedy
call’d the Husband’s Relief, with the Female Bone-setter, and Worm
Doctor; it occasioned a full House, and the following


    ‘While _Mapp_ to th’ Actors shew’d a kind regard,
    On one side _Taylor_ sat, on t’other _Ward_:
    When their mock Persons of the Drama came,
    Both _Ward_ and _Taylor_ thought it hurt their _fame_;
    Wonder’d how _Mapp_ cou’d in good Humour be--
    _Zoons_, crys the Manly Dame, it hurts not _me_;
    Quacks without Arts may either blind or kill,
    But _Demonstration_ shews that mine is _Skill_.

And the following was sung upon y^e Stage:

    You Surgeons of _London_ who puzzle your Pates,
    To ride in your Coaches, and purchase Estates,
    Give over, for Shame, for your Pride has a Fall,
    And y^e Doctress of _Epsom_ has outdone you all.

    What signifies Learning, or going to school,
    When a Woman can do without Reason or Rule,
    What puts you to Non-plus, and baffles your Art,
    For Petticoat-Practice has now got the Start.

    In Physick, as well as in Fashions, we find
    The newest has always its Run with Mankind;
    Forgot is the bustle ‘bout Taylor and Ward,
    Now _Mapp’s_ all y^e Cry, and her Fame’s on Record.

    Dame Nature has giv’n her a Doctor’s Degree,
    She gets all y^e Patients, and pockets the Fee;
    So if you don’t instantly prove her a Cheat,
    She’ll loll in her Chariot while you walk y^e Street.’[105]

At this time she was at her acme--but if an anonymous writer in the
_Cornhill Magazine_ for March, 1873, p. 82, is to be believed, she died
December, 1837, ‘at her lodgings near Seven Dials, so miserably poor,
that the parish was obliged to bury her.’

In No. 572 of the _Spectator_, July 26, 1714,[106] is a very amusing
article on the quacks of Queen Anne’s time:

‘There is scarce a city in Great Britain but has one of this tribe,
who takes it into his protection, and on the market-day harangues
the good people of the place with aphorisms and receipts. You may
depend upon it he comes not there for his own private interest, but
out of a particular affection to the town. I remember one of these
public-spirited artists at Hammersmith, who told his audience that
he had been born and bred there, and that, having a special regard
for the place of his nativity, he was determined to make a present of
five shillings to as many as would accept of it. The whole crowd stood
agape and ready to take the doctor at his word; when, putting his hand
into a long bag, as everyone was expecting his crown piece, he drew out
a handful of little packets, each of which, he informed the spectators,
was constantly sold at five shillings and sixpence, but that he would
bate the odd five shillings to every inhabitant of that place; the
whole assembly immediately closed with this generous offer, and took
off all his physick, after the doctor had made them vouch for one
another, that there were no foreigners among them, but that they were
all Hammersmith men.

‘There is another branch of pretenders to this art, who, without
either horse or pickle herring,[107] lie snug in a garret, and send
down notice to the world of their extraordinary parts and abilities
by printed bills and advertisements. These seem to have derived their
custom from an eastern nation which Herodotus speaks of, among whom it
was a law that whenever any cure was to be performed, both the method
of the cure, and an account of the distemper, should be fixed in some
public place; but, as customs will corrupt, these, our moderns, provide
themselves with persons to attest the cure before they publish or make
an experiment of the prescription. I have heard of a porter, who serves
as a Knight of the post[108] under one of these operators, and, though
he was never sick in his life, has been cured of all the diseases in
the Dispensary. These are the men whose sagacity has invented elixirs
of all sorts, pills and lozenges, and take it as an affront if you
come to them before you have been given over by everybody else. Their
medicines are infallible, and never fail of success; that is, of
enriching the doctor, and setting the patient effectually at rest.

‘I lately dropt into a coffee-house at Westminster, where I found the
room hung round with ornaments of this nature. There were Elixirs,
Tinctures, the Anodyne Fotus, English Pills, Electuaries, and, in
short, more remedies than I believe there are diseases. At the sight
of so many inventions, I could not but imagine myself in a kind of
arsenal or magazine, where a store of arms was deposited against any
sudden invasion. Should you be attacked by the enemy sideways, here
was an infallible piece of defensive armour to cure the pleurisy;
should a distemper beat up your head-quarters, here you might purchase
an impenetrable helmet, or, in the language of the artist, a cephalic
tincture; if your main body be assaulted, here are various kinds of
armour in case of various onsets. I began to congratulate the present
age upon the happiness man might reasonably hope for in life, when
death was thus in a manner defeated, and when pain itself would be of
so short a duration, that it would just serve to enhance the value of

‘While I was in these thoughts, I unluckily called to mind a story of
an ingenious gentleman of the last age, who, lying violently afflicted
with the gout, a person came and offered his services to cure him by a
method which, he assured him, was infallible; the servant who received
the message carried it up to his master, who, inquiring whether the
person came on foot or in a chariot, and being informed that he was
on foot: “Go,” says he, “send the knave about his business; was his
method infallible as he pretends, he would, long before now, have been
in his coach and six.” In like manner I concluded that, had all these
advertisers arrived to that skill they pretend to, they would have
no need, for so many years successively, to publish to the world the
place of their abode, and the virtues of their medicines. One of these
gentlemen, indeed, pretends to an effectual cure for leanness: what
effects it may have had upon those who have tried it, I cannot tell;
but I am credibly informed that the call for it has been so great,
that it has effectually cured the doctor himself of that distemper.
Could each of them produce so good an instance of the success of his
medicines, they might soon persuade the world into an opinion of them.

‘I observe that most of the bills agree in one expression, viz.,
that, “with God’s blessing,” they perform such and such cures: this
expression is certainly very proper and emphatical, for that is all
they have for it. And, if ever a cure is performed on a patient where
they are concerned, they can claim a greater share than Virgil’s IAPIS
in the curing of ÆNEAS; he tried his skill, was very assiduous about
the wound, and, indeed, was the only visible means that relieved the
hero, but the poet assures us it was the particular assistance of a
deity that speeded the whole operation.’

There was another female quack in 1738, one Mrs. Stephens, and in
the _Gentleman’s Magazine_ for that year, p. 218, we read that ‘Mrs.
_Stephens_ has proposed to make her Medicines for the Stone publick, on
Consideration of the sum of £5,000 to be rais’d by Contribution, and
lodged with Mr. _Drummond_, _Banker_. He has receiv’d since the 11th
of this month (April) about £500 on that Account.’ She advertised her
cures very fully, and she obtained and acknowledged, as subscriptions
from April 11 to the end of December, 1738, the receipt of £1,356 3s.
(_Gentleman’s Magazine_, 1739, p. 49). And the subscribers were of no
mean quality; they included five bishops, three dukes, two duchesses,
four earls, two countesses, five lords, and of smaller fry a vast
quantity. But this did not satisfy her; she had influence enough to get
a short Act of Parliament passed in her favour (Cap. 23, 12, Geo. II.,
1739), entitled:

‘_An Act for providing a reward_ to Joanna Stephens _upon a proper
discovery to be made by her for the use of the publick, of the
medicines prepared by her for the cure of the stone._

‘WHEREAS _Joanna Stevens_ (sic) of the City of _Westminster_, spinster,
hath acquired the knowledge of medicines, and the skill of preparing
them, which by a dissolving power seem capable of removing the cause
of the painful distemper of the stone, and may be improved, and more
successfully applied when the same shall be discovered to persons
learned in the science of physick; now, for encouraging the said
_Joanna Stephens_ to make discovery thereof, and for providing her
a recompence in case the said medicines shall be submitted to the
examination of proper judges, and by them be found worthy of the reward
hereby provided; may it please your Majesty, that it be enacted, etc.

‘£5,000 granted out of the supplies for the discovery of Mrs.
Stephens’s medicines. Treasury to issue the said sum on a proper

A committee of twenty scientists investigated her medicines, and
reported favourably on them. They were trifold. A powder, a draught,
and a pill--and what think you they were made of? The powder was made
of egg-shells and snails, both burnt; the draught was made of Alicante
soap, swine’s cresses burnt, and honey. This was made into a ball,
which was afterwards sliced and dissolved in a broth composed of green
camomile, or camomile flowers, sweet fennel, parsley, and burdock
leaves, boiled in water and sweetened with honey; whilst the pill was
compounded of snails, wild carrot seeds, burdock seeds, ashen keys,
hips and haws, all burnt to blackness, and then mixed with Alicante
soap! These were the famous remedies for which a grateful nation paid
such a large sum!!!


Carlyle, in a very diffuse essay on this adventurer, thus introduces
him: ‘The Count Alessandro di Cagliostro, Pupil of the sage Althotas,
Foster-child of the Scherif of Mecca, probable Son of the last King
of Trebisond; named also Acharat, and unfortunate child of Nature; by
profession healer of diseases, abolisher of wrinkles, friend of the
poor and impotent, grand-master of the Egyptian Mason Lodge of High
Science, Spirit Summoner, Gold Cook, Grand Cophta, Prophet, Priest,
and thaumaturgic moralist and swindler; really a Liar of the first
magnitude, thorough-paced in all provinces of Lying, what one may call
the King of Liars.

‘Mendez Pinto, Baron Munchaüsen, and others are celebrated in this art,
and not without some colour of justice; yet must it in candour remain
doubtful whether any of these comparatively were much more than liars
from the teeth onwards: a perfect character of the species in question,
who lied not in word only, but continually in thought, word, and
act; and, so to speak, lived wholly in an element of lying, and from
birth to death did nothing but lie--was still a desideratum. Of which
desideratum Count Alessandro offers, we say, if not the fulfilment,
perhaps as near an approach to it as the limited human faculties

And yet this man made a name, and was famous in his time, and even
afterwards. Lives, novels, and romances, notably being immortalized by
Alexandre Dumas in his ‘Memoires d’un Médecin,’ nay, even plays, have
been written about this clever rogue, who rose from a poor man’s son
to be the talk of Europe, and his connection with the famous diamond
necklace, made him of almost political importance, sufficient to
warrant his incarceration in the Bastille.

I do not propose to write the life of Cagliostro--enough and to spare
has been written on this subject,[109] but simply to treat of him in
London; yet at the same time it is necessary to say when and where he
was born--the more especially because he always professed ignorance of
his birth, and, when examined in a French court of justice in relation
to the famous diamond necklace on January 30, 1786, the question was
put to him, ‘How old are you?’ _Answer_--‘Thirty-seven or thirty-eight
years.’ _Question_--‘Your name?’ _Answer_--‘Alessandro Cagliostro.’
_Question_--‘Where born?’ _Answer_--‘I cannot say for certain, whether
it was at Malta or at Medina; I have lived under the tuition of a
governor, who told me that I was of noble birth, that I was left an
orphan when only three months old,’ etc.

But in a French book,[110] of which an English translation was made
in 1786, Cagliostro is made to say, ‘I cannot speak positively as to
the place of my nativity, nor to the parents who gave me birth. From
various circumstances of my life I have conceived some doubts, in which
the reader perhaps will join with me. But I repeat it: all my inquiries
have ended only in giving me some great notions, it is true, but
altogether vague and uncertain concerning my family.

‘I spent the years of my childhood in the city of Medina, in Arabia.
There I was brought up under the name of Acharat, which I preserved
during my progress through Africa and Asia. I had apartments in the
palace of the Muphti Salahaym. It is needless to add that the Muphti is
the chief of the Mahometan Religion, and that his constant residence is
at Medina.

‘I recollect perfectly that I had then four persons in my service; a
governor, between 55 and 60 years of age, whose name was Althotas, and
three servants, a white one, who attended me as valet-de-Chambre, and
two blacks, one of whom was constantly about me night and day.

‘My Governor always told me that I had been left an orphan when only
three months old; that my parents were Christians, and nobly born; but
he left me absolutely in the dark about their names, and the place of
my nativity: a few words which he dropped by chance have induced me to
suspect that I was born at Malta; but this circumstance I have never
been able to ascertain.’

Althotas was a great sage, and imparted to his young pupil all the
scientific knowledge he possessed, and that awful person, the Grand
Muphti himself, would deign to converse with the boy on the lore
and history of ancient Egypt. At this time he says he dressed as a
Mussulman, and conformed to their rites; but was all the time at heart
a true Christian.

At the mature age of twelve, he felt a strong desire to travel, and
Althotas indulged him by joining a caravan going to Mecca, and here
comes an attempt to fasten his paternity upon the Cherif of that place.

‘On our arrival at Mecca, we alighted at the palace of the Cherif, who
is the sovereign of Mecca, and of all Arabia, and always chosen from
amongst the descendants of Mahomet. I here altered my dress, from a
simple one, which I had worn hitherto, to one more splendid. On the
third day after our arrival, I was, by my Governor, presented to the
Cherif, who honoured me with the most endearing caresses. At sight of
this prince, my senses experienced a sudden emotion, which it is not in
the power of words to express; my eyes dropped the most delicious tears
I ever shed in my life. His, I perceived, he could hardly restrain....

‘I remained at Mecca for the space of three years; not one day passed
without my being admitted to the Sovereign’s presence, and every
hour increased his attachment and added to my gratitude. I sometimes
surprized his eyes rivetted upon me, and then looking up to heaven,
with every expression of pity and commiseration. Thoughtful, I would go
from him, a prey to an ever fruitless curiosity. I dared not ask any
question of my Governor, who always rebuked me with great severity, as
if it had been a crime in me to wish for some information concerning my
parents, and the place where I was born....

‘One day as I was alone, the prince entered my apartment; so great a
favour struck me with amazement; he strained me to his bosom with
more than usual tenderness, bade me never cease to adore the Almighty,
telling me that, as long as I should persist in serving God faithfully,
I should at last be happy, and come to the knowledge of my real
destiny; then he added, bedewing my cheeks with tears, “Adieu, thou
nature’s unfortunate child.” ...’

This is one side of the question--his own. It is romantic, and in all
probability a lie. There is another side; but the evidence, although
far more within the bounds of reason, is unsupported by corroboration.
The authority is from an Italian book of one hundred and eighty-nine
pages, entitled: ‘Compendio della Vita, et delle Gesta di GIUSEPPE
BALSAMO, denominato Il CONTE CAGLIOSTRO. _Che si è estratto dal
Processo contro di lui formato in Roma l’Anno, 1790. E che può servire
di scorta per conoscere l’indole della Setta de_ LIBERI MURATORI.In
Roma 1791.’ This book purports to be printed in the Vatican, ‘from the
Printing press of the Reverend Apostolic Chamber.’[111]

In the preface of this book is the following sentence, which is
intended to vouch for the facts it contains: ‘Thence comes the justice
of that observation, that these Charlatans especially acquire credit,
renown, and riches, in those countries where the least religion is
found, where philosophy is most fashionable. Rome is not a place that
agrees with them, because error cannot throw out its roots, in the
centre, the capital, of the true faith. The life of Count Cagliostro is
a shining proof of this truth. It is for this reason that it has been
thought proper to compose this compendium, faithfully extracted from
the proceedings taken against him, a short while since, at Rome; this
is evidence which the critic cannot attack. In order to effect this,
the Sovereign Pontifical Authority has deigned to dispense with the law
of inviolable secrecy, which always accompanies, with as much justice
as prudence, the proceedings of the Holy Inquisition.’

And the account of his life opens thus: ‘Joseph Balsamo was born at
Palermo on the 8th of June, 1743. His parents were Pietro Balsamo and
Felice Braconieri, both of mean extraction. His father, who was a
shopkeeper, dying when he was still a baby, his maternal uncles took
care of him,’ &c.

In another book, ‘The Life of the Count Cagliostro,’ &c., London,
1787, there is a foot-note to the first page: ‘Some authors are of
opinion that he is the offspring of the grand Master of Malta, by a
Turkish lady, made captive by a Maltese galley. Others that he is
the only surviving son of that prince who, about thirty-five years
ago, swayed the precarious sceptre of Trebisond, at which period, a
revolution taking place, the reigning prince was massacred by his
seditious subjects, and his infant son, the Count Cagliostro, conveyed
by a trusty friend to Medina, where the Cherif had the unprejudiced
generosity to have him educated in the faith of his Christian parents.’

I do not follow his career, but the most marvellous stories were
current about him, _vide_ the following extract from a book already
quoted (see foot-note page 334): ‘The Comtesse de la Motte dares to
assert that one of my men makes a boast of having been 150 years in my
service. That I sometimes acknowledge myself to be only 300 years old;
at others that I brag of having been present at the nuptials in Cana,
and that it was to burlesque the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist, the
transubstantiation, that I had imagined to multiply the necklace, taken
to pieces, into a hundred different manners, and yet it was delivered,
as it is said, in its full complement to the august Queen.

‘That I am by turns a Portuguese Jew, a Greek, an Egyptian of
Alexandria, from whence I have imported into France hyeroglyphics and

‘That I am one of those infatuated Rosicrucians, who have the power
of making the dead converse with the living; that I attend the poor
gratis, but that I sell for _something_, to the rich, the gifts of

But it is not of these things I wish to treat; it is of the facts
connected with his residence in London. Two or three accounts say that
he visited London in 1772, where he swindled a Doctor Benemore, who had
rescued him from prison, under pretence of painting his country house,
and his enemy, De Morande, of the _Courier de l’Europe_, who, in No.’s
16, 17, and 18 of that journal, made frightful accusations against
Cagliostro, reiterates the story of his being here in 1772. In page
xiv. of the preface to ‘The Life of the Count Cagliostro,’ 1787, there
occurs the following passage: ‘M. de Morande is at infinite pains to
persuade us that the Count resided in London in 1772, under the name of
Balsamo, in extreme poverty, from which he was relieved by Sir Edward
Hales. That Baronet professes, indeed, to recollect an _Italian_ of
that name; but, as M. de Morande positively assures us that the Count
is a _Calabrois_, a _Neapolitan_, or a _Sicilian_, we can desire no
better argument to prove the fallacy of his information.’

In a pamphlet entitled, ‘Lettre du Comte Cagliostro au Peuple Anglois
pour servir de suite à ses Memoires,’ 1786, p. 7, he says distinctly:
‘Nous sommes arrivés, ma femme et moi, en Angleterre, pour la première
fois de ma vie, au mois de Juillet, 1776,’ and on p. 70 of the same
work is the following (translated):

‘The greatest part of the long diatribe of M. Morande is used to prove
that I came to London in 1772, under the name of _Balsamo_. In view of
the efforts which M. Morande makes, in order to arrive at such proof,
an attempt is made to show that the _Balsamo_ with whom they attempt
to identify me ought to have been hung, or, at all events, he rendered
himself guilty of some dishonourable actions. Nothing of the sort.
This _Balsamo_, if the _Courier de l’Europe_ can be believed, was a
mediocre painter, who lived by his brush. A man named _Benamore_,
either agent, or interpreter, or chargé d’affaires to the King of
Morocco, had commissioned him to paint some pictures, and had not paid
for them. _Balsamo_ issued a writ against him for £47 sterling, which
he said was due to him, admitting that he had received two guineas
on account. Besides, this _Balsamo_ was so poor that his wife was
obliged to go into town herself, in order to sell the pictures which
her husband painted. Such is the portrait which M. de Morande draws
of the _Balsamo_ of London, a portrait which no one will accuse him
of having flattered, and from which the sensible reader will draw the
conclusion that the _Balsamo_ of London was an honest artist who gained
a livelihood by hard work.

‘I might then admit without blushing that I had lived in London in 1772
under the name of _Balsamo_, on the product of my feeble talents in
painting; that the course of events and circumstances had reduced me to
this extremity, etc....

‘I am ignorant whether the law-suit between _Balsamo_ and _Benamore_
is real or supposed: one thing is certain, that in London exists a
regular physician of irreproachable probity, named Benamore. He is
versed in oriental languages: he was formerly attached, as interpreter,
to the Moroccan Embassy, and he is, at this date, employed, in the same
capacity, by the ambassador of Tripoli. He will bear witness to all
who wish to know that, during the 30 years he has been established in
London, he has never known another Benamore than himself, and that he
has never had a law-suit with anyone bearing the name of _Balsamo_.’

Now take Carlyle, with whom dogmatism stood in stead of research, and
judge for yourselves. ‘There is one briefest but authentic-looking
glimpse of him presents itself in England, in the year 1772: no Count
is he here, but mere Signor Balsamo again, engaged in house-painting,
for which he has a peculiar talent. Was it true that he painted the
country house of a “Doctor Benemore;” and, not having painted, but
only smeared it, was refused payment, and got a lawsuit with expenses
instead? If Doctor Benemore have left any representatives in the Earth,
they are desired to speak out. We add only, that if young Beppo had
one of the prettiest of wives, old Benemore had one of the ugliest
daughters; and so, putting one thing to another, matters might not be
so bad.’

Who set this story afloat, about Cagliostro being in London in 1772?
Why, Monsieur de Morande, the editor of the _Courier de l’Europe_, and
of his veracity we may judge by an advertisement in the _London Evening
Post_ of November 27 to 30, 1773, p. 4, col. 4, (translated).

‘Monsieur Le Comte de Lauraguais has kindly consented, after the humble
apologies I have made to him, to forego the action commenced against me
for having defamed him in some verses full of untruths, injurious both
to his honour and his reputation, of which I was the author, and which
I caused to be inserted in the _Morning Chronicle_ of 24 and 25 June
last, entitled: “Answer of the Gazetteer Cuirassé.” I therefore beg
you, Mr. Woodfall,[112] to publish through the same channel by which I
made my verses public,--my sincere repentance for having so injuriously
libelled Monsieur le Comte, and my very humble thanks for his having
accepted my apologies, and stopping all action in the matter.


  ‘Nov. 26, 1773.’

This is what in law would be called _a tainted witness_, as, about that
time he was, on his own confession, given to lying.

According to his own account he came to London in July, 1776, possessed
of a capital of about three thousand pounds in plate, jewels, and
specie, and hired apartments in Whitcomb Street, Pall Mall East, and
here he fell into evil company. The story is not very lucid--but it
seems that his wife’s companion, a Portuguese woman named Blavary, and
his secretary and interpreter, Vitellini, introduced to him a certain
Lord Scot. They were a lot of sharpers all round. Scot introduced a
woman as his wife--Lady Scot, if you please--(in reality Miss Fry), who
got money and clothes from the countess, and Cagliostro lent my lord
two hundred pounds on his simple note of hand.

He declares that he gave them lucky numbers for the lottery, and that
they gained much money thereby--on one occasion, when he gave Miss Fry
the number eight, she won the sum of fifteen hundred guineas; but she
was requested by Cagliostro not to visit, or bother himself, or his
wife again. He moved into Suffolk Street in January, 1777, but the
persevering Miss Fry took lodgings in the same house. She attempted to
borrow money, and to get lucky numbers, but, failing in both, she had
him arrested on the 7th of February for a pretended debt of one hundred
and ninety pounds. He recovered his liberty the next day, by depositing
in the hands of the sheriff’s officer, jewels worth double the amount.

Then a warrant was taken out against him and his wife, signed by one
Justice Miller--on the charge of practising witchcraft. This does not,
however, seem to have been acted on, but he was frequently harassed by
actions for debt brought against him by Miss Fry, and he became well
acquainted with the inside of a spunging-house. On the 24th of May he
was taken into custody for a debt of two hundred pounds, at the suit of
Miss Fry, but he managed to find bail. The case was tried before Lord
Mansfield, in the Court of Queen’s Bench, on the 27th of June, but his
lordship suggested that it was a case for arbitration, which was agreed

The arbitration took place on the 4th of July, when Cagliostro’s
lawyer deserted him, and the decision was that the count had lost
his case, and must pay all costs. As if this was not bad enough, as
he was leaving the court he was arrested at the suit of one Aylett,
who had lodged a detainer against him for a debt of ten pounds and
upwards, by the name of Melisa Cagliostro, otherwise Joseph Balsamo,
which debt he said was due to him from Balsamo, who had employed him
in 1772 to recover a debt from Dr. Benamore. He got bail, but, as his
money was getting scarce, it was at the cost of ‘two soup-ladles,
two candlesticks, two salt-cellars, two pepper-castors, six forks,
six table spoons, nine knife handles with blades, a pair of snuffers
and stand, all of silver.’ He had, however, suffered six weeks’
imprisonment, as he was not liberated from the King’s Bench till the
24th of September, 1777.

In vain his friends endeavoured to stir him up to commence actions for
fraud and perjury against all concerned, but either his cause was not
just, or he had had enough law to last him some time--and he refused.
He paid up his debts and left England, with only fifty guineas and a
few jewels in his possession.

Rightly or wrongly, he was connected with the ‘Diamond Necklace’
affair, and suffered incarceration in the Bastile. If he can be at
all believed, the police plundered him and his wife right royally. He
says he lost fifteen rouleaux, each containing fifty double louis,
sealed with his seal; one thousand two hundred and thirty-three sequins
(Venetian and Roman): one rouleau of twenty-four Spanish quadruples,
sealed also; and forty-seven billets of one thousand livres each on
the Caisse d’Escompte. They also took papers which were to him of
inestimable value; and, as to diamonds and jewellery, he knew not
what was taken, besides plate, porcelain, and linen, etc. After an
examination, he was acquitted, but he had to leave France, and came to
London, where he lived in Sloane Street. Here he became acquainted with
Lord George Gordon, and this acquaintance afterwards cost him dearly,
when he was arrested at Rome. To show the intimacy between the two, I
will quote from the _Public Advertiser_ of the 22nd of August, 1786, p.
2, col. 3.

‘M. Barthelemy, who conducts the affairs of France in the absence
of Comte Dazimer, having sent M. Daragon with a message to Comte de
Cagliostro, in Sloane Street, intimating that he had received orders
from the Court of Versailles to communicate to Comte de Cagliostro
that he now had permission to return to France; yesterday morning, the
Comte, accompanied by Lord George Gordon and M. Bergeret de Frouville,
waited upon M. Barthelemy at the “Hotel of France,” in Piccadilly, for
an eclaireissement upon the subject of this message from the Court of
France, delivered by M. Barthelemy, relative to the permission granted
to the Comte de Cagliostro to return to Paris. M. Barthelemy, the
Comte de Cambise, and M. Daragon seemed much surprised to see Comte de
Cagliostro arrive in Lord George Gordon’s coach, with his Lordship,
and M. Frouville, and, having expressed their desire that the Comte de
Cagliostro _alone_ should speak with M. Barthelemy, they were informed
that Lord Gordon and M. Bergeret de Frouville were there on purpose to
attend their friend, and that Comte de Cagliostro would not dispense
with Lord George Gordon’s absence from the Conference. Will any friend
to liberty blame Comte de Cagliostro, after ten months’ imprisonment
in a dungeon, for having his friends near him, when insidious proposals
are made to him by the faction of Breteuil and the supporters of the
Bastile Men who have already sought his destruction, and, after his
innocence was declared by the judgment of the Parliament of Paris,
embezzled a great part of his fortune, and exiled him from France?
M. Barthelemy (seeing the determination of the Comte’s friends) then
read the letter from M. Breteuil; but, upon the Comte de Cagliostro
desiring a copy, M. Barthelemy refused it. A great deal of conversation
then ensued upon the subject, which in all probability will give rise
to a full representation to the King of France, who is certainly very
much imposed on. The Queen’s party is still violent against Comte
de Cagliostro, the friend of mankind; and De Breteuil--le Sieur De
Launey--Titon--De Brunières--Maître Chesnon--Barthelemy and Dazimer are
mere instruments of that faction. The honour of the King of France, the
justice and judgment of the Parliament of Paris, the good faith of the
Citizens, and the good name of the nation, are all attainted by the
pillage and detention of the property of Comte de Cagliostro.’

And again, in the same paper, 24th of August, 1786, p. 2, col. 3, is
another paragraph respecting him:

‘Comte de Cagliostro has declared he will hold no intercourse with any
of Le Sieur Breteuil’s messengers from France, except in the presence
of Lord George Gordon. The gang of French spies in London, who are
linked in with M. de Morande, and the Sieurs Barthelemy, Dazimer,
Cambise, and the Queen’s Bastile party at Paris, are trying the
most insiduous arts to entrap the Comte and Comtesse, and have the
effrontery and audaciousness to persecute them publicly, and vilify
them even in this free country, where these noble Strangers are come to
seek protection in the arms of a generous people. The friendship and
benevolence of Comte de Cagliostro, in advising the poor Prince Louis
de Rohan to be upon his guard against the Comtesse de Valois, and the
intrigues of the Queen’s faction, (who still seek the destruction of
that noble Prince) has brought upon the Comte and his amiable Comtesse
the hateful revenge of a tyrannical Government. The story of the
Diamonds has never been properly explained to the Public in France. It
would discover too much of the base arts practised to destroy Prince
Louis, and involve in guilt persons not safe to name in an arbitrary

This airing of private grief in public extorted some strictures in a
letter in the _Morning Post_, of 29th of August, 1786, in which it
was suggested, generally, that foreigners should wash their dirty
linen at home. But Monsieur de Morande, editor of the _Courier de
l’Europe_, published many assertions, be they facts, or fiction,
relative to Cagliostro, and he once more blossomed out into print in
his old champion, the _Public Advertiser_ (vide that newspaper, 5th
of September, 1786, p. 2. col. 1), translated in the number of 7th
September. In this curious letter, he adverts to his adversaries’
slanders, and the following singular passages occur:

‘Of all the very good stories which you relate at my expense, the
best, without comparison, is that of the pig fed with arsenic, which
poisoned the lions, tygers, and leopards of the forests of Medina. I
am going, Mr. Railer, to give you an opportunity of being witty on
a perfect comprehension of the fact. You know that, in physics and
chymistry, reasoning proves but little, ridicule nothing, and that
experiment is all. Permit me, then, to propose a small experiment to
you, of which the issue will divert the public, either at your expense,
or mine. I invite you to breakfast with me on the 9th of November next,
at nine o’clock in the morning. You shall furnish the wine, and the
appendages. For myself, I shall only furnish a single dish, after my
own fashion--it shall be a sucking pig, fattened after my method. Two
hours before breakfast, I shall present you the pig alive, fat and
healthy. You shall order it to be killed as you please, and prepared,
and I shall not approach until it is served at the table. You shall
cut it into four equal parts, you shall chuse that which most flatters
your appetite, and I shall take that which you please. The day after
that of our breakfast, one or more of four things will happen. Either
both of us shall die, or we neither of us shall die, or you shall die
and I survive, or I shall die and you survive. Of these four chances
I give you three, and I bet you 5000 guineas, that, on the day after
our breakfast, you shall die, and I be perfectly well. You must either
accept of this Challenge, or acknowledge that you are an ignorant
fellow, and that you have foolishly ridiculed a thing which is totally
out of your knowledge.

‘If you accept of this Challenge, I shall instantly deposit the 5000
guineas with any banker that you please. You shall do the same in five
days, during which time you shall have leave to make your supporters
Contribute,’ &c.

Monsieur de Morande’s reply was published immediately following the
above letter. It is, like Cagliostro’s, too long for insertion; but its
gist is, that he intends to unmask the pretender, and that he utterly
declines to attend a poisoning match. He writes:

‘I solemnly defy you to contradict them’ (_i.e._, his assertions as
to Cagliostro’s quackeries and adventures); ‘and that I even offer,
without croupiers or supporters, to make you another wager of five
thousand guineas that I shall compleatly unmask you.

‘But, _Monsieur le Comte_, I shall not put my foot in your house, and
shall not breakfast with you myself. I am neither abject enough to keep
you company, nor will let it be suspected for a single moment.

‘You clearly conceive that such an interview ought not, nor can be,
within your doors; you would be liable to be found guilty of criminal
practises, in case of accident. This your _Council_ had not foreseen.

‘As no tavern would permit such infamous scenes to pass under its roof
as those you propose, you must, _Monsieur le Comte_, return once more
to the _booth_; and worthy disciple of LOCUSTA,[113] choose in London a
public place to make an open-air exhibition of your talents.’

And like the scorpion, which carries its sting in its tail, he adds a
foot-note, which refers to the heading of his letter:

‘_M. de Morande’s Answer to Don Joseph Balsamo,_ _self-created Count
of Cagliostro, Colonel in the Service of all the Sovereign Powers in

‘If it was not the case, it would be very singular to have seen, in
the year 1777, M. Cagliostro calling himself in England Colonel of the
Third Regiment of Brandenbourg, and, afterwards, in Russia, Colonel
in the Spanish Service; for which, however, he was reprimanded by
the magistrates of Petersburgh. Having forgot to take his Commission
with him, he could not exhibit proofs, and was obliged to put down
his regimentals. This check on his conduct made him abscond from
Petersburgh. Every Russian nobleman in London knows this anecdote, and,
without presuming to mention names, we trust that this will be found to
be the case upon enquiry.’

To this letter Cagliostro replied with another in the _Public
Advertiser_ (p. 2, col. 1) of September 9, 1786, in which he repeats
his challenge, and declines to sit down to breakfast with a carnivorous

De Morande, of course, could not be silent, and replied in the _Public
Advertiser_ (p. 2, col. 1) of September 12, 1786. He reiterated the
charges he made against Cagliostro in the _Courier de l’Europe_,
saying, among other things, ‘I have said that you were in England in
the year 1771, under the name of _Balsamo_, and that you were then a
needy, as well as a _very indifferent_ painter; that twenty persons,
at least, are ready to prove it. You take no notice of this second
assertion, which becomes serious, _by the oath you have taken under
that name_, of which I have a legal copy in my possession.

‘I have said that you have made your appearance under another name,
THAT OF CAGLIOSTRO, in the year 1777. I have several _affidavits_,
amongst which there are some of your own, which authenticate very
curious anecdotes concerning you; to this you have replied nothing.

‘I have said that you falsely pretended then to be a _Colonel of the
third regiment_ of Brandenbourg; that you had, at that time, a law-suit
in the Court of Queen’s Bench, _about a certain necklace, and a gold
snuff-box_, which you asserted to have been given MADAME LA COMTESSE,
but which you were obliged to return, and pay all Costs, on the Clear
proofs given by your adverse party, that you obtained them _under false
pretences_. No reply has been made to this.

‘I have added that, were you curious to try the same experiment now,
a new Act of Parliament, which you and your fellow-adventurers have
rendered _very necessary_, would certainly have caused you to be sent
to the Thames.[114] To that direct and very clear observation you have
not replied a single word.

‘I have said that you were ordered by the Police in Russia, not to
presume to take the name of a Colonel in the Spanish service, and to
strip off your Spanish regimentals. I have given you an opportunity
to vindicate yourself, by giving to understand, that there is not
a Russian nobleman in London who would not certify this fact. I
might have added that I have in my possession _the most respectable
authority_ to say so. What have you said in reply to this?

‘I have roundly asserted that I am in possession of proofs, that you
are an impostor under every possible denomination; that you have
not only no pretension to any title, but not even to the rank of a
sergeant. Shall this remain likewise unanswered?

       *       *       *       *       *

‘I am sorry to be obliged once more to name Mess^{rs.} B. & C. Bankers,
to prove that your pretensions to lay a wager of 5000 guineas, are
as well grounded as your pretensions to the title of a COUNT, or an
_Alchemist_. It is a fact, that you _humbly_ offered to pledge in
their hands the watch, of which the too long, and too much, deluded
Cardinal de Rohan made you a present. It is likewise a fact _that
they disdainfully refused it_. Your proposing, after this, a wager
of 5000 guineas is probably no more than a new pretence to obtain
credit, as you have formerly (in pretending to make great quantities of
gold) obtained small sums, and little diamonds to make larger, which
you afterwards declared had been given to MADAME LA COMTESSE. Those
proofs, I repeat to you, _are in my possession_; they are all fully
authenticated, and I will make good every one of my assertions.’ And he
winds up his letter with expressing ‘the satisfaction I feel in having
furnished the world with sufficient proofs to convince them that you

This ended the correspondence, for the general public were beginning to
meddle in it, and the editor of the _Public Advertiser_ would only open
his pages to the principals in this duel. This finished Cagliostro’s
career in England. He had tried to sell his quack medicines, his
Egyptian pills, but the charm was broken, and he quitted England for
the Continent in May, 1787, leaving his wife behind, with sufficient
means, under the guardianship of the De Loutherbourgs. She afterwards
sold all up, and joined him in June.

By this time his good genius had forsaken him, and for teaching
freemasonry, then even more repugnant to the Roman Catholic hierarchy
than at present, he was arrested, and imprisoned in the Castle of
St. Angelo, November 27, 1789. He never again enjoyed freedom, but
was found dead in his cell at St. Leo. Even the date of his death is
uncertain, most authorities giving 1795; but some say 1794 and 1797.
His wife, too, shared his fate; she was convicted of sorcery and
witchcraft, and was shut up in a convent, where she died in 1794.

His portraits represent him as by no means bad-looking, although the
full eye, the puffed cheeks, and weak mouth betray a sensuality of











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“The authoress throughout writes with moderation and consistency, and
her three ample volumes well repay perusal.”--_Daily Telegraph._

“‘St. Briavels’ is a story replete with variety, and in all
developments of her plot the author skilfully maintains an unabated
interest.”--_Morning Post._


“A story of the keenest interest. Mr. Waters’ plot is neat, and his
style is bright and pleasing.”--_Daily Telegraph._

“‘A Lily Maid’ is throughout exceedingly pleasant reading.”--_Morning


“There is some pleasant writing in ‘Like Lucifer,’ and the plot is

“Denzil Vane has a talent for lively, fluent writing, and a power of
tracing character.”--_Whitehall Review._


“‘A Daughter of the Gods’ is very pretty. That is a description which
specially suits the easy-flowing, love-making story.”--_Athenæum._

LUCIA. By Mrs. AUGUSTUS CRAVEN, Author of “A Sister’s Story.”
Translated by LADY HERBERT OF LEA. 2 vols.

“This is a very pretty, touching, and consoling story. The tale is as
much above the ordinary romance as the fresh air of the seaside is
better than the stifling atmosphere of the fashionable quarter of the
gayest city.”--_St. James’s Gazette._

“‘Lucia’ is as good a novel as has been published for a long

LOVE, THE PILGRIM. By MAY CROMMELIN, Author of “Queenie,” “A Jewel of a
Girl,” &c. 3 vols.

“‘Love, the Pilgrim’ is a pretty story, which, beginning quietly,
develops into one of very sensational incident indeed.”--_Graphic._

“A tale of thrilling interest.”--_Scotsman._

THE KING CAN DO NO WRONG. By PAMELA SNEYD, Author of “Jack Urquhart’s
Daughter.” 2 vols.

“This novel gives evidence of imagination, insight into character, and
power of delineation.”--_Athenæum._

“Shows command of exceptional narrative and descriptive power--the
story is told with cleverness and force.”--_Scotsman._

THE COURTING OF MARY SMITH. By F. W. ROBINSON, Author of “Grandmother’s
Money,” “No Church,” &c. 3 vols.

“One of the finest studies that any of our novelists has produced of
late years. To read such a book is to strengthen the soul with a moral

“The book is full of the truths and experiences of actual life, woven
into a romance by an undoubtedly clever novelist.”--_Morning Post._

THRO’ LOVE AND WAR. By VIOLET FANE, Author of “Sophy: or the Adventures
of a Savage,” &c. 3 vols.

“‘Thro’ Love and War’ has a succinct and intelligible plot, and
is written with a quaint combination of acute perception, veiled
sarcasm, and broad fun, which is certain to ensure for it a wide
popularity.”--_The World._

Author of “Rita,” “Penruddocke,” “Poet and Peer,” &c. 3 vols.

TILL MY WEDDING DAY. By a French Lady. 2 vols.


VICTIMS. By THEO GIFT, Author of “Pretty Miss Bellew,” “Lil Lorimer,”
&c. 3 vols.

THE BROKEN SEAL. By DORA RUSSELL, Author of “Footprints in the Snow,”
&c. 3 vols.

“Miss Dora Russell writes easily and well, and she has the gift of
making her characters describe themselves by their dialogue, which is
bright and natural.”--_Athenæum._

MURIEL’S MARRIAGE. By ESME STUART, Author of “A Faire Damzell,” &c. 3

“Much of the interest and charm of the story, and both are
considerable, are due to the delineations, not merely of the two
principal personages, but of the minor characters.”--_Scotsman._

ONCE AGAIN. By Mrs. FORRESTEr, Author of “Viva,” “Mignon,” “My Lord and
My Lady,” &c. (_Second Edition_) 3 vols.

“A really fascinating story. Bright and often original as is Mrs.
Forrester, her peculiar gifts have never been seen to better
advantage than in ‘Once Again.’ An undercurrent of tragedy runs
through this startling tale, and this, together with its graphically
drawn characters, sets it completely apart from the ordinary society
story.”--_Morning Post._

A WILFUL YOUNG WOMAN. By A. PRICE, Author of “A Rustic Maid,” “Who is
Sylvia?” &c. 3 vols.

“A very readable story. Mrs. Price has drawn her _dramatis personæ_
with some power and vigour.”--_Academy._

“The story is throughout both sound and high-principled.”--_Literary

THE SURVIVORS. By HENRY CRESSWELL, Author of “A Modern Greek Heroine,”
“Incognita,” &c. 3 vols.

“There is cleverness in this book, and occasional brilliancy and

“An amusing comedy of modern life; there are some good situations and
striking episodes in the book.”--_Athenæum._

A WICKED GIRL. By MARY CECIL HAY, Author of “Old Myddelton’s Money,”
&c. 3 vols.

“The author of ‘Old Myddelton’s Money’ always manages to write
interesting stories.”--_Academy._

“The story ‘A Wicked Girl’ has an ingeniously carried out plot. Miss
Hay is a graceful writer, and her pathos is genuine.”--_Post._

Lady,” &c. 2 vols.

“The figures are drawn with clear, bold strokes, each individual
standing before us with marked personality, while the backgrounds are
effective and striking.”--_Literary World._











Each in a Single Volume, with Frontispiece, price 5s.


“The first volume of Messrs. Hurst and Blackett’s Standard Library
of Cheap Editions forms a very good beginning to what will doubtless
be a very successful undertaking. ‘Nature and Human Nature’ is one
of the best of Sam Slick’s witty and humorous productions, and well
entitled to the large circulation which it cannot fail to obtain in
its present convenient and cheap shape. The volume combines with
the great recommendations of a clear, bold type and good paper, the
lesser, but attractive merits of being well illustrated and elegantly
bound.”--_Morning Post._


“The new and cheaper edition of this interesting work will doubtless
meet with great success. John Halifax, the hero of this most beautiful
story, is no ordinary hero, and this his history is no ordinary book.
It is a full-length portrait of a true gentleman, one of nature’s own
nobility. It is also the history of a home, and a thoroughly English
one. The work abounds in incident, and many of the scenes are full of
graphic power and true pathos. It is a book that few will read without
becoming wiser and better.”--_Scotsman._

“This story is very interesting. The attachment between John Halifax
and his wife is beautifully painted, as are the pictures of their
domestic life, and the growing up of their children; and the conclusion
of the book is beautiful and touching.”--_Athenæum._



“Independent of its value as an original narrative, and its useful and
interesting information, this work is remarkable for the colouring
power and play of fancy with which its descriptions are enlivened.
Among its greatest and most lasting charms is its reverent and serious
spirit.”--_Quarterly Review._

“Mr. Warburton has fulfilled the promise of his title-page. The
‘Realities of Eastern Travel’ are described with a vividness which
invests them with deep and abiding interest; while the ‘Romantic’
adventures which the enterprising tourist met with in his course are
narrated with a spirit which shows how much he enjoyed these reliefs
from the ennui of every-day life.”--_Globe._



“‘Nathalie’ is Miss Kavanagh’s best imaginative effort. Its manner is
gracious and attractive. Its matter is good. A sentiment, a tenderness,
are commanded by her which are as individual as they are elegant. We
should not soon come to an end were we to specify all the delicate
touches and attractive pictures which place ‘Nathalie’ high among books
of its class.”--_Athenæum._



“These thoughts are good and humane. They are thoughts we would wish
women to think: they are much more to the purpose than the treatises
upon the women and daughters of England, which were fashionable some
years ago, and these thoughts mark the progress of opinion, and
indicate a higher tone of character, and a juster estimate of woman’s

“This excellent book is characterised by good sense, good taste, and
feeling, and is written in an earnest, philanthropic, as well as
practical spirit.”--_Morning Post._



“‘Adam Graeme’ is a story awakening genuine emotions of interest and
delight by its admirable pictures of Scottish life and scenery. The
plot is cleverly complicated, and there is great vitality in the
dialogue, and remarkable brilliancy in the descriptive passages, as
who that has read ‘Margaret Maitland’ would not be prepared to expect?
But the story has a ‘mightier magnet still,’ in the healthy tone which
pervades it, in its feminine delicacy of thought and diction, and in
the truly womanly tenderness of its sentiments. The eloquent author
sets before us the essential attributes of Christian virtue, their deep
and silent workings in the heart, and their beautiful manifestations
in the life, with a delicacy, a power, and a truth which can hardly be
surpassed.”--_Morning Post._


“We have not the slightest intention to criticise this book. Its
reputation is made, and will stand as long as that of Scott’s or
Bulwer’s novels. The remarkable originality of its purpose, and the
happy description it affords of American life and manners, still
continue the subject of universal admiration. To say thus much is to
say enough, though we must just mention that the new edition forms a
part of the Publishers’ Cheap Standard Library, which has included some
of the very best specimens of light literature that ever have been


“A picturesque book on Rome and its ecclesiastical sovereigns, by an
eloquent Roman Catholic. Cardinal Wiseman has here treated a special
subject with so much generality and geniality that his recollections
will excite no ill-feeling in those who are most conscientiously
opposed to every idea of human infallibility represented in Papal



“We are always glad to welcome Mrs. Craik. She writes from her own
convictions, and she has the power not only to conceive clearly what
it is that she wishes to say, but to express it in language effective
and vigorous. In ‘A Life for a Life’ she is fortunate in a good
subject, and she has produced a work of strong effect. The reader,
having read the book through for the story, will be apt (if he be of
our persuasion) to return and read again many pages and passages with
greater pleasure than on a first perusal. The whole book is replete
with a graceful, tender delicacy; and, in addition to its other merits,
it is written in good careful English.”--_Athenæum._

“‘A Life for a Life’ is a book of a high class. The characters are
depicted with a masterly hand; the events are dramatically set forth;
the descriptions of scenery and sketches of society are admirably
penned; moreover, the work has an object--a clearly defined moral--most
poetically, most beautifully drawn, and through all there is that
strong, reflective mind visible which lays bare the human heart and
human mind to the very core.”--_Morning Post._



“A book which has afforded us no slight gratification.”--_Athenæum._

“From the mixture of description, anecdote, biography, and criticism,
this book is very pleasant reading.”--_Spectator._

“A more agreeable and entertaining book has not been published since
Boswell produced his reminiscences of Johnson.”--_Observer._



“We recommend all who are in search of a fascinating novel to read this
work for themselves. They will find it well worth their while. There
are a freshness and originality about it quite charming, and there is a
certain nobleness in the treatment both of sentiment and incident which
is not often found.”--_Athenæum._



“A peculiar interest attaches to sketches of colonial life, and readers
could not have a safer guide than the talented author of this work,
who, by a residence of half a century, has practically grasped the
habits, manners, and social conditions of the colonists he describes.
All who wish to form a fair idea of the difficulties and pleasures of
life in a new country, unlike England in some respects, yet like it in
many, should read this book.”-- _John Bull._



“This last production of the author of ‘The Crescent and the Cross’
has the same elements of a very wide popularity. It will please its

“Eliot Warburton’s active and productive genius is amply exemplified
in the present book. We have seldom met with any work in which the
realities of history and the poetry of fiction were more happily
interwoven.”--_Illustrated News._



“It were impossible to praise too highly this most interesting book,
whether we should have regard to its excellent plan or its not less
excellent execution. It ought to be found on every drawing-room table.
Here you have nearly fifty captivating romances with the pith of all
their interest preserved in undiminished poignancy, and any one may
be read in half an hour. It is not the least of their merits that the
romances are founded on fact--or what, at least, has been handed down
for truth by long tradition--and the romance of reality far exceeds the
romance of fiction.”--_Standard._



“We have had frequent opportunities of commending Messrs. Hurst and
Blackett’s Standard Library. For neatness, elegance, and distinctness
the volumes in this series surpass anything with which we are familiar.
‘The Laird of Norlaw’ will fully sustain the author’s high reputation.
The reader is carried on from first to last with an energy of sympathy
that never flags.”--_Sunday Times._

“‘The Laird of Norlaw’ is worthy of the author’s reputation. It is one
of the most exquisite of modern novels.”--_Observer._



“Mrs. Gretton had opportunities which rarely fall to the lot of
strangers of becoming acquainted with the inner life and habits of a
part of the Italian peninsula which is the very centre of the national
crisis. We can praise her performance as interesting, unexaggerated,
and full of opportune instruction.”--_The Times._

“Mrs. Gretton’s book is timely, life-like, and for every reason to
be recommended. It is impossible to close the book without liking
the writer as well as the subject. The work is engaging, because



“‘Nothing New’ displays all those superior merits which have made ‘John
Halifax’ one of the most popular works of the day. There is a force and
truthfulness about these tales which mark them as the production of no
ordinary mind, and we cordially recommend them to the perusal of all
lovers of fiction.”--_Morning Post._



“We have read this book with great pleasure, and have no hesitation in
recommending it to general perusal. It reflects the highest credit on
the industry and ability of Miss Freer. Nothing can be more interesting
than her story of the life of Jeanne D’Albret, and the narrative is as
trustworthy as it is attractive.”--_Morning Post._



“If asked to classify this work, we should give it a place between
‘John Halifax’ and ‘The Caxtons.’”--_Standard._

“The spirit in which the whole book is written is refined and

“This is in every sense a charming novel.”--_Messenger._



“This attractive book will be perused with much interest. It contains a
great variety of singular and highly romantic stories.”--_John Bull._

“A work of singular interest, which can never fail to charm and absorb
the reader’s attention. The present cheap and elegant edition includes
the true story of the Colleen Bawn.”--_Illustrated News._



“‘Adèle’ is the best work we have read by Miss Kavanagh; it is a
charming story, full of delicate character-painting. The interest
kindled in the first chapter burns brightly to the close.”--_Athenæum._

“‘Adèle’ will fully sustain the reputation of Miss Kavanagh, high as it
already ranks.”--_John Bull._

“‘Adèle’ is a love-story of very considerable pathos and power. It is a
very clever novel.”--_Daily News._



“These ‘Studies’ are truthful and vivid pictures of life, often
earnest, always full of right feeling, and occasionally lightened by
touches of quiet, genial humour. The volume is remarkable for thought,
sound sense, shrewd observation, and kind and sympathetic feeling for
all things good and beautiful.”--_Morning Post._

“These ‘Studies from Life’ are remarkable for graphic power and
observation. The book will not diminish the reputation of the
accomplished author.”--_Saturday Review._



“We commend ‘Grandmother’s Money’ to readers in search of a good
novel. The characters are true to human nature, and the story is



“A book to be read and re-read; fit for the study as well as the
drawing-room table and the circulating library.”--_Lancet._

“This is a pleasant book for the fireside season, and for the seaside
season. Mr. Jeaffreson has, out of hundreds of volumes, collected
thousands of good things, adding thereto much that appears in print for
the first time, and which, of course, gives increased value to this
very readable book.”--_Athenæum._



“We advise all who have the opportunity to read this book. It is well
worth the study.”--_Athenæum._

“A work of great originality, merit, and power.”--_Standard._



“A good wholesome book, gracefully written, and as pleasant to read as
it is instructive.”--_Athenæum._

“A charming tale, charmingly told.”--_Standard._

“All lovers of a good novel will hail with delight another of Mrs.
Craik’s charming stories.”--_John Bull._



“‘Lost and Saved’ will be read with eager interest by those who love a
touching story. It is a vigorous novel.”--_Times._

“This story is animated, full of exciting situations and stirring
incidents. The characters are delineated with great power. Above and
beyond these elements of a good novel, there is that indefinable charm
with which true genius invests all it touches.”--_Daily News._



_Authorised Copyright English Translation._

“The merits of ‘Les Miserables’ do not merely consist in the
conception of it as a whole; it abounds with details of unequalled
beauty. M. Victor Hugo has stamped upon every page the hall-mark of
genius.”--_Quarterly Review._



“It is not often that we light upon a novel of so much merit and
interest as ‘Barbara’s History.’ It is a work conspicuous for taste
and literary culture. It is a very graceful and charming book, with a
well-managed story, clearly-cut characters, and sentiments expressed
with an exquisite elocution. The dialogues especially sparkle with
repartee. It is a book which the world will like. This is high praise
of a work of art and so we intend it.”--_The Times._



“A good book on a most interesting theme.”--_Times._

“A truly interesting and most affecting memoir. ‘Irving’s Life’
ought to have a niche in every gallery of religious biography. There
are few lives that will be fuller of instruction, interest, and
consolation.”--_Saturday Review._



“This novel is the work of one who possesses a great talent for
writing, as well as experience and knowledge of the world. The whole
book is worth reading.”--_Athenæum._

“‘St Olave’s’ belongs to a lofty order of fiction. It is a good novel,
but it is something more. It is written with unflagging ability, and
it is as even as it is clever. The author has determined to do nothing
short of the best, and has succeeded.”--_Morning Post._


“Dip where you will into this lottery of fun, you are sure to draw out
a prize. These ‘Traits’ exhibit most successfully the broad national
features of American humour.”--_Post._



“A more charming story has rarely been written. It is a choice gift to
be able thus to render human nature so truly, to penetrate its depths
with such a searching sagacity, and to illuminate them with a radiance
so eminently the writer’s own.”--_Times._



“No account of this story would give any idea of the profound interest
that pervades the work from the first page to the last.”--_Athenæum._

“A novel of uncommon merit. Sir Walter Scott said he would advise no
man to try to read ‘Clarissa Harlowe’ out loud in company if he wished
to keep his character for manly superiority to tears. We fancy a good
many hardened old novel-readers will feel a rising in the throat as
they follow the fortunes of Alec and Annie.”--_Pall Mall Gazette._



“‘Agnes’ is a novel superior to any of Mrs. Oliphant’s former

“Mrs. Oliphant is one of the most admirable of our novelists. In her
works there are always to be found high principle, good taste, sense,
and refinement. ‘Agnes’ is a story whose pathetic beauty will appeal
irresistibly to all readers.”--_Morning Post._



“Few men and no women will read ‘A Noble Life’ without feeling
themselves the better for the effort.”--_Spectator._

“A beautifully written and touching tale. It is a noble
book.”--_Morning Post._

“‘A Noble Life’ is remarkable for the high types of character it
presents, and the skill with which they are made to work out a story of
powerful and pathetic interest.”--_Daily News._



“A very interesting book. Mr. Dixon has written thoughtfully and

“We recommend everyone who feels any interest in human nature to read
Mr. Dixon’s very interesting book.”--_Saturday Review._



“‘Robert Falconer’ is a work brimful of life and humour and of the
deepest human interest. It is a book to be returned to again and again
for the deep and searching knowledge it evinces of human thoughts and



“‘The Woman’s Kingdom’ sustains the author’s reputation as a writer of
the purest and noblest kind of domestic stories.”--_Athenæum._

“‘The Woman’s Kingdom’ is remarkable for its romantic interest. The
characters are masterpieces. Edna is worthy of the hand that drew John
Halifax.”--_Morning Post._



“A racy, well-written, and original novel. The interest never flags.
The whole work sparkles with wit and humour.”--_Quarterly Review._



“A novel which is the work of a man of genius. It will attract the
highest class of readers.”--_Times._



“We earnestly recommend this novel. It is a special and worthy specimen
of the author’s remarkable powers. The reader’s attention never for a
moment flags.”--_Post._

“‘A Brave Lady’ thoroughly rivets the unmingled sympathy of the
reader, and her history deserves to stand foremost among the author’s
works.”--_Daily Telegraph._



“A very pleasant, healthy story, well and artistically told. The book
is sure of a wide circle of readers. The character of Hannah is one of
rare beauty.”--_Standard._

“A powerful novel of social and domestic life. One of the most
successful efforts of a successful novelist.”--_Daily News._


“This is one of the most amusing books that we ever read.”--_Standard._

“‘The Americans at Home’ will not be less popular than any of Judge
Halliburton’s previous works.”--_Morning Post._



“These stories are gems of narrative. Indeed, some of them, in their
touching grace and simplicity, seem to us to possess a charm even
beyond the authoress’s most popular novels. Of none of them can this be
said more emphatically than of that which opens the series, ‘The Unkind
Word.’ It is wonderful to see the imaginative power displayed in the
few delicate touches by which this successful love-story is sketched
out.”--_The Echo._



“‘A Rose in June’ is as pretty as its title. The story is one of
the best and most touching which we owe to the industry and talent
of Mrs. Oliphant, and may hold its own with even ‘The Chronicles of



“This story presents a number of vivid and very charming pictures.
Indeed, the whole book is charming. It is interesting in both character
and story, and thoroughly good of its kind.”--_Saturday Review._



“This last ‘Chronicle of Carlingford’ not merely takes rank fairly
beside the first which introduced us to ‘Salem Chapel,’ but surpasses
all the intermediate records. Phœbe, Junior, herself is admirably



“A work of remarkable merit and interest, which will, we
doubt not, become the most popular English history of Marie



“‘Sir Gibbie’ is a book of genius.”--_Pall Mall Gazette._

“This book has power, pathos, and humour.”--_Athenæum._



“‘Young Mrs. Jardine’ is a pretty story, written in pure
English.”--_The Times._

“There is much good feeling in this book. It is pleasant and



“A very readable story. The author has well conceived the purpose
of high-class novel-writing, and succeeded in no small measure in
attaining it. There is plenty of variety, cheerful dialogue, and
general ‘verve’ in the book.”--_Athenæum._



“In ‘It was a Lover and his Lass,’ we admire Mrs. Oliphant exceedingly.
It would be worth reading a second time, were it only for the sake of
one ancient Scottish spinster, who is nearly the counterpart of the
admirable Mrs. Margaret Maitland.”--_Times._



“Mr. Jeaffreson comes forward with a narrative which must take a
very important place in Byronic literature; and it may reasonably be
anticipated that this book will be regarded with deep interest by all
who are concerned in the works and the fame of this great English
poet.”--_The Times._


_Each in One Volume, Frontispiece, and Uniformly Bound, Price 5s._


“We enjoy our old friend’s company with unabated relish. This work is
a rattling miscellany of sharp sayings, stories, and hard hits. It is
full of fun and fancy.”--_Athenæum._

“Since Sam’s first work he has written nothing so fresh, racy, and
genuinely humorous as this. Every line of it tells in some way or
other--instructively, satirically, jocosely, or wittily. Admiration
of Sam’s mature talents, and laughter at his droll yarns, constantly
alternate as with unhalting avidity we peruse the work. The Clockmaker
proves himself the fastest time-killer a-going.”--_Observer._


“This delightful book will be the most popular, as beyond doubt it is
the best, of all the author’s admirable works.”--_Standard._

“The book before us will be read and laughed over. Its quaint and
racy dialect will please some readers--its abundance of yarns
will amuse others. There is something to suit readers of every

“The humour of Sam Slick is inexhaustible. He is ever and everywhere
a welcome visitor; smiles greet his approach, and wit and wisdom hang
upon his tongue. We promise our readers a great treat from the perusal
of these ‘Wise Saws,’ which contain a world of practical wisdom, and a
treasury of the richest fun.”--_Morning Post._


“By common consent this work is regarded as one of the raciest, truest
to life, most humorous, and most interesting works which have proceeded
from the prolific pen of its author. We all know what shrewdness of
observation, what power of graphic description, what natural resources
of drollery, and what a happy method of hitting off the broader
characteristics of the life he reviews, belong to Judge Haliburton.
We have all those qualities here; but they are balanced by a serious
literary purpose, and are employed in the communication of information
respecting certain phases of colonial experience which impart to the
work an element of sober utility.”--_Sunday Times._


“No man has done more than the facetious Judge Haliburton, through the
mouth of the inimitable ‘Sam,’ to make the old parent country recognise
and appreciate her queer transatlantic progeny. His present collection
of comic stories and laughable traits is a budget of fun, full of rich
specimens of American humour.”--_Globe._

“Yankeeism, portrayed in its raciest aspect, constitutes the contents
of these superlatively entertaining sketches. The work embraces the
most varied topics--political parties, religious eccentricities, the
flights of literature, and the absurdities of pretenders to learning,
all come in for their share of satire; while we have specimens of
genuine American exaggerations and graphic pictures of social and
domestic life as it is. The work will have a wide circulation.”--_John


“In this highly entertaining work we are treated to another cargo of
capital stories from the inexhaustible store of our Yankee friend.
In the volume before us he dishes up, with his accustomed humour and
terseness of style, a vast number of tales, none more entertaining
than another, and all of them graphically illustrative of the ways
and manners of brother Jonathan. The anomalies of American law, the
extraordinary adventures incident to life in the backwoods, and, above
all, the peculiarities of American society, are variously, powerfully,
and, for the most part, amusingly exemplified.”--_John Bull._

“In the picturesque delineation of character, and the felicitous
portraiture of national features, no writer equals Judge Haliburton,
and the subjects embraced in the present delightful book call forth, in
new and vigorous exercise, his peculiar powers. ‘The Americans at Home’
will not be less popular than any of his previous works.”--_Post._




_Each in One Volume, Frontispiece, and Uniformly Bound, price 5s._


“This is a very good and a very interesting work. It is designed to
trace the career from boyhood to age of a perfect man--a Christian
gentleman, and it abounds in incident both well and highly wrought.
Throughout it is conceived in a high spirit, and written with great
ability. This cheap and handsome new edition is worthy to pass freely
from hand to hand as a gift-book in many households.”--_Examiner._

“The story is very interesting. The attachment between John Halifax and
his wife is beautifully painted, as are the pictures of their domestic
life, and the growing up of their children, and the conclusion of the
book is beautiful and touching.”--_Athenæum._

“The new and cheaper edition of this interesting work will doubtless
meet with great success. John Halifax, the hero of this most beautiful
story, is no ordinary hero, and this his history is no ordinary book.
It is a full-length portrait of a true gentleman, one of nature’s own
nobility. It is also the history of a home, and a thoroughly English
one. The work abounds in incident, and is full of graphic power and
true pathos. It is a book that few will read without becoming wiser and


“A book of sound counsel. It is one of the most sensible works of its
kind, well written, true-hearted, and altogether practical. Whoever
wishes to give advice to a young lady may thank the author for means of
doing so.”--_Examiner._

“These thoughts are worthy of the earnest and enlightened mind, the
all-embracing charity, and the well-earned reputation of the author of
‘John Halifax.’”--_Standard._

“This excellent book is characterised by good sense, good taste, and
feeling, and is written in an earnest, philanthropic, as well as
practical spirit.”--_Post._


“We are always glad to welcome this author. She writes from her own
convictions, and she has the power not only to conceive clearly what
it is that she wishes to say, but to express it in language effective
and vigorous. In ‘A Life for a Life’ she is fortunate in a good
subject, and she has produced a work of strong effect. The reader,
having read the book through for the story, will be apt (if he be of
our persuasion) to return and read again many pages and passages with
greater pleasure than on a first perusal. The whole book is replete
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the same time, a pathetic interest is sustained by an art of which it
would be difficult to analyse the secret. It is a choice gift to be
able thus to render human nature so truly, to penetrate its depths
with such a searching sagacity, and to illuminate them with a radiance
so eminently the writer’s own. Even if tried by the standard of the
Archbishop of York, we should expect that even he would pronounce
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“This is a story good to have from the circulating library, but better
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rare beauty.”--_Standard._


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stands out from a crowd of heroines as the type of all that is truly
noble, pure, and womanly.”--_United Service Magazine._


“‘Young Mrs. Jardine’ is a pretty story, written in pure
English.”--_The Times._

“There is much good feeling in this book. It is pleasant and

“A book that all should read. Whilst it is quite the equal of any of
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But the story has a ‘mightier magnet still,’ in the healthy tone which
pervades it, in its feminine delicacy of thought and diction, and in
the truly womanly tenderness of its sentiments. The eloquent author
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and silent workings in the heart, and their beautiful manifestations
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light, air, and colour.”--_Saturday Review._

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“‘Robert Falconer’ is the noblest work of fiction that Dr. Mac Donald
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“A novel which is the work of a man of genius. It will attract the
highest class of readers.”--_Times._

“There are many beautiful passages and descriptions in this book. The
characters are extremely well drawn.”--_Athenæum._

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Donald.”--_Morning Post._

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[1] It may be objected that this story pertains more to the seventeenth
than the eighteenth century; but, as the man Roderick was alive in the
last century, I claim him as belonging to it.

[2] ‘The History of St. Kilda,’ etc. By the Rev. Mr. Kenneth Macaulay.
London, 1764.

[3] ‘Description of the Western Isles of Scotland, called Hebrides,’

[4] Harris.

[5] _Scottice_, are without.

[6] ‘A Late Voyage to St. Kilda, the Remotest of all the Hebrides,’
etc., London, 1698.

[7] Head-dress.

[8] Venus, her lap dog.

[9] A game at cards introduced into France by Signor Justiniani,
Ambassador of Venice in 1674. The players are the dealer or banker, his
assistant, who looks after the losing cards--a _croupier_, in fact--and
the punters, or anyone who plays against the banker.

[10] To understand the numerous allusions to the game of cards called
Quadrill, it is necessary that the principles of the game should be
given. It was played by four persons, each having ten cards dealt to

The general laws of this game are, 1. It is not permitted to deal the
cards otherwise than four by three, the dealer being at liberty to
begin with which of those numbers he pleases. 2. If he who plays either
_sans prendre_, or calling a king, names a trump of a different suit
from that his game is in, or names two several suits, that which he
first named must be the trump. 3. He who plays must name the trump by
its proper name, as he likewise must the king he calls. 4. He who has
said ‘I pass,’ must not be again admitted to play, except he plays by
force, upon account of his having Spadille. 5. He who has asked the
question, and has leave given him to play, is obliged to do it: but
he must not play _sans prendre_ except he is forced to do it. 6. He
who has the four kings may call the queen of either of his kings. 7.
Neither the king nor queen of the suit which is trumps must be called.
8. He who has one or several kings may call any king he has in his
hand; in such case, if he wins, he alone must make six tricks; if he
wins, it is all his own, and if he loses, he pays all by himself. 9.
Everyone ought to play in his turn, but for having done otherwise, no
one must be beasted. 10. He, however, whose turn is not to play, having
in his hand the king the ombre has called, and who shall tramp about
with either spadille, manille, or basto, or shall even play down the
king that was called, to give notice of his being the friend, must not
pretend to undertake the vole; nay, he must be condemned to be beasted
if it appears that he did it with any fraudulent design. 11. He who has
drawn a card from his game, and presented it openly in order to play
it, is obliged so to do, if his retaining it may be either prejudicial
to his game, or give any information to his friend, especially if the
card is a matadore; but he who plays _sans prendre_, or calls upon his
own king, is not subject to this law. 12. None ought to look upon the
tricks, nor to count aloud what has been played, except when it is
his turn to play, but to let everyone reckon for himself. 13. He who,
instead of turning up the tricks before any one of his players, shall
turn up and discover his game, must be equally beasted with him whose
cards he has so discovered, the one paying one half, and the other
the like. 14. He who renounces must be beasted, as many times as he
has so done, but, if the cards are mixed, he is to pay but one beast.
15. If the renounce prejudices the game, and the deal is not played
out, everyone may take up his cards, beginning at the trick where the
renounce was made, and play them over again. 16. He who shows the game
before the deal is out must be beasted, except he plays _sans prendre_.
17. None of the three matadores can be commanded down by an inferior
trump. 18. If he who plays _sans prendre_ with the matadores in his
hand, demands only one of them, he must receive only that he mentioned.
19. He who, instead of _sans prendre_, shall demand matadores,
not having them, or he who shall demand _sans prendre_ instead of
matadores, cannot compel the players to pay him what is really his due.
20. Matadores are only paid when they are in the hands of the ombre,
or of the king his ally, whether all in one hand, or separately in
both. 21. He who undertakes the vole, and does not make it, must pay
as much as he would have received had he won it. 22. He who plays and
does not make three tricks is to be beasted alone, and must pay all
that is to be paid; and, if he makes no tricks at all, he must also pay
to his two adversaries the vole, but not to his friend.’--_The Oxford
Encyclopædia_, 1828.

[11] Dressing-gown.

[12] Entendres.

[13] Wonders.

[14] These leaden combs were used for darkening the hair.

[15] Pulled down 1885.

    Forsitan et nostros ducat de marmore vultus
    Nectens aut Paphia myrti aut Parnasside lauri
    Fronde comas--At ego secura pace quiescam.

    _Milton in Manso._

[17] John Speed, the historian, died 1629, and was buried in the church
of St. Giles’, Cripplegate.

[18] The few hairs of a lighter colour, are supposed to have been such
as had grown on the sides of the cheeks after the corpse had been

[19] ‘MDCLV. May vi, died my (now) only and eldest son, John Smith
(_Proh Dolor_, beloved of all men!) at Mitcham in Surrey. Buried May ix
in St. Giles, Cripplegate.’

[20] Edward Philips or Phillips, in his life of Milton, attached to
‘Letters of State, written by Mr. John Milton,’ &c., London, 1694,
(p. 43), says: ‘He is said to have dyed worth £1,500 in Money (a
considerable Estate, all things considered), besides Household Goods;
for he sustained such losses as might well have broke any person less
frugal and temperate than himself; no less than £2,000 which he had put
for Security and Improvement into the Excise Office, but, neglecting to
recal it in time, could never after get it out, with all the Power and
Interest he had in the Great ones of those Times; besides another great
Sum by mismanagement and for want of good advice.’

[21] Thomas Newton, Bishop of Bristol, thus writes in his life of
Milton, prefixed to his edition of ‘Paradise Lost,’ London, 1749: ‘His
body was decently interred near that of his father (who had died very
aged about the year 1647) in the chancel of the church of St. Giles,
Cripplegate; and all his great and learned friends in London, not
without a friendly concourse of the common people, paid their last
respects in attending it to the grave. Mr. Fenton, in his short but
elegant account of the life of Milton, speaking of our author’s having
no monument, says that “he desired a friend to inquire at St. Giles’s
Church, where the sexton showed him a small monument, which he said was
supposed to be Milton’s; but the inscription had never been legible
since he was employed in that office, which he has possessed about
forty years. This sure could never have happened in so short a space
of time, unless the epitaph had been industriously erased; and that
supposition, says Mr. Fenton, carries with it so much inhumanity that
I think we ought to believe it was not erected to his memory.” It is
evident that it was not erected to his memory, and that the sexton was
mistaken. For Mr. Toland, in his account of the life of Milton, says
that he was buried in the chancel of St. Giles’s Church, “where the
piety of his admirers will shortly erect a monument becoming his worth,
and the encouragement of letters in King William’s reign.” This plainly
implies that no monument was erected to him at that time, and this was
written in 1698, and Mr. Fenton’s account was first published, I think,
in 1725; so that not above twenty-seven years intervened from the one
account to the other; and consequently the sexton, who it is said was
possessed of his office about forty years, must have been mistaken, and
the monument must have been designed for some other person, and not for

[22] Between the creditable trades of pawnbroker and dram-seller there
is a strict alliance. As Hogarth observes, the money lent by Mr. Gripe
is immediately conveyed to the shop of Mr. Killman, who, in return for
the produce of rags, distributes poison under the specious name of
cordials. See Hogarth’s celebrated print called Gin Lane.

[23] Probably in the month of September, as the entry of his baptism
in the registry of the chapelry of Middlesmoor, in Netherdale, says
‘Eugenius Aram, son of Peter Aram, baptized the 2nd of October.’

[24] Though no warrants were issued against them, Aram was arrested
for debt, in order to keep him; yet he immediately discharged this
debt--not only so, he paid off a mortgage on his property at Bondgate.
Suspicious facts, considering he was, notably, a poor man.

[25] Finding.

[26] The esne was a man of the servile class, a poor mercenary, serving
for hire, or for his land, but was not of so low a rank as the other

[27] An Act relative to German and Swiss redemptioners.

[28] Bedlam was then in Moorfields.

[29] A large wickerwork receptacle behind the mail-coach.

[30] Palmer invented the mail-coach, and supplied horses to the

[31] Lunardi made the first balloon ascent in England, Sept. 21, 1784.

[32] Birmingham halfpence, struck by Boulton and Watts at their works
at Soho, Birmingham.

[33] Kew Bridge was opened to the public, September, 1789.

[34] Some idea of the duelling that went on in Ireland in the latter
part of last century may be gathered from the following extract
from Sir Jonah’s book (vol. ii, p. 3): ‘I think I may challenge any
country in Europe to show such an assemblage of gallant _judicial_ and
_official_ antagonists at fire and sword as is exhibited even in the
following list:

The Lord Chancellor of Ireland, Earl Clare, fought the Master of the
Rolls, Curran.

The Chief Justice, K.B. Lord Clonmell, fought Lord Tyrawley (a privy
counsellor), Lord Llandaff, and two others.

The judge of the county of Dublin, Egan, fought the Master of the
Rolls, Roger Barrett, and three others.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Right Hon. Isaac Corry, fought the
Right Hon. Henry Grattan (a privy counsellor), and another.

A Baron of the Exchequer, Baron Medge, fought his brother-in-law and
two others.

The Chief Justice, C. P. Lord Norbury, fought Fire-eater Fitzgerald and
two other gentlemen, and frightened Napper Tandy, and several besides:
one hit only.

The judge of the Prerogative Court, Dr. Dingenan, fought one barrister
and frightened another on the ground. N.B.--The latter case a curious

The Chief Counsel to the Revenue, Henry Deane Grady, fought Counsellor
O’Mahon, Counsellor Campbell, and others: all hits.

The Master of the Rolls fought Lord Buckinghamshire, the Chief
Secretary, &c.

The provost of the University of Dublin, the Right Hon. Hely
Hutchinson, fought Mr. Doyle, Master in Chancery, and some others.

The Chief Justice C. P. Patterson, fought three country gentlemen, one
of them with swords, another with guns, and wounded all of them.

The Right Hon. George Ogle (a privy counsellor) fought Barney Coyle, a
distiller, because he was a Papist. They fired eight shots, and no hit;
but the second broke his own arm.

Thomas Wallace, K.C., fought Mr. O’Gorman, the Catholic Secretary.

Counsellor O’Connell fought the Orange chieftain; fatal to the champion
of Protestant ascendency.

The collector of the customs of Dublin, the Hon. Francis Hutchinson,
fought the Right Hon. Lord Mountmorris.

Two hundred and twenty-seven memorable and official duels have actually
been fought during my grand climacteric.

[35] ‘The Female Soldier; or, The Surprising Life and Adventures of
Hannah Snell,’ &c. London, 1750.

[36] A farmer of repute.

[37] For a pension.

[38] The action off Cape St. Vincent, when Sir John Jervis, with
fifteen sail of the line, attacked and defeated the Spanish fleet,
consisting of twenty-seven sail of the line.

[39] ‘The case of Mr. John Walter, of London, Merchant.’ London, 1781.

[40] Then in Lombard Street.

[41] Lord North resigned, and Lord Rockingham succeeded as Premier,

[42] Logotypes--or printing types in which words, etc., were cast,
instead of single letters.

[43] The centenary of the _Times_ was improperly celebrated in that
paper on the 1st of January, 1885.

[44] _i.e._, in the liberty or Rules of the Fleet.

[45] A foot-lock or hobble.

[46] From the link-boy’s natural hatred of ‘the Parish Lantern,’ which
would deprive him of his livelihood.

[47] In throwing dice a corruption of the French numerals is used, as
ace (one), deuce (two), tray (three), &c.

[48] _I.e._, That sentence of death, owing to his pleading benefit of
clergy, or ability to read, was commuted to imprisonment, and branding
on the face with a red-hot iron. By degrees, however, the iron got
colder, until, at last, it was barely warm.

[49] Mews, or horse-pond.

[50] ‘The Humours of the Fleet.’ A Poem, by W. Paget, Comedian, &c.

[51] Where the Fleet Market is now, there was, a few Years since, a
Ditch, with a muddy Channel of Water. The Market was built at the
Expense of the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen, who receive the Rent
for it.

[52] The Door-keeper, or he who opens and shuts the Jigg, is call’d the

[53] Billiards is a very common game here.

[54] Fine Ale drank in the Coffee-room, call’d the ‘Alderman,’ because
brew’d by Alderman Parsons.

[55] A Runner is a Fellow that goes abroad of Errands for the Prisoners.

[56] Begs.

[57] Persons who give any Considerable offence are often try’d, and
undergo the Discipline of the Pump. The Author was one of these in a
drunken Frolick, for which he condemns himself.

[58] A Spacious place, where there are all sorts of Exercises, but
especially Fives.

[59] A Publick Place, free for all Prisoners.

[60] Where those lie who can’t pay their Master’s Fee.

[61] There are several of these Jiggers, or Door-keepers, who relieve
one another, and, when a Prisoner comes first in, they take a nice
Observation of him, for fear of his escaping.

[62] A cant Word for giving some Money in order to show a Lodging.

[63] Which is One Pound, Six, and Eightpence, and then you are entitled
to a bed on the Master’s-side, for which you pay so much per Week.

[64] Mount-scoundrel, so-call’d from its being highly situated, and
belonging, once, to the Common-side, tho’ lately added to the Master’s;
if there be room in the House, this Place is first empty, and the
Chamberlain commonly shows this to raise his Price upon you for a

[65] Half-a-guinea.

[66] A Bed-fellow so call’d.

[67] When you have a Chum, you pay but fifteen Pence per Week each,
and, indeed, that is the Rent of a whole Room, if you find Furniture.

[68] The Upper Floors are accounted best here, for the same Reason as
they are at Edinburgh, which, I suppose, every Body knows.

[69] It is common to mention the Fleet by the name of the Place, and I
suppose it is call’d the Place by way of Eminence, because there is not
such another.

[70] A Cant Word for a Dram of Geneva.

[71] A Chew of Tobacco--supposed to be given him.

[72] When there are Holes above Heel, or the Feet are so bad in a
Stocking that you are forced to pull them to hide the Holes, or cover
the Toes, it is call’d Coaxing.

[73] As the Prison is often called the College, so it is common to call
a Prisoner a Collegian; and this Character is taken from a Man who had
been many Years in the Place, and like to continue his Life.

[74] The Name of the Cook of the Kitchen.

[75] A place in the Cellar call’d Bartholomew Fair.

[76] Who goes out? is repeated by Watchmen Prisoners from half-an-hour
after nine till St. Paul’s Clock strikes Ten, to give Visitors Notice
to depart.

[77] While St. Paul’s is striking Ten, the Watchman don’t call Who goes
out? but when the last stroke is given they cry All told! at which time
the Gates are lock’d and nobody suffer’d to go out upon any Account.

[78] A werst is one thousand and sixty-seven metres.

[79] Then valued at four shillings each, or eight pounds in all.

[80] Gay, in his ‘Trivia,’ book i, says,

    ‘Let _Persian_ Dames th’_Umbrella’s_ Ribs display,
    To guard their Beauties from the Sunny Ray.’

[81] ‘A Review of the proposed Naturalization of the Jews.’

[82] Among other Bills which then received the Royal Assent was one
for purchasing Sloane Museum and the Harleian MSS., and for providing
a general repository for the same--by means of a lottery--the
commencement of the British Museum.

[83] ‘Parliamentary History,’ Hansard, vol. xv, p. 154.

[84] ‘Eight Letters to his Grace--Duke of Newcastle--on the custom of
Vails-giving in England, &c.,’ 1760, p. 20.

[85] ‘The East Neuk of Fife,’ by Rev. Walter Wood. Edinburgh, 1862, p.

[86] Tickled the palms of their hands.

[87] ‘The English Treasury of Wit and Language,’ etc., ed. 1655, pp.
223, 224.

[88] Or surfel--to wash the cheeks with mercurial or sulphur water.

[89] Face-washes and ointments.

[90] Edition 1699, p. 19. The poem had reference to the College of
Physicians, establishing a dispensary of their own, owing to the
excessive charges of the apothecaries. The institution did not last
very long.

[91] Gold.

[92] ‘The Female Physician, &c.,’ by John Ball, M.D.--London, 1770, pp.
76, 77.

[93] This water, as its name implies, was supposed to be a sovereign
remedy for gunshot wounds. It was also called _aqua vulneraria_, _aqua
sclopetaria_, and _aqua catapultarum_.

[94] Now called an _entire horse_, or _stallion_.

[95] ‘The London Spy,’ ed. 1703, p. 124.

[96] An allusion to the dispensary which the College of Physicians set
up in the latter part of the seventeenth century, and which was the
subject of Sir S. Garth’s satirical poem, called ‘The Dispensary.’

[97] A seventh son of a seventh son is supposed to be endowed with
extraordinary faculties of healing, and many of these quacks pretended
to such a descent.

[98] ‘The London Spy,’ ed. 1703, p. 64.

[99] A covering, or gaiter, to protect the legs from dirt or wet.

[100] ‘The Liturgy and other Divine Offices of the Church.’ London,
Bosworth, 1880, p. 638.

[101] ‘The Liturgy and other Divine Offices of the Church,’ p. 584.

[102] _General Advertiser_, March 26, 1782.

[103] _General Advertiser_, May 1, 1783.

[104] _General Advertiser_, February 13, 1784.

[105] _Gentleman’s Magazine_, 1736, pp. 617-618.

[106] By Dr. Zachary Pearce, Bishop of Rochester.

[107] A pickle herring was a Merry-Andrew or clown, and this means that
the quack was too poor to afford either horse or attendant.

[108] A false witness--one who would swear to anything for a trifle.

[109] I have before me now twelve lives of him, and that is by no means
an exhaustive list.

[110] ‘Memoire pour le Comte de Cagliostro, accusé: contre Monsieur le
Procureur-General, accusateur; en presence de Monsieur le Cardinal de
Rohan, de la Comtesse de la Motte, et autres co-accusés.’ Paris, 1786,

[111] Of this work there was a French translation published in 1791 at
Paris and Strasbourg, under the title of ‘Vie de Joseph Balsamo, connu
sous le nom de Comte Cagliostro,’ &c. 2nd edition.

[112] Editor of the _Morning Chronicle_, 1772-89.

[113] Locusta, or, more correctly, Lucusta, was a celebrated poisoner.
She was employed by Aggripina to poison the Emperor Claudius, and by
Nero to kill Britannicus. For this she was most handsomely rewarded by
Nero; but was executed for her crimes by Galba.

[114] _i.e._, to serve on the convict hulks there, to dredge the
Thames. The treatment on board was based on good principles; those
convicts who were well-behaved had remission of sentence, those who
were recalcitrant had unmerciful punishment.

[Transcriber’s Note:

Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation are as in the original.]

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