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Title: Dealings With The Dead
       Volume II

Author: A Sexton of the Old School

Release Date: May 12, 2012 [EBook #39675]

Language: English

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Dealings with the Dead.












33 and 35 Congress Street:
Corner of Washington and School Streets.



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1855, by
in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.



[Pg 351]

Dealings with the Dead.



No. XC.

My earliest recollections of some, among the dead and buried aristocracy of Boston, find a ready embodiment, in cocked hats of enormous proportions, queues reaching to their middles, cloaks of scarlet broadcloth, lined with silk, and faced with velvet, and just so short, as to exhibit the swell of the leg, silk stockings, and breeches, highly polished shoes, and large, square, silver buckles, embroidered vests, with deep lappet pockets, similar to those, which were worn, in the age of Louis Quatorze, shirts ruffled, at the bosoms and sleeves, doeskin or beaver gloves, and glossy, black, Surinam walking canes, six feet in length, and commonly carried by the middle.

Of the last of the Capulets we know nearly all, that it is desirable to know. Of the last of the cocked hats we are not so clearly certified.

The dimensions of the military cocked hat were terrible; and, like those enormous, bear skin caps, which are in use, at present, eminently calculated to put the enemy to flight. I have seen one of those enormous cocked hats, which had long been preserved, as a memorial of the wearer’s gallantry. In one corner, and near the extremity, was a round hole, said to have been made by a musket ball, at the battle of White Plains, Nov. 30, 1776. As I contemplated this relic, it was impossible to avoid[Pg 352] the comforting reflection, that the head of the gallant proprietor was at a very safe distance from the bullet.

After the assassination of Henry IV., and greatly to the amusement of the gay and giddy courtiers of his successor, Louis XIII.—old Sully obstinately adhered to the costume of the former reign. Colonel Barnabas Clarke was very much of Sully’s way of thinking. “And who,” asks the reader, “was Colonel Barnabas Clarke?” He was a pensioner of the United States, and died a poor, though highly respected old man, in the town of Randolph, and Commonwealth of Massachusetts. For several years, he commanded the third Regiment of the first Brigade, and first Division of infantry; and he wore the largest cocked hat and the longest queue in the known world. He was a broad-shouldered, strong-hearted Revolutioner. Let me take the reader aside, for a brief space; and recite to him a pleasant anecdote of old Colonel Barnabas Clarke, which occurred, under my own observation, when John Brooks—whose patent of military nobilty bears date at Saratoga, but who was one of nature’s noblemen from his cradle—was governor of Massachusetts.

There was a militia muster of the Norfolk troops, and they were reviewed by Governor Brooks. They were drawn up in line. The Governor, bare headed, with his suite, had moved slowly down, in front of the array, each regiment, as he passed, paying the customary salute.

The petty chapeau militaire had then become almost universal, and, with, or without, its feather and gold edgings, was all over the field. Splendid epaulettes and eaglets glittered, on the shoulders of such, as were entitled to wear them. Prancing horses were caracoling and curvetting, in gaudy trappings. In the midst of this showy array, in front of his regiment, bolt upright, upon the back of his tall, chestnut horse, that, upon the strength of an extra allowance of oats, pawed the ground, and seemed to forget, that he was in the plough, the day before, sat an old man, of rugged features, and large proportions. Upon his head was that enormous cocked hat, of other days—upon his shoulders, scarcely distinguishable, was a small pair of tarnished epaulettes—the gray hairs at the extremity of his prodigious queue lay upon the crupper of his saddle—his ancient boots shaped to the leg, his long shanked spurs, his straight silver-hilted sword, and lion-headed pistols were of 1776. Such was the outer man of old Colonel Barnabas Clarke.

[Pg 353]As the Governor advanced, upon the line of the third Regiment of the first Brigade, the fifes of that regiment commenced their shrill whistle, and the drums began to roll; and, at the appropriate moment, the veteran saluted his excellency, in that rather angular style, which was common, in the days of our military fathers.

At that moment, Governor Brooks checked his horse, and, replacing his hat upon his head, dismounted, and walked towards the Colonel, who, comprehending the intention, returned his sword to its scabbard, and came to the ground, with the alertness of a much younger man. They met midway, between the line and the reviewing cortege—in an instant, each grasped the other’s hand, with the ardor of men, who are mutually endeared, by the recollection of partnership, in days of danger and daring—they had been fellow lodgers, within the intrenchments of Burgoyne, on the memorable night of October 7, 1777. After a few words of mutual respect and affection, they parted—the review went forward—the fifers and drummers outdid themselves—the beholders sent forth an irrepressible shout—and when old Colonel Barnabas got up once again, upon his chestnut horse, I thought he looked considerably more like old Frederick, hat, queue, and all, than he did, before he got down. He looked as proud as Tamerlane, after he had caged the Sultan, Bajazet—yet I saw him dash a tear from his eye, with the sleeve of his coat—I found one in my own. How frail we are!—there is one there now!

While contemplating the remarkable resurrection that has occurred, within a few years, of old chairs and tables, porcelain and candlesticks, I confidently look forward to the resurrection of cocked hats. They were really very becoming. I speak not of those vasty beavers, manufactured, of yore, by that most accomplished, gentlemanly, and facetious of all hatters, Mr. Nathaniel Balch, No. 72 old Cornhill; but such as he made, for his excellent friend, and boon companion, Jeremiah Allen, Esquire, high Sheriff of Suffolk. When trimmed with gold lace, and adorned with the official cockade, it was a very becoming affair.

No man carried the fashion, as I have described it, in the commencement of this article, to a greater extent, than Mr. Thomas Marshall, more commonly known as Tommy Marshall. He was a tailor, and his shop and house were in State Street,[Pg 354] near the present site of the Boston Bank. In London, his leisurely gait, finished toilette, admirable personal equipments, and exceedingly composed and courtly carriage and deportment would have passed him off, for a gentleman, living at his ease, or for one of the nobility. Mr. Marshall was remarkable, for the exquisite polish, and classical cut of his cocked hat. He was much on ’change, in those primitive days, and highly respected, for his true sense of honor. Though the most accomplished tailor of his day, no one ever suspected him of cabbage.

When I began the present article, it was my design to have written upon a very different subject—but since all my cogitations have been “knocked into a cocked hat,” I may as well close this article, with a short anecdote of Tommy Marshall.

There was a period—there often is, in similar cases—during which it was doubtful, if the celebrated James Otis was a sane or an insane man. During that period, he was engaged for the plaintiff, in a cause, in which Mr. Marshall was a witness, for the defendant. After a tedious cross examination, Mr. Otis perceived the impossibility of perplexing the witness, or driving him into any discrepancy; and, in a moment of despair, his mind, probably, not being perfectly balanced, he lifted his finger, and shaking it, knowingly, at the witness, exclaimed—“Ah, Tommy Marshall, Tommy Marshall, I know you!” “And what do you know of me, sir?” cried the witness, doubling his fist in the very face of Mr. Otis, and stamping on the floor—“I know you’re a tailor, Tommy!



No. XCI.

Wake—Vigil—Wæcan—import one and the same thing. So we are informed, by that learned antiquary, John Whitaker, in his History of Manchester, published in 1771. Originally, this was a festival, kept by watching, through the night, preceding the day, on which a church was dedicated. We are told, by Shakspeare—

He that outlives this day, and sees old age,
Will yearly, on the vigil, feast his neighbors,
And say tomorrow is Saint Crispian.

These vigils, like the agapæ, or love-feasts, fell, erelong, into[Pg 355] disrepute, and furnished occasion, for disgraceful revelry and riot.

The Irish Wake, as it is popularly called, however it may have sprung from the same original stock, is, at present, a very different affair. Howling, at a wake, is akin to the ululation of the mourning women of Greece, Rome, and Judea, to which I have alluded, in a former number. The object of the Irish Wake is to rouse the spirit, which, otherwise, it is apprehended, might remain inactive, unwilling, or unable, to quit its mortal frame—to wake the soul, not precisely, “by tender strokes of art,” but by long-continued, nocturnal wailings and howlings. In practice, it has ever been accounted extremely difficult, to get the Irish soul fairly off, either upward or downward, without an abundance of intoxicating liquor.

The philosophy of this is too high for me—I cannot attain unto it. I know not, whether the soul goes off, in a fit of disgust, at the senseless and insufferable uproar, or is fairly frightened out of its tabernacle. This I know, that boon companions, and plenty of liquor are the very last means I should think of employing, to induce a true-born Irishman, to give up the ghost. I have read with pleasure, in the Pilot, a Roman Catholic paper of this city, an editorial discommendation of this preposterous custom.

However these barbarous proceedings may serve to outrage the dignity, and even the decency, of death, they have not always been absolutely useless. If the ravings, and rantings, the drunkenness, and the bloody brawls, that have sometimes occurred, during the celebration of an Irish wake, have proved unavailing, in raising the dead, or in exciting the lethargic soul—they have, certainly, sometimes sufficed, to restore consciousness to the cataleptic, who were supposed to be dead, and about to be committed to the grave.

In April, 1804, Barney O’Brien, to all appearance, died suddenly, in the town of Ballyshannon. He had been a terrible bruiser, and so much of a profligate, that it was thought all the priests, in the county of Donegal, would have as much as they could do, of a long summer’s day, to confess him. It was concluded, on all hands, that more than ordinary efforts would be required, for the waking of Barney O’Brien’s soul. A great crowd was accordingly gathered to the shanty of death. The mountain dew was supplied, without stint. The howling was[Pg 356] terrific. Confusion began. The altercation of tongues was speedily followed, by the collision of fists, and the cracking of shelalahs. The yet uncovered coffin was overturned. The shock, in an instant, terminated the trance. Barney O’Brien stood erect, before the terrified and flying group, six feet and four inches in his winding sheet, screaming, at the very top of his lungs, as he rose—“For the love o’ the blissed Jasus, jist a dhrap o’ the crathur, and a shelalah!

In a former number, I have alluded to the subject of premature interment. A writer, in the London Quarterly, vol. lxiii. p. 458, observes, that “there exists, among the poor of the metropolitan districts, an inordinate dread of premature burial.” After referring to a contrivance, in the receiving houses of Frankfort and Munich,—a ring, attached to the finger of the corpse, and connected with a lightly hung bell, in the watcher’s room—he significantly asks—“Has the corpse bell at Frankfort and Munich ever yet been rung?”—For my own part, I have no correspondence with the sextons there, and cannot tell. It may possibly have been rung, while the watcher slept! After admitting the possibility of premature burial, this writer says, he should be content with Shakspeare’s test—“This feather stirs; she lives.” This may be a very good affirmative test. But, as a negative test, it would be good for little—this feather stirs not; she is dead. In cases of catalepsy, it often happens, that a feather will not stir; and even the more trustworthy test—the mirror—will furnish no evidence of life.

To doubt the fact of premature interment is quite as absurd, as to credit all the tales, in this connection, fabricated by French and German wonder-mongers. During the existence of that terrible epidemic, which has so recently passed away, the necessity, real or imagined, of removing the corpses, as speedily as possible, has, very probably, occasioned some instances of premature interment.

On the 28th of June, 1849, a Mr. Schridieder was supposed to be dead of cholera, at St. Louis, and was carried to the grave; where a noise in the coffin was heard, and, upon opening it, he was found to be alive.

In the month of July, 1849, a Chicago paper contained the following statement:—

“We know a gentleman now residing in this city, who was attacked by the cholera, in 1832, and after a short time, was[Pg 357] supposed to have died. He was in the collapsed state, gave not the least sign of life, and when a glass was held over his mouth, there was no evidence that he still breathed. But, after his coffin was obtained, he revived, and is now living in Chicago, one of our most estimable citizens.”

“Another case, of a like character, occurred near this city, yesterday. A man who was in the collapsed state, and to all appearances dead, became reanimated after his coffin was procured. He revived slightly—again apparently died—again revived slightly—and finally died and was buried.”

I find the following, in the Boston Atlas of August 23, 1849:—

“A painful occurrence has come to light in Baltimore, which creates intense excitement. The remains of the venerable D. Evans Reese, who died suddenly on Friday evening, were conveyed to the Light Street burying-ground, and while they were placed in the vault, the hand of a human being was discovered protruding from one of the coffins deposited there. On a closer examination, those present were startled to find the hand was firmly clenched, the coffin burst open, and the body turned entirely over, leaving not a doubt that the unfortunate being had been buried alive. The corpse was that of a very respectable man, who died, apparently, very suddenly, and whose body was placed in the vault on Friday last.”

The Recherches Medico-legales sur l’incertitude des risques de la mort, les dangers dés inhumations précipiteés, les moyens de constater les décès et de rappeler á la vie ceux qui sont en etat de mort apparente, by I. de Fontenelle, is a very curious production. In a review of this work, and of the Recherches Physiologiques, sur la vie et la mort, by Bichat, in the London Quarterly, vol. lxxxv. page 369, the writer remarks—“A gas is developed in the decaying body, which mimics, by its mechanical force, many of the movements of life. So powerful is this gas, in corpses, which have laid long in the water, that M. Devergie, the physician at the Morgue, at Paris, says that, unless secured to the table, they are often heaved up and thrown to the ground.

Upon this theory, the writer proposes, to account for those posthumous changes of position, which are known, sometimes to have taken place. It may serve to explain some of these occurrences. But the formation of this gas, in a greater or less degree, must be universal, while a change in the position is comparatively rare. The curiosity of friends often leads to an [Pg 358]inspection of the dead, in every stage of decomposition. However valuable the theory, in the writer’s estimation, the generation of the most powerful gas would scarcely be able to throw the body entirely out of the coffin, with its arms outstretched towards the portal of the tomb; of which, and of similar changes, there exist well authenticated records.

It is quite probable, that the Irish wake may have originated, in this very dread of premature interment, strangely blended with certain spiritual fancies, respecting the soul’s reluctance to quit its tenement of clay.

After relating the remarkable story of Asclepiades of Prusa in Bithynia, who restored to life an individual, then on his way to the funeral pile—Bayle, vol. ii. p. 379, Lond. 1735, relates the following interesting tale. A peasant of Poictou was married to a woman, who, after a long fit of sickness, fell into a profound lethargy, which so closely resembled death, that the poor people gathered round, and laid out the peasant’s helpmate, for burial. The peasant assumed a becoming expression of sorrow, which utterly belied that exceeding great joy, that is natural to every man, when he becomes perfectly assured, that the tongue of a scolding wife is hushed forever.

The people of that neighborhood were very poor; and, either from economy or taste, coffins were not used among them. The corpses were borne to the grave, simply enveloped in their shrouds, as we are told, by Castellan, is the custom, among the Turks. Those who bore the body, moved, inadvertently, rather too near a hedge, at the roadside, and, a sharp thorn pricking the leg of the corpse, the trance was broken—the supposed defunct sprang up on end—and began to scold, as vigorously as ever.

The disappointed peasant had fourteen years more of it. At the expiration of that term, the good woman pined away, and appeared to die, once more. She was again borne toward the grave. When the bearers drew near to the spot, where the remarkable revival had occurred, upon a former occasion, the widower became very much excited; and, at length, unable to restrain his emotions, audibly exclaimed—“don’t go too near that hedge!

In a number of the London Times, for 1821, there is an account of the directions, given by an old Irish expert in such matters, who was about to die, respecting his own wake—“Recollect[Pg 359] to put three candles at the head of the bed, after ye lay me out, two at the foot, and one at each side. Mind now and put a plate with the salt on it, just atop of my breast. And d’ye hear—have plinty o’ tobacky and pipes enough; and remimber to have the punch strong. And—blundenoons, what the devil’s the use o’ pratin t’ye—sure it’s mysilf knows ye’ll be after botching it, as I’ll not be there mysel.”




That man must be an incorrigible fool, who does not, occasionally, like the Vicar of Wakefield, find himself growing weary of being always wise. In this sense, there are few men of sixty winters, who have not been guilty of being over-wise—of assuming, at some period of their lives, the port and majesty of the bird of Minerva—of exercising that talent, for silence and solemnity, ascribed by the French nobleman, as More relates, in his travels, to the English nation. A man, thus protected—dipped, as it were, in the waters of Lethe, usque ad calcem—is truly a pleasant fellow. There is no such thing as getting hold of him—there he is, conservative as a tortoise, unguibus retractis. He seems to think the exchange of intellectual commodities, entirely out of the question; he will have none of your folly, and he holds up his own superlative wisdom, as a cow, of consummate resolution, holds up her milk. If society were thus composed, what a concert of voices there would be, in unison with Job’s—we would not live alway. Life would be no other, than a long funeral procession—the dead burying the dead. I am decidedly in favor of a cheerful philosophy. Jeremy Taylor says, that, “the slightest going off from a man’s natural temper is a species of drunkenness.” There are some men, certainly, who seem to think, that total abstinence, from every species of merriment, is a wholesome preparative, for a residence in Paradise. The Preacher saith of laughter, it is mad, and of mirth, what doeth it? But in the very next chapter, he declares, there is a time to dance and a time to sing. We are told in the book of Proverbs, that a merry heart doeth good, like a medicine.

[Pg 360]There has probably seldom been a wiser man than Democritus of Abdera, who was called the laughing philosopher; and of whom Seneca says, in his work De Ira, ii. c. 10, Democritum aiunt nunquam sine risu in publico fuisse; adeo nihil illi videbatur serium eorum, quæ serio gerebantur: Democritus never appeared in public, without laughter in his countenance; so that nothing seemed to affect him seriously, however much so it might affect the rest of mankind.—The Abderites, with some exceptions, thought him mad; or, in Beattie’s words, when describing his minstrel boy—

“Some deem’d him wondrous wise, and some believ’d him mad.”

These Abderites, who were, notoriously, the most stupid of the Thracians, looked upon Democritus precisely as the miserable monks, about Oxford, looked upon Roger Bacon, in the thirteenth century—they believed him a magician, or a madman.

To laugh and grow fat is a proverb. Whether Democritus grew fat or not, I am unable to say; but he died at a great age, having passed one hundred years; and he died cheerfully, as he had lived temperately. Lucretius says of him, lib. iii. v. 1052—

Sponte sua letho caput obvius obtulit ipse.”

The tendency of his philosophy was to ensure longevity. The grand aim and end of it all were comprehended, in one word, ευφυμια, or the enjoyment of a tranquil state of mind.

There is much good-natured wisdom, in the command, and in the axiom of Horace—

Misce stultitiam consiliis brevem
Dulce est desipere in loco

which means, if an off-hand version will suffice—

Mix with your cares a little folly,
’Tis pleasant sometimes to be jolly.

One of the most acceptable images, presented by Sir Walter Scott, is that of Counsellor Pleydell, perched upon the table, playing at high jinks, who compliments Colonel Mannering, by continuing the frolic, and telling him, that, if a fool had entered, instead of a man of sense, he should have come down immediately.

My New England readers would be very much surprised, if they had any personal knowledge of the late excellent and venerable Bishop Griswold, to be told, that, among his works, there[Pg 361] was an edition of Mother Goose’s Melodies, with prolegomina, notæ, et variæ lectiones; well—there is no such thing there. But every one knows, that the comic romance of Bluebeard, as it is performed on the stage, was written by Bishop Heber, and is published in his works. Every one knows that Hannah More wrote tolerable plays, and was prevented, by nothing but her sex, from being a bishop. Every one knows that bishops and archbishops have done very funny things—in loco. And every one knows, that all this is quite as respectable, as being very reverently dull, and wearing the phylactery for life—stand off, for I am stupider than thou.

I have now before me a small octavo volume—a very bijou of a book, with the following title—Arundines Cami, sive Musarum Cantabrigiensium Lusus Canori, and bearing, for its motto—Equitare in arundine longa. This book is printed at Cambridge, England; and I have never seen a more beautiful specimen of typography. The work is edited by Henry Drury, Vicar of Wilton: and it contains a collection of Greek and Latin versions; by Mr. Drury himself, and by several good, holy, and learned men—Butler, late Bishop of Litchfield—Richard Porson—Hodgson, S. J. B. of Eton College—Vaughan, Principal of Harrow—Macaulay—Hallam—Law—and many others.

The third edition of this delightful book was published in 1846. And now the reader would know something of the originals, which these grave and learned men have thought it worthy of their talents and time, to turn into Greek and Latin. I scarcely know where to select a specimen, among articles, every one of which is prepared, with such exquisite taste, and such perfect knowledge of the capabilities of the language employed. Among the readers of the Transcript, I happen to know some fair scholars, who would relish a Greek epigram, on any subject, as highly, as others enjoy a pointed paragraph in English, on the subject of rum and molasses. Here is a Greek version of the ditty—“What care I how black I be,” by Mr. Hawtrey, Principal of Eton, which I would transcribe, were it not that a Greek word, now and then, presented in the common type, suggests to me, that you may not have a Greek font. It may be found by those, who are of the fancy, on page 49 of the work.

Here is a version by Mr. Hodgson—how the shrill, thready voice of my dear old nurse rings in my ears, while reading the original! God reward her kind, untiring spirit—she has gone[Pg 362] where little Pickles cease from troubling, and where weary nurses are at rest:—

Pat a cake, pat a cake, baker’s man,
So I do, master, as fast as I can.
Pat it, and prick it, and mark it with C,
Then it will answer for Charley and me.

Tunde mihi dulcem pistor, mihi tunde farinam.
Tunditur, O rapida tunditur illa manu.
Punge decenter acu, tituloque inscribe magistri;
Sic mihi, Carolulo, sic erit esca meo.

The contributions of Mr. H. Drury, the editor, are inferior to none—

There was an old man in Tobago,
Who liv’d on rice gruel and sago;
Till, much to his bliss,
His physician said this:
‘To a leg, sir, of mutton you may go.’

Senex æger in Tarento
De oryxa et pulmento
Vili vixerat invento;
Donec medicus
Seni inquit valde læto,
‘Senex æger, o gaudeto,
Crus ovinum, jam non veto
Tibi benedicus.’

Decidedly the most felicitous, though by no means the most elaborate in the volume, is the following, which is also by the editor, Mr. Drury—

Hey diddle diddle! The cat and the fiddle!
The cow jumped over the moon;
The little dog laughed to see such sport;
And the dish ran away with the spoon.

Hei didulum—atque iterum didulum! Felisque fidesque!
Vacca super lunæ cornua prosiluit.
Nescio qua catulus risit dulcedine ludi;
Abstulit et turpi lanx cochleare fuga.

A Latin version of Goldsmith’s mad dog, by H. J. Hodgson, is very clever, and there are some on solemn subjects, and of a higher order.

How sturdily these little ditties, the works of authors dead, buried, and unknown, have breasted the current of time! I had rather be the author of Hush-a-bye baby, upon the tree top, than of Joel Barlow’s Vision of Columbus—for, though I have always perceived the propriety of putting babies to sleep, at proper times,[Pg 363] I have never entirely appreciated the wisdom of doing the very same thing to adults, at all hours of the day.

What powerful resurrectionists these nursery melodies are! Moll Pitcher of Endor had not a greater power over the dry bones of Samuel, than has the ring of some one of these little chimes, to bring before us, with all the freshness of years ago, that good old soul, who sat with her knitting beside us, and rocked our cradle, and watched our progress from petticoats to breeches; and gave notice of the first tooth; and the earliest words; and faithfully reported, from day to day, all our marvellous achievements, to one, who, had she been a queen, would have given us her sceptre for a hoop stick.




Byles is a patronymic of extraordinary rarity. It will be sought for, without success, in the voluminous record of Alexander Chalmers. It is not in the Biographia Britannica; though, even there, we may, occasionally, discover names, which, according to Cowper, were not born for immortality—

Oh fond attempt to give a deathless lot
To names ignoble, born to be forgot!

Even in that conservative record of choice spirits, the Boston Directory for 1849, this patronymic is nowhere to be found.

Henry Byles came from Sarum in England; and settled at Salisbury in this Commonwealth, as early as 1640. I am not aware, that any individual, particularly eminent, and bearing this uncommon name, has ever existed among us, excepting that eccentric clergyman, who, within the bounds of our little peninsula, at least, is still occasionally mentioned, as “the celebrated Mather Byles.” I am aware, that he had a son, who bore the father’s prænomen, and graduated at Harvard, in 1751; became a doctor of divinity, in 1770; was a minister, in New London, and dismissed from his charge, in 1769; officiated, as an Episcopal clergyman, in Boston, for several years; went to St. Johns, N. B., at the time of the revolution; officiated there; and died, March 12, 1814.

But my dealings, this evening, are with “the celebrated Mather[Pg 364] Byles,” who was born of worthy parents, in the town of Boston, March 26, 1706. His father was an Englishman. Through the maternal line, he had John Cotton and Richard Mather, for his ancestors. He graduated, at Harvard, in 1725; was settled at the Hollis Street Church, Dec. 20, 1733; created D. D. at Aberdeen, in 1765; was, on account of his toryism, separated from his people, in 1776; and died of paralysis, July 5, 1788, at the age of 82. He was twice married; a niece of Governor Belcher was his first, and the daughter of Lieut. Governor Tailer, his second wife.

I should be faithless, indeed, were I to go forward, without one passing word, for precious memory, in regard to those two perennial damsels, the daughters of Dr. Byles. How many visitations, at that ancient manse in Nassau Street! To how many of the sex—young—aye, and of no particular age—it has occurred, at the nick of time, when there was nothing under Heaven else to be done, to exclaim—“What an excellent occasion, for a visit to Katy and Polly!” And the visit was paid; and the descendants of “the celebrated Mather Byles” were so glad to see the visitors—and it was so long since their last visit—and it must not be so long again—and then the old stories, over and over, for the thousandth time—and the concerted merriment of these amiable visitors, as if the tales were quite as new, as the year itself, upon the first January morn—and the filial delights, that beamed upon the features of these vestals, at the effect, produced, by the recitation of stories, which really seemed to be made of that very everlasting of which the breeches of our ancestors were made—and then the exhibition of those relics, and heir looms, or what remained of them, after some thirty years’ presentation to all comers, which, in one way and another, were associated with the memory of “the celebrated Mather Byles,”—and then the oh don’t gos—and oh fly not yets—and when will you come agains!

The question naturally arises, and, rather distrustingly, demands an answer—what was “the celebrated Mather Byles”—celebrated for? In the first place, he was Sanctæ Theologiæ Doctor. But his degree was from Aberdeen; and the Scotch colleges, at that period, were not particularly coy. With a cousin at court, and a little gold in hand, it was somewhat less difficult, for a clergyman, without very great learning, or talent, to obtain a doctorate, at Aberdeen, in 1765, than for a[Pg 365] camel, of unusual proportions, to go through the eye of a very small needle. Even in our cis-atlantic colleges, these bestowments do not always serve to mark degrees of merit, with infallible accuracy—for God’s sun does not more certainly shine, upon the just and upon the unjust, than doctorates have, in some cases, fallen upon wise men, and upon fools. That, which, charily and conservatively bestowed, may well be accounted an honor, necessarily loses its value, by diffusion and prostitution. Not many years ago, the worthy president of one of our colleges, being asked, how it happened, that a doctorate of divinity had been given to a certain person of ordinary talents, and very little learning; replied, with infinite naiveté—“Why —— had it; and —— had it; and —— had it; and we didn’t like to hurt his feelings.”

Let us not consider the claims of Mather Byles as definitely settled, by the faculty at Aberdeen.—He corresponded with Pope, and with Lansdowne, and with Watts. The works of the latter were sent to him, by the author, from time to time; and, among the treasures, highly prized by the family, was a presentation copy, in quarto, from Pope, of his translation of the Odyssey. This correspondence, however, so far as I was ever able to gather information from the daughters, many years ago, did not amount to much; the letters were very few, and very far between; on the one side complimentary, and bearing congratulations upon the occasion of some recent literary success; and, on the other, fraught with grateful civility; and accompanied, as is often the case, with copies of some of the author’s productions.

Let me here present a somewhat disconnected anecdote: At the sale of the library of Dr. Byles, a large folio Bible, in French, was purchased, by a private individual. This Bible had been presented to the French Protestant Church, in Boston, by Queen Anne; and, at the time, when it came to the hands of Dr. Byles, was the last relic of that church, whose visible temple had been erected in School Street, about 1716. Whoever desires to know more of these French Protestants, may turn to the “Memoir,” by Dr. Holmes, or to vol. xxii. p. 62, of the Massachusetts Historical Collections.

Dr. Byles wrote, in prose and verse, and quite respectably in both. There is not more of the spirit of poetry, however, in his metrical compositions, than in his performances in prose. His versification was easy, and the style of his prose works was [Pg 366]unaffected; his sentences were usually short, and never rendered unintelligible, by the multiplication of adjuncts, or by any affectation of sententious brevity. Yet nothing, that I have ever met with, from the pen of Dr. Byles, is particularly remarkable for its elegance; and it is in vain to look, among such of his writings, as have been preserved, for the evidences of extraordinary powers of thought. Some dozen of his published sermons are still extant. We have also several of his essays, in the New England Weekly Journal; a poem on the death of George I., and the accession of George II., in 1727; a sort of monodial address to Governor Belcher, on the death of his lady; a poem called the Conflagration; and a volume of metrical matters, published in 1744.

If his celebrity had depended upon these and other literary labors, he would scarcely have won the appellation of “the celebrated Mather Byles.”

The correspondent of Byles, Isaac Watts, never imagined, that the time would arrive, when his own voluminous lyrics and his address to “Great Gouge,” would be classed, in the Materia Poetica, as soporifics, and scarcely find one, so poor, as to do them reverence; while millions of lisping tongues still continued to repeat, from age to age, till the English language should be forgotten,

“Let dogs delight
To bark and bite,
For God hath made them so;
Let bears and lions
Growl and fight,
For ’tis their nature to.”

Dr. Byles himself could not have imagined, while putting the finishing hand to “The Conflagration,” that, if he had embarked his hopes of reaching posterity, in that heavy bottom, they must surely have foundered, in the gulf of oblivion—and that, after all, he would be wafted down the stream of time, to distant ages, astride, as it were, upon a feather—and that what he could never have accomplished, by his grave discourses, and elaborate, poetical labors, would be so certainly and signally achieved, by the never-to-be-forgotten quips, and cranks, and bon mots, and puns, and funny sayings, and comical doings of the reverend pastor of the Hollis Street Church.

The reader must not do so great injustice to Dr. Byles, as to suppose, that he mingled together sacra profanis, or was in the[Pg 367] habit of exhibiting, in the pulpit, that frolicsome vein, which was, in him, as congenital, as is the tendency, in a fish, to swim in water.

The sentiment of Horace applies not here—

——————ridentem dicere verum
Quid vetat?

The serious writings of Dr. Byles are singularly free from everything, suggestive of frivolous association. In his pulpit, there was none of it; not a jot; while, out of it, unless on solemn occasions, there was very little else. I have heard from those, who knew him well, that he ransacked the whole vocabulary, in search of the materials for punning. Yet of his attempts, in this species of humor, few examples are remembered. The specimens of the wit and humor of this eccentric divine, which have been preserved, are often of a different character; and not a few of them of that description, which are called practical jokes. Some of these pleasantries were exceedingly clever, and others supremely ridiculous. It is now more than half a century, since I listened to the first, amusing anecdote of Mather Byles. Many have reached me since—some of them quite as clever, as any we have ever had—I will not say from Foote, or Hook, or Matthews; for such unclerical comparisons would be particularly odious—but quite as clever as anything from Jonathan Swift, or Sydney Smith. Suppose I convert my next number into a penny box, for the collection and safe keeping of these petty records—I know they are below the dignity of history—so is a very large proportion of all the thoughts, words, and actions of Kings and Emperors—I’ll think of it.




There were political sympathies, during the American Revolution, between that eminent physician and excellent man, Dr. James Lloyd, and Mather Byles; yet, some forty-three years ago, I heard Dr. Lloyd remark, that, in company, the Reverend Mather Byles was a most troublesome puppy; and that there was no peace for his punning. Dr. Lloyd was, doubtless, of opinion, with Lord Kaimes, who remarked, in relation to this inveterate habit, that few might object to a little salt upon their[Pg 368] plates, but the man must have an extraordinary appetite, who could make a meal of it.

The daily employment of our mental powers, for the discovery of words, which agree in sound, but differ in sense, is a species of intellectual huckstering, well enough adapted to the capacities of those, who are unfit for business, on a larger scale. If this occupation could be made to pay, many an oysterman would be found, forsaking his calling, and successfully competing with those, who will not suffer ten words to be uttered, in their company, without converting five of them, at least, to this preposterous purpose.

No conversation can be so grave, or so solemn, as to secure it from the rude and impertinent interruption of some one of these pleasant fellows; who seem to employ their little gift upon the community, as a species of laughing gas. A little of this may be well enough; but, like musk, in the gross, it is absolutely suffocating.

The first story, that I ever heard, of Mather Byles, was related, at my father’s table, by the Rev. Dr. Belknap, in 1797, the year before he died. It was upon a Saturday; and Dr. John Clarke and some other gentlemen, among whom I well remember Major General Lincoln, ate their salt fish there, that day. I was a boy; and I remember their mirth, when, after Dr. Belknap had told the story, I said to our minister, Dr. Clarke, near whom I was eating my apple, that I wished he was half as funny a minister, as Dr. Byles.

Upon a Fast day, Dr. Byles had negotiated an exchange, with a country clergyman. Upon the appointed morning, each of them—for vehicles were not common then—proceeded, on horseback, to his respective place of appointment. Dr. Byles no sooner observed his brother clergyman approaching, at a distance, than he applied the whip; put his horse into a gallop; and, with his canonicals flying all abroad, passed his friend, at full run. “What is the matter?” he exclaimed, raising his hand in astonishment—“Why so fast, brother Byles?”—to which the Dr., without slackening his speed, replied, over his shoulder—“It is Fast day!

This is, unquestionably, very funny—but it is surely undesirable, for a consecrated servant of the Lord, thus lavishly to sacrifice, upon the altars of Momus.

The distillery of Thomas Hill was at the corner of Essex and[Pg 369] South Streets, not far from Dr. Belknap’s residence in Lincoln Street. Dr. Byles called on Mr. Hill, and inquired—“Do you still?”—“That is my business,” Mr. Hill replied.—“Then,” said Dr. Byles—“will you go with me, and still my wife?”

As he was once occupied, in nailing some list upon his doors, to exclude the cold, a parishioner said to him—“the wind bloweth wheresoever it listeth, Dr. Byles.”—“Yes sir,” replied the Dr. “and man listeth, wheresoever the wind bloweth.”

He was intimate with General Knox, who was a bookseller, before the war. When the American troops took possession of the town, after the evacuation, Knox, who had become quite corpulent, marched in, at the head of his artillery. As he passed on, Byles, who thought himself privileged, on old scores, exclaimed, loud enough to be heard—“I never saw an ox fatter in my life.” But Knox was not in the vein. He felt offended by this freedom, especially from Byles, who was then well known to be a tory; and replied, in uncourtly terms, that he was a “—— fool.”

In May, 1777, Dr. Byles was arrested, as a tory, and subsequently tried, convicted, and sentenced to confinement, on board a guard ship, and to be sent to England with his family, in forty days. This sentence was changed, by the board of war, to confinement in his own house. A guard was placed over him. After a time, the sentinel was removed—afterwards replaced—and again removed—when the Dr. exclaimed, that he had been guarded—regarded—and disregarded. He called his sentry his observ-a-tory.

Perceiving, one morning, that the sentinel, a simple fellow, was absent, and seeing Dr. Byles himself, pacing before his own door, with a musket on his shoulder, the neighbors stepped over, to inquire the cause—“You see,” said the Dr., “I begged the sentinel to let me go for some milk for my family, but he would not suffer me to stir. I reasoned the matter with him; and he has gone, himself, to get it for me, on condition that I keep guard in his absence.

When he was very poor, and had no money to waste on follies, he caused the little room, in which he read and wrote, to be painted brown, that he might say to every visitor—“You see I am in a brown study.”

His family, having gone to rest, were roused one night, by the reiterated cry of thieves!—thieves! in the doctor’s loudest[Pg 370] voice—the wife and daughters sprang instantly from their beds, and rushed into the room—there sat the Dr. alone, in his study chair—“Where, father?” cried the astonished family—“there!” he exclaimed, pointing to the candles.

One bitter December night, he called his daughters from their bed, simply to inquire if they lay warm.

He had a small collection of curiosities. Some visitors called, one morning; and Mrs. Byles, unwilling to be found at her ironing board, and desiring to hide herself, as she would not be so caught, by these ladies, for the world, the doctor put her in a closet, and buttoned her in. After a few remarks, the ladies expressed a wish to see the Dr’s curiosities, which he proceeded to exhibit; and, after entertaining them very agreeably, for several hours, he told them he had kept the greatest curiosity to the last; and, proceeding to the closet, unbuttoned the door, and exhibited Mrs. Byles.

He had complained, long, often, and fruitlessly, to the selectmen, of a quagmire, in front of his dwelling. One morning, two of the fathers of the town, after a violent rain, passing with their chaise, became stuck in this bog. As they were striving to extricate themselves, and pulling to the right and to the left, the doctor came forth, and bowing, with great politeness, exclaimed—“I am delighted, gentlemen, to see you stirring in this matter, at last.”

A candidate for fame proposed to fly, from the North Church steeple, and had already mounted, and was clapping his wings, to the great delight of the mob. Dr. Byles, mingling with the crowd, inquired what was the object of the gathering—“We have come, sir,” said some one, “to see a man fly.”—“Poh, poh,” replied the doctor, “I have seen a horse-fly.”

A gentleman sent Dr. Byles a barrel of very fine oysters. Meeting the gentleman’s wife, an hour or two after, in the street, the doctor assumed an air of great severity, and told her, that he had, that morning, been treated, by her husband, in a most Billingsgate manner, and then abruptly left her. The lady, who was of a nervous temperament, went home in tears, and was quite miserable, till her husband returned, at noon, and explained the occurrence; but was so much offended with the doctor’s folly, that he cut his acquaintance.

A poor fellow, in agony with the toothache, meeting the doctor, asked him where he should go, to have it drawn. The doctor[Pg 371] gave him a direction to a particular street and number. The man went, as directed; and, when the occupant came to the door, told him that Dr. Byles had sent him there, to have his tooth drawn. “This is a poor joke, for Dr. Byles,” said the gentleman; “I am not a dentist, but a portrait painter—it will give you little comfort, my friend, to have me draw your tooth.” Dr. Byles had sent the poor fellow to Copley.

Upon the 19th of May, 1780, the memorable dark day, a lady wrote to the doctor as follows—“Dear doctor, how do you account for this darkness?” and received his immediate reply—“Dear Madam, I am as much in the dark, as you are.” This, for sententious brevity, has never been surpassed, unless by the correspondence, between the comedian, Sam Foote, and his mother—“Dear Sam, I’m in jail”—“Dear Mother, So am I.

He had, at one time, a remarkably stupid, and literal, Irish girl, as a domestic. With a look and voice of terror, he said to her, in haste—“Go and say to your mistress, Dr. Byles has put an end to himself.” The girl flew up stairs, and, with a face of horror, exclaimed, at the top of her lungs—“Dr. Byles has put an end to himself!” The astonished wife and daughters rushed into the parlor—and there was the doctor, calmly walking about, with a part of a cow’s tail, that he had picked up, in the street, tied to his coat, or cassock, behind.

From the time of the stamp act, in 1765, to the period of the revolution, the cry had been repeated, in every form of phraseology, that our grievances should be redressed. One fine morning, when the multitude had gathered on the Common, to see a regiment of red coats, paraded there, who had recently arrived—“Well,” said the doctor, gazing at the spectacle, “I think we can no longer complain, that our grievances are not red dressed.” “True,” said one of the laughers, who were standing near, “but you have two ds, Dr. Byles.” “To be sure, sir, I have,” the doctor instantly replied, “I had them from Aberdeen, in 1765.”

These pleasantries will, probably, survive “The Conflagration.” Had not this eccentric man possessed some very excellent and amiable qualities, he could not have maintained his clerical relation to the Hollis-Street Church and Society, for three and forty years, from 1733 to 1776; and have separated from them, at last, for political considerations alone.

Had his talents and his influence been greater than they were, the peculiarities, to which I have alluded, would have been a[Pg 372] theme, for deeper deprecation. The eccentricities of eminent men are mischievous, in the ratio of their eminence; for thousands, who cannot rival their excellencies, are often the successful imitators of their peculiarities and follies.

I never sympathized with that worthy, old lady, who became satisfied, that Dr. Beecher was a terrible hypocrite, and without a spark of vital religion, because she saw him, from her window, on the Lord’s day, in his back yard, gymnasticising, on a pole, in the intermission season; and thereby invigorating his powers, for the due performance of the evening services. Yet, as character is power, and as the children of this generation have a devilish pleasure in detecting inconsistencies, between the practice and the profession of the children of light—it is ever to be deplored, that clergymen should hazard one iota of their clerical respectability, for the love of fun; and it speaks marvels, for the moral and religious worth of Mather Byles, and for the forbearance, intelligence, and discrimination of his parishioners, that, for three-and-forty years, he maintained his ministerial position, in their midst, cutting such wild, unpriestly capers, and giving utterance to such amusing fooleries, from morning to night.



No. XCV.

I have already referred to the subject of being buried alive. There is something very terrible in the idea; and I am compelled, by some recent information, to believe, that occurrences of this distressing nature are more common, than I have hitherto supposed them to be.

Not long ago, I fell into the society of a veteran, maiden lady, who, in the course of her evening revelations of the gossip she had gathered in the morning, informed the company, that an entire family, consisting of a husband, wife, and seven children, were buried alive.

You have heard, or read, I doubt not, of that eminent French surgeon, who, while standing by the bedside of his dying friend and patron, utterly forgot all his professional cares and duties, in his exceeding great joy, at beholding, for the first time in his[Pg 373] life, the genuine Sardonic grin, exhibited upon the distorted features of his dying benefactor. For a moment, my sincere sorrow, for the terrible fate of this interesting family, was utterly forgotten, in the delight I experienced, at the prospect of receiving such an interesting item, for my dealings with the dead.

My tablets were out, in an instant—and, drawing my chair near that of this communicative lady, I requested a relation of all the particulars. My astonishment was very much increased, when she asserted, that they had actually buried themselves—and my utter disappointment—as an artist—can scarcely be conceived, when she added, that the whole family had gone to reside permanently in the country, giving up plays, concerts, balls, soirees and operas.

Putting up my tablets, with a feeling of displeasure, illy concealed, I ventured to suggest, that opportunities, for intellectual improvement, were not wanting in the country; and that, perhaps, this worthy family preferred the enjoyment of rural quiet, to the miscellaneous cries of fire—oysters—and murder. She replied, that she had rather be murdered outright, than live in the country—listen to the frogs, from morning to night—and watch the progress of cucumbers and squashes.

Seriously, this matter of being buried alive, is very unpleasant. The dead, the half-dead, and the dying, were brutally neglected, in the earlier days of Greece. Diogenes Laertius, lib. 8, de vita et moribus philosophorum, relates, that Empedocles, having restored Ponthia, a woman of Agrigentum, to life, who was on the point of being buried, laws began to be enacted, for the protection of the apparent dead. At Athens, no one could be buried, before the third day; and, commonly, throughout all Greece, burial and cremation were deferred, till the sixth or seventh day. Alexander kept Hephestion’s body, till the tenth day. I have referred, in a former number, to the remarkable cases of Aviola and the Prætor Lamia, who revived, after being placed on the funeral pile. Another Prætor, Tubero, was saved, at the moment, when the torch was about to be applied. I have also alluded to the act of Asclepiades, who, in disregard of the ridicule of the bystanders, stopped a funeral procession, and reanimated the body, about to be burnt.

A perusal of the Somnium Scipionis, and of the accounts of Hildanus, Camerarius, and Horstius—of Plato, in his Republic—and[Pg 374] of Valerius Maximus, will satisfy the reader, that premature burials were, by no means, uncommon, of old.

The idea of reviving in one’s coffin—one of Fisk and Raymond’s “Patent Metallic Burial Cases, Air-Tight and Indestructible”—is really awful! How truly, upon such an awakening as this, the wretch must wish he had been born a savage—a Mandan of the upper Missouri—neither to be burnt nor buried—but placed upon a mat, supported by poles—aloof from the accursed wolves and undertakers—with a reasonable supply of pemmican and corncake, and a calabash of water, by his side!

The dread of such an occurrence has induced some very sensible people, to prefer cremation to earth and tomb burial. Of this we have a remarkable example, in our own country. An infant daughter of Henry Laurens, the first President of Congress, had, to all appearance, died of the small pox. She was, accordingly, laid out, and prepared for the grave. A window, which, during her illness, had been kept carefully closed, having been opened after the body was shrouded, and a stream of air blowing freshly into the apartment, the child revived, and the robes of death were joyfully exchanged, for her ordinary garments. This event naturally produced a strong impression, upon the father’s mind. By his will, Mr. Laurens enjoined it upon his children, as a solemn duty, that his body should be burnt; and this injunction was duly fulfilled.

In former numbers, I have referred the reader to various authorities, upon this interesting subject. I will offer a brief quotation from a sensible writer—“According to the present usage, as soon as the semblance of death appears, the chamber is deserted, by friends, relatives, and physicians, and the apparently dead, though frequently living, body is committed to the management of an ignorant or unfeeling nurse, whose care extends no further than laying the limbs straight, and securing her accustomed perquisites. The bed clothes are immediately removed, and the body is exposed to the air. This, when cold, must extinguish any spark of life, that may remain, and which, by a different treatment, might have been kindled into a flame; or it may only continue to repress it, and the unhappy person revive amidst the horrors of the tomb.”—“Coldness, heaviness of the body, a leaden, livid color, with a yellowness in the visage,” says the same author, “are all very uncertain signs.” Mr. Zimmerman observed them all, upon the body of a criminal, who[Pg 375] fainted, through the dread of the punishment he had merited. He was shaken, dragged about, and turned, in the same manner dead bodies are, without the least sign of resistance: and yet, at the end of twenty-four hours, he was recalled to life, by means of volatile alkali.

In 1777, Dr. William Hawes, the founder of the Humane Society in London, published an address, on premature interment. This is a curious and valuable performance. I cannot here withhold the statement, that this excellent man, before the formation of the Humane Society, for several years, offered rewards, and paid them from his own purse, for the rescue of persons from drowning, between Westminster and London bridge. Dr. Hawes remarks, that the appearance of death has often been mistaken for the reality, in apoplectic, and fainting fits, and those, arising from any violent agitation of the mind, and from the free use of opium and spirituous liquors. Children, he observes, have often been restored, who have apparently died in convulsions. In case of fevers, in weak habits, or when the cure has been chiefly attempted, by means of depletion, the patient often sinks into a state, resembling death; and the friends, in the opinion of Dr. Hawes, have been fatally deceived. In small pox, he remarks, when the pustules sink, and death apparently ensues, means of restoration should by no means be neglected.

In Lord Bacon’s Historia Vitæ et Mortis, a passage occurs, commencing—“Complura fuerunt exempla hominum, tanquam mortuorum, aut expositorum e lecto, aut delatorum ad funus, quinetiam nonnullorum in terra conditorum, qui nihilominus revixerunt,” etc. But the passage is rather long, and in a dead language; and my professional experience has admonished me to be economical of space, and to occupy, for every dead subject, long or short, as little room, as possible. I therefore give an English version, of whose sufficiency the reader may judge, by glancing at the original, vol. viii. p. 447, Lond. 1824.—There were many examples, says Lord Bacon, of men, supposed to be dead, taken from their beds as corpses, or borne to their graves, some of them actually buried, who, nevertheless, revived. This fact, in regard to such as were buried, has been proved, upon re-opening their graves; by the bruises and wounds upon their heads; and by the manifest evidences of tossing about, and struggling in their coffins. John Scott, a man of genius, and a scholar, furnishes a very recent and remarkable example; who,[Pg 376] shortly after his burial, was disinterred, and found, in that condition, by his servant, who was absent at the time of Mr. Scott’s interment, and well acquainted, it seems, with those symptoms of catalepsy, to which he was liable.

A like event happened, in my time, to a play-actor, buried at Cambridge. I remember the account, given me by a clever fellow, who being full of frolic, and desirous of knowing what were the feelings of persons, who were hanging, suspended himself to a beam, and let himself drop, thinking that he could lay hold on the beam, when he chose. This, however, he was unable to do; but, luckily, he was relieved by a companion. Upon being interrogated, he replied, that he had not been sensible of any pain—that, at first, a sort of fire and flashing came about his eyes—then extreme darkness and shadows—and, lastly, a sort of pale blue color, like that of the ocean. I have heard a physician, now living, say, that, by frictions and the warm bath, he had brought a man to life, who had hanged himself, and remained suspended, for half an hour. The same physician used to say, that he believed any one might be recovered, who had been suspended no longer, unless his neck was broken. Such is a version of Lord Bacon’s statement.

In the Gentleman’s Magazine, for 1834, page 475, the following account is given of the feelings, during the process of hanging, by one, who was restored—“The preparations were dreadful, beyond all expression. On being dropped, he found himself midst fields and rivers of blood, which gradually acquired a greenish tinge; and imagined, if he could reach a certain spot in the same, he should be easy. He struggled forcibly to attain this, and felt no more.”




It were greatly to be desired, that every driver of brute animals, Guinea negroes, and hard bargains, since he will not be a Christian, should be a Pythagorean. The doctrine of the metempsychosis would, doubtless, instil a salutary terror into his mind; and soften the harshness of his character, by creating a dread of being, himself, spavined and wind-galled, through all[Pg 377] eternity; or destined to suffer from the lash, which he has mercilessly laid upon the slave; or condemned to endure that hard measure, which he has meted, in this world, to the miserable debtor.

This opinion, which Pythagoras is said to have borrowed from the Egyptians, or, as some assert, from the Brachmans, makes the chief basis of religion, among the Banians and others, in India and China, at the present day; and is the cause of their great aversion to take the life of brute animals, and even insects. The accidental destruction of any living thing produces, with them, a feeling of sorrow, similar to that, experienced, as Mr. Catlin says, by an Indian, who unfortunately shot his totem, which, in that case, chanced to be a bear; that is, an animal of a certain race, one of which his guardian angel was supposed to inhabit.

Vague and fantastical, as have been the notions of a future state, in different nations, the idea of a condition of being, after death, has been very universal. Such was the conclusion from the reasonings of Plato. Such were the results “quæ Socrates supremo vitæ die de immortalitate animorum disseruisset.” Such was the faith of Cicero—“Sic mihi persuasi, sic sentio, quum tanta celeritas animorum sit, tanta memoria præteritorum, futurorumque prudentia, tot artes, tantæ scientiæ, tot inventa, non posse eam naturam, quæ res eas contineat, esse mortalem.” De Senec. 21.

Seneca was born a year before the Christian era. There is a remarkable passage, in his sixty-third letter, addressed to Lucilius. He is striving to comfort Lucilius, who had lost his friend Flaccus—“Cogitemus ergo Lucili carissime, cito nos eo perventuros quo illum pervenisse mœremus. Et fortasse (si modo sapientium vera fama est, recipitque nos locus aliquis) quem putamus perisse, præmissus est:”—Let us consider, my dear Lucilius, how soon we, ourselves, shall go whither he has gone, whose fate we deplore. And possibly (if the report of certain wise men be true, and there is indeed a place to receive us hereafter) he whom we consider as gone from us forever, has only gone before. Here is, indeed, a shadowy conception of a future state. The heathen and the Christian, the savage and the sage concur, in the feeling, or the faith, or the philosophy, whichever it may be, that, though flesh and blood, bone and muscle shall perish, the spirit shall not. An impression, like this, swells into conviction,[Pg 378] from the very contemplation of its own instinctive and pervasive character.

The Egyptians believed, in the abiding presence of the spirit with the body, so long as the latter could be preserved; and therefore bestowed great pains, in its preservation. In the travels of Lewis and Clarke, the Echeloot Indians are reported to pay great regard to their dead; and Captain Clarke was of the opinion, that they were believers in a future state. They have common cemeteries; the bodies, carefully wrapped in skins, are laid on mats, in vaults made of pine or cedar, eight feet square; the sides are covered with strange figures, cut and painted, and images are attached. On tall poles, surmounting these structures, are suspended brass kettles, old frying-pans, shells, skins, baskets, pieces of cloth, and hair. Sometimes the body is laid in one canoe, and covered with another. It is not easy to conjecture what occasion these poor Echeloots supposed spirits could have, for frying-pans and brass kettles.

The faith of the inhabitants of Taheite is very peculiar. They believe, that the soul passes through no other purgatory, than the stomach of the Eatooa bird. They say of the dead, that they are harra po, gone to the night; and they believe, that the soul is instantly swallowed, by the Eatooa bird, and is purified by the process of deglutition; then it revives; becomes a superior being; never more to be liable to suffering. This soul is now raised to the rank of the Eatooa, and may, itself, swallow souls, whenever an opportunity occurs; which, having passed through this gastric purgation, may, in their turn, do the very same thing. Vancouver was present, at the obsequies of the chief, Matooara. The priest gave a funeral sermon—“The trees yet live,” said he, “the plants flourish, yet Matooara dies!” It was a kind of expostulation with Eatooa.

Baron Swedenborg’s notions of the soul’s condition, after death, are very original, and rather oriental. He believed, “that man eats, and drinks, and even enjoys conjugal delight, as in this world; that the resemblance between the two worlds is so great, that, in the spiritual world, there are cities with palaces and houses, and also writings and books, employments and merchandizes; that there are gold and silver, and precious stones there. There is, in the spiritual world, all and every thing that there is in the natural world; but that in Heaven, such things are in an infinitely more perfect state.” Trade, in Heaven, is conducted,[Pg 379] doubtless, on those lofty principles, inculcated, by the late Dr. Chalmers, in his commercial discourses; counterfeiters and bank robbers, marriage squabbles and curtain lectures are unknown; and no angel lendeth upon usury. In this arrangement, there is a remarkable oversight; for, as death is dispensed with, our vocation is no better, than Othello’s. The superior advantages of the Baron’s Heaven scarcely offer a fair compensation, for the suffering and inconvenience of removing, from our present tabernacles; and, for one, I should decidedly prefer to remain where I am, especially now that we have gotten the Cochituate water.

Such being the fashion of Swedenborg’s Heaven, it would be quite interesting, were he now among us, in the flesh, to have, under his own hand, a rough sketch of his Hell. As the former is a state, somewhat better, the latter must be a state somewhat worse, than our present condition. It would not be very difficult to give some little idea of Swedenborg’s Orcus, or place of punishment. We should have an eternal subtreasury, of course, with a tariff, more onerous, if possible, than that of 1846: the infernal banks would not discount, and money, on prime paper, would be three per cent. a month. Slavery would cover the earth; and the South would rage against the North and its interference, like the maniac, against his best friend, who strives to prevent him, from cutting his own throat, with his own razor.

Among the fancies, which have prevailed, in relation to the soul and its habits, none, perhaps, have been more remarkable, than the belief, in an actual exodus, or going forth, of the soul from the body, during life, on excursions of business or pleasure. This may be placed in the category of sick men’s dreams; and probably is nothing else than that mighty conjuration of the mind, especially the mind of an invalid; of whose power no man had greater experience than Emanuel Swedenborg. The inhabitants of some of the Polynesian islands believe, that the spirits of their ancestors become divinities, or Tees. They believe the soul walks abroad, in dreams, under the charge of its Tee, or tutelary angel.

Mydo, a boy, was brought from Taheite, by an English whaler, and died, kindly cared for, by the Moravians. One morning, he spoke to these friends, as follows:—“You told me my soul could not die, and I have been thinking about it. Last night my body lay on that bed, but I knew nothing of it, for my[Pg 380] soul was very far off. My soul was in Taheite. I am sure I saw my mother and my friends, and I saw the trees and dwellings, as I left them. I spoke to the people, and they spoke to me; and yet my body was lying still in this room, all the while. In the morning, I was come again into my body, and was at Mirfield, and Taheite was a great many miles off. Now I understand what you say about my body being put into the earth, and my soul being somewhere else; and I wish to know where it will be, when it can no more return to my body.” Such were the humble conceptions of the dying Taheitean boy—let the reader decide for himself what more there may be, under the grandiloquence of Addison—

————Plato, thou reasonest well.
Else whence this pleasing hope, this fond desire,
This longing after immortality?
Or whence this secret dread and inward horror
Of falling into naught? Why shrinks the soul
Back on herself, and startles at destruction!
’Tis the divinity, that stirs within us;
’Tis Heaven itself, that points out an hereafter,
And intimates eternity to man.




The ashes of the dead are ransacked, not only for hidden treasure, and for interesting relics, but there is a figurative species of raking and scratching, among them, in quest of one’s ancestors. This is, too frequently, a periculous experiment; for the searcher sometimes finds his progress—the pleasure of his employment, at least—rudely interrupted, by an offensive stump, which proves to be the relic of the whipping-post, or the gallows.

Neither the party himself, nor the world, trouble their heads, about a man’s ancestors, until he has distinguished himself, in some degree, or fancies that he has; for, while he is nobody, they are clearly nobody’s ancestors. In Note A, upon the article Touchet, vol. ix., fol. ed., Lond., 1739, Bayle remarks—“It is very common to fall into two extremes, with regard to those, whom Providence raises greatly above their former condition: some, by fabulous genealogies, procure them ancestors of the[Pg 381] first quality; others reduce them to a rank, much below the true one.” This remark was amply illustrated, in the case of Napoleon Bonaparte: while some there were, who thought they could make out a clear descent from the prince of darkness, others were ready to accommodate him with the most illustrious ancestry. The Emperor of Austria had a fancy, for tracing Napoleon’s descent, from one of the petty sovereigns of Treviso; and a genealogist made a merit of proving him to be a descendant, from an ancient line of Gothic princes; to all this Napoleon sensibly replied, that he dated his patent of nobility, from the battle of Monte Notte. Cicero was of the same way of thinking, and prided himself, on being novus homo. Among the fragmenta, ascribed to him, there is a declamation against Sallust, published by Lemaire, in his edition of the Classics, though he believes it not to be Cicero’s; in which, sec. ii., are these words—Ego meis majoribus virtute mea præluxi; ut, si prius noti non fuerint, a me accipiant initium memoriæ suæBy my virtue, I have shown forth before my ancestors; so, that if they were unknown before, they will receive the commencement of their notoriety from me. “I am no herald,” said Sydney, “to inquire of men’s pedigrees: it sufficeth for me if I know their virtues.”

This setting up for ancestors, among those, who, from the very nature of our institutions, are, and ever must be, a middling interest people, is as harmless, as it is sometimes ridiculous, and no more need be said of its inoffensiveness.

From the very nature of the case, there can be no lack of ancestors. The simplest arithmetic will show, that the humblest citizen has more than one million of grand parents, within the twentieth degree; and it is calculated, in works on consanguinity, that, within the fifteenth degree, every man has nearly two hundred and seventy millions of kindred. There is no lack, therefore, of the raw material, for this light work; unless, in a case, like that of the little vagrant, who replied to the magistrate’s inquiry, as to his parents, that he never had any, but was washed ashore. The process is very simple. Take the name of Smith, for example: set down all of that name, who have graduated at the English, American, and German colleges, for Schmidt is the same thing—then enrol all of that name, upon the habitable earth, who have, in any way, distinguished themselves; carefully avoiding the records of criminal[Pg 382] courts, and such publications as Caulfield’s Memoirs, the State Trials, and the Newgate Calendar. Such may be called the genealogy of the Smiths; and every man of that name, while contemplating the list of worthies, will find himself declaring a dividend, per capita, of all that was good, and great, and honorable, in the collection; and he will arise, from the perusal, a more complacent, if not a better man.

This species of literature is certainly coming into vogue. I have lately seen, in this city, a large duodecimo volume, recently printed, in which the genealogy of a worthy family, among us, is traced, through Oliver Cromwell, to Æneas, not Æneas Silvius, who flourished in the early part of the fifteenth century, and became Pope Pius II., but to Æneas, the King of the Latins. This royal descent is not through the second marriage with Lavinia; nor through the accidental relation, between Æneas and Dido—

Speluncam Dido dux et Trojanus eandem

but through the first marriage with the unfortunate Creusa, who was burnt to death, in the great Troy fire, which took place, according to the Parian Marbles, on the 23d of the month, Thargelion, i. e., 11th of June, 1184 years before Christ. Ascanius was certainly therefore the ancestor of this worthy family, the son of Æneas and Creusa; and the grandson of Anchises and Venus. Such a pedigree may satisfy a Welchman.

I am forcibly reminded, by all this, of a very pleasant story, recounted by Horace Walpole, in a letter to Horace Mann: I refer to Letter CCV. in Lord Dover’s edition. In 1749, when Mirepoix was ambassador in England, there was a Monsieur de Levi, in his suite. This man was proud of his Jewish name, and really appeared to set no bounds to his genealogical gout. They considered the Virgin Mary a cousin of their house, and had a painting, in which she is represented, as saying to Monsieur Levi’s ancestor, who takes off his hat in her presence—“Couvrez vous, mon cousin:” to which he replies—“Non pas, ma très sainte cousine, je scai trop bien le respect que je vous dois.” The editor, Lord Dover, says, in a note, that there is said to have been another ridiculous picture, in that family, in which Noah is represented, going into the ark, carrying a[Pg 383] small trunk under his arm, on which is written—“Papiers de la maison de Levis.”

Very few persons are calculated for the task of tracing genealogies; patience and discrimination should be united with a certain slowness of belief, and wariness of imposition. Two of a feather do not more readily consociate, than two of a name, and of the genealogical fancy, contrive to strike up a relationship. There are also greater obstacles in the way, than a want of the requisite talents, temper, and attainments:—“Alterations of sirnames,” says Camden, “which, in former ages, have been very common, have so obscured the truth of our pedigrees, that it will be no little labor to deduce many of them.” For myself, a plain, old-fashioned sexton, as I am, I am much better satisfied, with the simple and intelligible assurance of my Bible, that I am a child of Adam, than I could possibly be, with any genealogical proofs, that Anchises and Venus were my ancestors. However, there is no such thing as accounting for taste; and it is not unpleasant, I admit, to those of us, who still cherish some of our early, classical attachments, to know, that the blood of that ancient family is still preserved among us.

No man is more inclined than I am, to perpetuate a sentiment of profound respect for the memory of worthy ancestors. Let us extract, from the contemplation of their virtues, a profitable stimulus, to prevent us from being weary in well-doing. By the laws of Confucius, a part of the duty, which children owed to their parents, consisted in worshipping them, when dead. I am inclined to believe, that this filial worship or reverence may be well bestowed, in the ascending line, on all, who have deserved it, and who are, bona fide, our grandfathers and grandmothers. It seems to me quite proper and convenient, to have a well-authenticated catalogue or list of one’s ancestors, as far back as possible; but let us exercise a sound discretion in this matter; and not run into absurdity. I am ready and willing to obey the laws of Confucius, as implicitly, as though I were a Chinaman, and reverence my ancestors; but I must, first, be well satisfied, as to their identity. I will never consent, because some professional genealogist has worked himself into a particular belief, to worship the man in the moon, for my great Proavus, nor Dido for my great, great grandmother.

[Pg 384]Domestic arboriculture is certainly getting into fashion, and a family tree is becoming quite essential to the self-complacency, at least, of many well-regulated families. The roots are found to push freely, in the superficial soil of family pride. Generally, these trees, to render them sightly, require to be pruned with a free hand; and the proprietor, when the crooked branches are skilfully removed, and all the small and imperfect fruit put entirely out of sight, may behold it, with heartfelt pleasure, and rejoice in the happy consciousness, that he is a Smink. If, however, these family matters, instead of being preserved, for private amusement, are to be multiplied, by the press, there will, indeed, in the words of the wise man, be no end of making books.

Ancestors are relics, and nothing else. Whenever the demand for ancestors becomes brisk, and genealogy becomes a profession—it becomes a craft. Laboureur, the historian, in his Additions de Castelnau, tom. ii. p. 559, affords a specimen of genealogical trust-worthiness. “In 1560, Renatus of Sanzay built, with John le Feron, king at arms of France, a genealogy of the house of Sanzay, made up of near fifty descents, most of them enumerated, year by year; with the names, sirnames, and coats of arms of the women; whilst all those names, families, and arms were mere phantoms; brother Stephen of Lusignan, out of this mighty tub, as from a public fountain, let flow the nobility and blood of Lusignan to all persons, who desired any of it.”—Again, on page 320, Laboureur says—“They admitted, as true, all that was vented by certain false antiquaries and downright enthusiasts, such as John le Maire de Belges, Forcatel, a civilian, Stephen of Lusignan, and John le Feron, whom I will charge with nothing but credulity.” This, doubtless, is the stumbling block of most men, who engage in this semi-mythical employment.

Nothing is more easy, than to mistake one dead person, for another, when corruption has done its work, upon the form and features. There is something bituminous in time. What masculine mistakes are committed by experts! Those relics, which have been the object of hereditary veneration, for thirty centuries, as the virgin daughter of some great high priest in the days of Cheops and Cephrenes, may, by the assistance of the savans, with the aid of magnifiers of extraordinary power, be demonstrated to be the blackened carcass of Hum-Bug-Phi, the[Pg 385] son of Hassan, the camel-driver; who kept a little khane or caravansera near Joseph’s granaries, in old Al Karirah, on the eastern banks of the Nile, famous—very—for the quality of its leeks and onions, three thousand years ago.




Thank Heaven, I am not a young widow, for two plain reasons; I do not wish to be young again—and I would not be a widow, if I could help it. A young widow, widder, or widdy, as the word is variously spelt, has been a byword, of odd import, ever since the days, when Sara, the daughter of Raguel, exclaimed, in the fifteenth verse of the third chapter of the book of Tobit—“My seven husbands are already dead, and why should I live?” All this tilting against the widows, with goose quills for spears, arises from the fact, that these weapons of war are mainly in the hands of one sex. Men are the scribblers—the lions are the painters. Nothing, in the chapters of political economy, is more remarkable, than the fact, that, since all creation was divided into parishes, there has never been a parish, in which there was not a Mr. Tompkins, who was the very thing for the widow Button. But the cutting out and fitting of these matters commonly belongs to that amiable sisterhood, who are ever happy, without orders, to make up, at short notice.

The result of my limited reading and observation has satisfied me entirely, that there is, and ever has been, a very great majority of bad husbands, over the bad wives, and of bewizzarded widowers, over the widows bewitched. When a poor, lone, young widow, for no reason under Heaven, but the desire to prove her respect, as Dr. Johnson says, for the state of matrimony, takes the initiative, every unmarried female, over thirty, longs to cut her ears off.

If there be sin or silliness, in the repetition of the matrimonial relation, or in strong indications of uneasiness, in the state of single blessedness, man is the offender in chief.

Quadrigamus, signifying a man who had been four times married, was a word, applicable of old. Henry VIII. had six wives, in succession. Let us summon a witness, from among the dead.[Pg 386] Let us inquire, where is there a widow, maid, or wife, who would not be deemed a candidate for the old summary punishment of Skymmington, should she behave herself, as boldly, and outrageously, as John Milton behaved?

Milton, though he did not commence his matrimonial experiments, until he was thirty-five, married, in succession, Mary Powell, in 1643—Catherine Woodcock, in 1653—and Elizabeth Minshull, in 1662. Mary Powell, who was the daughter of a Cavalier, and accustomed to the gaiety of her father’s house, soon became weary of her solitary condition, with John Milton, who was, constitutionally, of a choleric and lordly temper. Contrasted with the loneliness, and slender appliances of her new home, the residence of her father, at Forest Hill, appeared to her, like paradise lost. So she went home, at the end of a month, ostensibly upon a visit; and, probably, gave no very flattering account of the honeymoon. Just about that period, the King’s forces had thrashed Fairfax, in the North, and taught Waller the true difference, between prose and poetry, in the West; and “the Powells,” says Dr. Symmons, “began to repent of their Republican connection.” Milton wrote to his wife to return. She neither came, nor responded. He next sent a messenger, who was treated with contempt. Thereupon Milton immediately proceeded to pay his suit to a very beautiful and accomplished young lady, the daughter of a Dr. Davis; and Dr. Symmons is evidently of opinion, that the lady and her family had no objections to the proceeding, which is fully exhibited, in Milton’s Prose Works, vol. vii. p. 205, Lond., 1806.

Talk not of widows after this. Finding, even in those days of disorder, that no divorce, a vinculo, could be obtained, under existing laws, he wrote his celebrated works—The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, and the Judgment of Martin Bucer, concerning Divorce. In these works he sets forth his particular grievance, which the reader may easily comprehend, from one or two brief quotations—he speaks of a “mute and spiritless mate” and of “himself bound to an image of earth and phlegm.”

After the fight of Naseby, the Powells appear to have thought better of it; and Madame Milton returned, made the amende, and was restored in full. What sort of composition Milton made with Miss Davis nobody has ever disclosed. Certain it is, that compasionate damsel and the works upon divorce were all[Pg 387] laid upon the same shelf. We are apt to find something of value, in a thing we have discarded, when we perceive, that it is capable of giving high satisfaction to another. This consideration may have influenced Mrs. Milton; and, very possibly, the desire of returning to the residence of Milton may have been secondary to that of jilting Miss Davis, which she was certainly entitled to do. I knew an old gentleman, who was always so much affected, in this manner, by the sight of his cast-off clothing, upon the persons of his servants, that nothing would content him, short of reclaimer.

Milton was ever Milton still—nihil tetigit quod non ornavit. Take a brief extract or two from his work on divorce:—“What therefore God hath joined let no man put asunder. But here the Christian prudence lies, to consider what God hath joined. Shall we say that God hath joined error, fraud, unfitness, wrath, contention, perpetual loneliness, perpetual discord? Whatever lust, or wine, or witchery, threat or enticement, avarice or ambition hath joined together, faithful or unfaithful, Christian with anti-Christian, hate with hate, or hate with love—shall we say this is God’s joining?”—“But unfitness and contrariety frustrate and nullify forever, unless it be a rare chance, all the good and peace of wedded conversation; and leave nothing between them enjoyable, but a prone and savage necessity, not worth the name of marriage, unaccompanied with love.” Every word of all this was written with an eye to the object of his unlawful passion: but the legislature very justly considered the greatest good of the greatest possible number; and would not turn aside, to pass a bill, for the special relief of John Milton and Miss Davis.

Selden, in his Uxor Hebraica, has proved, that polygamy existed, not only among the Hebrews, but among all nations, and in all ages. Mark Anthony is mentioned, as the first, among the Romans, who took the liberty of having two wives. What a gathering there would have been, in the Forum, if the news had been spread, that Mrs. Mark Anthony had taken the liberty of having two husbands! Every body knows, that widows are occasionally burnt, in Hindostan, on the funeral pile with their husbands. Whoever heard of a widower being burnt or even scorched, on a similar occasion?

The Landgrave of Hesse, the most warlike of the Protestant leaders, caused a representation to be made to the theologians, that[Pg 388] he must have two wives, and that he would not be denied. A most rampant and outrageous protocol was prepared, and handed to Bucerus, for the ministers at Wittemberg. The substance of this was equally discreditable to the Landgrave, and insulting to Luther and the holy fathers. The Landgrave was no gentleman, for he told the theologians, that his lady got drunk, and was personally disagreeable to him. He calls God to witness, that, if they do not sanction his polygamy, he will do just what he likes, and the sin will be upon their heads. He particularly wishes information, on one point—why he is not as good as Abraham, Jacob, David, Lamech, and Solomon; and why he has not as good a right to have a spare wife or two, as they had. He asks for two only.

Luther was deeply troubled, and perplexed. The Reformation professed to bring back the world to the Scriptures, in which polygamy was expressly recognized. The Reformers held marriage to be res politica, and therefore subject to the law of the State. The matter became worse by delay. The Landgrave was filled with fury, and the theologians with fear. At last, poor Luther and the rest signed a paper, concluding with these memorable words—“If however your highness is utterly determined upon marrying a second wife, we are of opinion, that it ought to be done secretly. Signed and sealed at Wittemberg, after the feast of St. Nicholas, in the year 1539. Martin Luther, Philip Melancthon, Martin Bucer, Antony Corvin, Adam John Lening, Justin Wintfert, Dyonisius Melanther.”

The detail of all this may be found, in Hazlitt’s translation of Michelet’s Life of Luther, page 251, Lond. 1846. Bayle, article Luther, observes, that the theologians would have promptly refused to sanction such a thing, had the request come from any private gentleman—or, permit me to add, if it had come from the lady of the Landgrave, for a brace of husbands.

It is my opinion, that great injustice is done to widows. The opinion of St. Jerome, who never was a widow, and knew nothing about it, that they should never marry again, is perfectly absurd; for there are some men, whose constitutional timidity would close the matrimonial highway forever, were it not for that peculiar species of encouragement, which none but widows can ever administer. For my own part, I would have a widow speak out, and spare not; for I am very fearful, that the opposite course is productive of great moral mischief, and tends[Pg 389] to perpetuate a system of terrible hypocrisy. But let a sound discretion be exercised. I disapprove altogether of conditional engagements, made durante vita mariti.




Jonny Moorhead was a man of a kind heart and a pleasant fancy. He came hither from Belfast, in 1727. He became pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Long Lane, in 1730.—Tempora mutantur—Long Lane, and Jonny Moorhead, and the little, old, visible temple, and Presbyterianism itself, are like Rachel’s first born—they are not. But in 1744, the good people built a new church, for Jonny Moorhead; in due time, Long Lane became Federal Street; and, Jonny’s church bore the bell, which had rung so many peals, and the gilded tell-tale, which, for so many years, had done obeisance to all the winds of Heaven, upon the old Brattle Street Church. These, upon the demolition of that church, in 1774, were the gift of John Hancock. Jonny Moorhead had little comfort from that bell, for he died December 3, 1774, and could he have lived to see that Presbyterian weathercock go round, in after-times, it would have broken the tough, old strings of Jonny Moorhead’s Irish heart.

About one hundred years ago, Jonny Moorhead, upon a drowsy summer afternoon, gave out the one hundred and eighty-seventh psalm—the chief minstrel, with infinite embarrassment, suggested, that there were not so many in the Book—and tradition tells us, that Jonny replied—“Weel, then, sing as mony as there be.”

My recollection of this anecdote of Jonny Moorhead will be painfully revived, when I send forth the one hundredth number of these dealings with the dead. They have been prepared like patch-work, from such fragments, as my common-place book supplied, and at such broken hours of more than ordinary loneliness, as might otherwise have been snoozed, unconsciously away. I had cast all that I had written into a particular drawer; and great was my surprise, to find, that the hundredth was the last, and that, with that number, I shall have sung—“as mony as there be.”

[Pg 390]One hundred—thought I—is an even number—few individuals care to survive one hundred. When these dealings with the dead had reached the number of four-score, I had serious misgivings, that their strength, to my weary reader, might prove nothing better than labor and sorrow; notwithstanding the occasional tokens of approbation, from some exceedingly old-fashioned people, who were altogether behind the times.

Having attained this point d’appui, which appears well enough adapted for the long home of an old sexton, it occurred to me, that I could not possibly do a better thing, for myself, or a more acceptable thing for the public, than to gather up my tools, as snugly as possible, and quietly give up the ghost. But giving up the ghost, even in the sacristan sense of that awful phrase, is not particularly agreeable, after all. If I look upon each one of these hundred dealings, as a sepulchre of my own digging—I cannot deny, that the employment of my spade has been a particular solace to me. But there are other solaces—I know it—there are an hundred according to the exiled bard of Sulmo—

“——centum solatia curæ
Et rus, et comites, et via longa dabunt.”

Other suggestions readily occur, and are as readily, discarded. Parents, occasionally, experiment upon the sensibility of their children, by fondly discoursing of the uncertainty of human existence, and mingling deep drawn sighs, with shadowy allusions to wills and codicils.

For three-and-thirty years, our veteran, maiden aunt, Jemima Wycherly, at the close of her annual visit, which seldom fell short of six weeks, in its duration, though it seemed much longer, took each of us by the hand, and, with many tears, commended us fervently to the protecting arm of an overruling Providence, and bade us an eternal farewell!

I have always contemplated the conduct of Charles V. in relation to the rehearsal of his funeral obsequies, as a piece of imperial foolery. “He ordered his tomb to be erected, in the chapel of the monastery. His domestics marched thither in funeral procession, with black tapers in their hands. He himself followed, in his shroud. He was laid in his coffin, with much solemnity. The service for the dead was chanted; and Charles joined in the prayers, which were offered for the rest of his soul, mingling his tears with those, which his attendants shed,[Pg 391] as if they had been celebrating a real funeral. The ceremony closed, with sprinkling holy water on the coffin, in the usual form, and, all the assistants retiring, the doors of the chapel were shut. Then Charles rose out of the coffin, and withdrew to his apartment.” Such is the statement of Dr. Robertson.[1]

Notwithstanding this high authority, it is comforting, even at this late day, to believe, that a story, so discreditable to the memory of Charles, is without any substantial foundation. It has ever appeared remarkable, that Bayle should not have alluded to this curious anecdote. After bestowing the highest praise, on Richard Ford’s Hand Book, for Travellers in Spain, the London Quarterly Review[2] furnishes an extract from the work, in which, after giving a minute and interesting account of the convent of St. Yuste, the final retreat of Charles V., Mr. Ford says—“the story of his having had the funeral service said over himself, while alive, is untrue; no record, or tradition of the kind existed among the monks.”

There is something, in these drafts upon posterity, to be accepted and paid, by the present generation, for the honor of the drawer, resembling the conduct of a man, who encroaches on his principal, or who anticipates his revenues.

There is, undoubtedly, a species of luxury in leave-taking. We have delighted, to contemplate the edifying history of that gray-headed old rat, who, weary of the world, and determined to spend the remnant of his days, in pious meditation, took a final and affectionate leave of all his relatives and friends, and retired to a quiet hole—in the recesses of a Cheshire cheese.

However gratified we may be, to witness the second, or third coming of an able, ardent, and ambitious politician, it is not in the gravest nature to restrain a smile, while we contrast that vehemence, which no time can temper—that vis vivida vitæ—ready for all things, in the forum or the field—that unquenchable fire, brightly burning, beneath the frost of more than seventy winters—with those sad infirmities of ace—those silver hairs—that one foot in the grave—the necessity of turning from all sublunary things, and making way for Heaven, under the pale rays of life’s parting sun—those senatorial adieus—and long, last farewells—those solemn prayers and fervent hopes for the [Pg 392]happiness of his associates, whom he should meet no more, on this side of the eternal world—those esto perpetuas for his country! How touching these things would be, but for their frequency! What more natural, or more excusable, having enjoyed the luxury of leave-taking, than a desire—after a reasonable interval—to repeat the process, which afforded so much pleasure, and inflicted so little pain!

As to my own comparatively humble relation to the public—parvis componere magna—I am of opinion, that I should gain nothing, by affecting to retire, or by pretending to be dead. As to the former, it may be as truly averred of sextons, as it was, by Mr. Jefferson, of office-holders—“few die and none resign;” and, in respect to the latter, I not only despise the idea of such an imposition upon the public, but have some little fear, that the affectation might be too suddenly followed, by the reality, as Dr. Robertson, rightly or wrongly, affirms it to have been, in the case of Charles the Fifth.

I am now fairly committed, for the first number, at least, of another hundred, but for nothing more. I pretend not to look deeper into futurity, than six feet, which is the depth of a well-made grave. When I shall have completed the second hundred, and commenced upon a third, I shall be well nigh ready to exclaim, in the words of Ovid—

Annos bis centum: nunc tertia vivitur ætas.”

A relation of liberty and equality is decidedly the best, for my reader and for me—I am not constrained to write, nor he to read—if he cannot lie cozily, in a grave of my digging—I do not propose to detain him there—to bury him alive. Dealing with the dead has not hardened my heart. I am a sexton of very considerable sensibility; and have, occasionally, mingled my tears with the earth, as I shovelled it in.

In less figurative phrase, it is my desire to write, for my amusement, till one of us, the reader or myself, gives in, or gives out, and cries enough. I have a perfect respect for the old proverb, de gustibus, and by no means anticipate the pleasure of pleasing every body—

Men’ moveat cimex Pantilius? aut cruciet, quod
Vellicet absentem Demetrius? aut quod ineptus
Fannius Hermogenis lædat conviva Tigelli?

[Pg 393]There are some readers, for example, who seem to look upon a classical quotation, as a personal affront. I conceive this objection to be scarcely equitable, from those, whose hybrid English, it is quite as hard to bear.

There are mortals—offenders in some sort—whom it is difficult to please, like the culprit who cried higher and lower, under the lash, till the Irish drummer’s patience was perfectly exhausted, and he exclaimed—“By Jasus, there’s no plasing ye, strike where I will.”



No. C.

The sayings of eminent men, in a dying hour, are eminently worthy of being gathered together—they are often illustrative of the characters of the dead, and impressive upon the hearts of the living. Not a few of these parting words are scattered, over the breadth and length of history, and might form a volume—a Vade Mecum, for the patriot and the Christian—a casket of imperishable jewels.

As an example of those sayings, to which I refer, nothing can be more apposite, than that of the Chevalier Bayard, while dying upon the field of battle. “He received a wound,” says Robertson, “which he immediately perceived to be mortal, and being unable any longer to continue on horseback, he ordered one of his attendants to place him under a tree, with his face toward the enemy; then fixing his eyes on the guard of his sword, which he held up, instead of a cross, he addressed his prayers to God; and, in this posture, which became his character, both as a soldier and as a Christian, he calmly awaited the approach of death.” Bourbon, who led the foremost of the enemy’s troops, found him in this situation, and expressed regret and pity, at the sight. “Pity not me,” cried the high-spirited chevalier, “I die, as a man of honor ought, in the discharge of my duty; they indeed are objects of pity, who fight against their king, their country, and their oath.”

How significant of the life of that great military phlebotomist, who, from the overthrow of the council of five hundred, in 1799, to his own in 1815, delighted in blood, and in war, were those wild, wandering words of the dying Napoleon—tete d’armee!

[Pg 394]We have the last words of consciousness, that were uttered, by the younger Adams, when stricken by the hand of death in the capitol—the last of earth! We have also those of his venerable father, who expired, on the anniversary of that day, which he had so essentially contributed to render glorious, so long as the annals of our country shall continue to be preserved. On the morning of that day, the dying patriot, at the age of ninety-one, was awakened, by the customary pealing of bells, and the roar of artillery. Upon being asked, if he recognized the day, he replied—“it is the glorious Fourth—God bless the day—God bless you all.”

On the ninth day of July, 1850, another patriot died, at his post, and in the service of his country, whose parting words will long remain, engraven at full length, upon the broad area of the whole American heart,—I am prepared—I have endeavored to do my duty! Here, in this comprehensive declaration of General Taylor, are embodied all, and more than all, contained in the long cherished words of the departing patriot—Esto perpetua!

“And you brave Cobham, to the latest breath,
Shall feel your ruling passion, strong in death:
Such in those moments, as in all the past;
‘O save my country, Heaven!’ shall be your last.”

The ninth day of July is, with the Swiss, the day of their National Independence. On that memorable day, in 1836, they fought, and won the great battle of Sempach, against Leopold, Duke of Austria, which victory established the liberties of Switzerland.

Upon the anniversary of that very day, just ninety-five years ago, Washington was signally preserved, from the sweeping and indiscriminate carnage of Indian warfare, for those high destinies, which he fulfilled so gloriously. The ninth day of July, 1755, was the day of General Braddock’s defeat—the battle, as it is sometimes called, of Fort du Quesne. Hereafter, it will be noted, as a day of gloom, in our national calendar. A great—good man has fallen—in a trying hour—in the very midst of his labors—a wiser, a worthier could not have fallen, at a moment of deeper need. From sea to sea—from the mountain tops to the valleys below—from the city and from the wilderness—from the rich man’s castle, and from the hunter’s cabin—from the silver-haired and from the light-hearted, what an acclaim—what a[Pg 395] response, as the voice of one man—has already answered to that dying declaration—I am preparedI have endeavored to do my duty! As an entire people, we know it—we feel it—and may God, in his infinite wisdom and goodness, enable us to profit, by a dispensation, so awfully solemn, and so terribly severe.

The spirit of this great, good man is now by the side of that sainted shade, which once animated the form of the immortal Washington. They are looking down upon the destinies of their country. Who is so dull of hearing, as not to catch the context of those dying words? I am preparedI have endeavored to do my dutyand may my death cement that Union, which I so cheerfully devoted my life to preserve!

It is finished. The career of this good man has closed forever. Ingratitude and calumny to him are nothing now. After days and nights of restless agitation, he has obtained one long, last night of sweet repose, reserved for those, who die prepared, and who have endeavored to do their duty. He has gone where the wicked cease from troubling, and where the weary are at rest. No summons to attend the agitating councils of the Cabinet shall disturb his profound repose—no sarcastic commentaries upon his honest policy, from the over-heated leaders of the Senate or the House, shall give him additional pain. Party malignity can no longer reach that ear. Even the hoary-headed, political Zoilus of the age can scarcely find a motive, base enough, among the recesses of an envenomed heart, for posthumous abuse. In view of this solemnizing event, the raving abolitionist and the Utopian non-resistant may be expected to hold their incomparably senseless tongues, at least till these obsequies be past.

If I do not greatly mistake, the death of General Harrison and the death of General Taylor, so very soon after entering upon the performance of their presidential duties, will not fail to present before the whole American people, for their learning, a first and a second lesson, so perfectly legible, that he, who runs, may read.

It perfectly comports with a respect, sincere and profound, for the memories of these excellent men, solemnly to inquire, if, upon certain well known and universally acknowledged principles, it would not be as wise, and even more wise, to select a statesman, whose conduct in the cabinet had made him [Pg 396]preëminently popular, and to place him, with a sword, in his unpractised hand, at the head of the armies of the Republic—than to place, in the Presidential chair, a great soldier, universally and deservedly popular, for his success in war—however strong his common sense—however inflexible his integrity—however pure and devoted his patriotism—unless he also possesses that skill, and knowledge of affairs, which never came to man, by intuition; and which cannot be acquired, but by the laborious training and experience of years? This is a solemn question, for the people; and it may well be put, irrespectively of the public weal, and with a reference, directly, to the happiness, and even to the continued existence, of those, who may be so unfortunate as to become the objects of the popular favor. Is there any doubt, that all the battles, in which General Taylor has ever been engaged, have occasioned less wear and tear of body and mind, than have been produced, by the numberless trials and anxieties of the Presidential relation? It is a popular saying, and, perhaps, not altogether unworthy of general acceptation, that both General Harrison and General Taylor were killed, not by kindness, but by care.

It may readily be supposed, that a gallant soldier would rather encounter the brunt of a battle, than such torrents of filth, as have been poured, professionally, upon the chief magistrate of the nation, from week to week, by the great scavenger, and his auxiliaries, at Washington. All this would have been borne, with comparative indifference, by a practised statesman, whose training had been among the contests of the forum, and whose moral cutis had been thickened, by time and exposure.

To appear, and to be, all that a chief magistrate ought to appear, and to be, in the centre of his cabinet, what a mass of information, on a great variety of subjects—what tact, amid the details of the cabinet—must be required, which very few gentlemen, who have devoted themselves to the military profession, can be supposed to possess! If knowledge is power, ignorance is weakness; and the consciousness of that weakness produces a condition of suffering and anxiety. Instead of coming to the great work of government, with the necessary stock of knowledge, training, and experience—how incompetent is he, who comes to that work, like an actor, who is learning his part, during the progress of the play.

The crude, iron ore is quite as well adapted to the purposes[Pg 397] of the smith, or the cutler, without any subjection to the preparatory processes of metallurgy, as talent and virtue, however consummate, without preparatory training, and appropriate study, for the great and complicated work of government.

Too much confidence is apt to be reposed, upon the idea, that the President will be sustained, by his cabinet; and that any deficiencies, in him, will be compensated, by their wisdom and experience. The President is an important, component part of the acting government. He is not, like the august Personage, at the head of the government of England, who can do no wrong; and whose chief employment is the breeding of royal babies, and the occasional reading of a little speech. He can do a great deal of wrong, and must do a great deal of work; and, when he differs from his cabinet, the more need he feels of practical and applicable wisdom and knowledge; and, the more upright and conscientious he is, the more miserable he becomes, under an oppressive sense of his incapacity.

General Taylor will long be remembered, by the people of the United States, with profound and affectionate respect. His amiable and excellent qualities are embalmed in their hearts. He fought the battles of his country, with consummate skill and bravery. He led their armies, in many battles—and never, but to victory!

A grateful people, in the fulness of their hearts, and amid the blindness of popular enthusiasm, and with the purest purposes, and with sentiments of patriotic devotion, rewarded their gallant soldier, by placing upon his brows, A GILDED CROWN OF THORNS!



No. CI.

The form of a Chinese tomb, says Mr. Davis, in his “Description of the Empire of China,” whether large or small, is exactly that of the Greek omega Ω. Their mourning color is white. Their cemeteries are upon the hills. No interments are permitted in cities. No corpse is suffered to be carried, through any walled town, which may lie in its way to the place of interment.

The tombs of the rich, says M. Grosier, are shaped like a[Pg 398] horse shoe, which, when well made, might pass for a very respectable Ω. Almost immediately after death, says the latter writer, the corpse is arrayed in its best attire. A son will sell himself, as a slave, to purchase a coffin, for his father. The coffin, upon which no cost is spared, remains, frequently, for years, the most showy article of the expectant’s furniture. The body lies in state, and is visited by all comers, for seven days. The hall of ceremony is hung with white, interspersed with black or violet colored silk. Flowers, perfumes, and wax lights abound. Those, who enter, salute the dead, as if he were alive, and knock their heads, three times, upon the ground. Upon this, the sons of the defunct creep forth, on their hands and knees, from behind a curtain, and, having returned the salutation, retire in the same manner.

A Chinese hearse is a very elegant affair; it is covered with a dome-shaped canopy of violet-colored silk, with tufts of white, neatly embroidered, and surmounted with net work. In this the coffin reposes; and the whole is borne, by sixty-four men.

Mourning continues for three years, during which the aggrieved abstain from flesh, wine, and all ordinary amusements.

As we have had recently, among us, some half a dozen visitors, male and female, from the Celestial Empire, I am strongly tempted to turn from the dead, to the living.

I have repeatedly attended the morning levees of Miss Pwan Yekoo, who was exhibited with her serving-maid, Lum Akum, Mr. Soo Chune, the musical professor, his son and daughter, Mun Chung and Amoon, and Mr. Aleet Mong, the interpreter. This was certainly a very interesting group; such as never before has been presented in this city, and will not be again, I presume, for many years.

Miss Yekoo is said to be seventeen, which appears to be her age. With the costume of the Chinese, which, in our eyes, is superlatively graceless, we have become sufficiently familiar, by the exhibition of the living males and the stuffed females, in our Chinese Museums. Of their music, we had an interesting specimen, a few years since. Being fortunately deaf, I can say nothing of the performances of Miss Yekoo and Professor Chune. Their features and complexions are Chinese, of course, and cannot be better described than in the words of Sir John Barrow, as applicable to the race: “The narrow, elongated, half-closed eye; the linear and highly-arched [Pg 399]eyebrow; the broad root of the nose; the projection of the upper jaw a little beyond the lower; the thin, straggling beard, and the body generally free from hair; a high, conical head, and triangular face: and these are the peculiar characteristics which obtained for them, in the Systema Naturæ of Linnæus, a place among the varieties of the species, distinguished by the name of homines monstrosi.”

Apart from these and other considerations, it was well for all, who had it in their power, to avail themselves of an opportunity, which is not likely to be presented again, for years, and examine, with their own eyes, those “golden lilies,” for the production of which this little Chinese spinster, Miss Pwan Yeekoo has been severely tortured, from her cradle. She is neither very large, nor very small, for a girl of seventeen, and her feet are precisely two inches and a half in length. A small female foot, as it came from the hand of the great Creator, has ever been accounted a great beauty, since Eve was born. But, to the eyes of all beholders, on this side of the Yellow Sea, no more disgusting objects were ever presented, than the horribly contracted and crippled deformities, upon the ends of Miss Yekoo’s little trotters.

The bare feet are not exhibited; but a model of the foot, two inches and a half in length, on which is a shoe, which is taken off, by the exhibitor, and put upon the real foot of Miss Yekoo, over a shoe, already there. This model is affirmed to be exact. As it is presented in front, the great toe nail alone is visible, forming a central apex, for the foot. On being turned up, the four smaller toes are seen, closely compacted, and inverted upon the sole. It is not possible to walk, with the weight of the body upon the inverted toes, without pain. Miss Yekoo, like all other Chinese girls, with these crippled feet, walks, with manifest uneasiness and awkwardness, upon her heels. The os calcis receives the whole weight of the body.

To sustain the statement, that Miss Yekoo is a “Chinese lady,” it is said, that these crippled feet are signs of aristocracy. Not infallible, I conceive:—not more so, than crippled ribs, occasioned by tight lacing, which may originate in the upper circles, but find hosts of imitators, among the lower orders. “We may add,” says Mr. Davis, writing of this practice, “that this odious custom extends lower down, in the scale of society, than might have been expected, from its disabling[Pg 400] effect, upon those, who have to labor for their subsistence. If the custom were first imposed, by the tyranny of the men, the women are fully revenged, in the diminution of their charms and domestic usefulness.”

Mr. Davis evidently supposes, that the custom had its rise in jealousy, and a desire to prevent the ambulatory sex, from gadding about. Various causes have been assigned, for this disgusting practice. Sir John Barrow, after expressing his surprise, at the silence of Marco Polo, on the subject of crippled feet, which were, doubtless, common in his time, observes—“Of the origin of this unnatural custom, the Chinese relate twenty different accounts, all absurd. Europeans suppose it to have originated in the jealousy of the men, determined, says M. de Pauw, to keep them ‘si etroit qu’on ne peut comparer l’exactitude avec laquelle on les gouverne.’”

A practice, which, at its very birth, and during its infancy, required the assignment of some plausible reason, for its existence and support—when it grows up to be a custom, lives on and thrives, irrespectively of its origin, and, frequently, in spite of its absurdity. The blackened teeth of the Japanese—the goitres of the Swiss, in the valley of Chamouni—the flattened heads of certain Indian races—the crippled feet of the Chinese are illustrations of this truth, in the admiration which they still continue to receive. “Whatever,” says Sir John Barrow, “may have been the cause, the continuance may more easily be explained: as long as the men will marry none but such as have crippled feet, crippled feet must forever remain in fashion among Chinese ladies.”

M. De Pauw, in his Philosophical Dissertations, alludes to this practice, in connection with that, formerly employed by the Egyptians, and which he calls—“the method of confining the women anciently, in Egypt, by depriving them, in some measure, of the use of their feet.”

Plutarch, in his Precepta Connub, says, that shoes were entirely forbidden to women, by the Egyptians. “Afterwards,” says De Pauw, “they imagined it to be inconsistent with decency, that they should appear in public, with the feet naked, and, of course, they remained at home.”

The Kalif, Hakin, who founded the religion of the Druses, re-enacted this law. De Pauw remarks, that the assertion of Plutarch might seem doubtful, if a decree, prohibiting the manufacture[Pg 401] of shoes for women, under the pain of death, were not found, as it is, in the Kitab-al-Machaid, or bible of the Druses.

Upon my first visit to Pwan Yekoo and her suite, in connection with other visitors, I was not admitted for nearly two hours, after the appointed time. Ample sleeping arrangements had not been made, for these Celestials; and, for one night, at least, they had been packed, like a crate of China ware, in a closet, or small apartment, contiguous to the hall of exhibition. Yekoo was indignant, and refused to show her “golden lilies.” By dint of long importunity, she appeared, but in no gentle humor. Indeed, when Yekoo came forth, followed by Lum Akum, I was reminded, at a glance, of Cruikshank’s illustration of Mrs. Varden, followed by Meigs, with the Protestant manual. They soon recovered their better nature; and some little attention, paid by the visitors, to the Celestial pappooses, put them into tolerably good humor.

At the close of the exhibition, we were invited near the platform. It would be superfluous to describe the Chinese costume, so commonly presented, in various works. I was especially attracted by the hair of Yekoo, and Lum Akum, who passes for her waiting woman. I examined it with my glasses. It was jet black, coarse, abundant, and besmeared with a stiffening paste or gluten, which mightily resembled grease. Upon the top of the head a slender, round stick, about the size of a crow’s quill, is attached, projecting aft, in marine parlance, several inches, like a small ring tail boom. The design of this is to support the hair, which is thrown over it, and hangs, or is plastered, down with the shining paste, assuming the appearance, seen a tergo, of a rudder.

The Chinese, in relation to the rest of mankind, are, certainly, a contrarious people. In 1833, Mr. Charles Majoribanks addressed a letter to the Right Hon. Charles Grant, in which he says:

“China may, in many respects, be said to stand alone, among the nations; not only differing, but, in many instances, diametrically opposed, in the nature of its laws, customs, and institutions. A Chinese, when he goes into mourning, puts on white; the left hand they consider the place of honor; they think it an act of unbecoming familiarity to uncover the head; their mariner’s compass, they assert, points to the South; the stomach they [Pg 402]declare to be the seat of the understanding; and the chief God of their idolatry is the Devil.”

Suicide is no crime, with the Chinese. To receive a present, with one hand, is deemed an act of rudeness. They never say of the departed, that he is dead, but that he has gone to his ancestors. Among the good traits of the Chinese are to be numbered filial respect, and general sobriety. In one particular, their legislation may be considered superior to our own—among the grounds of divorce, says Mr. Davis, they include “excessive talkativeness.”

I have been reared, in the faith, that the Chinese are not only a peculiar, but an exceedingly nasty generation. According to Barrow, and to Du Halde, in his Hist. Gén. de la Chine, they are so liable to a species of leprosy, that, for the purpose of arresting its progress, it is numbered among the causes of divorce. The itch and other cutaneous diseases are extremely common. “They seem,” says De Pauw, “to have neither horror nor repugnance for any kind of food; they eat rats, bats, owls, storks, badgers, dogs,” &c. Brand, in his Reise nach China, observes—“Dogs are chiefly employed, as food, by the Chinese, during the great heat in summer, because they fancy their flesh to have a cooling quality.”

Barrow was private secretary to the Earl of Macartnay, and, in 1804, published his travels in China, a work of great merit, and which has been highly lauded, for its candor and fidelity. In proof of my remark, I offer the following quotation, from that work, on pages 76 and 77. After alluding to the custom of crippling the feet, Mr. Barrow proceeds—“The interior wrappers of the ladies’ feet are said to be seldom changed, remaining sometimes, until they can no longer hold together; a custom that conveys no very favorable idea of Chinese cleanliness. This indeed forms no part of their character; on the contrary, they are what Swift would call a frowzy people. The comfort of clean linen, or frequent change of under-garments, is equally unknown to the sovereign and the peasant. A sort of thin coarse silk supplies the place of cotton or linen next the skin, among the upper ranks; but the common people wear a coarse kind of open cotton cloth. These vestments are more rarely removed for the purpose of washing, than for that of being replaced with new ones; and the consequence of such neglect is, as might naturally be supposed, an abundant increase of those vermin, to[Pg 403] whose growth filthiness is found to be most favorable. The highest officers of state made no hesitation of calling their attendants, in public, to seek in their necks, for those troublesome animals, which, when caught, they very composedly put between their teeth. They carry no pocket handkerchief, but generally blow their noses into small square pieces of paper, which some of their attendants have ready prepared for the purpose. Many are not so cleanly, but spit about the rooms, or against the walls, like the French, and they wipe their dirty hands, in the sleeves of their gowns. They sleep at night in the same clothes they wear by day. Their bodies are as seldom washed, as their articles of dress. They never make use of the bath, warm or cold. Notwithstanding the vast number of rivers and canals, with which every part of the country is intersected, I do not remember to have seen a single group of boys bathing. The men, in the hottest day of summer, make use of warm water, for washing the hands and face. They are unacquainted with the use of soap.”

I do not disbelieve, that we, occasionally, meet men, who are very dirty, and remarkably orthodox, and, now and then, a well-washed and well-dressed villain—but sin and filth are too frequently found to form the very bond of iniquity. “Great crimes,” says Sir John Barrow, “are not common, but little vices pervade all ranks of society. A Chinese is cold, cunning, and distrustful; always ready to take advantage of those he has to deal with; extremely covetous and deceitful; quarrelsome, vindictive, but timid and dastardly. A Chinese in office is a strange compound of insolence and meanness. All ranks and conditions have a total disregard for truth. From the Emperor downwards, the most palpable falsehoods are proclaimed, with unblushing effrontery, to answer a political, an interested, or exculpatory purpose.”

I beg leave respectfully to suggest to Miss Yekoo, to pay a little more attention to her teeth, and somewhat improve her personal appearance. The collections, upon their upper portions, are, by no means, necessary to prove her Tartar origin.



[Pg 404]

No. CII.

Death is rarely more unwelcome to any, than to those, who reasonably suppose the perils of the deep to be fairly passed, and who are permitted, after a long sojourn in other lands, to look once again upon their own—so near withal, that their eyes are gladdened, by the recognition of familiar landmarks; and who, in the silent chancel of their miscalculating hearts, thank God, that they are at home at last—and yet, in the very midst of life and joy, they are in death!

There has ever seemed to me to be something exceedingly impressive, in the death of that eminent patriot, Josiah Quincy. He died when the bark, which bore him homeward was in sight of land—the headlands of Gloucester, April 26, 1775—

——Dulces moriens reminiscitur Argos.

Few men, of our own country, have accomplished more, or acquired a more honorable celebrity, at the early age of thirty-one.

His was a death in the common course of nature. I more especially allude, at this moment, to death as it occurs, from shipwreck, on one’s own shores, when the voyage is apparently at an end, and the voyagers are anticipating an almost immediate reunion with their friends.

The frequency of these occurrences revives, at the present moment, the sentiment of Horace, delivered some eighteen centuries ago—

Illi robur et æs triplex
Circa pectus erat, qui fragilem truci
Commisit pelago ratem

We are oblivious of perils past. The tax on commerce, levied by the whirlwind, and by recklessness, and ignorance, far exceeds the common calculation of those, who know little, experimentally, of the perils of the deep; and who go not down upon the sea in ships. Precisely fifty years ago, it was estimated, at Lloyd’s, that one ship per diem, three hundred and sixty-five ships, annually, were lost, in the open sea, and on lee shores. And, in Lloyd’s Lists, for 1830, it was stated, that six hundred and seventy-seven British vessels were lost, during that year.

[Pg 405]Whether or not it be attributable to that natural eagerness, which increases, as the object of our heart’s desire draws near, and is apt to abate somewhat of our ordinary vigilance—certain it is, that calamities of this nature are of no unfrequent occurrence, near the termination of a voyage, and when we have almost arrived at the haven, where we would be.

About ten years ago, while enjoying the hospitality of some Southern friends, I became acquainted with a lady, the varying expression of whose features arrested my attention, and excited my surprise. Whenever her countenance was lighted up, by a smile, it was for an instant only; and an expression of solemnity, and even of sadness, immediately succeeded; as the darkness of an autumnal sky follows the feeble flashes of electric light.

I sought an explanation of this peculiarity, from an old friend, who knew this lady well, Mr. Doddridge Crocker, formerly a merchant of this city, and then a resident of Charleston.

He informed me, that, many years before, he had been a passenger, in company with this lady and her father, together with other citizens of Charleston, for New York, on board the Rose in Bloom. They had a prosperous voyage, until they came in sight of the Highlands. The passengers proceeded to make their toilets; and arrangements were in progress, for going speedily on shore. The ship was under a press of canvas, with a strong breeze. The wind shifted its direction suddenly, and soon became a gale. The Rose in Bloom was capsized, and lost. The lady, said Mr. Crocker, to whom you refer, and her father, amid the terrible confusion, which ensued, clung to some floating article, whose buoyancy, it soon became apparent, was not sufficient to support them both. The filial and paternal contest may be easily conceived, each entreating the other, to retain the only means of preservation. At length, the father abandoned his hold, and struck out for a floating spar, at some little distance. His struggles were ineffectual—he sunk, before his daughter’s eyes! We were, ere long, rescued from our imminent peril. The impression, left upon her mind, was left there forever.

The reader may possibly surmise, that my leading remarks have a particular reference to the recent shipwreck of the Elizabeth, upon the coast of New York. This catastrophe, which is imputed to ignorance and miscalculation, involves the loss of an[Pg 406] interesting and intelligent young gentleman, Mr. Horace Sumner, of this city, and of the Marquis and Marchioness Ossoli, and their child. One of these sufferers I have known, in earlier days. Under the quiet, unpresuming roof of her worthy father, Mr. Timothy Fuller, I have met his daughter Margaret. Few then would have anticipated her melancholy fate, and fewer still, that she would become an Italian marchioness!

Let me devote the remaining space, in the present article, to those unmitigated wretches, with hearts of flint, who rioted and revelled, amid the sufferings of their fellow-beings. An opportunity will now be afforded, to stamp this hellish practice, with all the force of the law, and whatever there may be of indignant severity, in public sentiment.

Luring vessels on shore, by arranging false lights, and robbing wrecks are crimes of great antiquity. But I had no suspicion, that even the latter practice was carried on, so systematically, and so boldly, as it appears to have been, at the present day, in the State of New York. The names of the places, where these atrocities were committed, Fire Island, Patchogue, Islip, Babylon have something of a Cornish sound, undoubtedly.

Of old, in all the northern regions of Europe, and especially, along the coasts of the Baltic Sea, a wreck was deemed “a Providence;” and laws were in force, authorizing the inhabitants to fall on, and plunder at discretion, or, in the language, then employed—“in naufragorum miseria et calamitate, tanquam vultures, ad prædam currere.” Of the earlier periods of our own history, tales have been told, which, though almost beyond belief, would not have been related, if they had not been somewhere, upon the outskirts or frontiers of probability. Thus many—many—very many years ago, tradition intimates, that a worthy clergyman of Truro was interrupted, in the middle of his discourse, by one of his deacons, who caused the whole congregation to rise en masse, by seizing his hat and crying aloud—“a wreck!” whereupon the good man is reported, while putting up his notes, and opening the pulpit door, to have exclaimed—“Stay—stay, my Christian friends, let us all have a fair start.”

More than five hundred years ago, in the 13th of Edward III., laws were passed, in England, for the punishment of such offenders. These laws were amended and confirmed, in the 12th of Anne, and 4th of George I., 26th of George II., and 8th of[Pg 407] Elizabeth. By the statute of 26 George II., ch. 19, plundering a vessel, in distress, or wrecked, and putting out false lights, to deceive, were made capital felonies. By the civil law, stealing even a plank from a vessel, in distress, or wrecked, made the offender liable, for the entire ship and cargo. The early Neapolitan constitutions and the laws of the Wisigoths inflicted the severest punishment, not only upon such as plundered a wreck, but upon all, who were convicted of neglecting to aid a vessel in distress, when in their power to render comfort and assistance.

By the laws of the United States—I refer to the act of March 3, 1825—persons who plunder vessels in distress; and all, who obstruct the escape of the sufferers; the exhibitors of false lights and extinguishers of true ones, with intent to produce shipwreck, are punishable, by fine, not exceeding five thousand dollars, and imprisonment and hard labor, not exceeding ten years. The extreme mildness of this law has always struck me with amazement; for, among the offenders, described in the statute, are those, “who shall wilfully obstruct the escape of any person, endeavoring to save his or her life,” &c.

Since men went down upon the sea in ships, there has rarely occurred, in our own country, a case of deeper atrocity, than the present; and, it is to be hoped, that the tribunals of New York will exhibit a forcible example of mercy to the whole community, by a prompt and condign punishment of these heartless wretches.

The fiendish spirit, which, of old, animated the Buccaneers of the Tortugas, will probably never entirely die out from the heart of man, till the period of millennial purgation. It is impossible to conceive of anything, in a population of hyænas, more selfish, cold, and cruel, than the conduct of that abandoned class, of whose existence we have abundant evidence; to whom no music is so sweet, as that of the midnight hurricane; and who have, immemorially, obtained the appellation of moon-cursers, because they delight in that darkness, which is suited to their infernal profession.

The laws of England have been unable to accomplish the extinction of these miscreants. The Cornish coast, exposed, as it is, to marine disaster, has ever been famous, for this species of crime and cruelty. It is chiefly confined to a few parishes, on the craggy shore, between Mount’s Bay and the Lizard. “When a wreck takes place,” says Mr. Haydn, page 559, [Pg 408]following the words of Phillips, “thousands assemble with hatchets, axes, crowbars, &c., and many women and children fight, by habit, for the plunder, utterly regardless of the sufferers.”

For the honor of human nature I trust, that many, very many years have gone by, since any such atrocities were practised, upon the sea-coast of New England. The late Dr. Holbrook, of Milton, related an incident, which occurred, during the last war with Great Britain, extending not beyond mere pilfering; and which, in the case of one individual, at least, had rather an amusing termination.

A vessel was wrecked, on Nantasket beach; and, her cargo was broken up, and scattered along the shore. On the following day, Dr. Holbrook was hastily summoned, to visit a patient, who was thought to be dying. He was thoroughly exhausted, and had vomited, through the whole day, a substance, in no degree offensive, but, on the contrary, exceedingly aromatic and agreeable. Nevertheless, he was sinking from exhaustion. Dr. Holbrook could not prevail upon the patient to admit, that he had partaken of any other, than his customary diet. His wife stated, that he had been absent the preceding night, and had not told her, in what manner he had been engaged.

At last, the doctor gravely informed him, that it was folly to practise such deception; that, unless a physician knew the nature of the poison, he could not easily prescribe an antidote; and, that, if he persisted in his folly, death might be the consequence.

At this, the fellow, who, with others, had been pilfering from the wreck, became thoroughly frightened; and, with an expression of great terror, confessed, that he feared he had eaten rather too heartily of nutmegs.




In the Transcript of August 14, I notice an editorial criticism, upon the recent employment of the word catafalque. In primitive strictness, I believe that criticism to be perfectly correct; and that, in its original signification, catafalque cannot be understood to mean a funeral car.

In the grand Dictionaire, by Fleming & Tibbins, catafalque[Pg 409] is thus defined—“decoration funebre qu’on eleve au milieu d’une église pour y placer le cercueil ou le representation d’un mort a qui l’on veut rendre les plus grands honneurs.”

Herse is defined, by the same lexicographers, “un cercueil, une biere, voiture pour porter un mort au tombeau, un char funebre, corbillard, pierre tumulaire provisoire.”

Thus, while catafalque seems to signify an ornamental structure, erected in the middle of a church, to support the coffin or the effigy of the dead, whom it is intended to honor—herse, at the present day, is understood to mean a coffin, a bier, a carriage to bear the dead to the tomb, a funeral car, a van, a temporary mausoleum or gravestone.

Herse, whose etymology, according to Johnson, is unknown, imported, three hundred years ago, a temporary structure, in honor of the dead; such also is the meaning of the word catafalque; of this, there cannot be the slightest doubt. In this sense, herse was employed by Shakspeare, in his Henry IV.:

“To add to your laments
Wherewith you now bedew King Henry’s herse,” &c.

Johnson furnishes two definitions of the word, herse—1. A carriage, in which the dead are conveyed to the grave. 2. A temporary monument, set over a grave. It is quite certain, however, that the herse, whether justly styled a monument, or not, was not usually “set over the grave,” but more frequently, like the catafalque, agreeably to the definition given above—au milieu d’une eglise.

No writer, probably, refers to the herse, so frequently, as old John Strype, in his Memorials; and, in no instance, I believe, in the sense of a car or vehicle, or as a structure, “set over the grave.”

Strype’s Memorials are the records of a Roman Catholic age, or of a period, during which, the usages of the Romish Church, in England, had not entirely worn out their welcome with the people—the reigns of Henry VIII., Edward VI., Bloody Mary, and Elizabeth. For, even during the reigns of Edward VI., and of Elizabeth, not a few of those pompous practices, which grew up, in the times of their respective predecessors, still clung upon the imaginations of the populace, and were reluctantly surrendered.

The church is the theatre of the Romish ecclesiastic. The service is an attractive spectacle. If the world were struck[Pg 410] blind, who does not perceive, that the principal supports of Romanism would be instantly taken away! It has been the practice of all churches, that deal somewhat extensively, in forms and ceremonies, to demand of their members, with a greater or less degree of peremptoriness, that certain acts shall be publicly performed—au milieu d’une eglise. Thus the ceremony of marriage—the baptism of infants—the churching of women—and the burial of the dead furnish occasion, for throwing open the temple, and exhibiting its showy furniture to the multitude; and of verifying a pleasing saying of the late eminent, and excellent Archbishop of Bordeaux, while Bishop of Boston—“If we cannot catch them, in one way, we catch them in another.”

Nothing has ever been a more prolific source of capital to the Romish church, in former ages, than funereal parade, au milieu d’une eglise. Strype, with very few exceptions, speaks of the herse as a “herse of wax.” To this I have alluded in an earlier number. It may require a brief explanation here. Wax candles, of divers colors and forms, were attached to the herse, and the wax chandler of those days was in great request, and often rose to wealth and distinction.

The reader will readily perceive, that the herse, of those early times, was identical with the catafalque, if he will give his attention to the following statements—“1554, on the 5th of October were the obsequies of the said Duke of Norfolk celebrated at St. Mary Overy’s: an herse being made with timber, and hanged with black, with his arms, and four goodly candlesticks gilded, and as many great tapers standing about it, all the choir hung in black,” &c. Mem. vol. iii., part 1, ch. 25. Here is no car, but a temporary structure, au milieu d’une eglise—not “set over the grave”—the choir hung in black, &.

To show how Strype distinguished between the herse and a car for conveyance, the reader may turn to the Memorials, vol. iii., part 1, page 471, where, after describing the ceremonies, in the church, at the funeral of the Bishop of Winchester, Strype adds—“at the gate, the corpse was put into a wagon with four horses, all covered with black,” &c. This is our modern herse, but was not so called by Strype.

“1557.—On the 5th of May was the Lady Chamberlin buried, with a fair hearse of wax.” The following is sufficiently explicit—“1557, the same day (July 29) began the hearse, at[Pg 411] Westminster, for the Lady Anne of Cleves, consisting of carpenters’ work of seven principals; being as goodly a hearse, as had been seen.” Vol iii. p. 11.

“1557.—On the 3d of August, the body of the Lady Anne of Cleves was brought from Chelsy, where her house was, unto Westminster, to be buried; with all the children of Westminster, and many priests and clerks.” Father Strype did not probably intend to say they were all to be buried together.

“Then the gray Amis of Paul’s, and three crosses, and the monks of Westminster, and my Lord Bishop of London, and Lord Abbot of Westminster, rode together next the monks. Then the two secretaries, Sir Edmund Peckham and Sir Robert Freston, cofferer to the Queen of England, my Lord Admiral and Mr. Darcy, of Essex, and many knights and gentlemen. And before her corpse, her servants, her banner of arms. Then her gentlemen and her head officers; and then her chariot, with eight banners of arms, consisting of divers arms, and four banners of images of white taffeta, wrought with gold, and her arms. And so they passed by St. James’s, and thence to Charing Cross, with an hundred torches burning, her servants bearing them. And the twelve beadmen of Westminster had new black gowns, bearing twelve torches burning. There were four white branches with arms; then ladies and gentlewomen, all in black with their horses; eight heralds of arms, in black, with their horses, &c., &c. At the church door all did alight; and there the Lord Bishop of London and the Lord Abbot, in their copes, did receive the good lady, censing her. Men bore her under a canopy of black velvet, with four black staves and so brought her into the hearse, and there tarried dirge, remaining there all night, with lights burning.” Ibid. “On the 22d was the hearse of the Lady Anne of Cleves, lately set up in Westminster Abbey, taken down, which the monks, by night, had spoiled of all the velvet cloth, arms, banners, pensils, majesty, and valance and all,—the which was never seen afore so done.” Ibid. page 15.

Hence it is manifest, that the herse, in the time of Strype, was identical with the catafalque of the present day. Nevertheless, herse and catafalque are as clearly not convertible terms, since the latter word can never be correctly applied to a funeral car.

Two and twenty pages of original record are devoted, by Strype, to an account of the “ceremonies and funeral solemnities, paid to the corpse of King Henry VIII.” These pages are[Pg 412] extremely interesting, and full of curious detail. They also furnish additional evidence, that the herse was then understood to mean all, that is now meant by the catafalque. The works of Strype are not in the hands of very many; and the reader will not be displeased to know, in what manner they dealt with the dead body of an English King, some three hundred years ago. A few extracts are all, that my limits will allow:—

“After the corps was cold, and seen by the Lords of the Privy Council and others of the nobility of the realm, as appertained, commandment was given to the apothecaries, chirurgeons, wax-chandlers, and others, to do their duties in spurging, cleansing, bowelling, cering, embalming, furnishing, and dressing with spices the said corpse; and also for wrapping the same in cerecloth of many folds over the fine cloth of rains and velvet, surely bound and trammel’d with cords of silk: which was done and executed of them accordingly, as to the dignity of such a mighty prince it appertaineth; and a writing in great and small letters annexed against the breast, containing his name and style, the day and year of his death, in like manner. And after this don, then was the plumber and carpenter appointed to case him in lead, and to chest him. Which being don, the said chest was covered about with blew velvet, and a cross set upon the same.”

“And the corps being thus ordained, the entrails and bowels were honorably buried in the chappel,” &c. Mem., vol. 2, p. 289.

“Then was the corps in the chest had into the midds of the privy chamber, and set upon tressels, with a rich pall of cloth of gold, and a cross thereon, with all manner of lights thereto requisite.” Ibid.

“In the said chappel was ordained a goodly, formal herse, with four-score square tapers; every light containing two foot in length, poising in the whole eighteen hundred weight of wax, garnished about with pensils and escutcheons, banners and bannerols of descents. And, at the four corners, four banners of saints, beaten in fine gold upon damask, with a majesty thereover,” &c., &c. Ibid. 290.

“The second day of the month of February, being Wednesday and Candlemas day, betwixt eight and nine of the clock at night, the herse being lighted, and all other things appointed and prepared, the said most royal corps was reverendly taken and removed from the chambers, &c., and so brought to the chappel,[Pg 413] &c., and there it was honorably set and placed within the said herse under a pall of rich cloth of tissue, garnished with escutheons, and a rich cloth of gold, set with precious stones.” Ibid. 292.

“And the herse, standing in the midst of said choir, was of a wonderful state and proportion; that is to say formed in the compass of eight panes and thirteen principals, double storied, of thirty-five foot high, curiously wrot, painted and gilded, having in it a wonderful sort of lights, amounting, in price, of wax, to the sum of four thousand pound weight, and garnished underneath with a rich majesty, and a doome double vallanced: on the which, on either side, was written the King’s word, in beaten gold, upon silk, and his arms of descents. And the whole herse was richly fringed with double fringes of black silk and gold on either side, both within and without very gorgeous and valiant to behold.” Ibid. 295.

It does not appear, that, in those days any single English word was employed, to express the vehicle, which we call a hearse, at the present day, unless the word bier may suffice: and this, like the Roman feretrum, which I take to be much like our common graveyard article with legs, will scarcely answer the description of a four-wheeled car. I infer, that the feretrum was a thing, which might be taken up, and set down, from the word posito in Ovid’s Fasti, iv., 851—

Osculaque applicuit posito suprema feretro.

The feretrum and the capulus, among the Romans, were designed mainly, for the poor. Citizens of any note were borne, as was our own practice, not very many years ago, on the shoulders of their friends.

The funeral car of Henry VIII. was a noble affair:—

“There was ordained for the corps a sumptuous and valuable chariot of four wheels, very long and large, with four pillars, overlaid with cloth of gold at the four corners, bearing a pillow of rich cloth of gold and tissue, fringed with a goodly deep fringe of blew silk and gold; and underneath that, turned towards the chariot, was a marvellous excellent cloth of majesty, having in it a doom artificially wrought, in fine gold upon oyl: and at the nether part of the said Chariot was hanged with blew velvet down to the ground, between the wheels, and at other parts of[Pg 414] the chariot, enclosed in like manner with blew velvet.” Ibid. 295.

“The next day early, the 14 February, the chariot was brought to the court hall door; and the corps with great reverence brought from the herse to the same, by mitred prelats and others, temporal lords.” Ibid. 598.

Then, over the area of thirteen remaining pages, the record contains the minute particulars of the monarch’s obsequies, which, though full of interest, are no farther to our present purpose.



No. CIV.

Bull—I speak not of Ole, but of John—Bull, when the teazle of opposition has elevated the nap of his temper, is a pestilent fellow: whatever the amount—and there is enough—of the milk of human kindness within him, there is, then, but one way, known among men, of getting it out, and that is, by giving Bull a bloody nose; whereupon he comes to his senses directly, and to a just appreciation of himself and his neighbors. True indeed it is, Bull is remarkably oblivious; and it sometimes becomes necessary to give him another, which is invariably followed, by the same happy result.

Qui hæret in cortice will never come at the milk of a cocoa nut. It is necessary to strip off its rough coat, and punch sundry holes in its wooden walls, and give it a regular cracking. It is precisely so with Bull. When the fit is upon him, Bull is terrible. He is the very Bull of Crete—the Bull of Claudian, in his rape of Proserpine—

Dictæus quatiens mugitibus urbes

Bull is a prodigious fellow;
Nations tremble at his bellow.

There seems to have existed a strange, political hallucination, in regard to Bull and Jonathan. We are clearly, all of us, of one and the same family—a Bull-begotten people; and have a great deal of pleasure, in believing, that old madam Bull was the mother of us all. A goodly number of highly respectable Bulls came over the water, of old, and were well contented with[Pg 415] the green pastures of the New World. They differed, upon some points, from the Bulls they had left behind. They did not believe, that there was a power or right, to bellow louder than the rest, vested in any particular Bull, which power came down from Bull to Bull, in unbroken succession, from the Bull of Bashan. Such a belief, in their opinion, would have been a terrible Bull. Well; all at once, the trans-atlantic Bulls began to call the cis-atlantic Bulls—Jonathans. A very good name it was—a great deal better than Bulls. There could be no objection to the name, in the abstract.

But, unfortunately, it was bestowed, as a diminutive, and in derision; and the old Bulls, ere long, began to beat their flanks with their tails, and paw up the earth, and look unutterable things, about Jonathan’s cowardice; and they came over the water in droves, and began to roar awfully; and tore up the earth, under our very noses: and, after doing all, in our power to spare the world the miserable spectacle of a conflict, among Bulls, that were brothers, of the whole blood, we went to work, ex necessitate, with hoofs and horns; and tossed up such a terrible dust, at Lexington, and Concord, and Bunker’s Hill, and Long Island, and White Plains, and upon the Lakes, and at Sheensborough, and Albany, and Brandywine, and Saratoga, and Bennington, and Germantown, and Rhode Island, and Briar’s Creek, and Camden, and Broad River, and Guilford, and Hobkirk’s Hill, and the Eutaw Springs, and York Town, and at fifty places beside, that the old Bulls were perfectly astonished; and so very severely gored withal, that their roaring sunk, at last, into something like Snug’s, when he became fearful of frightening the ladies. The old Bulls—those that survived—went back again, like Sawney, out of the peach orchard; and the mammoth Bull, in London, publicly acknowledged, that we were as independent a set of Bulls, as ever he saw, or heard of.

No man, in his senses, marvels, that a contemptuous, and supercilious sentiment, towards us, in our days of small things, should have been indulged, by the vulgar and unphilosophical, among the English people. It is matter for surprise, nevertheless, that so much ignorance of the American character should have existed, in the higher ranks of British society—such disparaging estimates of men and materiel, on this side the water—such mistaken conceptions—such a general belief of almost universal pusillanimity, among men, who were not a whit the less[Pg 416] Englishmen, than their revilers; as though there were something, particularly enervating, in breathing the bracing air of America, and listening to the thorough bass of the wild waters, breaking on our original walls of granite; and in struggling, with our horny hands, along the precipices, for bread—such an awful miscalculation of probabilities, as resulted at last, in the loss to King George of thirteen inestimable jewels, of the fairest water.

The impressions, entertained of the Americans, by the English people, or a great majority of them, about that period, were truly amusing. It is scarcely worth while to comment on the abuse of us, by the early reviewers, and the taunting inquiry, long—long ago, what American had ever produced an epic?—Unluckily, Joel did, at last.—This question, thus early and impudently propounded, was quite as sensible, as it might be, to ask men, who, by dint of industry and thrift, are just getting plain shirts to their backs—who among them ever had lace ruffles? We have improved since that time; and halmost hevery man in the ole population can hutter imself hin werry decent Henglish.

Josiah Quincy, then junior, father of the late President of Harvard University, has noted some curious facts, in his journal, as reported by Gordon, i. 438. In a conversation between him and Col. Barré, who, though he opposed the Stamp Act, in 1765, supported the Boston Port Bill, in 1774. Col. Barré said to Mr. Quincy—“About fourteen or fifteen years ago, I was through a considerable part of your country; for, in the expedition against Canada, my business caused me to pass by land, through Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Albany; and, when I returned again to this country, I was often speaking of America, and could not help speaking well of its climate, soil, and inhabitants; for you must know, sir, America was always a favorite with me. But, will you believe it, sir, yet I assure you it is true, more than two thirds of this island, at this time, thought the Americans were all negroes.” Mr. Quincy replied that he did not in the least doubt it, for, if he was to judge by the late acts of Parliament, he should suppose, that a great majority of the people of Great Britain still thought so, for he found that their representatives still treated them as such.

The ministry had decided, that “the punishment of a few of[Pg 417] the worst sort of traitors, such as Hancock and his crew, might be sufficient to teach the rest their duty, in future.”—“Some men of rank in the army,” says Gordon, i. 457, “treated all idea of resistance, by the Americans, with the utmost contempt. They are neither soldiers, nor ever can be made so, being naturally of a pusillanimous disposition, and utterly incapable of any sort of order or discipline; and by their laziness, uncleanliness, and radical defect of constitution, they are disabled from going through the service of a campaign. Many ludicrous stories, to that purport, were told, greatly to the entertainment of the house.”

Jonathan turned out, at the end of the Bull baiting, to have been neither a fool nor a coward: and the American Congress received a memorable compliment from Lord Chatham—“For genuine sagacity, for singular moderation, for manly spirit, for sublime sentiments, and simplicity of language, for everything respectable and honorable, the Congress of Philadelphia shines unrivalled.”

In the war of 1812, Bull was the very identical Bull, that he had been before: Frenchmen were frogs; Yankees were cowards—there was nobody that could fight, on the land or the sea, but Bull.

“It has always,” says that wittiest, and, I fear, wickedest of wags, William Cobbett, while addressing Lord Liverpool, “been the misfortune of England, that her rulers and her people have spoken and have thought contemptuously of the Americans. Was there a man in the country, who did not despise the American navy? Was there a public writer beside myself, who did not doom that navy to destruction in a month? Did not all parties exceedingly relish the description given, in a very august assembly, of ‘half a dozen of fir frigates, with bits of striped bunting tied to their mast heads’! Did not the Guerriere sail up and down the American coast, with her name, written on her flag, challenging those fir frigates? Did not the whole nation, with one voice exclaim at the affair of the Little Belt—‘Only let Rogers come within reach of one of our frigates!’ If such was the opinion of the whole nation, with what justice is the Board of Admiralty blamed, for not sending out the means of combatting this extraordinary sort of foe? and for issuing a privilege to our frigates to run away from one of those fir things with a bit of striped bunting at[Pg 418] its mast head? The result of the former war, while it enlightened nobody, added to the vindictiveness of hundreds of thousands; so that we have entered into this war with all our old stock of contempt, and a vastly increased stock of rancor. To think that the American republic is to be a great power is unsupportable. Of the effect of this contempt I know nobody, who has so much reason to repent, as the officers of his Majesty’s navy. If they had triumphed, it would only have been over half a dozen fir things, with bits of bunting at their mast heads. They were sure to gain no reputation in the contest; and, if they failed, what was their lot? The worst of it is, they themselves did, in some measure, contribute to their own ill fate: for, of all men living, none spoke of poor Jonathan with so much contempt. There are some people, who are for taking the American commodores at their word, and ascribing their victories to the immediate intervention of Providence. Both Perry and McDonough begin their despatches by saying—“Almighty God has given us a victory.”

This is keen political satire; and it is well, that it should come to neighbor Bull’s ears, from the mouth of an Englishman. It is more gracefully administered thus. That it was entirely deserved, no one will doubt, who has any recollection of Bull’s unmeasured and unmitigated impudence, during the war of 1812, in its earlier stages. May God of his infinite mercy grant, that Peace Societies may have these matters, hereafter, very much their own way; though I have a little misgiving, I confess, as to the expediency of any sudden, or very general conversion of swords into ploughshares, or spears into pruning hooks.



No. CV.

Modus in rebus—an admirable proverb, upon all common occasions—is inapplicable, of course, to musical matters. No doubt of it. The luxury of sweet sounds cannot be too dearly bought; and, for its procurement, mankind may go stark mad, without any diminution of their respectability.

Such I infer to be the popular philosophy of today—while it is called today. The moderns have been greatly perplexed, by[Pg 419] the legends, which have come down to us, respecting the melody of swans. The carmina cycnorum of Ovid, and the Cantantes sublime ferent ad sidera cycni, of Virgil, are perfectly incomprehensible by us. Cicero also, in his Tusculan Questions, i. 74, says, they die, cum cantu et voluptate. Martial, xiii. 77, asserts the matter, very positively—

Dulcia defecta modulatur carmina lingua
Cantator cycnus funeris ipse sui.

I no more believe in the power of a living or a dying swan to make melody of any kind, than I believe in the antiquated hum-bug of immediate emancipation. Pliny had no confidence in the story, and expresses himself to that effect, x. 23, Olorum morte narratur flebilis cantus (falso, ut arbitror) aliquot experimentis.

No mortal has done more than Shakspeare, among the moderns, to perpetuate this pleasant fancy—no bard, when weary of Pegasus, and preferring a drive to a ride, has harnessed his cygnets more frequently—or compelled them to sing more sweetly, in a dying hour. A single example may suffice. When prince Henry is told, that his father, King John, sang, during his dying frenzy, he says—

“Tis strange, that death should sing—
I am the cygnet to this pale faint swan,
Who chants a doleful hymn to his own death:
And, from the organ pipe of frailty, sings
His soul and body to their lasting rest.”

One brief example more—Emilia, after the murder of her mistress—

“Hark! canst thou hear me? I will play the swan;
And die in music.”

In all this there lurks not one particle of sober prose—one syllable of truth. The most learned refutation of it may be found, in the Pseudodoxia of Sir Thomas Browne, ii. 517, Lond. 1835.

In the “Memoires de l’Académie des Inscriptions,” M. Morin discusses the question very agreeably, why swans, that sang so delightfully, of old, sing so miserably, at the present day. Tame swans, he observes, are mutes: but the wild swan exerts its vocal powers, after a fashion of its own. He introduces the observations of the Abbé Arnaud, upon the performances of a couple of wild swans, which had located, upon the lagoons of Chantilly.[Pg 420] “One can hardly say,” says the Abbé, “that the swans of Chantilly sing—they cry; but their cries are truly and constantly modulated. Their voice is not sweet; on the contrary, it is shrill, piercing, and rather disagreeable; I could compare it to nothing better than the sound of a clarionet, winded by a person unacquainted with the instrument.” Nothing surely savors less of melody than this. So thought Buffon—“Des sons bruyans de clarion, mais dont les tons aigus et peu diversifiés sont néanmoins tres—éloignés de la tendre mélodie et de la variété douce et brilliante du ramage de nos oiseaux chanteurs.” Nat. Hist. des Oisaux, ix. 25.

In his exposition of this error, imposed upon mankind, by the poets, Buffon expresses himself with singular beauty, in the concluding paragraph—“Nulle fiction en Histoire Naturelle, nulle fable chez les Anciens n’a ete plus célébrée, plus répétée, plus accréditee; elle s’étoit emparée de l’imagination vive et sensible des Grecs; poëtes, orateurs, philosophes méme l’ont adoptée, comme une verité trop agreable pour vouloir en douter. Il faut bien leur pardonner leurs fables; elles étoient aimables et touchantes; elles valoient bien de tristes, d’arides verités c’etoient de doux emblémes pour les ames sensibles. Les cygnes, sans doute, ne chantent point leur mort; mais toujours, en parlant du dernier essor et de derniers élans d’un beau génie pret á s’éteindre, on rappellera avec sentiment cette expression touchante—c’est le chant du cygne!” Ibid. 28.

It is not surprising, that these celebrated naturalists, Buffon and Morin, who discourse, so eloquently, of Grecian and Roman swans, should say nothing of Swedish nightingales, for, between their time and the present, numerous additions have been made to the catalogue of songsters.

The very thing, which the barber, Arkwright did, for all the spinning Jennies, in Lancashire, some seventy years ago, has been done by Jenny Lind, for all the singing Jennies upon earth, beside herself—they are cast into the shade.

She came here with an irresistible prestige. A singing woman has been a proverb, since the world began; and, of course, long before Ulysses dropped in, upon the island of Ogygia, and listened to Calypso; or fell into serious difficulty, among the Sirens. A singing woman, a Siren, has been frequently accounted, and with great propriety, a singing bird of evil omen. How grateful then must it be, to know, that, while lending their ears and their[Pg 421] eyes to this incomparable songstress, our wives, our daughters, and our sisters have before them a pure, and virtuous, and gentle, and generous creature, as free, as poor, human nature can well be free, from life’s alloy, and very much as she was, when created—a little lower than the angels.

Among other mythological matters, Pausanias relates, that the three Sirens, instigated by Juno, challenged the Muses to a trial of skill in singing. They were beaten, of course, for the Muses, being nine in number, there were three upon one. The victors, as the story goes, proceeded very deliberately, to pluck the golden feathers, from the wings of the vanquished, and converted them into crowns, for their own brows.

Now, it cannot be denied, that Jenny has vanquished us all, and made the golden feathers fly abundantly. But this is not Jenny’s fault; for, whatever the wisdom or the folly, the affair was our own entirely. If, for the sake of distinction, any one has seen fit to pluck every golden feather from his back, and appear, like the featherless biped of Diogenes, and give the golden feathers to Jenny, to make her a crown; we have substantial facts, upon which to predict, that Jenny will make a better use of those golden feathers, than to fool them away, for a song. If Jenny plucks golden feathers, from the backs of the rich, she finds bare spots enough, for a large part of them all, upon the backs of the poor: and, as for the crown, for Jenny’s brows, if she goes onward, as she has begun, investing her treasure in Heaven, and selecting the Lord for her paymaster, there will be her coronation; and her crown a crown of Glory. And, when she comes to lie down and die, let the two last lines of Johnson’s imperishable epitaph, on Philips, be inscribed upon her tomb—

“Rest undisturb’d, beneath this marble shrine,
Till angels wake thee, with a note like thine.”

Orpheus was changed into a swan; Philomela into a nightingale; and Jenny, in due time, will be changed into an angel. Indeed, it is the opinion of some competent judges, that the metamorphosis has already commenced.

Music is such a delightful, soothing thing, that one grieves, to think its professors and amateurs are frequently so excessively irritable.

The disputes, between Handel and Senesino, and their respective partisans, disturbed all London, and finally broke up the[Pg 422] Academy of Music, after it had been established, for nine years. The quarrels of Handel and Buononcini are said to have occasioned duels, among the amateurs; and the nation was filled, by these musical geniuses, with discord and uproar. Good humor was, in some degree, restored, by the following epigram, so often ascribed to Swift, the two last lines of which, however, are alone to be found in the editions of his works, by Nicholls, and Scott:

“Some say, that signor Buononcini,
Compar’d with Handel, is a ninny;
Others aver to him, that Handel
Does not deserve to hold a candle;
Strange, all this difference should be,
’Twixt tweedle dum and tweedle dee.”

This epigram cannot be attributed to that contempt for music, which is sometimes occasioned, by a constitutional inability to appreciate its effect, upon the great mass of mankind. It undoubtedly sprang from a desire to put an end, by the power of ridicule, to these unmusical disturbances of the public peace.

Swift’s musical pun, upon the accidental destruction of a fine Cremona fiddle, which was thrown down by a lady’s mantua, has always been highly and deservedly commended; and recently, upon the very best authority, pronounced the finest specimen extant of this species of wit—“Perhaps,” says Sir Walter Scott, in his life of Swift, speaking of his puns, i. 467, “the application of the line of Virgil to the lady, who threw down with her mantua a Cremona fiddle, is the best ever made—

“Mantua væ miseræ nimium vicina Cremonæ!”

In every nation, and in every age, the power of music has been acknowledged by mankind. Now and then, the negative idiosyncracies of certain persons place this particular department of pleasure, beyond the sphere of their comprehension, as effectually as utter blindness denies the power of enjoying the finest specimens of the painter’s art. Occasionally, some pious divine, absolutely drunk with over-potent draughts of orthodoxy, like the friar, before Boccaccio, shakes his holy finger at this wicked world, and warns them to beware of the singing woman!

The vocal power of music is ascribed to the angels in Heaven; and my own personal knowledge has assured me, that it affords a melancholy solace, to the slave in bonds.

I passed the winter of 1840-41 with an invalid daughter, in the island of St. Croix. With a party of some six or eight, we[Pg 423] devoted one delightful, moonlight evening, to a ride, on horseback, among the sugar-loaf summits of that beautiful speck amid the main. We were ascending the hills, in the neighborhood of the Annelly plantation—the moon was at full, that night; and the Caribbean Sea, far and wide, shone like a boundless prairie of burnished silver. As we were slowly winding our way, to the summit, one of our party called the attention of the rest to the sounds of music, coming from the slave cabins, at a distance. As we advanced, slowly and silently, towards the spot, the male and female voices were readily distinguished.

We drew near, unperceived, and, checking our horses, listened, for several minutes, to the wild, simple notes of these children of bondage. “There is melody in this”—said one of our party aloud, and all was hushed, in an instant. We rode down to the cabins, and begged them to continue their song—but our solicitations were in vain—even the offer of sundry five stiver pieces, which operate, like a charm, upon many occasions, with the uncles and the aunties, was ineffectual then. “No massa—b’lieve no sing any more”—were the only replies, and we went upon our way.

As we descended the Annelly hills, on the opposite side, after leaving the negroes and their cabins, at some distance, we halted and listened—they had recommenced—the same wild music was floating upon the breeze.

As we rode slowly along, my daughter asked me, if I could account for their reluctance to comply with our request. I told her, I could not. “Perhaps,” said she, “they have a reason, somewhat like the reason of those, who sat down, by the waters of Babylon, and wept, and who could not sing one of the songs of Zion, in a strange land.”

It might have been thus. “They that carried us away captive, required of us a song! They, that wasted us, required of us mirth!



No. CVI.

While pursuing his free inquiry into the origin of evil, I doubt, if Soame Jenyns had as much pleasure, as Sir Joseph[Pg 424] Banks enjoyed, in his famous investigation, if fleas were the prototypes of lobsters.

These inquiries are immeasurably pleasant. When a boy, I well remember my cogitations, what became of the old moons; and how joyously I accepted the solution of my nurse, who had quite a turn for judicial astrology, that they were unquestionably cut up, for stars.

It is truly delightful to look into these occult matters—rerum cognoscere causas. There are subjects of deep interest, which lie somewhat nearer the surface of the earth—the origin of certain usages and undertakings, and the authorship of certain long-lived works, which appear to be made of a species of literary everlasting, but whose original proprietors have never been discovered. I have great respect, for those antiquarians, whose researches have unlocked so many of these long hidden mysteries; and, however bare-headed I may be, when the venerated names of Speed, or Strype, or Stow, or Rushworth, or Wood, or Holinshed occurs to my memory, I have an involuntary tendency to take off my hat.

It was, doubtless, in allusion to their grotesque and uncouth versification, that the Earl of Rochester prepared his well-known epigram—

“Sternhold and Hopkins had great qualms,
When they translated David’s Psalms.”

This version, which held its ground, for a century and a half, and, as Chalmers says, slowly gave place to the translation, by Tate and Brady, had an origin, of which, I presume, few individuals are apprized.

Thomas Sternhold lived to translate fifty-one only of the Psalms; and the first edition was published in 1549, with this title—“All such Psalms of David as Thomas Sterneholde, late groome of the king’s majestye’s robes did in his lyfetime drawe into Englyshe metre.”

About this period, the larger cities of the kingdom had become inundated with obscene and blasphemous songs, to such a degree, that some powerful expedient seemed to be required, for the removal of this insufferable grievance. Accordingly, the felicitous idea occurred to Mr. Thomas Sternhold, of substituting the Psalms of David, as versified by himself, for the bacchanalian songs, then in use, throughout the realm. He anticipated a practical illustration of the command of St. James—“Is any merry let him sing Psalms.”

[Pg 425]Ostensibly prepared for the use of the churches, the moving consideration, for this version, with Mr. Sternhold, was such as I have shown it to be. The motive is plainly stated, in the title-page—“Set forth and allowed to be sung in churches of the people together, before and after evening prayer, as also before and after sermon; and moreover, in private houses, for their godly solace and comfort, laying apart all ungodly songs and ballads, which tend only to the nourishment of vice and the corrupting of youth.”

Wood, in his Athenæ Oxonienses, i. 183, Lond: 1813, says of Sternhold—“Being a most zealous reformer and a very strict liver, he became so scandalized, at the amorous and obscene songs used in the court, that he, forsooth turned into English metre fifty-one of David’s Psalms, and caused musical notes to be set to them, thinking thereby, that the courtiers would sing them, instead of their sonnets, but did not, only some few excepted.”

How cheerfully would I go, undieted, for a long summer’s day, to know who was the author of “Jonny Armstrong’s Last Good Night;” and for a much longer term, to ascertain the writer of Chevy Chase, of which Ben Jonson used to say, he had rather have been the author of it, than of all his works. The words of Sir Philip Sidney, in his Discourse on Poetry, are quoted, by Addison, in No. 70 of the Spectator—“I never heard the old song of Percy and Douglas, that I found not my heart more moved than with a trumpet.” The ballad of Chevy Chase was founded upon the battle of Otterburn, which was fought in 1388, and of which a brief account will be found in the fourteenth chapter of Sir Walter’s first series of the Grandfathers Tales.

The author of those songs for children, which have been lisped, by the tongues of millions, shall never be forgotten, while dogs delight to bark and bite—but who was the author of Hush-a-bye baby—Now we go up, up, up—Cock Robin—or Dickory Dock, no human tongue can tell!

Poor André, we know, was the author of the Cow Chace; but the composer of our national air is utterly unknown. Who would not give more of the siller, to know to whose immortal mind we are indebted for Yankee Doodle, than to ascertain the authorship of the Letters of Junius?

Both France and England have been more fortunate, in [Pg 426]respect to the origin and authorship of their most popular, national songs. Speaking of Barbaroux and the Marseillois, Sir Walter Scott, in his Life of Napoleon, observes—“Besides the advantage of this enthusiastic leader, the Marseillois marched to the air of the finest hymn, to which Liberty or the Revolution had yet given birth.”

I am aware that something like doubt or obscurity hangs over the reputed authorship of the Hymn of the Marseillais. But in respect to the national air of Great Britain—God save the King—the authorship appears to be more satisfactorily, if not perfectly, indicated.

It is certainly worthy of note, that this celebrated air, in which John Bull has taken so much delight, ever since it came into existence, is by some persons supposed to have been the production of John Bull himself, a celebrated composer of his day. An engraving of him may be found, in the History of Music, by Hawkins. There is an original painting of him, by J. W. Childe, in the Music School, at Oxford, which was engraved by Illman, with the words below—“John Bull, Mus. Doct. Cantab. Instaur. Oxon. MDXCII.” A portrait of Dr. Bull will also be found, in Richard Clarke’s Account of the National Anthem, God save the King, 8vo. Lond. 1822.

The account of Bull, by Wood, in his Fasti, i. 235, Lond. 1815, is somewhat amusing—“1586, July 9.—John Bull, who had practised the fac. of music for 14 years, was then admitted batch, of music. This person, who had a most prodigious hand on the organ, and was famous, throughout the religious world, for his church music, had been trained up under an excellent master, named Blitheman, organist of Qu. Elizabeth’s chappel, who died much lamented, in 1591. This Blitheman perceiving that he had a natural geny to the faculty, spared neither time nor labor to advance it to the utmost. So that in short time, he being more than master of it, which he showed by his most admirable compositions, played and sung in many churches beyond the seas, as well as at home, he took occasion to go incognito, into France and Germany. At length, hearing of a famous musician, belonging to a certain cathedral, (at St. Omers, as I have heard,) he applied himself, as a novice, to learn something of his faculty, and to see and admire his works. This musician, after some discourse had passed between them, conducted Bull to a vestry, or music school, joyning to the[Pg 427] cathedral, and shew’d him a lesson, or song of forty parts, and then made a vaunting challenge to any person in the world to add one more part to them, supposing it to be so compleat and full, that it was impossible for any mortal man to correct or add to it. Bull thereupon desiring the use of ink and rul’d paper (such as we call musical paper) prayed the musician to lock him up in the said school for 2 or 3 hours; which being done, not without great disdain by the musician, Bull, in that time or less, added forty more parts to the said lesson or song. The musician thereupon being called in, he viewed it, try’d it and retry’d it. At length he burst out into great ecstacy, and swore by the great God, that he that added those 40 parts must either be the Devil or Dr. Bull, &c. Whereupon Bull making himself known, the musician fell down and adored him.”

Of music it may be said, as of most other matters—the fashion of these things passeth away. So great was the fame of Bull in his day, and such tempting offers of preferment were made him, by the Emperor, and by the Kings of France and Spain, that Queen Elizabeth commanded him home. It is stated, in the Biographical History of England, ii. 167, that the famous Dr. Pepusch preferred some of the lessons in Bull’s Partheniæ, to the productions of most of the composers of that time. Yet Dr. Burney says of these lessons—“They may be heard, by a lover of music, with as little emotion as the clapper of a sawmill, or the rumbling of a post-chaise.”

Musicians are a sensitive and jealous generation. “Handel,” says Chalmers, “despised the pedantry of Pepusch; and Pepusch, in return, refused to join, in the general chorus of Handel’s praise.”

Handel, when a stripling at Hamburgh, laid claim to the first harpsichord, against a master, greatly his superior, in point of years, and the matter, upon trial, was decided in Handel’s favor, which so incensed the other, that he drew, and made a thrust, at his young rival, whose life, according to Dr. Burney’s version, was saved, by a fortunate contact, between the point of the rapier and a metal button.

The principles, which govern, in all mutual admiration societies, are deeply laid in the nature of man. If Handel had borne the pedantry of Dr. Pepusch, with forbearance, or common civility, the Doctor would have, doubtless, afforded Handel the advantage of his highest commendation.

[Pg 428]The managers of musical matters act wisely, in tendering, to every conductor of a public journal, the

Melle soporatam et medicatis frugibus offam—

But I fear they are not always as cautious and discriminating, as the occasion appears to demand. How very different would have been the fate of the poor strolling player, whom Goldsmith so pleasantly describes, had he taken a little more pains—only a little—to propitiate “the lady, who had been nine months in London!”

The managers, upon such occasions, should never omit the most careful espionage, into the musical pretensions of every member of the press—I speak of their pretensions, and not of their actual knowledge—that, in the present connection, is of little importance: and, when they discover one of this powerful brotherhood, who, in musical matters, would be thought to know more than his neighbors, however mistaken he may be—let them pay him particular attention—let them procure him an excellent seat—once—twice perhaps—express a hope, that he is well accommodated—and occasionally, during the performance, be sure to catch his eye, as if with a “fearful longing after immortality,” such as tomorrow’s leader may possibly confer on the candidate for fame. How often the omission to observe these simple rules has been followed, by faint praise, and invidious discriminations!




My great grandmother used to say, that she never desired to be told, that anything was broken, in her household; for, though she had been a housekeeper, for fifty years, nothing was ever broken, in her family, that had not been cracked before. I have the very same feeling in regard to the majority of all inventions and discoveries; for some ingenious fellow invariably presents himself, who, as it turns out, had verified the suggestion already.

I never found my mind in a very feverish condition, while pursuing the inquiry, whether the art of medicine was first invented, by Hermes, Isis, or Osiris; nor while examining the arguments,[Pg 429] ingenious though they are, of Clemens Alexandrinus, to prove, that Moses was a very respectable apothecary.

I have ever supposed, that Necessity, the mother of invention, was the inventress of the blessed art; and that the origin was somewhat on this wise:—before the transgression, all went on well—there were neither aches nor ails—the apple certainly disagreed with Adam—he sought relief, by hunting for an antidote; and finding great comfort, in chewing such carminative herbs, as catmint and pennyroyal, he prescribed them to the sharer of his joys and sorrows. It is quite likely, that, with no family, and a great deal of time upon her hands, while walking in her garden, as poppies were not forbidden, Eve, to satisfy her curiosity, might have sucked their narcotic juice; and thus acquired a knowledge of opiates, so useful, ever since the fall.

Physicking was, at first, a very general affair. Whether benevolence, or the desire of a little reputation lies at the bottom, there has ever existed, among mankind, a pungent, irresistible desire to physick one another. It is to be regretted, that Irenæus, who was just the man for it, had not given a few years of his life to ascertain, if Eve, during the parturition of Cain, or Abel, received any alleviation, from slippery elm. Plato, Theoctet. p. 149, says, the midwives of Athens did great, good service, on these occasions, with certain drugs and charms.

In the beginning, so little was to be known, upon this subject, it is not wonderful, that almost every man should have known that little. Thus, according to Homer, Od. iv., 320, every Egyptian was a doctor:—

“From Pæon sprung, their patron god imparts
To all the Pharian race his healing arts.”

Herodotus, who was born, about 484, B. C., in Book II. of his history, sec. 84, speaks distinctly of the fact, that the Egyptian doctors were not physicians, in the general sense, but confined their practice, respectively, to particular diseases. The passage may be thus translated—Now, in truth, the art of medicine with them was so distributed, that their physicians managed particular disorders, and not diseases generally; thus, though all were referred to the physicians, some were doctors for the eyes, some for the head, some for the teeth, some for the belly, and some for the occult diseases.

The first mention of physicians, in Holy Writ, is in Genesis, 50, 2—“And Joseph commanded his servants, the physicians,[Pg 430] to embalm his father: and the physicians embalmed Israel.” Physicians, to this extent, were mechanical operators; and the celebrated physicians of Greece, Chiron, Machaon, Podalirius, Pœon, and even Æsculapius, were surgeons. Their art, as Pliny says, did not go beyond curing a green wound. The cure of internal, or complicated, disorders was beyond their province. Celsus says, that Podalirius and Machaon, the physicians, who went with Agamemnon, to the wars of Troy, were never employed, to cure the plague, or internal maladies, nor anything but external injuries.

No physician was required to manage external applications, in certain cases of common occurrence. In Kings II. xx. 7, Hezekiah appears to have thought himself extremely sick; when Isaiah applied a poultice of figs to his boil, and he soon was upon his legs again. This seems to have been accounted a remarkable cure, in those days, for Isaiah thought it worth repeating, xxxviii. 21. Job does not appear to have resorted to fig poultices, nor to any remedies, whatever: and, while Hezekiah behaved like a great baby, and wept bitterly, Job toughed it out, like a man; and, instead of mourning and murmuring, under the torment, not of one, but of countless boils, he poured forth torrents of incomparable eloquence, all the while, on various topics.

Job’s affliction, being viewed in the light of a direct judgment, it was deemed quite outrageous, by many, to stave off the wrath of Heaven, by interposing fig poultices, or remedies of any kind. Thus it appears, that Asa suffered severely with the gout; and there is a sharp fling against him, Chron. II. xvi. 12, on account of his want of faith—“Yet in his disease he sought not to the Lord, but to the physicians.”

This seems to be in accordance, with the opinion of those modern Fathers, who consider the use of ether or chloroform, in obstetric cases, a point blank insult to the majesty of Heaven, because of the primeval fiat—in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children.

The race of Cyclops entertained a similar sentiment of submission, in sickness, according to Homer, Od. IX. 485. When Oudeis (Anglice Noman) which always seemed to me an undignified pun, for an Epic, had put out the eye of Polyphemus, his roaring collected the neighboring giants. They inquired, outside the portal, what was the matter; and he replied, that OudeisNoman—was killing him; upon which they reply—

[Pg 431] “If Noman hurts thee, but the power divine
Inflict disease, it fits thee to resign.
To Jove or to thy father Neptune pray,
The Cyclops cried, and instant strode away.”

The theory was, that God worked upon mortals, by the agency of a great number and variety of evil spirits, or devils; and that the employment of remedial means was therefore neither more nor less, than withstanding the Almighty. Hence arose the custom, being supposed less offensive, in the sight of Heaven, of resorting to charms and incantations; and of employing diviners and magicians; and, as old Sir Robert Walpole is reported to have said, that every man has his price; so it was supposed to be the case, with those devils, who were engaged, in the system of tormenting mankind. Instead therefore of turning directly to the Lord, the sufferers were much in the habit of making their propitiatory suit, directly, to some false god, or influential demon. Of this we have an example, in Kings II. i. 2, et seq. Ahaziah, King of Israel, went up into his garret, probably, in the dark, and fell through the scuttle. He was severely bruised, and sent a messenger, post haste, to Ekron, to consult the false god, Baalzebub. Elisha, who, though a prophet, had no reputation, as a physician, was consulted by Hazael and by Naaman, about their distempers.

Enchantments, talismans, music, phylacteries were in use, among the Hebrews, and formed no small part of their materia medica. Charms were used, as preventives against the bites of serpents. “Who,” says Ecclesiasticus xii. 13, “will pity a charmer, that is bitten with a serpent?” This seems not to have availed, against the deaf adder, “which,” Psalm lviii. 5, “will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely.” And Jeremiah, viii. 17, declares, that the Lord will send cockatrices and serpents, that will not be charmed, upon any terms whatever.

Some verses are preserved, by Cato, De Re Rustica, art. 160, which were used, in reducing a dislocated member. Dr. Johnson has informed us, though without naming his authority, that ABRACADABRA was a superstitious charm, against agues.

It is quite amusing, while reading Sir Thomas Browne’s remarks on quackery, in his Pseudodoxia, ch. xi. to see how readily he admits satanic agency, himself. Take the following passage—“When Gracchus was slain, the same day the chickens[Pg 432] refused to come out of the coop; and Claudius Pulcher underwent the like success, when he commanded the tripudiary augurations; they died, not because the pullets would not feed, but because the devil foresaw their death, and contrived that abstinence in them.”

Sir Thomas was a wise and safe counsellor, in all cases, in which there was no chance for the devil to operate; but whenever there was a loop hole, according to the belief in those days, for diabolical influence to creep through, no man was more inclined to give the devil his due, than Sir Thomas.

In this chapter, designed to be purely philosophical, he says of satan—“He deludeth us also by philters, ligatures, charms, ungrounded amulets, characters, and many superstitious ways, in the cure of common diseases, seconding herein the expectation of men with events of his own contriving, which, while some, unwilling to fall directly upon magic, impute unto the power of imagination, or the efficacy of hidden causes, he obtains a bloody advantage.” This description of the devil and of his manœuvres so precisely fits the empiric, and all his proceedings, that I should suspect Sir Thomas of the unusual sin of perpetrating a pleasantry; and, under the devil’s effigies, presenting the image of a charlatan; were it not, for the knowledge we have of this great and good man’s credulity, and his firm belief in satanic realities; and, that, in part upon his own testimony, two miserable women were condemned and executed, for witchcraft.




John Jahn says, in his Biblical Archæology, Upham’s translation, page 105, that, in Babylon, when first attacked with disease, the patients were placed in the streets, for the purpose of ascertaining, from casual passengers, what practices or medicines they had found useful, in similar cases. Imagine a poor fellow, suddenly attacked with a windy colic, and deposited for this purpose, in State Street, in the very place, formerly occupied, by the razor-strop man, or the magnolia merchant! If it be true—I very much doubt it—that, in a multitude of counsellors,[Pg 433] there is safety, this must be an excellent arrangement for the patient.

I have often thought, that benevolence was getting to be an epidemic; particularly when I have noticed the attentions of one or two hundred charitably disposed persons, gathered about a conservative horse, that would not budge an inch. They have not the slightest interest in the horse, nor in the driver—it’s nothing under heaven, but pure brotherly love. The driver is distracted, by the advice of some twenty persons, pointing with sticks and umbrellas, in every direction, and all vociferating together. In the meanwhile, three or four volunteers are belaboring the shins of the refractory beast, while as many are rapping his nose with their sticks. Four stout fellows, at least, are trying to shove the buggy forward, and as many exerting their energies, to shove the horse backward. Half a dozen sailors, attracted by the noise, tumble up to the rescue; three seize the horse’s head, and pull a starboard, and three take him, by the tail, and pull to larboard, and all yell together, to the driver, to put his helm hard down. At last, urged, by rage, terror, and despair, the poor brute shakes off his persecutors, with a rear, and a plunge, and a leap, and dashes through the bow window of a confectioner’s shop, or of some dealer in naked women, done in Parian.

I am very sorry we have been delayed, by this accident. Let us proceed. Never has there been known, among men, a more universal diffusion of such a little modicum of knowledge. The knowledge of the materia medica and of pathology, what there was of it, seems to have been held, by the Babylonians, as tenants in common, and upon the Agrarian principle—every man and woman had an equal share of it. Such, according to John Jahn, Professor of Orientals in Vienna, was the state of therapeutics, in Babylon.

The Egyptians carried their sick into the temples of Serapis—the Greeks to those of Æsculapius. Written receipts were preserved there, for the cure of different diseases. Professor Jahn certainly seems disposed to make the most of the knowledge of physic and surgery, among the Israelites. He says they had “some acquaintance with chirurgical operations.” In support of this opinion, he refers to the rite of circumcision, and to—nothing else. He also says, that it is evident “physicians[Pg 434] sometimes undertook to exercise their skill, in removing diseases of an internal nature.”

If the reader is good at conundrums, will he be so obliging as to guess, upon what evidence the worthy professor grounds this assertion? I perceive he gives it up—Well—on Samuel I. xvi. 16. And what sayeth Samuel?—“And Saul’s servants said unto him, behold now an evil spirit from God troubleth thee. Let our Lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on a harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well.” This, reduced into plain language, is simply this—Saul’s servants took the liberty of telling his majesty, that the devil was in him, and he had better have a little music. Accordingly, David was called in—as a physician, according to Jahn—and drove the devil out of Saul, by playing on his Jews’-harp. Jahn also informs us, and the Bible did before, that the art of healing was committed to the priests, who were specially bound, by law, “to take cognizance of leprosies.” There were, as he admits, other physicians, probably of little note. The priests were the regular, legalized faculty. On this ground, we can explain the severe reproach, cast upon Asa, who, when he had the gout, “sought not the Lord but to the physician:” that is, he did not seek the Lord, in prayer, through the intermediation of the regular faculty, the priests.

There are ecclesiastics among us, who consider, that the Levitical law is obligatory upon the priesthood, throughout the United States of America, at the present day; and who believe it to be their bounden duty, to take cognizance of leprosies, and all other disorders; and to physick the bodies, not less than the souls, of their respective parishioners. To this I sturdily object—not at all, from any doubt of their ability, to practise the profession, as skilfully, as did the son of Jesse, and to drive out devils with a Jews’-harp; and to cure all manner of diseases, in the same manner, in which the learned Kircherus avers, according to Sir Thomas Browne, vol. ii. page 536, Lond. 1835, the bite of the tarantula is cured, by songs and tunes; and to soothe boils as big as King Hezekiah’s, with fig poultices, according to Scripture; for I have the greatest reverence for that intuition, whereby such men are spared those studia annorum, so necessary for the acquirement of any [Pg 435]tolerable knowledge of the art of medicine, by all, who are not in holy orders. My objection is of quite another kind—I object to the union of the cure of souls and the cure of bodies, in the same person; as I object to the union of Church and State, and to the union of the power of the purse and the power of the sword. It is true, withal, that when a sufferer is killed, by ministerial physic, which never can happen, of course, but for the patient’s want of faith, nobody dreams of such an irreverent proceeding, as pursuing the officious priest, for mala praxis.

Priests and witches, jugglers, and old women have been the earliest practitioners of medicine, in every age, and every nation: and the principal, preventive, and remedial medicines, in all the primitive, unwritten pharmacopæias, have been consecrated herbs and roots, charms and incantations, amulets and prayers, and the free use of the Jews’-harp. The reader has heard the statement of Professor Jahn. In 1803, Dr. Winterbottom, physician to the colony of Sierra Leone, published, in London, a very interesting account of the state of medicine, in that colony. He says, that the practice of physic, in Africa, is entirely in the hands of old women. These practitioners, like the servants of Saul, believe, that almost all diseases are caused by evil spirits; in other words, that their patients are bedevilled: and they rely, mainly, on charms and incantations. Dr. W. states, that the natives get terribly drunk, at funerals—funerals produce drunkenness—drunkenness produces fevers—fevers produce death—and death produces funerals. All this is imputed to witchcraft, acting in a circle.

In the account of the Voyage of the Ship Duff to Tongataboo, in 1796, the missionaries give a similar statement of the popular notion, as to the origin of diseases—the devil is at the bottom of them all; and exorcism the only remedy.

In Mill’s British India, vol. ii. p. 185, Lond. 1826, the reader may find a statement of the paltry amount of knowledge, on the subject, not only of medicine, but of surgery, among the Hindoos: “Even medicine and surgery, to the cultivation of which so obvious and powerful an interest invites, had scarcely attracted the rude understanding of the Hindus.”

Sir William Jones, in the Asiatic Researches, vol. i. p. 354, says, “there is no evidence, that, in any language of Asia, there exists one original treatise on medicine, considered as a [Pg 436]science.” Crawford, in his Sketches, and he has an exalted opinion of the Hindoos, states, that surgery is unknown among them; and, that, in cases of wounds from the sabre or musket, they do no more than wash the wound; bind it up with fresh leaves, and keep the patient on rice gruel. Buchanan, in his journey, through Mysore, vol. i. p. 336, informs us, that medicine was in the hands of ignorant and impudent charlatans. Origen, who was born, about 185 A. D., states that the Egyptians believed thirty-six devils divided the human body, among them; and that diseases were cured, by supplication and sacrifice, to the particular devil, within whose precinct the malady lay. This is a convenient kind of practice. May it not have some relation to the fact, referred to by Herodotus, in his History, book ii. sec. 84, that the doctors, in Egypt, were not practitioners, in a general sense, but for one part of the body only. Possibly, though I affirm nothing of the sort, Origen may have written devils for doctors, by mistake: for the doctors, in those days, were, manifestly, very little better.

If it be true—et quis negat?—that Hippocrates was the father of physic—the child was neither born nor begotten, before its father, of course, and Hippocrates was born, about 400 B. C., which, according to Calmet, was about 600 years after David practised upon Saul, with his Jews’-harp. His genealogy was quite respectable. He descended from Æsculapius, through a long line of doctors; and, by the mother’s side, he was the eighteenth from Hercules, who was, of course, the great grandfather of physic, at eighteen removes; and who, it will be remembered, was an eminent practitioner, and doctored the Hydra. Divesting the subject of all, that is magical and fantastical, Hippocrates thought and taught such rational things, as no physician had thought and taught before. It appears amazing to us, the uninitiated, that the healing art should have been successfully practised at all, from the beginning of the world, till 1628, in utter ignorance of the circulation of the blood; yet it was in that year the discovery was made, when Dr. William Harvey dedicated to Charles I. and published his Exercitatio anatomica de motu cordis et sanguinis.



[Pg 437]

No. CIX.

Quackery may be found, in every vocation, from the humblest, to the holiest.

If the dead rise not at all, says St. Paul, what shall they do, who are baptized for the dead! Nine different opinions are set forth, by Bosius, in regard to the true meaning of this passage. Scaliger and Grotius, who were men of common sense, conclude, that St. Paul referred to a practice, existing at the time; and St. Chrysostom tells a frolicsome story of this vicarious baptism; that a living sponsor was concealed under the bed of the defunct, and answered all the questions, put by the sagacious priest, to the corpse, about to be baptized.

The dead have been, occasionally, through inadvertence, summoned to give evidence, in courts of justice. But, fortunately for quacks, in every department, dead men are mute upon the stand.

Saul, if we may believe the singing women, who came out to meet him, after the fall of Goliath, hath slain his thousands; and, could dead men testify, it would, doubtless, appear, that quacks have slain their tens of thousands. When we consider the overbearing influence of that ignorant, impudent, and plausible jabber, which the quack has always at command, it must be admitted, that these, his fatal victories, are achieved, with the very same weapon, employed by Samson, in his destruction of the Philistines.

There is nothing marvellous, in the existence of quackery, if we recognize the maxim of M. Sorbiere, in his Relation d’une Voiage en Angleterre, p. 155, homo est animal credulum et mendax—man is a credulous and lying animal. David said, that all men were liars; but, as this is found in one of his lyrics, and he admits, that he uttered it in haste, it may be fairly carried to the account of poetica licentia. With no more, however, than a moderate allowance, for man’s notorious diathesis towards lying, for pleasure or profit, it is truly wonderful, that credulity should preserve its relative level, as it does, and ever has done, since the world began. Many, who will not go an inch with the Almighty, without a sign, will deliver their noses, for safe keeping, into the hands of a charlatan, and be led by him, blindfold, to the charnel-house. Take away credulity, and the world[Pg 438] would speedily prove an exhausted receiver, for all manner of quackery.

At the close of the seventeenth century, there was a famous impostor in France, whom the royal family, on account of his marvellous powers, invited to Paris. His name was James Aymar. I shall speak of him more fully hereafter; and refer to him, at present, in connection with a remark of Leibnitz. Aymar’s imposture had no relation to the healing art, but the remark of Leibnitz is not, on that account, the less applicable. That great man wrote a letter, in 1694, which may be found in the Journal of Tenzelius, in which he refers to Aymar’s fraud, and to his subsequent confession, before the Prince of Condè. Aymar said, according to Leibnitz, that he was led on, non tam propria audacia, quam aliena credulitate hominum, falli volentium, et velut obtrudentium sibi—not so much by his own audacity, as by the credulity of others, who were not only willing to be cheated, but actually thrust themselves upon him. All Paris was occupied, in attempting to explain the mystery of Aymar’s performances, with his wonderful wand: and Leibnitz says—

Nuper scripsi Parisios, utilius et examine dignius, mihi videri problema morale vel logicum, quomodo tot viri insignes Lugduni in fraudem ducti fuerint, quam illud pseudo-physicum, quomodo virga coryllacea tot miracula operetur—I wrote lately to the Parisians, that a solution of the moral or logical problem, how it happened, that so many distinguished persons, in Lyons, came to be taken in, seemed to me of much greater utility, and far more worthy of investigation, than how this fellow performed miracles, with his hazel wand.

It is worth noting, perhaps, that Leibnitz himself, according to the statement of the Abbé Conti, in the Gazzette Litteraire, for 1765, fell a victim to a quack medicine, given him by a Jesuit, for the gout.

Ignorance is the hotbed of credulity. This axiom is not the less respectable, because the greatest philosophers, occasionally, place confidence in the veriest fools, and do their bidding. Wise and learned men, beyond the pale of their professional pursuits, or peculiar studies, are, very frequently, the simplest of simple folk—non omnia possumus omnes. Ignorance must be very common; for a vast majority of the human race have not proceeded so far, in the great volume of wisdom and knowledge, as that profitable but humiliating chapter, whose perusal is likely to[Pg 439] stimulate their energies, by convincing them, that they are of yesterday and know nothing. Credulity must therefore be very common.

Credulity has very little scope, for its fantastical operations among the exact sciences. Who does not foresee the fate of a geometrical quack, who should maintain, that the square of the hypothenuse, in a right-angled triangle, is either greater or less than the sum of the squares of the sides; or of the quack arithmetician, who would persuade our housewives, that of two and two pounds of Muscovado sugar, he had actually discovered the art of making five?

The healing art—the science of medicine, cannot be placed, in the exact category.

It is a popular saying, that there is a glorious uncertainty in the law. This opinion has been ably considered, by that most amiable and learned man, the late John Pickering, in his lecture, on the alleged uncertainty of the law—before the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, in 1834. The credulity of the client, to which Mr. Pickering does not refer, must, in some cases, be of extraordinary strength and quality. After presenting a case to his counsel, as favorably to himself as he can, and carefully suppressing much, that is material and adverse, he fondly believes, that his advocate will be able to mesmerise the court and jury, and procure a verdict, in opposition to the facts, apparent at the trial. He is disappointed of course; and then he complains of the uncertainty of the law, instead of the uncertainty of the facts.

In a dissertation, before the Medical Society, in June, 1828, Dr. George Cheyne Shattuck, after setting forth a melancholy catalogue of the troubles and perplexities of the medical profession, concludes by saying, that “all these trials, to which the physician is subjected, do not equal that, which proceeds from the uncertainty of the healing art.” When we contrast this candid avowal, from an accomplished and experienced physician, with the splendid promises, and infallible assurances of empirics—with their balms of Gilead, panaceas, and elixirs of everlasting life—we cannot marvel, that the larger part of all the invalids, in this uncertain and credulous world, fly from those conservative professors, who promise nothing, to such as will assure them of a perfect relief, from their maladies, no matter how[Pg 440] complicated, or chronic, they may be—with four words of inspiriting import—NO CURE NO PAY.

I am no physician; my opinion therefore is not presented ex cathedra: but the averment of Dr. Shattuck is, I presume, to be viewed in no other light, than as the opinion of an honorable man, who would rather claim too little, than too much, for his own profession: who would rather perform more, than he has promised, than promise more, than he can perform. If the regularly bred and educated physician complains of uncertainty, none but a madman would seek for its opposite, in the palace, or the kennel, of a quack; for the charlatan may occasionally be found in either.

The first thing to be done, I suppose, by the regular doctor, is to ascertain what the disease is. This, I believe, is the very last thing, thought of by the charlatan. He is spared the labor of all pathological inquiry, for all his medicines are, fortunately, panaceas. Thus, he administers a medicine, for the gout; the patient does not happen to have the gout, but the gravel; it is the same thing; for the physic, like our almanacs, was calculated, for different meridians.

These gentlemen sometimes limit their practice to particular diseases, cancers, fistulas, fevers, &c. A memorial was presented, some few years since, to the legislature of Alabama, for the establishment of a medical college, to be devoted, exclusively, to vegetable practice. A shrewd, old member of the assembly rose, and spoke, much after this fashion—I shall support this measure, Mr. Speaker, on one condition, that a neighbor of mine shall be appointed president of this college. It is proper, therefore, that you should know how far he is qualified. He was a travelling merchant; dealt chiefly in apple-trade and other notions, and failed. He had once taken an old book, on fevers, in exchange for essences. This he got by heart. Fevers are common with us. He was a man of some tact; and, a week after he failed, he put up his sign, “Bela Bodkin, Fever DoctorRoots and Herbs—F. R. S.—L. L. D.—M. D. No charge to the poor or the reverend clergy.”—When asked, what he meant by adding those capital letters to his name, he said the alphabet was common property; that F. R. S. stood for Feverfew, Ragwort, and Slippery Elm—L. L. D. for Liverwort, Lichens, and Dill—and M. D. for Milk Diet.

The thing took—his garret was crowded, from morning till[Pg 441] night, and the regular doctor was driven out of that town. Those, who got well, proclaimed Dr. Bodkin’s praises—those, who died, were a very silent majority. Everybody declared, of the dead, ’twas a pity they had applied too late. Bodkin was once called to a farmer’s wife. He entered the house, with his book under his arm, saying Fever! with a loud voice, as he crossed the threshhold. This evidence of his skill was astonishing. Without more than a glance at the patient, he asked the farmer, if he had a sorrel sheep; and, being told, that he had never heard of such a thing, he inquired, if he had a sorrel horse. The farmer replied, that he had, and a very valuable one. Dr. Bodkin assured him the horse must be killed immediately, and a broth made of the in’ards for the sick wife. The farmer hesitated; the wife groaned; the doctor opened the book, and showed his authority—there it was—readable enough—“sheep sorrel, horse sorrel, good in fevers.” The farmer smiled—the doctor departed in anger, saying, as he went, “you may decide which you will sacrifice, your wife or your nag.” The woman died, and, shortly after, the horse. The neighbors considered the farmer a hard-hearted man—the wife a victim to the husband’s selfishness—the sudden death of the horse a particular providence—and Dr. Bodkin the most skilful of physicians.



No. CX.

No class of men, not even the professors of the wrangling art, are, and ever have been, more universally used and abused, than the members of the medical profession. It has always appeared to me, that this abuse has been occasioned, in some degree, by the pompous air and Papal pretensions of certain members of the faculty; for the irritation of disappointment is, in the ratio of encouragement and hope; and the tongue of experience can have little to say of the infallibility of the medical art. The candid admission of its uncertainty, by Dr. Shattuck, in his dissertation, to which I have referred, is the true mode of erecting a barrier, between honorable and intelligent practitioners, and charlatans.

The opinion of Cato and of Pliny, in regard to the art is, of[Pg 442] course, to be construed, with an allowance, for its humble condition, in their day. With the exception of the superstitious, and even magical, employment of roots and herbs, it consisted, essentially, in externals. There was nothing like a systematic nosology. The ἰατροι of Athens, and the medici of Rome were vulnerarii, or surgeons. Cato, who died at the age of 85, U. C. 605, is reported, by Pliny, lib. xxix. cap. 7, to have said of the doctors, in a letter to his son Marcus—Jurarunt inter se, barbaros, necare omnes, medicina. They have sworn among themselves, barbarians as they are, to kill us all with their physic. In cap. 5 of the same book, he thus expresses his opinion—mutatur ars quotidie, toties interpolis, et ingeniorum Greciæ flatu impellimur: palamque est, ut quisque inter istos loquendo polleat, imperatorem illico vitæ nostræ necisque fieri: ceu vero non millia gentium sine medicis degant. The art is varying, from day to day: as often as a change takes place, we are driven along, by some new wind of doctrine from Greece. When it becomes manifest, that one of these doctors gains the ascendency, by his harangues, he becomes, upon the spot, the arbiter of our life and death; as though there were not thousands of the nations, who got along without doctors. In the same passage he says, the art was not practised, among the Romans, until the sixth hundredth year, from the building of the city.

The healing art seems to have been carried on, in those days, with fire and sword, that is, with the knife and the cautery. In cap. 6, of the same book, Pliny tells us, that, U. C. 535, Romam venisse—vulnerarium—mireque gratum adventum ejus initio: mox a sævitia secandi urendique transisse nomen in carnificem, et in tædium artem—there came to Rome a surgeon, who was, at first, cordially received, but, shortly, on account of his cuttings and burnings, they called him a butcher, and his art a nuisance.

A professional wrestler, who was unsuccessful, in his profession, met Diogenes, the cynic, as we are told, by Diog. Laertius, in Vita, lib. vi. p. 60, and told him, that he had given up wrestling, and taken to physic—“Well done,” said the philosopher, “now thou wilt be able to throw those, who have thrown thee.”

The revolutions, which took place, in the practice of the healing art, previously to the period, when Pliny composed his Natural History, are certainly remarkable. Chrysippus, as far as he was able, overthrew the system of Hippocrates; Erasistratus[Pg 443] overthrew the system of Chrysippus; the Empirics, or experimentalists, overthrew, to the best of their ability, the system of Erasistratus; Herophilus did the very same thing, for the Empirics; Asclepiades turned the tables, upon Herophilus; Vexius Valens next came into vogue, as the leader of a sect; then Thessalus, in Nero’s age, opposed all previous systems; the system of Thessalus was overthrown by Crinas of Marseilles; and so on, to the end of the chapter—which chapter, by the way, somewhat resembles the first chapter of Matthew, substituting the word overthrew for the word begat.

Water doctors certainly existed, in those ancient days. After Crinas, says Pliny, cap. 5, of the same book, there came along one—damnatis non solum prioribus medicis, verum, et balineis; frigidaque etiam hibernis algoribus lavari persuasit. Mergit ægros in lacus. Videbamus senes consulares usque in ostentationem rigentes. Qua de re exstat etiam Annæi Senecæ stipulatio. Nec dubium est omnes istos famam novitate aliqua aucupantes anima statim nostra negotiari. Condemning not only all former physicians, but the baths, then in use, he persuaded his patients to use cold water, during the rigors of winter. He plunged sick folks in ponds. We have seen certain aged, consular gentlemen, freezing themselves, from sheer ostentation. We have the personal statement of Annæus Seneca, in proof of this practice. Nor can it be doubted, that those quacks, greedily seeking fame, by the production of some novelty, would readily bargain away any man’s life, for lucre. The statement of Seneca, to which Pliny refers, may be found in Seneca’s letters, 53, and 83, both to Lucilius; in which he tells his friend, that, according to his old usage, he bathed in the Eurypus, upon the Kalends of January.

It would be easy to fill a volume, with the railings of such peevish philosophers, as Michael De Montaigne, against all sorts of physic and physicians. We are very apt to treat doctors and deities, in the same way—to scoff at them, in health, and fly to them, in sickness.

That was a pertinent question of Cicero’s, lib. i. de Divinatione, 14. An Medicina, ars non putanda est, quam tamen multa fallunt? * * * num imperatorum scientia nihil est, quia summus imperator nuper fugit, amisso exercitu? Aut num propterea nulla est reipublicæ gerendæ ratio atque, prudentia, quia multa Cn. Pompeium, quædam Catonem, nonnulla etiam te ipsum fe[Pg 444] fellerunt? As to medicine shall it be accounted not an art, because of the great uncertainty therein? What, then, is there no such thing as military skill, because a great commander lately fled, and lost his army? Can there be no such thing as a wise and prudent government, because Pompey has been often mistaken, even Cato sometimes, and yourself, now and then?

If much more than all, that has been proclaimed, were true, in regard to the uncertainty of the healing art, still the practice of seeking some kind of counsel and assistance, whenever a screw gets loose, in our tabernacle of the flesh, is not likely to go out of fashion. What shall we do? Follow the tetotum doctor, and swallow a purge, if P. come uppermost? This is good evidence of our faith, in the doctrine of uncertainty. Or shall we go for the doctor, who works the cheapest? There is no reason, why we should not cheapen our physic, if we cheapen our salvation; for pack horses of all sorts, lay and clerical, are accounted the better workers, when they are rather low in flesh. Or shall we follow the example of the mutual admiration society, and get up a mutual physicking association? Most men are pathologists, by intuition. I have been perfectly astonished to find how many persons, especially females and root doctors, know just what ails their neighbors, upon the very first hint of their being out of order, without even seeing them.

It is a curious fact, that, while men of honor, thoroughly educated, and who have devoted their whole lives, to the study and practice of the healing art, candidly admit its uncertainty, the ignorant and unprincipled of the earth alone, who have impudently resorted to the vocation, suddenly, and as an antidote to absolute starvation, boast of their infallibility, and deal in nothing, but panaceas. The fools, in this pleasant world, are such a respectable and wealthy minority, that the charlatan will not cease from among us, until the last of mortals shall have put on immortality: and then, like the fellow, who entered Charon’s boat, with his commodities, he will try to smuggle some of his patent medicines, or leetil doshes, into the other world.

A curious illustration of the popular notion, that no man is guilty of any presumptuous sin, merely because, after lying down, at night, a notorious pedler or tinker, he rises, in the morning, a physician, may be found, in the fact, that a watchmaker, who would laugh at a tailor, should he offer to repair a[Pg 445] timekeeper, will readily confide in him, as a physician, for himself, his wife, or his child.

The most delicate female will sometimes submit her person, to the rubbings and manipulations of a blacksmith, in preference to following the prescriptions of a regular physician. A respectable citizen, with a pimple on the end of his nose, resembling, upon the testimony of a dozen old ladies, in the neighborhood, the identical cancer, of which every one of them was cured, by the famous Indian doctress, in Puzzlepot Alley, will, now and then, give his confidence to a lying, ignorant, half-drunken squaw, rather than to the most experienced member of the medical profession.

Suffer me to close this imperfect sketch, with the words of Lord Bacon, vol. i. page 120, Lond. 1824. “We see the weakness and credulity of men is such, as they will often prefer a mountebank or witch, before a learned physician. And therefore the poets were clear-sighted, in discerning this extreme folly, when they made Æsculapius and Circe brother and sister. For, in all times, in the opinion of the multitude, witches, and old women, and impostors have had a competition with physicians. And what followeth? Even this, that physicians say, to themselves, as Solomon expresseth it, upon a higher occasion, If it befall to me, as befalleth to the fools, why should I labor to be more wise?



No. CXI.

Van Butchell, the fistula-doctor, in London, some forty years ago, had a white horse, and he painted the animal, with many colored spots. He also wore an enormous beard. These tricks were useful, in attracting notice. In the Harleian Miscellany, vol. viii. page 135, Lond. 1810, there is a clever article on quackery, published in 1678, from which I will extract a passage or two, for the benefit of the fraternity: “Any sexton will furnish you with a skull, in hope of your custom; over which hang up the skeleton of a monkey, to proclaim your skill in anatomy. Let your table be never without some old musty Greek or Arabic author, and the fourth book of Cornelius[Pg 446] Agrippa’s Occult Philosophy, wide open, with half a dozen gilt shillings, as so many guineas, received, that morning for fees. Fail not to oblige neighboring ale-houses to recommend you to inquirers; and hold correspondence with all the nurses and midwives near you, to applaud your skill at gossippings. The admiring patient shall cry you up for a scholar, provided always your nonsense be fluent, and mixed with a disparagement of the college, graduated doctors, and book-learned physicians. Pretend to the cure of all diseases, especially those, that are incurable.”

There are gentlemen of the medical and surgical professions, whose high reputation, for science and skill, is perfectly established, and who have humanely associated their honorable names with certain benevolent societies. Such is the fact, in regard to Dr. John Collins Warren, who, by his adoption of the broad ground of total abstinence from all intoxicating liquors, as a beverage, by men in health, and by his consistent practice and example, has become entitled to the grateful respect of every well-wisher of the temperance cause. To the best of my ability, I have long endeavored to do, for the sextons, the very thing, which that distinguished man would accomplish for the doctors, and other classes. Never did mortal more certainly oppose his own interest, than a physician, or a sexton, who advocates the temperance reform.

There are, however, personages, in the medical profession, regulars, as well as volunteers, who cling to certain societies, with the paralyzing grasp of death—holding on to their very skirts, as boys cling behind our vehicles, to get a cast. The patronage and advocacy of some of these individuals are absolutely fatal. It may be surely affirmed of more than one of their number, nihil tetigit quod non damnavit.

I have long been satisfied, that, without a great increase of societies, it will be utterly impossible to satisfy the innumerable aspirants, for the offices of President, Vice President, &c., in our ambitious community. A sagacious, medical friend of mine, whose whole heart is devoted to the public service, and I am sorry to say it, to the injury of his wife and children, has handed me a list of several societies, for the want of which, he assures me, the citizens of Boston are actually suffering, at the present moment. For myself, I cannot pretend to judge of such [Pg 447]matters. A publication of the list may interest the benevolent, and, possibly, promote the cause of humanity. I give it entire:—

A society, for soothing the feelings and relieving the apprehensions of criminals, especially midnight assassins.

A mutual relief society, in case of flatulent colic.

A society, for the diffusion of buttermilk, with funds to enable the visiting committee to place a full jug, in the hands of every man, woman and child, in the United States, upon the first Monday of every month.

A friendly cockroach-trap society.

A society, composed exclusively of medical men, without practice, for the destruction of sowbugs and pismires, throughout the Commonwealth.

A society, for the promotion of domestic happiness, with power to send for persons and papers.

A society, for elevating the standard of education, by introducing trigonometry into infant schools.

An association, for the gratuitous administration, to the poorer classes, by steam power, of anodyne clysters.

Let us return to the faculty. I am in favor of some peculiarity, in the dress and equipage of medical men. With the exception of certain stated hours, they cannot be found at home; and the case may be one of emergency. Van Butchell’s spotted horse was readily distinguished, from Charing Cross to Temple Bar. This was very convenient for those, who were in quest of that remarkable leech. A small mast, abaft the vehicle, whether sulky, buggy, chariot, or phaeton, bearing the owner’s private signal, would afford great public accommodation. There is nothing more nautical in such an arrangement, than in the use of the killeck, or small anchor, which many of the faculty regularly cast, when they are about to board a patient, and as regularly weigh, when they are about to take a new departure.

The bright yellow chariot of Dr. Benjamin Rush was universally known in Philadelphia, and its environs; and his peculiar features are not likely to escape from the memory of any man, who ever beheld them. These striking points were seized, by that arch villain, Cobbett, when he published his pictured libel, representing that eminent physician, looking out of his chariot window, with a label, proceeding from his mouth—Bleed and purge all Kensington! Upon Cobbett’s trial for this libel, Dr. Rush swore, that, by making him ridiculous, it had seriously affected his practice.

[Pg 448]Dr. James Lloyd was easily discovered, by his large bay horse—take him for all in all—the finest harness gelding of his day, in Boston. With the eyes of a Swedenborgian, I see the good, old doctor now; and I hear the tramp of those highly polished, white topped boots; and I almost feel the lash of his horsewhip, around my boyish legs, rather too harshly administered, for mild practice however—but he was an able physician, and a gentleman—factus ad unguem. His remarkable courtliness of manner, arose, doubtless, in some degree, from his relation to the nobility. During the siege, General Howe and Lord Percy were his intimate friends; the latter was his tenant in 1775, occupying the Vassal estate, for which Dr. Lloyd was the agent, and which afterwards became the residence of the late Gardner Greene.

Dr. Danforth, who resided, in 1789, near the residence of Dr. Lloyd, on Pemberton’s Hill, nearly opposite Concert Hall, and, subsequently, in Green Street, might be recognized, by the broad top of his chaise, and the unvarying moderation of the pace, at which he drove. He was tall and thin. His features were perfectly Brunonian. There seemed to be nothing antiphlogistic about him. When pleased, he was very gentlemanly, in his manner and carriage. He ever placed himself, with remarkable exactitude, in the very centre of his vehicle, bolt upright; and, with his stern expression, wrinkled features, remarkably aquiline nose, prominent chin, and broad-brimmed hat, appeared, even some fifty years ago, like a remnant of a by-gone age. He had been a royalist. His manners were occasionally rough and overbearing.

I remember to have told my mother, when a boy, that I should not like to take Dr. Danforth’s physic. The character of his practice is, doubtless, well remembered, by those, who have taken his divers, as they were called, and lived to tell of it. The late Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse being interrogated, by some aged spinsters, as to the difference, between the practice of Dr. Danforth and his opponents, replied, that there were two ways of putting a disordered clock in tolerable condition—the first, by taking it apart, cleaning its various members of their dust and dirt, applying a little oil to the pivots, and attaching no other than its former weight; “and then,” said he, “it will go very well, for a considerable time; and this we call the anti-Brunonian system.”

[Pg 449]The second method he described, as follows: “You are to take no pains about examining the parts; let the dust and dirt remain, by all means; apply no oil to the pivots; but hitch on three or four times the original weight, and you will be able to drag it along, after a fashion; and this is the Brunonian system.” In this, the reader will recognize one of the pleasantries of Dr. Waterhouse, rather than an impartial illustration.

Dr. Isaac Rand, the son of Dr. Isaac Rand, of Charlestown, lived, in 1789, some sixty years ago, in Middle Street, just below Cross: in after years, he resided, till his death, in 1822, in Atkinson Street. He was a pupil of Dr. Lloyd. His liberalities to the poor became a proverb. The chaise, in which he practised, in his latter days, was a notable object. The width of it, though not equal to that of Solomon’s temple, was several cubits. It became the property of the late Sheriff Badlam, who filled it to admiration. The mantle of Elijah was not a closer fit, upon the shoulders of Elisha.

Dr. Rand was an able physician, and a truly good man. He made rather a more liberal use of the learned terms of his profession, than was the practice of other physicians. With him, this arose from habit, and a desire to speak with accuracy, and not from affectation. Charles Austin was shot dead, in State Street, by Thomas O. Selfridge, August 4, 1806, in self-defence. Dr. Rand was a witness, at the trial; and his long and learned, professional terms, so completely confounded the stenographers, that they were obliged to beat the chamade, and humbly beg for plainer English.

I have more to say of these interesting matters, but am too near the boundary wall of my paper, to enter upon their consideration, at present.




In my last number, I referred to three eminent physicians, of the olden time, Drs. Lloyd, Danforth, and Rand. Some sixty years ago, there were three and twenty physicians, in this city, exclusive of quacks. The residences of the three I have already stated. Dr. James Pecker resided, at the corner of[Pg 450] Hanover and Friend Street—Thomas Bulfinch, in Bowdoin Square—Charles Jarvis, in Common Street—Lemuel Hayward, opposite the sign of the White Horse, in Newbury Street—Thomas Kast, in Fish Street, near the North Square—David Townsend, in Southack’s Court—John Warren, next door to Cromwell’s Head, in South Latin School Street, then kept by Joshua Brackett—Thomas Welsh, in Sudbury Street, near Concert Hall—William Eustis, in Sudbury Street, near the Mill Pond—John Homans, No. 6 Marlborough Street—John Sprague, in Federal Street—Nathaniel W. Appleton, in South Latin School Street, near the Stone Chapel—Joseph Whipple, in Orange Street—Aaron Dexter, in Milk Street, opposite the lower end of the rope walks, that were burnt, in the great fire, July 30, 1794—Abijah Cheever, in Hanover Street—William Spooner, in Cambridge Street—John Fleet, in Milk Street—Amos Winship, in Hanover Street—Robert Rogerson, in Ship Street—Alexander A. Peters, in Marlborough Street—John Jeffries, who, in 1776, went to Halifax, with the British garrison, did not return and resume practice in Boston, till 1790.

Ten years after, in 1799, the number had increased to twenty-nine, of whom nineteen were of the old guard of 1789.

In 1816, the number had risen to forty-three, of whom eight only were of 1789. In 1830, the number was seventy-five, two only surviving of 1789—Drs. William Spooner and Thomas Welsh.

In 1840, we had, in Boston, one hundred and twenty-two physicians, surgeons, and dentists, and a population of 93,383. There are now, in this physicky metropolis, according to the Directory, for 1848-9, physicians, of all sorts, not including those for the soul, but doctors, surgeons, dentists, regulars and quacks, of all colors and both sexes, 362. Three hundred and sixty-two: an increase of two hundred and forty, in eight years. This is certainly encouraging. If 122 doctors are quite as many, as 93,383 Athenians ought to bear, 362 require about 280,000 patients, and such should be our population. Let us arrange this formidable host. At the very tete d’armee, marching left in front, we have seven Female Physicians, preceded by an Indian doctress—next in order, come the surgeon Dentists, seventy in number—then the main body, to whom the publisher of the Directory courteously and indiscriminately applies the title of Physicians, two hundred and fifty-seven, rank[Pg 451] and file;—seven and twenty Botanic Doctors bring up the rear! How appropriate, in the hand of the very last of this enormous cortege, would be a banner, inscribed with those well known words—God save the Commonwealth of Massachusetts!

I shall devote this paper to comparative statistics. In 1789, with twenty-three physicians in Boston, four less, than the present number of botanic doctors alone, and three hundred and thirty-nine less, than the present number of regulars and pretenders, there were nine only of our profession, regularly enrolled, as F. U., funeral undertakers, and placed upon a footing with the Roman designatores, or domini funerum. There were several others, who bore to our profession the same relation, which bachelors of medicine bear to theirs, and who were entitled to subscribe themselves D. G., diggers of graves. Yet in 1840, the year, which I take, as a point d’appui for my calculations, there were only twenty, enrolled as F. U., with 362 medical operatives, busily at work, day and night, upon the insides and outsides of our fellow-citizens! Here is matter for marvel! How was it done? Did the dead bury the dead? I presume the solution lies, in the fact, that there existed an unrecorded number of those, who were D. G. only.

There were few dentists, eo nomine, some sixty years ago. Our ancestors appear to have gotten along pretty comfortably, in spite of their teeth. Many of those, who practised the “dental art,” had so little employment, that it became convenient to unite their dental practice, with some other occupation. Thus John Templeman, was a broker and dentist, at the northeast corner of the Old State House. Whitlock was, doubtless, frequently called out, from a rehearsal, at the play house, to pull a refractory grinder. Isaac Greenwood advertises, in the Columbian Sentinel of June 1, 1785, not only his desire to wait upon all, who may require his services, at their houses, in the dental line; but a variety of umbrellas, canes, silk caps for bathing, dice, chess men, and cane for hoops and bonnets, by the dozen, or single stick. In the Boston Mercury of Jan. 6, 1797, W. P. Greenwood combines, with his dental profession, the sale of piano-fortes and guitars. In 1799, the registered dentists were three only, Messrs. Isaac and Wm. P. Greenwood, and Josiah Flagg. In 1816, there were three only, Wm. P. Greenwood, Thomas Parsons, and Thomas Barnes.

[Pg 452]It would appear somewhat extravagant, perhaps, to state, that, including doctors of all sorts, there is a fraction more than two doctors to every one merchant, eo nomine, excluding commission merchants, of course, in the city of Boston. Such, nevertheless, appears to be the fact, unless Mr. Adams has made some important error, which I do not suspect, in his valuable Directory, for 1848-9.

It will not be utterly worthless, to contemplate the quartermaster’s department of this portentous army; and compare it with the corresponding establishment of other times. In 1789, there were fifteen druggists and apothecaries, in the town of Boston. Examples were exceedingly rare, in those days, of wholesale establishments, exclusively dealing in drugs and medicines. At present, we have, in this city, eighty-nine apothecaries, doing business, in as many different places—drugs and medicines are also sold, at wholesale, in forty-four establishments—there are fourteen special depots, for the sale of patent medicines, Gordak’s drugs, Indian purgatives, Holman’s restorative, Brandreth’s pills, Sherry wine bitters, and pectoral balsam, Graefenberg’s medicines, and many other kinds of nastiness—eighteen dealers exclusively in botanic medicines—ninety-seven nurses—twenty-eight undertakers—and eight warehouses for the sale of coffins!

It is amusing, if nothing worse, to compare the relative increase, in the number of persons, who are, in various ways, employed about the sick, the dying, and the dead, in killing, or curing, or comforting, or burying, with the increase in some other crafts and callings. In 1789, there were thirty-one bakers, in Boston: there are now fifty-seven. The number has not doubled in sixty years. The number of doctors then, as I have stated, was twenty-three: now, charlatans included, it falls short, only six, of sixteen times that number.

There were then sixty-seven tailors’ shops; there are now one hundred and forty-eight such establishments. There were then thirty-six barbers, hair-dressers, and wig-makers: there are now ninety-one. There were then one hundred and five cabinet-makers and carpenters: there are now three hundred and fifty. This ratio of comparison will, by no means, hold, in some other callings. There were then nine auctioneers: there are now fifty-two. There were then seven brokers, of all sorts: there are now two hundred and ten. The source from[Pg 453] which I draw my information, is the Directory of 1789, “printed and sold by John Norman, at Oliver’s Dock,” and of which the writer speaks, in his preface, as “this first attempt.” For want of sufficient designation, it is impossible, in this primitive work, to pick out the members of the legal profession. Compared with the present fraternity, whose name is legion, they were very few. There are more than three hundred and fifty practitioners of the law, in this city. In this, as in the medical profession, there are, and ever will be, ex necessitate rei, infernal scoundrels, and highly intelligent and honorable men—blind guides and safe counsellors. Not very long ago, a day of purification was appointed—some plan seemed to be excogitating, for the ventilation of the brotherhood. For once, they were gathered together, brothers, looking upon the features of brothers, and knowing them not. This was an occasion of mutual interest, and the arena was common ground—they came, some of them, doubtless, from strange quarters, lofty attics and lowly places—

“From all their dens the one-eyed race repair,
From rifted rocks, and mountains high in air.”

When doctors, lawyers, and brokers are greatly upon the increase, it is very clear, that we are getting into the way of submitting our bodies and estates, to be frequently, and extensively, tinkered.

I cannot doubt, that in 1789, there were quacks, about town, who could not contrive to get their names inserted, in the same page, with the regular physicians. I cannot believe, however, that they bore any proportion to the unprincipled and ignorant impostors, at the present time. In the “Massachusetts Centinel,” of Sept. 21, 1785, is the following advertisement—“John Pope, who, for eighteen years past, has been noted for curing Cancers, schrophulous Tumours, fetid and phagedenic Ulcers, &c., has removed into a house, the north corner of Orange and Hollis Street, South End, Boston, where he proposes to open a school, for Reading, Writing, Arithmetick, &c.

In 1789 there were twenty-two distillers of rum in Boston: there are nine only, named in the Directory of 1848-9. The increase of doctors and all the appliances of sickness and death have not probably arisen from the falling off, among distillers. In 1789, there were about twenty innholders: there are[Pg 454] now eighty-eight public houses, hotels, or taverns—ninety-two restaurants—thirty-five confectionery establishments—thirty-nine stores, under the caption of “liquors and wines”—sixty-nine places, for the sale of oysters, which are not always the spiritless things they appear to be—one hundred and forty-three wholesale dealers, in West India goods and groceries—three hundred and seventy-three retailers of such articles: I speak not of those, who fall below the dignity of history; whose operations are entirely subterraneous; and whose entire stock in trade might be carried, in a wheelbarrow. We have also one hundred and fifty-two provision dealers. We live well in this city. It would be very pleasant, to walk over it, with old Captain Keayne, who died here, March 23, 1656, and who left a sum of money to the town, to erect a granary or storehouse, for the poor, in case of famine!




The Quack is commonly accounted a spurious leech—a false doctor—clinging, like a vicious barnacle, to the very bottom of the medical profession. But impostors exist, in every craft, calling, and profession, under the names of quacks, empirics, charmers, magicians, professors, sciolists, plagiaries, enchanters, charlatans, pretenders, judicial astrologers, quacksalvers, muffs, mountebanks, medicasters, barrators, cheats, puffs, champertors, cuckoos, diviners, jugglers, and verifiers of suggestions.

Butler, in his Hudibras, says, of medical quacks, they

Seek out for plants, with signatures,
To quack of universal cures.

In the Spectator, Addison has this observation—“At the first appearance, that a French quack made in Paris, a boy walked before him, publishing, with a shrill voice, ‘my father cures all sorts of distempers;’ to which the doctor added, in a grave manner, ‘what the boy says is true.’”

The imposture of James Aymar, to which I have alluded, was of a different kind. Aymar was an ignorant peasant of Dauphiné. He finally confessed himself to be an impostor, before[Pg 455] the Prince of Condè; and the whole affair is narrated, by the apothecary of the prince, in a Lettre à M. L’Abbé, D. L., sur les veritables effets de la baguette de Jaques Aymar par P. Buissiere; chez Louis Lucas, à Paris, 1694.

The power of this fellow’s wand was not limited, to the discovery of hidden treasures, or springs of water; nor were his only dupes the lowly and the ignorant. As I have said, he was detected, and made a full confession, before the Prince of Condè. The magistrates published an official account of the imposture; yet such is the energy of the credulous principle, that M. Vallemont, a man of note, published a treatise “on the occult philosophy of the divining wand;” in which he tries to show, that Aymar, notwithstanding his mistakes, before the Prince, was really possessed of all the wonderful power he claimed, of divining with his wand. The measure of this popular credulity will be better understood, after perusing the following translation of an extract from the Mercure Historique, for April, 1697, page 440.—“The Prior of the Carthusians passed through Villeneuve with Aymar, to discover, by the aid of his wand, some landmarks, that were lost. Just before, a foundling had been left on the steps of the monastery. Aymar was employed, by the Superior, to find out the father. Followed by a great crowd, and guided by the indications of his wand, he went to the village of Comaret, in the County of Venaissin, and thence to a cottage, where he affirmed the child was born.”

Bayle says, on the authority of another letter from M. Buissiere, in 1698, that Aymar’s apparent simplicity, and rustic dialect, and the rapid motion of his wand went far, to complete the delusion. He was also exceedingly devout, and never absent from mass, or confession. While he was at Paris, and before his exposure, the Pythoness, herself, would not have been more frequently, and zealously consulted, than was this crafty and ignorant boor, by the Parisians. Fees showered in from all quarters; and he was summoned, in all directions, to detect thieves; recover lost property; settle the question of genuine identity, among the relics of prima facie saints, in different churches; and, in truth, no limit was set, by his innumerable dupes, to the power of his miraculous wand. “I myself,” says M. Buissiere, “saw a simple, young fellow, a silk weaver, who was engaged to a girl, give Aymar a couple of crowns, to know if she were a virgin.”

[Pg 456]Joseph Francis Borri flourished, about the middle of the seventeenth century, and a most complicated scoundrel he was—heresiarch, traitor, alchymist, and empiric. He had spiritual revelations, of course. He was an intelligent and audacious liar, and converts came in apace. At his suggestion, his followers took upon themselves an oath of poverty, and placed all they possessed in the hands of Borri, who told them he would take care it should never again interfere with their devotions, but would be spent in prayers and masses, for their ulcerated souls. The bloodhounds of the Inquisition were soon upon his track, at the moment he was about to raise the standard of insurrection in Milan.

He fled to Amsterdam—made capital of his persecution by the Inquisition; and won the reputation of a great chemist, and wonderful physician. He then went to Hamburg, and persuaded Queen Christina, to advance him a large sum of money, to be reimbursed, from the avails of the philosopher’s stone, which Borri was to discover. This trick was clearly worth repeating. So thought Borri; and he tried it, with still better success, on his Majesty of Denmark. Still the stone remained undiscovered; and the thought occurred to Signor Borri, that it might not be amiss, to look for it, in Turkey. He accordingly removed; but was arrested at Vienna, by the Pope’s agents; and consigned to the prisons of the Inquisition, for life. His fame, however, had become so omnipotent, that, upon the earnest application of the Duke d’Etrée, he was let loose, to prescribe for that nobleman, whom the regular physicians had given over. The Duke got well, and the world gave Borri the credit of the cure. When a poor suffering mortal is given over, in other words, let alone, by half a dozen doctors—I am speaking now of the regulars, not less than of the volunteers—he, occasionally, gets well.

A wit replied to a French physician, who was marvelling how a certain Abbé came to die, since he himself and three other physicians were unremitting, in their attentions—“My dear doctor, how could the poor abbé sustain himself, against you all four?” The doctors do much as they did of old. Pliny, lib. xxix. 5, says, of consultations—“Hinc illæ circa ægros miseræ sententiarum concertationes, nullo idem censente ne videatur accessio alterius. Hinc illa infelicis monumenti inscriptio, TURBA SE MEDICORUM PERIISSE.” Hence those contemptible consultations,[Pg 457] round the beds of the sick—no one assenting to the opinion of another, lest he should be deemed his subaltern. Hence the monumental inscription, over the poor fellow, who was destroyed in this way—KILLED BY A MOB OF DOCTORS!

Who has not seen a fire rekindle, sua sponte, after the officious bellows have, apparently, extinguished the last spark? So, now and then, the vital spark, stimulated by the vis medicatrix naturæ will rekindle into life and action, after having been well nigh smothered, by all sorts of complicated efforts to restore it.

This is the punctum instans, the very nick of time, for the charlatan: in he comes, looking insufferably wise, and brim full of sympathetic indignation. All has been done wrong, of course. While he affects to be doing everything, he does exactly nothing—stirs up an invisible, impalpable, infinitessimal, incomprehensible particle, in a little water, which the patient can neither see, feel, taste, nor smell. Down it goes. The patient’s faith, as to the size of it, rather resembles a cocoanut than a grain of mustard seed. His confidence in the new doctor is as gigantic, and as blind, as Polyphemus, after he had been gouged, by him of Ithaca. He plants his galvanic grasp, upon the wrist of the little doctor, much in the manner of a drowning man, clutching at a full grown straw. He is absolutely better already. The wife and the little ones look upon the mountebank, as their preserver from widowhood and orphanage. “Dere ish noting,” he says, “like de leetil doshes;” and he takes his leave, regretting, as he closes the door, that his sleeve is not large enough, to hold the sum total of his laughter. Yet some of these quacks become honest men; and, however surprised at the result, they are finally unable, to resist the force of the popular outcry, in their own favor. They almost forget their days of duplicity, and small things—they arrive, somehow or other, at the conclusion, that, however unexpectedly, they are great men, and their wild tactics a system. They use longer words, move into larger houses, and talk of first principles: and all the practice of a neighborhood finally falls into the hands of Dr. Ninkempaup or Dr. Pauketpeeker.

Francis Joseph Borri died, in prison, in 1695. Sorbiere in his Voiage en Angleterre, page 158, describes him thus—“He is a cunning blade; a lusty, dark-complexioned, good-looking fellow, well dressed, and lives at considerable expense, though not[Pg 458] at such a rate, as some suppose; for eight or ten thousand livres will go a great way at Amsterdam. But a house, worth 15,000 crowns, in a fine location, five or six footmen, a French suit of clothes, a treat or two to the ladies, the occasional refusal of fees, five or six rix dollars distributed, at the proper time and place among the poor, a spice of insolence in discourse, and sundry other artifices have made some credulous persons say, that he gave away handfulls of diamonds, that he had discovered the philosophers stone, and the universal medicine.” When he was in Amsterdam, he appeared in a splendid equipage, was accosted, by the title of “your excellence,” and they talked of marrying him to one of the greatest fortunes.

I have no taste for unsocial pleasures. Will the reader go with me to Franklin Place—let us take our station near No. 2, and turn our eyes to the opposite side—let us put back the hand of the world’s timekeeper, some thirty years. A showy chariot, very peculiar, very yellow, and abundantly supplied with glass, with two tall bay horses, gaudily harnessed, is driven to the door of the mansion, by a coachman, in livery; and there it stands; till, after the expiration of an hour, perhaps, the house door is flung open, and there appears, upon the steps, a tall, dark visaged, portly personage, in black, who, looking slowly up and down the avenue, proceeds, with great deliberation, to draw on his yellow, buckskin gloves. Rings glitter upon his fingers; seals, keys, and safety chain, upon his person. His beaver, of an unusual form, is exquisitely glossy, surpassed, by nothing but the polish of his tall suwarrows, surmounted with black, silk tassels.

He descends to the vehicle—the door is opened, with a bow of profound reverence, which is scarcely acknowledged, and in he gets, the very fac simile of a Spanish grandee. The chariot moves off, so very slowly, that we can easily follow it, on foot—on it goes, up Franklin, and down Washington, up Court, into Tremont, down School, into Washington, along Washington, up Winter, and through Park to Beacon Street, where it halts, before the mansion of some respectable citizen. The occupant alights, and, leaving his chariot there, proceeds, through obscure and winding ways, to visit his patients, on foot, in the purlieus of La Montagne.

This was no other than the celebrated patentee of the famous bug liquid; who was forever putting the community on its guard, by admonishing the pill-taking public, that they could not be too particular, for none were genuine, unless signed W. T. Conway.



[Pg 459]


Charity began at home—I speak of Charity Shaw, the famous root and herb doctress, who was a great blessing to all undertakers, in this city, for many years—her practice was, at first, purely domestic—she began at home, in her own household; and, had she ended there, it had fared better, doubtless, with many, who have received the final attentions of our craft. The mischief of quackery is negative, as well as positive. Charity could not be fairly classed with those reckless empirics, who, rather than lose the sale of a nostrum, will send you directly to the devil, for a dollar: Charity was kind, though she vaunted herself a little in the newspapers. She was, now and then, rather severely handled, but she bore all things, and endured all things, and hoped all things; for, to do her justice, she was desirous, that her patients should recover: and, if she believed not all things, her patients did; and therein consisted the negative mischief—in that stupid credulity, which led them to follow this poor, ignorant, old woman, and thus prevented them, from applying for relief, where, if anywhere, in this uncertain world, it may be found—at the fountains of knowledge and experience. In Charity’s day, there were several root and herb practitioners; but the greatest of these was Charity.

Herb doctors have, for some two thousand years, attempted to turn back the tables, upon the faculty—they are a species of garde mobile, who have an old grudge against the corps regulier: for they have not forgotten, that, some two thousand years ago, herb doctors had all things pretty much in their own way. Two entire books, the twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh of Pliny’s Natural History, are devoted to a consideration of the medicinal properties of herbs—the twentieth treats of the medicinal properties of vegetables—the twenty-third and twenty-fourth of the medicinal properties of roots and barks. Thus, we see, of what importance these simples were accounted, in the healing art, in that early age. Herbs, barks, and roots were, and, for ages, had been, the principal materia medica, and were employed, by the different sects—by the Rationalists, of whom Pliny, lib. xxvi. cap. 6, considers Herophilus the head, though this honor is ascribed, by Galen, to Hippocrates—the Empirics, or experimentalists—and the Methodics, who avoided all actions, for mala[Pg 460] praxis, by adhering to the rules. Pliny manifestly inclined to herb doctoring. In the chapter, just now referred to, after alluding to the verba, garrulitatemque of certain lecturers, he intimates, that they and their pupils had an easy time of it—sedere namque his in scholis auditioni operatos gratius erat, quam ire in solitudines, et quœrere herbas alias aliis diebus anni—for it was pleasanter to sit, listening in the lecture-rooms, than to run about in the fields and woods, culling certain simples, on certain days in the year.

Herb doctors were destined to be overthrown; and the account, given by Pliny, in chapters 7, 8 and 9, book xxvi. of the sudden and complete revolution, in the practice of the healing art, is curious and interesting.

Asclepiades, of Prusa, in Bythinia, came to Rome, in the time of Pompey the Great, about one hundred years before Christ, to teach rhetoric; and, like an impudent hussy, who came to this city, as a cook, from Vermont, some years ago, and, not succeeding, in that capacity, but hearing, that wet nurses obtained high wages here, prepared herself, for that lucrative occupation—so Asclepiades, not succeeding, as a rhetorician, prepared himself for a doctor. He was ignorant of the whole matter; but a man of genius; and, as he knew nothing of root and herb practice, he determined to cut up the whole system root and branch, and substitute one of his own—torrenti ac meditata quotidie oratione blandiens omnia abdicavit: totamque medicinam ad causam revocando, conjecturæ fecit. By the power of his forcible and preconcerted orations, pronounced from day to day, in a smooth and persuasive manner, he overthrew the whole; and, bringing back the science of medicine to cause and effect, he constructed a system of inference or conjecture. Pliny is not disposed to be altogether pleased with Asclepiades, though he recounts his merits fairly. He says of him—Id solum possumus indignari, unum hominem, e levissima gente, sine ullis opibus orsum, vectigalis sua causa, repente leges salutis humano genere dedisse, quas tamen postea abrogavere multi—at least, we may feel rather indignant, that one, born among a people, remarkable for their levity, born also in poverty, toiling for his daily support, should thus suddenly lay down, for the human race, the laws of health, which, nevertheless, many rejected afterwards.

Now it seems to me, that Asclepiades was a very clever fellow; and I think, upon Pliny’s own showing, there was more reason, for indignation, against a people, who had so long tolerated[Pg 461] the marvellous absurdities of the herb system, such as it then was, than against a man, who had the good sense to perceive, and the courage and perseverance to explode, them. What there was in the poverty of Asclepiades, or in the character of his countrymen, to rouse Pliny’s indignation, I cannot conceive. Pliny says, lib. xxvi. cap. 9, after naming several things, which promoted this great change, in the practice of Physic—Super omnia adjuvere eum magicæ vanitates, in tantum erectæ, ut abrogare herbis fidem cunctis possent. He was especially assisted in his efforts, by the excesses, to which the magical absurdities had been carried, in respect to herbs, so that they alone were enough to destroy all confidence, in such things.

Pliny proceeds to narrate some of these magical absurdities—the plant Æthiops, thrown into lakes and rivers, would dry them up—the touch of it would open everything, that was shut. The Achæmenis, cast among the enemy, would cause immediate flight. The Latace would ensure plenty. Josephus also, De Bell, Ind. lib. vii. cap. 25—speaks of an excellent root for driving out devils.

Pliny says, Asclepiades laid down five important particulars—abstinentiam cibi, alias vini, fricationem corporis, ambulationem, gestationes—abstinence from meat, and, at other times, from wine, friction of the body, walking, and various kinds of gestation, on horseback, and otherwise. There were some things, in the old practice, nimis anxia et rudia, too troublesome and coarse, whose rejection favored the new doctor greatly, obruendi agros veste sudoresque omni modo ciendi; nunc corpora ad ignes torrendi, etc.—smothering the sick in blankets, and exciting perspiration, by all possible means—roasting them before fires, &c. Like every other ingenious physician, he had something pleasant, of his own contriving, to propose—tum primum pensili balinearum usu ad infinitum blandientem—then first came up the employment of hanging baths, to the infinite delight of the public. These hanging baths, which Pliny says, lib. ix. 79, were really the invention of Sergius Orata, were rather supported than suspended—fires were kindled below—there were different ahena, or caldrons, the caldarium, and frigidarium. The corrivatio was simply the running together of the cold and hot water. Annexed was the laconicum, or sweating room. The curious reader may compare the Roman baths with those at Constantinople, described by Miss Pardoe.

[Pg 462]Alia quoque blandimenta, says Pliny, excogitabat, jam suspendendo lectulos, quorum jactatu aut morbos extenuaret, aut somnos alliceret. He excogitated other delights, such as suspended beds, whose motion soothed the patient, or put him to sleep. The principle here seems pretty universal, lying at the bottom of all those simple contrivances, rocking-chairs, cribs, and cradles, swings, hammocks, &c. This is truly Indian practice—

Rock-a-bye baby upon the tree top,
And, when the wind blows, the cradle will rock.

Præterea in quibusdam morbis medendi cruciatus detraxit, ut in anginis quas curabant in fauces organo demisso. Damnavit merito et vomitiones, tunc supra modum frequentes. He also greatly diminished the severity of former practice, in certain diseases, in quinsies for example, which they used to cure, with an instrument, introduced into the fauces. He very properly condemned those vomitings, then frequent, beyond all account. This refers to the Roman usage, which is almost incomprehensible by us. Celsus, De Med. lib. i. 3, refers to it, as the practice eorum, qui quotidie ejiciendo, vorandi facultatem moliuntur—of those, who, by vomiting daily, acquired the faculty of gormandizing. Suetonius says of the imperial brute, Vitellius, sec. xiii. that he regularly dined, at three places daily, facile omnibus sufficiens, vomitandi consuetudine—easily enabled to do so, by his custom of vomiting.

Pliny’s reflection, upon the success of the new doctor, is very natural—quæ quum unusquisque semetipsum sibi præstare posse intelligeret, faventibus cunctis, ut essent vera quæ facillima erant, universum prope humanum genus circumegit in se, non alio modo quam si cœlo emissus advenisset. When every one saw, that he could apply the rules for himself, all agreeing that things, which were so very simple, must certainly be true, he gathered all mankind around him, precisely as though he had been one, sent from Heaven.

In the following passage, Pliny employs the word, artificium, in an oblique sense. Trahebat præterea mentes artifcio mirabili, vinum promittendo ægris. He attracted men’s minds, by the remarkable artifice of allowing wine to the sick.

During the temperance movement, some eminent physicians have asserted, that wine was unnecessary, in every case—others have extended their practice, and increased their popularity, by[Pg 463] making their patients as comfortable, as possible—while they continued in the flesh. A German, who had been very intemperate, joined a total abstinence society, by the advice of a temperance physician. In a little time the tormina of his stomach became unbearable. Instead of calling his temperance physician, who would, probably, have eased the irritation, with a little wormwood, or opium, he sent for the popular doctor, who told him, at once, that he wanted brandy—“How much may I take?” inquired the German. “An ounce, during the forenoon;” replied the doctor. After he had gone, the German said to his son, “Harman, go, get de measure pook, and zee how mooch be won ounz.” The boy brought the book, and read aloud, eight drachms make one ounce—the patient sprang half out of bed; and, rubbing his hands, exclaimed—“dat ish de toctor vor me; I never took more nor voor trams in a morning, in all my porn days—dat ish de trouble—I zee it now.”



No. CXV.

Miss Bungs is dead. It is well to state this fact, lest I should be suspected of some covert allusion to the living. She firmly believed in the XXXIX. articles, and in a fortieth—namely—that man is a fortune-hunter, from his cradle. She often declared, that, sooner than wed a fortune-hunter, she would die a cruel death—she would die a maid—she did so, in the full possession of her senses, to the last.

Her entire estate, consisting of sundry shares, in fancy stocks, two parrots, a monkey, a silver snuff-box, and her paraphernalia, she directed to be sold; and the avails employed, for the promotion of celibacy, among the heathen.

Yet it was the opinion of those, who knew her intimately, that Miss Bungs was, at heart, sufficiently disposed to enter into the holy state of matrimony, could she have found one pure, disinterested spirit; but, unfortunately, she was fully persuaded, that every man, who smiled upon her, and inquired after her health, was “after her money.” Miss Bungs was not unwilling to encourage the impression, that she was an object of particular regard, in certain quarters; and, if a gentleman picked up her[Pg 464] glove, or escorted her across a gutter, she was in the habit of instituting particular inquiries, among her acquaintances—in strict confidence of course—in regard to his moral character—ejaculating with a sigh, that men were so mercenary now-a-days, it was difficult to know who could be trusted.

Now, this was very wrong, in Miss Bungs. By the English law, if a man or a woman pretends, falsely, that he or she is married to any person, that person may libel, in the spiritual court, and obtain an injunction of silence; and this offence, in the language of the law, is called jactitation of marriage. I can see no reason why an injunction in cases of jactitation of courtship, should not be allowed; for serious evils may frequently arise, from such unauthorized pretences.

After grave reflection, I am of opinion, that Miss Bungs carried her opposition to fortune-hunters, beyond the bounds of reason. Let us define our terms. The party, who marries, only for money, intending, from the very commencement, to make use of it, for the selfish gratification of vain, or vicious, propensities—is a fortune-hunter of the very worst kind. But let us not forget, as we go along, that this field is occupied by huntresses, as well as by hunters; and that, upon such voyages of discovery, the cap may be set, as effectually, as the compass.

There is another class, with whom the degree of personal attachment, which really exists, is too feeble, to resist the combined influence of selfishness and pride. Such also, I suppose, may be placed in the category of fortune-hunters. We find an illustration of this, in the case of Mr. Mewins. After a liberal arrangement had been made, for the young lady, by her father; Mr. Mewins, having taken a particular fancy to a little, brown mare, demanded, that it should be thrown into the bargain; and, upon a positive refusal, the match was broken off. After a couple of years, the parties accidentally met, at a country ball—Mr. Mewins was quite willing to renew the engagement—the lady appeared not to have the slightest recollection of him. “Surely you have not forgotten me,” said he—“What name, sir?” she inquired—“Mewins,” he replied; “I had the honor of paying my addresses to you, about two years ago.”—“I remember a person of that name,” she rejoined, “who paid his addresses to my father’s brown mare.”

In matrimony, wealth is, of course, a very comforting accessory. It renders an agreeable partner still more so—and it often[Pg 465] goes, not a little way, to balance an unequal bargain. Time and talent may as wisely be wasted, in pursuit of the philosopher’s stone, as of an unmixed good or evil, on this side the grave. Temper may be mistaken, or it may change; beauty may fade; but £60,000, well managed, will enable the happy man or woman, to bear up, with tolerable complacency, under the severest trials of domestic life. What a blessed thing it is, to fall back upon, when one is compelled to mourn, over the infirmities of the living, or the absence, of the dead! What a solace!

It was therefore wrong, in Miss Bungs, to designate, as fortune-hunters, those, of either sex, who have come to the rational conclusion, that money is essential to the happiness of married life. No man or woman of common sense, who is poor, will, now-a-days, commit the indiscretion of falling in love, unless with some person of ample possessions.

What, then, is to become of the penniless, and the unpretty! We must adopt the custom of the ancient Babylonians, introduced about 1433 B. C., by Atossa, the daughter of Belochus. At a certain season of the year, the most lovely damsels were assembled, and put up, singly, at auction, to be purchased, by the highest bidder. The wealthy swains of Babylon poured forth their wealth, like water; and rivals settled the question, not by the length of their rapiers, but of their purses. The money, thus obtained, became the dowry of those, whose personal attractions were not likely to obtain them husbands. They also were put up, and sold to the lowest bidder, as the poor were formerly disposed of, in our villages. Every unattractive maiden, young, old, and of no particular age, was put up, at a maximum, and bestowed on him, who would take her, with the smallest amount of dowry. It is quite possible, that certain lots may have been withdrawn.

I rather prefer this practice to that of the Spartans, which prevailed, about 884 B. C. At an appointed time, the marriageable damsels were collected, in a hall, perfectly dark; and the young men were sent into the apartment; walking, evidently, neither by faith nor by sight, but, literally, feeling their way, and thus selected their helpmates. This is in perfect keeping with the principle, that love is blind.

The ancient Greeks lived, and multiplied, without marriage. Eusebius, in the preface to his Chronicon, states, that marriage[Pg 466] ceremonies were first introduced among them, by Cecrops, about 1554 B. C. The Athenians provided by law, that no unmarried man should be entrusted with public affairs, and the Lacedemomans passed severe laws against those, who unreasonably deferred their marriage. It is not easy to reconcile the general policy of promoting marriages, with the statute, 8 William III., 1695, by which they were taxed; as they were again, in 1784.

The earliest celebration of marriages, in churches, was ordained by Pope Innocent III., A. D. 1199. Marriages were forbidden in Lent, A. D. 364, conforming, perhaps, to the rule of abstinence from flesh.

Fortune-hunting has not always been unaccompanied with violence. Stealing an heiress was made felony, by 3 Henry VII. 1487, and benefit of clergy denied, in such cases, by 39 Eliz. 1596. In the first year of George IV. 1820, this offence was made punishable by transportation. In the reign of William III., Captain Campbell forcibly married Miss Wharton, an heiress. The marriage was annulled, by act of Parliament, and Sir John Johnston was hanged, for abetting. In 1827, two brothers and a sister, Edward, William, and Frances Wakefield, were tried and convicted, for the felonious abduction of Miss Turner, an heiress, whose marriage with Edward Wakefield was annulled, by act of Parliament.

No species of fortune-hunter appears so entirely contemptible, as the wretch, who marries for money, intending to employ it, not for the joint comfort of the parties, but for the payment of his own arrearages; and who resorts to the expedient of marriage, not to obtain a wife, but to avoid a jail. And the exultation is pretty universal, when such a vagabond falls, himself, into the snare, which he had so deliberately prepared, for another.

In the fifth volume of the Diary of Samuel Pepys, pages 323, 329 and 330, Lord Braybrooke has recorded three letters to Pepys, from an extraordinary scoundrel of this description. The first letter from this man, Sir Samuel Morland, who seems to have had some employment in the navy, bears date “Saturday, 19 February, 1686-7.” After communicating certain information, respecting naval affairs, he proceeds, as follows:—

“I would have wayted on you with this account myself, but I presume you have, ere this time, heard what an unfortunate and[Pg 467] fatall accident has lately befallen me, of which I shall give you an abreviat.”

“About three weeks or a month since, being in very great perplexities, and almost distracted for want of moneys, my private creditors tormenting me from morning to night, and some of them threatening me with a prison, and having no positive answer from his Majesty, about the £1300 which the late Lord Treasurer cutt off from my pension so severely, which left a debt upon me, which I was utterly unable to pay, there came a certain person to me, whom I had relieved in a starving condition, and for whom I had done a thousand kindnesses; who pretended, in gratitude to help me to a wife, who was a very vertuous, pious, and sweet disposition’d lady, and an heiress, who had £500 per ann. in land and inheritance, and £4000 in ready money, with the interest since nine years, besides a mortgage upon £300 per ann. more, with plate, jewels, &c. The devil himself could not contrive more probable circumstances than were layd before me; and when I had often a mind to enquire into the truth, I had no power, believing for certain reasons, that there were certain charms or witchcraft used upon me; and, withall, believing it utterly impossible that a person so obliged should ever be guilty of so black a deed as to betray me in so barbarous a manner. Besides that, I really believ’d it a blessing from Heaven for my charity to that person: and I was, about a fortnight since, led as a fool to the stocks, and married a coachman’s daughter not worth a shilling, and one who, about nine months since, was brought to bed of a bastard; and thus I am both absolutely ruined, in my fortune and reputation, and must become a derision to all the world.”

“My case is at present in the Spiritual Court, and I presume, that one word from his Majesty to his Proctor, and Advocate, and Judge, would procure me speedy justice; if either our old acquaintance or Christian pity move you, I beg you to put in a kind word for me, and to deliver the enclosed into the King’s own hands, with all convenient speed; for a criminal bound and going to execution is not in greater agonies than has been my poor, active soul since this befell me: and I earnestly beg you to leave in three lines for me with your porter, what answer the King gives you, and my man shall call for it. A flood of tears blind my eyes, and I can write no more, but that I am your most humble and poor distressed servant,

S. Morland.”

[Pg 468]All that befell Sir Samuel and Lady Morland, after his application to Pepys and the King, will be found fully set forth, by this prince of fortune-hunters, in the two remaining letters to which I have referred, and which I purpose to lay before the reader in the ensuing number.




The reader will remember, that we left Sir Samuel Morland, in deep distress, his eyes, to use his own words, in the letter to Pepys, blinded by a flood of tears. Of all fortune-hunters he was the most unfortunate, who have recorded, with their own hands, the history of their own most wretched adventures. Instead of marrying a “vertuous, pious, and sweet disposition’d lady, with £500 per ann. in land, and £4000 in ready money, with plate, jewels, &c.,” he found himself in silken bonds, with a coachman’s daughter, “not worth a shilling,” who, nine months before, had been introduced to a new code of sensations, by giving birth to a child, whose father was of that problematical species, which the law terms putative.

I have promised to lay before the reader two additional letters, from Sir Samuel Morland, to Pepys, on the subject of his difficulties with Lady Morland. Here they are: the first will be found, in Pepys’ Diary, vol. v. page 329.

“17 May, 1688. Sir: Being of late unable to go abroad, by reason of my lame hip”—no wonder he was hipped—“which gives me great pain, besides that it would not be safe for me, at present, because of that strumpet’s”—Lady Morland’s—“debts, I take the boldness to entreat you, that, according to your wonted favors, of the same kind, you will be pleased, at the next opportunity, to give the King this following account.”

“A little before Christmas last, being informed, that she was willing, for a sum of money, to confess in open court a precontract with Mr. Cheek, and being at the same time assured, both by hir and my own lawyers, that such a confession would be sufficient for a sentence of nullity, I did deposit the money, and accordingly a day of tryall was appoynted; but after the cause had been pleaded, I was privately assured, that the Judge[Pg 469] was not at all satisfyd with such a confession of hers, as to be sufficient ground for him to null the marriage, and so that design came to nothing.”

“Then I was advised to treat with her, and give her a present sum and a future maintenance, she giving me sufficient security never to trouble mee more; but her demands were so high, I could not consent to them.”

“After this she sent me a very submissive letter, by her own advocate. I was advised, both by several private friends, and some eminent divines, to take her home, and a day of treaty was appoynted for an accommodation.”

“In the interim, a certain gentleman came on purpose, to my house, to assure me that I was taking a snake into my bosome, forasmuch as she had for six months last past, to his certain knowledge, been kept by, and cohabited with Sir Gilb. Gerrard, as his wife, &c. Upon which making further enquiry, that gentleman furnishing me with some witnesses, and I having found out others, I am this term endeavoring to prove adultery against her, and so to obteyn a divorce, which is the present condition of your most humble and faithful servant,

Samuel Morland.”

It was fortunate, that Sir Samuel, whose naïveté and rascality are most amusingly mingled, did not take the “snake into his bosome,” notwithstanding the advice of those “eminent divines,” whose counsel is almost ever too celestial, for the practical occasions of the present world.

The issue of Sir Samuel’s fatal plunge into the abyss of matrimony, in pursuit of “£500 per annum in land and £4000 in ready money,” and of all that befell the Lady Morland, until she lost her title, is recorded, in the third and last letter to Pepys, in vol. v., page 330.

“19 July, 1688. Sir: I once more begg you to give yourself the trouble of acquainting His Majesty that upon Munday last, after many hott disputes between the Doctors of the Civil Law, the sentence of divorce was solemnly pronounced in open Court against that strumpet”—Lady Morland—“for living in adultery with Sir Gilbert Gerrard, for six months last past; so that now, unless shee appeal, for which the law allows her 15 days, I am freed from her for life, and all that I have to do, for the future, will bee to gett clear of her debts, which she has contracted from the day of marriage to the time of sentence, which is like to give me no small trouble, besides the charge, for [Pg 470]severall months in the Chancery. And till I gett cleared of these debts, I shall bee little better than a prisoner in my own house. Sir, believing it my duty to give His Majesty this account of myselfe and of my proceedings, and having no other friend to do it for mee, I hope you will forgive the trouble thus given you, by, yours, &c.,

S. Morland.”

This must have interested His Majesty, very deeply. Poor James had then enough of care. If he had possessed the hands of Briareus, they would have been full already. In less than four months, after the date of this letter, William of Orange had landed at Torbay, Nov. 5, 1688, and the last days of the last of the Stuarts were at hand.

If Miss Bungs were living, even that inexorable hater of all fortune-hunters would admit, that the punishment of Sir Samuel Morland was sufficient for his crimes. Few will pretend, that his sufferings were more than he deserved. A more exact retribution cannot well be imagined. It was his intention to apply “£4000 ready money,” belonging to “a very vertuous, pious, and sweet disposition’d lady,” to the payment of his pre-contracted debts. Instead of effecting this honorable purpose, he becomes the husband of a low-born strumpet, who is not worth a shilling, and for whose debts, contracted before, as well as after marriage, he is liable; for the law decrees, that a man takes his wife and her circumstances together.

There are few individuals, of either sex, however constitutionally grave, who have not a little merriment to spare, for such happy contingencies as these. Retributive justice seldom descends, more gracefully, or more deservedly, or more to universal acceptance, upon the crafty heads of unprincipled projectors. For all, that may befall him, the fortune-hunter has little to expect, from male or female sympathy. The scolding tongue—those bewitching tresses, nocturnally deposited on the bedpost—those teeth of pearly brilliancy, which Keep or Tucker could so readily identify—the perpetual look of distrust—the espionage of jealousy—these and all other tormina domestica are the allotments of the fortune-hunter, by immemorial prescription, and without the slightest sympathy, from man or woman.

The case of Sir Samuel Morland is a valuable precedent, on account of his station in society, and the auto-biographical character of the narrative. But there are very few of us, who have not the record of some similar catastrophe, within the[Pg 471] compass of our knowledge, though, probably, of a less aggravated type.

There is a pleasant legend, in the humbler relations of life, to which I have listened, in earlier days, and which illustrates the principle, involved in these remarks. Molly Moodey was an excellent cook, in the family of an avaricious old widower, whose god was mammon, and who had been deterred, by the expensiveness of the proceeding, from taking a second goddess.

The only sentiment, in any way resembling the tender passion, which had ever been awakened, in the bosom of Molly Moodey, was a passion for lotteries.

She gave such of her waking hours, as were not devoted to roasting and boiling, to the calculation of chances, and her sleeping hours to the dreaming of dreams, about £20,000: and by certain combinations, she had come to the conclusion, that No. 26,666 was the fortunate number, in the great scheme, then presented to the public.

Molly avowed her purpose, and demanded her wages, which, after severely berating her, for her folly, were handed over, and the identical ticket was bought. With the hope of being the first to inform her, after the drawing, that her ticket was a blank, her old master noted down the number, in his tablets.

In about seven weeks after this occurrence, the old gentleman, while reading the newspaper, in one of the public offices, came upon the following notice—“Highest prize! £20,000. No. 26,666 the fortunate number, sold at our fortunate office, in one entire ticket, Skinner, Ketchum, & Clutch, and will be paid to the lucky proprietor, after the 27th current.”

The old gentleman took out his tablets; compared the numbers; wiped his spectacles; collated the numbers again; resorted to the lottery office; and, upon inquiry there, became satisfied, that Molly Moodey had actually drawn £20,000.

A new code of sensations came over the spirit of his dreams. He hastened home, oppressed by the heat and his emotions. He bade Molly lay aside her mop, and attend him in the parlor, as he had something of importance to communicate.—“Molly,” said he, after closing the doors—“I find a partner absolutely necessary to my happiness. Let me be brief. I am not the man to make a fool of myself, by marrying a young flirt. I have known you, Molly, for many years. You have what I prize above all things in a wife, solid, substantial qualifications. Will you have me?”

[Pg 472]Taken thus by surprise, she gave a striking evidence of her self-possession, by requesting leave of absence, for a moment, to remove a kettle of fat, which she was trying out, lest it should boil over. She soon came back, and turned her eye—she had but one—with great respect, upon her old master—said something of the difference of their stations—and consented.

The old gentleman’s attachment for Molly appeared to be very extraordinary. Until the wedding-day, which was an unusually early one, he would not suffer her to be out of his sight. The day came—they were married. On their way from church—“Molly,” said the bridegroom, “whereabouts is your ticket, with that fortunate number?”—“Oh,” she replied, “when I came to think of it, I saw, that you were right. I thought, ’twas quite likely it would draw a blank. Crust, the baker, offered me what I gave for it, and a sheet of bunns, to boot, and I let him have it, three weeks ago.”—“Good God,” exclaimed the poor old gentleman—“£20,000 for a sheet of bunns!”

The shock was too much for his reason; and, in less than six weeks, Molly was a widow. She attended him, with great fidelity, to the last moment; and his dying words were engraven upon her heart—“Twenty thousand pounds for a sheet of bunns!

How true to reality are the gay words of Tom Moore—

“In wedlock a species of lottery lies,
Where in blanks and in prizes we deal.”




The Archbishop of Cambray, the amiable Fenelon, has remarked, that God shows us the high value he sets upon time, by giving us, in absolute possession, one instant only, leaving us, in utter uncertainty, if we shall ever have another. And yet, so little are we disturbed, by this truly momentous consideration, that, long before the breath is fairly out of the old year’s body, we are found busily occupied, in gathering chaplets, for the brows of the new one.

The early Christians were opposed to New Year’s Gifts, as fixedly, as some of the latter Christians are opposed to the song[Pg 473] and the dance. But I am inclined to believe the rising generation will take steps, very like their fathers—that light fantastic tongues and toes, will continue to wag, to all eternity—and that the unmusical and rheumatic will deplore over such heterodox and ungodly proceedings, till the world shall be no more.

The New Year’s gifts of the Romans were, originally, exceedingly simple. Sprigs of vervain, gathered in a wood, consecrated to Strenia, the goddess of Strength, somehow or other, came into favor, and were accounted of good omen. A custom arose of sending these sprigs about the neighborhood, as tokens of friendship, on New Year’s day; and these trifling remembrancers obtained the name of Strenæ. These sprigs of vervain, ere long, wore out their welcome; and were followed, in after years, by presents of dates, figs and honey. Clients thus complimented their patrons; and, before many anniversaries, the coin of Rome began to mingle with the donative, whatever it might be; and, very soon, the advantage of the receiver came less to be consulted, than the reputation of him, who gave.

When I contemplate those ample storehouses of all, that is gorgeous and glittering—those receptacles of useless finery, which nobody actually wants—and, at the same time, reflect upon all that I know, and much that I conjecture, of the necessities and distresses of mankind, I am not certain, that it may not be wise to resume the earlier custom of the Romans, and embody, in certain cases, our annual tokens of friendship and good will, in such useful materials, as figs, dates and honey.

Are there not individuals, who, upon the reception of some gaudy and expensive bagatelle, are ready to exclaim, with the cock in Æsop—“I had rather have one grain of dear, delicious, barley, than all the jewels under the sun!

I am not so utopian, as to anticipate any immediate or very extensive reformation, in this practice, which, excellent as it is, when restrained within reasonable bounds, is, unquestionably, under certain circumstances, productive of evil. It is not to be expected, that expensive bijoux, for new year’s gifts, will speedily give place to sugar and molasses. But there are cases, not a few, when, upon a new year’s day, the wealthy giver, without paining the recipient, may convert the annual compliment, into something better than a worthless toy—a fantastical token of ostentatious remembrance.

[Pg 474]The Christian world has settled down, at last, upon the first of January, as New Year’s day. It was not always thus; and, even now, no little difficulty occurs, in our attempts to refer historical events to particular years. We can do no better, perhaps, than to devote this number to a brief exposition of this difficulty.

Every schoolboy knows, that Romulus divided the year into ten months. The first was March, and, from March to December, they have retained their original names, for some six and twenty centuries, excepting the fifth and sixth month, which, from Quintilis and Sextilis, have been changed, in honor of Julius and Augustus.

Numa added two months, Januarius and Februarius. Numa’s year consisted therefore of twelve months, according to the moon’s course. But Numa’s lunar year did not agree with the course of the sun, and he therefore introduced, every other year, an intercalary month, between the 23d and 24th of February. The length of this month was decided by the priests, who lengthened or shortened the year, to suit their convenience. Cicero, in a letter to Atticus, x. 17, writes, in strong disfavor, of Numa’s calendar.

Julius Cæsar, with the aid of Sosigenes of Alexandria, adjusted this astronomical account. To bring matters into order, Suetonius, in his life of Julius Cæsar, 40, says, they were constrained to make one final year of fifteen months, to close the confusion.

Hence arose the Julian or Solar year, the year of the Christian world. The “alteration of the style” is only an amendment of the Julian calendar, in one particular, by Pope Gregory, in 1582. In 325, A. D., the vernal equinox occurred March 21, and in 1582 it occurred March 10. He called the astronomers to council, and, by their advice, obliterated ten days from the current year, between October 4, and 15.

These ten days make the difference, from 1582 to February 29, 1700. From March 1, 1700, to February 29, 1800, eleven days were required, and from March 1, 1800, to February 29, 1900, twelve days. In all Roman Catholic countries, this alteration of the style was instantly adopted; but not in Great Britain, till 1752. The Greeks and Russians have never adopted the Gregorian alteration of the style.

The commencement of the year has been assigned to very different periods. In some of the Italian states, as recently as 1745, the year has been taken to commence, at the Annunciation,[Pg 475] March 25. Writers of the sixth century have, occasionally, like the Romans, considered March 1 as New Year’s day. Charles IX. by a special edict, in 1563, decreed, that the year should be considered to commence, on the first of January. In Germany, about the eleventh century, the year commenced at Christmas. Such was the practice, in modern Rome, and other Italian cities, as late as the fifteenth century.

Gervais of Canterbury, who lived early in the thirteenth century, states, that all writers of his country considered Christmas the true beginning of the year. In Great Britain, from the twelfth century, till the alteration of the style in 1752, the Annunciation, or March 25, was commonly considered the first day of the year. After this, the year was taken to commence, on the first of January.

The Chaldæan and Egyptian years commenced with the Autumnal equinox. The Japanese and the Chinese date their year from the new moon, nearest the Winter solstice.

As Diemschid, king of Persia, entered Persepolis, the sun happened to be entering into Aries. In commemoration of this coincidence, he decreed, that the year should change front, and commence, forever more, in the Vernal, instead of the Autumnal equinox. The Swedish year, of old, began, most happily, at the Winter solstice, or at the time of the sun’s reäppearance in the horizon, after the usual quarantine, or absence of forty days. The Turks and Arabs date the advent of their year, upon the sixteenth of July.

In our own country, the year, in former times, commenced in March. In the Mass. Hist. Coll., vol. xvii. p. 136, may be found certain votes, passed in Boston, Nov. 30, 1635, among which is the following—“that all such as have allotments for habitations allotted unto them, shall build thereon, before the first of the first month next, called March.” In Johnson’s Wonder-working Providence, ch. 27, the writer says of the Boston pilgrims, in 1633: “Thus this poor people, having now tasted liberally of the salvation of the Lord, &c. &c., set apart the 16 day of October, which they call the eighth Moneth, not out of any pevish humor of singularity, as some are ready to censor them with, but of purpose to prevent the Heathenish and Popish observation of Dayes, Moneths, and Yeares, that they may be forgotten, among the people of the Lord.” If October was their eighth month, March was necessarily their first. Whatever the practice[Pg 476] may have been, in this respect, it was by no means universal, in New England, during a considerable period, before the alteration of the style in 1752.

A reference to the record will show, that, until 1752, the old style was adhered to, by the courts, in this country, and the 25th of March was considered to be New Year’s day. But it was not so with the public journals. Thus the Boston News Letter, the Boston Gazette, the New England Courant and other journals, existing here, before the adoption of the new style, in Great Britain, in 1752, considered the year, as commencing on the first of January.

Private individuals very frequently did the same thing. At this moment, a letter from Peter Faneuil is lying at my elbow, addressed to Messrs. Lane and Smethurst of London, bearing date January 1, 1739, at the close of which he wishes his correspondents a happy new year, showing, that the first of January, for ordinary purposes, and in common parlance, was accounted New Year’s day.

The little people, of both sexes, would, doubtless, have voted for the adoption of the old style and of the new; in other words, for having two new year’s days, in every year. They would have been as much delighted with the conceit, as was Rousseau, with the pleasant fancy of St. Pierre, who wrote, from the Isle of France, to a friend in Paris, that he had enjoyed two summers in one year; the perusal of which letter induced Rousseau, to seek the acquaintance of the author of Paul and Virginia.




Dion remarks, while speaking of Trajan—he that lies in a golden urn, eminently above the earth, is not likely to rest in peace. The same thing may be affirmed of him, who has raised himself, eminently above his peers, wherever he may lie. During the Roman Catholic rage for relics, the graves were ransacked, and numberless sinners, to supply the demand, were dug up for saints. Sooner or later, the finger of curiosity, under some plausible pretext, will lift the coffin lid; or the foot of political sacrilege will trample upon the ashes of him, whom a former[Pg 477] generation had delighted to honor; or the motiveless spirit of mischief will violate the sanctity of the tomb.

When Charles I. was buried, in the same vault with Henry VIII. and Anne Boleyn, a soldier, as Wood relates, in his Athenæ Oxonienses, vol. iv. p. 39, Lond. 1820, attempted to steal a royal bone, which was afterwards found upon his person, and, which he said, upon examination, he had designed, for a handle to his knife.

John Milton died, according to the respective accounts of Mitford, Johnson, and Hayley, on the 8th—about the 10th—or on the 15th of November, 1674. He was buried, in the chancel of St. Giles, Cripplegate. In the London Monthly Magazine, for August, 1833, there appeared an extract from the diary of General Murray, giving a particular account of the desecration of Milton’s remains. The account was given to General Murray, at a dinner party, Aug. 23, 1790, by Mr. Thornton, who received it, from an eye-witness of the transaction. The church of St. Giles requiring repairs, the occasion was thought a proper one, to place a monument, over the body of Milton. Messieurs Strong, Cole, and others, of that parish, sought for, and discovered, the leaden coffin, the outer coffin of wood having mouldered away. Having settled the question of identity, these persons replaced the coffin, and ordered the workmen to fill up the grave. The execution of this order was postponed, for several days. In the interim, some of the parish, whose names are given, by General Murray, having dined together, and become partially drunk, resolved to examine the body; and proceeded, with lights, to the church. With a mallet and chisel, they cut open the coffin, rolled back the lead, and gazed upon the bones of John Milton! General Murray’s diary shall relate the residue of a proceeding, which might call the rouge to the cheeks of a Vandal:—

“The hair was in an astonishingly perfect state; its color a light brown, its length six inches and a half, and, although somewhat clotted, it appeared, after having been well washed, as strong as the hair of a living being. Fountain said he was determined to have two of his teeth; but as they resisted the pressure of his fingers, he struck the jaw, with a paving stone, and several teeth then fell out. There were only five in the upper jaw, and these were taken by Fountain; the four, that were in the lower jaw, were seized upon, by Taylor, Hawkesworth, and the sexton’s man. The hair, which had been carefully combed,[Pg 478] and tied together, before the interment, was forcibly pulled off the skull, by Taylor and another; but Ellis, the player, who had now joined the party, told the former, that being a good hair-worker, if he would let him have it, he would pay a guinea-bowl of punch. Ellis, therefore, became possessed of all the hair: he likewise took a part of the shroud, and a bit of the skin of the skull: indeed, he was only prevented from carrying off the head, by the sextons, Hoppy and Grant, who said, that they intended to exhibit the remains, which was afterwards done, each person paying sixpence to view the body. These fellows, I am told, gained near one hundred pounds, by the exhibition. Laming put one of the leg-bones in his pocket.”

After reading this short, shameless record, one half inclines to cremation; even if, instead of being enshrined or inurned, our dust be given, in fee simple, to the winds. How forcibly the words of Sir Thomas ring in our ears—“To be gnawed out of our graves, to have our skulls made drinking bowls, and our bones turned into pipes, to delight and sport our enemies, are tragical abominations, escaped in burning burials.” The account from General Murray’s diary, and at greater length, may be found also, in the appendix to Mitford’s life of Milton, in the octavo edition of his poetical works, Cambridge, Mass., 1839.

Great indignation has lately been excited, in England, against a vampyre of a fellow, named Blore, who is said to have destroyed one half of Dryden’s monument, and defaced Ben Jonson’s, and Cowley’s, in Westminster Abbey. Inquiring after motive, in such cases, is much like raking the ashes, after a conflagration, to find the originating spark. There is a motive, doubtless, in some by-corner of the brain; whether a man burns the temple, at Ephesus; or spears the elephant of Judas Maccabæus, with certain death to himself; or destroys the Barberrini vase. The motive was avowed, on the trial, in a similar case, by a young man, who, some years ago, shot a menagerie elephant, while passing through a village, in the State of Maine, to be a wish “to see how a fellow would feel, who killed an elephant.”

Dryden’s, and Cowley’s monuments are on the left of Ben Jonson’s, and before you, as you approach the Poet’s Corner. Dryden’s monument is a lofty affair, with an arch and a bust, and is thus inscribed: “J. Dryden, born 1632, died May 1,[Pg 479] 1700.—John Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham, erected this monument, 1720.” It is not commonly known, that the original bust was changed, by the Duchess, for one of very superior workmanship, which, of course, is the one mutilated by Blore. The monument, erected by George, Duke of Buckingham, to Cowley, is a pedestal, bearing an urn, decorated with laurel, and with a pompous and unmeaning epitaph, in Latin hexameters. If Blore understood the language, perhaps he considered these words, upon the tablet, a challenge—

————Quis temerarius ausit—
Sacrilega turbare manu venerabile bustum.

The monument of Ben Jonson is an elegant tablet, with a festoon of masks, and the inscription—Oh rare Ben Jonson! It stands before you, when Dryden’s and Cowley’s are upon your left, and is next to that of Samuel Butler. In the north aisle of the nave, there is a stone, about eighteen inches square, bearing the same inscription. In the “History of Westminster Abbey,” 4to ed Lond. 1812, vol. ii. p. 95, note, it is stated, that “Dart says one Young, afterwards a Knight in the time of Charles II., of Great Milton, in Oxfordshire, placed a stone over the grave of Ben Jonson, which cost eighteen pence, with the above inscription:” but it is not stated, that the stone, now there, is the same.

Dr. Johnson, in his Life of Dryden, recites what he terms “a wild story, relating to some vexatious events, that happened, at his funeral.” Dryden’s widow, and his son, Charles, had accepted the offer of Lord Halifax, to pay the expenses of the funeral, and five hundred pounds, for a monument. The company came—the corpse was placed in a velvet hearse—eighteen coaches were in attendance, filled with mourners.—As they were about to move, the young Lord Jeffries, son of the Chancellor, with a band of rakes, coming by, and learning that the funeral was Dryden’s, said the ornament of the nation should not so be buried, and proceeded, accompanied by his associates, in a body, to wait upon the widow, and beg her to permit him to bear the expense of the interment, and to pay one thousand pounds, for a monument, in the Abbey.

The gentlemen in the coaches, being ignorant of the liberal offers of the Dean and Lord Halifax, readily descended from their carriages, and attended Lord Jeffries and his party to the[Pg 480] bedside of the lady, who was sick, where he repeated his offers; and, upon her positive refusal, got upon his knees, as did the whole party; and he there swore that he would not rise, till his entreaty was granted. At length, affecting to understand some word of the lady’s, as giving permission, he rushed out, followed by the rest, proclaiming her consent, and ordered the corpse to be left at Russell’s, an undertaker’s, in Cheapside, till he gave orders for its embalmment. During this proceeding, the Abbey having been lighted up, Lord Halifax and the Dean, who was also Bishop of Rochester, to use the tea-table phrase, waited and waited, and waited. The ground was opened, the choir attending, and an anthem set. When Mr. Dryden went, next day, to offer excuses, neither Lord Halifax, nor the Dean, would accept of any apology. After waiting three days for orders, the undertaker called on Lord Jeffries, who said he knew nothing about it, and that it was only a tipsy frolic, and that the undertaker might do what he pleased with the corpse. The undertaker threatened to set the corpse before the widow’s door. She begged a day’s respite. Mr. Charles Dryden wrote to Lord Jeffries, who replied, that he knew nothing about it. He then addressed the Dean and Lord Halifax, who refused to have anything to do with it. He then challenged Lord Jeffries, who refused to fight. He went himself, and was refused admittance. He then resolved to horsewhip his Lordship; upon notice of which design, the latter left town. In the midst of this misery, Dr. Garth sent for the body, to be brought to the college of physicians; proposed a subscription; and set a noble example. The body was finally buried, about three weeks after the decease, and Dr. Garth pronounced a fine Latin oration. At the close of the narrative, which, as repeated by Dr. Johnson, covers more than three octavo pages of Murphy’s edition, the Doctor remarks, that he once intended to omit it entirely, and that he had met with no confirmation, but in a letter of Farquhar’s.

The tale is simply alluded to, by Gorton, and told, at some length, by Chalmers. Both, however, consider it a fabrication, by Mrs. Thomas, the authoress, whom Dryden styled Corinna, and whom Pope lampooned, in his comatose and vicious performance, the Dunciad, probably because she provoked his wrath, by publishing his letters to H. Cromwell.

In the earlier editions of the Encyclopædia Britannica, the tale is told, as sober matter of fact: in the last, Napier’s, of[Pg 481] 1842, it is wholly omitted. Malone, in his Life of Dryden, page 347, ascribes the whole to Mrs. Thomas.

Dryden died, in 1700. The first four volumes of Johnson’s Lives of the Poets, containing Dryden’s, went to the press in 1779. Considering the nature of this outrage; the eminence, not only of the dead, but of some of the living, whose names are involved; its alleged publicity; and its occurrence in the very city, where all the parties flourished; it is remarkable, that this “wild story,” as Johnson fitly calls it, should have obtained any credit, and survived for nine-and-seventy years.




Deeply to be commiserated are all those, who have not read, from beginning to end, the writings of the immortal Oliver—a repast, ab ovo usque ad mala, to be swallowed, and inwardly digested, while our intellectual stomachs are young and vigorous, and to be regurgitated, and chewed over, a thousand times, when the almond tree begins to flourish, and even the grasshopper becomes a burden. Who does not remember his story of the Chinese matron—the widow with the great fan!

The original of this pleasant tale is not generally known. The brief legend, related by Goldsmith, is an imperfect epitome of an interesting story, illustrating the power of magic, among the followers of Laou-keun, the founder of a religious sect, in China, resembling that of Epicurus.

The original tale was translated from the Chinese, by Père Dentrecolles, who was at the head of the French missionaries, in China, and died at Pekin, in 1741. The following liberal version, from the French, which may, perhaps, be better called a paraphrase, will not fail, I think, to interest the reader.

Wealth, and all the blessings it can procure, for man, are brief and visionary. Honors, glory, fame are gaudy clouds, that flit by, and are gone. The ties of blood are easily broken; affection is a dream. The most deadly hate may occupy the heart, which held the warmest love. A yoke is not worth wearing, though wrought of gold. Chains are burdensome, though adorned with jewels. Let us purge our minds; calm our [Pg 482]passions; curb our wishes; and set not our hearts upon a vain world. Let our highest aim be liberty—pleasure.

Chuang-tsze took unto himself a wife, whose youth and beauty seduced him from the busy world. He retired, among the delightful scenery of Soong, his native province, and gave himself up, entirely, to the delights of philosophy and love. A sovereign, who had become acquainted with the fame of Chuang-tsze, for superior wisdom, invited him to become his wuzzeer, or prime minister. Chuang-tsze declined, in the language of parable—“A heifer,” said he, “pampered for the sacrifice, and decked with ornaments, marched triumphantly along, looking, as she passed, with mingled pride and contempt, upon some humble oxen, that were yoked to the plough. She proudly entered the temple—but when she beheld the knife, and comprehended that she was a victim, how gladly would she have exchanged conditions with the humblest of those, upon whom she had so lately looked down with pity and contempt.”

Chuang-tsze walked by the skirts of the mountain, absorbed in thought—he suddenly came among many tombs—the city of the dead. “Here then,” he exclaimed, “all are upon a level—caste is unknown—the philosopher and the fool sleep, side by side. This is eternity! From the sepulchre there is no return!”

He strolled among the tombs; and, erelong, perceived a grave, that had been recently made. The mound of moistened clay was not yet thoroughly dry. By the side of that grave sat a young woman, clad in the deepest mourning. With a white fan, of large proportions, she was engaged, in fanning the earth, which covered this newly made grave. Chuang-tsze was amazed; and, drawing near, respectfully inquired, who was the occupant of that grave, and why this mourning lady was so strangely employed. Tears dropped from her eyes, as she uttered a few inaudible words, without rising, or ceasing to fan the grave. The curiosity of Chuang-tsze was greatly excited—he ascribed her manner, not to fear, but to some inward sense of shame—and earnestly besought her to explain her motives, for an act, so perfectly novel and mysterious.

After a little embarrassment, she replied, as follows: “Sir, you behold a lone woman—death has deprived me of my beloved husband—this grave contains his precious remains. Our love was very great for each other. In the hour of death, his[Pg 483] agony, at the thought of parting from me, was immoderate. These were his dying words—‘My beloved, should you ever think of a second marriage, it is my dying request, that you remain a widow, at least till my grave is thoroughly dry; then you have my permission to marry whomsoever you will.’ And now, as the earth, which is quite damp still, will take a long time to dry, I thought I would fan it a little, to dissipate the moisture.”

Chuang-tsze made great efforts, to suppress a strong disposition to laugh outright, in the woman’s face. “She is in a feverish haste,” thought he. “What a hypocrite, to talk of their mutual affection! If such be love, what a time there would have been, had they hated each other.”

“Madam,” said the philosopher, “you are desirous, that this grave should dry, as soon as possible; but, with your feeble strength, it will require a long time, to accomplish it; let me assist you.” She expressed her deep sense of the obligation, and rising, with a profound courtesy, handed the philosopher a spare fan, which she had brought with her. Chuang-tsze, who possessed the power of magic, struck the ground with the fan repeatedly; and it soon became perfectly dry. The widow appeared greatly surprised, and delighted, and presented the philosopher with the fan, and a silver bodkin, which she drew from her tresses. He accepted the fan only; and the lady retired, highly gratified, with the speedy accomplishment of her object.

Chuang-tsze remained, for a brief space, absorbed in thought; and, at length, returned slowly homeward, meditating, by the way, upon this extraordinary adventure. He sat down in his apartment, and, for some time, gazed, in silence, upon the fan. At length, he exclaimed—“Who, after having witnessed this occurrence, can hesitate to draw the inference, that marriage is one of the modes, by which the doctrine of the metempsychosis is carried out. People, who have hated each other heartily, in some prior condition of being, are made man and wife, for the purpose of mutual vexation—that is it, undoubtedly.”

The wife of the philosopher had approached him, unobserved; and, hearing his last words, and noticing the fan, which he was still earnestly gazing upon—“Pray, be so good, as to inform me,” said she, “what is the meaning of all this; and where, I should like to know, did you obtain that fine fan, which appears to interest you so much?” Chuang-tsze, very faithfully, [Pg 484]narrated to his wife the story of the young widow, and all the circumstances, which had taken place, at the tomb.

As soon as the philosopher had finished the narrative, his wife, her countenance inflamed with the severest indignation, broke forth, with a torrent of contemptuous expressions, and unmeasured abuse, against the abominable, young widow. She considered her a scandal to her sex. “Aye,” she exclaimed, “this vile widow must be a perfect monster, devoid of every particle of feeling.”

“Alas,” said the philosopher, “while the husband is in the flesh, there is no wife, that is not ready to flatter and caress him—but no sooner is the breath out of his body, than she seizes her fan, and forthwith proceeds to dry up his grave.”

This greatly excited the ire of his wife—“How dare you talk in this outrageous manner,” said she, “of the whole sex? You confound the virtuous with such vile wretches, as this unprincipled widow, who deserves to be annihilated. Are you not ashamed of yourself, to talk in this cruel way? I should think you might be restrained, by the dread of future punishment.”

“Why give way,” said Chuang-tsze, “to all this passionate outcry? Be candid—you are young, and extremely beautiful—should I die, this day—do you pretend, that, with your attractions, you would suffer much time to be lost, before you accepted the services of another husband?”

“Good God,” cried the lady, “how you talk! Who ever heard of a truly faithful wuzzeer, that, after the death of his master, served another prince? A widow indeed never accepts a second partner. Did you ever know a case, in which such a wife as I have been—a woman of my qualities and station, after having lost her tenderly beloved, forsook his memory, and gave herself to the embraces of a second husband! Such an act, in my opinion, would be infamous. Should you be taken from me, today, be assured, that I should follow you, with my imperishable love, and die, at last, your disconsolate widow.”

“It is easy to promise, but not always so easy to perform,” replied the philosopher. At this speech, the lady was exasperated—“I would have you to know,” said she, “that women are to be found, without much inquiry, quite as noble-hearted and constant, as you have ever been. What a pattern of constancy you have been! Dear me! Only think of it! When your first wife died, you soon repaired your loss: and, becoming[Pg 485] weary of your second, you obtained a divorce from her, and then married me! What a constant creature you have been! No wonder you think so lightly of women!” Saying this, she snatched the fan out of her husband’s hand, and tore it into innumerable pieces; by which act she appeared to have obtained very considerable relief; and, in a somewhat gentler tone, she told her husband, that he was in excellent health, and likely to live, for very many years; and that she could not, for the soul of her, see what could induce him to torment her to death, by talking in this manner.

“Compose yourself, my dear,” said Chuang-tsze, “I confess that your indignation delights me. I rejoice to see you exhibit so much feeling and fire, upon such a theme.” The wife of the philosopher recovered her composure; and their conversation turned upon ordinary affairs.

Before many days, Chuang-tsze became suddenly and severely attacked, by some unaccountable disease. The symptoms



No. CXX.

Let us continue the story of Chuang-tsze, the great master of magic.

Before many days, as I have stated, Chuang-tsze became suddenly and severely attacked, by some unaccountable disease. The symptoms were full of evil. His devoted wife was ever near her sick husband, sobbing bitterly, and bathing him in tears. “It is but too plain,” said the philosopher, “that I cannot survive—I am upon the bed of death—this very night, perhaps—at farthest, tomorrow—we shall part forever—what a pity, that you should have destroyed that fan—it would have answered so well, for the purpose of drying the earth upon my tomb!”

“For heaven’s sake,” exclaimed the weeping wife, “do not, weak and feeble as you are, harrass yourself, with these horrible fancies. You do me great wrong. Our books I have carefully perused. I know my duties well. You have received my troth—it shall never be another’s. Can you doubt my sincerity! Let me prove it, by dying first. I am ready.” “Enough,” said the philosopher—“I now die in peace—I am satisfied of[Pg 486] your constancy. But the world is fading away—the cold hand of death is upon me.” The head of Chuang-tsze fell back—the breath had stopped—the pulse had ceased to beat—he was already with the dead.

If the piercing cries of a despairing, shrieking widow could have raised the dead, Chuang-tsze would have arisen, on the spot. She sprang upon the corpse, and held it long, in her fond embrace. She then arrayed her person in the deepest mourning, a robe of seamless white, and made the air resound with her cries of anguish and despair. She abjured food; abstained from slumber; and refused to be comforted.

Chuang-tsze had the wide-spread fame of an eminent sage—crowds gathered to his obsequies. After their performance, and when the vast assemblage had all, well nigh, departed—a youth of comely face, and elegantly arrayed, was observed, lingering near the spot. He proclaimed himself to be of most honorable descent, and that he had, long before, declared to Chuang-tsze his design of becoming the pupil of that great philosopher. “For that end,” said he, “and that alone, I have come to this place—and behold Chuang-tsze is no more. Great is my misfortune!”

This splendid youth cast off his colored garments, and assumed the robes of lamentation—he bowed himself to the earth, before the coffin of the defunct—four times, he touched the ground with his forehead; and, with an utterance choked by sobs, he exclaimed—“Oh Chuang-tsze, learned and wise, your ill-fated disciple cannot receive wisdom and knowledge from your lips; but he will signify his reverence for your memory, by abiding here an hundred days, to mourn, for one he so truly revered.” He then again bent his forehead, four times, to the earth, and moistened it with his tears.

The youthful disciple, after a few days, desired permission to offer his condolence to the widow, which she, at first declined: but, upon his reference to the ancient rites, which allow a widow to receive the visits of her late husband’s friends, and especially of his disciples, she finally consented. She moved with slow and solemn steps to the hall of reception, where the young gentleman acquitted himself, with infinite grace and propriety, and tendered the usual expressions of consolation.

The elegant address and fine person of this young disciple were not lost upon the widow of Chuang-tsze. She was [Pg 487]fascinated. A sentiment of tenderness began to rise in her bosom, whose presence she had scarcely the courage to recognize. She ventured, in a right melancholy way, to suggest a hope, that it was not his purpose immediately to leave the valley of Soong. “I have endured much in the loss of my great master,” he replied. “Precious forever be his memory. It will be grateful to my heart to seek here a brief home, wherein I may pass those hundred days of mourning, which our rites prescribe, and then to take part in the obsequies, which will follow. I may also solace myself the while, by perusing the works of my great master, of whose living instructions I am so unhappily deprived.”

“We shall feel ourselves highly honored, by your presence, under our roof,” replied the lady; “it seems to me entirely proper, that you should take up your abode here, rather than elsewhere.” She immediately directed some refreshments to be brought, and caused the works of Chuang-tsze to be exhibited, on a large table, together with a copy of the learned Taou-te-King, which had been a present to her late husband, from Laou-keun himself.

The coffin of Chuang-tsze was deposited, in a large hall; and, on one side, was a suite of apartments, opening into it, which was assigned to the visitor. This devoted widow came, very frequently, to weep over the remains of her honored husband; and failed not to say a civil word to the youth, who, notified of her presence, by her audible sobs, never omitted to come forth, and mingle his lamentations with hers. Mutual glances were exchanged, upon such occasions. In short, each, already, was effectually smitten with the other.

One day, the pretty, little widow sent privately for the old domestic, who attended upon the young man, in the capacity of body servant, and inquired, all in a seemingly casual way, if his master was married. “Not yet”—he replied.—“He is very fastidious, I suppose”—said the lady, with an inquiring look.—“It is even so, madam,” replied the servant—“my master is, indeed, not easily suited, in such a matter. His standard is very high. I have heard him say, that he should, probably, never be married, as he despaired of ever finding a female resembling yourself, in every particular.”—“Did he say so?” exclaimed the widow, as the warm blood rushed into her cheeks.—“He certainly did,” replied the other, “and much more, which I do not feel at liberty to repeat.”—“Dear me,” said the widow,[Pg 488] “what a bewitching young man he is! go to him, and if he really loves me, as you say, tell him he may open the subject, without fear, for his passion is amply returned, by one, who is willing, if he so wishes, to become his wife.”

The young widow, from day to day, threw herself repeatedly, and as if by accident, into the old servant’s way; and began, at last, to feel surprised, and somewhat nettled, that he brought her no message from his master. At length, she became exceedingly impatient, and asked him directly, if he had spoken to his master on the subject. “Yes, madam,” the old man replied.—“And pray,” asked the widow, eagerly, “what said he?”—“He said, madam, that such an union would place him upon the pinnacle of human happiness; but that there was one fatal objection.”—“And do, for pity’s sake, tell me,” said she, hastily interrupting the old man, “what that objection can be.”—“He said,” rejoined the old domestic, “that, being a disciple of your late husband, such a marriage, he feared, would be considered scandalous.”—“But,” said she, briskly, “there is just nothing in that. He was never a disciple of Chuang-tsze—he only proposed to become one, which is an entirely different thing. If any other frivolous objections arise, I beg you to remove them; and you may count upon being handsomely rewarded.”

Her anxiety caused her to become exceedingly restless. She made frequent visits to the hall, and, when she approached the coffin, her sobs became more audible than ever—but the young disciple came not forth, as usual. Upon one occasion, after dark, as she was standing near the coffin, she was startled, by an unusual noise. “Gracious Heaven!” she exclaimed, “can it be so! Is the old philosopher coming back to life!” The cold sweat came upon her lovely brow, as she started to procure a light. When she returned, the mystery was readily explained. In front of the coffin there was a table, designed as an altar, for the reception of such emblems and presents, as were placed there by visitors. The old servant, had become tipsy, and finding no more convenient place, in which to bestow himself, while waiting his master’s bidding, he had thrown himself, at full length, upon this altar; and, in turning over, had occasioned the noise, which had so much alarmed the young widow. Under other circumstances, the act would have been accounted sacrilegious, and the fellow would have been subjected to the bastinado. But, as matters stood, the widow passed it by, and even suffered the sot to remain undisturbed.

[Pg 489]On the morning of the following day, the widow encountered the old domestic, who was passing her, with as much apparent indifference, as though she had never entrusted him, with any important commission. Surprised by his behavior, she called him to her private apartment—“Well,” said she, “have you executed the business, which I gave you in charge?”—“Oh,” said he, with an air of provoking indifference, “that is all over, I believe.”—“How so,” inquired the widow—“did you deliver my message correctly?”—“In your own words,” he replied—“my master would make any sacrifice to make you his wife; and is entirely persuaded, by your arguments, to give up the objection he stated, in regard to his being the disciple of Chuang-tsze; but there are three other objections, which it will be impossible to overcome; and which his sense of delicacy forbids him to exhibit before you.”—“Poh, poh,” said the widow, “let me hear what they are, and we shall then see, whether they are insurmountable or not.”—“Well, madam,” said the old man, “since you command me, I will state them, as nearly as I can, in the words of my young master. The first of these three objections is this——”




We were about to exhibit those three objections of the young disciple, to his marriage, with the widow of Chuang-tsze, when we were summoned away, by professional duties. Let us proceed—“The first of my master’s objections,” said the old domestic, “is this—the coffin of Chuang-tsze is still in the hall of ceremony. A sight, so sad and solemnizing, is absolutely inconsistent with the nuptial celebration. The world would cry out upon such inconsistency. In the second place, the fame of your late husband was so great—his love for you so devoted—yours for him so ardent and sincere, and founded, so obviously, upon his learning and wisdom—that my master fears it will be impossible for him, to supply the place of so good, and so great, a man; and that you will, ere long, despise him, for his inferiority; and that your affections will be entirely and unchangeably fixed, on the memory of the great defunct. The third and last[Pg 490] objection, named by my master, whose passion for you knows no bounds, is serious indeed. Though of lofty pedigree, he is very poor. He has neither money nor lands; and has not the means of purchasing those marriage gifts, which custom requires him to offer.”

“And are these the only objections?” said she. “There are no others,” he replied; “if it were not for these insurmountable objections, the happiness of my master would be complete, and he would openly manifest that passion, by which he is now secretly consumed.”

“They are, by no means, insurmountable,” said the young widow, with animation. “As for the coffin, what is it? A mere shell, containing the remains of poor Chuang-tsze. It is not absolutely necessary, that it should remain in the hall, during these one hundred days. At the farther end of my garden is an ancient smoke-house. It is quite dilapidated, and no longer in use. Some of my people shall carry the coffin thither, without farther delay. So you may inform your sweet, young master, that his first objection will be instantly removed. And why should he distress himself so needlessly, in regard to the second? Chuang-tsze certainly passed, with the world, for a great philosopher, and a wonderful man. The world sees from a distance. A sort of haze or mist impedes its vision. Minute particulars escape its observation. That, which is smooth and fair, seen from afar, may appear full of inequalities to one, who is near at hand. God forbid, that I should undervalue the dead; but it is well known, that Chuang-tsze repudiated his second wife, because she did not precisely suit his humor, and then married me. His great reputation induced a certain sovereign, to appoint him his chief minister. But the philosopher was not deficient in shrewdness—he knew his incapacity, and resolved to hide himself, in that solitude, where we have vegetated, so long.”

“About a month ago, he encountered a young widow, who, with a large fan, was endeavoring to dry up her husband’s grave, because she could not marry again, under the condition her husband had imposed upon her, until this was done. Chuang-tsze, if you will believe it, made the acquaintance of this shameless woman; and actually assisted her, in drying up her husband’s grave. She gave him a fan, as a keepsake; and he valued it highly. I got possession of it however, and tore it to tatters. You see how great my obligations are to this wonderful philosopher;[Pg 491] and you may judge of the real affection, which I must feel, for the memory of such a man.”

“The last objection,” continued the widow, “is easily disposed of. I will furnish your master with all the means he can desire. Chuang-tsze, to do the man justice, has left me the absolute mistress of an ample fortune—here, present these twenty taels to your master, from me, with such expressions of devotion, as may befit the lips of one, whose heart is all his own; and say to him, unless he himself is desirous of a longer delay, that, as the whole of life is not too long for love, I shall be happy, if he desires it, to become his bride, this very day.”

Thus far the course of true love, in despite of the proverb, certainly ran smooth.

“Here,” said the young disciple, upon sight of the twenty taels, as he turned them over, “is something substantial—run back immediately to the widow, and tell her my passion will endure the curb no longer. I am entirely at her disposal.” The widow was quite beside herself, upon receiving these tidings; and, casting off her garments of heaviness, she began to embellish her fine person. The coffin of Chuang-tsze, by her directions, was immediately transferred to the old smoke-house.

The hall was made ready, for the approaching nuptials. If murmurs occasionally arose, among the old, faithful domestics of Chuang-tsze, the widow’s passion was more blind than moonless midnight, and deafer than the time-stricken adder. A gorgeous feast was made ready. The shades of evening drew on apace—the lanterns were lighted up, in all directions—the nuptial torch cast forth its bright beams from an elevated table.

At the appointed signal, the bridegroom entered, most skilfully and splendidly arrayed,—so that his fine, manly figure was exhibited, to the greatest advantage. The young widow soon appeared, her countenance the very tabernacle of pleasure, and her bewitching form, adorned in the most costly silks, and splendid embroidery. They placed themselves, side by side, in front of the hymeneal taper, arrayed in pearls, and diamonds, and tissue of gold. Those salutations, which custom demands, having been duly performed, and the bride and bridegroom having wished each other eternal felicity, in that manner, which the marriage rites prescribe, the bridegroom holding the hand of the bride, they proceeded to the festal hall; and having drunk from the goblet of mutual fidelity, they took their places, at the banqueting board.

[Pg 492]The repast went joyously forward—the darkest cloud—how suddenly will it come over the smiling face of the bewitching moon! The festival had not yet passed, when the bridegroom fell to the floor, in horrible convulsions. With eyes turned upward, and mouth frightfully distorted, he became an object of horror. The bride, whose passion for the young disciple was ardent and sincere, screamed aloud. She threw herself, in all her bridal array, upon the floor, by his side; clasped him in her arms; covered him with kisses; and implored him, to say what she could do, to afford him relief. Miserable youth! He was unable to reply, and seemed about to expire.

The old domestic rushed into the apartment, upon hearing the noise, and taking his master from the floor, proceeded to shake him with violence. “My God,” cried the lady, “has this ever happened before?” “Yes, Madam,” he replied, “he has a return of it about once, in every year.” “And, for Heaven’s sake, tell me what remedies do you employ?” she eagerly inquired. “There is one sovereign remedy,” the old man replied; “his physician considers it a specific.” “And what is it? tell me, in the name of Confucius,” she passionately exclaimed, for the convulsions were growing more violent. “Nothing will restore him, but the brains of a man, recently dead, taken in warm wine. His father, who was governor of a province, when his son was last attacked, in this way, caused a criminal to be executed, that his brains might be thus employed.” “Good God!” exclaimed the agonizing bride, for the convulsions, after a short remission, were returning, with redoubled violence, and the bridegroom was foaming terribly, at the mouth. “Tell me instantly, will the brains of a man who died a natural death answer as well?” “Undoubtedly,” the old servant replied. “Well then,” said she, in a tone somewhat subdued—“there is Chuang-tsze in the smoke-house.” “Ah, Madam,” said the old domestic, “I am aware of it—it occurred to me—but I feared to suggest it.” “And of what possible use,” she exclaimed, “can the brains of old Chuang-tsze be to him now, I should like to know?”

At this moment, the convulsions became absolutely terrific. “These returns,” said the old man, “will become more and more violent, till they destroy my poor master. There is no time to be lost.” The wretched bride rushed from the apartment, and, seizing a hatchet, which happened to be lying in the[Pg 493] outer passage, she hastily made her way to the old smoke-house. Elevating the hatchet above her head, she struck a violent blow, on the lid of the coffin.

If the whole force of the blow had descended upon a secret spring, the lid could not have risen more suddenly. It seemed like the power of magic. The bride turned her eyes upon the closed lids of the corpse—they gradually opened; and the balls were slowly turned, and steadily fixed, upon her. In an instant Chuang-tsze sat, bolt upright, in his coffin! She sent forth a shriek of terror—the hatchet fell from her paralyzed hand—the cold sweat of confusion gathered thickly upon her brow.

“My beloved wife,” said the philosopher, with perfect calmness, “be so obliging as to lend me your hand, that I may get out.—I have had a charming nap,” continued he, as he took the lamp from her hand, and advanced towards the hall. She followed, trembling at every step, and dreading the meeting, between the old philosopher and the young disciple.

Though the air of unwonted festivity, under the light of the waning tapers, still hung over the apartment, fortunately the youth and the old servant seemed to have departed. Upon this, her courage, in some measure, revived, and, turning a look of inexpressible tenderness upon Chuang-tsze—“Dearest husband,” said she, “how I have cherished your memory! My day thoughts and dreams have been all of you. I have often heard, that the apparent dead were revived, especially if not confined within closed apartments. I therefore caused your precious coffin to be removed, where the cool, refreshing air could blow over it. How I have watched, and listened, for some evidence of returning life! And how my heart leaped into my mouth, when my vigilance was at last rewarded. I flew with a hatchet to open the coffin; and, when I saw your dear eyes turned upon me, I thought I should”—“I can never repay your devotion,” said the philosopher, interrupting her, with an expression of ineffable tenderness, “but why are you thus gaily apparelled—why these robes—these jewels—my love?”

“It seemed to me, my dear husband,” she readily replied, “that some invisible power assured me of your return to life. How, thought I, can I meet my beloved Chuang-tsze, in the garments of heaviness? No; it will be like a return of our wedding day; and thus, you see, I have resumed my bridal array, and the jewels you gave me, during our honeymoon.”—“Ah,”[Pg 494] said the philosopher, “how considerate you are—you always had your thoughts about you.” He then drew near the table. The wedding taper, which was then burning low in its socket, cast its equivocal rays upon the gorgeous bowls and dishes, which covered the festal board. Chuang-tsze surveyed them attentively, in silence; and, calling for warm wine, deliberately drained the goblet, while the lady stood near him, trembling with confusion and terror.

At length, setting down the goblet, and pointing his finger—“Look behind you!” he exclaimed. She turned her head, and beheld the young disciple, in his wedding finery, with his attendant—a second glance, and they were gone. Such was the power of this mighty master of magic. The wife slunk to her apartment; and, resolving not to survive her shame and disappointment, unloosened her wedding girdle, and ascending to the garret, hung herself therewith, to one of the cross-beams, until she was dead. Tidings were soon brought to Chuang-tsze, who, deliberately feeling her pulse, and ascertaining that she was certainly dead, cut her down, and placed her precious remains, in the coffin, in the old smoke-house.

He then proceeded to indulge his philosophical humor. He sat down, among the flickering lamps, at the solitary board, and struck up a dirge, accompanying his voice, by knocking with the chopsticks, and whatever else was convenient to his purpose, upon the porcelain bowls and dishes, which he finally broke into a thousand pieces, and setting fire to his mansion, he consumed it to ashes, together with the smoke-house, and all its valuable contents.

He then, abandoning all thoughts of taking another wife, travelled into the recesses of Latinguin, in pursuit of his old master, Laoukeun, whom, at length, he discovered. There he acquired the reputation of a profound philosopher; and lay down, at last, in the peaceful grave, where wicked widows cease from troubling, and weary widowers are at rest.



[Pg 495]


A grasshopper was not the crest of Peter Faneuil’s arms. I formerly supposed it was; for a gilded grasshopper, as half the world knows, is the vane upon the cupola of Faneuil Hall; and a gilded grasshopper, as many of us well remember, whirled about, of yore, upon the little spire, that rose above the summer-house, appurtenant to the mansion, where Peter Faneuil lived, and died. That house was built, and occupied, by his uncle, Andrew; and he had some seven acres, for his garden thereabouts. It was upon the westerly side of old Treamount Street, and became the residence of the late William Phillips, whose political relations to the people of Massachusetts, as their Lieutenant Governor, could not preserve him from the sobriquet of Billy.

I thought it not unlikely, that Peter’s crest was a grasshopper, and that, on that account, he had become partial to this emblem. But I am duly certified, that it was not so. The selection of a grasshopper, for a vane, was made, in imitation of their example, who placed the very same thing, upon the pinnacle of the Royal Exchange, in London. The arms of the Faneuils I have seen, upon the silver castors, which once were Peter’s own; and, upon his decease, became the property of his brother, Benjamin, from whom they descended to his only daughter, Mary Faneuil, who became, October 13, 1754, the wife of George Bethune, now deceased; and was the mother of George Bethune, Esquire, who will complete his eighty-second year, in April, 1851. From this gentleman, whose grand-uncle Peter Faneuil was, and from other descendants of old Benjamin Faneuil, of Rochelle, I have received some facts and documents—interesting to me—possibly to others.

In conversation with an antiquarian friend, not long ago, we agreed, that very much less was generally known of Peter Faneuil, than of almost any other great, public benefactor. His name, nevertheless, is inseparably associated, with the cradle of American liberty. Drs. Eliot and Allen, in their Biographical Dictionaries, have passed him over, very slightingly, the former finishing up this noble-hearted Huguenot, with fifteen lines; and the latter, with eight; while not a few of their pages have been[Pg 496] devoted, to the very dullest doctors of the drowsiest theology, and to—

“Names ignoble, born to be forgot.”

Mr. Farmer, in his Genealogical Register, does not seem to be aware, that the name of Faneuil existed, for he has not even found a niche for it there. His Register, I am aware, purports to be a register of the “First Settlers.” But he has found room for the Baudouins (Bowdoins) and their descendants. They also were Huguenots; and came hither, with the Faneuils, after 1685. One of that family, as will be more fully shown, Claude Baudoin, presented Peter Faneuil in baptism. Yet, such was the public sense of Peter’s favors, when they were green, that John Lovell—that same Master Lovell, who retired with the British army, in 1776—delivered, under an appointment of the town, an oration, to commemorate the virtues, and laud the munificence of Peter Faneuil. Such, in truth, was the very first occasion, upon which the citizens were summoned to listen to the voice of an orator, in Faneuil Hall; and then, in honor of him, who perfected the noble work, at his own proper cost, and whose death so speedily followed its completion—for a noble work assuredly it was, relatively to the times, in which it was wrought.

The Faneuils were Huguenots. The original pronunciation of this patronymic must have been somewhat different from the present: there was an excusable naïveté, in the inquiry of a rural visitant of the city—if a well known mechanical establishment, with a tall, tubular chimney, were not Funnel Hall?

After the revocation of the edict of Nantes, by Louis XIV., in 1685, the Faneuils, in common with many other Huguenots of France,—the Baudouins, the Bernons, the Sigourneys, the Boudinots, the Pringles, the Hugers, the Boutineaus, the Jays, the Laurenses, the Manigaults, the Marions, the Prioleaus, and many others, came to these North American shores—as our pilgrim fathers came—to worship God, in security, and according to their consciences. Many of these persecuted men conferred, upon their adopted home, those blessings, which the exercise of their talents, and the influence of their characters, and of the talents and characters of their descendants have confirmed to our common country, for many generations.

They came, by instalments, and arrived at different points. Thirty families of these expatriated Protestants came hither, and settled upon a tract, eight miles square, in the “Nipmug [Pg 497]country,” where now stands the town of Oxford, in the County of Worcester. This settlement commenced, in Gov. Dudley’s time, and under his particular auspices; but continued only till 1696, when it was broken up, by the inroads of the savages. In the overthrow of this settlement, rum was a material agent, and occasioned, though upon a very small scale, a second massacre of some of these Huguenots. There is a letter to Gov. Dudley, from M. Bondet, the Huguenot clergyman, dated July 6, 1691, complaining bitterly of the unrestricted sale, among the Indians, of this fatal fire water; and giving a graphic account of the uproar and outrage it produced.

After the failure of this attempt, many of the scattered planters collected, in Boston. For several years, they gathered, for devotional purposes, in one of the larger school-houses. Jan. 4, 1704, they purchased a piece of land, in South School Street, of John Mears, a hatter, for “£110 current silver money of New England;” but, for several years, the selectmen, for some cause, unknown to us, refused their consent, that these worthy French Protestants should build their church thereon. About twelve years after the purchase of the land, the little church—the visible temple—went up. It was of brick, and very small. Monsieur Pierre Daillé was their first pastor, André Le Mercier the second; and, if there be any truth, in tradition, these Huguenot shepherds were pure and holy men. Daillé died testate, May 20, 1715. His will bears date May 15, of that year. He directs his body to be interred, at the discretion of his executor, James Bowdoin, “with this restriction, that there be no wine at my funeral, and that none of my wife’s relations have mourning cloaths.” He empowers his executor to give them gloves; and scarfs and gloves to all the ministers of Boston. To his wife, Martha, he gives £350, Province bills, and his negro man, Kuffy. His Latin and French books he gives to the French Church, as the nucleus of a library. £100 to be put at interest for the use of the minister. £10 to be improved by the elders, for the use of the church, and should a meeting-house be built, then in aid of that object. To John Rawlins the French schoolmaster, £5. He then makes his brother Paul, of Armsfort, in Holland, residuary legatee. His “books and arms” were appraised at £2. 10. The whole estate at £274. 10. sterling.

Le Mercier dedicated his book, on Detraction, to his people. Therein he says, “You have not despised my youth, when I first[Pg 498] came among you; you have since excused my infirmities; and, as I did the same, in respect to yours, it has pleased our Saviour, the head of his church, to favor us with an uninterrupted peace and union in our church, for the almost eighteen years that I have preached the word of salvation to you.” His book was published in 1733. He therefore became their pastor between 1715, when Daillé died, and 1716. He died March 31, 1764, aged 71. He was therefore born in 1693, and ordained about the age of 22.

Le Mercier’s will is dated, at Dorchester, Nov. 7, 1761. A codicil was added, at Boston, Feb. 3, 1764. He left his estate to his four children, “Andrew, Margaret, Jane, and my son Bartholomew, if living.” He enjoins upon his heirs the payment of Bartholomew’s debt to Thomas Hancock, for which he had become responsible, and which he had partly paid. By his will, he appointed Jane and Margaret to execute his will. In the codicil, he refers to the disordered state of Margaret’s mind, and appoints Zachariah Johonnot, in her stead, requesting him to be her guardian. The whole estate was appraised at £232. 18. 6. sterling.

Years rolled on: juxtaposition and intermarriage were Americanising these Huguenots, from month to month; and, ere long, they felt, less and less, the necessity of any separate place of worship. On the 7th of May, 1748, “Stephen Boutineau, the only surviving elder,” and others, among whom we recognize the Huguenot names of Johonnot, Packinett, Boudoin, and Sigourney, conveyed their church and land to Thomas Fillebrown, Thomas Handyside Peck, and others, trustees for the “new congregational church, whereof Mr. Andrew Croswell is pastor.” After a while, this church became the property of the Roman Catholics; and mass was first celebrated there, Nov. 2, 1788. The Catholics, in 1803, having removed to Franklin Place, the old Huguenot church was taken down; and, upon the site of it, a temple was erected, by the Universalists; showing incontrovertibly, thank God, that the soil was most happily adapted to toleration.

The reader fancies, perhaps, that I have forgotten Peter Faneuil. Not so: but I must linger a little longer with these Huguenots, who attempted a settlement in the Nipmug country. In the southwesterly part of Oxford, there rises a lofty hill, whose summit affords an extensive and delightful prospect. Beneath,[Pg 499] at the distance of a mile, or more, lies the village of Oxford; and the scenery, beyond, is exceedingly picturesque. Upon this eminence, which now bears the name of Mayo’s Hill, are the well-defined remains of an ancient fort. Its construction is perfectly regular. The bastions are clearly marked; and the old well, constructed within the barrier, still remains. As recently, as 1819, says the Rev. Dr. Holmes, in his able and interesting account of the Huguenots, “grapevines were growing luxuriantly, along the line of this fort; and these, together with currant bushes, roses, and other shrubbery, nearly formed a hedge around it. There were some remains of an apple orchard. The currant and asparagus were still growing there.”

Such were the vestiges of these thirty families, who, in 1696, fled from a foe, not more savage and relentless, though less enlightened, than the murderers of Coligny, in 1572.

The Faneuils formed no part of these thirty families; but, not many years after the little Oxford colony was broken up, and the fugitive survivors had found their way to Boston, the Faneuils, one after another, seem to have been attracted hither, from those points of our country, where they first arrived, after the revocation of the edict of Nantes, in 1685, or from other, intermediate stations, to which they had removed.

There are not elements enough, I fear, for a very interesting memoir of Peter Faneuil. The materials, even for a brief account, are marvellously few, and far between; and the very best result, to be anticipated, is a warp and woof of shreds and patches.

But, if I am not much mistaken, I know more of Peter Faneuil, than Master Lovell ever wot of, though he delivered the funeral oration; and, albeit the sum total is very small, it seems but meet and right, that it should be given to the world. I think it would so be decided, by the citizens, if the vote were taken, this very day—in Faneuil Hall.

Our neighbors, all over the United States have heard of Faneuil Hall; and, though, of late years, since we have had a race, or breed, of mayors, every one of whom has endeavored to be worthier or more conceding than his predecessor, Faneuil Hall has been converted into a sort of omnibus without wheels; yet the glory of its earlier, and of some, among its latter days, is made, thank God, of that unchangeable stuff, that will never shrink, and cannot fade.

[Pg 500]No man has ever heard of Faneuil Hall, who will not be pleased to hear somewhat of that noble-minded, whole-souled descendant of the primitive Huguenots—and such indeed he was—who came, as a stranger and sojourner here, and built that hall, at his own proper cost and charge, and gave it—the gift of a cheerful giver—to those, among whom he had come to dwell—and all this, in the midst of his days, in the very prime of his life, not waiting for the almond tree to flourish, and for desire to fail, and for the infirmities of age to admonish the rich man, that he must set his house in order, and could carry nothing with him, to those regions beyond.

Faneuil Hall has been called the Cradle of Liberty, so long and so often, that it may seem to savor of political heresy, to quarrel with the name—but, for the soul of me, I cannot help it. If it be intended to say, that Faneuil Hall is the birth place of Liberty, I am not aware of a single instance, on record, of a baby, born in a cradle. The proverbial use of the cradle has ever been to rock the baby to sleep; and Heaven knows our old fathers made no such use of Faneuil Hall, in their early management of the bantling; for it was an ever-wakeful child, from the very moment of its first, sharp, shrill, life cry.




General Jackson has been reported—how justly I know not—upon some occasion, in a company of ladies, to have given a brief, but spirited, description of all his predecessors, in the Presidential chair, till he came down to the time of President Tyler, when, seizing his hat, he proceeded to bow himself out of the room. The ladies, however, insisted upon his completing the catalogue—“Well, ladies,” said he, “it is matter of history, and may therefore be spoken—President Tyler, ladies, was—pretty much nothing.”

A very felicitous description; and not of very limited application to men and things. I cannot find a better, for Master John Lovell’s funeral oration, upon Peter Faneuil. This affair, which Dr. Snow, in his history of Boston, calls “a precious relic,” is certainly a wonderfully flatulent performance. A time-stained[Pg 501] copy of the original edition of 1743 lies under my eye. I hoped, not unreasonably, that it would be a lamp to my path, in searching after the historical assets of Peter Faneuil. But not one ray of light has it afforded me; and, with one or two exceptions, in relation to the Hall, and the general beneficence of its founder, it is, in no sense, more of a funeral oration, upon Peter Faneuil, than upon Peter Smink. In their vote of thanks to Master Lovell, passed on the day of its delivery, the committee speak of “his oration,” very judiciously abstaining from all unwarrantable expletives. From this oration we can discover nothing of Faneuil’s birth-place, nor parentage, nor when, nor whence, nor wherefore he came hither; nor of the day of his birth, nor of the day of his death, nor of the disease of which he died; nor of his habits of life, nor of the manner, in which he acquired his large estate; nor of his religious opinions, nor of his ancestors.

We collect, however, from these meagre pages, that Mr. Faneuil meditated other benefactions to the town—that his death was sudden—that votes of thanks had been passed, for his donation of the Hall, “a few months before”—that the meeting, at which the oration was pronounced, March 14, 1742, was the very first annual meeting, in Faneuil Hall—that Peter Faneuil was the owner of “a large and plentiful estate”—that “no man managed his affairs with greater prudence and industry”—that “he fed the hungry and clothed the naked; comforted the fatherless and the widows, in their affliction, and his bounty visited the prisoner.”

Master Lovell, not inelegantly, observes of Faneuil’s intended benefactions, which were prevented by his death—“His intended charities, though they are lost to us, will not be lost to him. Designs of goodness and mercy, prevented as these were, will meet with the reward of actions.” This passage appears to have found favor, in the eyes of the late Dr. Boyle, who has, accordingly, on page 21, of his memoir of the Boston Episcopal Charitable Society, when speaking of Faneuil, made a very free and familiar appropriation of it, with a slight verbal variation.

Master Lovell’s fervent aspirations, in regard to Faneuil Hall, one hundred and nine years ago, have not been fulfilled, to the letter. The gods have granted the orator’s prayer—“May Liberty always spread its joyful wings over this place”—but not with Master Lovell’s conditions annexed; for he adds—“May[Pg 502] Loyalty to a King, under whom we enjoy that Liberty, ever remain our character.”

In this particular, Master Lovell was not to be indulged. Yet he steadily adhered to his tory principles; and, like many other conscientious and honorable men, whom it is much less the fashion to abuse, at present, than it was, of yore, adhered to his royal master; and relinquished his own sceptre, as monarch of the South Grammar School, with all the honors and emoluments thereof, choosing rather to suffer affliction, with his thwarted and mortified master, than to enjoy the pleasures of rebellion, for a season. He retired to Halifax, with the British army, in 1776, and died there, in 1778.

Original copies of Master Lovell’s oration are exceedingly rare; though the “precious relic” has been reprinted, by Dr. Snow, in his history of Boston. The title may be worth preserving—“A funeral oration, delivered at the opening of the annual meeting of the town, March 14th, 1742. In Faneuil Hall, in Boston. Occasioned by the death of the founder, Peter Faneuil Esq. By John Lovell, A. M., Master of the South Grammar School, in Boston. Sui memores alios fecere merendo. Boston, printed by Green, Bushell & Allen, for S. Kneeland & T. Green, in Queen Street, 1743.”

As an eminent historian conceived it to be a matter of indifference, at which end he commenced his history, I shall not adhere to any chronological arrangement, in the presentation of the few facts, which I have collected, relating to Peter Faneuil and his family. On the contrary, I shall begin at the latter end, and, first, endeavor to clear up a little confusion, that has arisen, as to the time of his death. Allen, in his Biog. Dic., says, that Peter Faneuil died, March 3, 1743. I am sorry to say, that, in several instances, President Allen’s dates resemble Jeremiah’s figs, in the second basket; though, upon the present occasion, he is right, on a certain hypothesis. In a note to the “Memoir of the French Protestants,” also, M. H. C. vol. xxii. p. 55, Peter Faneuil is said to have died, March 3, 1743. Pemberton, in his “Description of Boston,” Ibid. v. 3, p. 253, by stating that the funeral oration was delivered, March 14, 1742, makes 1742 the year of Faneuil’s death. The title page of the oration itself, quoted above, fixes the death, in 1742. Dr. Eliot, in his Biog. Dic., says 1742. The Probate records of Suffolk show administration granted, on Peter Faneuil’s estate, March 18, 1742. His obiit, on a mourning ring, that I have seen, is 1742.

[Pg 503]Now, if all dealers in dates, of the olden time, would discriminate, between the old style and the new, we should be spared a vast deal of vexation; and the good people of Boston, notional as they proverbially are, would not appear, in their creditable zeal to do honor to a public benefactor, to have given him a funeral oration, a twelve month before he was dead. If the year be taken to begin, on the first of January, then Dr. Allen is right; and Peter Faneuil died March 3, 1743. But if it did not begin, till the twenty-fifth of March, and, legally, it certainly did not, before 1752, when the new style was adopted, in Great Britain, and the Provinces, then Eliot, and Pemberton, and the title page of the oration, and the records of the court, and the mourning ring are right, and Peter Faneuil died, in 1742.

An illustration of this principle may be found, on the title page of the oration itself. It is stated to have been delivered, March 14, 1742, and printed in 1743. Having been delivered near the close of the year 1742, it was printed, doubtless, soon after March 25, which was New Year’s day for 1743.

The public journals, nevertheless, seem to have adopted, and adhered to the idea, that January 1, was the first day of the historical year, long before the style was altered; and thus, in the Weekly News Letter, published in Boston, Faneuil is stated to have died, in 1743. This journal contains an obituary notice. A few imperfect numbers of this paper are all that remain, and its extreme rarity leads me to copy the obituary here:—

“Thursday, March 10, 1743. On Thursday last, dyed at his seat in this Town, Peter Faneuil, Esq., whose remains, we hear, are to be enterred this afternoon; a gentleman, possessed of a very ample fortune, and a most generous spirit, whose noble benefaction to this town, and constant employment of a great number of tradesmen, artificers and labourers, to whom he was a liberal paymaster; whose hospitality to all, and secret unbounded chirity to the poor—made his life a public blessing, and his death a general loss to, and universally regretted by, the inhabitants; who had been so sensible of their obligations to him, for the sumptuous edifice, which he raised at his private expence, for their Market house and Town Hall, that, at a general town meeting, as a testimony of their gratitude, they voted, that the place of their future consultations should be called by his name forever: in doing which they perpetuated their own honor as much as his memory; for, by this record posterity will know[Pg 504] the most publick spirited man, in all regards, that ever yet appeared on the Northern continent of America, was a member of their community.”

In the Boston Evening Post of March 7, 1743, in a brief notice of Peter Faneuil’s death, the disease of which he died is said to have been “dropsey.”

Now that we have established the period of Peter’s death, it may be well, to establish the period of his birth; and this we can do, with certainty, even to an hour, from authentic documents. In addition to other means, for ascertaining dates, and various particulars, respecting Peter Faneuil, and the members of his family—through the kindness of the Genealogical Society, I have, before me, a folio volume of his commercial correspondence: mutilated, indeed it is, by some thoughtless hand, but furnishes some curious and interesting matter. Many of his letters are written in French; and those, which are in English, are well composed. I have found but a single instance, in which he writes our language, like a Frenchman. Upon that occasion, he was in a passion with a certain judge of the admiralty, complained of his ill usage, and charged him with “capporice.”




I am indebted to Mr. Charles Faneuil Jones, a grandson of Mary Ann Jones, Peter Faneuil’s sister, for the use of some ancient papers, and family relics; and to George Bethune, Esquire, of Boston, the grandson of Benjamin Faneuil, Peter’s brother, for the loan of a venerable document—time worn, torn, and sallow—the record of the birth of Peter Faneuil, and of his brothers and sisters. This document, from its manifest antiquity, the masculine character of the hand writing, and the constant use of the parental expressions—notre filsnotre fille—I, at first, supposed to be the original autograph of Benjamin, the father of Peter. This conjecture was, of course, demolished, by the last entry, on the record, which is of old Benjamin’s decease, but in the same peculiar hand.

The document is in French; and, after a careful comparison—literatim—with the volume of Peter’s commercial [Pg 505]correspondence, now in my possession—I have very little doubt, that this record was copied, by Peter, from the paternal original, with the additional entry, by himself, of the date of his father’s death. At the bottom, and beneath a line of separation, and by another hand, with a fresher ink, is the following entry—“Le 6 D’Aout 1725, M. Gillam Phillips de Boston a epousee ma Fille Marie Faneuil agée de dix sept et quatre mois.” The 6th of August, 1725, Mr. Gillam Phillips, of Boston, married my daughter, Marie, aged seventeen and four months. The expression ma file, shows this entry to have been made by Peter’s mother, then the widow of Benjamin, who appears, by this record, to have died, at New York, March 31, 1718-9, aged 50 years and 8 months.

This unusual prænomen, Gillam, I, at first, supposed to be a corruption of Guillaume. But there was a merchant, of that day, in Boston, bearing the name of Gillam Phillips. In the Registry of Deeds, for Suffolk, lib. 43, fol. 13, there is recorded a deed, from “Wentworth Paxton, and Faith, his wife, formerly Faith Gillam,” in which, reference is made to Faith’s father, Benjamin Gillam. Mr. Gillam Phillips is thus named, in the will of his wife’s uncle, Andrew Faneuil, to which I shall have occasion to refer. Jan 22, 1738, Peter, in a letter to Lane & Smethurst, of London, speaks of his brother-in-law, Mr. Gillam Phillips.

This gentleman was the elder brother of Mr. Henry Phillips, who was indicted, for killing Mr. Benjamin Woodbridge, in a duel, fought with swords, and without seconds, on Boston Common, upon the evening of July 3, 1728. This extremely interesting affair cannot be introduced, as an episode here, on account of the space it must necessarily occupy. The original documents, relating to this encounter, which terminated in the immediate death of Mr. Woodbridge, have fallen into my possession; and, as Peter Faneuil personally assisted, in the escape of the survivor, who found a city of refuge, in Rochelle, and a friend and protector, in Peter’s uncle, Jean Faneuil; it seems, in some degree, related to the history of Peter and his kinsfolk. I may, possibly, refer to it hereafter.

In 1685, the period of the revocation of the edict of Nantes, there were living, in or near Rochelle, in France, three brothers and two sisters of the Faneuil family. One of these, Benjamin, became the father of our Peter [Pg 506]Faneuil—the others, his uncles and aunts, when the persecution commenced, so ably and touchingly described, by James Saurin, fled for safety to foreign lands. Andrew, the elder brother, escaped into Holland, and took up his abode in Amsterdam; where he married that preëminently beautiful lady, whose portrait is now in the possession of Col. Benjamin Hunt, whose mother was Jane Bethune, a daughter of Mary Faneuil, the neice of Peter.

Andrew Faneuil, before many years, came to this country—precisely when, I cannot say. That he was here, as early as 1709, is evident, from the proposals of Oliver Noyes and others, to build a wharf from the bottom of King Street, to low-water mark, “of the width of King Street, between Mr. East Apthorp’s and Mr. Andrew Faneuil’s.” These proposals are dated Feb. 20, 1709, and are inserted in Dr. Snow’s History of Boston, p. 209.

In Holland, doubtless, Andrew acquired that passion, for flowers, which he gratified, in his seven-acre Eden, on the westerly side of Treamount Street, where he is said to have erected the first hothouse, that ever existed in New England. His warehouse, the same, by him devised, for the support of the minister of the French Church, was at the lower end of King Street, near Merchant’s Row, from which Butler’s Wharf then extended, as laid down, by John Bonner, in 1722. This warehouse, under the will of Andrew, reverted, to his heirs, upon the extinction of the French Church. It was then, just where we find it, in the New England Weekly Journal, of Jan. 13, 1729. “Good New York Flower. To be sold, at Mr. Andrew Faneuil’s Warehouse, at the lower end of King Street, at 35s per Hundred, as also good chocolate, just imported.” He was engaged in commerce; and, for those days of small things, acquired a large estate, which his forecast taught him to distribute, among the public funds of France, England, and Holland. His warehouse was purchased of one of his descendants, by the late John Parker.

Jean Faneuil, another of Peter’s uncles, held fast to the faith of his fathers; and lived, and died, a Roman Catholic. He died in Rochelle, of apoplexy, June 24, 1737, about four months after the decease of his brother Andrew, as appears by Peter’s letter of Sept. 8, 1737.

Susannah Faneuil also continued, in the Roman Catholic[Pg 507] faith, and remained in Rochelle; where she became the wife, and the widow, of Abraham de la Croix. She survived her brother Andrew, the date of whose decease is clearly shown to have been Feb. 13, 1737, by Peter’s letter to S. & W. Baker, of London, giving them the inscription, “for the handsomest mourning rings.”

Jane Faneuil was a Huguenot. She became the wife of Pierre Cossart, and took refuge, with her husband, in Ireland, where she died.

Benjamin Faneuil, the father of our Peter, was closely associated with that little band of Huguenots, who clustered about the town of Narragansett, otherwise called Kingstown, and the region round about, at the very close of the seventeenth century. In that village, in 1699, he married a French lady, whose name was Anne Bureau. The record, in Peter’s transcript from his father’s original, is now upon my table—“Le 28 de Juillet 1699. Benjamin Faneuil et Anne Bureau ont eté marié a Narragansett, en nouvelle Angleterre, en la maison de Mons. Pierre Ayross, par Mons. Pierre Daillé ministre de L’Eglise francoise de Boston.” The 28th of July, 1699, Benjamin Faneuil and Ann Bureau were married at Narragansett, in New England, at the house of Mr. Peter Ayross, by Mr. Peter Daillé, minister of the French Church in Boston. Three years before, in 1696, Sept. 4, the name of this Benjamin Faneuil will be found, M. H. C., xxii. 60, attached to a certificate, in favor of Gabriel Bernon, referring to the massacre of John Johnson and his three children, at New Oxford. Johnson had married the sister of old André Sigournay.

This Benjamin Faneuil, the præpositus, or stirps, became the father of eleven children, by his wife, Anne Bureau, who were all born in New Rochelle, in the State of New York, and of whom our Peter was the first born. Their names, in the order of birth, are these—Peter, Benjamin, Francis, Anne, Anne, Marie, John, Anne, Susannah, Mary Anne, and Catherine. The two first Annes, John, and Catherine, died in infancy.

The birth of our Peter is thus chronicled, in the family record—“Le 20 de Juin, 1700, Estant Jeudy a 6 heures du soir est né nostre fils Pierre Faneuil, et a eté baptisé le 14 Juillet, par M. Peyret, ministre de l’Eglisse francoise de la Nouvelle York, presenté au Bâpteme par M. Claude Baudoin et par Sa Mere.” The 20th of June, 1700, being Thursday, at 6 o’clock[Pg 508] in the evening, was born our son, Peter Faneuil, and he was baptized the 14th of July, by Mr. Peyret, minister of the French Church, in New York; presented in baptism, by Mr. Claude Bowdoin and its mother.

Benjamin, our Peter’s brother, was born Dec. 29, 1701. He was a merchant in Boston, about the time of his uncle Andrew’s death, in 1737. Shortly after that event, he went to England, and France, and returned, about two years before the death of his brother Peter, in 1742-3, upon whose estate he administered. His nephew, Edward Jones, in a letter to his mother, June 23, 1783, informs her, that “Uncle Faneuil seems to be growing very low; I think he will not continue long.” He was then in his eighty-second year. He died in October, 1785.

After Peter’s death, Benjamin resided in Brighton, then Cambridge, in the street, which now bears the family name, where he erected an expensive mansion, successively occupied, after his decease, by Messieurs Bethune, English, Parkman, and Bigelow. By his wife, Mary Cutler, he had three children, Benjamin, Mary, and Peter.

This Benjamin, nephew of our Peter, is the “Benjamin Faneuil, junior,” whose name appears, among the signers of the “Loyall Address” to Gov. Gage on his departure Oct. 6, 1775. He left Boston for Halifax, with the British army, in March, 1776. He is the person, referred to, by Ward, in his Memoirs of Curwen—“the merchant of Boston, and with Joshua Winslow, consignee of one third of the East India Company’s tea, destroyed in 1773, a refugee to Halifax, afterwards in England.” He married Jane, daughter of Addington Davenport, by his first wife, Jane, who was the daughter of Grove Hirst, and sister of the Lady Mary Pepperell; and, with his wife, lived many years, abroad, chiefly in Bristol, England, which became the favorite resort of many refugees, and where he died. I have, in my possession, several of his letters, written to his relatives, during his exile. These letters are spiritedly written; and, to the very last, in the most perfect assurance, that the colonies must submit.

Mary, our Peter’s niece, became the wife of George Bethune, Oct. 13, 1754, and died in 1797. A portrait, by Blackburn, of this beautiful woman, is in the possession of her son, George Bethune, Esquire, of Boston. After a very careful[Pg 509] inspection of this portrait, not long ago, I went directly to the rooms of the Historical Society, to compare it with the portrait there of her uncle Peter, to which it seems to me to bear a strong family resemblance. This portrait of Peter was presented to the Society, by Miss Jones, the grand niece of our Peter, now the wife of Dr. Cutter of Pepperell. It has been erroneously ascribed to Copley. If its manifest inferiority to the works of that eminent master were not sufficiently germaine to this question—Copley was born in 1738, and not quite five years old, when Peter Faneuil died.

Peter, the youngest child of Benjamin, and, of course, the nephew of our Faneuil Hall Peter, who may be otherwise distinguished, as Peter the Great—was baptized, in Trinity Church, in Boston, in 1738, and entered the Latin School, in 1746. He entered into trade—went to Montreal—failed—resorted to the West Indies—and, after his father’s death, returned to Boston.




Let us conclude our post mortem examination of the brothers and sisters of Peter Faneuil.

Francis, the third son of Benjamin, the old Rocheller, Peter’s father, was born Aug. 21, 1703, of whom I know nothing, beyond the fact, that he was baptized, by M. Peyret, minister of the French church in New York, and presented “par son grand pere, Francois Bureau, et Mad’selle Anne Delancey.”

Mary, the eldest sister of our Peter, that came to maturity, was born April 16, 1708, and is the Marie, to whom I have already referred, as having married Mr. Gillam Phillips, Aug. 6, 1725. Their abode, before the revolution, was in the mansion, more recently occupied by Abiel Smith, at the corner of State and Devonshire Streets; or, as they are called, on Bonner’s plan of 1722, King Street and Pudding Lane. Her husband was a refugee. After his death, she resided in Cambridge, Mass., where she died, in April, 1778.

Anne, the next, in order of time, was born Oct. 9, 1710, and married Addington Davenport. This fact is stated, by Peter, in a letter, of Sept. 26, 1738. This is the same gentleman, [Pg 510]undoubtedly, to whom the ancient record of King’s Chapel refers: “Oct. 11, 1733. Voted, that the brass stand for the hourglass be lent to the church at Scituate, as also three Diaper napkins, provided the Rev. Mr. Addington Davenport, their minister, gives his note to return the same,” &c. He was, afterwards, promoted, to be assistant minister of King’s Chapel, in 1737, and Rector of Trinity Church, in 1740, and was, probably, the son of Addington Davenport, who was the Register of Deeds, for Suffolk, in 1706.

Susannah, the third sister of our Peter, in the order of birth, was born March 14, 1712, and became the wife of James Boutineau, the son of Stephen Boutineau, that “only surviving elder,” who joined in the conveyance of the French Church, in 1748. James was a royalist; and, according to Ward’s Curwen, died in exile. This marriage is also referred to, by Peter, in his letter of Sept. 26, 1738. Mr. James Boutineau was a lawyer, in Boston; and occupied the “old Dorr house,” so called, in Milk Street.

Mr. Sabine, in his “American Loyalists,” says his fate is unknown, but he was in England, in 1777. An original letter from his widow, “Susanna Boutineau,” now before me, is dated Bristol, Eng., Feb. 20, 1784, and refers to the recent decease of her husband there.

Mary Ann was the last of Peter’s sisters, that survived her infancy. She was born April 6, 1715, and died October, 1790. She became the wife of John Jones, who died at Roxbury, in 1767, and whose son, Edward, died in Boston, in 1835, at the age of 83. She was a refugee; and resided, for some time, in Windsor, Nova Scotia. She is omitted by Mr. Sabine, in his list of refugees; but named by Ward, page 444. A letter, from her son, Edward, dated at Boston, June 23, 1783, advises her, if desirous of returning, not to come directly to Boston, as the law was still in force; but first, to some other State, and thence to Boston.

Such were Peter Faneuil’s brothers and sisters; with whom, so far as I have been able to ascertain, from his correspondence, and from all other sources, he appears to have maintained an amiable and becoming relation, as the file leader of the flock—the elder brother of the house: and it speaks a folio volume, in favor of Benjamin’s equanimity, that he continued to fraternize, as the correspondence abundantly proves, that he did, in the most[Pg 511] cordial and affectionate manner, with his brother Peter, to whom uncle Andrew had, with the exception of a few legacies, willed the whole of his “large and plentiful estate,” as Master Lovell calls it—while five vindictive shillings were all, that were found, after the death of this unforgiving, old gentleman, in the mouth of poor Benjamin’s sack.

Uncle Andrew’s testamentary phraseology, though not so anathematical, as that of some other obstinate, old uncles, is sufficiently uncivil, and even bitter, in relation to his “loving sister, Susannah,” and his nephew, Benjamin.

But, of the will of Andrew Faneuil, and his motive—an exceedingly preposterous motive, to be sure, for cutting his adopted nephew off, with five shillings—in other words, of the cause, manner, and instrument, whereby Benjamin was put in the ablative, I shall treat, more fully, hereafter.

There were collaterals of the Boston Faneuils, residing in St. Domingo, in 1738. There was then, in that island, a Benjamin Faneuil, to whom Peter addressed a letter of mere friendship, in the French language, informing him, that Peter’s brother Benjamin was then in Europe. It was probably a son of the St. Domingo Benjamin, the “Monsieur Fanneuil,” of whom Washington writes to the President of Congress, Feb. 20, 1777, Sparks, iv. 327, as having memorialized, for leave to raise and command troops. The application failed, principally, on the ground of his entire ignorance of the English language.

We have seen, that Peter Faneuil died, at the early age of forty-two. His premature decease becomes the more remarkable, when contrasted with the longevity of all his brothers and sisters, who lived beyond the period of infancy. Marie attained the age of seventy—Susannah was living, in Bristol, at seventy-two—Mary Ann died at seventy-five—Benjamin died, in October, 1735, being two months less than eighty-four years old.

This veteran had been a generous liver, all his days. He was not a man, whose devotion was abdominal—whose God was his belly. He was no anchorite, but an advocate for social worship—he was preëminently hospitable. For more than forty years, from the period, when Peter’s death afforded him the means, his hospitality had been a proverb—a by-word—but never a reproach. There was a refinement about it—it was precisely such hospitality, as Apicius would have practised, had Apicius been a bishop.

[Pg 512]His appetite never forsook him. He died suddenly—ate a cheerful dinner, on the day of his death—and went not to his account, on an empty stomach. A post mortem examination, under the autopsy of that eminently shrewd, and most pleasant, gentleman, Dr. Marshall Spring of Watertown, exhibited the whole gastric apparatus, in admirable working order, for a much longer campaign. A nephritic malady occasioned his decease.

The death of Benjamin Faneuil, the elder, in 1718, and the previous adoption of his son Benjamin, Peter’s brother, by Andrew, the wealthy Boston uncle, naturally turned the thoughts of the family, in this direction. Their interest in Boston was necessarily increased, by the marriage of sister Marie with Mr. Gillam Phillips, and her consequent removal hither. The entry of the marriage—“ma fille”—on the family record, shows, that her mother was then living. The time of her death I have not ascertained, but suppose it to have occurred within a year or two after, for all the daughters were wending hither, and I find no mention of the mother. Peter was here, as early, as 1728, in which year, his name is associated, with the duel, in which Woodbridge was killed. Anne had married Mr. Davenport, and Susannah Mr. Boutineau, before uncle Andrew’s death, in 1737. His will was dated, in 1734. From that document, it is evident, that Mary Ann was here then.

The elder Benjamin having died, in 1718,—Andrew, his brother, in 1737,—and Peter, in 1742-3, there were living Peter’s brother and sisters, Benjamin, Anne, Susannah, Marie, and Marianne. They were living, during the revolution. So were their husbands, excepting Mr. Addington Davenport, who died Sept. 8, 1746. Their children also were living. The object of this particular statement is to invite the reader’s attention to the extraordinary fact, that, while a religious persecution, in 1685, drove the Huguenot ancestors of these very individuals hither, for security—in 1776, a political persecution here drove many of their descendants into exile, and confiscated their estates.

That very many of those refugees, during the phrensy of political excitement, were just as truly persecuted, for conscience’ sake, as were the Huguenots, in 1685, is a simple truth, which the calm, impartial voice of an after-age has been willing to concede. Among those refugees, the Huguenot and the old Anglo-Saxon patronymics are blended together. The Boutineaus and the Bethunes, the Faneuils and the Johonnots are mingled with[Pg 513] the Sewalls and the Hutchinsons, the Hollowells and the Paxtons.

While perusing the letters of Samuel Curwen—and a most kind-hearted, conscientious, old gentleman was he—the veriest saint in crape cannot restrain a smile, as he contemplates the conflict, in Curwen’s mind, between the loyal and the patriotic—his most gracious majesty, and his poor bleeding country! Mr. Curwen met frequently with Mr. Benjamin Faneuil, Peter’s nephew, at Bristol. Thus, on page 240, of the Journal, under date, April 28, 1780—“Afternoon and evening at Judge Sewall’s; company, Mrs. Long, of Ireland, Mr. and Mrs. Faneuil, Mr. Oxnard, with young Inman and his wife, a son of Ralph’s, in the military line, and Miss Inman.”

The more intelligent of the refugees, who resorted to Bristol, hovered about the former Attorney General of Massachusetts, Jonathan Sewall, as their Magnus Apollo. Of all the New England tories he was the most illustrious. He was a man of eminent talents, and easy eloquence. His opinions were the opinions of the rest. As crowed the great tory cock, so crowed the bantams, the Faneuils, the Boutineaus, and the others, around the Attorney General’s hospitable board, at Bristol. I mean not to intimate, that this worthy gentleman maintained, at this period, anything, beyond the most frugal hospitality. He and his associates were mainly dependent upon the British government, for their daily bread.

One or two extracts from the letters of “Benjamin Faneuil junior,” Peter’s nephew, while they establish this fact, may serve to exhibit the confidence, in the entire subjugation of the colonies, entertained—cherished, perhaps—by him and his companions.

March 9, 1777, he writes to his aunt, Mary Ann Jones, at Halifax, thus—“I cannot say I am very sorry, for your disappointment, in missing your passage for England, for unless you could bring a barrel of guineas, you are much better anywhere than here.” * * * * “As soon as the Christmas holidays were over, we presented a petition to the Lords of the Treasury, setting forth our suffering, and praying for a support, till the affairs in America are settled. This method was taken, by the council, and indeed by all the refugees. Within these few days, the Lords of the Treasury have agreed to allow, for the present, Chief Justice Oliver £400 a year, Lieut. Governor Oliver and[Pg 514] Mr. Flucker £300. The council (Mr. Boutineau among the rest) £200, the refugees in general £100, some only £50. Our affair is not yet absolutely determined, on account of Lord North’s sickness; but we are told we shall be tuckt in, between the council and the refugees, and be allowed £150 a year. This is a very poor affair, and we can by no means live upon it: but there are such a confounded parcel of us, to be provided for, that I am told no more will be allowed.” * * * * “Should there be any opportunity of writing to Boston, I should take it kind, if cousin Betsey would write to my father and let him know what I now write, and give our loves to Mr. Bethune’s family, and my aunt Phillips. I do not mention my poor mother, as, from the accounts I have received, I doubt, whether she be alive at this time.” She died in October, 1777.

“When we shall be able to return to Boston I cannot say; but hope and believe it will not exceed one year more; for, sooner or later, America will be conquered, and on that they may depend.”

May 14, 1777. He writes from London thus—“We were promised, three months ago, that some provision should be made for us; and, about ten days since, we were assured, at the Treasury, that, in a very few days, something should be done for us. As soon as there is, we propose to set out for Bristol, and fix ourselves there, or, at least, in that part of the country, till the American affairs are settled, which, from the last advice from New York, we flatter ourselves will not be longer than this year; though I am not without my doubts, at least as to the time: but submit they must, sooner or later. Mr. Boutineau and my aunt were very well, at their lodging, at Bristol, a few days ago. Mr. Robinson has bought himself a new post chaise, horses, &c., and sets out for Wales, in five or six days; where, I suppose, they will remain, till the American affairs are brought to a conclusion.”

This Mr. Robinson was James Boutineau’s son-in-law, the officer of the customs, who inflicted that fatal blow, upon James Otis, which is said to have affected his brain, and compelled him to retire from public life. The issue of that affair is not generally known. Mr. Sabine, in his “American Loyalists,” p. 169, says—“the jury assessed £2000 sterling, damages. Boutineau appeared, as attorney, for Robinson, and, in his name, signed a submission, asking the pardon of Otis, who, thereupon, executed[Pg 515] a free release for the £2000.” The same statement may be found in Allen, and elsewhere.

Mr. Benjamin Faneuil, junior, continues thus—“Mrs. Faneuil received a letter, a few days since, from Mrs. Erving (at Bristol). She sends her the prices of provisions, which are much the same they were in Boston, before the troubles came on. * * * * Miss Peggy Hutchinson has been at death’s door. * * * * All the rest of us Yankees are well, but growl at each other most confoundedly, for want of money.” * * * * “We hope to see you in Boston, in the course of another year.” * * * * “Mrs. Faneuil is sitting by me, trying to transmography an old gown. No money to buy new.”




To some persons it has appeared a mystery, how Peter Faneuil, having had but a short lease of life, some two and forty years, should have acquired the “large and plentiful estate,” that Master Lovell speaks of, in his funeral oration. This mystery is readily explained. He had, for several years, before the death of his uncle, Andrew, been engaged in commerce. As Master Lovell justly observes—“No man managed his affairs with greater prudence and industry.” His commercial correspondence proves that his relations were extensive and diversified, though it must be admitted, that rum, fish, sugar and molasses, are the chorus, or burden, of the song. It will also appear, that the large and plentiful estate, was, probably overrated.

Though he had a high sense of commercial honor, no man had a sharper eye for the main chance, as it is called, by money getting men. Let me illustrate both these positions, by extracts—not from “Peter’s letters to his kinsfolks,” but from Peter’s letters to his correspondents. He repeatedly scolds Signor Miguel Pacheco de Silva, and Monsieur Sigal, severely, for inattention to his drafts. To S. & W. Baker, of London, who, by reason of the informality of a power to transfer stock, were unsupplied with funds, to meet his drafts, yet paid them, for the honor of the drawer; he writes a letter of cordial thanks, Sept. 7, 1737, in which he says—“I would not for £500 you had not accepted all[Pg 516] those drafts; for, if you had not, it would have been a slur to my character, which I value more than all the money upon earth.”

January 22, 1738, he requests Mr. Peter Baynton to advise him, on several points—“also what good French brandy is worth, and if it be possible to cloak it so, as to ship it for rum.” On the 13th of March, in the same year, he writes Mr. Peter Baynton, that he has sent him four hogsheads of brandy, and adds—“Pray be as cautious as possible, in taking them on shore, by reason the man has signed bills of lading, for four hogsheads rum, not knowing the contents, which it is not convenient he should.”

What a goodly number will openly pronounce Peter a very bad fellow, who, if they have not done this identical thing, have done things, quite as exceptionable, or more so, and who are willing to—

“Compound for sins they are inclined to,
By damning those they have no mind to.”

Merchant princes, if I am rightly instructed, do not place the offence of cheating the Government, in the category of cardinal, or unpardonable, sins. And, notwithstanding all, that we so frequently hear, of commercial integrity, and the chivalry of trade; I rather doubt, upon the whole, if traffic is really the “ne plus ultra strap,” upon which the very finest possible edge can be given to the moral sense. Exceptions there are, but they only establish, more fully, the general rule: and, in accordance with the spirit of the old, prudential legend, we are rather too much in the habit of postponing prayers, till we have sanded the sugar, and watered the molasses. I have long entertained the opinion, that a cheap vade mecum edition of Dr. Chalmers’ Commercial Discourses, for New Year’s gifts, might be very beneficially distributed.

Exceptions certainly there are. I have one, within my own memory. The collector of a Southern port—a Huguenot withal—of whom my personal recollections are exceedingly agreeable, and whose integrity was a proverb, was surprised one day, upon his return, at the dinner hour, by the display of a costly service of plate, which his lady had procured from London. A few inquiries developed the fact, that, by the agency of a gentleman, a friend of the family, it had been gotten over, with his baggage, duty free—in other words, smuggled. In an instant,[Pg 517] the old gentleman ordered his wife’s whole service of silver to the public stores; and seized it for the government. Such cases, I apprehend, are not of frequent occurrence.

If Peter Faneuil made not broad his phylactery, he made broad that mantle of charity, which covereth a multitude of sins. If such had not been the fact, and notoriously so, Master Lovell would not have ventured to proclaim, in Faneuil Hall, one hundred and eight years ago, and before a scanty population, as cognizant, as the population of a village, of all the shortcomings of their neighbors that—

Peter’s acts of charity were so secret and unbounded, that none but they who were the objects of it could compute the sums, which he annually distributed”—that “his alms flowed, like a fruitful river”—that “he fed the hungry, clothed the naked, comforted the fatherless, and the widows in their affliction, and his bounty visited the prisoner. So that Almighty God, in giving riches to this man, seems to have scattered blessings all abroad among the people”—that the building “erected by him at an immense charge, for the convenience and ornament of the town, is incomparably the greatest benefaction ever yet known to our Western shoar”—that this act of munificence, however great, “is but the first fruits of his generosity, a pledge of what his heart, always devising liberal things, would have done for us, had his life been spared.” To all this good Master Lovell adds the assertion—“I am well assured from those, who were acquainted with his purposes, that he had many more blessings in store for us, had Heaven prolonged his days.”

These statements, publicly pronounced, one hundred and eight years ago, have never been gainsayed, nor even qualified. They must therefore be viewed, in the light of an ancient deposition, read before the grand inquest of the whole people, before whom Peter Faneuil was tried, shortly after his decease, according to the fashion of the Egyptians, while dealing with their departed kings.

I, by no means, approve of Peter’s conduct, in jostling the Government, out of the excise, on a few casks of brandy; but, in full view of all these public and private charities, there seems to be something about it, like the gallantry of Robin Hood, whose agrarian philosophy taught him to rob the rich, and feed the poor. And, when the trial comes on, in the Higher Court, about the[Pg 518] duties upon these four hogsheads of brandy; and Peter Baynton is summoned to testify; and, upon his evidence, Peter Faneuil is convicted; most truly, do I believe, that some good natured angel, will slyly draw, over the record, a corner of that broad mantle of gold and tissue—that mantle of charity—whose warp and woof were formed of private alms and public benefactions, and which good Peter Faneuil spent so many of his hours, in weaving, in this lower world.

If Peter Faneuil was otherwise an offender, I am sorry for it; having a passion for rarities, I should like to behold the tabula immaculata—the unsullied sheet of one human being! I am not aware of anything, in the life of Peter Faneuil, which that mantle will not abundantly cover.

It may be otherwise. If the schoolmaster is not always abroad, the antiquarian is—the moral virtuoso—who delights, metaphorically speaking, to find spots on snow, and specks in amber. This species of antiquarian, male or female, may be found in every city and village. It is a curious creature, and, in the cabinet of a malicious memory, has stowed carefully away the weak points, and the peccadilloes of the living and the dead. In its contracted receptacle, there is no room for public or private charities, nor for merits of any kind: it is capable of holding nothing but delinquencies.

Nothing is more refreshing to this species of antiquarian, than any fair pretence, for opening his cabinet, and showing his precious collection. Nollikens, among his terra cottas, was not more adroit, in fitting the heads and members of Priapi to the trunks of fauns and satyrs, than is the ingenious character, of whom I speak, in adapting the legendary gossip, which has been told, till it is stale, of one individual, to the person of another. Such personages are, characteristically, selfish and ungenerous. It would not be a very notable miracle, if some person, of this description, pained and offended, by the trying contrast, between the munificent and charitable career of Peter Faneuil, and the extremely dry and unprofitable character of his own existence, should ransack the charnel-house of his memory, for some offensive offset, against Master Lovell’s laudation of Peter.

For this I can truly vouch, excepting that affair of the brandy, the commercial correspondence of Peter Faneuil—and I have read the whole volume, that remains, French and English—is highly honorable to the head and the heart of the writer.

[Pg 519]The charity of Peter Faneuil was not that clap-trap munificence, examples of which are frequently heralded, among us, in demi-stipendiary journals—it did not so truly spring—it oozed from Peter’s warm heart, continually, and constitutionally. He required no impressive hints, to be charitable—he felt for the poor and needy, habitually. His letter of Sept. 19, 1738, is before me, to one of his commercial correspondents, to whom he has just then made a shipment, Mons. Thomas Bayeaux—“Inclosed you have Madame Guinneau’s account, by which you are indebted to that poor widow £16, which you will do well to pay her, it being for money she advanced, for the board of you and your family. One would have thought you should have paid that, before you left the country, and not to have served the poor widow as you did.”

However direct, and even severe, while addressing delinquents, his French politeness never forsakes him. Such letters always conclude—“Sir, I salute you,” or “I kiss your hand.”

April 24, 1740, he writes thus to Peter Baynton—“This accompanies Capt. Burgess Hall, who carries with him to your parts two unfortunate Palatine women, that were some time ago shipwrecked, in their voyage from Europe to your place, who, being objects of charity, which the providence of God has thrown in our way, I take leave to recommend to you, as such, not doubting you will so far commisserate their condition, as to direct them the nearest way, to get among their friends, with such other relief as you may think necessary.”

Though Peter Faneuil had acquired property, before the death of his uncle Andrew; yet, as we shall presently see, by far the larger part of his “large and plentiful estate” came to him, by that uncle’s will.




Peter Faneuil was thirty and seven years old, when he began to reign—that is, when his uncle, Andrew, died, Feb. 13, 1737, according to Peter, in his letter to the Bakers, of London, or 1738, agreeably to the historical style, adopted by the public journals. In the News Letter of February “16, to 23,” we[Pg 520] have the following account of the funeral.—“Last Monday the Corpse of Andrew Faneuil Esquire, whose death we mentioned in our last, was honorably interr’d here; above 1100 Persons, of all Ranks, besides the Mourners, following the Corpse, also a vast number of Spectators were gathered together on the Occasion, at which time the half-minute guns, from on board several vessels, were discharged. And ’tis suppos’d that as this Gentleman’s Fortune was the greatest of any among us, so his funeral was as generous and expensive as any that has been known here.”

Peter was appointed executor sole of Andrew’s will, and residuary legatee. He appears to have proceeded with great propriety. He immediately announced his uncle’s death to foreign correspondents; and furnished those, who had been custodiers of his property, with duly authenticated copies of the will; and took prompt measures, for the procurement of “the handsomest mourning rings.”

John, Archbishop of Canterbury, as was usual then, sent his commission to Judge Willard, from the Prerogative Court, to swear Peter, to render a true inventory, &c.; and Peter responded to John, that, although he was not bound so to do, by the laws of the Province, yet, for his “own satisfaction,” he should. Peter probably changed his mind, for no inventory of Andrew’s estate appears, among the ancient records of the Probate Court, in Suffolk. It is not, therefore, possible, to estimate the value of that “large and plentiful estate,” which came to Peter, from his uncle. That it was very considerable, for the times, there cannot be a doubt; but the times—one hundred and fourteen years ago—were the days of small things.

It has been observed, by an eminent man, that prayer and almsgiving are the pathways to Paradise. Andrew Faneuil commences his will, with a supplication, for the perfecting of his charities—“I commit my soul to God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, humbly begging the pardon of my sins, the perfecting of my charities, and everlasting life above.” This will was made, Sept. 12, 1734, and witnessed, by John Read, William Price and Charles Morris; and a codicil was added, Jan. 23, 1737; and both were proved, Feb. 15, 1737, two days after the testator’s death.

Wills have ever been accounted an interesting department of belles lettres; and I shall therefore furnish the reader with an abstract of Uncle Andrew’s.

[Pg 521]First. He gives his warehouse in Boston, in trust, to the minister of the French Church, in Boston, and his successors; two thirds of the income for the minister’s support, and one third to the elders, to create a fund for repairing the warehouse; and after the creation of such fund, the whole income to the minister; and, should the French church cease to be, then said warehouse to revert to his heirs—“excluding Benjamin Faneuil, of Boston, and the heirs of his body forever.”

Secondly. To said French Church, three pieces of plate, of the value of £36 sterling, “a flaggon for the communion table, a plate for the bread, and a bason to christen the children, with the coat of arms and name of the donor, engraven upon each of them.” On the 27th of February, fourteen days after his uncle’s death, Peter sent a copy of the will to Claude Fonnereau, in France, requesting him to purchase the plate, and added—“of the best fashion, and get engraved, agreeably to his orders, for which end you have his coat of arms in wax herewith, and if it should cost some small matter more, be pleased to charge the same.”

Thirdly. £100, in Province Bills, to be paid to the elders, for the poor of the French Church.

Fourthly. £50, in Province bills, and “a suit of mourning throughout,” to the French minister.

Fifthly. £100, in Province bills, to the overseers, for the poor of Boston.

Sixthly. To the Rev. Benjamin Colman, “a suit of mourning throughout.”

Seventhly. “To my loving brother, John Faneuil, of Rochelle, £100, sterling.”

Eighthly. “To my loving brother-in-law, Peter Cossart, of Cork, in Ireland, and his sister Susannah Cossart, of Amsterdam, £50 each to buy mourning.”

Ninthly. “To Benjamin Faneuil of Boston, son of my brother, Benjamin Faneuil, deceased, five shillings and no more.”

Tenthly. To his executor, in trust, 8000 ounces of silver, or pieces of eight, to purchase an estate of inheritance, at his discretion, within one year after the testator’s death, for his loving niece, Mary, wife of Gillam Phillips, and the heirs of her body, remainder to her right heirs. Peter, in correspondence with S. & W. Baker, refers to this purchase, and directs them to sell stocks of his late uncles, to meet the drafts.

[Pg 522]Eleventhly. To her son, Andrew, 500 ounces of silver, or pieces of eight, to be put at interest, till majority—to his mother, in case of his death before—and, in case of her death and his before—to her other children.

Twelfthly, thirteenthly, and fourteenthly. To his nieces, Anne, Susannah, and Marian, £2000 sterling, each; the two first to be paid six months, after his death, and the last, at majority, or marriage; four per cent. to be allowed her, per annum, ad interim, and she to be maintained by the executor, till she attained full age, or married. These legacies were paid from the funds of Uncle Andrew, in the hands of S. & W. Baker, of London.

Fifteenthly. To his loving sister, Susannah F., widow of Abraham de la Croix, of Rochelle, £1000 sterling.

Sixteenthly. To his servant maid, Hendrine Boyltins, who probably came, with the family, from Holland, “a suit of mourning throughout,” and 500 ounces of silver, in pieces of eight, or the value, in Province bills, at her election.

Seventeenthly. To Henry Johnson, her son, who became the confidential clerk of Peter Faneuil, 150 ounces, in pieces of eight, to be paid, at majority.

Eighteenthly. “I give, bequeath, and devise all the rest of my estate, both real and personal, whatsoever and wheresoever ’tis, in New England, Great Britain, France, Holland, or any other part of the world, to my loving nephew, Peter Faneuil, eldest son of my late brother, Benjamin Faneuil, to hold to him and his heirs forever.”

He then appoints Peter, sole executor.

The codicil revokes the legacy to his loving sister, the widow Susannah de la Croix, of Rochelle—“my mind and my will is, that my said sister, Susannah F., shall not have the said thousand pounds, nor any part of it.”

The severity of these five last words—and the phrase, in relation to his nephew—“excluding Benjamin Faneuil of Boston, and the heirs of his body forever;” and those final words of the ninth clause, by which the testator cuts off poor Benjamin, with “five shillings and no more,” are sufficiently piquant. Well may such an avunculus Hector commence his last will, with a fervent supplication to “God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,” for the perfecting of his charities.

How the widow, Susannah, came to lose her thousand pounds[Pg 523] I do not know. Something, that she said or did, or did not say or do, was wafted, all the way over the water, from Rochelle, no doubt, and came to the old gentleman’s irritable ears, and roused his ire.

But I well comprehend the occasion, upon which he came to disinherit his nephew, Benjamin Faneuil. My female readers have already arrived at the conclusion, doubtless, that Benjamin so far forgot himself, and his duty to his opulent, old uncle, as to fall in love without asking his permission. Well: they are perfectly right—such was the fact. Benjamin fell in love. He was determined not to be found, like tinkling brass, even at the hazard of losing the good will, and the gold of his uncle Andrew—so he fell in love. And, if the girl of his heart resembled her daughter, Mary Faneuil, as she is represented by Blackburn, how the poor fellow could have helped it, God only knows.

There is nothing, in all Amboyna, more spicy, than this little incident, in the history of the Faneuils; and, having spoilt it, perhaps, by this avant courier, I will now venture to tell the story; premising, that it was far better told, by the lady, who related it to me, and who is a lineal descendant of Benjamin, himself.

To give proper effect to this little episode, I must take the reader to a pretty village, as it was just then beginning to be, one hundred and fifty years ago, on the banks of the Hudson, some twenty miles, only, from the city of New York. There, the persecuted Huguenots gathered together, and planted their new home, their New Rochelle. Almost immediately after his marriage with Anne Bureau, in 1699, at Narragansett, Benjamin Faneuil rejoined his Huguenot friends, and fellow-townsmen, in New Rochelle; and there his children were born. New Rochelle, as I have stated, was the birth-place of Peter Faneuil.

Andrew, having arrived in Boston from Holland, very soon after the beginning of the eighteenth century; having buried his wife; and being childless, selected Benjamin, the second son of his brother, Benjamin Faneuil, as an object of particular regard. The boy, was, accordingly, transferred from New Rochelle to Boston. He was educated, and brought up, under his patron’s eye; and was considered, by the world, as the heir apparent of his opulent uncle. As he grew up, towards man’s estate, it would have been an unheard of circumstance, if the[Pg 524] dowagers of Shawmut, with their marriageable daughters, had not fixed their hopeful eyes, upon young Benjamin, if it were only for the sake of whatever might be found, sooner or later, in the mouth of his sack. It would have been a miracle, if their exhibitions of regard, for the young man, had not visibly increased; and their fears had not been frequently and feelingly expressed, lest that excellent, old gentleman, Andrew Faneuil Esquire, had taken cold.

A patron is rather too prone to look upon a protégé, as a puppet. The idea, that Benjamin could be led astray, however tempting the provocation, to commit the crime of matrimony, however lawful and right, however accomplished, and virtuous, and lovely the object, without leave, first had and obtained, from him, at whose board he ate his daily bread, never occurred to Uncle Andrew, for an instant. He supposed, of course, that he had the key to Benjamin’s soul. It never occurred to the old gentleman, whose courtship was carried on, in Holland, that falling in love was precisely as much of an accident, as falling into the fire, or into the water.

Well: Benjamin was an intelligent young man; and he was admirably posted up, upon the subject of his uncle’s opinions, and prejudices. Nevertheless, he fell in love, very emphatically; and with a girl, as pretty, doubtless, as she was poor. He knew, that his uncle would never consent to such a marriage. But he knew, that he had plighted his troth; and he clearly saw, since he must run the hazard of breaking one heart, or two, that it would be rather more equitable to risk the old gentleman’s, instead of the girl’s and his own.

Accordingly, Benjamin secretly took unto himself a lawful wife; and, for a while, though Benjamin was, doubtless, much the happier, Uncle Andrew was nothing the wiser. However strange it may appear, though there were no giants, there were mischievous women, in those days. One of this category, in an evil hour, like a toad, as she was, whispered the secret, into the ear of Uncle Andrew.

The old Huguenot was not of the melting mood. The conduct of his nephew produced not grief, but anger. It reached no tender spot, in the recesses of his heart, but chafed the old man’s pericardium, till it drew a blister there. He bottled up his wrath, and corked it well; that the offender might have the full benefit of the fermentation, when the old gentleman came[Pg 525] to pour the contents of the vial, on the devoted head of his unsuspecting nephew.

The following morning, they met, at the breakfast table. The meal passed, as usual. But with what feelings must that old man have contemplated the poor fellow, the boy of his adoption, whom he was about to prostrate, as he finished the last mouthful he was ever to partake at that board! The repast was finished.—A brief colloquy ensued—“I hear you are married”—“Yes, uncle, I am”—“Then you will leave my house.” The young man instantly took his departure. They never met again, until years had passed away,—and then, in that place, where there is no work nor device. There they lie, in the Faneuil tomb, in the Granary Ground; the unforgiving uncle and the disinherited nephew, side by side. Benjamin Faneuil died, at his residence in Brighton, in October, 1785, and was buried, in the family vault.




Notwithstanding the “large and plentiful estate,” which Peter Faneuil derived from his uncle’s will, it is my opinion, that his munificence, his unbounded charities, his hospitalities, his social, genial temperament were such, that, had he lived a much longer life, he would have died a much poorer man. Almost immediately, upon the death of his uncle, it is manifest, from his letters, that certain magnificent fancies came over the spirit of his waking dreams. And it is equally certain, that, subsequently, he had occasional misgivings, as to the just relation between his means and his prospective arrangements, which, for the times, and upon our little peninsula, were sufficiently expanded.

Feb. 27, 1737, fourteen days after his uncle’s death, he announced that event to his commercial friends, Messrs. S. & W. Baker of London; prescribed the arrangement of funds, for the payment of legacies; and instructed them to honor his draft, in favor of James Pope & Company, of Madeira, in payment for five pipes of wine.

Four days after, on the first of March, he writes Pope & Company thus—“Send me, by the very first opportunity, for this[Pg 526] place, five pipes of your very best Madeira wine, of an amber color, of the same sort, which you sent to our good friend, De Lancey, of New York.”

He directs them to draw on the Bakers of London, and adds—“As this wine is for the use of my house, I hope you will be careful, that I have the best. I am not over fond of the strongest. I am to inform you, that my uncle, Mr. Andrew Faneuil, departed this life, the 13 current, and was interred the 20, for which God prepare all his friends. I shall expect to hear from you, by the first opportunity.”

Feb. 27, 1737, the same day, on which he writes the Bakers, he addresses Lane & Smethurst, of London, as follows—“Be so good as to send me a handsome chariot with two sets of harness, with the arms, as enclosed, on the same, in the handsomest manner, that you shall judge proper, but at the same time nothing gaudy: and send me also, well recommended, two sober men, the one, for a coachman the other a gardener; and agree with the same, to be paid either in London, quarterly, or here, allowing for the exchange of the money, which they shall choose. And, as most servants from Europe, when here, are too apt to be debauched with strong drink, rum, &c., being very plenty, I pray your particular care in this article.”

On the 6th of March, he writes Gulian Verplanck, of New York—“Send me the pipe of wine, having none good to drink.” Again, March 20—“By the first good opportunity the best pipe of wine you can purchase.” On the 25th of April, he acknowledges the receipt of the wine from Verplanck—“The wine I hope will prove good—comes in very good time, there being none good in town.”

On the 22d of May, he writes the Bakers, for a bountiful supply of glass and China, and for “enough of the best scarlet cloth to trim a cloak:” and, in September of that year, for silver spoons and “silver forks with three prongs, with my arms cut upon them: let them be made very neat and handsome.” Shortly after, he writes for several pairs of silver candlesticks, “with my arms engraved thereon,” and sends out a piece of wax candle, as a pattern of the size.

On the 1st of January, 1738, he writes Lane & Smethurst, to send him a pair of spectacles, “for a person of 50 years, as also, for the use of my kitchen, the latest, best book of the several sorts of cookery, which pray let be of the largest [Pg 527]character, for the benefit of the maid’s reading.” As Peter then was not quite thirty-eight years of age, the spectacles were probably for “the maid,” to enable her to master “the best book of the several sorts of cookery.”

Dec. 20, 1738, he writes for “four stone horses.” On the 18th of September of that year, he writes Thomas Kilby—“Pray don’t forget the larding pins, wine, and sweetmeats, which I have wrote you about before.” He frequently writes to his friend Verplanck, for “Albany horses.”

In a brief sketch of Brighton, published in 1850, it is stated that Peter’s “large and heavy silver punch bowl” is in the possession of George Bethune, Esquire, of this city. This is an error. Peter’s punch bowl came into the possession of James Lovell, who married a grand-daughter of Benjamin Faneuil, a sister of Mr. Bethune; and it is now in the possession of Mr. Lovell’s descendants.

Oh, if that “large and heavy silver punch bowl” could speak out, in good French or English, what glorious tales it would tell of Peter, in all his glory, enjoying, as Master Lovell says, “that divine satisfaction, which results from communicating happiness to others”—around that preëminently hospitable board, where, in the language of the writer of the obituary, in the News Letter of March 10, 1743—

“Divites ac parvi gustârunt dulcia mensæ.”

Peter’s punch bowl was not at all like Oliver’s “broken teacups, wisely kept for show.” June 22, 1741, some twenty months before his death, he writes Lane & Smethurst, to send him “six gross of the very best London King Henry’s Cards, and six half chests of lemons, for my house winter supply.”

Let not the reader surmise, for all this, that Peter had denied his Lord, or was exclusively absorbed in his care for creature comforts. March 5, 1738, he writes the Bakers, to send him “four handsome, large, octavo, Common Prayer Books, of a good letter and well bound, with one of the same, in French, for my own use.”

March 13, 1738, he writes John Depuister, to send him “six of the largest bearskins, and two large, fine, well painted beaver coats, to use in a slay.”

It is, in no sense, discreditable to Peter Faneuil, that his correspondence shows him to have been exceedingly partial to[Pg 528] sweetmeats and citron water. Nor does it lower him, in my humble esteem, that his letters clearly indicate his temperament to have been somewhat irritable and fiery. I have found such to be the case, almost ever, when generosity, frankheartedness, and a noble spirit are blended together, as closely as they were, in the character of Peter Faneuil. The converse of this position, to be sure, it is not easy to maintain.

It is quite amusing, to contemplate, now and then, in men, whose brains are brim full of magnificent purposes, and whose habitual dealings are with tens and hundreds of thousands—a remarkable concentration of thought and care, upon some one insignificant item of property, which is in jeopardy of falling into naught. It is, doubtless, the spirit of the woman, who lighted her candle and swept the house, and called her neighbors together, to rejoice with her, over the recovery of that one piece of silver.

A brief episode will exhibit this trait, in Peter’s character, and show, at the same time, that his spirit was perfectly placable. Some time before his death, Uncle Andrew, being aware, that pulmonic affections were benefited, by the air of the tropics, consigned a broken-winded horse to Mr. Joseph Ward, of Barbadoes, for sale. No account having been rendered, the fate of the old horse appears to have become a subject of exciting interest, with the residuary legatee. Before he writes to Ward, he addresses three letters of inquiry, in other directions. He then opens upon Mr. Joseph Ward, Jan. 12, 1738. I give the entire letter, as illustrative of Peter’s character—“I have been very much surprised, that, ever since the death of Captain Allen, you have not advised me of the sale of a horse, belonging to my deceased uncle, left in your hands by him, which I am informed you sold for a very good price, and I am now to request the favor you would send me the net proceeds, with a fair and just account for the same, in sweetmeats and citron water; your compliance with which will stop me from giving some of my friends the trouble of calling you to an account there. I shall be glad to know, if Captain Allen did not leave a silver watch and some fish, belonging to a servant of mine, with some person of your island, and with who. I expect your speedy answer.”

Mr. Ward appears to have responded, more calmly, than tropical gentlemen commonly do, when accosted in this piquant style. He sent his account, and Peter was manifestly mollified, by a box[Pg 529] of sweetmeats. Mr. Ward, however, complained of Peter’s want of grace. March 24, 1738, Peter wrote to Mr. Ward—“Yours of 7 February, with the account sales of a horse, left by Captain Allen, accompanying a box sweetmeats I received, in which I observe you refer to my former, which you are pleased to look upon as in too unhandsome a stile. I must own it was not in so soft terms, as I sometimes make use of; but, at that time, I really thought the state of the case required it, not having heard anything to be depended upon, concerning the horse in dispute, either if he was dead, sold, or run away; upon either of which, I presumed the common complaisance, if not honor, among merchants, might have entitled either my uncle, in his lifetime, or myself, after his decease, to some advice at least. I had indeed transiently heard here you had kept him, for your own use, but had undervalued him, which, in some measure prest my writing you on that head, &c. I thank you for your speedy answer, and am, with return of your own compliment, as much as you are mine,” &c.

March 6, 1737.—Peter informs M. Isaac Beauchamp, that, he, Peter, has been empowered, by his Excellency, M. Brouillan, Governor of Cape Breton, to call him to account and says—“I am now to let you know, that out of honor and of the regards I have ever had to that gentleman, I am obliged to see some honorable issue made to that affair, for which reason I shall be glad you will advise me, after what manner you propose to satisfye the gentleman or me, without forcing violente means.” This affair was occasioned, by a dispute, about tobacco, and ended in smoke.

One brief illustration more. April 6, 1738, he complains to Captain Greenou of certain ill usage and says—“You may see what handsome parcell of protested bills I must pay. If this be the honor of you Ragon men, God deliver me from them, for the future. I would not take their word for a groat &c. These pretended gentlemen think I will tamely sit down by their unhandsome usage, but they will find themselves very much mistaken,” &c.

Many years ago, while standing by the artist, as he was working up, from the old portrait, belonging to the Historical Society, the lineaments of Peter, as he is represented, in Faneuil Hall, we agreed, that his temperament must have been choleric. He had that conformation of body, which hints of apoplexy. John,[Pg 530] his uncle, the Rocheller, died of that disease; and Peter, as Master Lovell inform us, died suddenly. He belonged not to any total abstinence society. And though there is no evidence, nor the slightest suspicion, that he fell below that standard of gentlemanly temperance, which was in vogue, among those, who were given to hospitality, in our peninsula, one hundred years ago—yet I have not any reasonable doubt, that Peter would have lived longer, had it been the pleasure of his uncle Andrew to have disinherited him, instead of his brother Benjamin.




Peter Faneuil was an affectionate brother. I have it from the lips of Benjamin’s lineal descendants, who have preserved the tradition, that, after he had sacrificed his hopes of the inheritance, not for a mess of pottage, but for a lovely wife; and Peter had been called from New Rochelle, to supply his place, as the heir apparent; uncle Andrew, probably, without exacting an absolute promise, enjoined it upon Peter, to abstain from assisting Benjamin; to which injunction Peter paid no practical regard whatever; but, like a Christian brother, remembered, that old Benjamin Faneuil and Anne Bureau had been the father and the mother of them both. The commercial correspondence shows, that Peter gave Benjamin his confidence and affection. The relation between them plainly demonstrates, that there was no deficiency of kind and generous offices.

The ease and intimacy of their friendship will be perceived, by the following note, which I copy literally from the original, in my possession. There was a difference of eighteen months only, in their ages. In this note, which was written, after Benjamin’s return from Europe, Peter addresses him, by a cant name. “Boston the 18 August, 1741. Dear Cockey: The Occasion of my not Sending my Chase for you was on Account of Mr. Shirley’s receiving of his Majties Commission Last Thursday appointing him Govr of this Province wh. was read the Next day, upon which Occasion he ask’t me to Loane of my Charrot wh. I granted him till Last Night, so that I presume will plede my xcuse. I now Send you up the Chase, to bring you home,[Pg 531] and have deliver’d ye Coachman Some Boild Beef, a dozen of brown biskett 6 bottles of Madera and 2 of Frontinan with a dozen of Lemmons. Your relations and friends are all well, and desire their Love and service may be made acceptable to you. Pray my Compliments to the Gentn and Ladys with you—and give me Leave to assure you that I am, Dear Cockey, Your Affectionate Brother, Peter Faneuil.”

The superscription of this note is torn off, but to Benjamin alone can it apply. Mr. Jones was not married, till after Peter’s death. His relation to Phillips was rather formal; and still more so with Boutineau; and he never would have thought of calling his brother Addington Davenport, the Rector of Trinity, his dear cockey. His letters also record the evidences of his kindness to his sisters, and his attention to their most trifling wishes. Nov. 24, 1736, he writes Lynch and Blake—“My youngest sister desires, that you wont forget to send her the Canary birds, which you promised her, when you was here.” May 16, 1736, he writes Lane and Smethurst of London—“My sisters have received their things, in good order and to their liking, except the stockings: for the Hosier put up white worsted, instead of thread, although the patern was sent. I have sent them back to you to be changed, in the ship Union, John Homans, master. Be pleased to send them, by the first opportunity: viz, for Mrs. Anne Faneuil, 3 pairs thread hose, with worsted clogs, and a pair of Galoushoes. Mrs. Susannah Faneuil, 2 pairs thread ditto. Mrs. Mary Anne Faneuil, 4 pairs thread stockings, and 3 pairs clogs.” It is of small moment, at this late day, whether these ladies wore thread or worsted stockings, one hundred and fourteen years ago; but this ancient example of brotherly regard may not be altogether lost, upon the race of brothers, that has sprung up, during the present century. It is remarkable, that Peter, though he applies the title, Mrs. to each of his sisters, gives them the maiden name. The two, first named, were then the wives of Addington Davenport and James Boutineau; the last, Mary Ann, afterwards the wife of John Jones, was then single.

At that early day, the moral sense of the people of the North appears to have been thoroughly asleep, on the subject of slavery. The reverend clergy were no exception from the general rule. After the decease of Parson Moorhead, in 1774, a slave was sold, among his effects, “at his late residence, near[Pg 532] Liberty Tree.” Jonny Moorhead was a cotemporary of Peter Faneuil, having assumed the charge of the Presbyterian Church, as it then was, in 1730. The reader will not be startled, therefore, when he comes to be informed, as, in good time he will be, at how many pounds, old tenor, each of Peter Faneuil’s five slaves were appraised, after his decease. Slavery was not uncommon then, in the Province of Massachusetts Bay. Douglass, in his Summary, vol. i. page 351, states, that in 1735, about seven years before Peter’s death, the whole number of whites, of 16 years and upwards, in the Province, was 35,427; and of negroes, 2600.

Feb. 3, 1738. Peter Faneuil writes thus, to Peter Buckley—“Herewith you have invoice of six hogsheads fish and eight barrells of alewives, amounting to £75.9.2, which, when you arrive at Antigua, be pleased to sell, for my best advantage, and, with the nett produce of the same, purchase, for me, for the use of my house, as likely a strait negro lad as possibly you can, about the age of from 12 to 15 years; and, if to be done, one that has had the small-pox, who being for my own service, I must request the favor, you would let him be one of as tractable a disposition as you can find, which I leave to your prudent care and management, desiring, after you have purchased him, you would send him to me, by the first good opportunity, recommending him to a particular care, from the captain.” I have no doubt, that Peter was a kind, considerate master; and, though I have an unconquerable aversion to being the slave of anybody, I had rather have been Peter’s born thrall than his uncle Andrew. What a glorious kitchen Peter’s must have been!

My female readers will scarcely find it in their eyelids to be weary, or in their hearts to blame me, for giving them one or two passages more, from Peter Faneuil’s letters; when they are told, that those passages relate to a love affair, in which Peter, though not a principal, performed an important part.

The Faneuils and the Jekylls were intimate—so much so, at least, as to bring the Jekylls within the circle of those, who, upon Uncle Andrew’s death, were accounted the legitimate recipients of mourning rings. In a letter to Mr. Joseph Jekyll, of Jan. 22, 1738, Peter alludes to Miss Jekyll’s extraordinary conduct; and, most happily and truthfully, remarks, that “there is no accounting for the sex, in affairs of love.” On the same day, he writes Mr. Richard Blacket Jekyll—“Doubtless, you’ll be[Pg 533] surprised to find, that, by this opportunity, only your sister, Mrs. Hannah, of the family, who I hope will arrive safe to you, has the pleasure of seeing you, and her other brothers, in England. I am sorry Mrs. Mary does not consult her own interest, so much, as I could wish, whose conduct I should say nothing of, were it not out of regard to the family in general. It is now only one month past, since she suffered herself to be published to one Mr. Linnington, of St. Christophers, formerly known here, by the name of My Lord Linnington, or My Lord, whose character, if you remember the man, I need not trouble you with a description of it; but, if you do not, I can only say, that he is a worthless pretender to a great deal of money and wit, without, according to the best account I can learn, any of either: with whom she would, inevitably have been married, had not some other friends joined forces with me, and interposed.”

“Inclosed I send you my letter to her, on that head, and her answer, for your more private satisfaction. That affair being tolerably well over, and Captain Homan’s state-room hired for the two young ladies, and their maid, I had supplied them, according to your desire, with what money they might have occasion for, to fit them out for the voyage, and paid the captain, for their laying in, and tomorrow being the appointed time to go aboard, I was, in the morning, advised Mrs. Mary had changed her mind, on account of some new proposals of matrimony, made her, by Col. Saltonstall of Haverhill, which sudden alteration I find to be, on examination, from a visit or two, within these two or three days last past, at farthest, but, however, concluded upon and determined, so that she does not come to you,” &c., &c.

Peter proceeds to comment, with great discretion, upon the absence of any reasonable interval, for the heart of Miss Mary Jekyll to recover its due tone and tension, after its first expansion towards My Lord Linnington, and before the second spasm. But, truly, in the language of the anatomist, the heart is a “wonderful muscle.”

I had surmised a relation of consanguinity between Peter Faneuil and the late Peter Chardon Brooks, from the fact, that, on the 29th of March, 1737, Peter Faneuil writes to the executors of Isaac Chardon, in South Carolina, whom he calls his cousin; and, in that letter, speaks of his cousin, Peter Chardon. But, from the best authority, I have learned, that the name of [Pg 534]Peter Chardon was bestowed, by the Rev. Edward Brooks, formerly of North Yarmouth, and more recently of Medford, upon his son, causa amicitiæ; the Rev. Mr. Brooks and Peter Chardon, having been classmates, of the year 1757. It was, probably, the father of this Peter Chardon, whom Peter Faneuil calls his cousin, in 1737, and the same Peter Chardon, who is named, on the record, as one of the appraisers of Peter Faneuil’s estate, in 1742-3. The name is rare; it occurs once only, on the Cambridge Catalogue; and, from its rarity, it may not be unreasonable, to look for the stirps, on the pages of Charlevoix, iii. 392, who speaks of Peter Chardon, the Jesuit, a missionary, among the Indians, bordering upon Lake Michigan, at the very close of the seventeenth century. Our Peter Chardon, the cousin of Faneuil, resided in Bowdoin Square, near the street, that bears his name.

After the death of his uncle Andrew, Peter Faneuil, by the power of wealth, in addition to his other qualities, intelligence, industry, and courtesy, necessarily became an influential character; and the use, which he immediately began to make of his wealth, his public spirit, his private benevolence, all conspired to make him an object of very general interest. His hospitalities were unbounded. He associated himself with the Episcopal Church. He subscribed £2000 old tenor, £200 sterling for the rebuilding of King’s Chapel, in 1740, and was chosen treasurer of the building fund. His death, in 1742-3, put a stop to the project. No money had ever been collected, for that object. In 1747, the project was revived. New subscriptions were solicited, and the old ones demanded, “at the end of this year 1748.” Peter Faneuil died March 3, 1742-3, and had therefore been dead, between five and six years. “For the subscription of Peter Faneuil,” says Mr. Greenwood, in his history of the Chapel, “they were unfortunately obliged to sue his brother, and executor, Benjamin Faneuil, from whom, after a disagreeable lawsuit, they at last recovered it.” Mr. Greenwood erred, in the supposition, that Peter left a will. He died intestate, and administration was granted to Benjamin, March 18, 1742, old style. The estate, of course, had been settled, doubtless, some years before the demand on the administrator, “at the end of 1748.” Having other heirs to consult, he very properly resisted this tardy and unexpected claim; and cast the responsibility upon the court.

For several years, Peter Faneuil worshipped in Trinity Church,[Pg 535] of which his brother-in-law, Addington Davenport, became rector, in 1740. Peter’s pew, in Old Trinity, was No. 40. He was an active and liberal member of the Episcopal Charitable Society. “Mr. Faneuil,” says the late Dr. Boyle, “was one of the earliest members of the society. He was a liberal subscriber to its funds, and acted, as a trustee of the institution.”

Peter Faneuil’s heart was proverbially warm, and sensitive to the necessities and distresses of his neighbor; and he seems to have cherished the true scriptural construction of that ubiquitary word. The accession of wealth, upon his uncle’s death, hardened not his heart, but gave it a deeper, fuller, and stronger pulse, upon every call of charity. To him, as to other men, who admit their motives to be human, upon common occasions, the applause of the wise and good was exceedingly agreeable. Whatever the prominency of higher and holier considerations, he turned a willing and a grateful ear to the approbation of the judicious and upright. Not contented with the opportunities of doing good, on a small scale, which were, doubtless, frequently presented, before a man, whose wealth and warmheartedness were equally notorious; he coveted some fair occasion, for pouring forth of his abundance, in a more magnificent manner—pleased—naturally and justifiably pleased—with the thought, that his name and his memory would be associated with the deed, in after times.




One may, as successfully, search for that identical peck of pickled peppers, that Peter Piper picked, as for the original Hall, that Peter Faneuil built. Like Rachel’s first born, it is not. After all the reparations, and changes, and hard hammerings she has undergone, we may as well search, within the walls of Old Ironsides, for those very ribs of live oak, which, some fifty years ago, were launched, in the body of the frigate Constitution.

In the olden time, the market men, like the mourners, went “about the streets.” The inhabitants were served, at their doors. As early as 1634, Gov. Winthrop, in his journal, speaks[Pg 536] of a market, which was kept in Boston, “on Thursday, the fifth day of the week.” This weekly market on the fifth day is mentioned, by Douglass, as of 1639, vol. i. p. 434. This, I think, refers only to a gathering of sellers and buyers, at one spot, and not to any “visible temple,” for storage and shelter. Citizens differed, as to the best method of getting their provant; some preferred the old mode, as it was supposed to save time; others were in favor of having a common point, with a covered building. Parties were formed; the citizens waxed wroth; and quarrelled about their meat, like angry dogs. Those, who were in favor of market-houses, prevailed. Three were erected; one, at the Old North Square—one, where Faneuil Hall now stands—and one, near Liberty Tree. People were no longer supplied, at their houses.

It seems very strange, that this sensible arrangement should have led to violent outrage. The malcontents assembled together, in the night, “disguised like clergymen”—the devil, sometimes assumes this exterior—and “totally demolished the centre market-house.” This occurred, about the year 1736-7, or about the time of Andrew Faneuil’s death. Such is the account of good old Thomas Pemberton. M. H. C. iii. 255.

The popular sentiment prevented the reconstruction of the centre market-house, till, in 1740, July 14, a town meeting was held to consider a petition, for this object, from Thomas Palmer and 340 others. At this meeting, it was stated, that Peter Faneuil had offered, at his own cost, to build a market-house, on the town’s land, in Dock Square, for the use of the town, if the citizens, would legally empower him so to do; place the same under proper regulations; and maintain it, for that use.

An impression has, somewhat extensively, prevailed, that Mr. Faneuil’s proposal was not courteously received, by his fellow-citizens, and that a majority of seven only were in favor of it.

On the contrary, Mr. Faneuil’s proposal was received, with the most ample demonstrations of grateful respect. There were two questions before the meeting—first: shall a vote of thanks be passed to Peter Faneuil, for his liberal offer? Secondly: shall we give up the itinerant system, and have a market-house, on any conditions? Upon the first question, there was but one mind—on the second, there were two. A vote of thanks to Mr. Faneuil was instantly passed, without a dissentient. But the[Pg 537] second question was the vexed question, revived, and excited the passions of the people. Of 727 persons present, 367 only voted in favor of granting the petition of Palmer and others, giving a majority of seven only.

Accordingly, the work was commenced; and it was completed, Sept. 10, 1742, “on which day,” says Dr. Snow, “Mr. Samuel Ruggles, who was employed, in building the market house, waited on the selectmen, by order of P. Faneuil, Esq., and delivered them the key of said house.”

Peter was a magnificent fellow. An antiquarian friend, to whom the fancy has lineally descended, through a line of highly respectable, antiquarian ancestors, informs me, that his father handed down to him a tradition, which is certainly plausible. It runs thus: while the market-house was in progress—probably on paper—it was suggested to Peter, that, with very little additional expense, a splendid town hall might be constructed over it. Peter’s heart was quite as roomy as the market-house, and town hall together, and he cheerfully embraced the suggestion. The tradition goes a little farther—when the cost was summed up, Peter scolded—a little. Very likely. Mr. Peter Faneuil was not an exception, I presume, to the common rule.

The keys, as I have stated, were presented to the town, Sept. 10, 1742, with all that courtesy, doubtless, for which he was remarkable. Peter’s relatives and connections are somewhat numerous. The descendants of Benjamin his brother are scattered over the country. It will be equally grateful to them, and honorable to our forefathers, to exhibit a portion of the record.

Sept. 13, 1742, at a meeting, in the new hall, a vote of thanks was moved, by the Hon. John Jeffries, uncle of the late Dr. John Jeffries. In this vote, it is stated, that, whereas Peter Faneuil has, “at a very great expense, erected a noble structure, far exceeding his first proposal, inasmuch, as it contains, not only a large and sufficient accommodation for a market place, but a spacious and most beautiful town hall over it, and several other convenient rooms, which may prove very beneficial to the town, for offices or otherwise. And the said building being now finished, he has delivered possession thereof to the selectmen for the use of the town; it is therefore voted, that the town do, with the utmost gratitude, receive and accept this most generous and noble benefaction, for the use and intentions it is designed for; and do appoint the Hon. Thomas Cushing Esquire, the moderator[Pg 538] of this meeting, the Hon. Adam Winthrop, Edward Hutchinson, Ezekiel Lewis, and Samuel Waldo, Esquires, Thomas Hutchinson, Esq. the selectmen and representatives of the town of Boston, the Hon. Jacob Wendell, James Bowdoin, Esq., Andrew Oliver, Esq., Captain Nathaniel Cunningham, Peter Chardon, Esq., and Mr. Charles Apthorp, to wait upon Peter Faneuil, Esq., and in the name of the town, to render him their most hearty thanks, for so bountiful a gift, with their prayers, that this and other expressions of his bounty and charity may be abundantly recompensed with the divine blessing.”

In addition to this vote, the citizens passed another, that the hall should be called Faneuil Hall, forever; and that the portrait of Faneuil should be painted, at full length, and placed therein. On the 14th of March, 1744, a vote was passed “to purchase the Faneuil arms, carved and gilt, by Moses Deshon, to be fixed in the hall.”

Pemberton says—“Previous to the Revolution, the portraits of Mr. Faneuil, General Conway, and Colonel Barré were procured by the town, and hung up in the hall. It is supposed they were carried off by the British.” The portrait of Faneuil at present, in the hall, was painted by Henry Sargent, from the portrait, presented to the Massachusetts Historical Society, by Miss Jones, a grandchild of Peter’s sister, Mary Ann.

The original building was but half the width of the present, and but two stories high. The hall could contain but 1000 persons. In the memorable fire of Tuesday, Jan. 13, 1761, Faneuil Hall was destroyed, and nothing left standing but the walls. On the 23d of the following March, the town voted to rebuild, and the State authorized a lottery, to meet the expense. There were several classes. A ticket, of the seventh class, lies before me, bearing date March, 1767, with the spacious autograph of John Hancock, at the bottom.

The building retained its primitive proportions, till 1806, when, the occasions of the public requiring its enlargement, its width was increased, from 40 to 80 feet, and a third story added. A very simple rule may be furnished, for those, who would compare the size of the present building, with that of the genuine Peter Faneuil Hall. Take a northeast view of the Hall—there are seven windows before you, in each story—run a perpendicular line, from the ground, through the centre of the middle window to the top of the belt, at the bottom of the third story—carry[Pg 539] a straight line from that point nearly to the top of the second window, on the right, in the third story. That point is the apex of the old pediment. From that point, draw the corresponding roof line down to the belt, at the corner; and you have a profile of the ancient structure; all which is well exhibited by Dr. Snow, on the plan, in his History of Boston.

Small as the original structure may appear, when compared with the present, it was a magnificent donation, for the times. It may well be considered a munificent gift, from a single individual, in 1742, when we consider, that its repairs, in 1761, were accomplished, by the aid of the Commonwealth, and the creation of a lottery, which continued to curse the community, for several years.

Peter Faneuil was then in all his glory. How readily, by the power of Imagination, I raise him from the dead, bolt upright; with his over portly form, and features full of bon homie; speaking volumes, about those five pipes of amber-colored Madeira, such as his friend Delancey had; and that best book of all sorts of cookery, of a large character, for the maid’s reading! There he is, at the door of his English chariot, “handsome, but nothing gaudy,” with his arms thereon, and his English coachman, and his English horses, and that “strait negro lad” perched behind. I see him now, helping in Miss Mary Anne, his youngest maiden sister; and, as he ascends the steps, wrapping his cloak around him, trimmed with that identical “scarlet cloth of the very best quality.”

The vanity of man’s anticipations, the occasional suddenness of his summons away—seldom find a more graphic illustration, than in the case of this noble hearted, and most hospitable gentleman. When he received the grateful salutations of the magnates of the town, who came to thank him, for his munificence, what could have been so little in his thoughts, or in theirs, as the idea, that he was so soon to die!

In about five years—five, short, luxurious years—after the death of Andrew Faneuil, Peter, his favorite nephew, was committed to the ground, March 10, 1742, old style. The event, from its suddenness, and from the amiable and benevolent character of the individual, produced a deep sensation, in the village, for Boston was nothing but a seashore village then. In 1728, some fourteen years before, we learn from Douglass, i. 531, that there were but 3000 rateable polls, on the peninsula. This[Pg 540] event was unexpected, by the living, and had been equally unexpected, by the dead. Death came to Peter, like a thief in the stilly night. He had not looked for this unwelcome visitor. He had made no will. By this event, Benjamin came into possession; and old Andrew is supposed to have turned over, indignantly, in his coffin.




To such of my readers, as the Lord has abundantly blessed, in their basket and their store, and who have loaned him very little, on his simple promise, to be repaid, in Paradise; and who are, peradventure, at this very moment, excogitating revengeful wills; the issue of uncle Andrew’s vindictive, posthumous arrangements may prove a profitable lesson, for their learning. Verily, God’s ways are not as our ways, nor God’s will as Uncle Andrew’s.

It may be remembered, that, in the devise of his warehouse, in trust, for the benefit of the French Church, Andrew Faneuil provided, that, in the event of the extinction of that church, the estate should revert to his right heirs—excluding Benjamin Faneuil, of Boston, and the heirs of his body forever, whom he cuts off, as the popular phrase runs, with “five shillings, and no more.” In passing along, it may not be amiss to notice this popular error. The law has, at no time, required the bequest of a farthing, to one, near of kin, whom the testator intends to cut off. It is enough, if it be manifest, that the testator has not forgotten him; and, to leave no possible doubt upon the subject, a churlish curmudgeon, as in the present case, will transmit, in this offensive manner, the record of his vindictiveness and folly, to future generations.

When Andrew Faneuil makes Peter his residuary legatee, there is no provision, for the exclusion of Benjamin, in the event of Peter’s death, without heirs of his body. Prepared, as this amiable, old gentleman was, to believe, in the possible extinction of the French Church, he seems to have looked upon Peter, an inveterate old bachelor, as immortal. Yet, in regard to Peter, the issue hung, by a single hair. There was no child, with[Pg 541] the cup in his hand, to catch the ball, and prevent it from lapsing directly into Benjamin’s sack, who, with his sisters, stood close at hand, the next of kin to Peter, and heirs at law.

Well: as I have said, God’s will was not as Uncle Andrew’s. After a few flying years, during which Peter executed the intentions of the testator, with remarkable fidelity; and lived, as magnificently, as a nobleman, and as hospitably, as a bishop, and, as charitably, as an apostle—suddenly, the silver cord was loosed, and the golden bowl was broken, and Peter dropped into the grave. The title of Benjamin and his sisters to all Peter’s estate, and to all Andrew’s estate, that remained, as the heirs at law of Peter, passed into them, through the atmosphere, at once; and Andrew’s will, by the act of God, was set aside, in the upper Court.

Administration was granted to Benjamin, March 18, 1742, O. S., who returned an inventory, April 21, 1744. The appraisers of the estate were William Price, Joseph Dowse, and Peter Chardon; and the sum total of their valuation was £44,451.15.7. This, certainly, will incline the reader to Master Lovell’s idea, of “a large and plentiful estate,” until I add those words of withering import—Old Tenor. Sterling decimates old tenor with a vengeance—ten pounds, old tenor, were but one pound, sterling. The valuation, therefore, amounted to about £4,445 sterling, or, in dollars, at five to the pound, to $22,225. It may seem rather surprising, that the balance, which fell to Peter, from his uncle, under the will, and his own accumulations, should amount to no more. But a few reflections may tend to moderate our surprise.

The estate of his uncle had been seriously diminished, by the payment of legacies, £2,000 stg. to each of his three nieces, $30,000—more than $8,000 to his niece, Marie Phillips; and about $2,000, in smaller legacies, raising the amount of legacies to $40,000. He had also given his warehouse, in King Street, to the French Church. These legacies Peter had paid. He had also built and presented the Market-house and the Hall to the town. But there is another important consideration. Funds still remained, in other countries, part and parcel of Andrew’s property. This is evident, from an original document before me, the marriage settlement of Peter’s sister, Mary Anne with John Jones, bearing date March 15, 1742, the very month of Peter’s death. This document recites, that one part of her estate, as one of the heirs of Peter Faneuil, “is in Public Funds, such as[Pg 542] the Bank of England.” As this does not figure in Benjamin’s inventory here, it is impossible to say what was the amount of foreign funds, which Peter owned, at the time of his death. For some five years, while he had been living, in a style of unbounded hospitality, he had also enjoyed the luxury of doing good, and paid, most liberally, for that enjoyment. From his commercial correspondence, I infer, that his enterprise suffered no material abatement, after his uncle’s decease.

I cannot doubt, that his free expenditure of money, for his personal enjoyment, the gratification of his pride, and the pleasure of ministering to the wants of the poor and needy, had lessened, and was lessening, from month to month, the amount of his estate. There is yet another consideration, which belongs to this account, the great disparity, between the value of money, then, and at the present day.

The items, or particular heads, of the inventory, are one hundred and fifty-eight; and cover near four folio pages of the record. Some of them may not be wholly uninteresting to the reader. The mansion-house, the same, as I have stated, in which Lieutenant Governor Billy Phillips lived and died, and Isaiah Doane before him, the extensive garden, outhouses and yard were appraised, one hundred and eight years ago, at £12,375, or £1,237 stg., about $6,185, at five dollars to the pound. Fourteen hundred ounces of plate, at £2,122 10. This plate was divided into five parts, for the brother, and four sisters of the deceased. A memorandum lies upon my table, labelled, in the original hand of Gillam Phillips—“An account of my proportion of plate, belonging to the estate of Peter Faneuil, Esq., deceased.” This document contains a list of “Gillam Phillips’ Lot,” and side by side—“a coffee pota large, handsome chamber pot.” They made a free use of the precious metals, in those days.

A parcel of jewels are appraised, at £1,490—1 white horse, £15—2 Albany horses, £100—2 English horses, £250—2 other English horses, £300—4 old and 4 new harnesses, £120—2 pairs runners, £15—1 four-wheel chaise, £150—1 two-wheel chaise, £50—a coach, £100—1 chariot, £400—5 negroes, £150—130—120—120—100. Then follows a variety of articles—fowling pieces—fishing tackle—silver-hilted sword—pistols—china, glass, hangings, carpets, and culinary articles, in profusion—lignum vitæ coffee cups, lined with silver—silver [Pg 543]snuff-boxes—gold sleeve-buttons and rings—195 dozen of wine—arrack—beer—Cheshire and Gloucester cheeses. Indeed, Peter’s establishment appears to have been a variorum edition of all manner of elegancies, luxuries, and creature comforts. The inventory comprehends eight tenements, in Cornhill, and King Street; a number of vessels, and parts of vessels; and various other items of property.

The remains of this noble-spirited descendant of the Huguenots of Rochelle were deposited, in the Faneuil tomb, in the westerly corner of the Granary Ground. This tomb is of dark freestone, with a freestone slab. Upon the easterly end of the tomb, there is a tablet of slate, upon which are sculptured, with manifest care and skill, the family arms; while, upon the freestone slab, are inscribed, at the top, M. M.—memento mori, of course,—and, at the bottom of the slab—a cruel apology for the old Huguenot patronymic—“Peter Funel. 1742,” and nothing more.

The explanation, which arises, in my mind, of this striking inconsistency, is this: I believe this tomb, whose aspect is simple, solid, and antique, to have been built by Andrew Faneuil, who was a wealthy merchant here as early as 1709: and I think it is quite certain, that the lady, whom he married, in Holland, and whose beauty is traditional, among her descendants, made the great exchange—beauty for ashes—in this very sepulchre. In this tomb, Andrew was buried, by Peter, Feb. 20, 1737, and Peter, by his brother, Benjamin, March 10, 1742, old style, and here Benjamin himself, was laid, after an interval of two-and-forty years, where there is neither work, nor device, nor will, nor codicil.

The arms of Peter Faneuil—I have them before me, at this moment, on his massive, silver pepper-pot—he found a place for them, on many of his possessions, though I cannot say, if on all the articles which came into the possession of Gillam Phillips,—were a field argent—no chevron—a large heart, truly a suitable emblem, in the centre, gules—seven stars equidistant from each other, and from the margin of the escutcheon, extending from the sinister chief to the dexter base—in the sinister base a cross molin, within an annulet—no scroll—no supporters; crest, a martlet.

The arms upon the tomb, though generally like these, and like the arms, on other articles, once Peter’s, and still extant,[Pg 544] differ in some important particulars; and seem to have been quartered with those of another family, as the arms of Andrew, being a collateral, might have been. A helmet, beneath the martlet, especially, is wholly different from Peter’s crest. Such precisely are the arms, on the seal of wax, upon Andrew’s will, in the Registry. Hence I infer, that Uncle Andrew built this ancient sepulchre. Arms, in days of old, and still, where a titled nobility exists, are deemed, for the popular eye, sufficient evidence of ownership, without a name. So thought Uncle Andrew; and he left the freestone tablet, without any inscription.

Some five years after the testator’s burial, the tomb was again opened, to let in the residuary legatee. Peter’s was a grand funeral. The Evening Post, of March 3, 1742-3, foretold, that it would be such; but the papers, which, doubtless, gave an account of it, are lost—the files are imperfect, of all those primitive journals. At first, and for years, the resting place of Peter’s remains was well enough known. But the rust of time began to gather upon men’s memories. The Faneuil arms, ere long, became unintelligible, to such, as strolled among the tombs. That “handsome chariot, but nothing gaudy,” with Peter’s armorial bearings upon its panels, no longer rolled along Treamount, and Queen Streets, and Cornhill, and drew up, of a Sabbath morning, before Trinity Church, that brother Peter and the ladies might sit upon their cushions, in No. 40, while brother Addington Davenport gave them a sermon, upon the Apostolical succession. The good people had therefore forgotten all about the Faneuil arms; and, before a great many years had rolled away, the inquiry naturally arose, in popular phraseology—“Whereabouts was it, that Peter Faneuil was buried?

Some worthy old citizen—God bless him—who knew rather more of this matter than his neighbors, and was well aware, that the arms would be but a dead letter to posterity, resolved to serve the public, and remedy the defect. Up he goes into the Granary Ground, in the very spirit of Old Mortality, and, with all his orthography in his ear, inscribes P. Funel upon the tablet!



[Pg 545]


But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever.” Mark i. 30. From this text, a clergyman—of the old school—had preached just as many, consecutive sermons, as I have already published articles, concerning Peter Faneuil and his family. A day or two after the last discourse, the bell of the village church was tolled, for a funeral; and a long-suffering parishioner, being asked, whose funeral it was, replied, that he had no doubt it was Simon’s wife’s mother’s; for she had been sick of a fever, for nine weeks, to his certain knowledge. Let the reader possess himself in patience—our dealings with the Faneuils cannot last forever.

We have stated, that Peter’s death was sudden, the very death, from which, as a churchman, he had prayed to be delivered. But let us not forget, that no death is sudden, in the sense of the good man’s prayers, however instantaneously the golden bowl may be broken, to him, whose life has been well spent, and who is prepared to die.

In this connection, two interesting questions arise—how Peter Faneuil came to be a churchman—and if his life was a well-spent life, affording him reasonable assurance of admission into Paradise.

The old Huguenots styled themselves “the Reformers,” and embraced the doctrines of Calvin, in full. Oppression commonly teaches even intolerant men the value of toleration. Our Puritan fathers, it is true, who fled from Episcopal, as the Huguenots from Roman Catholic tyranny, profited very little, by the lesson they had learned; and turned upon the Catholics and Quakers, in the spirit of preposterous cruelty. The government of Massachusetts, according to Hazard, received a profitable lesson of moderation, from that of Rhode Island.

The Huguenots soon began to abate somewhat of that exorbitant severity and punctiliousness, in their religion, which, in no slight degree, had brought upon them that persecution, which was gathering, and impending over them, in 1684, a twelvemonth before the revocation of the edict of Nantes; compelling many of them, thus early, to fly from their homes, into other lands. The teachings of James Saurin, the great Huguenot preacher of the refugees, at the Hague, in 1705, and in subsequent years,[Pg 546] were of a milder type. He was “a moderate Calvinist.” Such, also, were Daillé and Le Mercier, the ministers of the French Church, in Boston.

Peter Faneuil, undoubtedly, worshipped in this church, during a certain period. We have seen the liberal arrangement of his uncle, in 1734, for the support of its minister, and the testator’s provision for its poor. Even then, he evidently anticipated, that it might cease to be; and shaped his testamentary provisions accordingly. Natural causes were in operation; I have referred to them—intermarriage, with our English people—merging the language of the few, in that of the many—juxtaposition—all tending to diminish the necessity for maintaining a separate church.

There was no dissolution of the society, at first, by any formal vote. The attendance became irregular and scanty—the members went elsewhere—Le Mercier, “a worthy character,” says the Rev. Dr. Holmes, ceased to officiate, and the church broke up. For years, there were no services, within the little temple; and, in 1748, it was sold, as I have stated, to the members of another denomination.

It became a question with these Huguenots, the Faneuils, the Boutineaus, the Johonnots, the Oliviers, the Sigourneys, and their associates, where they should worship God. In 1740-41, the preachers, in Boston, were Charles Chauncey, at the Old Brick—at the Old North, Increase Mather, supplying the place of his brother Samuel, who, though ordained, in 1732, preached but one winter, and parted—at the Old South, Joseph Sewall, and Thomas Prince—at the Baptist, in Back Street, Jeremy Condy—at King’s Chapel, Stephen Roe—at Brattle Street, William Cooper—at the Quaker meeting-house, in Leverett’s Lane, whoever was moved by the Spirit—at the New North, John Webb—at the New South, Samuel Checkley—at the New Brick, Ellis Gray—at Christ Church, Timothy Cutler—at Long Lane, Jonny Moorhead—at Hollis Street, Mather Byles—at Trinity, Addington Davenport—at Lynde Street, William Hooper.

Several of the descendants of the Huguenots, not at all deterred, by the resemblance, whatever that might be, between the forms of Episcopalian worship, and those of their religious persecutors, the Roman Catholics, mingled with the Episcopalians. Thus they clung to the common element, the doctrine of the Trinity; and escaped, like Saurin, from the super-sulphuretted vapors of primitive Calvinism.

[Pg 547]It is not very surprising, that the Faneuils should have settled down, upon the new and fashionable temple—Trinity had been erected but a few years before; and the new rector was Peter’s brother-in-law, Mr. Addington Davenport.

Peter therefore became, pro tanto, an Episcopalian—a liberal subscriber to the Charitable, Episcopal fund, and to the fund for the rebuilding of King’s Chapel; and identified himself with the Episcopal interest.

The religious character of Peter Faneuil, and the present whereabouts of this public benefactor, will be determined, by different individuals, according to the respective indications of their spiritual thermometers.

I have already ventured an opinion, that the mantle of charity, which covereth a multitude of sins, should be extended, for Peter’s behoof, over that little affair with Peter Baynton, touching the duties, on those four hogsheads of brandy. But there is another matter, over which, I am aware, that some very worthy people will doubt, if the mantle of charity, can be stretched, without serious danger of lesion—I refer to the importation, about the same time with the prayer books, of that enormous quantity—six gross—of “the very best King Henry’s cards.” I have often marvelled, how the name of the Defender of the Faith ever came to be connected, with such pestilent things.

I am well aware, how closely, in the opinions of some learned divines, cards are associated with the idea of eternal damnation. If it be so; and a single pack is enough to send the proprietor to the bottomless pit, it is truly grievous to reflect how much deeper Peter, our great public benefactor, has gone, with the oppressive weight of six gross of the very best, upon his soul. Now-a-days, there seem to be very few, the Romanists excepted, who believe in purgatory; and it is pretty generally agreed, that all, who attempt the bridge of Al Sirat, will surely arrive, either at Paradise, or Pandemonium.

How delightful it would be, to have the opinion of good old André Le Mercier, in a case like this. Though Peter no longer waited upon Le Mercier’s ministrations; but, for several years, before the dissolution of the French Church, had settled down, under brother Addington Davenport, first, as the assistant at King’s Chapel, and, afterwards, as the Rector of Trinity; yet Le Mercier could not forget the nephew of his benefactor, Andrew Faneuil. He was, doubtless, at Peter’s funeral, who died one[Pg 548] and twenty years, before the holy man was summoned to his account, in 1764. Yes, he was there.

I have heard of a man, who accounted, for the dryness of his eyes, when all around him wept, at a pathetic discourse, on the ground, that he belonged to another parish. I have known Christian ministers—very—not many, thank heaven—who were influenced, to such a degree, by that spirit, which may be supposed to govern the proprietors of opposition omnibuses, as to consider the chord of human sympathy cut, through and through, and forever, between themselves, and a parishioner, who, for any cause, elected to receive his spiritual treasures out of some other earthen vessel, albeit of the very same denomination of crockery ware.

Poverty, and disease, and death, and misery, in every type, might stalk in, and upon, and over that homestead, and hearth, where these Christian ministers had been warmed, and refreshed, and fostered—but it was no longer a concern of theirs. No visit of condolence—no kind inquiry—not one, cheap word of consolation had they, for such, as had ceased to receive their ideas of damnation from them—enough—these individuals had sold their pews—“crimen difficile expiandum”—they belonged to another parish!

André Le Mercier, was not a man of this description. He was not a holy huckster of spiritual things, having not one crumb of comfort, for any, but his regular customers. André was a man, whose neighbor’s ubiquity was a proverb.

But what he would say, about these six gross of King Henry’s cards, I am by no means, certain. He was a man of a tolerant spirit; but on certain points, the most tolerant are, occasionally, found to be imbued, with unalterable prejudices. On page 85, of his Church History of Geneva, which I have read with pleasure, he quotes approvingly, the maxim of “a doctor of the church.” “In necessariis rebus sit unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus charitas.” This breathes the spirit of toleration:—what are dubia, what necessaria are not quite so readily settled, however.

On page 100, I find a passage, not quite so favorable for Peter, in this matter of the six gross. Referring to Calvin’s return to Geneva, in 1536, after his banishment, Le Mercier says—“And then Balls and Dances and profane songs were forbidden, by the magistrates. And that form of Discipline remains entire, to the present Time, notwithstanding the repeated Attempts, that have[Pg 549] been made by wicked People to overset it. King Henry’s cards, I fear, even of the very best quality, would, undoubtedly, fall into this category, of things Calvinized on earth, in the opinion of André Le Mercier.”

The meaning of the words, “profane songs,” may not be universally intelligible. It undoubtedly meant, as used by the Council, all songs not sacred. Calvin, undoubtedly, adopted the commendation of Scripture, to such, as were merry, to sing psalms. It appears, however, that certain persons entertained conservative notions, in those early days; even beyond the dictum of holy writ; for, on page 101, Le Mercier states, that Sebastian Castalio, a preacher, and professor, in the College of Geneva, “condemned Solomon’s Songs, as being profane and immodest;” the very charge, as the reader is aware, which has been so often urged, against the songs of Tom Moore. Moore, at last, betook himself to sacred melodies. Solomon, had his life been spared, would, probably, have done the same thing, to the entire satisfaction of Sebastian Castalio.

I see wisdom, and mercy, and truth, in a part of the maxim, quoted by André Le Mercier—in dubiis libertas. I have long suspected there were some angels in Heaven, who were damned by Calvin, on earth. I verily believe, that Peter Faneuil is in Paradise.




Some of my readers, I doubt not, have involuntarily clenched their fists, and set their teeth hard, while conning over the details of that merciless and bloody duel, so long, and so deliberately projected, and furiously fought, at last, near Bergen op Zoom, by the Lord Bruce, and Sir Edward Sackville, with rapiers, and in their shirts. Gentle reader, if you have never met with this morceau, literally dripping with blood, and are born with a relish for such rare provant—for I fear the appetite is congenital—you will find an ample account of the affair, in numbers 129 and 133 of the Guardian.

This wrathful fight is of an early date, having taken place, in 1613. Who could measure the popular excitement, if tomorrow’s dawn should bring the tidings of a duel, fought the[Pg 550] night before, on Boston Common, by two young gentlemen, with rapiers, not, perhaps, quite so brutal, in its minute details, but quite as deliberately planned, and quite as fatal, in its result! What then must have been the effect of such an announcement, on the morning of the fourth of July, 1728, one hundred and twenty-three years ago, when Boston was a seaport village, just six years, after the “perlustration” of Mr. Salter had rated the population, at 10,670 souls.

It is matter of sober history, that such a duel was actually fought, then and there, on the evening of the third of July, 1728, near the powder-house, which is indicated, on Bonner’s plan of 1722. This was a very different affair from the powder-house, erected at West Boston, in 1774, with walls of seven feet in thickness.

The parties, engaged, in this fatal affair were two young gentlemen, whose connections were highly respectable, whose lives had been amiable, whose characters were of good report, and whose friends were numerous and powerful. The names of Peter Faneuil and of his uncle, Jean Faneuil, of Rochelle, are associated with this transaction.

The parties were very young; the survivor twenty-two, and the victim but little more. The survivor, Henry Phillips, was the brother of Gillam Phillips, who, the reader of the preceding articles will remember, married Marie, the sister of Peter Faneuil. Peter was then just twenty-eight; and, doubtless, if there were dandies in those days, one of the foremost, on the peninsula. The natural interest he felt, in the brother of his sister’s husband, engaged his efforts, to spirit the wretched survivor away. He was consigned to the uncle of Peter, beyond the sea—to whom Marie, his niece, very probably, wrote a few lines, bespeaking kind offices, for the unfortunate brother of her husband. It is not impossible, that old André added a prudential word or two, by way of postscript, confirming brother Jean, as to the safety of the operation. Be this as it may, Henry Phillips escaped from his pursuers, who were speedily put upon the scent, by Governor Dummer. Henry Phillips arrived safely in Rochelle. What befel him, in the strange land, is not the least interesting portion of the narrative.

Benjamin Woodbridge—such was the name of the individual, who was the victim, in this fatal encounter—was a young merchant, in partnership with Mr. Jonathan Sewall. Of his particular[Pg 551] origin I am not entirely satisfied. The name, among us, is of the olden time. Benjamin Woodbridge was the very earliest alumnus of Harvard College: born in England in 1622, and graduated here in 1642.

The originating cause of this duel, like that, which produced the terrible conflict, between the Lord Bruce and Sir Edward Sackville, is unknown.

That the reader may walk along with me, confidingly, upon this occasion, it may be well to indicate the sources, from which I derive my knowledge of a transaction, so exciting at the time, so fatal in its results, and so almost universally unknown, to those, who daily pass over the very spot, on our Common, upon which these young gentlemen met, and where young Woodbridge fell.

I have alluded to the subsequent relation of Peter Faneuil, and of his uncle, Jean, of Rochelle, to this affair. In my investigation into the history of Peter and his relatives, I have been aided by Mr. Charles Faneuil Jones, the grandson of Peter’s sister, Mary Ann. Among the documents, loaned me, by that gentleman, are sundry papers, which belonged to Gillam Phillips, the brother of Henry, the survivor in the duel.

Among these papers, are original documents, in Jean Faneuil’s handwriting, relative to the fate of the miserable wanderer, after his arrival in Rochelle—accounts of disbursements—regularly authenticated copies of the testimony, relative to the duel, and to the finding of the dead body of Woodbridge, and to the coöperation of Peter Faneuil and others, in concealing the survivor, on board the Sheerness, British man of war, and of his indictment, the “Billa Vera,” in August, 1728, by the grand jury of Suffolk, for murder. In addition to these documents, I have found a certified copy of a statement, highly favorable to the character of Henry Phillips, the survivor, and manifestly intended to have an influence upon the public mind. This statement is subscribed, by eighty-eight prominent citizens, several of them holding high official stations, and among the number, are four ministers of the Gospel, with the Rev. Timothy Cutler, of Christ Church, at their head. Appended is the certificate of Governor Burnett, who, in that very month, succeeded Governor Dummer, stating the official, professional and social position of the signers of this document, with which it was clearly intended to fortify an application to George II. for a pardon of the offender.

[Pg 552]The discovery of these papers, affording, as they do, some account of a transaction, so very remarkable, for the time and place of its occurrence, and of which I had never heard nor read before, excited my curiosity, and led me to search for additional information.

If my reader is of the fancy, he will readily comprehend my chagrin, when, upon turning over the leaves of Green’s “Boston Weekly News Letter”—the imperfect files—all that time has left us—preserved in the library of the Massachusetts Historical Society—the very paper, that next ensued, after July 3, 1728, the date of the duel, and which, doubtless, referred to an occurrence, so very extraordinary, was among the “things lost upon earth.” I was not less unfortunate with the files of the old “Boston Gazette,” of that early day. I then took up Kneeland’s “New England Weekly Journal,” but with very little confidence of success. The file, however, was there—No. 68—July 8, 1728, and my eyes soon fell, as the reader’s fall at this moment, upon Governor Dummer’s proclamation:—

“Whereas a barbarous murder was last night committed, on the body of Benjamin Woodbridge, a young gentleman, resident in the town of Boston; and Henry Phillips, of said town, is suspected to be the author of said murder, and is now fled from justice; I have therefore thought proper to issue this proclamation, hereby commanding all justices, sheriffs, constables, and all other officers, within this Province, and requiring all others, in his Majesty’s name, to use their utmost endeavors, that the said Henry Phillips may be apprehended and brought to justice; and all persons, whosoever, are commanded, at their utmost peril, not to harbor nor conceal him. The said Henry Phillips is a fair young man, about the age of twenty-two years, well set, and well dressed; and has a wound in one of his hands. Given at Boston, the 4th of July, 1728, in the second year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord and King, George II.” This proclamation bears the signature of his Excellency, William Dummer.

The editor of the journal, which contains the proclamation, expresses himself as follows—“On Thursday last, the 4th current, about 3 in the morning, after some hour’s search, was found dead, near the Powder House, the body of Mr. Benjamin Woodbridge, a young gentleman, merchant of this place. He had a small stab, under the right arm; but what proved fatal to him was a thrust he received, under his right breast, which came[Pg 553] out, at the small of his back. The fore-finger of his left hand was almost cut off, at the uppermost joint, supposed to be done, by grasping a naked sword. The coroner’s inquest immediately set upon the body; and, after the best information and evidence they could obtain, upon their oaths say, that ‘the said Benjamin Woodbridge was killed, with a sword, run through his body, by the hands of Henry Phillips, of Boston, merchant, on the Common, in said Boston, on the third of this instant, as appears to us, by sundry evidences.’ The body was carried to the house of Mr. Jonathan Sewall, (his partner,) and, on Saturday last, was decently and handsomely interred, his funeral being attended, by the Commander-in-Chief, several of the Council, and most of the merchants and gentlemen of the town. There are many and various reports respecting this tragic scene, which makes us cautious of relating any of them. But the above, being plain matters of fact, we thought it not improper to give the public an account thereof. The unhappy gentleman, who is supposed to have committed the act, is not as yet found. This new and almost unknown case has put almost the whole town into great surprise.”

A sermon, upon this occasion, of uncommon length, was delivered July 18, 1728, by the Rev. Dr. Joseph Sewall, of the Old South, at the Public Lecture, and published, with a preface, by the “United Ministers” of Boston. To give dignity to this discourse, it is adorned with a Latin prefix—“Duellum est damnandum, tam in acceptante quam in provocante; quamvis major sit culpa provocantis.” This discourse is singularly barren of all allusion to the cause and circumstances of this event; and appears, like our almanacs, adapted to any meridian.

At his Majesty’s Court of Assize and General Gaol Delivery, on the second Tuesday of August, 1728, the grand jurors, under the Attorney General Hiller’s instructions, found a “Vera Billa” against Henry Phillips, for the murder of Benjamin Woodbridge. Phillips was then far beyond the influence and effect of the vera billa—on the high sea—upon his voyage of expatriation. For some cause, which I am entirely unable to comprehend, and can barely conjecture, a sympathy existed, for this young man, extending far beyond the circle of his personal friends and relatives, and engaging, on his behalf, the disinterested efforts, not only of several persons in high official stations, but in holy orders, who cannot be supposed to have undervalued the crime, of[Pg 554] which he was unquestionably guilty, before God and man. The reader, as we proceed, may possibly be more successful than I have been, in discovering the occasion of this extraordinary sympathy.




That strong sympathy, exhibited for Henry Phillips, by whose sword a fellow creature had so recently fallen, in a duel, must have sprung, if I am not greatly mistaken, from a knowledge of facts, connected with the origin of that duel, and of which the present generation is entirely ignorant.

Truth lies not, more proverbially, at the bottom of a well, than, in a great majority of instances, a woman lurks at the bottom of a duel. If Phillips, unless sorely provoked, had been the challenger, I cannot think the gentlemen, who signed the certificate, in his behalf, would have spoken of him thus:—

“These may certify to all whom it may concern, that we, the subscribers, well knew and esteemed Mr. Henry Phillips of Boston, in New England, to be a youth of a very affable, courteous, and peaceable behavior and disposition, and never heard he was addicted to quarrelling, he being soberly brought up, in the prosecution of his studies, and living chiefly an academical life; and verily believe him slow to anger, and with difficulty moved to resentment.”

Among the eighty-eight signers of this certificate, the names of Peter and Benjamin Faneuil, and of their uncle, Andrew, occur, almost as a matter of course. They were family connections. Who the others were, appears, by the Governor’s certificate, under the seal of the Province:—

“By his Excellency, William Burnet, &c. &c. These may certify whom it may concern, that John Wentworth Esquire is Lieut. Governor of the Province of New Hampshire; that William Tailor Esquire was formerly Lieut. Governor of the Province of the Massachusetts Bay, and is now a member of his Majesty’s Council for said Province; that James Stevens is Surveyor General of the Customs, for the Northern district, in America; that Thomas Lechmere Esquire was late Surveyor[Pg 555] General of the same; that John Jekyll Esquire is Collector of the Customs, for the port of Boston; that Thomas Steele is Justice of the Peace; that William Lambert Esquire is Controller of the Customs, at Boston; that J. Minzies Esquire was Judge of the Vice Admiralty; that Messieurs Timothy Cutler, Henry Harris, George Pigot, and Ebenezer Miller are ministers of the Gospel; and that the other subscribers to the certificate on the other side, are, some of them merchants and others gentlemen of the town of Boston.” This certificate, bearing the signature of Gov. Burnet, is dated Oct. 21, 1728.

Of the origin of this affair, I have discovered nothing. Immediately after its consummation, Phillips manifested deep distress, at the result. About midnight, of July 3, 1728, with the assistance of his brother, Gillam, Peter Faneuil, and several other persons, Henry Phillips was removed to a place of safety. He was first conducted, by Peter Faneuil, to the house of Col. Estis Hatch, and there concealed. His brother, Gillam, in the meanwhile, applied to Captain John Winslow, of “the Pink, Molly,” for a boat, to carry Henry, on board the British man of war, then lying between the Castle and Spectacle Island. Gillam and the Captain repaired to Hatch’s, and had an interview with Peter and Henry, in the yard. It was then concluded, that Henry should go to Gibbs’ Wharf, probably as the most retired wharf, for embarkation. The reader, who loves to localize—this word will do—will find this little wharf, on Bonner’s plan, of 1722, at the southeastern margin of Fort Hill, about half way between Whitehorn’s Wharf and South Battery. It lay directly northeast, and not far distant from the lower end of Gibbs’ Lane, now Belmont Street.

Henry Phillips, with Peter Faneuil, accordingly proceeded, as quietly as possible, to Gibbs’ Wharf. I see them now, stealing through Hatch’s back gate, and looking stealthily behind them, as they take the darker side of Belcher’s Lane. I trust there was no moon, that night. It was very foggy. The reader will soon be sure, that I am right, in that particular.

Gillam and Captain Winslow had gone to the Long Wharf, where the Molly’s boat lay; and, as the distance was very considerable to the man-of-war, they went first to the Pink, Molly—named, doubtless, for the Captain’s lady. There they took on board, four of the Pink’s crew.

How heavily the moments passed that night! That “fair[Pg 556] young man,” as Governor Dummer calls him, in the lettres de cachet—too young, it may seem, at twenty-two, to commence a pilgrimage, like Cain’s—how sublimated his misery must have been! What sacrifice would he not have made, to break the dead man’s slumber! There he lay; as yet unfound, stark, and stiff, and with eyes unclosed—

“Cut off, ev’n in the blossoms of my sin,
Unhousel’d, unanointed, unanneal’d.”

Bootless sorrow! He had made his bloody bed—and therein must he lie o’nights, and in no other. There were no hops in that pillow, for his burning brain. The undying memory of a murdered victim—what an everlasting agrypnic it must be!

Time, to this wretched boy, seemed very like eternity, that night—but the sound of the splashing oar was audible at last—the boat touched the wharf—for the last time he shook the hand of his friend, Peter Faneuil, and left the land of his birth, which he was destined never to revisit.

The boat was turned from the shore, and the rowers gave way. But so intense was the fog, that night, that they got on shore, at Dorchester Neck; and, not until long after midnight, reached the Sheerness, man of war. They were received on board. Captain Conrad and Lieutenant Pritchard were very naturally disposed to sympathize with “a fair young man,” in a predicament, like this—it was all in their line. Gillam, the elder brother, related the occurrence; and, before day, parted from Henry, whom he was destined to meet no more. Early, on the following morning, the events of the preceding night had been whispered, from man to man; for the pleasure of being among the earliest, to communicate the intelligence of a bloody murder, was precisely the same, in 1728, as it is, at the present day. Mrs. Winslow, the lady of the Captain of the Molly, had learned all the details, doubtless, before the morning watch. The surgeons, who dressed the wounds of Henry Phillips, for he also was wounded, felt themselves under no obligation to be silent. The sailors of the Molly, who had overheard the conversation of several of the party, were under no injunction of secrecy. Indeed, long before the dawn of the fourth of July—not then the glorious Fourth—the intelligence had spread, far and wide; and parties were scouring the Common, in quest of the murdered man. At an early hour, Governor Dummer’s proclamation was[Pg 557] in the hands of some trusty compositor, in the office of Samuel Kneeland, in Queen Street; and soon the handbills were upon all the town pumps, and chief corners, according to the usage of those days.

There is a pleasure, somewhat difficult of analysis, undoubtedly, in gazing for hours upon the stuffed skin of a beast, that, when in the flesh, has devoured a respectable citizen. When good Mr. Bowen—not the professor—kept his museum in the mansion, occupied, before the Revolution, by the Rev. Dr. Caner, and upon whose site the Savings Bank, and Historical Society have their apartments, at present, nothing in all his collection—not even the Salem Beauty—nor Marat and Charlotte Cordé—interested me so much, as a broken sword, with a label annexed, certifying, that, during the horrors of St. Domingo, seven and twenty of the white inhabitants had fallen, beneath that sword, in the hands of a gigantic negro! How long, one of the fancy will linger—“patiens pulveris atque solis” for the luxury of looking upon nothing more picturesque than the iron bars of a murderer’s cell!

It had, most naturally, spread abroad, that young Philips was concealed, on board the man of war. Hundreds may be supposed to have gathered, in groups, straining their eyes, to get a glimpse of the Sheerness; and the officer, who, in obedience to the warrant, proceeded, on that foggy morning, to arrest the offender, found more difficulty, in discovering the man of war, than was encountered, on the preceding evening, by those, who had sought for the body of Woodbridge, upon the Common. At length, the fog fled before the sun—the vista was opened between the Castle and Spectacle Island—but the Sheerness was no longer there—literally, the places that had known her, knew her no more.

Some of our worthy fathers, more curious than the rest, betook themselves, I dare say, to the cupola of the old townhouse—how few of us are aware, that the present is the third, that has occupied that spot. There, with their glasses, they swept the eastern horizon, to find the truant ship—and enjoyed the same measure of satisfaction, that Mr. Irving represents the lodger to have enjoyed, who was so solicitous to get a glimpse of the “Stout Gentleman.”

Over the waters she went, heavily laden, with as much misery, as could be pent up, in the bosom of a single individual.

[Pg 558]He was stricken with that malady, which knows no remedy from man—a mind diseased. In one brief hour, he had disfranchised himself for ever, and become a miserable exile.

Among the officers of the Sheerness, he must have been accounted a young lion. His gallantry, in the estimation of the gentlemen of the wardroom, must have furnished a ready passport to their hearts—he had killed his man!—with the civilized, not less than with the savage, this is the proudest mark of excellence! How little must he have relished the approbation of the thoughtless, for an act, which had made him the wretched young man, that he was! How paltry the compensation for the anguish he had inflicted upon others—the mourning relatives of him, whom he had, that night, destroyed—his own connections—his mother—he was too young, at twenty-two, to be insensible to the sufferings of that mother! God knows, she had not forgotten her poor, misguided boy; as we shall presently see she crossed the ocean, to hold the aching head, and bind up the broken heart of her expatriated son—and arrived, only in season, to weep upon his grave, while it was yet green.




It is known, that old Chief Justice Sewall, who died Jan. 1, 1730, kept a diary, which is in the possession of the Rev. Samuel Sewall, of Burlington, Mass., the son of the late Chief Justice Sewall. As the death of the old Chief Justice occurred, about eighteen months after the time, when the duel was fought, between Phillips and Woodbridge, it occurred to me, that some allusion to it, might be found, in the diary.

The Rev. Samuel Sewall has, very kindly, informed me, that the diary of the Chief Justice does not refer to the duel; but that the event was noticed by him, in his interleaved almanac, and by the Rev. Joseph Sewall, who preached the occasional sermon, to which I have referred—in his diary: and the Rev. Mr. Sewall, of Burlington, has obligingly furnished me with such extracts, as seem to have a bearing on the subject, and with some suggestions, in relation to the parties.

On the 4th of July, 1728, Judge Sewall, in his interleaved[Pg 559] almanac, writes thus—“Poor Mr. Benjam. Woodbridge is found dead in the Comon this morning, below the Powder-house, with a Sword-thrust through him, and his own Sword undrawn. Henry Phillips is suspected. The town is amazed!” This wears the aspect of what is commonly called foul play; and the impression might exist, that Phillips had run his antagonist through, before he had drawn his sword.

It is quite likely, that Judge Sewall himself had that impression, when he made his entry, on the fourth of July: the reader will observe, he does not say sheathed but undrawn. If there existed no evidence to rebut this presumption, it would seem, not that there had been murder, in a duel, but a case of the most atrocious murder; for nothing would be more unlikely to happen, than that a man, after having received his death wound, in this manner, should have sheathed his own sword. The wound was under the right pap; he was run through; the sword had come out, at the small of his back. How strongly, in this case, the presumptive evidence would bear against Phillips, not that he killed Woodbridge, for of this there is no doubt; but that he killed him, before he had drawn his own sword.

When the reader shall have read the authenticated testimony, which now lies before me, he will see, not only that the swords of both were drawn—but that both were wounded—that, after Woodbridge was wounded, he either dropped his sword, or was disarmed—and, that, when he had become helpless, and had walked some little distance from the spot, Phillips picked up the sword of his antagonist, and returned it to the scabbard. The proof of this, by an eye-witness, is clear, direct, and conclusive.

The next extract, in order of time, is from the diary of the Rev. Joseph Sewall, under date July, 1728—“N. B. On ye 4th (wch was kept, as a Day of Prayr upon ye account of ye Drought) we were surpris’d wth ye sad Tidings yt Mr. Henry Phillips and Mr Woodbridge fought a duel in wch ye latter was slain. O Ld Preserve ye Tow. and Land from the guilt of Blood”.——“In ye Eveng. I visited Mrs. Ph. O Ld Sanctify thine awful judgt to her. Give her Son a thorow Rcpentce.”

These extracts are of interest, not simply because they are historical, but as illustrative of the times.

1728, July 18. I preached ye Lecture from yese words, Ps. 119, 115, Depart from me ye evil Doers, &c. Endeavd[Pg 560] to shew ye evill and danger of wicked Company.—Condemned Duelling as a bloody crime, &c. O Lord, Bless my poor labours.

1728-9, January 22. Mr. Thacher, Mr. Prince, and I met at Mrs. Phillips, and Pray’d for her son. I hope G. graciously assisted. Ld Pardon the hainous Sins of yt young man, convert and Heal his soul.

Writing to a London correspondent, June 2, 1729, Chief Justice Sewall says—“Richard put the Letter on board Capt. Thomas Lithered, who saild this day; in who went Madam Hannah Phillips.” In his interleaved almanac is the following entry—“1729, Sept. 27, Saturday Madam Phillips arrives; mane.” The explanation of these two last entries is at hand. Jean Faneuil of Rochelle had, doubtless, written, either to his brother André, in Boston, or to his nephew, by marriage, Gillam Phillips, giving an account of the wanderer, Gillam’s brother. At length, the tidings came hither, that he was sick; and, probably, in May, 1729, intelligence arrived, that he was dangerously ill. The mother’s heart was stirred within her. By the first vessel she embarked for London, on her way to Rochelle. The eyes of that unhappy young man were not destined to behold again the face of her, whose daylight he had turned into darkness, and whose heart he had broken.

He died about the twentieth of May, 1729, as I infer from the documents before me. The first of these is the account, rendered by Jean Faneuil, to Gillam Phillips, in Jean’s own hand—“Deboursement fait par Jean faneuil pour feu Monsieur heny Phillipe de Boston,” &c. He charges in this account, for amount paid the physician, “pendant sa maladie.” The doctor’s bill is sent as a voucher, and is also before me. Dr. “Girard De Villars, Aggregé au College Royal des Medicins de la Rochelle” acknowledges to have received payment in full pour l’honoraire des consultes de mes confreres et moy a Monsieur Henry Phillipe Anglois, from the fourth of April, to the twentieth of May.

The apothecary’s bill of Monsieur Guinot, covering three folio pages, is an interesting document, for something of the nature of the malady may be inferred, from the materia medica employed—potion anodinebaume tranquille santcordial somnifere. How effectually the visions, the graphic recollections of this miserable young man must have murdered sleep!

The Rev. Mr. Sewall of Burlington suggests, that Mr. Benjamin[Pg 561] Woodbridge, who fell in this duel, was, very probably, the grandson of the Rev. John Woodbridge of Andover, and he adds, that his partner, Jonathan Sewall, to whose house the body was conveyed, was a nephew of the old Chief Justice, and, in 1717, was in business with an elder brother, Major Samuel Sewall, with whom he resided. In 1726, Major Sewall “lived in a house, once occupied by Madam Usher, near the Common;” whither the body of Woodbridge might have been conveyed, without much trouble.

The General Court, which assembled, on the 28th of that month, in which this encounter took place, enacted a more stringent law, than had existed before, on the subject of duelling.

I shall now present the testimony, as it lies before me, certified by Elisha Cook, J. P., before whom the examination was had, on the morning after the duel:—

“Suffolk, ss. Memorandum. Boston, July 4, 1728. Messrs. Robert Handy, George Stewart and others being convented on examination, concerning the murther of Benja. Woodbridge last night, Mr. Handy examined saith—that sometime before night Mr. Benja. Woodbridge come to me at the White horse[3] and desired me to lett him (have) his own sword. I asked ye reason: he replied he had business called him into the Country. I was jealous he made an excuse. I urged him to tell me plainly what occasion he had for a sword, fearing it was to meet with Mr. Henry Phillips, who had lately fell out. He still persisted in his first story, upon which I gave him his sword and belt,[4] and then he left the Compy, Mr. Thomas Barton being in Company, I immediately followed, and went into the Common, found said Woodbridge walking the Common by the Powder house, his sword by his side. I saw no person save him. I againe urged the occasion of his being there. He denied informing. In some short time, I saw Mr. Henry Phillips walking towards us, with his Sword by his side and Cloke on. Before he came nere us I told them I feared there was a Quarrel and what would be the events. They both denied it.

“Mr. Phillips replied again Mr. Woodbridge and he had some particular business that concerned them two onley and desired I[Pg 562] would go about my business. I still persuaded them to let me know their design, and if any quarrel they would make it up. Mr. Phillips used me in such a manner with slites (slights) that I went of and left them by the powder house, this was about eight in the evening. I went up the Common. They walked down. After some short space I returned, being justly fearful of their designe, in order to prevent their fiteing with Swords. I mett with them about the Powder House. I first saw Mr. Woodbridge making up to me, holding his left hand below his right breast. I discovered blood upon his coat, asked the meaning of it. He told me Mr. Phillips had wounded him. Having no Sword I enquired where it was. He said Mr. Phillips had it. Mr. Phillips immediately came up, with Woodbridge’s sword in his hand naked, his own by his side. I told them I was surprized they should quarrel to this degree. I told Mr. Phillips he had wounded Mr. Woodbridge. He replied yes so he had and Mr. Woodbridge had also wounded me, but in the fleshy part onley, shewing me his cut fingers. Mr. Phillips took Mr. Woodbridge’s scabbard, sheathed the Sword, and either laid it down by him, or gave it to him.

“Mr. Woodbridge beginning to faint satt down, and begged that surgeons might be sent for. I immediately went away, leaving these two together. Phillips presently followed, told me for God’s sake to go back to Woodbridge, and take care of him, till he returned with a surgeon. I prayed him to hasten, but did not care to returne. Mr. Phillips went away as fast as he could and went down the lane by the Pound.[5] I returned to the White Horse. I found Mr. Barton and Geoe Reason together. I told Mr. Barton Phillips and Woodbridge having quarreled, Woodbridge was much wounded. I asked Barton to go and see how it was it with Woodbridge. We went a little way from the house, with a designe to go, but Barton, hearing Phillips was gone for a Chirurgeon, concluded Phillips would procure a Chirurgeon, and so declined going, and went to Mr. Blin’s house where we ware invited to supper. I have not seen Mr. Hy Phillips or (heard) any from him, since I left him going for a Chirurgeon.”

Such is the testimony of Robert Handy; and the reader will agree with me, that, if he and Barton had been choked with their supper at Mr. Blin’s, it would have been a “Providence.”[Pg 563] It would be difficult to find the record of more cruel neglect, towards a dying man. When urged to go back and sustain Woodbridge, till a surgeon could be procured, he “did not care to returne.” And Barton preferred going to his supper. The principle, which governed these fellows, was a grossly selfish and cowardly fear of personal implication. Upon an occasion of minor importance, a similar principle actuated a couple of Yorkshire lads, who refused to assist, in righting the carriage of a member of parliament, which had been overturned, because their father had cautioned them never to meddle with state affairs.

I shall present the remaining testimony, in the following number.




Let us proceed with the examination, before Justice Elisha Cook, on the fourth of July, 1728.

“John Cutler, of Boston, Chirurgeon, examined upon oath, saith, that, last evening, about seven, Dr. George Pemberton came to me, at Mrs. Mears’s, and informed, that an unhappy quarrel hapned betwene Mr. Henry Phillips and Benja. Woodbridge, and it was to be feared Mr. Woodbridge was desperately wounded. We went out. We soon mett Mr. Henry Phillips, who told us he feared he had killed Mr. Woodbridge, or mortally wounded him; that he left him at the bottom of the Common, and begged us to repaire there and see if any relief might be given him. Doct. Pemberton and I went, in compy with Mr. Henry Phillips, in search of said Woodbridge, but could not find him, nor make any discovery of the affair. Mr. Phillips left us. I bid him walk in Bromfield’s lane. We went to Mr. Woodbridge’s lodgings, and severall other houses, but heard nothing of him. Upon our return Mr. H. Phillips was at my house. I dresed his wound, which was across his belly and his fingers. Mr. Phillips shew a great concern and fear of having killed Mr. Woodbridge. I endeavored to appease him, and hope better things; but he said, could he think he was alive, he should think himself a happy man.”

[Pg 564]“Doct. George Pemberton, sworn, saith that last evening about seven or eight o’clock Mr. Henry Phillips came to the Sun Tavern and informed me, first desiring me to go out wch I did and went to my house, where said Phillips shew me some wounds, and that he had wounded Mr. Benjamin Woodbridge, and feared they would prove mortal—begged of me to repair to the Comon. Accompanied with Dr. Cutler and said Phillips, in quest of said Woodbridge, we went to the Powder house, and searched the ground there, but could make no discovery. Mr. Phillips then left us, and walked towards Mr. Bromfield’s lane. Dr. Cutler and I went to Mr. Woodbridge’s lodging, and several other places, but could hear nothing of him. We returned and found Henry Phillips, at Dr. Cutler’s, who was very greatly concerned; fearing he had killed Mr. Woodbridge. We dressed Mr. Phillips’ wounds which were small.”

“Capt. John Winslow examined saith that last night being at Mr. Doring’s house, Mr. Gillam Phillips, about eleven in the evening, came to me and told me he wanted my boat to carry off his brother Henry, who had wounded or killed a man. I went, by appointment, to Mr. Vardy’s where I soon mett Gillam Phillips. I asked him where his brother was—who he had been fiteing with. He made answer I should see him presently. Went down to Colo. Estis Hatche’s where Mr. Gillam Phillips was to meet me. I gott there first, knocked at Mr. Hatche’s door. No answer. From Mr. Hatche’s house Mr. Peter Faneuil and Henry Phillips came into Mr. Hatche’s yard—Mr. Gillam Phillips immediately after with Mr. Adam Tuck. I heard no discourse about the man who was wounded. They concluded, and sent Mr. Henry Phillips to Gibb’s wharf. Then Gillam Phillips with me to the long wharf. I took boat there, and went on board my ship, lying in the harbor. Mr. Phillips (Gillam) being in the bote, I took four of the Ship’s crew, and rowed to Gibb’s Wharf, where we mett with Mr. Henry Phillips, Peter Faneuil, and Adam Tuck. I came on shore. Henry Phillips and Tuck entred the boat. I understood by discourse with Gillam Phillips, they designed on board his Majestys Ship-Sheerness, Captain James Conrad Comdr. This was about twelve and one of the Clock.”

“Adam Tuck of Boston farier, examined upon oath saith, that, about eleven of the clock, last evening, being at Luke Vardy’s I understood there had bin a quarril betwene Henry Phillips[Pg 565] and Benja. Woodbridge, and that Phillips had killed or mortally wounded Woodbridge. Gillam Phillips Esq. being there, I walked with him towards Colo. Hatches, where we came up with Capt. Jno. Winslow, and Henry Phillips, and Peter Faneuil. We all went to Gibb’s wharf, when we, that is Mr. Gillam and Henry Phillips, with the examinant went on board Capt. John Winslow’s boat. We designed, as I understood, to go on board his Majesie’s ship Sheerness, in order to leave Mr. Henry Phillips on board the man of War, who, as he told me, had, he feared, wounded a man, that evening on the Comon, near the water side. The person’s name I understood was Woodbridge. Soon after our being on board Lt. Pritchard caried us into his apartment, where Gillam Phillips related to the Leut. the rancounter that hapned betwene his brother Henry and Benja. Woodbridge. I took the intent of their going on board the man of War was to conceale Mr. Henry Phillips. We stayed on board about an hour and a half. We left Mr. Henry Phillips on board the Man of War and came up to Boston.”

“John Underwood, at present residing in Boston, mariner, belonging to the Pink Molle, John Winslow Comdr. now lying in the harbour of Boston, being examined upon oath, concerning the death or murther of Mr. Benjamin Woodbridge, saith, that about twelve o’clock last night, his Captn John Winslow, with another person, unknown to him came on board. The Captn ordered the boat with four of our hands, I being one, to go to a Wharf at the South end of the Town, where we went, and there the Capt. went on Shore, and two other persons came into the Boat without the Captn. We put of and by the discourse we were designed to go on board the Man of Whar, but by reason of the fogg or thick weather we gott on shore at Dorchester neck, went up to a house and stayed there about an hour and half, then returned to our boat, took in the three persons affore-named, as I suppose, with our crew, and went on board the Man of War, now lying betwene the Castle & Specta Island. We all went on board with the men we took in at the Wharf, stayed there for the space of an hour, and then came up to Boston, leaving one of the three onley on board, and landed by Oliver’s Dock.”

“Wm. Pavice of Boston, one of the Pink Molly’s crew, examined upon oath, saith as above declared by John Underwood.”

[Pg 566]“James Wood and John Brown, mariners, belonging to the Pink Molly, being examined upon oath, declare as above. John Brown cannot say, or knows not how many persons they took from the shore, at Gibb’s wharf, but is positive but two returned to Boston. They both say they cant be sure whether the Capt. went in the boat from the ship to the shoar.”

“Mr. Peter Faneuil examined saith, that, last evening, about twelve, he was with Gillam Phillips, Henry Phillips and Adam Tuck at Gibb’s wharf, and understood by Gillam Phillips, that his brother Henry had killed or mortally wounded Mr. Benja. Woodbridge this evening, that Henry Phillips went into Capt’n Winslow’s boat, with his brother and Adam Tuck with the Boat’s crew, where they went he knows not.”

Such was the evidence, presented before the examining justice, on the fourth of July, 1728, in relation to this painful, and extraordinary occurrence.

I believe I have well nigh completed my operation, upon Peter Faneuil: but before I throw aside my professional apron, let me cast about, and see, if there are no small arteries which I have not taken up. I perceive there are.

The late Rev. Dr. Gray, of Jamaica Plains, on page 8 of his half century sermon, published in 1842, has the following passage—“The third or Jamaica Plain Parish, in Roxbury, had its origin in the piety of an amiable female. I refer to Mrs. Susanna, wife of Benjamin Pemberton. She was the daughter of Peter Faneuil, who, in 1740 erected and gave to the Town of Boston the far-famed Hall, which still bears his name; and who built also the dwelling house, now standing here, recently known, as late Dr. John Warren’s Country seat.

Nothing could have been farther from the meaning of the amiable Mr. Gray, than a design to cast a reproach, upon the unimpeachable pedigree of this excellent lady. But Peter Faneuil was, unfortunately, never married. He was a bachelor; and is styled “Bachelour,” in the commission, from John, Archbishop of Canterbury, to Judge Willard, to administer the oath to Benjamin Faneuil, as administrator, on Peter’s estate. Peter’s estate was divided, among his brother, Benjamin, and his four sisters, Anne Davenport, Susanna Boutineau, Mary Phillips, and Mary Ann Jones. This fact is established, by the original indenture of marriage settlement, now before me, between John Jones and Mary Ann Faneuil, dated the very month of Peter’s decease.[Pg 567] He had no daughter to inherit. Mrs. Susanna Pemberton had not a drop of the Faneuil blood, in her veins. Her nearest approximation consisted in the fact, that George Bethune, her own brother, married, as I have already stated, Mary Faneuil, Peter’s niece, and the daughter of Benjamin. Benjamin occupied that cottage, before he removed to Brighton. He had also a town residence, in rear of the Old Brick Meeting-house, which stood where Joy’s buildings now stand.

Thomas Kilby was the commercial agent of Peter Faneuil, at Canso, Nova Scotia, in 1737, 8 and 9. He was a gentleman of education; graduated at Harvard, in 1723, and died in 1740, and according to Pemberton, published essays, in prose and verse. Not long ago, a gentleman inquired of me, if I had ever heard, that Peter Faneuil had a wooden leg; and related the following amusing story, which he received from his collateral ancestor, John Page, who graduated at Harvard, in 1765, and died in 1825, aged 81.

Thomas Kilby was an unthrifty, and rather whimsical, gentleman. Being without property and employment, he retired, either into Maine, or Nova Scotia. There he made a will, for his amusement, having, in reality, nothing to bequeath. He left liberal sums to a number of religious, philanthropic, and literary institutions—his eyes, which were very good, to a blind relative—his body to a surgeon of his acquaintance, “excepting as hereinafter excepted”—his sins he bequeathed to a worthy clergyman, as he appeared not to have any—and the choice of his legs to Peter Faneuil.

Upon inquiry of the oldest surviving relative of Peter, I found, that nothing was known of the wooden leg.

A day or two after, a highly respectable and aged citizen, attracted by the articles, in the Transcript, informed me, that his father, born in 1727, told him, that he had seen Peter Faneuil, in his garden, and that, on one foot, he wore a very high-heeled shoe. This, probably, gave occasion to the considerate bequest of Thomas Kilby.

The will, as my informant states, upon the authority of Mr. John Page, coming to the knowledge of Peter, he was so much pleased with the humor of it, that, probably, having a knowledge of the testator before, he sent for him, and made him his agent, at Canso.

Peter was a kind-hearted man. The gentleman who gave me[Pg 568] the fact, concerning the high-heeled shoe, informed me, upon his father’s authority, that old Andrew Faneuil—the same, who, in his will, prays God, for “the perfecting of his charities”—put a poor, old, schoolmaster, named Walker, into jail, for debt. Imprisonment then, for debt, was a serious and lingering affair. Peter, in the flesh—not his angel—privately paid the poor man’s debt, and set the prisoner free.




Those words of Horace were the words of soberness and truth—Oh imitatores, vulgum pecus!—I loathe imitators and imitations of all sorts. How cheap must that man feel, who awakens hesterno vitio, from yesterday’s debauch, on imitation gin or brandy! Let no reader of the Transcript suppose, that I am so far behind the times, as to question the respectability of being drunk, on the real, original Scheidam or Cogniac, whether at funerals, weddings, or ordinations. But I consider imitation gin or brandy, at a funeral, a point blank insult to the corpse.

Everybody knows, that old oaks, old friendships, and old mocha must grow—they cannot be made. My horse is frightened, nearly out of his harness, almost every day of his life, by the hissing and jetting of the steam, and the clatter of the machinery, as I pass a manufactory, or grindery, of imitation coffee. Imitation coffee! What would my old friend, Melli Melli, the Tunisian ambassador, with whom—long, long ago—I have taken a cup of his own particular, once and again, at Chapotin’s Hotel, in Summer Street, say to such a thing as this!

This grindery is located, in an Irish neighborhood, and there used to be a great number of Irish children thereabouts. The number has greatly diminished of late. I know not why, but, as I passed, the other day, the story that Dickens tells of the poor sausage-maker, whose broken buttons, among the sausage meat, revealed his unlucky destiny, came forcibly to mind. By the smell, I presume, there is a roastery, connected with the establishment; and, now I think of it, the atmosphere, round about, is filled with the odor of roast pig—a little overdone.

[Pg 569]Good things, of all sorts, have stimulated the imitative powers of man, from the diamond to the nutmeg. Even death—and death is a good thing to him, whose armor of righteousness is on, cap-a-pie—death has been occasionally imitated; and really, now and then, the thing has been very cleverly done. I refer not to cases of catalepsy or trance, nor to cases of total suspension of sensibility and voluntary motion, for a time, under the agency of sulphuric ether, or chloroform.

In 1843, at the request of her Majesty’s principal Secretary of State, for the Home Department, Mr. Edwin Chadwick, Barrister at Law, made “a report on the results of a special inquiry into the practice of interment in towns.” This report is very severe upon our fraternity; but, I must confess, it is a most able and interesting performance, and full of curious detail. The demands of the English undertaker, it appears, are so oppressive upon the poor, that burial societies have been formed, upon the mutual principle. It is asserted by Mr. Chadwick, that parents, under the gripings of poverty, have actually poisoned their children, to obtain the burial money. At the Chester assizes, several trials, for infanticide, have occurred, on these grounds. “That child will not live, it is in the burial club,” is a cant and common phrase, among the Manchester paupers.

Some very clever impositions, have been practised, to obtain the burial allowance. A man, living in Manchester, resolved to play corpse, for this laudable object. His wife was privy to the plot, of course,—and gave notice, in proper form, of her bereavement. The agent of the society made the customary domiciliary visit. There the body lay—stiff and stark—and a very straight and proper corpse it was—the jaw decently tied up. The visitor, well convinced, and quite touched by the widow’s anguish, was turning on his heel to depart, when a slight motion of the dead man’s eyelid arrested his attention: he began to smell—not of the body, like the bear in Æsop—but a rat. Upon feeling the pulse, he begged the chief mourner to be comforted; there was strong ground for hope! More obstinate than Rachel, she not only would not be comforted, but abused the visitor, in good Gaelic, for questioning her veracity. Had she not laid out the daar man, her own daar Tooly Mashee, with her own hands! and didn’t she know better than to be after laying him out, while the brith was in his daar buddy! and would she be guilty of so cruel a thing to her own good man! The doctor was called;[Pg 570] and, after feeling the pulse, threw a bucket of water, in the face of the defunct, which resulted in immediate resurrection.

The most extraordinary case of imitation death on record, and which, under the acknowledged rules of evidence, it is quite impossible to disbelieve, is that of the East India Fakeer, who was buried alive at Lahore, in 1837, and at the end of forty days, disinterred, and resuscitated. This tale is, prima facie, highly improbable: let us examine the evidence. It is introduced, in the last English edition of Sharon Turner’s Sacred History of the World, vol. iii., in a note upon Letter 25. The witness is Sir Claude M. Wade, who, at the time of the Fakeer’s burial, and disinterment, was political resident, at Loodianah, and principal agent of the English government, at the court of Runjeet Singh. The character of this witness is entirely above suspicion; and the reader will observe, in his testimony, anything but the marks and numbers of a credulous witness, or a dealer in the marvellous. Mr. Wade addressed a letter to the editor of Turner’s History, from which the following extracts are made:—

“I was present, at the court of Runjeet Singh, at Lahore, in 1837, when the Fakeer, mentioned by the Hon. Capt. Osborne, was buried alive, for six weeks; and, though I arrived, a few hours after his interment, I had the testimony of Runjeet Singh, himself, and others, the most credible witnesses of his court, to the truth of the Fakeer having been so buried before them; and from having been present myself, when he was disinterred, and restored to a state of perfect vitality, in a position so close to him, as to render any deception impossible, it is my firm belief that there was no collusion, in producing the extraordinary fact, that I have related.”

Mr. Wade proceeds to give an account of the disinterment. “On the approach of the appointed time, according to invitation, I accompanied Runjeet Singh to the spot, where the Fakeer had been buried. It was a square building, called, in the language of the country, Barra Durree, in the midst of one of the gardens, adjoining the palace at Lahore, with an open verandah all around, having an enclosed room in the centre. On arriving there, Runjeet Singh, who was attended on the occasion, by the whole of his court, dismounting from his elephant, asked me to join him, in examining the building, to satisfy himself that it was closed, as he had left it. We did so. There had been an open door, on each of the four sides of the room, three of which[Pg 571] were perfectly closed with brick and mortar. The fourth had a strong door, also closed with mud, up to the padlock, which was sealed with the private seal of Runjeet Singh, in his own presence, when the Fakeer was interred. In fact, the exterior of the building presented no aperture whatever, by which air could be admitted, nor any communication held, by which food could possibly be conveyed to the Fakeer; and I may also add, that the walls, closing the doorways, bore no marks of having been recently disturbed or removed.”

“Runjeet Singh recognized the impression of the seal, as the one, which he had affixed: and, as he was as skeptical, as any European could be, of the successful result of such an enterprise, to guard, as far as possible, against any collusion, he had placed two companies, from his own personal escort, near the building, from which four sentries were furnished, and relieved, every two hours, night and day, to guard the building from intrusion. At the same time, he ordered one of the principal officers of his court to visit the place occasionally, and report the result of his inspection to him; while he himself, or his minister, kept the seal which closed the hole of the padlock, and the latter received the reports of the officers on guard, morning and evening.”

“After our examination, and we had seated ourselves in the verandah, opposite the door, some of Runjeet’s people dug away the mud wall, and one of his officers broke the seal, and opened the padlock.”

“On the door being thrown open, nothing but a dark room was to be seen. Runjeet Singh and myself then entered it, in company with the servant of the Fakeer. A light was brought, and we descended about three feet below the floor of the room, into a sort of cell, in which a wooden box, about four feet long, by three broad, with a square sloping roof, containing the Fakeer, was placed upright, the door of which had also a padlock and seal, similar to that on the outside. On opening it, we saw”—

But I am reminded, by observing the point I have reached, upon my sheet of paper, that it is time to pause. There are others, who have something to say to the public, of more importance, about rum, sugar and molasses, turtle soup and patent medicine, children, that are lost, and puppies, that are found.



[Pg 572]


Sir Claude M. Wade, the reader may remember, was proceeding thus—“On opening it,” (the box containing the Fakeer) “we saw a figure, enclosed in a bag of white linen, drawn together, and fastened by a string over the head; on the exposure of which a grand salute was fired, and the surrounding multitude came crowding to the door to see the spectacle. After they had gratified their curiosity, the Fakeer’s servant, putting his arms into the box, took the figure of his master out; and, closing the door, placed it, with his back against the door, exactly as he had been squatted, like a Hindoo idol, in the box itself. Runjeet Singh and I then descended into the cell, which was so small, that we were only able to sit on the ground in front, and so close to the body, as to touch it with our hands and knees. The servant then began pouring warm water over the figure, but, as my object was to watch if any fraudulent practice could be detected, I proposed to Runjeet Singh, to tear open the bag, and have a perfect view of the body, before any means of resuscitation were attempted. I accordingly did so; and may here remark, that the bag, when first seen by us, looked mildewed, as if it had been buried for some time. The legs and arms of the body were shrivelled and stiff, the face full, as in life, and the head reclining on the shoulder, like that of a corpse.”

“I then called to the medical gentleman, who was attending me, to come down and inspect the body, which he did, but could discover no pulsation, in the heart, temples or the arms. There was however, a heat, about the region of the brain, which no other part of the body exhibited. The servant then commenced bathing him with hot water, and gradually relaxing his arms and legs from the rigid state, in which they were contracted; Runjeet Singh taking his right and left leg, to aid by friction in restoring them to their proper action, during which time the servant placed a hot wheaten cake, about an inch thick, on the top of the head—a process, which he twice or thrice repeated. He then took out of his nostrils and ears the wax and cotton plugs, with which they were stopped, and after great exertion, opened his mouth, by inserting the point of a knife between the teeth, and while holding his jaws[Pg 573] open, with his left hand, drew the tongue forward, with the forefinger of the right, in the course of which the tongue flew back, several times, to its curved position upwards, that in which it had originally been placed, so as to close the gullet. He then rubbed his eyelids with ghee (clarified butter) for some time, till he succeeded in opening them, when the eye appeared quite motionless and glazed. After the cake had been applied for the third time, to the top of the head, the body was convulsively heaved, the nostrils became violently inflated, respiration ensued, and the limbs began to assume a natural fulness. The servant then put some ghee on his tongue, and made him swallow it. A few minutes afterwards, the eyeballs became slowly dilated, recovered their natural color, and the Fakeer, recognizing Runjeet Singh, sitting close by him, articulated, in a low sepulchral tone, scarcely audible—‘Do you believe me now?’”

“Runjeet Singh replied in the affirmative; and then began investing the Fakeer with a pearl necklace, a superb pair of gold bracelets, shawls, and pieces of silk and muslin, forming what is called a khilet, such as is usually conferred, by the princes of India, on persons of distinction. From the time of the box being opened to the recovery of the voice, not more than half an hour could have elapsed; and, in another half an hour, the Fakeer talked with himself and those about him freely, though feebly, like a sick person, and we then left him, convinced that there had been no fraud or collusion, in the exhibition, which we had witnessed.”

The Hon. Captain Osborne, who was attached to the mission of Sir William Macnaughten, in the following year, 1838, sought to persuade the Fakeer to repeat the experiment, and to suffer the keys of the vault to remain in Captain Osborne’s custody. At this the Fakeer became alarmed, though he afterwards consented, and, at the request of Runjeet Singh, he came to Lahore for the purpose; but, as he expressed a strong apprehension, that Captain Osborne intended to destroy him, and as Sir William Macnaughten and his suite were about to depart, the matter was given up. This is related by Captain Osborne, in his “Court and Camp of Runjeet Singh.”

After avowing his entire belief in all the facts, set forth in the previous narrative, Sir Claude M. Wade remarks—“I took some pains to inquire into the mode, by which such a result[Pg 574] was effected; and was informed, that it rested on a doctrine of the Hindoo physiologists, that heat constitutes the self existent principle of life; and, that, if the functions are so far destroyed, as to leave that one, in perfect purity, life could be sustained for considerable lengths of time, independently of air, food, or any other means of sustenance. To produce such a state, the patients are obliged to go through a severe preparation. How far such means are calculated to produce such effects physiologists will be better able to judge than I can pretend to do. I only state what I saw, and heard, and think.”

This narrative certainly belongs to the very first part of the very first book of very wonderful things. But this marvellous book is no longer a closed volume. Millions of ingenious fingers have, for fifty years, been busily employed, in breaking its mysterious seals, one after another. Demonstration has trampled upon doubt, and the world is rapidly coming to my shrewd old grandmother’s conclusion, that nothing is so truly wonderful, as that we wonder at all. There is nothing more difficult, than to exonerate the mind from the weight of its present consciousness, and to wonder by rule. We readily lose the recollection of our doubt and derision, upon former occasions, when matters, apparently quite as absurd and impossible, are presented for contemplation, de novo.

If putrefaction can be kept off, mere animal life, the vital principle, may be preserved, for a prodigious length of time, in the lower ranks of animal creation, while in a state of torpidity. Dr. Gillies relates, that he bottled up some cerastes, a species of small snakes, and kept them corked tight, with nothing in the bottle, but a little sand, for several years; and, when the bottle was uncorked, they came forth, revived by the air, and immediately acquired their original activity.

More than fifty years ago, having read Dr. Franklin’s account of the flies, which he discovered, drowned, in a bottle of old wine, and which he restored to life, by exposure to the sun’s rays; I bottled up a dozen flies, in a small phial of Madeira—took them out, at the expiration of a month—and placed them under a glass tumbler, in a sunny window. Within half an hour, nine revived; got up; walked about, wiped their faces with their fore legs; trimmed their wings, with their hinder ones; and began to knock their heads, against the tumbler, to escape. After waiting a couple of hours, to give the remaining[Pg 575] three a fair chance, but to no purpose, and expecting nothing from the humane society, for what I had already accomplished, I returned the nine to their wine bath, in the phial. After rather more than three months, I repeated the experiment of resuscitation. After several hours, two gave evidence of revival, got upon their legs, reeled against each other, and showed some symptoms of mania a potu. At length they were fairly on their trotters. I lifted the tumbler; they took the hint, and flew to the window glass. It was fly time. I watched one of those, who had profited by the revival—he got four or five flies about him, who really seemed to be listening to the account of his experience.

“Ants, bees, and wasps,” says Sharon Turner, in his Sacred History, vol. i. ch. 17, “especially the smallest of these, the ants, do things, and exercise sensibilities, and combine for purposes, and achieve ends, that bring them nearer to mankind, than any other class of animated nature.” Aye, I know, myself, some of our fellow-citizens, who make quite a stir, in their little circles, petty politicians, who extort responses from great men, and show them, in confidence, to all they meet—overgrown boys, in bands and cassocks, who, for mere exercise, edit religious newspapers, and scribble treason, under the name of ethics—who, in respect to all the qualities, enumerated by Sharon Turner, are decidedly inferior to pismires.

The hybernation of various animals furnishes analogous examples of the matter, under consideration. A suspension of faculties and functions, for a considerable time, followed by a periodical restoration of their use, forms a part of the natural history of certain animals.

Those forty days—that wonderful quarantine of the Fakeer, in the tomb, and his subsequent restoration, are marvels. I have presented the facts, upon the evidence of Sir Claude M. Wade. Every reader will philosophize, upon this interesting matter, for himself. If such experiments can be made, for forty days, it is not easy to comprehend the necessity of such a limit. If trustees were appointed, and gave bonds to keep the tomb comfortable, and free from rats, and to knock up a corpse, at the time appointed, forty years, or an hundred, might answer quite as well. What visions are thus opened to the mind. An author might go to sleep, and wake up in the midst of posterity, and find himself an entire stranger. Weary partners might[Pg 576] find a temporary respite, in the grave, and leave directions, to be called, in season to attend the funeral. The heir expectant of some tenacious ancestor might thus dispose of the drowsy and unprofitable interval. The gentleman of petite fortune might suffer it to accumulate, in the hands of trustees, and wake up, after twenty or thirty years, a man of affluence. Instead of making up a party for the pyramids, half a dozen merry fellows might be buried together, with the pleasant prospect of rising again in 1949. No use whatever being made of the time thus relinquished, and the powers of life being husbanded in the interim, years would pass uncounted, of course; and he, who was buried, at twenty-one, would be just of age when he awoke. I should like, extremely, to have the opinion of the Fakeer, upon these interesting points.




“And much more honest to be hir’d, and stand
With auctionary hammer in thy hand,
Provoking to give more, and knocking thrice,
For the old household stuff or picture’s price.”

Old customs, dead and buried, long ago, do certainly come round again, like old comets; but, whether in their appointed seasons, or not, I cannot tell. Whether old usages, and old chairs, and old teapots revolve in their orbits, or not, I leave to the astronomers. It would be very pleasant to be able to calculate the return of hoops, cocked hats, and cork rumpers, buffets, pillions, links, pillories, and sedans.

I noticed the following paragraph, in the Evening Transcript, not long ago, and it led me to turn over some heaps of old relics, in my possession—

“A substitute for the everlasting ‘going, going, gone,’ was introduced at a recent auction in New York. The auctioneer held up a sand-glass, through which the sand occupied fourteen seconds in passing. If a person made a bid, the glass was held up in view of all, and if no person advanced on the bid before the sand passed through, the sale was made. This idea is a novel one, though we believe it has long been practised in Europe.”

It was formerly the custom in England, to sell goods, at [Pg 577]auction, “by inch of candle.” An inch of candle was lighted, and the company proceeded to bid, the last crier or bidder, before the candle went out, was declared the purchaser. Samuel Pepys, who was Secretary of the Admiralty, in the reigns of the two last Stuarts, repeatedly refers to the practice, in his Diary. Thus, in Braybrook’s edition, of 1848, he says, vol. i. page 151, under date Nov. 6, 1660—“To our office, where we met all, for the sale of two ships, by an inch of candle, (the first time that I saw any of this kind,) where I observed how they do invite one another, and at last how they all do cry; and we have much to do to tell who did cry last.”

Again, Ibid., vol. ii. page 29, Sept. 3, 1662—“After dinner, we met and sold the Weymouth, Successe, and Fellowship hulkes, where pleasant to see how backward men are at first to bid; and yet, when the candle is going out, how they bawl, and dispute afterwards who bid the most first. And here I observed one man cunninger than the rest, that was sure to bid the last man, and carry it; and, inquiring the reason, he told me, that, just as the flame goes out, the smoke descends, which is a thing I never observed before, and, by that he do know the instant when to bid last.” Again, Ibid., vol. iv. page 4, Ap. 3, 1667, he refers to certain prize goods, “bought lately at the candle.”

Haydn says this species of auction, by inch of candle is derived from a practice, in the Roman Catholic Church. Where there is an excommunication, by inch of candle, and the sinner is allowed to come to repentance, while yet the candle burns. The sinner is supposed, of course, to be going—going—gone—unless he avails of the opportunity to bid, as it were, for his salvation. This naturally reminds the reader of the spiritual distich—

“For while the lamp holds out to burn,
The vilest sinner may return.”

Where the bids are, from a maximum, downward, the term—auction—is still commonly, though improperly employed, and in the very teeth of all etymology. When I was a boy, the poor, in many of our country towns, were disposed of, in this manner. The question was, who would take Daddy Osgood, one of the town’s poor, for the smallest weekly sum, to be paid by the town. The old man was started, at four shillings, and bid down to a minimum. There was yet a little work in his old bones; and I well remember one of these auctions, in 1798, in the town[Pg 578] of Billerica, at which Dr. William Bowers bid off Daddy Osgood, for two and sixpence.

The Dutch have a method of selling fresh fish, which is somewhat analogous to this, and very simple and ingenious. An account of it may be found, in Dodsley’s Annual Register, for 1760, vol. iii. page 170. The salesman is called the Affslager. The fish are brought in, in the morning, and placed on the ground, near the fish stalls of the retailers. At ten, precisely, the Affslager rings his bell, which may be heard, for half a mile. Retailers, and individual consumers collect, and the Affslager—the auctioneer—puts up a lot, at a maximum price. No one offers a less sum, but the mynheers stand round, sucking at their pipes, and puffing away, and saying nothing. When the Affslager becomes satisfied, that nobody will buy the lot, at the price named, he gradually lowers it, until one of the mynheers takes his pipe from his mouth and cries “mine!” in High Dutch. He is, of course, the purchaser; and the Affslager proceeds to the sale of another lot.

It will be seen, from one of the citations from Pepys, that some of the auctions of his time were called the candles; precisely as the auctions, at Rome, were called hastæ; a spear or hasta, instead of a flag, being the customary signal for the sale. The proper word, however, was auctio, and the auctioneer was called auctor. Notice of the sale was given, by the crier, a præcone prædicari, Plaut. Men., v. 9, 94, or, by writing on tables. Such is the import of tabulum proscripsit, in Cicero’s letter to his brother Quintus, ii. 6.

In the year 1824, passing through the streets of Natchez, I saw a slave, walking along, and ringing a bell, as he went; the bell very much resembled our cowbells, in size and form. Upon a signal from a citizen, the slave stopped ringing, and walked over to him, and stood before him, till he had read the advertisement of a sale at auction, placarded on the breast of the slave, who then went forward, ringing his bell, as before. The Romans made their bids, by lifting the finger; and the auctioneer added as many sesterces, as he thought amounted to a reasonable bid.

Cicero uses this expression in his fine oration against Verres, i 54—digitum tollit Junius patruus—Junius, his paternal uncle, raised his finger, that is, he made a bid.

The employment of a spear, as the signal of an auction sale,[Pg 579] is supposed to have arisen from the fact, that the only articles, originally sold, in this manner, were the spoils of war. Subsequently, the spear—hasta—came to be universally used, to signify a sale at auction. The auction of Pompey’s goods, by Cæsar, is repeatedly alluded to, by Cicero, with great severity, as the hasta Cæsaris. A passage may be found, in his treatise, De Officiis, ii. 8, and another, in his eighth Philippic, sec. 3—“Invitus dico, sed dicendum est. Hasta Cæsaris, Patres Conscripti, multis improbis spem affert, et audaciam. Viderunt enim, ex mendicis fieri repente divites: itaque hastam semper videre cupiunt ii, qui nostris bonis imminent; quibus omnia pollicetur Antonius.” I say it reluctantly, but it must be said—Cæsar’s auction, Conscript Fathers, inflames the hopes and the insolence of many bad men. For they see how immediately, the merest beggars are converted into men of wealth. Therefore it is that those, who are hankering after our goods and chattels, and to whom Antony has promised all things, are ever longing to behold such another auction, as that.

The auctioneer’s bell, in use, at the Hague, in 1760, was introduced into Boston, seventy-seven years ago, by Mr. Bicker, whose auction-room was near the Market. Having given some offence to the public, he inserted the following notice, in the Boston Gazette and Country Journal, Monday, April 18, 1774—“As the method, lately practised by the Subscriber, in having a Person at his Door, to invite Gentlemen and others to his public Sales—has given Dissatisfaction to some (Gentlemen Shopkeepers in particular) to avoid giving Offence for the future, he shall desist from that Practice, and pursue one (as follows) which he flatters himself cannot fail giving universal Satisfaction, as he sincerely wishes so to do. The Public are most earnestly requested to remember (for their own advantage) that, for the future, Notice will be given, by sounding a Bell, which he has purchased for that Purpose, which is erected over the Auction Room Door, near the Market, Boston, where constant Attendance is given both early and late, to receive the favors of all such who are pleased to confer on their Much obliged, Most Obedient, and very humble Servant, M. Bicker.”

Albeit there is no less bickering or dickering here now, than of yore, yet Bicker and his bell have gone, long ago, to the “receptacle of things lost upon earth.” The very name is no more.

Haydn says, the first auction in Britain was about 1700, by[Pg 580] Elisha Yale, a Governor of Fort George, in the East Indies, of the goods he had brought home with him. That Mr. Haydn must be mistaken is manifest, from the citation from Pepys, who speaks of auctions, by inch of candle, as early as 1660; and not then as a novelty, but the first of the kind that he had witnessed.

Fosbroke says, in his Antiquities, page 412—“In the middle age, the goods were cried and sold to the highest bidder, and the sound of a trumpet added with a very loud noise. The use of the spear was retained, the auctions being called Subhastationes; and the Subhastator, or auctioneer, was sworn to sell the goods faithfully. In Nares, we have, sold at a pike or spear, i. e. by public auction or outcry; and auctions called port sales, because originally, perhaps, sales made in ports—the crier stood under the spear, as in the Roman æra, and was, in the thirteenth century, called cursor.”

Of late, mock auctions, as they are termed, have become a very serious evil, especially in the city of New York. In 1813 petitions, in regard to these public impositions, were sent to the Lords of the Treasury, from many of the principal cities of Great Britain. In 1818 a select committee reported, very fully, upon this subject, to the British Parliament. This committee, after long and critical investigation, reported, that great frauds were constantly committed on the public, by mock or fraudulent auctions. The committee set forth several examples of this species of knavery. Goods are sold, as the furniture of gentlemen, going abroad. For this purpose, empty houses are hired for a few days, and filled with comparatively worthless furniture. Articles of the most inferior manufacture are made for the express purpose of being put into such sales, as the property of individuals of known character and respectability. To impose, more effectually, on the public, the names of the most respectable auctioneers have been used, with the variation of a letter. This bears some analogy to the legislative change of name, in this city, for the purpose of facilitating the sale of inferior pianos. Respectable auctioneers have been compelled, in self-defence, to appear at such mock auctions, and disclaim all connection therewith. Great masses of cutlery and plated ware of base manufacture, with London makers’ names, and advertised, as made in London, are constantly sold, at these auctions; forcing the London makers to appear at the sales rooms, and expose the fraud.

[Pg 581]The committee say that no imposition is more common than the sale of ordinary wine, in bottles, as the bonne bouche of some respectable Amphitryon deceased.

They farther state, that daring men are known to combine, attend real sales, and by various means, drive respectable purchasers away, purchase at their own price, and afterwards privately sell, under a form of public sale, among themselves, at Knock Out auctions, as they are called.

The committee recommended an entire revision of the auction laws—an increase of the license—heavier penalties for violation—no sale, without previous exposure of the goods for twenty-four hours, or printed catalogue—name and address of the auctioneer to be published—severe penalty, for using a fictitious name, &c.

The whole advertising system of mock auctions, like that, connected with the kindred impostures of quackery and patent medicines, furnishes a vast amount of curious and entertaining reading; and affords abundant scope, for the exercise of a vicious ingenuity. I have heard of a horse, that could not be compelled, by whip or spur, to cross a bridge, which lay in the way to his owner’s country residence—the horse was advertised to be sold at auction for no fault but that his owner was desirous of going out of the city.



No. CXL.

Few things are more difficult, than shaving a cold corpse, and making, what the artistes call a good job of it. I heard Robert New say so, forty years ago, who kept his shop, at the north—easterly corner of Scollay’s buildings. He said the barber ought to be called, as soon, as the breath was out of the body, and a little before, if it was a clear case, and you wished the corpse “to look wholesome.” I think he was right. Pope’s Narcissa said—

“One need not sure be ugly, though one’s dead.”

There is considerable mystery, in shaving a living corpse. I find it so; and yet I have always shaved myself; for I have never been able to overcome a strong, hereditary prejudice, against being taken by the nose.

[Pg 582]My razor is very capricious; so, I suppose, is everybody’s razor. There is a deep and mystical philosophy, about the edge of a razor, which seems to have baffled the most scientific; and is next of kin to witchcraft. A tract, by Cotton Mather, upon this subject, would be invaluable. The scholar will smile, at any comparison, between Pliny the elder and Cotton Mather. So far, as respects the scope of knowledge, and power of intellect, and inexhaustible treasures, displayed in Pliny’s thirty-seven books of Natural History, one might as well compare Hyperion to a mummy. I allude to nothing but the Magnalia or Improbabilia; and, upon this point of comparison, Mather, witchcraft and all fairly fade out of sight, before the marvels and fantastical stories of Pliny. In lib. xxviii. 23, Pliny assigns a very strange cause, why aciem in cultris tonsorum hebetescere—why the edge of a barber’s razor is sometimes blunted. The reader may look it up, if he will—it is better in a work, sub sigillo latinitatis, than in an English journal.

I have often put my razor down, regretting, that my beard did not spread over a larger area; so keenly and agreeably has the instrument performed its work. It really seemed, that I might have shaved a sleeping mouse, without disturbing his repose. After twelve hours, that very razor, untouched the while, has come forth, no better than a pot-sherd. The very reverse of all this has also befallen me. I once heard Revaillon, our old French barber, say, that a razor could not be strapped with too light a hand; and the English proverb was always in his mouth—“a good lather is half the shave.”

Some persons suppose the razor to be an instrument, of comparatively modern invention, and barbers to have sprung up, at farthest, within the Christian era. It is written, in Isaiah vii. 20, “In the same day shall the Lord shave with a razor, that is hired,” &c. Ezekiel began to prophecy, according to Calmet, 590 years before Christ: in the first verse of ch. v. he says—“take thee a sharp knife, take thee a barber’s razor, and cause it to pass upon thy head and upon thy beard.” To cause a razor to pass upon the beard seems to mean something very different from shaving, in the common sense of that word. Doubtless, it does: the culter or novacula, that is, the razor, of the ancients, was employed, for shearing or shortening, as well as for shaving the beard. Barbers were first known, among the Romans A. U. C. 454, i. e. 298 years before Christ. Pliny says,[Pg 583] vii. 59—Sequens gentium consensus in tonsoribus fuit, sed Romanis tardior. In Italiam ex Sicilia venere post Romam conditam anno quadringentessimo quinquagessimo quarto, adducente P. Ticinio Mena, ut auctor est Varro: antea intonsi fuere. Primus omnium radi quotidie instituit Africanus sequens: Divus Augustus cultris semper usus est. Then barbers came into use, among the nations, but more slowly among the Romans. In the year of the city 454, according to Varro, P. Ticinius Mena introduced barbers into Italy from Sicily: until that time, men wore their beards. The latter Africanus first set the example of being shaven daily. Augustus constantly used razors. The passage of Varro, referred to by Pliny, showing, that, before A. U. C. 454, men wore their beards, states the fact to be established, by the long beards, on all the old male statues. That passing of the sharp knife or razor, upon the beard, spoken of, by Ezekiel, I take to be the latter of the two modes, employed by the Romans—“vel strictim, hoc est, ad cutem usque; vel paulo longius a cute, interposito pectine”—either close to the skin, or with a comb interposed. That both modes were in use is clear from the lines of Plautus in his play of the Captives, Act ii. sc. 2, v. 16—

Nunc senex est in tonstrina; nunc jam cultros adtinet;
Sed utrum strictimne adtonsurum dicam esse, an per pectinem,

Now the old man is in the barber’s shop and under the razor; but whether to be close shaved, or clipped with the comb, I know not.

Pliny, as we have seen, states, that the practice came from Sicily. There it had been long in use. There is a curious reference to the custom in Cicero’s Tusculan Questions, v. 20. Speaking of the tyrant, Dionysius he says—Quin etiam ne tonsori collum committeret, tondere suas filias docuit. Ita sordido ancillarique artificio regiæ virgines, ut tonstriculæ tondebant barbam et capillum patris. For, not liking to trust his throat to a barber, he taught his daughters to shave him, and thus these royal virgins, descending to this coarse, servile vocation, became little, she barbers, and clipped their father’s beard and hair.

There is a curious passage in Pliny which not only proves, that barbers’ shops were common in his time, but shows the very ancient employment of cobweb, as a styptic. In lib. xxix. 36, he says—Fracto capiti aranei tela ex oleo et aceto imposita, non[Pg 584] nisi vulnere sanato, abscedit. Hæc et vulneribus tonstrinarum sanguinem sistit. Spiders’ web, with oil and vinegar, applied to a broken head, adheres, till the wound heals. This also stops the bleeding from cuts, in barbers’ shops.

Razors were sharpened, some two thousand years ago, very much as they are at present. Pliny devotes sec. 47, lib. xxxvi. to hones and whetstones, oil stones and water stones—quarta ratio—he says—est saliva hominis proficientium in torstrinarum officinis—the fourth kind is such as are used in the barbers’ shops, and which the man softens with his saliva.

Most common, proverbial sayings are, doubtless, of great antiquity. Chopping-blocks with a razor is a common illustration of the employment of a subtle ingenuity, upon coarse and uninteresting topics. Thus Goldsmith, in his Retaliation, says of Burke—

In short, ’twas his fate, unemploy’d, or in place, sir,
To eat mutton cold, and chop blocks with a razor.

The latter illustration is as old as Livy—novacula cotem discindere.

The Romans made a prodigious fuss, about their beards. The first crop, called prima barba, and sometimes lanugo, was, according to Petronius, consecrated to some god. Suetonius says, in his Life of Nero, 12—Gymnico quod in septis edebat, inter buthysiæ apparatum, barbam primam posuit, conditamque in auream pyxidem, et pretiosissimis margaritis adornatam, capitolio consecravit.—During the games, which he had given in the enclosures, and in the very midst of the splendor of the sacrifice, for the first time, he laid down his beard, and having placed it in a golden box, adorned with precious stones, he made a sacred deposit thereof, in the capitol.

After the custom of shaving had been introduced, by Mena, A. U. C. 454, it went out, for a short time, in Rome, during the time of Adrian, who as Spartianus relates, in his Life of that Emperor, having some ugly excrescences on his chin, suffered his beard to grow to conceal them—of course the courtiers followed the example of the emperor—the people, that of the courtiers. The grave concealed those excrescences, more effectually, A. D. 139, and the navacula again came into use, among the Romans: Marcus Antoninus, his successor, had no excrescences on his chin.

The day, upon which a young Roman was said ponere barbam,[Pg 585] that is, to shave for the first time, was accounted a holiday; and Juvenal says, iii. 187, he received presents from his friends.

Ovid, Trist. iv. 10, 67, dates his earliest literary exhibitions, before the people, by his first or second shave, or clip—

Carmina quum primum populo juvenilia legi,
Barba resecta mihi bisve semelve fuit.

Which may be thus translated—

When first in public I began
To read my boyish rhymes,
I scarcely could be call’d a man,
And had not shav’d three times.

Cæsar says of the Britons, B. G. V. 14—omni parte corporis rasa, præter caput et labrum superius—they shave entirely, excepting the head and upper lip.

Half-shaving was accounted, in the days of Samuel, I suppose, as reducing the party to a state of semi-barbarism: thus, in Samuel II. x. 4—“Wherefore Hanan took David’s servants, and shaved off the one half of their beards.”

To be denied the privilege of shaving was accounted dishonorable, among the Catti, a German nation, in the days of Tacitus; for he says, De Moribus Germanæ, 31—Apud Cattos in consensum vertit, ut primum adoleverint, crinem barbamque submittere, nec, nisi hoste cæso—It was settled among the Catti, that no young man should cut his hair, or shave his beard, till he had killed his man.

Seneca, Cons. Polyb. xxxvi. 5, blames Caius, for refusing to shave, because he had lost his sister—Idem ille Caius furiosa in constantia, modo barbam capillumque submittens—There is that Caius, clinging so absurdly to his sorrow, and suffering his hair and beard to grow on account of it.

There is an admirable letter, from Seneca to Lucillus, Ep. 114, which shows, that the dandies, in old Rome, were much like our own. He is speaking of those—qui vellunt barbam, aut intervellunt; qui labra pressius tondent et abradunt, servata et submissa cætera parte—who pull out the beard, by the roots, or particular parts of it—who clip and shave the hair, either more closely, or leave it growing, on some parts of their lips.

Juvenal, ii. 99, and Martial, vi. 64, 4, laugh at such, as use a mirror while shaving. Knives and razors of brass, are of great antiquity, according to the Archæological Æliana, p. 39.—Fosbroke,[Pg 586] p. 351, says, that razors are mentioned by Homer. But I am going to a funeral, this afternoon, as an amateur, and it is time for me to shave—not with a razor of brass, however—Pradier is too light for me—I use the Chinese. Hutchinson, i. 153, says, that Leverett was the first Governor of Massachusetts, who is painted without a beard, and that he laid it aside, in Cromwell’s court.

China is the paradise of barbers. There, according to Mr. Davis, they abound. No man shaves himself, the part, to be shorn, being out of his reach. There would be no difficulty in removing the scanty hair upon their chins; but the exact tonsure of the crown, without removing one hair from the Chinaman’s long tail, that reaches to his heels, is a delicate affair. Their razors are very heavy, but superlatively keen.




Barbers were chiefly peripatetics, when I was a boy. They ran about town, and shaved at their customers’ houses. There were fewer shops. This was the genteel mode in Rome. The wealthy had their domestic barbers, as the planters have now, among their slaves. I am really surprised, that we hear of so few throats cut at the South. Some evidence of this custom—not of cutting throats—may be found, in one of the neatest epitaphs, that ever was written; the subject of which, a very young and accomplished slave-barber, has already taken a nap of eighteen hundred years. I refer to Martial’s epitaphium, on Pantagathus, a word, which, by the way, signifies one, who is good at everything, or, as we say—a man of all works. It is the fifty-second, of Book VI. Its title is Epitaphium Pantagathi, Tonsoris:

Hoc jacet in tumulo raptus puerilibus annis
Pantagathus, domini cura, dolorque sui,
Vix tangente vagos ferro resecare capillos
Doctus, et hirsutas excoluisse genas.
Sic, licet, ut debes, Tellus placata, levisque;
Artificis levior non potes esse manu.

In attempting a version of this, I feel, as if I were about to disfigure a pretty spinster, with a mob-cap.

[Pg 587] Here lies Pantagathus, the slave,
Petted he liv’d, and died lamented;
No youth, like him could clip and shave,
Since shears and razors were invented.

So light his touch, you could not feel
The razor, while your cheeks were smoothing;
And sat, unconscious of the steel,
The operation was so soothing.

Oh, mother Earth, appeas’d, since thou
Back to thy grasping arms hast won him,
Soft be thy hand, like his, and now
Lie thou, in mercy, lightly on him.

Rochester was right; few things were ever benefited, by translation, but a bishop.

The Tonstrinæ, or barbers’ shops, in Rome, were seldom visited by any, but the humbler classes. They were sometimes called the Shades. Horace, Ep. i. 7, 50, describes Philippus, an eminent lawyer, as struck with sudden envy, upon seeing Vulteius Mena, the beadle, sitting very much at ease, in one of these shades, after having been shaved, and leisurely cleaning his own nails, an office commonly performed by the barbers:—

Adrasum quendam vacua tonsoris in umbra,
Cultello proprios purgantem leniter ungues.

There were she-barbers, in Rome, residing in the Saburra and Argiletum, very much such localities, as “the Hill,” formerly in Boston, or Anthony Street, in New York. Martial describes one of these tonstrices, ii. 17—

Tonstrix Saburræ fancibus sedet primis, etc.

Some there were, of a better order. Plautus, Terence, and Theophrastus have many allusions to the barbers’ shops. They have ever been the same “otiosorum conciliabula,” that they were, when Terence wrote—resorts of the idle and garrulous. In old times—very—not now, of course—not now, a dressmaker, who was mistress of her business, knew that she was expected to turn out so much work, and so much slander. That day has fortunately gone by. But the “barber’s tale” is the very thing that it was, in the days of Oliver Goldsmith, and it was then the very thing, that it was, as I verily believe, in the days of Ezekiel. There are many, who think, that a good story, not less than a good lather, is half the shave.

It is quite in rerum natura, that much time should be [Pg 588]consumed, in waiting, at the tonstrinæ—the barbers’ shops; and to make it pass agreeably, the craft have always been remarkable, for the employment of sundry appliances—amusing pictures around the walls—images and mechanical contrivances—the daily journals—poodles, monkeys, squirrels, canaries, and parrots. In the older countries, a barber’s boy was greatly in request, who could play upon the citterne, or some other musical instrument.

If there had not been a curious assemblage of materiel, in an old Roman tonstrina, it would not have been selected as an object for the pencil. That it was so selected, however, appears from a passage in Pliny, XXXV. 37. He is writing of Pureicus—arte paucis postferendus: proposito, nescio an destruxerit se: quoniam humilia quidem sequutus, humilitatis tamen summam adeptus est gloriam. Tonstrinas, sutrinasque pinxit, et asellos, et obsonia, ac similia—He had few superiors in his art: I know not if the plan he adopted was fatal to his fame; for, though his subjects were humble, yet, in their representation, he attained the highest excellence. He painted barbers’ and shoemakers’ shops, asses, eatables, and the like.

A rude sketch of Heemskerck’s picture of a barber’s shop lies now upon my table. Here is the poodle, with a cape and fool’s cap, walking on his hind legs—the suspended bleeding basin, and other et cætera of the profession.

Little is generally known, as to the origin and import of the barber’s pole. At the beginning of the sixteenth century, surgery was in such low repute, that farriers, barbers, sow-spayers, and surgeons were much upon a level. The truth of this, in respect to surgeons and barbers, has been established by law: and, for about two hundred years, both in London and Paris, they were incorporated, as one company. I remember a case, reported by Espinasse—not having the book at hand, I cannot indicate the volume and page—which shows the judicial estimate of surgery then, compared with the practice of physic. A physician’s fees, in England, were accounted quiddam honorarium, and not matter of lucre, and therefore could not be recovered, in an action at law. Upon an action brought for surgical services, the fees were recoverable, because surgeons, upon the testimony of Dr. Mead, were of a lower grade, having nothing to do with the pathology of diseases, and never prescribing; but simply performing certain mechanical acts; and being, like all other artificers and operatives, worthy of their hire.

[Pg 589]Nothing can more clearly exhibit the low state of this noble science, at the time, and the humble estimation of it, by the public. Chirurgery seemed destined to grovel, in etymological bondage, χειρ εργον, a mere handicraft. Barbers and surgeons were incorporated, as one company, in the fifteenth century, in the reign of Edward IV., and were called barber-surgeons. At the close of the sixteenth century, Ambrose Paré, the greatest surgeon of his time in France, did not reject the appellation of barber-surgeon. Henry VIII. dissolved this union, and gave a new charter in 1540, when it was enacted, that “no person, using any shaving or barbery in London, shall occupy any surgery, letting of blood, or other matter, excepting only the drawing of teeth.” The barber-surgeon was thus reduced to the barber-dentist, which seems not so agreeable to the practitioner, at present, as the loftier appellation of surgeon-dentist. Sterne was right: there is something in a name. The British surgeons obtained a new charter, in 1745, and another, in 1800, and various acts have been subsequently passed, on their behalf. July 17, 1797, Lord Thurlow, in the House of Peers, opposed a new bill, which the surgeons desired to have passed. Thurlow was a man of morose temperament, and uncertain humor.

He averred, that so much of the old law was in force, that, to use his own words, “the barbers and surgeons were each to use a pole, the barbers were to have theirs blue and white, striped, with no other appendage; but the surgeons’, which was the same, in other respects, was likewise to have a gallipot and a red rag, to denote the particular nature of their vocation.”

Brand, in his Popular Antiquities, says, that the barber’s pole, used in bleeding, is represented, in an illuminated missal, of the time of Edward I., Longshanks, whose reign began in 1272. Fosbroke, in his Encyc. of Antiquities, page 414, says—“A staff, bound by a riband, was held, by persons being bled, and the pole was intended to denote the practice of phlebotomy.” According to Lord Thurlow’s statement, in the House of Peers, the pole was required, by the statute, to be used, as a sign. The first statute, incorporating the barber-surgeons, was that of Edward IV., as I have stated. The missal of Edward I., referred to by Brand, shows, that the usage was older than the law, and, doubtless, that the popular emblem was adopted, in the statute, to which Lord Thurlow refers, as still in force, in 1797.

In Brand’s Newcastle, I find, that “it is ordered, Dec. 11,[Pg 590] 1711, that periwig-making be considered part and branch of the Company of Barber-Chirurgeons.”

The history of the pole is this: A staff about three feet high, with a ball on the top, and inserted, at the bottom, in a small cross-piece, was very convenient for the person to hold, who extended his arm, as he sat down, to be bled; and a fillet, or tape, was equally convenient for the ligature. These things the barber-surgeons kept, in a corner of their shops; and, when not in use, the tape or fillet was wound or twirled round the staff. When the lawgivers called for a sign, no apter sign could be given unto them, than this identical staff and fillet; much larger of course, and to be seen of men much farther.




Ancient plays abound with allusions to the barber’s citterne, or lute, upon which not only he himself, and his apprentices were accustomed to play, but all the loiterers in the tonstrina. Much of all this may be found, in the Glossary of Archdeacon Nares, under the article Citterne, and in Fosbroke’s Antiquities.

The commonness of its use gave rise to a proverb. In the Silent Woman, Act II., scene 2, Ben Jonson avails of it. Morose had married a woman, recommended by his barber, and whose fidelity he suspected, and the following passage occurs, between Morose and Truewit. Lond., 1816, iii. 411.

Morose. That cursed barber!

Truewit. Yes, faith, a cursed wretch indeed, sir.

Morose. I have married his cittern, that’s common to all men.

Upon this passage is the following note—“It appears from innumerable passages, in our old writers, that barbers’ shops were furnished with some musical instrument, commonly a cittern or guitar, for the amusement of such customers as chose to strum upon it, while waiting for their turn to be shaved, &c. It should be recollected, that the patience of customers, if the shop was at all popular, must, in those tedious days of love-locks, and beards of most fantastical cuts, have been frequently put to very severe trials. Some kind of amusement therefore was necessary, to beguile the time.”

[Pg 591]In old times, in old England, barbers were in the habit of making a variety of noises, with their fingers and their shears, which noises were supposed to be agreeable to their customers. Fosbroke, p. 414, refers to Lily’s old play of Mydas, iii. 2, as showing the existence of the custom, in his time. Lily was born about 1553. There were some, who preferred to be shaved and dressed quietly. Nares, in his Glossary, refers to Plutarch, De Garrulitate, for an anecdote of King Archelaus, who stipulated with his barber to shave him in silence. This barbers’ trick was called the “knack with the fingers;” and was extremely disagreeable to Morose, in Ben Jonson’s play, to which I have referred. Thus, in i. 2, Clerimont, speaking of the partiality of Morose for Cutbeard, the barber, says—“The fellow trims him silently, and has not the knack with his shears or his fingers: and that continence in a barber he thinks so eminent a virtue, as it has made him chief of his counsel.”

As barbers were brought first into Rome, from Sicily, so the best razors, according to Nares and Fosbroke, before the English began to excel in cutlery, were obtained in Palermo. Their form was unlike those now in use, and seems more perfectly to correspond with one of the Roman names, signifying a razor, i. e. culter. The blade, like that of a pruning knife, or sickle, curved slightly inward, the reverse of which is the modern form.

Smith, in his Ancient Topography of London, says—“The flying barber is a character now no more to be seen in London, though he still remains in some of our country villages: he was provided with a napkin, soap, and pewter basin, the form of which may be seen, in many of the illustrative prints of Don Quixote. His chafer was a deep leaden vessel, something like a chocolate pot, with a large ring or handle, at the top; this pot held about a quart of water, boiling hot; and, thus equipped, he flew about to his customers.”

Old Randle Holme says, “perawickes” were very common in his time, about 1668, though unused before “contrary to our forefathers, who wore their own hair.” A barber, in Paris, to recommend his bag wigs, hung over his door the sign of Absalom. Hone, i. 1262, states that a periwig-maker, to recommend his wares, turned the reason into rhyme:

“Oh, Absalom, oh Absalom,
Oh Absalom, my son,
If thou hadst worn a periwig,
Thou hadst not been undone.”

[Pg 592]Hutchinson, i. 152, says periwigs were an eyesore in New England, for thirty years after the Restoration of Charles II.

Among the Romans, after Mena introduced the practice of shaving, those, who professed philosophy, still maintained their dignity, and their beards, as an ecce signum. Hence the expression of Horace, Sat. ii. 3, 35, sapientem pascere barbam: and of Persius, iv. 1, when speaking of Socrates:

barbatum hæc crede magistrum
Dicere, sorbitio tollit quem dira cicutæ.

Of those, who wear beards, at the present day, it has been computed, that, for one philosopher, there are five hundred fools, at the very lowest estimate. Manage them as you will, they are troublesome appendages; of very questionable cleanliness; and mightily in the way of such, as are much addicted to gravy and spoon victual. Like the burden of our sins, the postprandial odor of them must be sometimes intolerable.

What an infinite variety of colors we have now-a-days! Bottom, in Midsummer Night’s Dream, i. 2, is in doubt, what beard he shall play Pyramus in, and, at last, he says—“I will discharge it in either your straw-colored beard, your orange tawny beard, your purple ingrain beard, or your French crown-colour beard, your perfect yellow.” Now I can honestly aver, that every fifth dandy I meet, looks precisely like Bottom, performing Pyramus. Now and then, I meet a fine, full, black beard; but, even then, it seems to me, that the proud satisfaction the fortunate proprietor must feel, in going about town with it, must be, in some degree, counterbalanced, by the necessity of sleeping in it, during the summer solstice.

The fancy colors, proposed by Bottom, refer to the dyes, in use, at the period, when Bottom flourished. Indeed, dyeing the beard is of the highest antiquity. I have no authority that Aaron dyed his. In 1653, John Bulwer published his “Anthropo-Metamorphosis,” or Artificial Changeling, a very able and curious production. For the antiquity of the silly practice of dyeing the beard, he refers to Strabo. Old John Bulwer, ch. ix., comments, with just severity, upon the conduct of those ancient fools, who adopt the practice—“In every haire of these old coxcombs, you shall meet with three divers and sundry colors; white at the roots, yellow in the middle, and black at the point, like unto one of your parrat’s feathers.” What a graphic [Pg 593]description of this nasty appendage! It has ever been to me a matter of infinite surprise, how any mortal can presume to say his prayers, with one of these pied abominations on his chin; giving the lie direct to the volume of inspiration, which avers that he cannot make one hair black nor white.

Another mystery—how can any man’s better half become reconciled to a husband, dyed thus, in the wool! The colors are not all fast colors, I believe; and are liable to be rubbed off, by attrition.

Beards were cultivated, to such an excess, in Elizabeth’s time, as to require and receive a check from the legislature. “The growth of beards,” says Nares, in his Glossary, “was regulated by statute, at Lincoln’s Inn, in the time of Eliz.—Primo Eliz. it was ordered, that no fellow of that house should wear a beard above a fortnight’s growth. Transgression was punished with fine, loss of commons, and finally expulsion. But fashion prevailed, and in November, the following year, all previous orders, touching beards, were repealed.”

It was formerly calculated, by Lord Stanhope, that the sum, expended upon snuff, and the value of the time, consumed in taking it, and the cost of snuff-boxes, handkerchiefs, &c., if duly invested, would pay off the national debt. I have a proposal to offer, and I offer it, timidly and respectfully, for the consideration of those amiable females, who go about, so incessantly, doing good. Perhaps I may not be able to awaken their interest, more effectually, than by suggesting the idea, that here is a very fair opportunity, for the formation of another female auxiliary society. I take it for granted, that there are some of these bearded gentlemen, from whom contributions in money, could not easily be obtained, for any benevolent object. There are some, whose whole estate, real, personal, and mixed, comprehends very little, beyond a costly malacca joint, a set of valuable shirtstuds, and a safety chain. Still if we cudgel the doctrine of political economy, we may get some small contributions, even from them.

Cortez found, in the treasury of Montezuma, a multitude of little bags, which were, at last, discovered to be filled with dead lice. The Emperor, to keep the Mexican beggars out of mischief, had levied this species of tax. I am well aware, that the power of levying taxes is not vested in young ladies. They have certain, natural, inherent rights, however, and, among[Pg 594] them, the right and the power of persuasion. Let them organize, throughout the Union, and establish committees of correspondence. Let them address a circular to every individual, who wears a beard; and, if their applications succeed, they will enjoy the luxury of supplying a comfortable hair mattrass, to every poor widow, and aged single woman in the United States.




The barber’s brush is a luxury of more modern times. Stubbe, in his “Anatomy of Abuses,” says—“When they come to washing, oh, how gingerly they behave themselves therein. For then shall your mouths be bossed with the lather or some that rinseth of the balles, (for they have their sweete balles, wherewith all they use to washe) your eyes closed must be anointed therewith also. Then snap go the fingers, ful bravely, God wot. Thus, this tragedy ended; comes the warme clothes to wipe and dry him with all.” Stubbe wrote, about 1550.

Not very long ago, a writer in the Gentleman’s Magazine, observed—“I am old enough to remember when the operation of shaving in this kingdom, was almost exclusively performed by the barbers: what I speak of is some threescore years ago, at which time gentlemen shavers were unknown. Expedition was then a prime quality in a barber, who smeared the lather over his customer’s face with his hand; for the delicate refinement of the brush had not been introduced. The lathering of the beard being finished, the operator threw off the lather, adhering to his hand, by a peculiar jerk of his arm, which caused the joints of his fingers to crack, this being a more expeditious mode of clearing the hand, than using a towel for that purpose; and, the more audible the crack, the higher the shaver stood, in his own opinion, and in that of the fraternity. This I presume is the custom alluded to by Stubbe.”

The Romans, when bald, wore wigs. Some of the emperors wore miserable periwigs. Curly locks, however becoming in a male child, are somewhat ridiculous, trained with manifest care, and descending upon the shoulders of a full grown boy of forty. In addition to the pole, a peruke was frequently employed, as the[Pg 595] barber’s sign. There was the short bob, and the full bottom; the “hie perrawycke” and the scratch; the top piece, and the periwig with the pole lock; the curled wig with a dildo, and the travelling wig, with curled foretop and bobs; the campain wig, with a dildo on each side, and the toupet, a la mode.

It may seem a paradox to some, that the most barbarous nations should suffer the hair and beard to grow longest. The management of the hair has furnished an abundant subject matter for grave attention, in every age and nation. Cleansing, combing, crimping, and curling, clipping, and consecrating their locks gave ample occupation to the ladies and gentlemen of Greece and Rome. At the time of adolescence, and after shipwreck, the hair was cut off and sacrificed to the divinities. It was sometimes cut off, at funerals, and cast upon the pile. Curling irons were in use, at Rome. Girls wore the hair fastened upon the top of the head; matrons falling on the neck. Shaving the crown was a part of the punishment of conspirators and thieves. We know nothing, at present, in regard to the hair, which was unknown at Rome—our frizzing was their capillorum tortura. They had an instrument, called tressorium, for plaiting the hair. In the time of Edward the Confessor, the hair was worn, universally, long, the laws of England not compelling all, but the nobility, as in France, to cut the hair short, in that age.

The Romans are said, occasionally to have worn wigs of an enormous size, which gave occasion to the term, in Martial’s epigram, caput calceatum. We have no exact record of the size of those Roman wigs—but I sincerely wish, that Augustus Cæsar or—

“Mæcenas, whose high lineage springs,
From fair Etruria’s ancient kings,”

could have seen the Rev. Dr. Lathrop’s! In Mr. Ward’s journal of Samuel Curwen, that venerable and truly respectable, and amiable, old tory is represented, with precisely such a wig, but of much smaller diameter. Dr. John Lathrop died, Jan. 4, 1816, at the age of 75. He published a considerable number of sermons on various occasions, no one of which is remarkable for extraordinary talent, or learning. It was, by some intelligent persons, supposed, that the wig was a great help to him. In his latter days, he found himself unable, any longer, to bear up, under such a portentous superstructure, which really appeared to “overhang,” contrary to the statute, and he laid it aside. His[Pg 596] influence certainly appeared to diminish, in some measure, probably, from the increasing infirmities of age; but, doubtless, in some degree, from the deposition of the wig. I honestly confess, that I never felt for Dr. Lathrop the same awful reverence, after he had laid aside this emblem of wisdom. A “wig full of learning” is an ancient saying, and Cowper makes use of it, in one of his lighter poems.

I have always looked upon barbers, as an honorable race of men, quite as much so, as brokers; the barbers seldom fail to shave more gently, and commonly dismiss an old customer, without drawing blood, or taking off the skin. We owe them a debt of gratitude withal, on other scores. How very easily they might cut our throats!

In this goodly city, at the present time, there are more than one hundred and ten gentlemen, who practice the art of barbery, beside their respective servants and apprentices. When I was a small boy—very—some sixty years ago, there were but twenty-nine, and many of them were most respectable and careful operators—an honor to their profession, and a blessing to the community.

There was Charles Gavett, in Devonshire Street, the Pudding Lane of our ancestors. Gavett was a brisk, little fellow; his tonstrina was small, and rather dark, but always full.

In Brattle Square, just behind the church, John Green kept a shop, for several years. But John became unsteady, and cut General Winslow, and some other of his customers, and scalded several others, and lost his business.

In Fish Street, which had then, but recently, ceased to be the court end of the town, there were several clever barbers—there was Thomas Grubb, and Zebulon Silvester, and James Adams, and Abraham Florence. I never heard a syllable against them, or their lather.

At No. 33, Marlborough Street, William Whipple kept a first rate establishment, and had a high name, among the dandies, as an accomplished haircutter.

Jonathan Edes kept a small shop, in Ann Street, and had a fair run of transient custom. He had always a keen edge and a delicate hand. He was greatly urged to take a larger establishment, in a more fashionable part of the town, near Cow Lane, but Mr. Edes was not ambitious, and turned a wiry edge to all such suggestions.

[Pg 597]William Mock kept a shop, in Newbury Street, an excellent shaver, but slow; his shop was not far from the White Horse. He was a peripatetic. I suspect, but am not certain, that he shaved Dr. Lemuel Hayward.

At the corner of Essex Street, old Auchmuty’s Lane, George Gideon kept a fine stand, clean towels, keen edge, and hot lather; but he had a rough, coarse hand. He had been one of the sons of liberty, and his shop being near the old site of Liberty tree, he was rather apt to take liberties with his customers’ noses, especially the noses of the disaffected.

There were two professed wig-makers, in Boston, at that time, who performed the ordinary functions of barbers beside, William Haslet, in Adams Street, and John Bosson, in Orange Street. Mr. Bosson was very famous, in his line, and in great request, among the ladies.

In Marshall’s Lane, Edward Hill was an admirable shaver; but, in the department of hair cutting, inferior to Anthony Howe, whose exceedingly neat and comfortable establishment was in South Latin School Street. An excellent hotel was then kept, by Joshua Bracket, at the sign of Cromwell’s Head, on the very spot, where Palmer keeps his fruit shop, and the very next door below the residence of Dr. John Warren. Bracket patronized Howe’s shop, and sent him many customers. Captain John Boyle, whose house and bookstore were at No. 18 Marlborough Street, patronized Anthony Howe.

Samuel Jepson kept his barbery, as the shop was sometimes called, in Temple Street, between the two bakeries of William Breed and Matthew Bayley.

James Tate was established in Purchase Street. He would have been a good barber, had he not been a poor poet. He was proud of his descent from Nahum Tate, the psalmodist, the copartner of Brady. Richard Fox kept also in Purchase Street, and had a large custom.

A much frequented barber’s shop was kept, by William Pierce, near the Boston Stone. Jonathan Farnham was an excellent barber, in Back Street. He unluckily had an ominous squint, which was inconvenient, as it impressed new comers, now and then, with a fear lest he might cut their throats. Joseph Alexander shaved in Orange Street, and Theodore Dehon, on the north side of the Old State House.

Joseph Eckley was one of the best shavers and hair cutters in[Pg 598] town, some sixty years ago. His shop was in Wing’s Lane. Daniel Crosby, who was also a wig maker, in Newbury Street, was clerk of Trinity Church.

Augustine Raillion, whose name was often written Revaillion kept his stand, at No. 48 Newbury Street. He was much given to dogs, ponies, and other divertisements.

State Street was famous, for four accomplished barbers, sixty years ago—Stephen Francis, John Gould, John M. Lane, and Robert Smallpiece. The last was the father of Robert Smallpiece, who flourished here, some thirty years ago or more, and kept his shop, in Milk Street, opposite the Old South Church.

It is well known, that the late Robert Treat Paine wrote an ode, upon the occasion of the Spanish successes, to which he gave the title of “Spain, Commerce and Freedom, a National Ode.” It bore unquestionable marks of genius; but some of the ideas and much of the phraseology were altogether extravagant. It commenced finely—

“Sound the trumpet of fame! Strike that pæan again!
Religion a war against tyranny wages;
From her seat springs, in armor, regenerate Spain,
Like a giant, refresh’d by the slumber of ages.
From the place, where she lay,
She leaps in array,
Like Ajax, to die in the face of the day.”

The ode contained some strange expressions—“redintegrant war”—“though the dismemberd earth effervesce and regender,” and so many more, that the ode, though evidently the work of a man of genius, was accounted bombastic. A wag of that day, published a parody, of which this Robert Smallpiece was the hero. It was called, if I mistake not—“Soap, Razors, and Hot Water, a Tonsorial Ode.” The first stanza ran thus—

“Strap that razor so keen! Strap that razor again!
And Smallpiece will shave ’em, if he can come at ’em;
From his stool, clad in aprons, he springs up amain,
Like a barber, refresh’d by the smell of pomatum.
From the place, where he lay,
He leaps in array,
To lather and shave, in the face of the day.
He has sworn from pollution our faces to clean,
Our cheeks, necks, and upper lips, whiskers and chin.”

“Paullo majora canamus.”



[Pg 599]


In 1784, Mr. Thomas Percival, an eminent physician, of Manchester, in England, published a work, against duelling, and sent a copy to Dr. Franklin. Dr. Franklin replied to Mr. Percival, from Passy, July 17, 1784, and his reply contains the following observations—“Formerly, when duels were used to determine lawsuits, from an opinion, that Providence would in every instance, favor truth and right, with victory, they were excusable. At present, they decide nothing. A man says something, which another tells him is a lie. They fight; but whichever is killed, the point in dispute remains unsettled. To this purpose, they have a pleasant little story here. A gentleman, in a coffee-house, desired another to sit further from him. ‘Why so?’—‘Because, sir, you stink.’—‘That is an affront, and you must fight me.’—‘I will fight you, if you insist upon it; but I do not see how that will mend the matter. For if you kill me, I shall stink too; and, if I kill you, you will stink, if possible, worse than you do at present.’”

This is certainly germain to the matter. So far from perceiving any moral courage, in those, who fight duels, nothing seems more apparent, than the triumph of one fear, over four other fears—the fear of shame, over the fear of bringing misery upon parents, wives and children—the fear of the law—the fear of God—and the fear of death. Many a man will brave death, who fears it.

Death is the king of terrors, and all men stand in awe of him, saving the Christian, with his armor of righteousness about him, cap-a-pie; and even he, perhaps, is slightly pricked, by that fear, now and then, in articulo, between the joints of the harness. I must honestly confess, that I once knew a man, who had a terrible vixen of a wife, and, when about to die, he replied to his clergyman’s inquiry, if he was not afraid to meet the king of terrors, that he was not, for he had lived with the queen, for thirty years.

I do not suppose there is a more hypocritical fellow, upon earth, than a duellist. Mandeville, in his Fable of the Bees, in the second dialogue, part ii., puts these words into the mouth of Cleomenes, when speaking to Horatio, on the subject of his duel: “I saw you, that very morning, and you seemed to be sedate[Pg 600] and void of passion: you could have no concern.” Horatio replies—“It is silly to show any, at such times; but I know best what I felt; the struggle I had within was unspeakable: it is a terrible thing. I would then have given a considerable part of my estate, that the thing which forced me into it, had not happened; and yet, upon less provocation, I would act the same part again, tomorrow.” Such is human nature, and many, who sit down quietly, to write in opposition to this silly, senseless, selfish practice, would be quite apt enough, upon the emergency, to throw aside the pacific steel, wherewith they indite, and take up the cruel rapier. When I was a young man, a Mr. Ogilvie gave lectures, in Boston, on various subjects. He was the son of Mr. Ogilvie, to whose praises of the prospects in Scotland, Dr. Johnson replied, by telling him, that “the noblest prospect, which a Scotchman ever sees, is the high road, that leads him to England.”

The son of this gentleman gave his lectures, in the old Exchange Coffee House, where I heard him, several times. Under the influence of opium, which he used very freely, he was, occasionally, quite eloquent. He lectured, one evening, with considerable power, against duelling. On his way to his lodgings, some person repeated to him, several piquant and cutting things, which a gentleman had said of his lecture. Ogilvie was exceedingly incensed, and swore he would call him out, the very next day.

This law of honor is written nowhere, unless, in letters of blood, in the volume of pride, envy, hatred, malice, and all uncharitableness. “What,” says Cleomenes, in the work I have just now referred to—“What makes so just and prudent a man, that has the good of society so much at heart, act knowingly against the laws of his country?”—“The strict obedience,” says Horatio, “he pays to the laws of honor, which are superior to all others.”—“If men of honor,” says Cleomenes, “would act consistently, they ought all to be Roman Catholics.”—“Why so?”—“Because,” he rejoins, “they prefer oral tradition, to all written laws; for nobody can tell, when, in what king’s or emperor’s reign, in what country, or by what authority, these laws of honor were first enacted: it is very strange they should be of such force.”

It is certainly very strange, that their authority should have been acknowledged, in some cases, not only by professing [Pg 601]Christians, but even by the ministers of religion. Four individuals, of this holy calling, stand enrolled, as duellists, on the blood-guilty register of England. In 1764, the Rev. Mr. Hill was killed in a duel, by Cornet Gardner. On the 18th of June, 1782, the Rev. Mr. Allen killed Mr. Lloyd Dulany, in a duel. In August, 1827, Mr. Grady was wounded in a duel, by the Rev. Mr. Hodson. The Rev. Mr. Bate fought two duels—was subsequently made Baronet—fought a third duel, and was made Dean. If such atrocities were not preëminently horrible, how ridiculous they would be!

It would not be agreeable to be placed in that category, in which a worthy bishop placed those, who, after Dr. Johnson’s death, began to assail his reputation. “The old lion is dead,” said the bishop, “and now every ass will be kicking at his hide.” Better and safer, however, to be there, than to bide with those, who receive all the coarse, crude, mental eructations of this truly good and great man, for dicta perennia. A volume of outrageously false teachings might readily be selected, from the recorded outpourings of this great literary whale, whenever Boswell, by a little tickling, caused his Leviathan to spout. Too much tea, or none at all, too much dinner, or too little certainly affected his qualifications, as a great moral instructor; and, under the teazle of contradiction, the nap of his great spirit fairly stood on end; and, at such times, he sought victory too often, rather than the truth. It has always seemed to me, that dinner-table philosophy, especially aprés, is often of very questionable value.

Dr. Johnson has frequently been quoted, on the subject of duelling. Some of his opinions were delivered, on this subject, suddenly, and seem entirely unworthy of his majestic powers. At a dinner party, at Gen. Oglethorpe’s—I refer to Boswell’s Johnson, in ten volumes, Lond. 1835, vol. iii. page 216—Boswell brought up the subject of duelling. Gen. Oglethorpe, the host, “fired at this, and said, with a lofty air, ‘undoubtedly a man has a right to defend his honor.’”

Dr. Johnson, the principal guest, did the civil thing, and took the same side, and is reported, by Boswell, to have said substantially—“Sir, as men become in a high degree refined, various causes of offence arise; which are considered to be of such importance, that life must be staked to atone for them; though, in reality, they are not so. A body, that has received a very[Pg 602] fine polish, may be easily hurt. Before men arrive at this artificial refinement, if one tells his neighbor he lies—his neighbor tells him he lies—if one gives his neighbor a blow, his neighbor gives him a blow: but, in a state of highly polished society, an affront is held to be a serious injury. It must therefore be resented, or rather a duel must be fought upon it; as men have agreed to banish, from society, one, who puts up with an affront, without fighting a duel. Now, sir, it is never unlawful to fight, in self-defence. He, then, who fights a duel, does not fight from passion against his antagonist, but out of self-defence, to avert the stigma of the world, and to prevent himself from being driven out of society. I could wish there was not that superfluity of refinement; but, while such notions prevail, no doubt a man may lawfully fight a duel.” I must have another witness, besides Mr. Boswell, before I believe, that Dr. Johnson uttered these words. Dr. Johnson could never have maintained, that the lawfulness of an act depended upon the existence of certain popular notions. Nor is it true, nor was it then true, that men have agreed to banish, from society, one, who puts up with an affront, without fighting a duel.

Dr. Johnson seems to have made no distinction, between military men and the rest of the world. It is impossible to doubt, that the Doctor was graciously disposed to favor Gen. Oglethorpe’s notions, and that he would have taken the opposite side, had he been the guest of the Archbishop of Canterbury. “It is not unlawful to fight, in self-defence:” the law, by punishing all killing, in a duel, as murder, in the very first degree, shows clearly enough, that duelling is never looked upon, as fighting, in self-defence. It is remarkable, that Mr. Boswell, himself a lawyer, should have thought this paragraph worthy of preservation.

On page 268, of the same volume, Mr. Boswell has the following record—“April 19, 1773, he again defended duelling, and put his argument upon what I have ever thought the most solid basis; that, if public war be allowed to be consistent with morality, private war must be equally so.” And this, in Mr. Boswell’s opinion, was the most solid basis! It is difficult to perceive what is stubble, if this is not. Whither does this argument carry us all, but back to the state of nature—of uncovenanted man—of man, who has surrendered none of his natural rights, as a consideration for the blessings of government and[Pg 603] law? A state of nature and a state of society are very different things. Who will doubt, that, if Dr. Johnson really uttered these things, he would have talked more warily, could he have imagined, that Bozzy would have transmitted them to distant ages?

It is, nevertheless, perfectly clear, that Dr. Johnson, upon both these occasions, had talked, only for the pride and pleasure of talking; for Mr. Boswell records a very different opinion, vol. iv. page 249. Sept. 19, 1773.—Dr. Johnson then had thoroughly digested General Oglethorpe’s dinner; and Mr. Boswell’s record runs thus—“He fairly owned he could not explain the rationality of duelling.”

Poor Mr. Boswell! It is not unreasonable, to suppose, that he had inculcated his notions, upon the subject of duelling, in his own family, and repeated, for the edification of his sons, the valuable sentiments of Dr. Johnson. Mr. Boswell died, May 19, 1795. Seven and twenty years after his death, his son, Sir Alexander Boswell, was killed, in a duel, at Auchterpool, by Mr. James Stuart, March 26, 1822. Upon the trial of Stuart, for murder, Mr. Jeffrey, who defended him, quoted the very passage, in which Dr. Johnson had justified, to the father, that fatal sin and folly, which had brought the son to an untimely grave!




Dr. Franklin, in his letter to Mr. Percival, referred to, in my last number, observes, that, “formerly, when duels were used, to determine lawsuits, from an opinion, that Providence would, in every instance, favor truth and right with victory, they were excusable.” Dr. Johnson did not think this species of duel so absurd, as it is commonly supposed to be: “it was only allowed,” said he, “when the question was in equilibrio, and they had a notion that Providence would interfere in favor of him, who was in the right.” Bos., vol. iv. page 14. The lawfulness of a thing may excuse it: but there are some laws, so very absurd, that one stares at them, in the statute book, as he looks at flies in amber, and marvels “how the devil they[Pg 604] got there.” There was, I am gravely assured, in the city of New Orleans, not very long ago, a practitioner of the healing art, who was called the Tetotum doctor—he felt no pulse—he examined no tongue—he asked no questions for conscience’ sake, nor for any other—his tetotum was marked with various letters, on its sides—he sat down, in front of the patient, and spun his tetotum—if B. came uppermost, he bled immediately—if P., he gave a purge—if E., an emetic—if C., a clyster, and so on. If there be less wisdom, in this new mode of practice, than in the old wager of Battel, I perceive it not.

Both Drs. Franklin and Johnson refer to it, as an ancient practice. It was supposed, doubtless, to have become obsolete, and a dead letter, extinguished by the mere progress of civilization. Much surprise, therefore, was excited, when, at a period, as late as 1818, an attempt was made to revive it, in the case of Ashford vs. Thornton, tried before the King’s Bench, in April of that year. This was a case of appeal of murder, under the law of England. Thornton had violated, and murdered the sister of Ashford; and, as a last resort, claimed his right to wager of battel. The court, after full consideration, felt themselves obliged to admit the claim, under the unrepealed statute of 9, William II., passed A. D. 1096. Ashford, the appellant, and brother of the unfortunate victim, declined to accept the challenge, and the murderer was accordingly discharged. This occurred, in the 58th year of George III., and a statute was passed, in 1819, putting an end to this terrible absurdity. Had the appellant, the brother, accepted this legalized challenge, what a barbarous exhibition would have been presented to the world, at this late day, through the inadvertence of Parliament, in omitting to repeal this preposterous law!

In a former number, I quoted a sentiment, attributed, by Boswell, to Dr. Johnson, and which, I suppose, was no deliberate conviction of his, but uttered, in the course of his dinner-table talk, for the gratification of Gen. Oglethorpe, “Men have agreed to banish from society, a man, who puts up with an affront without fighting a duel.” This is not asserted, as an independent averment, but assumed or taken for granted, as the basis of the argument, such as it was. Is this a fact? Cannot cases innumerable be stated, to prove, that it is not? The words, ascribed to Dr. Johnson, are not confined to any class or profession, but[Pg 605] are of universal application. Have men agreed to banish from society every man, who refuses to fight a duel, when summoned to that refreshing amusement? Let us examine a few cases. General Jackson did not lose caste, because he omitted to challenge Randolph, for pulling his nose. Josiah Quincy was not banished from society, for refusing the challenge of a Southern Hotspur. I believe, that Judge Thacher, of Maine, would have been much less respected, had he gone out to be shot, when invited, than he ever has been, for the very sensible answer to his antagonist, that he would talk to Mrs. Thacher about it, and be guided by her opinion. Nobody ever supposed, that Judge Breckenridge suffered, in character or standing, because he told his challenger, that he wouldn’t come; but, that he might sketch his, the Judge’s, figure, on a board, and fire at that, till he was weary, at any distance he pleased; and if he hit it, upon a certificate of the fact, the Judge would agree to it.

Had Hamilton refused the challenge of Burr, his deliberate murderer, his fame would have remained untarnished—his countrymen would never have forgotten the 14th of October, 1781—the charge of that advanced corps—the fall of Yorktown! On his death-bed, Hamilton expressed his abhorrence of the practice; and solemnly declared, should he survive, never to be engaged in another duel. “Pendleton knows,” said he, in a dying hour, referring to Burr, and addressing Dr. Hossack, “that I did not intend to fire at him.” How different from the blood-thirsty purposes of his assassin! In vol. x. of Jeremy Bentham’s works, pages 432-3, the reader will find a letter from Dumont to Bentham, in which the Frenchman says, referring to a conversation with Burr, in 1808, four years after the duel—“His duel with Hamilton was a savage affair:” and Bentham adds—“He gave me an account of his duel with Hamilton; he was sure of being able to kill him, so I thought it little better than murder.”

In England, politics seem to have given occasion to very many affairs of this nature—the duels of the Duke of Hamilton and Lord Mohun, in 1712, fatal to both—Mr. Martin and Mr. Wilkes, in 1763—the Lords Townshend and Bellamont, in 1773—C. J. Fox and Mr. Adam, in 1779—Capt. Fullerton and Lord Shelburne, in 1780—Lord Macartney and Major General Stuart, in 1786—the Duke of York and Colonel Lenox, in 1789—Mr. Curran and Major Hobart, in 1790—Earl of Lonsdale[Pg 606] and Capt. Cuthbert, in 1792—Lord Valentia and Mr. Gawler, in 1796—William Pitt and George Tierney, in 1798—Sir Francis Burdett and Mr. Paull, in 1807—Lord Castlereagh and Mr. Canning, in 1809—Mr. O’Connell and Mr. D’Esterre, in 1815—Mr. Grattan and the Earl of Clare, in 1820—Sir A. Boswell and James Stuart, in 1822—Mr. Long Wellesly and Mr. Crespigny, in 1828—the Duke of Wellington and the Earl of Winchelsea, in 1829—Lord Alvanley and Morgan O’Connell, in 1835—Sir Colquhon Grant and Lord Seymour, in 1835—Mr. Roebuck and Mr. Black, in 1835—Mr. Ruthven and Mr. Scott, in 1836—the Earl of Cardigan and Mr. Tuckett, in 1840.

Sir J. Barrington says, that, during his grand climacteric, two hundred and twenty-seven duels were fought. In different ages and nations, various preventives have been employed. Killing in a duel, here and in England, is murder, in the surviving principal, and seconds. To add effect to the law, it was proclaimed, by 30, Charles II., 1679, to be an unpardonable offence.

Disqualification from holding office, and dismissal from the army and navy have, at different times, been held up, in terrorem. In England, eighteen survivors have suffered the penalty, provided against duelling. Major Campbell was hung, in 1808, for having killed Capt. Boyd, in a duel.

In 1813, Lieutenant Blundell was killed in a duel at Carisbroke Castle: the survivor and both seconds were tried, and convicted of murder; and, though subsequently pardoned, dismissed the service. “Duels,” says Sir George Mackenzie, “are but illustrious murders.” Mr. Addison recommends the pillory. The councils of Valentia and Trent excommunicated such combatants; but a man, who has made up his mind to fight a duel, cares little for the church.

During the first eighteen years of the reign of Henry IV., four thousand persons were slain, in duels, in France. He published his famous edict of Blois, against duels, in 1602: and, in 1609, added, to the existing penalties, punishment by death, confiscations, fines, and imprisonment, respectively, for all, concerned in fighting or abetting, even as spectators, or as casual passers, who did not interpose. All this, however, was the work of Sully: for this consistent king, at this very time, gave Crequi leave to fight the Duke of Savoy, and even told him, that he would be his second, were he not a king.

Duels were so frequent, in the reign of his successor, Louis[Pg 607] XIII., that Lord Herbert, who was then ambassador, at the court of France, used to say, there was not a Frenchman, worth looking at, who had not killed his man. “Who fought yesterday?” was the mode of inquiring after the news of the morning. The most famous duellist of the age was Montmorenci, Count de Bouttville. He and the Marquis de Beuoron, setting their faces against all authority, and, persisting in this amusement, it was found necessary to take their stubborn heads off. They were tried, convicted, and beheaded. A check was, at length, put to these excesses, by Louis XIV. A particular account of all this will be found in Larrey, Histoire de France, sons le Régne de Louis XIV., tom. ii. p. 208. Matters, during the minority of Louis XIV., had come to a terrible pass. The Dukes de Beaufort and Nemours had fought a duel, with four seconds each, and converted it into a Welch main, as the cock-fighters term a meleé. They fought, five to five, with swords and pistols. Beaufort killed Nemours—the Marquis de Villars killed D’Henricourt, and D’Uzerches killed De Ris. In 1663, another affair took place, four to four. The king finally published his famous edict of 1679. The marshals of France and the nobility entered into a solemn league and covenant, never to fight a duel, on any pretence whatever; and Louis le Grand adhered to his oath, and resolutely refused pardon to every offender. This greatly checked the evil, for a time.

Kings will die, and their worthy purposes are not always inherited by their successors; soon after the death of the great monarch, the practice of duelling revived in France.

The only radical and permanent preventive, of this equally barbarous, and foolish custom, lies, in the moral and religious education of the people. The infrequency of the practice, in New England, arises entirely from the fact, that the moral and religious training of the community has taught them to look upon a duellist, as an exceedingly unfashionable personage.

New Englanders are a calculating race. They calculate, that it is infinitely better to mind their business, and die quietly in their beds, than to go out and be shot, by the very fellow, who has not the decency to say he is sorry, for treading on their toes, when he was drunk—and they are a fearful race, for they fear the reprehension of the wise and good, and the commands of God, more than they fear the decisions of a lawless tribunal, where fools sit in judgment, and whose absurd decrees are written on the sand.



[Pg 608]


Some nine and thirty years ago, I was in the habit, occasionally, when I had no call, in my line, of strolling over to the Navy Yard, at Charlestown, and spending an evening, in the cabin of a long, dismantled, old hulk, that was lying there. Once in a while, we had a very pleasant dinner party, on board that old craft. That cabin was the head-quarters of my host. It was the cabin of that ill-fated frigate, the Chesapeake. My friend had been one of her deeply mortified officers, when she was surrendered, by James Barron, to the British frigate Leopard, without firing a gun, June 23, 1807.

A sore subject this, for my brave, old friend. I well remember to have dined, in that cabin, one fourth of July, with some very pleasant associates—there were ten of us—we were very noisy then—all, but myself, are still enough now—they are all in their graves. I recollect, that, towards the close of the entertainment, some allusion to the old frigate, in which we were assembled, revived the recollection of the day, when those stars and stripes came down. We sat in silence, listening to the narrative of our host, whose feelings were feverishly and painfully excited—“It would have been a thousand times better,” said he, “if the old hulk had gone to bottom and every man on board. The country might then, possibly, have been spared the war; for our honor would have been saved, and there would have been less to fight for. Unprepared as we were, for such an attack, at a time of profound peace, we ought to have gone down, like little Mudge, who, while his frigate was sinking, thanked God the Blanche was not destined to wear French colors!”

When he paused, and, with the back of his hand, brushed away the tears from his eyes, we were all of his mind, and wished he had been in command, that day, instead of James Barron; for this old friend of mine was a very, very clever fellow—a warmer heart never beat in a braver bosom. There was one thing, however, that I could never break him of, and yet I had some little influence with him, in those days—I mean the habit of fighting duels. He would not harm a fly, but he would shoot a man, in an honorable way, at the shortest notice, and the shortest distance. He fought a duel, on one [Pg 609]occasion, when, being challenged, and having the choice of distance, he insisted on three paces, saying he was so near-sighted, he could not hit a barn door, at ten. He was apt to be, not affectedly, but naturally, jocular, on such occasions.

Another old friend of mine, in by-gone days, the elder son of the late Governor Brooks, was second, in one of these duels, to the friend, of whom I am speaking. Major Brooks had, occasionally, indulged himself, in the publication of poetical effusions. When the parties and their seconds came upon the ground, he found, that he had brought no leather, to envelop the ball, as usual, in loading; and, drawing a newspaper from his pocket, tore off the corner, on which some verses were printed: at this moment, his principal drawing near, said, in an under tone, “I hope that isn’t one of your fugitive pieces, Alek.”

Though our lines were, of late years, cast far apart, I always rejoiced in his good fortune. After having occupied a very elevated position, for some time, in the naval department, he fell—poor fellow—not in a duel—but in a moment, doubtless, of temporary, mental derangement, by his own hand. The news of my old friend’s death reached me, just before dinner—I postponed it till the next day—went home—sat alone—and had that old dinner, in the cabin of the Chesapeake, warmed over, upon the coals of the imagination, and seated around me every guest, who was there that day, just as fresh, as if he had never been buried.

James Barron was an unlucky dog, to say the least of it. Striking the stars and stripes, without firing a gun, was enough for one life. For this he was tried, found guilty, and suspended from duty, for five years, from Feb. 8, 1808, and deprived of his pay. He went abroad; and, during his absence, war was declared, which continued about two years, after the termination of his suspension. He returned, at last, and sought employment; Decatur officially opposed his claims; and thereupon he challenged, and killed Decatur, the pride of the American navy; and, after this, he received employment from the government. The services of James Barron are not likely to be undervalued. Decatur’s offence consisted, in his declaration of opinion, that Barron did not return to the service of his country, as in duty bound. The duel took place March 22, 1820. After this, Barron demanded a Court of Inquiry, to settle this point. The Court consisted of Commodores Stewart and Morris and Captain[Pg 610] Evans, and convened May 10, 1821, and the conclusion of the sentence is this—“It is therefore the opinion of the court, that his (Barron’s) absence from the United States, without the permission of the government, was contrary to his duty, as an officer, in the navy of the United States.”

Here then was another silly and senseless duel. Mr. Allen, in his Biographical Dictionary remarks—“The correspondence issued in a challenge from Barron, though he considered duelling ‘a barbarous practice, which ought to be exploded from civilized society.’ And the challenge was accepted by Decatur, though he ‘had long since discovered, that fighting duels is not even an unerring criterion of personal courage.’”

They fired at the same instant; Barron fell immediately, wounded in the hip, where Decatur had mercifully declared his intention to wound him; Decatur stood erect, for a moment—put his hand to his right side—and fell, mortally wounded. He was raised, and supported, a few steps, and sunk down, exhausted, near Barron. Captain Mackenzie, in his Life of Decatur, page 322, gives his opinion, that this duel could have been gracefully prevented, on the ground; and such will be the judgment, doubtless, of posterity. Capt. Jesse D. Elliot was the second of Barron—Com. Bainbridge of Decatur. After they had taken their stands, Barron said to Decatur, that he hoped, “on meeting, in another world, they would be better friends, than they had been in this.”

To this Decatur replied, “I have never been your enemy, sir.” “Why,” says Captain Mackenzie, “could not this aspiration for peace, between them, in the next world, on one part, and this comprehensive disclaimer of all enmity, on the other, have been seized by the friends, for the purposes of reconciliation?” A pertinent question truly—but of very ready solution. These seconds, like most others, acted, like military undertakers; their office consists, as they seem to suppose, in seeing the bodies duly cared for; and all consideration for the chief mourners, and such the very principals often are, is out of the question. With all his excellent qualities, Commodore Bainbridge, as every one, who knew him well, will readily admit, was not possessed of that happy mixture of qualities, to avail of this pacific prestige. It was an overture—such Barron afterwards avowed it to have been. On the 10th of October, 1818, Decatur had been the second of Com. Perry, in his duel with Captain Heath, which[Pg 611] was terminated, after the first fire, by Decatur’s declaration, that Com. Perry had avowed his purpose, not to fire at Capt Heath. Had Perry lived, and been at hand, it is highly probable, that Decatur would not have fallen, for Perry would, doubtless, have been his second, and readily availed of the expressions of the parties, on the ground.

Had Charles Morris, whose gallantry and discretion have mingled into a proverb—had he been the second of his old commander, by whose side, he stood, on the Philadelphia’s deck, in that night of peril, February, 1804, who can doubt, the pacific issue of this most miserable adventure! Seconds, too frequently, are themselves the instigators and supporters of these combats. True or false, the tale is a fair one, of two friends, who had disputed over their cups; and, by the exciting expressions of some common acquaintances, were urged into a duel. They met early the next morning—the influence of the liquor had departed—the seconds loaded the pistols, and placed their principals—but, before the word was given, one of them, rubbing his eyes, and looking about him, exclaims—“there is some mistake, there can be no enmity between us two, my old friend; these fellows, who have brought us here, upon this foolish errand, are our enemies, let us fire at them.” The proposition was highly relished, by the other party, and the seconds took to their heels.

Well: we left Decatur and Barron, lying side by side, and weltering in their blood. The strife was past, and they came to a sort of friendly understanding. Barron, supposing his wound to be fatal, said all things had been conducted honorably, and that he forgave Decatur, from the bottom of his heart. Mackenzie, in a note, on page 325, refers to a conversation between them, as they lay upon the ground, until the means of transportation arrived. He does not give the details, but says they would be “creditable to the parties, and soothing to the feelings of the humane.” I understood, at the time, from a naval officer of high rank, and have heard it often, repeated, that Decatur said, “Barron, why didn’t you come home and fight your country’s battles?” that Barron replied, “I was too poor to pay my debts, and couldn’t get away,”—and that Decatur rejoined, “If I had known that, we should not be lying here.” Strip this matter of its honorable epidermis, and there is something quite ridiculous in the idea of doing such an unpleasant thing, and all for nothing!

[Pg 612]These changes, from hostility to amity, are often extremely sudden. I have read, that Rapin, the historian, when young, fought a duel, late in the evening, with small swords. His sword broke near the hilt—he did not perceive it, and continued to fence with the hilt alone. His antagonist paused and gave him notice; and, like the two girls, in the Antijacobin, they flew into each other’s arms, and “swore perpetual amity.”




M. De Vassor wrote with a faulty pen, when he asserted, in his history, that the only good thing Louis XIV. did, in his long reign of fifty-six years, consisted in his vigorous attempts, to suppress the practice of duelling. Cardinal Richelieu admits, however, in his Political Testament, that his own previous efforts had been ineffectual, although he caused Messieurs de Chappelle and Bouteville to be executed, for the crime, in disregard of the earnest importunities of their numerous and powerful friends. No public man ever did more, for the suppression of the practice, than Lord Bacon, while he was attorney general. His celebrated charge, upon an information in the star chamber, against Priest & Wright, vol. iv. page 399, Lond. 1824, was ordered to be printed, by the Lords of Council; and was vastly learned and powerful, in its way. It is rather amusing, upon looking at the decree, which followed, dated Jan. 26, 2 James I., to see how such matters were then managed; the information, against Priest, was, “for writing and sending a letter of challenge together with a stick, which should be the length of the weapon.”

Such measures are surely well enough, as far as they go; but can be of no lasting influence, unless certain processes are simultaneously carried on, to meliorate the moral tone, in society. Without the continual employment of moral and religious alteratives—laws, homilies, charges, decrees, ridicule, menances of disinherison here, and damnation hereafter will be of very little use. They are outward applications—temporary repellants, which serve no other purpose, than to drive back the distemper, for a brief space, but reach not the seat of the disorder. As was stated, in a former number, nothing will put an end to this[Pg 613] practice, but indoctrination—the mild, antiphlogistic system of the Gospel. Wherever its gentle spirit prevails, combined with intellectual and moral culture, there will be no duels. Temperance forms, necessarily, an important part of that antiphlogistic system—for a careful examination will show, that, in a very great number of cases, duels have originated over the table—we import them, corked up in bottles, which turn out, now and then, to be vials of wrath.

One of the most ferocious duels, upon record, is that, between Lord Bruce and Sir Edward Sackville, of which the survivor, Sir Edward, wrote an account from Louvain, Sept. 8, 1613. These fellows appear to have been royal tigers, untameable even by Herr Driesbach. This brutal and bloody fight took place, at Bergen op Zoom, near Antwerp. The cause of this terrible duel has never been fully ascertained, but the manner and instrument, by which these blood-thirsty gentlemen were put in the ablative, are indicated in the letter—they fought with rapiers and in their shirts. I have neither room nor taste for the details: by the curious in such matters, some account may be gathered, in Collins’s Peerage, which refers to the correspondence, preserved in manuscript, in Queen’s College library, Oxford. These, with Sir Edward’s letter, may be found in Wood’s Athenæ Oxonienses also, vol. iii. page 314, Lond. 1817. Wood says—“he (Sackville) entered into a fatal quarrel, upon a subject very unwarrantable, with a young Scottish nobleman, the Lord Bruce.” Sackville was afterward Earl of Dorset. A more accessible authority, for the reader, probably, is the Guardian, vol. iii. No. 133, though the former is more full, and taken from the original manuscript, in the Ashmole Museum, with the ancient spelling.

The duel, with swords, between the Lords Mohun and Hamilton, in Hyde Park, Nov. 15, 1712, was nearly as brutal. Both were killed. Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s duel with Matthews—the second I mean, for they had two duels—was a very doglike thing indeed. They fought, first, with pistols, and, not killing each other, as speedily as they wished, resorted to their swords. They cut and pricked each other, at a terrible rate; and, losing all patience and temper, closed, rough and tumble, went heels over head, rolled, and puffed, and tussled, in the dust and dirt, till, at last, they were literally pulled apart, like two dogs, by their tails, and a part of Matthews’ sword was found sticking in Sheridan’s ear. Gentlemanly satisfaction this! It has [Pg 614]sometimes occurred, that advantages, unduly taken, on the ground, such as firing out of order, for example, have converted the killing into murder, in the eyes even of the seconds, which it ever is, at all such meetings, in the eye of the law. Such was the case in the duels, between M’Keon and Reynolds, Jan. 31, 1788, and between Campbell and Boyd, June 23, 1808.

Doubtless, there are men of wonderfully well balanced minds, who go about their business, with great apparent composure, after they have killed their antagonists in duels. Now and then, there is one, who takes things more gravely—nervously, perhaps. Poor fellow, he feels rather unpleasantly, when he chances to go by the husbandless mansion—or passes that woman, whom he has made a widow—or sees, hand in hand, those little children, in their sober garments, whom the accursed cunning of his red, right hand has rendered orphans! Such feeble spirits there are—the heart of a duellist should be made of sterner stuff.

June 8, 1807, Mr. Colclough was killed in a duel, by Mr. Alcock, who immediately lost his reason, and was carried from the ground to the madhouse. Some years ago, I visited the Lunatic Hospital in Philadelphia; and there saw, among its inmates, a well known gentleman, who had killed his friend, in a duel. He had referred, while conversing, to his hair, which had grown very gray, since I last saw him. A bystander said, in a mild way—gray hairs are honorable—“Aye,” he replied, “honor made my hairs gray.”

I know, very well, that the common, lawless duel is supposed, by many persons, to have sprung from the old wager of battel, defined, by Fleta, in his law Latin, singularis pugnus inter duos ad probandum litem, et qui vicit probasse intelligitur. The first time we hear of the wager of Battel, as a written judicial rule, is A. D. 501, in the reign of Gundibald, king of Burgundy; and it was in use, among the Germans, Danes, and Franks. The practice or usage was common, however, to all the Celtic nations. It came into England, with William the Conqueror. It happens, however, that men have ever been disposed to settle their disputes, by fighting about them, since the world began.

If the classical reader will open his Velleius Paterculus, lib. ii., and read the first sentence of section 118, he will see, that, when Quintilius Varus endeavored to persuade the rude Germans, to adopt the laws and usages of Rome, in the adjustment of their disputes, between man and man, they laughed at his[Pg 615] simplicity, and told him they had a summary mode of settling these matters, among themselves, by the arm of flesh. This occurred, shortly after the birth of Christ, or about 500 years before the time of Gundibald. Instead of attempting to trace the origin of modern duelling to the legalized wager of battel, we may as well look for its moving cause, in the heart of man.

Duels are of very ancient origin. Abel was a noncombatant. Had it been otherwise, the affair, between him and Cain, would have been the first affair of honor; and his death would not have been murder, but killing in a duel! One thousand and fifty-eight years, according to the chronology of Calmet, before the birth of Christ, the very first duel was fought, near a place called Shochoh, which certainly sounds as roughly, on the ear, as Hoboken. There seems not to have been, upon that occasion, any of the ceremony, practised, now-a-days—there were no regular seconds—no surgeons—no marking off the ground—and each party had the right, to use whatever weapons he pleased.

Two armies were drawn up, in the face of each other. A man, of unusually large proportions, stepped between them, and proposed an adjustment of their national differences, by single combat, and challenged any man of his opponents, to fight a duel with him. He was certainly a fine looking fellow, and armed to the teeth. He came, without any second or friend, to adjust the preliminaries; and no one was with him, but an armor bearer, who carried his shield. The audacity of this unexpected challenge, and the tremendous limbs of the challenger, for a time, produced a sort of panic, in the opposite army—no man seemed inclined to break a spear with the tall champion. At last, after he had strutted up and down, for some time, there came along a smart little fellow, a sort of cowboy or sheep-herd, who was sent to the army by his father, with some provisions, for his three brothers, who had enlisted, and a few fine cheeses, for the colonel of their regiment, the father thinking, very naturally, doubtless, that a present of this kind might pave the way for their promotion. The old gentleman’s name was Jesse—an ancestor, doubtless, of John Heneage Jesse, whose memoirs of George Selwyn we have all read, with so much pleasure. The young fellow arrived with his cheeses, at the very time, when this huge braggart was going about, strutting and defying. Hearing, that the King had offered his daughter in marriage, with a handsome dowry, to any one, who would kill this great bugbear out of the way, this stripling offered to do it.

[Pg 616]When he was brought into the royal presence, the King, struck by his youth and slender figure, told him, without ceremony, that the proposition was perfect nonsense, and that he would certainly get his brains knocked out, by such a terrible fellow. But the young man seemed nothing daunted, and respectfully informed his majesty, that, upon one occasion, he had had an affair with a lion, and, upon another, with a bear, and that he had taken the lion by the beard, and slain him.

The King finally consented, and proceeded to put armor on the boy, who told his majesty, that he was very much obliged to him, but had much rather go without it. The challenge was duly accepted. But, when they came together, on the ground, all the modern notions of etiquette appear to have been set entirely at defiance. Contrary to all the rules of propriety, the principals commenced an angry conversation. When the challenger first saw the little fellow, coming towards him, with a stick and a sling, he really supposed they were hoaxing him. He felt somewhat, perhaps, like Mr. Crofts, when he was challenged, in 1664, by Humphrey Judson, the dwarf; who, nevertheless, killed him, at the first fire.

When the youngster marched up to him, the challenger was very indignant, and asked if he took him for a dog, that he came out to him, with a stick; and, in a very ungentlemanly way, hinted something about making mince meat of his little antagonist, for the crows. The little fellow was not to be outdone, in this preparatory skirmish of words; for he threatened to take off the giant’s head in a jiffy, and told him the ravens should have an alderman’s meal, upon his carcass.

Such bandying of rough words is entirely out of order, on such occasions. At it they went; and, at the very first fire, down came the bully upon his face, struck, upon the frontal sinus, with a smooth stone from a sling. The youngster, I am sorry to say, contrary to all the rules of duelling, ran up to him, after he was down, and chopped off his head, with his own sword; for, as I have already stated, there were no seconds, and there was no surgeon at hand, to attend to the mutilated gentleman, after he was satisfied.

The survivor, who seems to have been the founder of his own fortune—novus homo—became eminently distinguished for his fine poetical talents, and composed a volume of lyrics, which have passed through innumerable editions. The one hundred[Pg 617] and forty-fourth of the series is supposed, by the critics, to have been commemorative of this very affair of honor—Blessed be the Lord, my strength, who teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight.




The duel, between David and Goliath, bears a striking resemblance to that, between Titus Manlius and the Gaul, so finely described, by Livy, lib. vii. cap. 10. In both cases, the circumstances, at the commencement, were precisely alike. The armies of the Hernici and of the Romans were drawn up, on the opposite banks of the Anio—those of the Israelites and of the Philistines, on two mountains, on the opposite sides of the valley of Elah. “Tum eximia corporis magnitudine in vacuum pontem Gallus processit, et quantum maxima voce potuit, quem nunc inquit Roma virum fortissimum habet, procedat, agedum, ad pugnam, ut noster duorum eventus ostendat, utra gens bello sit melior.” Then, a Gaul of enormous size, came down upon the unoccupied bridge, and cried out, as loud as he could, let the bravest of the Romans come forth—let him come on—and let the issue of our single combat decide, which nation is superior in war.—And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. * * * * And he stood, and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, why are ye come out to set your battle in array? Am not I a Philistine, and ye servants of Saul? Choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me. If he be able to fight with me and to kill me, then will we be your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us.

The next point, is the effect upon the two armies: “Diu inter primores juvenum Romanorum silentium fuit, quum et abnuere certamen vererentur, et præcipuam sortem periculi petere nollent.” There was a long silence, upon this, among the chiefs of the young Romans; for, while they were afraid to refuse the challenge, they were reluctant to encounter this peculiar kind of[Pg 618] peril.—When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.

After Titus Manlius had accepted the challenge, he seems desirous of giving his commander a proof of his confidence in himself, and the reasons, or grounds, of that confidence: “Si tu permittis, volo ego illi belluæ ostendere, quando adeo ferox præsultat hostium signis, me ex ea familia ortum, quæ Gallorum agmen ex rupe Tarpeia dejecit.” If you will permit me, I will show this brute, after he has vaunted a little longer, in this braggart style, before the banners of the enemy, that I am sprung from the family, that hurled the whole host of Gauls from the Tarpeian rock.—And David said to Saul, let no man’s heart fail because of him, thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine. * * * * Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock. And I went out after him, and delivered it out of his mouth; and when he arose against me, I caught him, by his beard, and smote him and slew him. Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them.

The difference in their port and appearance may also be considered. “Nequaquam visu ac specie æstimantibus pares. Corpus alteri magnitudine eximium, versicolori veste, pictisque et auro cælatis refulgens armis; media in altero militaris statura, modicaque in armis habilibus magis quam decoris species.” In size and appearance, there was no resemblance. The frame of the Gaul was enormous. He wore a vest whose color was changeable, and his refulgent arms were highly ornamented and studded with gold. The Roman was of middle military stature, and his simple weapons were calculated for service and not for show. Of Goliath we read—He had a helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail. * * * And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders, and the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam; and David took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip, and his sling was in his hand. The General’s consent is given to Titus Manlius, in these words—“Perge et nomen Romanum invictum, juvantibus diis, præsta.” Go, and have a care, the gods assisting thee, that the Roman name remains unconquered. And Saul said unto David, Go,[Pg 619] and the Lord be with thee. The Philistine and the Gaul were both speedily killed, and here the parallel ends; for David hewed off the Philistine’s head. The Roman was more generous than the child of Israel—“Jacentis inde corpus, ab omni alia vexatione intactum, uno torque spoliavit; quem, respersum cruore, collo circumdedit suo.” He despoiled the body of his fallen foe, in no otherwise insulted, of a chain, which, bloody, as it was, he placed around his own neck. I cannot turn from this gallant story, without remarking, that this Titus Manlius must have been a terrible wag: Livy says, that his young companions having prepared him for the duel—“armatum adornatumque adversus Gallum stolide lætum, et (quoniam id quoque memoria dignum antiquis visum est) linguam, etiam ab irrisu exscrentem, producunt”—they brought him forward, armed and prepared for his conflict with the Gaul, childishly delighted, and (since the ancients have thought it worth repeating) waggishly thrusting his tongue out of his mouth, in derision of his antagonist.

Doubtless, the challenge of Charles V. by Francis I., in which affair, Charles, in the opinion of some folks, showed a little, if the cant phrase be allowable, of the white feather, gave an impetus to the practice of duelling. Doubtless, the wager of battel supplied something of the form and ceremony, the use of seconds, and measuring the lists, the signal of onset, &c. of modern duels: but the principle was in the bosom of Adam, and the practice is of the highest antiquity.

Woman, in some way or other, has been, very often, at the bottom of these duels. Helen, as the chief occasion of the Trojan war, was, of course, the cause of Hector’s duel with Ajax, which duel, as the reader will see, by turning to his Iliad, lib. viii. v. 279, was stopped, by the police, at the very moment, when both gentlemen, having thrown their lances aside, were drawing their long knives. Lavinia set Turnus and Æneas by the cars. Turnus challenged him twice. Upon the first occasion, Æneas was unwell; but, upon the second, they had a meeting, and he killed his man. David would not have accepted Goliath’s challenge, had not his heart been set upon Saul’s daughter, and the shekels. I find nothing of this, in the commentators; but the reader may find it, in the Book of Nature, passim. For one so young, David practised, with all the wariness of an old bachelor. When he first arrived in camp, some one asked him, if he had seen Goliath, and added, and it shall[Pg 620] be that the man who killeth him the King will enrich him with great riches, and will give him his daughter. David had no idea of going upon a fool’s errand; and, to make matters sure, he turned to those about him, and inquired, clearly for confirmation, what shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine? And they repeated what he had heard before. David was a discreet youth, for one of his time, the titman, as he was, of Jesse’s eight children—and, to avoid all chance of mistake, he walks off to another person, near at hand, and repeats his inquiry, and receives a similar answer. Sam. I. xvii. 30. A wide difference there is, between the motives of Titus Manlius, in accepting the challenge of the Gaul, and those of David, in accepting that of the Philistine—the love of country and of glory in the first—in the last, the desire of possessing Saul’s daughter and the shekels.

Duels have been occasioned, by other Helens than her of Troy. A pleasant tale is told, by Valvasor, in his work, La Gloire de Duche de Carniole, Liv. ii. p. 634—of Andrew Eberhard Rauber, a German Knight, and Lord of the fortress of Petronel. Maximilian II., Emperor of Germany, had a natural daughter, Helen Scharseginn, of exquisite beauty, who had a brace of gallant admirers, of whom Rauber was one—the other was a Spanish gentleman, of high rank. Both were at the court of Maximilian, and in such high favor, that the Emperor was extremely unwilling to disoblige either. Upon the lifting of a finger, these gallants were ready to fight a score of duels, for the lady’s favor, in the most approved fashion of the day. To this the Emperor was decidedly opposed; and, had they resorted to such extremities, neither would have taken anything, by his motion. The Emperor secretly preferred the German alliance, but was unwilling to offend the Spaniard. He was young and of larger proportions, than his German rival; but Rauber’s prodigious strength had become a proverb, through the land. He had the power of breaking horse-shoes with his thumbs and fingers; and, upon one occasion, at Gratz, in the presence of the Archduke Charles, according to Valvasor’s account, he seized an insolent Jew, by his long beard, and actually pulled his jaw off. He was a terrible antagonist, of course.

Maximilian, heartily wearied with their incessant strife and importunity, finally consented, that the question should be settled, by a duel, in presence of the whole court. The hour was[Pg 621] appointed, and the parties duly notified. The terms of the conflict were to be announced, by the Emperor. The day arrived. The Lords and Ladies of the Court were assembled, to witness the combat; and the rivals presented themselves, with their weapons, prepared to struggle manfully, for life and love.

The Emperor commanded the combatants to lay their rapiers aside, and each was presented with a large bag or sack; and they were told, that whichever should succeed, in putting the other into the sack, should be entitled to the hand of the fair Helen Scharseginn.

Though, doubtless, greatly surprised, by this extraordinary announcement, there appeared to be no alternative, and at it they went. After a protracted struggle, amid shouts of laughter from the spectators, Rauber, Lord of the fortress of Petronel, obtained the victory, bagged his bird, and encased the haughty Spaniard in the sack, who, shortly after, departed from the court of Maximilian.

Would to God, that all duels were as harmless, in their consequences. It is not precisely so. When the gentleman, that does the murder, and the two or more gentlemen, who aid and abet, have finished their handiwork, the end is not yet—mother, wife, sisters, brothers, children are involuntary parties—the iron, or the lead, which pierced that selfish heart, must enter their very souls.

Where these encounters have proved fatal, the survivors, as I have stated, have, occasionally, gone mad. It is not very common, to be sure, for duels to produce such melancholy consequences, as those, which occurred, after that, between Cameron and McLean, in 1722. McLean was killed. Upon receiving the intelligence, his aged mother lost her reason, and closed her days in a mad-house. The lady, to whom he was betrothed, expired in convulsions, upon the third day, after the event—n’importe!




It is quite unpleasant, after having diligently read a volume of memoirs, or voyages, or travels, and carefully transferred a goodly number of interesting items to one’s common-place [Pg 622]book—to discover, that the work, ab ovo usque ad mala, is an ingenious tissue of deliberate lies. It is no slight aggravation of this species of affliction, to reflect, that one has highly commended the work, to some of his acquaintances, who are no way remarkable, for their bowels of compassion, and whose intelligible smile he is certain to encounter, when they first meet again, after the éclaircissement.

There is very little of the hæc olim meminisse juvabit, in store, for those, who have been thus misled. If there had been, absolutely, no foundation for the story, in the credulity of certain members of the Royal Society, Butler would not, probably, have produced his pleasant account of “the elephant in the moon.” There were some very grave gentlemen, of lawful age, who were inclined to receive, for sober truth, that incomparable hoax, of which Sir John Herschell was represented, as the hero.

Damberger’s travels, in Africa, and his personal adventures there gave me great pleasure, when I was a boy; and I remember to have felt excessively indignant, when I discovered, that the work was written, in a garret, in the city of Amsterdam, by a fellow who had never quitted Europe.

I never derived much pleasure or instruction, from Wraxall’s memoirs of the Kings of France of the race of Valois, nor from his tour through the Southern Provinces, published in 1777. But his Historical memoirs of his own time, prepared, somewhat after the manner of De Thou, and Bishop Burnet, and extending from 1772 to 1784, I well remember to have read, with very considerable pleasure, in 1816; and was pained to find them cut up, however unmercifully, with so much irresistible justice, in the Edinburgh and Quarterly Reviews, and the British Critic. Mr. Wraxall made matters immeasurably worse, by his defence. There could be no adequate defence, for a man, who had asserted, that Lord Dorset told him an anecdote, touching an event, which event did not happen, till Lord Dorset was dead. A single instance of this kind, in a writer of common accuracy, might be carried, in charity, to the debit of chance, or forgetfulness; but the catalogue, presented by the reviewers, is truly overpowering. To close the account, Sir N. W. Wraxall was, in May, 1816, convicted of a libel, in these very memoirs, upon Count Woronzow, the Russian minister; and Mr. Wraxall was imprisoned in Newgate, for that offence.

After this disqualification of my witness, I am, nevertheless,[Pg 623] about to vouch in Mr. Wraxall, by reciting one of his stories, in illustration of a principle. I quote from memory—I have not the work—the reviewers prevented me from buying it. June 16, 1743, the battle of Dettingen was fought, and won, by George II. in person, and the Earl of Stair, against the Marechal de Noailles and the Duke de Grammont. Mr. Wraxall relates—me memoria mea non fallente—the following incident. After the battle, the Earl gave a dinner, at his quarters; and, among the guests, were several of the French prisoners of war. Of course, the Earl of Stair presided, at one end of the table—at the other sat a gentleman, of very common-place appearance, of small stature, thin and pale, evidently an invalid, and who, unless addressed, scarcely opened his lips, during the entertainment. This unobtrusive, and rather unprepossessing, young man was the Lord Mark Kerr, the nephew, and the aid-de-camp of the Earl. After the removal of the cloth, the gentlemen discussed the subject of the battle, and the manœuvres, by which the victory had been achieved. A difference of opinion arose, between the Earl and one of the French Colonels, as to the time of a particular movement. The latter became highly excited, and very confident he was right. The Earl referred to Lord Mark Kerr, whose position, at the time of that movement, rendered his decision conclusive. Lord Mark politely assured the French Colonel, that he was mistaken; upon which the Frenchman instantly insulted him, without saying a word, but in that felicitous manner, which enables a Frenchman to convey an insult, even by his mode of taking snuff. Soon after, the party broke up, and the Earl of Stair was left alone. In about half an hour, Lord Mark Kerr returned, and found his uncle very much disturbed.

“Nephew,” said he, “you know my strong dislike of duelling. In our situation we are sometimes, perhaps, unable to avoid it. The French Colonel insulted you, at table; others noticed it, besides myself. I fear, my dear nephew, you will have to ask him to apologize.”

“I noticed it myself, my Lord,” replied the Lord Mark; “you need have no trouble, on that account—we have already met—I ran him through the body; and they are now burying him, in the outer court.”

Duels are often produced, by a foolish, and fatal misestimate, which one man makes of another’s temperament. The diminutive[Pg 624] frame, the pale cheek, and small voice, modest carriage, youth, and inexperience, afford no certain indicia: nimium ne crede colori. Men of small stature, are sometimes the more brusque, and more on the qui vive, from this very circumstance.

Ingentes animos angusto in pectore volvunt.

That a man will not fight, like a dragon, simply because he has neither the stature of Falstaff, nor the lungs of Bottom, is a well authenticated non sequitur.

A well told, and well substantiated illustration of all this, may be found, in Mackenzie’s Life of Decatur, page 55. I refer to the case of Joseph Bainbridge, who, in 1803, when a midshipman, and an inexperienced boy, was purposely and wantonly insulted, at Malta, by a professed duellist, the Secretary of Sir Alexander Ball, the Governor. No one can read Mackenzie’s Narrative, without a conviction, that Bainbridge owed the preservation of his life, to the address of Decatur. They met—fired twice, at four paces; and, at the second fire, the English duellist fell, mortally wounded in the head: Bainbridge was untouched.

When I was a school boy, more than fifty years ago, I remember to have read, in an English journal, whose name I have now forgotten, a story, which may have been a fiction; but which was very naturally told, and made a deep impression upon me then. I will endeavor to draw it forth from the locker of my memory; and engage, beforehand, to be very much indebted to any one, who will indicate its original source.

Three young gentlemen, who had finished the most substantial part of their repast, were lingering over their fruit and wine, at an eating-house, in London; when a man, of middle age, and middle stature, entered the public room, where they were sitting; seated himself, at one end of a small, unoccupied table; and, calling the waiter, ordered a simple mutton chop, and a glass of ale. His appearance, at first view, was not likely to arrest the attention of any one. His hair was getting to be thin and gray; the expression of his countenance was sedate, with a slight touch, perhaps, of melancholy; and he wore a gray surtout, with a standing collar, which, manifestly, had seen service, if the wearer had not—just such a thing, as an officer would bestow upon his serving man. He might be taken for a country magistrate, or an attorney, of limited practice, or a schoolmaster.

[Pg 625]He continued to masticate his chop, and sip his ale, in silence, without lifting his eyes from the table, until a melon seed, sportively snapped, from between the thumb and finger of one of the gentlemen, at the opposite table, struck him upon the right ear. His eye was instantly upon the aggressor; and his ready intelligence gathered, from the illy suppressed merriment of the party, that this petty impertinence was intentional.

The stranger stooped, and picked up the melon seed, and a scarcely perceptible smile passed over his features, as he carefully wrapped up the seed, in a piece of paper, and placed it in his pocket. This singular procedure, with their preconceived impressions of their customer, somewhat elevated, as they were, by the wine they had partaken, capsized their gravity entirely, and a burst of irresistible laughter proceeded from the group.

Unmoved by this rudeness, the stranger continued to finish his frugal repast, in quiet, until another melon seed, from the same hand, struck him, upon the right elbow. This also, to the infinite amusement of the other party, he picked from the floor, and carefully deposited with the first.

Amidst shouts of laughter, a third melon seed was, soon after, discharged, which hit him, upon the left breast. This also he, very deliberately took from the floor, and deposited with the other two.

As he rose, and was engaged in paying for his repast, the gayety of these sporting gentlemen became slightly subdued. It was not easy to account for this. Lavater would not have been able to detect the slightest evidence of irritation or resentment, upon the features of the stranger. He seemed a little taller, to be sure, and the carriage of his head might have appeared to them rather more erect. He walked to the table, at which they were sitting, and with that air of dignified calmness, which is a thousand times more terrible than wrath, drew a card from his pocket, and presented it, with perfect civility, to the offender, who could do no less than offer his own, in return. While the stranger unclosed his surtout, to take the card from his pocket, they had a glance at the undress coat of a military man. The card disclosed his rank, and a brief inquiry at the bar was sufficient for the rest. He was a captain, whom ill health and long service had entitled to half pay. In earlier life he had been engaged in several affairs of honor, and, in the dialect of the fancy, was a dead shot.

[Pg 626]The next morning a note arrived at the aggressor’s residence, containing a challenge, in form, and one only of the melon seeds. The truth then flashed before the challenged party—it was the challenger’s intention to make three bites at this cherry, three separate affairs out of this unwarrantable frolic! The challenge was accepted, and the challenged party, in deference to the challenger’s reputed skill with the pistol, had half decided upon the small sword; but his friends, who were on the alert, soon discovered, that the captain, who had risen by his merit, had, in the earlier days of his necessity, gained his bread, as an accomplished instructor, in the use of that very weapon. They met and fired, alternately, by lot; the young man had elected this mode, thinking he might win the first fire—he did—fired, and missed his opponent. The captain levelled his pistol and fired—the ball passed through the flap of the right ear, and grazed the bone; and, as the wounded man involuntarily put his hand to the place, he remembered that it was on the right ear of his antagonist, that the first melon seed had fallen. Here ended the first lesson. A month had passed. His friends cherished the hope, that he would hear nothing more from the captain, when another note—a challenge of course—and another of those accursed melon seeds arrived, with the captain’s apology, on the score of ill-health, for not sending it before.

Again they met—fired simultaneously, and the captain, who was unhurt, shattered the right elbow of his antagonist—the very point upon which he had been struck by the second melon seed: and here ended the second lesson. There was something awfully impressive, in the modus operandi, and exquisite skill of this antagonist. The third melon seed was still in his possession, and the aggressor had not forgotten, that it had struck the unoffending gentleman, upon the left breast! A month had past—another—and another, of terrible suspense; but nothing was heard from the captain. Intelligence had been received, that he was confined to his lodgings, by illness. At length, the gentleman who had been his second, in the former duels, once more presented himself, and tendered another note, which, as the recipient perceived, on taking it, contained the last of the melon seeds. The note was superscribed in the captain’s well known hand, but it was the writing evidently of one, who wrote deficiente manu. There was an unusual solemnity also, in the manner of him, who delivered it. The seal was broken, and there was the[Pg 627] melon seed, in a blank envelope—“And what, sir, am I to understand by this?”—“You will understand, sir, that my friend forgives you—he is dead.”



No. CL.

A curious story of vicarious hanging is referred to, by several of the earlier historians, of New England. The readers of Hudibras will remember the following passage, Part ii. 407—

“Justice gives sentence, many times,
On one man for another’s crimes.
Our brethren of New England use
Choice malefactors to excuse,
And hang the guiltless in their stead,
Of whom the churches have less need:
As lately ’t happen’d:—in a town
There liv’d a cobbler, and but one,
That out of doctrine could cut use,
And mend men’s lives, as well as shoes.
This precious brother having slain,
In times of peace, an Indian,
Not out of malice, but mere zeal,
Because he was an infidel;
The mighty Tottipottymoy
Sent to our ciders an envoy;
Complaining sorely of the breach
Of league, held forth by brother Patch,
Against the articles in force
Between both churches, his and ours,
For which he crav’d the saints to render
Into his hands, or hang th’ offender:
But they, maturely having weigh’d
They had no more but him o’ the trade,
A man that served them, in a double
Capacity, to teach and cobble,
Resolved to spare him; yet to do
The Indian Hoghan Moghan too
Impartial Justice, in his stead did
Hang an old weaver, that was bedrid.”

This is not altogether the sheer poetica licentia, that common readers may suppose it to be. Hubbard, Mass. Hist. Coll. xv. 77, gives the following version, after having spoken of the theft—“the company, as some report pretended, in way of satisfaction, to punish him, that did the theft, but in his stead, hanged a poor, decrepit, old man, that was [Pg 628]unserviceable to the company, and burthensome to keep alive, which was the ground of the story, with which the merry gentleman, that wrote the poem, called Hudibras, did, in his poetical fancy, make so much sport. Yet the inhabitants of Plymouth tell the story much otherwise, as if the person hanged was really guilty of stealing, as may be were many of the rest, and if they were driven by necessity to content the Indians, at that time to do justice, there were some of Mr. Weston’s company living, it is possible it might be executed not on him that most deserved, but on him that could be best spared, or was not likely to live long, if let alone.”

Morton published his English Canaan, in 1637, and relates the story Part iii. ch. iv. p. 108, but he states, that it was a proposal only, which was very well received, but being opposed by one person, “they hanged up the real offender.”

As the condemned draw nigh unto death—the scaffold—the gibbet—it would be natural to suppose, that every avenue to the heart would be effectually closed, against the entrance of all impressions, but those of terrible solemnity; yet no common truth is more clearly established, than that ill-timed levity, vanity, pride, and an almost inexplicable pleasure, arising from a consciousness of being the observed of all observers, have been exhibited, by men, on their way to the scaffold, and even with the halter about their necks.

The story is well worn out, of the wretched man, who, observing the crowd eagerly rushing before him, on his way to the gallows, exclaimed, “gentlemen, why so fast—there can be no sport, till I come!”

In Jesse’s memoirs of George Selwyn, i. 345, it is stated, that John Wisket, who committed a most atrocious burglary, in 1763, the evidence of which was perfectly clear and conclusive, insisted upon wearing a large white cockade, on the scaffold, as a token of his innocence, and was swung off, bearing that significant appendage.

In the same volume, page 117, it is said of the famous Lord Lovat, that, in Scotland, a story is current, that, when upon his way to the Tower, after his condemnation, an old woman thrust her head into the window of the coach, which conveyed him, and exclaimed—“You old rascal, I begin to think you will be hung at last.” To which he instantly replied—“You old b——h, I begin to think I shall.”

[Pg 629]In Walpole’s letters to Mann, 163, a very interesting and curious account may be found, of the execution of the Lords Kilmarnock, and Balmarino. These Lords, with the Lord Cromartie, who was pardoned, were engaged, on the side of the Pretender, in the rebellion of 1745. “Just before they came out of the Tower, Lord Balmarino drank a bumper to King James’s health. As the clock struck ten, they came forth, on foot, Lord Kilmarnock all in black, his hair unpowdered, in a bag, supported by Forster, the great Presbyterian, and by Mr. Home, a young clergyman, his friend. Lord Balmarino followed, alone, in a blue coat, turned up with red, his rebellious regimentals, a flannel waistcoat, and his shroud beneath, the hearses following. They were conducted to a house near the scaffold; the room forwards had benches for the spectators; in the second was Lord Kilmarnock; and in the third backwards Lord Balmarino—all three chambers hung with black. Here they parted! Balmarino embraced the other, and said—‘My lord, I wish I could suffer for both.’”

When Kilmarnock came to the scaffold, continues Walpole,—“He then took off his bag, coat, and waistcoat, with great composure, and, after some trouble, put on a napkin cap, and then several times tried the block, the executioner, who was in white, with a white apron, out of tenderness concealing the axe behind himself. At last the Earl knelt down, with a visible unwillingness to depart, and, after five minutes, dropped his handkerchief, the signal, and his head was cut off at once, only hanging by a bit of skin, and was received in a scarlet cloth, by four undertakers’ men kneeling, who wrapped it up, and put it into the coffin with the body; orders having been given not to expose the heads, as used to be the custom. The scaffold was immediately new strewed with sawdust, the block new covered, the executioner new dressed, and a new axe brought. Then came old Balmarino, treading with the air of a general. As soon as he mounted the scaffold, he read the inscription on his coffin, as he did again afterwards: he then surveyed the spectators, who were in amazing numbers, even upon masts of ships in the river; and, pulling out his spectacles, read a treasonable speech, which he delivered to the sheriff, and said the young Pretender was so sweet a prince, that flesh and blood could not resist following him; and, lying down to try the block, he said—‘if I had a thousand lives I would lay them all down here in the same cause.’ He[Pg 630] said, if he had not taken the sacrament the day before, he would have knocked down Williamson, the Lieutenant of the Tower, for his ill usage of him. He took the axe and felt of it, and asked the headsman how many blows he had given Lord Kilmarnock, and gave him two guineas. Then he went to the corner of the scaffold, and called very loud to the Warder, to give him his periwig, which he took off, and put on a night cap of Scotch plaid, and then pulled off his coat and waistcoat and lay down; but being told he was on the wrong side, vaulted round, and immediately gave the sign, by tossing up his arm, as if he were giving the signal for battle. He received three blows, but the first certainly took away sensation. As he was on his way to the place of execution, seeing every window open, and the roofs covered with spectators—‘Look, look,’ he cried, ‘see how they are piled up like rotten oranges!’”

Following the English custom, the clergymen of Boston were in the habit, formerly, of preaching to those, who were under sentence of death. I have before me, while I write, the following manuscript memoranda of Dr. Andrew Eliot—“1746, July 24. Thursday lecture preached by Dr. Sewall to three poor malefactors, who were executed P. M.” “1747, Oct. 8. Went to Cambridge to attend Eliza Wakefield, this day executed. Mr. Grady began with prayer. Mr. Appleton preached and prayed.” There is a printed sermon, preached by Dr. Andrew Eliot, on the Lords’ day before the execution of Levi Ames, who was hung for burglary Oct. 21, 1773. Ames was present, and the sermon was preached, by his particular request. The desire of distinction dies hard, even in the hearts of malefactors.

Dr. Andrew Eliot was a man of excellent sense, and disapproved of the practice, then in vogue, of lionizing burglars and murderers, of which, few, at the present day, I believe, have any just conception. For their edification I subjoin a portion of a manuscript note, in the hand writing of the late Dr. Ephraim Eliot, appended to the last page of the sermon, delivered by his father. “Levi Ames was a noted offender—though a young man, he had gone through all the routine of punishment; and there was now another indictment against him, where there was positive proof, in addition to his own confession. He was tried and condemned, for breaking into the house of Martin Bicker, in Dock Square. His condemnation excited extraordinary sympathy. He was every Sabbath carried through the streets with[Pg 631] chains about his ankles and handcuffed, in custody of the Sheriff’s officers and constables, to some public meeting, attended by an innumerable company of boys, women and men. Nothing was talked of but Levi Ames. The ministers were successively employed in delivering occasional discourses. Stillman improved the opportunity several times, and absolutely persuaded the fellow, that he was to step from the cart into Heaven.”

It is quite surprising, that our fathers should have suffered this interesting burglar—“misguided” of course—to be hung by the neck, till he was dead. When an individual, as sanguine, as Dr. Stillman appears to have been, in regard to Levi Ames, remarked of a notorious burglar, a few days after his execution, that he had certainly been born again, an incredulous bystander observed, that he was sorry to hear it, for some dwelling-house or store would surely be broken open before morning.



No. CLI.

We are sufficiently acquainted with the Catholic practice of roasting heretics—that of boiling thieves and other offenders is less generally known. Caldariis decoquere, to boil them in cauldrons, was a punishment, inflicted in the middle ages, on thieves, false coiners, and others. In 1532, seventeen persons, in the family of the Bishop of Rochester, were poisoned by Rouse, a cook; the offence was, in consequence, made treason, by 23 Henry VIII., punishable, by boiling to death. Margaret Davie was boiled to death, for the like crime, in 1541. Quite a number of Roman ladies, in the year 331 B. C., formed a poisoning society, or club; and adopted this quiet mode of divorcing themselves from their husbands: seventy of the sisterhood were denounced, by a slave, to the consul, Fabius Maximus, who ordered them to be executed. None of these ladies were boiled.

Boiling the dead has been very customary, after beheading or hanging, and drawing, and quartering, whenever the criminal was sentenced to be hung afterwards, in chains. Thus father Strype—“1554.—Sir Thomas Wyatt’s fatal day was come, being the 11th of April, when, between nine and ten of the clock, aforenoon, on Tower Hill, he was beheaded; and, by eleven of[Pg 632] the clock, he was quartered on the scaffold, and his bowels and members burnt beside the scaffold; and, a car and basket being at hand, the four quarters and the head were put into the basket, and conveyed to Newgate, to be parboiled.” One more quotation from Strype—“1557.—May 28th, was Thomas Stafford beheaded on Tower Hill, by nine of the clock, Mr. Wode being his ghostly father; and, after, three more, viz., Stowel, Proctor, and Bradford were drawn from the Tower, through London, unto Tyburn, and there hanged and quartered: and, the morrow after, was Stafford quartered, and his quarters hanged on a car, and carried to Newgate to boil.”

How very ingenious we have been, since the days of Cain, in torturing one another! Boiling and roasting are not to be thought of. The Turkish bowstring will never be adopted here, nor the Chinese drop, nor their mode of capital punishment, in which the criminal, having been stripped naked, is so confined, that he can scarcely move a muscle, and, being smeared with honey, is exposed to myriads of insects, and thus left to perish. Crucifixion will never be popular in Massachusetts, though quite common among the Syrians, Egyptians, Persians, Africans, Greeks, Romans, and Jews. Starving to death, sawing in twain, and rending asunder, by strong horses, have all been tried, but are not much approved of, by the moderns. The rack may answer well enough, in Catholic countries, but, in this quarter, there is a strong prejudice against it. Exposure to wild beasts is objectionable, for two reasons; one of these reasons resembles the first of twenty-four, offered to the Queen of Hungary, for not ringing the bells upon her arrival,—there were no bells in the village—we have no wild beasts. The second reason is quite germain—man is savage enough, without any foreign assistance. Burying alive, though it has been employed, as a punishment, in other countries, is, literally, too much for flesh and blood; and, I am happy to say, there is not a sexton in this city, who would, knowingly, be a party to such a barbarous proceeding.

Death has been produced, by preventing sleep, as a mode of punishment. Impaling, and flaying alive, tearing to pieces with red hot pincers, casting headlong from high rocks, eviscerating the bowels, firing the criminals from the mouths of canons, and pressing them slowly to death, by weights, gradually increased, upon the breast, the peine forte et dure, are very much out of fashion; though one and all have been frequently employed, in[Pg 633] other times. There is a wheel of fashion, as well as a wheel of fortune, in the course of whose revolutions, some of these obsolete modes of capital punishment may come round again, like polygon porcelain, and antiquated chair-backs. Should our legislature think proper to revive the practice, in capital cases, of heading up the criminal in a barrel, filled with nails, driven inward, a sort of inverted cheval de frize, and rolling him down hill, I have often thought the more elevated corner of our Common would be an admirable spot for the commencement of the execution, were it not for interrupting the practice of coasting, during the winter; by which several innocent persons, in no way parties to the process, have been very nearly executed already.

Shooting is apt to be performed, in a bungling manner. Hanging by the heels, till the criminal is dead, is very objectionable, and requires too much time. The mode adopted here and in England, and also in some other countries, of hanging by the neck, is, in no respect agreeable, even if the operator be a skilful man; and, if not, it is highly offensive. The rope is sometimes too long, and the victim touches the ground—it is too frail, and breaks, and the odious act must be performed again—or the noose is unskilfully adjusted, the neck is not broken, and the struggles are terrible.

The sword, in a Turkish hand, performs the work well. It was used in France. Charles Henry Sanson, the hereditary executioner, on the third of March, 1792, presented a memorial to the Constituent Assembly, in which he objected to decollation, and stated that he had but two swords; that they became dull immediately; and were wholly insufficient, when there were many to be executed, at one time. Monsieur Sanson knew nothing then of that delightful instrument, which, not long afterward, became a mere plaything, in his hands.

Stoning to death and flaying alive have been employed, occasionally, since the days of Stephen and Bartholomew. The axe, so much in vogue, formerly, in England, was a ruffianly instrument, often mangling the victim, in a horrible manner.

After all, there is nothing like the guillotine; and, should it ever be thought expedient to erect one here, I should recommend, for a location, the knoll, near the fountain, on our Common, which would enable a very large concourse of men, women, and children, to witness the performances of both, at the same moment.

[Pg 634]The very best account of the guillotine, that I have ever met with, is contained in the London Quarterly Review, vol. lxxiii. page 235. It is commonly supposed, that this instrument was invented by Dr. Guillotin, whose name it bears. It has been frequently asserted, that Dr. Guillotin was one of the earliest, who fell victims to its terrible agency. It has been still more generally believed, that this awfully efficient machine was conceived in sin and begotten in iniquity, or in other words, that its original contrivers were moved, by the spirit of cruelty. All these conjectures are unfounded.

The guillotine, before its employment, in France, was well known in England, under the name of the Halifax gibbet. A copy of a print, by John Doyle, bearing date 1650, and representing the instrument, may be found, in the work, to which I have, just now, referred. Pennant, in his Tour, vol. iii. page 365, affirms, that he saw one of the same kind, “in a room, under the Parliament house, at Edinburgh, where it was introduced by the Regent, Morton, who took a model of it, as he passed through Halifax, and, at length, suffered by it, himself.”

The writer in the London Quarterly, puts the question of invention at rest, by exhibiting, on page 258, a copy of an engraving, by Henry Aldgrave, bearing date 1553, representing the death of Titus Manlius, under the operation of “an instrument, identical with the guillotine.”

During the revolution, Dr. Guillotin was committed to prison, from which he was released, after a tedious confinement. He died in his bed, at Paris, an obscure and inoffensive, old man; deeply deploring, to the day of his decease, the association of his name, with this terrible instrument—an instrument, which he attempted to introduce, in good faith, and with a merciful design, but which had been employed by the devils incarnate of the revolution, for the purposes of reckless and indiscriminating carnage.

Dr. Guillotin was a weak, consequential, well-meaning man, willing to mount any hobby, that would lift him from the ground. He is described, in the Portraits des Personnes célebres, 1796, as a simple busybody, meddling with everything, à tort et à travers, and being both mischievous and ridiculous.

He had sundry benevolent visions, in regard to capital punishment, and the suppression, by legal enactment, of the sentiment of prejudice, against the families of persons, executed for[Pg 635] crime! Among the members of the faculty, in every large city, there are commonly two or three, at least, exhibiting striking points of resemblance to Dr. Guillotin. In urging the merits of this machine, upon merciful considerations, his integrity was unimpeachable. He considered hanging a barbarous and cruel punishment; and, by the zeal and simplicity of his arguments, produced, even upon so grave a topic, universal laughter, in the constituent assembly—having represented hanging, as a tedious and painful process, he exclaimed, “Now, with my machine, Je vous sauter le tête, I strike off your head, in the twinkling of an eye, and you never feel it.”




The Sansons, hereditary executioners, in Paris, were gentlemen. In 1684, Carlier, executioner of Paris, was dismissed. His successor was Charles Sanson a lieutenant in the army, born in Abbeville, in Picardy, and a relative of Nicholas Sanson, the celebrated geographer. Charles Sanson married the daughter of the executioner of Normandy, and hence a long line of illustrious executioners. Charles died in 1695; and was succeeded by his son Charles.

Charles Sanson, the second, was succeeded by his son, Charles John Baptiste, who died Aug. 4, 1778, when his son Charles Henry was appointed in his place; and, in 1795, retired on a pension. By his hand, with the assistance of two of his brothers, the King, Louis XVI. was guillotined. This Charles Henry had two sons. His eldest, the heir-apparent to the guillotine, was killed, by a fall from the scaffold, while holding forth the head of a man, executed for the forgery of assignats. Henry, the younger son of Charles Henry, therefore became his successor, at the time of his retirement, in 1795. To fill this office, he gave up his military rank, as captain of artillery. He died Aug. 18, 1840. He was an elector, and had a taste for music and literature. He was succeeded by his son, Henry Clement, Dec. 1, 1840. These particulars will be found on page 27 of Recherches Historiques et Physiologiques, sur la Guillotine, &c., par M. Louis du Bois. Paris, 1843. Monsieur du Bois informs[Pg 636] us, that all these Sansons were very worthy men, and that the present official possesses a fine figure, features stamped with nobility, and an expression sweet and attractive. How very little all this quadrates with our popular impressions of the common hangman!

The objection to the guillotine, which was called, for a time, Louison, after M. Louis, Secretary of the College of Surgeons, that it would make men familiar with the sight of blood, was urged by the Abbé Maury, and afterwards, by A. M. La Cheze. The Duke de Liancourt, inclined to mercy, that is, to the employment of the guillotine. He contended, that it was necessary to efface all recollections of hanging, which, he gravely remarked, had recently been so irregularly applied, referring to the summary process of lynching, as we term it—à la lanterne.

It is curious to note the doubt and apprehension, which existed, as to the result of the first experiment of decollation. March 3, 1792, the minister, Duport du Tertre, writes thus to the Legislative Assembly—“It appears, by the communications, made to me, by the executioners themselves, that, without some precautions, the act of decollation will be horrible to the spectators. It will either prove them to be monsters, if they are able to bear such a spectacle; or the executioner, himself, alarmed, will fall before the wrath of the people.”

The matter being referred to Louis, then Secretary of the Academy of Surgeons, he made his report, March 7, 1792. The new law required, that the criminal should be decapitated—aura la tête tranchée; and that the punishment should be inflicted without torture. Louis shows how difficult the execution of such a law must be—“We should recollect,” says he, “the occurrences at M. de Lally’s execution. He was upon his knees, with his eyes covered—the executioner struck him, on the back of his neck—the blow was insufficient. He fell upon his face, and three or four cuts of the sabre severed the head. Such hacherie excited a feeling of horror.” To such a polite and gentle nation, this must have been highly offensive.

April 25, 1798. Rœderer, Procureur Genéral, wrote a letter to Lafayette, telling him, that a public trial of the new instrument would take place, that day, in the Place de Grève, and would, doubtless, draw a great crowd, and begging him not to withdraw the gens d’armes, till the apparatus had been removed. In the Courrier Extraordinaire, of April 27, 1792, is the following notice—“They made yesterday (meaning the 25th) the first[Pg 637] trial of the little Louison, and cut off a head, one Pelletier. I never in my life could bear to see a man hanged; but I own I feel a greater aversion to this species of execution. The preparations make me shudder, and increase the moral suffering. The people seemed to wish, that M. Sanson had his old gallows.”

After the Louison, or guillotine, had been in operation rather more than a year, the following interesting letter was sent, by the Procureur Genéral, Rœderer, to citizen Guideu. “13 May, 1793. I enclose, citizen, the copy of a letter from citizen Chaumette, solicitor to the commune of Paris, by which you will perceive, that complaints are made, that, after these public executions, the blood of the criminals remains in pools, upon the Place de Grève, that dogs came to drink it, and that crowds of men feed their eyes with this spectacle, which naturally instigates their hearts to ferocity and blood. I request you therefore to take the earliest and most convenient opportunity, to remove from the eyes of men a sight so afflicting to humanity.”

Voltaire, who thought very gravely, before he delivered the sentiment to the world, has stated of his countrymen, that they were a mixture of the monkey and the tiger. Undoubtedly he knew. In the revolution of 1793, and in every other, that has occurred in France—those excepted which may have taken place, since the arrival of the last steamer—the tiger has had the upper hand. Prudhomme, the prince of pamphleteers, having published fifteen hundred, on political subjects, and author of the General History of the crimes, committed, during the revolution, writing of the execution of Louis XVI. remarks—“Some individuals steeped their handkerchiefs in his blood. A number of armed volunteers crowded also to dip in the blood of the despot their pikes, their bayonets, and their sabres. Several officers of the Marseillais battalion, and others, dipped the covers of letters in this impure blood, and carried them, on the points of their swords, at the head of their companies, exclaiming ‘this is the blood of a tyrant.’ One citizen got up to the guillotine itself, and plunging his whole arm into the blood of Capet, of which a great quantity remained; he took up handsful of the clotted gore, and sprinkled it over the crowd below, which pressed round the scaffold, each anxious to receive a drop on his forehead. ‘Friends,’ said this citizen in sprinkling them, ‘we were threatened, that the blood of Louis should be on our heads, and so you see it is.’” Rev. de Paris, No. 185, p. 205.

[Pg 638]Upon the earnest request of the inhabitants of several streets, through which the gangs of criminals were carried, the guillotine was removed, June 8, 1794, from the Place de la Revolution to the Place St. Antoine, in front of the ruins of the Bastile; where it remained five days only, during which time, it took off ninety-six heads. The proximity of this terrible revolutionary plaything annoyed the shopkeepers. The purchasers of finery were too forcibly reminded of the uncertainty of life, and the brief occasion they might have, for all such things, especially for neckerchiefs and collars. Once again then, the guillotine, after five days’ labor, was removed; and took its station still farther off, at the Barrière du Trône. There it stood, from June 9 till the overthrow of Robespierre, July 27, 1794: and, during those forty-nine days, twelve hundred and seventy heads dropped into its voracious basket. July 28, it was returned to the Place de la Revolution.

Sanson, Charles Henry, the executioner of Louis XVI. had not a little bonhomie in his composition—his infernal profession seems not to have completely ossified his heart. He reminds me, not a little, of Sir Thomas Erpingham, who, George Colman, the younger, says, carried on his wars, in France, in a benevolent spirit, and went about, I suppose, like dear, old General Taylor, in Mexico, “pitying and killing.” On the day, when Robespierre fell, forty-nine victims were ascending the carts, to proceed to the guillotine, about three in the afternoon. Sanson, at the moment, met that incomparable bloodhound, the Accusateur Public, Fouquier de Tinville, going to dinner. Sanson suggested the propriety of delaying the execution, as a new order of things might cause the lives of the condemned to be spared. Fouquier briefly replied, “the law must take its course;” and went to dine—the forty-nine to die; and, shortly after, their fate was his.

The guillotine, viewed as an instrument of justice, in cases of execution, for capital offences, is certainly a most merciful contrivance, liable, undoubtedly, during a period of intense excitement, to be converted into a terrible toy.

During the reign of terror, matters of extreme insignificancy, brought men, women, and children to the guillotine. The record is, occasionally, awfully ridiculous. A few examples may suffice—Jean Julian, wagoner, sentenced to twelve years’ imprisonment, took it into his head, on the way—s’avisa—to [Pg 639]cry—Vive le Roi; executed September, 1792.—Jean Baptiste Henry sawed a tree of liberty; executed Sept. 6, 1793.—M. Baulny, ex-noble, assisted his son to emigrate; executed Jan. 31, 1794.—La veuve Marbeuf hoped the Austrians would come; executed Feb. 5, 1794.—Francis Bertrand, publican, sold sour wine; executed May 15, 1793.—Marie Angelique Plaisant, sempstress, exclaimed—“a fig for the nation;” executed July 19, 1794.




An interesting, physiological question arose, in 1796, whether death, by decollation, under the guillotine, were instantaneous or not. Men of science and talent, and among them Dr. Sue, and a number of German physicians, maintained, that, in the brain, after decapitation, there was a certain degree—un reste—of thought, and, in the nerves, a measure of sensibility. An opposite opinion seems to have prevailed. The controversy, which was extremely interesting, acquired additional interest and activity, from an incident, which occurred, on the scaffold, immediately after the execution of Marie Anne Charlotte de Corday d’Armont—commonly known, under the imperishable name of Charlotte Corday. A brute, François Le Gros, one of the assistant executioners, held up the beautiful and bleeding head, and slapped the cheek with his hand. A blush was instantly visible to the spectators. In connection with the physiological question, to which I have referred, a careful inquiry was instituted, and it was proved, very satisfactorily, that the color—the blush—appeared on both cheeks, after the blow was given. Dr. Sue’s account of this matter runs thus—“The countenance of Charlotte Corday expressed the most unequivocal marks of indignation. Let us look back to the facts—the executioner held the head, suspended in one hand; the face was then pale, but had no sooner received the slap, which the sanguinary wretch inflicted, than both cheeks visibly reddened. Every spectator was struck, by the change of color, and with loud murmurs cried out for vengeance, on this cowardly and atrocious barbarity. It can not be said, that the redness was caused by the blow—for we all know, that no blows will recall anything like color to the cheeks[Pg 640] of a corpse; besides this blow was given on one cheek, and the other equally reddened.” Sue; Opinion sur le supplice de la guillotine, p. 9.

Sir Thomas Browne, in his Religio Medici, remarked, that he had never known a religion, in which there were impossibilities enough to give full exercise to an active faith. This remark greatly delighted Sir Kenelm Digby, who was an ultra Catholic. The faith of Browne, in regard to things spiritual, was not an overmatch for his credulity, in regard to things temporal, which is the more remarkable, as he gave so much time to his Pseudodoxia, or exposition of vulgar errors? He was a believer in the existence of invisible beings, holding rank between men and angels—in apparitions; and affirmed, from his own knowledge, the certainty of witchcraft. Hutchinson, in his essay on witchcraft, repeats the testimony of Dr. Browne, in the case of Amy Duny and Rose Cullender, who were tried, before Sir Matthew Hale, in 1664; and executed, at St. Edmunds Bury, as witches. Sir Thomas stated in court, “that the fits were natural, but heightened, by the devil’s coöperating with the malice of the witches, at whose instance he did the villanies.” He added that “a great discovery had lately been made, in Denmark, of witches, who used the very same way of afflicting persons, by conveying pins into them.” Now it would be curious to know what Sir Thomas thought of the famous and apposite story of Sir Everard Digby, the father of Sir Kenelm, and if the faith of Sir Thomas were strong enough, to credit that extraordinary tale.

Charlotte Corday was beheaded, and Sir Everard Digby was hanged. The difference must be borne in mind, while considering this interesting subject. Sir Everard, who was an amiable young man, was led astray, and executed Jan. 30, 1606, for the part he bore, in the gunpowder plot. Wood, in his “Athenæ Oxonienses,” vol. iii. p. 693, Lond. 1817, has the following passage—“Sir Everard Digby, father to Sir Kenelme, was a goodly gentleman, and the handsomest man of his time, but much pitied, for that it was his ill fate to suffer for the powder plot, in 1605, aged 24, at which time, when the executioner pluck’d out the heart, when the body was to be quartered, and, according to the manner, held it up, saying, here is the heart of a traytor, Sir Everard made answer, thou liest. This a most famous author mentions, but tells us not his name, in his Historia Vitæ et[Pg 641] Mortis.” This most famous author is Lord Bacon—Hist. Vit. et Mort., vol. viii. p. 446, Lond. 1824. The passage is so curious, that I give it entire—“Anguillæ, serpentes et insecta diu moventur singulis partibus, post concisionem. Etiam aves, capitibus avulsis, ad tempus subsultant: quin et corda animalium avulsa diu palpitant. Equidem meminimus ipsi vidisse hominis cor, qui evisceratus erat (supplicii genere apud nos versus proditores recepto) quod in ignem, de more, injectum, saltabat in altum, primo ad sesquipedem, et deinde gradatim ad minus; durante spatio (ut meminimus) septem aut octo minutarum. Etiam vetus et fide digna traditio est, de bove sub evisceratione mugiente. At magis certa de homine, qui co supplicii genere (quod diximus) evisceratus, postquam cor avulsum penitus esset, et in carnificis manu, tria aut quatuor verba precum auditus est proferre”—which may be Englished thus—Snakes, serpents, and insects move, a long time, after they have been cut into parts. Birds also hop about, for a time, after their heads have been wrung off. Even the hearts of animals, after they have been torn out, continue long to palpitate. Indeed, we ourselves remember to have seen the heart of a man, who had been drawn, or eviscerated, in that kind of punishment, which we employ against traitors, and which, when cast upon the fire, according to custom, leapt on high, at first, a foot and a half, and gradually less and less, during the space, if we justly remember, of seven or eight minutes. There is also an ancient tradition, well entitled to credit, of a cow, that bellowed, under the process of evisceration. And more certain is the story of the man, who was eviscerated, according to the mode of punishment we have referred to, who, when his heart was actually torn out, and in the hands of the executioner, was heard to utter three or four words of imprecation. Sir Everard was executed, as I have stated, in 1605. Lord Bacon was born Jan. 22, 1561, and died April 9, 1626, twenty-one years only after Digby’s execution, and at the age of 65. Lord Bacon was therefore 44 years old, when Digby’s execution took place, which fact has some bearing upon the authenticity of this extraordinary story. Lord Bacon speaks confidently of the fact; and his suppression of the name was very natural, as the family of Sir Everard were then upon the stage.

A writer in the London Quarterly Review remarks, in a note on page 274, vol. 73, comparing the case of Charlotte Corday[Pg 642] with that of Sir Everard Digby—“This” (Sir Everard’s) “was a case of evisceration, and not of decapitation, which makes the whole difference, as to the credibility of the story.”

Chalmers relates the anecdote, and refers to Wood’s Athenæ, and Lord Bacon’s Historia Vitæ et Mortis, but speaks of the tale, as “a story, which will scarcely now obtain belief.” In the Harleian Miscellany, vol. iii. page 5, Lond. 1809, there is an account of the discovery of the gunpowder plot, imprinted at London, by Robert Barker, 1605. On page 47, a very brief cotemporaneous account is given of Digby’s execution, in St. Paul’s churchyard, which contains no allusion whatever to the circumstance, stated by Wood, and so very confidently, by Lord Bacon.

I suppose few will really believe, that any man’s conversational abilities can be worth much, after his head is off, or his heart is out. From the expression of the Quarterly reviewer, it may be inferred, that he did not consider the story of Sir Everard Digby utterly impossible and incredible. For my own part, I am very much inclined to hand over this extraordinary legend to Judæus Appella. Every man, who has not, by long experience, like George Selwyn, acquired great self-possession, while enjoying an execution, inclines to the marvellous. Sir Everard, before the work of evisceration began, it must be remembered, had been hanged, the usual length of time; and the words—“thou liest”—are stated to have been uttered, at the moment, when the heart, having been plucked out, was held up by the executioner. It is more easy of belief, that some guttural noise, like that, spasmodically uttered by certain birds, after their heads have been chopped off, may have sounded to the gaping bystanders, who looked and listened, auribus arrectis, not very unlike the words in question. The belief, that Digby spoke these words, seems to be analogous to the belief, that, in hydrophobia, the sufferers bark like dogs, simply because, oppressed with phlegm, and nearly strangled, their terrific efforts, to clear the breathing passages, are accompanied with a variety of unintelligible, and horrible sounds.

There are some curious cases, on record, which may have something to do with our reasoning, upon this subject. A similar species of death, attended by spasms or convulsions, is said to have been produced, by the bite of other animals. Dr. Fothergill relates cases of death, from the bite of a cat. Thiermayer[Pg 643] recites two cases, both terminating fatally, from the bite of a goose, and a hen. Le Cat, Receuil Periodique, ii. page 90, presents a similar case, from the bite of a duck. But we are not informed, that, the patient, in either of these cases, during the spasms, mewed, quacked, cackled, or hissed; and yet there seems to be no rational apology for a patient’s barking, simply because he has been bitten, by a cat, or a duck, a goose, or a hen.

Spasmodic or convulsive motion, in a human body, which has been hung, or shot, or eviscerated, is a very different thing, from an intelligent exercise of the will, over the organs of speech, producing the utterance even of a word or syllable.

In the cases of persons, who have been shot through the heart, violent spasmodic action is no unusual phenomenon. When I was a boy, the duel took place, between Rand and Millar, at Dorchester Point, then a locality as solitary, as Hoboken, or the Hebrides. The movements of the parties were observed, and their purposes readily surmised, by the officers, on Castle William; and a barge was immediately despatched, from the fort. Shots were exchanged, between the combatants, while the barge was passing over. Rand fell, wounded through the heart; and, after lying motionless, for a very brief space, was seen to leap into the air several feet, and fall again, upon the earth.




We are living and learning, forever. Life is a court of cassation, where truth sits, as chancellor, daily reversing the most incomparably beautiful decrees of theoretical philosophy.

It is not unlikely, that a very interesting volume of 600 pages, folio, might be prepared, to be called the Mistakes of Science. The elephant in the moon, and the weighing of the fish have furnished amusement, in their day. Even in our own times, philosophers, of considerable note, have seriously doubted the truth of that incomparable hoax, concerning Sir John Herschell’s lunar discoveries.

Savans were completely deceived, for a considerable period, by the electrical beatifications of Mr. Bose. One of the most[Pg 644] amusing occurrences, upon record, on which occasion, the philosopher, unlike Mr. Bose, was a perfectly honest man, befell the famous mathematical instrument-maker, Mr. Troughton. He became fully possessed, by the idea, that certain persons, a select few, were capable of exerting a magnetic influence, over the needle, by advancing their faces towards it. So far from being common, this power was limited to a very small number. The statements of Mr. Troughton, and his well-established reputation, for integrity, caused the subject to be gravely discussed, by members of the Royal Society.

Every individual of the very small number, who possessed this remarkable power—every medium—was carefully examined. Collusion seemed utterly impossible. A new theory appeared to be established. Amazement ran through the learned assembly. A careful inquiry was instituted, in relation to the manner of life of these mediums, from their youth upwards, their occupations, diet, &c., and some very learned papers would, erelong, have been read, before the Royal Society, if Mr. Troughton himself had not previously made a most fortunate discovery—he discovered, that he wore a wig, constructed with steel springs—such, also, was the case with every other medium!

The tendency to predicate certainty, of things, manifestly doubtful, is exceedingly common. I fell, recently, into the society of some very intelligent gentlemen, who were certain, that Sir John Franklin was lost, irrecoverably lost.

There are some—perhaps their name is not Legion—whose faith is of superior dimensions to the mustard seed, and who believe, that Sir John Franklin is not destroyed; that he yet lives; and, that, sooner or later, he will come back to his friends and the world, with a world of wonders to relate, of all that he has seen and suffered. God, all merciful, grant it may be so. To all human observation, after a careful balancing of probabilities, there is certainly nothing particularly flattering in the prospect. Yet, on the other hand, absolute, unqualified despair is irrational, and unjustifiable.

The present existence of Sir John Franklin is certainly possible. No one, I presume, will say it is probable. Some half a dozen good, substantial words are greatly needed, to mark shades between these two, and to designate what is more than possible, and less than probable.

A careful consideration of the narrative of Sir John Ross, the[Pg 645] narrative, I mean, of his second voyage, in quest of a northwest passage, and of his abode in the Arctic regions, and of the opinion, very generally entertained, for a great length of time, that he was lost, will strengthen the impression, that Sir John Franklin also may be yet alive, somewhere! Even then, a question may arise, in connection with the force of certain currents, referred to, by those, who have lately returned, from an unsuccessful search for Sir John Franklin, whether it may be possible to return, against those currents, with such means and appliances, as he possessed; and whether, even on this side the grave, there may not be a bourne, from which no presumptuous voyager ever shall return.

The residence of Sir John Ross, in the Arctic regions, continued, through five consecutive years, 1829, ’30, ’31, ’32, ’33. To such, as imagine there is any effective summer, in those regions, and who have been accustomed to associate spring and summer, with flowers and fruits, it may not be amiss, by way of corrective, to administer a brief passage, from the journal of Sir John Ross, in August, 1832—“But to see, to have seen, ice and snow, to have felt snow and ice forever, and nothing forever but snow and ice, during all the months of a year; to have seen and felt but uninterrupted and unceasing ice and snow, during all the months of four years, this it is, that has made the sight of those most chilling and wearisome objects an evil, which is still one in recollection, as if the remembrance would never cease.”

At this period, August, 1832, very little hope was entertained, that Sir John Ross and his companions were living. Even a year before, they were generally supposed to be lost.

The abandonment of their ship, which had been locked fast in the ice, for years, and their almost inconceivable toil, while crossing, with their boats, on sledges, to the confluence of Regent’s Inlet, and Barrow’s Strait, are fully presented in the narrative. Their hour of deliverance came at last, and the event cannot be better described, than in the words of Sir John Ross himself. As they were standing along the southern shore of Harrow’s Strait, in their boats, on the 26th of August, a sail, to their inexpressible joy, hove in sight. After a period of great anxiety, lest she should not observe their signals of distress, their deep delight may be imagined, even by an unpractised landsman, when they first became assured, that they had attracted the notice of the crew, in one of the ship’s boats. The reader[Pg 646] will be better satisfied with an account from the lips of the πολυτροπος ὀς μαλλα πολλα, himself.

“She was soon along side, when the mate in command addressed us, by presuming, that we had met with some misfortune and lost our ship. This being answered in the affirmative, I requested to know the name of his vessel, and expressed our wish to be taken on board. I was answered, that it was the ‘Isabella, of Hull, once commanded by Captain Ross;’ on which I stated, that I was the identical man in question, and my people the crew of the Victory. That the mate, who commanded this boat, was as much astonished, as he appeared to be, I do not doubt; while, with the usual blunderheadedness of men, on such occasions, he assured me, that I had been dead two years. I easily convinced him, however, that what ought to have been true, according to his estimate, was a somewhat premature conclusion; as the bear-like form of the whole set of us, might have shown him, had he taken time to consider, that we were certainly not whaling gentlemen, and that we carried tolerable evidence of our being ‘true men and no imposters,’ on our backs, and in our starved and unshaven countenances.”

However close the resemblance, between Sir John Ross and his comrades to bears, they soon become lions on board the Isabella. Sir John continues thus—

“A hearty congratulation followed, of course, in the true seaman style, and, after a few natural inquiries, he added, that the Isabella was commanded by Captain Humphreys; when he immediately went off in his boat to communicate his information on board; repeating, that we had long been given up as lost, not by them alone, but by all England.”

In this precedent, there is kindling stuff for hope, if not substantial fuel. After reading this account, the hearts of the strong-hearted cannot fail to be strengthened the more. A scientific and elaborate comparison of all the facts and circumstances, in the respective cases of Ross and Franklin, may lead to dissipate our hope. But hope is a vivacious principle, like the polypus, from the minutest particle remaining, growing up to be the integral thing, that it was. Science, philosophy, perched upon theoretical stilts, occasionally walk confidently into the mire. Sir John Franklin may yet be among the living, notwithstanding those negative demonstrations, in which many so very plausibly indulge themselves.

[Pg 647]Let us follow Sir John Ross and his companions on board the Isabella.—“As we approached slowly after him (the mate of the Isabella) he jumped up the side, and, in a minute, the rigging was manned; while we were saluted with three cheers, as we came within cable’s length, and were not long in getting on board my old vessel, where we were all received, by Captain Humphreys, with a hearty seaman’s welcome. Though we had not been supported by our names and characters, we should not the less have claimed, from charity, the attentions we received; for never was seen a more miserable looking set of wretches. If to be poor, wretchedly poor, as far as all our present property was concerned, were to have a claim on charity, none could well deserve it more; but, if to look so, be to frighten away the so called charitable, no beggar, that wanders in Ireland, could have outdone us, in exciting the repugnance of those, who know not what poverty can be. Unshaven, since I know not when, dirty, dressed in the rags of wild beasts, instead of the tatters of civilization, and starved to the very bones, our gaunt and grim looks, when contrasted with those of the well dressed and well fed men around us, made us all feel, I believe, for the first time, what we really were, as well as what we seemed to others.”

Very considerable training must, doubtless, be required, to reconcile a Mohawk Indian to a feather bed. A short passage from the Journal of Sir John Ross forcibly illustrates the truth, that we are the creatures of habit. “Long accustomed, however, to a cold bed, on the hard snow or the bare rock, few could sleep, amid the comforts of our new accommodations. I was myself compelled to leave the bed, which had been kindly assigned me, and take my abode in a chair for the night, nor did it fare much better with the rest. It was for time to reconcile us to this sudden and violent change, to break through what had become habit, and to inure us, once more, to the usages of our former days.”



No. CLV.

Good, old Sir William Dugdale was certainly the prince of antiquaries. His labors and their products were greater, than[Pg 648] could have been anticipated, even from his long and ever busy life. He was born, Sept. 12, 1605, and died, in his eighty-first year, while sitting quietly, in his antiquarian chair, Feb. 6, 1686.

It seemed not to have occurred, so impressively, to other men, how very important was the diligent study of ancient wills, not only to the antiquarian, but to the historian, of any age or nation. Dugdale’s annotations, upon the royal and noble wills of England, are eminently useful and curious. A collection of “royal wills” was published, by Mr. John Nicholls, the historian of Leicestershire, and the “Testamenta Vetusta,” by Mr. Nicolas. These works are in very few hands, and some of them almost as rarely to be met with, as those of Du Cange, Charpentiere, Spelman, or Lacombe.

There is no small amount of information and amusement, to be gathered from these ancient declarations of the purposes of men, contemplating death, at a distance, or about to die; though it cannot be denied, that the wills of our immediate ancestors, especially, if they have amassed great wealth, and, after a few unimportant legacies to others, have made us their residuary legatees, furnish a far more interesting species of reading, to the rising generation.

There are worthy persons, who entertain a superstitious horror, upon the subject of making a will: they seem to have an actual fear, that the execution of a will is very much in the nature of a dying speech; that it is an expression of their willingness to go; and that the King of Terrors may possibly take them, at their word.

There are others, who are so far from being oppressed, by any apprehension, of this nature, that one of their most common amusements consists in the making, and mending of their wills.

“Who,” says the compiler of the Testamenta Vetusta, “would have the hardihood to stain with those evil passions, which actuate mankind, in this world, that deed, which cannot take effect, until he is before the Supreme Judge, and consequently immediately responsible for his conduct?” To this grave inquiry I, unhesitatingly answer—thousands! The secret motives of men, upon such occasions, if fairly brought to light, would present a very curious record. That record would, by no means, sustain the sentiment, implied, in the preceding interrogatory. Malice[Pg 649] and caprice, notoriously, have governed the testator’s pen, upon numberless occasions. The old phrase—cutting off with a shilling—has been reduced to practice, in a multitude of instances, for considerations of mere hatred and revenge, or of pique and displeasure. The malevolent testator, who would be heartily ashamed, to avow what he had done, on this side the grave, is regardless of his reputation, on the other.

Goldsmith places in the mouth of one of his characters, a declaration, that he was disinherited, for liking gravy. This, however it may have been intended as a pleasantry, by the author, is, by no means, beyond the region of probability. Considerations, equally absurd and frivolous, have, occasionally, operated upon the minds of passionate and capricious people, especially in the decline of life; and, though they are sensible of the Bible truth, that they can carry nothing with them, they may, yet a little while, enjoy the prospective disappointment of another.

The Testamenta Vetusta contain abstracts of numerous wills of the English kings, and of the nobility, and gentry, for several centuries, from the time of Henry second, who began to reign, in 1154. The work, as I have stated, is rare; and I am mistaken, if the general reader, any more than he, who has an antiquarian diathesis, will complain of the exhumation I propose to make of some, among the “reliques of thae antient dayes.”

It is almost impossible, to glance over one of these venerable testaments of the old English nobility, without perceiving, that the testator’s thoughts were pretty equally divided, between beds, masses, and wax tapers. Beds, with the gorgeous trappings, appurtenant thereto, form a common subject of bequest, and of entailment, as heir-looms.

Edward, the Black Prince, son of Edward III., died June 8, 1376. In his will, dated the day before his death, he bequeaths “To our son Richard,[6] the bed, which the King our father gave us. To Sir Roger de Clarendon,[7] a silk bed. To Sir Robert de Walsham, our confessor, a large bed of red camora, with our arms embroidered at each corner; also embroidered with the arms of Hereford. To Monsr. Allayne Cheyne our bed of camora, powdered with blue eagles. And we bequeath all our goods and chattels, jewels, &c., for the payment of our funeral and debts; after which we will, that our executors pay certain[Pg 650] legacies to our poor servants. All annuities, which we have given to our Knights, Esquires, and other, our followers, we desire to be fully paid. And we charge our son Richard, on our blessing, that he fulfil our bequests to them. And we appoint our very dear and beloved brother of Spain, Duke of Lancaster,[8] &c., &c., executors,” &c.

Joan, Princess of Wales, was daughter of Edmund Plantagenet. From her extreme beauty, she was styled the “Fair Maid of Kent.” I find the following record in regard to Joan—“She entered into a contract of marriage with Thomas Montacute, Earl of Salisbury; but Sir Thomas Holland, H. G., on a petition to Pope Clement VI. alleged a precontract, consensus et concubitus, but that, he being abroad, the Earl of Salisbury unjustly kept her from him; and his Holiness gave her to Sir Thomas.”

Joan seems to have been a wilful body, and the reader may like to know what sort of a will she made, four hundred and sixty-six years ago. She finally became the wife of Edward, the Black Prince, and, by him, the mother of Richard II. An abstract of her will runs thus—“In the year of our Lord, 1385, and of the reign of my dear son, Richard, King of England and France, the 9th at my castle of Walyngford, in the Diocese of Salisbury, the 7th of August, I, Joan, Princess of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Countess of Chester, and Lady Wake. My body to be buried, in my chapel, at Stanford, near the monument of our late lord and father, the Earl of Kent. To my dear son, the King, my new bed of red velvet, embroidered with ostrich feathers of silver, and heads of leopards of gold, with boughs and leaves issuing out of their mouths. To my dear son, Thomas, Earl of Kent, my bed of red camak, paied with red and rays of gold. To my dear son, John Holland, a bed of red camak.”

Katherine of Arragon wills, inter alia—“I supplicate, that my body be buried in a convent of Observant Friars. Item, that for my soul be said C. masses. Item, that some personage go to our Lady of Walsingham, in pilgrimage, and in going by the way, dole XX nobles. Item, I ordain that the collar of gold, that I brought out of Spain be to my daughter. * * * Item, if it may please the King, my good Lord, that the house ornaments of the church be made of my gowns, which he holdeth, for to serve the[Pg 651] convent thereat I shall be buried. And the furs of the same I give for my daughter.”

William de Longspee, Earl of Salisbury, was a natural son of Henry II., by Fair Rosamond, daughter of Walter de Clifford, and distinguished himself in the Holy Land. He bequeaths to the Monastery of the Carthusians—“A cup of gold, set with emeralds and rubies; also a pix of gold with XLII. s. and two goblets of silver, one of which is gilt; likewise a chesible and cope of red silk; a tunicle and dalmatick of yellow cendal; an alba, amice, and stole; also a favon and towel, and all my reliques; likewise a thousand sheep, three hundred muttons, forty-eight oxen, and fifteen bulls.”

It was not unusual, in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, to dedicate children, at the hour of their baptism, to the military service of God, in Palestine. An example of this may be found, in the will of William de Beauchamp, who was the father of the first Earl of Warwick, and died before 1269—“My body to be buried in the Church of Friars Minors at Worcester. I will, that a horse, completely harnessed with all military caparisons, precede my corpse: to a priest to sing mass daily, in my chapel without the city of Worcester, near unto that house of Friars, which I gave for the health of my soul, and for the soul of Isabel my wife, Isabel de Mortimer, and all the faithful deceased, all my rent of the fee of Richard Bruli, in Wiche and Winchester, with supply of what should be short, out of my own proper goods. * * * To William, my oldest son, the cup and horns of St. Hugh. * * * To Isabel, my wife, ten marks[9]: to the Church and nuns of Westwood one mark: to the Church and nuns without Worcester one mark: to every Anchorite in Worcester and the parts adjacent four shillings: to the Church of Salewarp, a house and garden, near the parsonage, to find a lamp to burn continually therein to the honor of God, the blessed Virgins St. Katherine, and St. Margaret.”

The will of his son, the Earl of Warwick, is full of the spirit of the age. He died in 1298—“My heart to be buried wheresoever the Countess, my dear consort, may, herself, resolve to be interred: to the place, where I may be buried two great horses, viz., those which shall carry my armor at my funeral, for the solemnizing of which, I bequeath two hundred pounds: to the maintenance of two soldiers in the Holy Land one hundred[Pg 652] pounds: to Maud, my wife, all my silver vessels, with the cross, wherein is contained part of the wood of the very cross, on which our Saviour died. * * * To my said wife a cup, which the Bishop of Worcester gave me, and all my other cups, with my lesser sort of jewels and rings, to distribute for the health of my soul, where she may think best: to my two daughters, nuns at Shouldham, fifty marks.”

Elizabeth De Burgh, Lady of Clare, was the daughter of Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester, by Joan D’Acres, daughter of Edward I. She was thrice married. Her will is a curious affair, and bears date Sept. 25, 1355. She leaves legacies to her “servants” numbering, about one hundred and forty, and among whom are several knights and “peres.”—“My body to be buried in the Sisters Minories, beyond Aldgate. I devise c. c. lb. of wax, to burn round my corpse. I will that my body be not buried for fifteen days after my decease. * * * For masses to be sung for the souls of Monsr. John de Bourg, Monsr. Theobaud de Verdon, and Monsr. Roger Dammory, my lords, my soul, and for the souls of all my good and loyal servants, who have died or may die in my service CXL., li.: To find five men for the Holy Land C. marks, to be spent, in the service of God and destruction of his enemies, if any general voyage be made within seven years after my decease: To my daughter Bardoff my bed of green velvet.”

Elizabeth, Countess of Northampton, wife of William de Bohnn, made her will, in 1356. To the Church of the Friars Preachers, in London, she bequeaths: “C. marks sterling, and also the cross, made of the very wood of our Saviour’s cross which I was wont to carry about me, and wherein is contained one of the thorns of his crown; and I bequeath to the said Church two fair altar cloths of one suit, two of cloth of gold, one chalice, one missal, one graille,[10] and one silver bell; likewise thirty-one ells of linen cloth for making of albes, one pulpitory, one portfory,[11] and a holy water pot of silver.” She also wills, that “one hundred and fifty marks be distributed to several other convents of Friars Preachers, in such manner as Friar David de Stirrington shall think best, for my soul’s health: To the Grey Friars, in London five marks: To the Carmelites five marks: and to the Augustines five marks * * * to Elizabeth my daughter a bed of red worsted embroidered:[Pg 653] To my sister, the Countess of Oxford a black horse and a nonche.[12]

Believers in the doctrine of transubstantation must extend their faith to the very cross; for, to comprehend all the wood, in possession of the faithful, it must have consisted of many cords of substantial timber.




The testamentary recognition of bastards, eo nomine, was very common, in the olden time. There were some, to whom funereal extravagance and pomp were offensive. Sir Ottro De Grandison says, in his will, dated Sept. 18, 1358—“I entreat, that no armed horse or armed man be allowed to go before my body, on my burial day, nor that my body be covered with any cloth, painted, or gilt, or signed with my arms; but that it be only of white cloth, marked with a red cross; and I give for the charges thereof XXl. and X. quarters of wheat: to a priest to celebrate divine service, in the church at Chellesfield for three years after my decease, XVl.: to Thomas, my son, all my armor, four horses, twelve oxen, and two hundred ewe sheep. * * * * To my bastard son,” &c.

Henry, Duke of Lancaster, 1360, wills, “that our body be not buried for three weeks after the departure of our soul.”

Humphrey De Bohun, Earl of Hereford, 1361, bequeaths to his nephew Humphrey—“a nonche[13] of gold, surrounded with large pearls, with a ruby between four pearls, three diamonds, and a pair of gold paternosters of fifty pieces, with ornaments, together with a cross of gold, in which is a piece of the true cross of our Lord: to Elizabeth, our niece of Northampton, a bed with the arms of England. * * * * We will also that a chaplain of good condition be sent to Jerusalem, principally for my Lady my mother, my Lord my father, and for us; and that the chaplain be charged to say masses by the way, at all times that he can conveniently, for the souls.”

Agnes, Countess of Pembroke, daughter of Roger Mortimer, Earl of March, wills, in 1367, that her body be buried, “within[Pg 654] two days after my death, without any other cost than a blue cloth and two tapers of ten pound weight.”

Robert, Earl of Suffolk, 1368—“I will, that five square tapers and four mortars,[14] besides torches, shall burn about my corpse, at my funeral: To William my oldest son my sword, which the King gave me, in name of the Earldom, also my bed with the eagle, and my summer vestment, powdered with leopards.”

Roger, Lord de Warre, personally took John, King of France, prisoner, at the battle of Poictiers, and obtained the crampet or chape of his sword, as a memorial of his chivalry. His will bears date 1368—“My body to be buried without pomp, and I will that, on my funeral day, twenty-four torches be placed about my corpse, and two tapers, one at my head and one at my feet, and also that my best horse shall be my principal, without any armour or man armed, according to the custom of mean people.” He orders his estate to be divided into three parts—“one to be disposed of for the health of my soul.”

Joan, Lady Cobham, 1369—“I will that VII. thousand masses be said for my soul by the canons of Tunbrugge and Tanfugge and the four orders of Friars in London, viz. the Friars Preachers, Minors, Augustines, and Carmelites, who, for so doing shall have XXIXl. IIIs. IVd. Also I will that, on my funeral day, twelve poor persons, clothed in black gowns and hoods, shall carry twelve torches.”

Sir Walter Manney, 1371—“My body to be buried at God’s pleasure * * * but without any great pomp * * * twenty masses to be said for my soul, and that every poor person coming to my funeral shall have a penny to pray for me, and for the remission of my sins. * * * To my two bastard daughters, nuns, viz., Mailosel and Malplesant, the one cc. franks, the other c. franks. * * * To Margaret Mareschall, my dear wife, my plate, which I bought of Robert Francis; also a girdle of gold, and a hook for a mantle, and likewise a garter of gold, with all my girdles and knives, and all my beds and clossers in my wardrobe, excepting my folding bed, paly of blue and red, which I bequeath to my daughter of Pembroke.”

Thomas, Earl of Oxford, 1371—“For my funeral expenses CXXXIIIl. To Maud my wife all my reliques now in my own keeping, and a cross made of the very wood of Christ’s cross. To Sir Alberic de Vere, my brother, a coat of mail, which Sir[Pg 655] William de Wingfield gave me, also a new helmet and a pair of gauntlets.”

Anne, Lady Maltravers, 1374—“No cloth of gold to be put upon my corpse, nor any more than five tapers, each weighing five pounds, be put about it.”

Edward, Lord Despencer, 1375—“To the Abbot and Convent of Tewksbury one whole suit of my best vestments, also two gilt chalices, one gilt hanap, likewise a ewer, wherein to put the body of Christ, on Corpus Christi day, which was given to me by the King of France. To Elizabeth, my wife, my great bed of blue camaka with griffins; also another bed of camaka, striped with white and black, with all the furniture, thereto belonging.”

Mary, Countess of Pembroke, 1376—“To the Abbey of Westminster a cross with a foot of gold and emeralds, which Sir William de Valence, Kt., brought from the Holy Land.”

Philipa, Countess of March, 1378—“To Edmond, my son, a bed, &c. Also a gold ring, with a piece of the true cross, with this writing, In nomine Patris, et Filii, el Spiritus Sancti, Amen. Which I charge him, on my blessing to keep.”

Sir John Northwood, Knight, 1378—“I will that two Pilgrims be sent to visit the shadow of St. Peter, Paul, and James, in Gallacia.”

Sir Roger Beauchamp, Kt., 1379—“My body to be buried in the church of the Friars Preachers, near to the grave, where Sybil, my wife resteth. And I desire, that, at my funeral, there be a placebo and dirige with note, and, on the morrow after, two masses, one of our Lady, and another of Requiem. And whereas I am bound to do a service on the Infidels, by devise of my grandsire, Sir Walter Beauchamp, to the expense of two hundred marks, I will, that Roger, son to Roger, my son, shall perform the same, when he comes of age. To my Chauntrey of Bletnesho one hundred pounds, for the maintenance of one priest, to sing there perpetually, for my soul, and also for the soul of Sybil, late my wife, and for all Christian souls.”

William, Lord Latimer, 1380—“I will that my house in the parish of St. Mary’s be sold, to found prayers for King Edward’s soul.”

Guichard, Earl of Huntington, 1380—“I will that my heart be taken out of my body and preserved with spices, and deposited in the said church of Engle. I will that the expenses of[Pg 656] my funeral, if celebrated with pomp, be bestowed in masses for my soul.”

Edmond, Earl of March, was a man of great note. His will is dated May 1, 1380—“To the Abbey of Wigmore a large cross of gold, set with stones with a relique of the cross of our Lord, a bone of St. Richard the Confessor, Bishop of Chicester, and a finger of St. Thomas de Cantelowe, Bishop of Hereford, and the reliques of St. Thomas, Bishop of Canterbury. To Roger, our son and heir, the cup of gold with a cover called Benesonne, and our sword, garnished with gold, which belonged to the good King Edward, with God’s blessing and ours. * * * Also our large bed of black satin, embroidered with white lions and gold roses.”

William, Earl of Suffolk, 1381—“I will that, on the eve and day of my funeral, there shall be five square tapers of the height, which my nearest of kin shall think fit, and four morters; also forty-eight torches borne by forty-eight poor men, clothed in white. * * * I will that a picture of a horse and man, armed with my arms, be made in silver, and offered to the altar of our Lady of Walsingham; and another the like be made and offered at Bromeholme.”

One of the most interesting, among the olden wills, is that of John, Duke of Lancaster—the famous John of Gaunt. He died in February, 1399. His will bears date Feb. 3, 1397—“My body to be buried, in the Cathedral church of St. Paul of London, near the principal altar, beside my most dear wife, Blanch, who is there interred. If I die out of London, I desire that the night my body arrives there, it be carried direct to the Friars Carmelites, in Fleet Street, and the next day taken strait to St. Paul’s, and that it be not buried for forty days, during which I charge my executors, that there be no cering or embalming my corpse. * * * I desire that chauntries and obits be founded for the souls of my late dear wives Blanch and Constance, whom God pardon; to the altar of St. Paul’s my vestment of satin embroidered, which I bought of Courtnay, embroider of London. * * * To my most dear wife, Katherine, my two best nonches, which I have, excepting that, which I have allowed to my Lord and nephew, the King, and my large cup of gold, which the Earl of Wilts gave to the King, my Lord, upon my going into Guienne, together with all the buckles, rings, diamonds, rubies and other things, that will be found, in a little box of[Pg 657] cypress wood, of which I carry the key myself, and all the robes, which I bought of my dear cousin, the Duchess of Norfolk;[15] also my large bed of black velvet, embroidered with a circle of fetter locks[16] and garters, all the beds, made for my body, called trussing beds, my best stay with a good ruby, my best collar, all which my said wife had before her marriage with me, also all the goods and jewels, which I have given her, since my marriage. To my Lord and nephew, the king,[17] the best nonche, which I have, on the day of my death, my best cup of gold, which my dear wife Katherine gave me, on New Year’s day last, my gold salt-cellar with a garter, and the piece of arras, which the Duke of Burgoyne gave me, when I was in Calais.” This is a mere extract. The will bequeaths numerous legacies of nonches, beds, and cups of gold; and abundantly provides for chauntries, masses, and obits.

Eleanor, Duchess of Gloucester, 1399—“To the Abbess and Convent of the Sisters Minoresses, near London, without Aldgate, VIl. XIIIs. IIIId. and a tonel of good wine. * * * To my Lady and mother, the Countess of Hereford, a pair of paternosters of coral.”

Thomas Mussenden, 1402—“I will, that all my arms, swords, bastard,[18] and dagger be sold, and disposed of, for my soul.”

William Heron, Lord Say, 1404—“Whereas I have been a soldier, and taken wages from King Richard and the Realm, as well by land as by water, and peradventure received more than my desert, I will that my Executor pay six score marks to the most needful men, unto whom King Richard was debtor, in discharge of his soul.”

Sir Lewis Clifford, Kt.—“I, Lewis Clifford, false and traitor to my Lord God, and to all the blessed company of Heaven, and unworthy to be called a Christian man, make and ordaine my testament and my last will the 17th of September, 1404. At the beginning, I, most unworthy and God’s traitor, recommend my wretched and sinful soul to the grace and to the mercy of the blissful Trinity, and my wretched carrion to be buried in the furthest corner of the churchyard, in which parish my wretched soul departeth from my body. And I pray and charge my executors, as they will answer before God, that on my stinking carrion be neither laid cloth of gold nor of silk, but a black cloth,[Pg 658] and a taper at my head and another at my feet; no stone nor other thing, whereby any man may know where my stinking carrion lieth.” In the original, this word is written careyne.

The reader will be amused to know the cause of all this humility. Sir Lewis had joined the Lollards, who rejected the doctrines of the mass, penance for sins, extreme unction, &c.; but was brought back to the church of Rome; and thus records his penitence.




“Tell thou the Earl his divination lies.” Shakspeare.

An impertinent desire to pry into the future, by unnatural means—to penetrate the hidden purposes of God—is coeval with the earliest development of man’s finite powers. It is Titanic insolence—and resembles the audacity of the giants, who piled Pelion upon Ossa, to be upon a level with the gods.

Divination, however old it may be, seems not to wear out its welcome with a credulous world, nor to grow bald with time. It has been longer upon the earth, than from the time, when Joseph’s silver cup, “whereby he divineth,” was deposited, in Benjamin’s sack, to the days of Moll Pitcher of Lynn, whose divining cup was of crockery ware.

Mediums” are mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles—“And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel, possessed with a spirit of divination, met us, which brought her masters much gain, by soothsaying.” Paul cast out the evil spirit; an example worthy of consideration, by those, to whom the power is given, in the statute, to commit “all persons, who use any juggling,” to the house of correction, unless their exhibitions are licensed, according to law.

All manner of rogues and roguery has immemorially delighted in aliases. So has it been with that species of imposture, which assumes, that man’s finite powers are sufficient, for infinite purposes. The black art, magic, fortune telling, sorcery, divination, soothsaying, augury, oracular responses, witchcraft, judicial astrology, palmistry, which is the same thing as chiromancy, or divination, by the lines of the hand or palm, horoscopy, which[Pg 659] is a part of judicial astrology, haruspicy, or divination, from an inspection of entrails, aeromancy, the art of divining by the air, pyromancy, by flame or fire, hydromancy, by water, geomancy, by cracks or clefts in the earth, hepatoscopy, by the liver, stareomancy, by the elements, theomancy, by the spirit, demonomancy, by the revelation of genii or devils, idolomancy, by images, psychomancy, by the will or inward movement of the soul, antinopomancy, by the viscera of animals, theriomancy, by beasts, ornithomancy, by birds, icthyomancy, by fishes, botanomancy, by herbs, lithomancy, by stones, cleromancy, by lots, oneiromancy, by dreams, onomancy, by names, arithmancy, by numbers, logarithmancy, by logarithms, sternomancy, by the chest, gastromancy, by abdominal sounds, omphelomancy, by the signs of the navel, pedomancy, by the feet, onychomancy, by the nails, cephaleonomancy, by the marks of the head, tuphramancy, by ashes, capnomancy, by smoke, livanomancy, by the burning of frankincense, carromancy, by the burning of wax, lecanomancy, by basins of water, catoxtromancy, by mirrors, chartomancy, by certain writings on paper, machanomancy, by knives, chrystallomancy, by glasses, dactylomancy, by rings, coseinomancy, by seives, axinomancy, by saws, cattobomancy, by brazen chalices, roadomancy, by stars, spatalamancy, by bones and skins, sciomancy, by shadows, astragalomancy, by dice, oinomancy, by wine, sycomancy, by figs, typomancy, by the coagulation of cheese, alphitomancy, by flour or bran, crithomancy, by grain or corn, alectromancy, by cocks and hens, gyromancy, by rounds and circles, lampadomancy, by candles and lamps, nagomancy, or necromancy, by consulting, or divining with, by, or from the dead.

The reader must bear in mind, that this list of absurdities is brief and imperfect. All these mancies, and many more may be found in Gaule’s Mag-Astro-Mancer, page 165, and many of them are described in the Fabricii Bibliographia Antiquaria.

These mischievous follies have prevailed, in a greater or less degree, in every age, and among every people. During the very days of auguries, nevertheless, individuals have appeared, whose rough, common sense tore itself forcibly away, from the prevailing delusions of the age. A pleasant tale is related, by Claude Millot, of an old Roman Admiral. He was in pursuit of the Carthagenian fleet; and, as he gained upon the enemy, and a battle seemed to be unavoidable, the[Pg 660] haruspex, or priest, who, as usual, accompanied the expedition, with the birds of omen, and who had probably become alarmed, for his personal safety, came suddenly on deck, exclaiming, that the sacred pullets would not eat, and that, under such circumstances, it would be unsafe to engage. The old Roman tar ordered the sacred pullets, then in their cage, to be brought before him, and, kicking them overboard, exclaimed, “let them drink then.”

The etymology of the word necromancy, νεκρος μάντις, shows its direct application to the scandalous orgies, which are matters of weekly exhibition, in many of our villages and cities, under the name of spiritual knockings. Though Sir Thomas Browne could mark, learn, and inwardly digest a witch, a necromancer was beyond his powers; and in Book I., Chap. X. of his Pseudodoxia, he speaks, with deep contempt, of such as “can believe in the real resurrection of Samuel, or that there is anything but delusion, in the practice of necromancy, and popular raising of ghosts.”

Necromancers are those, who pretend to a power of communing with the dead, that is, conjuring up spirits, and of consulting them, in regard to the affairs of this or the other world. In the strictest sense, the Fishes and the Foxes and their numerous imitators are necromancers, of course.

This impious and eminently pernicious practice has been condemned, in every age, and by every civilized nation. It was condemned, by the law of Moses—“There shall not be found among you any one, that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord.” Deut. xviii. 10, 11, 12.

Conjurers may justly be accounted disturbers of the public peace; and such undoubtedly they are, most effectually, by unsettling the minds of credulous people, murdering sleep, and, occasionally, as in repeated instances, during the progress of the present delusion, by driving their infatuated victims to despair, insanity, and suicide. Severe laws have often been enacted, against these pestilent impostors. Conjuration was made felony by statute 1, James I., 1603. This was repealed by 9 Geo. II., 1763. This repeal was in keeping with the ascendancy of [Pg 661]common sense, which decreed, that all conjuration was an absurdity: but, at the same time, all pretensions to exercise this or any similar art was made punishable, as a misdemeanor. All laws, against witchcraft and sorcery, founded on the presumption of their possibility, are now justly accounted cruel and absurd. Laws, for the punishment of such, as disturb the public repose, by pretending to exercise these unnatural agencies, are no less judicious; though they have not always been effectual, against the prejudices of the people. The Genethliaci, who erected their horoscopes in Rome, for the purpose of foretelling future events, by judicial astrology, were expelled, by a formal decree of the senate; yet they long retained their hold, upon the affections of a credulous people.

This species of divination, by the heavenly bodies, commenced with the Chaldeans, and, from them, passed to the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. Henault informs us, that it was much in vogue, in France, during the days of Catherine de Medicis. Roger Bacon was greatly devoted to the practice of Judicial Astrology. Cecil, Lord Burleigh, is known, gravely and elaborately to have calculated the nativity of Queen Elizabeth, who was feverishly addicted to magic. The judicial astrologers of the middle ages were a formidable body, and their conjuring cups and glasses were in high esteem. In Sweden, judicial astrology was in the greatest favor, with kings and commoners. A particular influence was ascribed to the conjuring cup of Erricus, king of Sweden. The Swedes firmly believed, that Herlicius, their famous astrologer, had truly predicted the death of the monarch, Gustavus Adolphus, in 1632, at the battle of Lutzengen, or Lippstadt.

In the reigns of Henry III. and Henry IV. of France, this absurd delusion was in such repute, that judicial astrologers were consulted, upon the most trivial occasions; and their daily predictions were the theme of grave and constant conversation, with every class of society. It was no uncommon thing, even in England, for those, who were desirous of communicating with the dead, to make a previous arrangement with some favorite astrologer, and bespeak a spirit, as we bespeak a coach, for some particular hour.

In the Autobiography of William Lilly, the famous astrologer, in the time of the Stuarts, a curious account is given of Alexander Hart, an astrologer, living in Houndsditch, about the year[Pg 662] 1632. It seems, that Hart had entered into a contract with a countryman, who had paid him twenty or thirty pounds, to arrange a meeting between this countryman and a particular spirit, at an appointed time. But, either Hart’s powers of raising the dead were unequal to the task, or the spirit had no inclination to keep up the countryman’s acquaintance; certain it is, the spirit was unpunctual; and, the patience of the countryman becoming exhausted, he caused the astrologer to be indicted, for a cheat. He was convicted, and about to be set in the pillory, when John Taylor, the water poet, persuaded Chief Justice Richardson to bail him, and Hart was fairly spirited away. He then fled into Holland, where, a few years after, he gave up the spirit, in reality.

Its unintelligible quality is the very essence of delusion. Nothing can be more unreasonable, therefore, than to mistake our inability to explain a mystery, for conclusive evidence of its reality and truth. That it is unintelligible or inexplicable surely affords less evidence of its reality, and truth, than is furnished of its falsehood, by its manifest inconsistency with all known natural laws. Bruce informs us, that the inhabitants of the western coasts of Africa pretend to hold a direct communication with the devil; and the evidence of the thing they assert is so very curious and imposing, that he and other travellers are entirely at fault, in their attempts to explain the mystery. Yet no one, for a moment, supposes, that Bruce had the slightest confidence in these absurdities.

And yet, so great, so profound, was the belief of Friar Bacon, in this preposterous delusion, that, in his Opus Majus, page 65, he exclaims—“Oh, how happy had it been for the church of God, and how many mischiefs would it have prevented, if the aspects and qualities of the Heavenly bodies had been predicted, by learned men, and known to the princes and prelates of those times! There would not then have been so great a slaughter of Christians, nor would so many miserable souls have been sent to hell.”

This eminently learned man, Roger Bacon, refers, in this remarkable passage, to the various calamities, which existed, in England, Spain, and Italy, during the year 1264.

The word, mathematician, seems to have been applied, in that age, exclusively to astrologers. Peter de Blois, one of the most learned writers of his time, who died A. D. 1200, says, in the[Pg 663] folio edition of his works, by Gussanville, page 596—“Mathematicians are those, who, from the position of the stars, the aspect of the firmament, and the motion of the planets, discover things, that are to come.”

“These prognosticators,” says Henry, in his History of Great Britain, vol. vi. page 109, “were so much admired and credited, that there was hardly a prince, or even an earl, or great baron, in Europe, who did not keep one or more of them, in his family, to cast the horoscopes of his children, discover the success of his designs, and the public events, that were to happen.”




There are sundry precepts, delivered by Heathen poets, some eighteen hundred years ago, which modern philosophy may not disregard with impunity. If it be true, and doubtless it is true, that a certain blindness to the future is given, in mercy, to man, how utterly unwise are all our efforts to rend the veil, and how preposterous withal!

The wiser, even among those, who were not confirmed in the belief, that there was absolutely nothing, in the doctrines of auguries, and omens, and judicial astrology, have discountenanced all attempts to pry into the future, by a resort to such mystical agencies. The counsel of Horace to Leuconoe is fresh in the memory of every classical reader:—

“Tu ne quæsieris, scire nefas, quem mihi, quem tibi
Finem Dì dederint, Leuconoë, neu Babylonios
Tentàris numeros. Ut melius, quidquid erit pati!
Seu plures hyemes, seu tribuit Jupiter ultimam,
Quæ nunc oppositis debilitat pumicibus mare

The version of Francis, however imperfect, may not be unwelcome to the English reader:—

“Strive not, Leuconoe, to pry
Into the secret will of fate;
Nor impious magic vainly try
To know our live’s uncertain date.

Whether th’ indulgent Power divine
Hath many seasons yet in store,
Or this the latest winter thine,
Which breaks its waves against the shore.”

[Pg 664]This passage from Horace is not required, to establish the fact, that magical arts were practised, among the Babylonians. A certain measure of superstition seems to belong to the nature of man; and to grow greater or less, in proportion to the exercise, or neglect, of his reasoning faculties. From this general rule history has furnished us with eminent exceptions. Cunning, and cupidity, and credulity are destined to be ever present: it is therefore to be expected, that, from age to age, the most egregious absurdities will pass, upon a portion of the community, for sober truths.

The fact, that popular absurdities have won the patient, if not the respectful, consideration of certain distinguished individuals, who have spoken, and written, doubtingly, if not precisely, in their favor, goes but a very little way, in their behalf. There was a time, when all the world believed, that the sun revolved around the earth, and that the blood was a stagnant pool, in the human body. There are none, I presume, of all, who give their confidence to any marvel of modern times, who are more learned or more wise, than Sir Matthew Hale, or Sir Thomas Browne. Yet both these wise and learned men were firm believers, in witchcraft; and two miserable people, Cullender and Duny, were given over to be hung, by Sir Matthew, partly upon the testimony of Sir Thomas.

Though nobody, whose sense is of the common kind, believes in witchcraft, at the present day, there was formerly no lack of believers, in any rank, or profession, in society. The matter was taken for a fixed and incontrovertible fact. The evidence was clear and conclusive, in the opinion of some, among the most eminent judges. If to doubt was not exactly to be damned, it often brought the audacious unbeliever, in danger of being hanged. Competent witnesses gravely swore, that pins and needles were run into their bodies, by persons, at the distance of a mile or more. For this offence, the witches were sentenced to be hanged; and, upon the gallows, confessed, with tears in their eyes, that they did really stick those identical pins, into the bodies of their accusers, being at the time, at the distance of a mile or more; and were swung off; having thus made their peace with God. Witnesses actually swore, that their houses were rocked, by old women, apparently too feeble to rock an infant’s cradle, and that tables and chairs were turned topsy turvy; and the old ladies confessed, that they had actually[Pg 665] rocked two-story houses and upset those tables, and seemed to be pleased with the distinction of being hanged, for the achievement.

Whoever doubted these miracles was called upon to explain, or believe; and, if he could not indicate clearly the mode, in which this jugglery was effected, he was required to believe in a thing, which was manifestly not in rerum natura. In this dilemma, he might suggest an example of legerdemain, familiar to us all—a juggler puts an egg into an ordinary hat, and, apparently, in an instant, the egg is converted into a pancake. If the beholder cannot demonstrate how this is done, he, of course, must believe in the actual conversion, that is in transubstantiation. I have seen this little miracle performed, and confess I do not understand it; and yet I exceedingly doubt, if an egg can be so instantly converted into a pancake.

The witch of Endor pretended to conjure up the dead. The effigy was supposed to be made manifest to the eye. Our modern witches and wizards conjure, up or down, whichever it may be, invisible spirits. These spirits have no power of audible speech; thus far, at least, they seem not to have recovered the use of their tongues. To be sure, spirit without matter cannot be supposed to emit sounds; but such is not the case here, for they convey their responses, audibly, by knockings. This is rather a circuitous mode of conveying intelligence, with their fingers and toes, which might be more easily conveyed by the voice.

The difference, between our Blitzes and Samees, and the Fishes and the Foxes, consists in this—the former never, for a moment, pretend, that eggs are in reality pancakes, or that they actually perform the pretty miracles, which they seem to perform—the latter gravely contend, as it was contended, in the days of witchcraft, those days, that tried old women’s souls, that their achievements are realities.

So long as these matters are merely harmless, even though they consume much valuable time, that might be more worthily employed, and transfer the illy-spared coin of the credulous poor, from their own pockets, to the pockets of unprincipled jugglers and impostors, perhaps it may be well to suffer the evil to correct itself, and die even a lingering death. But, when it is manifestly spreading, broadcast, over the land, and even receiving a dash of something like grave importance from the pen,[Pg 666] occasionally, of some professional gentleman, whose very doubt may dignify delusion; the matter seems really to demand some little consideration, at least: not that the doubts, even of a respectable physician, elaborately uttered, in a journal of fair repute, can do more to establish the power of mother Fish or mother Fox, to raise the dead, than was achieved, by the opinion of Lord Chief Justice Hale, in favor of witchcraft. That has fallen, as, in due time, this will fall, into merited contempt. But the expression of doubts, from a respectable quarter, upon an occasion like the present, tends, obviously, to strengthen those hands, which probably deserve to be paralyzed.

So long, as a matter, like this, is confined to speculation, it may be suffered to flit by, like the folly of a day. But the pestilent thing, of which I am speaking, has, long ago, assumed an entirely different, and a severer, type. At this very time, individuals, who are strictly entitled to the name of vagabonds, male and female, are getting their bread, by cheating the curious and the credulous, in a great number of our towns and villages, by the performance of these frightful antics. This term is altogether too feeble, to express the meaning, which I would gladly fix, in the public mind. By these infernal agencies, children are imbued with a superstitious fear, which tends to enfeeble their intellects, and has a mischievous influence, upon life and conduct, to the end of their days—upon children of a larger growth, especially upon those of nervous temperament, and feeble health, the pernicious effect is incalculable. The fact is perfectly well known, and thoroughly established, that these diabolical orgies, and mystical teachings have not only inflicted the deepest misery on many minds, but have induced several infatuated persons, to commit self murder; and driven others to despair; deprived them of their reason; and caused them to be placed, in asylums for the insane.

It is no longer therefore the part of wisdom to treat this evil, with sheer contempt. The conflagration has advanced too far, for us to hope it will go out, erelong, of its own accord. What is then the part of wisdom?

There are individuals, whose opinions are certainly entitled to respect, and who conceive, that these mysteries deserve a full and formal examination, by a committee of wise and learned men, that the world may be guided by their decision. I am fearful, that such a course would result in nothing better than disappointment, if in nothing worse.

[Pg 667]These mysteries are Protean, in their character—

“Verum, ubi correptum manibus vinclisque tenebis,
Turn variæ eludent species atque ora ferarum.”

If the members of the learned inquisition should furnish an explanation of one, or more, of these mirabilia, a new series of perplexing novelties would speedily arise, and demand their attention;—so that the savans would, necessarily, become a standing committee, on modern miracles. The incomparable Blitz, if the process were discovered, by which he appears, instantaneously, to convert an egg into a pancake, would challenge you to explain another, by which he rapidly deduces some thirty yards of ribbon from the nose of a bystander. And, if we cannot explain this mystery, he may as reasonably demand of us to believe it a reality, as goody Fox or goody Fish may require her customers—for raising the dead is a trade—to believe in her power, to conjure up spirits, because we may not be able to discover the process, by which the rappings are produced.

But, even if an investigation were made, by the most competent physiologists, and the decree should go forth, ex cathedra; it would, probably, produce a very slight impression upon the whole community. That same self-conceit, which often fills an old woman to the brim, with the belief, that she is a more skilful leech, than Æsculapius ever was, will continue to stand the credulous instead; and the rappings will go on, in spite of the decree of the savans; the spirits of the dead will continue to be raised, as they are, at present, at fifty cents apiece; men, women, and children will insist upon their inalienable right to believe, that eggs are pancakes, and that, in violation of all the established laws of nature, ghosts may be conjured up, at the shortest notice; and examples will continue to occur, of distressing nervous excitement, domestic misery, self-murder, and madness.

The question recurs—what shall be done, for the correction of this increasing evil? Some suggestions have been made, sufficiently germain to several of the extraordinary pretensions of the present day. Thus, in respect to clairvoyance, a standing offer of several thousand francs has been made, by certain persons, in Paris, to any individual, who will prove his ability to see through a pine plank. In regard also to the assumption of knowledge, obtained, through a pretended communication with spirits, a purse of gold has been offered to any person, who, with[Pg 668] the aid of all the spirits he can conjure up to his assistance, will truly declare the amount it contains, with a moderate forfeit, in case of failure.

This whole matter of conjuration, and spiritual rapping has become an insufferable evil. It is a crying nuisance, and should be dealt with accordingly. It is, by no means, necessary, before we proceed to abate a nuisance, to inquire, in what manner it is produced. It is not possible to distinguish, between the chevaliers d’industrie, who swindle the credulous out of their money, by the exhibition of these highly pernicious orgies, from conjurors and jugglers. If this construction be correct, and I perceive nothing to the contrary, then these mischief-makers come within the fifth section of chapter 143 of the Revised Statutes of Massachusetts. Any police court or justice of the peace, has power to send to the house of correction, “all persons who use any juggling.” It would be a public service to apply this wholesome law to goody Fox, or goody Fish, or any other goody, of either sex, holding these conjurations within our precinct. Upon a complaint, the question would necessarily arise if the offence charged were “juggling” or not; and the rule of evidence, cuique in sua arte, would bring out the opinions of men, learned in their profession. I am aware of no other mode, by which those persons are likely to be gratified, who believe these proceedings entitled to serious examination. Let us not drop this interesting subject here.




In the olden time, almanacs were exclusively the work of judicial astrologers. The calendar, in addition to the registration of remarkable events, and times, and tides, and predictions, in relation to the weather, presumed to foretell the affairs of mankind, and the prospective changes, in the condition of the world; not by any processes of reasoning, but by a careful contemplation of the heavenly bodies.

On most occasions, these predictions were sufficiently vague, for the soothsayer’s security; quite as much so, as our more modern foreshadowings, in relation to the weather, whose [Pg 669]admonitions, to expect a change, about these times, are frequently extended from the beginning to the end of the calendar month. An example of this wariness appears, in a letter of John of Salisbury, written in 1170. “The astrologers,” says he, “call this year the wonderful year, from the singular situation of the planets and constellations; and say, that, in the course of it, the councils of kings will be changed, wars will be frequent, and the world will be troubled with seditions; that learned men will be discouraged; but, towards the end of the year, they will be exalted.”

Emboldened, by the almost universal deference, paid to their predictions, the astrologers soon began to venture, on a measure of precision, which was somewhat hazardous.

In the commencement of the year 1186, the most distinguished judicial astrologers, not only in England, but upon the continent, proclaimed, that there existed an unprecedented conjunction of the planets, in the sign Libra. Hence they predicted, that, on Tuesday, the sixteenth day of September, at three o’clock in the morning, a storm would arise, such as the world had never known before. They asserted, with an amazing confidence, that, not only individual structures would be destroyed, by this terrible storm, but that great cities would be swept away, before its fury. This tempest, according to their predictions, would be followed, by a far spreading pestilence, and by wars of unexampled severity. A particular account of these remarkable predictions may be found, on page 356 of the annals of Roger de Hoveden.

No more conclusive evidence is necessary of the implicit, and universal confidence, which then prevailed, in the teachings of judicial astrology, than the wide spread dismay and consternation, produced by these bold and positive predictions. It is not possible to calculate the sum of human misery, inflicted upon society, by the terrible anticipations of these coming events. As the fatal day drew near, extraordinary preparations were everywhere made, to secure property, from the devastating effects of the approaching tempest. Baldwin, Archbishop of Canterbury, commanded a solemn fast of three days’ continuance, throughout his precinct. On the night of the fifteenth of September, very many persons sat up, in solemn expectation of the coming tempest.

It has been cruelly observed of medical men, that, to some of[Pg 670] their number, the death of a patient would, on the whole, be rather more agreeable, than that he should falsify their prediction, by the recovery of his health. How powerfully a sentiment, similar to this, must have exercised the spirits of these astrologers, as the appointed hour drew nigh! It came at last—bright and cloudless—followed by a day of unusual serenity. The season was one of extraordinary mildness; the harvest and vintage were abundant; and the general health of the people was a subject of universal observation. Old Gervase, of Tilbury, in his Chronicles, alluding to the Archbishop’s fears and fastings, remarks, that there were no storms, during the whole year, other than such, as the Archbishop himself raised in the church, by his own absurdity and violence.

The astrologers hung their heads, for very shame, and lost caste, for a time, with the people.

Divination was, of old, emphatically, a royal folly; and kings have been its dupes and votaries, from the earliest ages of the world. The secret manner, in which Saul betook himself to the witch of Endor, arose, partly, from his knowledge, that such orgies were a violation of divine and human laws. The evils, resulting from such absurdities, had become so apparent, that Saul, himself, had already banished all the soothsayers and magicians from his kingdom. It is manifest, from the experience of Saul, that it is unwise to consult a witch, upon an empty stomach—“Then Saul fell straightway all along on the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel: and there was no strength in him; for he had eaten no bread all the day, nor all the night.”

Lucan, lib. vi. v. 570, et seq., represents young Pompey, just before the battle of Pharsalia, as paying a nocturnal visit, to a sorceress of Thessaly, of whom he inquires, in relation to the issue of the combat. With the ordinary preliminaries, charms, and incantations, the necromancer conjures up the ghost of a soldier, who had recently fallen in battle. At length, she pronounces a denunciation, between which and the prediction of the witch of Endor, delivered to Saul, the resemblance is certainly remarkable.

The laws of France, in the time of Louis XIV., were extremely rigorous, against sorcery and divination, inflicting the severest penalties, upon all, who pretended to exercise their skill, in these worse than unprofitable mysteries. Nevertheless, an[Pg 671] extraordinary story is related, in the autobiography of Madame Du Barri, as communicated to her, by Louis XV., of several visits stealthily paid, by Louis XIV., and Madame de Maintenon, to a celebrated judicial astrologer, in Paris. This narrative may be found recorded, at length, in the first volume of Madame Du Barri’s Memoirs, commencing on page 286.

The age of Louis XIV. was an age of superstition. An Italian priest, a secret professor of the art of necromancy, was induced, upon the King’s promise of protection, against the parliament, in the event of a discovery, to satisfy the royal curiosity, and open the book of fate. At the hour appointed, being midnight, Madame de Maintenon and the Duc de Noailles were conveyed to a house in Sevrès, where they met the sorcerer, who had celebrated the mass alone, and consecrated several wafers. After performing a variety of ceremonies, he drew the horoscope of the King, and Madame de Maintenon. He promised the King, that he should succeed, in all his undertakings. He then gave his Majesty a parcel, wrapped in new parchment, and carefully sealed, saying to the King—“the day, in which you form the fatal resolution of acquainting yourself with the contents of this package, will be the last of your prosperity; but, if you desire to carry your good fortune to the highest pitch, be careful, upon every great festival, Easter, Whitsunday, the Assumption, and Christmas, to pierce this talisman with a pin; do this, and be happy.”

Certain events confirmed the sorcerer’s predictions—others gave them the lie direct. The royal confidence was shaken.

Upon one occasion, the Bishop of Meaux, the great Bossuet, chanced to be at the apartments of Madame de Maintenon; and the subject of magic and sorcery being introduced, the good Bishop expressed himself, with such abhorrence of the profanation, as effectually to stir up a sentiment of compunction, in the bosom of the King and Madame. At length, they disclosed the secret to their confessors, to whom the most effectual means of breaking the charm appeared to be, to break open the talismanic package; and this was accordingly imposed, as a penance, on the King.

His sacred Majesty was thus painfully placed, inter cornua, or, as we trivially say, between hawk and buzzard—between the priest and the sorcerer. His good sense, if not his devotion, prevailed. The package was torn open, in the presence of[Pg 672] Madame de Maintenon, and father la Chaise. It contained a consecrated wafer, pierced with as many holes, as there had been saints’ days in the calendar, since it had been in the King’s possession. That consternation fell upon the King, which becomes a good Catholic, when he believes, that he has committed sacrilege. He was long disordered, by the recollection, and all, that masses and starvation could avail, to purge the offence, was cheerfully submitted to, by the King. Louis XV. closes this farcical account, with a grave averment, that his ancestor, after this, lost as many male descendants, in the right line, as he had stuck pins, in the holy wafer. There may, possibly, be some little consolation, in the reflection, that, if the private history of Louis le Grand be entitled to any credit, like Charles the Second of England, he could well afford the sacrifice—of whom Butler pleasantly remarks—

“Go on, brave Charles, and if thy back,
As well as purse, but hold thee tack,
Most of thy realm, in time, the rather
Than call thee king, shall call thee father.”

The Millennarians of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries—and these enthusiasts are, by no means, of modern origin—may be said to have hunted, in company with the judicial astrologers. Herlicius and the Millennarians solemnly predicted the destruction of the Turkish Empire, in 1665, the one relying upon the aspect of the stars, and the other upon their fantastical interpretation of the Scriptures; and both, in all likelihood, chiefly, upon the good sword and stubborn will of the Emperor; who, to their infinite disappointment and mortification, finally made peace with the Ottomans. Yet David Herlicius was no impostor, or if so, there was no greater dupe to his astrological doctrines than himself. He was a learned, pious, and honest man.

There is, probably, no more extensively popular error, than that a deceiver must possess, on all occasions, a greater measure of knowledge than the deceived. Herlicius was an eminent physician; and Bayle says of him, vol. vi. page 137—“One can hardly imagine why a man, who had so much business, in the practice of physic, and who never had any children, should fear to want bread in his old age, unless he drew horoscopes.”

[Pg 673]This eminent man had doubtless some little misgivings, as to the infallibility of the art, after the failure of his prediction, in relation to the Ottomans. Bayle recites an extract of a letter, from Herlicius to a friend, in which the writer says: “Oh that fortune would look kindly upon me! that, without meddling with those astrological trifles, I might make provision for old age, which threatens me with blindness; and I would never draw any horoscope. In the mean time, when a great many persons inquire for, and desire to know more things, than are within the compass of our art, or more than it can explain, I choose rather to act with conscience, than to disgrace, and, as it were, to defile, our sacred Astrology, and to cast a blemish upon it. For our art abounds with a great number of Chaldean superstitions, which several of our countrymen are still obstinately fond of. A great many ask me what color of clothes and horses will be lucky for them? Sometimes I laugh heartily, at these and other such absurd questions, but I do also often abhor them. For I am enamored with the virgin state of our art, nor can I suffer that it should be so abominably defiled, as to give the enemies of astrology an opportunity to object to us those abuses, to the contempt of the art itself.”

At the period, when Herlicius unfortunately predicted the destruction of the Ottoman power, Judicial Astrology was in the highest favor in England. The date of the prediction, 1665, was the sixth year of Charles the Second. Whatever space remained, unoccupied by other follies, during the reign of the Stuarts, and even during the interregnum, was filled by the preposterous doctrines of Judicial Astrology. It is perfectly well established, that Charles the First, when meditating his escape from Carisbrook castle, in 1647, consulted the famous astrologer, Sir William Lilly.



No. CLX.

Isabel, Countess of Warwick, 1439—“My body is to be buried, in the Abbey of Tewksbury; and I desire, that my great[Pg 674] Templys[19] with the Baleys[20] be sold to the utmost, and delivered to the monks of that house, so that they grutched not my burial there. Also I will that my statue be made, all naked, with my hair cast backwards, according to the design and model, which Thomas Porchalion[21] has, for that purpose, with Mary Magdalen laying her hand across, and St. John the Evangelist on the right side, and St. Anthony on the left.” The singularity of this provision would lead one to believe that the testatrix made her will, under the influence of St. Anthony’s fire.

John, Lord Fanhope, 1443—“To John, my bastard son, now at Ampthill, ccc. marks; and, in case he should die, before he attain the age of twenty-one, I will that Thomas, my other bastard son, shall have the said ccc. marks.”

Henry Beaufort was the second son of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, by Katherine Swinford, a bastard born, but with his brothers and sister, legitimated by act of Parliament, 20 Rich. II., became Bishop of Lincoln 1397—translated to Winchester, 1404, and made a Cardinal. He was remarkable, for his immense wealth, prudence, and frugality. He was four times Chancellor of England. He is reported to have clung to life with a remarkable tenacity. Rapin says, he died for grief, that wealth could not save him from death. The death bed of this Cardinal is admirably described by Shakspeare, in the second part of King Henry VI., Act III., Scene III.:

K. Henry. How fares my lord? Speak Beaufort to thy Sovereign.
Cardinal. If thou be’st Death, I’ll give thee England’s treasure,
Enough to purchase such another island,
So thou wilt let me live, and feel no pain.
Warwick. See how the pangs of death do make him grin.
Salisbury. Disturb him not, let him pass peaceably.
K. Henry. Peace to his soul, if God’s good pleasure be!
Lord Cardinal, if think’st on Heaven’s bliss,
Hold up thy hand, make signal of thy hope.
He dies, and makes no sign; Oh God forgive him!
Warwick. So bad a death argues a monstrous life.
K. Henry. Forbear to judge, for we are sinners all—
Close up his eyes, and draw the curtains close.

The Cardinal’s will, though without date, was made about 1443.—“I will that ten thousand masses be said for my soul,[Pg 675] as soon as possible after my decease, three thousand of requiem, three thousand of de rorate cœli desuper, three thousand of the Holy Ghost, and one thousand of the Trinity. * * * * Item, I bequeath to my Lord, King Henry, a tablet with reliques, which is called the tablet of Bourbon, and a cup of gold with a ewer, which belonged to the illustrious prince, his father, and offered by him on Easter Eve, and out of which cup he usually drunk, and for the last time drank. * * * * Item, I bequeath to my Lord the King, my dish or plate of gold for spices, and my cup of gold, enamelled with images.”

In two codicils to this will, Cardinal Beaufort refers to certain crown jewels, and vessels of silver and gold, pledged to him by the King and Parliament, for certain sums lent. When the King went into France and Normandy, and upon other subsequent occasions, the Cardinal had loaned the King £22,306 18s. 8d. It appears in Rymer, vol. x. page 502, that the King redeemed the sword of Spain and sundry jewels, pledged to the Cardinal, for £493 6s. 8d.

John, Duke of Exeter, 1447—“I will that four honest and cunning priests be provided, to pray perpetually every year, for my soul.” He then conveys certain manors to his son Henry, “provided always, that an annuity of XLl. be reserved for my two bastard sons, William and Thomas.”

William Burges, garter King of Arms, 1449, bequeaths to the church of St. George at Staunford—“to the seyd chirch for ther solempne feste dayes to stand upon the high awter 11 grete basque of silver, and 11 high candlesticks of sylver, 1 coupe of sylver, in the whych is one litel box of yvory, to put in the blessid sacrament.” He also gives to said church “two greter candelstykkes, and for eiche of these candelstykkes to be ordayned a taper of waxe of 1 pound wight, and so served, to be lighted atte dyvyne servyce at pryncipal fest dayes, and al other solempne festes, as, at matyns, pryme, masse, and the yeven songs.”

John, Lord Scrope, 1451—“To the altar, in the chapel of St. Mary, at York, a jewel, with a bone of St. Margaret, and XLs. for ringing their bells, at my funeral.”

Ann, Duchess of Exeter, 1457—“I forbid my executors to make any great feast, or to have a solemn hearse, or any costly lights, or largess of liveries according to the glory or vain pomp of the world, at my funeral, but only to the worship of God, after the discretion of Mr. John Pynchebeke, Doctor of Divinity.”

[Pg 676]Edmund Brudenell, 1457—“To Agmondesham Church; to the Provosts of the Church for the maintenance of the great light before the cross XXs. To the maintenance of the light before St. Katherine’s Cross, IIIs. IVd.

John Younge, 1458—“To the fabrick of the Church of Herne, viz., to make seats, called puyinge, X. marks.”

John Sprot, Clerk, 1461—“To each of my parishioners XLd.

The passion for books, merely because of their antique rarity, and not for their intrinsic value, is not less dangerous, for the pursuer, than that, for collecting rare animals, and forming a private menagerie, at vast expense. Even the entomologist has been known to diminish the comforts of his family, by investing his ready money in rare and valuable bugs. It has been pleasantly said of him,

“He leaves his children, when he dies,
The richest cabinet of flies.”

There is no doubt, that, in those superstitious days, the traffic in relics must have been a source of very great profit to the priests; equal, at least, to the traffic in ancient terra cottas, in the days of Nollekens. The sleeves of those crafty friars could not have been large enough, to hold their laughter, at the expense of the faithful. The heir apparent, whose grief, for the death of his ancestor, was sufficiently subdued, by his refreshing anticipations of some thousands of marks in ready money, must have been somewhat startled, upon the reading of the will, to find himself residuary legatee, for life, of the testator’s “reliques, remainder over to the Carthusian Friars!”

Such, and similar, things were of actual occurrence. William Haute, Esquire, made his will, May 9, 1462, of course, in the reign of Edward the Fourth. This worthy gentleman ordains—“My body to be buried, in the Church of the Augustine Friars, before the image of St. Catherine, between my wives. * * * * I bequeath one piece of that stone, on which the Archangel Gabriel descended, when he saluted the Blessed Virgin Mary, to the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Church of Bourne, the same to stand under the foot of the said image. I bequeath one piece of the bone of St. Bartholomew to the Church of Waltham. One piece of the hair cloth of St. Catherine, the Virgin, and a piece of the bone of St. Nicholas, to the Church of the Augustine Friars aforesaid. I bequeath all the remainder of[Pg 677] my relicks to my son William, for life, with remainder to the Augustine Friars forever.”

Humphrey, Earl of Devon, 1463—“I will, that Mr. Nicholas Goss and Mr. Watts, Warden of the Grey Friars, at Exeter, shall, for the salvation of my soul, go to every Parish Church, in the Counties of Dorset, Somerset, Wilts, Devon, and Cornwall, and say a sermon, in every Church, town, or other; and as I cannot recompense such as I have offended, I desire them to forgive my poor soul, that it be not endangered.”

William, Earl of Pembroke, 1469—“In nomine Jesu, &c. And wyfe, that ye remember your promise to me, that ye take the ordre of widowhood, as ye may the better mayster your owne * * * * Wyfe pray for me, and take the said ordre, that ye promised me, as ye had, in my lyfe, my hert and love.” This lady, who was the daughter of Sir Walter Devereux, observed her vow, and died the widow of the Earl; which is the more remarkable, as these injunctions have often produced an opposite effect, and abbreviated the term of continency.

Sir Harry Stafford, Kt., 1471—“To my son-in-law, the Earl of Richmond, a trappur, four new horse harness of velvet; to my brother, John, Earl of Wiltshire, my bay courser; to Reynold Bray, my Receiver General, my grizzled horse.”

Cecilia Lady Kirriel, 1472—“In my pure widowhood, &c. To John Kirriel, bastard, &c.”

It is not unusual for the consciences of men, in a dying hour, to clutch, for security, at the veriest straws. It is instructive to consider the evidences, exhibited in these ancient testaments, of superfluous compunction. Sir Walter Moyle, Knt., 1479, directs his feoffees “to make an estate, in two acres of land, more or less, lying in the parish of Estwell, in a field called Calinglond, and deliver the same, in fee simple, to three or four honest men, to the use and behoof of the Church of Estwell aforesaid, in recompense of a certain annual rent of £2 of wax, by me wrested and detained from the said Church, against my conscience.”

It was not unusual, to appoint overseers, to have an eye upon executors; a provision, which may not be without its advantages, occasionally, even in these days of more perfect morality, and higher law. Sir Ralph Verney, Knt., 1478, appoints four executors, and “my trewe lover, John Browne, Alderman of London, to be one of the overseers of this my present testament, and[Pg 678] to have a remembrance upon my soul, one of my cups, covered with silver gilt.”

Monks and Friars were pleasant fellows in the olden time, and Nuns are not supposed to have been without their holy comforts. Landseer’s fine picture of Bolton Abbey is a faithful illustration. The fat of the land, when offered to idols, has commonly been eaten up by deputy. However shadowy and attenuated the souls of their humble and confiding tributaries, the carcasses of abbots are commonly represented as superlatively fat and rubicund.

Bequests and devises to Lights and Altars were very common. Eustace Greville, Esquire, 1479, bequeaths “to the Light of the Blessed Mary, in the said Church of Wolton, three pounds of wax in candles and two torches; to the Altar of the Blessed Mary in the said church, one bushel of wheat and as much of barley; and to the Lights of the Holy Cross there one bushel of barley and as much of beans; and the same to the Light of St. Katherine there.”





[Pg 679]


In utter disregard of all precedent, I have placed this dedication at the end of the volume, deeming it meet and right, that the corpse should go before.

How very often the publication of a ponderous tome has been found to resemble the interment of a portly corpse! How truly, ere long, it may be equally affirmed, of both—the places, that knew them, shall know them no more!

Mæcenas was the friend and privy counsellor of Augustus Cæsar; and, accordingly, became, in some measure, the dispenser of executive patronage. The name of Mæcenas has been employed, ever since, to signify a patron of letters and the arts. Dedications are said to have been coeval with the days of his power.

In almost every case, a dedication is neither more nor less, than an application for convoy, from the literary mariner, who is scarcely willing to venture, with his fragile bark, “in mare Creticum” or criticum, unaided and alone. He solicits permission to dedicate his work to some distinguished individual—in other words, to place his influential name, upon the very front of the volume, as an amulet—a sort of passover—to keep evil spirits and critics, at a[Pg 680] distance. If the permission be granted, of which the public is sure to be informed, the presumption, that the patron has read and approved the work, amounts to a sanction, of course, to the extent of his credit and authority. In some cases, however, I have reason to believe, that the only part of the work, which the patron ever reads, is the dedication itself. That most amiable and excellent man, and high-minded bibliopolist, the late Mr. James Brown, informed me, that an author once requested permission, to dedicate his work, to a certain professor, in the State of New York, tendering the manuscript, for his perusal; and that the professor declined reading the work, as superfluous; but readily accepted the dedication, observing, that he usually received five dollars, on such occasions.

There was one, to whom it would afford me real pleasure to dedicate this volume, were he here, in the flesh; but he has gone to his account. Grossman is numbered with the dead!

Reader—if you can lay your hand upon your heart, and honestly say, that you have read these pages, or any considerable portion of them, with pleasure—that they have afforded you instruction, or amusement—I dedicate this volume—with your permission, of course—most respectfully, to you; having conceived the most exalted opinion of your taste and judgment.

Rock Hill, December, 1855.



[Pg 681]


The figures refer to the numbers—not to the pages.


Abner, cautioned by his father, as to his behavior to aged people, 1.

Adams, John, anecdote of, 45:
—lines written under his name, in a lady’s album, 46.

Airs, national, authorship of, 106.

Almsgiving, 56.

Ambassadors, from U. S. A. to G. B. 73.

Ancestry, pride of, 97.

Antiquaries, sometimes malicious, 126.

Apothecaries, in Boston—some notice of, 112.

Aristocracy, of Boston—examples of, 90:
—among the dead, 1.

Arms, reversed, at military funerals, of great antiquity, 30.

Arnold, Benedict, what made him a traitor, 87.

Arundines Cami, 92.

Asclepiades, of Prusa, his medical practice, 114.

Astrologers, Judicial, formerly part of a nobleman’s household, 157.
—False prediction of, in 1186. Ibid.
—Consulted by Louis XIV. and Madame de Maintenon, 159.

Astrology, Judicial, Q. Elizabeth addicted to.—Much practised, in the middle ages, 157, 159.

Avarice, 31.

Avery, steals three negroes:—attempts to sell them:—their rescue, 47.

Aymar, James, a famous impostor, 113.

Auctions, various modes of:—by inch of candle:—by sand glass:—of fish among the Dutch:—various modes of notifying, and bidding at, 139.

Auctioneer’s Bell, used at the Hague:—formerly in Boston, 139.


Babylonians, their mode of obtaining husbands, for homely women, 115.

Bachelors punished by the Lacedemonians for their celibacy:—not trusted with affairs of state at Athens, 115.

Barbers, 140, 141, 142, 143:
—their antiquity, 140:
—formerly peripatetics, 141:
—their shops and poles, 141:
—female, 141:
—their citternes and “knack with the fingers,” 142.

Baptism, vicarious, 109.

Baths, ancient, 114.

Battel, wager of, 145.

Beards, habits of the ancients, respecting, 140:
—modern, 142:
—dyeing them an ancient practice, 142.

Belknap, Jeremy, Rev. 47:
—his desire for a sudden death, 75:
—regard for historical truth, 75:
—error, as to Gosnold, 75.

Bells, and bell ringing:—weight of several:—a terror to “evill spirytes,” 37.

Benevolence, remarkable example of, 55.

Bentham, Jeremy, dissected by his own request, 8.

Bleed and purge all Kensington,” 111.

Bodies, posthumous preservation of, 20.

Bodkin, the famous root and herb doctor, 109.

Boiling to death, a mode of punishment, 151.

Boodle, William, his self-conceit, 49.

Boorn, Stephen and Jesse, remarkable case of erroneous conviction, on circumstantial evidence, 79 to 85, both inclusive.

Borri, Joseph Francis, a famous impostor, 113.

Bradford, Sheriff, anecdote of, 5.

Brocklebank, Parson, anecdote of, 49.

Burial, joint stock companies, 58:
—their profits enormous, 58:
—of weapons, by the slaves, at Charleston, 34.

Bring out your dead,” 27.

Buchanan, James, his errors, in relation to Major André, corrected, 19.

Burke and Bishop, executed, for murder, with intent to sell the bodies, 7.

Burying the dead, manner of, commended, 21:
—in cities and under churches, objections to, 10, 11, 60, 61:
—manner of, and practices, connected therewith, in different ages and nations, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 21, 30, 38, 96, 101:
—premature, 15, 91, 95:
—means for preventing, 91, 95.
[Pg 682]
Bull John, and brother Jonathan, 104:
—John, the musician, author of “God save the King,” 106.

Byles, Mather, anecdotes of, 93, 94.


Cades, sexton, how he lost his office, 44.

California fever, 31.

Campbell, hung for killing Boyd in a duel, 145.

Campbell, Captain, steals an heiress, 115.

Candles, burnt in the day, at a church, in Nantucket, 24:
—of wax, at Popish funerals, in old times, 2.
—by inch of, ancient mode of selling at auction, 139.

Caner, Rev. Dr., some notice of, 78.

Capital punishment, 50, 51, 53, 54, 57, 89.

Capital offences, in Massachusetts, in 1618, 62.

Carter, sexton, insulted by a chirurgeon, 43.

Catacombs, 10:
—of Paris, 12, 13.

Catafalque, its import, 103.

Chadwick, Edwin, his report on interments, to the British Parliament, 58.

Chapel, King’s, some account of, 78.

Charles I. funeral of, 39:
—his body discovered, in 1813, 40:
—V. legend of his mock funeral, denied, 99.

Children, female, destruction of, in China, and elsewhere, 29.

Chinese, habits of the, 101.

Chuang-tsze, story of, 119, 120.

Clarendon, in error, as to the burial place of King Charles I. 40.

Clarke, Barnabas, anecdote of, 90.

Clark, Alvan, his versatility of talent, 46.

Clay, Henry, his frequent leavetakings, 99.

Cobbett, William, his letter to Lord Liverpool, on the American triumphs, 104.

Congress, American, Lord Chatham’s opinion of, 104.

Courage, personal, externals no sure criterion of—two remarkable examples, 149.

Conscience parties, 29.

Corday, Charlotte de, an interesting question, connected with her decapitation, 153.

Cremation, cost of—least expensive mode, excepting the urns, 74:
—of Henry Laurens, 95:
—of Cranmer, Latimer, and Ridley:—their diet in prison, 74.

Criminals, how to dispose of, 89:
—bodies of, delivered for dissection, 7:
—number waiting to be hung, 51.

Cromwell, Oliver, various estimates of his character:—views and handles the dead body of Charles I.:—his funeral:—his body dug up, and hung, at Tyburn, 39.

Crucifixion, 151.


Daddy Osgood, sold at auction, 139.

Danforth, Dr. Samuel, notice of, 111.

Deacons, their dispute about a tomb, 11.

Dead Sea, some account of, 35, 36.

Death, certain evidence of, 91:
—condition of the soul, after, 96:
—imitation of, 137:
—by shipwreck, 102.

Dentists, in Boston, some notice of, 112.

Desecration, of the dead, 14, 21, 23.

Dickson, provost of Dundee, his epitaph, 9.

Diedrick Van Pronk’s widow, anecdote of, 7.

Digby, Everard, account of his having spoken, after the removal of his heart, 153.

Dinah Furbush, her corpse insulted, 77.

Diogenes, anecdote of, 4.

Distillers, in Boston, number of, 112.

Divination, some account of, 157, 158.

Divining rod, of James Aymar, 113.

Don’t go too near that hedge,” 91.

Dreams, of Martin Smith and King’s Chapel, by the Old Sexton, 76, 77, 78.

Drunkenness, at ordinations, 37.

Dryden, John, disturbance at his funeral, 118.

Duels, between Benjamin Woodbridge and Henry Phillips, on Boston Common, 133 to 136, both inclusive:
—various, 144 to 149, both inclusive:
—punishment of, 145:
—number killed in, 145:
—Decatur and Barron, 146:
—Lord Bruce and Sir Edward Sackville, 147:
—Lords Mohun and Hamilton, 147:
—Sheridan and Matthews, 147:
—M’keon and Reynolds, 147:
—Campbell and Boyd, 147:
—Colclough and Alcock, 147:
—David and Goliath, 147:
—Titus Manlius and the Gaul, 148:
—Hector and Ajax, 148:
—Turnus and Æneas, 148:
—Rauber and a Spanish gentleman, 148:
—Cameron, and McLean, 148:
—Lord Mark Kerr and a French Colonel, 149:
—Joseph Bainbridge and the Secretary of Sir Alexander Ball, 149:
—Rand and Millar, 153.

Dugdale, Sir William, the antiquary, 155.

Dyonisius, to save his throat, taught his daughters to shave, 140.


Effigies of the dead, made of cinnamon, and carried in the procession, 30.

Egyptians, trials of their kings, after death, 5:
—every Egyptian a doctor, 107.
[Pg 683]
Eli, the sexton, his hallucinations, 55.

Eliot, Rev. Andrew, gloves and rings, given him at funerals, and the sale of, 28.

Embalming, process of, 4.

Empirics, 109, 110, 111, 113, 114.

Epitaphs, 5, 9.

Estimate of Americans by the English people, in 1775 and 1812, 104.

Evidence, circumstantial, remarkable examples of, 79 to 85, both inclusive:
—Webster’s case, 86.

Execution, in Ballyconnel, 54.


Fakeer, East India, account of his apparent death, and resurrection, 137, 138.

Famine, Keayne’s granary in case of, 112.

Faneuil Hall, origin of:—burnt:—rebuilt and enlarged, 130, 131.

Faneuil Peter, and his relatives, some account of, 122 to 132, both inclusive:
—aids Henry Phillips, to escape, after his fatal duel, with Woodbridge, 134.

Food for ghosts, 25.

Fortune-hunters, remarkable disappointment of one, 115, 116.

Franklin, Benjamin, his account of the resurrection of flies, drowned in wine, 138:
—his letter to Thomas Percival, on duelling, 144:
—Sir John, probably lost, 154.

Freeman, Dr., manner of his ordination, 78.

Friendships, rarely lifelong:—examples of, 59:
—Cicero’s first law of, 59.

Frizzell’s bell, 37.

Funerals, invitations to, 8:
—baked meats at:—games, and festivals at, 25.


Gifts, New Year’s, 117.

Gloves and rings, at funerals, 28.

Gosnold, Bartholomew, his abode, at Cuttyhunk, 75.

Governor of Mass., anecdote of a, 52.

Granny, anecdote of skinning, 58.

Grossman threatened to be shot, 13.

Guillotin, Dr. 151:
—the instrument that bears his name, 151, 152.


Hair, management of the, 143.

Halley, Thomas, great pomp, and much guzzling, at his funeral, 25.

Halifax gibbet and the guillotine identical, 151.

Handel, rivalry, between him, and Senesino, and Buononeini, 105:
—Swift’s epigram, on their squabbles, 105.

Hanging, sensations produced by, 95:
—vicarious, 150:
—persons differently moved, in prospect of, 150.

Hanway, Sir Jonas, his account of the practice of giving vales, 28.

Happiness, 48.

Hastæ, why auctions were so called, at Rome, 139.

Hawes, Dr. William, his work on premature interment, 95.

Heiress, stealing an, made felony:—remarkable examples of, 115.

Henry VIII. bone stolen from his corpse, 39:
—some account of his funeral, 103.

Herse, ancient import of the word, 103.

Hook, Theodore, anecdote of, 24.

How could the poor Abbé sustain himself against you all four?” 113.

Howlers, at funerals, ancient and modern, 32, 38.

Huguenots, in Boston:—their early settlement, in Oxford, Mass. 122:
—their church in Boston, 122, 123.


Idleness, effects of, 22.

Infanticide, 29.

Innholders, in Boston, number of, 112.

Intolerance, in Massachusetts, 62.


James II., his gallantry, when Duke of York, in a sea-fight, 66.

Jews usurious, 15,000 banished, 52.

Je vous sauter le tête, 151.


Laceration, of the cheeks and hair, at funerals, in Greece, Rome, and elsewhere, 30, 32, 38.

Largesses at funerals, 25.

Laurens, Henry, his body burnt, after death, by his request, 95.

Lawyers, in Boston, their number at different periods, 112.

Le Mercier, André, minister of the Huguenots, in Boston, 132.

Levi, M. de, his pride of ancestry, 97.

Liberty Tree, 41, 42.
Philip Billes devises his estate, on condition of being buried under that tree, 42.

Licinius, P., games, &c., at his funeral, 25.

Lilly, Sir William, the astrologer, notice of, 157.

Lind, Jenny, some account of, 105.

Lloyd, Dr. James, his appearance, 111.

Localities, certain interesting, 7.

Longevity, some examples of, 45.

Lot’s wife, pillar of salt, &c., 35, 36:
—seen by Irenæuis and others, after she was salted, 36.

Louis XVI., brutal behaviour of the French people, at his execution, 152.

Lovat, Lord, his repartee, on his way to be hung, 150.

Ludii, Histriones, Scurræ, 30.

Luxury, ever injurious, and often fatal, to Republics, 87, 88.

Lyman, Theodore, notice of him, and his public and private charities, 56.
[Pg 684]


Marcus Flavius, anecdote of, 25.

Marriages, taxed:—first celebration of, in churches:—forbidden during Lent, 115.

Mariner bound for Africa, reaches Norway, 48.

Marshall, Tommy, anecdote of, 90.

Martyrs, cremation of:—cost of burning Cranmer, Latimer, and Ridley, 24.

Mashee, Tooley, plays corpse, 137.

McPhee, widow Nelly, anecdote of, 7.

Medicine, origin of the practice of, 107:
—practice of, among the Babylonians, Greeks, Egyptians, Israelites, and Hindoos, 108.

Mediums, some notice of, 157.

Mexican beggars, how employed by Montezuma, 142.

Milton, John, his marriages, 98:
—writes in favor of polygamy, 98:
—desecration of his remains, 118.

Mingling the ashes of dear friends, in the same urn, practice of, 21.

Ministers of the Gospel, in Boston, in 1740, 132.

Mirthfulness, its advantages, 92.

Money, George Herbert’s address to, 31.

Montgomery, Gen. Richard, his exhumation, and reinterment, 18.

Monuments, Dryden’s, Ben Jonson’s, and Cowley’s, mutilation of, 118.

Mooncursers, laws for their punishment:—anecdote of, 102.

Moorhead, Rev. John, some notice of, 99.

Moses, an apothecary, 107.

Mourners, their peculiar consolations, 32:
—for the year 1848, 33.

Mourning, time allowed for:—color of the vesture, in different countries, 32.
Irish, consists in the number of coaches and the quantity of whiskey, 74.

Mule, a bad one, 30.


Napoleon’s last words, 31.

New Year’s Day, when, 117, 123.

New North Church, uproar there, 37.

North Church, peal of bells there, 37.

Nuisance, affecting the air, not necessary to prove it noxious, 60.


Obsequies, provisions for, by persons, while living, 7.

Otis, James, anecdote of, 90.


Parkman, Dr. George, his murder:—his peculiarities, 72.

Penn, William, reply to Macaulay’s abuse of:—memoir of, 62 to 71, both inclusive:
—death bed of his son, 71.

Percival, Thomas, his work, on duelling, 144.

Pere la Chaise, 11.

Pestilence, numbers destroyed by, 27.

Philadelphians, saved from being Welchmen, 68.

Physicians, various schools of, named by Pliny, 110, 114:
—number of the old Boston doctors, and their residences, 112.

Pipers, at funerals, 8.

Pirates, hung on Boston Common, 50.

Pitcairn, Major, the honor of killing him, claimed by many:—the remains, under Westminster Abbey, said to have been erroneously selected, from under the North Church, 17.

Plague, some account of the, 27.

Pliny, in favor of herb doctoring, 114.

Planter, funeral of an old, in St. Croix, 30.

Polhamus, the good Samaritan, 83.

Pompadour, Madame de, her remains transferred to the Catacombs, 13.

Pontraci, the prince of undertakers, 12.

Portland vase, history of the, 20.

Pride and Poverty, excess of, dangerous, 87.

Punishment, various kinds of, 151.

Punsters habitual, nuisances, 94.

Pwan Yakoo, and other Chinese, their visit to Boston:—description of her golden lilies, 102.


Quacks of great use to sextons, 27.

Quakers, persecution of, in Massachusetts, 62, 63.


Rand, Dr. Isaac, brief notice of, 111.

Razors, their antiquity:—mentioned by Homer, Samuel, Ezekiel:—how sharpened:—of brass, 140:
—the best formerly from Palermo, 142.

Recherches, Historiques et Physiologiques sur la Guilotine, 152.

Relics, traffic and jugglery in, by the priests, 17.

Republics, extravagance fatal to, 87, 88.

Revenge Church of Christ, 37.

Revival, amusing example of, on the way to the grave, 91:
—of a child of Henry Laurens, which caused him to order his own corpse to be burnt, 95.

Rochefoucault, maxim erroneously ascribed to, 59.

Roman Catholics, persecution of, in Massachusetts, 29.

Ross, Sir John, his residence, in the Arctic regions:—discovery of him and his company, 154.

Rothschild, Nathan Meyer, his funeral solemnities, 3.

Rum, mainspring of the slave trade in Massachusetts, 47.

Rush, Dr. Benjamin, alluded to:—anecdote of, 111.
[Pg 685]


Sacred to the memory”! 77.

Santa Cruz, gross extortion there, from surviving friends, 16.

Sansons, the hereditary executioners of Paris, 151, 152.

Sayings, of eminent men, in articulo, or just before death, 100.

Scotch Weaver’s Vanity, 39.

Selwyn, George, seldom absent from an execution, 50.

Seneca, quotation from, 48.

Sextons, their office, its origin, and duties, of old:—their extortion, occasionally, in the hour of affliction, 16
—their business much benefited by steam, 2.

Science, some curious mistakes of, 154.

Shays, his insurrection, 29.

Shaving, suggestions concerning, 140.

Shelley, the poet, cremation of, 20.

Shipwrecks, their number, 102.

Slavery, 34:
—in Boston, 43, 47:
—early attempts to abolish, in Massachusetts, 44:
—how and when abolished there, 47:
—Slave trade, in Boston, 47.

Slaves, example of their ingenuity, 34.

Smith, Martin, sexton of King’s Chapel, his apparition to the sexton of the old school, 76, 77, 78.

Soldiers, their sufferings, as statesmen, 100.

Sons of Liberty, some account of the, 41.

Southern States, liberality to Boston, in 1774, 44.

Spartans, their mode of selecting wives, 115.

Spider and chambermaid, 29.

Spiritual knockings, sometimes resulting in madness, and self-murder, 157, 158:
—remedy for, 158.

Stamp Act, resolutions in Faneuil Hall, 58.

Steam, of great benefit to sextons, 27.

Sternhold and Hopkins, their version of the Psalms gave place to that of Tate and Brady:—motive of Sternhold little suspected, 100.

Stonecutter, anecdote of a, 6.

Style, old and new, some account of, 117.

Succession, Apostolic, 78.

Sumner, Governor, funeral of, 39.

Sumptuary laws, some account of, 88.

Surgeons, the earliest:—limited nature of their functions, 107:
—among the Israelites, 108.

Suttees, description of, 74.

Swans, their musical power fabulous, 105.

Sweating sickness, some account of, 27.

Swedenborg, his notions of Heaven:—of the soul, 96.


Tallow chandler, retired from business, anecdote of, 22.

Tasman’s bowl, used for conjuration, in Tongataboo, 38.

Tea, thrown overboard, 44.

Tears, power of shedding at will, 32.

Temperance “has done for funerals,” 2.

Tetotum doctor, 111.

Thatcher, Rev. Peter, installation of, 37.

Three Cheers for the elephant, 39.

Tombs, reasons for preferring graves:—outrage upon five, in Salem, Massachusetts, 13, 14.

Too heartily of nutmegs,” 103.

Tories, their faith in the royal cause, 125.

Treasures, buried with the dead, 21.

Turenne, singular fate of his remains, 23.


Urns, funeral, forms, and materials of, 20:
—occasionally large enough to contain the mingled ashes of whole families, 21.

Usury, some remarks on, 48, 52.


Vales, practice of giving, 27.

Vanity, illustration of, 49.

Viands, deposited near the dead, 25.

Visceration among the ancients, 25.

Voltaire, his description of a Frenchman, 152.


Wade, Sir Claude M. his account of the East India Fakeer, who was restored, after a suspension of consciousness, for six weeks, 137, 138.

Wager of battel, the law of England, so late, as 1819, 145.

Wakes, their origin:—some account of, 91.

Warren, Gen. Joseph, manner of discovering his remains:—the bullet, by which he was killed, in possession of the Montague family, 17.

Washington, George, illustration of the reverence for his memory, in New England:—opinion of, by Lords Erskine and Brougham:—national neglect of his monument:—sale of some of his effects, 26.

Waterhouse, Dr. Benjamin, anecdote of, 111.

Weel then sing as mony as there be,” 99.

Webster, Dr. John White, his trial for the murder of Dr. Parkman, 72:
—his case stated, at the close of, 89.

Weever’s funeral monuments, 24.

What that boy says is true,” 113.

Widows, Numa severe upon:—marrying within ten months accounted infamous, 32:
—unjustly censured, 98:
—“with the great fan,” 119.
[Pg 686]
Wigs, scratches, bobs, and full bottomed:—their antiquity, 142, 143:
—periwigs in N. England, 142:
—Roman, 143.

Wills, ancient, 155, 156, 160:
—superstitious dread of making, 155:
—Andrew Faneuil’s, 127.

Witches, their right to travel through the air, decided by Lord Mansfield, 29.

Woodbridge, Benjamin, killed in a duel on Boston Common, 133 to 137: both inclusive.

Wraxall’s memoirs, inaccurate, 149.


Zisca, John, anecdote of, 7.



[Pg 687]


The figures refer to the pages—not to the numbers.


Abbeville, 635.

Abbott, 112, 204.

Abel, 429.

Aberdeen, 364.

Abner, 9, 13, 108, 172, 173, 197, 289.

Absalom, 591.

Achilles, 12, 17, 67, 107.

Adam, 70, 429, 605.

Adams, 596.

Adams, John, 142, 156, 157, 160, 275, 276, 394.

Adams, John Q., 156, 394.

Adams, Samuel, 142.

Addison, 35, 38, 454, 606.

Admetus, 12.

Adrian, 584.

Æneas, 382.

Æsculapius, 433, 436, 445, 667.

Affslager, 587.

Africa, 33, 168, 435, 622, 662.

Africans, 632.

Africanus, 583.

Agamemnon, 17, 430.

Agathias, 16.

Agrigentum, 373.

Agmondesham, 676.

Agrippa, 261.

Agrippa, Cornelius, 445.

Ahaziah, 431.

Alaricus, 65.

Albany, 38, 415.

Alcock, 614.

Aldgate, 652.

Aldgrave, 634.

Aleet Mong, 398.

Alexander, 373.

Allen, 353, 495, 502, 503, 601, 610.

Allwick, 69.

Almotanah, 123.

Almshouse, 24.

Alvanley, 606.

America, 265, 416.

Ames, 91, 630, 631.

Ammianus, 64.

Amphytrion, 217, 581.

Amoon, 398.

Amory, 94.

Amsterdam, 456, 622.

Anderson, 309.

Andover, 561.

André, 57 to 62, passim.

Andrews, 24, 159.

Andros, 298.

Anecy, 56.

Angouleme, 124.

Anio, 617.

Annan, 286.

Anne Boleyn, 477.

Annelly, 423.

Anne of Cleves, 78, 81, 410.

Anne, Queen, 186, 248, 262, 365, 406.

Antijacobin, 612.

Antoninus, 67.

Antony, 579.

Antwerp, 618.

Appleton, 450, 506, 538, 630.

Apthorp, 297.

Arabian Nights, 269.

Arabs, 119, 123.

Aratus, 12.

Archelaus, 102, 591.

Archimimus, 98.

Arcueil, 39, 42.

Argiletum, 587.

Aristotle, 186, 217, 218.

Arkwright, 420.

Arnaud, 419.

Arnold, 62, 228, 338, 339, 340.

Arundel, 157.

Asa, 430, 434.

Aselepiades, 358, 373, 443, 460, 461.

Ashford, 604.

Ashmole Museum, 613.

Asiatic Researches, 435.

Athenæ Oxonienses, 133, 135, 136, 232, 248, 250, 425, 640, 642.

Athens, 11, 88, 343, 373, 420, 442.

Atherton, 30, 167.

Atossa, 465.

Atticus, 51, 474.

Attleborough, 31.

Auchterpool, 603.

Augustines, 652, 654, 677.

Augustus, 99, 583.

Auld Reekie, 334.

Aulus Gellius, 218.

Austin, 449.

Austria, 321.

Austrians, 539.

Auxerre, 220.

Avery, 166, 167.

Aviola, 49, 373.

Avis, 92.

Aymar, 438, 454, 455.

Azotus, 33.


Bacon, Roger, 360, 361, 362.

Bacon, Lord, 185, 188, 375, 376, 445, 641, 642.

Babylon, 406, 422, 432, 433.

Babylonians, 664.

Baiæ, 320.

Bahar Loth, 123.

Bailey, 246.

Bainbridge, 610, 624.

Balch, 269, 353.

Baldwin, 57, 181, 303, 311.

Ball, 624.

Ballyconnel, 194.

Ballymahon, 195.

Ballyshannon, 355.

Balmarino, 629.

Bancroft, 277.

Banians, 377.

Banks, 298, 424.

Barataria, 123, 265.

Barbaroux, 426.

Barbary, 88.

Barbut, 29.

Barcephas, 120.

Barclay, 252.

Barker, 642.

Barlow, 288, 361.

Barnes, 451.

Barnard, 24.

Barra Durree, 570.

Barré, 140, 145, 416.

Barrington, 606.

Barron, 608, 609.

Barrow, 398, 400, 402, 403.
[Pg 688]
Barrow’s Strait, 645.

Barton, 561, 562, 563.

Bartholomew, 633.

Bartholomew’s Eve, 93.

Bassorah, 88.

Bastile, 84.

Bate, 601.

Battenkill, 303.

Baulny, 639.

Baulston, 228.

Baxter, 252.

Bayard, 393.

Bayeaux, 519.

Bayle, 56, 358, 380, 388, 391, 455, 672, 673.

Bayley, 597.

Baynton, 516, 519.

Bay State, 163.

Beattie, 360.

Beauchamp, 529, 651, 655.

Beaufort, 607, 674, 675.

Beccaria, 207.

Beckford, 145.

Bedouin, 119.

Beecher, 372.

Belcher, 298.

Belfast, 389.

Belknap, 163 to 167, and 283 to 286, passim: 368.

Bellamont, 605.

Bellingham, 228, 229, 230.

Belochus, 465.

Belzoni, 33.

Bengal, 281.

Benin, 33.

Bennington, 415.

Bentham, 27, 52, 176, 605.

Benton, 159.

Bergen-op-Zoom, 549, 613.

Berlin, 89.

Bernon, 496, 508.

Berthier, 109.

Bertrand, 639.

Bethune, 495, 506, 508, 514, 567.

Beuoron, 607.

Bias, 217, 218.

Bichat, 357.

Bildad, 217.

Billes, 147.

Biographia Brittanica, 363.

Bishop, 27, 227.

Blackburn, 508, 523.

Black Prince, 649.

Blackstone, 301.

Blackwood’s Mag., 243.

Blaisdell, 182, 183.

Blanche, 608.

Blin, 562.

Blitheman, 426.

Blitz, 665.

Blundell, 606.

Boccacio, 218, 422.

Bodkin, 189, 190, 192, 440, 441.

Bogle, 195.

Boies, 159.

Bolton Abbey, 678.

Bondet, 497.

Bonet, 49.

Bonner, 506, 550, 562.

Bonrepaux, 239, 240, 242.

Boodle, 171, 172, 173.

Boorn, 301 to 331, passim.

Borri, 456.

Borromeo, 220.

Bose, 643, 644.

Bosius, 437.

Bosphorus, 22.

Bosson, 597.

Bossuet, 671.

Boston, 66, 125, 151, 153, 165, 167, 179, 184, 191, 194, 210, 221, 223, 270, 351, 452, 497, 514, 536.

Boston Athen’m, 269, 324.

Boston Common, 549.

Boswell, 601, 602, 603, 606.

Bottom, 592, 624.

Boudinot, 496.

Bourbon, 393, 675.

Bourbon, Jeanne of, 74.

Bourdeaux, 210.

Boutineau, 496, 498, 510, 512, 514, 531, 566.

Bouttville, 607.

Bowdoin, 284, 496, 498, 508, 538.

Bowen, 557.

Bowers, 82.

Boyd, 606, 614.

Boyle, 243, 535, 597.

Brachmans, 377.

Brackett, 592.

Braddock, 394.

Bradford, 19, 301, 632.

Brady, 31, 55, 597.

Brague, 220.

Brand, 402, 589.

Brandreth, 86.

Brandywine, 415.

Branodunum, 65.

Bray, 81, 677.

Braybrooke, 577.

Breck, 270, 271.

Breckenridge, 605.

Breed, 597.

Briareus, 56, 91.

Briar’s Creek, 415.

Briggs, 175.

Brighton, 508, 525, 527.

Bristol, 508.

British Critic, 622.

Britons, 585.

Brocklebank, 174.

Brockwell, 297.

Bromeholme, 656.

Bromfield, 269, 564.

Brooks, 352, 353, 553, 554, 609.

Brougham, 84, 347.

Brouillan, 529.

Brown, 580.

Browne, 42, 65, 67, 118, 122, 131, 180, 215, 227, 282, 419, 431, 478, 640, 660, 664, 677.

Bruce, 549, 551, 662.

Bruli, 651.

Buchanan, 58, 59, 61, 436.

Buckingham, 479.

Buckley, 532.

Buddikin, 108.

Buffon, 420.

Buissiere, 455.

Bulfinch, 450.

Bull, 414, 415, 426, 427.

Bullivant, 298.

Bulwer, 592.

Bungs, 463.

Bunker’s Hill, 54, 55, 415.

Buononcini, 422.

Burdett, 606.

Bureau, 507, 530.

Burgoyne, 353, 617.

Burgundy, 614.

Burke, 27, 268, 613.

Burleigh, 76, 661.

Burnett, 33, 76, 233, 262, 551.

Burney, 427.

Burr, 332, 605.

Burritt, 177.

Burton, 26, 66.

Busching, 119.

Bute, 140, 146.

Butler, 56, 208, 361, 454, 622.

Byles, 143, also 363 to 372, passim: also 546.


Cades, 152.

Cæsar, Augustus, 29, 36, 99, 595, 679.

Cæsar, Julius, 29, 474, 579, 585.

Cæsars, the twelve, 67.

Cæsar, the slave, 31.

Caffraria, 103.

Cain, 377, 429, 556, 615.

Cairo, 241.

Caius, 88, 585.

Calabria, 87.

Calais, 657.

Calhoun, 114.

Calcraft, 346.

California, 101.

Calinglond, 677.

Callender, 163.

Calmet, 119, 120, 187, 436, 582, 615.

Callowhill, 267.

Calvin, 548, 549.

Calypso, 420.
[Pg 689]
Cambridge, 630.

Camden, 145, 146, 383, 415.

Camerarius, 373.

Cameron, 621.

Camillus Papers, 277.

Campbell, 614.

Caner, 289 to 300, passim.

Canning, 606.

Canso, 567.

Canterbury, 520, 656, 669.

Cape Anne, 16.

Capet, 73, 81, 637.

Capulets, 351.

Cardigan, 606.

Caribs, 130.

Carisbroke Castle, 606, 673.

Carmelites, 652, 654.

Carne, 117, 119.

Carroll, 181.

Carter, 148.

Carthago, 152.

Carthusians, 651.

Cartwright, 240.

Cass, 85, 110.

Cassieres, 59.

Castalio, 549.

Castellan, 358.

Castelnau, 384.

Castlereagh, 606.

Catanea, 33.

Catholics, 535.

Catlin, 23.

Cato, 71, 431, 442, 443, 444.

Catti, 585.

Caulfield, 382.

Cavan, 193.

Cecil, 661.

Cecrops, 64.

Celsus, 429, 462.

Cemetery des Innocens, 39, 43, 65.

Cephrenes, 384.

Chace, 310 to 330, passim.

Chadsey, 80.

Chadwick, 212, 278, 320, 321, 322, 333, 569.

Chaise, Père la, 672.

Chaldeans, 661.

Chalmers, 49, 238, 248, 249, 268, 363, 427, 480, 516, 612.

Chamberlain, 77, 80.

Chamouni, 400.

Chantilly, 419, 420.

Chapel Yard, 225.

Chapotin, 568.

Chappelle, 612.

Chardon, 533, 534, 538, 541.

Charles, Archduke, 620.

Charles I., 133, 134, 135, 137, 138, 157, 177, 248, 436, 477, 673.

Charles II., 99, 136, 159, 170, 177, 248, 249, 259, 309, 426, 479, 592, 606, 672, 673.

Charles V., 25, 74, 390, 392, 619.

Charles IX., 475.

Charles XII., 217.

Charleston, 112, 405.

Charlestown, 608.

Charlemagne, 37, 73.

Charlotte, Queen, 145.

Charlton, 125.

Charon, 68.

Charpentiere, 648.

Chartreuse, 162.

Chateaubriand, 117, 118, 119, 122.

Chatham, 146, 417.

Chaumette, 637.

Chauncey, 148, 546.

Chazlett, 244.

Checkley, 546.

Cheever, 450.

Chelesfield, 653.

Chenoo, 129.

Cheops, 384.

Chesapeake, 608, 609.

Chester, 239, 240, 650.

Chesterfield, 108.

Chevy Chace, 425.

Cheverus, 210, 410.

Cheyne, 649.

Chicago, 357.

Chigwell, 248.

Childe, 426.

Chilperic, 66, 67.

China, 93, 94, 106, 397, 401, 481, 586.

Chinese, 67, 632.

Chiron, 429.

Chitty, 192.

Christ Church, 143.

Christian Observer, 281.

Christianstadt, 97.

Christina, 456.

Christmas, 124, 671.

Christopherson, 228.

Chronicles, 122, 430.

Chrysippus, 442, 443.

Chrysostom, 437.

Chuang-tsze, 482 to 494, passim.

Cicero, 51, 64, 79, 97, 176, 214, 217, 218, 279, 282, 377, 381, 419, 443, 578, 579, 583.

Cimon, 11.

Circe, 445.

Claflin, 124.

Clarendon, 135, 136, 137, 649.

Clarissa, 320.

Clare, 606, 652.

Clarke, 121, 122, 129, 132, 159, 378.

Clarkson, 237 to 269, pas.

Claudius, 67, 99.

Claudius Pulcher, 432.

Clemens Alexandrinus, 429.

Clement, 121, 650.

Cleomenes, 590, 600.

Clerimont, 591.

Clifford, 271, 651, 657.

Clinton, 60, 62.

Clytemnestra, 11.

Cobbett, 417, 447.

Cobham, 20, 654.

Coke, 181.

Colclough, 614.

Colebrooke, 22.

Colman, 214, 638.

Columbus, 362.

Colvin, 301 to 331, passim.

Commodus, 67.

Concord, 415.

Condé, 455.

Condy, 516.

Coneyball, 299.

Confucius, 383.

Congo, 129.

Conrad, 556, 564.

Constantinople, 22, 55, 87, 88.

Constantius, 55.

Conway, 145, 458, 538.

Cook, 129, 561.

Cooley, 316.

Coolidge, 180.

Cooper, 181, 546.

Copeland, 227.

Copley, 371, 508.

Corday, 639, 640, 641.

Cornish, 237, 332.

Cornwall, 650, 676.

“Corpse Hill,” 92.

Corry, 232.

Cortez, 593.

Cossart, 507.

Cotton, 229, 230.

Courland, 227.

Courrier Extraordinaire, 639.

Courtnay, 656.

Coventry, 180.

Cow Lane, 596.

Cowley, 478.

Cowper, 222, 596.

Cox, 252.

Cranmer, 279.

Crawford, 436.

Creech, 244.

Crequi, 606.

Crespigney, 606.

Creusa, 382.

Crinas, 443.

Cripplegate, 477.

Crocker, 405.

Crockett, 209.

[Pg 690]Croese, 239, 240, 242, 262.

Crofts, 616.

Cromartic, 629.

Cromwell, 134, 135, 170, 177.

Cromwell’s Head, 597.

Crosby, 598.

Croyland Abbey, 124.

Cruikshanks, 401.

Cullender, 33, 664.

Cunningham, 538.

Curran, 605.

Curwen, 513, 595.

Cushing, 537.

Cutbeard, 591.

Cuthbert, 37, 606.

Cutler, 508, 546, 551, 553, 554, 563.

Cutter, 509.

Cyclops, 430.

Cyrus, 332.


Daddy Osgood, 578.

Dagobert, 74.

Daillé, 497, 498, 507, 546.

Damberger, 622.

Dammory, 652.

Dana, 142, 190, 191, 276, 337.

Danes, 614.

Danforth, 448.

Darden, 184.

Davenport, 299, 509, 510, 512, 531, 535, 546, 547, 566.

David, 16, 221, 617, 618, 619, 620.

Davis, 397, 399, 400, 402, 586.

Dead Sea, 116, 118, 119, 121, 123.

D’Acres, 652.

D’Arblay, 105.

De Blois, 24, 662.

De Burgh, 652.

Decatur, 609, 610, 611, 624.

Dedication, 679.

Defoe, 87.

De Grandison, 653.

De Henricourt, 607.

Dehon, 597.

De Hoveden, 669.

De la Croix, 507.

Delancey, 509.

Delaware, 252.

Delia, 100.

Demades, 52.

Demarat, 58, 59.

De Medicis, 661.

Demetrius, 97.

Deming, 302, 312, 322.

Democritus, 360.

Demosthenes, 97.

Dentrecolles, 481.

Denmark, 52, 53, 88, 640.

De Pauw, 400, 402.

Deptford, 267.

De Ris, 607.

Desdemona, 82.

Deshon, 538.

Despencer, 655.

De Thou, 622.

Dettingen, 623.

De Uzerches, 607.

De Valence, 655.

De Vassor, 612.

De Verdon, 652.

Devergie, 357.

Devereux, 677.

Devon, 677.

De Warre, 654.

De Worde, 125.

Dexter, 25, 450.

Didian Law, 342.

Dido, 382.

Dickens, 568.

Dickson, 31.

Diemerbroeck, 49.

Diemschid, 475.

Digby, 640, 641, 642.

Diodorus, 18, 342.

Diogenes, 16, 17, 18, 217.

Diogenes Laertius, 373.

Dionysius, 12, 98, 583.

Dirk Hatteraick, 238.

Dodsley’s Annual Register, 578.

Domitian, 67, 106, 120.

Don Quixote, 591.

Doolittle, 330.

Dorchester Neck, 575.

Dorchester Point, 643.

Doring, 564.

Dorsett, 66, 613, 622, 677.

Douglas, 425, 536.

Dover, 319.

Doyle, 634.

Dowse, 541.

Draco, 206, 207, 209, 226.

Draper, 91.

Drury, 361.

Druses, 400, 401.

Dryden, 478, 480, 481, 576.

Du Barri, 671.

Dublin, 89, 249.

Dubois, 635.

Ducange, 648.

Dudley, 181, 298, 497.

Duff, 129, 435.

Dugdale, 647, 648, 674.

Du Halde, 402.

Dulany, 601.

Dummer, 550, 551, 552, 556.

Dumont, 605.

Dundee, 31.

Dunciad, 480.

Dunmow, 124.

Duny, 331, 640, 664.

Duport, 636.

Durandus, 124.

Dutch, 578.

Dyer, 232.


Earle, 94.

Easter Eve, 675.

Eastman, 182, 183.

Easton, 158.

Eatooa, 378.

Ecclesiastes, 111, 267.

Ecclesiasticus, 431.

Echeloot Indians, 378.

Eckley, 597.

Eden, 70.

Edes, 596.

Edessa, 57.

Edgeworth, 103.

Edinburgh, 89, 241.

Edinburgh Review, 178, 209, 346.

Edmund I., 124.

Edmund Plantagenet, 650.

Edom, 116.

Edward, I., 26, 187, 589, 652.

Edward III., 342, 406, 649.

Edward IV., 342, 589, 676.

Edward, the Confessor, 595.

Egypt, 33, 88, 106, 129, 400, 436.

Egyptians, 19, 102, 110, 111, 129, 131, 206, 377, 378, 400, 517, 632, 661.

Ekron, 431.

Elah, 617.

Eldon, 192, 193, 230.

El Dorado, 71, 103.

Eli, 197, 198.

Eliot, 91, 495, 502, 630.

Elliot, 610.

Eliphaz, 217.

Elizabeth, 103, 170, 407, 409, 593, 661.

Elizabeth Island, 285.

Embomma, 129, 130.

Empedocles, 373.

Encyclopædia Britannica, 268.

Endor, 363, 480, 665, 670, 678.

England, 188, 206, 210, 229, 253, 268, 346, 407, 409, 576, 588, 591, 595, 599, 600, 601, 604, 605, 606, 614, 632, 633, 634.

English Canaan, 628.

English Mark, 651.

Enoch, 57.

Epicurus, 481.

Erasistratus, 442, 443.

Erasmus, 152.

Erfurth, 125.

Erpingham, 638.

Erricus, 661.
[Pg 691]
Erskine, 84.

Erving, 515.

Estwell, 677.

Espinasse, 588.

Ethiopia, 106.

Europe, 106, 131, 576, 622, 663.

Eurypus, 443.

Eusebius, 465.

Eustis, 450.

Eutaw Springs, 415.

Evans, 610.

Eve, 429.

Evelyn, 134.

Everett, 55, 204, 277.

Ewins, 159.

Exeter, 20, 204, 211, 675, 677.

Ezekiel, 582, 583, 587.


Fabius Maximus, 631.

Fabrieii Bibliographia Antiquaria, 659.

Fagan, 193.

Fairbanks, 190, 191, 337.

Fakeer, 570, 571, 573, 576.

Fales, 190, 337.

Falmouth, 243.

Falstaff, 624.

Faneuil, 476:—495 to 563, passim.

Faneuil Hall, 211, 199, 500, 501, 535.

Fanhope, 674.

Farmer, 496.

Farnham, 597.

Farnsworth, 314, 327, 328.

Farquhar, 480.

Farraday, 103.

Farrar, 159.

Farrago, 189, 347.

Fasti, 426.

Faulconbridge, 321.

Favor, 98.

Feild, 228.

Fenelon, 472.

Fenner, 228.

Ferrari, 27.

Fielding, 272.

Fillebrown, 493.

Fire Island, 406.

Fish, 665, 666, 667.

Flaccus, 106, 337.

Flanders, 88.

Florence, 125, 596.

Fleet, 147.

Fleet Prison, 268.

Fleet Street, 656.

Fleta, 614.

Flagg, 431.

Flaherty, 196.

Flechier, 215.

Flucker, 514.

Folsom, 189.

Fontenelle, 357.

Fonnereau, 521.

Foote, 367, 371.

Ford, 25, 268, 391.

Fordyce, 27.

Forresters, 286.

Forest Hills, 68, 225.

Forster, 629.

Fosbroke, 591.

Fothergill, 642.

Fox, 597, 665, 666, 667.

Foxcroft, 298.

France, 68, 88, 188, 426, 438, 595, 606, 607, 633, 634, 637, 638, 661, 670, 675.

Francis I., 73, 97, 619, 654.

Francis, 598, 663.

Frankfort, 15.

Franklin, 20, 142, 574, 599, 603, 604, 644, 645, 646.

Franks, 614.

Freand, 56.

Frederick I., 28.

Freedly, 181.

Freeman, 165.

French Church, 521.

Frescati, 64.

Frizzell, 126.

Frizzles, 189.

Fuller, 66, 265, 466.

Fullerton, 605.


Gabriel, 57, 119.

Galen, 459.

Galilee, 57.

Gannett, 92, 286.

Gardner, 299, 601.

Garth, 480.

Gates, 77, 81.

Gath, 617.

Gato, 33.

Gaul, 617, 618, 619.

Gaule, 659.

Gauls, 618.

Gaunt, 237, 656, 674.

Gavett, 596.

Gawler, 606.

Gellia, 107.

Genesis, 122, 429.

Genethliaci, 661.

Genevieve, 73, 75.

Genoa, 89.

Gentleman’s Magazine, 376, 594.

George I., 28, 248, 406.

George II., 406, 407, 551, 623, 660.

George III., 59, 90, 103, 144, 145, 147, 275, 604.

George IV., 207, 209.

Gerard, 469.

Germanicus, 29.

Germans, 614.

Germantown, 415.

Germany, 88, 426, 620.

Gervais, 475, 670.

Ghizeh, 33.

Gibraltar, 88.

Gideon, 597.

Gill, 61.

Gillies, 514.

Gilpin, 74.

Girondists, 68, 74.

Glossin, 388.

Gloucester, 349, 404, 652, 657.

Goethe, 287.

Golgotha, 35.

Goliath, 437, 617, 618, 619.

Gold, 227.

Goldsmith, 24, 123, 362, 481, 584, 587, 649.

Gomorrah, 117, 119, 221.

Good, 49.

Goode, 181, 184, 338.

Gooseberry, 70.

Gordon, 62, 147, 153, 416, 417.

Gore, 277.

Gorton, 480.

Gosnold, 283.

Goss, 677.

Gould, 598.

Gracchus, 431.

Grady, 601.

Grammont, 623.

Granger, 260.

Granary, 24, 46, 48, 148, 197, 428, 525, 543.

Grant, 401, 606.

Grattan, 606.

Gratz, 620.

Graunt, 103.

Gray, 161, 162, 269, 546, 556.

Great Britain, 186, 207, 277, 347, 416, 474, 580, 663.

Great Tom, 125.

Greece, 105, 128, 204, 355, 373, 430, 595.

Greeks, 68, 106, 131, 632, 661.

Green, 596.

Greene, 62, 159, 474.

Greenlanders, 35.

Greenleaf, 192, 329, 330.

Green Mount, 38.

Greenwood, 300, 451, 534.

Gregory, Pope, 474.

Grey, 347.

Grey Friars, 652.

Greville, 678.

Gridley, 142.

Griswold, 160, 360.

Grossman, 7, 8, 18, 24, 25, 44, 50, 115, 132, 288, 680.

Grotius, 437.
[Pg 692]
Grouchy, 132.

Grozier, 397.

Grubb, 596.

Guardian, 613.

Guerriere, 417.

Guiana, 130.

Guideu, 637.

Guienne, 656.

Guilford, 415.

Guillotin, 634, 635.

Guillotine, 634, 635, 638.

Guinneau, 519.

Gundebald, 614, 615.

Gussanville, 663.

Gustavus Adolphus, 661.


Hades, 345.

Hague, 445.

Hakin, 400.

Hale, 62, 124, 177, 188, 189, 190, 209, 220, 301, 310, 315, 324, 331, 332, 334, 640, 664, 666.

Halford, 134, 135, 136, 139.

Halifax, 223, 479, 480, 634.

Hall, 130.

Hallam, 361.

Haller, 157.

Halley, 81.

Hamilton, 277, 298, 605, 613.

Hammond, 180.

Hancock, 142, 143, 166, 299, 417, 498, 589.

Handel, 297, 422, 427.

Handy, 561.

Hanan, 585.

Hannibal, 45.

Hanover Square, 140.

Hanway, 90.

Harleian Miscellany, 217, 445, 642.

Harper, 227.

Harris, 555.

Harrison, 265, 395, 396.

Hart, 661, 662.

Hartop, 158.

Harvey, 157, 436.

Haslett, 597.

Hatch, 555, 564, 565.

Haute, 676.

Hawes, 375.

Hawkins, 426.

Hawles, 332.

Hawtrey, 361.

Haydn, 346, 407, 577, 579, 580.

Hayes, 301.

Hayley, 477.

Haynes, 302, 307, 310, 316, 317, 321, 322.

Hayward, 450, 561, 597.

Hazael, 431.

Hazzard, 226, 545.

Heath, 172, 610, 611.

Heber, 360.

Hebrews, 33, 431.

Hebrides, 643.

Hector, 619.

Heemskerck, 588.

Helen, 619.

Henault, 661.

Henderson, 304.

Henry II., 649, 651.

Henry III., 187, 241, 661.

Henry IV., 73, 74, 342, 352, 409, 606, 661.

Henry VI., 349, 674.

Henry VII., 87, 88, 134, 185.

Henry VIII., 78, 133, 136, 138, 139, 170, 185, 188, 342, 346, 385, 409, 411, 413, 477, 589, 631.

Henry, 639, 663.

Hephestion, 373.

Herbert, 104, 133, 138, 607.

Hercules, 436.

Hereford, 649, 656, 657.

Herlicius, 661, 672, 673.

Hermes, 428.

Herne, 676.

Herod, 93.

Herodotus, 18, 21, 436.

Heron, 657.

Herophylus, 443, 459.

Herr Driesbach, 613.

Herschell, 622, 643.

Hertford, 133, 135.

Highgate, 37.

Hildanus, 49, 373.

Hill, 298, 307, 308, 310, 368, 369, 597.

Hiller, 553.

Hindoos, 22, 436.

Hindostan, 93, 100.

Hippocrates, 436, 442, 459.

Hirst, 508.

Hobart, 134, 605.

Hobkirk’s Hill, 415.

Hoboken, 615, 643.

Hodgson, 361.

Hodson, 601.

Hog Alley, 562.

Hogarth, 271.

Holborn, 134.

Holbrook, 408.

Holden, 124, 227.

Holinshed, 87, 424.

Holland, 88, 506, 650, 662.

Holme, 591.

Holmes, 365, 499, 546.

Holy Land, 651, 652.

Homans, 450.

Homer, 15, 17, 143, 429, 430, 585, 586.

Hone, 591.

Hook, 76, 367.

Hooper, 309, 546.

Hopkins, 221, 422, 424.

Horace, 36, 51, 97, 168, 360, 367, 404, 568, 587, 592, 663, 664.

Horatio, 599, 600.

Horne, 178.

Horstius, 373.

Hossack, 605.

Hottentots, 34.

Hough, 245, 246.

Houndsditch, 661.

Howe, 55, 597.

Hubbard, 627.

Hudibras, 260, 454, 627, 628.

Huger, 496.

Huguenots, 496 to 500, passim: also, 506, 507, 523, 545, 546.

Hull, 66, 274, 646.

Hume, 186, 241.

Humphreys, 646, 647.

Hungary, 632.

Hungerford, 233.

Hunt, 506.

Huntington, 655.

Hutchinson, 226, 228, 229, 230, 515, 538, 586, 592, 640.

Hydriotaphia, 42, 65, 131, 281.

Hydrophobia, 193.

Hyperion, 582.


Idumea, 116.

Inman, 513.

Innocent III., 466.

Ireland, 87, 93.

Irenæus, 171.

Ireton, 134.

Irish, 193.

Irving, 557.

Isabella, 646.

Israel, 431.

Israelites, 102.

Isis, 428.

Islip, 406.

Istampol, 186.


Jabbok, 118.

Jackson, 55, 500, 605.

Jacobs, 312.

Jahn, 33, 432, 433, 434, 435.

Jamaica Pond, 69.

James I., 170, 612, 660.

James II., 232, 243, 248, 253, 259.

Jardin des Plantes, 75.

Jasper, 256.

Jay, 276.

Jefferson, 85, 163, 344, 392.

Jeffrey, 603.
[Pg 693]
Jeffreys, 235.

Jeffries, 450, 479, 480, 537.

Jekyll, 532, 555.

Jenkins, 157.

Jenks, 117, 118.

Jenyns, 42.

Jepson, 597.

Jeremiah, 105.

Jerusalem, 119.

Jesse, 615, 620, 628.

Jew, 620.

Jews, 106, 131, 170, 186, 188, 632.

Job, 217, 225, 430.

Jonathan, 116, 167, 414, 417.

Jones, 159, 181, 435, 510, 513, 531, 541, 551, 566.

Johnson Samuel, 31, 90, 107, 108, 183, 277, 409, 421, 477, 480, 481, 601, 602, 603, 604.

Johnson, 55, 305, 308, 475.

Johonnot, 493.

Jonny Armstrong, 425.

Jonson Ben, 59, 479, 591.

Jordan, 117, 118.

Joseph, 57, 429.

Josephus, 118, 120.

Josselyn, 283.

Judah, 116.

Judæus Apella, 642.

Judd, 77.

Judea, 105, 116, 128, 355.

Judicial Astrology, 661, 673.

Judson, 616.

Julia, 67.

Junius, 525, 578.

Juno, 421.

Juvenal, 79, 585.


Kaimes, 367.

Kamschatka, 35.

Kast, 450.

Katherine of Arragon, 650.

Keatinge, 128.

Keayne, 454.

Keith, 239.

Kensall Green, 37.

Kent, 650.

Kerr, 623.

Kidd, 285.

Kidder, 86.

Kilby, 567.

Kilmarnock, 629, 630.

King, 276.

Kings, 431.

King’s Chapel, 48, 55, 288, 297, 510, 534.

Kingsmill, 227.

Kingstreet, 509.

Kingstown, 507.

Kircherus, 434.

Kirchmaun, 106.

Kirriel, 677.

Kishon, 118.

Kitchen, 231, 232.

Kittal-al-Machaid, 401.

Knox, 369.

Koran, 21.


Lacedemonians, 12, 13, 17.

La Cheze, 636.

Lacombe, 648.

Lafayette, 62, 84, 636.

Lahore, 570.

Lally, 636.

Lamartine, 68.

Lambert, 555.

Lamia, 49, 373.

Lancashire, 420.

Lancaster, 650.

Landgrave of Hesse, 387.

Landseer, 678.

Lane, 598.

Langdon, 92, 427.

Langstaff, 92.

Lansdowne, 365.

Laou-Keun, 481.

Larassy, 179.

Lares, 64.

Larkin, 101

Larrey, 607.

Larvæ, 64.

Lathrop, 595.

Latimer, 75, 279, 655.

Laurel Hill, 38.

Laurens, 374, 496.

Lavater, 625.

Lavinia, 619.

Lazarus, 56.

Leadenhall Market, 213, 220.

Le Cat, 643.

Lechemere, 554.

Lectouse, 37.

Ledea, 228.

Lee, 126, 276.

L’Etombe, 166.

Le Gros, 639.

Leibnitz, 438.

Leicestershire, 68, 648.

Le Mercier, 497, 498, 546, 547, 548, 549.

Lemures, 64.

Lenoie, 40.

Lenox, 605.

Leopard, 608.

Lepidus, 52.

Leuconoe, 663.

Levi, 382.

Leviticus, 230.

Lewis, 378.

Lewyn, 81.

Lexington, 415.

Liancourt, 636.

Libo, 99.

Licinius, 80.

Lilly, 591, 661, 673.

Lincoln, 94, 312, 674.

Lincoln’s Inn, 593.

Lind, 420.

Lindsey, 133, 135.

Linnæus, 399.

Linnington, 533.

Lippstadt, 661.

Lithered, 560.

Little Belt, 417.

Liverpool, 417.

Livingston, 276.

Livy, 52, 80, 617, 619.

Lizard, 407.

Lloyd, 35, 265, 367, 448, 449.

Lloyd’s Lists, 404.

Locke, 266.

Locrian Law, 342.

Loe, 248, 249.

Lollards, 658.

Lombards, 186.

London, 37, 56, 67, 76, 87, 88, 89, 94, 118, 211, 213, 220, 237, 346, 421, 588, 589, 591, 624, 632, 652, 676.

London Quarterly Review, 212, 356, 357, 391, 622, 634, 641.

London Times, 358.

Long, 513.

Long Branch, 320.

Long Island, 62.

Longshanks, 187, 583.

Longspee, 651.

Lot’s Wife, 116, 119, 120, 121, 122.

Loudon, 213, 214.

Louis, 636.

Louis XI., 74.

Louis XII., 73.

Louis XIII., 74, 352, 607.

Louis XIV., 38, 74, 75, 351, 607, 612, 670, 671.

Louis XV., 671, 672.

Louis XVI., 635, 637, 638.

Louison, 636, 637.

Lovat, 628.

Lovell, 159:—496 to 530, passim.

Lowell, 83.

Lucan, 670.

Lucilius, 106, 107, 168, 377, 443.

Ludlow, 226.

Lum Akum, 398.

Luther, 388.

Lutton, 123, 132.

Lutzengen, 661.

Lycurgus, 17.

Lyman, 202, 203.

Lynn, 658.

Lyon, 324.

Lyons, 438.
[Pg 694]


Mabillon, 124.

Macabe, 195.

McAndrew, 181.

Macartney, 402, 605.

Macaulay, 231 to 269, passim:—also 361.

McDonough, 418.

McGammon, 196.

McGill, 332.

Machaon, 430.

Machiavelli, 95, 115, 220, 234.

Machyl, 82.

McKeon, 614.

Mackenzie, 606, 610, 611, 624.

Mackintosh, 207, 316.

McLean, 621.

McNamara, 197.

McNaughten, 573.

Machpelah, 299.

Mæcenas, 36, 679.

Mag-Astro-Mancer, 659.

Magdalen College, 243, 244, 246.

Magdalene, 56.

Magee, 195.

Magnalia, 582.

Mahomet, 171.

Mahoney, 195.

Maillard, 73.

Mailosel, 654.

Maintenon, 671, 672.

Majoribanks, 401.

Mahnsbury, 87.

Malone, 481.

Malplesant, 654.

Malta, 33, 624.

Maltravers, 655.

Mammon, 170.

Mamre, 299.

Manchester, 303 to 325, passim.

Mandans, 23, 51.

Mandeville, 118, 344, 345, 599.

Manlius, 617, 618, 619, 634.

Manes, 64.

Manigault, 496.

Mann, 382, 629.

Mannering, 360.

Manney, 654.

Mansfield, 95, 115, 220, 234.

Mantua, 422.

Marat, 217.

Marbeuf, 639.

Marc Antony, 387.

Marcellinus, 64.

March, 653, 655, 666.

Marco Polo, 400.

Marcus Antoninus, 584.

Mareschall, 654.

Maret, 37.

Mariner, 129.

Marion, 496.

Mariti, 88.

Marius, 63.

Marseillais, 426, 637.

Marseilles, 88.

Marshall, 55, 83, 355.

Martel, 73.

Martial, 107, 419, 586, 587, 595.

Martin, 189.

Martinico, 166.

Martinique, 29.

Mary, Bloody, 75, 82, 93, 405.

Maryland, 153, 154.

Mashee, 596.

Mason, 101, 102.

Massachusetts, 84, 94, 114, 155, 156, 164, 165, 166, 176, 187, 231, 276, 632.

Mather, 94, 280, 327, 364, 367, 546, 582, 668.

Matthews, 180, 367, 613.

Matooara, 378.

Maury, 636.

Maverick, 163.

Maximilian II., 620, 621.

Maynard, 81.

Mazarin, 135.

Mazzei, 163.

Mead, 588.

Mears, 497, 563.

Meaux, 671.

Mediterranean, 118.

Megret, 217.

Melancthon, 388.

Melli Melli, 568.

Mena, 130, 583, 587, 592.

Menalcas, 90.

Menander, 217.

Menu, 130.

Merrick, 221.

Merrill, 313 to 325, passim.

Mewins, 464.

Mexico, 101, 638.

Michaelis, 119.

Midsummer Night’s Dream, 592.

Milan, 220, 456.

Mildmay, 133.

Miletum, 342.

Milford Haven, 88.

Millar, 643.

Millenarians, 672.

Millengen, 36, 49.

Millens, 92.

Miller, 555.

Millot, 659.

Mills, 435.

Miltiades, 11.

Milton, 159, 386, 387, 477.

Minzies, 555.

Minoresses, 657.

Minors, 654.

Minshull, 386.

Mirepoix, 382.

Mirfield, 380.

Misson, 56.

Missouri, 23.

Mitford, 477.

Moab, 116.

Mock, 597.

Mohawk Indian, 647.

Mohun, 605, 613.

Momus, 368.

Monmouth, 235.

Montacute, 650.

Montaigne, 27, 104, 343, 443.

Montague, 55.

Montefiore, 15.

Monte Notte, 381.

Montesquieu, 342.

Montezuma, 63, 593.

Montmorenci, 607.

Moody, 30, 189, 471.

Moore, 472.

Moorhead, 150, 286, 389, 531, 532, 546.

Moors, 138.

Moravians, 379.

More, 359, 361.

Morin, 419, 420.

Morland, 466 to 470, passim.

Morose, 591.

Morris, 420, 609, 611.

Mortimer, 651, 653.

Morton, 628, 634.

Moses, 429, 660.

Mount Auburn, 38, 46, 68, 225.

Mounts Bay, 407.

Mount Hope, 33.

Moyle, 677.

Mudge, 608.

Mullowny, 194.

Mun Chung, 398.

Murphy, 101, 102, 107, 193.

Murray, 477.

Murullus, 106.

Muses, 421.

Muskerry, 243.

Mussenden, 657.

Mydas, 591.

Mysore, 436.

Mytelene, 12.


Naaman, 431.

Nain, 320.

Nantasket, 408.

Nantes, 37.

Nantucket, 77.

Naples, 33, 88.

Napoleon, 105, 381, 393.

Narcissa, 22.

Nares, 580, 591, 593.
[Pg 695]
Narragansett Bay, 283, 284.

Naseby, 134, 386.

Natchez, 587.

Nau, 122.

Negoose, 189, 190, 191, 347.

Nemours, 607.

New, 581.

Newcastle, 90.

New England, 177, 221, 283, 408, 476, 607, 627.

Newgate, 179, 183, 259, 622, 632.

New London, 363.

New North Church, 125, 126.

New Orleans, 604.

New Rochelle, 523, 530.

Newton, 66.

New York, 576.

New York Evening Post, 330, 331.

New Zealand, 23, 94.

Nicholls, 193, 422, 648.

Nicolas, 648.

Ninkempaup, 456.

Niobe, 121.

Nipmug, 496.

Noah, 176.

Noailles, 623, 671.

Noble, 262.

Noddle’s Island, 163.

Nollekens, 676.

Norfolk, 677.

Norman, 453.

Normandy, 635, 675.

Norris, 232.

North American Review, 330.

Norway, 88, 168.

Norwich, 346.

Notre Dame, 124.

Nova Scotia, 568.

Noyes, 506.

Numa, 69, 105, 106.

Numbers, 122.

Nunhead, 37.


Oak Hall, 133.

O’Brien, 355.

O’Connell, 606.

Odyssey, 11.

Ogilvie, 606.

Oglethorpe, 601, 603, 604.

Ogygia, 420.

Olam Fodla, 93.

Old Brick, 123, 132, 128, 567.

Oldmixon, 268.

Oliver, 140, 141, 142, 513, 538.

Omnibus, 191, 347.

Oporto, 55.

Orde, 188.

Orfila, 219.

Origen, 436.

Orinoco, 130.

Orleans, 135.

Orrery, 250.

Osborne, 573.

Osiris, 428.

O’Shane, 194.

Ossa, 658.

Ossoli, 406.

Otis, Harrison Gray, 159.

Otis, James, 211, 354.

Ottomans, 672, 673.

Outhier, 51.

Ovid, 64, 98, 105, 106, 223, 248, 392, 413, 558.

Oxford, 87, 125, 244, 245, 248, 249, 360, 497, 498, 499, 653, 654.

Oxnard, 513.


Packinett, 498.

Page, 566.

Paine, 598.

Palestine, 34, 121, 204, 651.

Palermo, 591.

Palinurus, 168.

Pallas, 99.

Palmer, 536, 537, 597.

Pantagathus, 586.

Parant Duchatelet, 219.

Paré, 589.

Pareicus, 588.

Parian Marbles, 382.

Paris, 37, 39, 73, 89, 249, 438, 634, 635, 637, 667, 671.

Parker, 246, 506.

Parkman, 270 to 273, passim:—also 278, 335, 336.

Parr, 157.

Parsees, 130.

Parsons, 276, 451.

Passy, 599.

Patchogue, 406.

Patroclus, 15, 67, 107.

Pauketpeeker, 457.

Paulding, 62.

Paul, 658.

Paull, 606.

Pausanias, 421.

Pavice, 565.

Paxton, 513.

Paybody, 175.

Peake, 192.

Pearson, 175, 189.

Peck, 498.

Pecker, 449.

Peel, 207, 346.

Pekin, 481.

Pelion, 658.

Pelletier, 637.

Pemberton, 536, 563, 566.

Pembroke, 653, 654, 655, 677.

Penn, 231 to 269 passim:—also 339.

Pennant, 634.

Pennsylvania, 94.

Pendleton, 605.

Pepin, 73.

Pepperell, 508.

Pepusch, 427.

Pepys, 466, 468, 577.

Percival, 599, 603.

Percy, 425.

Perry, 418, 610, 611.

Persepolis, 475.

Persia, 475.

Persians, 632.

Persius, 592.

Peters, 450.

Petre, 281.

Petronel, 620, 621.

Pew, 49.

Peyret, 508.

Pharamond, 72.

Pharsalia, 670.

Phelps, 227.

Philadelphia, 36, 38, 268, 339, 614.

Philip Augustus, 39.

Philip the Bold, 73.

Philippus, 588.

Phillips, 408, 421, 495, 505, 531, 541, 542:—also 550 to 566 passim:—also 568.

Philistines, 617, 618, 619.

Philomela, 42.

Picardy, 635.

Pickering, 165, 221, 439.

Pickett, 189.

Pickworth, 283.

Pierce, 597.

Pierre de Nemours, 39.

Pierson, 226.

Pigot, 555.

Pinchbeke, 675.

Pinckney, 277.

Pindar, 96.

Pineau, 49.

Pinohe, 81.

Pitcairn, 54, 223.

Pitcher, 363, 658.

Pitt, 145, 146, 606.

Pittacus, 12.

Place de Grève, 73, 636, 637.

Place de la Revolution, 638.

Place St. Antoine, 638.

Plaine de Mont Louis, 40.

Plaisant, 639.

Plaistowe, 230.

Plato, 20, 49, 373, 377, 429.

Plautus, 577, 587.

Pleydell, 360.

Plimouth, 283, 628.

Pliny, 79, 99, 117, 121, 419, 430, 442, 443, 450, 459, 461, 462, 582, 583, 588.
[Pg 696]
Plutarch, 105, 106, 217, 400, 591.

Pococke, 111, 118.

Podalirius, 430.

Pœon, 430.

Poictiers, 654.

Poictou, 358.

Polack, 23.

Pole, 75.

Polhamus, 319, 320, 323.

Pollard, 29.

Pompadour, 41, 43.

Pompey, 443, 444, 670.

Ponthia, 373.

Pontraçi, 39, 40, 54, 89.

Popayan, 130.

Pope, 111, 334, 364, 453, 480.

Popple, 263.

Porchalion, 674.

Portland, 64, 65.

Port Mahon, 42.

Potter, 12.

Powell, 386.

Pratt, 314, 327.

Pretender, 629.

Prevot, 49.

Priam, 322.

Price, 520, 541.

Priest, 612.

Primrose, 111.

Prince of Orange, 233.

Pringle, 496.

Prioleau, 496.

Prior, 54, 233.

Pritchard, 550.

Proctor, 632.

Prudhomme, 637.

Psamatticus, 33.

Pseudodoxia, 431, 660.

Puddifant, 131, 133.

Pudding Lane, 596.

Purchase Street, 597.

Puzzlepot, 189.

Pwan Yekoo, 398.

Pyramus, 592.

Pythagoras, 377.


Quakers, 445.

Quincy, 43, 156, 404, 416, 605.

Quintilius Varus, 614.

Quintus, 578.


Rachel, 569.

Radziville, 121.

Rand, 449, 643.

Randall, 228.

Randolph, 85, 605.

Ranelagh, 266.

Rapin, 87, 185, 186, 241, 349, 612, 674.

Rauber, 620, 621.

Ravaillac, 73.

Ravenscroft, 298.

Raymond, 309, 315, 326, 327.

Read, 520.

Reason, 562.

Receuil Periodique, 643.

Reese, 357.

Regent’s Inlet, 645.

Religio Medici, 640.

Remus, 64.

Reuben, 116.

Revallion, 532.

Richard II., 649, 650, 657.

Richardson, 662.

Richelieu, 612.

Richmond, 133, 135, 677.

Ridley, 279, 571.

Riley, 181.

Rivet, 20.

Robertson, 241, 299, 391, 392, 393.

Robespierre, 638.

Robinson, 232, 260, 261, 514.

Robin Hood, 517.

Rochelle, 495, 506, 507, 551.

Rochester, 216, 266, 424, 480, 587, 631.

Rochefoucault, 217, 218, 338.

Rockingham, 145.

Rockport, 16.

Roebuck, 606.

Rœderer, 636, 637.

Rogers, 279, 417.

Rogerson, 450.

Roma, 617.

Roman, 618, 619.

Romans, 68, 106, 131, 475, 592, 594, 595, 617, 632, 661.

Roman Catholics, 600.

Rome, 87, 89, 263, 343, 442, 460, 475, 614, 658, 661.

Romilly, 207, 346.

Romulus, 105, 474, 591, 595.

Rosamond, 651.

Roscius, 215.

Rose Cullender, 640.

Rose in Bloom, 405.

Ross, 641, 645, 646, 647.

Rothschild, 15, 54.

Rous, 227.

Rouse, 631.

Rousseau, 476.

Rowlett, 82.

Roxbury, 220, 221, 227, 566.

Royal Society, 622, 644.

Rue d’Enfer, 39, 42.

Rufus, 320.

Runjeet Singh, 570, 571, 572, 573.

Russell, 29.

Rush, 447.

Rushworth, 424.

Russia, 276.

Russians, 129, 474.

Ruthven, 606.

Rutland Herald, 318, 331.

Rymer’s Fœdera, 349, 675.


St. Andrew, 55.

St. Anne, 56.

St. Augustine, 51.

St. Clara, 52.

St. Christophers, 533.

St. Croix, 11, 52, 98, 422.

St. Denis, 73, 75.

St. Edmunds Bury, 640.

St. James, 424.

St. Katherine, 651.

St. Luke, 55.

St. Margaret, 651, 675.

St. Martins, 124.

St. Mary, 655, 675.

St. Matthew, 217.

St. Michael, 57, 124.

St. Omers, 263, 426.

St. Paul, 437.

St. Paul’s, 225, 642, 656.

St. Peter, 56.

St. Pierre, 476.

St. Richard, 656.

St. Saba, 122.

St. Saturnin, 37.

St. Thomas, 56, 321, 656.

Sabine, 510.

Saburra, 587.

Sackville, 145, 549, 551, 613.

Salem, 54.

Salewarp, 651.

Salisbury, 307, 650, 651, 669, 674.

Sallust, 381.

Salmon, 87.

Salter, 550.

Saltonstall, 533.

Samee, 665.

Samson, 437.

Samuel, 111, 363, 434, 585, 620, 660, 670.

Samuels, 15.

Sancho Panza, 192, 265.

Sanderson, 131.

Sanson, 633, 635, 636, 637, 638.

Sardinia, 88.

Sargent, 180, 538.

Sarsaparilla, 133.

Sarum, 363.

Saul, 16, 67, 434, 617, 618, 670.

Saulien, 37.

Saunders, 176.

Sauvages, 101.
[Pg 697]
Savage, 55.

Savoy, 606.

Scaliger, 437.

Scharsegin, 620, 621.

Schmidt, 381.

Schridieder, 356.

Scipio Africanus, 22, 216.

Scott, 49, 227, 269, 360, 375, 376, 422, 426, 606.

Scrope, 675.

Scutari, 22.

Segor, 117.

Seignelay, 239.

Seltridge, 449.

Selkirk, 171.

Selwyn, 179, 237, 615, 628, 642.

Seneca, 106, 107, 168, 169, 377, 443, 585.

Senisino, 421.

Serampore, 281.

Sergius Orator, 461.

Servius, 97, 279.

Sevrès, 671.

Sewall, 142, 165, 513, 546, 553, 558, 561, 630.

Seymour, 133, 136, 608.

Shades, 587.

Shakspeare, 83, 409, 419, 658.

Shandois, 77, 82.

Sharp, 93.

Shattuck, 222, 439, 440.

Shaw, 112, 221, 459.

Shays, 941.

Shea, 54.

Sheerness, 558, 564.

Shelburne, 605.

Shelden, 261.

Sheldon, 314, 327.

Shelson, 299.

Sheridan, 613.

Shirley, 291, 297, 530.

Shochoh, 615.

Shouldham, 652.

Shrewsbury, 320.

Shute, 298.

Shylock, 171.

Siberia, 35.

Sicily, 33, 591.

Sicilies, the Two, 89.

Siddim, 117.

Sidney, 425.

Sigal, 515.

Sigourney, 496, 498.

Simmons, 130.

Skinner, 309, 331.

Smallpiece, 598.

Smith, Sidney, 367.

Smith, 24, 27, 71, 152, 164, 227, 289, 509, 591.

Smink, 101.

Smollett, 241, 243.

Snow, 537.

Socrates, 592.

Sodom, 117, 119, 120, 123, 215, 221.

Sodoma, 122.

Solomon, 192.

Solon, 209.

Somersett, 677.

Somnium Scipionis, 373.

Soo Chune, 398.

Soong, 482.

Sophia Charlotte, 28.

Sorbiere, 437, 457.

Sosigenes, 474.

Southampton, 135.

Southwick, 227.

Spain, 650, 662, 675.

Spaniards, 130.

Sparks, 62, 561.

Speed, 76, 424, 677.

Spelman, 648.

Spitalfields, 67, 256.

Spooner, 450.

Spring, 512.

Springett, 252.

Sprott, 676.

Stafford, 632.

Stair, 623.

Stanford, 650.

Stanhope, 593.

Starkie, 192.

Staunford, 675.

Steele, 555.

Stephanus, 105.

Stephens, 117, 118, 121, 122, 123.

Sterne, 37.

Sternhold, 231, 424, 425.

Steuben, 62.

Stevens, 554.

Stevenson, 232.

Stewart, 609.

Stillman, 631.

Stirling Castle, 95.

Stirrington, 652.

Stockholm, 52.

Stone Chapel, 296.

Story, 268.

Stow, 20, 67, 346, 349, 424.

Stowell, 632.

Strabo, 592.

Streatfield, 105.

Strype, 77, 81, 82, 88, 139, 279, 280, 281, 409, 410, 424, 631, 632.

Stuart, 603, 605, 606.

Stuarts, 661.

Stubbe, 594.

Sue, 639, 640.

Suetonius, 29, 67, 79, 98, 99, 107, 462.

Suffolk, 654.

Sully, 352, 606.

Sulmo, 390.

Sumner, 19, 132.

Sunderland, 89, 233.

Surinam, 351.

Sweden, 661.

Swedenborg, 378, 379.

Swedes, 661.

Swift, 32, 193, 367, 422.

Swingford, 674.

Switzerland, 394.

Sykes, 244.

Sylla, 63, 97.

Sylvester, 596.

Syracuse, 33.

Syrens, 421.

Syria, 34, 88.

Syrians, 632.


Tacitus, 29, 99, 107.

Taheite, 378, 380.

Tailor, 554.

Tappan, 58, 60.

Tarpeian Rock, 618.

Tasman, 129.

Tate, 31, 596.

Taylor, 84, 110, 157, 215, 394, 395, 396, 397, 638, 662.

Taunton, 235.

Tees, 379.

Templeman, 451.

Terence, 587.

Tertullian, 122.

Testamenta Vetusta, 648, 649.

Tewksbury, 655, 673.

Thacher, 31, 58, 61, 126, 127, 568, 605.

Thebes, 16, 32.

Theodolphus, 37.

Theodosius, 36.

Theophrastus, 587.

Thessalus, 443.

Thessaly, 670.

Thevet, 118.

Thiermeyer, 642.

Thomas, 346, 480.

Thomas of Canterbury, 281.

Thompson, 86.

Thornton, 477, 604.

Thurlow, 589.

Tiberius, 98.

Tibullus, 100, 160.

Tierney, 606.

Tilbury, 670.

Tillotson, 178, 238, 240, 262, 266.

Timoleon, 12.

Tinville, 638.

Tonga Islands, 129.

Tongataboo, 129.

Tonstrina, 588.

Tortugas, 407.

Touchet, 380.

Tournay, 67.

Tower Hill, 631, 632.
[Pg 698]
Townshend, 145.

Trajan, 476.

Trenchard, 265.

Trent, 606.

Tresham, 77.

Treviso, 381.

Troughton, 644.

Troutbeck, 297.

Troy, 322, 430.

Trunnion, 221.

Truro, 406.

Tanfugge, 654.

Tubero, 373.

Tuck, 564, 566.

Tuckett, 606.

Tuckey, 129, 130.

Tudor, 76.

Tunbrugge, 654.

Turkey, 106.

Turkish Empire, 672.

Turks, 123.

Turenne, 73, 75.

Turner, 155, 157, 231, 570, 575.

Twiss, 230.

Tyburn, 340, 632.

Tyler, 500.


Ucalegon, 143.

Ula-Deguisi, 123.

Ulysses, 106, 109, 420.

United States, 347, 407, 434, 610.

Usher, 561.

Uxbridge, 16.


Val de Grace, 68.

Valentia, 606.

Valerius Maximus, 374.

Vallemont, 455.

Valois, 622.

Valvasor, 620.

Van Buren, 85, 95, 96.

Van Butchell, 445, 447.

Vandyke, 137.

Van Gelder, 59.

Van Pronk, 25.

Vans, 184.

Van Wart, 63.

Varden, 401.

Vardy, 564.

Varro, 583.

Vassal, 296.

Vaughan, 361.

Velleius Paterculus, 614.

Vere, 654.

Verney, 677.

Vermont, 114.

Veronica, 57.

Verulam, 258.

Vespasian, 29, 67, 98.

Vesuvius, 121.

Vexius Valens, 443.

Victoria, 208.

Victory, 646.

Vieq d’Azyr, 37.

Vienna, 433.

Villars, 607.

Vincent, 256, 257, 258.

Virgil, 76, 79, 97, 99, 419, 422.

Virginia, 153, 154.

Volney, 117, 119, 121.

Voltaire, 217, 637.


Wade, 570, 572, 573, 575.

Wakefield, 359, 466.

Waldo, 90, 302.

Walpole, 382, 431, 629, 674.

Waltham, 676.

Walsingham, 65, 83, 84, 650, 656.

Ward, 281, 282, 528, 529, 595.

Ward’s Curwen, 510.

Warre, 235, 236.

Warren, 55, 66, 222, 446, 450, 597.

Warwick, 651.

Washington, 62, 277, 394, 511.

Waterhouse, 448.

Waterloo, 132.

Watts, 366, 677.

Webb, 91, 126, 546.

Webster, 159, 160, 271, 280, 335, 336, 337.

Wedgewood, 64.

Weever, 76, 124.

Wellesley, 606.

Wellington, 606.

Wells, 273.

Welsh, 450.

Wendell, 538.

Wentworth, 554.

Westminster, 37, 134.

Westminster Abbey, 34, 78, 136, 290, 478.

Weston, 628.

Westwood, 651.

Wharton, 227.

Whelpley, 322.

Whipple, 450, 596.

Whiston, 120.

White, 82.

Whitehall, 134.

Whitehead, 256, 257, 258.

Whitehurst, 158.

White Plains, 351, 415.

Wiche, 651.

Wigmore, 656.

Wilkes, 145, 605.

Willard, 520, 566.

William the Conqueror, 614.

William and Mary, 248.

William III., 232, 233, 248, 253.

William IV., 37, 207, 208.

Williams, 27, 29, 63, 164, 204.

Williamson, 630.

Willis, 88, 181.

Wilts, 656.

Wiltshire, 677.

Winchelsea, 606.

Winchester, 220, 400, 651.

Windsor, 133, 135, 136.

Winkle, 281.

Winslow, 555, 564, 565, 595.

Winterbottom, 435.

Winthrop, 535, 538.

Wisigoths, 407.

Wisket, 628.

Wode, 632.

Wolton, 678.

Wood, 133, 181, 232, 248, 249, 424, 425, 426, 613, 642.

Woodbridge, 550 to 564, passim.

Woodcock, 386.

Woods, 127.

Worcester, 124, 651, 652.

Woronzow, 622.

Wraxall, 622, 623.

Wyatt, 631.


Yale, 580.

York, 675.

York, Duke of, 252, 256.

Yorktown, 415.

Younge, 676.


Zaire, 129.

Zeleucus, 342.

Zeno, 49.

Zeres, 56.

Zimmerman, 347.

Zion, 423.

Zisca, 26.

Zoar, 121.

Zophar, 217.




[1] Hist, of Charles V., vol. v. page 139, Oxford ed. 1825.

[2] Lond. Quart. Rev., vol. lxxvi. page 161.

[3] Nearly opposite the residence of Dr. Lemuel Hayward, deceased, where Hayward Place now is.

[4] Woodbridge, I suppose, belonged to some military company, whose arms and accoutrements were probably kept at the White Horse tavern, under the charge of Robert Handy.

[5] Hog Alley. See Bonner’s plan, of 1722.

[6] Afterwards Richard II.

[7] His natural son.

[8] John of Gaunt.

[9] An English mark was two-thirds of a pound sterling, or 13s. 4d.

[10] A church book.

[11] Breviary.

[12] A button of gold.

[13] A button.

[14] Round funeral tapers.

[15] Margaret Plantagenet, grand-daughter of King Edward I.

[16] The badge of the house of Lancaster.

[17] Richard II.

[18] A culverin.

[19] Dugdale says these were jewels, hanging over the forehead, on bodkins, thrust through the hair.

[20] Pale or peach-colored rubies.

[21] This effigy is referred to by Walpole, in his Anecdotes of Painting, vol. i. p. 37.



Transcriber’s Notes:

No. CXIX. ends with the phrase “The symptoms” as is presented in the original text.

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