The Project Gutenberg EBook of Cornish Characters, by S. Baring-Gould

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Title: Cornish Characters
       and Strange Events

Author: S. Baring-Gould

Release Date: January 4, 2013 [EBook #41775]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


Produced by Douglas L. Alley, III, Chris Curnow and the
Online Distributed Proofreading Team at
(This file was produced from images generously made
available by The Internet Archive)

Book Cover

[Pg i]


[Pg ii]




With 55 Full-page Illustrations Reproduced from Old Prints, etc.

[Pg iii]
[Pg iv]



[Pg v]



One and All

"We all are men,
In our own natures frail, and capable
Of our flesh; few are angels."

Henry VIII (Act V, Sc. 2).


[Pg vi]


[Pg vii]


Cornwall, peopled mainly by Celts, but with an infusion of English blood, stands and always has stood apart from the rest of England, much, but in a less degree, as has Wales. That which brought it into more intimate association with English thought, interests, and progress was the loss of the old Cornish tongue.

The isolation in which Cornwall had stood has tended to develop in it much originality of character; and the wildness of the coast has bred a hardy race of seamen and smugglers; the mineral wealth, moreover, drew thousands of men underground, and the underground life of the mines has a peculiar effect on mind and character: it is cramping in many ways, but it tends to develop a good deal of religious enthusiasm, that occasionally breaks forth in wild forms of fanaticism. Cornwall has produced admirable sailors, men who have won deathless renown in warfare at sea, as "Old Dreadnought" Boscawen, Pellew, Lord Exmouth, etc., and daring and adventurous smugglers, like "The King of Prussia," who combined great religious fervour with entire absence of scruple in the matter of defrauding the king's revenue. It has produced men of science who have made for themselves a world-fame, as Adams the astronomer, and Sir[Pg viii] Humphry Davy the chemist; men who have been benefactors to their race, as Henry Trengrouse, Sir Goldsworthy Gurney, and Trevithick. It has sent forth at least one notable painter, the miner's boy Opie, and a dramatist, Samuel Foote, and a great singer in his day, Incledon. But it has not given to literature a great poet. Minor rhymes have been produced in great quantities, but none of great worth. Philosophers have issued from the mines, as Samuel Drew, eccentrics many, as Sir James Tillie, John Knill, and Daniel Gumb. And Cornwall has contributed a certain number of rascals—but fewer in number than almost any other county, if we exclude wreckers and smugglers from the catalogue of rascality.

Strange superstitions have lingered on, and one very curious story of a girl fed for years by fairies has been put on record.

It is somewhat remarkable that Cornwall has produced no musical genius of any note; and yet the Cornishman is akin to the Welshman and the Irishman.

Cornwall has certainly sent up to London and Westminster very able politicians, as Godolphin, Sir William Molesworth, and Sir John Eliot. It furnished Tyburn with a victim—Hugh Peters, the chaplain of Oliver Cromwell, a strange mixture of money-grasping, enthusiasm, and humour.

It has been the object of the author, not to retell the lives of the greatest of the sons of Cornwall, for these lives may be read in the Dictionary of National Biography, but to chronicle the stories of lesser luminaries concerning whom less is known and little is easily accessible. In this way it serves as a companion[Pg ix] volume to Devonshire Characters; and Cornwall in no particular falls short of Devonshire in the variety of characters it has sent forth, nor are their stories of less interest.

The author and publisher have to thank many for kind help: Mr. Percy Bate, Mr. T. R. Bolitho, Rev. A. T. Boscawen, Mr. J. A. Bridger, Mr. T. Walter Brimacombe, Mr. A. M. Broadley, Mr. R. P. Chope, Mr. Digby Collins, Mr. J. B. Cornish, Mrs. Coryton of Pentillie Castle, Miss Loveday E. Drake, Mr. E. H. W. Dunkin, f.s.a., Mr. J. D. Enys of Enys, the Rev. Wm. Iago, Mrs. H. Forbes Julian, Mrs. de Lacy Lacy, the Rev. A. H. Malan, Mr. Lewis Melville, Mr. A. H. Norway, Captain Rogers of Penrose, Mr. Thomas Seccombe, Mr. Henry Trengrouse, Mr. W. H. K. Wright, and Mr. Henry Young of Liverpool—and last, but not least, Miss Windeatt Roberts for her admirable Index to the volume.

The publisher wishes me to say that he would much like to discover the whereabouts of a full-length portrait of Sir John Call, with a view of Bodmin Gaol in the background.


[Pg x]
[Pg xi]


John Ralfs  
George Carter Bignell  
THE JANES 206[Pg xii]

[Pg xiv]
[Pg xv]


Thomas Pitt, Lord Camelford Frontispiece
  to face page
William Pengelly 2

From a painting by A. S. Cope, reproduced by permission of Mrs. H. Forbes Julian

Lieutenant-General Sir Charles Wills 12

From an engraving by Simon, after a picture by M. Dahl

A View of the Celebrated Logan Rock, near Land's End in Cornwall 18

Taken after the Rock was displaced on the 8th of April, 1824. From a lithograph by Vibert, after a drawing by Tonkin

A View of the Southern Part of Castle Treryn, showing the Machinery erected for the purpose of replacing the Logan Rock 22

From a lithograph by Vibert, after a drawing by Tonkin

Hugh Peters 26

From an old engraving

James Polkinghorne, the Famous Cornish Wrestler 54

From a drawing as he appeared in the Ring at Devonport on Monday, 23 October, 1826, when he threw Ab ̱ͫ . Cann, the Champion of Devonshire, for a stake of 200 sovereigns

Henry Trengrouse, the Inventor of the Rocket Apparatus for Saving Life at Sea 60

From an oil painting by Opie the younger, reproduced by permission of Mr. H. Trengrouse

The Wreck of the "Anson" 66

From a sketch by Mr. H. Trengrouse

"Parson Rudall" 72

From a painting in the possession of the Rev. S. Baring-Gould

John Couch Adams 84

From a mezzotint by Samuel Cousins, a.r.a., after a picture by Thomas Mogford. From the collection of Mrs. Lewis Lane

John Couch Adams 88
The Cheese-wring 92

From an etching by Letitia Byrne, after a drawing by J. Farington, r.a.

Nevill Norway 118[Pg xvi]

From a painting in the possession of Miss A. T. Norway

Sir William Lower 126
The Killygrew Cup 134

"1633. from maior to maior to the towne of permarin, where they received mee that was in great misery"
Jane Killygrew

This cup has been recently valued at the sum of £4000. It measures just two feet in height

George Carter Bignell 142

From a photograph

John Ralfs 146

Reproduced by permission of Miss Loveday E. Drake

Sir John Call, Bart. 154

From a portrait (by A. Hickle) in the possession of his great-granddaughter, Mrs. de Lacy Lacy

Whiteford—the Residence of Sir John Call 164

From a drawing in the possession of Mrs. de Lacy Lacy

John Knill 170

After a picture by Opie in the possession of Captain Rogers, of Penrose

Glass inscribed "Success to the Eagle Frigate, John Knill, Commander" 172

From the collection of Percy Bate, Esq., of Glasgow

Anthony Payne 182

From a painting by Sir Godfrey Kneller, purchased by Sir Robert Harvey, High Sheriff of Cornwall, 1901, and presented to the Institute of Cornwall

Nevil Northey Burnard 186

From a bas-relief by the sculptor himself, in the possession of S. Pearn, Esq., Altarnon

Wesley's Head over the Old Meeting-house, Penpont, Altarnon. Cut by Burnard when 16 years of age 188
Tombstones cut by Burnard 188

That on the right is upon the grave of his grandfather in Altarnon Churchyard, and was cut when the sculptor was only 14 years old; the one on the left is in Bodmin Churchyard

Tombstones in Altarnon Churchyard. Cut by Burnard 190
Sir Goldsworthy Gurney 192

From a lithograph by W. Sharp, after a drawing by S. C. Smith

Dorothy Pentreath of Mousehole in Cornwall. The last Person who could Converse in the Cornish Language 232

From a drawing by R. Scadden

Monschole, in Mount's Bay, from the Island 238

From a drawing by Captain Tremenhere

Samuel Foote 280[Pg xvii]
The Last Lord Mohun 298

From a mezzotint by I. Faber, after a picture by Sir Godfrey Kneller

The Duel between Lord Mohun and the Duke of Hamilton 312

From a contemporary mezzotint in the British Museum

Sir William Noye, Attorney-General to King Charles the First 330
Sir William Lemon, Bart., M.P. for Cornwall 342

From an engraving by J. H. Meyer

Samuel Drew 346

From an engraving by R. Hicks, after a painting by F. Moore

Henry Rogers, Pewterer 364
Charles Incledon, as Macheath 376

From an engraving by J. Thomson, after a painting by Singleton

Sir James Tillie, Knt. 400
Sir James Tillie's Monument at Pentillie 406
Edward John Trelawny 442

From a drawing by D. Lucas

James Silk Buckingham 456
Mrs. Davenport, in the Character of Mrs. Grundy 466

From an engraving by Ridley, after a picture by De Wilde

At Prussia Cove. "Bessy's" Cove from Battery Point 470

From a drawing in the possession of J. B. Cornish, Esq.

John Carter's House at Prussia Cove. (Demolished in 1906) 476

From a photograph by Gibson & Sons, Penzance

Vice-Admiral Sir Charles V. Penrose, k.c.b. 500

From a picture by Allingham

Thomas Killigrew, Groom of the Bedchamber to King Charles the Second 544

From an engraving by I. Vander vaart, after a picture by W. Wissens

Lieutenant Philip Gidley King 560

From an engraving by W. Skelton, after a drawing by J. Wright

William R. Hicks 570
William R. Hicks of Bodmin 576

From a Caricature

John Thomas, otherwise Sir William Courtenay, who shot Lieutenant Bennet in Basenden Wood, Boughton, near Canterbury, and the Constable Mears, on Thursday, May 31st, 1838. 594[Pg xviii]
Percy Honeywood Courtenay, Knight of Malta, etc. etc., as he appeared at the Election in 1832 608
Mary Kelynack 620
Captain W. Rogers 624

From an engraving by Ridley and Blood, after a picture by Drummond

John Burton of Falmouth 628
Sir Cloudesley Shovel 638
Ann Glanville 664
Davies Gilbert 676

From a mezzotint by Samuel Cousins, a.r.a., after a picture by Henry Howard, r.a. From the collection of Mrs. Lewis Lane

John Harris, the Miner Poet 692
The Right Hon. John Earl of Radnor: Baron Roberts of Truro 718

After Sir Godfrey Kneller

Memorial Brass in the Church of Landulph 728

Reproduced by permission of E. H. W. Dunkin, Esq., f.s.a., from his book on Cornish Brasses


[Pg xix]


[Pg xx]
[Pg 1]




William Pengelly was born at East Looe on January 12th, 1812, and was the son of the captain of a small coasting vessel and nephew of a notorious smuggler. The Pengellys had, in fact, been connected with the sea for several generations. His mother was a Prout of the same family as the famous water-colour artist.

As a child his career was almost cut short by fire. An aunt came to stay with the Pengellys, arriving a day before she was expected. Early on the following morning, when sitting in her bedroom window, wrapped in a thick woollen shawl, she saw her little nephew William rush out of the house enveloped in flames. She hurried after him, and managed to smother the fire with her woollen garment, and thus saved the child's life, though she was herself so badly burnt that she carried the scars to her dying day. The little boy had risen early, and had kindled a fire so that he might go on with his lessons before any one else was astir in the[Pg 2] house, with the result that he set light to his clothes, and except for the premature arrival of his aunt, must certainly have been burnt to death.

At the age of twelve he went to sea. He says:—

"Our voyages were short. I do not remember an instance of being at sea more than three consecutive days; so that, except when windbound, we were almost always taking in or taking out cargo. The work was hard, but the food was abundant, and on the whole the life, though rough, was not unpleasant.

"To me—thinking nothing of the pecuniary aspects of the question—the most enjoyable occasions were those which fierce contrary winds brought us, when we had to seek some harbour of refuge. These were by no means necessarily holidays, for, if the weather were dry, advantage was taken of the enforced leisure to give our craft a thorough cleaning, or to repair her rigging, or to make up the books. Moreover, the crew employed me to write letters to their wives from their dictation. These epistles were generally of a remarkable character, and some of them remain firmly fixed in my memory. The foregoing labours disposed of, and foul winds still prevailing, we had a washing day, or, better than all, a bout of tailoring, which did not generally get beyond repairing, though occasionally the ambitious flight of making a pair of trousers was attempted. On tailoring days it was understood that my clothes should be repaired for me, in order that I might read aloud for the general benefit. We assembled in our little cabin, where the stitching and smoking went on simultaneously, and with great vigour. My poor library consisted of a Bible, the eighth volume of the Spectator, Johnson's English Dictionary, a volume of the Weekly Miscellany, the History of John Gilpin, Baron Munchausen's Travels,[Pg 3] Walkinghame's Arithmetic, and a book of songs. My hearers were not very fastidious, but allowed me to read pretty much what I pleased, though, truth to tell, the Spectator was not a favourite; some portions of it were held to be nonsensical, and others were considered to be so lacking in truthfulness that it was generally termed the 'lying book.' This ill repute was largely due to the story of Fadlallah (No. 578). Walkinghame was by no means unpopular. I occasionally read some of the questions, and my shipmates endeavoured to solve them mentally; and as the answers were all given by the author, I had to declare who had made the nearest guess, for it was very often but little more. Of all the questions, none excited so much interest as that which asks, What will be the cost of shoeing a horse at a farthing for the first nail, two for the second, and so on in geometrical progression for thirty-two nails, and which gives for the answer a sum but little short of four and a half million pounds sterling. This was so utterly unexpected that it went far to confer on Walkinghame the same name that Fadlallah had given to the Spectator."

William Pengelly

Reproduced by permission of Mrs. H. Forbes Julian

William Pengelly tells a curious story of his father, Richard Pengelly:—

"After completing his fifteenth year he was thinking of going to sea. When he was sixteen, his father, who was a sailor, was drowned almost within sight of his home. The effect on the boy was to make him pause, and on his friends, to urge him to give up the idea. For some months these influences kept him quiet, but at length his restlessness returned so strongly, that he would have gone to sea at once, had he felt satisfied that his father would have approved the step. To ascertain this point he prayed frequently and earnestly that his father's spirit might be allowed to appear to[Pg 4] him, with a pleasing or frowning aspect, according as he might approve or disapprove. At length he believed his prayer to have been answered, and that when in the field ploughing he saw his father, who passed by looking intently and smilingly at him. This decided him. He became a sailor at seventeen, and as such died at a good old age."

One bitterly cold night at sea, young Pengelly and some other of his shipmates having closed the cabin door, lit a charcoal fire, and speedily fell asleep, succumbing to the fumes of carbonic acid. Happily one of the crew who had been on deck entered the cabin. He found the greatest difficulty in awakening his comrades to sufficient consciousness to enable them to stumble up the ladder to get a breath of fresh air, for their sleep had well-nigh become that of death. The strong and hardy seamen soon recovered, but the boy was so seriously affected that, long after he had been carried upon deck, he could not be roused, and was only restored to consciousness by means of prolonged exertions on the part of his shipmates. His earliest geological experience was made when a sailor-boy weather-bound on the Dorsetshire coast, and he was wont to relate it thus:—

"I received my first lesson in geology at Lyme Regis, very soon after I had entered my teens. A labourer, whom I was observing, accidentally broke a large stone of blue lias and thus disclosed a fine ammonite —the first fossil of any kind that I had ever seen or heard of.

"In reply to my exclamation, 'What's that?' the workman said, with a sneer, 'If you had read your Bible you'd know what 'tis.' 'I have read my Bible. But what has that to do with it?'

"'In the Bible we're told there was once a flood that[Pg 5] covered all the world. At that time all the rocks were mud, and the different things that were drowned were buried in it, and there's a snake that was buried that way. There are lots of 'em, and other things besides, in the rocks and stones hereabouts.'

"'A snake! But where's his head?'

"'You must read the Bible, I tell 'ee, and then you'll find out why 'tis that some of the snakes in the rocks ain't got no heads. We're told there, that the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head, that's how 'tis.'"

When in his sixteenth year William Pengelly lost his younger brother, and after that his mother would not suffer him to go to sea. Some years were spent at Looe in self-education.

While still quite young he was induced by a relative of his mother to settle at Torquay, at that time a small place, but rapidly growing and attracting residents to it. Here he opened a small day-school on the Pestalozzian system, and was one of the first to introduce the use of the blackboard and chalk. The school opened with six scholars, but rapidly increased to about seventy.

It was now that scientific studies began to occupy Pengelly's attention, and above all, geology.

In 1837 he married Mary Anne Mudge, whose health was always delicate.

Little by little his renown as a geologist spread, and he did not confine himself to the deposits in Devonshire, but travelled to Scotland and elsewhere to examine the rocks, and to meet and consult with eminent scientists.

In 1846 his private pupils had grown so numerous that he was able to give up his school altogether and become a tutor of mathematics and the natural sciences. He tells a very amusing story of a visit made during holiday time to an old friend.

[Pg 6]

"I one day learned that my road lay within a couple of miles of the rectory of my old mathematical friend D——. We had been great friends when he was a curate in a distant part of the country, but had not met for several years, during which he had been advanced from a curacy of about £80 to a rectory of £200 per year, and a residence, in a very secluded district. My time was very short, but for 'auld lang syne' I decided to sacrifice a few hours. On reaching the house Mr. and Mrs. D—— were fortunately at home, and received me with their wonted kindness.

"The salutations were barely over, when I said—

"'It is now six o'clock; I must reach Wellington tonight, and as it is said to be fully eight miles off, and I am utterly unacquainted with the road, and with the town when I reach it, I cannot remain with you one minute after eight o'clock.'

"'Oh, very well,' said D——, 'then we must improve the shining hour. Jane, my dear, be so good as to order tea.'

"Having said this he left the room. In a few minutes he returned with a book under his arm and his hands filled with writing materials, which he placed on the table. Opening the book, he said—

"'This is Hind's Trigonometry, and here's a lot of examples for practice. Let us see which can do the greatest number of them by eight o'clock. I did most of them many years ago, but I have not looked at them since. Suppose we begin at this one'—which he pointed out—'and take them as they come. We can drink our tea as we work, so as to lose no time.'

"'All right,' said I; though it was certainly not the object for which I had come out of my road.

"Accordingly we set to work. No words passed between us; the servant brought in the tray, Mrs.[Pg 7] D—— handed us our tea, which we drank now and then, and the time flew on rapidly. At length, finding it to be a quarter to eight—

"'We must stop,' said I, 'for in a quarter of an hour I must be on my road.'

"'Very well. Let us see how our answers agree with those of the author.'

"It proved that he had correctly solved one more than I had. This point settled, I said 'Good-bye.'

"'Good-bye. Do come again as soon as you can. The farmers know nothing whatever about Trigonometry.'

"We parted at the rectory door, and have never met since; nor shall we ever do so more, as his decease occurred several years ago. During my long walk to Wellington my mind was chiefly occupied with the mental isolation of a rural clergyman."

In 1851 he lost his wife, and some years after both his children by her.

In 1853 he married a Lydia Spriggs, a Quakeress.

William Pengelly's scientific explorations may be divided under three heads. The first was his minute and accurate examination of the deposits that form Bovey Heathfield, where there are layers of clay, sand, and lignite. He was able to extract numerous fossil plants, and thereby to determine the approximate age of the beds.

Next he took up the exploration of ossiferous caves; and he began this work with that of Brixham, in Windmill Hill.

The floor of this cavern was excavated in successive stages or layers, starting from the entrance. Bones were found in the stalagmite and in the first, third, and fourth beds, and worked flints in the third and fourth beds only; but where the third bed filled the cavern up[Pg 8] to the rock, its upper portion contained neither bones nor flints. The bones were those of the mammoth, the rhinoceros, the urus, hyæna, cave lion and cave bear, etc.

But by far the most laborious scientific undertaking of Pengelly's life was the exploration of Kent's Cavern, near Torquay. This cave was known as far back as 1824, when a Mr. Northmore, of Cleve, near Exeter, made a superficial examination of it to ascertain whether it had been a temple of Mithras, and quite satisfied himself on this point. He was followed by Sir W. C. Trevelyan and by the Rev. J. MacEnery. But it was not till 1865 that a complete, scientific, and exhaustive exploration was undertaken by the British Association, which made a grant of £100 for the purpose. Mr. Pengelly was appointed secretary and reporter to the committee for the examination of the cave and its deposits.

It was found that the floor of the cave exhibited the following succession: (1) Blocks of limestone sometimes large, clearly fallen from the roof. (2) A layer of black mould ranging from a few inches to upwards of a foot in depth. (3) Beneath this came a floor of granular stalagmite, about a foot in thickness, formed by the drip of water from the roof. (4) A red loam containing a number of limestone fragments. (5) A breccia of angular fragments of limestone and pebbles and sandstone embedded in a reddish sandy calcareous paste.

On June 19th, 1880, the exploration of Kent's Hole was brought to an end. It was the most complete and systematic investigation of a cavern that had ever been undertaken, and on a much greater scale than that at Brixham. A task of this kind is peculiarly exacting. It cannot be entrusted to workmen; it cannot be left[Pg 9] to a committee whose members pay but intermittent visits: it demands the constant oversight of one man; and this superintendence was given to Pengelly. The total amount spent on this exploration was £2000. Pengelly states in one of his papers that in the fifteen and a quarter years during which the excavation was in progress he visited Kent's Hole almost daily, and spent over the work, on an average, five hours a day.

"Above the stalagmite, and principally in the black mould, have been found a number of relics belonging to different periods, such as socketed celts, and a socketed knife of bronze, and some small fragments of roughly smelted copper, about four hundred flint flakes, cores, and chips, a polishing stone, a ring (made of Kimmeridge clay), numerous spindle whorls, bone instruments terminating in comb-like ends, pottery, marine shells, numerous mammalian bones of existing species, and some human bones, on which it has been thought there are traces indicative of cannibalism. Some of the pottery is distinctly Roman in character; but many of the objects belong, no doubt, to pre-Roman times."

What was found beneath the stalagmite belonged to a long anterior period, where it had lain sealed up for, at the very least, two thousand years. In this deposit of the cave earth were found a large number of chips, flakes, and implements of flint and chert, stones that had served as pounders, and some pins, needles, and harpoons of bone.

Some mammoth bones were found in Kent's Cavern, and those of the cave lion, the sabre-toothed tiger, the glutton, cave bear, woolly rhinoceros, horse, reindeer, and beaver.

Mr. W. Pengelly died on March 17th, 1894.

A writer in the Transactions of the Devonshire Association[Pg 10] for 1894 says: "For science he lived, and for science he laboured, even long after the age when the average man seeks rest and quiet. Starting out in original lines of thought, and untrammelled by traditions of years long ago, he met with many rebuffs, and the conclusions which he derived from his investigations and minute and patient inquiry were almost laughed to scorn. But he adhered to his work and clung to his beliefs, with enthusiastic devotion, and in the end he lived to see even those who had originally stoutly opposed his views convinced of their verity, and their inestimable value to archæological and geological science."

Pengelly himself left this piece of advice to the student:—

"Be careful in scientific inquiries that you get a sufficient number of perfectly trustworthy facts; that you interpret them with the aid of a rigorous logic; that on suitable occasions you have courage enough to avow your convictions; and don't be impatient, or annoyed, if your friends don't receive all your conclusions, or even if they call you bad names."

It must be remembered that Pengelly and Sir Charles Lyell were those who startled English minds with the revelation of the enormous period of time in which man had lived on the earth, and of the slow progression of man through vast ages in the development of civilization. How that he began with the rudest flint implements, and progressed but very slowly to the perfection of these stone tools; how that only in comparatively recent times did he discover the use of metals and pottery; how of metals he first employed bronze, and not till long after acquired the art of smelting iron and fashioning tools and weapons of iron. All this startled the world, and men were very unwilling to accept[Pg 11] the doctrine propounded and to acknowledge the facts on which this doctrine was based.

The Life of William Pengelly was written by his daughter Hester Pengelly, and published by Murray, 1897. Reference has been made as well to the obituary notice in the Transactions of the Devonshire Association for 1894.

[Pg 12]


Sir Charles Wills belonged to a very ancient and widely ramified family in Cornwall. The first, however, of whom anything authentic is known was Anthony Wills, of Saltash, who died in 1576. They were settled at Landrake, at Morval, Botusfleming, Wyvelscombe, Exeter, and Gorran.

Anthony Wills, of Gorran, youngest son of Digory Wills, of Botusfleming, had a son, Anthony Wills, who was the father of the Right Hon. Sir Charles Wills, k.b., general of His Majesty's forces, baptized at Gorran 23rd October, 1666. Sir Charles had two brothers, Richard, of Acombe, in the county of York, and Anthony, of the Inner Temple, who died in Ireland 1689. The arms of the family are, arg. three griffins passant, in pale, sa., within a bordure engrailed of the last besantée.

Sir Charles was a subaltern in 1693, when serving in the Low Countries under William III. The King went to Holland at the end of March in that year, and returned on the last day of October, when the armies went into winter quarters. Wills was in the battle of Landen and at the siege of Namur. On the 13th October, 1705, he was appointed colonel of the 30th Regiment, and sailed with it to Spain. He acted as quartermaster-general to the troops in that country, was present at Llenda, Almanza, and Saragossa, and was made prisoner in 1711 with the army under[Pg 13] General Stanhope, but was released at the end of the war.

Lieutenant General Wills

Lieutenant General Wills Commander of his Maj.ties Forces in the Action against the Rebells at Preston in Lancashire.

He had been appointed brigadier-general in 1707, major-general on 1st January, 1709, and lieutenant-general 16th November, 1710. After the peace of 1715, being in command of the troops in the Midland district, he marched northwards to meet the rebels from Scotland, and he and General Carpenter met them at Preston. Preston was a town both Jacobite and Roman Catholic; and in it was the army of the Pretender, composed of Scottish Highlanders and Lancashire gentry and their retainers.

General Carpenter, who had been marching into Scotland, turned back into Northumberland, and by forced marches had reached Durham, where he combined with General Wills, who had been sent some time before into the north to quell the many riots that preluded the insurrection.

Wills concentrated six regiments of cavalry, for the most part newly raised, but commanded by experienced officers, at Manchester, whence he moved to Wigan. There it was arranged that Wills should march straight upon Preston, while Carpenter, advancing in another direction, should take the insurgents in flank. As the Hanoverians approached, General Forster, who commanded the Jacobites, gave satisfactory evidence that he was no soldier; he fell into a fright and confusion, and betook himself to bed. But Lord Kenmure roused him, and in a hurried council, where all the gentlemen had a voice, and where those spoke loudest who knew least of war, a plan of defending Preston was adopted. But the plan, at least as executed, consisted merely in throwing up some barricades in the streets and in posting some men in defence of them. Brigadier Mackintosh either knew not the ground or his better[Pg 14] judgment was overruled; for Preston offered many advantages as a defensive position which were altogether neglected. In front of the town was a bridge over the Ribble, that might have been held by a handful of men, and from the bridge to the town, for a distance of a mile, the road ran through a hollow between steep banks for a mile. But river, bridge, and road were all left undefended. When Wills rode up to the bridge and saw that it was unprotected he could hardly believe his eyes; and then he concluded that the insurgents must have abandoned Preston and begun their retreat into Scotland, so that there would be no fighting that day.

But as he came to the outskirts of the town, he heard a tumultuous noise within, and saw the barricades that Forster had thrown up, and was saluted by a shower of bullets. He ordered his dragoons to dismount and attack two of the barricades. This service was gallantly performed; but the regulars were sorely galled by a fire from the houses as well as from the barricades.

As night was falling Wills withdrew his men, after they had suffered considerable loss. Early on the following morning General Carpenter came up with a part of his cavalry; and then Forster, who had scarcely lost a man, and whose force more than doubled that of the regular troops, lost heart entirely, and without consulting his friends, sent Colonel Oxburgh to propose a capitulation.

General Wills, irritated at the loss he had sustained on the preceding evening, seemed at first disposed to reject the proposition altogether; but at last he agreed "that, if the rebels would lay down their arms and surrender at discretion, he would protect them from being cut to pieces by the soldiers, until further orders from the Government."

[Pg 15]

When Oxburgh's mission was known in the town, and the result of it, the more warlike portion of the insurgents were indignant and railed against the coward Forster; and so incensed were they against him that, according to an eye-witness, if he had ventured into the street, he would infallibly have been torn to pieces.

The brave Highlanders, seeing that nothing was to be expected from the Lancastrian boors who had joined them, proposed rushing with sword in hand and cutting their way through the King's troops. But their leaders thought this too hazardous a proceeding and counselled surrender. They gave up Lord Derwentwater and Colonel Mackintosh as hostages, and induced the clans to lay down their arms and submit. Including English and Scotch, only seventeen men had been killed in the defence of Preston.

The Lancastrian peasants got away out of the town, but fourteen hundred men were made prisoners by a thousand, or at the outside twelve hundred English horse. Among those captured were Lords Derwentwater, Widdrington, Nithsdale, Winton, Carnwark, Kenmure, Nairn, and Charles Murray. There were others, members of ancient and honourable families of the north, of Scotland, and of Lancashire.

The invasion of England by the Jacobites had thus ended ingloriously. The noblemen and gentlemen of rank and influence who were taken were sent to London in charge of Brigadier Panter and a hundred men of Lumley's Horse.

On January 5th, 1716, Wills was appointed to the colonelcy of the 3rd Regiment of the line, and on the death of Lord Cadogan was transferred in August, 1726, to that of the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards.

It was customary at all times for the King's company[Pg 16] of the 1st Guards to fly the Royal Standard, which was carried by that company on all state occasions. It was of crimson silk throughout, with the King's cypher and crown in the middle and the arms of the three kingdoms quartered in the four corners. The staff of this standard was also more ornamented than that of the other twenty-seven companies. The lieutenant-colonel's colours were also of crimson silk throughout. These colours were renewed every seven years.

In 1723 the King went to Hanover, when a camp was formed in Hyde Park under the command of Lieut.-Colonel Wills. He had been elected M.P. for Totnes in 1714, and he represented that borough till 1741. In 1725 he was made Knight of the Bath and Privy Councillor.

In 1733, in consequence of the increase of smuggling carried on even in London, Strickland, Secretary for War, addressed a letter in the form of a warrant to the Governor of the Tower and to the officers in command of the Guards, authorizing them to furnish detachments of men to assist in securing contraband goods; and in consequence of the increase of the duties to be performed by the men of the Foot Guards, their establishment was raised in 1739 by ten men per company.

In 1740, as the political horizon on the Continent was threatening, Walpole had to choose between declaring war with Spain and resigning. He disapproved of war, but rather than resign declared it. The people of London were delighted and rang the bells in the steeples. "Ah!" said Walpole; "they are ringing the bells now; they soon will be wringing their hands." Camps, in anticipation of hostilities, were ordered to be formed in various parts of England. In March orders were conveyed to Sir Charles Wills and others[Pg 17] to direct their officers to provide themselves with tents and everything needful for encamping, and those troops under Sir Charles were to occupy Hounslow. He superintended the formation of the camp where the whole of the Horse and Foot Guards were to assemble, and previous to departing they paraded in Hyde Park, on June 15th, under Sir Charles, who had a lieutenant-general and a major-general on the staff with him. Thence he proceeded to the encampment on the Heath marked out for the purpose.

The twenty-four companies of the 1st Guards under the command of Colonel Richard Ingoldsby, second major of the regiment, remained encamped on Hounslow from June 16th for several months—in fact, till the middle of October.

Sir Charles Wills was now filling the post of General Commander of the King's forces, but had been failing in health and strength, and soon became quite unable to take any active work; and he died on December 25th, Christmas Day, 1741, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

He had never been married. He had purchased land at Claxton, and this and all he had he bequeathed to Field-Marshal Sir Robert Rich, Bart., of Roxhill, in Suffolk, Governor of Chelsea Hospital.

[Pg 18]


In the parish of S. Levan is a promontory running out into the sea, once cut off by embankments on the land side, and converted into a cliff castle, that bears the name of Trereen-Dinas. The headland presents a succession of natural piles of granite tors, the first of which, rising perpendicularly, is crowned by the far-famed Logan Rock, a mass weighing about ninety tons, and so exactly poised upon one point that any one, by applying his shoulder to it, could make the whole mass rock sensibly. Not only so, but in a high wind it could be seen rolling on its pivot.

Doctor Borlase, in his Antiquities of Cornwall, 1754, says: "In the parish of S. Levan, Cornwall, there is a promontory called Castle Treryn. This cape consists of three distinct groupes of rocks. On the western side of the middle groupe, near the top, lies a very large stone, so evenly poised, that any hand may move it to and fro; but the extremities of its base are at such a distance from each other, and so well secured by their nearness to the stone which it stretches itself upon, that it is morally impossible that any lever, or indeed force (however applied in a mechanical way), can remove it from its present situation."

This overbold statement, added to the persistence of the people of the neighbourhood, that no man could[Pg 19] throw the Logan Rock from its balance, stirred up a silly young lieutenant, Hugh Colvill Goldsmith, of H.M.S. cutter Nimble, on the preventive service, lying off the Land's End on the look-out for smugglers, to attempt to do what the popular voice declared to be impossible. Lieut. Goldsmith was a nephew of the famous Oliver Goldsmith, and had consequently some flighty Irish blood in his veins.


Taken after the Rock was displaced on the 8th of April, 1824

"On April 8, 1824," says the Gentleman's Magazine, "a party of sailors belonging to H.M. cutter Nimble, commanded by Lieut. Goldsmith, came on shore for the purpose of removing from its situation that great curiosity the Logging (rocking) Stone; and which object they were unfortunately enabled to accomplish. This mass of granite, which is nearly 100 tons weight, was one of the three objects that excited the curiosity of every visitor to the west part of Cornwall. It stood on the summit of a mass of rocks at the Land's End, and was so poised on a natural pivot, that the force which a man could exert was sufficient to cause it to vibrate. In this situation it remained from a period anterior to our authentic records, as it is noticed by our earliest writers, until the barbarian above mentioned, in sheer wantonness, removed it from its place. This act of vandalism has excited the greatest indignation at Penzance, as it will in every part of Cornwall, and throughout the kingdom. It appears that Lieut. Goldsmith landed at the head of fourteen of his men, and with the assistance of handspikes and a handscrew, called by the sailors jack-in-the-box, with much labour and perseverance threw over the stone. What renders the act most atrocious is, that two poor families, who derived a subsistence from attending visitors to the stone, are now deprived of the means of support."

[Pg 20]

It was found that the handspikes and jack were of no avail. Accordingly Goldsmith made his fourteen men put their shoulders to the stone and bring it into such violent oscillation that at last it toppled over.

The Logan Stone, thus displaced, would have rolled down from the tor on which it had rested and have shot into the sea, had it not happily been arrested by a cleft in the rock.

The indignation of the people was great, so that the life of Lieut. Goldsmith was threatened by the sturdy fishermen, should he land. But the desire to land was taken from him, for the whole county was roused, and a gathering of the magistrates was summoned to consider what could be done, and to memorialize the Admiralty against the perpetrator of this wanton act of mischief.

Happily Mr. Davies Gilbert was at the time in London, and he at once proceeded to the Admiralty and complained of the vandalism perpetrated, and requested that the lieutenant should be ordered to replace the block as found, and that the proper apparatus, capstan, blocks, chains, etc., should be furnished by the dockyard at Devonport.

This was undertaken, and orders were despatched to Lieut. Goldsmith that he must either restore the Logan Rock to its old position, at his own cost, or forfeit his commission. As the expense would be wholly beyond his means, Mr. Davies Gilbert very liberally subscribed £150 for the purpose.

A writer, Lieut. L. Edye, in the Western Antiquary for 1887, says: "In his trouble he appealed to my grandfather (Mr. William Edye) for advice and assistance, stating that the Admiralty had called upon him either to replace the stone or forfeit his commission. My grandfather, ever ready to render assistance[Pg 21] to any one in trouble, readily assisted, and having travelled into Cornwall (as a friend) and seen the damage done, applied to the Admiralty for the loan of plant and men. Their Lordships complied with the request, but stipulated that the cost must be entirely defrayed by Lieut. Goldsmith."

We will now see what Goldsmith had to say for himself. The following is an extract from a letter written by him to his mother, dated April 24th, 1824:—

"The facts in question, my dear mother, are these: On the 8th of this month we were off the Land's End, near the spot where the Rock stood. Our boats were creeping along shore beneath it for some goods which, we suspected, might be sunk in the sands near it. I took the opportunity of landing to look at the Logan Rock with my mate; and hearing that it was not in the power of men to remove it, I took it into my head to try my skill, and, at this time (half-past four o'clock p.m.), the boats having finished what they had to do, and it blowing too fresh for them to creep any longer, I took them and their crew with me, and, having landed at the foot of the rocks, we all scrambled up the precipice. We had with us, at first, three handspikes, with which we tried to move the Rock, but could not do it." By move the rock he really means—displace it. A child could move it on its pivot. "The handspikes were then laid aside, and the nine men who were with me took hold of the Rock by the edge, and with great difficulty set it in a rocking motion, which became so great, that I was fearful of bidding them try to stop it lest it should fall back upon us, and away it went unfortunately, clean over upon its side, where it now rests. There was not an instrument of any kind or description near the Rock when thrown over, except[Pg 22] one handspike, and that I held in my hand, but which was of no use in upsetting the Rock; and this is the truth, and nothing but the truth, as I hope for salvation.

"For my part, I had no intention, or the most distant thought, of doing mischief, even had I thrown the Rock into the sea. I was innocently, as my God knows, employed, as far as any bad design about me. I knew not that the Rock was so idolized in this neighbourhood, and you may imagine my astonishment when I found all Penzance in an uproar. I was to be transported at least; the newspapers have traduced me, and made me worse than a murderer, and the base falsehoods in them are more than wicked. But here I am, my dear mother, still holding up my head, boldly conscious of having only committed an act of inadvertency. Be not uneasy—my character is yet safe; and you have nothing on that score to make you uneasy. I have many friends in Penzance: among them the persons most interested in the Rock, and many who were most violent now see the thing in its true light. I intend putting the bauble in its place again, and hope to get as much credit as I have anger for throwing it down."[1]



The letter is disingenuous, and is the composition of a man impudent and conceited. He knew the estimation in which the Logan Rock was held, and it was because Borlase had pronounced it impossible of displacement that he resolved to displace it. He pretends that he tried to "move" it, whereas from the context it is clear that he intended to throw it down, and for this purpose had brought the handspikes. He boasts vaingloriously of his intention of replacing it and gaining glory thereby, and never says a word[Pg 23] about his having been given by the Admiralty the alternative of doing that or losing his commission. Nor does he mention the generous help he received from Mr. Gilbert and his kinsman Mr. Edye.

On November 2nd, in the presence of vast crowds, ladies waving their handkerchiefs, and men firing feux de joie, the block was raised, Mr. Goldsmith, his natural conceit overcoming his sense of vexation, superintending the operation. But, although replaced, it was no longer so perfectly balanced as before. As one wrote who was present at the time, "it rocked differently, though well enough to satisfy the people."

An account of the feat, written in the true style of the penny-a-liner, appeared in the Royal Cornwall Gazette of the 6th November:—

"The Logan Rock is in its place, and logs again. Lieut. Goldsmith has nobly repaired the error of a moment by a long trial of skill and energy and courage. I say courage, for it was a work of great peril; and wherever danger was, there he was always foremost—under the weight of the mass of machinery, and on the edge of the precipice.... I shall content myself with barely observing, as a proof of the skill of applying the complicated machinery employed, that many engineers had their doubts whether it could be so applied, and even when erected, they doubted whether it would be efficient.

"The moment, therefore (on Friday last), when the men took their stations at the capstans was an anxious one, and when, after twenty minutes' toil, Lieut. Goldsmith announced from the stage, 'It moves, thank God!' a shout of applause burst from all who beheld it. Endeavour to conceive a group of rocks of the most grand and romantic appearance, forming an amphitheatre, with multitudes seated on the irregular[Pg 24] masses, or clinging to its precipices: conceive a huge platform carried across an abyss from rock to rock, and upon it three capstans manned by British seamen. Imagine the lofty masts which are seen rearing their heads, from which ropes are connected with chains in many a fold and of massive strength. A flag waves over all: the huge stone is in the midst. Every eye is directed to the monstrous bulk. Will it break its chains? Will it fall and spread ruin? Or will it defy the power that attempts to stir it? Will all the skill and energy, and strength and hardihood, have been exerted in vain? We shall soon know: expectation sits breathless; and at last it moves.

"All's well. Such was the first half-hour. In two hours it was suspended in the air, and vibrated; but art was triumphant, and held the huge leviathan fast.

"I will not detail the labour of two successive days; but come to the last moment. At twenty minutes past four on Tuesday afternoon a signal was given that the rock was in its place and that it logged again. This was announced by a spectator. But where was Lieut. Goldsmith? Why does not he announce it? He has called his men around him: his own and their hats are off: he is addressing them first, and calling upon them to return thanks to God, through whose aid alone the work had been done—a work of great peril and hazard—and by His blessing without loss of life or limb.

"After this appropriate and solemn act, he called upon them to join in the British sailors' testimony of joy, three cheers; and then turned with all his gallant men to receive the re-echoing cheers of the assembled multitude. That Lieut. Goldsmith, whose character—like the rock—is replaced on a firm basis, may have an[Pg 25] opportunity of exerting his great talents and brave spirit in the service of his profession, is the sincere wish of all this neighbourhood."

Lieut. L. Edye, in his communication to the Western Antiquary above quoted, says: "The result of this foolhardy act was that Lieut. Goldsmith was pecuniarily ruined, whilst the natives of the locality reaped a rich harvest by pointing out the fallen stone to visitors."

The Cornish are a forgiving people, and it was actually proposed after the re-erection of the stone to give to Lieut. Goldsmith a dinner and a silver cup.

Lieut. Hugh Colvill Goldsmith had been born at St. Andrew's, New Brunswick, 2nd April, 1789, so that he was aged thirty-five when he performed this prank. He died at sea off S. Thomas, in the West Indies, 8th October, 1841, without having obtained advancement.

[Pg 26]


The life and character of this man present unusual difficulties. On one side he was unduly lauded, he was represented, especially by himself, as a paragon of all virtues; on the other he was decried with virulence, his past life raked over, and every scandal brought to the surface and exposed to public view, and we cannot be at all sure that all these scandals laid to his charge were true.

We do not know much about his origin, and why he was named Peters; he was the son of a Thomas Dickwood, alias Peters, and Martha, daughter of John Treffry of Treffry. This Dickwood, alias Peters, is said to have been a merchant of Fowey, descended from Dutch ancestors who had escaped from Antwerp for their adherence to the Reformed religion; and Hugh Peters was born in 1599. But Dickwood is not a Flemish or Dutch name. Henry Peters, M.P. for Fowey, who died in 1619, married Deborah, daughter of John Treffry of Place, in 1610, and had one son, Thomas, who was thrown into prison by Cromwell for his loyalty to King Charles. Neither Hugh Peters nor his father with the alias appears in the well-authenticated pedigree of the family of Peters of Harlyn. It may be suspected that the father of Hugh Peters was a bastard of one of the Peters family.

Be that as it may, Hugh Peters was sent to Trinity[Pg 27] College, Cambridge, at the age of fourteen—his elder brother at the time was a student at Oxford—and he took his degree of B.A. in 1616. For a time he led a rather wild life and joined a party of comedians. Dr. William Yonge says that "he joined a common society of players: when, after venting his frothy inventions, he had a greater call to a higher promotion, namely, to be a jester, or rather a fool, in Shakespeare's Company of Players." Shakespeare died in 1616, so this must have been his company continuing to bear his name. He, however, became converted by a sermon he heard at S. Faith's, and "deserted his companions and employments, and returning to his chamber near Fleet Conduit, continued between hope and despair a year or more."


From an old engraving

He was ordained deacon 23rd December, 1621, and priest 8th June, 1623, by Mountain, Bishop of London, and took his M.A. degree in 1622. He was licensed to preach at S. Sepulchre's. He says of himself:—

"To Sepulchre's I was brought by a very strange providence; for preaching before at another place, and a young man receiving some good, would not be satisfied, but I must preach at Sepulchre's, once monthly, for the good of his friends, in which he got his end (if I might not show vanity), and he allowed thirty pounds per ann. to that lecture, but his person unknown to me. He was a chandler, and died a good man, and Member of Parliament. At this lecture the resort grew so great, that it contracted envy and anger; though I believe above a hundred every week were persuaded from sin to Christ; there were six or seven thousand hearers, and the circumstances fit for such good work."

How six or seven thousand persons could be got into St. Sepulchre's Church passes one's comprehension.[Pg 28] According to his own account, he got into trouble through Nonconformity. Ludlow, in his Memoirs, says that Peters "had been a minister in England for many years, till he was forced to leave his native country by the persecution set on foot, in the time of Archbishop Laud, against all those who refused to comply with the innovations and superstitions which were then introduced into the public worship."

There is, however, another and less creditable explanation. He is said to have become entangled in an intrigue with a butcher's wife. But how far this is true, and whether it be malicious scandal, we have no means of judging.

He had, however, married the widow of Edmund Read, of Wickford, Essex, and mother of Colonel Thomas Read, afterwards Governor of Stirling, and a partisan of Monk at the Restoration. Mrs. Edmund Read also had a daughter, Elizabeth, who in 1635 married the younger Winthrop, Governor of Connecticut.

From London Peters went to Rotterdam, where, if Yonge may be trusted, he paid such court to and attempted such familiarities with a Mrs. Franklyn, that she complained to her husband, whereupon Mr. Franklyn "entertains Peters with crab-tree sauce."

At Rotterdam he became preacher in the English chapel. What had become of his wife, whether she remained in England or accompanied him to Holland, we are not informed.

It will be well here to say a few words on the condition of religion in England at the time.

The plan of Henry VIII had been to make the Church of England independent of the Pope, but to remain Catholic. At his death the Protector and the[Pg 29] Duke of Northumberland, after the fall of Somerset, had encouraged the ultra-Protestants. The churches had been plundered, chantries and colleges robbed, the Mass interdicted, and the wildest fanaticism encouraged. As Froude says: "Three-quarters of the English people were Catholics; that is, they were attached to the hereditary and traditionary doctrines of the Church. They detested, as cordially as the Protestants, the interference of a foreign power, whether secular or spiritual, with English liberty."

A more disgraceful page of history has never been written than that regarding the two protectorates during the minority of Edward VI. The currency was debased, peculation was rife. "Amidst the wreck of ancient institutions," says Froude, "the misery of the people, and the moral and social anarchy by which the nation was disintegrated, thoughtful persons in England could not fail to be asking themselves what they had gained by the Reformation.

"The movement commenced by Henry VIII, judged by its present results, had brought the country at last into the hands of mere adventurers. The people had exchanged a superstition which, in its grossest abuses, prescribed some shadow of respect for obedience, for a superstition which merged obedience in speculative belief; and under that baneful influence, not only the higher virtues of self-sacrifice, but the commonest duties of probity and morality, were disappearing. Private life was infected with impurity to which the licentiousness of the Catholic clergy appeared like innocence. The Government was corrupt, the courts of law were venal. The trading classes cared only to grow rich. The multitude were mutineers from oppression.... The better order of commonplace men, who had a conscience, but no special depth of insight—who[Pg 30] had small sense of spiritual things, but a strong perception of human rascality—looked on in a stern and growing indignation, and, judging the tree by its fruits, waited their opportunity for action."

When Mary came to the throne there was an immense outburst of enthusiasm, the time of the Protestant protectorates was looked back on as a bad dream. In spite of the fact that England was under an interdict, the Mass was restored, and no rector or vicar cared a straw for the Papal bull, nor indeed did Mary, who heard Mass in the chapel of the Tower, and afterwards in S. Paul's.

If Mary had only accepted the advice tendered to her by Charles V, she would have reigned as a popular monarch, and have settled the condition of the Church of England on lines that commended themselves to nobles, commons, and clergy alike, Catholic but not Papal. But she had looked too long to the see of Peter as her support, and she managed completely to alienate the affections of her people. The fires of Smithfield brought the fanatics who had been discredited in the former reign into favour once more; and when Elizabeth came to the throne, and had been deposed by Pope Pius V, and her subjects released from allegiance to her, and plots formed for her assassination, under favour of the Pope, the religious sentiment in England was cleft as with a hatchet—some who loved the religion of their fathers were constrained against their will and consciences to become Papists, and others became wild and reckless fanatics in a Puritan direction. Between these two parties sat the vast bulk of the English people, looking this way, that way, and deeming all religion foolishness, and self-interest the only thing to be sought after. All the foundations of the religious world were out of course. The via media is all very well in theory[Pg 31] and when well trodden, but when it is experimental, and one road to the right leads to Rome and that to the left to Geneva, the via media may be taken to lead nowhere, and those who tread it have to do so uncertainly. A session between two stools is precarious, and the Church of England had been forced by the folly of Mary to adopt this position. The consequence was that in the reigns of Elizabeth and James and Charles I there was no enthusiasm in the clergy of the Church. The bishops were grasping, self-seeking worldlings. Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury, was the best among an ignoble crew. When he died, says Froude, "he left behind him enormous wealth, which had been accumulated, as is proved from a statement in the handwriting of his successor, by the same unscrupulous practices which had brought about the first revolt against the Church. No Catholic prelate in the old easy times had so flagrantly abused the dispensation system. Every year he made profits by admitting children to the cure of souls, for money. He used a graduated scale in which the price for inducting an infant into a benefice varied with the age, children under fourteen not being inadmissible, if the adequate fees were forthcoming."[2]

The great majority of the nobility and gentry of England clung to the doctrine and ceremonies of the ancient Church, and yet were united in determination to oppose the Papal claims. Benefices in their presentation were held by priests who said the Communion Service, which was but the Mass in English, with the ancient vestments and ritual; and others, next door, were held by men who could hardly be compelled to wear even the surplice, and who celebrated the Eucharist but once in the year.

[Pg 32]

The Church was a hodgepodge of conflicting doctrines and ceremonial. As Froude says:—

"So long as a single turn of the wheel, a violent revolution, or the Queen's death, might place a Catholic (Papist) on the throne, the Established Church held a merely conditional existence. It had no root in the nation, for every earnest man who was not a Puritan was a Catholic; and its officers, for the most part, regarded their tenures as an opportunity for enriching themselves, which would probably be short, and should in prudence be made use of while it remained. Benefices were appropriated to laymen, sold, or accumulated upon favourites. Churches in many places were left unserved, and cobblers and tailors were voted by the congregations into the pulpits. 'The bishops,' said Cecil, 'had no credit either for learning, good living, or hospitality.' The Archbishop of York had scandalized his province by being found in bed with the wife of an innkeeper at Doncaster. Other prelates had bestowed ordination 'on men of lewd life and corrupt behaviour.' The Bishop of Lichfield had made seventy 'lewd and unlearned ministers, for money,' in one day."[3]

Bishop Barlow, of S. David's, had torn the lead roof off his palace and the castle at Lawhadden to provide dowers for his daughters, and would have unroofed his cathedral had he not been prevented by Elizabeth, because in it was the monument of Edmund, Earl of Richmond, the father of Henry VII. When translated to Bath and Wells he destroyed the lady chapel, the finest Perpendicular building in the West of England, surpassing even Sherborne and Bath, and sold it—lead, roof, stones, and all. Some of the clergy were mere temporizers, without convictions, taking their colour[Pg 33] from their patrons, and ready to believe or pretend to believe this or that, as suited their pockets. The majority were indifferent—ignorant—not knowing where they stood. Many had thrust their way into Holy Orders for the sake of the loaves and fishes that might be obtained in the Established Church, with no work to do, without education, without zeal, without convictions, and consequently totally without the least enthusiasm, without any fixed principles.

Laud and the Star Chamber sought to produce conformity by cutting off ears and slitting noses. But what Laud failed to see was that the only men in religious England who knew their minds, who had any fixed principles in religion, were the Papists and the Puritans. What they should have done, but what probably they could not do, was to inspire the clergy of the Church with zeal and enthusiasm. But the clergy could not catch the fire from off the altar; they had entered Orders for the sake of a rectory, a glebe and tithe, and cared for nothing else. If one half—nay, one quarter—of the charges brought against them by the Tryers be true, they were a most unworthy set. In Elizabeth's reign there had been a difficulty in filling the benefices, and any Jack and Tom who could gratify the bishop and could read was ordained and appointed to a benefice. And these were the men to maintain the doctrine of the Universal Church and Apostolic tradition against fiery enthusiasts on one side who took their own reading of Scripture for divine inspiration, and on the other against the Papists who set their back against the Rock of Peter.

With churches picked bare, with sermons without fire, services performed without dignity, often with indecorum, without religious instruction from teachers who did not know what to teach, it is no wonder that the[Pg 34] people turned away to hot-gospellers and tub-thumpers who, if they could not kindle in them love and charity, could set them on fire with self-righteousness and religious animosities.

At Rotterdam Peters threw over creed and liturgy of the Church of England, and leaving the English chapel, became co-pastor with Dr. William Ames of an Independent meeting-house at Rotterdam, and Ames died there in his arms. In Holland Peters made the acquaintance of John Forbes, Professor of Divinity in the University of Aberdeen, a great Hebraist. In a pamphlet published by Peters in 1646 he says: "I lived about six years near that famous Scotsman, Mr. John Forbes, with whom I travelled into Germany, and enjoyed his society in much love and sweetness constantly; from whom I received nothing but encouragement, though we differed in the way of our 'churches.'"

After Peters had spent six years in the United Provinces, he suddenly threw up his pastoral charge and departed for New England, with five hundred pounds in his pocket, which his friends furnished, and a young waiting-maid, Mary Morell, whom he shortly after married to one Peter Folger.

"In this year (1635)," says one account, "came over that famous servant of Christ, Mr. Hugh Peters. He was called to office by the Church of Christ at Salem, their former pastor, the Rev. Mr. Higginson, having ended his labours resting in the Lord."

Salem had been planted but a few years before, the first colonists in Massachusetts having settled there in 1628. Here he remained for over seven years, combining his duties as a minister of religion and trading, so that he was spoken of as "the father of our commerce and the founder of our trade."

[Pg 35]

He was also a militant Christian, and was present in the fighting against the Pequot Indians. Concerning the prisoners taken, Hugh Peters wrote:—

"Sir,—Mr. Endicott and myself salute you in the Lord Jesus, etc. [sic]. We have heard of a divisioning of women and children in the Bay, and would be glad of a share, viz. a young woman or girl, and a boy if you think good. I wrote to you for some boys to Bermuda.

"Hugh Peters."

These prisoners were used as slaves, and sold just as were the negroes later. Peters, we are informed, was not friendly to the notion of converting the Indians to Christianity. He would entertain compunction about enslaving them should they embrace the gospel. However, money was sent over from England for this purpose, and—at the suggestion of Peters. In the Colonial State Papers (Saintsbury, America and West Indies, 1661-8, p. 86), is this passage: "Through the motion of Hugh Peters, England contributed nine hundred pounds per annum to Christianize the Indians of New England; which money found its way into private men's purses, and was a cheat of Hugh Peters."

In New England Peters married a second wife, in 1639, another widow, by name Deliverance Sheffield.

In 1641 he left for England, deputed by the colony to act as ambassador at the Court of Charles I, to endeavour to procure some mitigation of the excise and customs duties, which weighed heavily on the colonists.

But on reaching England he found that the Crown and the Parliament were at variance, and he did not care to return to America and to his wife whom he had[Pg 36] left there, but elected to be the stormy petrel of the rebellion, flying over the land, and, as Ludlow says, advising the people everywhere to take arms in the cause of the Parliament.

He was appointed chaplain to a brigade of troops sent into Ireland against the rebels, and he had no hesitation in wielding the sword as well as the tongue, the latter to animate the soldiers, the former to extirpate the Baal-worshippers.

Then he hastened to Holland, where he collected thirty thousand pounds for the relief of the Protestants of Ireland,[4] who had been plundered and burnt out of their homes by the rebels.

When Peters had effected his various purposes in Ireland, he returned to England, and made his report of the condition of affairs there to Sir Thomas Fairfax and Cromwell.

In 1643 he was appointed, or thrust himself forward, to minister to Chaloner on the scaffold, as that man had been condemned to death for participation in Waller's plot. So again in 1644 he was on the scaffold haranguing and praying for and at Sir John Hotham, who probably would have preferred to die in quiet.

Peters was now engaged as chaplain to the Parliamentary forces, and especially as a conveyer of despatches, for all which he received liberal payment. He was with the Earl of Warwick at the taking of Lyme, and was despatched by that nobleman to London to give an account of the affair in Parliament. On another occasion he was entrusted with letters from Sir Thomas Fairfax relating to the capture of Bridgwater, on which occasion he was voted[Pg 37] a sum of £100. In the same year, 1645, he was commissioned by Sir Thomas to report the taking of Bristol. In March of that year Hugh Peters was with the army in Cornwall, and harangued at Bodmin against the Crown and the Church, and exhorted all good men and true to adhere to the cause of the Parliament.

Peters had uniformly, since he had been in the Low Countries, postured as an Independent hot and strong. Hitherto the Presbyterians had the prevailing party in Parliament, and among the discontents in the country, but now the Independents began to assert themselves and assume predominance. Their numbers were greatly increased by the return of the more fiery spirits who had, like Peters, abandoned England during the supremacy of Laud. Many of these, coming back from New England, had carried the doctrines of Puritanism to the very verge of extravagance, and not the least fiery and extravagant of these was Hugh Peters. These men rejected all ecclesiastical establishments, would admit of no spiritual authority in one man above another, and allowed of no interposition of the magistrate in religious matters. Each congregation, voluntarily united, was an integral and independent church, to exercise its own jurisdiction. The political system of the Independents was one of pure republicanism. They aspired to a total abolition of monarchy, even of the aristocracy, and projected a commonwealth in which all men should be equal. Sir Harry Vane, Oliver Cromwell, Nathaniel Fiennes, and Oliver St. John, the Solicitor-General, were regarded as their leaders, and Hugh Peters as their prophet.

Peters brought the news to Parliament of the capture of Winchester Castle, for which service he was paid[Pg 38] £50. When Dartmouth was taken, he hastened thence to London, laden with crucifixes, vestments, papers, and sundry church ornaments, of which he had despoiled the beautiful church of S. Saviour's; and received in recompense from the Parliament an estate of which the House had deprived Lord Craven.

When the city of Worcester was besieged in the year 1646 by the Parliamentary forces, the governor consented to surrender on condition that passes were given to the soldiers and to the principal inhabitants. Peters negotiated the surrender.

A Mr. Habingdon, who wrote an account of the siege at the time, and who died in the ensuing year, relates that on the 23rd July, 1646, many gentlemen went to six o'clock prayers at the cathedral to take the last sad farewell of the church services, the organs having been removed three days before, and that at ten o'clock in the morning the several regiments marched forth, and all the gentlemen with the baggage; and that at one o'clock Peters brought them their passes, and importuned every one individually to pass his word not again to bear arms against the Parliament.

Hugh Peters was now such a favourite with the Parliament that they made an order for £100 a year to himself and his heirs for ever; later an additional £200 per annum was voted to him, and all this in addition to his pay as preacher, and to sundry grants as bearer of news from the army. He was also accorded Archbishop Laud's library. Nevertheless, as he lamented in his Legacy of a Dying Father, he found it impossible to keep out of debt.

There is this in Peters' favour to be urged, that he opposed the execution of Archbishop Laud, and urged that instead he should be sent to New England. So he begged the life of Lord George Goring, Earl of[Pg 39] Norwich, and of the Marquis of Hamilton, and again of the Marquis of Worcester.

The Presbyterians were in force in the House of Commons, but the army was composed mainly of Independents, worked up to enthusiasm by their preachers. It had been six months in the field in the summer of 1648, engaged against the Cavaliers and Scots. The soldiers were thoroughly incensed against the King, and they had no respect for the Presbyterians. Their officers resolved on assuming the sovereign power in their own hands, and bringing the King to justice, and converting the Government into a commonwealth.

To accomplish this they presented a remonstrance to the Parliament by six of their council on November 20th, demanding: (1) that the King be brought to trial for high treason; (2) that a day be set for the Prince of Wales and the Duke of York to surrender themselves, or to be declared incapable of government, and that in future no king should be admitted but by the free election of the people.

The Commons were struck with dismay, and deferred debate on the remonstrance for ten days. But the officers despatched Colonel Ewes to the Isle of Wight with a party of horse to secure the King's person, and to bring him to Windsor, in order to his trial. The officers then, on November 30th, sent a declaration to the House to enforce their late remonstrance, and requiring the majority in the House to exclude from their councils such as would obstruct the King's trial.

On December 2nd Fairfax arrived in London at the head of the army, and the House of Commons found itself cornered by the armed force. Nevertheless, they had the courage to vote that the seizure of the King, and the conveying him a prisoner to Hurst Castle, had been done without their advice and consent.

[Pg 40]

The officers were resolved to carry their point. A regiment of horse and another of foot were placed at the door of the Parliament House, and Colonel Pride entered and took into custody about forty of the members who were disposed to obstruct the cause the army sought to pursue, and denied entrance to about a hundred more; others were ordered to leave; and the number of those present was thus thinned down to a hundred and fifty or two hundred, most of them officers of the army.

The secluded members published a protestation against all these proceedings as null and void till they were restored to their places; but the Lords and Commons who remained in the House voted their protestation false, scandalous, and seditious.

The army, having vanquished all opposition, went on to change the whole form of government; and to make way for it determined to impeach the King of high treason, as having been the cause of all the blood that had been spilt in the late war.

There was commotion in the House and in town and the country. In the House some declared that there was no need to bring the King to trial; others said that there existed no law by which he could be tried; but all this was overruled.

Meanwhile Hugh Peters was not idle. In a sermon addressed to the members of the two Houses a few days before the King's trial he said: "My Lords, and you noble Gentlemen,—It is you we chiefly look for justice from. Do you prefer the great Barabbas, Murderer, Tyrant, and Traitor, before these poor hearts (pointing to the red coats) and the army who are our saviour?"

In another sermon before Cromwell and Bradshaw he said: "There is a great discourse and talk in the[Pg 41] world, What, will ye cut off the head of a Protestant Prince? Turn to your Bibles, and ye shall find it there, Whosoever sheds man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed. I see neither King Charles, Prince Charles, Prince Rupert, nor Prince Maurice, nor any of that rabble excepted out of it."

Evelyn in his Diary, under date 17th January, 1648-9, says: "I heard the rebel Peters invite the rebel powers met in the Painted Chamber to destroy his Majesty." Bishop Burnet says: "That he (Peters) had been outrageous in pressing the King's death with the cruelty and rudeness of an inquisitor."

Prynne, one of the secluded members, published "A brief memento to the present unparliamentary junto, touching their present intentions and proceedings to depose and execute Charles Stuart, their lawful King of England."

The officers now decided to gain the approval of the ministers—Presbyterian—in London, or at least persuade them to remain neutral.

Hugh Peters was selected for the purpose, and he went among them, but all his efforts were fruitless. They declared unanimously for the release of the King. He then invited several of them, Calamy, Whitaker, Sedgwick, etc., to a conference with some of the officers; but instead of attending, the ministers assembled in Sion College and drew up "A serious and faithful representation of the judgment of the ministers of the Gospel within the province of London," dated 18th January, 1648-9. In this they protested against the coercive measures adopted toward the Parliament, and bade them beware of proceeding to extremities. "Examine your consciences, if any number of persons of different principles from yourselves had invaded the rights of Parliament, imprisoned the King, and carried[Pg 42] him about from place to place, and attempted the dissolution of the whole government, whether you would not have charged them with the highest crimes."

This was subscribed by forty-seven ministers.

A second paper, "A vindication of the London ministers from the unjust aspersions ... as if they had promoted the bringing of the King to capital punishment," appeared shortly after, signed by fifty-seven ministers.

Even the Independent preachers shrank from approving the proceedings of the council of officers in the trial of the King, with the exception of Hugh Peters and John Goodwin. Some of the Independent ministers in the country joined the Presbyterians in protesting against them.

But it was all in vain. The King was tried and sentenced to death, and executed on 30th January, 1649. Rumour had it that the masked executioner was none other than Peters himself. This he denied, asserting that on the day of the King's death he was ill in bed. He had certainly been about and preaching not many days before.

Who the executioner was, was never discovered, and Peters was not charged as such when tried for his life in 1660.

In Epulæ Thyestæ, printed in 1649, Peters is accused of having been the executioner of King Charles:—

There's Peters, the Denyer, (nay 'tis sad)
He that, disguised, cut off his Master's head;
That godly pigeon of Apostacy
Does buz about his Ante-Monarchy,
His scaffold Doctrines.

But there was an element of kindness in Hugh Peters that induced him to do gracious acts even to those whom he hated. Whitelocke assures us that "at a conference[Pg 43] between him (Peters) and the King, the King desired one of his own chaplains might be permitted to come to him" on the occasion of his execution; he had refused the ministrations of the Presbyterian divines, "and thereupon the Bishop of London was ordered to go to his Majesty."

On a former occasion a message from the Queen was allowed to be transmitted to the King through the instrumentality of Peters.

In his letter to his daughter Peters says: "I had access to the King—he used me civilly, I, in requital, offered my poor thoughts three times for his safety." It was an impertinence in the man to approach the King, when he had stirred up the army to demand his death, and had raced about London endeavouring to get the approval of the sentence from the ministers. Although we cannot believe that Hugh Peters was the executioner of Charles, yet he cannot be acquitted of being a regicide, on the same principle as the trumpeter in the fable was condemned to be hanged. His plea that he had not drawn a sword in the battle was not held to justify him—he had sounded the charge and summoned to the battle.

Peters was one of the Triers appointed by Cromwell to test the parochial clergy, and to eject from their livings such as did not approve themselves to their judgment as fitting pastors to the flock either by their morals or theological opinions.

Every parishioner who bore a grudge against his pastor was invited to lay his grievances before the Grand Committee. Lord Clarendon says: "Petitions presented by many parishioners against their pastors, with articles of their misdemeanours and behaviours ... were read with great delight and promptly referred to the Committee about Religion." The matter[Pg 44] of these accusations was for the most part, as Clarendon informs us, "bowing at the name of Jesus, and obliging the communicants to the altar, i.e. to the rails which enclosed the Communion table, to receive the sacrament." What the Puritans desired was that the minister should walk about the church distributing to the people in the pews. The observance of all holy days except Sundays had already been forbidden. A priest who said service on Christmas Day or Good Friday was certain of deprivation. But the great question put to each rector or vicar was, "whether he had any experience of a work of grace" in his heart, and the answer to this determined whether he should be allowed to hold his cure or be thrust out, apart from all question of moral fitness. That there were a host of lukewarm, indifferent men in the ministry, caring little for religion and knowing little, without fixed convictions, cannot be wondered at, after the swaying of the pendulum of belief during the last reigns, and these would be precisely the men who would be able volubly to assert their experience of divine grace, and abandon doctrines they never sincerely held and ceremonies about which they cared nothing. There were vicars of Bray everywhere.

Butler hits off the work of the Triers in Hudibras:—

Whose business is, by cunning sight,
To cast a figure for men's light;
To find in lines of Beard and Face
The Physiognomy of Grace;
And by the Sound and Twang of Nose,
If all the sound within disclose;
Free from a crack or flaw of sinning,
As men try pipkins by the ringing.

Peters was next appointed a commissioner for the amending of the laws, though he had no knowledge of law. He said himself, in his Legacy: "When I was a[Pg 45] trier of others, I went to hear and gain experience, rather than to judge; when I was called to mend laws, I rather was there to pray than to mend laws." Whitelocke says: "I was often advised with by some of this committee, and none of them was more active in this business than Mr. Hugh Peters, the minister, who understood little of the law, but was very opinionative, and would frequently mention some proceedings of law in Holland, wherein he was altogether mistaken."

Peters was chaplain to the Protector, and certainly in one way or another made a good deal of money. Dr. Barwick in his Life says:[5] "The wild prophecies uttered by his (Hugh Peters') impure mouth were still received by the people with the same veneration as if they had been oracles; though he was known to be infamous for more than one kind of wickedness. A fact which Milton himself did not dare to deny when he purposely wrote his Apology, for this very end, to defend even by name, as far as possible, the very blackest of the conspirators, and Hugh Peters among the chief of them, who were by name accused of manifest impieties by their adversaries." Bishop Burnet says as well: "He was a very vicious man."

Peters by his wife—his second wife, Deliverance, the widow of a Mr. Sheffield—became the father of the Elizabeth Peters to whom he addressed his Dying Father's Last Legacy.

The Dutch having been disconcerted by the defeats of their fleets by Admiral Blake, and the messengers they had sent to England having failed to satisfy Cromwell, in the beginning of the year 1653 they commissioned Colonel Doleman and others to learn the sentiments of the leading men in Parliament, and to gain over to the cause of peace Hugh Peters, as Cromwell's[Pg 46] influential chaplain. Peters had always entertained a tenderness for the Dutch, and he interceded on their behalf, and the Dutch gave him £300,000 wherewith to bribe and purchase the amity of Parliament and the Protector. That a good share of this gold adhered to Peters' fingers we may be pretty confident; and indeed it was intended that it should do so. The attempt, however, did not succeed, and when the negotiations were broken off, the Dutch fitted out another fleet under Van Tromp, De Witt, and De Ruyter, and appointed four other deputies to go upon another embassy to England. These men arrived on July 2nd, 1658, and "all joined in one petition for a common audience, praying thrice humbly that they should have a favourable answer, and beseeching the God of Peace to co-operate."[6]

These ambassadors, like the foregoing, sought out Peters and engaged his services. After several interviews, peace was at last concluded 2nd May, 1654. In the Justification of the War, by Stubbe, is an engraving that represents the four deputies presenting their humble petition to Peters.

In 1655 feeling in England was greatly stirred by the account that reached the country of the persecution of the Waldenses in the valleys of Piedmont. Cromwell at once ordered a collection for the sufferers to be made throughout the kingdom, and it amounted to upwards of £38,000. In this Peters took an active part. Ludlow says: "He was a diligent and earnest solicitor for the distressed Protestants of the valleys of Piedmont."

Soon after the affair of the persecuted Waldenses was concluded the Protector formed an alliance, offensive and defensive, with the French, in which it was agreed that Dunkirk should be delivered up to[Pg 47] him. In consequence of this agreement six thousand men were sent over to join the French army, and Peters received a commission to attend them thither. The town of Dunkirk, in consequence of this league, was taken from the Spaniards, and on the 26th of June, 1658, was delivered to Colonel Lockart, Cromwell's ambassador at the French Court.

Lockart wrote the following letter to Secretary Thurloe:—

"Dunkirk, July 8-18th, 1658.

"May it please your Lordship,

"I could not suffer my worthy friend, Mr. Peters, to come away from Dunkirk without a testimony of the great benefits we have all received from him in this place, where he hath laid himself forth in great charity and goodness in sermons, prayers, and exhortations, in visiting and relieving the sick and wounded; and, in all these, profitably applying the singular talent God hath bestowed upon him to the chief ends, proper for an auditory. For he hath not only showed the soldiers their duty to God, and pressed it home upon them, I hope with good advantage, but hath likewise acquainted them with their obligations of obedience to his Highness's government and affection to his person. He hath laboured amongst us here with such goodwill, and seems to enlarge his heart towards us, and care of us for many other things, the effects whereof I design to leave upon that Providence which has brought us hither.... Mr. Peters hath taken leave at least three or four times, but still something falls out which hinders his return to England. He hath been twice at Bergh, and hath spoke with the Cardinal (Mazarin) three or four times; I kept myself by, and had a care that he did not importune him with too long speeches. He returns,[Pg 48] loaden with an account of all things here, and hath undertaken every man's business. I must give him that testimony, that he gave us three or four very honest sermons; and if it were possible to get him to mind preaching, and to forbear the troubling himself with other things, he would certainly prove a very fit minister for soldiers. I hope he cometh well satisfied from this place. He hath often insinuated to me his desire to stay here, if he had a call. Some of the officers also have been with me to that purpose; but I have shifted him so handsomely as, I hope, he will not be displeased. For I have told him that the greatest service he can do us is to go to England and carry on his propositions, and to own us in all other interests, which he hath undertaken with much zeal."

This letter lets us see what were some of Peters' weaknesses. He was vastly loquacious, so that Colonel Lockart had to see to it that he did not "importune the Cardinal with too long speeches," and he was conceited, self-opinionated, and meddlesome, interfering in matters beyond his province, so that the Colonel was heartily glad to be rid of him from Dunkirk.

That there was humour in Hugh Peters, not unfrequently running into profanity, would appear from a work, "The Tales and Jests of Mr. Hugh Peters, collected into one volume; published by one that hath formerly been conversant with the Author in his lifetime; dedicated to Mr. John Goodwin and Mr. Philip Nye." London, 1660.

These appeared in the same year under a different title—"Hugh Peters, his figaries, or his merry tales and witty jests both in city, town, and country." It was reprinted by James Caulfield in 1807.

A few of these will suffice.

Peters had preached for two hours; the sands in the[Pg 49] hour-glass had run out. He observed it, and turning it over, said to his hearers: "Come, let us have another glass!"

Once he preached: "Beware, young men, of the three W's—Wine, Women, and Tobacco. Now Tobacco, you will say, does not begin with a W. But what is Tobacco but a weed?"

Another of his jests in the pulpit was, "England will never prosper till one hundred and fifty are taken away." The explanation is L L L—Lords, Lawyers, and Levites.

Preaching on the devils entering into the swine (S. Mark v. 23), he said that the miracle illustrated three English proverbs:—

1. That the devil will rather play at small game than sit out.

2. That those must needs go forward whom the devil drives.

3. That at last he brought his hogs to a fair market.

It was a favourite saying of Peters that in Christendom there were neither scholars enough, gentlemen enough, nor Jews enough; for, said he, if there were more scholars there would not be so many pluralists in the Church; if there were more gentry, so many born would not be reckoned among them; if there were more Jews, so many Christians would not practise usury.

One rainy day Oliver Cromwell offered Peters his greatcoat. "No, thank you," replied his chaplain; "I would not be in your coat for a thousand pounds."

Discoursing one day on the advantage Christians had in having the Gospel preached to them—"Verily," said he, "the Word hath a free passage amongst you, for it goes in at one ear and out at the other."

[Pg 50]

Preaching on the subject of duties, he said:—

"Observe the three fools in the Gospel, who, being bid to the wedding supper, every one had his excuse—

"1. He that had hired a farm and must go see it. Had he not been a fool, he would have seen it before hiring it.

"2. He that had bought a yoke of oxen and must go try them. He also was a fool, because he did not try them before he bought them.

"3. He that married a wife, and without complement said he could not come. He too was a fool, for he showed that one woman drew him away, more than a whole yoke of oxen did the former."

Peters, invited to dinner at a friend's house, knowing him to be very wealthy and his wife very fat, said at table to his host, "Truly, sir, you have the world and the flesh, but pray God you get not the devil in the end."

The copy of the Tales and Jests of Hugh Peters in the British Museum has notes to some of them, showing that the writer regarded a certain number as genuine anecdotes of Peters. Most of the others are either older stories, or else have little or no wit in them.

The above anecdotes are some of those thus noted.

That Hugh Peters was a wag Pepys lets us know, for he speaks of a Scottish chaplain at Whitehall, after the Restoration, a Dr. Creighton, whose humour reminded the diarist of Peters: "the most comical man that ever I heard; just such a man as Hugh Peters."

At the Restoration he was executed as a regicide. He was not directly implicated in the King's death, and all that he could be accused of was using words incentive to regicide. That he had been the executioner was not charged against him. There was no evidence. The accusations Hugh Peters had to meet were that he[Pg 51] had encouraged the soldiers to cry out for the blood of the King, whom he had likened to Barabbas; that he had preached against him; that he had accused the Levites, Lords, and Lawyers—the three L's, or the Hundred and Fifty, in allusion to the numerical value of the numbers—as men who should be swept out of the Commonwealth; that he had declared the King to be a tyrant, and that the office of King was useless and dangerous.

Peters pleaded that he had been living fourteen years out of England, and that when he came home he found that the Civil War had already begun; that he had not been at Edgehill or Naseby; that he had looked after three things only—the introduction into the country of what he considered to be sound religion, the maintenance of learning, and the relief of the poor. He further stated that on coming to England he had considered it his duty to side with the Parliament, and that he had acted without malice, avarice, or ambition.

The jury, with very little consultation, returned a verdict of guilty, and he was sentenced to death.

On the 16th October Coke, the solicitor for the people of England who had acted against the King at his trial, and Hugh Peters, who had stood and preached that no mercy should be shown him, were to die.

On the hurdle which carried Coke was placed the head of Harrison, who had been executed the day before—a piece of needless brutality, which the people who lined the streets indignantly resented. On the scaffold Coke declared that for the part he had borne in the trial of Charles I he in no way repented of what he had done. Hugh Peters was made to witness all the horrible details of Coke's execution, the hanging, the disembowelling. He sat within the rails which surrounded[Pg 52] the scaffold. According to Ludlow: "When this victim (Coke) was cut down and brought to be quartered, one Colonel Turner called to the sheriff's men to bring Mr. Peters to see what was doing; which being done, the executioner came to him, and rubbing his bloody hands together, asked him how he liked that work. He told him he was not at all terrified, and that he might do his worst, and when he was on the ladder he said to the sheriff, 'Sir, you have butchered one of the servants of God before my eyes, and have forced me to see it, in order to terrify and discourage me; but God has permitted it for my support and encouragement.'"

A man upbraided Peters with the King's death. "Friend," said Peters, "you do not well to trample upon a dying man: you are greatly mistaken; I had nothing to do in the death of the King."

As he was going to the gallows, he looked about him and espied a man with whom he was acquainted, and to him he gave a piece of money, having first bent it; and he desired the man to carry that piece of gold to his daughter as a token, and to assure her that his heart was full of comfort, and that before that piece would reach her hand he would be with God in glory. Then the old preacher, who had lived in storms and whirlwinds, died with a quiet smile on his countenance.

That a considerable portion of the community regarded the execution of the regicides as a crime, and those who suffered as martyrs, would appear from the pains taken to vilify their memory when dead, and attempts made to justify their execution.

The authorities for the life of Hugh Peters are mainly: Memoirs of Edmund Ludlow, 1771; B. Whitelocke's Memorials of English Affairs, 1732; Rushworth's[Pg 53] Collections, 1692; Bishop Burnet's History of His Own Time, 1724; John Thurloe's Collection of State Papers, 1742; J. B. Felt's Ecclesiastical History of New England, 1855; Benjamin Brooke's Puritans, 1813, Vol. III; The Trial of Charles I and of Some of the Regicides, in Murray's Family Library, 1832; the Rev. Samuel Peters' A History of the Rev. Hugh Peters, New York, 1807; An Historical and Critical Account of Hugh Peters (with portrait), London, 1751, reprinted 1818; Felt (Joseph B.), Memoir, a Defence of Hugh Peters, Boston, 1857; Colomb (Colonel), The Prince of Army Chaplains, London, 1899; also Gardiner's (S. R.) History of the Commonwealth, and the Dictionary of National Biography, passim.

[Pg 54]


James Polkinghorne, the noted champion wrestler of Cornwall, was the son of James Polkinghorne, who died at Creed, 18th March, 1836. The wrestler James was born at S. Keverne in 1788, but there is no entry of his baptism in the parish register.

Cornish wrestling was very different from that in Devon—it was less brutal, as no kicking was allowed. The Devon wrestlers wore boots soaked in bullock's blood and indurated at the fire, and with these hacked the shins of their opponents, who wore as a protection skillibegs, or bands of hay twisted and wrapped round their legs below the knee.

I have so fully described the wrestling in my Devonshire Characters and Strange Events, that it is unnecessary here to go over the same ground more than cannot be helped.

There was a Cornish jingle that ran as follows:—

Chacewater boobies up in a tree,
Looking as whish'd as ever could be,
Truro men, strong as oak,
Knock 'em down at every stroke—

that had reference to the wrestling matches.

In 1816 Polkinghorne, who had become the innkeeper of the "Red Lion," S. Columb Major, wrestled with Flower, a Devonshire man of gigantic stature,[Pg 55] and threw him. Then Jackman, another Devonian, challenged Polkinghorne, and he was cast over the head of the Cornishman, describing the "flying mare." But the most notable contest in which Polkinghorne was engaged was with Abraham Cann, the Devonshire champion. The match was for £200 a side, for the best of three back-falls; and it took place on October 23rd, 1826, on Tamar Green, Morice Town, Plymouth, in the presence of seventeen thousand spectators. I have quoted the account already in my Devonshire Characters, but cannot omit it here.


From a drawing as he appeared in the Ring at Devonport on Monday, 23 October, 1826, when he threw Abm. Cann, the Champion of Devonshire, for a stake of 200 sovereigns

"Tamar Green, Devonport, was chosen for the purpose, and the West was alive with speculation when it was known that the backers meant business. On the evening before the contest the town was inundated, and the resources of its hotels and inns were taxed to the utmost. Truculent and redoubtable gladiators flocked to the scene—kickers from Dartmoor, the recruiting-ground of the Devonshire system, and bearlike huggers from the land of Tre, Pol, and Pen—a wonderful company of tried and stalwart experts. Ten thousand persons bought tickets at a premium for seats, and the hills around swarmed with spectators. The excitement was at the highest possible pitch, and overwhelming volumes of cheering relieved the tension as the rivals entered the ring—Polkinghorne in his stockings, and Cann with a monstrous pair of shoes whose toes had been baked into flints. As the men peeled for action such a shout ascended as awed the nerves of all present. Polkinghorne had been discounted as fat and unwieldy, but the Devonians were dismayed to find that, great as was his girth, his arms were longer, and his shoulders immensely powerful. Three stone lighter in weight, Cann displayed a more sinewy form, and his figure was knit for strength, and as statuesquely proportioned.[Pg 56] His grip, like Polkinghorne's, was well known. No man had ever shaken it off when once he had clinched; and each enjoyed a reputation for presence of mind and resource in extremity beyond those of other masters of the art. The match was for the best of three back-falls, the men to catch what hold they could; and two experts from each county were selected as sticklers. The feeling was in favour of Cann at the outset, but it receded as the Cornishman impressed the multitude with his muscular superiority. Repeatedly shifting their positions, the combatants sought their favourite 'holds.' As soon as Cann caught his adversary by the collar, after a contending display of shifty and evasive form, Polkinghorne released himself by a feint; and, amid 'terrible shouts from the Cornishmen,' he drove his foe to his knees.

"Nothing daunted, the Devonian accepted the Cornish hug, and the efforts of the rivals were superb. Cann depended on his science to save him, but Polkinghorne gathered his head under his arm, and lifting him from the ground, threw him clean over his shoulder, and planted him on his back. The very earth groaned with the uproar that followed; the Cornishmen jumped by hundreds into the ring; there they embraced their champion till he begged to be released; and, amid cheers and execrations, the fall was announced to have complied with the conditions. Bets to the amount of hundreds of pounds were decided by this event.

"Polkinghorne now went to work with caution, and Cann was conscious that he had an awkward customer to tackle. After heavy kicking and attempted hugging, the Cornishman tried once more to lift his opponent; but Cann caught his opponent's leg in his descent, and threw him to the ground first. In the ensuing rounds both men played for wind. Polkinghorne was the[Pg 57] more distressed, his knees quite raw with punishment, and the betting veered in Cann's favour. Then the play changed, and Cann was apparently at the mercy of his foe, when he upset Polkinghorne's balance by a consummate effort, and threw him on his back by sheer strength—the first that the sticklers allowed him. Cann next kicked tremendously; but although the Cornishman suffered severely, he remained 'dead game,' and twice saved himself by falling on his chest.

"Disputes now disturbed the umpires, and their number was reduced to two. In the eighth round Polkinghorne's strength began to fail, and a dispute was improvised which occasioned another hour's delay. With wind regained and strength revived, the tenth round was contested with absolute fury; and, taking kicking with fine contempt, Polkinghorne gripped Cann with leonine majesty, lifted him from the earth in his arms, turned him over his head, and dashed him to the ground with stunning force. As the Cornishman dropped on his knee the fall was disputed, and the turn was disallowed. Polkinghorne then left the ring amid a mighty clamour, and by reason of his default the stakes were awarded to Cann. The victor emerged from the terrific hug of his opponent with a mass of bruises, which proved that kicking was only one degree more effective than hugging.

"A more unsatisfactory issue could hardly have been conceived, and the rival backers forthwith endeavoured to arrange another encounter. Polkinghorne refused to meet Cann, however, unless he discarded his shoes."[7]

Various devices were attempted to bring them together again, but they failed. Each had a wholesome dread of the other.

[Pg 58]

An account of the contest was written as a ballad and was entitled "A New Song on the Wrestling Match between Cann and Polkinghorne," that was to be sung to the tune "The Night I Married Susy," or else to "The Coronation."

Full accounts are to be found in The Sporting Magazine, London, LXVII, 165-6; LXIX, 55-6, 215, 314-16, 344. In the Annual Register, chronicle 1826, 157-8.

Polkinghorne died at S. Columb, on September 15th, 1854, at the age of seventy-six, twenty-eight years after his match with Cann. He was buried on September 17th.

[Pg 59]


Helston is a quaint old town, once of far more importance than at present. It possessed an old castle, that has now disappeared. It was one of the six stannary towns, and prior to 1832 returned two members to Parliament. It still glories in its "Furry Day," when the whole town goes mad, dancing, in spite of Methodism. It has on some of its old house-gables pixy seats, and it had a grammar school that has had notable masters, as Derwent Coleridge, and notable scholars, as Henry Trengrouse. It is the key and capital to that wonderful district, rich in geological and botanic and antiquarian interest, the Lizard.

The great natural curiosity of Helston is Loe Pool, formed by the Comber, a small river, penned back by Loe Bar, a pebble-and-sand ridge thrown up by the sea. The sheet of water lying between wooded hills abounds in trout, and white swans float dreamily over the still water. The banks are rich with fern, and yellow, white, and pink mesembryanthemum. Formerly the pool rose till it overflowed the lower parts of the town; now a culvert has been driven through the rocks to let off the water as soon as it has attained a certain height.

Henry Trengrouse was born at Helston, 18th March, 1772, the son of Nicholas Trengrouse (1739-1814), and of Mary, his wife, who was a Williams.

The family had been long among the freeholders of[Pg 60] Helston, and possessed as well a small estate, Priske, in the parish of Mullion; but the family name is taken from Tref-an-grouse, the House by the Cross, in the same parish.

Henry was educated in Helston Grammar School, and became, by trade, a cabinet-maker.

On 29th December, 1807, when he was aged thirty-five, a rumour spread through the little town that a large frigate, H.M.S. Anson, had been driven ashore on Loe Bar, about three miles distant. Mr. Trengrouse and many others hastened to the coast and reached the bar.

The Anson, forty-four guns, under the command of Captain Lydiard, had left Falmouth on Christmas Eve for her station off Brest as a look-out ship for the Channel Fleet.

A gale from the W.S.W. sprang up, and after being buffeted about till the 28th, with the wind increasing, the captain determined to run to port. The first land they made was the Land's End, which they mistook for the Lizard, and only discovered their mistake when the cry of "Breakers ahead!" was heard from the man on the look-out. They were now embayed, and in face of the terrible storm it was impossible to work off, so both cables were let go. The Anson rode to these till the early morning of the 29th, when they parted, and the captain, in order to save as many lives as possible, decided to beach her on the sand off Loe Pool. A tremendous sea was running, and as she took the beach only sixty yards from the bar, she was dashed broadside on, and happily for the poor fellows on board, heeled landwards. Seas mountains high rolled over her, sweeping everything before them. Then her masts went by the board, her main mast forming a floating raft from the ship almost to the shore, and over this[Pg 61] scrambled through the maddened waves most of those who were saved.


From an oil painting by Opie the younger, reproduced by permission of Mr. H. Trengrouse

It was a terrible sight to witness for the hundreds of spectators who had by this time collected on the beach, but it was almost impossible for them to render any assistance.

At last, when all hands seemed to have left the ship, two stout-hearted Methodist local preachers—Mr. Tobias Roberts, of Helston, and Mr. Foxwell, of Mullion—made an attempt to reach her, so as to see if any one remained on board. They succeeded, and were soon followed by others, who found several people, including two women and as many children. The women and some of the men were safely conveyed ashore, but the children were drowned. There were altogether upwards of a hundred drowned, including the captain, who stood by the frigate to the last. The exact number was never known, as many of the soldiers deserted on reaching the shore.

The survivors salved a good deal from the wreck, amongst which were watches, jewellery, and many articles of considerable value. They were placed all together in a bedroom of the old inn at Porthleven, with a soldier with drawn sword on guard. One of the beams that bent under such an unusual weight may be seen bowed to this day. A local militia sergeant was soon afterwards sent to Helston in charge of a wagon-load of these valuable goods, and when half-way to his destination was accosted by a Jew, who offered him £50 in exchange for his load. "Here is my answer," said the sergeant, presenting a loaded pistol at his head, and the fellow hurriedly took his departure.

Much indignation was raised at the time by the way in which the victims of the disaster were buried. They were bundled in heaps into large pits dug in the cliff[Pg 62] above, without any burial service being performed over them. It was customary everywhere at that time for all bodies washed ashore to be interred by the finder at the nearest convenient spot. But as a result of the indecent methods of burial of the Anson victims, an Act of Parliament was framed by Mr. Davies Gilbert, and passed on 18th June, 1808, providing "suitable interment in churchyards and parochial burying-grounds" for all bodies cast up by the sea.

The Anson was a sixty-four gun frigate cut down to a forty-four, and had seen much service. Among many fights, she figured in Lord Rodney's action on 12th April, 1782, formed part of the fleet which repulsed the French squadron in an attempt to land in Ireland in 1796, helped in the seizure of the French West Indies in 1803, and in 1807 took part in the capture of Curaçao from the Dutch. It was not long after her return from this latter place that she left Falmouth for the cruise on which she met her fate.[8]

In 1902 the hull of the Anson, after having been submerged for ninety-five years, came to light again. She was found by Captain Anderson of the West of England Salvage Company, whose attention had been directed to the wreck by a Porthleven fisherman. Unfortunately at the time the weather was so stormy that Captain Anderson could not proceed with any efforts of salvage, and with the exception of one visit of inspection the interesting relic was left untouched. But in April, 1903, with a bright sky and a light breeze from the north-east, he proceeded to the spot and inspected the remains. The hull of the vessel was not intact, and several guns were lying alongside. One of these, about 10 ft. 6 in. long, Captain Anderson secured and hoisted on to the deck of the Green Castle by means[Pg 63] of a winch, and afterwards conveyed it to Penzance. It was much encrusted. Amongst the mass of débris also raised were several cannon-balls.

But to return to Henry Trengrouse, who had stood on the beach watching the wreck, the rescue of some and the perishing of others.

Drenched with rain and spray, and sick at heart, Henry Trengrouse returned to his home, and was confined to his bed for nearly a week, having contracted a severe cold. The terrible scene had made an indelible impression on his mind, and he could not, even if he had wished it, drive the thought away. Night and day he mused on the means whereby some assistance could be given to the shipwrecked, some communication be established between the vessel and the shore.

He was a great friend of Samuel Drew, whose life was devoted to metaphysics, and it was perhaps the contrast in the two minds that made them friends—one an idealist, the other practical.

Trengrouse had a small competence, besides his trade, and he devoted every penny that he could spare to experiments, first in the construction of a lifeboat, but without satisfactory results.

The King's birthday was celebrated at Helston with fireworks on the green; and as Henry Trengrouse looked up at the streak of fire rushing into the darkness above and scattering a shower of stars, it occurred to him, Why should not a rocket, instead of wasting itself in an exhibition of fireworks, do service and become a means of carrying a rope to a vessel among the breakers? When a communication has been established between the wreck and the shore, above the waves, it may become an aerial passage along which those in distress may pass to safety.

[Pg 64]

Something of the same idea had already occurred to Lieutenant John Bell in 1791, but his proposal was that a shot with a chain attached to it should be discharged from a mortar. Captain George William Manby had his attention drawn to this in February, 1807, and in August of the same year exhibited some experiments with his improved life-preserving mortar to the members of the Suffolk House Humane Society. By the discharge of the mortar a barbed shot was to be flung on to the wreck, with a line attached to the shot. By means of this line a hawser could be drawn from the shore to the ship, and along it would be run a cradle in which the shipwrecked persons could be drawn to land.

Manby's mortar was soon abandoned as cumbrous and dangerous; men were killed during tests; notwithstanding which he was awarded, £2000. The great merit of Trengrouse's invention was that the rocket was much lighter than a shot from a mortar, and was, moreover, more portable, and there was a special line manufactured for it that would not kink, nor would it snap, because the velocity of the rocket increased gradually, whereas that from a discharge of a mortar was sudden and so great that the cord was frequently ruptured.

The distinctive feature of Trengrouse's apparatus consisted of "a section of a cylinder, which is fitted to the barrel of a musket by a bayonet socket; a rocket with a line attached to its stick is so placed on it that its priming receives fire immediately from the barrel";[9] whereas a metal mortar could not be conveyed to the cliff or shore opposite the scene of disaster without[Pg 65] being drawn in a conveyance by horses, and where there was no road with the utmost difficulty dragged over hedges and ploughed fields by men. Not only so, but a shot discharged by Captain Manby's mortar was liable to endanger life. Wrecks generally happened in the dark, and then the shot would not be visible to those on the wreck. But Trengrouse's rocket would indicate its track by the trail of fire by which it was impelled, and could be fired from either the ship or the shore.

Trengrouse expended £3000 on his experiments, and sacrificed to this one object—that of saving life—his capital, his business, and his health. He cut off the entail on Priske, which had belonged to the family for several generations, and sold it to enable him to pursue his experiments. There was much that was pathetic in his life: there were the long and frequent journeys to London from Helston, four days by coach, sometimes in mid-winter and in snowstorms, with the object of inducing successive Governments to adopt the rocket apparatus, meeting only with discouragement. Nor was this all. After all his own means had been exhausted, he received a legacy of £500 under a brother's will, and this sum he at once devoted to further endeavours with H.M. Government for the general adoption of his rocket apparatus.

The Russian ambassador now stepped forward and invited Trengrouse to S. Petersburg, where he assured him that, instead of rebuffs, he would experience only the consideration due to him for his inventions. But Trengrouse's reply was, "My country first"; and that country allowed him, after the signal services he had rendered to humanity—to die penniless.

His original design was to supply every ship with a rocket apparatus; as vessels were almost invariably[Pg 66] wrecked before the wind, the line might the more easily be fired from a ship than from the shore.

Trengrouse once met Sir William Congreve, who also claimed to be the inventor of the war-rocket; and Trengrouse said to him in the course of their discussion, "As far as I can see, Sir William, your rocket is designed to destroy life; mine is to save life; and I do claim to be the first that ever thought of utilizing a rocket for the saving of human lives."[10]

Trengrouse moreover invented the cork jacket or "life preserver." This was a success, and has never been improved on. It has been the means of saving many hundreds of lives. He also built a model of a lifeboat, that could not be sunk, and was equal to the present lifeboats of the Royal Lifeboat Association in all respects except the "self-righting" principle. It was not until February 28th, 1818, after many journeys to London, and much ignorant and prejudiced objection that he had to contend against, such as is found so usual among Government officials, that Trengrouse was able to exhibit his apparatus before Admiral Sir Charles Rowley. A committee was appointed, and on March 5th it reported favourably on the scheme.

In the same year the Committee of the Elder Brethren of Trinity House reported in high terms on the invention, and recommended that "no vessel should be without it."

Thereupon Government began to move slowly; in the House the matter was discussed and haggled over. One speaker exclaimed: "You are guilty of sinful negligence in this matter, for while you are parleying over this invention and this important subject, thousands of our fellow-men are losing their lives."


From a sketch by H. Trengrouse

[Pg 67]

At last Government ordered twenty sets of the life-preserving rockets, but afterwards resolved on making the apparatus itself, and paid Trengrouse the sum of £50, the supposed amount of profit he would have made on the order. Fifty pounds was all his ungrateful country could afford to give him. In 1821, however, the Society of Arts pronounced favourably on his apparatus, and presented Trengrouse with their silver medal and a grant of thirty guineas.

Through the Russian ambassador, the then Czar sent him a diamond ring, in consideration of the great advantage his apparatus had proved in shipwrecks on the Baltic and the Black Sea. Even this he was constrained to pledge, that he might devote the money to his darling project.

With these acknowledgments of his services he had to rest contented; but ever the news of lives having been saved through his invention was a solace to an even and contented mind.

Henry Trengrouse died at Helston on February 19th, 1854.

As he lay on his death-bed with his face to the wall, he turned about, and with one of his bright, hopeful smiles said to his son, "If you live to be as old as I am, you will find my rocket apparatus all along our shores." They were his last words; in a few minutes he had passed away.

The rocket apparatus is along the shores at 300 stations, but not, as he had hoped, on board the vessels. He had despaired of obtaining that, yet that is what he aimed at principally.

In April, 1905, owing to the loss of the Kyber on the Land's End coast, questions were asked in the House of Commons relative to wireless telegraphy between the lighthouses and the coast. On that occasion[Pg 68] one of the most valuable suggestions was made by a shipping expert, who considered that the Board of Trade should make it compulsory that a light rocket apparatus should be carried by all vessels, so that, when in distress, if near the coast, the crew could send a rocket ashore. This marine engineer said: "On shore the rockets must be fired by practised men, such as coastguards, because they have to strike a small object; but on a vessel they have only to hit the land, and if people are about, the line will quickly be seized and made fast. At present, too, horses and wagons have to be used, and sometimes it is difficult to find a road leading down to the spot from which help must be rendered. Probably for twenty pounds an appliance could be kept on board a vessel which would send a line ashore in less time and with more certainty than at present. When a vessel is being blown ashore, I have seen rockets fired from the land return like a boomerang to the cliff on account of the strength of the gale. In my judgment, mariners should assist in their own salvation."

On this Mr. H. Trengrouse, grandson of the inventor, wrote to the Cornishman, 24th April, 1905:—

"Your suggestion in the Cornishman of the 15th instant ... that all vessels should be compelled by the Board of Trade to carry this apparatus, is very practical, and should, and I trust may, be soon adopted.

"It may interest your readers to learn that the inventor, my grandfather, the late Mr. Henry Trengrouse, of Helston, urged this upon successive Governments without any encouragement whatever, and I on two occasions have also suggested it to the principals of the Marine Department of the Board of Trade, who have informed me of a strong opinion always entertained, that on the occasion of wreck, there would[Pg 69] probably not be any one on board possessing sufficient knowledge of the use of the apparatus to render it of any value; which seems very strange indeed, and might be readily obviated by, at least, the captain and officers of vessels being instructed in its use—surely simple enough. My grandfather devoted much time to make it so; and the advantage of an appliance for use on board is so palpable, and the loss of life during many years by its absence so considerable, that it is extremely gratifying to observe a renewed and increasing interest in the subject, which I hope, Sir, as you state, being so important, may now be kept to the fore.

"I am, Sir,
"Your obedient servant,
"H. Trengrouse."

That this admirable letter to the Cornishman should at the time produce no effect on the Board of Trade is what every one who has had any dealings with that Board would predicate.

At length, however, some goading has roused that obstructive, inert body into inquiring into this matter. I read in the Daily Express of 27th January, 1908: "The question whether the carrying of rockets for projecting lifelines should be made compulsory on all British ships is being investigated by a special committee appointed by the Board of Trade. One witness before the committee said that he had seen fifty men drowned within sixty yards of the shore in a gale, and that all might have been saved had the vessel been equipped with line-throwing guns."

So—after the lapse of eighty-six or seven years, and the loss of thousands of lives that might have been saved had not the Board of Trade been too inert to move in the matter—an inquiry has once more been[Pg 70] instituted. Let us hope that after this inquiry the matter may not be allowed to fall again into neglect.

That the rocket fired from the shore has been already the means of saving lives, the following report on it made to the Board of Trade, for the year ending 30th June, 1907, will testify:—

"During the year ended as above, 268 lives were saved by means of the life-saving apparatus, that is to say, 127 more than the number saved by the same means during the previous year, and 67 more than the average for the previous ten years. The total number of lives saved by the life-saving apparatus since 1870 is 8924. This number does not include the large number of lives saved by means of ropes and other assistance from the shore."

After the loss of the Berlin, belonging to the Great Eastern Company, in 1907, the attention of the Dutch Government was called to the advantage of having the rocket apparatus on board ship, and legal instructions were drafted, making it obligatory upon all vessels of over two hundred tons gross to carry rocket apparatus.

Henry Trengrouse's noble life was a failure in so far as that it brought him no pecuniary results—covered him with disappointment, reduced him to poverty. He received, in all, for his life's work, and the sacrifice of fortune and the landed estate of his ancestors, £50 from Government, £31 10s. from the Society of Arts, and a diamond ring that in his time of need he was constrained to pawn, and which he was never able to redeem.

Russell Lowell puts these lines into the mouth of Cromwell, in his Glance behind the Curtain:—

My God, when I read o'er the bitter lives
Of men whose eager hearts are quite too great
To beat beneath the cramp'd mode of the day,
[Pg 71] And see them mocked at by the world they love,
Haggling with prejudice for pennyworths
Of that reform which this hard toil will make
The common birthright of the age to come—
When I see this, spite of my faith in God,
I marvel how their hearts bear up so long;
Nor could they, but for this same prophecy,
This inward feeling of the glorious end.

Henry Trengrouse married Mary, daughter of Samuel and Mary Jenken, 19th November, 1795. She was born at S. Erth, 9th September, 1772, and died at Helston, 27th March, 1863. By her he had one son only who reached manhood, Nicholas Trevenen Trengrouse, who died at the age of seventy-four; and one daughter, Jane, who married Thomas Rogers, solicitor, of Helston; Emma, who married a Mr. Matthews; and two, Mary and Anne, who died unmarried, the first at the age of eighty, the latter at that of ninety-four.

To Mr. Henry Trengrouse, the son of Mr. Nicholas T. Trengrouse, I am indebted for much information relative to his grandfather, as also to a lecture, never published, delivered in 1894 by the Rev. James Ninnis, who says in a letter to Mr. H. Trengrouse, junior: "Most of the detail I have taken from notes of my father, dated 1878; he got them from conversation with your respected father."

Mr. J. Ninnis' grandfather had stood on the beach by the side of Henry Trengrouse, watching the wreck of the Anson.

A portrait of the inventor, by Opie the younger, is in the possession of the family at Helston, as is also the picture of the wreck of the Anson sketched at the time by Mr. Trengrouse. For permission to reproduce both I am indebted to the courtesy of the grandson of the inventor.

[Pg 72]


IN April, 1720, Daniel Defoe published his History of the Life and Adventures of Mr. Duncan Campbell. In August a second edition was called for, of which some copies included a pamphlet that had been printed in June: "Mr. Campbell's Pacquet, for the Entertainment of Gentlemen and Ladies," and this "Pacquet" contains "A Remarkable Passage of an Apparition, related by the Rev. Dr. Ruddle, of Launceston, in Cornwall, in the year 1665."

It has been assumed that this ghost story was a bit of invention of the lively imagination of Defoe. Mrs. Bray in her Trelawny of Trelawne stated that the story could not be true, as no such a name as Dingley, which was that of the ghost, was known in Launceston. As it happened, James Dingley had been instituted to the vicarage of the very parish of South Petherwin, in which the ghost appeared, in the same reign in which the apparition occurred, and he assisted Ruddle in his ministrations in Launceston, and the name occurs to this day in the town and neighbourhood. In fact, Dingley, Pethebridge, and Dingley are bankers there.

In the same heedless fashion Cyrus Redding wrote in 1842 that the story was "told with so much simplicity of truth that it is difficult to believe that the tale is not, as novel writers say, 'founded on fact.'" And he goes on to state: "No clergyman of the name of Ruddle had been incumbent in Launceston for two hundred years past, at least in S. Mary's Church." Yet the monument[Pg 73] of Parson Ruddle is in the church, and he occupied the living from 1663 to his death in 1699.


From a painting in the possession of the Rev. S. Baring Gould

Again, Samuel Drew, in his History of Cornwall, blunders as to the locality, making the apparition appear in the parish of Little Petherick, near Padstow.

Next Mr. Hawker, of Morwenstow, fabricated a "Diurnall" of Ruddle, which adopted Drew's error, and by altering the date made the story as given by him disagree with the facts as they stand upon record.

The "Remarkable Passage of an Apparition" was no invention of Defoe; it was a genuine narrative written by the hand of John Ruddle himself. This has been conclusively demonstrated by the late Mr. Alfred Robbins in the Cornish Magazine, 1898.

John Ruddle, M.A. of Caius College, Cambridge, was instituted to the vicarage of Altarnon on May 24th, 1662; and the incumbency of S. Mary Magdalen, Launceston, becoming vacant by the ejection of the Independent intrusive pastor, Ruddle was appointed to it, and "began his ministry at Launceston on ye Feast of Our Saviour's Nativity, 1663." At the same time he received the appointment to the Launceston Free School as master.

Now it so fell out that he was invited on the 20th June, 1665, to preach a funeral sermon on the occasion of the burial of John Eliot at South Petherwin. John was the son of Edward Eliot, of Trebursey, who was the third son of Sir John Eliot, who died in the Tower of London.

After the conclusion of the service, Parson Ruddle was leaving the church, when an "ancient gentleman" addressed him, and, Ruddle says, "With an unusual importunity almost forced against my humour to see his house that night; nor could I have rescued myself from his kindness, had not Mr. Eliot interposed and[Pg 74] pleaded title to me for the whole of the day." However, Ruddle promised to call on the old gentleman, whose name was Bligh, and whose house was Botathan.

The Blighs were an ancient family, well connected and owning a good estate, but Botathan was not a house of any pretence, and it is now the dwelling of a farmer, and has not the appearance of having been the residence of a county family.

On the following Monday John Ruddle went to Botathan, where he partook of an early dinner, and a neighbouring parson had been invited to meet him.

"After dinner this brother of the coat undertook to show me the gardens, when, as I was walking, he gave me the first discovery of what was mainly intended in all this treat and compliment. First he began to tell the infortunity of the family in general, and then gave an instance in the youngest son. He related what a hopeful, sprightly lad he lately was, and how melancholic and sottish he was now grown. Then did he with much passion lament that his ill-humour should so incredibly subdue his reason; for, says he, the poor boy believes himself to be haunted with ghosts, and is confident that he meets with an evil spirit in a certain field about half a mile from this place as often as he goes that way to school.

"In the midst of our twaddle the old gentleman and his lady came up to us. Upon their approach, and pointing me to the arbour, the parson renews the relation to me; and they (the parents of the youth) confirmed what he said, and added many minute circumstances. In fine, they all three desired my thoughts and advice in the affair."

Neither the parents nor the parson who made this communication believed that the boy saw anything;[Pg 75] they shrewdly suspected that he was lazy, and made the apparition an excuse for not going to school.

Ruddle, however, saw the boy, and was convinced of his sincerity. "He told me with all naked freedom, and a flood of tears, that his friends were unkind and unjust to him, neither to believe nor pity him; and that if any man (making a bow to me) would but go with him to the place, he might be convinced that the thing was real.

"'This woman which appears to me,' saith he, 'lived a neighbour here to my father, and died about eight years since; her name, Dorothy Dingley. She never speaks to me, but passeth by hastily, and always leaves the footpath to me, and she commonly meets me twice or three times in the breadth of the field.

"'It was about two months before I took notice of it, and though the shape of the face was in my memory, yet I did not recall the name of the person, but I did suppose it was some woman who lived there about, and had frequent occasion that way. Nor did I imagine anything to the contrary before she began to meet me constantly, morning and evening, and always in the same field (the Higher Brown Quartils), and sometimes twice or thrice in the breadth of it.

"'The first time I took notice of her was about a year since, and when I first began to suspect it to be a ghost, I had courage enough not to be afraid, but kept it to myself a good while, and only wondered very much about it. I did often speak to it, but never had a word in answer. Then I changed my way, and went to school the under Horse Road, and then she always met me in the narrow lane, between the Quarry Park and the Nursery, which was worse. At length I began to be terrified at it, and prayed continually that God would either free me from it or let me know the meaning[Pg 76] of it. Night and day, sleeping and waking, the shape was ever running in my mind, when, by degrees, I grew pensive, inasmuch that it was taken notice of by all our family; whereupon, being urged to it, I told my brother William of it, and he privately acquainted my father and mother, and they kept it to themselves for some time.

"'The success of this discovery was only this: they did sometimes laugh at me, sometimes chide me, but still commanded me to keep to my school, and put such fopperies out of my head. I did accordingly go to school often, but always met the woman by the way.'"

When Parson Ruddle had heard this story he promised the boy to go with him next morning to the field, and went with the lad to the hall, whither the parents and the parson, the Rev. Samuel Williams, came to meet them from the parlour. They began at once to importune Ruddle about the interview and to pass remarks on the boy, who fled from them to his own room. The vicar of Launceston begged them to restrain their curiosity till he had made further investigation into the matter.

"The next morning, before five o'clock, the lad was in my chambers, and very brisk. I arose and went with him. The field he led me to I guessed to be twenty acres, in an open country, and about three furlongs from any house. We went into the field, and had not gone above a third part before the spectrum, in the shape of a woman, with all the circumstances he had described her to me the day before, met us and passed by. I was a little surprised at it, and though I had taken up a firm resolution to speak to it, yet I had not the power, nor indeed durst I look back; yet I took care not to show any fear to my pupil and guide, and therefore telling him that I was satisfied in the truth of[Pg 77] his complaint, we walked to the end of the field and returned, nor did the ghost meet us that time above once.

"At our return the gentlewoman watched to speak with me. I gave her a convenience, and told her that my opinion was that her son's complaint was not to be slighted, yet that my judgment in his case was not settled. I gave her caution that the thing might not take wind, lest the whole country should ring with what we had yet no assurance of.

"In this juncture of time I had business which would admit no delay, wherefore I went to Launceston that evening, but promised to see them again next week. Yet I was prevented by an occasion which pleaded a sufficient excuse. However, my mind was upon the adventure. I studied the case, and about three weeks after went again, resolving, by the help of God, to see the utmost.

"The next morning, the 27th day of July, 1665, I went to the haunted field by myself, and walked the breadth of the field without any encounter. I returned and took the other walk, and then the spectrum appeared to me, much about the same place where I saw it before, when the young gentleman was with me. In my thoughts it moved swifter than the time before, and about ten feet distant from me on my right hand, insomuch that I had not time to speak, as I had determined with myself beforehand.

"The evening of this day, the parents, the son, and myself being in the chamber where I lay, I propounded to them our going all together to the place next morning, and after some asseveration that there was no danger in it, we all resolved upon it. The morning being come, lest we should alarm the servants, they went under the pretence of seeing a field of wheat, and[Pg 78] I took my horse and fetched a compass another way, and so met at the stile we had appointed.

"Thence we all four walked leisurely into the Quartils, and had passed above half the field before the ghost made appearance. It then came over the stile just before us, and moved with that swiftness that by the time we had gone six or seven steps it passed by. I immediately turned head and ran after it, with the young man by my side; we saw it pass over the stile by which we entered, but no farther. I stepped upon the hedge at one place, he at another, but could discern nothing; whereas I dare aver that the swiftest horse in England could not have conveyed himself out of sight in that short space of time. Two things I observed in this day's appearance. (1) That a spaniel dog, who followed the company unregarded, did bark and run away as the spectrum passed by; whence it is easy to conclude that it was not our fear or fancy which made the apparition. (2) That the motion of the spectrum was not by steps and moving of the feet, but a kind of gliding, as children upon ice or a boat down a swift river.

"But to proceed. This ocular evidence clearly convinced, but strangely frightened, the old gentleman and his wife, who knew this Dorothy Dingley in her lifetime, were at her burial, and now plainly saw her features in this present apparition.

"The next morning, being Thursday, I went out very early by myself, and walked for about an hour's space in meditation and prayer in the field next adjoining the Quartils. Soon after five I stepped over the stile into the disturbed field, and had not gone above thirty or forty paces before the ghost appeared at the farther stile. I spake to it with a loud voice, whereupon it approached, but slowly, and when I came near[Pg 79] it moved not. I spake again, and it answered, in a voice neither very audible nor intelligible. I was not in the least terrified, and therefore persisted until it spake again and gave me satisfaction. But the work could not be finished at this time; wherefore the same evening, an hour after sunset, it met me again near the same place, and after a few words on each side it quickly vanished, and neither doth appear since, nor ever will more to any man's disturbance. The discourse in the morning lasted about a quarter of an hour.

"These things are true, and I know them to be so, with as much certainty as eyes and ears can give me; and until I can be persuaded that my senses do deceive me about their proper object, and by that persuasion deprive myself of the strongest inducement to believe the Christian religion, I must and will assert that these things in this paper are true."

It must be noted that Defoe in his printed account omits the names of the family of Bligh, and that he changes Dorothy Dingley into Mrs. Veale. Parson Ruddle's original MS. is not in existence; it was probably given to Defoe; but a copy is preserved made by the son of the Rev. John Ruddle. Defoe was in Launceston acting as a spy for the minister Harley in August, 1705, and at that time he must have got hold of the MS. After the signature "John Ruddle" at the end of the narrative and the date is the sentence: "This is a copy of wt I found written by my father and signed John Ruddle. Taken by me, William Ruddle," who had become vicar of South Petherwin in 1695, and who became subsequently incumbent also of S. Thomas-by-Launceston. This copy bears the following attestation: "The readers may observe yt I borrowed the remarkable passage of [Pg 80]ye grandson of John Ruddle who had it from his Uncle William Ruddle. I think I'm exact in its transcription. I well know the sd John Ruddle to have had (and I daresay deserved) the character of a learned and eminent Divine, and I also knew his son ye sayd William Ruddle, a Divine whose character was so bright yt I have no room to add to its lustre, and I hereby certify yt I copyed this from ye very hand-writing of the sayd William Ruddle. Quinto die Februarii Anno Dni, 1730. James Wakeman."

As Mr. Robbins says: "The completeness of the body of proof of the Ruddle authorship leaves nothing therefore to be desired."

Parson John Ruddle eventually became prebend of Exeter, and held the vicarage of Altarnon along with that of Launceston to his death.

Ruddle does not state that the boy Bligh was his pupil at Launceston Free School, but one does not see to what other school he can have gone, and the readiness with which the lad opened his heart to him leads to the notion that they had some previous acquaintance. His way to Launceston would be over the common, on which stand three barrows, to the road at Penfoot, where he would strike the road. When he endeavoured to avoid the ghost he took the Under Horse Road between Quarry Park and the Nursery. The Quarry is still visible with a pool in it, and a stream flowing into it that rises on the moor where he saw the ghost, and Under Horse Road still bears its name. The lad endeavoured to take a short cut, though not as short as across the Higher Brown Quartils, to reach the Launceston road without having to go through South Petherwin village.

Parson Ruddle does not give the Christian name of the boy who saw the ghost, and we are thrown into perplexity at once.

[Pg 81]

The "ancient gentleman" may have been Thomas Bligh of Botathan, Esq., but he was aged no more than fifty-three. Colonel Vivian's pedigree of the Blighs in his Visitation of Cornwall is most unsatisfactory.

Thomas Bligh was buried at South Petherwin, April 10th, 1692. There is no entry in Vivian's pedigree of Walter Bligh, gentleman, who was buried January 29th, 1667-8. Besides, there are many entries of an Edmund Bligh and Katherine, his wife, and their children. Thomas Bligh seems to have lived at one time at S. Martin's-by-Looe. Dr. Lee in his Glimpses of the Supernatural calls Dorothy Dingley, Dorothy Durant; but on what authority I do not know. There is an entry in the South Petherwin register of the burial of Dorothy Durant, widow, 1st May, 1677, but according to the story of the boy, Dorothy Dingley died in or about 1657. Unfortunately the South Petherwin registers do not go back beyond August, 1656, but there is no entry in them in 1656 or 1657 of the burial of Dorothy Dingley.

The Dingleys had been settled in Lezant and Linkinhorne from 1577, and owned the place Hall in the latter parish; but they had connections in Worcestershire; and Dorothy was the youngest daughter of Francis Dingley, baptized at Cropthorne, in the latter county, in 1596. She married Richard, son of George Durant, of Blockly, Worcestershire. As no further trace of her can be found in the register there, it is not unfair to suppose that having kinsfolk in Cornwall she may have journeyed there, and both were buried at South Petherwin, Dorothy Durant, as already stated, in 1677. She was then aged eighty-seven. She cannot have been the ghost. But was the ghost that of her mother, a Dorothy, who came to South Petherwin with her, and died there about the year 1655? We cannot tell, as we[Pg 82] do not know her mother's Christian name. Dr. Lee clearly confused the Dorothy Durant with the Dorothy Dingley, the ghost.

The Rev. P. T. Pulman, vicar of South Petherwin, writes to me: "In December, 1896, a labourer died here, aged seventy-two. For upwards of forty years he had worked at Botathan. He told me that one of the fields was called the Higher Brown Park (he did not know the name of Quartells) until the field was ploughed up. He told me there was a little path in it which they called old Dorothy Dinglet's [sic] path, and that they used to frighten the farm apprentices with stories about her, but he had never met her himself. The farm has been sold of recent years. There is a part of the old house left used for a cider cellar. They call it Dorothy Dingley's chamber."

The Rev. James Dingley was vicar of South Petherwin from 1682 until 1695. He was born 1655, just ten years before the apparition was seen by young Bligh.

Authorities: A. Robbins, "A Cornish Ghost Story," in the Cornish Magazine, 1898; A. Robbins, Launceston Past and Present, 1889. The portrait of the Rev. John Ruddle is in my possession. The descendants of Parson Ruddle or Rudall are still on the land, but are in a humble condition.

[Pg 83]


Thomas Adams was a small tenant farmer in the parish of Laneast, at Lidcott, renting under John King Lethbridge, Esq., of Tregeare, in Laneast. He married Tabitha Knill Grylls, of Stoke Climsland, who inherited a very little land in this latter parish.

Laneast lies on the Inny River—that is to say, the village with its church occupies the southern slope of Laneast Down that falls to this beautiful stream. But Lidcott lies on the north side of the down, that rises to eight hundred feet above the sea, one long swelling mass of moor brown with heather, save when in August it blushes like a modest girl, the heather all a-rose with flower.

For three miles the highway from Camelford to Launceston crosses this moor, one white strip drawn through a mass of umber. At night the sheep that grazed on the down would lie on the warm road, and many a time have the coach-horses stumbled over them in the night.

On this road, about the year 546, S. Samson was pursuing his way from Padstow, where he had landed, to Southill. He had with him a wagon drawn by horses he had brought with him from Ireland, and as he proceeded over the down he was aware of music and dancing on the left-hand side of the road in the direction[Pg 84] of Tregeare, and he found that the heathen people were having a festival about a rude upright stone. He stopped, harangued them, condemned their idolatrous practice, and with his own hand cut a cross upon the stone.

It is possible that this is the very rude stone cross that still stands on the slope of the moor above Lidcott.

John Couch, son of Thomas Adams and Tabitha, was born at Lidcott on 5th January, 1819, but no notice of his baptism occurs in the parish register at Laneast. Possibly he may have been taken to Egloskerry.

He received his early education at a dame's school in his native parish; but was early employed by his father to tend the sheep on Laneast Down. It was then and there, on that great upland stretch of moor, with a vast horizon about him, that, lying in the heather and looking up into the sky, the mystery of the heavenly firmament laid hold of him. He soon learned to distinguish the planets from the fixed stars; he watched the rising and the setting of the constellations, Charles's Wain revolving nightly about the extremest star in what he called the tail of the Plough; Orion with his twinkling belt and curved sword, "louting on one knee."

To the west and south stood up against the evening glow the ridge of the Bodmin Moors, Brown Willy, Rough Tor, Kilmar, and Caradon. To the north nothing interrupted the view, for there lay the vast Atlantic; and on stormy nights the boom of its waves might be heard from that highway over the down. To the east and south-east the far-off range of Dartmoor, blue as a vein in a girl's temple, on a summer day.

Many a chiding did John Couch get from his father for being out late at night upon the moor; the old farmer was unable to understand what the attraction was which drew the lad from home and from his supper,[Pg 85] to be out, either lying on the road or leaning against the old granite cross, star-gazing. Happily Mrs. Adams had a simple book on astronomy that had belonged to her father, and this her son Jack devoured, and now he began to understand something of the motions of the heavenly bodies. He established a sundial on the window-sill of the parlour, and constructed out of cardboard an apparatus for taking the altitude of the sun.


From the collection of Mrs. Lewis Lane

His father, finding that his inclinations were not for farm work, sent him to study with a relative of his mother, the Rev. P. Couch Grylls, who had a school at Devonport, but later moved to Saltash. All his spare time John Couch spent in reading astronomical works, which he obtained from the library of the Mechanics' Institute; he drew maps of constellations and computed celestial phenomena. A day long to be remembered by him as one of the happiest in his life was that in which he obtained a look through a telescope at the moon. "Why," he exclaimed, "they have Brown Willy and Rough Tor up there!"

His account of a solar eclipse viewed at Devonport through a small spyglass got into print in a London paper. After three weeks' watching he caught sight of Halley's Comet on 16th October, 1839.

His father now with considerable effort arranged to send him to the University of Cambridge, and he entered S. John's College as a poor sizar in October, 1839; he graduated as Senior Wrangler in 1843, and was first Smith's prizeman, and soon elected Fellow and appointed tutor of his college.

At the age of twenty-two he was struck with the disturbance in the course of the planet Uranus, and he perceived that this must be due to the attraction possessed by some other planet, as yet unseen and unsuspected, that produced these perturbations. How[Pg 86] this led to the discovery of the planet Neptune shall be told from the Reminiscences of Caroline Fox:—

"1847, October 7th.—Dined at Carclew, and spent a very interesting evening. We met Professor Adams, the Bullers, the Lord of the Isles, and others. Adams is a quiet-looking man, with a broad forehead, a mild face, and an amiable and expressive mouth. I sat by him at dinner, and by general and dainty approaches got at the subject on which one most wished to hear him speak. He began very blushingly, but went on to talk in most delightful fashion, with large and luminous simplicity, of some of the vast mathematical facts with which he is so conversant. The idea of the reversed method of reasoning, from an unknown to a known, with reference to astronomical problems dawned on him when an undergraduate, with neither time nor mathematics to work it out. The opposite system had always before been adopted. He, in common with many others, conceived that there must be a planet to account for the disturbances of Uranus; and when he had time he set to work at the process, in deep, quiet faith that the fact was there, and that his hitherto untried mathematical path was the one which must reach it; that there were no anomalies in the universe, but that, even here, and now, they could be explained and included in a higher law. The delight of working it out was far more than any notoriety could give, for his love of pure truth is evidently intense, an inward necessity, unaffected by all the penny trumpets of the world. Well, at length he fixed his point in space, and sent his mathematical evidence to Airy, the Astronomer Royal, who locked the papers up in his desk, partly from carelessness, partly from incredulity, for it seemed to him impossible that a man whose name was unknown to him should strike out a new path in mathematical science with any success.[Pg 87] Moreover, his theory was, that if there were a planet, it would not be discovered for one hundred and sixty years; that is, until two revolutions of Uranus had been accomplished. Then came Leverrier's equally original, though many months younger, demonstration; Gull's immediate verification of it by observation; and then the other astronomers were all astir. Professor Adams speaks of those about whom the English scientific world is so indignant in a spirit of Christian philosophy, exactly in keeping with the mind of a man who has discovered a planet. He speaks with warmest admiration of Leverrier, specially of his exhaustive method of making out the orbits of the comets, imagining and disproving all tracks but the right one—a work of infinite labour. If the observer could make out distinctly but a very small part of a comet's orbit, the mathematician would be able to prove what its course had been through all time. They enjoyed being a good deal together at the British Association Meeting at Oxford, though it was unfortunate for the intercourse of the fellow-workers that one could not speak French nor the other English. He had met with very little mathematical sympathy, except from Challis, of the Cambridge Observatory; but when his result was announced there was noise enough and to spare. He was always fond of star-gazing and speculation, and is already on the watch for another planet. Burnard told us that when Professor Adams came from Cambridge to visit his relatives in Cornwall he was employed to sell sheep for his father at a fair. He is a most good son and neighbour, and watchful in the performance of small acts of thoughtful kindness."

"1863, July 2nd.—Have just returned from a visit to Professor Adams at Cambridge. He is so delightful in the intervals of business, enjoying all things, large[Pg 88] and small, with a boyish zest. He showed and explained the calculating machine (French, not Babbage's), which saves him much in time and brain, as it can multiply or divide ten figures accurately. We came upon an admirable portrait of him at S. John's College, before he accepted a Pembroke Fellowship and migrated thither."

The first mention of the name of Adams as the discoverer of Neptune was by Sir John Herschel, in the Athenæum, on October 3rd, 1845. And a letter from Professor Challis to that journal on 17th October described in detail the transactions between Adams, Airy, and himself. Naturally enough the French were highly incensed at the notion that an obscure Englishman had forestalled Leverrier in the discovery, and Airy himself was annoyed at his own negligence in not looking into the memoir by Adams, and took up the matter with some personal feeling. It was certainly startling to realize that the Astronomer Royal had had in his possession data that would have enabled the planet to be discovered nearly a year before Leverrier had, by a different course of argument and calculation, arrived at the conclusion that there existed a planet which was the disturbing element in the orbit of Uranus. As to Adams himself, he had not a particle of conceit and pride in him; he did not care to have his name proclaimed as the discoverer. Forty years later, he said simply and characteristically that all he had wished for was that English astronomers to whom he had communicated the result of his calculations, pointing out the precise spot in the sky where a planet was to be found, would have taken the trouble to turn their telescopes upon that point and discover the planet, so that England might have had the full credit of the discovery.


[Pg 89]

His long-suppressed investigation was not laid before the Royal Astronomical Society till November 13th, 1846.

The publication, of course, stirred up much controversy, and the scientific world was divided into Adamite and anti-Adamite factions.

Adams refused knighthood in 1847, and declined the office of Astronomer Royal on Airy's retirement in 1881.

John Couch had a brother, William Grylls, also a man of some eminence in the scientific world. He was born at Lidcott 12th February, 1836, and became Professor of Natural Philosophy and of Astronomy in King's College, London.

I was wont, when at Cambridge, to meet John Couch Adams at Professor Challis', and also at the house of the Rev. Harvey Goodwin, afterwards Bishop of Carlisle. Professor Adams took some notice of me, as coming from his neighbourhood, though not on the Cornish side of the Tamar. He was a small man, as simple as a child in many things. Indeed, he struck me forcibly by his great modesty and sweetness of manner. He loved a joke, and would laugh heartily over the very smallest. He loved children, and would play with them in their little games with infinite zest. Professor Glaisher, whom I also knew, wrote of him: "Adams was a man of learning as well as a man of science. He was an omnivorous reader, and his memory was exact and retentive. There were few subjects upon which he was not possessed of accurate information. Botany, geology, history, and divinity, all had their share of his care and attention."

He was always happy to return to his humble father's farm; and after he was a noted man, on one of these occasions the old man sent him into Launceston[Pg 90] with a drove of sheep to sell them in the market. He complied cheerfully, but how he succeeded in selling them I have not heard. This is the incident alluded to by Caroline Fox given above.

"The honours showered upon him," wrote Dr. Donald MacAlister, "left him as they found him—modest, gentle, and sincere." He was not a man who ever asserted himself.

He married in 1863 Eliza, daughter of Haliday Bruce, of Dublin. He died of a sudden illness on January 21st, 1892, and was buried in S. Giles' Churchyard, Cambridge.

Portraits were taken of him by Mogford in 1851, and by Herkomer in 1888; both are in the Combination-room of St. John's College, Cambridge.

A biographical notice of him was prefixed by Professor Glaisher to his scientific works, edited by W. G. Adams, in 1896-8.

See also A. De Morgan's Budget of Paradoxes, 1872, and the Mechanics' Magazine, 1846.

[Pg 91]


All that is really known of this eccentric character is found in a letter of J. B. to Richard Polwhele, dated September, 1814. His correspondent says:—

"Daniel Gumb was born in the parish of Linkinhorne, in Cornwall, about the commencement of the last century, and was bred a stone-cutter. In the early part of his life he was remarkable for his love of reading and a degree of reserve even exceeding what is observable in persons of studious habits. By close application Daniel acquired, even in his youth, a considerable stock of mathematical knowledge, and, in consequence, became celebrated throughout the adjoining parishes. Called by his occupation to hew blocks of granite on the neighbouring commons, and especially in the vicinity of that great natural curiosity called the Cheesewring, he discovered near this spot an immense block, whose upper surface was an inclined plane. This, it struck him, might be made the roof of a habitation such as he desired; sufficiently secluded from the busy haunts of men to enable him to pursue his studies without interruption, whilst it was contiguous to the scene of his daily labour. Immediately Daniel went to work, and cautiously excavating the earth underneath, to nearly the extent of the stone above, he obtained a habitation which he thought sufficiently commodious. The sides he lined with stone, cemented with lime, whilst a chimney was made[Pg 92] by perforating the earth at one side of the roof. From the elevated spot on which stood this extraordinary dwelling could be seen Dartmoor and Exmoor on the east, Hartland on the north, the sea and the port of Plymouth on the south, and S. Austell and Bodmin Hills on the west, with all the intermediate beautiful scenery. The top of the rock which roofed his house served Daniel for an observatory, where at every favourable opportunity he watched the motions of the heavenly bodies, and on the surface of which, with his chisel, he carved a variety of diagrams, illustrative of the most difficult problems of Euclid, etc. These he left behind him as evidences of the patience and ingenuity with which he surmounted the obstacles that his station in life had placed in the way of his mental improvement.

"But the choice of his house and the mode in which he pursued his studies were not his only eccentricities. His house became his chapel also; and he was never known to descend from the craggy mountain on which it stood, to attend his parish church or any other place of worship.

"Death, which alike seizes on the philosopher and the fool, at length found out the retreat of Daniel Gumb, and lodged him in a house more narrow than that which he had dug for himself."

Bond in his Topographical and Historical Sketches of the Boroughs of East and West Looe, 1873, describes the habitation of Daniel Gumb as seen by him in 1802:—

"When we reached Cheesewring—our guide first led us to the house of Daniel Gumb (a stone-cutter), cut by him out of a solid rock of granite. This artificial cavern may be about twelve feet deep and not quite so broad; the roof consists of one flat stone of many tons weight; supported by the natural rock on one side, and by pillars of small stones on the other. How[Pg 93] Gumb formed this last support is not easily conceived. We entered with hesitation lest the covering should be our gravestone. On the right-hand side of the door is 'D. Gumb,' with a date engraved 1735 (or 3). On the upper part of the covering stone, channels are cut to carry off the rain, probably to cause it to fall into a bucket for his use; there is also engraved on it some geometrical device formed by Gumb, as the guide told us, who also said that Gumb was accounted a pretty sensible man. I have no hesitation in saying he must have been a pretty eccentric character to have fixed on this place for his habitation; but here he dwelt for several years with his wife and children, several of whom were born and died here. His calling was that of a stone-cutter, and he fixed himself on a spot where materials could be met with to employ a thousand men for a thousand years."



The Rev. Robert S. Hawker wrote an account of Daniel Gumb for All the Year Round in 1866, and this has been reprinted in Footsteps of Former Men in Cornwall.

He pretends that when he visited the Cheesewring in 183-, there still existed fragments of Daniel Gumb's "thoughts and studies still treasured up in the existing families of himself and his wife." And he gives transcripts from these, and also from what must have been a diary. But Mr. Hawker embroidered facts with so much detail drawn from his own fancy, that his statements have to be taken with a very large pinch of salt.

It must be remembered, in his justification, that his stories of Cornish Characters were intended as magazine articles to amuse, but without any purpose of having them regarded as strictly biographical and historical. They were brief historical romances, and were not intended to be taken seriously.

[Pg 94]

I will give but one quotation, and the reader can judge for himself therefrom whether it does not look like an extract "made in Morwenstow." Mr. Hawker says:—

"On the fly-leaves of an old account book the following strange statement appears: 'June 23rd, 1764. To-day, at bright noon, I looked up and saw all at once a stranger standing on the turf, just above my block. He was dressed like an old picture I remember in the windows of S. Neot's Church, in a long brown garment, with a girdle; and his head was uncovered and grizzled with long hair. He spoke to me, and he said in a low, clear voice, "Daniel, that work is hard!" I wondered that he should know my name, and I answered, "Yes, sir; but I am used to it and don't mind it, for the sake of the faces at home." Then he said, sounding his words like a psalm, "Man goeth forth to his work and to his labour until the evening. When will it be night with Daniel Gumb?" I began to feel queer; it seemed to me that there was something awful about the unknown man. I even shook. Then he said again, "Fear nothing. The happiest man in all the earth is he that wins his daily bread by his daily sweat, if he will but fear God and do man no wrong." I bent down my head like any one dumbfounded, and I greatly wondered who this strange appearance could be. He was not like a preacher, for he looked me full in the face; nor a bit like a parson, for he seemed very meek and kind. I began to think it was a spirit, only such ones always come by night, and here was I at noonday and at work. So I made up my mind to drop my hammer and step up and ask his name right out. But when I looked up he was gone, and that clear out of my sight, on the bare, wide moor, suddenly.'"

Now, in the first place, no trace or tidings of these[Pg 95] notes so treasured up by the family are to be found in the parish of Linkinhorne, to which Gumb and his wife belonged.

In the second place, Mr. Hawker makes Daniel remark that his mysterious visitant was not like a Dissenting preacher because he looked him straight in the face, and this is significantly like a remark Hawker often made with regard to these gentry.

Another of these pretended notes refers to the finding of a fossil fish embedded in granite. This alone suffices to wake suspicion that the extracts are not genuine. Fossils never have been found in granite, and never will be. But Hawker himself did not know this, as he was totally ignorant of the first principles of geology.

[Pg 96]


Laurence Braddon, second son of Captain William Braddon, of Treworgy, in S. Gennys, was called to the bar of the Middle Temple, and worked at his profession diligently. He entered Parliament in 1651, but did not attract special notice till the occasion of the suicide of the Earl of Essex in the Tower, in 1683.

The people of England had been, and still were, greatly troubled about the succession to the throne, in the event of the death of Charles II. They had no mind to have the throne occupied by a Popish prince, and several plots were hatched to prevent such a contingency. Monmouth, with Lord Essex, Shaftesbury, Lord Howard of Escrick, Russell, Algernon Sidney, and John Hampden, held meetings to found an association to agitate and compel the King to assemble Parliament, to take measures to secure a Protestant succession and the exclusion of the Duke of York. On other points they disagreed. Monmouth hoped to have his legitimacy established and to secure the crown for his own brows. Sidney and Essex were for the establishment of a commonwealth. Russell and Hampden intended only the exclusion of the Duke. As to Lord Howard, he was a man of no principle, and his sole desire was to fish in troubled waters and get out of them what he could.

More desperate spirits schemed plans of assassination, and a plot was formed for murdering Charles and the[Pg 97] Duke of York as they passed the Rye House on the road from London to Newmarket, but there is no evidence that the noble schemers had any knowledge of the Rye House Plot.

Both projects were betrayed, and though they were wholly distinct from one another, the cruel ingenuity of the Crown lawyers blended them into one.

The Earl of Shaftesbury fled to the Continent; Monmouth absconded; Russell was committed to the Tower; Howard, who had concealed himself in a chimney, was drawn forth by the heels, and to secure his neck betrayed Essex, Sidney, and Hampden, who were all committed to the Tower.

Several of the conspirators in the Rye House Plot were sentenced to death and at once executed. From their confessions it appeared that the conspiracy had wide ramifications, and that a scheme of insurrection throughout the country had been formed, and that steps had been taken to organize it.

On the day upon which Lord Russell was brought to trial the Earl of Essex was found in the closet of his chamber with his throat cut, and this but just after a visit to the Tower by the King with the Duke of York.

An inquest was at once held, at which it was shown that Lord Essex was a man of a despondent temper, that he had been lately in a lugubrious mood, and in the depths of melancholy; and evidence was conclusive that he had cut his own throat with a razor. The jury accordingly found a verdict of felo de se.

Now it so fell out that on the following Sunday Laurence Braddon went to visit a Mr. Evans, of the Custom House, at his country house at Wanstead, in Essex, where was also a Mr. Halstead, and Evans was telling[Pg 98] Halstead that he had heard from a kinsman of his named Edwards, also in the Customs, that his boy had been in the Tower yard on the morning of the death of Lord Essex, and that he had seen a hand thrust out of that nobleman's window, and a razor stained with blood thrown down on the pavement of the yard. Next moment a maid-servant wearing a white hood had run out, secured the razor and carried it within, and that he had heard cries from within of "Murder! Murder!"

Braddon listened, walking up and down the room, as Evans told this story. He was greatly excited by it, and thought that it pointed to a murder having been committed, and that probably at the instigation of the Duke of York.

Accordingly Braddon went next day to the quay and got Evans and Edwards to meet him at the "Star" public-house and repeat the story. It seemed that Edwards had two boys who were in Merchant Taylors' School, and that one of their sisters was married and living in the Tower. On the morning of the death of Lord Essex the lads were on their way to school, when, passing the Tower, they heard that the King and the Duke of York were in it, whereupon the younger, an urchin of twelve or thirteen, gave his brother the slip, and ran in to see the King and the Duke. After they had departed he remained in the yard playing chuck-farthing with other boys, when he saw a hand thrust forth from a window and throw a bloody razor into the court, and after that a maid or woman in a white hood and stuff coat took it up and went in, and then he heard a noise as of "Murder!" cried out. Braddon then went to the house of Edwards to question the boy, who prevaricated. Braddon believed that the child's mother and sister had been at him, telling him that he was[Pg 99] likely to get them all into trouble if he persisted in his tale, and urged by them, professed that he had told a lie.

The matter became common talk on the quay and the purlieus of the Tower.

Braddon had no great difficulty in finding a little girl named Jane Lodeman, aged thirteen, who was in the same tale. This is what he took down:—

"Jane Lodeman was in the Tower on Friday morning, 13th July last, and standing almost over against the late Earl of Essex's lodging window, she saw a hand cast a razor out of my lord's window, and immediately upon this she heard shrieks, and that there was a soldier by my lord's door, who cried out to those within the house that somebody should come and take up a razor which was thrown out of the window, whereupon there came a maid with a white hood out of the house, but who took up the razor she can't tell."

Dated 8th August, 1683.

On July 20th Braddon had gone to Whitehall before he had obtained this corroborative evidence, and had laid information before the King and Council, and produced a written deposition as to what the boy Edwards had said he had seen; but the boy's sister deposed that Mr. Laurence Braddon had forced her brother to sign it. Soon after Braddon had taken this step, he heard a rumour that the fact of the violent death of the Earl of Essex had been known and discussed in Frome Selwood the same day, and he hurried off to make inquiries into this. But on reaching Salisbury he was arrested, thrown into prison, and brought back to London. Another gentleman, a Mr. Speeke, had also been spreading the report that Lord Essex had been foully murdered, and it was hinted that the Duke of[Pg 100] York, if not the King, had ordered the assassination. Speeke also was arrested.

Narcissus Luttrell's account of the death of Essex is as follows:—

1683, 13th July.—"About nine in the morning, the Earl of Essex, prisoner in the Tower of London, upon account of this new plott, did most barbarously cut his own throat from one ear to the other with a razor. What occasioned it is doubtfull: some say, the sense of his guilt; others, the shame for being accused of such a crime, when his father, the Lord Capell, died for his loyalty to the late King; however, the coroner's jury have satt on his body, and found him felo de se, tho' some stick not to say 'tis impossible he should murther himself in so barbarous a manner; and his Majesty hath been pleased to give his goods, which were forfeited by his killing himself, to his son."

On November 6th he says: "Mr. Speak was brought to the Court of King's Bench, and charged with two informations: the 1st, for saying the King was as great a Papist as the Duke of York; that the Duke durst not doe what he did but that the King did animate him; that what Pilkington had formerly said of the Duke of York was true; with much other such scandalous stuff; and 2nd was for sayeing that the Earl of Essex was killed and murdered by those that attended on him in the Tower; to both these he pleaded Not Guilty."

1683-4, February 7th.—"Mr. Lawrence Braddon and Mr. Hugh Speke were tried at the Court of King's Bench, by a jury of Middlesex, upon an information reciting the commitment of the late Earl of Essex to the Tower for treason in conspiring the death of the King, etc., and that the 13th July last he cut his own throat, and was found felo de se by the coroner's inquisition; the said Braddon and Speke did conspire by[Pg 101] writing and otherwise, to spread a false and scandalous report, that the said Earl was murdered by some persons about him, and endeavoured to suborn witnesses to testifye the same. The evidence for the King, was first, the warder of the Tower, who testified as to his Lordship's commitment; then the coroner, and the inquisition taken before him, whereby his Lordship was found felo de se, was read; then the particular evidence against Mr. Braddon was, by severall persons, how busy and sollicitous he was to take persons' informations, and to examine a little child about ten years old, about a discourse that ran through the town that a bloody razor was thrown out of his Lordship's window; and that the cry of Murder was heard; and that a servant maid came presently out of the house of the Lord of Essex, and took up the razor, and carried it in; and that then it was said the Lord of Essex had killed himself. Then the severall informations Braddon had taken in writing relating to this matter were read, and some of the informants themselves examined, whose testimony much differ'd from their informations, then severall testified the confident and strange discourse this Braddon frequently us'd concerning the matter. The evidence against Mr. Speke was only a letter writt by him to Sir Robert Atkins th' elder, and carried by Mr. Braddon, but was seized about him when he was going thither, which contained severall expressions in commendation of Mr. Braddon and his zeale, with reflexions on this matter; then the evidence was given of his Lordship's cutting his own throat with a razor, which was proved by his own servant, a Frenchman; by the warder, by the centinell, and by Capt. Hawley. The defendants' proof was, first, Braddon pretended he did nothing but out of zeale to have the truth come out: then he call'd some witnesses to prove that there[Pg 102] was a discourse of the Lord of Essex's being killed, and a razor thrown out, before he concern'd himself in it. Speke had little to say against the letter, but own'd it to be his hand; so that the jury, after a little while, agreed of their verdict, and found the defendant Braddon guilty of all that was laid in the information, and the defendant Speke guilty of all except the conspiring to suborn witnesses.

"'Twas strange any man should concern himself in an affair of this moment on the information of a boy ten years old, who had denied all after he had confess'd it, and did at his tryall, and make all this rent that was about it."

April 21st, 1684.—"Mr. Laurence Braddon and Mr. Hugh Speke, convicted last term upon an endeavour to lay the murder of the late Earl of Essex upon the Government, were brought to the Court of King's Bench to receive their judgments; which was, that Braddon should pay a fine of £2000, and Speke £1000 to the King; that they find sureties for their good behaviour during their lives, and be committed to the King's Bench prison till they doe so."

Hugh Speke, who was tried along with Laurence Braddon, was an inveterate plotter. Macaulay thus describes him: "Hugh Speke (was) a young man of good family, but of a singularly base and depraved nature. His love of mischief and of dark and crooked ways amounted almost to madness. To cause confusion without being found out was his business and his pastime; and he had a rare skill in using honest enthusiasts as the instruments of his cold-blooded malice."

Referring to the case of Braddon, Macaulay adds: "He had attempted, by means of one of his puppets, to fasten on Charles and James the crime of murdering Essex in the Tower. On this occasion the agency of[Pg 103] Speke had been traced; and though he succeeded in throwing the greater part of the blame on his dupe, he had not escaped with impunity."

He was certainly a clever scoundrel, for he managed to cover up most of his traces in the affair of the charge of the murder of Essex.

Braddon was sincere, while Speke was not. Braddon was convinced that a murder had been committed, and he had not a well-balanced mind to weigh evidence. Speke cared nothing whether crime had been committed or not so long as he could disturb men's minds with a suspicion that one had been committed, and that by the King's brother and heir presumptive to the Crown.

The evidence produced by Laurence Braddon was practically worthless. He had but the word of two little children, and the boy had retracted and acknowledged that he had told lies. As to the fact of the death of Lord Essex being known at Frome on the 13th, showing that the murder had been premeditated and was part of a widely ramified scheme of the Papists, it was shown that nothing was known there of it till many days later.

The evidence for the King was Bomeny, the valet de chambre of Lord Essex. He stated that the Earl had long nails, and that morning had asked for a penknife so as to pare them. Bomeny had commissioned a footman, William Turner, to get one, and bring it along with some provisions ordered for the Earl's breakfast. Turner brought the provisions, but had forgotten about the penknife, whereupon Lord Essex began to cut his nails with his razor, and the footman was again despatched for a penknife. Just then the King and the Duke of York arrived at the Tower, and there was great bustle in the yard, and Bomeny left the Earl's[Pg 104] room. When he met the footman with the knife he returned, but not finding Lord Essex in his chamber, he tried to open the closet door, when he found that there was an obstruction. Somewhat alarmed, he ran to Russell, the warder, whose door was almost opposite on the same staircase, and both went to the closet, and found Lord Essex lying in it with his throat cut and his feet against the door.

Russell corroborated this evidence, and added that no one could possibly ascend the stair and enter Lord Essex's chamber without his knowledge. The soldier, Lloyd, who acted as sentinel at the entrance to the Earl's quarters, testified that there was no truth in the children's tale about the razor, and that no maid had issued from the door to pick one up.

It was further established that the closet window did not look into the main yard, and was so arranged that a hand could not be passed out of it.

Judge Jeffreys conducted the investigation, and that in a most unseemly manner. Apparently he was drunk at the time, and was so confused that he was not able to follow the evidence. He browbeat the witnesses in the most offensive way.

On November 6th, 1684, a French Protestant refugee, named Borleau, was indicted for selling a scandalous book called L'Esprit de Monsieur Arnaud, in which he declared that the Earl of Essex had not cut his own throat, but had been foully murdered. He pleaded guilty, and the King graciously allowed him to be fined only 6s. 8d., and to be discharged without paying his fees. There was most certainly fish made of one and fowl of another.

Again, in December of the same year a book appeared entitled An Enquiry about the Barbarous Murder of the Earl of Essex, that was vended surreptitiously,[Pg 105] and a broadside written by Colonel Danvers, giving the evidence that he was murdered, was thrown in at open doors and distributed in the streets of London. A hundred pounds was offered for the apprehension of Danvers. As to the book, it was from the pen of Laurence Braddon, and was later, when it could be done safely, acknowledged by him. On January 23rd, 1684-5, a Mr. Henry Baker pleaded guilty to an information for using scandalous words about the Duke of York, and at the same time a printer, Norden, did the same to an indictment for publishing the "scandalous libell in vindication of the lord of Essex." And on February 3rd one of the jury at the inquest, Launcelot Colston by name, was had up before King's Bench on a charge of having said that he did not believe that the Earl had cut his throat, for he could not have done so himself in the way in which he was found. Norden was sentenced to pay 200 marks, and to stand in the pillory at Ratcliffe, and to be bound to his good behaviour for seven years, and be committed to prison till this was done.

In 1685, on the landing of the Duke of Monmouth, in the Proclamation he published, he charged King James with the murder of Essex, with his own hand.

In January, 1689, a Captain Hawley, Major Whitley, and some two or three more were imprisoned for maintaining that Essex had not committed suicide. But this was at the moment when all power was slipping out of the hands of King James II; the Prince of Orange came to the throne, and on February 23rd a Captain Holland was arrested and thrown into prison on the charge of having been concerned in the murder of the Earl, and this was followed by numerous other arrests. But the prison-doors were thrown open for Laurence Braddon to issue forth and recommence his[Pg 106] accusations of murder. He republished the "Enquiry into and Detection of the Barbarous Murther of the late Earl of Essex; or a Vindication of that Noble Person from the Guilt and Infamy of having Destroyed himself."

Even before the throne, vacated by King James, had been filled by the Prince of Orange, the Lords had appointed a committee to examine into the truth of the frightful stories circulated relative to the death of Essex. The committee, which consisted wholly of zealous Whigs, continued its inquiries till all reasonable men were convinced that he had fallen by his own hand, and till Lady Essex, his brother, and his most intimate friends requested that the investigation might be pursued no further. That under Judge Jeffreys had been open to suspicion, this could not. But nothing would alter the persuasion of Braddon that this was a case of murder.

Next year, 1690, he came out with a fresh pamphlet, "Essex's Innocency and Honour Vindicated, or Murther, Subornation, Perjury, and Oppression, justly charged on the Murtherers of that Noble and True Patriot Arthur (late) Earl of Essex," etc.

It had become a matter of party feeling, and it was held by all true Protestants to be their duty to believe in the murder, so as to blacken the character of James II. The evidence, however, was too poor to convince a cool-minded man like Bishop Burnet, and in his History of His Own Times he spoke of Essex having cut his own throat. Thereupon Laurence Braddon resumed his pen and published an attack on the Bishop: "Bishop Burnet's History charged with great partiality and misrepresentations, to make the present and future ages believe that Arthur, Earl of Essex, in 1683, murdered himselfe, with observations[Pg 107] upon the suppos'd poysoning of King Charles the Second," 1724.

In 1695 Braddon was appointed solicitor to the wine-licensing office, with a salary of £100 per annum.

In one point Braddon showed great perspicuity and good feeling. In 1717 he published a pamphlet entitled "The Miseries of the Poor, a National Sin and Shame"; and when his scheme for the relief of the poor had been animadverted upon unfavourably, in 1722, he answered these objections in another tractate: "Particular answers to the most material objections made to the proposal humbly presented to His Majesty for relieving, reforming, and employing all the poor of Great Britain," 1722.

Laurence Braddon died on Sunday, 29th November, 1724.

The Braddons must have been a family of some consequence in S. Gennys, although their arms and pedigree are not recorded in the Heralds' Visitations. At the trial of Laurence, it was stated that his father's income from his property was fully £800 per annum. Laurence derived his fiery Protestantism from his father, who had been a Parliamentarian officer of some distinction in the Civil War. His father is buried in the chancel of S. Gennys, and some verses are inscribed on the ledgerstone, beginning:—

In war and peace I bore command,
Both gun and sword I wore.

The arms borne by the family are: Sable, a bend lozengy, arg.—arms that in their beautiful simplicity proclaim their antiquity.

The old mansion of the Braddons in S. Gennys has been pulled down and a modern farm-house erected on the site.

[Pg 108]


Week S. Mary stands in a treeless wind-swept situation, 530 feet above the sea, near the source of two small streams rising in the desolate downs to the south, which unite their waters at Langford, and have sawn for themselves deep clefts that are well wooded. At a remote period this district must have been the scene of contests, for it is studded with earthworks. There was a castle at Week, but camps also crowning a height in Westwood and in Swannacott Wood; and Week S. Mary with its castle stood aloft, defended by one of these on each side. Formerly there was not so much enclosed land as there is at present; but it was precisely the moorland that extended over so large a portion of the parish that constituted its wealth, for on this waste pastured vast flocks of sheep, whose fleeces were in request at a time when wool was the staple industry in the West of England.

The ridge of bare, uplifted, carboniferous rock and clay, cold and bleak, was formerly scantily provided with roads, and with homesteads few and far between; and to guide the traveller through the waste, certain churches with lofty towers were erected on high ground—Pancrasweek, Holsworthy, Bridgerule, Week S. Mary—to enable him to make his way across country from one to the other. A farm or a manor-house nestled in a combe, sheltered from the wind, from the sea, and the driving rain; but farmer and[Pg 109] squire drew their wealth from the sheep on the uplands, which were moreover strewn, as they still are, with barrows, under which lie the dead of the Bronze and Stone ages.

Davies Gilbert absurdly derives the name of the place from the Cornish, and makes it signify "sweet." No more unsuitable epithet could have been applied. It signifies vicus, a village or hamlet, and is found also at Pancrasweek, Germansweek, and elsewhere.

In the village are still to be seen the remains of the old school and chantry founded by Thomasine Bonaventura, a shepherd girl, native of the place, whose story is told by Carew and by Hall; and from them we take it.

Thomasine was born about the year 1450, in the reign of Henry VI, and her father was a small farmer who had his flock of sheep pasturing on the wild waste common-lands. Thomasine watched it, and spun from her distaff. Above the desolate moors to the south-west stood up blue against the sky the rugged height of Brown Willy, crowned by its mighty cairns; to the west and south-west stretched the Atlantic, into which the evening sun went down in a blaze of glory.

One day a London merchant, a dealer in wool, came riding over the moor; probably from Tintagel or Forrabury, and making direct for Week S. Mary tower, when he passed a barrow on which sat the shepherd girl spinning, the breeze from the sea blowing her dark hair about, singing some old ballad, but ever keeping her eye on her father's sheep. Behind him trailed a line of horses laden with the packs of wool that he had purchased, led by his men. He halted to speak to the girl, probably to learn from her where he might best ford the stream in the valley below. She answered, and he was pleased with her intelligence,[Pg 110] and not less with her beauty. He inquired who she was, what was her name, and what the circumstances of her parents. To all these questions she gave prompt and direct answers. Then, still more taken with her, he asked Thomasine whether she would accompany him to London, to be servant to his wife, and he offered her good wages and kind treatment. She replied, with caution, that she was under the guardianship of her father and mother, and that she could not accept his proposal without their consent.

Thereupon the merchant rode on, and upon reaching Week S. Mary inquired for the house of the parents of Thomasine and laid his offer before them. When they hesitated, he referred them to his customers.

The parents, no doubt, were highly elated at being able to get their daughter into a situation in London, where all the streets were paved with gold. But it may well be doubted whether they dreamt of what was in store for her.

So she parted from her parents, certainly with many tears on her part, and earnest injunctions from father and mother to conduct herself in a modest and obedient manner.

Now these wool merchants and clothiers were men of mighty repute and good substance in the land. In Thomas Deloney's delightful Pleasant Historie of Thomas of Reading, 1600, we read: "Among all crafts this was the onely chiefe, for that it was the chiefest merchandize, by the which our Country became famous throwout all Nations. And it was verily thought that the one halfe of the people in the land lived in those dayes thereby, and in such good sort, that in the Commonwealth there were few or no beggars at all: poore people, whom God lightly blessed with most children,[Pg 111] did by meanes of this occupation so order them, that by the time that they were come to be sixe or seven yeares of age, they were able to get their owne bread. Idlenesse was then banished our coast, so that it was a rare thing to heare of a thiefe in those dayes. Therefore it was not without cause that Clothiers were then both honoured and loved."

Doubtless so soon as the merchant reached Launceston he placed all the wool he purchased on carts, to convey it to town through Exeter. Deloney tells an amusing story of how King Henry was riding forth west with one of his sons and some of his nobility, when "he met with a great number of waines loaden with cloth coming to London, and seeing them still drive one after another so many together, demanded whose they were. The wainemen answered in this sort: Coles of Reading, quoth they. Then, by and by, the King asked another, saying: Whose cloth is all this? Old Coles, quoth he. And againe anon after he asked the same questions to others, and still they answered, Old Coles. And it is to be remembered that the King met them in such a place so narrow and streight, that hee with the rest of his traine were faine to stand as close to the hedge, whilest the carts passed by, the which at that time being in number above two hundred, was neere hand an hour ere the King could get room to be gone; so that by his long stay, he began to be displeased, although the admiration of that sight did much qualify his furie; but breaking out in discontent, by reason of his stay, he said, I thought Old Cole had got a commission for all the carts in the country to carry his cloth. And how if he have (quoth one of the wainemen) doth that grieve you, good Sir? Yes, good Sir, said our King. What say you to that? The fellow, seeing the King (in asking the question)[Pg 112] to bend his browes, though he knew not what he was, yet being abasht, he answered thus: Why, Sir, if you be angry, nobody can hinder you; for possibly, Sir, you have anger at commandment. The King, seeing him in uttering of his words to quiver and quake, laughed heartily at him ... and by the time he came within a mile of Staines, he met another company of waines, in like sort laden with cloth, whereby the King was driven into a further admiration; and demanding whose they were, answere was made in this sort: They bee goodman Sutton's of Salisbury, good Sir. And by that time a score of them were past; he asked againe, saying, Whose are these? Sutton's of Salisbury, quoth they, and so still, so often as the King asked that question, they answered, Sutton's of Salisbury. God send me such more Suttons, said the King. And thus the further he travelled westward, more waines and more he met continually: upon which occasion he said to his nobles, that it would never grieve a King to die for the defence of a fertile country and faithful subjects. I alwayes thought (quoth he) that England's valor was more than her wealth, yet now I see her wealth sufficient to maintaine her valour, which I will seek to cherish in all I may, and with my sword keepe myselfe in possession of that I have."

Judging by what Deloney says, these clothiers were a merry set, and the journey to town was one long picnic. They were—or some were—of good family. Grey, the clothier of Gloucester, was of the noble race of Grey de Ruthyn, and FitzAllen, of Worcester, came of the Fitzallens, "that famous family whose patrimony lay about the town of Oswestrie, which towne his predecessors had inclosed with stately walls of stone."

The most famous wool merchant in the West was[Pg 113] Tom Dove, of Exeter, concerning whom this song was sung:—

Welcome to town, Tom Dove, Tom Dove,
The merriest man alive.
Thy company still we love, we love,
God grant thee well to thrive.
And never will we depart from thee,
For better, for worse, my joy!
For thou shalt still have our good will,
God's blessing on my sweet boy!

In London Thomasine comported herself well, was cheerful and obliging. How the mercer's wife relished her introduction into the house we are not informed. But this good lady shortly after sickened and died, and the widower offered Thomasine his hand and his heart, which she accepted.

After three years Richard Bunsby, the mercer, died and left all he had to Thomasine, so that she, who had gone up to town as a serving girl, was now a rich widow, and withal young and pretty and attractive. She soon drew suitors about her, and her choice fell on "that worshipful merchant adventurer, Master John Gall, of S. Lawrence, Milk Street." He as well was wealthy and uxorious, and he allowed his wife to make donations for the relief of the poor of her native village, for which she ever retained a lingering attachment.

After the lapse of five years Thomasine was again a widow, and her second husband had followed the example of the first in leaving to her all his possessions.

She had not to wait long before fresh suitors buzzed about her like flies around a treacle barrel, and now, in the year 1497, she gave her hand to Sir John Percival, who in the following year became Lord Mayor of London. In memory of this event, she is traditionally[Pg 114] held to have constructed a good road—as good roads went in those days—from Week S. Mary down to the coast, probably that over Week ford and through Poundstock, to either Wansum or Melhuc Mouth.

She long survived her third husband, and is supposed to have returned to end her days as the Lady Bountiful in her native village. By her will, made in 1510, she left goodly sums of money to Week S. Mary.

But both she and Sir John Percival had been already benefactors in London. Sir John had founded a chantry in S. Mary Woolnoth, and in 1539 is found an entry in the churchwardens' accounts of that parish recording that Dame Thomasine Percival had left money for the maintenance of the "beme light" in the church, i.e. the lamp before the rood. She had also left money to supply candles to burn about the sepulchre in the church on Easter Day, and he had bequeathed moneys for the repair of the ornaments of the church, for bell-ringing, for singers "for keeping the anthem," at his and her obits, and last but not least, "for a potation to the neighbours at the said obit."

Carew says: "And to show that virtue as well bare a part in the desert, as fortune in the means of her preferment, she employed the whole residue of her life and last widowhood to works no less bountiful than charitable, namely, repairing of highways, building of bridges, endowing of maidens, relieving of prisoners, feeding and apparelling the poor, etc. Among the rest, at this S. Mary Wike she founded a chantry and free-school, together with fair lodgings for the schoolmasters, scholars, and officers, and added £20 of yearly revenue for supporting the incident charges: wherein, as the bent of her desire was holy, so God blessed the same with all wished success; for divers of the best[Pg 115] gentlemen's sons of Devon and Cornwall were there virtuously trained up, in both kinds of divine and human learning, under one Cholwel, an honest and religious teacher, which caused the neighbours so much the rather and the more to rue, that a petty smack only of Popery opened the gap to the oppression of the whole, by the statute made in Edward VI's reign, touching the suppression of chantries."

This disaster befell it in 1550, when all colleges, chantries, free chapels, fraternities, and guilds throughout the kingdom, with their lands and endowments, were alienated to the King—not because there was a "petty smack of Popery" in them, but because of the rapacity of the courtiers who desired to gather the lands and benefactions into their own soiled hands.

Mr. W. H. Tregellas says: "There are still to be seen in the remote and quiet little village of Week S. Mary, some five or six miles south of Bude, in the northern corner of Cornwall, the substantial remains of the good Thomasine's college and chantry, which she founded for the instruction of the youth of her native place.

"The buildings lie about a hundred yards east of the church (from the summit of whose grotesquely ornamented tower six-and-twenty parish churches may be discerned), and built into the modern wall of a cottage which stands inside the battlemented enclosure is a large carved granite stone (evidently one of two which once formed the tympanum of a doorway), on which the letter T stands out in bold relief. Probably it is the initial of the Christian name of our Thomasine; at any rate, it is pleasant to think it may be such."

The church and its stately tower were probably built by Thomasine, or, at all events, she would have largely contributed towards the building. That church is now,[Pg 116] internally, a ghastly sight. At its "restoration" it was gutted, and is as bare as a railway station—a shell, and nothing more. But that it was not so in Dame Thomasine's time we may be well assured. A gorgeous screen extended across its nave and aisles, richly sculptured and coloured and gilt, the windows were filled with stained glass, and the bench ends were of carved oak. All this has been swept away.

In the Stratton churchwardens' accounts for 1513 we find that on the day upon which "My Lady Parcyvale's Meneday" came round—i.e. the day on which her death was called to mind—prayer was to be made for the repose of her soul, and two shillings and two pence paid to two priests, and for bread and ale.

[Pg 117]


Mr. Nevill Norway was a timber and general merchant, residing at Wadebridge. He was the second son of William Norway, of Court Place, Egloshayle, who died in 1819, and Nevill was baptized at Egloshayle Church on November 5th, 1801.

In the course of his business he travelled about the country and especially attended markets, and he went to one at Bodmin on the 8th of February, 1840, on horseback.

About four o'clock in the afternoon he was transacting some little affair in the market-place, and had his purse in his hand, opened it and turned out some gold and silver, and from the sum picked out what he wanted and paid the man with whom he was doing business. Standing close by and watching him was a young man named William Lightfoot, who lived at Burlorn, in Egloshayle, and whom he knew well enough by sight.

Mr. Norway did not leave Bodmin till shortly before ten o'clock, and he had got about nine miles to ride before he would reach his house. The road was lonely and led past the Dunmeer Woods and that of Pencarrow.

He was riding a grey horse, and he had a companion, who proceeded with him along the road for three miles and then took his leave and branched off in another direction.

[Pg 118]

A farmer returning from market somewhat later to Wadebridge saw a grey horse in the road, saddled and bridled, but without a rider. He tried at first to overtake it, but the horse struck into a gallop and he gave up the chase; his curiosity was, however, excited, and upon meeting some men on the road, and making inquiry, they told him that they thought that the grey horse that had just gone by them belonged to Mr. Norway. This induced him to call at the house of that gentleman, and he found the grey steed standing at the stable gate. The servants were called out, and spots of blood were found upon the saddle. A surgeon was immediately summoned, and two of the domestics sallied forth on the Bodmin road, in quest of their master. The search was not successful that night, but later, one of the searchers perceiving something white in the little stream of water that runs beside the highway and enters the river Allen at Pendavey Bridge, they examined it, and found the body of their unfortunate master, lying on his back in the stream, with his feet towards the road, and what they had seen glimmering in the uncertain light was his shirt frill. He was quite dead.

The body was at once placed on the horse and conveyed home, where the surgeon, named Tickell, proceeded to examine it. He found that the deceased had received injuries about the face and head, produced by heavy and repeated blows from some blunt instrument, which had undoubtedly been the cause of death. A wound was discovered under the chin, into which it appeared as if some powder had been carried; and the bones of the nose, the forehead, the left side of the head and the back of the skull were frightfully fractured.

An immediate examination of the spot ensued when the body had been found, and on the left-hand side of[Pg 119] the road was seen a pool of blood, from which to the rivulet opposite was a track produced by the drawing of a heavy body across the way, and footsteps were observed as of more than one person in the mud, and it was further noticed that the boots of those there impressed must have been heavy. There had apparently been a desperate scuffle before Mr. Norway had been killed.


From a painting in the possession of Miss A. T. Norway

There was further evidence. Two sets of footmarks could be traced of men pacing up and down behind a hedge in an orchard attached to an uninhabited house hard by; apparently men on the watch for their intended victim.

At a short distance from the pool of blood was found the hammer of a pistol that had been but recently broken off.

Upon the pockets of the deceased being examined, it became obvious that robbery had been the object of the attack made upon him, for his purse and a tablet and bunch of keys had been carried off.

Every exertion was made to discover the perpetrators of the crime, and large rewards were offered for evidence that should tend to point them out. Jackson, a constable from London, was sent for, and mainly by his exertions the murderers were tracked down. A man named Harris, a shoemaker, deposed that he had seen the two brothers, James and William Lightfoot, of Burlorn, in Egloshayle, loitering about the deserted cottage late at night after the Bodmin fair; and a man named Ayres, who lived next door to James Lightfoot, stated that he had heard his neighbour enter his cottage at a very late hour on the night in question, and say something to his wife and child, upon which they began to weep. What he had said he could not hear, though the partition between the cottages was thin.

[Pg 120]

This led to an examination of the house of James Lightfoot on February 14th, when a pistol was found, without a lock, concealed in a hole in a beam that ran across the ceiling. As the manner of Lightfoot was suspicious, he was taken into custody.

On the 17th his brother William was arrested in consequence of a remark to a man named Vercoe that he was in it as well as James. He was examined before a magistrate, and made the following confession:—

"I went to Bodmin last Saturday week, the 8th instant, and on returning I met my brother James just at the head of Dunmeer Hill. It was just come dim-like. My brother had been to Burlorn, Egloshayle, to buy potatoes. Something had been said about meeting; but I was not certain about that. My brother was not in Bodmin on that day. Mr. Vercoe overtook us between Mount Charles Turnpike Gate at the top of Dunmeer Hill and a place called Lane End. We came on the turnpike road all the way till we came to the house near the spot where the murder was committed. We did not go into the house, but hid ourselves in a field. My brother knocked Mr. Norway down; he snapped a pistol at him twice, and it did not go off. Then he knocked him down with the pistol. He was struck whilst on horseback. It was on the turnpike road between Pencarrow Mill and the directing-post towards Wadebridge. I cannot say at what time of the night it was. We left the body in the water on the left side of the road coming to Wadebridge. We took money in a purse, but I do not know how much it was. It was a brownish purse. There were some papers, which my brother took and pitched away in a field on the left-hand side of the road, into some browse or furze. The purse was hid by me in my garden, and afterwards I threw it over Pendavey Bridge. My brother drew[Pg 121] the body across the road to the water. We did not know whom we stopped till when my brother snapped the pistol at him. Mr. Norway said, 'I know what you are about. I see you.' We went home across the fields. We were not disturbed by any one. The pistol belonged to my brother. I don't know whether it was broken; I never saw it afterwards; and I do not know what became of it. I don't know whether it was soiled with blood. I did not see any blood on my brother's clothes. We returned together, crossing the river at Pendavey Bridge and the Treraren fields to Burlorn village. My brother then went to his house and I to mine. I think it was handy about eleven o'clock. I saw my brother again on the Sunday morning. He came to my house. There was nobody there but my own family. He said, 'Dear me, Mr. Norway is killed.' I did not make any reply."

The prisoner upon this was remanded to Bodmin gaol, where his brother was already confined, and on the way he pointed out the furze bush in which the tablet and the keys of the deceased were to be found. James Lightfoot, in the meantime, had also made a confession, in which he threw the guilt of the murder upon his brother William.

This latter, when in prison, admitted that his confession had not been altogether true. He and his brother had met by appointment, with full purpose to rob the Rev. W. Molesworth, of S. Breock, returning from Bodmin market, and when James had snapped his pistol twice at Mr. Norway, he, William, had struck him with a stick on the back of his head and felled him from his horse, whereupon James had battered his head and face with the pistol.

The two wretched men were tried at Bodmin on March 30th, 1840, before Mr. Justice Coltman, and the[Pg 122] jury returned a verdict of "Guilty"; they were accordingly both sentenced to death, and received the sentence with great stolidity.

Up to this time the brothers had been allowed no opportunity for communication, and the discrepancy in their stories distinctly enough showed that the object of each was to screen himself and to secure the conviction of the other.

After the passing of the sentence on them, they were conveyed to the same cell, and were now, for the first time, allowed to approach each other. They had scarcely met before, in the most hardened manner, they broke out into mutual recrimination, using the most horrible and abusive language of each other, and, not content with this, they flew at each other's throat, so that the gaolers were obliged to interfere and separate them and confine them in separate apartments.

On April 7th their families were admitted to bid them farewell, and the scene was most distressing. On Monday morning, April 13th, they were both executed, and it was said that upwards of ten thousand persons had assembled to witness their end.

As Mr. Norway's family was left in most straitened circumstances, a collection was made for them in Cornwall, and the sum of £3500 was raised on their behalf.

William Lightfoot was aged thirty-six and James thirty-three when hanged at Bodmin.

There is a monument to the memory of Mr. Norway in Egloshayle Church.

In the Cornwall Gazette, 17th April, 1840, the portraits of the murderers were given. Mention is made of the tragedy in C. Carlyon's Early Years, 1843. He gives the following story. At the time of the murder, Edmund Norway, the brother of Nevill, was in command of a merchant vessel, the Orient, on his[Pg 123] voyage from Manilla to Cadiz. He wrote on the same day as the murder:—

"Ship Orient, from Manilla to Cadiz,

"Feb. 8th, 1840.

"About 7.30 p.m. the island of S. Helena, N.N.W., distant about seven miles, shortened sail and rounded to, with the ship's head to the eastward; at eight, set the watch and went below—wrote a letter to my brother, Nevell Norway. About twenty minutes or a quarter before ten o'clock went to bed—fell asleep, and dreamt I saw two men attack my brother and murder him. One caught the horse by the bridle and snapped a pistol twice, but I heard no report; he then struck him a blow, and he fell off the horse. They struck him several blows, and dragged him by the shoulders across the road and left him. In my dream there was a house on the left-hand side of the road. At five o'clock I was called, and went on deck to take charge of the ship. I told the second officer, Mr. Henry Wren, that I had had a dreadful dream, and dreamt that my brother Nevell was murdered by two men on the road from S. Columb to Wadebridge; but I was sure it could not be there, as the house there would have been on the right-hand side of the road, but it must have been somewhere else. He replied, 'Don't think anything about it; you West-country people are superstitious; you will make yourself miserable the remainder of the passage. He then left the general orders and went below. It was one continued dream from the time I fell asleep until I was called, at five o'clock in the morning.

"Edmund Norway,
"Chief Officer, Ship Orient."

There are some difficulties about this account. It is[Pg 124] dated, as may be seen, February 8th, but it must have been written on February 9th, after Mr. Norway had had the dream, and the date must refer to the letter written to his brother and to the dream, and not to the time when the account was penned.

From the Cape of Good Hope to S. Helena the course would be about N.N.W., and with a fair wind the ship would cover about eighty or ninety miles in eight hours. So that at noon of the day February 8th she would be about one hundred miles S.S.E. of S. Helena, i.e. in about 5° W. longitude, as nearly as possible. The ship's clock would then be set, and they would keep that time for letter-writing purposes, meals, ship routine, etc.

Ship,  long. 5° 0' 0" W.
Bodmin  " 4° 40' 0" W.
Difference   20' 0"

The difference would be twenty minutes of longitude, and the difference in time between the two places one degree apart is four minutes. Reduce this to seconds:—

4 × 60 × 20  
————— = 80 sec., i.e. 1 min. 20 sec.

Therefore, if the murder was committed, say, at 10h. 30m. p.m. Bodmin time, the time on the ship's clock would be 10h. 28m. 40s. p.m. An inconsiderable difference.

The log-book of Edmund Norway is said to be still in existence.

One very remarkable point deserves notice. In his dream Mr. Edmund Norway saw the house on the right hand of the road, and as he remembered, on waking, that the cottage was on the left hand, he consoled himself with the thought that if the dream was incorrect in one[Pg 125] point it might be in the whole. But he was unaware that during his absence from England the road from Bodmin to Wadebridge had been altered, and that it had been carried so that the position of the house was precisely as he saw it in his dream, and the reverse of what he had remembered it to be.

Another point to be mentioned is that one of the murderers wore on that occasion a coat which Mr. Norway had given him a few weeks before, out of charity.

Both brothers protested that they had not purposed the murder of Mr. Norway but of the Rev. Mr. Molesworth, parson of S. Breock, who they supposed was returning with tithe in his pocket. This, however, did not agree with the evidence that William Lightfoot had watched him counting his money at Bodmin, and then had made off.

On the occasion of the discovery of the murder, Sir William Molesworth sent his bloodhounds to track the murderers, but because they ran in a direction opposed to that which the constables supposed was the right one they were recalled. The hounds were right, the constables wrong.

[Pg 126]


Sir William Lower was the only son of John Lower, and was born at Tremere, in S. Tudy, about the year 1600.

The Lowers were a very ancient family in Cornwall, seated in S. Winnow parish, and at Clifton, in Landulph, at which latter place lived Sir Nicholas Lower, the brother of John, whilst the eldest brother, Sir William, settled at Treventy, in Carmarthen, having married the daughter and co-heiress of Sir Thomas Pescott, of that place. John had two other brothers knights, Sir Francis and Sir Thomas.

William was not educated at Oxford, but, as Wood says, "spent some time in Oxon, in the condition of hospes, for the sake of the public library and scholastical company." He exhibited a "gay fancy," and a mighty aversion from the dry and crabbed studies of logic and philosophy.

Leaving Oxford, he spent some time in France, where he became a master of the French tongue, and acquired a great admiration for the dramatic compositions of Corneille, Quirault, and Ceriziers, and in after years amused himself with translating some of their plays.

When the troubles broke out in England he took the King's side, and in 1640 was a lieutenant in Sir Jacob Ashley's regiment in Northumberland's army against the Scotch Covenanters, and was then appointed captain, but lost his company, that proved mutinous and deserted. "It was a marvellous thing,"[Pg 127] says a writer of the time, "to observe the averseness of the common soldiers to this war. Though commanders and gentlemen of great quality, in pure obedience to the King, seemed not at all to dispute the cause or consequence of this war, the common soldiers would not be satisfied, questioning, in a mutinous manner, whether their captains were papists or not, and in many places were not appeased till they saw them receive the sacrament; laying violent hands on divers of their commanders, and killing some, uttering in bold speeches their distaste of the cause, to the astonishment of many, that common people should be sensible of public interest and religion, when lords and gentlemen seemed not to be."

Sir William Lower

Sr Wm Lower—
Pub May 21 1800 by W Richardson No 31 Strond

In June, 1644, being a lieutenant-colonel in Thomas Blague's regiment and lieutenant-governor of Wallingford, Lower received orders from the King to raise £50 a week from the town of Reading. Lower at once laid hands on the mayor and carried him to Wallingford as a hostage; he then plied the corporation with demands for the money, without which their head would not be restored to them. The corporation, however, did not value their mayor so highly that they were disposed to pay £50 per week for the privilege of having him restored to them. Lower was taken prisoner by the garrison of Abingdon on 19th January, 1645-6, and Charles rewarded him for his zeal by conferring on him knighthood.

He remained in England for nearly ten more years and saw the ruin of the Royal cause, which he did care for, and of the Church, for which he cared not a rush. In 1655 he quitted England and went to Cologne, which was full of refugees, and there he was cheered with the tidings that Oliver Cromwell was failing in health and had not long to live. Leaving[Pg 128] Cologne, after a brief residence there, he "took sanctuary in Holland, where in peace and privacy he enjoyed the society of the Muses," says Langhorn.

His The Phœnix in Her Flames, a tragedy in four acts, had been published in 1639. The Innocent Lady, or the Illustrious Innocence, translated from the French of R. de Ceriziers, was published in 1654. Now in Holland he worked hard at other translations, and he was the more able to do this at ease, as the Princess Royal Mary of Orange seems to have taken him into her retinue at the Hague. If the Court was anything like what it was when James Howell was there, it must have been vastly dull for the lively and dissolute Sir William Lower. But his stay was enlivened by the arrival of Charles and the intrigues there carried on with the well-affected in England.

At the Hague he issued a thin royal folio, with many plates, entitled "A relation in form of Journal of the voiage and residence which the most excellent and most mighty Prince, Charles the II, King of Great Britain, etc., hath made in Holland, from the 25th of May to the 2nd of June, 1660, rendered into English from the original French. By Sir W. Lower, Knt. Printed by Adrian Ulack." This was published in Dutch, French, and English, and at the end of the volume Sir W. Lower inserted his poems, and an apology for the "tardive appearance (of the book) due to those men who grave the plates."

Such "poems" as he has given as his own show conclusively enough that he was not a poet, but a mere hammerer together of rhymes.

In June, 1660, calculating on his services rendered to Charles I and to the sumptuous book on the residence in Holland of Charles II that he had brought[Pg 129] out, Lower appealed to Secretary Nicholas from The Hague to obtain for him some place in the King's service. But the death of his cousin Thomas, only son of Sir William Lower, of Treventy, who died on 5th February, 1661, by which he became sole heir, executor, and chief representative of the family, recalled him to England. He did not, however, enjoy ease long, for he died in the ensuing year, 1662, leaving an only child, Elizabeth, who probably died early, for nothing further is known of her than that she was in existence when her father died. Who the wife of Sir William Lower was is not known.

His cousin, Dr. Richard Lower, of S. Paul's, Covent Garden, who gave Wood information relative to his kinsman, described him as "an ill poet and a worse man."

His long residence abroad, his dissociation from Cornwall for all his life save his early boyhood, his separation from his kinsmen, had broken all the ties that linked him to his family and county; and when he inherited the estates and was in a position to assist his kinsmen who had been greatly reduced by the civil wars, "he did not, but followed the vices of poets."

[Pg 130]


An event occurred at Penzance in the year 1760 that deserves to be remembered. Great Britain had been engaged in the Seven Years War; and notwithstanding the successes of 1759, when Rodney bombarded Havre, Boscawen had routed and dispersed the Toulon fleet off Lagos, and Hawke had defeated the fleet of De Conflans near Quiberon, there was still a certain amount of alarm in the country, a dread of predatory incursions, and if this fear existed inland, it was most acute upon the coast.

On the night of the 29-30th September Penzance was alarmed by the firing of guns, and soon after by the intelligence that a large ship of a strange appearance had run ashore near Newlyn. Half Penzance poured out in that direction in the grey of early morning. But on reaching the strand they were panic-stricken to see on the ship, and drawn up on the beach, a number of ferocious-looking individuals with baggy trousers, and red fezes on their heads, and each armed with a scimitar, and with brass-mounted pistols stuck in their girdles. Thereupon the half of Penzance that had turned out now turned tail and made the best of their way back to the town, crying out that the Turks had landed and were intent on massacring the inhabitants of Penzance, plundering their houses, and carrying away their wives and children into captivity to become galley-slaves or to fill the harems of these Moslem monsters.

[Pg 131]

A volunteer company was called out, the drum beat to arms, and marched to the beach, where they found 172 men, who were surrounded, deprived of their weapons, and marched to a spacious building called "The Folly," that stood on the Western Green. As there were some of the captives who could speak the lingua franca, and there was here and there to be found a magistrate or an officer who had a limited knowledge of French, it was at last elicited from these men that they were the crew of an Algerine corsair, carrying twenty-four guns, from nine to six pounders. The captain, believing himself to be in the Atlantic, somewhere about the latitude of Cadiz, had cheerily in the dark run his vessel into Mount's Bay, and was vastly surprised when she struck, and still more so when he found himself surrounded by Cornishmen and not by Spaniards. He had lost eight men, drowned.

No sooner was this bruited about than a second panic set in, and the good citizens of Penzance went into hysterics of fear lest these Algerine pirates should have brought with them an invasion of the plague.

A cordon of volunteers was accordingly drawn up round "The Folly" to prevent all intercourse, intelligence was conveyed to the Government, and orders were issued for troops to march from Plymouth so as to surround the whole district. However, the local authorities recovered from their terror or apprehension in time to send off information that there was no cause for such a measure, and the orders were countermanded.

After some days, when no case of plague had revealed itself among the captives, the people of the town and neighbourhood were suffered to approach and contemplate the strangers. Their Oriental dress, their long beards and moustaches, the dark complexion and[Pg 132] glittering eyes of the piratical band, made them objects of curiosity. But they still inspired so much fear that few ventured to approach near to them.

Upon the whole, they were kindly treated, and finally, as their vessel was a complete wreck, a man-of-war was despatched to take all the men on board and convey them back to Algiers.

[Pg 133]


The Killigrew family is one of the most ancient in Cornwall. It takes its name from Killigrew in the parish of S. Erme. Here stands the old nest of the family beside the high road from Truro that falls into that from Redruth to Bodmin at Casland. It is now represented by a couple of insignificant cottages, without old trees surrounding it, and the only hint that it was once the seat of a distinguished family is found in the remains of the deerpark.

The genuine pedigree of the family goes back to Ralph Killigrew of Killigrew, in the reign of Henry III. In that of Richard II, Simon Killigrew married Jane, daughter and heiress of Robert of Arwenack, near Penryn, and he quitted the ancestral mansion to move to his wife's house that was planted in a less bleak situation and was on the estuary of the Fal.

In the reign of Queen Elizabeth, Sir John Killigrew of Arwenack, was Captain in Command of Pendennis Castle. He married Mary, daughter of Philip Wolverston and widow of Henry Knyvett of an Eastern counties family, but her son by Henry Knyvett settled in Cornwall, at Rosemorryn in S. Budoc. Sir John pulled down the greater portion of the ancient house and built himself another, very stately in the style of the times—but, alas! this also has disappeared, for when Sir William Waller approached Pendennis, to besiege it on behalf of the Parliament, the Governor[Pg 134] of the Castle set fire to Arwenack lest it should give harbour to the enemy.

Sir John had a son, also called John, who married Dorothy, daughter of the impecunious Sir Thomas Monck, Knt., of Potheridge, which Sir Thomas died in the debtors' gaol at S. Thomas', by Exeter. John and Dorothy had a son, Sir John Killigrew, aged twenty-two on his father's death in 1605.

Now it fell out that Sir Walter Raleigh on his homeward voyage from Guiana put into Falmouth harbour, and found there, where the town now stands, only a fisherman's cottage. Killigrew, however, hospitably entertained Sir Walter, who expressed his surprise that so fine a harbour should have no accommodation for sailors sheltering there, and when he went to town memorialized King James on the subject. He had fired the imagination of his host, Sir John, and he also petitioned the King to grant him a royal licence to build four houses, where now stands Falmouth, for the convenience of sailors. This roused the wrath of the people of Penryn further up the river, who saw that four houses would bring in their wake many more, and would draw away the trade, and cut off the prosperity of Penryn. Accordingly they used every possible endeavour to obstruct the project. Sir John made several journeys to London, but it was only by spending a great deal of money in fees and bribery of officials that he was able to obtain the licence; and by so doing he incurred the implacable resentment of the inhabitants of Penryn.

We will now let Martin Killigrew continue the story. He wrote a history of the family in 1737 or 1738. We will somewhat simplify the reading by giving "the" for "ye."

"The last Sir John Killigrew was hardly got over this[Pg 135] difficulty, when he fell under a much greater affliction, the prostitution of his wife, who caused herself to be called, or unaccountably was known by the name of Lady Jane." He has already stated, "Sir John Killigrew, a sober, good man, to his utter undoing, married the daughter of an ancient and honourable family, new in the peerage, in respect to whom I forbear the name; making herself infamous, and first debauched by the Governor of Pendennis Castle." This lady was Jane, daughter of Sir George Fermon, of Northampton. Sir William, his brother, was created Baron Leominster in 1622, whose son was given the earldom of Pomfret in 1721.


This Cup has been recently valued at the sum of £4,000. It measures just two feet in height

"Arrived to that shameful degree, Sir John, in point of honour and for quietness of mind, found himself under a necessity to prosecute a divorce from her in the Archbishop's Court, which lasted so many years and [was] so very expensive, as quite ruined his estate, to the degree of his being often put to very hard shifts to get home from London upon the frequent recesses in the process, but at length obtained the divorce in all its formal extent. This woman in such long contest was in no degree protected by her family, but supported and cherished by the town of Penryn, from their jealousy and hatred of Arwenack, as specially appears to this day, by plate by her given to the Mayor and Corporation of Penryn, when she came into her jointure, as an acknowledgment for such protection.[11] Sir John did not long outlive such his divorce, dying in 1632."

Hals says: "Jane Killigrew, widow of Sir John Killigrew, Knt., in the Spanish wars in the latter end[Pg 136] of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, went on board two Dutch ships of the Hans Towns (always free traders in times of war) driven into Falmouth harbour by cross winds, laden with merchandise, on account (as was said) of Spaniards, and with a numerous party of ruffians, murdered the two Spanish merchants or factors on board these ships, and took from them two barrels or hogsheads of Spanish pieces of eight, and converted them to her own use."

"Now, though Fleta (lib. i. c. iii., temp. Edward II) tells us that it is no murder except it be proved that the party slain was English, and no stranger, yet afterwards by the statute 4 Edward III, the killing any foreigner under the King's protection, out of evil design or malice, is murder; upon which statute these offenders were tried and found guilty at Launceston of wilful murder, both by the grand and petty juries, and had sentence of death passed accordingly upon them, and were all executed, except the said Lady Killigrew, the principal agent and contriver of the barbarous fact, who, by the interest and favour of Sir John Arundell, of Tolverne, Knt., and his son-in-law, Sir Nicholas Hals, of Pengersick, Knt., obtained of Queen Elizabeth a pardon or reprieve for the said lady, which was seasonably put into the Sheriff of Cornwall's hands.

"At the news whereof the other condemned wretches aforesaid at the gallows lamented nothing more than that they had not the company of that old Jezebel Killigrew at that place as in justice they ought to be (to use their own words), and begged Almighty God that some remarkable judgment might befall her and her posterity, nay, and all those that were instrumental in procuring her freedom, and observed hereupon it was, that her grandson Sir William Killigrew spent the whole paternal estate of his ancestors, as did Sir Thomas[Pg 137] Arundell, Knt., son of Sir John Arundell, aforesaid, and John Hals, Esq., son of Sir Nicolas Hals, Knt., in their own times, but alas, several and public revolutions of this kind; and all other in worldly affairs are carried on by the judgment and providence of God, not the determination of men, especially such barbarous ruffians as these criminals, though these things happened according to the malefactors' direful imprecations in some sense."

Hals in the above account makes several blunders. The affair to which he alludes took place in January, 1583, and the Dame Killigrew who was involved in it was Mary, wife of Sir John, the grandfather of the Sir John who divorced his wife Jane. Another mistake is that the ship was not one of the Hanseatic town merchant vessels, but was Spanish. Moreover, Hals is wrong in saying that the two Spanish merchants were murdered. On the contrary, Lady Killigrew's ruffians threw overboard and drowned the whole ship's crew, with the exception of the two merchants, who were on shore and so escaped.

The facts are as follows:—

The Mary of S. Sebastian, a Spanish ship of 144 tons burden, owned by two merchants, John de Chavis and Philip de Oryo, the latter being as well the captain, arrived in Falmouth harbour on January 1st, 1582-3, and cast anchor within the bar, just under Sir John Killigrew's house of Arwenack. Here for lack of wind it remained, and the owners went on shore and took up their quarters in an inn at Penryn, awaiting a favourable breeze. At this time there was no open breach of peace between England and Spain. It was not till 1585 that Elizabeth sent over an army into the Netherlands to oppose the forces of Philip II, and despatched a fleet under Sir Francis Drake into the West[Pg 138] Indies to molest the Spanish galleons and colonies there.

Lady Killigrew seems to have formed a scheme for robbing the merchant vessel and massacring the crew and the owners, and several efforts were made to induce the two merchants to quit their inn at Penryn and return on board, so that the whole of those on the vessel and the merchants might be got rid of, and not a witness left. However, this failed; Chavis and Oryo did not return to their ship.

About midnight on 7th January a boatload of men boarded the Spanish vessel and overpowered the sailors, raised the anchors, and set sail. The Spaniards were all either butchered or thrown into the sea. The ship was then taken to Ireland, where she was plundered and the spoil divided. But before this was done, two of Lady Killigrew's servants, named Kendal and Hawkins, were sent back to Arwenack with sundry bolts of Hollands and leather, as the share of Lady Killigrew, her kinswoman, Mrs. Killigrew, and the maids and servants in the house.

Lady Killigrew was highly incensed at being put off with so little, but fume as she might she could do nothing, for the ship was on its way to Ireland. What she did accordingly was to keep all that was sent on shore for herself, and distribute none of it among her household.

The two merchants now stirred, and laid formal complaint before the Commissioners for Piracy in Cornwall. Among these was Sir John Killigrew, the husband of the lady who had contrived or abetted the act. A meeting was held at Penryn, and sufficient evidence was produced to implicate Hawkins and Kendal; but this they were able to rebut by the testimony of Elizabeth Bowden, who kept a small tavern[Pg 139] at Penryn, and who swore that up to the time that the act of piracy was committed the two men Hawkins and Kendal were drinking in her inn. The jury returned an open verdict that the ship had certainly been stolen, but by whom there was no evidence to show.

Chavis and De Oryo were not men disposed to let the matter rest thus, and having procured a safe conduct to London from the Commissioners, they proceeded thither, and laid their complaint before the higher authorities, with the result that the Earl of Bedford instructed Sir Richard Grenville and Mr. Edmund Tremayne to make a searching investigation into the affair.

As might be anticipated, this inquiry was more thorough-going and real than the other, and the truth was at last elicited from witnesses very reluctant to speak what they knew. The result arrived at was this:—

The whole plot had been contrived by Dame Killigrew, who on the Sunday in question ordered Hawkins and Kendal to board the Spaniard, along with a party of sailors and fishermen got together for the purpose. Moreover, she sent a messenger by boat to the Governor of St. Mawes Castle, to inform him that the Spanish merchants proposed to sail that night, and to request him not to hinder them from so doing. The other castle, that of Pendennis, commanding the entrance to the haven, had Sir John Killigrew as Governor, and in it all day were harboured the boarding-party destined to carry off the merchantman.

Hawkins, who was the ringleader, had been sworn to strict secrecy by Lady Killigrew, who desired to keep the whole transaction from the knowledge of her husband. The leather that fell to her share was placed in a cask and buried in the garden at Arwenack. Hawkins[Pg 140] and Kendal were hanged at Launceston, but Lady Killigrew escaped as Hals relates. Sir John died next year; when Lady Killigrew died is not known.

On the death of the later Sir John in 1633, Arwenack passed to his nephew, as he left no issue, and that nephew, Sir Peter Killigrew, married Frances, daughter and co-heiress of Sir Roger Twysden. He had two daughters, and a son George who came to an untimely end.

He was killed in a drunken brawl in a tavern at Penryn by Walter Vincent, barrister-at-law, "who," says Hals, "was tried for his life at Launceston for the fact, and acquitted by the petty jury, through bribery and indiscreet acts and practices, as was generally said; yet this Mr. Vincent, through anguish and horror at this accident (as it was said), within two years after wasted of an extreme atrophy of his flesh and spirits, that at length at the table whereby he was sitting, in the Bishop of Exeter's palace, in the presence of divers gentlemen, he instantly fell back against the wall and died."

Frances, the eldest daughter of Sir Peter Killigrew, married Richard Erisey, and had a daughter who became the wife of John West, of Bury S. Edmunds, and by him had a daughter Frances, who married the Hon. Charles Berkeley, and through their descent the estates, or such as remained of the old family of Killigrew, passed to the Earl of Kimberley.

The history of the Killigrew family, by Martin Killigrew, was published in part by Mr. R. N. Worth in the Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall, Vol. III (1868-70), and the story of the seizure of the Spanish vessel by Dame Killigrew was investigated by Mr. H. M. Whitley, in the Journal, Vol. VII (1881-3).

[Pg 141]


The two men of science of whom a sketch is about to be given here were neither of them Cornishmen by birth and parentage, but, inasmuch as a long stretch of the life of each was spent in the delectable duchy, and as both were well known in it and made it the principal field of their labours, they deserve a place in this collection. These two men are John Ralfs, the botanist, and George Carter Bignell, the entomologist.

John Ralfs was born September 13, 1807, at Millbrook, near Southampton. His father, Samuel Ralfs, died when he was a year old, and to his mother was entrusted his early training. From an early age he manifested a passionate love of flowers, and as he grew older an interest in chemistry. Probably on this latter account he decided on the medical profession, and whilst studying medicine he prosecuted botanical research, so that on passing his final examination the President of the Royal College of Surgeons complimented him on his botanical knowledge, and predicted that the world would one day hear a good deal of this then "beardless boy."

He married a Miss Newman, and by her had a son, but they were in every way an ill-suited pair, and after a while they agreed to part, and she went to reside in France, taking her son with her.

Fortunately for science, Ralfs' health would not stand the arduous and anxious life of a village doctor,[Pg 142] and he threw up his profession and wandered about in the south of England, a friendless, reserved, and taciturn man, devoting all his time and attention to botany. He settled finally in Penzance, in the year 1837, and became a familiar personality in the west of Cornwall, rambling over the moors, creeping into bogs, often on hands and knees, searching for rare plants; "a terror to timid ladies, who would scuttle away like frightened rabbits at the sight of this dark, strange man hanging over some deep pool, peering with his short-sighted eyes into what was to him a paradise, and perhaps calling out aloud, forgetful that he and nature were not alone, 'I see him! I've got him!' And often he would be seen resting on a stile, weary with his wanderings, his hat and coat almost as green as the grass on one of his favourite bogs, the marks of his last fray fresh upon them, his collar disappearing, apparently, in vain search of his cravat; gazing absently into the distance, where he saw, doubtless, beautiful and rare specimens of his Algæ and Diatomaceæ."

Mr. Ralfs was never so happy as when alone; he did not care for society, least of all that of women, and grievous deafness made it difficult for him to engage in conversation. Even with men of science like himself he did not care to associate, except through written correspondence. At Penzance he was generally regarded as "a bit total," a little, perhaps not a little, off his head; but no one could have other than a kind word to say of him, for he never injured any one. Occasionally his son came from France to pay his father a visit; but such visits were brief; their tastes were not the same, and their outlook into life was different.

Mr. Ralfs wrote a good deal. He contributed to the[Pg 143] proceedings of many learned societies, but especially the Edinburgh Botanical Society. He was the author of the botanical chapter in the Guide to Ilfracombe, and of the "Sketch of the Botany of West Penwith" in Mr. J. S. Courtney's Guide to Penzance. Mr. J. T. Blight also was assisted by him in his Week at the Land's End. He helped as well in English Botany, by Sir James E. Smith, the figures by James Sowerby. He composed, moreover, a Flora of West Cornwall that remains in MS. in the Penzance Public Library.


From a photograph

Late in life he formed a tender attachment for a little child, who had somehow hitched herself on to him as a companion in his rambles. "The first overtures were entirely on her own side, and it was some time before this acquaintance ripened into friendship. She was a delicate child, and her playfellow—for such he became—prescribed Fresh Air and no Lessons; and so off they would go for long country walks, much to the benefit of her health, but to the detriment of her clothes. Of the mustard poultice that sometimes these excursions rendered necessary, and which could not be endured unless he submitted to a similar infliction; of the delightful dolls' tea parties; of the fairy tales, translated solely for her amusement from the French and German; of his selections from Thackeray and Dickens, whose characters were thus made living people to her; of the wonders that awaited her on S. Valentine's Day, when, through his skilful management, twenty or thirty valentines were to arrive for her from different parts of the country; of the choice variety of sweets he purchased for her stocking at Christmas; of all this, I wish I could discourse at greater length. It is sufficient to say that this friendship, thus begun, lasted to the[Pg 144] end of his life, and was the means of relieving to a large extent that solitude which had before surrounded him.

"On Midsummer Day, when the custom is to wear wreaths of flowers, he would give free permission to the children to pick all the flowers in his garden, on condition that they would come to him flower-crowned in the evening, when he would entertain them royally with fruit and sweetmeats. On Corpus Christi Pleasure Fair (a red-letter day for little Cornish children) he would be seen with a small crowd of boys and girls around him, whom he would treat to all the various shows, waiting patiently, until their curiosity was satisfied, outside."

One great delight of Mr. Ralfs was the naturalizing of strange plants in the neighbourhood of Penzance, amongst others the large-flowered butterwort, and very much amused was he when some local paper with a flourish of trumpets announced the discovery of the Pinguicula by a botanical tourist, and a claim put forward that it was indigenous to Cornwall.

John Ralfs died 14 July, 1890, and was buried at Penzance.

The second naturalist, Mr. George Carter Bignell, is happily still alive and in full intellectual vigour, and resides in Saltash. He is a native of Exeter, having been born in that city in 1826. He was educated at S. John's Hospital in his native town, but had to leave it at the age of twelve, when he was placed in a booking-office for receiving parcels and booking passengers for the carriers who made the "Black Lion" their head-quarters when in Exeter. These carriers came from many small towns from twenty to fifty miles away. The yard and stabling were connected with the "Black[Pg 145] Lion" and the Commercial Inn, South Street, and opposite was the office. Mr. Bignell says: "Often have I seen these lumbering wagons with twenty magnificent horses attached to them start from the office, the driver riding a cob by the side. Very often such a wagon would be conveying gold from the ships in Falmouth to the Bank of England, and in that case the wagon was attended by a guard carrying a blunderbuss."

In this office Mr. Bignell remained till he was sixteen, and in 1842 he joined the Royal Marines at Stonehouse. He saw some foreign service, and was on board the Superb during the civil war in Spain in 1847, and was employed on the coasts of Spain and Portugal. He was in the squadron which succeeded in capturing a division of the rebel army of Count Das Anton, consisting of about three thousand men. Boats' crews put off from the ships of the squadron, and under a heavy fire from the forts boarded and captured every vessel. The prisoners were conveyed up the river Tagus to Fort S. Julian, where, after being deprived of arms and ammunition, they were safely lodged.

A guard, consisting of half the complement of marines from each ship, was placed over them, the whole body under the command of Major Stransham.

A few days after the capture it was discovered that ammunition was being surreptitiously conveyed into the fort by friends of the rebels, and investigation disclosed that a plot had been hatched to blow up the fort.

Count Das Anton pretended to be wholly ignorant of the conspiracy. The rebels were paraded, each man searched, and every nook and cranny in the fort thoroughly overhauled. A large quantity of gunpowder was found, and this was promptly wheeled to the parapets in barrows and thrown into the Tagus.

[Pg 146]

The guard placed over this large body of prisoners was small, and to overawe the prisoners all the marines from the ships were landed every evening at sunset and marched with fixed bayonets to the fort, with orders to make as much noise and clatter as they could; and then at night, when all was still, they stole silently away from the fort and returned on board. So well was the ruse practised every day that the prisoners were under the impression that they were guarded by a large body, and never suspected the truth. The time at the fort was not very pleasant to the marines on guard, as the place was filthy and literally swarmed with fleas, and their white drill suits were so covered with these detestable insects that the marines appeared to be dressed in brown instead of white clothing.

This was Mr. Bignell's only taste of active service. When the Superb was paid off he was employed in several offices in the barracks, first as commanding officer's clerk, and afterwards he was appointed to the barracks at Millbay as barrack sergeant, and he held this appointment for seven years. By the end of this time he had served twenty-two years. Throughout all this time he had been a keen and close observer of nature. From his boyhood up natural history had exercised a great attraction for him, and as he grew up, and studied, the subject became more and more interesting. During his last seven years of service he made considerable progress, for as a barrack sergeant he had little work to do, and so had plenty of time to devote to his hobby.

After being discharged he became a member of the Plymouth Institution, with the object of finding out the names of some of the insects he had captured, and was surprised to find that it had nothing like them in its collection, nor could anybody tell him what they were.


Reproduced by permission of Miss Loveday E. Drake

[Pg 147]

Mr. Bignell had barely retired from the service ere he was appointed Registrar of Births and Deaths for the Stonehouse district and also Poor Law Officer to the Stonehouse Board of Guardians; but his residence is in Saltash. All his spare time has for many years been given up to scientific pursuits, the branch of science to which he is most partial being entomology; but since his residence in Saltash he has been a profound student in marine flora. It is not only in the study of the known and hitherto unregistered insects that Mr. Bignell has acquired a world-wide fame; he has specially taken up the subject, hitherto almost untouched, of the parasites that live on insects.

To grasp what has been done by him an examination must be made of the entomological journals for the last forty years, for there he is generally in evidence. In the proceedings of the Entomological Society of London Mr. Bignell's name is quoted as being the discoverer of fifty-one parasites, nineteen being new to science and thirty-two new to Britain. In recognition of this work, one of the new species has been named after him Mesoleius Bignellii. The Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society have awarded him three of their medals, a bronze one for "land and fresh water shells," a silver one for a "collection of British moths," and a second silver medal for "butterflies and moths."

In the publications of the Ray Society on the Larvæ of British Butterflies and Moths, at the end of each volume we find a list of parasites preying on these beautiful insects, "kindly prepared by Mr. G. C. Bignell, f.e.s."

One of the most extraordinary features of Mr. Bignell's work is the infinite delicacy wherewith even now at an advanced age he is able to draw and colour his specimens. The miniature painter of a beautiful[Pg 148] girl's face a century ago did not take more pains to delineate the object of his admiring study than does Mr. Bignell to obtain a "counterfeit presentment" of some disgusting caterpillar or parasitic insect.

The hunting for specimens would be an exhausting toil were it not a labour of love. On one occasion Mr. Bignell obtained one hundred and forty-one caterpillars of a certain moth in Whitsand Bay, under Fort Tregantle. They were feeding on henbane, and as he did not know where else to get the right sort of food for them, he had to go out two or three times a week for the food, walking in all a hundred miles. But, alas for the ingratitude of the caterpillars, not a single moth rewarded all this devotion! Yet even this was outdone by a hundred and thirty-five mile walk in the dark to attempt to capture one sort of moth, which perhaps deserves to be mentioned for its elusive ways. It is called the Dasycampa rubiginea, and has to live up to its name. Plym Bridge was supposed to be its haunt, and its time of taking its walks or flutter abroad, night, and that also in midwinter. So night after night in November and December it was stalked, till one night, between the 6th and 7th December, the moth was spotted leisurely sipping honey from the flowers of the ivy growing on one of the pillars of the old gateway leading into Cann Wood between Plym Bridge and Plympton, just as the clock at Morley House was striking twelve.

A pathetic interest attaches to the large copper butterfly. This splendid species was first discovered in Wales by the celebrated botanist Hudson. It was subsequently captured in considerable numbers about Whittlesea Mere, in Huntingdonshire. Now, alas! it is extinct, and a specimen such as one possessed by Mr. Bignell is worth some pounds. The last secured was[Pg 149] in 1847. Greedy collectors and dealers from London, after its discovery, were waiting for it, and offered the country yokels five shillings for every caterpillar secured. Now it is as extinct as the dodo and the great auk.

There would seem to be no living creature that is not a home and feeding ground for parasites; even the butterflies are infested with them, and probably these parasites also have others infinitely small that attack them.

Great fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite 'em,
And little fleas have lesser fleas—and so ad infinitum.

One of the most interesting discoveries made by Mr. Bignell is that a creature like a scorpion—but all claw—that is found upon the common house-fly is not a true parasite. It likes a ride, and to do it cheap. And when a fly comes within reach, it lays hold of it with its disproportionately huge claws, clings, and has a ride, free, gratis and for nothing. When it has seen enough of the world and is tired, it lets go and drops off.

Says Mr. Bignell: "The Blossom Underwing is a moth that was very abundant on the male flowers of the great sallow on April 13th, 1866. Previously this moth was very scarce; but on this night I saw at least a thousand; they were all in pairs, and each pair occupied a flower, a sight never to be forgotten. The fine flowering scrubby oaks were swarming with the larvæ. A friend of mine who kept birds in a very large cage, seeing the abundance of the caterpillars, decided to give his birds a treat; he accordingly gathered about a pint of them, carried them home, and instead of giving the birds two or three at a time, he incautiously put the tin into the cage and removed the lid. At once the caterpillars began to escape, and the seething mass of black and yellow wriggling over the floor, crawling[Pg 150] about the wires, so frightened the birds that it caused the death of two of three, which beat themselves against the cage in vain hope to escape from these uncanny horrors."

As may be well imagined, Mr. Bignell with his lantern stealing up the side of a hedge in the night often enough routed the poachers and sent them flying, thinking they were being watched by a policeman. On one occasion he scared an owl. "I was enjoying myself, on my knees, hunting over the contents of my net that I had used for sweeping the low foliage, to see what captures I had made. My nose and bull's-eye lantern were thrust close to the ground, to prevent anything escaping observation. In the midst of this occupation an owl swooped down to see what was up, when I turned my lantern on him, and away he flew in a mighty hurry, bringing the back of his wings together with great force, like a man clapping his hands. He was evidently in great alarm, and uttered an unearthly scream. It certainly gave me also a turn, it was so sudden."

All moths with highly pectinated antennæ, that is to say with their feelers comb-like at the extremities, have the most extraordinary power of scenting a female moth at a great distance, even two or three miles, with a favourable wind.

Mr. Bignell says: "I once had a virgin female of the Oak-egger moth, and was desirous of getting some males. I started off with the lady in a tin box, with a perforated zinc top, to give her air and allow her perfume to escape. I walked through the fields towards Milehouse to where was a turnstile; and at this spot lighted on a weary policeman resting. As it was a dull day, without any token of the sun breaking out, to attract butterflies for their usual gambols, the policeman[Pg 151] jeeringly remarked that I had missed the right day. I replied that I thought not, and that I could collect as many as I desired, in fact, I could make them come to me. He laughed incredulously. I then took out my tin box and placed it on the wall, and, magician-like, whistled and waved my hand. The policeman stared, and thought I was befooling him. But lo, in two or three minutes one male alighted close to the box, soon followed by others, and in a quarter of an hour I had at least fifty, and so tame that I picked them up with my fingers and distributed them among about a dozen people who had gathered to see what I was about. The policeman stared with open eyes and mouth, quite satisfied that my whistle and mysterious signs in the air with my hand had called the insects to me. Satisfied with what I had got I waved again and bade the moths depart, and clapped the box in my pocket. Next day I took the empty box out with me into the country. I had several males following me, and some actually penetrated into my pocket where was the empty box, proving that the perfume still remained in it, though wholly imperceptible to myself."

On one occasion Mr. Bignell and a friend set out at night to find the beautiful moth Heliophobus hispidus, knowing its haunts, between the south side of the Plymouth citadel and the sea, where it is to be found in September or October resting on the grass.

Accordingly, each furnished with a bull's-eye lantern, they visited the locality, but it was some time before one was discerned, and that was on a blade of grass overhanging the cliff and out of reach, a sheer drop of twenty feet at least into the sea fretting and moaning below. Loath to miss it, as its eyes shone like two rubies—in fact, both saw those glistening eyes before they observed that they were in the head of the moth—they[Pg 152] arranged that one should lie flat on his stomach, and that Mr. Bignell should sit down, dig the heels of his boots into the turf, then take his friend by the legs and thrust him over the edge of the cliff, so far as to enable him to box the moth, whilst holding the handle of his lantern between his teeth. This was done, and the Heliophobus was secured.

But, after all, it is in the direction of parasites living upon insects that Mr. Bignell has made the greatest research. He is the possessor of a unique collection of the parasites that live on the aphis, and also of the hyper-parasite which preys upon that parasite. The life-history of this insect was unknown till Mr. Bignell detected a hyper-parasite pierce the aphis which was itself a parasite. The specimen was secured, and from it was bred the hyper-parasite itself.

The life-story of the aphis, that tiny green pest that infests the roses, has been unrolled by this enthusiastic student, and is full of surprises. The ichneumon fly as well has been watched, and all its wicked acts recorded.

Caterpillars, so fat and fleshy, form a delightful feeding ground for the deposit of eggs, and serve as luscious food for the young to pasture upon. We human beings, in common with all mammals, have the obligation imposed on us of nourishing our own young, and with some of us we go on sustaining them till we are exhausted in the process, but the ichneumonidæ are more clever than we. They make others, notably the caterpillars, maintain their young, and the frivolous mothers, after having once deposited their eggs, gad about and enjoy themselves as having no concern for their future well-being. It is a comfort to reflect that the insects thus preyed upon do not seem to suffer much, if at all, and it may almost be said that they[Pg 153] exhibit a maternal regard for the young bred out of their bodies.

With his wonderful microscopes Mr. Bignell can explore far down the ladder of life, but whether to its lowest rung may well be doubted. There is always some living being to be found preying on the last of the minutest creature last seen.

After a visit to Mr. Bignell's house in Saltash with a friend, I turned to him and said: "I came here believing myself to be an Individual. I leave knowing myself to be a Community."

[Pg 154]


The Dictionary of National Biography says of Sir John Call that he was "descended from an old family which, it is said, once owned considerable property in Devon and Cornwall." That proviso "it is said" is conveniently inserted. Anything may be said, as that the cow jumped over the moon, but that a saying may be believed we must know who uttered it. Now the originator of this saying was probably William Playfair, in his British Family Antiquity, 1809. In that the following interesting statement occurs: "From papers in the possession of the family, partly fabulous, though partly true, it appears that the family of the Calls, consisting of three brothers, came into England from Saxony towards the end of the eighth century. One of these brothers settled in Scotland, from whom is descended the clan of the McColls; the second in Norfolk, where the family continued until the beginning of the last (eighteenth) century; and the third settled in Cornwall, from whence the present family derives its origin. This very ancient, but latterly not very opulent family, was formerly possessed of considerable landed property both in Devonshire and Cornwall, which was first reduced by the civil wars in the time of Henry VII, and afterwards nearly annihilated, in consequence of the loyal attachment of some of its individuals to the royal cause during the civil wars in the reign of Charles I."


From a portrait (by A. Hickle) in the possession of his great-granddaughter, Mrs. de Lacy Lacy

[Pg 155]

Why was the eighth century fixed on for the advent of the Calls upon the scene? Presumably because the first Norsemen arrived in 787. Conceive the Calls coming over in a dragon ship, filled with berserker rage, to ravage England and glut themselves with our blood.

But we shall look for Calls in vain among the records of the past. As it happens, Saxons and Northmen had no family, only personal names. The story is as absurd as that also put forth that Callington derived its name from the Calls, who only settled near it in 1770.

But these "family papers" are not so ancient as Sir John Call, who would have been above such a pretence. As a matter of fact, the account supplied to Playfair shows a surprising ignorance in the writer as to the existence of Heralds' Visitations, Inquisitiones post mortem, Wills, Royalist Composition Papers, Parish Registers, and all the material at hand to confirm or disprove reckless genealogical assertions. Playfair does admit that the story contained in the "family papers" is "partly fabulous." He might have said that it was fabulous from beginning to end.

The Calls had no right whatever to bear arms, till a grant was made to them—after reading the above flourish not inappropriate—of three trumpets.

The MS. "Names of Gentlemen in Devonshire and Cornwall with their Arms," drawn up by John Hooker, alias Vowell, in 1599, is the only armoury of the West that gives the name of Call with arms: Party per pale or and gules; upon a chief az. 3 geese sable. But he gives no indication of place where such a gentleman possessed land—and that, before this "opulent family" had been ruined by the civil wars. Hooker probably included the name, because, at the time, there was some gentleman Call from another part of England living[Pg 156] in Exeter. That the Calls of Whiteford had no claim to his arms, nor could exhibit descent from him, is shown by their not adopting his coat. In a MS. armoury of all England dating from 1632, that belonged to C. Pole, the name and arms of Call do not occur.

According to Foster's Baronetage, the Calls hailed from Prestacott, in Launcells.

Actually the great-grandfather of Sir John was of Grove, in Stratton, a tenant farmer. A good many Calls appear in the register of the parish, never with gent. appended to the name, or even with Mr. preceding it, a title generally accorded to a yeoman or a well-to-do tradesman; and one in 1735 is buried as a pauper. Their marriages also show to what class they belonged, with the Uglows, Tanners, and the Jewells, in a humble walk of life.

John Call, described as of Prestacott, in Launcells, was born in 1680, and in 1702 married Sarah Jewell, and died in 1730.

Prestacott consisted of three very small farms on the right-hand side of the old road from Stratton to Holsworthy. Of late years the ramshackle buildings have been pulled down and the lands thrown together and constituted one farm, and a new house has been built. It belonged at the time that John Call rented one of these little holdings to the Orchards of Hartland Abbey. John Call had two sons, John and Richard. John was born 1st March, 1704-5, and married Jane, daughter of John Mill, of Launcells, "the descendant of a respectable family, which had considerable possessions there, as well as in Middlesex," says Playfair. He might have added with equal truth that they possessed castles in the air. As it happens, the Visitations of Cornwall and Lysons knew nothing of the family of Mill. The Mills were of Shernick, a farm in Launcells,[Pg 157] which they rented of the Arundels of Trerice. Their ledger-stones are in the parish church, but they are never described as gents. Mrs. Judith Mill was buried on October 14th, 1723, and Mr. John Mill on December 1st in the same year, and Mr. Richard Mill on July 11th, 1766.

Sarah Call, widow of John Call (without even Mr. and Mrs. prefixed), was buried on February 1st, 1747-8. Shernick is now the property of Sir C. T. Acland, Bart., inherited through an heiress in the nineteenth century of the Arundels.

John Call, who married Jane Mill, had a son, the subject of this memoir. Afterwards, when this son was rich, he set up a tablet to the memory of his father in Launcells Church, on which he gives him the title of "gent."

In Memory of John Call gent of Shernick in this parish, and of Whiteford in Stoke Climsland. He was interred in this church 3 Jan. 1767, aged 63. Also of Jane Call his widow, who was interred 9 Nov. 1781, aged 70. Also of Jane Jones their daughter, wife of the Revd Cadwalader Jones, minister of this parish, who was here interred 2 April, 1790, aged 50, and of their two children, etc.

Concerning Mrs. Cadwalader Jones, more hereafter. The old gentleman, John Call, had died on December 31st, 1766, going out with the old year.

John, the younger, was born June 30th, 1732, at Fenny Park, near Tiverton, and was educated at a private school. For some reason or other, not known, his mother disliked him, and when aged seventeen, and he had been recommended to the notice of Benjamin Robbins, who was going out to India, she refused to furnish him with the money required for his outfit[Pg 158] and passage to India, so that his more distant relatives, probably the Mill family of Shernick, supplied the money.

Benjamin Robbins had composed a treatise on the principles of gunnery and the price of gunpowder, that was not as yet published, and also an account of Lord Anson's voyages. He was a mathematician, and had been appointed chief engineer and captain-general in the East India Company's service, and he was looking about for commercial clerks who would serve on a small pay, when Call was recommended to him as a shrewd lad. John Call was glad of the chance of seeing something of the world and of escaping from a mother who flouted him, and he embraced the offer with gladness. Robbins quitted England in 1749, and arrived with his clerks at Fort William in July, 1750.

Call had been given by Robbins his treatise on explosives to transcribe for the press, and this interested the young man in the subject, and he pursued the theme, and made considerable improvements in rifling barrels. He also introduced one that enabled shells to be discharged from long guns. When Robbins landed he had with him eight young clerks, of whom Call was one. Robbins died in July, 1751, and Call then became the leading engineer.

War broke out among the native princes, backed up upon one side by the French, on the other by the English, and Call was employed to carry out the erection of defensive works at Fort S. David. This was an English settlement near the mouth of the Southern Pennair River, and was only twelve miles from Pondicherry, the French head-quarters.

Madras, at the mouth of the Triplicane, consisted of the native or black city and of Fort S. George, which lay on the sea, and was almost engirdled by the[Pg 159] North River that with the Triplicane formed an island crossed by the main road from Chinglapett and Vandalone.

The French, whilst in possession of Fort S. George, after it had been taken by Labourdonnais in 1746, had made several improvements and additions to the slight works they found, which, nevertheless, rendered the fort little capable of long resistance against the regular approaches of a European enemy; nor had they given any attention to the internal area, which did not exceed fifteen acres of ground. Nevertheless, the English let the place remain in the same state after its recovery from the French in 1751 till the beginning of the year 1756, when the expectation of another war with that nation, and the reports of the great preparations making in France against India, dictated the necessity of rendering it completely defensible; and Call was employed in the extension and perfecting of the work, that had received the consideration of Robbins before his decease. Accordingly all the coolies, labourers, and tank diggers whom the adjacent country could supply were from this time constantly employed on the fortifications: their daily number generally amounted to four thousand men, women, and children. The river channel was diverted, and the old channel was filled up; very extensive bastions and outworks were erected; and it was due to this undertaking that Fort S. George was able to stand successfully against the siege by the Count de Lally in 1759.

In the beginning of the year 1752 Call accompanied Captain (afterwards Lord) Clive in an expedition against the French, who had possessed themselves of the province of Arcot, and were plundering up to the very gates of Madras; and he was with him in his[Pg 160] occupation and subsequent defence of Arcot, during a fifty days' siege. Clive had marched from Madras with two hundred English soldiers and three hundred sepoys. He had with him eight English officers, but of these only two had smelt powder, whilst four, Call among them, were only commercial clerks forced by Clive's example to draw the sword. The battle of Coverplank, near Arcot, gained by Captain Clive in the February of 1752, in which the French lost all their artillery and were totally dispersed, cleared the province of their influence and established the English in the garrison of that capital. From Arcot the victorious army, consisting of about five hundred Europeans and one thousand natives, marched through the country back to Fort S. David, when Mr. Call was appointed chief engineer at Madras, and eventually of all the Coromandel coast.

In 1753 the French under Bussy and Dupleix were full of schemes to retrieve the honour of their arms, and to obtain the absolute empire of the Deccan and the south. In that year, the cession of five important provinces had made them masters of the sea-coast of Coromandel and Orissa for an uninterrupted line of six hundred miles, and also furnished the convenient means of receiving reinforcements of men and military stores from Pondicherry and Mauritius. But neither the Court of Versailles nor the French India Company at home had approved the grand projects of Bussy and Dupleix. The Court questioned the propriety of these wars with the English in a time of peace, and the Company was impatient at the cost of these wars, and doubted whether the territorial acquisitions could be maintained profitably to themselves. The English Company also was impatient at the heavy outlay, and was willing to leave the French in possession of the[Pg 161] Northern Circars; but Dupleix was not to be restrained. He saw further into the future than did the merchants of Paris; he perceived that an unrivalled opportunity was open to him to make all India tributary to France, and he was determined to seize it. But to do so he must expel the English. He claimed to be Nabob of the Carnatic, and unless his authority as such were recognized by the English, he would make no terms whatever with them. But Dupleix had had his day. His protectors and admirers were now out of office, and he was recalled to France.

As soon as war had been declared in Europe, the Government of Louis XV commenced preparations on a large scale for an expedition to the East, and the arrival of a great armament was daily expected at Pondicherry.

It was not, however, until 28th April, 1758, that a squadron of twelve vessels reached the coast. These ships had on board a regiment of infantry eleven hundred strong, a corps of artillery, and a number of officers, all under the command of the Count de Lally, a veteran officer of Irish extraction, who had been all his life in the service of France. He had been appointed Governor-General of the French possessions in India. He was a man of great ability and ambition, and was animated by intense and passionate hatred of England. Had he been supported from home, he would almost certainly have made France predominant in the peninsula. No sooner was he landed than he organized an expedition against Fort S. David, and in June, 1758, he captured it. He then prepared to take Madras as a preliminary to an advance on Bengal, and he hoped to drive the English out of Calcutta. But he was without resources; there was no money to be had at Pondicherry. At last he raised a small sum, chiefly out of[Pg 162] his own funds, and began the march to Madras; his officers preferring to risk death before the walls of Madras to certain starvation within the walls of Pondicherry. Lally reached Madras on the 12th December, 1758, and at once took possession of the black or native town, commanded by Fort S. George, and began the siege of that fort with vigour. Call was within. It was due to him that the defences were in such a condition that the garrison could look with confidence to withstand a siege. We hear, indeed, nothing of any active part taken by him during the progress of the siege, but undoubtedly his knowledge and talent had much to do with rendering the defence effective. The real command was with Major Laurence and Mr. Pigot. The total force collected was 1758 Europeans and 2220 sepoys. On the other side Lally had an army of 2700 Europeans and 4000 native troops.

On 14th December the French took possession of the black town, which was open and defenceless; and there the soldiers, breaking open some arrack stores, got drunk and mad, and committed great disorders.

Taking advantage of this, a sortie was resolved upon, and six hundred chosen men, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Draper and Major Brereton, with two field-pieces, rushed into the streets of the black town. Unluckily the drummers, who were all little black boys, struck up the "Grenadiers' March" too soon and gave warning to the French, who left off their drinking and plundering, and, running to their arms, drew up at a point where the narrow streets crossed at right angles. Those who were drunk were joined by those who were sober, till the whole number far exceeded that of the English detachment. If Bussy, who was at hand, had made one of the bold and rapid[Pg 163] movements which he had been accustomed to make when acting on his own responsibility, he might have taken the English in rear. But he was sulky, and jealous of Lally, and remained inert. When Draper saw that he must retreat, he found that all his drummer-boys who should sound the recall had run away. He, however, managed to bring off his troops, leaving two field-pieces behind, and having lost or killed, wounded and prisoners, about two hundred men.

The siege dragged on. Most of Lally's heavy artillery was still at sea, and a corps of sepoys captured and spiked his only 13-inch mortar, which was coming by land. All his warlike means were as deficient as those of the garrison were perfect, and dissensions and ill-will against him increased among his officers.

For six weeks the French were without any pay, and during the last fifteen days they had no provisions except rice and butter. Then the ammunition of the besiegers failed. On the 15th February, 1759, he resolved on raising the siege. He had thrown away his last bomb three weeks before, and he had blazed away nearly all his gunpowder. Pouring forth invectives and blaming every one but himself, Lally decamped on the night of the 17th as secretly and expeditiously as he could.

In March, 1760, Call was employed in reducing Karikal, and at the latter end of the year and in the beginning of 1761 he was employed as chief engineer under Sir Eyre Coote in the reduction of Pondicherry, which, after it had been battered furiously during two days, surrendered at discretion. Then the town and fortifications were levelled with the ground. A few weeks after the strong hill-fortress of Gingi surrendered,[Pg 164] and the military power of the French in the Carnatic was brought to an end.

In 1762 Call had the good fortune, when serving under General Cailland, to effect the reduction of the strong fortress of Vellore, one hundred miles west of Madras, which has since been the point d'appui of the English power in the Carnatic.

In July, 1763, Mahomed Usuff Cawn, a native of great military talent, employed in the service of the English, for usurping the government of Madura and Tinnevelly, the two southernmost provinces of the peninsula, had to be dealt with summarily. A considerable force marched against him, under the command of Colonel Monson, of His Majesty's 69th Regiment. Call acted as chief engineer under him, till the heavy rains in October obliged the English army to retire from before Madura. Eventually that place and Palamata were reduced, and Mahomed Usuff Cawn was taken and hanged.

At the latter end of 1764 Call went into the Travancore country to settle with the Rajah for the arrears of tribute due to the Nabob of Arcot. Having satisfactorily accomplished that business and other concerns with southern princes, he returned to Madras in January, 1765, and took his seat at the Civil Council, to which he was entitled by rotation, and he obtained the rank of colonel.

During a great part of the war with Hyder Ali in 1767 and 1768 Call accompanied the army into the Mysore country, and whilst he was there the Company advanced him to the third seat in the Council, and he was strongly recommended by Lord Clive to succeed to the government of Madras on the first vacancy. But news reached him of the death of his father, and he made up his mind to return to England. He had[Pg 165] managed to scrape together a very considerable fortune, and he desired to spend the rest of his days in the enjoyment of it. He embarked on February 8th, 1770, after a service of nearly twenty years, and he landed at Plymouth on July 26th.


From a drawing in the possession of Mrs. de Lacy Lacy

He bought Whiteford, in the parish of Stoke Climsland, and greatly enlarged the house. In 1771 he was appointed Sheriff of Cornwall, and in March, 1772, he married Philadelphia, third daughter of Wm. Battye, m.d., a somewhat distinguished physician living in Bloomsbury.

From this period till the autumn of 1782 he lived in retirement at Whiteford.

Whilst in India, Call had not forgotten his parents and sister at home, and had sent to his mother priceless Indian shawls, which she, not knowing their value, cut up and turned into under-petticoats for herself and daughter and maids. A pipe of Madeira sent to the father was also as little appreciated. It was distributed among the farm-labourers during harvest time to economize the cider.

Now that he was in England and wealthy, he resolved on doing something for his sister. She had married Cadwalader Jones, the vicar of the parish, and the vicarage was a small, mean building, so Cadwalader Jones had taken the manor house that was near the church on a long lease from the Orchards, who were lords of the manor. This house had been a cell of Hartland Abbey, but at the Restoration had been given to the Chammonds. That family had died out, and now it had come to the Orchards, owners of Hartland Abbey. Call rebuilt the house, or, to be more exact, built on a modern house to the old, and installed Cadwalader and his sister in the new mansion; he also made for them a large walled garden. When he did[Pg 166] this, he was under the impression that the property belonged to Cadwalader, and not till he had completed his building did he learn that Mr. Jones had only a lease of it. Moreover, Mrs. Jones did not live to enjoy the new house very long, as she died in 1780, and then Cadwalader married again. In course of time Cadwalader went to join his ancestors, and thereupon Mr. Hawkey saw and loved the widow and the mansion, and married her. Thus it came about that the manor house built for Mrs. Jane Jones passed into other hands. But thus it happens also that through Miss Charlotte Hawkey we have some account of Sir John Call.

Lord Shelburne, when Prime Minister, being desirous of investigating some of the existing abuses and reforming some of the public departments, fixed on Call and engaged him along with Mr. Arthur Holdsworth, of Dartmouth, to inquire into the state and management of Crown lands, woods, and forests, which had long been neglected; Call had seen this with regard to the Duchy property at his doors, and had drawn attention to it. In November, 1782, they made their first report; but a change of Ministry taking place soon after, their proceedings were interrupted till the Duke of Portland, then First Lord of the Treasury, authorized them to continue their investigation. Before they had gone far another change took place in the Ministry, and Pitt became Prime Minister. These frequent interruptions interfered with the progress of the investigation, and to obviate that, in 1785-6 Sir Charles Middleton, Call, and Holdsworth were appointed permanent Parliamentary Commissioners.

Call became a banker, a manufacturer of plate-glass, and a copper-smelter. He designed and saw to the execution of the Bodmin gaol in 1779. He was elected[Pg 167] M. P. for Callington in 1784, and retained his seat till 1801. On July 28th, 1791, he was created a baronet, and granted as his arms, gules, three trumpets fessewise in pale, or; as crest, a demi-lion ramp. holding between the paws a trumpet erect, or.

By his wife he had six children. In 1785 he purchased the famous house of Field-Marshal Wade, in Old Burlington Street. He became totally blind in 1795, and died of apoplexy at his residence in town on March 1st, 1801, and was succeeded in the baronetcy by his son, William Pratt Call, who died in 1851, leaving a son, William Berkeley Call, the third baronet, who died in 1864, and with the son of this latter, Sir William George Montague Call, the fourth baronet, the title became extinct. It will be noticed that the two last affected aristocratic Christian names, Berkeley and Montague. Whiteford was sold to the Duchy of Cornwall, and all the noble trees in the park were cut down and turned into money, and the mansion converted into an office for the Duchy. Davies Gilbert, in his Parochial History of Cornwall, tells a couple of anecdotes of Sir John, but they are too pointless to merit repetition.

Call was one of those admirable, self-made men who have been empire-makers in the East, and, better than that, have been makers of the English name as synonymous with all that is powerful and true and just. He well deserved the title accorded to him. He was a man of whom Cornwall may be proud, and it needed no trumpets in his arms and fictions about the origin of his family to make the name honourable.

As Dr. Johnson said, "There are some families like potatoes, whose only good parts are underground."

The authorities for the life of Sir John Call are Playfair's[Pg 168] British Family Antiquity, 1809; Clement R. Markham's Memoir on the Indian Surveys, 1878; H. G. Nicholl's Forest of Dean; and Neota, by Charlotte Hawkey, 1871.

The grant of the baronetcy to Sir John Call, dated 1795, is now in the Museum of the Royal Institution of Cornwall, at Truro.

[Pg 169]


In August, 1853, appeared the following account in the Gentleman's Magazine:—

"An eccentric old gentleman of the name Knill, a private secretary some fifty or sixty years ago to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, becoming afterwards collector of the port of S. Ives, built a three-sided pyramid of granite on the top of a high hill, near the town of S. Ives. The pyramid is represented as a pocket edition of an Egyptian one, and in it this gentleman caused a chamber to be built, with a stone coffin, giving out his intention to be buried there, and leaving a charge on an estate to the corporation of S. Ives for the maintenance and repair, etc., of the pyramid. He, however, died in London; and by his latest will, so far from perpetuating the ostentatious idea, desired that his body should be given up to the surgeons for dissection, a penance, it is supposed, for past follies, after which the remains were buried in London. The pyramid, however, still stands as a landmark. On one side, in raised letters in granite, appear the words 'Hic jacet nil.' It was understood that the 'K' and another 'l' would be added when the projector should be placed within; and on the other side, 'Ex nihilo nil fit,' to be filled up in like manner, Knill. The mausoleum obtained then, and still bears the name of Knill's Folly."

This account, full of inaccuracies, called forth a letter to the editor from a relative of John Knill, at[Pg 170] Penrose, by Helston, dated October, 1853, which appeared in the November issue of the same magazine. He stated that John Knill was educated for the law, but did not adopt it as a profession. He preferred to accept the office of collector of customs at S. Ives. After a while he was sent as Inspector-General of Customs to the West Indies, whence he returned to his duties at S. Ives, after having discharged his office of inspectorship. In 1777 the Earl of Buckinghamshire, who was recorder of S. Ives, invited Mr. Knill to accompany him to Ireland as his private secretary, when he, the earl, had been made lord-lieutenant. The offer was accepted.

In 1782, thirty years before his death, he erected the mausoleum, partly actuated by a philanthropic motive as affording a landmark to ships approaching the port, and partly by a wish to find employment for men at a time of considerable distress, having also a desire to be buried there, if the ground could be consecrated. This intention was afterwards abandoned.

Mr. Knill resided for some years previous to his death in Gray's Inn, and was a bencher of that society. He died there in 1811, and was buried in the vaults of S. Andrew's, Holborn. On one side of the monument is the word "Resurgam." On the second side, "I know that my Redeemer liveth," and on the third is no inscription at all, and the silly puns given by the informant of the Gentleman's Magazine had no existence save in the imagination of the correspondent.

The same writer adds: "Though he had a wide circle of acquaintances and he was highly esteemed by all who knew him, he resisted every invitation to dine in private society, and for many years past dined[Pg 171] at Dolly's Coffee House, Paternoster Row, walking through the chief avenues of the town in the course of the day, in order to meet his friends and to preserve his health by moderate exercise."


After a picture by Opie in the possession of Captain Rogers of Penrose

We are able to supplement this scanty record from a memoir of him by Mr. John Jope Rogers, of Penrose, published in 1871 by Cunnack, of Helston.

John Knill was born at Callington on January 1st, 1733. His mother was a Pike of Plympton, and her mother was an Edgcumbe of Edgcumbe, it is stated in the memoir, but no entry of any such marriage is in the pedigree of the Edgcumbes in Vivian's Heralds' Visitations of Devon.

Mr. Knill was very desirous to trace a descent from the family of Knill of Knill, in Hereford, but entirely failed to do so.

John Knill's mother, one of the seven daughters of Mr. Pike, married secondly Mr. Jope, and it is thus that the portrait of the subject of this memoir came into the possession of Mr. John Jope Rogers, of Penrose, author of the memoir.

John Knill, according to Davies Gilbert, "served his clerkship as an attorney in Penzance, and from thence removed to the office of a London attorney, where, having distinguished himself by application and intelligence, he was recommended to the Earl of Buckinghamshire, who, at that time, held the political interests of S. Ives, to be his local agent." In the year 1762 he was appointed collector of customs at S. Ives, in Cornwall, and held it during twenty years, at the end of which time he wrote to Mr. William Praed, March 30th, 1782: "I purpose to be in London in May, in order to resign my office of collector, which I shall finally quit at the end of next midsummer quarter."

[Pg 172]

In November, 1767, he was chosen mayor of S. Ives, and lived in a red-brick house facing the beach, in Fore Street. Although mayor and collector of customs, it was strongly believed that he was in league with smugglers and wreckers.

One day, during the latter half of the eighteenth century, a strange vessel ran on the rocks on the Hayle side of Carrick Gladden, and the crew escaped to land and disappeared. The ship, now a derelict, had apparently no owner, and next day a number of people boarded her, and found her full of chinaware and other smuggled goods. The ship's papers could not be found; they had been carried off when the crew deserted her, and it was strongly supposed that they were destroyed, as implicating Knill and Praed, of Trevetho. The customs officer, Roger Wearne, went on board and stuffed his clothes full of china; having a pair of trousers on with a very ample and baggy seat, he thought he could not do better than stow away some of the choicest pieces of porcelain there. But as he was getting down the side of the ship into the boat, very leisurely, so as not to injure his spoils, a comrade, getting impatient, struck him on the posteriors with the blade of his oar, shouting to him, "Look out sharp, Wearne!" and was startled at the cracking noise that ensued, and the howl of Wearne when the broken splinters of china entered his flesh.

In 1773 the Government sent him to Jamaica to inspect the ports there; he remained in the West Indies one year, and used his eyes and ears, for in 1779 he wrote an account of the religion of the Coromandel negroes for Bryant Edwards' History of the West Indies, from information he then and there gathered. For his services he received from the Board of Customs the substantial sum of £1500. He returned to his duties at[Pg 173] S. Ives in 1774. In 1777 he became private secretary to the Earl of Buckinghamshire, in Dublin, but he returned to S. Ives after six months in Ireland. In 1779 he speculated in a bootless search for treasure, which the notorious pirate, Captain John Avery, was supposed, on his return from Madagascar, to have secreted near the Lizard. But, as none of the Lives of that freebooter gave any hint of his having done so, the attempt was not the least likely to lead to satisfactory results. Davies Gilbert says that Knill equipped some small vessels to act as privateers against smugglers, but if local tradition may be relied on, these vessels were only nominally for this purpose, and were actually engaged in running contraband goods; but this is highly improbable.


From the Collection of Percy Bate, Esq. of Glasgow

In 1782 he was employed in the service of the customs as inspector of some of the western ports, making occasional visits to London, where he settled for the rest of his days. In 1784 he purchased chambers in Gray's Inn Square, where he died on March 29th, 1811, at the age of seventy-seven. He was painted by Opie in 1779, dressed in a plain suit of blue, with frilled shirt and ruffles. He made his half-brother, the Rev. John Jope, of S. Cleer, his sole executor.

It was in the year 1782 that John Knill erected his mausoleum on Worral Hill, on land purchased from Henry, Lord Arundell, for five guineas. The total cost of the monument was £226 1s. 6d. Sixpence a year is paid to the owner of Tregenna for a right of way to the obelisk. By a deed dated May 29th, 1797, Knill settled upon the mayor and capital burgesses of S. Ives, and their successors for ever, an annuity of £10 as a rent-charge, to be paid out of the manor of Glivian, in Mawgan, which sum is annually to be[Pg 174] put into a chest which is not to be opened except at the end of every five years. Then, out of the accumulated sum, a dinner was to be given to the mayor, collector of customs, and vicar of S. Ives, and two friends to be invited by each of them, and £15 to be equally divided among ten girls, natives of S. Ives, under ten years old, who should, between 10 a.m. and noon on S. James the Apostle's Day, dance and sing round the mausoleum, to the fiddling of a man who was to receive a pound for so doing and for fiddling as the procession of girls went to the obelisk and returned. One pound was to be laid out in white ribbons for the damsels and a cockade for the fiddler. Some of the money was to go to keep the mausoleum in repair, and there were certain benefactions also recorded.

The first Knillian celebration took place in July, 1801, when, according to the will of the founder, a band of little girls, all dressed in white, with two widows and a company of musicians, marched in procession to the top of the hill, where they danced about the monument, then, as Knill desired, sang the Hundredth Psalm to its old melody, and after that returned in the same order to S. Ives. The ceremony still takes place every fifth year.

In dancing the children sing the following in chorus:—

Shun the bustle of the bay,
Hasten, virgins, come away;
Hasten to the mountain's brow,
Leave, O leave, S. Ives below.
Haste to breathe a purer air,
Virgins fair, and pure as fair;
Fly S. Ives and all her treasures,
Fly her soft voluptuous pleasures;
Fly her sons and all their wiles,
Lushing in their wanton smiles;
Fly the splendid midnight halls;
[Pg 175] Fly the revels of her balls;
Fly, O fly the chosen seat,
Where vanity and fashion meet.
Hither hasten from the ring,
Round the tomb in chorus sing,
And on the lofty mountain's brow, aptly dight,
Just as we should be, all in white,
Leave all our troubles and our cares below.

[Pg 176]


A certain Roscadden going on a pilgrimage in the days before the Reformation, and being absent some years, was surprised on his return to find that his wife had borne one if not more children. Very much and very naturally put out, he consulted with one John Tregoss, who advised him to settle his estate upon some friend whom he could trust, for the use and benefit of his children whom he would own, and for the wife not to be left absolutely destitute in the event of his death. Mr. Roscadden approved of this counsel, and constituted John Tregoss his heir absolutely, but always with the understanding that the said Tregoss should administer his estate according to the wishes and instructions of Roscadden. But this gentleman dying soon after, John Tregoss entered on possession of the estate, "turned the wife and children out of doors, who for some time were fain to lye in an hog-stye, and every morning went forth to the Dung-hill, and there upon their faces imprecated and prayed that the vengeance of God might fall upon Tregoss and his posterity for this so perfidious and merciless deed.

"And after this, God's severe but righteous judgments fell upon Tregoss's family. For his son Walter, one day riding upon a Horse in a fair way, the horse threw him, and broke his neck: and some of his issue came to untimely ends, and it is observed that a curse hath remained ever since: and this Mr. Tregoss of[Pg 177] whom we write was so sensible of it, that it cost him many fervent prayers to God for the removal of that dreadful curse, as himself assured a bosom friend"—but it does not seem to have occurred to him to give up the heritage to the Roscaddens—that is, if he were the possessor.

The family of Tregose, or Tregosse, was one of the oldest in the neighbourhood of S. Ives. The names of Clement and John Tregose of S. Ives appear in the Subsidy Roll of 1327. In the list of circa 1520, Thomas Tregoos' lands in Towednack were assessed at the yearly value of 13s. 4d., and those of John Tregoz, in the parish of S. Ives, at 11s.; but Thomas also had lands at S. Ives, valued the same as those of John.

In 1641, William Tregose, gent., had at S. Ives goods to the annual value of £3.

Thomas Tregoss, the subject of this notice, was the son of William Tregoss of S. Ives. His parents were strong Puritans and very austere, and they hedged about their son with restrictions, not suffering him to partake in games or any childish relaxations from the strain of study or the contemplation of religious themes. At first he seemed to be of poor capacity, but at the age of seven years he began to show that he had a quick apprehension and a retentive memory. Cut off from all worldly distractions, he was allowed but one direction in which his faculties and his ambitions could stretch and expand. He had not the force of character and strength of will to revolt against the numbing restraints that bound him in. His only play as a boy was standing on a chair and preaching to his fellow pupils.

He was sent to Oxford and admitted into Exeter College, and after a few years spent there, returned to S. Ives; and as the Parliamentary Commissioners had[Pg 178] ejected the vicar, he was thrust in as Puritan preacher in 1657, and he then married a Margaret Sparrow of the same way of thinking.

The life of Thomas Tregoss, as given by Samuel Clark in his Lives of Some Eminent Persons, 1683, is interspersed with Remarkable Providences and Extraordinary Judgments, but for the most part they are neither remarkable nor interesting.

The following is, perhaps, an exception:—

Shortly after his arrival at S. Ives, in the summer, the greater portion of the fishing season had passed without the pilchards appearing, and this to the great distress of the people. By the advice of Tregoss a day was set apart for humiliation and prayer, and next day a shoal of pilchards arrived.

In the ensuing summer the fishermen, having taken a great number of fishes on the Saturday, wanted to spread and dry their nets on the Sunday. Tregoss learning this, came forth and rebuked and denounced God's judgment on them if they should profane the "Sabbath" in this manner. They did not hearken to him, observing that their nets must be dried or would rot. From that day no more pilchards visited the bay during that season.

From S. Ives Tregoss was transferred to Mylor in October, 1659, but was ejected from the living on August 24th, 1660, as not ordained, and unwilling to receive ordination, and to subscribe to the articles and confirm to the liturgy. However, he continued to preach to a privately assembled number of puritanically minded people, and he was proceeded against and committed to the custody of the marshal in Launceston gaol, where he remained for three months, and was then released by order of the Deputy Lieutenant.

[Pg 179]

In September, 1663, he removed to Kigilliath, near Penryn. On October 1st, 1664, whilst he and his wife were lying awake in bed, they experienced an earthquake shock, and this he held to be "a symbolick image of that trembling Heartquake which he shortly felt in his conversion."

On January 1st ensuing, he fell into deep despondency and the spirit of bondage—his liver being probably out of order—till he fancied himself relieved by receiving the spirit of adoption. He had been converted half a dozen times before, but never before preceded by an earthquake, so that there could be no mistake about its reality this time.

Fired with new zeal, he broke into Mabe church at the head of a number of his adherents, mounted the pulpit, and harangued his congregation. For this he was arrested and imprisoned again in Launceston gaol, but was shortly released, July 29th, 1665; and he had the pleasing satisfaction of knowing that a bull had gored Justice Thomas Robinson, who had sent him to prison.

Undeterred by what he had gone through, he again invaded Mabe church, and was again committed to gaol on September 18th, but was once more released, on December 14th.

On February 4th, 1666, he once more broke into the parish church of Mabe at the head of a body of Puritans, and was again arrested and sent to the marshal at Bodmin, but by the order of the King was at once set free.

In 1669 he was at Great Torrington, where he preached, and was sent to Exeter gaol, but was at once bailed out. He died at Penryn in January, 1672.

On September 4th, 1775, John Wesley preached at S. Ives "in the little meadow above the town." He[Pg 180] wrote in his diary that "the people in general here (excepting the rich) seem almost persuaded to be Christians. Perhaps the prayer of their old pastor, Mr. Tregoss, is answered even to the fourth generation."

[Pg 181]


Anthony Payne, the "Falstaff of the West," was born in the manor house, Stratton, the son of a tenant farmer, under the Grenvilles of Stowe. The registers do not go back sufficiently far to record the date of his birth. The Tree Inn is the ancient manor house in which the giant first saw the light. He rapidly shot up to preternatural size and strength. So vast were his proportions as a boy, that his schoolmates were accustomed to work out their arithmetic lessons in chalk on his back, and sometimes even thereon to delineate a map of the world, so that he might return home, like Atlas, carrying the world on his shoulders for his father with a stick to dust out.

It was his delight to tuck two urchins under his arms, one on each side, and climb, so encumbered with "his kittens," as he called them, to a height overhanging the sea, to their infinite terror, and this he would call "showing them the world." A proverb still extant in Cornwall, expressive of some unusual length, is "As long as Tony Payne's foot."

At the age of twenty-one he was taken into the establishment at Stowe. He then measured seven feet two inches in height without his shoes, and he afterwards grew two inches higher. He was not tall and lanky, but stout and well proportioned in every way. The original mansion of the Grenvilles at Stowe still in part remains as a farmhouse. The splendid[Pg 182] house of Stowe, built by the first Earl of Bath, was pulled down shortly after 1711, and it was said that men lived who had seen the stately palace raised and also levelled with the dust. This was at a little distance further inland than the old Stowe that remains. The Grenvilles had also a picturesque house at Broom Hill, near Bude, with fine Elizabethan plaster-work ceilings, now converted into labourers' cottages.

At Stowe Anthony Payne delighted in exhibiting his strength. In the hurling-ground a rough block of stone is still pointed out as "Payne's cast," lying full ten paces beyond the reach whereat the ordinary player could "put the stone."

It is said that one Christmas Eve the fire languished in the hall. A boy with an ass had been sent into the wood for faggots. Payne went to hurry him back, and caught up the ass and his burden, flung them over his shoulder, and brought both into the hall and cast them down by the side of the fire.

On another occasion, being defied to perform the feat, he carried a bacon-hog from Kilkhampton to Stowe. Then came the Civil War, when Charles I and his Parliament sought to settle their differences on the battlefield. Cornwall went for the King, and Anthony Payne had the drilling and manœuvring of the recruits from Kilkhampton and Stratton. At one time Sir Beville Grenville had his head-quarters at Truro, but the great battle of Stamford Hill, May 16th, 1643, was fought but eight miles from Stowe, and on the night preceding it Sir Beville Grenville slept in his house at Broom Hill. The battle was desperate, the Royalist soldiers being outnumbered, and attacked; amidst them was Anthony Payne, mounted on his sturdy cob Samson, rallying his troopers and terrorizing the enemy, who fled. At[Pg 183] the next pitched battle at Lansdown, near Bath, the forces of the King were defeated and Sir Beville was killed. Anthony Payne, having mounted John Grenville, then a youth of sixteen, on his father's horse, had led on the Grenville troops to the fight. The Rev. R. S. Hawker gives a letter from the giant to Lady Grace Grenville, conveying to her the news of the death of her husband; but it is more than doubtful whether this be genuine. He says of it: "It still survives. It breathes, in the quaint language of the day, a noble strain of sympathy and homage." It does not exist except in Mr. Hawker's book, and is almost certainly a fabrication by him.


From the picture by Sir Godfrey Kneller

At the Restoration, Sir John Grenville was created Earl of Bath, and was made governor of the garrison of Plymouth, and he then appointed Payne halberdier of the guns. The King, who held Payne in great favour, made him a yeoman of his guards, and Sir Godfrey Kneller, the Court artist, was employed to paint his portrait.

Whilst in Plymouth garrison an incident occurred that has been recorded by Hawker. At the mess-table of the regiment, during the reign of William and Mary, on the anniversary of the day when Charles I had been beheaded, a sub-officer of Payne's own rank had ordered a calf's head to be served up. This was a coarse and common annual mockery of the beheaded king indulged in by the remnants of the old fanatical Puritan party. When Payne entered the room his comrades pointed out the dish to him. Anthony flared up, and flung the plate and its contents out of the window. A quarrel and a challenge ensued, and at break of day Payne and his antagonist fought with swords on the ramparts, and Anthony ran the offender through the swordarm[Pg 184] and disabled him, as he shouted, "There's sauce for thy calf's head."

Hawker, who tells the story, supposed that the incident occurred during the reign of George I. But Anthony died at an age little short of eighty, and was buried at Stratton July 13th, 1691, and William of Orange did not die till 1702.

After his death at Stratton, which took place in the house where he was born, neither door nor stairs would afford egress for the large coffined corpse. The joists had to be sawn through, and the floor lowered with rope and pulley, to enable the giant to pass out to his last resting-place, under the south wall of Stratton Church.[12]

The history of the vicissitudes through which went the painting by Kneller is peculiarly interesting.

When Stowe was dismantled, on the death of the Earl of Bath, the picture was removed to Penheale, another Cornish residence of the Grenville family.

But here the portrait of him who had done so much for the house was not valued, and was soon forgotten. Gilbert, the Cornish historian, in one of his rambles, whilst staying at an old inn in Launceston, was informed that this painting was still extant, and he went to Penheale, where the farmer's wife occupying the house said that she did indeed possess "a carpet with the effigy of a large man on it," that had been given to her husband by the steward on the estate. It was rolled up, and in a bad and dirty condition. She gladly sold it to C. S. Gilbert for £8. On Gilbert's death his effects were sold at Devonport, and a stranger bought it for £42. In London it was recognized as the work of Kneller, and was resold for the sum of £800. It next appeared amongst the effects of the late[Pg 185] Admiral Tucker, at Trematon Castle; and when the sale took place this picture was bought by a gentleman in Devon. Finally Mr. (now Sir) Robert Harvey purchased it, and most generously presented it to the Royal Institution of Cornwall.

The authorities for Anthony Payne are Hawker's Footprints of Former Men in Cornwall; the Journal of the R. Inst. of Cornwall, Vol. X, 1890-1; Wood (E. J.), Giants and Dwarfs, 1868.

Next in size to Anthony Payne among big Cornishmen was Charles Chilcott, of Tintagel, who measured 6 feet 4 inches high, and round the breast 6 feet 9 inches, and who weighed 460 pounds. He was almost constantly occupied in smoking, three pounds of tobacco being his weekly allowance. His pipe was two inches long. One of his stockings would contain six gallons of wheat. He was much gratified when strangers came to visit him, and to them his usual address was, "Come under my arm, little fellow." He died in his sixtieth year, 5th April, 1815.

[Pg 186]


Was the son of George Burnard, a stonemason, who lived at Penpont, Altarnon, in a house with mullioned windows and a newel staircase, said to have been the old manor house of Penpont. He was born in 1818, and was baptized on November 1st in that year.

The only education Nevil received was from his mother, who kept a dame's school and made straw bonnets in her spare time.

He was mortar-boy to his father, and would often slip away and cut figures of men and animals on an old oak door, getting many a "lacing" for not minding his proper work. His earliest tools were nails, which he sharpened on a grinding-stone, before he had any chisels.

There was at that time no machinery for facing slate slabs; so he used an old French "burr"—i.e. part of a French millstone. Such millstones were constructed in four parts, cemented together. This "burr" he put into a rough frame of wood, and used it like a plane over the face of the slate, which was laid on a bench, or "horse." The existing examples of slabs worked in this way are most excellent, in flatness and in smoothness.

The Delabole slate had been employed for many centuries for tombstones and monuments, and lent itself surprisingly to being sculptured. In the North Cornish churches are numerous examples of monuments[Pg 187] richly sculptured with heraldic figures of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, all on slate, and sharp to this day as when they left the workshop.


From a bas-relief by the sculptor himself, in the possession of S. Pearn, Esq., Altarnon

At the age of fourteen Nevil cut a tombstone to his grandfather; that is now in Altarnon churchyard, and affords evidence of skill, artistic sense, and fineness of detail. There are other stones of his in the same churchyard; also one or two by his brother George. An old man is still alive in Altarnon who used to sharpen the nails on a grindstone for Burnard, with which he did his carving on slate.

At fifteen he left Altarnon. Wesley's head, over the porch of the old Meeting-house, Penpont, was cut by him when he was sixteen.

From Altarnon he went to Fowey, and the late Sir Charles Lemon, of Carclew, took him by the hand. At the age of sixteen he carved in slate the group of Laocoon, sent in 1834 to the Exhibition of the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society at Falmouth. This carving in bass-relief, executed by a boy from a wild moorland village, without instruction, copied from a wood-cut in the Penny Magazine, and with tools of his own making, was considered so very remarkable a production that the Society awarded him a silver medal. Nevil was sent to London, and through Sir Charles Lemon's influence was presented to the Queen and Prince Consort, and he was allowed to cut a profile of the Prince of Wales, then a boy, and this portrait was sent to Osborne, and was approved by the Royal parents. Sir Charles Lemon further introduced the lad to Chantrey, who secured for him employment as a carver in one of the most celebrated ateliers in London.

Burnard reproduced his profile of the Prince of Wales in marble for the Public Hall at Falmouth, and the general opinion expressed upon it was that it amply[Pg 188] sustained the early expectation which had been formed of his talents.

Thus fairly launched in his profession as a carver in London, he found employment in the studios of the best sculptors of the day, as Bailey, Marshall, and Foley; and there was no lack of work, and no falling short of pay.

Caroline Fox, in her Memories of Old Friends, says:—

"1847, October 4th.—Burnard, our Cornish sculptor, dined with us. He is a great, powerful, pugilistic-looking fellow at twenty-nine; a great deal of face, with all the features massed in the centre; mouth open, and all sorts of simplicities flowing out of it. He liked talking of himself and his early experiences. His father, a stonemason, once allowed him to carve the letters on a little cousin's tombstone which would be hidden in the grass; this was his first attempt, and instead of digging in the letters he dug around them, and made each stand out in relief. His stories of Chantrey very odd: on his death Lady Chantrey came into the studio with a hammer and knocked off the noses of many completed busts, so that they might not be too common—a singular attention to her departed lord. Described his own distress when waiting for Sir Charles Lemon to take him to Court: he felt very warm, and went into a shop for some ginger-beer; the woman pointed the bottle at him, and he was drenched. After wiping himself as well as he could he went out to dry in the sun. He went first to London without his parents knowing anything about it, because he wished to spare them anxiety, and let them know nothing until he could announce that he was regularly employed by Mr. Weekes. He showed us his bust of the Prince of Wales—a beautiful thing, very intellectual, with a strong likeness to the Queen—which he was exhibiting at the Polytechnic, where it will remain."


Cut by Burnard when 16 years of age


That on the right is upon the grave of his grandfather in Altarnon Churchyard, and was cut when the sculptor was only 14 years old; the one on the left is in Bodmin Churchyard

[Pg 189]

"1849, March 1st.—Found a kindly note from Thomas Carlyle. He has seen 'my gigantic countryman,' Burnard, and conceives that there is real faculty in him; he gave him advice, and says he is the sort of person whom he will gladly help if he can. Burnard forwarded to me, in great triumph, the following note he had received from Carlyle with reference to a projected bust of Charles Buller: 'February 25th, 1849.... Nay, if the conditions never mend, and you cannot get that Bust to do at all, you may find yet (as often turns out in life) that it was better for you you did not. Courage! Persist in your career with wise strength, with silent resolution, with manful, patient, unconquerable endeavour; and if there lie a talent in you (as I think there does), the gods will permit you to develop it yet.—Believe me, yours very sincerely, T. Carlyle.'"

On the return of Richard Lander from Africa, after having traced the Niger through a great part of its course, Burnard was commissioned to execute a statue of the explorer for the column erected in Lander's honour at Truro. His only other public work of any consequence was the statue of Ebenezer Elliott, the Corn-law Rhymer, for the market-place of Sheffield; but he was employed in executing portrait busts of many men of importance, as General Gough, Professor John Couch Adams, his fellow-Cornishman, Professor Ed. Forbes, and one of Makepeace Thackeray, which Burnard gave as a present to the Cottonian Library at Plymouth, where it now stands above the door.

He exhibited in the Royal Academy in 1855, 1858, 1866, and 1867. He married in London, but lost his wife, and then took to drink. The boys, as he said, jeered at him, and called him "Old Burnard."

As a man, he was tall and big, with an enormous[Pg 190] head which no ordinary hat would fit; so that his hats had to be made for him.

Eventually he went "on tramp," paying periodical visits to old friends at Altarnon. He would make sketches, draw portraits, at farms and in public-houses; was ready to write an article for a newspaper, or to make an election squib, for either side; and was, in fact, as clever with his pen and pencil as he was with chisel.

He was a most entertaining companion, and able to converse on any subject.

Thus he lived by his wits, mixing with the highest, but by preference with the lowest. The last time he visited Altarnon was in 1877, three years before his death; he remained there on that occasion for a week, with hardly any clothes to his back, and was boarded by his old playmate, Mr. S. Pearn, and slept in the common lodging-house, Five-lanes. After having been fitted out with fresh clothes by some friends he proceeded to the west of the county.

During this last visit at Altarnon he drew some large pencil heads, which show a firm and delicate hand, but he delighted in minute execution. There is also evidence that his mind at this time was as steady as his hand, for he composed a poem on the death of Mr. F. Herring, one or two verses of which may be given.

I stood beside the spot where late you laid him,
The spot to each of us most hallowed ground;
After the angels had in white array'd him,
And his smooth brows with flowers immortal crown'd.

Who in the wilderness would wish to wander,
Whose feet have trodden once the promised land?
Believe that all is well, nor pause to ponder
On things that mortals cannot understand.
He is most bless'd that is the firmest trusting,
Believing One that's wiser far than he,—
Is, for his good, the balance still adjusting;
[Pg 191] So—tell my parents not to mourn for me.
I now can see what might have been my story,
Had I remained through man's allotted day:
(Sorrow for joy, dark age for youth and glory:)
And bless the love that hastened me away.
And wafted me across the mystic river,
Where all discords and elements agree,
Calmed by His word, that can from death deliver,
So tell my loved ones not to mourn for me.


He was equally ready to lampoon any one, whether friend or foe; probably accommodating his muse to the humour of those with whom he happened to be.

One day he had been making a sketch of a farmer called Nicoll, and resorted to the public-house in Liskeard with his patron. Whilst there he scribbled on a piece of paper and handed to his friend Nicoll:—

Cash is scarce, and fortune's fickle;
I should like to draw some silver now,
As I've all day been drawing nickel.

There is at Penpont House, Altarnon, a small profile head of Burnard executed by himself. It is a cameo in plaster of Paris. He is said to have sketched his face by looking in a mirror, and then cut an intaglio in slate from his drawing.

Nevil N. Burnard died in the Union, Redruth, of heart and kidney complaint, 27th November, 1878.

[Pg 192]


This man of remarkable versatility and genius was the fourth son of John Gurney, of Trevargus; he was born at Treator, near Padstow, on February 14th, 1793, and was baptized at Padstow on the ensuing 26th June.

He was named after his godmother, a daughter of General Goldsworthy and a maid of honour to Queen Charlotte. He was educated at the Truro Grammar School, and during part of his holidays was wont to stay with a relative, the rector of S. Erth, in which parish lived Mr. Davies Giddy (who afterwards changed his name, and was better known as Mr. Davies Gilbert, President of the Royal Society), in whose house he very frequently met Richard Trevithick, a plain, unpretending man, of great genius, connected with the neighbouring copper mines, who lived near, and who often consulted Mr. Giddy on mathematical calculations connected with the steam-engine and his mechanical inventions. Although so young, Mr. Gurney, whose natural bent was for these subjects, soon formed an acquaintance with this singularly original and talented man, and he continued during the period of his medical studies in correspondence with him.

Mr. Gurney saw Trevithick's first steam-carriage in 1804, and followed closely his improvements and experiments on locomotion, and he remembered, moreover,[Pg 193] the contemptuous treatment this gifted man received at the hands of the engineers of the day.


S. C. Smith, del.                              W. Sharp, lithog.

His views were described as "wild theories," and his plans were scoffed at. But Mr. Giddy or Gilbert encouraged Trevithick to go on and not be discouraged, and Richard Trevithick became the inventor of the locomotive as well as of the high-pressure engine. His first locomotive was constructed to travel on common roads; he afterwards modified it and set it to run on rails at Merthyr Tydvil. The trial was made there on February 4th, 1804. In the year 1813 he exhibited his locomotive on a temporary railway, laid for the purpose near Euston Square, and showed the great speed it was capable of attaining. This speed, however, was only maintained while the accumulated steam in the boiler was worked off, but his experiment showed that, if a sufficient quantity of steam could be "kept up," as he termed it, the speed might be maintained for any distance and any length of time. But how was this to be effected? That was the difficulty, and that difficulty arose out of another—how was a sufficient draught to be created to keep the fire in the furnace at full activity? As the locomotive moved it created a draught the reverse of that required for the fire, and unless a strong and steady draught into the furnace could be created, sufficient heat could not be generated to produce a sufficient and continuous amount of steam.

Trevithick in his first locomotive had discharged the steam up the funnel to get rid of it, but without any idea of creating a vacuum by means of which a draught could be caused. Stephenson did the same. Mr. Smiles has claimed that the "steam-jet" was invented by Stephenson, but this was not the case. The steam used in Trevithick's and Stephenson's engines was waste or exhaust steam, discharging itself through the[Pg 194] funnel indeed, but not filling it, so that it created no perceptible draught.

Mr. Smiles says: "The steam after performing its duty in the cylinders was at first allowed to escape into the open atmosphere with a hissing blast, to the terror of horses and cattle. It was complained of as a nuisance, and a neighbouring squire threatened to commence an action against the colliery lessees unless it was put a stop to."

Accordingly the steam was introduced into the funnel about half-way up at the side so as to get rid of it and obviate the objection of the noise. But the evidence that Stephenson had discovered that it could be employed to create a draught is inconclusive.

Goldsworthy Gurney had been placed at Wadebridge with Dr. Avery as a medical pupil, and there he married Elizabeth Symons in 1814. He settled down at Wadebridge as a surgeon, but his active mind would not let him rest as a small country practitioner; he felt that he had powers and visions that would bring him before the public as an inventor and a benefactor. Accordingly he moved to London in 1820, where he made the acquaintance of several able physicians, and was called to deliver a course of lectures on the elements of chemical science at the Surrey Institute. It was in 1823 that he began his experiments with steam and on locomotion, and he abandoned the medical profession in order to devote himself to these researches. His desire was to construct an engine that would travel on common roads, and travel at a more rapid pace than horses.

Now Stephenson, in his evidence before a Parliamentary Committee, stated that the rate at which his locomotive travelled was "from 3 to 5 or 6 miles an hour."

[Pg 195]

"Q. So that these hypothetical cases of 12 miles an hour do not fall within your general experience?

"A. They do not.

"Q. Laying aside the 12 miles an hour, I think the rate at which these experiments were made was about 6¾ miles to 7?

"A. I think the average was 6½ miles."

In the first edition of Nicholas Wood's Treatise on Railways, 1829, occurs this passage: "It is far from my wish to promulgate to the world that the ridiculous expectations, or rather professions, of the enthusiastic specialist, will be realized, and that we shall see them travelling at the rate of 12, 16, 18, or 20 miles an hour. Nothing could do more harm towards their adoption or general improvement than the promulgation of such nonsense."

Before a second edition appeared, Mr. Gurney's steam-jet had revolutionized the engine, and it blew this absurd passage out of the book and the disbelief out of Wood's head.

Nicholas Wood was a viewer at Killingworth Colliery, and assisted George Stephenson in his experiments, and he first saw the steam-blast in Mr. Hackworth's Sans Pareil in 1829, so that gentleman had adopted it on Mr. Gurney's recommendation and according to his plan.

Wood thus describes what he then saw: "Mr. Hackworth had, it appears, in his engine, resorted to the use of the waste steam in a more forcible manner than before used, throwing it up in a jet, and which, when the engine moved at a rapid rate, and the steam thereby almost constantly issued from the pipe, had a most powerful effect. The consequence was, that when the engine began to travel at the rate of twelve or fifteen miles an hour, the draught was so great that it actually threw the coke out of the chimney."

[Pg 196]

Here then is the first sight of the steam-blast to Nicholas Wood, fellow-worker with George Stephenson. He knew nothing of it before.

But Goldsworthy Gurney's steam-blast had been adopted before this on steamboats. It was first applied to the Alligator in 1824; then to the Duchess of Clarence, and other steamboats. It had made its way into France.

In the Lords' Committee Report of 1849 on "Accidents in Mines," a Mr. Keene, engineer of Bayonne, was examined.

"Q. Have you ever seen Mr. Gurney's plan used on the Continent?

"A. It has been used on the Continent for producing draughts in furnace-chimneys.

"Q. Furnace-chimneys—for what purpose?

"A. Where the draught has been sluggish; I used it to get a stronger draught on board a steamboat in 1830, to enable me to stem the strong currents of the Garonne.

"Q. Have you any knowledge of some experiments made by Mr. Gurney in the year 1826 with respect to the power of the steam-jet?

"A. I saw frequent experiments made by Mr. Gurney in 1826 to produce draught by the action of high-pressure steam, exactly in the same way as it is now employed for producing ventilation in the collieries; that is, there were a number of jets of about a quarter to three-eighths of an inch diameter, communicating directly with a high-pressure boiler; the cock being open, the full steam from the boiler was brought upon those jets, and a draught was produced by their action in the chimney-shaft.

"Q. In the chimney-shaft of a locomotive engine?

"A. In the chimney-shaft of a locomotive and in the shaft of a factory; the experiments were tried in various[Pg 197] ways. I saw these experiments frequently; many other persons saw them at the same time; and I employed the same myself shortly afterwards for a like purpose abroad."

Mr. Keene in his evidence further stated, in answer to the question whether Mr. Gurney's experiments were open to the public:—

"Many persons visited the place daily, and the carriage went out into the road, and into the barracks, and was often surrounded by a group of persons. It was understood and known how this draught was procured, because the passage of the steam was heard up the chimney when the carriage was still, and the great draught of the furnace was the occasion of remark by everybody who was around it; they were quite surprised how such a great current could be produced with so small a height of chimney: it was a very remarkable thing, and drew attention from everybody around at that time."

The principle of the action of the steam-blast was simple enough. It was to fill the funnel with high-pressure steam, which would act much as the sucker in a pump, exhaust the air and draw up air through the furnace, as the cone of steam escaped out of the funnel. To act thus, the steam must completely fill the chimney, allowing of no down draught.

This was what had entirely escaped Trevithick and Stephenson. Up to the discovery of the steam-jet by Gurney, the waste steam, as has been stated, was uselessly dispersed through the chimney.

In 1827, Gurney took a steam-carriage he had constructed to Cyfarthfa, at the request of Mr. Crawshay, and while there applied his steam-jet to the blast-furnaces. This gave a great impetus to the manufacture of iron.

[Pg 198]

Stephenson now adopted it, and employed it for his locomotive the Rocket, that ran on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in October, 1829. Previously on one occasion Stephenson had run his engine continuously for fifty-three minutes doing twelve miles. But now, with the adoption of the steam-blast, it attained a velocity of twenty-nine miles an hour.

"It is not too much to say that the success of the locomotive depended upon the adoption of the steam-blast. Without that, by which the intensity of combustion, and the consequent evolution of steam, were maintained at the highest point, high rates of speed could not have been kept up, the advantages of the multitubular boiler afterwards invented could never have been fairly tested, and locomotives might still have been dragging themselves unwieldily along at little more than five or six miles an hour."[13]

It had been in July of the same year that Gurney had made a journey in his steam-coach from London to Bath and back again, on the main road, at the rate of fifteen miles an hour. This journey, undertaken at the request of the quartermaster-general of the army, was the first long journey at a maintained speed ever made by any locomotive on road or rail.

Mr. Gurney's steam-coach was, of course, provided with the steam-jet.

The Mirror of December 15th, 1827, says: "Mr. Goldsworthy Gurney, whose name is familiar to most of our readers, after a variety of experiments during the last two years, has completed a steam-carriage on a new principle. We have accordingly introduced the annexed engraving, which will enable our readers to enter into the details of the machinery. First as to its safety, upon which point the public are most sceptical.[Pg 199] In the present invention it is stated that even from the bursting of the boiler there is not the most distant chance of mischief to the passengers. The boiler is tubular, and upon a plan totally distinct from anything previously in use.... The weight of the carriage and its apparatus is estimated at 1½ tons, and its wear and tear of the road, as compared with a carriage drawn by four horses, is as one to six. When the carriage is in progress the machinery is not heard. The engine has a 12-horse power, but may be increased to 16; while the actual horse-power in use, except in ascending a hill, is but eight horses.... Mr. Gurney has already secured a patent for his invention; but he has our best wishes for permanent success."

Sir Charles Dance in 1831 ran a steam-coach of Gurney's make between Gloucester and Cheltenham five times a day for four months, and during this time carried three thousand passengers some four thousand miles, without a single accident occurring.

There seemed to be every prospect of the steam-carriage superseding the mail-coach, and indeed of private gentlemen setting up their Gurney steam-carriages, as now they run their motors. But trustees of roads, coach-proprietors, coachmen, and other interested persons formed a strong body of opposition. How violent this was may be judged from the fact that on one occasion a pile of stones eighteen inches high was thrown across the road, and in struggling through it the axle of the coach was broken.

But prejudice and dullness are mighty powers.

How little, mark! that portion of the ball,
Where, faint at best, the beams of Science fall;
Soon as they dawn, from Hyperborean skies
Embody'd dark, what clouds of Vandals rise!

[Pg 200]

Parliament interfered. Tolls on highways were raised to a prohibitive rate, so that the running of steam-conveyances was brought to a standstill. A committee of the House of Commons, appointed in 1831 to inquire into the matter, reported "that the steam-carriage was one of the most important improvements in the means of internal communication ever introduced; that its practicability had been fully established; and that the prohibitory clauses against its use ought to be immediately repealed." The committee recommended that the Turnpike Act should be repealed. It ascertained that upon the Liverpool and Prescot road Mr. Gurney would be charged £2 8s., while a loaded stage-coach would have to pay 4s. On the Bath road the same carriage would be charged £1 7s. 1d., while a coach drawn by four horses would pay 5s. On the Ashburton and Totnes road Mr. Gurney would have to pay £2, while a coach drawn by four horses would be charged only 3s. On the Teignmouth and Dawlish road the proportion was 12s. to 2s.

The Report of the Committee on Steam-Carriages, ordered to be printed by the House of Commons, 12th October, 1831, was reasonable and just. It reported:—

"Besides the carriages already mentioned, 'twenty or forty others are being built by different persons, all of which have been occasioned by his (Mr. Gurney's) decided journey in 1829.'

"The committee have great pleasure in drawing the attention of the House to the evidence of Mr. Farey. He states that he has no doubt whatever but that a steady perseverance in such trials will lead to the general adoption of steam-carriages; and again, that what has been done proves the practicability of impelling stage-coaches by steam on good common roads,[Pg 201] without horses, at a speed of eight or ten miles an hour.

"Much, of course, must remain to be done in improving their efficacy; yet Mr. Gurney states that he has kept up steadily the rate of twelve miles per hour; that the extreme rate at which he has run is between twenty and thirty miles per hour.

"The several witnesses have estimated the probable saving of expense to the public, from the substitution of steam power for that of horses, at from one-half to two-thirds. Mr. Farey gives, as his opinion, that steam-coaches will very soon after their establishment be run for one-third of the cost of the present stage-coaches.

"Sufficient evidence has been adduced to convince your committee—

"That carriages can be propelled by steam on common roads at an average rate of ten miles per hour.

"That they can ascend and descend hills of considerable inclination with facility and safety.

"That they are perfectly safe for passengers.

"That they are not nuisances to the public.

"That they will become a speedier and cheaper mode of conveyance than carriages drawn by horses.

"That such carriages will cause less wear of roads than coaches drawn by horses.

"That rates of toll have been imposed on steam-carriages, which would prohibit their being used on several lines of road, were such charges permitted to remain unaltered."

But the House of Commons would not listen to the recommendations of its committee, and the employment of motors as means of locomotion on roads was postponed till the present age, when again dullness did[Pg 202] its best to impede the adoption and to drive the manufacture out of England to France.

Mr. Goldsworthy Gurney was in advance of his time, and had to suffer accordingly. The committee had suggested that as the prohibition of steam-coaches on roads was a ruinous blow to Gurney, he should be indemnified with a grant of £16,000. But the Chancellor of the Exchequer refused the grant, and the Bill, after passing the Commons, was thrown out by the Lords.

So the unfortunate Goldsworthy Gurney, after having abandoned his profession, in which he was rapidly gaining a large practice, and after spending £30,000 and five years of toil to perfect his invention, was ruined.

Another of his inventions was the Bude light, at first intended for lighthouses. For this he obtained a patent in 1838. In its first form it consisted of a common Argand oil lamp of rather narrow circular bore and the introduction into the centre of the flame of a jet of oxygen. This was not, however, an original discovery, for it had been employed by Dr. Ure in Glasgow in 1806 or 1807. But it was found to be too expensive for use in lighthouses, nor was the brilliancy of the flame sufficiently heightened to lead the Masters of Trinity House to adopt it.

Mr. Gurney was not discouraged. It had long been known that by dissecting a flame of the compound jet of hydrogen and oxygen upon a bit of clay a most vivid illumination was set forth. But Mr. Gurney substituted lime for clay as less liable to disintegration by heat; and he adopted the Argand lamp with an improvement such as had been suggested and adopted from Fresnel. This consisted in a lamp composed of a series of four, five, or six concentric wicks on the same plane, supplied with oil from a fountain below by[Pg 203] means of a pump; and he obtained a second patent in 1839. He next applied his principle to gas, purified in a peculiar manner, and burned in compound Argand lamps, consisting of two or more concentric rings perforated with rows of holes in their upper surfaces, having intervals between the rings for the admission of an upward rush of air to maintain a high incandescence. The intensity and whiteness of the light thus produced by the combustion of coal-gas surpassed anything hitherto discovered till the production of the mantle-burner.

It was he, moreover, who proposed the flash-light for lighthouses, as a means by which seamen might identify lighthouses. He proposed that a powerful light should be made by periodic flashes to correspond with the number of the lighthouse, and that every lighthouse along the coast should have a registered number, so that the number of flashes per minute should represent the lighthouse.

Gurney was present at Sir W. Snow Harris's experiment on Somerset House terrace with wire for ships' lightning-conductors. Turning to Sir Anthony Carlisle, in reference to the magnetic needle which, as he observed, made starts on meeting the poles of a galvanic battery, he said with the inspiration of genius, "Here is an element which may, and I foresee will, be made the means of intelligible communication."

Whilst engaged at the Surrey Institution he invented the oxyhydrogen blow-pipe. Before this was introduced the risk of accident was so great that recourse was seldom had to oxyhydrogen.

Gurney applied his steam-jet to other purposes than propelling locomotives and exciting the ardour of furnaces in ironworks. By its means he extinguished the fire of a burning coal-mine at Astley, in Lancashire,[Pg 204] and in 1849 another at Clackmannan, where the bed of coal had been burning for over thirty years. He also employed it for expelling noxious gases from sewers, and planned and superintended in 1849 the ventilation by this means of the pestilential sewer in Friar Street, London, which resisted all other efforts to cleanse it; and he suggested to the metropolitan commissioner of sewers that a steam-jet apparatus should be placed at the mouth of every sewer emptying into the great main sewer by the Thames river-side.

He was employed on the lighting, heating, and ventilation of the old House of Commons, and he held the appointment of superintendent of these functions from 1854 to 1863.

He had remarked that the flame of hydrogen gas caused vibrations that produced musical tones, and in 1823 wrote on "the analogy between chemical and musical combinations." He suggested "an improved finger-keyed musical instrument, in the use of which a performer is enabled to hold or prolong the notes, and to increase or modify the tone at pleasure." In 1825 and 1833 he proposed "certain improvements in musical instruments." He invented a stove, and saw and advocated the advantage of the employment of circulation of hot water for the heating of a building. He advocated the employment of concrete for foundations where there was no rock, and to show that it was possible to build a house upon the sand, he reared the castle at Bude upon concrete floated into the shifting sand above high-water mark. He again was the first to point out and insist on the necessity for there being two shafts to every colliery, so as to maintain a circulation of air.

For several years Mr. Gurney resided at Hanacott Manor, near Launceston, but he had also a house at[Pg 205] Reeds, in Poughill by Bude, and the castle at the latter place, which is usually let. He was knighted in 1863—a tardy acknowledgment of his great services and extraordinary ability. The honour came too late to really advantage him. That same year he was stricken with paralysis, and therefore could do nothing in the way of scientific research and invention. He was attended till his death by his only child, a daughter, Miss Anna D. Gurney. He expired at Reeds on the 28th February, 1875, and was buried at Launcells in the graveyard just under the south wall of the nave.

Like Henry Trengrouse, so with Sir Goldsworthy Gurney—a man of genius and perseverance, and one who benefited mankind, received no adequate recognition in his lifetime. May posterity do for him, as for Trengrouse, what his contemporaries denied him. Mr. Smiles vainly endeavoured to refuse to credit him with the invention of the steam-blast; but the writer of his life in the Dictionary of National Biography afforded him tardy justice. "One soweth and another reapeth" is true of all inventors with few exceptions. How much do we owe to Sir Goldsworthy! He was the pioneer of locomotion by motors on our roads, the salvation of many lives by the ventilation of coal-mines; he invented the system of heating mansions by hot water, the flash-light for lighthouses, the steam-blast revolutionizing locomotion by steam; he showed that houses could be built on concrete foundations; he discovered the limelight, the oxyhydrogen blow-pipe: and he was repaid with a barren knighthood when about to be struck down by paralysis.

For his bounty,
There was no winter in't; an autumn 'twas,
That grew the more by reaping.
Antony and Cleopatra, v. 2.

[Pg 206]


The family of Jane, descended from the ancient family of Janes of Worcestershire, was settled in Cornwall at an early date. It bore as its arms, arg. a lion rampant az. between 3 escallops gules. It was settled in S. Winnow early in the sixteenth century, and at the beginning of the following century was at Lanhydrock and at Liskeard, at which latter place Thomas Jane was mayor in 1621. His son Joseph Jane was M.P. for Liskeard in 1625 and 1640, and was mayor in 1631, 1635, and 1636. He married Loveday, daughter of William Kekewich, in 1633. He was a whole-hearted Royalist, and when the King was at Oxford, in 1643, he attended him there. In the following year he was one of the Royal Commissioners in Cornwall, and when Charles I came to Cornwall, in 1644, he entertained him in August in his house at Liskeard.

During 1645 and 1646 he carried on a correspondence with Edward Hyde, afterwards Earl of Clarendon, on the condition of the Royalist cause in Cornwall. Liskeard had fallen into the hands of the Parliamentarians, but Sir Ralph Hopton defeated Ruthven on Braddock Down on January 19th, 1643, and recovered Liskeard for the King. Ruthven fled to Saltash, which he fortified with much expedition.

When the Royal cause was lost the vengeance of the Parliament fell on Joseph Jane, and he was nearly ruined by the heavy composition he was forced to pay.[Pg 207] In 1650, and again in 1654, he was named Clerk of the Royal Council, but it was an empty honour; Charles II could pay nothing, and the Council could only grumble and plot.

Jane attempted to answer Milton's Εικονοκλαστης in a work, Εικων ακλαστος the Unbroken Image, but it was a poor performance. It was published in 1651; Hyde says, however, in a letter to Secretary Nicholas, "the King hath a singular good esteem both of Joseph Jane and of his book."

He had a son, William Jane, baptized at Liskeard, 22nd October, 1645, who was educated at Westminster School, elected student of Christ Church, Oxford, 1660, and graduated B.A. in 1664, and M.A. in 1667, and D.D. in 1674. After his ordination he was appointed lecturer at Carfax. He attracted the attention of Henry Compton, who became Canon of Christ Church in 1669, by his sturdy loyalty and orthodoxy; and when Compton became Bishop of Oxford, he chose Jane to preach the sermon at his consecration, and he appointed him one of his chaplains.

In 1670 he became Canon of Christ Church, and was given the living of Winnington in Essex. In 1679 he received a prebendal stall in S. Paul's Cathedral and the archdeaconry of Middlesex. In May, 1680, he was appointed Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford. This rapid promotion was due in part to the staunch loyalty of his father and the losses of his family on that account, but also to his cool, businesslike abilities, and to his learning, which though not profound was good.

In July, 1683, he framed the Oxford declaration in favour of Passive Obedience, and committed the University to an opinion which subsequent events were calculated to stultify.

[Pg 208]

As Green says: "The Cavaliers who had shouted for the King's return, had shouted also for the return of a free Parliament. The very Chief Justice who asserted at the trial of the Regicides, the general freedom of the King from any responsibility to the Nation, asserted just as strongly that doctrine of ministerial responsibility, against which Charles the First had struggled. It was the desire of every royalist to blot out the very memory of the troubles in which monarchy and freedom had alike disappeared, to take up again, as if it had never been broken, the thread of our political history. But the point at which even royalists took it up was not at the moment of the Tyranny, but at the moment of the Long Parliament's first triumph, when that Tyranny had been utterly undone. In his wish to revive this older claim of the Crown, which the Long Parliament had for ever set aside, the young King found himself alone. His closest adherents, his warmest friends, were constitutional royalists of the temper of Falkland and Culpepper. Partisans of an absolute monarchy, of such a monarchy as his grandfather had dreamed of and his father had for a few years carried into practice, there now were none."

The clergy in advocating passive obedience were actuated by the sense of the miseries through which England had passed during the Great Rebellion—better to submit under protest than to fly to arms again, better certainly to submit even to what was deemed an injustice or inexpedient, when the Crown was hedged about with restrictions, and when the ministers of the Crown were responsible to the nation. There was, however, a noisy and vehement party that went much beyond this, and one Filmer had worked the theory of Divine Right of the Sovereign into a system, that was accepted by the more crazy and[Pg 209] immoderate of the old Tory party, mainly among the clergy; and the Oxford declaration went a long way in this direction. Men were beating about for a theory on which to base Government by a King, they had not grasped the truth that the King represents the people, just as does a President in a Republic, but with the superaddition of Divine ratification and imparted grace for the task of ruling, by unction and coronation. That the Kings of England had ever been elected, and that coronation was the confirmation by God, through the Church, of the choice of the people, had been forgotten through the prevalence of feudal ideas in the Middle Ages. Filmer propounded his doctrine that the Divine Right rested in primogeniture, and the rabid Tories, looking out for a theory, snatched at this for want of a better.

On the very day on which Russell was put to death, the University of Oxford adopted by a solemn public act, drawn up by Jane, this strange doctrine, and ordered the political works of Buchanan, Milton, and Baxter to be publicly burned in the court of the schools.

James II, in hopes of winning the Earl of Rochester to join the Papal Church, desired a disputation between some Roman divines and some of the Church of England, making no doubt that the former would be able to confound the latter. The King bade Rochester to choose English divines, excluding two only, Tillotson and Stillingfleet, dreading the latter as a consummate master of all controversial weapons. Rochester selected Simon Patrick and Jane. The conference took place at Whitehall on November 13th, 1686, but no auditor was suffered to be present save the King.

"The subject discussed," says Macaulay, "was the[Pg 210] Real Presence. The Roman Catholic divines took on themselves the burden of the proof. Patrick and Jane said little, nor was it necessary that they should say much; for the Earl himself undertook to defend the doctrine of his Church, and, as was his habit, soon warmed with the conflict, lost his temper, and asked with great vehemence whether it was expected that he should change his religion on such frivolous grounds."

In 1685 Jane had been appointed to the deanery of Gloucester. He resigned the archdeaconry of Middlesex in 1686, but retained the canonries of Christ Church and S. Paul's till his death.

In 1688 James II had fled the kingdom, and the English nation and Parliament had accepted William and Mary as King and Queen of England.

The whole fabric of Divine Right had crumbled to the ground. James had reduced the theory to a reductio ad impossibile. This even the lay cavaliers had recognized. "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still," and it was so with the more fanatical Tories among the clergy. They refused to take the oath of allegiance to William and Mary, and were thrust out of their cathedral thrones and stalls and livings, and joined the sect of the Nonjurors.

But Jane was not one of them. He had the good sense to acknowledge that the theory he had taken up with some ardour was as impracticable as it was absurd. It was cast in his teeth that he changed his opinion because he desired to retain his benefices. One need not take this view of his conduct. He sought William of Orange at Hungerford, and assured him of the adhesion of the University of Oxford. His enemies said that he hinted at the same time his readiness to accept the vacant bishopric in return for his services in securing this sign of devotion.[Pg 211] But nothing is more easy than to make such an accusation, and there is no proof that he did this. However, the fact that the framer of the Oxford declaration should have thrown over the principles advocated therein, laid him open to attack, and a shower of epigrams fell on him. His name Jane gave good opportunity to the wits to liken him to Janus, who looked two ways at once. But he showed no further desire to court the favour of William, and he opposed the projects for Comprehension favoured by the latitudinarians, Tillotson and Burnet. In 1689 two Bills had been introduced into Parliament, a Toleration and a Comprehension Bill. The former was to grant facilities of worship to the Puritans and other Dissenters; the other was a Bill for altering the creed and the formulas and ceremonies of the Church, removing from them whatever might be distasteful to the Dissenters, so that all excuse might be taken from them for separating themselves from the Church. Both the King and Tillotson, who all knew was destined by the King to be Archbishop of Canterbury, and Burnet, Bishop of Salisbury, were eager to get both passed. Tillotson was so latitudinarian that his churchmanship was nebulous. Burnet was the son of a Covenanter who had been hanged, had been brought up in Presbyterianism, had found satisfaction in the ministry of Calvanist pastors in Holland, and had not the faintest conception of the principles of the Church or of its true organization.

The Earl of Nottingham advocated the Comprehension Bill and drafted both. The Toleration Bill passed both Houses with little debate. But it was otherwise with the Comprehension Bill. The first clause in this dispensed all the ministers in the Church from the necessity of subscribing the Thirty-nine[Pg 212] Articles. Then it was provided that any minister who had been ordained after the Presbyterian fashion might be eligible to any benefice in the Church without ordination by the bishop.

Then followed clauses providing that a clergyman might wear the surplice or not as he thought fit; it left the sign of the cross optional in baptism; and provided that the Eucharist need not be received kneeling. The concluding clause was drawn in the form of a petition; it was proposed that the two Houses should request the King and the Queen to issue a commission empowering thirty divines of the Church of England to revise the liturgy, the canons, and the constitution of the ecclesiastical courts, and to recommend such alterations as might seem to them desirable.

But this Bill roused serious opposition. It was felt by all who had any respect and feeling for the Church, as one in all times from the Apostolic period, who regarded her claim to maintain the same faith, the same Apostolic constitution and the same sacraments, as from the earliest age of the Church, that this Comprehension Bill if it became law must of necessity alienate them from such a body—drenched with Protestantism, till scarcely a tinge of the old wine of Catholicism remained in her; and would leave them no other course open than to shake off the dust of their feet against her and join the Church of Rome, or the Church of the Nonjurors. Most of the bishops who had taken the oaths to William and Mary were placed on the Commission; and with them were joined twenty priests of note. Of these twenty, Tillotson was the most important as expressing the mind and wishes of the King. He was a latitudinarian, without a spark of feeling for historic Christianity. With him went Stillingfleet, Dean of S. Paul's, Sharp, Dean of Norwich,[Pg 213] Patrick, Dean of Peterborough, Tenison, Rector of S. Martin's, and Fowler. But conspicuous on the other side were Aldrich, Dean of Christ Church, and Jane, Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford.

Early in October, 1689, the commissioners assembled in the Jerusalem Chamber. But hardly had they met before Sprat, Bishop of Rochester, started up and denied that the Commission was legal. There was a sharp altercation, violent words were flung about, and Sprat, Jane, and Aldrich withdrew. The strength of the Catholic party was broken, and the rest agreed to sanction nearly all the changes advocated by those who desired to entirely alter the character of the Church.

"They had before them," Burnet tells us, "all the exceptions that either the Puritans before the war, or the Nonconformists since the Restoration, had made to any part of the Church service; they had also many propositions and advices that had been offered, at several times, by many of our bishops and divines upon those heads; matters were well considered and freely and calmly debated; and all digested into an entire correction of everything that seemed liable to any just objection." To guide them, as Burnet admits in his Triennial Visitation Charge of 1704, they were furnished with a great collection of the books and papers in which the Dissenters had at different times set forth their demands. The Commission was prepared to surrender everything. The chanting of psalms, even in cathedrals, was to be done away with. The lessons from the Apocrypha were to be abolished. The Saints' days omitted from the Calendar, the form of absolution altered, remission of sins to be removed from it "as not very intelligible." The cross in baptism, the use of god-parents, the wearing of the surplice were to be optional. Episcopal ordination[Pg 214] was not to be required of the Ministry. Kneeling to receive the Holy Communion was left to the choice of the Communicant; the collects, as too concise, were to be blown out with pious bombast.

It is possible that, as Calamy asserts, such alterations as these would have brought over two-thirds of the English Dissenters to the Established Church; but it is certain that it would have driven two-thirds of the members of the Church, lay and clerical, out of her, as having forfeited her claim to be a branch of the Catholic Church, and they would probably have swelled the ranks of the Nonjurors, and made of that communion a body that would have really represented the Church in England.

Owing to the secession of the Nonjurors, sees and benefices had been filled with men who were in sympathy with the views of Tillotson and Burnet, or who were only solicitous to live in the smiles of William. Little resistance, if any, was to be expected from the episcopal bench.

When the Commission had concluded its labours, writs were issued summoning the Convocation of the Province of Canterbury. The clergy were in a ferment throughout England. They thought that the heritage of faith was going to be taken from them. The Toleration Act had removed the disabilities of the Dissenters; they might build their conventicles and preach what and when they liked; why, then, open the doors of the Church to admit them as a flood to swamp the faithful?

When the Declaration of Toleration had been issued by James II, in 1687, removing all disabilities from the Dissenters, on the sole understanding that they should abstain from attacking the Churches of Rome and England, their preachers found that they had nothing[Pg 215] to say. They preferred to be under disabilities rather than give up assaults on the Scarlet Woman, Babylon, the Beast, and Prelacy, its shadow.

When Convocation was elected, it became evident to all that the bulk of the priests were against all watering down of the formulas of the Church, her faith, her ritual. The most important office in Convocation was that of Prolocutor of the Lower House. The Prolocutor was to be chosen by the members; Tillotson was proposed by the Protestant party as one whom the King delighted to honour, and who it was well known would be appointed to the Archbishopric of Canterbury when vacant.

On November 20th, Convocation met in Henry VII's Chapel at Westminster. "Compton was in the chair. On the right and left those suffragans of Canterbury who had taken the oath were ranged in gorgeous vestments of scarlet and miniver. Below the table was assembled the crowd of presbyters. Beveridge preached a Latin sermon, in which he warmly eulogized the existing system, and yet declared himself favourable to a moderate reform." In a word, he blew hot and cold with the same breath.

The Lower House listened, unstirred, cold and resolute. Dean Shays, put forward by the members favourable to Comprehension, proposed Tillotson; Jane was proposed on the other side. After an animated discussion, Jane was elected by fifty-five votes to twenty-eight.

The Prolocutor was then formally presented to the Bishop of London, and made, according to ancient usage, a Latin oration, in which he eulogized the Church in England as maintaining the faith as delivered to the saints, and as preserving all the marks of the Catholic Church throughout all ages and all the[Pg 216] world; and he very plainly declared that no alteration in a downward direction would be tolerated; and he concluded with the significant and well-known words, "Nolumus leges Angliæ mutari."

It soon became evident that the Lower House was absolutely determined not to have the proposed alterations made; but the plan they adopted was to shun the discussion of the recommendations made by the Commissioners, so as not directly to reject what they knew lay very near to the King's heart. With this object they adopted a system of tactics that in the end answered their purpose.

"The law," says Macaulay, "as it had been interpreted during a long course of years, prohibited Convocation from even deliberating on any ecclesiastical ordinance without a previous warrant from the Crown. Such a warrant, sealed with the Great Seal, was brought in form to Henry the Seventh's Chapel by Nottingham. He at the same time delivered a message from the King. His Majesty exhorted the assembly to consider calmly and without prejudice the recommendations of the Commission, and declared that he had nothing in view but the honour and advantage of the Protestant religion in general and of the Church of England in particular.

"The bishops speedily agreed on an address of thanks for the royal message, and requested the concurrence of the Lower House. Jane and his adherents raised objection after objection. First they claimed the privilege of presenting a separate address. When they were forced to waive this claim, they refused to agree to any expressions which implied that the Church of England had any fellowship with any other Protestant community. Amendments and reasons were sent backward and forward. Conferences were held at which Burnet on[Pg 217] one side and Jane on the other were the chief speakers. At last, with great difficulty, a compromise was made; and an address, cold and ungracious compared with that which the bishops had framed, was presented to the King in the Banqueting House. He dissembled his vexation, returned a kind answer, and intimated a hope that the assembly would now at length proceed to consider the great question of Comprehension." But this was precisely what they were resolute not to consider. They had made up their minds on the subject already, but they were unwilling to fly too openly in the face of the King. As for trusting the bishops to stand firm on any principle, the Lower House knew that this was not to be expected. When had the bishops of the Established Church, since the Reformation, ever shown firmness and united action on any principle, except once, and that was to oppose general Toleration?

So soon as the clergy were again assembled, a fresh difficulty was started. It was mooted that the Nonjuring bishops had not been summoned, and they were to be regarded as bishops of the Catholic Church quite as certainly as were those nominees of the King who had been intruded into their vacated thrones.

Then it was complained that scurrilous pamphlets were hawked about the streets, and the people were being worked into a temper of opposition to Convocation. It was asked why Convocation should be called together to emasculate the Church, if it was to be suffered to be jeered at by pamphleteers.

Thus passed week after week. Christmas drew nigh. The bishops proposed, during the recess, to have a committee to sit and prepare business. The Lower House rejected the proposal; and it became plain to every[Pg 218] one that it was determined not to consider one of the suggested concessions to Protestant prejudice.

Moreover, it soon became evident that the Dissenters themselves did not desire Comprehension. Their ministers were petted and made much of by the well-to-do yeomen and the rich merchants in country and town. They lived on the fat of the land, snapped up wealthy widows and bought broad acres. Whereas the needy country parson was hard pressed to wring the tithes from his parishioners. While the walls of exclusion of Jericho stood, the rams' horns brayed against them daily, and seven times on the Sabbath; but so soon as the walls were prostrate, and every man could go up into the city and take up his quarters there where he liked, the rams' horns would have to be laid aside as superfluous lumber.

The King was disappointed and offended. What he did was to prorogue Convocation for six weeks, and when those six weeks had expired, to prorogue it again, and many years elapsed before it was again suffered to assemble.

That Convocation of 1689 saved the Church of England from dissolution into a formless, gelatinous, and invertebrate mass.

Burnet himself, though disappointed at the time, felt afterwards that the determination of the Lower House had saved the Church at a time of crisis. "There was," he says, "a very happy direction of the providence of God observed in this matter. The Jacobite clergy who were then under suspension were designing to make a schism in the Church, whensoever they should be turned out and their places should be filled up by others. They saw it would not be easy to make a separation upon a private and personal account; they therefore wished to be furnished with more specious pretences, and[Pg 219] if we had made alterations in the Rubrics and other parts of the Common Prayer, they would have pretended that they still stuck to the ancient Church of England, in opposition to those who were altering it and setting up new models. And, as I do firmly believe that there is a wise providence that watches upon human affairs, and directs them—so I have observed this in many instances relating to the Revolution ... by all the judgments we could afterwards make, if we had carried a majority in the Convocation for alterations, they would have done us more hurt than good."

Burnet was morally and intellectually incapable of seeing that it was a case of conscience, of stantis vel cadentis ecclesiæ, and he attributed the motives of the recalcitrant clergy to political prejudice.

On Jane's return to Oxford, he found another opportunity of defending the Church, by framing the decree of 1690, which condemned the "Naked Gospel" of Arthur Burge.

Jane had no hopes whatever of preferment from William, if he cared for it. In 1696 it was even rumoured that the King meditated turning him out of his professorship, because he had not signed the "Association for King William." But on Anne's accession, all his fears were at an end. It would appear from a letter of Atterbury that at Oxford the University desired to get rid of him, because he neglected giving lectures on Divinity, and left the work to be discharged by a subordinate named Smallridge.

In 1703 Bishop Trelawny appointed him to the Chancellorship of Exeter Cathedral, which he exchanged for the precentorship in 1704, but he retained his Regius professorship to the end. Undoubtedly it was a great pleasure to him in the decline of his life to be back in the West Country.

[Pg 220]

He resigned the precentorship of Exeter in 1706, and died on the 23rd February, 1707, at Oxford, and was buried in Christ Church.

The writer of his life in the Dictionary of National Biography sums up his career with these words: "Jane was a clerical politician of a low type; Calamy says of him, 'Though fond of the rites and ceremonies of the Church, he was a Calvinist in the respect of doctrine,' and the pleasantest thing recorded of him is his kindness shown at Oxford to the ejected Presbyterian, Thomas Gilbert."

Calamy, as a Dissenter, was prejudiced against Jane; and I do not see that he was of a low type of polemical cleric—because when he saw that the theory of government he had embraced would not bear the test of experience, he had the courage to reject it. Every man is liable to make mistakes; it is only the brave man who can acknowledge that he has been mistaken.

Nor was Jane alone. Compton, Bishop of London, and several other bishops, had appealed to William of Orange to come over and help the people and the Church of England to be free from a tyrannous and subversive despotism. The Earl of Danby, under whose administration, and with his sanction, a law had been proposed, which, if it had passed, would have excluded from Parliament and office all who refused to declare on oath that they thought resistance to the King in every case unlawful—he had seen the mistake as well, and had invited William over.

As Macaulay says: "This theory (of passive obedience) at first presented itself to the Cavalier as the very opposite of slavish. Its tendency was to make him not a slave, but a free man and a master. It exalted him by exalting one whom he regarded as his[Pg 221] protector, as his friend, as the head of his beloved party, and of his more beloved Church. When Republicans were dominant the Royalist had endured wrongs and insults which the restoration of the legitimate government had enabled him to retaliate. Rebellion was therefore associated in his imagination with subjection and degradation, and monarchical authority with liberty and ascendancy. It had never crossed his imagination that a time might come when a King, a Stuart, could prosecute the most loyal of the clergy and gentry with more than the animosity of the Rump or the Protector. That time had however arrived. Oppression speedily did what philosophy and eloquence would have failed to do. The system of Filmer might have survived the attacks of Locke; but it never recovered from the death-blow given by James."

Jane changed his opinion indeed, but so did nearly the whole of the Tory party and of the clergy of the Church.

[Pg 222]


About seven years ago I attended the baptism of some bells for a new church at Châteaulin, in Brittany. The ceremony was quaint, archaic, and grotesque. The bells were suspended in the chancel "all of a row," dressed in white frocks with pink sashes round their waists. To each was given god-parents who had to answer for them, and each was actually baptized, after which each was made to speak for itself. The ceremony evidently dates from a period when the bell was regarded as anything but an inanimate object—it had its responsibilities, it did its duties, it spoke in sonorous tones. The very inscriptions on them to the present day prescribe something of this character—invest each bell with a personality, as these:—

I sweetly tolling men do call
To taste of meats to feed the soul.


I sound to bid the sick repent,
In hope of life when breath is spent.

As late as last century we find these:—

Both day and night I measure time for all,
To mirth and grief, to church I call.

And this in 1864:—

I toll the funeral knell,
I ring the festal day,
I mark the fleeting hours,
And chime the church to pray.

[Pg 223]

In the Western Counties bell-ringing was a favourite and delightful pastime. Parties of ringers went about from parish to parish and rang on the church bells, very generally for a prize—"a hat laced with gold." At Launcells, where the bells are of superior sweetness, the ringers who rang for the accession of George III rang for that of George IV, there not having been a gap caused by death among them in sixty years. No songs are so popular and well remembered at bell-ringers' feasts as those that record the achievements of some who went before them in the same office. I give one that has never before been printed, that can be traced back to 1810, but is certainly older. It relates to the ringers of Egloshayle.

1. Come all you ringers good and grave,
Come listen to my peal,
I'll tell you of five ringers brave
That lived in Egloshayle.
They bear the sway in ring array,
Where'er they chance to go;
Good music of melodious bells,
'Tis their delight to show.
2. The foreman gives the sigan-al,
He steps long with the toe,
He casts his eyes about them all,
And gives the sign to go.
Away they pull, with courage full,
The heart it do revive,
To hear them swing, and music ring,
One, two, three, four, and five.
3. There's Craddock the cordwainer first,
That rings the treble bell;
The second is John Ellery,
And none may him excel;
The third is Pollard, carpenter;
The fourth is Thomas Cleave;
Goodfellow is the tenor man,
[Pg 224] That rings them round so brave.
4. They went up to Lanlivery,
They brought away the prize;
And then they went to San-Tudy,
And there they did likewise.
There's Stratton men, S. Mabyn men,
S. Issey and S. Kew,
But we five lads of Egloshayle
Can all the rest outdo.
5. Now, to conclude my merry task,
I' th' Sovereign's health we join;
Stand every man and pass the flask,
And drink his health in wine.
And here's to Craddock, Ellery,
And here's to Thomas Cleave,
To Pollard and the tenor man
That rings them round so brave.

Humphry Craddock died in 1839; John Ellery in 1845, aged 85 years; John Pollard in 1825, aged 71; Thomas Cleave in 1821, aged 78; John Goodfellow in 1846, aged 80.

But for bell-ringers there must be bells; and who cast those that have been in past years and are still pealed so merrily? A great many were cast by the Penningtons of Lezant, and latterly at Stoke Climsland. The Penningtons were an ancient family in Bodmin, resident there in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Perhaps because not being landed gentry, perhaps because they could not establish the right, they did not record their arms or give their pedigree in the Heralds' Visitations. But the coat they bore or assumed was a goodly one and simple, and therefore ancient—or, in fesse five lozenges azure. Robert Pennington, of Bodmin, had two sons—John, baptized in 1595, and Bernard two years later. John married at Bodmin, and had seven sons baptized there, one of whom was probably the progenitor of the Penningtons of Lezant and Stoke Climsland. The pedigree of the Exeter bell-founders of the family has not[Pg 225] been made out; but that they belonged to the stock that sprang up at Bodmin cannot be doubted.

Bernard Pennington, baptized in 1605, was Mayor of Bodmin in 1666, and was a bell-founder. He died in 1674. His son Christopher Pennington, baptized 1631, was also a bell-founder. He died in 1696. Christopher's son of the same name was Mayor of Bodmin in 1726, 1727, and 1733. He died in 1749. The Penningtons seem to have abandoned the bell-casting business at the beginning of the nineteenth century; but, as Sir William Maclean says, "between 1702 and 1818 these popular founders cast nearly five hundred bells in the county of Devon, and, it is believed, as many in Cornwall."[14]

There are sixty-six in Devon cast by John Pennington, of Exeter. The earliest that is dated is at Payhembury, 1635, and the latest 1690 at Kentisbeare. In 1669 T. P. and I. P. appear together on a bell at Merton, as if they were partners; and ninety-five bear the trade-mark of Thomas and John Pennington—large Roman initials with a bell in outline between. The earliest is found at Eggesford, 1618. Sometimes they impressed the coin then current. At Ottery S. Mary, 1671, and at S. Martin's, Exeter, 1675, they used a satirical medal representing a pope and a king under one face, another representing a cardinal and a bishop.

Besides two generations of Penningtons in Exeter, there was, as already stated, Christopher Pennington, who cast a bell at Stowford dated 1710, and one at Philleigh, in Roseland, with C. P. and the skeleton of a bell between, as did the other Pennington. But his earliest known is at Fremington, 1702. He was succeeded by FitzAnthony Pennington, of Lezant, who in 1768, whilst crossing the Tamar in the Antony ferry[Pg 226] with a bell he had cast to be set up at Landulph, was drowned. He is buried in the tower of Landulph, and on a mural tablet, beside his age, which was thirty-eight, and the date of his death, April 30th, 1768, are these lines:—

Tho' boisterous winds and billows sore
Hath toss'd me to and fro,
By God's decree, in spite of both,
I rest now here below.

After his death we have the initials of the three brothers, John, Christopher, and William. From their head-quarters, first at Lezant and then at Stoke Climsland, they itinerated through Cornwall and Devon, casting bells wherever they could find deep clay, and sufficient bell-metal was provided by the parish that desired to have a bell in its tower, and generally the bell was cast near the church for which it was intended.[15]

There are as many as 480 bells by this Cornish family from 1710-1818; their latest are at Bridgerule and Bovey Tracey, at this last date.

William Pennington, son of the second Christopher, entered Holy Orders and became vicar of Davidstowe. His progenitors had furnished the voices calling to church from the village towers, and now this member sounded within the church also calling to prayer and praise. His son, William Pennington, purchased the site of the Priory, Bodmin, in 1788, having rebuilt the house some twenty years previously under a lease. He was mayor of Bodmin 1764, 1774, 1787, and died without issue in 1789, bequeathing his possessions to his niece Nancy Hosken, daughter of his sister Susanna, who had married Anthony Hosken, vicar[Pg 227] of Bodmin and rector of Lesneuth. Nancy married Walter Raleigh Gilbert, one of the gentlemen of the bedchamber, and descended from the ancient Devonshire family of Compton Castle. As Mr. Gilbert died without issue, the Priory passed to his brother, and, consequently, wholly away from the Penningtons.

[Pg 228]


This amiable and good man was born at Helland, 5th August, 1719, and was the son of Robert Glynn, by Lucy, fourth daughter of John Clobery, of Bradstone, in Devon. A singular fatality attended this ancient family, that possessed a very interesting Elizabethan mansion. John Clobery had eight daughters and only one son and heir, and that son died without issue, and only three of the daughters married. Lucy had but the one son, Robert Glynn, and the fifth daughter, Mary, also only a son; and as these sons died unmarried, the estate passed to remote connections.

Robert Glynn assumed his mother's name and succeeded to the estates on the death of his uncle, William Clobery. Robert Glynn was an M.D. and a Fellow of King's College, Cambridge, where he resided. He was a simple-minded man, and was completely taken in by the Chatterton forgeries, and for some time strenuously defended them. On which account Horace Walpole speaks of him with great contempt as "an old doting physician and Chattertonian at Cambridge." "I neither answer Dr. Glynn, nor a poissarde. Twenty years ago I might have laughed at both, but they are too small fry, and I am too old to take notice of them. Besides, when leviathans and crocodiles and alligators tempest and infest the ocean, I shall not go a-privateering in a cockboat against a smuggling pinnace." That was in August, 1792.

[Pg 229]

Dr. Glynn was very fond of seeing young gownsmen at his rooms, and had tea for them and conversed with them; but he never drank tea himself. C. Carlyon says: "His custom was to walk about the room and talk most agreeably upon such topics as he thought likely to interest his company, which did not often consist of more than two or three persons. As soon as the tea-table was set in order, and the boiling water ready for making the infusion, the fragrant herb was taken, not from an ordinary tea-caddy, but from a packet, consisting of several envelopes curiously put together, in the centre of which was the tea. Of this he used, at first, as much as would make a good cup for each of the party; and, to meet fresh demands, I observed that he invariably put an additional teaspoonful in the teapot; the excellence of the beverage, thus prepared, ensuring him custom. He had likewise a superior knack of supplying each cup with sugar from a considerable distance, by a jerk of the hand which discharged it from the sugar-tongs into the cup with unerring certainty, as he continued his walk around the table, scarcely seeming to stop whilst he performed these and other requisite evolutions of the entertainment."

Dr. Glynn or Clobery would only eat when his appetite summoned him imperiously for a meal. A faithful old servant was in constant attendance upon him, and, whenever his master called out for food, he was prepared to set before him some plain dish and a pewter of porter.

Nothing would induce the doctor to believe that gout was hereditary. He once took occasion to mark this with peculiar emphasis, when a writer signing himself W. A. A. consulted him in his first attack, then in his nineteenth year. He observed, "My young friend, you call this gout! Pooh, pooh! You have not[Pg 230] yet earned the costly privilege; you must drink your double hogshead first."

"But my father, sir; it is in my blood by right of inheritance."

His reply was, "You talk nonsense. You may as well tell me you have a broken leg in your veins by inheritance."

One Sunday morning he met an undergraduate of his acquaintance on his way to S. Mary's Church, and said to him—

"Well, my master, and whither are you going?"

"I am going to S. Mary's," replied the young gownsman.

"And who is the preacher to-day?"

"I don't know."

"Not know who is the preacher? Then, upon my word, you have no small merit in taking pot-luck at S. Mary's."

During a long illness the good old doctor attended a poor man, of whose family party a pert, talkative magpie made one; and as the patient observed that Dr. Glynn always, when paying a visit, had some joke with the bird, he thought that perhaps the doctor might like to possess it. Accordingly, when the poor man was well again, with overflowing gratitude, but with no money to pay a bill, he thought he could do no better than make his kind friend a present of the magpie; and sure enough the prisoner in its cage was conveyed to his rooms in King's College. There the bearer met with a very kind reception, but was desired to carry back the bird with him. "I cannot," said the doctor, "take so good care of it as can you; but I shall consider it mine, and I entrust it to you to keep for me; and, as long as it lives, I will pay you half-a-crown weekly for its maintenance."

[Pg 231]

The anecdote was turned into verse by Mr. Plumtre, and is given in Gunning's Reminiscences of Cambridge. When Dr. Glynn assumed the name of Clobery he assumed also the Clobery arms—three bats; and no animal could better symbolize the man, with his curious blindness to what was obvious to most—that the Chatterton papers were forgeries. He went down to Bristol on purpose to examine the chest with its MS. contents. The fact that in one of them the invention of heraldry was ascribed to Hengest, and that of painted glass to an unknown monk in the reign of King Edmund, did not disturb his faith. He entered into vehement controversy with George Steevens, in his endeavour to establish their genuineness. He waxed hot over it, and it took a good deal to put Glynn-Clobery out of his usual placidity and coolness.

He set up to be a poet. His Seatonian prize poem on the "Day of Judgment" was thought much of at the time. Previously Christopher Smart had won the prize over and over again. Glynn wrested the laurels from him. This is not saying much; his poem was not much better, and not at all worse, than the general run of these prize poems. But it had the advantage of pleasing, and has been repeatedly republished, and has even obtained for the old doctor a niche in the temple of Poesy—a notice in a Biographical Dictionary of Poets.

He died at Cambridge on February 8th, 1800, and at his own desire was buried at midnight in King's College Chapel.

[Pg 232]


In the year 1849, Captain Allen Gardiner, an intrepid sailor and a religious enthusiast, formed the plan of converting the natives of Terra del Fuego and of Patagonia. He knew nothing of their language or habits, nothing indeed of their land. He was, however, possessed with the idea that he was called to be an apostle of those bleak and fog-wrapped regions. Of all inhabited spots on the earth, the Terra del Fuego is the most miserable. Cold, whirlwinds and tempests of snow and hail, frozen fogs with but rare glimpses of sunshine, form its climate; and the natives are utterly barbarous, apparently the refugees from the Continent, driven out of the somewhat less desolate peninsula of Patagonia by the giants that now possess it, and in their misery sinking to the lowest depths to which man can descend.

During a year or more Captain Gardiner's efforts to rouse interest in his scheme, sufficient interest to make the money flow, had met with no success. He applied to the Moravian Brethren to take up the mission; they declined. Then he placed the matter before the Scottish Establishment, but the canny Scotchmen would nae think ov it. At last a lady at Cheltenham furnished him with £700, and this, with £300 from his own private purse, formed all the resources on which he acted. As he could not afford to charter a schooner, he had four open boats built for him at Liverpool. Two of these were launches of considerable size, to[Pg 233] which he gave the names of the Speedwell and the Pioneer; the other two were small dinghies, to be used as tenders or luggage boats.


the last Person who could converse in the Cornish language?

Captain Gardiner now looked about him for enthusiasts like himself to share the perils and the possible glories of spreading the gospel over Terra del Fuego, in which not a cross had been planted nor the Word of God proclaimed.

He secured the services of a surgeon, a missionary, and from Mousehole, near Penzance, drew three sturdy Cornish sailors, or fishermen—John Pearce, John Badcock, and John Davy Bryant—who little knew what risks they ran.

The party left England on September 27th, 1850, in the ship Ocean Queen, bound from Liverpool to California, taking with them their boats and six months' provisions. They were landed on the inhospitable foreign shore on the 5th December.

Pinkerton, in his Modern Geography, thus graphically describes the scene of their projected labours:—

"A broken series of wintry islands, called Terra del Fuego, from two or more volcanoes which vomit flames amidst the dreary wastes of ice. Terra del Fuego is divided by narrow straits into eleven islands of considerable size. In their zeal for Natural History, Sir Joseph Banks and Doctor Solander had nearly perished amid the snows of this horrible land; but they found a considerable variety of plants. The natives are of a middle stature, with broad flat faces, high cheeks, and flat noses, and they are clothed in the skins of seals. The villages consist of miserable huts in the form of a sugar loaf, and the only food seems to be shell-fish."

The lack of common prudence, of common sense, exhibited by Captain Gardiner is astounding. Here[Pg 234] was he, with a party whom he had beguiled to attend him, dropped in this barren country wrapped in snow and fog, without an interpreter, and consequently without the means of communication with the inhabitants should they come across them. From the moment that the sails of the Ocean Queen disappeared behind the rocks on her way to double Cape Horn, the eye of no civilized man ever saw these brave sailors and missionaries alive. All that is known of them has been gathered from the papers subsequently found.

Seven men in all, with four open boats, were left on the most inhospitable coast that could be found, where there is little food to be got, where vegetation is scarce. Their resolution was heroic, but the whole enterprise was madness.

They soon found that the Pioneer leaked. In several short voyages from island to island and from shore to shore they encountered numberless mishaps. The natives were by no means friendly, and as they approached their villages, brandished their weapons and drove them away. At other times the Fuegians simulated friendship, so as to get at the stores and plunder them. During a storm both of the dinghies were lost with all their contents, on which they relied for support for six months. Next they found that they had no gunpowder; it had been left inadvertently in the Ocean Queen, so that they had no means of shooting birds or other animals. Then their anchors and spare timber were carried away. As far as we can judge, they seem to have been curiously helpless persons. With clubs they might have killed the sea-elephants, whose flesh would have sustained them and their skins clothed them.

Thus wore away the month of January, 1851, and not the first step had been taken towards acquiring the[Pg 235] confidence of the natives. All the time had been spent in a struggle for the maintenance of their own lives. On February 1st the Pioneer was shattered in a storm, and now they had only the Speedwell to voyage in, a vessel whose name mocked their misery.

They all saw now, even the enthusiast Gardiner, that they had embarked on an impossible task, and without further thought of spreading a knowledge of Christianity among the dirty, treacherous, flat-nosed and stupid natives, their only consideration was how they might get away.

Arrangements had been made before starting for sending out to them fresh supplies, but by various unfortunate mischances this had not been done. They turned their eyes vainly eastward; not a sail was seen to raise their hopes.

Some of the men became ill with scurvy, and the boats were used as hospitals, the men that were sound retiring to caverns. A few fish and fowl were caught, and eggs were procured. So March and April dragged along; and then the Antarctic winter began, adding snow and ice to their other troubles. What herbs to gather, how the natives protected themselves against scurvy, does not seem to have occurred to these unfortunates. They sat and shivered and lamented their fate and lost all hope. From the middle of May they were all put on short allowance, owing to the rapid disappearance of the supply of food they had brought ashore. At the end of June, Badcock, one of the Mousehole men, died, worn out with scurvy. There is an entry in Gardiner's diary, about the end of June, enumerating the provisions still left, and among them were "six mice," concerning which he wrote: "The mention of this last item in our list of provisions may startle some of our friends should it ever reach their[Pg 236] ears; but circumstanced as we are, we partake of them with a relish; they are very tender, and taste like rabbit." A solitary penguin, a dead fox, a half-devoured fish thrown up on the shore—all were welcomed by the half-starved men. When August came, the strength of the entire party was well-nigh at an end. A few garden-seeds were made into a soup, and mussel-broth was served out to the invalids. Captain Gardiner himself lived on mussels for a fortnight, and then, as this disagreed with him, was compelled to give up the diet. He would have lain down and died of starvation had he not found a vegetable that he could eat, and on this he rallied for a while.

On the 23rd, Erwin, a boatman, died, exhausted by hunger and disease. On the 26th, Bryant, the second Mousehole man, expired. Pearce, the remaining boatman, went nearly mad at the loss of his companions and the hopelessness of the outlook. Mr. Maidment, the missionary, had just strength sufficient to dig a grave in which to bury the two poor fellows. He then made a pair of crutches with two sticks, on which Captain Gardiner might lean when walking. He lived in the cavern, and tried to hobble down to those who were in the Speedwell, but his strength was not equal to the task, and he had to retire to his cave.

Maidment was the next to succumb, on September 2nd. Pearce, and Williams the surgeon, were in the Speedwell, and it was as much as they could do to obtain a few shell-fish for themselves; but they soon lay down and died. When Gardiner also yielded up the ghost is not known, but he had strength to make an entry in his diary on the 6th; there is none on the 7th.

On the 21st January, 1852, H.M.S. Dido arrived at Terra del Fuego and found the remains of this unhappy[Pg 237] party of religious enthusiasts. The first thing seen was a direction scrawled on a rock; then a boat lying on the beach of a small river; then the unburied bodies of Captain Gardiner and the missionary Maidment; then a packet of papers and books; then the scattered remains of another boat, with part of her gear and various articles of clothing; then two more corpses; and lastly the graves of the rest of the party.

"Their remains," wrote Captain Morshead, of the Dido, "were collected together and buried close to the spot, and the funeral service read by Lieutenant Underwood. A short inscription was placed on the rock near his own text; the colours of the boats and ships were struck half-mast, and three volleys of musketry were the only tribute of respect I could pay to the lofty-minded man and his devoted companions."

[Pg 238]


Much has been written about Dolly Pentreath, but little is known of her uneventful life. That little may be summed up in few words.

Her maiden name was Jeffery, and when she was a child her parents and all about her spoke the Cornish language. Drew, in his History of Cornwall, quoting Daines Barrington, says: "She does indeed talk Cornish as readily as others do English, being bred up from a child to know no other language; nor could she (if we may believe her) talk a word of English before she was past twenty years of age."

In the year 1768 the Hon. Daines Barrington, brother of Captain, afterwards Admiral, Barrington, went into Cornwall to ascertain whether the Cornish language had entirely ceased to be spoken, or not, and in a letter written to John Lloyd, f.s.a., a few years after, viz. on March 31, 1773, he gives the following as the result of his journey:—

"I set out from Penzance, with the landlord of the principal inn for my guide, towards Sennen, or the most western point; and when I approached the village I said that there must probably be some remains of the language in those parts if anywhere, as the village was in the road to no place whatever, and the only ale-house announced itself to be the last in England.

"My guide, however, told me that I should be disappointed, but that if I would ride about ten miles[Pg 239] about on my return to Penzance he would conduct me to a village called Mousehole, on the western side of Mount's Bay, where there was an old woman, called Dolly Pentreath, who could speak Cornish fluently. While we were travelling together towards Mousehole I inquired how he knew that this woman spoke Cornish; when he informed me that he frequently went from Penzance to Mousehole to buy fish, which were sold by her; and that when he did not offer her a price that was satisfactory, she grumbled to some other old women in an unknown tongue, which he concluded, therefore, to be Cornish.


From a drawing by Captain Tremenhere

"When we reached Mousehole I desired to be introduced as a person who had laid a wager that there was not one who could converse in Cornish; upon which Dolly Pentreath spoke in an angry tone for two or three minutes, and in a language which sounded very like Welsh. The hut in which she lived was in a very narrow lane, opposite to two rather better houses, at the doors of which two other women stood, who were advanced in years, and who I observed were laughing at what Dolly said to me.

"Upon this I asked them whether she had not been abusing me; to which they answered, 'Very heartily,' and because I had supposed she could not speak Cornish.

"I then said that they must be able to talk the language; to which they answered that they could not speak it readily, but that they understood it, being only ten or twelve years younger than Dolly Pentreath.

"I continued nine or ten days in Cornwall after this, but found that my friends whom I had left to the eastward continued as incredulous almost as they were before about these last remains of the Cornish language, because, among other reasons, Dr. Borlase had[Pg 240] supposed, in his Natural History of the County, that it had entirely ceased to be spoken. It was also urged that, as he lived within four or five miles of the old woman at Mousehole, he consequently must have heard of so singular a thing as her continuing to use the vernacular tongue.

"I had scarcely said or thought anything more about this matter till last summer (1772), having mentioned it to some Cornish people, I found that they could not credit that any person had existed within these few years who could speak their native language; and therefore, though I imagined there was but a small chance of Dolly Pentreath continuing to live, yet I wrote to the President, then in Devonshire, to desire that he would make some inquiry with regard to her; and he was so obliging as to procure me information from a gentleman whose house was within three miles of Mousehole, a considerable part of whose letter I subjoin.

"'Dolly Pentreath is short of stature, and bends very much with old age, being in her eighty-seventh year, so lusty, however, as to walk hither to Castle Horneck, about three miles, in bad weather, in the morning and back again. She is somewhat deaf, but her intellect seemingly not impaired; has a memory so good, that she remembers perfectly well, that about four or five years ago at Mousehole, where she lives, she was sent for by a gentleman, who, being a stranger, had a curiosity to hear the Cornish language, which she was famed for retaining and speaking fluently, and that the innkeeper where the gentleman came from attended him.

("This gentleman," says Daines Barrington, "was myself; however, I did not presume to send for her, but waited upon her.")

[Pg 241]

"'She does, indeed, talk Cornish as readily as others do English, being bred up from a child to know no other language; nor could she (if we may believe her) talk a word of English before she was past twenty years of age, as, her father being a fisherman, she was sent with fish to Penzance at twelve years old, and sold them in the Cornish language, which the inhabitants in general, even the gentry, did then well understand. She is positive, however, that there is neither in Mousehole, nor in any other part of the county, any other person who knows anything of it, or, at least, can converse in it. She is poor, and maintained partly by the parish, and partly by fortune-telling and gabbling Cornish.'

"I have thus," continued Mr. Barrington, "thought it right to lay before the Society (the Society of Antiquaries) this account of the last sparks of the Cornish tongue, and cannot but think that a linguist who understands Welsh might still pick up a more complete vocabulary of the Cornish than we are yet possessed of, especially as the two neighbours of this old woman (Dolly Pentreath), whom I had occasion to mention, are not now above seventy-seven or seventy-eight years of age, and were healthy when I saw them; so that the whole does not depend on the life of this Cornish sybil, as she is willing to insinuate."

It is matter of profound regret that no Welshman did visit Dolly, who lived for four years after Mr. Barrington's letter, which was written in 1773, for she died December 26th, 1777.

Drew says: "She was buried in the churchyard of the parish of Paul, in which parish, Mousehole, the place of her residence, is situated. Her epitaph is both in Cornish and English."

[Pg 242]

Coth Doll Pentreath cans ha Deau;
Marow ha kledyz ed Paul plêa:—
Na ed an Egloz, gan pobel brâs,
Bes ed Egloz-hay coth Dolly es.
Old Doll Pentreath, one hundred aged and two,
Deceased, and buried in Paul parish too:—
Not in the Church, with people great and high,
But in the Churchyard doth old Dolly lie!

This epitaph, written by Mr. Tomson, of Truro, was never inscribed on her tombstone, for no tombstone was set up to her memory at the time of her death. The stone now erected, and standing in the churchyard wall and not near her grave, was set up by Prince Louis Lucien Bonaparte in 1860, and contains two errors. It runs: "Here lieth interred Dorothy Pentreath, who died in 1778." In the first place she does not lie where is the stone, and in the second place she died 1777, on December 26th, and was buried on the following day.

In 1776 Mr. Barrington presented a letter to the Royal Society of Antiquaries written in Cornish and in English, by William Bodener, a fisherman of Mousehole. This man asserted that at that date there were still four or five persons in Mousehole who could talk Cornish.

In 1777, the year of Dolly's death, Mr. Barrington found another Cornishman named John Nancarrow, of Marazion, aged forty-five years, able to speak Cornish. John Nancarrow said that "in his youth he had learned the language from the country people, and could thus hold a conversation in it; and that another, a native of Truro, was at that time also acquainted with the Cornish language, and like himself was able to converse in it."

This last is supposed to be the Mr. Tomson who wrote the epitaph for Dolly Pentreath which was never set up.

[Pg 243]

In Hitchens' and Drew's History of Cornwall, it is said: "The Cornish language was current in a part of the South Hams in the time of Edward I (1272-1307). Long after this it was common on the banks of the Tamar, and in Cornwall it was universally spoken.

"But it was not till towards the conclusion of the reign of Henry VIII (1509-47) that the English language had found its way into any of the Cornish churches. Before this time the Cornish language was the established vehicle of communication.

"Dr. Moreman, a native of Southill, but vicar of Menheniot, was the first who taught the inhabitants of this parish the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, and the Ten Commandments in the English tongue; and this was not done till just about the time that Henry VIII closed his reign. From this fact one inference is obvious, which is, that if the inhabitants of Menheniot knew nothing more of the English than what was thus learnt from the vicar of the parish, the Cornish must have prevailed among them at that time ... and as the English language in its progress travelled from east to west, we may reasonably conclude that about this time it had not penetrated far into the county, as Menheniot lies towards its eastern quarter.

"From the time the liturgy was established in the Cornish churches in the English language, the Cornish tongue rapidly declined.

"Hence Mr. Carew, who published his Survey of Cornwall in 1602, notices the almost total extirpation of the language in his days. He says, 'The principal love and knowledge of this language liveth in Dr. Kennall the civilian, and with him lyeth buried; for the English speech doth still encroach upon it and hath driven the same into the uttermost skirts of the shire. Most of the inhabitants can speak no word of[Pg 244] Cornish; but few are ignorant of the English; and yet some so affect their airs, as to a stranger they will not speak it; for if meeting them by chance you inquire the way, or any such matter, your answer shall be, "Meea naurdua cowzasourzneck?" (I can speak no Saxonage).'

"Carew's Survey was soon followed by that of Norden, by whom we are informed that the Cornish language was chiefly confined to the western hundreds of the county, particularly to Penwith and Kirrier, and yet (which is to be marveyled) though the husband and wife, parents and children, masters and servants, etc., naturally communicate in their native language, yet there is none of them in a manner but is able to converse with a stranger in the English tongue, unless it be some obscure people who seldom confer with the better sort. But it seemeth, however, that in a few years the Cornish will be by little and little abandoned."

The Cornish was, however, so well spoken in the parish of Feock by the old inhabitants till about the year 1640, "that Mr. William Jackman, the then vicar, and chaplain also of Pendennis Castle, at the siege thereof by the Parliament army, was forced for divers years to administer the sacrament to the communicants in the Cornish tongue, because the aged people did not well understand the English, as he himself often told me," says Hals.

So late as 1650 the Cornish language was currently spoken in the parishes of Paul and S. Just; the fisherwomen and market-women in the former, and the tinner in the latter, for the most part conversing in their old vernacular tongue; and Mr. Scawen says that in 1678 the Rev. F. Robinson, rector of Landewednack, "preached a sermon to his parishioners in the Cornish language only."

[Pg 245]

Had the Bible been translated, had even the English Prayer-book been rendered into Cornish, the language would have lived on. It is due to a large extent to this—the translation into Welsh—that in Wales their ancient language has maintained itself.

The editors of the Bibliotheca Cornubiensis state that Dorothy Jeffery, daughter of Nicolas Pentreath, was baptized at Paul 17th May, 1714; and they conclude that she was the Dolly Pentreath who died in 1777, and that her age accordingly was sixty-three and not one hundred and two.

But this is a mistake. Dolly was a Jeffery by birth and married a Pentreath.

A story is told of Dolly in Mr. J. Henry Harris's Cornish Saints and Sinners, "as current in Mousehole, but whether true or well conceived it is not possible for me to say."

It is to this effect: that on one occasion a deserter from a man-of-war fled to her house for refuge, and as there was a cavity in her chimney large enough to contain a man, she thrust him into it, and threw a bundle of dry furze on the fire, and filled the crock with water. Into the middle of the kitchen she drew a "keeve," which she used for washing, and when the naval officer and his men in pursuit burst into her house, Dolly was sitting on a stool, her legs bare and her feet ready to be immersed in the keeve. She screamed out on their entry that she was about to wash her feet, and only waiting for the water to get hot enough. The officer persisted in searching, and she gave tongue in strong and forcible Cornish. She rushed to the door and screamed to the good people of Mousehole, that the lieutenant and his men had invaded her house without leave, and were impudent and audacious enough to ransack every other cottage in the place.[Pg 246] The officer and his men withdrew without having seen and secured their man; and that night a fishing lugger stole out of Mousehole with the deserter on board and made for Guernsey, which in those days was a sort of dumping-ground for all kinds of rascals who were "wanted" at home.

[Pg 247]


Mrs. Bray, in her novel Trelawny of Trelawne, written in 1834, thus describes Polperro as it was at that time. It has lost much but not all of its picturesqueness. Many of the old fishermen's cottages have been pulled down, and their places taken by ugly modern houses.

"Looe," says she, "beautiful as it is, is not to be compared to Polperro, two miles distant from Trelawne. The descent to it is so steep, that I, who was not accustomed to the path, could only get down by clinging to Mr. Bray's arm for support; it was slippery, and so rocky that in some places there were steps cut in the road for the convenience of the passenger. The view of the little port, the old town in the bottom (if town it can be called), the cliffs, and the spiked rocks that start up in the wildest and most abrupt manner, breaking the direct sweep of the waves towards the harbour, altogether produced such a combination of magnificent coast scenery as may truly be called sublime."

Long before this, in the reign of Henry VIII, Leland, who visited it, wrote: "By est, the haven of Fowey upon a iiii miles of—ys a smawle creke cawled Paul Pier, and a symple and poore village upon the est side of the same, of fisharmen, and the boetes ther fishing by [be] saved by a Peere or key."

Robert Jeffery was the son of John Jeffery, bargeman[Pg 248] at Fowey, afterwards a publican at Polperro. John Jeffery died in 1802, and his widow remarried Benjamin Coad, blacksmith.

Robert was baptized at Fowey, 22nd January, 1790. He was impressed for the Royal Navy, and was placed on board H.M. brig Recruit, under Captain the Hon. Warwick Lake, in 1807.

Warwick Lake was the third son of Gerard, first Viscount Lake, so created in 1807, and he eventually succeeded as third Viscount in 1836. His career in the Navy had not been particularly creditable. In November, 1803, he had been lieutenant on board the frigate Blanche, Captain Zachariah Mudge, lying at anchor off the entrance of Mancenille Bay, Isle of S. Domingo. In the harbour lay the French cutter Albion, armed with two 4-pounders, six swivels, and twenty muskets, and manned by forty-three officers and men, lying under the guns of the fort of Monte Christo. A night attack was determined upon, and Lieutenant Edward Nicolls, of the Marines, volunteered, with one boat, to attempt cutting out the vessel. His offer was accepted; and on the evening of the 4th November, the red cutter, with thirteen men, including himself, pushed off from the frigate. Shortly after Captain Mudge despatched the barge, with twenty-two men, under the Hon. Warwick Lake, to follow the red cutter and supersede Nicolls in the command. As the barge approached the cutter, Nicolls hailed her and demanded a united attack. But Lake feared that the hazards were too great, and instead of following he moved away to the north-west side of the bay, leaving Lieutenant Nicolls to attack unassisted. The red cutter, thus deserted, proceeded dauntlessly on her way, and as soon as she arrived within pistol-shot was hailed. Replying with three[Pg 249] hearty cheers the boat proceeded, and received in quick succession two volleys of musketry. The first passed over the heads of the British; but the second severely wounded the coxswain, the man at the bow-oar, and a marine. Before the French cutter could fire a third time, Nicolls, at the head of his little party, sprang on board of her. The French captain fired at the lieutenant, and the ball passed round his body in the flesh, and lodged in his right arm. At the same moment the French captain was shot. After this, little resistance was offered. The French officers and crew were driven below, with the loss, beside the captain, of five men wounded.

So far the battery had not fired, and Nicolls ordered that the Albion should be got under sail, and the cable was cut.

At this moment up came the barge, commanded by Lieutenant the Hon. Warwick Lake. He took command of the prize captured by Nicolls, and with two boats towing her soon ran her out of gunshot of the battery, which had now at last opened fire, and joined the frigate in the offing.

Captain Mudge, in his report to the Admiralty, wrote: "Having gained intelligence that there was a large coppered cutter full of bullocks for the Cape laying close under the guns of Monte Christi (four 24-pounders and three field-pieces), notwithstanding her situation, I was convinced we could bring her off; and at two this morning she was masterly and gallantly attacked by Lieutenant Lake in the cutter, and Lieutenant Nicolls, of the Marines, in the barge, who cut her out. She is ninety-two tons burden, etc. This affair lost me two men killed, and two wounded."

As will be seen, this was a gross misstatement of facts. The Hon. Warwick Lake was in the barge, and[Pg 250] did nothing till the Albion had been captured by Lieutenant Nicolls in the cutter. Nor was this all. Among the two wounded, Lieutenant Nicolls, the hero of the action, was not named. His wound was not a scratch, but a hole on each side of his body and a ball in his arm, that sent him bleeding to the cock-pit of the Blanche.

The Patriotic Fund presented to Lieutenant Lake "for his gallantry" a sword valued at £50, and he did not blush to receive it, whereas Lieutenant Nicolls received one valued at £30. Not till much later was it discovered who had been the hero of the action, and who the sneak who flourished the plumes due to another.

In 1807 Lake was captain of the Recruit, an 18-gun brig-sloop.

Jeffery, at the age of eighteen, had entered in 1807 on board the Lord Nelson privateer of Plymouth; but eight days after, when the privateer had put into Falmouth, was pressed by an officer of the Recruit, which soon after sailed for the West Indies. Jeffery was a skulking, ill-conditioned fellow, who was caught stealing a bottle of rum and was punished for it, and by his own acknowledgment, on December 10th, went to the spruce-beer cask and drew off about two quarts. A shipmate saw and informed against Jeffery, and Captain Lake ordered the sergeant of marines to "put him in the black list," and he had the word Thief painted on a bit of canvas and affixed to his back.

Edward Spencer, master, told his captain that the fellow was no good on board, and that the best thing that could be done with him was to put him on shore.

On the 13th December the Recruit was passing the island of Sombrero, that lies between the islet of Anyada in the Puerta Virgin Islands and that of[Pg 251] Anguella in the Lesser Antilles group. It was towards evening between five and six of the afternoon. Captain Lake then ordered Jeffery to be brought on deck, and saying that he would not keep such a worthless scoundrel on the ship, gave orders to Lieutenant Mould to have out the boat and convey Jeffery on shore. Neither the captain nor any of the crew knew that the island was desert and waterless. They believed that it was inhabited by a few fishermen, and in the evening light mistook some rocks on shore for houses. Accordingly, a little before 6 p.m., Jeffery was placed in a boat along with the second lieutenant of the brig, Richard Cotten Mould, a midshipman, and four sailors, and landed on Sombrero, without shoes to his feet, or any other clothes than those on his back, and without even a biscuit for food.

Lieutenant Mould, seeing that the lad's feet were cut and bleeding by stepping on the sharp-pointed rocks, begged a pair of shoes for him from one of the seamen, and gave him his knife and a couple of handkerchiefs, to be made use of as signals, and advised him to keep a sharp look-out for passing vessels. Then he pulled back to the Recruit.

Captain Lake was possibly suffering from what would now be termed a "swollen head." His father, a gallant officer, but of no great descent, for his services in the Maharatta war had been created Baron Lake of Delhi and of Aston Clinton, Bucks, in 1804, and had received thanks for his services by both Houses of Parliament. His elder brother had married the sister of Charles, Earl of Whitworth, and his father had been granted an augmentation of arms, a fish naiant in fesse, to represent the fish of the Great Mogul, pierced with shafts.

Lake was a hot-headed man, and he had just dined.[Pg 252] That he intended to commit an act of barbarity is far from the truth. Jeffery was a nuisance of which he desired to free the ship, and the opportunity offered, and he took advantage of it without stopping to inquire what was the nature of the island on which he left the young man.

On reaching the Leeward Islands, where Sir Alexander Cochrane was in command of the squadron, that officer heard of what Lake had done, promptly reprimanded him, and ordered him to return to Sombrero and fetch off Jeffery.

On February 11th, 1809, the Recruit anchored off the island, and her officers landed and searched it over, but neither Jeffery nor his body could be found. A pair of trousers and a tomahawk handle were the only vestiges of humanity discoverable. The island, however, abounded in turtle and wild birds and their eggs, but the water was brackish.

For eight days, in fact, Jeffery had wandered over the hump of rock and sand that constituted the islet of Sombrero, and lived on limpets and eggs, and drunk the water collected in fissures of the rock. He does not seem to have been given flint and steel, and the means of making a fire, so that he could not feast on turtle and puffins; but, indeed, there were no trees, consequently hardly any fuel available for cooking a dinner.

He saw several vessels pass, and indeed Sombrero was in the track of merchant vessels, but he failed to make them observe his signals. At length, on the morning of the ninth day, the schooner Adams, of Marblehead, Massachusetts, John Dennis master, came to the island and took the fellow off, and landed him at Marblehead, where he worked at a forge. Little conscious that he was like to be made political capital[Pg 253] of and to become of consequence, he did not even trouble to write home to Polperro to announce his safety and his whereabouts.

Sir A. Cochrane was satisfied that the man could not have died on Sombrero, as his body was not discovered, nor was he likely to die on an island abounding in turtles and eggs; he concluded that he had been carried away by one of the many ships that passed. He convinced himself that Captain Lake had been guilty of an illegal act, but had not desired to do one that was cruel, and he hoped that the matter would be forgotten after he had administered a reprimand.

But the story got about. It reached England. A busybody, Charles M. Thomas, who had been purser on board H.M. sloop Demarara, but had been imprisoned on suspicion that he had defrauded the Government, wrote home to Mr. C. Bathurst, brother of the M.P. for Bristol, to this effect: "I deem it a duty I owe to humanity, to inform you that Captain Lake, when commander of the Recruit, set a man belonging to that vessel on shore at Sombrero, an uninhabited island in the Atlantic Archipelago, where he died through hunger, or otherwise, for more was never heard of him. This was known to Sir A. Cochrane, who suffered this titled murderer to escape, and he is now in command of the Ulysses." The letter was dated March 24th, 1809, more than a year after Jeffery had been left on Sombrero. Its purport was obvious enough. Thomas wanted to be revenged on Cochrane for looking into the matter of his alleged frauds.

The fat was now in the fire. Sir Francis Burdett took the matter up, the Radicals throughout the country made immense capital out of the starving to death of a poor seaman by a member of a noble family. The case was kept perseveringly before the public,[Pg 254] so that the Government was constrained to issue orders for a strict inquiry to be made as to whether Jeffery was still alive or dead.

Presently an account was received, purporting to be by Jeffery, giving information relative to his rescue and his condition in America; but as to this was appended a cross for his signature, whereas Jeffery was known to have been able to write, the public were led to suspect that this was a fabrication contrived by Lake's relatives and friends.

To settle the matter finally, a ship was despatched to bring Jeffery home, and he arrived at Portsmouth in October, 1810, three years after his adventure in Sombrero, and to find himself the hero of a party. On October 22nd he attended at the Admiralty, where he received his discharge, and had the "R" taken off his name, by which he became entitled to all arrears of pay. The family of Captain Lake made him liberal compensation for the very slight hardships he had undergone, but which in Jeffery's own account and in that of his partisans were magnified enormously.

On the 5th and 6th of February, 1810, a court-martial assembled on board the Gladiator at Portsmouth to try Captain Lake for having abandoned a seaman on a desert and uninhabited island. Captain Lake complained that the witnesses whom he might have summoned to speak for him were away in various ships in different parts of the world. He produced a letter signed by all the officers of the Ulysses, the vessel he then commanded, protesting that he was humane and incapable of doing an act of wanton cruelty.

At this time it was not known whether Jeffery was alive or dead. Captain Lake made a manly defence. "You will be pleased to recollect the evidence of[Pg 255] Mr. Spencer, the chief witness on the part of the prosecution, on this point. He himself advised me to get the man out of the ship, and I declare that, by landing him, I thought he would be made more sensible of his want of conduct, and reform in future. I was persuaded at the time that the island was inhabited; in addition to which, I cannot but suppose it within your knowledge that the island is not out of reach of human assistance. I need not state that it is within the track of vessels on particular destinations, and which frequently pass within hail of the island. Jeffery found this to be the case, and there is no reason to doubt but that he was taken off the island; for on a search being made for him there afterwards, one of the witnesses states expressly that not a trace of him was to be found, which I cannot conceive could have been the case if he had perished there, as is most unwarrantably asserted by Thomas. Gentlemen, I have no doubt he was conveyed to America in perfect safety. I myself verily believe he is in England at this moment, consigned (as it were) to the merchants who, perhaps, are keeping him concealed till the edict of the court-martial is known, and then he may be let loose upon me, to seek a compensation in damages by an action at law. The place of his concealment, however, has hitherto eluded the diligence of my agents."

He appealed to the official report made to the Admiralty at the time by Sir A. Cochrane: "Be pleased to consider attentively the statement made by this official communication; contrast it with the letter of Thomas, and then decide whether he was warranted in asserting that Robert Jeffery had perished through the inhumanity of one whom he has thought proper to describe as a 'titled murderer.'"

The court-martial pronounced sentence: "Pursuant[Pg 256] to an order from the Right Honourable Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, dated 3rd February instant, and directed to the President, setting forth that a letter had been addressed to their Lordships by the Right Hon. Charles Bathurst, enclosing a letter to him from Mr. Charles Morgan Thomas, dated 24th March, 1809 ... and having heard evidence produced in support of the charge, and by the said Hon. Warwick Lake in his Defence ... the Court is of opinion, That the charge has been proved against the said Hon. Warwick Lake, and doth adjudge him to be dismissed from His Majesty's service; and the said Hon. Warwick Lake is hereby dismissed from His Majesty's service."

In 1836 the Hon. Warwick Lake succeeded to the viscounty, and died in 1848, leaving behind him only two daughters, one unmarried, the other married to a Gloag. He was certainly very hardly treated, and as certainly an utterly worthless scoundrel was exalted into a hero. Jeffery returned to Polperro, where he was received with curiosity. There his antecedents were well known, and the value of his statements of terrible privation taken for what they were worth. Elsewhere he received an enthusiastic ovation. He hired himself out to be "run" by speculators at some of the minor theatres in London as "Jeffery the Sailor." After a few months he returned to Polperro with money enough in his pocket to enable him to purchase a small schooner for the coasting trade.

The speculation did not answer his expectations. He fell into consumption, and died in 1820, leaving a wife and daughter in great penury. He was a mean, not to say a despicable creature, who was used for political purposes, and when he had served these was allowed to drop into his proper insignificance.

[Pg 257]

Authorities are a Life of Robert Jeffery, published by B. Crosby, 1811. An Account of R. Jeffery, published by J. Pitt, 1811.

A Narrative of the Life of Robert Jeffery, with portrait, 1810.

Couch, J.: History of Polperro, edited by J. Q. Couch, 1870.

James's Naval History, 1876, Vol. IV.

Cobbett's Political Register, 1810, pp. 396-415, 459-464.

Cobbett gives a report of the courts-martial.

The story was also given in Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, 1848, pp. 147-51.

[Pg 258]


Richard Darton Thomas was born at Saltash on 2nd June, 1777, son of Charles and Mary Thomas of that place. Drinking in the sea air, living in the midst of sailors and fisher-folk, he early took a fancy for the sea, and entered as an able-bodied seaman in the Royal Navy, in 1790, at the age of thirteen. His intelligence, his pleasant manners, won the regard of his officers and he was raised to be midshipman in 1792, and became master's mate in the ensuing year. He was in the Boyne under Sir John Jervis when Martinique was captured, and on the return of the Boyne to England, he was on board when that vessel was burnt at Spithead, 1st May, 1795. The marines had been exercising and firing on the windward side, and it is supposed that some ignited paper of the cartridges flew through the quarter-galley into the admiral's cabin and communicated with the papers lying about on the table. It was at 11 a.m. that the fire broke out, the flames bursting through the poop before the fire was discovered, and it spread so rapidly that in less than half an hour this fine ship, in spite of every exertion of the officers and crew, was in a blaze fore and aft. As soon as the fire was discovered by the fleet, all the boats of the ships proceeded to the assistance of the Boyne, and the whole of the numerous crew, except eleven, were saved.

[Pg 259]

The Boyne's guns being loaded went off as they became heated, discharging their shot among the shipping, whereby two men were killed and one wounded on board the Queen Charlotte. At about half-past one the Boyne burnt from her cables and drifted to the east with a streamer of fire and smoke pouring from her; she then grounded and continued to burn till six o'clock, when the fire reached her magazine and she blew up. This, as Captain Brenton wrote, "offered one of the most magnificent sights that can be conceived. The afternoon was perfectly calm and the sky clear; the flames which darted from her in a perpendicular column of great height were terminated by an opaque white cloud like a round cap, while the air was filled with fragments of wreck in every direction, and the stump of the foremast was seen above the smoke descending to the water."

We next find Thomas serving as lieutenant on board the Excellent, commanded by Captain Collingwood, in the battle off Cape S. Vincent. It was intended that the Spanish fleet should join that of Brest, if this latter could get out, then if joined by the Dutch fleet, cover the transports that would convey an invading army to England. But, as Touchstone wisely said, there is "much virtue in If." Sir John Jervis fell in with the Spanish fleet of twenty-seven sail of the line, on February 14th, 1797, as it had just issued from Cadiz. The English had only fifteen men-of-war; but the greater part of the Spanish crew were about equally destitute of seamanship and spirit, and Nelson had said just before the breaking out of the war with Spain, that if her fleet were no better now than when it acted in alliance with us it would "soon be done for." By breaking the line, by battering and boarding, four Spanish ships of the line, including one of 112 guns,[Pg 260] were taken; and all the rest were driven into Cadiz and there blockaded.

During the action the Excellent, on which Richard Thomas was lieutenant, was acknowledged by Nelson to have taken a very distinguished share, and to have rendered him the most effectual support in the hottest part of the battle, as will be seen by the following note which he addressed to her commander, and an extract from his own account of the transactions in which he himself was personally engaged.

His note ran: "Dear Collingwood,—A friend in need is a friend indeed."

Nelson's account of the assistance he received from the Excellent runs thus:—

"At this time (about 2.15 p.m.) the Salvador del Mundo and San Esidero dropped astern, and were fired into, in a masterly style, by the Excellent, Captain Collingwood, who compelled the San Esidero to hoist English colours; and I thought the large ship, the Salvador del Mundo, had also struck, but Captain Collingwood, disdaining the parade of taking possession of a vanquished enemy, most gallantly pushed up, with every sail set, to save his old friend and messmate, who was to appearance in a critical state, the Blenheim being ahead, the Culloden crippled and astern. The Excellent ranged up within two feet of the San Nicholas, giving a most tremendous fire. The San Nicholas luffing up, the San Josef fell on board her; and the Excellent passing on for the Santa Trinidada, the Captain resumed her station abreast of these, and close alongside."

The Excellent, in fact, succeeded in getting close under the lee of the Santissima Trinidada, mounting 130 guns, and engaged her for nearly an hour, assisted by the Orion, the Irresistible, and the Blenheim. The[Pg 261] huge vessel was compelled to haul down her colours, but the approach of thirteen other Spanish ships prevented her opponents from profiting by the advantage they had gained. The total loss on the Excellent amounted to eleven men killed and a dozen wounded.

We need not follow Richard D. Thomas through his various changes of ships. He was mainly with Collingwood, whose flag, as Rear-Admiral of the White, was flying on board the Barfleur, of ninety-eight guns. With him he remained on Channel service till the suspension of hostilities in 1802. He was given the rank of commander in 1803, when in the Chichester off Halifax.

Returning from Nova Scotia, as a passenger on board the packet Lady Hobart, commanded by Captain Fellowes, he experienced shipwreck and terrible hardships, by the vessel running on an iceberg.

After giving an account of his sailing from Halifax, June 22nd, 1803, and the capture of a French schooner laden with salt fish on the 26th, Captain Fellowes says:—

"Tuesday, 28th June.—Blowing hard from the westward, with a heavy sea and hazy weather, with intervals of thick fog. About 1 a.m. the ship, then going by the log at the rate of seven miles an hour, struck against an island of ice with such violence that several of the crew were pitched out of their hammocks. Being roused out of my sleep by the suddenness of the shock, I instantly ran upon the deck. The helm being put hard aport, the ship struck again about the chest-tree, then swung round on her keel, her stern-post being stove in, and her rudder carried away before we could succeed in an attempt to haul her off. At this time the island of ice appeared to hang quite over the ship, possessing a high peak, which must have been at least[Pg 262] twice the height of our masthead; and we suppose the length of the island to have been from a quarter to half a mile.

"The sea was now breaking over the ice in a dreadful manner, the water rushing in so fast as to fill the hold in a few minutes. Hove the guns overboard, cut away the anchors from the bows, got two sails under the ship's bottom, kept both pumps going, and baling with buckets at the main hatchway, in the hope of preventing her from sinking; but in less than a quarter of an hour she settled down in her forechains in the water.

"Our situation was now become most perilous. Aware of the danger of a moment's delay in hoisting out the boats, I consulted Captain Thomas of the Navy, and Mr. Bargus, my master, as to the propriety of making any further attempts to save the ship."

Both declared that nothing effectual could be done to the vessel herself, and that, as every moment was precious, the boats should be got out and manned. Of these there were two, the cutter and the jolly-boat, and the ladies were placed in the former.

Captain Fellowes expressed himself afterwards warmly of the ability and readiness with which Captain Thomas aided him. In bringing the ladies into the cutter, one of them, Miss Cottenham, was so terrified that she sprang from the wreck and pitched in the bottom of the boat with considerable violence. This accident might have been serious, but happily she was not injured.

"The few provisions which had been saved from the men's berths were then put into the boats. By this time the main deck forward was under water, and nothing but the quarter-deck appeared; I then ordered my men into the boats.

[Pg 263]

"The ship was sinking fast, and I called to the men to haul up and receive me, intending to drop into the cutter from the end of the trysail boom.

"The sea was running so high at the time we hoisted out the boats that I scarcely flattered myself we should get them out safely; and, indeed, nothing but the steady and orderly conduct of the crew could have enabled us to effect so difficult and hazardous an undertaking; it is a justice to them to observe that not a man in the ship attempted to make use of the liquor, which every one had in his power.

"We had scarce quitted the ship when she suddenly gave a heavy lurch to port, and then went down foremost. I cannot attempt to describe my own feelings, or the sensations of my people, exposed as we were, in two small open boats, upon the great Atlantic Ocean, bereft of all assistance but that which our own exertions, under Providence, could afford us, we narrowly escaped being swallowed up in the vortex.

"We rigged the foremast, and prepared to shape our course in the best manner that circumstances would admit of, the wind blowing from the precise point on which it was necessary to sail to reach the nearest land. An hour had scarcely elapsed from the time the ship struck till she foundered. The distribution of the crew had already been made in the following order, which we afterwards preserved:—

"In the cutter were embarked three ladies and myself, Captain Richard Thomas; the French commander of the schooner; the master's mate, gunner, steward, carpenter, and eight seamen; in all eighteen people, whose weight, together with the provisions, brought the boat's gunwale down to within six or seven inches of the water. From this confined space some idea may be formed of our crowded state; but it is[Pg 264] scarcely possible for the imagination to conceive the extent of our sufferings in consequence.

"In the jolly-boat were embarked Mr. Samuel Bargus, master; Lieut.-Colonel George Cocks, of the 1st Regiment of Guards;[16] the boatswain, sailmaker, and seven seamen—in all eleven persons.

"The only provisions, etc., we were enabled to save consisted of between forty and fifty pounds of biscuits, one vessel containing five gallons of water, a small jug of the same, and part of a small barrel of spruce beer; one demi-john of rum, a few bottles of port wine, with two compasses, a quadrant, a spy-glass, a small tin mug, and a wine-glass. The deck lantern, which had a few spare candles in it, had been likewise thrown into the boat; and the cook having had the precaution to secure the tinder-box and some matches that were kept in a bladder, we were afterwards enabled to steer by night.

"The wind was now blowing strong from the westward, with a heavy sea, and the day just dawned. Estimating ourselves to be at the distance of 350 miles from S. John's, Newfoundland, with a prospect of a continuance of westerly winds, it became necessary to use the strictest economy. I represented to my companions in distress that our resolution, once made, ought on no account to be changed, and that we must begin by suffering privations, which I foresaw would be greater than I ventured to explain. To each person, therefore, were served out half a biscuit and a glass of wine, which was the only allowance for the ensuing twenty-four hours, all agreeing to leave the water untouched as long as possible."

On the following day even this small allowance had to be contracted, in consequence of the biscuit being[Pg 265] much damaged by salt water during the night. "Soon after daylight we made sail, with the jolly-boat in tow, and stood close-hauled to the northward and westward, in the hope of reaching the coast of Newfoundland or of being picked up by some vessel. Passed two islands of ice. We now said prayers, and returned thanks to God for our deliverance."

It was now the 4th July. The sufferings of those in the boats became excessive. The commander of the French schooner that had been captured went mad, and threw himself overboard. One of the French prisoners became so outrageous that it was found necessary to lash him to the bottom of the boat.

At last, on this same day, the 4th July, after seven days of dreadful privation and incessant storm, they reached Conception Bay, in the Avalon Peninsula, Newfoundland. They had been reduced to a quarter of a biscuit per diem and a wine-glass of port wine and spirit, and then of water.

Captain Fellowes says: "Overpowered by my own feelings, and impressed with the recollections of our sufferings and the sight of so many deplorable objects, I promised to offer up our solemn thanks to heaven for our miraculous deliverance. Every one cheerfully assented, and as soon as I opened the Prayer-book there was an universal silence. A spirit of devotion was singularly manifested on this occasion, and to the benefits of a religious sense in uncultivated minds must be ascribed that discipline, good order, and exertion, which even the sight of land could scarcely produce.

"The wind having blown with great violence from off the coast, we did not reach the landing-place at Island Cove till four o'clock in the evening. All the women and children in the village, with two or three fishermen (the rest of the men being absent), came[Pg 266] down to the beach, and appearing deeply affected at our wretched situation, assisted in carrying us up the craggy rocks, over which we were obliged to pass to get to their habitations.

"The small village afforded neither medical aid nor fresh provisions, of which we stood so much in need, potatoes and salt fish being the only food of the inhabitants. I determined, therefore, to lose no time in proceeding to S. John's, having hired a small schooner for that purpose. On the 7th July we embarked in three divisions, placing the most infirm in the schooner, the master's mate being in charge of the cutter, and the boatswain of the jolly-boat; but such was the exhausted state of nearly the whole party, that the day was considerably advanced before we could get under way.

"Towards dusk it came on to blow hard in squalls off the land, when we lost sight of the cutter, and were obliged to come to anchor outside S. John's Harbour. We were under great apprehensions for the cutter's safety, as she had no grapnel, and lest she should be driven out to sea, but at daylight we perceived her and the schooner entering the harbour.

"The ladies, Colonel Cooke, Captain Thomas, and myself, having left the schooner when she anchored, notwithstanding the badness as well as extreme darkness of the night, reached the shore about midnight. We wandered for some time about the streets, there being no house open at that late hour, but were at length admitted into a small tenement, where we passed the remainder of the night on chairs, there being but one miserable bed for the ladies. Early on the following day, our circumstances being made known, hundreds of people crowded down to the landing-place. Nothing could exceed their surprise on[Pg 267] seeing the boats that had carried twenty-nine persons such a distance over a boisterous sea, and when they beheld so many miserable objects, they could not conceal their emotions of pity and concern."

It was found that the greatest circumspection had to be used in administering nourishment to those who came on shore. They were so much frost-bitten, moreover, as to require constant surgical assistance. Many had lost their toes, and they were constrained to remain at S. John's till they were in a fit state to be removed to Halifax.

On the 11th July Captain Fellowes, with Captain Thomas, and Lieutenant-Colonel Cooke, engaged the cabin of a small vessel, bound for Oporto, so as to return to England.

When Captain Fellowes sent in his report on the loss of the Lady Hobart, he added a postscript: "I regret that, in the hurry of drawing up this narrative, I should have omitted to make particular mention of Captain Richard Thomas, r.n., from whose great professional skill and advice throughout our perilous voyage I derived the greatest assistance."

In December, 1803, Captain Thomas commissioned the Ætna bomb, and soon after joined the fleet under Lord Nelson in the Mediterranean station, where he was very actively employed up to the battle of Trafalgar. After that he served as flag-captain under his old friend and patron, Lord Collingwood.

In February, 1811, he was appointed to the Undaunted, employed in co-operation with the Spanish patriots off the coast of Catalonia. He was subsequently employed in command of a squadron stationed in the Gulf of Lyons, blockading Toulon. He was made Vice-Admiral of the Blue in 1848; Admiral of the Blue, 1854; Admiral of the White, 1857, in which year he[Pg 268] died, and was buried at Stonehouse, 27th August. He married, in 1827, Gratiana, daughter of Lieutenant-General Richard Williams, r.n.

His brother, Charles Thomas, m.d., was for some time physician to the Devonport Dispensary.

[Pg 269]


Little did John Pollard as signal midshipman of the Victory in the battle of Trafalgar suppose that he was running up a message to the fleet from Nelson that would never be forgotten so long as the English name lasts, and the Englishman maintains the character which has ever belonged to him.

He was the son of John Pollard, and entered the Navy on November 1st, 1797. Before the battle commenced Nelson dictated the signal, "England confides that every man will do his duty." Pollard, to whom the order was given, remarked that the word confides was not in the code, and suggested in its stead the term expects, which Nelson at once accepted. Napoleon so much admired this last order of Nelson's that he caused it to be printed, with a difference, of France for England, and commanded that a copy should be given to each of the officers of the navy. "It is the best of lessons," he said.

Pollard was born at Kingsand, Cornwall, on 27th July, 1787, so that he was aged but eighteen when he suggested the alteration in Nelson's famous message, and saw it signalled to the fleet. He died in the Royal Hospital, Greenwich, 22nd April, 1868, at the advanced age of eighty-one. He did nothing further that was remarkable, and is remembered only in connection with Nelson's signal, an instance of:—

Unregarded age in corners thrown

[Pg 270]


At the end of June, 1749, a sailor was robbed in a low, disreputable house in the Strand. He stormed and demanded the restoration of his purse, but could obtain no redress; he was laughed at and ejected from the place. He at once returned to his vessel and narrated his wrongs, and so roused the resentment of his comrades that they promised to accompany him to the Strand and work retribution on the thieves.

Accordingly on July 1st a body of them marched down the Strand, and reaching the house broke in the door and "levell'd their rage against the house and goods of the caitif, whom they looked on as the author of the villainy exercised on their brother Tar. Accordingly they went to work as if they were breaking up a ship, and in a trice unrigg'd the house from top to bottom. The movables were thrown out of the windows or doors to their comrades in the street, where, a bonfire being made, they were burnt, but with so much decency and order, so little confusion, that notwithstanding the crowd gather'd together on this occasion, a child of five years old might have crossed the street in the thickest of them without the least danger.

"The neighbours, too, though their houses were not absolutely free from danger of fire by the sparks flying from the bonfire, were so little alarm'd at this riot that they stood at their doors, and look'd out of their windows, with as little concern, and perhaps more[Pg 271] glee and mirth, than if they had been at a droll in Bartholomew Fair, seeing the painted scene of the renoun'd Troy Town in flames." After the house had been completely gutted, and not before, the guards came from the Savoy, which, by the way, was not above a good stone's throw from the scene of action, whereupon the sailors withdrew, unarrested and unpursued. If matters had remained here it would have been well, but unhappily this first performance whetted the appetites of the sailors for another, and they resolved on sacking another house a few doors from that they had gutted, which also did not bear a good character.

Accordingly next evening, being Sunday, they returned, and proceeded to treat this second house in the same manner as the first "without so much as the least interruption, till they had full timely notice to get off before the guards arrived, who came, as before, too late, that one would have been tempted to imagine they came too late on purpose.

"A regular bonfire then having been made as before, all the goods of the house were triumphantly convey'd into it; and if the finding of bundles and effects of any of the actors would have aggravated their guilt, numbers might have been seized with the goods upon them, between the house and the bonfire, where they were all carefully destroy'd, to avoid any slur or suspicion of pillage for private use. This was carry'd to such an exactness that a little boy, who perhaps thought no great harm to save a gilt cage out of the fire for his bird at home, was discover'd carrying it off, when the leaders of the mob took it from him and threw it into the fire, and his age alone protected him from severe punishment. Nothing, in short, was imbezzled or diverted, except an old gown or petticoat, thrown at a hackney coachman's head as a reward for a dutiful Huzza, as he drove by.

[Pg 272]

"As to the neighbours, who were at their doors and windows seeing the whole without the least concern or alarm, there was not probably one of those who, though as good and as loyal subjects as any his Majesty has, and as well affected to the peace and quiet of his government, imagin'd or dream'd there was any spirit of sedition or riotous designs in these proceedings beyond the open and expressed intention of destroying these obnoxious houses; and tho' the coolest and sensiblest doubtless thought the joke was going too far, and wished even that the Government had interposed sooner, and less faintly, yet they had not the least notion of any such extraordinary measure of guilt in their proceedings as would affect life or limb."

The sailors had now gathered about them, some as lookers on, some as assistants, a large number of men and boys, and these now moved up the street in a body, with a bell ringing before them, to the house of one Peter Wood, a hairdresser, but in bad odour, as keeping a disorderly house, under the sign of the Star.

Into this house the mob broke, although Peter Wood offered money if only they would spare him and its contents. But they were deaf to his entreaties, and his house was only saved by the arrival of the guards, who at once proceeded to arrest several persons. Among those they secured was Bosavern Penlez, or Penlees, son of a clergyman in Cornwall, who had been put apprentice to a wig-maker in town.

With him were secured John Wilson, Benjamin Lander, and another, who shortly after died of gaol-fever in Newgate. All these four, not one of whom was a sailor, were locked up in prison, and kept there till the September Sessions, when they were indicted "for that they, together with divers other persons, to the number of forty and upwards, being feloniously[Pg 273] and riotously assembled, to the disturbance of the public peace, did begin to demolish the house of Peter Wood against the form of the statute in that case made and provided, July the 3rd."

Against Lander, Peter Wood swore that "he was in the passage of his house, assisting to break the partition; that that was the first time of his seeing him; that he broke the window of the bar with his stick; that he (Lander) was taken upstairs."

On a cross-examination he averred that he did not see Lander at the first coming up of the mob to his house; but he asserted that he stuck fast to him when he saw him in the passage, which was half an hour before the arrival of the guards.

Peter Wood's wife swore that Lander had knocked her down, and had beaten her almost to a jelly.

Lander, in his defence, proved that between twelve and one o'clock that night he was going home to his lodgings, when he heard that there was a riot in the Strand; and that meeting with a soldier who had been ordered with his detachment to disperse the mob in the Strand, he persuaded him to enter with him into a public-house and have a drink. The soldier consented, and then left, and Lander followed to see the fun, and found the mob retreating to Temple Bar, driven forward by the guards. Thereupon, according to his own account, he went into Peter Wood's house to see what mischief had been done, when Wood laid hold of him, under the notion that he was a straggler left behind of those who had begun to wreck the house. Happily at that moment in came the soldier whom Lander had treated to a pint of beer. The evidence of this soldier was conclusive, and Lander was discharged, after having suffered imprisonment for over two months.

It appears evident that Peter Wood's testimony was[Pg 274] false; not perhaps purposely so, but erroneous through his mistaking one man for another in the excitement of the partial destruction of his house.

The evidence he gave against John Wilson was that the man knocked him down, and that Wilson, stooping over him, asked, "You dog, are you not dead yet?" and that he caught hold of Wilson's hand and kissed it and prayed for mercy. Moreover, Mrs. Wood testified that she also had entreated him to stay his hand, and had "held him by the face, and stroked him." The waiting-man clinched the testimony by swearing that he also had seen Wilson in the parlour as the settee-bed was being thrown out of the window, and that he (Wilson) helped to throw the bed out. John Wilson earnestly protested that a mistake had been made, and that he was not the man who had done that of which he was accused. He brought numerous testimonies to his good character; but these availed not, and he was condemned to death.

Bosavern Penlez admitted that he had been in Peter Wood's house; he had been rather tipsy at the time, and had been drawn in to follow the mob, but he had done no mischief, neither had he joined the rabble with any evil intent. This availed not; he also was condemned to death. At the last moment Wilson was reprieved and finally pardoned; but poor Bosavern was hanged at Tyburn on the 18th October, 1749, at the age of twenty-three.

Much feeling had been roused in favour of Penlez, and a petition had been got up, numerously signed, requesting that he might be pardoned; but it availed nothing. Then a pamphlet appeared, entitled, The Case of the Unfortunate Bosavern Penlez, published by T. Clement, S. Paul's Churchyard, 1749.

As this was widely disseminated, and comments were[Pg 275] passed that a grievous injustice had been committed, Henry Fielding, the magistrate, published an answer, entitled A True State of the Case of Bosavern Penlez. A. Miller, Strand, 1749.

According to this, on July 1st the house of one Owen, in the Strand, had been attacked. Nathaniel Munns, beadle, had tried to stop it, and two rioters were taken by the constables and conveyed to the prison of the Duchy of Lancaster Liberty. On Sunday, July 2nd, there was a recurrence of the riot, outside the beadle's house; the windows were broken, the bars wrenched away, and the prisoners were released, and doors and windows of the watch-house were smashed.

John Carter, constable, gave evidence as to July 1st, that two wagon-loads of goods had been consumed by fire outside Owen's house. He appealed to General Campbell, at Somerset House, for assistance, and the General sent twelve of the Guards, when the rioters retreated, and began an attack on the house of one Stanhope, throwing stones, breaking windows, and pelting the soldiers, so that soon forty men of the Guards had to be despatched to disperse the rioters.

On Sunday, July 2nd, according to the constable, the mob again assembled in front of Stanhope's house and demolished its contents. Mr. Wilson, a woollen draper, and Mr. Actor, of the same trade, applied for protection, as their shops adjoined the house of Stanhope, and again soldiers were sent for, who dispersed the mob.

James Cecil, Constable of St. George's parish, deposed that on Monday, July 3rd, he was attending prisoners in a coach to Newgate, and he had difficulty in making his way through the mob; and he saw the rioters engaged in smashing the windows of a house near the Old Bailey.

[Pg 276]

Saunders Welsh, gent., High Constable of Holborn, deposed that on Sunday, July 2nd, he had received information from Stanhope, as to the wrecking of Owen's house on the previous night, and of his fears for his own. On returning that same evening through Fleet Street, he perceived a great fire in the Strand, upon which he proceeded to the house of Peter Wood, who informed him that the rioters had demolished the house of Stanhope, burning his furniture and goods, and that they threatened to deal in the same manner with his house. Whereupon, he, Mr. Saunders Welsh, applied at the Tilt-yard for a military force, which he could only obtain with much difficulty, as he could produce no order from a Justice of the Peace. At length he procured such order, and then an officer and forty men were sent to the scene of the riot. On reaching Cecil Street, he ordered that the drum should be beaten. When he came up to Peter Wood's house, he found that the mob had already in part demolished it, and had thrown a great part of its contents into the street, and were debating about burning them. Had they done so, the deponent said, it would infallibly have set fire to the houses on both sides of the street, which at that point was very narrow, and opposite Wood's house was the bank of Messrs. Snow and Denne. Hearing, however, the rattle of the drum, and the tramp of the advancing soldiers, the mob retreated, and it was whilst so retreating that Bosavern Penlez was arrested, carrying off with him some of the goods of Peter Wood.

Penlez and others were brought before Henry Fielding, J. P. for Middlesex, and were committed to Newgate. This was on Monday. But the same evening there was a recrudescence of the riots, and four thousand sailors assembled on Tower Hill with the[Pg 277] resolution to march to Temple Bar. To obviate all future danger, a larger party of soldiers was called out, and these, along with the peace officers, patrolled the Strand all night.

Samuel Marsh, watchman of St. Dunstan's, had apprehended Bosavern Penlez, as he was making off with a bundle of linen, which he pretended belonged to his wife. Before he was arrested, the watchman saw him thrusting divers lace objects into his bosom and pockets, but he let fall a lace cap. When apprehended, he protested that he was conveying his wife's property, who had pawned all his clothes, and that he was retaliating by taking her articles to pawn.

There were other witnesses against Penlez, and although the evidence of Peter Wood was worthless, that of the beadles and watchmen sufficed to show that he had been collecting and making into a bundle various articles from Wood's house, with the object of purloining them. The question of Penlez having been in Wood's house was not gone into. Bosavern in vain called for witnesses to his character. His master, the peruke maker, declined to put in an appearance and give favourable testimony; for, in fact, Penlez had been leading a dissipated and disorderly life. Henry Fielding, in conclusion, says: "The first and second day of the riot, no magistrate, nor any other higher peace-officer than a petty constable (save only Mr. Welsh) interfered in it. On the third day only one magistrate took on him to act. When the prisoners were committed to Newgate, no public prosecution was for some time ordered against them; and when it was ordered, it was carried on so mildly, that one of the prisoners (Wilson) being not in prison, was, though contrary to the laws, at the desire of a noble person in great power, bailed out, when a capital[Pg 278] indictment was then found against him. At the trial, neither an Attorney nor Solicitor-General, nor even one of the King's Council, appeared against the prisoners. Lastly, when two were convicted, one only was executed; and I doubt very much whether even he would have suffered, had it not appeared that a capital indictment for burglary was likewise found by the Grand Jury against him, and upon such evidence as I think every impartial man must allow would have convicted him (had he been tried) for felony at least."

There had been found on Penlez ten lace caps, four laced handkerchiefs, three pairs of laced ruffles, two laced clouts, five plain handkerchiefs, five plain aprons, one laced apron, all the property of the wife of Peter Wood. It was altogether false that Penlez was married. Fielding says: "I hope I have said enough to prove that the man who was made an example of deserved his fate. Which, if he did, I think it will follow that more hath been said and done in his favour than ought to have been; and that the clamour of severity against the Government hath been in the highest degree unjustifiable. To say the truth, it would be more difficult to justify the lenity used on this occasion."

The case of Bosavern Penlez was the more hard and open to criticism, in that, in the very same year, there was a serious riot in the Haymarket Theatre, when the Duke of Cumberland, a prince of the blood, had drawn his sword, and leaping upon the stage, had called on everybody to follow him. The people, ripe for mischief, were too loyal to decline a prince's invitation. The seats were smashed, the scenery torn down, and the wreckage carried into the street, where a bonfire was made of it; and but for the timely appearance of the authorities the building itself would have been[Pg 279] added to the fuel. For this, no one was hanged. What was sauce for the goose was not sauce for the gander.

Reference is made to the case of Bosavern Penlez in Walpole's Memoirs of the Last Ten Years of George II, I, p. 11, and in the Private Journal of John Byrom, published by the Chetham Society, as also in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1749.

[Pg 280]


This dramatic author and player was born at Truro in the year 1721.[17] His father, John Foote, was a magistrate of the county of Cornwall and commissioner of the Prize office and Fine contract. He was well descended, deriving from the family of Foote of Trelogorsick, in Veryan, afterwards of Lambesso, in S. Clements, acquired by bequest in the reign of Charles II. The arms of the family were, vert a chevron between three doves argent—the doves singularly inappropriate as the cognizance of Samuel, as that bird was deemed to be without gall. Bodannan, in S. Enoder, was acquired by the Footes of Lambesso by purchase. The family did not register its arms and establish its pedigree at the visitation of the Heralds in 1620, but that it was gentle admits of no dispute. As no pedigree of the family has been recorded, it is unknown who was the grandfather of Samuel Foote, but possibly he may have been the Samuel Foote of Tiverton whose daughter Elizabeth married, 1691, Dennis Glyn of Cardinham, son of Nicolas Glyn of Cardinham, M.P. for Bodmin and Sheriff of Cornwall. Samuel's mother, descended in the female line from the Earls of Rutland, was daughter of Sir Edward Goodere, Bart., who had two surviving brothers out of six—Sir John Dinely Goodere, Bart., and Samuel Goodere, captain of His Majesty's ship[Pg 281] Ruby. A disagreement having arisen between the two brothers, Sir John cut off the entail of his estates and settled them on his sister's family. This widened the breach, and the brothers had not spoken for years.

S. Foote

S. Foote

Matters were in this train when, by accident, both brothers met in Bristol in the January of 1741. Samuel was then in command of his ship, lying in the roads. Sir John was invited to dine with Mr. Jarrit Smith, an attorney living on College Green, and the captain called on this gentleman and requested permission to be admitted to his table to meet his brother, whom he had not seen for a very long time. Mr. Smith readily acceded to this proposal, and was glad to have the opportunity of apparently reconciling the brothers. After dinner he left the room for an hour in order to afford them a better opportunity of completing the reconciliation. On his return he found them on the most friendly terms. In this manner they parted at six o'clock in the evening, the captain taking his leave first. When some half an hour later Sir John quitted the house, as he was passing the College Green Coffee-house, on his way to his lodgings, he was fallen upon by a party of the sailors of the Ruby and the Vernon privateer, with Captain Goodere at their head; a cloak was thrown over his head to muffle his cries for help, and he was hurried to a boat, awaiting them in the river, and conveyed thence on board the Ruby. When there, they got him into the purser's cabin, and the captain, by promises of ample reward, induced two of his sailors, Matthew Mahony and Charles White, to strangle him. In order to effect this the captain cut the cord that attached his escritoire to the floor of the cabin, and himself passed it round his brother's neck. Then, drawing his sword, he stood sentinel at the door and bade the two ruffians do their duty. Owing to the[Pg 282] struggles of Sir John and the nervousness of the men, half an hour elapsed before the baronet was dead. At last, when all was over, the captain deliberately walked to his brother's body, held a candle over it to assure himself that he was dead, and exclaimed, "Aye, this will do; his business is now done."

Next day the circumstance of a gentleman having been kidnapped on College Green induced Mr. Smith to make inquiries; when, finding that the description of the gentleman answered to the person of Sir John Dinely Goodere, he entertained strong suspicions of foul play shown by his brother, and he applied to the mayor of Bristol for a warrant to search the Ruby. This was granted, and there the baronet was found strangled in the purser's cabin, and the captain already secured by the first lieutenant and two of the men, who had overheard the conference relative to the murder.

Captain Samuel Goodere and his two associates were tried at the next assizes at Bristol on March 26th, 1741, were found guilty of "wilful murder," and were hanged.

Thus Mrs. Foote, deriving under the will of her brother Sir John, became heiress to his estates.

John Foote had two sons by this lady, Samuel and Edward. The first, the subject of this memoir, was designed for the Bar; the second for the Church. This latter was a feeble-minded man, who never obtained preferment, dribbled away his fortune, and was latterly in great distress, supported by the liberality of his brother.

Foote was sent to school as a boy under the worthy Mr. Conon, head-master of Truro Grammar School. There he was initiated into Terence's plays, and in acting his part excelled all his schoolfellows, and it was in consequence of his success within this little circle that he caught his first inspiration for the stage.

[Pg 283]

One of the earliest instances of his jocularity, as practised on his own father, is related by R. Polwhele in his Traditions and Recollections. Imitating the voice of Mr. Nicholas Donnithorne, from an inner apartment where his father had supposed that gentleman was sitting, he drew his father into conversation on the subject of a family transaction between the two old gentlemen, and thus possessed himself of a secret, which, whilst it displayed his power of mimicry, justly incurred his parent's displeasure.

Mr. Polwhele says: "Those (of the inhabitants of Truro) are gone who used in his presence to arise trembling with their mirth. Conscious of some oddnesses in their appearance or character, they shrunk from his sly observation. They knew that every civility, every hospitable attention, could not save them from his satire; and, after such experience, they naturally avoided his company instead of courting it. Foote, indeed, had no restraint upon himself, with respect either to his conversation or his conduct. He was, in every sense of the word, a libertine.... He was certainly a very unamiable character. Polly Hicks, a pretty, silly, simpering girl, was dazzled by his wit. She had some property; he therefore made her his wife, but never treated her as such."

The father died soon after the establishment of his sons in their several professions; but the mother lived to the advanced age of eighty-four. W. Cooke says of her:—

"We had the pleasure of dining with her, in company with a granddaughter of hers, at a barrister's chambers in Gray's Inn, when she was at the age of seventy-nine; and although she had full sixty steps to ascend before she reached the drawing-room, she did it without the help of a cane, and with all the activity of a woman of forty.

[Pg 284]

"Her manners and conversation were of the same cast—witty, humorous, and convivial; and though her remarks occasionally (considering her age and sex) rather strayed beyond the limits of becoming mirth, she, on the whole, delighted everybody, and was confessedly the heroine of that day's party.

"She was likewise in face and person the very model of her son Samuel—short, fat, and flabby, with an eye that eternally gave the signal for mirth and good humour; in short, she resembled him so much in all her movements, and so strongly identified his person and manners, that by changing habits they might be thought to have interchanged sexes."

After leaving school Samuel Foote received his education at Worcester College, Oxford, formerly Gloucester Hall, which owed its refoundation and change of name to Sir Thomas Cooke, Bart., a second cousin of Samuel.

The church connected with the college fronted a lane, where cattle were sometimes turned out to graze during the night, and the bell-rope hung very low in the middle of the outside porch. Foote one night made a loop in the cord and inserted a wisp of hay. One of the cows smelling this seized it, and by tugging at the rope made the bell ring, and continue to ring at jerky intervals till the hay was consumed. This produced consternation in the neighbourhood; people ran out of their houses thinking that there must be a fire somewhere. The same happened next and the following nights, and it was concluded that the church was haunted. But Dr. Gower, the then provost, and the sexton sat up one night and watched, and discovered that this was a prank of one of the scholars.

From the University Foote was removed to the Temple, but the dryness of the law was not to his taste, and he turned to the stage.

[Pg 285]

His first appearance was in the part of Othello at the Haymarket Theatre, February 6th, 1747. But as Macklin said on this occasion, "it was little better than a total failure. Neither his figure, voice, nor manners corresponded with the character; and in those mixed passages of tenderness and rage the former was expressed so whiningly, and the latter in a tone so sharp and inharmonious, that the audience could scarcely refrain from laughing."

Probably he speedily saw that his genius did not lie in the direction of tragedy, and he soon struck out into a new and untrodden path, in which he at once attained the two great ends of affording entertainment to the people and gaining emolument for himself. He opened the Haymarket Theatre in the spring of 1747 with a piece of his own writing, entitled The Diversions of the Morning. This consisted of a mimicry of the best-known men of the day—actors, doctors, lawyers, statesmen. Had he contented himself with this he might not have been interfered with, but to the piece of mimicry he added the performance of popular farces—and he had failed to procure a licence. To evade this difficulty he announced his entertainment as a Concert of Music, after which would be given gratis his Diversions and a play.

The managers of the patent houses could not tolerate such an infringement of their rights. They appealed to the Westminster magistrates, and on the second night the constables entered the theatre and dispersed the audience.

But Foote was not so easily put down. The very next morning he published the following statement in the General Advertiser: "On Saturday afternoon, exactly at twelve o'clock, at the New Theatre in the Haymarket, Mr. Foote begs the favour of his friends[Pg 286] to come and drink a dish of chocolate with him, and 'tis hoped there will be a great deal of company and some joyous spirits. He will endeavour to make the morning as diverting as possible. Tickets to be had for this entertainment at George's Coffee House, Temple Bar, without which no one will be admitted. N.B.—Sir Dilbury Diddle will be there, and Lady Betty Frisk has absolutely promised." No one knew what this advertisement meant, and a crowded house was the natural result. When the curtain rose Foote came forward and informed the audience that "as he was training some young performers for the stage, he would, with their permission, whilst chocolate was getting ready, proceed with his instructions before them." Then some young people, engaged for the purpose, were brought upon the stage, and under the pretence of instructing them in the art of acting, he introduced his imitations.

As he was not interfered with, he changed the hour to the evening and substituted tea for chocolate.

He mimicked Quin as a watchman, with deep, sonorous voice calling out, "Past twelve o'clock, and a cloudy morning"; Delane as a one-eyed beggar; Peg Woffington as an orange girl, and imitated the unpleasant squealing tone of her voice; Garrick in his dying scenes, on which he prided himself.

As may well be supposed, actors, who are peculiarly sensitive to ridicule, were offended. When they appeared in a grave play, as for instance, when Garrick was dying on the stage, the audience laughed, recalling what they had witnessed at the Haymarket. They complained, "What is fun to you is death to us," but Foote paid no regard to their remonstrances; he laughed and pursued his course. He was perfectly unscrupulous, wholly devoid of delicacy of feeling, and would turn his[Pg 287] best friend and benefactor into ridicule in public. But when, later, Weston took him off, he was highly incensed, and bided his time to be revenged on him.

Next year Foote called his performance "An Auction of Pictures." Here is one of his advertisements: "At the forty-ninth day's sale at his auction rooms in the Haymarket Mr. Foote will exhibit a choice collection of pictures—some new lots, consisting of a poet, a beau, a Frenchman, a miser, a taylor, a sot, two young gentlemen, and a ghost. Two of which are originals, the rest copies from the best masters." In this several well-known characters were mimicked—Sir Thomas Deveil, then the acting magistrate for Westminster, Cook, the auctioneer, and orator Henley. To the attractions of his "Auction," in ridicule of the Italian Opera, he gave a "Cat Concert." The principal performer in this was a man well known at the time by the name of Cat Harris. Harris had attended several rehearsals, where his mewing gave great satisfaction to the manager and performers. However, on the last rehearsal Harris was missing, and as nobody knew where he lived, Shuter was deputed to find him, if possible. He inquired in vain for some time; at last he was informed that he lived in a certain court in the Minories, but at which house he could not exactly learn. Shuter entered the court and set up a cat solo, which instantly roused his brother musician in his garret, who answered him in the same tune. "Ho, ho! Are you there, my friend?" said Shuter. "Come along; the stage waits for you."

Fashion, as usual, flocked to the Haymarket to hear and see its tastes turned into ridicule.

At the close of the season (1748) Foote was left a considerable fortune by a relative of his mother, which enabled him to move in all that luxury of dissipation[Pg 288] which was so congenial to his temper. Then he departed suddenly for Paris and communicated with none of his friends. Some supposed him to have been killed in a duel, some that he had been hanged, some that he had drunk himself to death. But he reappeared in London at the close of the season of 1752, having dissipated the fortune left him, but having enriched his mind with studies made in France. He brought with him a play he had composed, The Englishman in Paris, which was brought out at Covent Garden Theatre on March 24th, 1753, and it proved a success; so much so, that Murphy, the dramatic author, wrote a sequel to it, The Englishman returned from Paris, which he had the frankness to show to Foote, who was his friend. Foote, without a word, without asking leave, appropriated the plot and characters, and turned out a farce with the same title before Murphy had placed his. Murphy was, naturally, highly offended, and produced his play in another theatre, but without great success, as Foote's play had already taken with the public.

In the season of 1757 Foote produced at Drury Lane his comedy of The Author, that principally turns on the distresses incident to a writer dependent on his pen for his daily bread, and on the caricature of a gentleman of family and fortune, whom he entitled Cadwalader, who appears ambitious to be thought a patron of the arts and sciences, of which he is profoundly ignorant. Cadwalader was a caricature of one of his most intimate friends, a Mr. Ap Rice, a man of fortune and education, and allied to many families of distinction. At his table, where Foote was hospitably received, in open and unguarded familiar discourse, Ap Rice had laid himself open to ridicule. The Welsh gentleman was stout, had a broad, unmeaning stare, a loud[Pg 289] voice, and boisterous manner, and as he spoke his head was continually turning to his left shoulder. The farce was performed for several nights to crowded audiences before Mr. Ap Rice felt the keenness of the satire. At last the joke became so serious, that whenever he went abroad, in the park, the coffee-house, or the assembly, he heard himself spoken of as Cadwalader, and pointed at with suppressed laughter, or heard quotations from his part in the play: "This is Becky, my dear Becky." Mightily offended, and really hurt, he applied to Foote to have the piece suppressed. But this Foote would not hear of—it was drawing crowded houses. Then Ap Rice applied to the Lord Chamberlain and obtained an injunction to restrain the performance.

Dr. Johnson was informed by a mutual friend that Foote was going to produce an impersonation of him on the stage. "What is the price of a cane?" asked the doctor. "Sixpence." "Then," said he, "here is a shilling; go and fetch me the stoutest you can purchase, and tell Mr. Foote that at his first performance I shall visit the theatre, go on the stage, and thrash him soundly."

This was repeated to the mimic, and he deemed it advisable to desist from this impersonation.

In A Trip to Calais he threatened to ridicule the notorious Duchess of Kingston unless bought off. The audacity of his personalities was astounding, where he thought he could use his gift of mimicry without being subject to chastisement. In the Orators, 1762, he personated, under the name of Peter Paragraph, a noted printer and publisher and alderman of Dublin, known as One-legged Faulkener. The imitation was perfect. The Irishman brought an action for libel against him, and a trial ensued. But Nemesis of[Pg 290] another sort fell on him four years later. In 1766 he was on a visit to Lord Mexborough, where he met the Duke of York, Lord Delaval, and others, when some of the party, wishing to have a little fun with Foote, drew him into conversation on horsemanship, and the comedian boasted "that although he generally preferred the luxury of a post-chaise, he could ride as well as most men he knew." He was urged to join that morning in the chase, and was mounted on a high-spirited, mettlesome horse belonging to the Duke of York, that flung him as soon as he was in the saddle, and his leg was so fractured that it had to be amputated, and its place supplied by one of cork.

The Duke of York was not a little concerned at the part he had taken in this practical joke, and to make what amends he could obtained for him a royal patent to erect a theatre in the city and liberties of Westminster, from the 14th May to the 14th September, during the term of his natural life. This was giving him a fortune at one stroke, and Foote immediately purchased the old premises in the Haymarket and erected a new theatre on the same ground, which was opened in the May following, 1767. He made considerable profits, and lodged twelve hundred pounds at his banker's and kept five hundred in cash.

But his usual demon of extravagance haunted him. He went to Bath and fell in with a nest of gamblers, who rapidly swindled him, not only out of his five hundred, but also out of the sum he had placed with his banker. Several of the frequenters of the rooms saw that he was being cheated, and the Right Hon. Richard Rigby, Paymaster of the Forces, took an opportunity of telling him that he was being plundered, "that from his careless manner of playing and betting, and his habit of telling stories when he should be[Pg 291] minding his game, he must in the long run be ruined." Foote, instead of taking this hint in good part, answered angrily and so insultingly that Rigby withdrew.

When he had money he spent it in play and profligacy. Three fortunes had been left him, and he threw all away, and adopted as his motto, "Iterum, iterum, iterumque."

His mother, as has been said, had inherited a large fortune, but she had squandered it and was locked up in the Fleet Prison for debt. Thence she wrote to her son:—

"Dear Sam,

"I am in prison for debt; come and assist your loving mother,

"E. Foote."

To this brief note he replied:—

"Dear Mother,

"So am I; which prevents his duty being paid to his loving mother by her affectionate son,

"Sam. Foote."

When bringing out his comedy of The Minor considerable objections were started to its being licensed, and among other objectors was Secker, Archbishop of Canterbury. Foote offered to submit the play to him for revision, with permission to strike out whatever he deemed objectionable. But the prelate was not to be trapped thus. He knew well that had he done this, Foote would have advertised its performance "as altered and amended by his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury."

Having made a trip to Ireland, he was asked on his return what impression was made on him by the Irish peasantry, and replied that they gave him great satisfaction,[Pg 292] as they settled a question that had long agitated his mind, and that was, what became of the cast clothes of English beggars.

One evening at the coffee-house he was asked if he had attended the funeral of a very intimate friend, the son of a baker. "Oh yes, certainly," said he; "just seen him shoved into the family oven."

Although he had on more than one occasion applied to Garrick for loans of a few hundred pounds, this did not deter him from mimicking Garrick, and when the Shakespeare Jubilee took place at Stratford-on-Avon, under the superintendence of this latter, Foote was so jealous and envious of its success, that he schemed bringing out a mock procession in imitation of it, with a man dressed to resemble Garrick in the character of the Steward of the Jubilee, with his wand, white-topped gloves, and Shakespeare medal; whilst some ragamuffin was to address him in the lines of the Jubilee poet-laureate—

A nation's taste depends on you,
Perhaps a nation's virtue too;

to which the mimic Garrick was to reply by clapping his arms, like the wings of a cock, and crowing—


It was with difficulty that Foote could be deterred from carrying his scheme into effect.

But, indeed, he spared no one. He had been separated practically, though not legally, from his wife, whom to his friends and acquaintances he spoke of as "the Washerwoman." She was a quiet, inoffensive, worthy woman; and his friends induced him after a while to allow her to return to his house. As it chanced, her conveyance was upset on the way, and she was thrown out and much cut and bruised in her face and[Pg 293] person. Instead of sympathizing with her, he turned the matter into joke with his boon companions, and said, "If you want to see a map of the world, go and look at my wife's face. There is the Black Sea in her eye, the Red Sea in her gashes, and the Yellow Sea in all her bruises."

Dining once with Earl Kelly at his house at North End in the early part of the spring, his lordship, who was a bon vivant and had a very red face, apologized during dinner that he was unable to give the party cucumbers that day, as none were ripe. "Your own fault, my lord," said Foote. "Why didn't you thrust your nose into the hot-house?"

On another occasion, Foote calling on the elder Colman, the dramatist, heard him complain of want of sleep. "Read one of your own plays," said Foote.

Dining one day with Lord Stormont, he noticed the diminutive size of the decanters and glasses. His lordship boasted of the age of his wine. "Dear me," said Foote. "It is very little, considering its age."

A young parson was on his honeymoon. "I'll give you a text for your next sermon," said Foote: "Grant us thy peace so long as the moon endureth."

Some one asked Dr. Johnson whether he did not think that Foote had a singular talent for exhibiting character. "No, sir," replied the doctor. "It is not a talent, it is a vice. It is what others abstain from. His imitations are not like. He gives you something different from himself, without going into other people. He is like a painter who can draw the portrait of a man who has a wen on his face. He can give you the wen, but not the man."

In The Mayor of Garratt Foote took off and held up to derision the old Duke of Newcastle, under the[Pg 294] name of Matthew Mug. Of the Duke he was wont to say that he always appeared as if he had lost an hour in the morning and was looking for it all day. In The Patron he satirized Lord Melcombe, but indeed there were few with any peculiarity of manner or taste or appearance, whom he was able to study, whom he did not hold up to public ridicule.

The first time that George II attended the Haymarket The Mayor of Garratt was on the stage. When His Majesty arrived at the theatre, Foote, as manager, hobbled to the stage door to receive him; but, as he played in the first piece, instead of wearing the court dress usual on these occasions, he was equipped in the immense cocked hat, cumbrous boots, and all the other military paraphernalia of Major Sturgeon. The moment the King cast his eyes on this extraordinary figure, as he stood bowing, stumping, and wriggling with his wooden leg, George II receded in astonishment, exclaiming to his attendants, "Look! Vat is dat man—and to vat regiment does he belong?" Even Samuel's not very bright brother came in for his sneers. Edward Foote was fond of hanging about the theatre, and frequented the green-room. Some one asked Samuel who that man was. "He?" replied Foote. "He's my barber." Somewhat later the relationship came out, and the same person remarked to him on his having spoken so contemptuously of Edward. "Why," said Samuel, "I could not in conscience say he was a brother-wit, so I set him down as a brother-shaver."

Retribution came on him at last.

The reason why Foote did not produce his "take-off" of the Duchess of Kingston as Lady Kitty Crocodile has never transpired. According to one account, he had threatened to caricature her in the hopes of levying[Pg 295] blackmail on her to stop the production; according to another, he received threats that made him fear for his life, or at least a public horse-whipping, if he proceeded, and he altered the character. But he was very angry, and to be revenged he produced a piece, The Capuchin, which was the original Trip to Calais altered, but his satire was transferred from the Duchess to her chaplain, named Jackson, whom he held up to public scorn as Doctor Viper.

Jackson was furious, and trumped up a vile charge against Foote, by the aid of a coachman whom the actor had discharged from his service for misconduct. Foote had made so many enemies that those whom he had wounded and mortified found the money for a prosecution; and the case was tried at King's Bench before Lord Mansfield and a special jury. But it broke down completely, and Foote was acquitted.

As soon as the trial was over, his fellow dramatist Murphy took a coach and drove to Foote's house in Suffolk Street, Charing Cross, to be the first messenger of the good tidings.

Foote had been looking out of the window in anxious expectation of such a message. Murphy, as soon as he perceived him, waved his hat in token of victory, and jumping out of the coach, ran upstairs, to find Foote extended on the floor, in hysterics. In this condition he continued for nearly an hour before he could be recovered to any kind of recollection of himself.

The charge, and the anxiety of the trial, broke his heart; he never thoroughly rallied after it, and sold his patent in the Haymarket Theatre to George Colman on January 16th, 1777. By the terms of this agreement Colman obliged himself to pay Foote an annuity of sixteen hundred pounds.

[Pg 296]

Having in some degree recovered his health, he was advised by his physician to try the south of France during the winter; and with this intent he reached Dover on the 20th October, 1777, on his way to Calais.

Whilst at Dover, he went into the kitchen of the inn to order a particular dish for dinner, and the cook, understanding that he was about to embark for France, began to brag of her powers, and defy him to find any better cuisine abroad, though, for her part, she said, she had never crossed the water. "Why cookey," said Foote, "that cannot be, for above stairs they informed me you have been several times all over grease (Greece)." "They may say what they like," retorted she, "but I was never ten miles from Dover in all my life." "Nay, now," said Foote, "that must be a fib, for I myself have seen you at Spit-head."

This was his last joke. Next morning he was seized with a shivering fit whilst at breakfast, which increasing, he was put to bed. Another fit succeeded that lasted three hours. He then seemed inclined to sleep, and presently with a deep sigh expired on October 21st, 1777, in the fifty-seventh year of his age. He was buried in Westminster Abbey.

The authors of the Biographica Dramatica say of his farces "Mr. Foote's dramatic works are all to be ranked among the petites pièces of the theatre, as he never attempted anything which attained the bulk of the more perfect drama. In the execution of them they are sometimes loose, negligent, and unfinished, seeming rather to be the hasty productions of a man of genius, whose Pegasus, though endued with fire, has no inclination for fatigue, than the laboured finishings of a professed dramatist aiming at immortality. His plots are somewhat irregular, and their catastrophes not[Pg 297] always conclusive or perfectly wound up. Yet, with all these little deficiencies, it must be confessed that they contain more of one essential property of comedy, viz. strong character, than the writings of any other of our modern authors."

[Pg 298]


The first of the family of Mohun known to history came over with the Conqueror from Normandy, and received the name and title of Sapell, Earl of Somerset. How the earldom lapsed we do not know, but a Mohun next appears as Baron of Dunster. Apparently, but not certainly, the earldom was taken from them by Henry III, for siding against him with the Barons in 1297. A branch of the family settled at Boconnoc early in the fifteenth century. In the church of Lanteglos by Fowey is a brass of William Mohun, who died in 1508. Sir Reginald Mohun, Knt., was sheriff of Cornwall in 1553 and 1560. He was squire of the body to Queen Elizabeth, and his son, Sir William Mohun, was sheriff in 1572 and 1578. His son, Sir Reginald, was created baronet in 1612, and his grandson John was raised to be Baron Mohun of Okehampton in 1628. Warwick, the second Lord Mohun, died in 1665, leaving a son, Charles, third Baron, who married Lady Philippa Annesley, daughter of the Earl of Anglesea, and by her had a son Charles, fourth Baron, and a daughter Elizabeth, who died unmarried. He acted as second to Lord Candish in a duel, where he was wounded in the belly and died soon after; he was buried October 20th, 1677.

Charles, fourth Baron Mohun of Okehampton, was married in the first place to Charlotte, daughter of Thomas Mainwaring. With her he lived unhappily and was separated from her, nor would he acknowledge[Pg 299] the daughter born to her as being his own child. He had the good fortune, however, to be rid of her at last, as she was drowned on a passage to Ireland with one of her gallants. He married secondly Elizabeth, daughter of Dr. Thomas Laurence, physician to Queen Anne, and widow of Colonel Edward Griffith.

Charles Mohun Lord Mohun.

Charles Mohun       Lord Mohun.

Fitton Gerrard, Earl of Macclesfield, maternal uncle of his first wife, to make him some amends for his bad bargain, left to Lord Mohun a good part of his estate.

Charles, fourth Baron Mohun, was of a contentious nature, and was involved in several duels. He fought Lord Kennedy on December 7th, 1692. On October 7th, 1694, a Mr. Scobell, a Cornish M.P., interfered with Lord Mohun, who was attempting to kill a coachman in Pall Mall. Mohun, furious at being interfered with, cut Mr. Scobell over the head, and afterwards challenged him. He was also engaged in a duel with a Captain Bingham on April 7th, 1697, when he was wounded in the hand. He was next engaged in a quarrel with a Captain Hill of the Foot Guards, at the Rummer Tavern on September 14th, 1697; he managed to kill Hill.

The story of the murder of Mountford the actor by Captain Hill, in which Lord Mohun was involved as abetter, is given very fully by Sir Bernard Burke, in his Romance of the Aristocracy, 1855, and I will here condense his account.

Mrs. Bracegirdle was at the time a very charming actress, with a delicious voice of remarkable flexibility, and her singing of such a song as Eccles' "The bonny, bonny breeze" brought down the house; but the mad song, "I burn, my brain consumes to ashes," as sung by her in the character of Marcella in Don Quixote, was considered one of her masterpieces. Cibber says that all the extravagance and frantic passion of[Pg 300] Lee's Alexander the Great were excusable when Mrs. Bracegirdle played Statira; that scarcely an audience saw her that were not half her lovers without a suspected favourite among them. In an age of general dissoluteness she bore an immaculate reputation, and the licentious men about town knew perfectly well that she was beyond the reach of their solicitations. Mrs. Bracegirdle had a friend, "a miracle of fine acting," Mrs. Mountford, also a performer at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, and became intimate with her. Some of the malicious, who could ill believe that an actress was virtuous, supposed that Mrs. Bracegirdle favoured that lady's husband, who was a good actor of heroic tragedy.

Among the many admirers of Mrs. Bracegirdle was a Captain Richard Hill. So infatuated was he with her charms, that he proposed to marry her; but, when she rejected his offer, he regarded this as an insult, and supposed that she had been persuaded by Mountford to refuse him. Hill, in ungovernable wrath, vowed that he would kill the actor who had dared to tender advice to the beautiful Mrs. Bracegirdle to reject his offer, and also to carry off his mistress by force.

At a supper, where were Lord Mohun, Captain Hill, Colonel Tredenham, and a Mr. Powell, Hill spoke openly of his purpose, and turning to Powell said, "I am resolved to have the blood of Mountford." Powell, who was a friend to both parties, took alarm at these words, and replied that he should certainly inform Mountford of the threat and caution him to be on his guard. Captain Hill then drew off from him, and approached Lord Mohun, whom he speedily discovered to be ready to act as his ally.

Along with Mohun, Hill now seriously set about the requisite preparations for carrying out his purpose,[Pg 301] which they agreed should take place the following night. With this view, their first care was to order a coach to be in waiting for them at nine o'clock in Drury Lane, near the theatre; but, so as not to attract particular notice, with two horses only, while a reserve of four more was to be held in readiness at the stables, to convey Hill and Mrs. Bracegirdle to Totteridge. That they expected a serious resistance was apparent, for they not only provided themselves with pistols, but had bribed a party of soldiers to assist them in the enterprise.

During the day the confederates dined together at a tavern in Covent Garden, and talked openly of their intention, before several other persons who were present. But strangely enough, not a syllable reached those interested, to give them timely warning. Yet the conversation was of a nature to excite attention; they discussed the scheme unreservedly, and Lord Mohun remarked that the affair would cost at least fifty pounds; to which Hill replied, "If that villain Mountford resist I will stab him." "And I will stand your friend if you do," observed Lord Mohun.

It so happened, however, that Mrs. Bracegirdle did not play that night, and the confederates learned the fact, as also that she was supping at the house of a Mr. Page in Princes Street hard by, and thither, accordingly, they repaired, planting themselves with the soldiers over against a house occupied by Lord Craven.

Nine o'clock struck, and still no signs of her for whom they were watching. They began to think that they must have been misinformed and ordered the coachman to drive to Howard Street, where Mrs. Bracegirdle lodged, in the house of a Mrs. Browne. Howard Street is a cross-way leading from Arundel Street, through Norfolk Street, to Surrey Street, in the[Pg 302] former of which lived Mountford, so that it was not possible for the actor on his return from the theatre to fail coming upon them. Here, however, they did not remain long, their suspicions having been excited by the appearance of several individuals pacing up and down in front of the lady's lodgings, and these they thought must be spies set to watch their proceedings. They accordingly returned to their former station by the house of Mr. Page. At ten o'clock the door opened and that gentleman issued forth along with Mrs. Bracegirdle, her mother and brother, and volunteered to accompany them home, an offer they declined, as they said that they needed no further protection; however, he attended them part of the way. On coming up Drury Lane they were surprised to see a crowd about a coach drawn up before the house of Lord Craven, with the steps down. In this Lord Mohun was seated, with several cases of pistols near him. Before they had time to inquire into the meaning of this, two of the soldiers rushed forward, forced Mrs. Bracegirdle away from Page, and would have dragged her to the coach but that her mother clung about her neck, in spite of some rough handling by the ruffians. Thereupon up ran Hill, and he struck at both Page and the old lady with his drawn sword; but some of the crowd looking on interfered so effectually that he found himself obliged to withdraw. However, he rallied, and pretending that there was a disturbance and that the lady was in danger and that she required safe conduct, he so persuaded Mrs. Bracegirdle that he had no part in the matter that she allowed him to escort her and her mother to their home, and Lord Mohun and the soldiers followed as though in pursuit, Hill occasionally facing round as though to dare them to approach.

Upon reaching Howard Street the soldiers were dismissed,[Pg 303] as being no longer required, as it was now deemed impossible to carry out the original plan of a forcible abduction.

Just as Hill was about to withdraw, he plucked Page by the sleeve, and intimated to him that he had a desire to speak with him in private; but that gentleman, who was eager to be back at his own house, replied hastily that "another time would do; to-morrow would serve."

However, no sooner was Mrs. Bracegirdle safe within the house, than the others, fearing that evil might befall Page, laid hold of him and drew him within, and closed the door in the face of Captain Hill.

Instead of having his ardour cooled by his rebuff, the captain became more wroth, and determined to revenge himself on Mountford; and in conjunction with Lord Mohun, he continued pacing up and down the street for two mortal hours with his sword drawn.

Those within the house being greatly alarmed at their proceedings, sent Mrs. Browne out to inquire the reason of this. To this they replied, with the utmost frankness, that they were awaiting the arrival of Mr. Mountford. As evidence that the besiegers had no intention of withdrawing, they sent for a couple of bottles of wine, when the watch came up and asked what they were doing in the streets at such an hour of the night with drawn swords in their hands.

These inquiries were cut short at once by Lord Mohun saying, "I am a peer of the realm; touch me if you dare!" a reply that so staggered the watch that they slunk away without further question. They had, however, observed the waiter who brought the wine and they followed him to the tavern to draw from him an explanation they did not venture to demand from a nobleman.

[Pg 304]

Whilst the besiegers were tipping off their wine, the besieged found an opportunity for sending a messenger to warn Mrs. Mountford of the danger threatening her husband and to bid her communicate with him. Nor was this the only one, a second and perhaps a third were also despatched to caution him. But unhappily every one of these messengers failed to reach him, and at midnight he came along the street on his way homeward without entertaining the least apprehension.

Lord Mohun was the first to meet and salute the unhappy man, when the latter expressed his surprise at finding his lordship there at such an hour.

"I suppose you have been sent for?" was the curt reply. Mountford said, No—he was there on his way home from the playhouse.

"You know all about the lady, I imagine," said Lord Mohun.

Mountford not understanding the drift of his words said, "I hope that my wife has given you no offence."

"You mistake me," said Lord Mohun; "it is Mrs. Bracegirdle that I mean."

"Mrs. Bracegirdle is no concern of mine," replied Mountford; "but I hope your lordship does not countenance any ill action of Mr. Hill."

The conversation was interrupted by the impatient captain, who suddenly started forward, and exclaiming, "This is no longer the time for such discourses!" struck Mountford with his left hand, and immediately ran him through the body. The wounded man did not fall to the ground at once; he had still, for a moment, sufficient strength left to draw his sword, though not to use it, when, exhausted by the effort, he sank upon the ground.

A cry of murder arose, Hill fled, and the watch came up now from the tavern where they had been questioning[Pg 305] the drawer and imbibing. Mountford was carried to his own lodgings, where he died, about one o'clock in the afternoon of the same day, for it was some time after midnight when the affair took place.

"The grand jury of Middlesex," says Macaulay, "consisting of gentlemen of note, found a bill of murder against Hill and Mohun. Hill escaped. Mohun was taken. His mother threw herself at King William's feet, but in vain. 'It was a cruel act,' said the King. 'I shall leave it to the law.'

"The trial came on in the Court of the Lord High Steward, and, as Parliament happened to be sitting, the culprit had the advantage of being judged by the whole body of the peerage. There was then no lawyer in the Upper House. It therefore became necessary, for the first time since Buckhurst had pronounced sentence on Essex and Southampton, that a peer who had never made jurisprudence his special study should preside over that grave tribunal. Caermarthen, who, as Lord President, took precedence of all the nobility, was appointed Lord High Steward. A full report of the proceedings has come down to us. No person, who carefully examines that report, and attends to the opinion unanimously given by the judges in answer to a question which Nottingham drew up, and in which the facts brought out by the evidence are stated with perfect fairness, can doubt that the crime of murder was fully brought home to the prisoner. Such was the opinion of the King, who was present during the trial; and such was the almost unanimous opinion of the public. Had the issue been tried by Holt and twelve plain men at the Old Bailey, there can be no doubt that a verdict of Guilty would have been returned. The Peers, however, by sixty-nine votes to fourteen, acquitted their accused brother. One great[Pg 306] nobleman was so brutal and stupid as to say, 'After all, the fellow was but a player; and players are rogues.' All the newspapers, all the coffee-house orators complained that the blood of the poor was shed with impunity by the great. Wits remarked that the only fair thing about the trial was the show of ladies in the galleries. Letters and journals are still extant in which men of all shades of opinion, Whigs, Tories, Non-jurors, condemn the partiality of the tribunal."

On the one hand, the words of the dying man exculpated Mohun from any share in the actual murder; on the other hand, it is clear from the uncontradicted testimony of more than one witness, that he was fully cognizant of Hill's intentions, and that he did not hesitate to encourage him by his presence through the whole affair. According to the Attorney-General, his first question, when he surrendered himself, was, "Has Mr. Hill escaped?" and, upon being answered in the affirmative, he exclaimed, "I am glad of it! I should not care if I were hanged for him," his only regret being that Hill had escaped with very little money about him. He confessed, moreover, to the watch, that he had changed coats with his friend; the object, of course, was to throw out the pursuers as much as possible by this slight disguise.

This is Lord Mohun's portrait as drawn by a not unfavourable hand: "Charles, Lord Mohun, is the representative of a very ancient family, but he had the misfortune to come to the title young, while the estate was in decay; his quality introduced him into the best company, but his wants very often led him into bad; so that he became one of the arrantest rakes in town, and, indeed, a scandal to the peerage; was generally a sharer in all riots; and before he was twenty years[Pg 307] old was tried twice for murder by the House of Peers. On his being acquitted at the last trial, he expressed his contrition for the scandal he brought upon his degree as peer by his behaviour, in very handsome terms, and promised to behave himself so, for the future, as not to give further scandal; and he has been as good as his word; for now he applies himself in good earnest to the knowledge of the constitution of his country, and to serve it; and having a good deal of fine and good sense, turned this way, makes him very considerable in the House. He is brave in his person, bold in his expressions, and rectifies, as fast as he can, the slips of his youth, by acts of honesty, which he now glories in more than he was formerly extravagant. He was married, when very young, to a niece of my Lord Macclesfield, who, dying without issue, left him a considerable estate,[18] which he well improves. The Queen continues him colonel of a regiment of foot. He is of middle stature, inclining to fat, not thirty years old."

However much he may have intended to amend, Lord Mohun was again involved in a murder, that of a Mr. Coote, a few years later, in conjunction with the Earl of Warwick; he was, however, pronounced innocent by the unanimous suffrage of the Peers.

After this last affair only was it that he amended his ways, and the author of The History of Queen Anne, March 11th, London, 1713, gives a favourable account of him. "After this last misfortune my Lord Mohun did wonderfully reclaim; and what by his reading, what by his conversation with the ablest statesmen, so well improved his natural parts, that he became a great ornament to the peerage and a strenuous asserter of the cause of Liberty, and the late Revolution: which last, however,[Pg 308] could not but raise him many enemies; and is, I doubt, the only reason why his memory is so unfairly, so barbarously treated. 'Tis true, my Lord Mohun, like most men in our cold climate, still lov'd a merry glass of wine with his friends. But in this he was a happy reverse to some men, who owe all their bright parts in the management of affairs to the fumes of Burgundy and Champaign: for he was exemplarily temperate when he had any business of moment to attend. He behaved himself so discretely at the Court of Hanover, whither he accompanyed the late Earl of Macclesfield, whose niece he had married, that he left an excellent character behind him with the most serene Elector, and the Princess Sophia, his mother, two allow'd judges of merit; and when his Highness was to be install'd Knight of the Garter he appointed the Lord Mohun to be his proxy."[19]

Party feeling strongly coloured the descriptions given of the character of Lord Mohun. He was a Whig and zealous advocate of the claims of the Elector of Hanover, and was consequently obnoxious to the Tories and Jacobites. In the Examiner he is represented in the worst light; and is even accused of cowardice; but Bishop Burnet was able to say no more of him than this: "I am sorry I cannot say so much good of him as I wish; and I had too much kindness for him, to say any evil unnecessarily."

In 1711 the attention of the legislature was drawn to the subject of duels by Sir Peter King; and after dwelling on the alarming increase of the practice, obtained leave to bring in a Bill for the prevention and punishment of duelling. It was read a first time on May 11th, and was ordered for a second reading in the ensuing week.

About the same time the attention of the Upper[Pg 309] House was also drawn to the subject in a painful manner. In a debate in the Lords upon the conduct of the Duke of Ormond in refusing to hazard a general engagement with the enemy, Earl Pawlet remarked that nobody could doubt the courage of the Duke. "He was not like a certain general, who led troops to the slaughter, to cause great numbers of officers to be knocked on the head in a battle, or against stone walls, in order to fill his pockets by disposing of their commissions."

That this was levelled at the Duke of Marlborough no one doubted, but he remained silent, though evidently suffering in mind. Soon after the House broke up, the Earl Pawlet received a visit from Lord Mohun, who told him that the Duke of Marlborough desired some explanation of the words he had used, as certain expressions employed by his lordship were greatly offensive to him. He would accordingly be very glad to meet him, and for that purpose desired him "to take a little air in the country."

Earl Pawlet did not affect to misunderstand the hint, but asked Lord Mohun in plain terms whether he brought a challenge from the Duke. Lord Mohun answered that he considered what he had said needed no elucidation, and that he himself would accompany the Duke of Marlborough as second.

He then took his leave, and Earl Pawlet returned home and confided to his lady that he was going to fight a duel with the Duke of Marlborough. The Countess, greatly alarmed for her lord's safety, gave notice of his intention to the Earl of Dartmouth, who immediately, in the Queen's name, sent for the Duke of Marlborough and commanded him not to stir abroad. He also caused Earl Pawlet's house to be guarded by two sentinels; and having taken these precautions, informed[Pg 310] the Queen of the whole affair. Her Majesty sent at once for the Duke, expressed her abhorrence of the custom of duelling, and required his word of honour that he would proceed no further. The Duke pledged his word accordingly, and the affair terminated, much, doubtless, to the disappointment of Lord Mohun, who took a delight in these passages of arms.

We come now to the last duel of Lord Mohun, in which he lost his life and his title expired. The reader will recall the description given of it in Esmond.

The Duke of Hamilton, a shuffling Jacobite, had been in constant correspondence with the Court of S. Germain's, and with the numerous agents of the Pretender kept scattered about in various parts of the Continent and in England. Even before Mrs. Masham and Harley had undermined the Whig ministry, Hamilton had been an acceptable visitor at the Court of S. James's; but since the Tory party had got the upper hand, he had been closeted far more frequently with the Queen than before; and now he was appointed to represent Queen Anne at the French Court. Burnet says: "The Duke of Hamilton being now appointed to go to the Court of France gave melancholy speculation to those who thought him much in the Pretender's interest; he was considered, not only in Scotland, but here in England, as the head of his party." A few days before he left for Versailles, his career was cut short. He had been engaged in some law-suits with Lord Mohun over the succession to the estates of the Earl of Macclesfield, and this, together with political animosity, inflamed both these noblemen with deadly hatred towards each other. Mohun took an occasion that offered of publicly insulting the Duke, in the hope of making him the challenger. His Grace,[Pg 311] however, had too much contempt for the known character of the man to enter into an idle dispute with him, especially at a time when he was invested with the sacred character of ambassador. He relied on his own reputation with the world to bear him out in declining to notice such an affront, offered at such a time, and committed, as the Tories asserted, under the influence of drink.

The circumstances of the insult were these. On Thursday, November 13th, a party was assembled at the chambers of Mr. Orlebar, a master in Chancery, when the Duke made some reflections on Mr. Whitworth, father of the Queen's late ambassador to the Czar; whereat Lord Mohun roared out that the Duke had neither truth nor justice in him. "Indeed, he has just as much truth in him as your Grace!" The Duke of Hamilton made no reply; and both parties remained at the table for half an hour after this outbreak; and at parting Hamilton made a low bow to Mohun, who returned the civility, so that none of those there present suspected any consequence from what had passed between the two peers.

But Lord Mohun had determined to fight his private and political adversary, and although he was the offender he next day sent a challenge to the Duke by the hand of a friend, General Maccartney. In the evening of the 14th the Duke, accompanied by Colonel John Hamilton, went to meet General Maccartney at the Rose Tavern, in one room, whilst in the adjoining Lord Mohun awaited Colonel Hamilton. Then and there the time and place of the duel were agreed upon. On Sunday morning, November 15th, at seven o'clock, Lord Mohun with his second, General Maccartney, went in a hackney-coach to the lodge of Hyde Park, where they alighted, and were soon after met by the[Pg 312] Duke of Hamilton and his second, Colonel Hamilton. They all jumped over a ditch into a place called the Nursery. It is said that Lord Mohun did not wish that the seconds should bear a part in the engagement, but the Duke insisted, saying that "Mr. Maccartney should have a share in the dance." But the spirit of party so completely seized hold of the subject as to make it difficult to ascertain what were the real facts.

It is said on one side that the Duke was from the first very unwilling to fight, and even at the last moment would have consented to a reconciliation. According to the evidence given by Colonel Hamilton at the inquiry on November 25th, early in the morning of the 15th, before he was half dressed, the Duke called at his house and hurried him into his chariot "so soon that he finished the buttoning of his waistcoat there. By the time they had got into Pall Mall the Duke observed that the Colonel had left his sword behind him; whereupon he stopt his chariot and gave the footman a bunch of keys and orders to fetch a mourning sword out of such a closet. At the return of the footman they drove on to Hyde Park, where the coachman stopt, and the Duke ordered him to drive on to Kensington. When they came to the lodge they saw a hackney-coach at a distance, on which his Grace said, 'There was some body he must speak with'; but driving up to it and seeing nobody he asked the coachman, 'Where the gentlemen were whom he had brought?' he answered 'A little before.' The Duke and the Colonel got out in the bottom and walked over the pond's head, where they saw the Lord Mohun and General Maccartney before them. As soon as the Duke came within hearing he said, 'He hop'd he was come time enough,' and Maccartney answered, 'In very good time, my Lord.' After this they all jumped over the ditch into the Nursery, and[Pg 313] the Duke turned to Maccartney and told him, 'Sir, you are the cause of this, let the event be what it will.' Maccartney said, 'We'll have our share.' Then the Duke answered, 'There is my friend then, he will take his share in my dance.'"


From a contemporary mezzotint in the British Museum

The Duke is said to have looked about him and remarked to his second, "How grey and cold London looks this morning, and yet the sky is almost cloudless." To which the Colonel replied, "It is through lack of London smoke. London is nothing without its smoke."

The combat then commenced between the principals, and at a little distance from them between the seconds.

The combat between the former was carried on with fury, and the clash of steel called to the spot the keepers of the Park and a few stragglers who were abroad there at this early hour—in all about nine or ten. None of them interfered; they looked on as they might at a cock-fight.

In a short time the Duke was wounded in both legs, and his sword pierced his antagonist through the groin, through the arm, and in sundry other parts of the body. If they had thought little enough before of attending to self-defence, they now seemed to abandon the idea altogether. Each at the same moment made a desperate lunge at the other; and the Duke's weapon passed right through his adversary's body up to the hilt. The latter, according to one account, shortening his sword, plunged it into the upper part of the Duke's left breast, the blade running downwards into his belly. But there is another version of the story.

Meanwhile the seconds had been engaged, and Colonel Hamilton deposed: "Maccartney had made a full pass at him, which he, parrying down with great[Pg 314] force, wounded himself in the instep; however, he took that opportunity to close with and disarm Maccartney, which being done, he turn'd his head, and seeing my Lord Mohun fall, and the Duke upon him, he ran to the Duke's assistance; and that he might with the more ease help him, he flung down both swords; and as he was raising my Lord Duke up, he saw Maccartney make a push at his Grace"—this was explained to be over his shoulder—and "he immediately look'd to see if he had wounded him; but seeing no blood, he took up his sword, expecting Maccartney would attack him again; but he walked off. Just as he was gone came up the keepers and others, to the number of nine or ten, among the rest Ferguson, my Lord Duke's steward, who had brought Bassiere's man with him; who opening his Grace's breast, soon discovered a wound on the left side, which came in between the left shoulder and pap, and went slantingly down through the midriff into his belly. This wound is thought impracticable for my Lord Mohun to give him."

Maccartney now took to his heels and fled, and tarried not till he was secure in Holland.

Colonel Hamilton remained on the field, and surrendered himself to arrest.

An attempt was made to remove the Duke to the Cake House, but he expired on the grass. Lord Mohun also died on the spot.

In The Examiner, the Tory mouthpiece, the story is thus given: "The affront was wholly given by Mohun, which the Duke, knowing him to be drunk, did not resent. But the bravo Maccartney, who depended for his support on the Lord Mohun, finding his pupil's reputation very much blasted by those tame submissions, which his Lordship, mistaking his man,[Pg 315] had lately paid to Mr. D'Avenant, judg'd there was no way to set him right in the coffee houses and the Kit-Cat but by a new quarrel, and made choice of the Duke, a person of fifty-five, and very much weaken'd by frequent attacks of gout. Maccartney was forc'd to keep up his patron's courage with wine, till within a few hours of their meeting in the field. And the mortal wound which the Duke receiv'd, after his adversary was run thro' the heart, as it is probably conjectured, could not be given by any but Maccartney. At least, nothing can be charged on him which his character is not able to bear. 'Tis known enough, that he made an offer to the late King to murder a certain person who was under his Majesty's displeasure; but that Prince disdain'd the motion, and abhorred the proposer ever after. However it be, the general opinion is that some very black circumstances will appear in this tragedy, if a strict examination be made; neither is it easy to account for three great wounds in the Duke's legs, if he had fair play."

The sum of £800 was offered by the Government for the apprehension of Maccartney.

Such would seem to be the facts, but the Colonel's statement, when brought before the Council, was somewhat rambling. In the excitement of the encounter he was not in a condition to judge accurately what took place. Cunningham, a Whig, says that Hamilton, "being challenged to a duel by the Lord Mohun, killed his antagonist; but was himself also killed, as was supposed, by General Maccartney, Mohun's second." Although the large sum mentioned was offered for the apprehension of the General, he was safe in the Low Countries. However, some years later he returned to England and was tried, but the jury gave a verdict of "Manslaughter" against him.

[Pg 316]

A prodigious ferment was occasioned by the duel, and party recriminations ran high. The stabbing of the Duke to the heart rested mainly on the allegation of Colonel Hamilton, but at the trial he prevaricated, and several persons who had seen the combat at a distance directly contradicted some material points of his testimony.

Swift, in a letter to Mrs. Dingley on the day of the duel, says: "This morning, at eight, my man brought me word that the Duke Hamilton had fought with Lord Mohun and killed him, and was brought home wounded. I immediately sent him to the Duke's house, in S. James's Square; but the porter could hardly answer him for tears, and a great rabble was about the house. In short, they fought at seven this morning. The dog Mohun was killed on the spot; but while the Duke was over him, Mohun, shortening his sword, stabbed him in at the shoulder to the heart. The Duke was helped towards the Cake House by the Ring in Hyde Park (where they fought), and died on the grass, before he could reach the house; and was brought home in his coach by eight, while the poor Duchess was asleep. I am told that a footman of Lord Mohun's stabbed Duke Hamilton; and some say, Maccartney did so too. Mohun gave the affront, and yet sent the challenge. I am infinitely concerned for the poor Duke, who was a frank, honest, good-natured man. I loved him very well; and I think he loved me better.... They have removed the poor Duchess to a lodging in the neighbourhood, where I have been with her two hours, and am just come away. I never saw so melancholy a scene, for indeed all reasons of real grief belong to her; nor is it possible for any one to be a greater loser in all regards. She has moved my very soul. The lodging was inconvenient; and[Pg 317] they would have removed her to another; but I would not suffer it, because it had no room backwards, and she must have been tortured with the noise of the Grub Street screamers, singing her husband's murder in her ears."

But in his History of the Four Last Years of the Queen, written in 1713, Swift says: "The Duke was preparing for his journey, when he was challenged to a duel by the Lord Mohun, a person of infamous character. He killed his adversary on the spot, though he himself received a wound; and, weakened by the loss of blood, as he was leaning in the arms of his second, was most barbarously stabbed in the breast by Lieutenant-General Maccartney. He died a few minutes after in the field, and the murderer made his escape."

It is accordingly very doubtful whether the coup de grâce was dealt by Lord Mohun or by his second. With Lord Mohun, the barony of Mohun of Okehampton became extinct; but the estate of Gawsworth, in Cheshire, which he had inherited from Lord Macclesfield, was vested by his will in his widow, and eventually passed to her second daughter by her first husband, Anne Griffith, wife of the Right Honourable William Stanhope, from whom it passed to the Earls of Harrington.

Boconnoc and the Devon and Cornish estates were sold in 1717 for £54,000 to Thomas Pitt, commonly called Governor Pitt.

[Pg 318]


Thomas Pitt was the son of a tradesman at Brentford, and he went to push his fortunes in India as a merchant adventurer. There he obtained a diamond, thought to be the finest known, and with it returned to England, where he offered it for sale to Queen Anne, and ultimately sold it to the Regent Duke of Orleans, for the French nation, for £135,000.

The Regent and his two successors in the government of France set this diamond as an ornament in their hats on occasions of state. It was stolen during the disturbances of the Revolution, but was recovered, and Napoleon had it placed between the teeth of a crocodile, forming the handle of his sword.

With about half the large sum obtained by the sale of the gem, Pitt purchased the property of the last Lord Mohun in Cornwall, and settled at Boconnoc. He also bought burgess tenures, giving the right of franchise at Old Sarum, and represented that place in Parliament. He had two sons, Robert and Thomas, and Robert succeeded his father at Boconnoc. He married Harriet Villiers, third sister of John, Earl Grandison, and died in May, 1727, leaving two sons, Thomas Pitt, and William, who was afterwards created Earl of Chatham. Thomas Pitt, his brother, was created Earl of Londonderry, in consequence of his marrying the heiress of Ridgeway, in which family was the earldom.

[Pg 319]

Thomas Pitt, the eldest son of Robert, engaged in political intrigue, and supported the party of Frederick, Prince of Wales. He married Christiana, sister of George, first Lord Lyttleton, by whom he had one son, Thomas, who was created Baron Camelford in 1784, when his first cousin William Pitt rose to be Prime Minister. Thomas Pitt was aged twenty-five when he became Baron Camelford, and he died in January, 1793, leaving a son, Thomas Pitt, the second and last Lord Camelford, and a daughter, married to William Wyndham, Lord Grenville. Thomas Pitt, son of the first baron, became an object of attention in Cornwall almost from his birth.

On the event of his christening, in 1775, Boconnoc was thrown open to the public, with general feasting and revelries and wrestling. A silver bowl worth fifteen guineas was the prize of the best wrestler, and about fifty pounds were distributed among the disappointed and defeated competitors.

The education of Thomas Pitt was conducted at Boconnoc under a private tutor, but having paid a visit to Plymouth at a time when naval preparations were in full activity, he acquired a desire to go to sea. However, he was sent to Berne to learn French and German, and then to the Charter House. As he still manifested a strong desire for the sea, he was admitted to the Royal Navy as a midshipman, at the age of fourteen; and he sailed in the Guardian frigate, commanded by Captain Riou, laden with stores for the colony of convicts at Botany Bay. The vessel became a wreck, and the commander gave permission to such of the crew as chose to avail themselves of it to take to the boats and leave her. But Lord Camelford, together with about ninety, resolved on abiding with the vessel, with the captain, patching her up and navigating her.

[Pg 320]

After a perilous passage in the vessel to the Cape of Good Hope, Lord Camelford, in September, 1790, arrived at Harwich in the Prince of Orange packet.

Undaunted by the privations and hardships he had undergone, he solicited an appointment on the voyage of discovery conducted by Captain Vancouver. He accompanied that officer, in the ship Discovery, during part of his circumnavigation, but proved so troublesome, headstrong, and disobedient to orders as to put Captain Vancouver under the necessity of placing him under arrest.

He accordingly quitted the Discovery in the Indian Seas, and entered on board the Resistance, commanded by Sir Edward Pakenham, by whom he was appointed lieutenant.

During his absence at sea his father had died, and when he returned to England it was to succeed to the title and family estates. In October, 1796, he sent a challenge to Captain Vancouver, who replied with dignity that he had acted according to his duty, to check insubordination and to preserve discipline. He was, however, perfectly willing to submit his conduct to the judgment of any flag officer in His Majesty's Navy, and if the latter considered that he had overstepped the bounds of what was right, then he would be prepared to give Lord Camelford the satisfaction he desired. But this proposal did not at all meet Lord Camelford's views, and he wrote threatening the captain with personal chastisement. Shortly after, encountering him in Bond Street, he would have struck him had not his brother interfered.

Having attained the rank of master and commander, Lord Camelford was nominated to the command of the Favourite, a sloop. That vessel and the Perdrix were lying in harbour at Antigua on January 13th, 1790,[Pg 321] when Captain Fahil, of the Perdrix, was absent on shore, and had left the charge of the ship to the first lieutenant, Mr. Peterson.

Lord Camelford then issued an order which Mr. Peterson refused to obey, conceiving that his lordship was exceeding his authority in giving a command to the representative of a senior officer.

The two ships were hauled alongside of each other in the dockyard to be repaired, and the companies of each vessel collected round their respective officers on the quay. High words ensued. Then twelve of the crew of the Perdrix arrived on the spot, armed. Mr. Peterson drew them up in line, and placed himself at their head, with his sword brandished in his hand. Lord Camelford at once called out his marines, and, rushing off, borrowed a pistol from an officer of the dockyard, and returning, in a threatening voice, asked Mr. Peterson if he still refused obedience. "I do persist," replied the lieutenant. "You have no right to issue the order." Thereupon Lord Camelford shot him through the head, and he expired instantly. Lord Camelford at once surrendered himself to Captain Watson, of the Beaver, sloop. In this vessel Lord Camelford was conveyed to Fort Royal, Martinique, where a court-martial assembled on board the Invincible. The court continued to sit from the 20th to the 25th January, when they came to the decision "that the very extraordinary and manifest disobedience of Lieutenant Peterson to the lawful commands of Lord Camelford, the senior officer at English Harbour at that time, and the violent measures taken by Lieutenant Peterson to resist the same, by arming the Perdrix's ship's company, were acts of mutiny highly injurious to his Majesty's service; the Court do therefore unanimously adjudge that the said Lord[Pg 322] Camelford be honourably acquitted, and he is hereby unanimously and honourably acquitted accordingly."

After this his lordship reassumed the command of his ship, but for a short while only, for he threw up his appointment and quitted the naval profession. His personal appearance while in the service was marked with eccentricity. His dress consisted of a lieutenant's plain coat, without shoulder knots, and the buttons green with verdigris. His head was closely shaved, and he wore no wig over it, only an enormous gold-laced cocked hat.

Not long after his return to England, a crazy notion entered the head of Lord Camelford, that he would go to Paris and assassinate some, if not all, of the Directory. Accordingly, on the night of Friday, 18th January, 1799, he proceeded by coach to Dover, where he arrived on the following morning, and put up at the City of London Inn. After breakfast he walked on the pier, and engaged a boat to convey him to Deal. He came to terms with a boatman named Adams, and then confided to him that he desired to be conveyed not to Deal but to Calais, where he purposed disposing of some watches and other trinkets, and finally bargained with him to be put across for twelve guineas. But his lordship's conduct and manner of speech were so odd, that Adams deemed it advisable to speak of the matter to Mr. Newport, the collector. Newport advised that Adams and his brother should keep the appointment, which was for six o'clock that evening, when he would be there and investigate the affair. Accordingly, when Lord Camelford entered the boat, he was arrested, and required to go with Newport to the Secretary of State's office in London. They found on him, when taken, a brace of pistols and a long, two-edged dagger. On Saturday, the 18th January, at[Pg 323] eleven at night, he was put in a post-chaise, and escorted by Newport and the two Adamses to the Duke of Portland's office, where he was recognized. A Privy Council was at once summoned, and Mr. Pitt despatched a messenger to Lord Camelford's brother-in-law, Lord Grenville, to come at once to town. His lordship was examined along with Newport and the two Adamses, and the Council, satisfied that he was crazy, discharged him.

Not long after this, he brought notice upon himself in another sort of matter. On the night of the 2nd April, 1799, during the representation of the farce The Devil to Pay, at Drury Lane Theatre, a riot took place in the box-lobby, occasioned by the entrance of some gentlemen in a state of intoxication, who began to demolish the chandeliers, when Lord Camelford, as one of the ringleaders, was taken into custody, charged by a Mr. Humphries with having knocked him down repeatedly and nearly beaten out one of his eyes. For this he was sued at the Court of King's Bench, and was condemned to pay £500.

In town Lord Camelford was incessantly embroiled with the watchmen, and was either had up before the magistrates, or else obliged to bribe the constables to let him off. He was a terror and a nuisance to quiet citizens passing through the streets at night.

In 1801, when the return of peace was celebrated by a general illumination, no persuasions of his landlord, a grocer in New Bond Street, could induce him to have lights placed in the windows of his apartments.

Consequently the mob assailed the house and smashed every pane of glass in his windows. Whereupon his lordship sallied forth, armed with a cudgel, and fell on the rabble, and was severely mauled by it, rolled in the kennel, much beaten, and his clothes[Pg 324] torn off his back. As the illuminations were to be continued on succeeding nights, he hired a party of sailors to defend his house.

One evening he entered a coffee-house in Conduit Street in shabby costume, and sat down to peruse the paper. Shortly after a buck of the first water came up, threw himself into the box opposite, and shouted to the waiter to bring him a pint of Madeira and a couple of wax candles. Till these arrived he coolly took to himself Lord Camelford's candle, set himself to read.

Lord Camelford shouted to the waiter to fetch him a pair of snuffers, and then walking into the fop's box extinguished his candle.

Boiling with rage, the indignant beau roared out, "Waiter! waiter! who the deuce is that fellow who has insulted me?"

The waiter, coming up with the pint of Madeira and the desired candles, replied, "Lord Camelford, sir."

"Lord Camelford!" shouted the dandy, jumped up, threw down his money, and bolted without having tasted his Madeira.

For some time Lord Camelford had been acquainted with a Mrs. Simmons, who had formerly lived under the protection of a Mr. Best, a friend of his lordship. Some mutual acquaintance told him that Best had said something slighting of him to this woman. This so exasperated Lord Camelford that on March 6th, 1804, meeting Mr. Best in the Prince of Wales's Coffee-house, he went up to him and said in threatening tones: "I find, sir, that you have spoken of me in most unwarrantable terms." Mr. Best replied that he was quite unconscious of having done so. Lord Camelford, then speaking loud enough for every one present to hear, declared that he knew well enough what Best had said to[Pg 325] Mrs. Simmons, and that he esteemed him, Best, to be "a scoundrel, a liar, and a ruffian."

Best could do no other than send him a challenge, but with it an assurance that his lordship had been misinformed, as no such words had ever passed his lips. He expected, accordingly, that Lord Camelford would acknowledge his mistake, and then all would be as before. But Lord Camelford would listen to no explanation, and a meeting was appointed to take place the following morning.

Lord Camelford went to his lodgings in Bond Street, and there wrote his will, and added to it the following declaration: "There are many other matters, which at another time I might be inclined to mention, but I will say nothing more at present than that in the present contest I am fully and entirely the aggressor, as well in the spirit as in the letter of the word. Should I, therefore, lose my life in a contest of my own seeking, I most solemnly forbid any of my friends or relations, let them be of whatsoever description they may, from instituting any vexatious proceedings against my antagonist; and should, notwithstanding the above declaration on my part, the laws of the land be put in force against him, I desire that this part of my will may be made known to the King, in order that his royal heart may be moved to extend his mercy towards him."

From this it would appear that Lord Camelford was convinced that he had made a mistake, and no longer believed that Best had used the expressions attributed to him. At the same time he was too proud to admit that he had been mistaken, and submit to make a public apology.

His lordship quitted his lodgings between one and two on the morning of Wednesday, the 7th March, and[Pg 326] slept at a tavern, with a view to avoid the officers of the police, should they get wind of the proposed meeting and prevent it.

Agreeably to the appointment made by the seconds, Lord Camelford and Mr. Best met early in the morning at a coffee-house in Oxford Street, and here again Mr. Best made an attempt at a reconciliation, and renewed the assurance that he never had uttered the words reported to have been said by him. "Camelford," said he, "we have been friends, and I know the unsuspecting generosity of your nature. Upon my honour, you have been imposed upon by a strumpet. Do not insist on prosecuting a quarrel in which one of us must fall."

To this Lord Camelford replied, "Best, this is child's play! the thing must go on."

Mr. Best was esteemed the best shot in England, and his lordship dreaded, should he retract the offensive words used by himself at the coffee-house, that malicious folk might say he did it out of fear. Accordingly his lordship and Mr. Best, on horseback, took the road to Kensington, followed by a post-chaise, in which were the two seconds. On their arrival at the "Horse and Groom," about a quarter to eight, the parties dismounted, and proceeded along the path leading to the fields behind Holland House. The seconds measured the ground, and they took their station at the distance of thirty paces. Lord Camelford fired first, but missed his aim. A space of some seconds intervened, and then Best fired; whereupon Lord Camelford fell.

The seconds, together with Mr. Best, at once ran to his assistance, when he is said to have grasped the hand of his antagonist, and to have said, "Best, I am a dead man; you have killed me, but I freely forgive you."

[Pg 327]

The report of the pistols had attracted attention, and several persons were seen running up, whereupon Best and his second got into the post-chaise and drove off at a gallop.

One of Lord Holland's gardeners now approached, and Lord Camelford's second ran to summon a surgeon, Mr. Thompson, of Kensington, and bring him to the spot.

Meanwhile the gardener hallooed to his fellows to stop the post-chaise; but the dying man interposed, saying "that he did not wish them to be arrested; he was himself the aggressor, and he forgave the gentleman as he trusted that God would forgive him."

Meanwhile a sedan-chair was procured, and his lordship was conveyed to Little Holland House, the residence of a Mr. Ottey, and a messenger was despatched to the Rev. W. Cockburne, Lord Camelford's cousin, to inform him as to what had taken place. That gentleman at once communicated with the police, and then hurried to his noble relative. By this time others had arrived, Mr. Knight, the domestic surgeon of his lordship, and his most intimate friend, Captain Barrie. The wound was examined, and was pronounced to be mortal.

Lord Camelford continued in agonies of pain during the whole day, when laudanum was administered, and he was able to obtain some sleep during the night, so that in the morning he felt easier.

During the second day his spirits revived, and he conversed with those about his bed. The surgeons, however, could not give the smallest hope of recovery. To the Rev. W. Cockburne, who remained with him till he expired, his lordship expressed his confidence in the mercy of God; and he said that he received much comfort from the reflection that he felt no ill-will against[Pg 328] any man. In the moments of his greatest pain he cried out that he trusted the sufferings he endured might be accepted as some expiation for the crimes of his life.

He lingered, free from acute pain, from Thursday till Saturday evening, about half-past eight, when mortification set in and he breathed his last.

On the evening of his decease an inquest was held on the body, and a verdict of wilful murder returned against "some person or persons unknown."

Thereupon a bill of indictment was preferred against Mr. Best and his second, but this was ignored by the grand jury.

As Thomas, the second Baron Camelford, died without issue, Boconnoc passed to his sister, Lady Grenville.

A life of Lord Camelford, with portrait, was published in London (Mace, New Russell Court, Strand), 1804.

The Rev. W. Cockburne also wrote An Authentic Account of the late Unfortunate Death of Lord Camelford, London (J. Hatchard), 1804. As in this he animadverted on the negligence of the magistrates in not preventing the duel, Mr. Cockburne was answered by one of them, Philip New, in A Letter to the Rev. Wm. Cockburne, London (J. Ginger, Piccadilly), 1804.

[Pg 329]


Cornwall has no great cause to boast of William Noye as her son. He was undoubtedly a shrewd, subtle, and learned lawyer; but he was wholly without principle and consistency.

He was the son of Edward Noye, of Carnanton, in Mawgan parish, and grandson of William Noy, or Noye, of Pendrea, in Buryan. He was born at this latter place, it is asserted, in 1577. In 1593 he entered Exeter College, Oxford, and thence removed to Lincoln's Inn to study common law. He represented Grampound in Parliament 1603-14, Fowey 1623-5, S. Ives 1625-7, Helston 1627-31. In Parliament he proved himself an able and determined opponent to the encroachment of the Royal prerogative. Hals says: "In the beginning of the reyne of King Charles I he was specially famous for beinge one of the boldest and stoutest champions of the subjects' liberty in Parliament that the western parts of England afforded; which beinge observed by the Court party, Kinge Charles was advised by his Cabinet Councill that it wold be a prudent course to divert the force and power of Noye's skill, logick, and rhetorique another waye, by givinge him som Court preferment. Whereupon Kinge Charles made him his Attorney-General, 1631, by which expedient he was soon metamorphized from an asserter of the subjects' liberty and property to a most zealous and violent promoter of the despotick and arbitrary[Pg 330] prerogative or monarchy of his Prince; soe that like the image of Janus at Rome, he looked forward and backward, and by means thereof greatly enriched himself.—Amongst other things, he is reflected upon by our chronologers for beinge the principal contriver of the ship-money tax, layd by Kinge Charles upon his subjects for settinge forth a navye, or fleet of shipps at sea, without the consent of Lords or Commons in Parliament, which moneys were raysed by writt of the sheriffs of all countys and commissioners, and for a long tyme brought into the exchequer twenty thousand pound per mensem, to the greate distast of the Parliament, the layety, and clergye, who declard against it as an unlawfull tax."

Noye's appointment as Attorney-General was on October 27th, 1631. He was not the only one who was a turncoat. Sir Thomas Wentworth, afterwards created Earl of Strafford, Sir Dudley Digges, and Littleton also apostatized. Wentworth, the most renowned of the set, after being one of the sturdiest of the reformers and boldest declaimers in the House of Commons—after suffering imprisonment for refusing to contribute to the forced loan—this eminent person, a gentleman of Yorkshire, who boasted his descent, by bastardy, from the royal line of the Plantagenets, out of a very ignoble rivalry and an ambition for rank and title (even his friends could discover no purer motives), sold himself body and soul to the Court. Sir Dudley Digges, though a spirited debater and a man of talent, had been known for some time to be without principle, and, upon being offered the post of Master of the Rolls, he closed at once with the bargain and turned round upon his former friends.

Noye and Littleton were both distinguished lawyers. Noye's Treatise of the Principall Grounds and Maximes[Pg 331] of the Laws of this Kingdom has gone through numerous editions down to 1870. His Compleat Lawyer has also been republished frequently. Noye as Attorney-General, and Littleton as Solicitor-General, now used their wits and their knowledge to explain and stretch the prerogative, and they did this apparently without a blush at the recollection of their previous conduct when they had combated for the rights of Parliament and the liberties of the people.

SIR WILLIAM NOYE WILLIAM NOY Atturney Generall to King CHARLES the First

Among Howell's Familiar Letters is one to Sir Arthur Ingram at York. "Our greatest news here now is, that we have a new Attorney-General, which is news indeed, considering the humour of the man, how he hath been always ready to entertain any cause whereby he might clash with the Prerogative: but now Judg Richardson told him, his head full of Proclamations and Decrees, how to bring money into the Exchequer. He hath lately found out amongst the old records of the Tower some precedents for raising a tax called Ship-Money in all the Port-Towns when the kingdom is in danger. Whether we are in danger or no, at present 'twere presumption in me to judg."

That England needed a fleet to protect her could not be disputed. Howell admits as much. "One with half an eye may see we cannot be secure while such large fleets of men-of-war, both Spanish, French, Dutch, and Dunkirkers, some of them laden with ammunition, men, arms, and armies, do daily sail on our seas and confront the King's chambers (guns), while we have only three or four ships abroad to guard our coast and kingdom, and to preserve the fairest flower of the crown, the dominion of the Narrow Sea, which I hear the French Cardinal begins to question, and the Hollander lately would not vail to one of His Majesties ships that brought over the Duke of Lenox and my[Pg 332] Lord Weston from Bullen (Boulogne); and indeed we are jeer'd abroad that we send no more ships to guard our seas."[20]

Dunkirk was peculiarly obnoxious, as it was a nest of pirates that fell on our small trading vessels, and even Algerines came with impunity to our coasts and carried off captives as slaves in Africa. The Dutch, taking advantage of the domestic broils in England, had greatly advanced their commerce, and were prepared to dispute with England the command of the Channel. They excluded English vessels from the northern fisheries, and went so far as to claim and to exercise the right of fishing along the English coasts. The Navy of France, moreover, was also rapidly augmented, under the fostering care of Richelieu.

Hitherto the ports on the coast had contributed towards the defence of the land and the protection of our shipping, but the inland towns had been exempted. This was not reasonable, and Charles resolved on imposing a general tax to provide England with a fleet. He had recourse to Noye instead of placing the matter before Parliament.

Noye, says Clarendon, "was wrought upon by degrees by the great persons that steered the public affairs to be an instrument in all their designs, turning his learning and industry to the discovery of sources of revenue, and to the justifying them when found—thinking that he could not give a clearer testimony that his knowledge of the law was greater than all other men's, than by making that law which all other men believed to be not so. So he moulded, framed, and pursued the odious and crying project of soap, and with his own hand drew and prepared the writ for ship-money, both which will be lasting monuments of his fame."

[Pg 333]

About the soap monopoly presently.

The first writ was issued by the Lords of the Council "for the assessing and levying of the ship-money against this next spring," on the 20th October, 1634. It was signed by the King, and was addressed to the mayor, commonalty and citizens of London, and to the sheriffs and good men in the said city and in the liberties thereof. They were commanded by the 1st March to provide one ship of war of 900 tons with 350 men at the least, one other ship of war of 800 tons and 260 men at the least, four other ships of war of 500 tons with 200 men in each, and another ship of war of 300 tons with 150 men. They were further ordered to supply those ships with guns, powder, and all necessary arms, with double tackling, provisions, and stores; as also to defray at their charges the men's wages for twenty-six weeks. The Common Council remonstrated, declaring that by their ancient liberties they ought to be free from any such burden; but the Privy Council rejected the remonstrance, and compelled submission.

At the beginning of the following year, 1635, the writs, after having been served along the sea-board, were sent to the inland counties, but from them money was asked in lieu of ships at the rate of £3300 for every ship, and the local magistrates were empowered to assess all the inhabitants for a contribution.

In spite of the resistance offered to the exaction of this tax in 1635 and the following year a fleet was raised, the Dutch fishing vessels were driven from the coast, and a number of English slaves were rescued from Moorish pirates.

Howell wrote to Mr. Philip Warwick in Paris:[Pg 334][21] "The greatest news we have here is that we have a gallant Fleet Royal ready to set to sea for the security of our Coasts and Commerce, and for the sovereignty of our seas. Hans (the Hanseatic League) said the King of England was asleep all the while, but now he is awake. Nor, do I hear, doth your French Cardinal tamper any longer with our King's title and right to the dominion of the Narrow Seas. These are brave fruits of the Ship-Money."

The King was still in great straits for money, and he turned for help to Noye. The Parliament had insisted on the suppression of monopolies, but Charles revived them by Noye's advice; and for the sum of £10,000 which they paid for their patent, and for a duty of £8 upon every ton of soap they should make, he granted to a company a charter according to it the exclusive privilege to make and to sell soap. The patent had a proviso in it permitting every soap-boiler then exercising his trade in England to become a member of the chartered company; and that precious turncoat, Noye, who devised the project, considered that in this way he had evaded the letter of the law, as the Act of Parliament forbidding monopolies had been directed against individuals and against some two or three monopolists favoured by the Court. These incorporated soap-boilers, as part of their bargains, received powers to appoint searchers; and they exercised a sort of inquisition over the trade. Such dealers as resisted their interference, or tried to make soap on their own account, were handed over to the tender mercies of the Star Chamber.

This precedent was followed by the creation of a similar company of starch-makers.

The King and Laud, who had been promised the primacy on the death of Archbishop Abbot, were embarked[Pg 335] together on an evil course. Laud believed in the Divine Right of Kings, and he was a man totally devoid of suavity of manner and of breadth of mind. He would compel all men to think as he thought, and act as he chose. That wheat and tares should grow together till the harvest was a doctrine of the Gospel he could not comprehend, and his energies and power were directed towards the forcible uprooting of the tares in the field of the Church, and the tares were the heterodox Puritans. Between him and the King they would allow no liberty to men either in their bodies and goods, or in their souls and consciences. That there should be crabbed and crooked sticks Laud would not allow; all must be clean and straight as willow wands. To the civil despotism alone as exercised by Charles, the English people might possibly have submitted for some time longer, for the ship-money had produced the desired effect; but the scourge of Laud lashed them to fury. And Noye was the scourge Laud employed in the Star Chamber. Hammon Le Strange, in his Life of King Charles I, says that Noye became so servilely addicted to the King's prerogative, by ferreting out old penal statutes and devising new exactions, that he was the most pestilential vexation of the subject that the age produced.

When William Prynne, a barrister of Lincoln's Inn, was brought (1634) before the Star Chamber to answer for his book Histrio-Mastix, or the Players' Scourge, it was Noye who filed information against him. Prynne attacked all plays, masques, and dances. The offence charged against him was this: "Although he knew that His Majesty's royal Queen, the Lords of the Council, etc. were in festivals oftentimes present spectators of some masques and dances, and many recreations that were tolerable and in themselves sinless, and so declared[Pg 336] to be by a book printed in the time of His Majesty's royal father; yet Mr. Prynne, in his book, hath railed not only against stage-plays, comedies, dancings, and all other exercises of the people, and against all such as frequent or behold them; but further, in particular, against hunting, public festivals, Christmas-keeping, bond-fires, and May-poles; nay, even against the dressing up of houses with green ivy." He was further accused of directly casting aspersions upon the Queen, and of stirring up the people to discontent against the King, whom he had spoken of in "terms unfit for so sacred a person."

The whole tenor of the book, according to Noye, was not less against the Church of England than against these amusements, and their Sacred Majesties for countenancing them. "The music in the Church," said the Attorney-General, "the charitable terms he giveth it is, not to be a noise of men, but rather a bleating of bruit beasts; choristers bellow the tenor as it were oxen, bark a counter-point as a kennel of dogs, roar out a treble like a sort of bulls, grunt out a bass as it were a number of hogs ... also his general censure of all the bishops and of all the clergy; they scorn to feed the poor—these silk and satin divines. Very charitable terms upon those of the Church. Christmas, as it is kept, is a devil's Christmas—nay, he doth bestow a great number of pages to make men affect the name of Puritan, as though Christ were a Puritan, and so he saith in his Index."

The fact was Prynne was a narrow-minded, cantankerous fanatic, whose only idea of religion was of an acrid nature, and who looked upon all entertainments as wicked. He complained that forty thousand playbooks had been sold in London, and that there was no keen demand for printed sermons; that Ben[Pg 337] Jonson's plays and poems had been published on better paper than Bibles.

Instead of treating Prynne, as a religious maniac, with good-humoured contempt, he was sentenced by the Star Chamber to pay £10,000, be branded on the forehead, have his nostril slit, and his ears cropped. This infamous sentence was executed, and then Prynne was sent to the Fleet, where he was to endure imprisonment till he retracted and apologized. So far from apologizing, he sent from the Fleet to Laud a stinging letter about the Star Chamber sentences, which letter Laud showed to the King, and then, by the King's command, showed it to Noye. Noye had Prynne forthwith brought to his chamber, exhibited the letter, and asked him whether he acknowledged his handwriting. Prynne replied that he could not tell unless he were allowed a close inspection of it. The letter being then placed in his hands, and Mr. Attorney Noye having retired to his closet for a pressing necessity, Prynne, when his back was turned, tore it to shreds and threw the scraps out of the window. Noye then brought Prynne again before the Star Chamber, but Laud now interfered, and urged that the matter of the insulting letter might not be pressed against him.

In 1636, as soon as he could get hold of ink and paper, this incorrigible pamphleteer published fresh attacks on the bishops, among others News from Ipswich, under the name of Matthew White. He was again dragged before the Star Chamber, and was fined £5000 and ordered to lose the rest of his ears, to be branded on both cheeks with "S. L." for "Seditious Libeller." Noye, however, had no part in this final persecution; nor did he live to see the results to the King of the course he had recommended and which had been pursued.

[Pg 338]

His health began to fail, and he went to Tunbridge Wells to drink the waters. They, however, did him no good, and he died on the 9th August, 1635, at the Wells, and was buried in New Brentford Church on the ensuing 11th August.

Howell, in a letter to Viscount Savage dated 1st October, 1635, wrote: "The old steward of your Courts, Master Attorney-General Noy, is lately dead, nor could Tunbridge Waters do him any good. Though he had good matter in his brain, he had, it seems, ill materials in his body, for his heart was shrivelled like a leather penny-purse when he was dissected, nor were his lungs found.

"Being such a Clerk in the Law, all the world wonders he left such an odd will, which is short and in Latin. The substance of it is, that he having bequeathed a few Legacies, and left his second son one hundred marks a year, and nine hundred pounds in money, enough to bring him up in his Father's Profession, he concludes: Reliqua meorum omnia primogenito meo Edwardo, dissipanda nec melius unquam (speravi) lego: I leave the rest of my goods to my firstborn Edward (mistake for Humphry), to be consum'd or scattered (for I never hoped better). A strange, and scarce a Christian Will, in my opinion, for it argues uncharitableness. Nor doth the world wonder lesse, that he should leave no Legacy to some of your Lordship's children, considering what deep obligations he had to your Lordship; for I am confident he had never bin Attorney-General else."

Hals tells this story of Noye: "The Attorney-General on a day havinge King Charles I and the principal officers and nobilitie of his court, at a dinner at his house in London, at which tyme the arch poet Ben Jonson, and others being at an inne, on the other side[Pg 339] the street; and wantinge both meate and money for their subsistance, at that exigent resolved to trye an expedient, to gett his dinner from the Attorney-General's table, in order to which, by the landlord of the inne aforesaid, he sent a white timber plate or trencher to him, when the King was sate downe to table, whereon was inscribed these words:—

When the world was drown'd
Nor deer was found,
Because there was noe park;
And here I sitt,
Without e're a bitt,
Cause Noah hath all in his Arke.

Which plate beinge presented by the Attorney-Generall to the Kinge, produced this effect; that Jonson had a good dish of venison sent him back by the bearer to his great content and satisfaction, on which aforesaid plate, by the King's direction, Jonson's rhymes were thus inverted or contradicted:—

When the world was drown'd
There deer was found,
Although there was noe park;
I send thee a bitt,
To quicken thy witt,
Which com' from Noya's Ark.

William Noye anagram, I Moyle in law. He was the blowcoal incendiary or stirrer up of the occasion of the civill wars between Kinge Charles and his Parliament, by assertinge and setting up the King's prerogative to the highest pitch, as King James I had done before, beyond the laws of the land as aforesaid. And as counsill for the Kinge he prosecuted for Kinge Charles I the imprisoned members of the House of Commons, 1628, viz. Sir John Ellyot, Mr. Coryton and others."

Noye died in 1638. Hals adds: "He had the[Pg 340] principal hand in the most oppressive expedients for raising money for the King, and seems not to have had the least notion of public spirit. He was, in a word, a man of an enlarged head and a contracted heart."

His portrait, formerly possessed by Davies Gilbert,[22] has been engraved in Polwhele's Biographical Sketches in Cornwall. The eldest son, Edward, was killed in a duel by Captain Byron in France in 1636, and then Carnanton passed to his brother Humphrey, a colonel in King Charles' army, and Commissioner of the Peace for the County of Cornwall. He married Hester, daughter of Henry Sandys, and sister and coheiress of George Lord Sandys of the Vine. He was as worthless a fellow as his elder brother Edward, and William Noye, the father, foresaw the ruin of the family estates to whichever of his sons they fell; for, in default of male issue, they were to go to Humphrey Noye, not Edward as Howell states. Humphrey by his bad conduct, riot and excess, lost all the estate left him by his father except Carnanton, and for many years lived on the charity of his friends and on dishonest tricks; for being a magistrate and generally chairman at the sessions, he took bribes to pervert judgment; acquitting felons, etc., till at last he was detected and struck out of the Commission. Hals says: "After which growinge scandalous for these and other misdemeanours, he was slighted by his former friends, and put to great hardships to get a subsistance necessary for the life of man (his creditors beinge upon mortgages in possession of his whole estate). However, it happened some time before his death, that upon puttinge his hand and seale with his creditors for conveying the manor of Amell and Trylly[Pg 341] in Penwith to his son-in-lawe, Mr. Davies, on marrying with his daughter Katherine, he had by them pay'd him in cash £100 in consideration thereof. Soon after the receipt of which money he sicken'd and dyed at Thomas Wills' house in S. Colomb Towne, and left £80 in cash, about the yeare 1683; which was more money than he was possest of at one tyme for about twenty yeares before; and the last words that he was heard to speake, as his soule passed out of this life, was: 'Lord, where am I goinge now?'"

Humphrey Noye had two sons, but both predeceased him and died without issue. His daughter Hester married Henry Davies, of Buryan, and had by him a son, William, who left issue two daughters only.

Catherine, the second daughter, married in 1679 William Davies, of Bosworgy, who by her left issue John Davies of Ednovean, whose daughter Catherine married the Rev. Edward Giddy, whose son Davies Giddy assumed the name and arms of Gilbert.

The third daughter, Bridgeman, married John Willyams, of Roxworthy, but died childless. After her death Willyams married Dorothy, daughter of Peter Daye, gent., and by her had issue, and the family of Willyams to this day possesses Carnanton.

The arms of Noye are azure, three crosses crosslets, in bend, argent.

[Pg 342]


William Lemon was the son of a William Lemon, of Germoe, in humble circumstances; he was baptized at Breage, 15th November, 1696; his mother's maiden name was Rodda. As a lad he obtained a smattering of knowledge at a village school, sufficient to enable him to enter an office as clerk to a Mr. Coster. The story was told of him that as a boy he had formed one link of a living chain, which, connected only by the grasp of their hands, extended itself into a tremendous surf, and rescued several persons who had been shipwrecked.

Whilst still young he became manager of a tin-smelting house at Chiandower, near Penzance, and speedily acquired a great knowledge of mining in Cornwall. In 1724 he married Isabella Vibert, of Tolver-in-Gulval, and with her received a sufficient fortune[23] to enable him to indulge in speculations in mines, and these turned out so happily that he embarked still further in mining ventures. He was the first who conceived the project of working the mines upon a grand scale, and not of running them by small bands of adventurers. A new era in mining opened with the introduction of the steam-pump, and the first, invented by Newcomen, of Dartmouth, was used in the Great Work at Breage. William Lemon associated with[Pg 343] himself George Blewett, of Marazion, and a Mr. Dewin, and these three commenced working a mine on a farm called Truvel, in Ludgvan, the property of Lord Godolphin, and named Wheal Fortune, where the second steam-engine was employed.


Engraved by J M Meys
To Sir William Lemon Bart.          M.P. for Cornwalle
This Plate of his Grand-Father
William Lemon Esqr.
is inscribed by R. POLWHELE

Mr. Lemon is said to have realized £10,000 out of Wheal Fortune, and this enabled him to extend his operations. He removed to Truro, and commenced working the great Gwennap Mines on a scale unprecedented in Cornwall. Carnan Adit was either actually commenced, or at least was effectively prosecuted, by Mr. Lemon; and as his means increased he soon became the principal merchant and tin-smelter in Cornwall.

But he was keenly alive to his deficient education. He was shrewd, could calculate, but had no knowledge of English literature, and his spelling was remarkable. However, he set vigorously to work to correct his defects, and late in life placed himself under the tuition of Mr. Conon, master of the Truro Grammar School, and even acquired a certain—not, certainly, very extensive—knowledge of Latin.

Mr. Lemon had a favourite tame Cornish chough that would always obey his call. If he were walking on Truro Green, or through the streets, the chough would fly to him instantly at his whistle, though it had been associating with other birds or perched on a house-top.

It so happened that John Thomas, afterwards the Warden of the Stannaries, but then a boy at Conon's school, taking his gun, contrary to the rules of the school, and going out shooting, unluckily killed the chough. This produced a great outcry, and when he was told that this was Mr. Lemon's favourite bird, he strongly suspected that the least punishment he would receive would be a flogging from his schoolmaster[Pg 344] and a hiding as well from Mr. Lemon. But Thomas took courage, went to Mr. Lemon's house, knocked at the door, was admitted to Mr. Lemon, and trembling and in tears confessed what he had done. Mr. Lemon paused a moment, and then said that he was sorry for the poor bird, but freely forgave the little delinquent on account of his candour in acknowledging his fault, and more than that, he promised to keep it a secret, and if it should reach Conon's ears, would intercede for him.

In 1742 he was Sheriff for the county. He became one of the Truro magistrates, and might, had he cared for it, have been elected as a member for one or other of the Cornish boroughs.

He was author of a lucid argument written to Sir Robert Walpole to obtain the withdrawal of a tax levied on coals, and which acted prejudicially on the Cornish mines. The presentation of this memorial is thought to have been instrumental in obtaining for him, from Frederick, Prince of Wales, a grant of all minerals found in Cornwall, with the exception of tin; and the Prince likewise sent him a present of silver plate.

He bought Carclew in 1749, and died at Truro, 25th March, 1760, in the sixty-third year of his life.

He and his wife had one son only, William Lemon, junior, who died some years before his father, leaving two sons and a daughter. The elder, Sir William Lemon, Bart.,[24] represented the county of Cornwall in Parliament during fifty years.

As an instance of the respect paid to the genius, and above all the wealth of Mr. Lemon, the people of Truro are said to have drawn back from their doors and windows as he passed through the street, and the Rev.[Pg 345] Samuel Walker, when exhorting children at catechizing to be circumspect in the presence of Almighty God, said: "Only think, dear children, how careful you would be if Mr. Lemon were looking upon you."

Sir William's eldest son, Major William Lemon, shot himself at Princes Street, Hanover Square, London, early in 1799, when a young man of only twenty-five.

The baronetcy is now extinct, and Carclew is the residence and property of Captain W. Tremayne.

[Pg 346]


The life of Samuel Drew was written by his eldest son, and published by Longman, Rees, and Co. in 1834. It is a volume of 534 pages, and probably few would be disposed to wade through it. Of his early days by far the brighter account is that furnished by himself to Mr. R. Polwhele; but the son supplies some anecdotes that may be quoted.

"I was born on the 3rd March, 1765, in an obscure cottage in the parish of S. Austell, about a mile and a half distant from the town. My father was a common labourer, and had through mere dint of manual labour to provide for himself, a wife, and four children, of whom I was the second. One child died in infancy, and at the age of nine years[25] I had the misfortune to lose my mother." Rather more than a year before the death of Mrs. Drew, Samuel was set to work at a neighbouring stamping-mill as a buddle-boy, and for his services his father received three-halfpence a day, but this was raised later to twopence, the largest sum Samuel realized in that employment, though he continued to work at it for more than two years.



Not long after the death of his wife, Samuel's father took a woman named Bate into the house, to act as housekeeper; and in the second year of his widowhood he married her, to the disgust of his children. When[Pg 347] she was entertaining her friends and gossips at tea after the wedding, Samuel discharged a syringeful of water over the party. This was more than she could put up with, and Samuel had to be sent away and apprenticed to a shoemaker named Baker, in the parish of S. Blazey.

He says himself: "My father, being exceedingly poor, felt much embarrassment in finding a premium to give to my master, with whom, at the age of ten years and a half, I was bound an apprentice for nine years, which length of time, together with five pounds five shillings, was considered by my master as a suitable bargain. It was at this tender age that I bid adieu to my father's habitation, and as a place of residence have never entered it since. The little knowledge of writing which I had acquired from my father was almost entirely lost during my apprenticeship; I had, however, an opportunity at intervals of perusing Goadby's Weekly Entertainer, and used to puzzle my little head about riddles and enigmas, and felt much pleasure in perusing the anecdotes which were occasionally interspersed through the pages."

Whilst at the shoemaker's a curious incident occurred: "There were several of us, boys and men, out about twelve o'clock on a bright moonlight night. I think we were poaching. The party were in a field adjoining the road leading from my master's to S. Austell, and I was stationed outside the hedge to watch and give the alarm if any intruder should appear. While thus occupied I heard what appeared to be the sound of a horse approaching from the town, and I gave a signal. My companions paused and came to the hedge where I was, to see the passenger. They looked through the bushes, and I drew myself close to the hedge, that I might not be observed. The sound increased, and the supposed horseman seemed drawing near. The clatter of the[Pg 348] hoofs became more and more distinct. We all looked to see who and what it was, and I was seized with a strange, indefinable feeling of dread; when, instead of a horse, there appeared coming towards us, at an easy pace, but with the same sound which first caught my ear, a creature about the height of a large dog. It went close by me, and as it passed, it turned upon me and my companions huge fiery eyes that struck terror to all our hearts. The road where I stood branched off in two directions, in one of which there was a gate across. Towards the gate it moved, and, without any apparent obstruction, went on at its regular trot, which we heard several minutes after it had disappeared. Whatever it was, it put an end to our occupation, and we made the best of our way home.

"I have often endeavoured in later years, but without success, to account, on natural principles, for what I then heard and saw. As to the facts, I am sure there was no deception. It was a night of unusual brightness, occasioned by a cloudless full moon. The creature was unlike any animal I had then seen, but from my present recollections it had much the appearance of a bear, with a dark shaggy coat. Had it not been for the unearthly lustre of its eyes, and its passing through the gate as it did, there would be no reason to suppose it anything more than an animal perhaps escaped from some menagerie. That it did pass through the gate without pause or hesitation I am perfectly clear. Indeed, we all saw it, and saw that the gate was shut, from which we were not distant more than twenty or thirty yards. The bars were too close to admit the passage of an animal of half its apparent bulk; yet this creature went through without effort or variation of its pace."

He was roughly and cruelly treated by his master,[Pg 349] who would beat him with the last, and at one time for a while maimed him. At length he felt that he could endure the bondage no more, and with sixteen-pence ha'penny in his pocket he ran away with the intention of going to Plymouth and seeking a berth on board a man-of-war.

At this time Sam's father was in somewhat better circumstances. He was chiefly employed in what was called riding Sherborne. There was at that time scarcely a bookseller in Cornwall; and the only newspaper known among the common people was the Sherborne Mercury, published weekly by Goadby and Co., who also issued the Weekly Entertainer. The papers were not sent by post, but by private messengers, who were termed Sherborne men. Drew, senior, was one of these. Between Plymouth and Penzance were two stages on the main road, each about forty miles; and there were branch riders, in different directions, who held regular communication with each other and with the establishment at Sherborne. Their business was to deliver the newspapers, Entertainers, and any books that had been ordered, to collect the money, and to take fresh orders. Mr. Drew's stage was from S. Austell to Plymouth. He always set off on his journey early on Monday morning and returned on Wednesday.

When Samuel Drew had made up his mind to run away, he did not choose the direct road for fear of encountering his father, but took that by Liskeard.

"I went on through the night, and feeling fatigued, went into a hay-field and slept. My luggage was no encumbrance; as the whole of my property, besides the clothes I wore, was contained in a small handkerchief. Not knowing how long I should have to depend on my slender stock of cash, I found it necessary to use the most rigid economy. Having to pass over[Pg 350] either a ferry or toll-bridge, for which I had to pay a halfpenny, feeling my present situation, and knowing nothing of my future prospects, this small call upon my funds distressed me, I wept as I went on my way. The exertion of walking and the fresh morning air gave me a keener appetite than I thought it prudent to indulge. I, however, bought a penny loaf, and with a halfpenny-worth of milk in a farmer's house ate half of my loaf for breakfast. In passing through Liskeard my attention was attracted by a shoemaker's shop, in the door of which a respectable-looking man, whom I supposed to be the master, was standing. Without any intention of seeking employment in this place, I asked him if he could give me work; and he, taking compassion, I suppose, on my sorry appearance, promised to employ me the next morning. Before I could go to work tools were necessary; and I was obliged to lay out a shilling on these. Dinner, under such circumstances, was out of the question; for supper I bought another halfpenny-worth of milk, ate the remainder of my loaf, and for a lodging again had recourse to the fields. The next morning I purchased another penny loaf and renewed my labour. My employer soon found that I was a miserable tool, yet he treated me kindly. I had now but one penny left, and this I wished to husband till my labour brought a supply; so for dinner I tied my apron-strings tighter and went on with my work. My abstinence subjected me to the jeers of my shopmates. One of them said to another, 'Where does our shopmate dine?' and the response was, 'Oh! he always dines at the sign of the Mouth.' Half of the penny loaf which I took with me in the morning I had allotted for my supper; but before night came I had pinched it nearly all away in mouthfuls through mere hunger. Very reluctantly I[Pg 351] laid out my last penny, and with no enviable feelings sought my former lodging in the open air."

But on the following day Samuel's father, having learned where he was, came to remove him and take him back to S. Austell. Compensation was made to Baker, his indenture was cancelled, and he remained at Polpea, where Mr. Drew now had a little farm, for about four months.

Drew, the father, not only was occupied as a Sherborne rider, but he was also a contractor for carrying the mail between S. Austell and Bodmin, and he chiefly employed his eldest son, Jabez, in carrying the mails.

"At one time in the depth of winter I was borrowed to supply my brother's place, and I had to travel in the darkness of night through frost and snow a dreary journey, out and home, of more than twenty miles. Being overpowered with fatigue, I fell asleep on the horse's neck, and when I awoke discovered that I had lost my hat. The wind was keen and piercing, and I was bitterly cold. I stopped the horse and endeavoured to find out where I was; but it was so dark that I could scarcely distinguish the hedges on each side of the road, and I had no means of ascertaining how long I had been asleep or how far I had travelled. I then dismounted and looked around for my hat; but seeing nothing of it, I turned back, leading the horse, determined to find it if possible; for the loss of a hat was to me of serious consequence. Shivering with cold, I pursued my solitary way, scrutinizing the road at every step, until I had walked about two miles, and was on the point of giving up the search, when I came to a receiving house, where I ought to have delivered a packet of letters, but had passed it when asleep. To this place the post usually came about one o'clock in[Pg 352] the morning, and it was customary to leave a window unfastened, except by a large stone outside, that the family might not be disturbed at so unseasonable an hour. I immediately put the letter-bag through the window, and having replaced the stone, was turning round to my horse, when I perceived my hat lying close to my feet. I suppose that the horse, knowing the place, must have stopped at the window for me to deliver my charge; but having waited until his patience was exhausted, had pursued his way to the next place. My hat must have been shaken off by his impatient movements."

The remarkable thing about this incident is that the horse was quite blind, yet it could go its accustomed road, and stop at accustomed places, without seeing. By all the family this sagacious animal was much prized, but Samuel's father felt for it a special regard; and the attachment between the master and his faithful servant was, to all appearance, mutual. Many years before, the poor beast, in a wretched condition from starvation and ill-usage, had been turned out on a common to die. The owner willingly sold it for little more than the value of the hide; and his new possessor, having by care and kindness restored it to health and strength, soon found that he had made a most advantageous bargain. For more than twenty years he and his blind companion travelled the road together. After the horse was past labour it was kept in the orchard and tended with almost parental care. Latterly it became unable to bite the grass, and the old man regularly fed it with bread sopped in milk. In the morning it would put its head over the orchard railing, towards its master's bedroom, and give its accustomed neigh, whereupon old Mr. Drew would jump out of bed, open the window, and call to the[Pg 353] horse, "My poor old fellow, I will be with thee soon." And when the animal died, he would not allow the skin or shoes to be taken off, but had the carcase buried entire.

Samuel tells another story of instinct in brute beasts:—

"Our dairy was under a room which was used occasionally as a barn and apple-chamber, into which the fowls sometimes found their way, and, in scratching among the chaff, scattered the dust on the pans of milk below, to the great annoyance of my mother-in-law. In this a favourite cock of hers was the chief transgressor. One day in harvest she went into the dairy, followed by her little dog, and finding dust again thrown on the milk-pans, she exclaimed, 'I wish that cock were dead!' Not long after, she being with us in the harvest field, we observed the little dog dragging along the cock, just killed, which with an air of triumph he laid at my mother-in-law's feet. She was dreadfully exasperated at the literal fulfilment of her hastily uttered wish, and, snatching a stick from the hedge, attempted to give the luckless dog a beating. The dog, seeing the reception he was likely to meet with, where he expected marks of approbation, left the bird and ran off, she brandishing her stick and saying in a loud, angry tone, 'I'll pay thee for this by and by.' In the evening she was about to put her threat into execution, when she found the little dog established in a corner of the room and a large one standing before it. Endeavouring to fulfil her intention by first driving off the large dog, he gave her plainly to understand that he was not at all disposed to relinquish his post. She then sought to get at the small dog behind the other, but the threatening gesture and fiercer growl of the large one sufficiently indicated that the attempt[Pg 354] would be not a little perilous. The result was that she was obliged to abandon her design. In killing the cock I can scarcely think the dog understood the precise import of my stepmother's wish, as his immediate execution of it would seem to imply. The cock was a more recent favourite, and had received some attentions which had been previously bestowed upon himself. This, I think, had led him to entertain a feeling of hostility to the bird, which he did not presume to indulge until my mother's tone and manner indicated that the cock was no longer under her protection. In the power of communicating with each other which these dogs evidently possessed, and which, in some instances, has been displayed by this species of animal, a faculty seems to be developed of which we know very little. On the whole, I never remember to have met with a case in which, to human appearance, there was a nearer approach to moral perception than in that of my father's two dogs."

Samuel Drew remained with his father's family from midsummer, 1782, till the autumn of the same year, and then took a situation in a shoemaker's shop at Millbrook, on the Cornish side of the estuary of the Tamar. After having been there for a year he moved to Cawsand and then to Crafthole, where he got mixed up in smuggling ventures.

Port Wrinkle, which Crafthole adjoins, lies about the middle of the extensive bay reaching from Looe Island to the Rame Head. It is little more than a fissure among the rocks which guard the long line of coast; and being exposed to the uncontrolled violence of the prevailing winds, affords a very precarious shelter.

Notice was given through Crafthole one evening, about the month of December, 1784, that a vessel laden[Pg 355] with contraband goods was on the coast, and would be ready to discharge her cargo. At nightfall Samuel Drew, with the rest of the male population, made towards the port. One party remained on the rocks to make signals and dispose of the goods when landed; the other, of which he was one, manned the boats. The night was intensely dark; and but little progress had been made in discharging the vessel's cargo when the wind freshened, with a heavy sea. To prevent the ship being driven on to the rocks it was found expedient to stand off from the port; but this greatly increased the risk to those in the boats. Unfavourable as these circumstances were, all seemed resolved to persevere; and several trips were made between the vessel and the shore. The wind continuing to increase, one of the men in the boat with Drew had his hat blown off, and in leaning over the gunwale in his attempt to secure it, upset the boat, and three of the men were drowned. Samuel and two others clung to the keel for a time, but finding that they were drifting out to sea, they were constrained to let go and sustain themselves by swimming. But the night was pitch dark, and immersed in the waters they knew not in which direction to swim. Samuel had given himself up as lost, when he laid hold of a tangled mass of floating seaweed, and was able to sustain himself on that. At length he approached some rocks near the shore, upon which he and two other men, the only survivors of seven, managed to crawl; but they were so benumbed with cold and so much exhausted by their exertions that the utmost they could do was to cling to the rocks and let the sea wash over them. When a little recovered, they shouted for help, but the other boatmen were concerned in transporting their lading of kegs on shore, and not till the vessel had discharged all her cargo did they[Pg 356] make any attempt to rescue the half-drowned men. Eventually they removed them to a farmhouse, where a blazing fire was kindled on the hearth and fresh faggots piled on it, while the half-drowned men, who were placed in a recess of the chimney, unable to relieve themselves, were compelled to endure the excessive heat which their companions thought was necessary to restore animation. The result was that they were half roasted. Samuel Drew says: "My first sensation was that of extreme cold. It was a long time before I felt the fire, though its effects are still visible on my legs, which are burnt in several places. The wounds continued open more than two years, and the marks I shall carry to my grave."

The death of his elder brother Jabez produced a profound impression on Samuel, and he became a Methodist.

"For the space of about four or five years I travelled through different parts of Cornwall, working whenever I could obtain employment; and during this period, waded through scenes of domestic distress, which can be interesting only to myself. Literature was a term to which I could annex no idea. Grammar I knew not the meaning of. An opportunity, however, now offering one an advance in wages at S. Austell, I embraced it, and came hither to work with rather an eccentric character. My master was by trade a saddler, had acquired some knowledge of book-binding, and hired me to carry on the shoe-making for him. My master was one of those men who will live anywhere, but get rich nowhere. His shop was frequented by persons of a more respectable class than those with whom I had previously associated; and various topics became alternately the subjects of conversation. I listened with all that attention which my labour and[Pg 357] good manners would permit me, and obtained among them some little knowledge. About this time disputes ran high in S. Austell between the Calvinists and Arminians, and our shop afforded a considerable scene of action. In cases of uncertain issue, I was sometimes appealed to to decide upon a doubtful point. This, perhaps, flattering my vanity, became a new stimulus to action. I listened with attention, examined dictionaries, picked up many words, and, from an attachment which I felt to books that were occasionally brought to his shop to bind, I began to have some view of the various theories with which they abounded. The more, however, I read, the more I felt my own ignorance; and the more I felt my own ignorance, the more invincible became my energy to surmount it; and every leisure moment was now employed in reading one thing or other.... After having worked with this master about three years, I well recollect, a neighbouring gentleman brought Locke's Essay on the Human Understanding to be bound. I had never seen or heard of these books before. I took an occasion to look into them, when I thought his mode of reasoning very pretty and his arguments exceedingly strong. I watched all opportunities of reading for myself, and would willingly have laboured a fortnight to have had the books. They, however, were soon carried away, and with them all my future improvement by their means. I never saw his essay again for many years, yet the early impression was not forgotten, and it is from this accidental circumstance that I received my first bias for abstruse subjects.

"My master growing inattentive to his shoe-making trade, many of my friends advised me to commence business for myself, and offered me money for that purpose. I accepted the offer, started accordingly,[Pg 358] and by mere dint of application, in about one year discharged my debts and stood alone. My leisure hours I now employed in reading, or scribbling anything which happened to pass my mind."

Thus he went on till 1798, when he laid the foundation of an Essay on the Immortality of the Soul. Whilst engaged upon this he had T. Paine's Age of Reason put into his hands. He read it, but saw the fallacy of many of his arguments, and he wrote his remarks on the book, and published them in pamphlet form at S. Austell in 1799.

Through this tract he obtained acquaintance with the Rev. John Whitaker, to whom he showed his MS. on The Immortality of the Soul, and was encouraged to revise, continue, and complete the essay, and it was published in November, 1802.

"During these literary pursuits I regularly and constantly attended on my business, and do not recollect that ever one customer has been disappointed by me through these means. While attending to my trade, I sometimes catch the fibres of an argument, which I endeavour to note the prominent features of, and keep a pen and ink by me for the purpose. In this state, what I can collect through the day remains on any paper which I have at hand till the business of the day is dispatched and my shop shut up, when, in the midst of my family, I endeavour to analyze, in the evening, such thoughts as had crossed my mind during the day."

At one time the bent of Drew's mind was towards astronomy, but when he considered how impossible it was for him, without means, to purchase a powerful telescope, to make any progress in the study of the stars, he abandoned the thought and devoted himself to metaphysics—perhaps one of the most unprofitable[Pg 359] of all studies. His works were, however, read by some when they issued from the press, and are now no longer even looked into.

A friend one day remarked to him, "Mr. Drew, more than once I have heard you quote the line—

'Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise.'

How do you make that out?"

"I will tell you by my own experience," replied Drew. "When I began business I was a great politician. For the first year I had too much to think about to indulge my propensity for politics; but, getting a little ahead in the world, I began to dip into these matters again, and entered into newspaper argument as if my livelihood depended on it; my shop was filled with loungers, who came to canvass public measures. This encroached on my time, and I found it necessary sometimes to work till midnight to make up for the hours I lost. One night, after my shutters were closed, and I was busily employed, some little urchin who was passing put his mouth to the keyhole of the door, and with a shrill pipe called out, 'Shoemaker! Shoemaker! Work by night and run about by day!' Had a pistol been fired off at my ear I could not have been more confounded. From that time I turned over a new leaf. I ceased to venture on the restless sea of politics, or trouble myself about matters which did not concern me. The bliss of ignorance on political topics I often experienced in after life—the folly of being wise my early history shows."

His sister kept house for him. One market-day a country-woman entered his shop, and having completed her purchases, remarked that she thought he would be more comfortable if he had a wife. Drew[Pg 360] assented, but said, "I don't know any one who would have me." "Oh! that's easily settled," said the woman, and left. Next market-day she returned, bringing her buxom, apple-cheeked daughter with her. "There, Mr. Drew," said she; "I brought this maid, who will make 'ee a good wife."

Samuel demurred; he neither knew the family nor the qualities and character of the wench.

"Lor' bless 'ee!" said the woman, when he made these objections, "take her. The trial of the pudding is in the eating."

He declined the proposal, however; but this incident turned his mind to matrimony, and on April 17th, 1791, when in his twenty-seventh year, he married Honor Halls, and by her had five sons and three daughters. His wife's immediate fortune was £10, a sum of great importance at that time to him. Three years after it was increased by a legacy of £50.

Having made a certain amount of success with his Essay on the Immortality of the Soul, Drew next undertook one on The Identity and Resurrection of the Human Body, and this was published in 1809.

Into a controversy he was engaged in with Mr. Polwhele in 1800 on Methodism we need not enter, but it made no breach of friendly feeling between Mr. Polwhele and him, and it was at the request of the former that Drew wrote the little account of his life that appeared in Polwhele's Literary Characters, 1803.

Having experienced his own great difficulties in acquiring the principles of the English grammar, in 1804 he gave a course of lectures on that subject. These lectures, which occupied about two hours, were delivered on four evenings of the week, two being allotted to each sex separately. A year completed the course of instruction, and for this each pupil paid[Pg 361] thirty shillings. He was able to illustrate his lectures very happily with anecdote and from his own experience, so as to render the barren study of grammar interesting and entertaining. Though never able to write first-class English, and often clumsy in diction, yet he was studiously correct in grammar, if often awkward in construction of a sentence.

In the year 1805 he gave up his cobbling business and devoted himself entirely to his pen. Seeing his value as a polemic writer in favour of the fundamental doctrines of Christianity, several of the clergy of Cornwall were anxious that he should join the Church; but his early association with Dissent, and his ignorance of Catholic doctrine, induced him to remain where he was in the Methodist Connection.

He next wrote an Essay on the Being and Attributes of the Deity, and a reply to Thomas Prout, On the Divinity of Christ and the Eternal Sonship. All this was very well in its way at the time, but is now so much waste paper, used only for covering jampots.

In 1814 Samuel Drew undertook his most voluminous work, the History of Cornwall, one which he was wholly unqualified to undertake, as he had no familiarity with the MS. material on which that history should be based; and it was a mere compilation from already printed matter.

In 1819 Samuel Drew removed to Liverpool, where he acted as local preacher in the Methodist meeting-houses. To this period belongs the epigram written on him by Dr. Clarke:—

Long was the man, and long was his hair,
And long was the coat which this long man did wear.

He became editor of the Imperial Magazine, and after a short while in Liverpool, migrated to London.

[Pg 362]

In 1828 he lost his wife. "When my wife died," he was wont to say, "my earthly sun set for ever."

In 1833 he returned to Cornwall, and died at Helston on March 29th, at the age of sixty-eight.

Slender in form, with a head remarkably small for the length of his limbs, his stature exceeded the common height. He had a searching and intelligent eye, was somewhat uncouth in his movements, but was full of energy of mind and body. He sometimes wrote verses, which only a very partial biographer would call poetry. But what he prided himself on being was not a poet, but a metaphysician.

The story goes that S. Augustine was walking one day by the seashore, musing on the attributes of God and on the demonstration of the Divine nature, when he saw a child digging a hole in the sand, and then with a fan-shell ladling the sea-water into the hole it had made.

S. Augustine paused and asked, "My child, what are you about?"

"I am going to empty the sea into this hole," replied the child.

Then S. Augustine entered into himself and thought: "Can a man with the limited capacity of his brain embrace the infinity of the Divine nature and perfections? Is it not like emptying the sea into a tiny hole to try to effect this?"

Drew's life labours were just doing this. There was a certain amount of intellectual ingenuity in his arguments, but that was all. Not a leaf that he wrote is of any permanent value, but that it was of value at the time when he wrote I should be the last to deny.

There is abundant material for a life of Samuel Drew. Not only may it be found in the life by his son mentioned at the head of this article, and in his own[Pg 363] biographical memoir given by R. Polwhele, but his son J. H. Drew also published a second memoir, under the title Samuel Drew, M. A., the Self-Taught Cornishman; A Life Lesson, published in 1861; also in Lives of the Illustrious, by J. P. Edwards, 1852; and Mr. Smiles has devoted some pages to him in Self-Help, 1866. The portrait of Samuel Drew is given as frontispiece to the first volume of The Imperial Magazine, 1819, and also to the Life by his son.

[Pg 364]


Skewis is a small, not very interesting farmhouse in itself, on the high road from Camborne to Helston, near the station of Nancegollan. Although at a distance of five miles from Tregonning Hill, that height crowned by a stone camp, and with two camps on its slopes, seems to dominate it. The country around is bleak and treeless except in dips, and where are the grounds of Clowance. To the north is the camp of Tregeare, where was once seated an ancient family of the same name, which died out in the reign of William of Orange with Richard Tregeare, sheriff of Cornwall. Skewis had been for some time the patrimony of a succession of yeoman proprietors of the name of Rogers.

In 1734 there were two brothers of that name sons of the owner of Skewis. On their father's death the eldest succeeded to the property, and the younger, Henry, carried on the trade of pewterer in Helston. Both were married, but the elder had no children, whereas Henry had several.

On the death of the elder brother, his widow, whose maiden name had been Millett, produced a will whereby her late husband had bequeathed all his freehold property to her. This greatly exasperated Henry, who considered that as Skewis had belonged to the Rogers family for many generations, he was entitled to it, and he averred that the will had been wrung from his dying brother by the importunity of the wife when he was[Pg 365] feeble in mind as well as body. Forthwith, in place of disputing the will when proved, he took forcible possession of the house, and turned out of it some female servants left in charge of it whilst his sister-in-law was from home.



The whole neighbourhood was satisfied that great wrong had been done to Henry Rogers, and was loud in its condemnation of the widow.

When Mrs. Rogers found herself forcibly dispossessed she appealed to the law, and judgment was given against Henry.

Stephen Tillie was under-sheriff, and he received orders to eject Rogers, and place Anne, the widow, in possession. On June 18th, 1734, he accordingly went to Skewis to serve the summons. But Henry stood at an upper window armed with a gun, and dared the under-sheriff to approach. Tillie shouted to him that he had the King's writ and must have possession, but assured him that he would not meddle with his person.

By this time a crowd of some two or three hundred persons had assembled, all sympathizers with Henry Rogers, and murmuring their disapproval of the ejectment.

Henry, from his window, called out that the Lord Chancellor had made an unjust decree.

Tillie replied that Henry Rogers might appeal against the decision, but surrender the house he must.

Rogers, in reply, fired, and, as the under-sheriff stated, "burned his wig and singed his face."

This so frightened Tillie that he withdrew, and sent to Helston for some soldiers; and Captain Sadler, then in charge of the military there, despatched some to his aid.

So reinforced, on the morrow Tillie went again to[Pg 366] Skewis, and found the door shut, and a hole cut in it, with a gun-barrel protruding.

Again the under-sheriff demanded admittance, and for reply the gun was fired, and a bailiff named William Carpenter was mortally wounded. Another gun was then discharged, and Hatch, the under-sheriff's servant, was struck. Anne Rogers, the plaintiff, was in the rear animating the soldiers against the occupants of the house. Mrs. Henry Rogers was within, loading and serving out the guns to her husband and to his servant John Street. A soldier was shot in the groin, and two other men were wounded. Thereupon the soldiers fired upon the house, and though the bullets flew in at the window, none of those within were hurt.

Woolsten, the soldier shot in the groin, was taken to the rear, where he died. A bullet whizzed through Stephen Tillie's hat. Discretion is the better part of valour. Accordingly the under-sheriff gave orders to beat a retreat, and like the King of France's men who marched up a hill and then marched down again, Tillie and his posse of bailiffs and military retired from the battlefield, carrying their dead and wounded, without having effected an entry. In a kindly spirit Rogers offered Tillie a dram, but the under-sheriff's courage was too much quailed to allow him to draw near enough to accept the hospitable offer.

Indeed, it took Mr. Tillie nine months to gather up sufficient courage to resume the attack, and then not till he had ordered up cannon from Pendennis Castle. On the former occasion there had been at least ten soldiers under the command of an officer. Within the house were only Henry Rogers, his wife, his small children, and his servant-man.

On March 16th, in the year following, another party[Pg 367] was sent to apprehend Rogers and take possession of the house. On this occasion, apparently Mr. Stephen Tillie did not put in his appearance, but left the duty to be discharged by the constables. Henry Rogers was prepared for them, and fired, when one named Andrew Willis, alias Tubby, was shot dead. Rogers then, with the utmost coolness, came out of the door and walked round the man he had shot, and again on this occasion offered the besiegers a drink. The besiegers then retired, but not till a second man had been shot.

During the night Henry Rogers effected his escape. He travelled on foot to Salisbury, with the intention of making his case known to the King.

Sir John S. Aubyn, of Clowance, now took an active part in endeavouring to secure the fugitive, and handbills descriptive of Rogers were circulated along the road to London, whither it was known he was making his way. Near Salisbury a postboy, driving homewards a return post-chaise, was accosted by a stout man walking with a gun in his hand, who requested to be given a lift. The boy drove him to the inn, where he procured a bed; but the circumstances and description had excited strong suspicion, and he was secured in his sleep. The prisoner was removed to Cornwall. He and his man Street were tried at the assizes at Launceston on August 1st, 1735, were both found guilty of murder, and were both hanged.

It is not possible to withhold sympathy from both men, especially Street, who acted on the belief that it was his duty to be true to his master, and to defend him and his property to the utmost.

Mr. Davies Gilbert gives the minutes of an interesting conversation he had with the son of Henry Rogers who was hanged.

[Pg 368]

"On the 30th October, 1812, I called on Mr. Henry Rogers, formerly a saddler at Penzance, but then residing there in great poverty, being supported by a small allowance from a club, and by half a crown a week given him by the Corporation, nominally for yielding up the possession of a house, but in truth to prevent his becoming a common pauper.

"Mr. Henry Rogers was then eighty-four years of age and remembered the unfortunate transactions at Skewis perfectly well; he was between seven and eight years old at the time. He recollected going out with his father into the court after there had been some firing. His father had a gun in his hand, and inquired what they wanted. On this his father was fired at, and had a snuff-box and powder-horn broken in his pocket by a ball, whilst he stood on the other side.

"He recollected that whilst he was in bed, several balls came in through the windows of the room, and after striking the wall rolled about on the floor.

"One brother and a sister, who were in the house, went out to inquire what was wanted of their father, and they were not permitted to return.

"On the last night, no one remained in the house but his father, himself, and the servant-maid. In the middle of the night they all went out, and got some distance from the house. In crossing a field, however, they were met by two soldiers, who inquired their business. The maid answered that they were looking for a cow, when they were permitted to proceed. The soldiers had their arms, and his father had his gun. The maid and himself were left at a farmhouse in the neighbourhood, and Mr. Rogers proceeded on his way towards London."

The authorities for the story of the siege of Skewis[Pg 369] are: Richard Hooker's Weekly Miscellany, 9 August, 1735; George Harris's Life of Lord Chancellor Hardwick, I, pp. 295-303; Caulfield's Portraits of Remarkable Persons, 1813; and Davies Gilbert's Parochial History of Cornwall.

[Pg 370]


Lanarth, in the parish of S. Keverne, in the Lizard district, was for many generations the residence of the family of Sands. The family was not represented at the Heralds' Visitation of 1620, and did not record its arms and pedigree, but was nevertheless regarded in the eighteenth century as "gentle," and was united to other families of respectability.

Sampson Sands, who died in 1696, was married to Jane, daughter of John Coode, of Breage, but he died without issue and left his estate to his brother's son, John Sands, married to a daughter of Hamley, of S. Neot.

This John Sands, one afternoon in January, 1702-3, and seven other persons, men and women, of S. Keverne, were returning from Falmouth in a fishing boat of about five tons burden, without deck or covering, after having done their marketing at a fair there.

When they had got to sea, about a league from the mouth of the Fal and about two leagues off S. Keverne, suddenly there rose a storm of wind from the west, and the sea rising and rolling in great crested waves round the terrible points of the Manacles, the rowers were unable to make headway against it. If they could not reach Porthoustock, for which they were bound, they hoped at least to run into Porthallow. But even this they were unable to effect. The fury of[Pg 371] the blast and the great masses of water heaved against the little boat made progress impossible, and they resolved on running back into Falmouth harbour. Accordingly the vessel was turned, but the raging wind and sea and the tide setting out from the land swept them from the coast. Moreover, the short winter day was closing in. The sun went down behind a wild and inky bank of cloud, and speedily night set in dark and terrible. The unfortunate boatload of marketers could do no more than invoke God's protection, and bail out the water as fast as it poured over the gunwale. The oars were shipped, and the boatmen declared that there was nothing to be done but to let loose the helm and allow the boat to drive.

The night was cold as well as tempestuous. On the blast of the wind came down torrents of rain. The men and women alike laboured hard to cast out of the boat the water that poured in. For sixteen hours darkness lasted. How may each have said with Gonzalo: "Now would I give a thousand furlongs of sea for an acre of barren ground, long heath, brown furze, anything. I would fain die a dry death." At length there rose a raw light in the south-east, against which the billows stood up black as ink. As the light grew, those in the boat found themselves encircled with sea, out of sight of land, and with the clouds scudding overhead, as if running a race. The storm continued all that day and the night following. Not only so, but also the third day and night the battle with the influx of water continued. There was no sleep for any; all had to fight the water for their lives. Happily they were not starving, for Mr. Sands had taken over to Falmouth in the boat a woman, the taverner's wife of the "Three Tuns," who had brought[Pg 372] with her from Falmouth a shilling's worth of bread and three or four gallons of brandy. On this they subsisted.

On the fourth day in the morning, the gale abated, and at ten o'clock land was descried. Forthwith the rowers bent to their oars and steered towards it. When the whole party landed they discovered that they had been wafted over to the coast of Normandy; and they found themselves on French soil at the time that Queen Anne was engaged in war with Louis XIV. Marlborough had been in the Netherlands, and had reduced Venloo, Ruremonde, and the citadel of Liége. At sea Rooke had captured six vessels and sunk thirteen at Vigo, and Admiral Benbow had done wonders against a French fleet in the West Indies. The French were sore and irritated. So soon as Mr. Sands and his little party stepped on shore they were encountered by several men armed, who demanded who they were. They replied that they were English. One of the party stopping them understood our language, and inquired the occasion of these visitors landing on the enemy's shores, and by what expedient they had come over. They replied, and gave an account of their perilous voyage of three nights and four days.

Upon this a gentleman of the company asked Mr. Sands from what part of England he came, and when he replied that they were all from Cornwall, the same gentleman inquired further whether the leader of the party was named Sands; to this he replied, in some surprise, that he was.

"Then, monsieur," said the Frenchman, "I know you, and I can well remember your kindness and hospitality when I was wrecked off the Lizard some years ago. Then you received me into your house, and entertained me most generously."

[Pg 373]

This was an unexpected and welcome encounter. The gentleman then required the party to surrender what arms and money they had with them, and Mr. Sands handed over forty guineas that he had received at Falmouth for pilchards just before he was driven out to sea in the boat. He and his companions were required to yield themselves prisoners of war; and Mr. Sands was received into the gentleman's home. All next day were brought before a magistrate and examined, and orders were given that they should not be kept in custody as prisoners of war, but should be permitted to go about at liberty, and beg alms of the people. And the kind-hearted Normandy peasants and gentlemen showed them great favour, and supplied all their pressing wants.

The news of the event not only flew over the country, but reached the ears of the King, who thereupon ordered that the whole party should be sent back to England by the first transport ship for prisoners of war; which happened soon after.

Mr. Sands took leave of his kind host in whose house he had been hospitably entertained, and begged him to accept the forty guineas as some acknowledgment of his kindness. This, however, the gentleman refused to do, saying that he would take nothing at his hands, since God in such a wonderful manner had preserved him and his companions from the perils of the deep. Then Mr. Sands pressed five guineas on the wife of his host, begging her with that sum to purchase something which might remind her of him and his party; and this she reluctantly received.

So they parted, and all went on board a transport ship and were safely landed at Portsmouth; and in eight weeks after their departure from England returned to S. Keverne, to the great joy and surprise of[Pg 374] their friends and relations, who had concluded that all of them had been drowned.

The Rev. Sampson Sandys was grandson of the gentleman who was carried over to France, as described. He lived at Lanarth to a great age. His daughter Eleanor married Admiral James Kempthorne, r.n. He was succeeded at Lanarth by his nephew, William Sandys, a colonel in the army of the East India Company, who rebuilt the house. It must be added that the original name of the family was not Sandys but Sands, and that it assumed the former name as more euphonious and as supposing a connection which, however, has not been proved to exist, with Lord Sandys of The Vine, and Ombersley, Worcestershire, and the Cumberland family of Graythwaite. At the same time, it assumed the arms of the same distinguished family, or, a fesse dancetté between three crosses crosslet fichée gules.

[Pg 375]


This, one of the sweetest tenor singers England has produced, was born at S. Keverne in Cornwall, in 1764, and was the son of a petty local surgeon and apothecary practising there.

At the age of seven he was introduced by Mr. Snow, one of the minor canons of Exeter Cathedral, to the organist, then named Langdon, and he afterwards became the pupil of William Jackson the composer, who was for many years organist of the cathedral. Jackson took great notice of the boy, and made him sing his own compositions at concerts in the city. On one occasion, when the assizes were on at Exeter, Judge Nares attended in state at the morning service in the cathedral, when Incledon sang the solo "Let my soul love," in the anthem, "Let my complaint come before Thee, O Lord," with such effect and beauty that the tears rolled down the judge's cheeks, and at the conclusion of Divine service he sent for the boy and presented him with five guineas.

Incledon was wont, on summer evenings, to seat himself on a rail in the cathedral close and sing, to the delight of an audience that always collected as soon as his bird-like voice was heard. On one such occasion he was singing the song "When I was a shepherd's maid," from The Padlock, when a gentleman in regimentals stepped forward and asked his name. Next day this officer, the Hon. Mr. Trevor, called on Jackson[Pg 376] and asked permission to take the lad with him to Torquay, where he was going to visit Commodore Walsingham of the Thunderer, and he desired to give his friend and all on board ship the pleasure of hearing Incledon sing. Permission was accorded, and the boy was on board the vessel for three days, and sang several nautical and other songs, beginning with "Blow high, blow low." The Commodore was so delighted that he wrote to Incledon's parents and asked that the lad might be placed under him in the vessel; but the mother declined, and well was it that she did, for the Thunderer went down in a storm in the West Indies, and all hands on board were lost.

The kind reception accorded to Charles Incledon on board induced him to harbour the resolution to become a sailor, and accompanied by a fellow chorister, and carrying a bundle of linen, he ran away, hoping to reach Plymouth; but he was overtaken and brought back, and as a punishment was not allowed to wear his surplice in choir for a week.

But when his voice broke, then he was allowed to follow his bent, and he embarked on board the Formidable under Captain Stanton, and remained in her two years, till, disabled by a wound, he was left at Plymouth, and on his recovery was placed in a vessel commanded by Lord Harvey, afterwards Earl of Bristol. With this nobleman he sailed to Sta. Lucia, where the whole fleet was at anchor. Whilst there, Lord Harvey gave a dinner on board to his fellow commanders and other officers. At the same time the sailors before the mast enjoyed themselves with grog and songs. When Incledon sang, the lieutenant on deck ran to the cabin where the officers were regaling themselves, and told them that they had a nightingale on board, and would do well to hear it sing. Lord Harvey at once proceeded[Pg 377] to the quarter-deck, heard Incledon sing the fine old traditional ballad, "'Twas Thursday in the Morn," and was so impressed that he bade him at once change his apparel and come to the state cabin. He did so and sang there "The Fight of the Monmouth and Foudroyant," "Rule Britannia," and some of Jackson's favourite canzonets. The officers applauded enthusiastically, and jocularly appointed him Singer to the British Fleet. He was released from the performance of manual duty, and sent for to assist at every entertainment that succeeded. He rose high in the favour of Admiral Pigot, the Commander-in-Chief, and made numerous friends and patrons.

Mr. Incledon, as Macheath

Singleton pinx.                                          J. Thomson Sculp.

Mr. Incledon, as Macheath

But now again, my spirits sink,
I'll raise them high with wine. [Drinks]
Beggars Opera Act 3 Scene 3

Engraved for the Theatrical Inquisitor
London Published Novr. 1st. 1816, by C. Chapple Pall Mall.

In 1782 Incledon was in the engagement between the English fleet under Admiral Sir George Bridges, afterwards Lord Rodney, and the French fleet commanded by the Count de Grasse, when the former gained a complete victory.

At the expiration of the war Incledon was discharged at Chatham and proceeded to London, with strong recommendations from Lord Mulgrave and others to Mr. Colman of the Haymarket Theatre. Colman received him coldly, and gave him no hopes of an engagement. Then he went to Southampton, where he obtained an engagement at ten shillings and sixpence a week. But soon after, owing to some dispute, he left the company and went to Salisbury with a travelling company, and fell into great poverty and misery. However, he succeeded in obtaining an engagement at Bath with Mr. Palmer, the well-known theatrical manager, and the man who introduced mail-coaches into England. Here he received thirty shillings a week. He attracted the attention of Ranzzini, the arbiter of the musical entertainments at Bath; and this able man gave him valuable instruction in scientific[Pg 378] singing. One evening, hearing Incledon sing Handel's "Total Eclipse," the Italian was so delighted that, catching hold of his hand, he left the piano, and leading him to the front of the platform exclaimed, "Ladies an jentleman, dis is my scholar!"

Thomas Harris, hearing him at Bath, proposed that he should sing and act at Covent Garden Theatre, and engaged him for three years at six, seven, and eight pounds a week. Hardly was this agreement made, when Linley, of Drury Lane, offered him twelve pounds a week, and to retain him for five years. But, although only a verbal agreement had been entered into with Harris, Incledon, to his honour, rejected the offer of Linley. It was unfortunate in more ways than one, as he would have profited by Linley's exquisite taste and instruction, as well as have earned nearly double what Harris offered. Moreover, he was very badly treated at Covent Garden, and often not given parts in which he could do himself justice. In 1809 came a rupture, and the managers dismissed him, and Incledon quitted London on a provincial tour. After two years he was re-engaged by Harris, at a salary of seventeen pounds a week, for a term of five years; but he stipulated that he should be given such rôles as suited him. This engagement was not fulfilled, and a fresh quarrel ensued that led to a final rupture at the end of three years, and he quitted Covent Garden for ever, refusing even to sing in the Oratorios performed there during Lent.

He had made his first appearance at Covent Garden in October, 1790, as Dermont in The Poor Soldier, by Shield. His vocal endowments were certainly great; he had a voice of uncommon power and sweetness, both in the natural and falsetto. The former was from A to G, a compass of about fourteen[Pg 379] notes; the latter he could use from D to E or even F, or about ten notes. His natural voice was full and open, and of such ductility, that when he sang pianissimo it retained its original quality. His falsetto was rich, sweet, and brilliant, and totally unlike the other. He could use it with facility, and execute in it ornaments of a certain class with volubility and sweetness. His shake was good, and his intonation much more correct than is common to singers so imperfectly educated. But he never quite got over his West-country pronunciation. His strong point was the ballad, and that not the modern sentimental composition, but of the robust old school. When Ranzzini first heard him at Bath, rolling his voice upwards like a surge of the sea, till, touching the top note, it expired in sweetness, he exclaimed in rapture, "Corpo di Dio! it was ver' lucky dere vas some roof above or you would be heard by de angels in Heaven, and make dem jealous."

Incledon himself used to tell a story of the effect he produced upon Mrs. Siddons: "She paid me one of the finest compliments I ever received. I sang 'The Storm' after dinner; she cried and sobbed like a child. Taking both my hands, she said: 'All that I and my brother ever did is nothing to the effect you produce.'"

"I remember," says William Robson, in The Old Playgoer, "when the élite of taste and science and literature were assembled to pay the well-deserved compliment of a dinner to John Kemble, and to present him with a handsome piece of plate on his retirement, Incledon sang, when requested, his best song, 'The Storm.' The effect was sublime, the silence holy, the feeling intense; and while Talma was recovering from his astonishment, Kemble placed his hand on the arm of the great French actor, and said in an agitated,[Pg 380] emphatic, and proud tone, 'That is an English singer.'" Marsden adds that Talma jumped up from his seat and embraced him.

Incledon sang with great feeling, and in "The Storm" he was able to throw his whole heart into the ballad, for not only had he encountered many a storm at sea, but he had been shipwrecked on a passage from Liverpool to Dublin, on the bar. Some of those on board were lost, but he saved himself and his wife by drawing her up to the round-top and lashing her and himself to it. From this perilous position, after a duration of several hours, they were rescued by some fishermen who saw the wreck from the shore.

Incledon belonged in town to "The Glee Club," composed of Shield, Bannister, Dignum, himself, and one or two others. It met on Sunday evenings during the season at the Garrick Coffee House, in Bow Street, once a fortnight. At one of these little gatherings Incledon was amusingly hoaxed. Though an admirable singer, he was a shockingly bad actor. When he came in one of the party informed him that an intended musical performance for a charitable purpose, in which he, Incledon, was to sing, had been abandoned, on account of the Bishop of London objecting to an actor performing in church. Incledon, who was an extremely irritable man, broke out in a violent strain, conceiving the word actor to have been employed as a term of reproach, and addressing himself to Bannister, said with great vehemence, "There, Charles, do you hear that?" "Why," said Bannister, "if I were you, I'd make his lordship prove his words."

Incledon one day was at Tattersall's, when Suett, the actor, also happened to be there, and asked him whether he had come to buy a horse. "Yes," said Charles, "I have. I must ride, it is good for my[Pg 381] health. But why are you here, Dickey? Do you think that you know the difference between a horse and an ass?"

"Oh, yes," replied the comedian. "If you were among a thousand horses, I would know you immediately."

There was a public-house in Bow Street called "The Brown Bear," which was famous for a compound liquor, a mixture of beer, eggs, sugar, and brandy. Incledon and Jack Johnstone were partial to this, and frequently indulged themselves with it during the evening at the theatre, and, as a jest, occasionally obtained it in the following manner. When there happened to be several ladies of the theatre in the green-room, they took that opportunity to represent to them the hard case of the widow of a provincial actor, left with her children in great distress, and to solicit from them a few shillings to enable them to purchase some flannel during that inclement season. Having obtained contributions, they despatched the dresser to "The Brown Bear" for a quart of egg-hot, and had the modesty not to drink it all themselves, but to present a glass to each of the females who had subscribed, requesting them to drink to the health of the widow and the flannel. When Incledon and Johnstone had practised this trick several times, Quick, the comedian of the same theatre, bribed the dresser to infuse into the mixture a dose of ipecacuanha, and that brought the joke to an end. But the mixture thenceforth, without the last ingredient, was popularly called Flannel.

Incledon was a notoriously vain man. Vanity was his besetting sin. "In pronouncing his own name," says Mr. Matthews, "he believed he described all that was admirable in human nature. It would happen,[Pg 382] however, that this perpetual veneration of self laid him open to many effects which, to any man less securely locked and bolted in his own conceit, would have opened the door to his understanding. But he had no room there for other than what it naturally contained; and the bump of content was all-sufficient to fill the otherwise aching void. Incledon called himself the 'English Ballad Singer' per se; a distinction he would not have exchanged for the highest in the realm of talent. Among many self-deceptions arising out of his one great foible, he was impressed with the belief that he was a reading man."

One day Matthews found him in his house deep in study. Incledon looked up at his visitor, and said, "My dear Matthews, I'm improving my mind. I'm reading a book that should be in the hands of every father and husband."

"What is it, Charles?" asked Matthews, and leaning over him saw that it was a volume of the Newgate Calendar!

It had become a habit, during a fagging run of a new opera at Covent Garden Theatre one season, for certain performers to club a batch or so of Madeira, of which they took a glass to their dressing-rooms. Incledon was continually finding fault with the quality, and praising up his own private stock of the same wine. At the close of the season, his brother actors had become weary of Incledon's grumbling over the Madeira, which they knew to be excellent. One night a fellow-actor, seeing a large key lying upon Incledon's dressing-table, labelled "Cellar," and Incledon happening at the time to be engaged on the stage till the end of the opera, despatched the dresser to Brompton Crescent with the key, with a request to Mrs. Incledon from her husband that she would send one dozen of[Pg 383] his best Madeira by the bearer. Mrs. Incledon, wholly unsuspicious of any trick, did so. When Incledon left the stage, the confederates told him that they had got fresh and very first-rate Madeira now, as he had disliked what had been provided before. Incledon took a glass, made a wry face, took another, and said, "Beastly stuff! Never in my life tasted such cheap, vile stuff."

"Sorry, Incledon, you do not appreciate your own Madeira."

Incledon drank pretty heavily, but did not get drunk. Here is a bill for a slight evening collation at the Orange Coffee House, for him and two friends:

    £ s. d.
Mr. Shield, Welsh Rabbit 0 1 0
" 2 glasses of Brandy and water 0 2 0
Mr. Parke, Welsh Rabbit 0 1 0
" 2 glasses of Brandy and water 0 2 0
Mr. Incledon, Welsh Rabbit 0 1 0
" 2 bottles of Madeira 1 4 0

Parke, in his Musical Memoirs, relates an instance of Incledon's selfishness. He says of him that he was a singular compound of contrarieties, amongst which frugality and extravagance were conspicuous. "Mr. Shield the composer, Incledon, and I, lived for many years a good deal together. On one occasion Shield and myself dined with Incledon at his house in Brompton in the month of February. When I had arrived there, Incledon said to me, 'Bill, do you like ducks?' Conceiving, from the snow lying on the ground, that he meant wild ones, I replied, 'Yes, I like a good wild duck very well.' 'D—— wild ducks!' said he: 'I mean tame ducks, my boy'; adding, 'I bought a couple in town for which I gave eighteen shillings.' Soon afterwards a letter arrived, announcing that Mr. Raymond,[Pg 384] the stage-manager of Drury Lane Theatre, who was to have been of the party, could not come; in consequence of which, I presume, only one duck was placed on the dinner table, with some roast beef, etc. When Mrs. Incledon (who, as well as her husband, was fond of good living) had carved the duck, like a good wife she helped her husband to the breast part and to one of the wings, taking at the same time the other wing to herself, reserving for Shield and me the two legs and the back. Shield, who looked a little awkward at this specimen of selfishness and ill-manners, at first refused the limb offered to him, and I had declined taking the other: there appeared to be but a poor prospect of the legs walking off, till Shield relented and took one, and Incledon the other, so that they were speedily out of sight. The back, however, remained behind, and afforded a titbit for the servants."

On another occasion he was giving a dinner party, and a dish was brought to table heaped up, apparently, with fresh herrings. All the company, except Incledon and his wife, partook of these fish; some were helped a second time. When the herrings had been cleared away, there appeared beneath one fine white fish. "My dear," said Incledon, "what can that be?" "I believe it is a John Dory, Charles."

Some of the John Dory was offered to the company, but they had eaten enough fish, and so Incledon and his wife ate the John Dory between them.

Incledon, whilst very willing to hoax others, was easily taken in himself. As his dependence was entirely on his voice, he was very apprehensive of catching cold, which, in consequence, rendered him the occasional dupe of quackery.

During Mr. Kemble's management of Covent[Pg 385] Garden Theatre, one of the wags among his fellow-actors informed him that a patent lozenge had just been invented and sold only at a jeweller's in Bond Street, which was an infallible cure for hoarseness. In order that he might the more readily take the bait, he was told that Kemble made frequent use of it. Incledon immediately inquired of the great actor, who very gravely answered, "Oh, yes, Charles; the patent lozenge is an admirable thing. I have derived the greatest benefit from it, when I kept it in my mouth all night."

Incledon accordingly went to Bond Street to purchase the valuable lozenge, and the man, who had been previously instructed, gave him a small pebble in a pill-box. Incledon arrived at the theatre next day with the stone in his mouth and spitting frequently. He was, of course, asked if the patent lozenge did him any good. "Yes," replied he, spitting; "I kept it in my mouth (spitting) all night, and (spitting again) it has this remarkable property, that it does not dissolve," and he spat again. The wag requested to see it, and the production of the pebble provoked a general laugh.

"Why, Charles," said Kemble, "this is a stone! I meant a patent lozenge. You should have gone to an apothecary's and not to a jeweller's for it."

Incledon, when he found that he was hoaxed, was full of wrath; his anger, however, soon subsided.

"Well," said he, "I can't grumble, for an apothecary who pretended to have supplied the jeweller with the lozenge, and who has received from me a letter belauding the nostrum, has undertaken in return to dispose of forty pounds' worth of tickets for my benefit."

On the occasion of this, or some other benefit, he could not refrain from going every morning to the box-office[Pg 386] to see how many places were taken; and a week before the last, observing the names to be few besides those of his own private friends, he said to the box-keeper, Brandon, "D—— it, Jem, if the nobility don't come forward, I shall cut but a poor figure this time."

"Don't be afraid," said Brandon; "I dare say we shall do a good deal for you to-day."

"I hope so," replied Incledon, "and as I go home to dinner I will look in again."

Incledon, who was not very familiar with Debrett's Peerage, returning at five o'clock in the afternoon, hastened to the book, and read aloud the following fictitious names, which Brandon, by way of a joke, had put down in his absence: "The Marquis of Piccadilly," "The Duke of Windsor."

"Ah, ha!" exclaimed Incledon, "that must be one of the Royal Family."

"Lord Highgate"—"The Bishop of Gravesend." "Well," said he to Brandon, quite delighted, "if we get on as well to-morrow as we have to-day, I shall have a number of distinguished titles present."

Parke says of him: "Amongst other singularities, Incledon was restless, and could not stay long in a place. Having, with his wife, dined at my house, in the evening, whilst the party were engaged at cards, he absented himself for a considerable time; and, Mrs. Incledon noticing it particularly, I was induced to go and look for him. Tracing him by his voice, I found him in the kitchen, helping the maids to pick parsley, which was preparing for supper."

Parke adds: "As a ballad singer he was unrivalled, and his manner of singing sea songs, particularly Gay's 'Black-eyed Susan,' 'The Storm,' by Alexander Stevens, and Shield's 'Heaving of the Lead,' can only be appreciated by those who have heard him.

[Pg 387]

"Though he evinced a strong propensity to wine, he never appeared to be intoxicated by it. Dining with a party at his house, where he had just recovered from a very severe indisposition, and was, as he said, advised by his physician to be very abstemious, he sometimes after dinner, while his friends were drinking port wine, had a second black bottle placed before him, which I conceived to contain some very light beverage suited to his case, till he said to me in an under tone, 'Bill, take a glass of this,' pointing to his black bottle, which I did, and found it to be Madeira."

During the summer Incledon made provincial tours, giving entertainments moulded on those of Dibdin, and these were very successful financially.

After quitting Covent Garden he performed at concerts and in minor theatres. In 1817 he sailed for America, where he was received with great enthusiasm, and realized handsome profits.

His last appearance in London was under Ellison at Drury Lane in 1820, and his last appearance on any stage was at Southampton, where he had first appeared behind the footlights. This was on October 20th in the same year. He resided towards the end of his days at Brighton, where he was afflicted with a slight paralytic affliction, from the effects of which he recovered; and in February, 1826, being at Worcester, he experienced a second attack, which proved fatal, and he died on February 14th in the sixty-eighth year of his age. His remains were conveyed from Worcester to Highgate, where they were interred.

[Pg 388]


Richard Coryton, eldest son of Peter Coryton of West Newton Ferrers, in the parish of S. Mellion, had married Ann, daughter of Richard Coode, of Morval, and by her had three sons, Peter, Richard, and John.

Peter, the grandfather, died on 24th March, 1551, but his son Richard died a violent death in a tragic manner in 1565. Peter, the younger and heir apparent, was intent on marrying Jane, the daughter of John Wrey, of Northrussell, but for some reason unexplained his father Richard took a violent dislike to the proposed daughter-in-law, and when his son persisted in desiring to have her as his wife, the father flew into a violent passion and swore that if he took her he would disinherit him of all the lands he could, and would give to him only a younger son's portion, constituting Richard head of the family.

Peter remained firm—he was then in London at the Court, and the father at once made ready to leave Newton Ferrers and take his journey to London and disinherit his son if he found that the marriage was still insisted on. But on the eve of his starting, as he was walking in the grounds of Newton Ferrers, he was suddenly fallen upon by two scoundrels named Bartlett and Baseley, who owed him a grudge over some matter that is not mentioned, and they cut his throat.

[Pg 389]

Bartlett and Baseley were apprehended and brought to Launceston before the sheriff, Mr. Trevanion, and were found guilty; but he could not believe that they were revenging some private wrong, and as the matter of dispute between father and son was well known, and it was known as well that Richard was about to disinherit his eldest son, a strong suspicion was entertained by Trevanion that the murder had been committed at the instigation of the son, and he gave the men hopes of a reprieve—if not of a pardon—if they would reveal the name of the man who had urged them to commit this dreadful crime. He behaved, it must be seen, in a most unfair manner, hinting his suspicions to the two wretches and giving them no peace till they declared that they had been set on by Mr. Peter Coryton to murder his father.

As Peter Coryton was in town, the two criminals were sent to Newgate to be confronted with him there. Whether he was arrested on the charge of having instigated the murder of his father does not appear, but it is probable.

However, if that were the case, his detention was not for long, as both murderers recanted when in London. The following curious deed of "Evidence concerning the murder of Mr. Coryton" is preserved in Pentillie Castle.

"To all true Xtian people to whom this present writing shall come, or shall see, hear or read, Sir Richard Champion, Knt., Lord Mayor, and the Aldermen of the City of London send greeting in our Lord God everlasting.

"Forasmuch as among other, the great and manifold deeds and works of piety and charity, the witnessing and declaration of the truth of all matters in question, ambiguity or doubt is not to be accounted the[Pg 390] least, but rather as a choice virtue and means whereby the truth, tho' many times suppressed for a season, doth the rather appear brought forth into the sight and knowledge of men is with the choicest to be embraced, extolled, and commended.

"We therefore, the said Lord Mayor and Aldermen, do signify and declare unto all your honours and worships, unto whom it shall appertain, and to every of the same, that the days of the date of these presents hereunder written, there did appear and come personally before us, the said Mayor and Aldermen, in the Queen's Majesty's Court, holden before the said Lord Mayor and Aldermen, in the outer chamber of the Guildhall of the said City, the Deponents hereunder named, who, upon their own free will, without any manner of coercion and constraint, upon their corporate oaths upon the holy evangelists of Almighty God, then and there severally before us taken and made and exactly examined by one of the clerks of the said Court, said and deposed in all things as hereafter word for word ensueth.

"John Philpott, clerk, Parson of S. Michael in Cornhill of London, aged 29 years or thereabout, deposed, sworn and examined, the day hereunder written, saith and deposeth upon his oath that on the ninth of November last, upon a Saturday, about four of the clock in the afternoon, but what day of the week it was he doth not now remember—this examinate was required by Mr. Howes, one of the Sheriffs of London, and in the name of the other sheriff,[26] that he would go unto Newgate, and there to examine one Rafe Bartlett, prisoner within the same place, who was then very sick and like to die, to the intent to understand of him whether one Peter Curryngton, whom before he had[Pg 391] accused for the murder of his own father, were culpable therein or no. Whereupon this examinate went to the said gaol of Newgate, and by the way he did meet with two ministers, the one named Edward Wilkinson, and the other John Brown, whom he desired to go with him, who went with him accordingly, and coming to the aforesaid gaol of Newgate, he desired the keeper that they might talk with the said Bartlett, and the said keeper went down with them into the prison, and brought them unto him, and there finding him very sore sick, persuaded with him, for that he was more like to die than live, in discharge of his conscience, as he would answer before God, to declare unto them whether that the aforesaid Peter Curryngton, whom he had accused to be privy and procurer of him and one Baseley to do the same murder were true Yea or No.

"Whereupon he confessed and said that he had most untruly accused the said Peter Curryngton, for he was never privy, nor knew of it, but that it was he himself and the said Baseley, without the knowledge of any other, and declared the cause why they had so accused him was, for that after they were found guilty for the same matter, the Sheriff of Cornwall did examine them if there were any other privy or procuring to the same murder; and they agreed together to the intent to preserve their lives, or at the least to prolong the same, falsely to accuse the said Peter Curryngton; and the same Bartlett showed himself very sorry and repentant for his said accusation, saying, 'Think you that Mr. Curryngton will forgive me?'

"And this examinate answered him, 'There is no doubt he will, for otherwise he is not of God.' Wherewith he seemed to be satisfied. And this examinate saith that the said Bartlett died within two or three days[Pg 392] after; and going from him up the stairs, he, the examinate and the others were brought unto the aforesaid Baseley, who confessed and declared unto them in everything the innocency of the said Peter Curryngton, concerning the same murder, and that it was he and the said Bartlett that committed the same without the knowledge or consent of any other; and that they did accuse him for the purpose afore alleged, by the said Bartlett, and more in effect this examinate cannot say.

"Edward Wilkinson of London, Clerk, Parson of the parish church of S. Antonine in London, aged 33 years or thereabout, deposed, sworn and examined, the said day and year hereunder written, saith and deposeth upon his oath, about November last, the exact time the examinate remembereth not, he did meet one Mr. Philpott, parson of S. Michael in Cornhill, in Cheapside, who desired this examinate that he would go back with him to Newgate, who did so, and by the way as they went, they met with Master Brown, a minister, who likewise went with them to Newgate, and the deposition of the foresaid Mr. Philpott, being unto him read, and he, well perusing and understanding the same, saith and deposeth that all the matter declared and spoken by the said Bartlett, as it is contained in the deposition of the said Master Philpott, is very true in all things, and was spoken in the presence and hearing of this examinate, and further, this examinate saith that the words likewise spoken and declared by the said Baseley, named in the said deposition of the said Master Philpott, are likewise very true, and were in the presence and hearing of this examinate. And further, this examinate saith that he did persuade and exhort the said Baseley, saying unto him, 'Take good heed that you do not lie. You have already murdered one, you have falsely accused another, and you seem to[Pg 393] slander the Sheriff (of Cornwall).' And the said Baseley answered, 'The truth is, Master Sheriff bade me devise some way to save myself, and I said I could not tell how,—and he said the way (to do so) was to accuse some other. And he examined me whether there was any one privy or procuring the said murder, beside ourselves, saying unto me, "You could not do it alone. There be divers of the Curryngtons. Was there none of them privy or consenting to the same? You are best to advise and consider yourself, for the telling the truth in accusation of others, might be the way to save their (i.e. your own) lives." Whereupon I returned to the said Bartlett and conferred with him, and we did agree together falsely to accuse Peter Curryngton, for the saving of our own lives'; which accusation was untrue, and that the said Peter Curryngton was very ignorant and innocent of the same murder; and that he was sorry and did repent that he had accused him untruly. And more he cannot say.

"Edmund Marner, citizen of London and keeper of the Gaol of Newgate, aged forty-five years or thereabout, deposed, etc. ... saith and deposeth upon his oath that the 15th day of November last past, being Saturday, John Philpott, clerk, etc., Edward Wilkinson and John Brown, ministers, came to the gaol of Newgate from the Sheriff of London, by a token, to this examinate, to speak with one Rafe Bartlett, prisoner there, being very sore sick."

The deposition of the gaoler was merely a confirmation of what had been deposed by the two previous witnesses.

"William Margytte, of London, Clerk, Reader of the Morning Prayer in the Parish of S. Sepulchre, and Ordinary for the Bishop of London, of the gaol of Newgate, aged forty years, deposed, sworn, and[Pg 394] examined, etc., that about September last past, one Richard Baseley, then being prisoner in Newgate, and very sore sick, and like to die, did send for this examinate, to speak with him, and this examinate coming unto him, he said, 'This is the cause that I send for you. I am very sore sick, and more like to die than to live, and I think I shall not escape this sicknesse, and if I do, yet I must die for the law, for I and one of my neighbours did murder Master Curryngton, which I do not much repent. But the very cause that I sent for you is to be a means to Peter Curryngton, his son, whom I have accused to be privy and procuring of the same murder, that he would forgive me, for I have falsely accused him. For as I trust to be saved by Christ, he is utterly ignorant of the same murder, and there was none privy to the same but he, the said Baseley himself, and the said Bartlett, who committed the same.' And this examinate demanded of him why he did accuse Peter Curryngton. And he said that the cause was that after they were found guilty of the murder, Mr. Trevannyon, Sheriff of Cornwall, came unto and examined him, as to who was privy to the murder more than they; saying that they being so simple would not do the same without assistance; saying further that if he would confess the truth as to who helped or procured them to do the same, he would cause his chain to be stricken off, and carry him home with him at night, and would save his life, though it cost him (sum illegible), and thereupon in hope of life he did accuse the said Peter Curryngton falsely and wrongfully; and thereupon he said he would take his death. And the examinate, persuading him and advising him to repent and be sorry for the murder of the said Curryngton, calling to God heartily for mercy and forgiveness of the same. Which in the[Pg 395] end with much ado he seemed to be sorry for ... and also the examinate went into the same gaol at Newgate, to speak to Roll Bartlett, to understand whether it were true what the said Baseley had confessed; who declared unto the examinate, as he should answer before God, that Peter Curryngton was never privy nor of consent to the murder of his father, and that there was none privy or knew it but only he and the said Baseley; and the cause why they did kill him was for that he had misused them many ways, and also, they thought no man would be sorry for his death. And this examinate demanded of him the cause wherefore he did accuse the said Peter Curryngton, he answered, 'The fair promises of the Sheriff, and to the interest to preserve their lives, or, at least, to prolong them, was the only cause,' etc.

"In faith and testimony whereof we the said Mayor and Aldermen,—the common seal of our office of Mayoralty of the said city, to these presents, have caused to be put, written at the said city of London on the 23rd day of May, 1566, in the eighth year of the reign of our most gracious and benign Sovereign Lady Elizabeth, etc., etc."

It would appear that the murdered man had been not only a dragon in his house, but also in the entire neighbourhood, oppressing his tenants and disliked by the gentry. It is hard not to suspect that Sir Hugh Trevanion of Carhayes, who was then Sheriff of Cornwall, bore a personal grudge against Peter Coryton.

Peter, all obstacle to his marriage being removed, married the lady of his choice, and by her had three sons and six daughters. He died the 13th August, 1603.

The murderer Baseley died in Newgate, but Bartlett was sent back to Launceston and there hanged.

[Pg 396]

But this is not the "end of this shocking affair," for eighty years after the murder, John Coryton, of Probus, laid claim to the estates of the then John Coryton, of Newton Ferrers, on the plea that Peter had forfeited all rights to the inheritance because he had murdered his father.

"To the Right Hon. Houses of Parliament, now sitting at Westminster.

The Humble Petition of John Coryton of the parish of Probus, in the County of Cornwall, gent., a great sufferer for and in his Majesty's cause.

Humbly sheweth—

That yor petitioner was and is the son of Scipio Coryton, and Scipio was son of John, and John was son of Richard Coryton, Esq., of West Newton Ferrers in the said county of Cornwall, who about eighty years since was most barbarously murdered by two fellows who were maintained by the said Richard Coryton, without any cause or hurt to them, and that the said Richard having three sons, viz. Peter, the firstborn, Richard the second, John the third, your petitioner's grandfather. The said Peter his firstborn would have married with one Mr. Wrey's daughter, to wh his father would not consent, but threatened his said son that if he should marry with her that he wd disinherit him of all the lands he could. And that he, the said Peter, his firstborn, should have but a younger son's portion. The said Peter, his firstborn, insisted in the same match by continuing his suit to her. Being at the Court in London, his said father purposing his journey for London the Thursday following, to effect his said purpose of disinheriting his said son. The said Mr. Wrey living about those parts of West Newton Ferrers. The Tuesday before walking in part of his[Pg 397] said barton of West Newton, was set upon by these two fellows (their names were Bartley and Baselly) and cruelly murdered by cutting of his throat. The fellows were taken and the one died in prison, or was made away with, the other was brought to Launceston and there hanged without any confession of who set them on. One of the said Mr. Wrey's sons (viz.) Edmund, was seen at the place of execution with a black box under his arm in the sight of the malefactor, who was cast down without any confession. These murderers being gone, the said Peter married the said Mr. Wrey's daughter, and entered as heir on his father's estate with about £2000 per annum, his said brothers having nothing; he gave a living to Richard, his said brother, during his life. But your petitioner's grandfather, knowing of the wrong done him, would not take his brother's small pittance, for he always said that he had right to a greater part of the estate than he would give him. Your petitioner's grandfather marrying a gentlewoman who had a small fortune, went to law with his said brother for his part of the estate, but being not able to contend with him by reason of his small ability and the other's greatness, was forced to give over. And he continually keeped all the estate to the impoverishing of your petitioner's grandfather, and they that defended him. And your petitioner's father being not able to contend with him by reason of his poverty, leaving me, his son, in like case, being not able any other way to seek his right, but by petitioning to your Honours; your petitioner being impoverished and brought very low by following his Majesty's service all along the war in England and Ireland, and with His Highness Prince Rupert in France also, and other parts where your petitioner received many cruel wounds and many imprisonments, which I forbare to relate for burden and[Pg 398] trouble to your Honours, your petitioner and his wife being no longer able to subsist.

"These premises considered, your poor petitioner humbly begs your Honours that you will be pleased to call John Coryton, Esq., of West Newton Ferrers, the possessor of the said estates, before your Honours; or where your Honours shall think fit, to show cause why your petitioner hath not an inheritance of his said father's estate, which hath been so long kept from him, and his said father, and your petitioner shall pray, etc."

The pedigree was as follows:—

       Richard Coryton      =     Anne, dau. of Rich^d
       murdered 1565.       |      Coode of Morval.
                            |               |               |
          Jane        =  Peter Coryton.   Richard C.      John C.
       da. of John    |   d. 13 Aug.,      2nd son.       3rd son.
       Wrey, d. 1618. |     1602.                            |
                      |                                      |
                      |                                      |
              William C. = Eliz. dau. of Sir             Scipio C.
                         | John Chichester                  |
                         | of Rawleigh.                     |
                         |                                  |
              +----------+                                  |
              |                                             |
       Sir John Coryton    =  Anne, da. of J. Mills      John Coryton
       bp. July 24, 1621;  |  of Colebrook.              of Probus.
       bur. Aug. 23, 1680. |  bp. 29 Nov., 1620;
       Bart. 1661.         |  m. 27 Dec., 1643;
                           |  d. 27 Sept., 1677.

One little incident may be noted: Richard Coryton, who was murdered, was one of twenty-four children.

John Coryton of Probus got nothing by his application.

[Pg 399]


High above the Tamar where it is most tortuous, and commanding loop upon loop of this beautiful river, with the blue bank of Dartmoor standing up in the east as a rising thundercloud, stands a red-brick tower upon an elevated platform, that is reached by a flight of stone steps.

On the east side of this tower is a recess in the thickness of the wall, with stone benches, and at the back, high up, is a little window formed of two slits, through which the interior can be seen only by putting one foot on the bench and the other on a projecting corbel in the wall. What is then revealed is an interior open to the sky, and with a statue of a seated man, life size, opposite, in wig and lace steenkirk, one hand resting on his knee and the other on the arm of his chair.

There is no door of admission into the tower; a doorway has been bricked up. Formerly the tower consisted of two storeys, with a floor above the square chamber in which is the statue, and a roof over the upper apartment. But roof and floor have gone.

In the summer of 1907 the walled-up doorway had to be opened, so that a large tree might be cut down that had grown in the midst of the tower and threatened it with injury. No sooner was it bruited about that access to the interior was to be had than crowds of visitors came out from Plymouth and Devonport, expecting to be able to find within some relics of[Pg 400] Sir James Tillie, Bart., whose burial-place was the lower chamber, where now is only to be seen his statue.

Hals says, the spelling modernized: "About the year 1712 Sir James Tillie died, and, as I am informed, by his last will and testament obliged his adopted heir, one Woolley, his sister's son, not only to assume his name (having no legitimate issue), but that he should not inter his body after death in the earth, but fasten it in the chair where he died with wire—his hat, wig, rings, gloves, and best apparel on, shoes and stockings, and surround the same with an oak chest, box, or coffin, in which his books and papers should be laid, with pen and ink also—and build for the reception thereof, in a certain field of his lands, a walled vault or grot, to be arched with moorstone, in which repository it should be laid without Christian burial; for that, as he said but an hour before he died, in two years space he would be at Pentillie again; over this vault his heir likewise was obliged to build a fine chamber, and set up therein the picture of him, his lady, and adopted heir, for ever; and at the end of this vault and chamber to erect a spire or lofty monument of stone, from thence for spectators to overlook the contiguous country, Plymouth Sound and Harbour; all which, as I am told, is accordingly performed by his heir, whose successors are obliged to repair the same for ever out of his lands and rents, under penalty of losing both.

"However, I hear lately, notwithstanding this his promise of returning in two years to Pentillie, that Sir James's body is eaten out with worms, and his bones or skeleton fallen down to the ground from the chair wherein it was seated, about four years after it was set up; his wig, books, wearing apparel, also rotten in the box or chair where it was first laid."



[Pg 401]

The lower chamber, not underground, in which Sir James was seated was not vaulted over as he directed. The portraits in the upper chamber have been removed to Pentillie Castle, where they may now be seen.

But, as already intimated, the statue was erected where the body was, and beneath it is the inscription:—

This Monument is erected
In Memory
Sir James Tillie knt who dyed
15 of Novr
Anno Domini 1713
And in ye 67th year of his Age.

It is thought—but no evidence exists to show that it was so—that the bones of Sir James were collected by Mary Jemima, the last of the Tillie family and the heiress who carried Pentillie to the Coryton family about 1770, and transferred to the churchyard of S. Mellion. When the chamber was entered recently and the tree cut down and eradicated, no traces of the dead man could be found.

Hals, in his MS. History of Cornwall, says: "Pentyley a hous and church built by one Mr. James Tyley, son of ... in ye parish of S. Keverne, labourer as I am inform'd." The father's name was John. "And was placed by him a servant or horseman to Sir John Coryton, Bart., the Elder, who afterwards by his assistance learning the inferiour practice of the Lawe under an Atturney, became his Steward, in which caracter by his Care and Industry he soon grew Rich, soe that he marryed Sir Henry Vane's daughter; by whome he had a good fortune or estate, but noe issue; at Length after the Death of his Master (1680) he became a Guardian in Trust for his younger children, and[Pg 402] Steward to their elder Brother, Sir John, that marryed Chiverton, whereby he augmented his wealth and fame to a greater pitch. When, soon after, King James II came to the Crown, this gentleman by a great sume of money and false representation of himselfe obtained the favour of knighthood at his hands, but that Kinge some short while after beinge inform'd that Mr. Tyley was at first but a Groome or Horseman to Sir John Coryton, that he was no Gentleman of Blood or armes, and yet gave for his Coat-armour the armes of Count Tillye of Germany, ordered the Heraulds to enquire into this matter; who findinge this information trew, by the King's order entered his Chamber at London, tooke downe those arms, tore others in pieces, and fastened them all to Horse tayles and drew them through the streets of London, to his perpetuall Disgrace, and disgraced him from the dignity of that beinge, and impos'd a fyne of £500 upon him for so doing, as I am inform'd—but alas, maugre all those proceedings, after the death of his then Master, Sir John Coryton the Younger, not without suspicion of being poysoned, he soon marryed his Lady, with whome Common fame said he was too familiar before, soe that he became possest of her goods and chattels, and a great Joynture. Whereby he liveth in much pleasure and comfort in this place, honour'd of some, lov'd of none; admiring himself for the Bulk of his Riches and the Arts and Contrivances by which he gott it—some of which were altogether unlawfull, witness his steward, Mr. Elliott, being credited for a mint and coyning false money for his use; who on notice thereof forsooke this Land, and fled beyond the Seas, though the other Agent and Confederate, Cavals Popjoye, indicted for the same crime of High Treason committed at Saltash, was taken, tryed and found guilty and executed at Lanceston, 1695, at which[Pg 403] tyme the writer of these Lynes was one of the Grand Jury for the body of this County, that found those Bills—when William Williams of Treworgy in Probus Esq. was sheriff, and John Waddon, Esq., foreman of the Jury."

After this, written at a later date, comes the passage relative to the burial arrangements of Sir James, already quoted.

With regard to the above statement, a few remarks may be made. Sir John Coryton died in 1680, just after he had obtained a licence for concluding a second marriage with Anne Wayte, of Acton, widow.

His son, Sir John, married Elizabeth, daughter and co-heiress of Sir Richard Chiverton, Kt., Lord Mayor of London, and a wealthy skinner. Sir James Tillie's first wife was Margaret, daughter of Sir Harry Vane, the Parliamentarian, who was executed in 1662. Tillie was knighted at Whitehall, 14th January, 1686-7, and he built Pentillie Castle. In one of the quadrangles of the castle is a leaden statue of the knight with flowing wig, a roll of papers in one hand like the baton of a field-marshal, and with preternaturally short legs.

In Luttrell's Brief Relation of State Affairs there is some mention of the affair of the assumed arms. He says, under date November 26th, 1687: "Sir James Tillie of Cornwall was brought up upon an habeas corpus, being committed by the Court of Chivalry for refusing to find bail there, and was remanded.

"January 19th, 1687-8. The Court of Chivalry satt, and fined Sir James Tilly £200 for his crime."

Hals, accordingly, was wrong in saying that he was fined £500.

Hals thinks (he does no more) that Sir James was mixed up in the coining business. If he got rich by nefarious practices, it was probably by filling his[Pg 404] pockets out of the Coryton estates, of which he was steward under two of the baronets.

Sir James Tillie's will by no means carries with it the character of impiety attributed to it by Hals. It is headed: "Dei voluntas fiat, et mei hac performet." In it he mentions the date of his birth, November 16th, 1645. It is a very long will, and in it he laboured in every conceivable way to found a family. As he had no children of his own, he made his eldest nephew heir, but in the event of his dying without issue, then his estates passed to his second, and so on. At the end he wrote: "I desire my Body may have a private interment at and in such a place in Pentillie Castle as I have acquainted my dearest wife, the Lady Elizabeth Tillie, with, and to have such monument erected and inscription thereon made as I have desired my said wife."

The paper of instructions left with her is still extant; of that more presently. He proceeds: "Although I have made a provision for my said wife out of my Lands, yet in regard to her kindness to me whilst living, and that tenderness to my memory which I know she will have after my death, for the uses hereinafter mentioned, I give and bequeath unto my said wife all her Paraphaanalia [sic], apparell, jewells and ornaments of her Person, all the Books, China, Portraits and Toyes in her Closett at Pentillie Castle, my Coach, Chariott, Calash and set of six horses with two such of my other Horses and Cowes as shall please her to elect, and also a Hundred Guineas in money for her life and then for her grandchildren.

"To Altmira Tillie go the £500 payable on the day of marriage with either one of my said nephews. But on her marriage with any other my will is that she shall have only £250.

"To my Cousin Mary Mattock £50 to be paid on[Pg 405] her marriage Day with any other than William Parkes, but on her marriage with him this legacy is to be void.

"Then I give unto my said Wife fifty pounds for my ffunerall desireing four of my ancientest workmen may lay me in my grave, unto whom I give fforty shillings apiece. And to William Trenaman ten pounds. And to my honest Richard Lawreate in Meate and Drink for his owne person to the value of Two shillings and sixpence per weeke at Pentillie during his Life. To my domestique servants living with me at my Death fforty shillings each, To Samuel Holman his Tooles, and to John Long a joynt of Mutton weekly during his Life, as I have done. In witness thereof I have hereunto sett my hand and seal this 22nd day of March, 1703/4, etc."

One very curious and most unusual feature in the proving of this will was that the original was handed over to James Tillie, the nephew, in place of an attested copy, and only a copy retained in the Consistory Court.

As Sir James had no right to bear arms, his nephew, James Tillie, obtained a grant from the Heralds' College, November 1st, 1733. The arms given him were as follows: Arg., a cross fleury gules, in chief three eagles' heads couped, sable; and as a crest, on a wreath of the colours, a demi-phœnix rising out of flames ppr. and charged on the breast with a cross fleury sa.

The memorandum referred to by Sir James in his will, containing instructions as to his burial, is still extant, and it is by no means as extravagant as represented by Hals.

Gilpin, in his Observations on the West Parts of England, 1798, gave currency to the story as amplified by tradition, and thenceforth it was generally accepted and obtained currency.

Gough, in his Camden's Britannia, 1789, says: "In the rocks of Whitsand Bay, Tilly, Esq., who died[Pg 406] about fifty years ago, remarkable for the freedom of his principles and life, was inclosed by his own order, dressed in his clothes, sitting, his face to the door of a summer-house at Pentelly, the key put under the door, and his figure in wax, in the same dress and attitude in the room below."

Gough makes several mistakes. Pentillie is a great many miles from Whitsand Bay, and he was placed not among rocks, but on the summit of a hill called Ararat. The figure carved in the attitude in which placed to rest is in sandstone, and not in wax; and finally it is not in a summer-house, but in a lofty brick tower, erected after his death, the bill for the erection of which is still in existence.

Notwithstanding all his schemes to found a family, his posterity failed in the male line, and the castle and Tillie lands passed as follows:—

                              John Tillie,
                          labourer, S. Kevern.
                                             |             |
         (2) Elizab. = (1) Margaret = Sir James Tillie.   da. = Woolley.
       da. Sir R.        da. of Sir    b. Nov. 16, 1645.      |
       Chiverton and     H. Vane.                             |
       wid. of Sir                                            |
       John Coryton.                                          |
       Wm. Goodall = Elizabeth,        James Tillie Woolley = Esther ....
                   |  da. Sir John     als. Tillie, Sheriff |
                   |  Coryton.         of Cornwall, 1734.   |
                   |                                        |
         +---------+                             +----------+
         |                                       |
       John Goodall = Margery Major.           James Tillie = Mary ....
                    |                                       |
             +------+                                       |
             |                                              |
       Peter Goodall =  ....                                |
       d. 1756.      |             +------------------------+
                     |             |
                   John Coryton = Mary Jemima Tillie.
                        John Tillie Coryton,
                          b. 1773; d. 1843.


[Pg 407]

There was an illustrious and ancient family of Tilly, or Tylly, at Cannington, in Somersetshire, deriving from a De Tilly in the reign of Henry II, and the parish of West Harptree in the same county is divided into two manors, one of which is West Harptree-Tilly. The arms of this Tilly family were only a dragon erect, sable, and as such appear in glass in the windows of Cannington Church.

That Sir James Tillie could claim no descent from this family is evident from his not assuming their arms. Had the Heralds been able to trace any connection whatever, they would have given to the nephew a coat resembling the Tilly arms of Cannington but not identical.

It must be borne in mind that the possession of a surname of a noble or gentle family by no means indicates that the bearer had a drop of that family's blood in his veins; for it was quite a common thing when surnames began to be acquired for the domestic servants in a house to be called after their master, or that they should assume their patronymics, much as in High Life Below Stairs the menial servants assume the titles of their masters as well as their names. This practice was so common that always in the neighbourhood of a great house, that has lived on through many centuries, will be found among the villagers in a very humble walk of life persons bearing the surname of the illustrious family in the castle, the hall, or the manor. How a dependent of the Tilly family of Cannington drifted down to the Lizard is not easily explained; it may be that this Tilly was descended from one of the regiments that Charles I sent down to the Scilly Isles, and which was left there and forgotten.

[Pg 408]


Joseph Hawkey, of Liskeard, and his wife Amye, daughter of the Rev. John Lyne, had a numerous family. John was the eldest son, born at Liskeard in 1780; the other sons were William, Joseph, Richard, and Charles. There was also a daughter Charlotte, born at Liskeard 10th May, 1799.

Lieutenant Joseph Hawkey, r.n., born at Liskeard in 1786, was killed in action while commanding a successful attack on a Russian flotilla in the Gulf of Finland in 1809.

John also entered the navy, as midshipman in the Minerva. A few months after the renewal of the war in 1803 he was taken prisoner whilst gallantly defending that ship, when she was unfortunately run by the pilot, during a dense fog, on the west point of the stone dyke of Cherbourg. Hawkey remained in captivity at Verdun for eleven years, till 1814.

A commission of lieutenant had been sent out to him by mistake to the West Indies, which being dated previous to his capture was not cancelled, but forwarded to him in France, and was thus the means in some degree of alleviating the evils of captivity. Whilst at Verdun he made the acquaintance of Lieutenant Tuckey, r.n., a person like himself a prisoner, and like him of fine taste and considerable talents.

His prospects had been cruelly clouded by his long detention in captivity, and on the conclusion of peace he at once joined the Cyrus, sloop of war; but when[Pg 409] the Government proposed to send out an expedition to explore the Zaire or Congo, and appointed Tuckey in command, Lieutenant Hawkey eagerly accepted the invitation of his friend to join him and act as second in command.

At this time little was known of the Congo and the Niger. Hitherto what was known was due to Arabian writers of the Middle Ages, and to what leaked out from the Portuguese; but these latter, who carried on an extensive slave trade thence, did their utmost to keep their knowledge of these rivers to themselves. But even they were not well acquainted with the rivers far up from their mouths. Mungo Park was preparing for his second expedition to explore the Niger, and it was even supposed that the Congo or Zaire that flows into the South Atlantic was an outlet of the Niger, and not an independent river; and this opinion was warmly expounded by Park in a memoir addressed to Lord Camden previous to his departure from England, and he added that, if this should turn out to be a fact, "considered in a commercial point of view, it is second only to the discovery of the Cape of Good Hope; and, in a geographical point of view, it is certainly the greatest discovery that remains to be made in this world."

On March 19th, 1816, the Congo, accompanied by the Dorothy transport, sailed on a voyage of exploration to the Zaire. The Congo was about ninety tons, schooner rigged, and drew five feet of water. She was fitted up entirely for the accommodation of officers and men, and for the reception of the objects of natural history which might be collected on her progress up the river. The gentlemen engaged on the expedition, in the scientific department, were: Professor Smith, of Christiania, botanist and geologist; Mr. Tudor, comparative anatomist; Mr. Cranch, collector of objects of natural[Pg 410] history; and a gardener to gather plants and seeds for Kew; also Mr. Galway, a gentleman volunteer. There were two negroes, who would serve as interpreters, one of whom came from eight hundred miles up the Zaire. The officers were: Captain Tuckey, Lieutenant Hawkey, Mr. Fitzmaurice, master and surveyor, Mr. McKernow, assistant surgeon, two master's mates, and a purser. In addition to the Congo, the transport took out two double whale-boats, so fitted as to be able to carry eighteen to twenty men, with three months' provisions.

Lieutenant Hawkey was an excellent draughtsman; he sketched in a bold and artistic manner, and to a general knowledge of natural history he united the talent of painting the minutest sea and land animals with great spirit and accuracy.

Although the vessels sailed from Deptford on February 16th, they were detained in the Channel and at Falmouth by westerly gales till March 19th. On April 9th they reached the Cape de Verd Islands, whence he wrote home to his sister Charlotte:—

"Porto Praya, S. Jago, August 11th, 1816.

"My Angel,—I am just able to hold my pen and tell you that I am alive, after being as near death as ever mortal being was. The day before yesterday we arrived here. Captain Tuckey and myself went to wait on the governor, the commissary, and captain of the transport, to procure refreshments. We were graciously received—saluted by his black guards—took a walk in the country—returned, intending to go on board to dinner. There is a heavy surf on the beach, and squalls are very frequent from the mountains; one of which, when we were about a cable's length from the shore, upset our boat. I intended swimming composedly on shore, but something or[Pg 411] some person caught my leg, and I could not by any exertion get my head above water. It instantly struck me that some one who could not swim had seized me, hoping to save himself; and I swam in what I conceived to be the direction of the shore, under water. My senses I preserved as fully as at present. O Lord, methought, what pain it was to drown! What dreadful noise of water in my ears! I thought my last hour was come. Still I struggled violently, but finding it impossible to retain my breath longer, I took off my hat and held it above the water. A black boy, who had swam off with several other, got hold of it, and then of me. From that moment all recollection ceased until I found myself with my stomach on an empty cask on the beach, surrounded by my own party and blacks. My sufferings were very acute; the absolute pain of dying—which ceremony I completely underwent—was nothing in comparison. The different means prescribed for the recovery of drowned persons were used; and as soon as possible I was conveyed on board. A determination of blood to the head and lungs took place; all night I was in danger; but it is now going fast off, but I am in a state of absolute debility. Captain Tuckey says I was more than five minutes under water—a longer time than the most experienced divers can remain. Note, I was in full uniform—boots, sword—and my pockets full of stones and shells I had picked up on shore. Captain Tuckey lost his sword; his watch and mine are both spoiled."

Cape Padrone, at the mouth of the Congo, was reached on July 6th. The transport was left a little way up, and the party of exploration pushed on up the river. The mouth of the Congo was found to be about fifteen miles wide. Far inland were seen naked hills of sand. Professor Smith wrote in his diary:—

[Pg 412]

"July 7th.—Early this morning the mafock, or governor, came on board in two canoes, with his retinue. At first his pretensions were very lofty. He insisted on being saluted with a discharge of cannon, and on observing us going to breakfast declared that he expected to be placed at the same table with the captain, and endeavoured to make his words sufficiently impressive by haughty gesticulations. Sitting on the quarter-deck in a chair covered with a flag, his dress consisting of a laced velvet cloak, a red cap, a piece of stuff round his waist, otherwise naked, with an umbrella over his head, though the weather was cold and cloudy, he represented the best caricature I ever saw. He soon became more moderate on being informed that the vessels were not belonging to slave merchants, but to the King of England, and that our object was to trade. In order to give him a proof of our goodwill towards him, a gun was discharged and a merchant flag hoisted."

A good many negroes after this came on board. They were nearly all nominally Christians. Among them was a Catholic priest, who had been ordained at Loando. He had been baptized two years before his ordination at S. Antonio.

"The barefooted black apostle, however, had no fewer than five wives. A few crosses on the necks of the negroes, some Portuguese prayers, and a few lessons taught by heart, are the only fruits that remain of the labours (of the Portuguese missionaries) of three hundred years."

Proceeding up the river, threading a tangle of islands and sandbanks, the vessels stood off Embonna, where they came across an American slaver flying Swedish colours. Here there had been several Portuguese slave-dealing ships, but on hearing of the arrival[Pg 413] in the river of the English vessels during the night they slipped away.

On July 25th they came to the Fetiche Rock, a mass of micaceous granite rising perpendicularly out of the river, with eddies and whirlpools at its feet. The surface of the rock is covered with sculptured figures, which Lieutenant Hawkey drew, and which he managed to interpret.

On July 26th Captain Tuckey and others landed at Lombee, a village of a hundred huts, and the king's market, and here they went to visit the chenoo, or king.

"Having seated myself," wrote Tuckey, "the chenoo made his appearance from behind a mat-screen, his costume conveying the idea of Punch in a puppet show, being composed of a crimson plush jacket with curious gilt buttons, a lower garment in the native style in red velvet, his legs muffled in pink sarsenet, and a pair of red morocco half-boots. On his head an immense high-crowned hat embroidered with gold, and surmounted by a kind of coronet of European artificial flowers. Having seated himself on the right, a master of the ceremonies with a long staff in his hand inquired into the rank of the gentlemen, and seated them accordingly.

"All being seated, I explained to the chenoo, by the interpreter, the motives of my mission—stating that 'the King of England being equally good as he was powerful, and having conquered all his enemies and made peace in all Europe, he now sent his ships to all parts of the world to do good to all people, and to see what they wanted and what they had to exchange; that for this purpose I was going up the river, and that, on my return to England, English trading vessels would bring them the objects necessary to them, and teach[Pg 414] them to build houses and make clothes.' These benevolent intentions were, however, far beyond their comprehension; and as little could they be made to understand that curiosity was also one of the motives of our visit, or that a ship could come such a distance for any other purpose but to trade or fight; and for two hours they rung the changes on the questions, Are you come to trade? and Are you come to make war? At last, however, they appeared to be convinced that I came for neither purpose; and on my assuring them that though I did not trade myself I should not meddle with the slave traders of any nation, they expressed their satisfaction.

"The keg of spiced rum which I had brought as part of my present to the chenoo was now produced, together with an English white earthen washhand basin covered with dirt, into which some of the liquor was poured and distributed to the company, the king saying he drank only wine, and retiring to order dinner. The moment he disappeared, the company began to scramble for a sup of the rum; and one fellow, dropping his dirty cap into the basin, as if by accident, contrived to snatch it out again well soaked, and sucked it with great satisfaction."

Here Captain Tuckey learned that the traders carried off on an average two thousand slaves every year.

Hence, on August 5th, Captain Tuckey, Lieutenant Hawkey, and the scientific gentlemen proceeded up the river in the double boat, the transport's longboat, two gigs, and a punt. In addition to those already mentioned were some of the sailors and the interpreters.

On August 10th the expedition reached Noki, where the river was rapid and difficult, running between high bluffs, and Professor Smith likened it to one of the[Pg 415] torrent streams of Norway. On reaching Caran Yellatu progress was arrested by cataracts, and the party was forced to quit the boats and push on by land. Here one of the interpreters deserted, carrying away with him four of the best porters who had been engaged at Embonna.

"Every man I have conversed with," says Tuckey, "acknowledges that if the white man did not come for slaves the practice of kidnapping would no longer exist, and the wars which nine times out of ten result from the European slave trade would be proportionately less frequent. The people at large most assuredly desire the cessation of a trade in which, on the contrary, all the great men, deriving a large portion of their revenue from the presents it produces, as well as the slave merchants, are interested in its continuance."

At Juga the river again widened, and this was made a basis for excursions by land up the river.

On the 10th September Captain Tuckey found it impossible to proceed further; sickness and death were making terrible ravages among the party, and it became absolutely necessary to relinquish the enterprise and endeavour to make their way back to the vessels. On the following day Captain Tuckey's journal records that they "had a terrible march—worse to us than the retreat from Moscow."

Of this return journey we have an account from Lieutenant Hawkey's diary. When Sir John Barrow published an account of the expedition from the journals of Captain Tuckey and Professor Smith the diary of Hawkey was not obtainable; it had been lost, and was not recovered for some years; and then, when given for publication, was again lost, and only the concluding pages were to be found. It shall be given, somewhat curtailed.

[Pg 416]

"September 9th.—Our Ultima Thule. Sketched by the setting sun the appearance of the river, a thousand ideas rushing into my mind: the singularity of my situation, its contrast with my captivity, and equally so with my wishes. Here, probably, my travels are to end; but Heaven knows for what I am destined, and I resign myself. Passed a sleepless night, and wandered on the beach, wishing, but in vain, for sleep. Captain Tuckey ill all night.

"September 10th.—A fine grey morning. Packing up for our return—a great assemblage of natives, one with a gay red cap. Bought six fowls for an umbrella. Dr. Smith sketched our last view of the mighty Zaire. Set out and soon found Dawson very sick; obliged to give his arms and knapsack to others, and to lead him and give him wine occasionally. Halted at Vonke, where I got into a scrape by touching Amaza's fetiche, for which, it being ruined, he wanted a fathom of chintz, which I gave him. It is forbidden to touch a fetiche or to carry fowls with their heads downwards. Bought a goat for an umbrella. Bargaining for a canoe for the sick and luggage; procured one, and embarked poor Dawson. Tuckey ill; at Masakka had a specimen of African hospitality: Tuckey, fainting and ill, could not obtain a drop of palm wine until it was paid for exorbitantly. Peter gave the cap from his head, and Tuckey his handkerchief and the last beads. To his being faint they paid not the least regard. About two miles from Sirndia all our guides abandoned us. However, we found our way, and on our arrival the tent and luggage, just landed.

"September 11th.—Hazy, cloudy; feel a little ill. Canoes assembling; bargained for two for six fathoms and four handkerchiefs. A world of trouble with them—three strokes of the paddle and stop; wanted to land[Pg 417] us above the rapid; obliged to threaten to put them to death. At last got them to a rapid that stopped us, where we landed and again grumbled on. One fellow attempted to snatch the piece from Captain Tuckey's hand. Met here with some of our old friends, and bargained with the man whose canoe was stove on the 7th to take us to Juga. The bearers are to have two fathoms each, and himself a dress. Encamped at Bemba Ganga. Broached our last bottle of wine.

"September 12th.—A grey morning. Bought four fowls for two empty bottles, and four more for some beads. Embarked in a canoe and set off. About ten arrived at Ganga and had to wait for a canoe; atmosphere much changed. Hitherto we had found the blacks honest enough, but here they gave us specimens of being as great thieves as they were cowards. The canoe in which the sick men came down was robbed of some check and baft (coarse cloth). One fellow attempted to steal a carbine. Ben (the black interpreter) lost his greatcoat, which the fellow he trusted with it ran away with, and our barometer was stolen in the night. Dr. Smith was taken ill here. We encamped in the valley of Demba, where we were assailed by ants in myriads, and got no sleep. After dusk we were informed that the men whom we had hired at Bemba as canoe men had run away.

"September 13th.—From 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. no refreshments excepting earth-nuts, palm-wine, and water. However, we persevered, and at dusk reached Juga, where we found Butler sick, and had the misery of being told that poor Tudor and Cranch were no more, Galway despaired of, and many of the crew sick. Melancholy enough, God knows, but hold on. Mansa, the slave, has deserted with poor Galway's knapsack.

"September 14th.—Mizzling rain; melancholy morning.[Pg 418] The captain and Dr. Smith sick. Packing up for ship. Hodder sets out with ten men and an advanced guard. Dr. Smith worse; decide on removing him to-day; difficulty in getting bearers; prepared hammocks for the sick. At noon both the captain and Dr. Smith better; Dawson rather worse; get Butler into a house. Corporal Middleton arrives with the sad news of Galway's death, that of poor Stirling and Berry, and a long list of sick. Here I am in the tent. Poor Tuckey ill, asleep, or perhaps feigning it to avoid conversation. Dr. Smith groaning under a rheumatic fever, and his trusty David Lockhart attending him. My ideas are wandering round the world, and the only consolation is that perhaps it may be the means of my seeing my dear European friends sooner than I had expected. Five only of the Congo's are capable of duty, except the warrant officers. Saturday night. God bless you all, my dear, dear friends!

"September 15th.—Broke up at Juga, and such a scene I never before witnessed, and hope never to witness again. As soon as Tuckey was gone, the natives rushed in upon us like so many furies, each taking what he could get hold of; the things we were obliged to abandon. A part of our guides and bearers ran away with the things they were to carry, and poor Butler was obliged to come away with only two bearers, who tottered under him, and who were mocked by their compassionate countrymen. I left him near the ravine of Bondé, and passed on to Dawson, who was coming on pretty well, as he had four bearers and was not very heavy. Not far from Vouchin-semnis we were assailed with horrid shrieks and cries, and soon saw a dozen women, or rather furies, holding their idols towards us, rolling their eyes, foaming at the mouth, and making the most violent contortions. They had lost some[Pg 419] manioc, and were exorcising the thieves. I believe the gangam (priest) had accused us of the robbery. We continued our march, rather a forced one, to Noki. Far different was the night, and far different our feelings, on the 23rd of last month! I was colder than charity, and it rained very hard for more than two hours.

"September 16th.—Started from Juga. Captain and party on foot, and Dr. Smith in a hammock. Dr. Smith very weak; obliged to take him out of his hammock, and William Burton, a marine, carried him on his back, up almost precipices, to Banza, where we had great difficulty in getting a little water, which was only obtained by the double influence of a threat to shoot them and a present of some powder. Arrived at the beach, where we found all in confusion. No canoes to be had, in consequence of a taboo from the King of Vinni, who had not received his dues from Sanquila, who says, on his side, it is in consequence of the commanding officer of the Congo having threatened to put some one in irons. Seized the man who appeared to be the chief cause of the opposition, and at the same time fired at, brought to, and seized five fishing-canoes, and shortly after obtained two larger from a creek, when we liberated three of the fishermen's canoes and the head-man.

"September 17th.—Preparing for embarkation. Finding no paddlers come, pressed two men and set out, crossing over to the south shore to avoid the whirlpools. When we left men were assembling fast on the hills, and told us we had killed a man last night. Beached the canoes and ate some goat's flesh. So returned on board and reached the Congo. Found our vessel in a horrid state of confusion and filth; stuffed with parrots, monkeys, puppies, pigeons, etc. The carpenter cutting up the last plank to make coffins. The deck lumbered[Pg 420] as when we left her, and not a wind-sail up! No stock on board; the sick in double boats and tents pitched on shore. My cabin filthy as a hog-stye. Passed a sleepless night. Dr. Smith very unwell, and Captain Tuckey very little better.

"September 18th.—A little after daylight, Captain Tuckey, Dr. Smith, and myself left the Congo. Passed M'Bima. The river is very much risen; eagles hovering over us all the way down. Arrived on board the Dorothy at 3 p.m. Got Dr. Smith to bed; refreshed ourselves, and thought the air here quite reviving, and a clean ship the greatest of luxuries. All on board the Dorothy had been well, except the carpenter, who was convalescent, and a boy who had been up in the longboat, and was in the same state.

"September 19th.—Sloop's boat arrived with the sick, and Johnson dead. Went on shore with Captain Gunther and some of the transport's people, and buried him—so putrid that I was obliged to bury him in his cot, with all his bedding.

"September 20th.—Sick improving generally; transport getting ready for sea. Congo not in sight. Sent skiff to Congo. At 6 p.m. Garth dies. Skiff returns; has left Congo near Augsberg Island. Parrots prevent all possibility of sleeping to the sick.

"September 21st.—Hazy morning. Congo not in sight at nine. An order for all parrots to be before the fore-hatchway. Buried Garth. Durnford and Burton attacked with fever; Lockhart unwell, and Ben. Two of transport's people ill. Jefferies, fever; Ben wishes to remain at M'Bima. At 6 p.m. Congo and schooner anchored here. Dr. Smith appears to be in a stupor.

"September 22nd.—Close morning. Getting stores, etc., from Congo; cleaning her decks; preparing to get her water-tanks filled. Dr. Smith still in a stupor.[Pg 421] Sick generally better, except the captain and Parker. Weighed with Dorothy and sloop; beat down with sea-breeze. Dr. Smith, poor fellow, dies, quite worn out; in some measure from his own imprudent treatment of himself, constantly refusing to follow the doctor's advice or to take any medicine; cold water was his only specific. He died without a groan. Mild, affable, and learned, it was his greatest pleasure to communicate information, and to receive it. He had conciliated the affections of all his fellow-passengers, and even of all the crews of both vessels. Anchored at dark, sloop not in sight. Hoisted a light, to be kept up all night.

"September 23rd.—At night buried the mortal remains of Dr. Smith, as silently as possible. No sloop in sight; very uneasy on account of the sick. Hot weather; sprinkled with vinegar; Tuckey much better. Sloop arrives; reason of not joining before, does not beat well.

"September 24th.—Cloudy morning; small rain. Dorothy sets up her rigging. Set sail on Dorothy, but she could not stem the current, which is very strong. The corporal, Middleton, is the only man out of the sick list.

"September 25th.—Cloudy morning; land breeze until noon. Two bottles of wine were stolen from the sick last night. Congo in sight, and schooner, the latter coming up the river; anchored here. Removed all the sick from the sloop to the Dorothy.

"September 26th.—Grey morning. Paid our blacks, and as soon as we weighed turned them adrift in the large canoe. Weighed and worked round Sharks' Point; felt quite happy when to the westward of it. On the 5th July we entered the Congo, and since then thirteen of our party have died and one has been drowned. Sick generally better; seventeen on the list.[Pg 422] Tuckey hailed for assistance previous to our weighing; talks of giving up charge."

On September 30th Lieutenant Hawkey enters the death of Lethbridge and of Eyre.

On October 1st enters: "Taken very unwell myself—universal debility and slight headache.

"October 2nd.—Cloudy. Standing to the west all day. Very unwell.

"October 3rd.—Cloudy, with swell. Still very unwell. Swallow caught."

This is the last entry in the diary. On the day following Captain Tuckey died; and on October 6th Lieutenant Hawkey's own name was added to the fatal list of those who perished in this most disastrous expedition. In all eighteen died in the short space of less than three months during which they remained in the river, or within a few days after leaving it. Fourteen of these were of the party that had set out on the land journey above Juga; the other four were attacked on board the Congo; two had died on the passage out, and the sergeant of marines in the hospital at Bahia, making the total of deaths amount to twenty-one.

This great mortality is the more extraordinary, as it appears from Captain Tuckey's journal that nothing could have been finer than the climate: the atmosphere was remarkably dry, and scarcely a shower fell during the whole journey, and the sun for three or four days did not shine sufficiently to allow of an observation being taken.

It appears from the report of the assistant surgeon that the greater number were carried off by a violent intermittent fever; some of them appeared, however, to have had no other ailment than that caused by extreme exhaustion caused by the land journey. Some of the crew of the Congo died of the fever who never went[Pg 423] above the cataracts; "but then," as the surgeon observes, "they were permitted to go on shore at liberty, where the day was passed in running about the country, and during the night lying in huts or in the open air."

The Gentleman's Magazine for January, 1817, gives a brief summary of the achievements of the expedition. "They arrived at the mouth of the Congo about the 3rd July, and leaving the transport, which only accompanied them an inconsiderable distance, they proceeded in the sloop, which was purposely built to draw little water, up the river to the extent of 120 miles, when her progress, and even that of the boats, was stopped by rapids. Determined still to prosecute the undertaking, the men landed, and it was not till they had marched 150 miles over a barren, mountainous country, and after experiencing the greatest privations from want of water, and being entirely exhausted by fatigue, that they gave up the attempt. Hope stayed them up till they reached the vessel, but they were so worn out that twenty-five out of the fifty-five died twenty-four hours after their return, comprehending all the scientific part of those who started, and only eight were left on board in a state fit to navigate the vessel."

That there is some inaccuracy in this account will be seen from what has preceded it.

The authority for the story of this unfortunate expedition is Sir John Barrow's edition of the narrative of the expedition, with the diary of Captain Tuckey, published in 1819; and Miss Charlotte Hawkey's Neota, privately printed in 1871.

[Pg 424]


Lanteglos with Camelford is one of the richest livings in Cornwall. Lanteglos itself is nearly two miles from Camelford, and in this latter place there is neither a church nor a licensed chapel. A few scattered farms are about Lanteglos; and in Camelford, which is a market town, there is a population of 1370, left to be ministered to in holy things by dissenting ministers of many sects.

The rectory of Lanteglos lies in a valley, amidst luxuriant vegetation, and is altogether a very snug spot indeed.

In February, 1718, the Rev. Daniel Lombard was inducted into this living on the presentation of the Prince of Wales. He was a Frenchman, the son of a Huguenot pastor, who had fled from his native land on the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Daniel had been placed in Merchant Taylors' School, and thence had passed to S. John's College, Oxford, where he had taken his degree of Doctor of Divinity, and he became chaplain to the Princess of Wales, and in 1714 published a sermon that he had preached before the Princess Sophia at Hanover. He spent a good deal of time in Germany, and there made the acquaintance of Mr. Gregor, of Trewarthenick, with whom in after life he maintained a lengthy correspondence, still extant.

From all accounts Dr. Lombard was learned on certain lines, but he was totally unacquainted with the[Pg 425] ways of the world, utterly unsuited to be a parish priest, and lost completely in the isolation of Lanteglos, far from society in which he could shine; and speaking English badly with a foreign accent.

After his institution by the Bishop of Exeter to the livings of Lanteglos juxta Camelford and that of Advent, Dr. Lombard started off to reach his cure, mounted on one horse, and his servant on another, driving a third laden with such articles as appeared to him to be indispensable in a country where he supposed that nothing was procurable.

He rode in this manner along the highway past Launceston, inquiring everywhere, "Vere ish Landéglo juxtà Camélvore?" No one had heard of the place; after some consideration the rustics pointed due west. He must go on one or two days' journey more. He thus travelled through Camelford, still inquiring "Mais où donc est Landéglo juxtà Camélvore?"

"I know what he means," said some of those questioned; "the gentleman is seeking the Land's End."

And so he travelled on and ever on till he reached the Land's End, and only then discovered that he had passed through his cure without knowing it.

When at last he reached Lanteglos rectory, the woman who acted as housekeeper showed him with much pride a hen surrounded by a large brood of chickens. "Deare me!" exclaimed the Doctor. "'Ow can von liddle moder afford to give milk from her breast to soche a large familie?"

Seeing sheep with red ruddle on their fleeces, "Pore things!" said he. "'Ow 'ot dey do seem to be! Dey be red 'ot!"

He collected a tolerable library of books, and occupied himself with writing one work in French, a Dissertation on the Utility of History, introductory to[Pg 426] strictures on certain histories that had been published by De Mezeray and the Père Daniel. But he also wrote in English A Succinct History of Ancient and Modern Persecutions, together with a short essay on Assassinations and Civil Wars, 1747.

He died at Camelford, December 14, 1746, and left his library for the use of his successor.

[Pg 427]


John Williams, of Scorrier, was the son of Michael Williams, of Gwennap, and was born 23rd September, 1753. He was the most extensive mining adventurer in Cornwall.

On May 11, 1812, Mr. Perceval, Chancellor of the Exchequer, was shot in the evening, just as he entered the lobby of the House of Commons, by a man called Bellingham, who had concealed himself behind a door.

On that same night, Mr. Williams, of Scorrier, had three remarkable dreams, in each of which he saw the whole transaction as distinctly as if he had been present there in person.

His attested statement, relative to these dreams, was drawn up and signed by him in the presence of the Rev. Thomas Fisher and Mr. Chas. Prideaux Brune. This account, the original MS. signed by Mr. Williams, is preserved at Prideaux Place, Padstow. A very minute account of it found its way into the Times of the 28th August, 1828; another was furnished to Dr. Abercrombie derived from Mr. Williams himself, who detailed his experiences to a medical friend of the doctor, and this latter published this in his Inquiries Concerning the Intellectual Power. This was republished by Dr. Clement Carlyon in Early Years and Late Reflections, 1836-41, together with another account by Mr. Hill, a barrister, grandson of Mr. John Williams, and which he had taken down from his grandfather's lips. All these accounts are practically[Pg 428] identical. According to Dr. Abercrombie: "Mr. Williams dreamt that he was in the lobby of the House of Commons and saw a small man enter, dressed in a blue coat and white waistcoat. Immediately after he saw a man dressed in a brown coat with yellow basket buttons draw a pistol from under his coat and discharge it at the former, who instantly fell, the blood issuing from a wound a little below the left breast." According to Mr. Hill's account, "he heard the report of the pistol, saw the blood fly out and stain the waistcoat, and saw the colour of the face change." Dr. Abercrombie's authority goes on to state: "He saw the murderer seized by some gentlemen who were present, and observed his countenance, and in asking who the gentleman was who had been shot, he was told it was the Chancellor. He then awoke, and mentioned the dream to his wife, who made light of it." This wife was Catherine, daughter of Martin Harvey, of Killefreth, in Kenwyn, born in 1757.

We will now take the rest of the narrative from the account in the Times: "Mrs. Williams very naturally told him it was only a dream, and recommended him to be composed, and go to sleep as soon as he could. He did so, and shortly after woke her again, and said that he had the second time had the same dream; whereupon she observed he had been so much agitated by his former dream that she supposed it had dwelt on his mind, and begged him to try to compose himself and go to sleep, which he did. A third time the vision was repeated, on which, notwithstanding her entreaties that he would be quiet and endeavour to forget it, he arose, it being then between one and two o'clock, and dressed himself.

"At breakfast the dreams were the sole subject of conversation, and in the afternoon Mr. Williams went[Pg 429] to Falmouth, where he related the particulars of them to all of his acquaintance that he met. On the following day, Mr. Tucker, of Trematon Castle, accompanied by his wife, a daughter of Mr. Williams, went to Scorrier House about dusk.

"Immediately after the first salutations on their entering the parlour, where were Mr., Mrs., and Miss Williams, Mr. Williams began to relate to Mr. Tucker the circumstances of his dream; and Mrs. Williams observed to her daughter, Mrs. Tucker, laughingly, that her father could not even suffer Mr. Tucker to be seated before he told him of his nocturnal visitation, on the statement of which he observed that it would do very well for a dream to have the (Lord) Chancellor in the lobby of the House of Commons, but he could not be found there in reality, and Mr. Tucker then asked what sort of a man he appeared to be, when Mr. Williams minutely described him, to which Mr. Tucker replied: 'Your description is not that of the Lord Chancellor, but it is certainly that of Mr. Perceval, the Chancellor of the Exchequer; and although he has been to me the greatest enemy I ever met in my life, for a supposed cause which had no foundation or truth (or words to that effect), I should be exceedingly sorry indeed to hear of his being assassinated, or of injury of the kind happening to him.'

"Mr. Tucker then inquired of Mr. Williams if he had ever seen Mr. Perceval, and was told that he had never seen him, nor had ever even written to him either on public or private business; in short, that he never had anything to do with him, nor had he ever been in the lobby of the House of Commons in his life.

"Whilst Mr. Williams and Mr. Tucker were still standing they heard a horse gallop to the door of[Pg 430] the house, and immediately after Mr. Michael Williams, of Trevince (son of Mr. Williams, of Scorrier) entered the room, and said that he had galloped out of Truro (from which Scorrier is distant seven miles), having seen a gentleman there who had come by that evening's mail from London, who said that he had been in the lobby of the House of Commons on the evening of the 11th, when a man called Bellingham had shot Mr. Perceval, and that, as it might occasion some great ministerial changes, and might affect Mr. Tucker's political friends, he had come as fast as he could to make him acquainted with it, having heard at Truro that he had passed through that place on his way to Scorrier. After the astonishment which this intelligence created had a little subsided, Mr. Williams described most particularly the appearance and dress of the man that he saw in his dream fire the pistol, as he had before done of Mr. Perceval.

"About six weeks after, Mr. Williams, having business in town, went, accompanied by a friend, to the House of Commons, where, as has been already observed, he had never before been. Immediately that he came to the steps at the entrance to the lobby, he said: 'This place is as distinctly within my recollection in my dream as any in my house,' and he made the same observation when he entered the lobby. He there pointed out the exact spot where Bellingham stood when he fired, and which Mr. Perceval had reached when he was struck by the ball, and when and how he fell. The dress, both of Mr. Perceval and Bellingham, agreed with the description given by Mr. Williams, even to the most minute particulars."

Such is this well-authenticated story. It is worth notice that Mr. Williams saw the whole affair in dream thrice repeated long after the real event had taken[Pg 431] place, and not by any means at the moment of the assassination. Some dreams that are well authenticated may have led to the conviction of murderers. But this did not; it was wholly useless; yet it is impossible to deny that it really occurred.

[Pg 432]


Sir Robert Tresilian, of Tresilian, in the parish of Newlyn, and by virtue of marriage with the heiress of Haweis also lord of Tremoderet in Duloe, was Lord Chief Justice of England and adviser to King Richard II; he accordingly drew upon himself the animosity of the King's uncle, Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester. But he had also drawn upon his head the hatred of the commonalty by his "bloody circuit" after the insurrection of Wat Tyler, Jack Straw, and John Ball.

When Sir Robert Knollys had brought together a large force against the insurgents, the young King had forbidden him to slaughter them en masse, as he proposed, "For," said he, "I will have their blood in another way." And he had their blood by sending Chief Justice Tresilian among them, and, according to Holinshed, the number of executions amounted to 1500. At first they were beheaded; afterwards they were hanged and left on the gibbet to excite terror; but their friends cut down the bodies and carried them off; whereupon the King ordered that they should be hanged in strong iron chains; and this was the first instance of this barbarous and disgusting practice in England.

The King had promised the insurgent peasantry that serfage should be abolished, that liberty should be accorded to all to buy and sell in the markets, and[Pg 433] that land should be let at fourpence an acre, that a general amnesty should be accorded. To all these he had acceded with charters signed and sealed; but so soon as the disturbances were over he repudiated his undertakings, and we cannot doubt that he did so at the advice of Tresilian, who pronounced them illegal.

Richard did, indeed, in the next Parliament, urge the abolition of villainage, but the proposal was coldly received, not pressed, and rejected. Moreover, on the occasion of his marriage with Anne of Bohemia, which took place soon after, a general amnesty was proclaimed.

The people were, however, disaffected. The imposition of a poll tax levied on rich and poor at the same sum on all over fifteen, and the scandalous manner in which it had been collected, had given general dissatisfaction, and it was, in fact, this which had roused Wat Tyler to march on London to obtain redress.

The King had surrounded himself with favourites, and his uncles were excluded from his council. The country was divided between the party of the King and that of the Duke of Gloucester. There is not the least reason to suppose that the latter had at heart the welfare of the people of England, any more than had the creatures who surrounded the King. The Duke was moved by resentment, pride, and ambition, and many believed that he aimed at the crown.

The chief favourites of Richard were Michael de la Pole, whom he created Earl of Suffolk, and Robert de Vere, a young and handsome man, who was made Marquis of Dublin, receiving, at the same time, the extraordinary grant of the whole revenue of Ireland, out of which he was to pay a yearly rent of five thousand marks to the King. He was soon after created Duke of Ireland. The other advisers of the King were[Pg 434] Worth, Archbishop of York, Sir Simon Burley, and Sir Robert Tresilian. These certainly judged rightly when they opposed the prosecution of the war in France, and the subvention of the claims of the Duke of Lancaster to the Crown of Castile. The country was being drained of men and money in these profitless wars. But the nobles, headed by Thomas of Gloucester, opposed this policy, and naturally had the support of those who made money out of the wars. To defeat the plans of the council, Gloucester demanded the dismissal of Suffolk. The King petulantly answered that he would not at his command dismiss a scullion-boy from his kitchen. Suffolk was, however, impeached by the Commons for undue use of his influence, and the King was obliged to submit to the fining and imprisonment of his favourite. It was next proposed that a council should be appointed to reform the State. At this proposition Richard threatened to dissolve the Parliament. A member of the Commons thereupon moved that the statute deposing Edward II should be read, and the King was warned that death might be the penalty of a continued refusal. He yielded. The commission was appointed, and Gloucester and his friends, who formed the great majority, were masters of England. In yielding, Richard limited the duration of the commission to a year. The King was now twenty years of age, but he was reduced to as mere a cipher as when he was a boy of eleven.

In the month of August in the following year, 1387, acting under the advice of Tresilian, he assembled a council at Nottingham, and submitted to some of the judges who attended it this question—Whether the Commission of Government appointed by Parliament, and approved of under his own seal, were legal or illegal? Tresilian led the rest of the judges to certify[Pg 435] that the commission was illegal, and that all those who had introduced the measure were liable to capital punishment; that all who supported it were by that act guilty of high treason; in short, that both Lords and Commons were traitors.

On the 11th November following the King returned to London, when he was alarmed by hearing that the Duke of Gloucester, the Earls of Arundel and Nottingham, the Constable, Admiral, and Marshal of England were approaching the capital at the head of forty thousand men. The decision of Tresilian and the judges and of the King had, in fact, forced them into rebellion, as it was pretty evident that Richard aimed at taking their lives.

So soon as Richard's cousin, the Earl of Derby, heard of the approach of Gloucester, he quitted the Court with the Earl of Warwick, went to Waltham Cross, and there joined him. The members of the Council of Eleven were there already. On Sunday, the 17th of November, the Duke entered London with an irresistible force and "appealed" of treason the Archbishop of York, De Vere, Duke of Ireland, De la Pole, Earl of Suffolk, Sir Robert Tresilian, Chief Justice of England, and Sir Nicolas Brember, Knight, a London grocer and Lord Mayor of London.

The favourites instantly took to flight. De la Pole, the condemned Chancellor, succeeded in reaching France, where he died soon after; De Vere, Duke of Ireland, got to the borders of Wales, where he raised an army, acting in concert with the King; it was resolved he should march to London. The Archbishop of York escaped to Flanders, where he spent the rest of his days as a village priest.

The fate of Chief Justice Tresilian must be told in the words of Sir John Froissart.

[Pg 436]

Richard had gone to Bristol to organize an army against the Duke of Gloucester, and De Vere, the Duke of Ireland, was with him there.

"While the army was collecting, the King and the Duke in secret conference, determined to send one of their confidential agents to London, to observe what was going forward, and if the King's uncles still remained there, to discover what they were doing. After some consultation, they could think of no proper person to send on this errand; when a knight who was cousin to the Duke, called Sir Robert Tresilian, stepped forth, and said to the Duke, 'I see the difficulty you have to find a trusty person to send to London; I, from love of you, will risk the adventure.' The King and the Duke, well pleased with the offer, thanked him for it. Tresilian left Bristol disguised as a poor tradesman, mounted on a wretched hackney. He continued his road to London, and lodged at an inn where he was unknown; for no man could have ever imagined that one of the King's counsellors and chamberlains would have appeared in so miserable a dress.

"When in London, he picked up all the news that was possible, for he could do no more, respecting the King's uncles and the citizens. Having heard that there was to be a meeting of the Dukes and their council at Westminster, he determined to go thither to learn secretly all he could of their proceedings. This he executed, and fixed his quarters at an ale-house right opposite the palace gate. He chose a chamber the window of which looked into the palace yard, where he posted himself to observe all who should come to this Parliament. The greater part he knew, but was not, from his disguise, known to them. He, however, remained there at different times, so long, that a squire of the Duke of Gloucester saw and recognized him,[Pg 437] for he had been many times in his company. Sir Robert also at once recollected him, and withdrew from the window; but the squire, having his suspicions, said, 'Surely that must be Tresilian.' To be certain on this point, he entered the ale-house, and said to the landlady, 'Dame, tell me, on your troth, who is he that is drinking in the room above; he is alone and not in company.' 'On my troth, sir,' she replied, 'I cannot give you his name; but he has been here some time.' At these words, the squire went upstairs to know the truth, and having saluted Sir Robert, found he was right, though he dissembled by saying, 'God preserve you, master! I hope you will not take my coming amiss, for I thought you had been one of my farmers from Essex, as you are so very like him.' 'By no means,' said Sir Robert; 'I am from Kent, and hold lands of Sir John Holland, and wish to lay my complaints before the Council against the tenants of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who encroach much on my farm.' 'If you will come into the hall,' said the squire, 'I will have way made for you to lay your grievances before the lords.' 'Many thanks,' replied Sir Robert; 'not at this moment, but I shall not renounce your assistance.' At the words the squire ordered a quart of ale, and having paid for it, he said, 'God be with you!' and left the ale-house.

"He lost no time in hastening to the council-chamber, and called to the usher to open the door. The usher, knowing him, asked his business. He said, 'he must instantly speak with the Duke of Gloucester, on matters that mainly concerned him and the council.' The usher, on this, bade him enter, which he did, and made up to the Duke of Gloucester, saying, 'My lord, I will tell it aloud; for it concerns not you only but all the lords present. I have seen Sir Robert Tresilian,[Pg 438] disguised as a peasant, in an ale-house close by the palace gate.' 'Tresilian!' exclaimed the Duke. 'On my faith, my lord, it is true; and you will have him to dine with, if you please.' 'I should like it much,' replied the Duke; 'for he will tell us some news of his master, the Duke of Ireland. Go, and secure him; but with power enough not to be in danger of failing.'

"The squire on these orders, left the council-chamber, and having chosen four bailiffs, said to them, 'Follow me at a distance; and so soon as you shall perceive me make you a sign to arrest a man I am in search of, lay hands on him, and take care he do not, on any account, escape.' The squire made for the ale-house where he had left Sir Robert, and, mounting the staircase to the room where he was, said, on entering: 'Tresilian, you are not come to this country for any good, as I imagine; my Lord of Gloucester sends me for you, and you must come and speak with him.' The knight turned a deaf ear, and would have been excused by saying, 'I am not Tresilian, but a tenant of Sir John Holland.'

"'That is not true,' replied the squire; 'your body is Tresilian's, though not your dress.' And, making a sign to the bailiffs, who were at the door, they entered the house and arrested him, and, whether he would or not, carried him to the palace. You may believe, there was a great crowd to see him; for he was well known in London, and in many parts of England.

"The Duke of Gloucester was much pleased, and would see him. When in his presence, the Duke said: 'Tresilian, what has brought you hither? How fares my Sovereign? Where does he now reside?' Tresilian, finding that he was discovered, and that no excuses would avail, replied: 'On my faith, my lord, the King has sent me hither to learn the news. He is[Pg 439] in Bristol, and on the banks of the Severn, where he hunts and amuses himself.'

"'How!' said the Duke, 'You do not come dressed as an honest man, but like a spy. If you had been desirous to learn what was passing, your appearance should have been like that of a knight or a decent person.' 'My lord,' answered Tresilian, 'if I have done wrong, I hope you will excuse me, for I have only done what I was bid.' 'And where is your master, the Duke of Ireland?' 'My lord,' said Tresilian, 'he is with the King, my lord.' The Duke then added: 'We have been informed that he is collecting a large body of men, and that the King has issued his summons to that effect. Whither does he mean to lead them?' 'My lord, they are indeed for Ireland.' 'For Ireland!' said the Duke. 'Yes, indeed, as God may help me,' answered Tresilian.

"The Duke mused awhile, and then spoke: 'Tresilian, Tresilian, your actions are neither fair nor honest. You have committed a great piece of folly in coming to these parts, where you are far from being loved, as will shortly be shown to you. Yes, and others of your faction have done what has greatly displeased my brother and myself, and have ill-advised the King, whom you have stirred up to quarrel with his chief nobility. In addition, you have excited the principal towns against us. The day of retribution is therefore come, when you shall receive payment; for whoever acts unjustly receives his reward. Look to your affairs, for I will neither eat nor drink till you be no more.'

"This speech greatly terrified Sir Robert (for no one likes to hear of his end) by the manner in which it was uttered. He was desirous to obtain pardon, by various excuses, and the most abject humiliation, but in vain. The Duke had received information of what was going[Pg 440] on at Bristol, and his excuses were frivolous. Why should I make a long story? Sir Robert was delivered to the hangman, who led him out to the place of execution, where he was beheaded, and then hung by the arms to a gibbet. Thus ended Sir Robert Tresilian."

[Pg 441]


Edward John Trelawny, a younger son of Charles Brereton Trelawny, came into this world on the 2nd or 3rd of November, but in what year is not certain. It is said that he was born in 1792, but either this is a wrong date, or else Colonel Vivian, in his Visitations of Cornwall, errs, for he gives that year as the one in which Harry Brereton Trelawny, the eldest son, was born. Charles Brereton Trelawny was the son of Harry Trelawny, a lieutenant-general in the army and Governor of Landguard Fort.

Of his father, Edward John entertained no favourable opinion. "My father, notwithstanding his increased fortune, did not increase his expenditure; nay, he established, if possible, a stricter system of economy. The only symptom he ever showed of imagination was castle-building; but his fabrications were founded on a more solid basis than is usually to be met with among the visions of day-dreamers. No unreal mockery of fairy scenes of bliss found a resting-place in his bosom. Ingots, money, lands, houses, and tenements constituted his dreams. He became a mighty arithmetician by the aid of a ready reckoner, his pocket companion; he set down to a fraction the sterling value of all his and his wife's relations, the heirs at law, their nearest of kin, their ages, and the state of their constitutions. The insurance table was examined to calculate the value of their lives; to this he added the probable chances arising[Pg 442] from diseases, hereditary and acquired, always forgetting his own gout. He then determined to regulate his conduct accordingly; to maintain the most friendly intercourse with his wealthy connexions, and to keep aloof from the poor ones. Having no occasion to borrow, his aversion to lending amounted to antipathy. The distrust and horror he expressed at the slightest allusion to loans, unbacked by security and interest, had the effect of making the most imprudent and adventurous desist from essaying him, and continue in their necessities, or beg, or rob, or starve, in preference to urging their wants to him.

"It was his custom to appropriate a room in the house to the conservation of those things he loved—choice wines, foreign preserves, cordials. This sanctum was a room on the ground floor, under a skylight. Our next-door neighbours' pastime happened to be a game of balls, when one of them lodged on the leaded roof of this consecrated room. Two of my sisters, of the ages of fourteen and sixteen, ran from the drawing-room back window to seek for the ball, and slipping on the leads, the younger fell through the skylight on to the bottles and jars upon the table below. She was dreadfully bruised, and her hands, legs and face were cut, so much so, that she still retains the scars. Her sister gave the alarm. My mother was called; she went to the door of the store-room; her child screamed out, for God's sake to open the door; she was bleeding to death. My mother dared not break the lock, as my father had prohibited any one from entering this, his blue chamber; and what was worse, he had the key. Other keys were tried, but none could open the door. Had I been there, my foot should have picked the lock. Will it be believed that, in that state, my sister was compelled to await my father's return from the House[Pg 443] of Commons, of which he was a member? At last, when he returned, my mother informed him of the accident, and tried to allay the wrath which she saw gathering on his brow. He took no notice of her, but paced forward to the closet, when the delinquent, awed by his dreadful voice, hushed her sobs. He opened the door and found her there, scarcely able to stand, trembling and weeping. Without speaking a word, he kicked and cuffed her out of the room, and then gloomily decanted what wine remained in the broken bottles."


From a drawing by D. Lucas

The mother of Edward John was Maria, sister of Sir Christopher Hawkins, of Trewithen.

That a high-spirited, self-willed, passionate boy like Edward John should get on with such a father was antecedently improbable; and he was sent to sea at the age of twelve in the Superb, and had the ill fortune to miss the battle of Trafalgar, through Admiral Duckworth delaying three days at Plymouth to victual his ships with mutton and potatoes.

"Young as I was, I shall never forget our falling in with the Pickle schooner off Trafalgar, carrying the first despatches of the battle and death of its hero. Her commander, burning with impatience to be the first to convey the news to England, was compelled to heave to and come on board us. Captain Keates received him on deck, and when he heard the news I was by his side. Silence reigned throughout the ship; some great event was anticipated. The officers stood in groups, watching with intense anxiety the two commanders, who walked apart. 'Battle,' 'Nelson,' 'ships,' were the only audible words which could be gathered from their conversation. I saw the blood rush into Keates's face; he stamped the deck, walked hurriedly, and spoke with passion. I marvelled, for I had[Pg 444] never before seen him much moved; he had appeared cool, firm, and collected on all occasions, and it struck me that some awful event had taken place, or was at hand. The Admiral was still in his cabin, eager for news from the Nelson fleet. He was an irritable and violent man, and after a few minutes, swelling with wrath, he sent an order to Keates, who possibly heard it not, but staggered along the deck, struck to the heart by the news, and, for the first time in his life, forgot his respect to his superior in rank; muttering, as it seemed, curses on his fate that, by the Admiral's delay, he had not participated in the most glorious battle in naval history. Another messenger enforced him to descend in haste to the Admiral, who was high in rage and impatience.

"Keates, for I followed him, on entering the Admiral's cabin said in a subdued voice, as if he were choking, 'A great battle has been fought, two days ago, off Trafalgar. The combined fleets of France and Spain are annihilated, and Nelson is no more!' He then murmured, 'Had we not been detained we should have been there.'

"Duckworth answered not, conscience-struck, but stalked the deck. He seemed ever to avoid the look of his captain, and turned to converse with the commander of the schooner, who replied in sulky brevity, 'Yes' or 'No.' Then, dismissing him, he ordered all sail to be set, and walked the quarter-deck alone. A death-like stillness pervaded the ship, broken at intervals by the low murmurs of the crew and officers, when 'battle' and 'Nelson' could alone be distinguished. Sorrow and discontent were painted on every face.

"On the following morning we fell in with a portion of the victorious fleet. It was blowing a gale, and[Pg 445] they lay wrecks on the sea. Our Admiral communicated with them, and then, joining Collingwood, had six sail of the line put under his command, with orders to pursue that part of the enemy's fleet which had escaped; and I joined the ship to which I was appointed. It is unnecessary to dwell on the miseries of a cockpit life: I found it more tolerable than my school, and little worse than my home."

When paid off he was sent under a Scotch captain, who treated him badly, and then he was in another vessel and resolved to desert the service. This he did at Bombay. So far we can trust what Trelawny has given us in that remarkable book Adventures of a Younger Son; but from this point on he romances, but romances with an air of reality. It is not possible to discriminate fact from fiction in what follows. Undoubtedly Pirate Trelawny started on his memoirs with the intent of writing his autobiography, but he was inordinately vain, and delighted in posturing as a hero and in describing marvellous adventures through which he passed, heightening them sensationally with wonderful skill.

What seems probable is that, after deserting from the navy, he was for a while in the merchant service, and then joined a privateer cruising in the India seas. As Mr. E. Garnett well says, "the Younger Son is an excellent stage hero by the finish; he meets and overcomes all odds; it is truly a glorious Trelawny—the Trelawny of his own imagination."

He states that he was married when he was twenty-one, and that the marriage took place in England, so that he must have returned home somewhere about 1813. But we really know nothing authentic of his movements till 1822, when he was in England, and thence went to Italy, where he made acquaintance with[Pg 446] Lord Byron and with Shelley. After the lamentable death of the latter poet he attended at the cremation of the body. Thence he went with Byron to Greece in the Hercules, to aid the Greeks against the Turks. They arrived at Cephalonia, off the west coast, in the beginning of August, 1823, and there Lord Byron resolved on staying till he could ascertain how things were progressing in Greece and decide on his future course of action. This delay did not at all suit the impetuosity of the character of Trelawny, who called it dawdling, and set forward for the mainland in company with Hamilton Browne, making his way to the seat of the Greek Government. He also sent emissaries to England to endeavour to raise a loan, and then proceeded to Athens. Here the insurgent leader Odysseus was in command, and to his fortunes Trelawny at once attached himself, and married the sister of the Greek chieftain.

Major Temple, resident at Santa Maura, during his mission to the Morea in June, 1824, met Odysseus, and described him as "a perfect Albanian chieftain—savage in manners and appearance, of great muscular strength, and about six feet high."

He had his head-quarters in a huge cavern in the face of the limestone precipices of Mount Parnassus, which he had strongly fortified, and in this he kept his treasure that he had accumulated and lodged his family. In the meantime dissension had broken out among the Greeks, between the leaders of the bands that did all the fighting, under Kolokotroni, and the Executive Government that had been elected by the primates, at the head of which stood Mavrocordato. A complete rupture had ensued at the end of 1823 between the parties, and the guerilla chieftains absolutely refused obedience to the Provisional Government.

[Pg 447]

In the same winter of 1823-4 Trelawny accompanied Odysseus as aide-de-camp upon an expedition into Negropont, and on their return to Athens, where Colonel Stanhope then was, Trelawny sent a letter to his mother, of which the following is an extract:—

"Athens, 18th February, 1824.

"Dear Mother,—I am enabled to keep twenty-five followers, Albanian soldiers, with whom I have joined the most enterprising of the Greek captains and most powerful—Ulysses. I am much with him, and have done my best during the winter campaign, in which we have besieged Negropont, to make up for the many years of idleness I have led. I am now in my element, and the energy of my youth is reawakened. I have clothed myself in the Albanian costume and sworn to uphold the cause.

"Everything here is going on as well as heart can wish. Great part of Greece is already emancipated. The Morea is free, and we are making rapid progress to the westward. Lord Byron spends £5000 a year in the cause and maintains five hundred soldiers. This will in the eyes of the world redeem the follies of youth.

"Your affectionate son,
"Edward Trelawny."

Trelawny and Odysseus desired to get Lord Byron to be with them, but this plan was frustrated by the death of the poet on April 19th, 1824.

Colonel Stanhope proposed a congress of the civil and military leaders, so as to effect a reconciliation between the two embittered elements that were weakening the resistance against the common enemy, the Turk. Odysseus consented to attend this meeting at Salona, and Trelawny also agreed to be present.[Pg 448] Mavrocordato looked on Trelawny with suspicion as intimate with Odysseus and as his brother-in-law, and he foisted upon him an English spy named Fenton, and an accomplice of the name of Whitcombe, with secret instructions to make away with him.

After returning from Salona, Trelawny was with Odysseus in Eastern Greece, carrying on the war in guerilla fashion without any great results.

In the autumn he was at Argos, whence a letter (certainly his, though unsigned) was sent to his brother Lieutenant Harry Trelawny, r.n.

"... To give you an idea of the misery existing here is beyond all expression. The town is nothing more or less than a chaos of ruins; not a house inhabitable. The fever making great havoc, people actually falling down in the streets. The stench of the place is so great I am obliged to remove my quarters to the once famous Argos, not more than an hour's walk from Agamemnon's tomb, which I have not yet seen. The scenery is beautiful; perfectly romantic. I am now living in a house without doors or windows, every man armed.

"The Commissioners are both sick. Mr. Bulwer has proposed to raise a body of fifty men, but I am afraid it will all evaporate in smoke, like all his undertakings here. I am much afraid nothing is to be done: they look on all foreigners as intruders. Many of the French have behaved most shamefully, but, as I told you before, I will exert every effort. All my hopes are placed in Colonel Gordon's arrival.

"Your Brother."

The Commissioners referred to were Henry Lytton Bulwer (Lord Dalling) and J. H. Browne, sent out by the Greek Committee in London, when it was too late,[Pg 449] to ascertain whether the Greek Provisional Government was sufficiently firmly established, and sufficiently trustworthy, to warrant the paying over to it of that part of the loan raised in England on their behalf not already advanced. The loan was of £800,000, but from this 56.4 per cent was deducted, so that the whole amount to be forwarded to the Greek Government would be only £348,000.

Odysseus was beset with difficulties, as the Provisional Government refused to furnish him with men or money. Trelawny made vain attempts to raise funds.

Ultimately Odysseus made a truce for three months with Omer Pasha, of Negropont, but being regarded with suspicion on both sides, he endeavoured to make his escape, and left Trelawny in charge of the cave and its contents. It was at this time that Fenton, the hired spy, in May, 1825, made the attempt to assassinate Trelawny. He took the opportunity when Trelawny's back was towards him to shoot him.

Odysseus was compelled to surrender to the Government, was carried off to Athens, where he was strangled by order of Mavrocordato.

Trelawny's wounds were so dangerous that he suffered for three months before he could be said to have recovered, and he then escaped from the cavern and landed in Cephalonia in September, 1825, bringing his Albanian wife with him. During the next two years he was engaged in a lawsuit about his wife, whom he treated with brutality, so that she left him and retired to a convent, with purpose ultimately to proceed to Paxo, where lived her sister. Whilst in the convent she was delivered of a child which she sent to Trelawny to be put out to nurse, as they objected in the convent to have the infant there. Trelawny sent it to a woman who undertook to rear it, but it died,[Pg 450] whereupon, as Mr. H. Robinson of Zante wrote to Toole on 22nd November, 1827, "he sent the dead body to the Castle Monastery, where she (his wife) was, in a box with her things and a message from him. The wife knew not what was in the box and refused to open it, and there it lay until putrid.

"An examination took place with all the fuss which the courts make about suspicione d'infanticido, and ended by T. being fined two dollars for improperly removing a dead body."

In or about the month of July, 1829, Signora Trelawny made petition to the Lord High Commissioner to the following effect:—

"It is perhaps known to Your Excellency that at about the age of thirteen I was given in marriage to Signor Trelawny, my family urging that I should live happily with one brought up in the courtesy and good-breeding of his country; but, as my experience proved, he failed to treat me with that consideration and nobility of character which distinguish the men of his nation. The nature of the long-continued treatment which I have had to endure at the hands of the said Signor Trelawny is not unknown, and at the last, it is perhaps within Your Excellency's recollection that he brought grief to my very eyes by sending me while in the convent, with cunning and brutality, the dead body of my daughter and his."

She then stated that Zante had become lonely for her, as her brothers and mother had gone to Greece. She wanted to go to Paxo to her sister, but the custom of Zante obliged a wife separated from her husband to live in a convent.

She continued: "I venture humbly to ask Your Excellency if, being the wife of an Englishman, I ought to be subject to the custom of the island in[Pg 451] which I chance to find myself a resident. Should an Englishwoman be subjected to such treatment as I am?... I promise Your Excellency that, in whatever place or situation I find myself, I will conduct myself always as is proper for the wife of an English gentleman; and though he himself may be wanting in dignity of behaviour, I will do neither him nor myself the dishonour of imitating him.

"Tersitza Philippa Trelawny."

This petition and the letter of Mr. Robinson suffice to show that the story of Trelawny sending his dead child in a box to its mother is not to be rejected as a fable, as it has been by the author of the notice on Edward John Trelawny in the Dictionary of National Biography.[27] The poor unfortunate girl, then aged seventeen, obtained a separation from her husband a mensa et thoro, by a sentence of the Ecclesiastical Court, and by definitive sentences of the courts of law in Zante and Corfu she was entitled to an aliment from her husband of twenty-five dollars a month, for the payment of which Mr. Barff, the banker of Zante, and Mr. Stevens, of Corfu, were securities. But this was the result of much litigation, causing Trelawny annoyance and angering him to the last degree.

In the autumn of 1828 he visited England, but returned to the Continent in the spring of the following year, feeling out of his element at home. "To whom am I a neighbour?" he wrote, "and near whom? I dwell amongst tame and civilized human beings with somewhat the same feelings as we may guess the lion feels when, torn from his native wildness, he is tortured into domestic intercourse with what Shakespeare calls[Pg 452] 'forked animals,' the most abhorrent to his nature." He rambled about; set up a harem in Athens, bought a Moorish girl to be his concubine, wrote his Adventures of a Younger Son, and sent the MS. in 1830 to Mrs. Shelley, and it was published in three volumes in 1831, with some excisions of grossness and licentiousness, which the publisher insisted on having removed. As already said, no reliance can be placed on this autobiography as a narrative of the facts of his life, except only of his boyhood, for, as Lord Byron said of Trelawny, "he could not speak the truth even if he wished to do so."

When the book appeared, the Athenæum considered the hero—Trelawny himself—"a kind of ruffian from his birth," as he had painted himself, leaving out the villainies and brutalities of which he had been guilty.

He was thrice married, and behaved badly to all three wives. He could not be faithful and generous even to his friends. With Byron he had been most intimate, yet when Byron died he wrote to Mary Shelley: "It is well for his name, and better for Greece, that Byron is dead.... I now feel my face burn with shame that so weak and ignoble a soul could so long have influenced me. It is a degrading reflection, and ever will be. I wish he had lived a little longer, that he might have witnessed how I would have soared above him here, how I would have triumphed over his mean spirit." Trelawny soaring!—as a vulture only in quest of carrion.

And when, in 1858, he published his Recollections of Shelley and Byron, thirty-four years after the death of the latter, he painted Byron in the harshest colours; and one can hardly escape feeling that this was prompted by jealousy of the esteem in which the world held Byron for his genius. He himself possessed[Pg 453] all the bad qualities that he despised in Byron, but did not recognize in himself the superadded brutality which Byron was too much a gentleman to show.

Even Mrs. Shelley, a lifelong friend and correspondent, to whom he had often poured out his heart, and whom he had contemplated at one time marrying, could not be spoken of by him after her death but in disparagement and with a revelation to the world of her little weaknesses.

He was in England again in 1835, went into society, and married for the third time, to make another woman miserable. For a number of years he lived at Putney Hill, and then took a farm at Usk, in Monmouthshire, and amused himself with farming.

In or about 1870, Trelawny, then seventy-eight years old, bought a house and a small plot of land at Sompting, near Wortham, and occupied himself with gardening. One day two men with guns in their hands requested permission to enter his grounds after a bird that had taken refuge there. He answered fiercely, "All the leave I will accord you is to shoot one another."

At Sompting, Trelawny died on August 13th, 1881, at the age of eighty-six. In accordance with his wish to be laid beside Shelley, his body was embalmed in England, cremated at Gotha, and the ashes taken to the Protestant burial-ground in Rome, and laid in the tomb he had bought fifty-eight years before, next to those of his friend.

Trelawny was a very handsome man, tall and well built; he had flashing dark eyes under beetling brows, and an aquiline nose, raven-black hair, and a dusky, Spanish complexion. He spoke very loud. He retained his good looks to the end of his days.

[Pg 454]

Shelley described him in Fragments of an Unfinished Drama:—

He was as is the sun in his fierce youth,
As terrible and lovely as a tempest.

In Millais' painting of "The North-West Passage," exhibited in the Royal Academy in 1874, the old sailor is a portrait of Captain Trelawny; and it has been conjectured that Thackeray delineated him as Captain Sumph in Pendennis, I, cap. 35.

The authorities for Trelawny's life are, beside the first part of his Adventures of a Younger Son, his Recollections of Shelley and Byron, 1858; the new edition of the work, published in 1878, was called Records of Shelley, Byron, and the Author.

Mr. R. Garnett has a notice of the life of Trelawny prefixed to the edition of the Adventures of a Younger Son of 1890. A lengthy life of Trelawny is in the Dictionary of National Biography. An error in this is pointed out by Mr. T. C. Down in the article on "Pirate Trelawny" already referred to and quoted from.

A pleasant account of "Mr. Trelawny and his Friends" appeared in the Contemporary Review for 1878.

Something further about him may be gleaned from Frances A. Kemble's Records of a Girlhood, 1878, III, 75, 308-12. There are corrections of some of Trelawny's inaccuracies in D. Guido Biagi's The Last Days of Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1898.

[Pg 455]


Mr. S. C. Hall, writing after the death of J. S. Buckingham, thus expressed his opinion of this truly remarkable man: "Whatever, during his life, envy, jealousy, monopolous interest or satirical hostility may have said to the contrary, there can be little doubt, now he is gone, that the late Mr. James Silk Buckingham was amongst the most useful as well as the most hopeful and industrious men of his time. His career was one remarkable illustration of the well-known line of the old song, 'It's wonderful what we can do if we try'; for at almost every step he took he was met by some disaster or annoyance, yet kept pressing on with the most dauntless persistence, making the best of the worst circumstances, and even when failing in his own personal endeavours, giving such an impulse to the powers of others in whatever cause or course he had engaged, that the end in view was generally attained, and in several notable instances within the period of his own life."

The Buckinghams were a North Devon family, and the grandfather of the subject of this notice had lived in Barnstaple. For several generations they had been connected with the sea. Christopher Buckingham settled at Flushing on a small farm, along with his wife Thomazine, daughter of a Hambley of Bodmin.

James Silk describes his father as wearing a cocked hat, long, square-tailed coat with large pockets and[Pg 456] sleeves, square-toed shoes with silver buckles, and as walking abroad carrying a tall, gold-headed cane.

James Silk was born at Flushing on the 25th August, 1786. He had two brothers and a sister. His father died in 1794.

"The port of Falmouth," wrote he in his unfinished memoirs, "being nearest to the entrance of the Channel, there were permanently stationed here two squadrons of frigates, one under the command of Sir Edward Pellew (afterwards Lord Exmouth), the other under the command of Sir John Borlase Warren. The former, as commodore, hoisted his pennant on the Indefatigable, the latter on the Révolutionaire. Each squadron consisted of five frigates of thirty-two and forty-four guns each; and, in addition to these, there were continually arriving and departing from Carrick Roads, the outer anchorage of Falmouth, line-of-battle ships and smaller vessels of war; while the prizes taken from the French were constantly brought into the port for adjudication and sale. There were two large prisons, with open courts, for the reception of the French prisoners thus taken, and every month added many to their inmates.

"Both the naval commodores, as well as such captains of the frigates belonging to the squadrons as were married, had their families residing at Flushing, and the numerous officers of different grades, from the youngest midshipman to the first lieutenant, were continually coming and going to and fro ... so that the little village literally sparkled with gold epaulets and gold-laced hats and brilliant uniforms."

He tells a curious story of his childhood. Corn, owing to the war, had mounted to famine price, and the miners of Cornwall went about in gangs waging war against all forestallers, regraters, and hoarders of[Pg 457] grain, and demolishing bakers' shops, mills, and grain stores.



"A body of some three or four hundred of these men entered Flushing, and as they were all dressed in the mud-stained smock frocks and trousers in which they worked underground, all armed with large clubs and sticks of various kinds, and speaking an uncouth jargon, which none but themselves could understand, they struck terror wherever they went. Their numbers were quite equal to the whole adult male population of the little village, so that the men stood aghast, the women retired into their houses, and closed their doors, and the children seemed struck dumb with affright. The moment of their visit, too, was most inopportune, for on that very day a large party of the captains and officers of the packets residing at Flushing were occupied in storing a cargo of grain that had just been discharged from a coasting vessel at the quay, and locking it up in warehouses to secure it from plunder."

At this time it happened that all the ships of war were absent on their cruising grounds. The situation was dangerous, and the men threatened an attack on the warehouses, and were muttering and brandishing their clubs, and falling into ranks, when Captain Kempthorne snatched up little James Silk, then an urchin of six or seven, seated him on a sack of corn, and bade him strike up a hymn.

With his shrill little pipe, he started—

Salvation, O! the joyful sound,
'Tis music to our ears.

Whereupon at once the mob took up the chant, sang the hymn, with their strong masculine lungs; the clubs were let fall, and, the hymn ended, they dispersed harmlessly.

[Pg 458]

James Silk went to sea in the Lady Harriet, a Government packet. On his third voyage to Lisbon he was captured by a French corvette and assigned to prison at Corunna; he was then about ten years old, and the gaoler's daughter of the same age fell in love with him, and softened the rigour of his captivity by bringing him dainties from her father's table. She tried to induce the boy to elope with her, but James had sufficient English common sense not to accept the offer, and finally he was sent to Lisbon, obliged to tramp the whole way, several hundred miles, barefooted, and begging food and a lodging on his way. At Lisbon he was taken on board the Prince of Wales, and returned to England, where his mother induced him to leave the sea, and provided him with a small stationer's and bookseller's shop on the Fish Strand, Falmouth. His mother died in 1804, and when James Silk was aged only nineteen he married Elizabeth Jennings, a farmer's daughter. He got tired of being a shopkeeper and volunteered on board a man-of-war; but on seeing a seaman flogged round the fleet for mutiny, was so disgusted with the sight that he deserted, and started a bookshop at Plymouth Dock. However one of the trustees of his wife's inheritance had speculated with the money in smuggling ventures and lost all, so that J. S. Buckingham became bankrupt. He went to sea again, and was appointed chief officer on board the Titus, bound for Trinidad, Captain Jennings, perhaps a kinsman of his wife.

At the age of twenty-two he became commander of a vessel, and made several voyages to the West Indies and in the Mediterranean. In these latter he rapidly acquired a knowledge of and even fluency in speech in French, Italian, Greek, and Arabic, and this determined him to undertake mercantile life at Malta; but the[Pg 459] plague having broken out there in 1818, he was prevented from landing, and resolved to try his fortune at Smyrna, but was unsuccessful. He then went to Alexandria, and thence to Cairo, where he made the acquaintance and gained the esteem of Mahomet Ali, then Pasha of Egypt.

He now formed the scheme of connecting the Red Sea with the Mediterranean by a canal, and for this purpose surveyed the Isthmus of Suez and convinced himself that the cutting of such a waterway was quite feasible, and that such a connection would be of enormous advantage to English trade with India. He laid his plans before Mahomet Ali. "No sooner had the idea of renewing the ancient commerce between India and the Mediterranean by way of the Red Sea taken possession of my mind," wrote Buckingham, "than I began to think how much this would be facilitated by the juncture of the two seas by a navigable canal; and I bent all my thoughts to the object." But Mahomet Ali would not hear of the project. He shrewdly asked, "Whose ships would mostly use the canal?"

"The English vessels assuredly."

"Ah! and then the English would begin to think how nice it would be to have Egypt so as to secure the passage. I am not going to sharpen the knife that would cut my own throat."

The Pasha had a plan of his own; he had purchased two beautiful American brigs then in the harbour of Alexandria, and he proposed arming them and sending them round the Cape of Good Hope into the Red Sea, for he desired to open up a trade with Egypt from India. But Buckingham pointed out to him that he could not do this without great risk of losing them, as the East India Company had supreme command of all the Indian Ocean eastward of the Cape, and would seize[Pg 460] and confiscate all vessels found in those seas without their licence, French and Portuguese vessels alone excepted.

James S. Buckingham now ascended the Nile beyond the cataracts to Nubia, but was there seized with ophthalmic blindness. To add to his distress, on his way to Kosseir he was attacked in the desert by a band of mutineers of the army of the Pasha, who plundered and left him entirely naked on the barren waste, many miles from any village, food, or water; and even when he reached Kosseir, he was obliged to retrace his steps, as the vessel which should have conveyed him forward had been seized by the mutineers.

Buckingham next occupied himself with an endeavour to master the hydrography of the Red Sea, visiting every part in the costume of a Bedouin Arab.

The Pasha now proposed to him that he should go to India and sound the merchants there as to establishing a through trade to Europe by the Red Sea, and a Company of Anglo-Egyptian merchants took the matter up with zest. But on his proceeding to Bombay he found that the proposition was coldly received.

Whilst there, in May, 1815, Buckingham had the offer of the command of the Humayoon Shah, a vessel built at the Portuguese port of Damann, north of Bombay, by the Imaum of Muscat, for trade with China. The retiring captain, named Richardson, in three successive voyages had cleared £30,000, and the situation had been sought by several of the marine officers of the East India Company. When these disappointed men heard that Buckingham had secured the appointment, they were angry, and applied to the Company to eject him from India and close every port there in their power against him. This they did by refusing him a licence to remain in India.

[Pg 461]

The British Government, in granting a charter of exclusive trade to India and China to the East India Company, gave that Company thereby a right to expel from their dominions all British-born subjects who had not their licence to reside there, this being deemed necessary to protect them from the competition of "interlopers" as they were called, who might undersell them in their own markets. But though the British Government might thus condemn all the twenty million of its own native-born subjects to this state of ignominious dependence on the will or caprice of a handful of monopolists, a body of some twenty-four directors only—in whose hands lay the power of granting licences or banishing those who did not possess them—it could not authorize the exercise of such powers against the natives of any foreign state; consequently James Silk Buckingham was advised to become nationalized as an American citizen, in which case the East India Company would be powerless to expel him.

In point of fact, the case stood thus: all foreigners who had no natural claim on India as a part of their dominions might visit it freely and reside and trade in it as long as they pleased, without licence from its rulers; whereas British-born subjects, who had contributed by their payment of taxes to support the very Government that made the charter, were unjustly excluded, although the conquest of India had been made by British blood and British treasure, and the country was still held under the British flag. In short, all foreigners were free men there, and the freeborn Englishman alone was a slave.

Buckingham so felt the iniquity of this system that later, when he came to England, he agitated and wrote against the continuance of the charter.

[Pg 462]

Buckingham returned to Egypt and occupied himself with making a chart of the Red Sea. But the Anglo-Egyptian merchants, not relishing their defeat by the East India Company, entered into a compact with Mahomet Ali to send Buckingham to India as his envoy and representative; and as such the Company could not refuse to allow him to reside there. Accordingly, habited as a Mussulman, turbaned and long-robed, with his speaking eye, jovial face, and dark, flowing beard, he looked every inch of him a true-born Oriental, and his extraordinary knowledge of various languages stood him in good stead as he made his way overland to India, by Palestine and Bagdad. Proceeding still on his course, he entered Persia, crossed the chain of the Zagros, and embarked at Bushir in a man-of-war of the East India Company that was bound on an expedition against some Wahabee pirates in the Persian Gulf, and going ashore at Ras el Khyma, acted as interpreter to Captain Brydges, Commander of the Squadron, assisted in bombarding the town, and then proceeded to Bombay, which he reached after a journey of twelve months. But his mission was again unsuccessful; either the Bombay merchants had no confidence in the Egyptian Government, or they were jealous of any interference with their own line of trade.

Now, however, the Company's licence reached him, authorizing him to remain in their territories, and he regained the appointment to the vessel Humayoon Shah, in the service of the Imaum of Muscat, and he remained navigating the Eastern waters till Midsummer, 1818, when, having received commands from the Imaum to proceed to the coast of Zanzibar, on a slaving expedition, he threw up his engagement, worth £4000 per annum, rather than be implicated in such a nefarious trade.

[Pg 463]

Buckingham next became proprietor and editor of the Calcutta Mirror, a Liberal paper, that instantly obtained an extensive sale, and brought in to its founder a net profit of £8000 a year. But his resolute advocacy of Free Trade, free settlement, and free Press, and an exposure of the misdoings of the East India Company, brought down on him the heavy hand of Mr. John Adams, the temporary Governor-General. His paper was suppressed, and he was ordered to quit Calcutta. His little fortune was sacrificed in a vain attempt to fight the Governor and the Company, and he was thrown back on the world, almost as poor, save in experience, as when a youth he trudged from Corunna to Lisbon. He left his magnificent library at Calcutta, in the hopes of being able to return, after having obtained redress at home. But the redress he hoped for never came. Too many interests were involved to accord it to him, and his library, like his fortune and his hopes, was wrecked.

It was not till after many dreary years, that the East India Company, under pressure from the Government, could be induced, as an indemnity for the wrongs done him, to accord him an annuity of £200, in addition to one of the like amount awarded him by the British Government, "in consideration of his literary works, and useful travels in various countries," September 1st, 1851. "Pompey and Cæsar berry much alike."

"The blow to him at Calcutta was altogether a very savage one," says Mr. S. C. Hall, "but, like all injustice, it recoiled at length on those who gave it. From the hour that Buckingham was driven from that city (Calcutta), the power of the great Indian monopoly, both commercial and governmental, was doomed. It was by no means his case alone which accomplished that doom. But oppression and vindictiveness, by[Pg 464] driving him home, made him for a time the representative there of voices that never entirely slept; whilst the impolicy that had aroused them was persevered in to the last—not ceasing, even after the trade was thrown open, but at length provoking that rebellion which was followed by John Company finally having to make an assignment of his whole estate and effects to John Bull." In England Buckingham started the Athenæum, a literary weekly, but did not long retain it in his hand; he was not, in fact, qualified for its editorship. He was a Liberal politician avant tout, and a littérateur only in a second or third place.

In 1832, the Reform Bill was passed, and the same general election that sent Wm. Cobbett to the House of Commons for Oldham, sent James S. Buckingham from Sheffield, for the avowed purpose of giving him the best standpoint possible from which to assail the East Indian monopoly. That Company had never made a more fatal mistake than when it persecuted and drove him from India. Buckingham was a theme for caricature in Punch from 1845-1848.

It is open to question whether the East India Company could have engaged J. S. Buckingham's services if, instead of hounding him out of India, they had endeavoured to secure a man of such exceptional ability and intense resolution of purpose in its service. In heart and soul he was opposed to a monopoly, and if he had been engaged, he would have accepted an engagement only for the purpose of remedying some of the abuses of their government, and rectifying some of the injustices done. But he was so utterly and conscientiously opposed to the whole system, that it is more than doubtful whether he would have met favourably any overtures made to him.

In England an excellent conception of his, which he[Pg 465] was able to realize, was the foundation of the "British and Foreign Institute." To this he was moved by seeing so many Orientals and others adrift in London, without any centre where they could meet and communicate their ideas with statesmen and politicians of Great Britain, and where they might gather for refreshment of mind and body alike. The Duke of Cambridge became President, and the Society attracted to its soirées the literary and intellectual of all lands.

His pen and his voice were employed for some years in advocating reforms.

He died on June 20th, 1855, in his seventieth year, and his wife died in the house of her son-in-law, Henry R. Dewey, 22nd January, 1865, at the age of eighty.

It is greatly to be regretted that he did not live to complete his Memoirs. He had two sons—James, who died in Jamaica, 1867, and Leicester Forbes Young Buckingham, who ran away with an actress, Caroline Connor, and married her at Gretna Green, 5th April, 1844. She had made her first appearance on the London stage at the Haymarket Theatre in 1842. The marriage was not happy and they separated, she to return to the stage, where she acted under the name of Mrs. Buckingham White. He died at Margate 17th July, 1867.

[Pg 466]


Mary Ann Harvey was born in Launceston in 1759, and was educated at Bath, where she was seized with a passion for the stage, and made her first appearance on the boards at Bath as Lappet in The Miser in 1779.

She remained at Bath two years, and during her residence there is thus described by an eye-witness of her performances: "Miss Harvey, about the years 1785 and 1786, was a lively, animated, bustling actress; arch, and of exuberant spirits. Her style was pointed and energetic; perhaps, indeed, she had less ease than was altogether the thing; but when she had to speak satirically or in irony—when, in fact, she had to convey one idea to the person on the stage with her and another to the audience, she was alone and inimitable; she did not carry you away with her so much as many young actresses that I have seen, but she always satisfied you more amply. Then her voice—what a voice hers was! Nay, what a voice she has still, though it has had a pretty fair exercise for the last half century and upwards. Then it had all the clearness for which it is even now distinguishable; and it had, besides, a witching softness of tone that knew no equal then, and that I have never heard exceeded since."

There was an espiègle charm about her; she was not exactly beautiful, but had a witchery of face and of manner that was unsurpassed by any of her fellow-actresses,[Pg 467] who may have possessed more regularity of feature.

Mrs. Davenport

Mrs. Davenport,
in the Character of Mrs. Grundy

She was not baptized at Launceston, S. Mary Magdalen. Harvey was a common name at the time in the place; a Harvey was a builder, another a hatmaker, another a carrier. There were a Joseph Harvey and Catherine Penwarden married 27th January, 1756. These may have been her parents.

After leaving Bath, Miss Harvey joined the Exeter company, and there met and married Mr. Davenport, an actor of ordinary talent and low comedy.

After she had been married a short while, Mrs. Davenport went to Birmingham, where she remained a considerable time in hopes of obtaining an engagement. But disappointed in this expectation, she accepted an offer from Dublin, where Daly had opened his theatre, and there she made her debut as Rosalind in As You Like It, a character exactly suited to her, and in which she aroused great enthusiasm. Her graceful figure, her voice, now full of tenderness, then of arch humour, and her expressive face admirably suited the part. She moreover performed the part of Fulmer in the West Indian. The Authentic Memoirs of the Green Room for 1796 says: "Mrs. Davenport a tolerable substitute for Mrs. Webb, though not near so great.

The Davenports, tho' not of play'rs the first,
Are far from being in old folks the worst."

In 1794 she first performed at Covent Garden, as Mrs. Hardcastle, in She Stoops to Conquer, and at that theatre she continued without a rival till 1831, and occasionally filled up vacancies at the Haymarket. Mr. Davenport died in 1841; by him she had a son and a daughter. The former died in India, the latter in England.

[Pg 468]

Robson, in The Old Playgoer, says: "Brunton being the tall 'walking gentleman,' there is no one else worth mentioning but dear, dear Davenport, most truly not least though last. Lord! what a scream she would give if she knew I was about to show her up! I can just remember Mrs. Mattocks and Miss Pope.... But Mrs. Davenport was the McTab, the Malaprop, the Nurse whose bantling, 'stinted and cried aye,' with a villainous pain in her back, and a man Peter to carry her fan; the 'old mother Brulgruddery'; the Dame Ashfield with a 'damned bunch of keys,' who immortalized 'What will Missus Grundy say to that?' and would persuade a gentleman to put a ham under each arm and a turkey into his pocket; Jeremy Diddler's beautiful maid at the foot of the hill, who 'blushed like a red cabbage'; heigho! all visions—all gone.

"It was said of Mrs. Jordan that her laugh would have made the fortune of any actress if she had not had the wit to bring out one word to support it; but Mrs. Davenport's strong point was her scream. I wonder whether she ever indulged her husband with it in the course of a curtain lecture! Mercy on his nerves if she did! The appearance of her jolly red face was the presage of mirth, and her scream the signal for a roar of laughter. Good, cheerful soul! though an old woman forty years, she outlived nearly all her play-fellows, comfortably, happily, I hope."[28]

As an old lady her most celebrated personifications were the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet, at which, in later times, she was hardly surpassed by Mrs. Stirling.

The writer of the memoir in the Georgian Æra says of her: "It has not been inaptly said of her, that in the vulgar loquacity of the would-be youthful Mrs.[Pg 469] Hardcastle—the ugliness of the antiquated virgin, Miss Durable—the imbecility of four score in Mrs. Nicely—the sturdy brutality of Mrs. Brulgruddery—the warm-hearted cottager in Lovers' Vows—the attempted elegances of Mrs. Dowlas—the fiery humoured Dame Quickly—and the obtuse intellect of Deborah, she overcame all rivalry."

In the edition of the Authentic Memoirs of the Green Room for 1806 it is said, after a mention of Mr. Davenport: "Wife to the above, and of primary utility in a theatre as the representative of low, vulgar, and antiquated characters. In this line she has not her superior on the London stage. Her Mrs. Thorne in the Birthday, Lady Duberly in the Heir at Law, Dame Ashfield in Speed the Plough, Widow Warren in The Road to Ruin, Widow Cheshire in the Agreeable Surprise, Mrs. Pickle in the Spoiled Child, with a long and diversified list of parts of a similar description, deservedly rated high in the scale of histrionic excellence—and what greatly enhances her value, she is not less to be prized for the generality than for the intensive merit of her performances. Wide and extensive as is the range of parts which she sustains, there is not a single character in the whole list in which she does not acquit herself with distinguished talent and ability."

This bright and merry actress was run over by a dray on July 20th, 1841, and died in S. Bartholomew's Hospital on May 8th, 1843, after a lingering illness, at the age of eighty-four.

[Pg 470]


"Over against Mousehole, across the great bay of Penzance, is Cudden Point, jutting out into the sea, forming one horn of a promontory of which the Enys forms the other, looking in the opposite direction. Between these two lie three little coves, that of the Pixies, too exposed and rocky for a harbour, but with its sides riddled with caves.

"Bessie's, called after Bessie Burrow, who kept the Kidleywink on the cliff, which was the great resort of the smugglers, bears on its face to-day the traces of its history. A spot so sheltered and secluded that it is impossible to see what boats are in the little harbour until one literally leans over the edge of the cliff above; a harbour cut out of the solid rock, and a roadway with wheel tracks partly cut and partly worn, crossing the rocks below high-water mark; and, climbing up the face of the cliff on each side of the cove, caves and remains of caves everywhere, some with their mouths built up, which are reputed to be connected with the house above by secret passages. These are the trade marks of Bessie's Cove, and the world has not yet known the degree of innocence which could believe that these were made for the convenience of a few crabbers.

"The eastern and the most open is Prussia Cove. Here still stands to-day the house in which John[Pg 471] Carter, 'the King of Prussia,' lived and reigned from 1770 to 1807."[29]


From a drawing by A. Chevallier Taylor in the possession of J. B. Cornish, Esq.

The origin of the Carter family is obscure. It is supposed to have come from Shropshire, and the name is not Cornish. But what could have brought it to this wild and remote spot in the south-west is quite unknown. The father, Francis Carter, was born in 1712 and died in 1774, and his wife, Agnes, died in 1784. They had eight sons and two daughters. The eldest of the sons was John, the famous Cornish King of Prussia. He obtained this nickname in the following manner: He and other boys were playing at soldiers, and the renown of Frederick the Great having reached him, John dubbed himself the King of Prussia, and the title not only adhered to him through life, but he has bequeathed the name of Prussia to the cove, which formerly bore that of Porthleah.

John Carter, when he grew to man's estate, made himself fame as a daring smuggler, and he was ably seconded by his brother Henry, who contrived to his own satisfaction to combine perfervid piety with cheating the customs.

Smuggling in those days was carried on upon a large scale, in cutters and luggers armed with eighteen or twenty guns apiece. Harry Carter, in his autobiography, says: "I think I might have been twenty-five when I went in a small sloop about sixteen or eighteen tons, with two men besides myself as smugglers, when I had very great success, and after a while I had a new sloop built for me, about thirty-two tons. My success was rather beyond common, and after a time we bought a small cutter of about fifty tons, and about ten men." The measurements at[Pg 472] the present day would be ten, eighteen, and thirty tons.

John Carter was never caught. On one occasion the revenue officers came to his house and demanded to ransack his sheds. One of these was locked, and he refused to surrender the key, whereupon they broke it open, but found that it contained only household articles. As they were unable to refasten the door, the shed remained open all night, and by morning everything it had contained had disappeared. The "King" thereupon sued the officers for all his goods that had been taken from him. It is perhaps needless to say that he had himself conveyed them away. The officers had to refund the losses.

On one occasion when John Carter was absent from home, the excise officers from Penzance came to Prussia Cove in their boats and succeeded in securing a cargo lately arrived from France. They carried it to Penzance and placed it under lock and key in the custom-house. Carter, on his return, heard of the capture. He was highly incensed, for the brandy had all been promised to some of the gentry round, and he was not the man to receive an order and fail to execute it. Accordingly, he made up his mind to recover the whole cargo. Assisted by his mates, in the night he broke into the custom-house store and removed every barrel that had been taken from him.

Next morning, when the officers saw what had been done, they knew who the perpetrator was, for nothing had been touched and removed but what the "King" claimed as his own; and these smugglers prided themselves on being "all honourable men."

The most famous episode in John Carter's career was his firing on the boat of the revenue cutter The Faery. A smuggling vessel, hard pressed, ran through a[Pg 473] narrow channel among the rocks between the Enys and the shore. The cutter, not daring to venture nearer, sent her boat in; whereupon Carter opened fire upon her from an improvised battery in which he had mounted several small cannon. The boat had to withdraw. Next morning the fight was resumed, The Faery opening fire from the sea. But in the meantime mounted soldiers from Penzance had arrived, and these fired from the top of the hill upon those working the guns in the battery, taking them in the rear. This was more than the smugglers could stand, and they retreated to Bessie Burrow's house, and were not further molested, the soldiers contenting themselves with remounting their horses and riding back to Penzance. Unfortunately, with regard to John Carter, the "King of Prussia," we have but scattered notices and tradition to rely upon; but it is otherwise with his brother Henry, who has left an autobiography that has been transcribed and published by Mr. J. B. Cornish under the title The Autobiography of a Cornish Smuggler, London (Gibbons and Co.), 1900.

But Harry Carter is somewhat reticent about the doings of the smugglers, and avoids giving names, for when he wrote "free trade" was in full swing. He wrote in 1809, when John his brother and the "Cove boys" were still at it, and Prussia Cove had not ceased to be a great centre of smugglers. He is much more concerned to record his religious experiences, all of which we could well spare for fuller details of the goings-on of his brothers and their comrades.

In 1778 an embargo was laid on all English trade, when the French Government made a treaty with the States of America, and not knowing of this, Henry Carter was arrested at S. Malo, and his cutter, with sixteen guns and thirty-six men, taken from him. He[Pg 474] was sent to the prison at Dinan; and in like manner his brother John was taken, and they were allowed to remain on parole at Josselin till the November of 1779, when they were exchanged by order of the Lords of the Admiralty for two French gentlemen. "So, after I was at home some time, riding about the country getting freights, collecting money for the company, etc., we bought a cutter about 160 tons (50 tons), nineteen guns. I went in her some time smuggling. I had great success."

In January, 1788, he went with a freight to Cawsand in a lugger of 45 tons in modern measurement, and mounting sixteen carriage guns. But he was boarded, and so cut about the head, and his nose nearly severed in two, that he fell bleeding on the deck.

"I suppose I might have been there about a quarter of an hour, until they had secured my people below, and after found me lying on the deck. One of them said, 'Here is one of the poor fellows dead.' Another made answer, 'Put the man below.' He answered again, 'What use is it to put a dead man below?' and so passed on. So I laid there very quiet for near the space of two hours, hearing their discourse as they walked by me, the night being very dark on the 30th January, 1788. The commanding officer gave orders for a lantern to be brought, so they took up one of my legs as I was lying upon my belly; he let it go, and it fell as dead down on the deck. He likewise put his hand up under my clothes, between my shirt and my skin, and then examined my head, and so concluded, saying, 'The man is so warm now as he was two hours back, but his head is all to atoms.' The water being ebbing, the vessel (that was grounded) making a great heel to the shore, so that in the course of a very little time after, as their two boats was made fast alongside,[Pg 475] one of them broke adrift. Immediately there was orders given to man the other boat in order to fetch her, so that when I saw them in this state of confusion, their guard broken, I thought it was my time to make my escape, so I crept on my belly on the deck, and got over a large raft just before the mainmast, close by one of the men's heels, as he was standing there handing the trysail. When I got over the lee-side I thought I should be able to swim on shore in a stroke or two. I took hold of the burtons of the mast, and as I was lifting myself over the side I was taken with the cramp in one of my thighs. So then I thought I should be drowned, but still willing to risk it, so that I let myself over the side very easily by a rope into the water. As I was very near the shore, I thought to swim on shore in the course of a stroke or two, but soon found my mistake. I was sinking almost like a stone, and hauling astern in deeper water, when I gave up all hopes of life and began to swallow some water. I found a rope under my breast, so that I had not lost my senses. I hauled upon it, and soon found one end fast to the side just where I went overboard, which gave me a little hope of life. So that when I got there, I could not tell which was best, to call to the man-of-war's men to take me in, or to stay there and die, for my life and strength were almost exhausted. But whilst I was thinking of this, touched bottom with my feet. Hope then sprang up, and I soon found another rope, leading towards the head of the vessel in shoaler water, so that I veered upon one and hauled upon the other, that brought me under the bowsprit, and then at times upon the send of a sea, my feet were almost dry. I let go the rope, but as soon as I attempted to run fell down, and as I fell, looking round about me, I saw three men standing close by. I knew[Pg 476] they were the man-of-war's men seeking for the boat, so I lay there quiet for some little time, and then crept upon my belly I suppose about the distance of fifty yards, and as the ground was scuddy, some flat rock mixed with channels of sand, I saw before me a channel of white sand, and for fear to be seen creeping over it, which would take some time, not knowing there was anything the matter with me, made the second attempt to run, and fell in the same manner as before.

"My brother Charles being there, looking out for the vessel, desired some Cawsand men to go down to see if they could pick up any of the men dead or alive, not expecting ever to see me any more, almost sure I was either shot or drowned. One of them saw me fall, ran to my assistance, and taking hold of me under the arm, says, 'Who are you?' So, as I thought him to be an enemy, made no answer. He said, 'Fear not; I am a friend. Come with me.' And by that time were come two more, which took me under both arms, and the other pushed me in the back, and so dragged me up to the town. My strength was almost exhausted. They took me into a room where were seven or eight Cawsand men and my brother Charles, and when he saw me he knew me by my great coat, and cried with joy. So then they immediately stripped off my wet clothes, and sent for a doctor and put me to bed. The bone of my nose was cut right in two, nothing but a bit of skin holding it, and two very large cuts in my head, that two or three pieces of my skull worked out of afterwards."

He was now hurried off in a chaise to his brother Charles' house, where he remained for a week. Then as a reward of three hundred pounds was offered for his apprehension, he was conveyed to a gentleman's house in Marazion, where he remained concealed for[Pg 477] two or three weeks, and thence was taken to Acton House, belonging to Mr. John Stackhouse, but only for a while, and shifted back to Marazion. Then again to the castle. The surgeon who was called in to attend him was blindfolded by the men sent to fetch him and conducted to the hiding-place of Henry Carter.


Demolished in 1906

In October he sailed for Leghorn, then on the same vessel loaded at Barcelona with brandy for New York. It was no longer safe for him to remain in England till the affair was blown over, and he did not return till October in the year 1790, and was soon again engaged in alternate preaching in Methodist chapels, and in smuggling brandy from Roscoff. On one of these excursions in 1793 he was arrested at Roscoff, as war had been declared between France and England. This was during the Reign of Terror, at a time when the Convention had decreed that no quarter should be given to an Englishman, and an English prisoner was placed on the same footing as a "suspect" or "aristocrat," and stood a great chance of losing his head under the knife. He does not, however, seem to have been harshly treated, only moved about from place to place, sometimes in a prison, at others lodged in a private house; a good many of his French fellow-prisoners, however, suffered death. In his own words and spelling: "There was numbers of gent and lades taken away to Brest that I parssially know, and their heads chopt off with the gulenteen with a very little notice."

Robespierre was executed on 28th July, 1794; and soon after his death the Convention decreed the release of great numbers of "suspects" and other prisoners. It was not, however, till August, 1795, that Henry Carter got his passport and was able to leave. He[Pg 478] arrived at Falmouth on August 22nd. "Arived on shore aboute three o'clock in the afternoon with much fear and trembling, where I meet with my dear little (daughter) Bettsy, there staying with her aunt, Mrs. Smythe, then between 8 and 9 years old.... I staid that night at Falmouth, the next morning went to Penryn with my dear little Bettsey in my hand. The next morning, on Sunday, took a horse and arrived at Breage Churchtown aboute eleven o'clock, where I meet my dear brother Frank, then in his way to church. As I first took him in surprise, at first I could harly make him sensable I was his brother, being nearley two years without hearing whether I was dead or alife. But when he come to himself as it were, we rejoiced together with exceeding great joy indeed. We went to his house in Rinsey, and after dinner went to see brother John (in Prussia Cove). We sent him word before I was coming. But he could harly believe it. But first looking out with his glass saw me yet a long way off. Ran to meet me, fell upon my neck. We passed the afternoon with him, and in the evning went to Keneggy to see brother Charles."

The autobiography ends abruptly in the year 1795, but the writer lived on until April 19th, 1829, spending the last thirty years of his life on a little farm at Rinsey.

In addition to the two authorities quoted, both due to Mr. Cornish, there is a memoir of Henry Carter in the Wesleyan Methodist Magazine for October, 1831.

[Pg 479]


The English East India Company had been founded December 31st, 1600, and it obtained from Queen Elizabeth the exclusive privilege for fifteen years of trading with India and all countries to the east of the Cape of Good Hope, in Africa and in Asia. The first settlement effected was at Surat in 1612, by Captain Thomas Best, who defeated the Portuguese in two battles. But through the jealousy of the Dutch and their encroachments, and the disturbances in England caused by the Great Rebellion, the East India Company fell to decay. Although Cromwell in 1657 renewed its privileges, the English made little headway. On April 3rd, 1661, Charles II confirmed and renewed all the ancient privileges, and handed over to the Company Bombay, which he had received from Spain as the portion of Catherine of Braganza.

Dr. Fryer, a surgeon in the service of the Company, travelled in India between 1673 and 1681, and has left some graphic descriptions of it. He sailed from Madras to Bombay, passing up the Malabar coast, and noting how that the Dutch were elbowing the Portuguese out of their posts. At last he entered the harbour of Bombay, so called from its Portuguese name Bona-baija. He found there a Government House, with pleasant gardens, terraces, and bowers; but the place had been meanly fortified, and the Malabar pirates often plundered the native villages and carried off the[Pg 480] inhabitants as slaves. However, the Company took the place vigorously in hand, loaded the terraces with cannon, and built ramparts over the bowers. When Fryer landed, Bombay Castle was mounted with a hundred and twenty pieces of ordnance, whilst sixty field-pieces were kept in readiness. The Dutch had made an attempt to capture Bombay, but had been repulsed.

Bombay itself was an island, with a superb landlocked harbour, but it had at its back the great and powerful kingdom of the Mahrattas.

But the vast expense of placing Bombay in a position of defence had been so inadequately met by the revenue derived from it, that the Company was dissatisfied with its acquisition, and being, moreover, burdened with debt, it had recourse to the unhappy expedient of raising the taxation and reducing the officers' pay. It was ordered that the annual expenses of the island should be limited to £7000; the military establishment was to be reduced to two lieutenants, two ensigns, four sergeants, as many corporals and 108 privates. A troop of horse was to be disbanded, and Keigwin, the commandant, was dismissed. This was in 1678-9.

Richard Keigwin was the third son of Richard Keigwin, of Penzance, and of his wife Margaret, daughter of Nicholas Godolphin, of Trewarveneth. The family was ancient and honourable. His great-grandfather, Jenkin Keigwin, had been killed by the Spaniards in 1595. Richard entered the Royal Navy, became a captain and then colonel of Marines, and was appointed Governor of S. Helena, then a possession of the East India Company, by grant of Charles II. After that he was transferred to Bombay, and had the commandantship there.

[Pg 481]

He was highly offended at being thrust out of his position, and he, moreover, knew that Bombay was menaced by both the Sambhajee and the Siddee, both of whom were desirous of gaining a footing on the island, and each was jealous lest the other should anticipate him in its acquisition.

In order that he might represent the danger that menaced of losing Bombay Captain Keigwin resolved on reporting in person to the Company how matters stood, and he accordingly went to the directors and laid the case before them with such force that they consented to send him back to Bombay with the rank of captain-lieutenant, and he was to be third in the Council. But with singular capriciousness, in the following year, when Keigwin was at Bombay, they rescinded the order, reduced his pay to six shillings a day, without allowance for food and lodging, and made further reductions in the general pay and increase in the taxes. This embittered the garrison and the natives alike.[30]

"During the greater part of the reign of Charles the Second," says Macaulay, "the Company enjoyed a prosperity to which the history of trade scarcely furnishes a parallel, and which excited the wonder, the cupidity, and the envious animosity of the whole capital. Wealth and luxury were then rapidly increasing, the taste for spices, the tissues and the jewels of the East, became stronger day by day; tea, which at the time when Monk brought the army of Scotland to London had been handed round to be stared at and just touched with the[Pg 482] lips, as a great rarity from China, was, eight years later, a regular article of import, and was soon consumed in such quantities that financiers began to consider it as a fit subject for taxation." Coffee, moreover, had become a fashionable drink, and the coffee-houses of London were the resorts of every description of club. But coffee came from Mocha, and the East India Company had sole right to import that, as it had absolute monopoly of the trade of the Indian Sea.

Nor was that all; vast quantities of saltpetre were imported into England from the East for the manufacture of gunpowder. But for this supply our muskets and cannon would have been speechless. It was reckoned that all Europe would hardly produce in one year saltpetre sufficient for the siege of one town fortified on the principles of Vauban.

The gains of the Company were enormous, so enormous as in no way to justify the cheeseparing that was had recourse to at Bombay. But these gains were not distributed among a large number of shareholders, but swelled the pockets of a few, for as the profits increased the number of holders of stock diminished.

The man who obtained complete control over the affairs of the Company was Sir Josiah Child, who had risen from an apprentice who swept out one of the counting-houses in the City to great wealth and power. His brother John was given an almost uncontrolled hand at Surat.

The Company had been popularly considered as a Whig body. Among the members of the directing committee had been found some of the most vehement exclusionists in the City, that is to say, those who had voted for the exclusion of James, Duke of York, from any claim to the crown of England on the decease of Charles II. This was an affront James was not likely[Pg 483] to forget and forgive. Indeed two of them, Sir Samuel Barnardiston and Thomas Papillon, drew on themselves a severe persecution by their zeal against Popery and arbitrary power.

The wonderful prosperity of the Company had excited, as already intimated, the envy of the merchants in London and Bristol; moreover, the people suffered from the monopoly being in the hands of a few stockholders, who controlled the market. The Company was fiercely attacked from without at the same time that it was distracted by internal dissensions.

Captain Keigwin now called upon the inhabitants of Bombay to take an oath of allegiance to the Crown, and to renounce the Company and submission to its commands. With this the whole of the garrison, militia and inhabitants, complied; the troops from expectation of relief from the grievances of which they had complained, and the inhabitants from anticipating relief from taxation.

Captain Keigwin and his associates then addressed a letter to His Majesty and to the Duke of York, expressing their determination to maintain the island for the King till his pleasure should be known, and enumerating the causes which had impelled them to revolt—the principal being to prevent Bombay from being seized by the Siddee, or Admiral of the Mogul, who with a numerous fleet was lying near, or else by the Sambhajee, the Mahratta rajah, who was watching his opportunity to descend on Bombay and annex it.

Captain Keigwin and the conspirators next represented to the Court of Committee that the selfish scheme of Josiah Child in England, and of his brother John Child of Surat, had been at the bottom of the whole mischief which caused the disaffection, and added that both the garrison and inhabitants were[Pg 484] determined to continue in allegiance to the Crown alone till the King's pleasure should be made known to them.

But Keigwin was no match for the subtle and unprincipled Sir Josiah Child and his brother John. Josiah had been originally brought into the direction of the Company by Barnardiston and Papillon, and was supposed, and he allowed it to be supposed, that he was as ardent a Whig as were they. He had for years stood high in the opinion of the chiefs of the Parliamentary opposition, and had been especially obnoxious to the Duke of York.

There had for some time been interference with the monopoly by what were called "interlopers" or free traders, to the great vexation of the Company. These interlopers now determined to affect the character of loyal men, who were determined to stand by the Crown against the insolent Whigs of the Company. "They spread at all the factories in the East reports that England was in confusion, that the sword had been drawn or would immediately be drawn, and that the Company was forward in the rebellion against the Crown. These rumours, which in truth were not improbable, easily found credit among people separated from London by what was then a voyage of twelve months. Some servants of the Company who were in ill humour with their employers, and others who were zealous Royalists, joined the primitive traders."

On December 27th, 1683, Captain Keigwin, assisted by Ensign Thornburn and others, seized on Mr. Ward, the deputy governor, and such members of the Council as adhered to him, assembled the troops and the militia, pronounced the authority of the East India Company as at an end by formal proclamation, and declared the island to be placed under the King's immediate[Pg 485] protection. Thereupon the garrison, consisting of one hundred and fifty English soldiers and two hundred native topasses, and the inhabitants of the island, elected Keigwin to be governor, and appointed officers to the different companies, store-keepers, harbour-masters, etc., declaring, however, that the Company might, if their servants would acknowledge the King's government as proclaimed, proceed in their several avocations without molestation. Keigwin then took possession of the Company's ship Return and the frigate Huntley, and landed the treasure, amounting to fifty or sixty thousand rupees, which he lodged in the fort, and he published a declaration that it should be employed solely in the defence of the King's island and government.

But Child looked ahead, and saw that inevitably James, Duke of York, at no very distant period would be King of England. The Whigs were cowed by the discovery of the Rye House Plot, and the execution of Lord Russell and Algernon Sidney. It was high time for Child to turn his coat, and this he did rapidly and with dexterity. He forced his two patrons, Barnardiston and Papillon, out of the Company, filled their places with creatures of his own, and established himself as autocrat. Then he made overtures to the Court, to the King, and to the Duke of York, and he soon became a favourite at Whitehall, and the favour which he enjoyed at Whitehall confirmed his power at the India House. He made a present of ten thousand pounds to Charles, and another ten thousand pounds to James, who readily consented to become a holder of stock. "All who could help or hurt at Court," says Macaulay, "ministers, mistresses, priests, were kept in good humour by presents of shawls and silks, birds' nests and attar of roses, bulses of diamonds and bags[Pg 486] of guineas. His bribes, distributed with judicious prodigality, speedily produced a large return. Just when the Court became all-powerful in the State, he became all-powerful at the Court."

Against such machinations as these Keigwin was powerless. Whatever Child asked should be done to maintain the authority of the Company was granted. Keigwin had appealed to hear the will of the King. The King's answer was but the echo of the voice of Child.

On the 31st January, 1683-4, President John Child from Surat arrived off Bombay with some commissioners, and met Keigwin with offers of pardon for his rebellion, but the offer was indignantly refused. Keigwin would deal with no one but the King himself, and some plain truths were told to John Child, that it was he and his brother, by their greed after gold and indifference to the welfare of the settlement, that caused all the trouble. The consultation lasted till March, 1683-4, and then Child had to return to Surat, without having effected anything.

In the meantime the Court of Directors sent in a report to the King, on 15th August, 1684, with a long statement of its grievances, and a claim for protection, according to the charter of the Society.

Charles II could do no other than order that the island should be delivered over to the Presidency of Surat, and a Commission under the Great Seal was issued to President Child and to the commanders of the Company's ships, empowering them to receive the surrender of Bombay from Keigwin and his associates and to offer a generous pardon to all, except the four ringleaders, who should within twenty-four hours after notice return to their duty.

Captain Tyrell, with H.M.S. Phœnix, frigate, was[Pg 487] despatched, with Sir Thomas Graham as admiral, to settle the affair.

But Captain Keigwin had no idea of resistance. It had been further ordered that if Keigwin and his followers should attempt opposition, all should be denounced as rebels, and a reward of 4000 rupees should be paid to any one who should deliver up Keigwin, and 2000 for Alderton, and 200 for Fletcher.

Sir Thomas Graham arrived in the Bay of Bombay on the 10th November, 1684, and with great promptitude landed without attendants, and had a conference with Keigwin, who protested that he had only revolted against the misgovernment of the Company, and to save Bombay from being seized by one or other of the Indian princes who were aiming to secure it. He at once accepted the offer made to him of pardon, and surrendered Bombay. He went on board the vessel of Sir Thomas Graham and arrived in England in July, 1685.

During his enjoyment of power Captain Keigwin had acted with integrity and wisely and judiciously. He had relations with the native princes, and he showed an amount of prudence and clear judgment that eventually greatly benefited the East India Company. He induced Sambhajee, the Mahratta rajah, to permit the establishment of factories in the Carnatic and allow them 12,000 pagodas as compensation for losses sustained at places plundered by the Mahrattas. Keigwin repressed the insolence of the Mogul admiral, Siddee, with decision, and would neither suffer him to keep his fleet at Mazapore, nor even to go there, except for water. In fact, had the Company known it, they had in Keigwin an admirable servant, a Clive before the time of that hero.

But the directors were a number of commercial[Pg 488] speculators who saw no further than a few years before them, and were eager at once to be rich. They cast this man aside, who, had they employed him, would have made India theirs; and, a disappointed man, he entered the Royal Navy and died at the taking of S. Kitts, in the West Indies, in command of H.M.S. Assistance, 22nd June, 1689.

It is one of the great mysteries of life and death that men who might have revolutionized the world are swept aside and hardly anything is recorded concerning them. Richard Keigwin was one such, full of self-confidence, vigour of character, restraint, and judgment. But he lived at a time and under a reign in which there was no appreciation of merit, and corruption and self-interest bore him down.

[Pg 489]


The Kent, Captain Henry Cobb, 1350 tons, bound for Bengal and China, left the Downs on 19th February, 1825, with 20 officers, 344 soldiers, 43 women, and 66 children belonging to the 31st Regiment; 20 private passengers and a crew, including officers, of 148 men on board, making in all 641 souls.

A gale came on in the Bay of Biscay, and the ship rolled greatly. On 1st March the dead weight of some hundred tons of shot and shells, pressed so heavily with the rolling that the main chains were thrown by every lurch under water; and the best cleated articles of furniture in the cabin and the cuddy (the large dining apartment) were dashed from side to side.

One of the officers of the ship, with the well-meant intention of ascertaining that all was fast below, descended with two of the sailors into the hold, whither they carried with them for safety a light in a patent lantern; and seeing that the lamp was burning dimly, the officer took the precaution to hand it up to the orlop deck to be trimmed. Having afterwards discovered that one of the spirit casks was adrift, he sent a sailor for some billets of wood to secure it, but the ship in his absence having made a heavy lurch, the officer unfortunately dropped the light, and letting go of his hold of the cask in his eagerness to recover the lantern, it suddenly stove, and, the spirits communicating[Pg 490] with the lamp, the whole place was instantly in a blaze.

Major (afterwards Sir Duncan) McGregor, who was on board at the time with his wife and family, says:—

"I received from Captain Spence, the captain of the day, the alarming information that the ship was on fire in the after-hold. On hastening to the hatchway whence smoke was slowly ascending, I found Captain Cobb and other officers already giving orders, which seemed to be promptly obeyed by seamen and troops, who were using every exertion by means of the pumps, buckets of water, wet sails, hammocks, etc., to extinguish the flames. With a view to excite the ladies' alarm as little as possible, on conveying the intelligence to Colonel Faron, the commanding officer of the troops, I knocked gently at the cabin door, and expressed a wish to speak with him; but whether my countenance betrayed the state of my feelings, or the increasing noise and confusion upon deck created apprehension, I found it difficult to pacify some of the ladies by assurances that no danger whatever was to be apprehended from the gale. As long as the devouring element appeared to be confined to the spot where the fire had originated, and which we were assured was surrounded on all sides by water-casks, we ventured to cherish hopes that it might be subdued; but no sooner was the light blue vapour that at first arose succeeded by volumes of black dingy smoke, which speedily ascended through all the four hatchways, rolled over every part of the ship, than all further concealment became impossible, and almost all hope of preserving the vessel was abandoned.

"In these awful circumstances, Captain Cobb, with an ability and decision of character that seemed to increase with the imminence of the danger, resorted to[Pg 491] the only alternative now left him—of ordering the lower decks to be scuttled, the combing of the hatches to be cut, and the lower ports to be opened, for the free admission of the waves.

"These instructions were speedily executed by the united efforts of the troops and seamen; but not before some of the sick soldiers, one woman, and several children, unable to gain the upper deck, had perished. On descending to the gun-deck with one or two officers of the 31st Regiment to assist in opening the ports, I met, staggering towards the hatchway, in an exhausted and nearly senseless state, one of the mates, who informed us that he had just stumbled over the dead bodies of some individuals who must have died of suffocation, to which it was evident that he himself had almost fallen a victim. So dense and oppressive was the smoke that it was with the utmost difficulty we could remain long enough below to fulfil Captain Cobb's wishes; which were no sooner accomplished than the sea rushed in with extraordinary force, carrying away in its restless progress to the hold the largest chests, bulkheads, etc."

The immense quantity of water that was thus introduced into the vessel had, indeed, for a time the effect of checking the fury of the flames; but the danger of sinking was increased as the risk of explosion, should the fire reach the powder, was diminished. The ship became water-logged, and presented other indications of settling previous to going down.

"The upper deck was covered with between six and seven hundred human beings, many of whom from previous sea-sickness were forced on the first alarm from below in a state of absolute nakedness, and were now running about in quest of husbands, children, or parents. While some were standing in silent resignation[Pg 492] or in stupid insensibility to their impending fate, others were yielding themselves up to the most frantic despair. Several of the soldiers' wives and children, who had fled for temporary shelter into the after cabins on the upper decks, were engaged in prayer with the ladies, some of whom were enabled, with wonderful self-possession, to offer to others spiritual consolation; and the dignified deportment of two young ladies in particular formed a specimen of natural strength of mind finely modified by Christian feeling.

"Among the numerous objects that struck my observation at the period, I was much affected by the appearance and conduct of some of the dear children, who, quite unconscious in the cuddy cabin of the perils that surrounded them, continued to play as usual with their little toys in bed. To some of the older children, who seemed alive to the reality of the danger, I whispered, 'Now is the time to put in practice the instructions you have received at the regimental school and to think of the Saviour.' They replied, as the tears ran down their cheeks, 'Oh sir! we are trying to remember them, and we are praying to God.'

"It occurred to Mr. Thomson, the fourth mate, to send a man to the foretop, rather with the ardent wish than with the expectation, that some friendly sail might be discovered on the face of the waters. The sailor, on mounting, threw his eyes round the horizon for a moment—a moment of unutterable suspense—and, waving his hat, exclaimed, 'A sail on the leeboard!'

"The joyful announcement was received with three cheers upon deck. Our flags of distress were instantly hoisted and our minute guns fired; and we endeavoured to bear down under our three topsails and foresail upon the stranger, which afterwards proved to be the Cambria, a small brig of 200 tons burden, having on board[Pg 493] twenty or thirty Cornish miners and other agents of the Anglo-Mexican Company.

"For ten or fifteen minutes we were left in doubt whether the brig perceived our signals, or, perceiving them, was either disposed or able to lend us any assistance. From the violence of the gale, it seems that the report of our guns was not heard; but the ascending volumes of smoke from the ship sufficiently announced the dreadful nature of our distress, and we had the satisfaction, after a short period of suspense, to see the brig hoist British colours and crowd all sail to hasten to our relief.

"I confess that when I reflected on the long period our ship had already been burning—on the tremendous sea that was running—on the extreme smallness of the brig, and the immense number of human beings to be saved—I could only venture to hope that a few might be spared; but I durst not for a moment contemplate the possibility of my own preservation."

To prevent the rush to the boats as they were being lowered, some of the military officers were stationed over them with drawn swords. Arrangements were made by Captain Cobb for placing in the first boat, previous to letting it down, all the ladies and as many of the soldiers' wives as it could safely contain. They hurriedly wrapped themselves up in whatever articles of clothing could be found, and at about 2 p.m. or 2.30 p.m. a mournful procession advanced from the aft cabin to the starboard cuddy port, outside of which the cutter was suspended. Scarcely a word was uttered; not a scream was heard. Even the infants ceased to cry, as if conscious of the unspoken, unspeakable anguish that was at that instant rending the hearts of their parting parents—nor was the silence of voices in any way broken, except in one or two cases, where the[Pg 494] ladies plaintively entreated permission to be left behind with their husbands.

Although Captain Cobb had used every precaution to diminish the danger of the boat's descent, and for this purpose had stationed a man with an axe to cut away the tackle from either extremity should the slightest difficulty occur in unhooking it, yet the peril attending the whole operation nearly proved fatal to its numerous inmates. After a couple of unsuccessful attempts to place the frail bark fairly on the heaving surface of the water, the command was given at length to unhook. The tackle at the stern was, in consequence, immediately cleared; but the ropes at the bow having got fast, the sailor there found it impossible to obey the order. In vain was the axe applied to the entangled tackle. The moment was inconceivably critical, as the boat, which necessarily followed the motion of the ship, was gradually rising out of the water, and must, in another instant, have been hanging perpendicularly by the bow, and its helpless inmates in that event would have been shot down into the boiling surf. But at that moment, providentially, a wave suddenly struck and lifted the stern, so as to enable the seaman to disentangle the tackle, and the boat, dexterously cleared from the wreck, was seen after a little while from the poop battling with the billows on its way to the Cambria, which prudently lay to at some distance from the Kent, lest she should be involved in her explosion, or exposed to the fire of her guns, which, being all shotted, afterwards went off as the flames reached them successively.

The men had, accordingly, a considerable distance to row. The better to balance the boat in the raging seas through which it had to make its way, as also to enable the seamen to ply their oars, the women and[Pg 495] children were stowed promiscuously under the seats, and consequently exposed to the risk of being drowned by the continual dashing of the spray over their heads, which so filled the boat during the passage, that before they arrived at the brig the poor creatures were crouching up to their breasts in water, and their children kept above it with the greatest difficulty by their numbed hands.

However, in the course of between twenty minutes and half an hour, the little cutter was seen alongside the brig.

But the perils of the passage were not over; the boat was heaved up against the side of the rolling and pitching Cambria, and the difficulty of getting the women and children out of the cutter and on to the deck was great. Moreover, the boat stood in imminent danger of being stove in against the side of the brig whilst its passengers were disembarking.

Here it was that the Cornish miners on board the Cambria notably distinguished themselves, and above all Joseph Warren from S. Just, a famous wrestler. Being a man of enormous strength, he stood on the chains and caught first the children as they were tossed to his arms, passed them up on deck, and then lifted the women bodily from the boat as it heaved up within his reach, and passed them over his head to the men above.

The women showed great self-possession. They had been urged to avail themselves of every favourable heave of the sea, by springing towards the friendly arms that were extended to receive them; and notwithstanding the deplorable consequence of making a false step, or misjudging a distance, under such critical circumstances, not a single accident occurred to any individual belonging to this first boat.

[Pg 496]

Three out of the six boats originally possessed by the Kent were swamped in the course of the day, one of them with men in it; and the boats took three-quarters of an hour over each trip, so that night settled down, adding to the difficulties and dangers, and bringing ever nearer the prospect of the fire reaching the powder magazine and blowing all who remained on board into eternity.

Sir Donald McGregor tells some pathetic stories of the rest of the crew and passengers. One woman had vainly entreated to be allowed to go to India with her husband, and when refused, had contrived to hide herself in the vessel as a stowaway till it was well out at sea. As he was endeavouring to reach one of the boats, he fell overboard, and his head, coming between the heaving boat and the side of the ship, was crushed like a nut in her sight. Sad instances occurred where a husband had to make election between the saving of his wife and that of his children. The courage of some utterly failed them. Nothing would induce them to enter or try to enter one of the boats leaping on the waves beside the burning ship. Rather than adventure that they would remain and take their chances on the wreck. Some, making false leaps into the boats, fell into the waves and were drowned.

At last all who could or would be saved were brought on board the Cambria.

"After the arrival of the last boat, the flames, which had spread along her upper deck and poop, ascended with the rapidity of lightning to the masts and rigging, forming one general conflagration that illumined the heavens, and was strongly reflected upon several objects on board the brig.

"The flags of distress, hoisted in the morning, were seen for a considerable time waving amid the flames,[Pg 497] until the masts to which they were suspended successively fell over the ship's sides. At last, about 1.30 in the morning, the devouring element having communicated to the magazine, the long-threatened explosion was seen, and the blazing fragments of the once magnificent Kent were instantly hurried, like so many rockets, high into the air, leaving in the comparative darkness that succeeded the dreadful scene of that disastrous day floating before the mind like some feverish dream.

"I trust that you will keep in mind that Captain Cook's generous intentions and exertions must have proved utterly unavailing for the preservation of so many lives had they not been most nobly and unremittingly supported by those of his mate and crew, as well as of the numerous passengers on board his brig. While the former, only eight in number, were usefully employed in watching the vessel, the sturdy Cornish miners and Yorkshire smelters, on the approach of the different boats, took their perilous station upon the chains, where they put forth the great muscular strength with which Heaven had endowed them, in dexterously seizing, at each successive heave of the sea, on some of the exhausted people and dragging them upon deck. Nor did their kind anxieties terminate there. They and the gentlemen connected with them cheerfully opened their stores of clothes and provisions, which they liberally dispensed to the naked and famished sufferers; and they surrendered their beds to the helpless women and children, and seemed, in short, during the whole passage to England, to take no other delight than in ministering to all our wants."

Captain Cook of the Cambria at once turned the vessel and steered for Falmouth.

On reaching Falmouth report of the distressed condition[Pg 498] of those who had been rescued was sent to Colonel Fenwick, Lieutenant-Governor of Pendennis Castle, and the people of Falmouth showed the utmost kindness and hospitality to those who had been saved.

On the first Sunday after they had disembarked, Colonel Fearon, all the officers and men, Captain Cobb and the sailors and passengers attended church at Falmouth to give thanks to Almighty God for their deliverance from a fearful death.

"Falmouth, March 16th, 1825.

"To the Committee of the Inhabitants of Falmouth.


"In tracing the various links in the ample chain of mercy and bounty with which it has pleased a gracious Providence to surround the numerous individuals lately rescued from the destruction of the Hon. Company's ship Kent, we, the Lieut.-Col. Commanding, and officers belonging to the right wing of the 31st Regiment, cannot but reflect with increasing gratitude on the beneficence of that arrangement whereby ourselves and our gallant men, after the awful and afflicting calamity that befell us, were cast upon the sympathies of the inhabitants of Falmouth and the adjacent towns, who have so widely opened their hearts to feel, and munificently extended their hands to provide for our numerous and necessary wants.

"We were thrown upon your shore as penniless strangers, and ye took us in; we were hungry and ye gave us meat; naked and ye clothed us; sick and ye relieved and comforted us. We have found you rejoicing with those of us who rejoiced, and weeping with such of us as had cause to weep. You have visited our fatherless and widows in their affliction, and[Pg 499] sought by increasing acts of the most seasonable, effective, and delicate charity, to alleviate the measure of our sufferings.

"Under such circumstances, what can we say, or where shall we find words to express our emotions? You have created between us and our beloved country an additional bond of affection and gratitude, that will animate our future zeal, and enable us, amidst all the vicissitudes of our professional life, to point out Falmouth to our companions in arms as one of the bright spots in our happy land where the friendless shall find many friends, and the afflicted receive abundant consolation.

"In the name and on behalf of the officers of the

"Right Wing of the 31st Regiment,

"R. B. Fearon, Lieut-Col., 31st Foot."

Joseph Warren, the S. Just miner and wrestler who had so powerfully assisted in the rescue of the unfortunates from the Kent, strained his back in heaving up the women on deck, that ever after deprived him of power to wrestle or exercise his ancient strength. One of the ladies whom he had rescued paid him an annuity through the rest of his life, and he died at his old home at S. Just-in-Penwith, 28th January, 1842.

[Pg 500]


The Penrose family is one of the most ancient in Cornwall. The name signifies the Head of the Moor, and it belonged par excellence to the Land's End, where, at S. Sennen, we find the Penroses seated as landed gentry from the time of Edward I. They had branches in Sithney, Manaccan, and S. Anthony-in-Meneage. They mated with the best in the county—the Trefusis, the Killigrews, the Eriseys, and the Boscawens. One broke away from the circle of beautiful Celtic names, and took to wife a daughter of Sir Anthony Buggs, Knt. Happy must the lady have felt to cease to be Miss Buggs and become Madame Penrose!

Charles Vinicombe Penrose was the youngest son and child of the Rev. John Penrose, vicar of Gluvias, and was born at Gluvias, June 20th, 1759. In the spring of 1775 he was appointed midshipman on board the Levant frigate, Captain Murray, under whose command he passed the whole period of his service during the next twenty-two years of his life, and who (with one trifling exception) was the only captain with whom he ever sailed, either as midshipman or as lieutenant. In 1779 young Penrose was made lieutenant, and was appointed to the Cleopatra.

All the summer and a part of the winter of 1780 were passed in cruising off the Flemish bank. Captain Murray was then sent with a small squadron[Pg 501] to intercept the trade which the Americans were carrying on with Gothenburg by passing to the north of the Shetland Isles. The biting cold made this a source of extreme hardship, and the young lieutenant, now first lieutenant, suffered severely. The illness of the captain, and the incapacity of some of the officers, threw on him almost the whole care of the ship, and this under circumstances that required the skill and caution of the seaman to be ever on the alert.



"I had, however," he wrote, "no time to nurse myself, though I had pleurisy, besides my chilblains. For these latter I used to have warm vinegar and sal ammoniac brought frequently on deck, and, to allay the raging pain, dipped thin gloves into the mixture, and put them on under thick worsted mittens. At one time rheumatism had so got hold of me that I was not able to stand, but lay wrapped up in flannel on an arm-chest, on the forepart of the quarter-deck, to give my orders.

"On one occasion, in a severe gale, the ship covered with frozen snow, the main topmast was carried away; we were the whole day clearing the wreck, and I was much fatigued but obliged to keep the first watch. We were lying to under bare poles, and I had sent all the men under shelter except one man at the helm and the mate of the watch; and I had, with much difficulty, cleared a place for myself between two of the guns, where, holding by a rope, I could move two or three short paces backwards and forwards. About nine o'clock my messmates sent to ask if I would have anything, and I thoughtlessly ordered a glass of warm brandy and water, which they as thoughtlessly sent. I drank about half, and gave the rest to the mate. In a minute I felt a glow of warmth. Health, animation, freedom from fatigue, all came in their climax of comfort.[Pg 502] The next minute I fell sleeping on the deck. Fortunately for me, my comrade was an old seaman, and he instantly knew my case and dragged me down the ladder. I was put to bed; was badly treated, as I was rubbed with spirits; but after excruciating pain, I recovered. Had the officer of the watch been a young gentleman without experience, I should never have told my story."

In 1781 the Cleopatra was in the action off the Dogger Bank, but in 1783 was paid off. "At this time," wrote Mr. Penrose, "after having been for eleven years conversant only with nautical affairs, I really felt a great puzzle to know how a shore life could be endured. I had entered into my profession with all my heart, and was at this time as nearly a fish as a finless animal can become."

In 1787 he married Miss Trevenen, the elder sister of his brother's wife, and by her had three daughters. He was not at sea again till 1790, when he accompanied Captain Murray in the Defence, and was engaged in the West Indies. At the latter end of 1796 he was again returned to the Cleopatra, in which ship he had the melancholy satisfaction of conveying to England his friend and admiral, who had been seized with a paralytic affection from which he never recovered. The voyage home was tempestuous; but at length, and nearly at its close, the wind had come right aft, and the captain, who, though ill, was on deck, believed himself to be making rapid way up the Channel. On a sudden a light, which he knew to be the Scilly light, flashed across him, and he saw that he was between Scilly and the Land's End. He instantly stood to the south, but had hardly changed his course when he saw, close astern in the dark night, a wave break under the bow of a large ship, steering exactly in the direction which[Pg 503] he had left. "I never felt so sick before," he wrote. "I felt certain that in an hour's time she would be on the rocks, the wind blowing almost a storm. I shouted through the trumpet, I threw up lights, and fired guns, to give the alarm, but with the inward conviction at the time that it was all in vain—and so it was. This ship was never heard of again; and though fragments of a wreck were found the next morning on the coast near the Land's End, nothing was discovered to indicate what wreck it was."

The Cleopatra, on her return to England, was laid up for some months at Portsmouth in dock, and shortly after her repairs were completed the mutiny broke out at Spithead. Captain Penrose had the satisfaction that his own crew, from the beginning to the end of this anxious period, stood firm to their duty; a consequence undoubtedly of the manner in which he invariably treated his men, with kindly consideration and as reasonable beings.

He now went ashore, as his health was broken, and in May, 1798, went to reside at Ethy, near Lostwithiel, where, so soon as his health was re-established, he settled his family and looked out for fresh employment. He was appointed early in 1799 to the Sans Pareil, of eighty guns, and served in the West Indies till 1802, when he returned to England, having suffered from sunstroke. In 1810 Captain Penrose was appointed to the chief command at Gibraltar, with the rank of commodore. He hoisted his flag on board the San Juan, and had to direct the proceedings of a large flotilla which proved of great utility in the defence of Cadiz and Tarifa, and in other operations against the French under Marshal Soult. On December 4th, 1813, he was promoted to be Admiral of the Blue, and shortly after to superintend the naval service connected with Wellington's[Pg 504] army, then advanced as far as the Pyrenees. His orders were to proceed to the small port of Passages, and there hoist his flag on board the Porcupine. Admiral Penrose arrived at Passages on January 27th, 1814. The chief business which now devolved on the naval service was to make the necessary preparations for throwing a floating bridge across the Adour. This bridge was to be composed of small coasting vessels, decked boats, cables and planks. Above the bridge were to be anchored for its protection as many gunboats as could be furnished, and, to guard both these and the bridge from fire-ships or rafts, a boom was also to be laid across the river further up the stream. These measures were consequent on the investment of Bayonne. Great difficulties were to be expected in passing the bar of the Adour, which, at the place where the bridge was to be built, was four hundred yards wide, and where the ebb-tide ran at the rate of eight miles an hour. The Admiral determined to superintend the operation in person. On the afternoon of the 22nd the Porcupine, conveying some transports and several large coasting vessels laden with materials, left the harbour. But squally weather and baffling winds came on during the night, and he was unable to bring the flotilla to the bar before the morning of the 24th.

The passing of the bar, a most perilous service, has been described, as seen from the shore, by Mr. Gleig in the Subaltern.

It was nearly high water, and the wind was fair; both officers and soldiers gathered on the heights around, and the passage of each vessel was eagerly watched, from the moment it was immersed in the foaming breakers until it issued forth in the placid waters of the river beyond. Some few vessels broached[Pg 505] to and sank; but, on the whole, the attempt fully succeeded, and with fewer casualties than could have been expected. General Sir John Hope, who commanded on shore, said, in a letter to the Admiral: "I have often seen how gallantly the navy will devote themselves when serving with an army, but I never before witnessed so bold and hazardous a co-operation, and you have my most grateful thanks. I wrote to you in the course of last night, to say how much we stood in need of boats, seamen, etc., but when I saw the flotilla approach the wall of heavy surf, I regretted all I had said."

So soon as the boats had thus entered the river, no time was lost in running those which were intended to form the bridge up to their stations, where the bridge was rapidly formed; and at dawn on the following day, it was declared that infantry might cross it with safety. On the 27th Bayonne was closely invested by Sir John Hope, and Marshal Soult completely routed at Orthez by Wellington.

On March 22nd Admiral Penrose received instructions from the Duke to occupy the Gironde. On the 24th he sailed in the Porcupine, taking with him some brigs and a bomb vessel, and he was joined at the mouth of the river by the Egmont, the Andromache, the Challenger, and the Belle Poule. On the 27th he entered the river, the Andromache taking the lead. The want of pilots and the haziness of the atmosphere rendered the navigation difficult. The course taken was within easy reach of the shot from the enemy's batteries, but these passed clear of the ships, and every considerable danger was successfully overcome, when a clear sun broke forth to animate the progress up the stream.

The abdication of Napoleon, 6th April, 1814, and the restoration of the Bourbons followed, and Admiral[Pg 506] Penrose left the Gironde on May 22nd, and returned to Passages to superintend the embarkation of the troops and stores. The difficulties were great. The inadequate supply of transports precluded the affording, even to the sick and wounded, the accommodation of which they were in need; and the hatred borne by the Spanish population to the British troops burst forth more and more as their strength diminished. Although English blood and treasure had been poured forth to assist Spain against the despotism of Napoleon and in driving the French out of the country, not a spark of gratitude was manifested by the Spaniards. It was thought on this occasion highly probable that some outrage would be attempted in the rear of the embarkation. Indeed, a plan had been formed by some Spaniards to seize the military chest, and for security it had to be conveyed on board the Lyra, and a volley of stones was hurled at the last boat that left the shore. During Admiral Penrose's whole stay on this ungrateful coast, he never received a visit or the smallest mark of attention from a single Spaniard; and on his leaving Passages, not one individual in the town was seen to look out of a window to watch the sailing of the fleet.

The Porcupine anchored in Plymouth Sound, September 6th, and the Admiral struck his flag on the 12th, with but little expectation, now that peace had revisited Europe, of being again actively employed. On the 16th, however, he received a letter from Lord Melville, offering him the command of the fleet in the Mediterranean, become vacant by the recall of Admiral Hallowell. The offer was accepted, and on October 3rd Admiral Penrose hoisted his flag at Plymouth, on board the Queen, and left Plymouth on the 8th.

Whilst in the Mediterranean, he heard on March 12th,[Pg 507] 1815, of the escape of Napoleon from Elba, and of his having reached Prejus.

In January, 1816, Admiral Penrose was promoted to the rank of Knight Commander of the Bath.

On March 1st he received letters from Lord Exmouth, who appointed a meeting at Port Mahon to proceed against Algiers and Tunis to put an end to the piracies that were carried on from these two places. The squadron sailed for Algiers March 21st. Admiral Penrose wrote: "On arriving at their destination, the ships anchored in two lines out of gun-shot from the batteries, and by signal made all ready for battle; but all went off quietly, and the slaves in whose behalf the expedition was undertaken were ransomed on the terms which Lord Exmouth proposed." From Algiers the squadron sailed for Tunis, and here also the Bey submitted to the demand made on him, and thus ended this impotent expedition. The Bey of Algiers was by no means so overawed that he desisted from his nefarious practices, and a second expedition was sent against him under Lord Exmouth in 1816.

By an unfortunate oversight, rather than intentional lack of courtesy, no notice had been sent to the Admiral in command of the Mediterranean that Lord Exmouth had been despatched to bombard Algiers and destroy the piratical fleet. Admiral Penrose was at Malta, and hearing in a roundabout way that Lord Exmouth, with a fleet fitted out at home, had entered the Mediterranean and was on his way to Algiers, he deemed it advisable to leave Malta and visit this fleet. He did not arrive off Algiers till the 29th August. The action had been on the 27th, and the first objects seen on entering the bay were the still smoking wrecks of the Algerine navy, and then the fleet of Lord Exmouth engaged in repairing the injuries which it had sustained.

[Pg 508]

Admiral Penrose was cut to the quick by the slight put upon him, and he wrote to remonstrate with the Admiralty, but received in reply only a rebuke for expressing his indignation in a tone that the Admiralty did not relish.

There is no need to attend Admiral Penrose in his cruises and visits to the Ionian Islands, but his diary may be quoted relative to an expedition made early in 1818, in company with Sir Thomas Maitland, to visit Ali Pasha.

The history of this second Nero, with whom to our disgrace we entered into alliance, and supplied with cannon and muskets, may be given in brief.

Ali, surnamed Arslan, the Lion, was an Albanian born about the year 1741. His father, driven from his paternal mansion, placed himself at the head of some bandits, surrounded the house in which were his brothers, and burnt them in it alive. The mother of Ali, daughter of a bey, was of a vindictive and ferocious character, and on the death of her husband had the formation of the character of Ali in her hands, and she inspired him with remorselessness, ambition, and subtlety. Ali assisted the Sultan in the war with Russia, and was rewarded by being created a pasha of two tails and governor of Tricala, in Thessaly. Soon by means of intrigue and crime he obtained the pashalics of Janina and Arta; then he was granted the government of Acharnania, and, finding himself strong enough to do what he liked, he attacked neighbouring provinces, and banished or put to death in them all the Mussulman and Christian inhabitants whose goods he coveted, or who had given him umbrage. Then he attacked the Christian Suliotes and massacred them. Previsa and some other Christian towns on the coast had belonged to the republic of Venice. In 1797 the Queen of the[Pg 509] Adriatic, having been overthrown by Bonaparte, Ali took the opportunity, at the feast of Easter, to descend on them when all the inhabitants were keeping holiday, and massacre over six thousand and plunder the houses. The English Government entered into negotiations with him, gave him a park of artillery and six hundred gunshots. Thus furnished he attacked Berat, the pasha of which was the father of his two sons' wives. He took the place and threw the pasha into a subterranean dungeon under his palace at Janina.

He seized on the Albanian towns of Argyro-Kastro and Kardihi. The inhabitants of the latter surrendered without striking a blow; but as they had at some former time offended his mother, he put all the males to the sword, and handed over the women to his sister, who, after having delivered them up to the most horrible outrages, had them stripped stark naked and driven into the forests, where nearly all perished of cold and hunger. When Napoleon fell, Ali got the English to cede to him the town of Parga. It was concerning this cession that the English Government thought it no shame to send Sir Thomas Maitland to Ali to negotiate with him at Previsa. "The General embarked with the ladies (Lady Ponsonby, Lady Lauderdale and her daughters) in the Glasgow, and with the two ships we proceeded to the anchorage of Prevesa. On the evening of our arrival I despatched the second lieutenant to find at what time on the following day Ali would receive us. His report of the chief himself was wittily characteristic: 'He is exactly like a sugar hogshead, dressed in scarlet and gold.'

"A long and heavy pull we had the next day in the Glasgow's fine barge against a very cold wind, but at last we reached the land. The palace of the ferocious chief whom we had come to visit was built of wood, and[Pg 510] on the water's edge, so that the boats landed at one of the doors, contrived, no doubt, to enable the owner to escape in that direction if requisite. It was an immense building, badly finished, not painted, and badly furnished, but calculated to lodge about three thousand persons. The chief, with all his heads of departments, and his son and grandson, received us in a small room, one end of which was occupied by a comfortable and well-cushioned divan. Here we were soon served with coffee in beautiful china and gold cups and saucers, and magnificent pipes.

"Sir Thomas introduced me as the naval commander-in-chief. Before we returned to our ships an excellent collation was provided on a long table; but the climate was severe in this wild mansion, and after trying many bottles of execrable light wines, great was my joy in finding a flask of excellent brandy.

"I had several good opportunities of watching the countenance of the extraordinary man who was now our host, and I never could observe the smallest indication without of what was passing in his breast. Simple benevolence was apparently beaming from the whole expression of this human butcher. At one time particularly, when I know for a certainty that he was both angry and mortified at some turn in the investigations, I sat opposite him at only a yard's distance, and could not perceive the smallest outward token of the storm within. He once questioned me about my family, whether I was married, etc.; and when I told him I had three daughters, 'What, no sons? Why have you not them?' and burst forth into one of his frightful haugh-haugh laughs, which were quite disgusting, and resembled the grunt of a wild beast.

"As a high honour, on the day on which the ladies were with us, he sat at the head of the table at dinner.[Pg 511] The dinner was much more profuse than elegant; and one of Ali's first operations was to cut off the fore-quarter of a roasted lamb, and with his hand tear out the flesh between the shoulder and the breast, which he devoured with great glee. Lady Lauderdale sat on his right hand, and I was next her. Ali, understanding that she chose some turkey, had one brought before him, and helped her with a fore-quarter of an immense bird, which, of course, puzzled her greatly. Whereupon, bowing for permission from our host, I cut off a proper portion from the wing, and helped myself to the remainder. When Ali saw what a small portion I had allotted to the lady, he grunted out his peculiar laugh, but luckily did not persist in the cramming system.

"Even at this more distinguished feast good wines were not the order of the day, and I had again recourse to the brandy bottle. I know not what Ali had in a particular bottle placed near himself, as he indulged no one but Sir Thomas Maitland with a taste of it, but I do not recollect hearing it praised. The chief took a good portion of this bottle to himself, heedless of the Koran and the prophet.

"Immediately after dinner dancing boys were introduced, and performed a great number of evolutions, showing the most extraordinary flexibility in every part of the body. These poor creatures must have been Nazarites from their birth, as their hair was long enough to reach to the floor as they stood, and great part of their skill was displayed in throwing about these profuse locks with their arms. I think these boys must have been of Indian extraction.

"The ladies having heard that Ali had bought a diamond of great value from poor Gustavus, the ex-King of Sweden, expressed a strong desire to see it. He assented graciously, and ordered a plate to be[Pg 512] brought to him. He then searched in the folds of his own fat neck, and at last untied a string to which was affixed a little bag of either oil-cloth or bladder. Out of this he took a coarse paper parcel, and having opened the envelope, and three or four interior papers, he, with a pretended air of indifference, threw out on the plate a considerable number of diamonds, which some of our party valued at £30,000. Among these was the diamond of the ex-King, which had been valued at £12,000; but owing partly to his necessities, and, perhaps, partly also to a change in value, Ali purchased it, I think, for £7000 or £8000.

"The strangest part of this story was that such a man could display such a treasure, showing that it was usually concealed about his person, before a considerable number of his own subjects as well as strangers. There seemed to be the freest possible ingress and egress to and from the hall in which we sat; and beside his officers of state, there were many menials in the hall at the time. In what, then, consisted the confidence which he must have felt? It could not have been derived from conscious virtue, or security of attachment; and, except at the gate which led from the great square of the palace towards the town, I never saw anything like guard or sentinel.

"Besides the dish of diamonds, Ali kept by his side a brace of pistols richly set with valuable jewels, a present from Napoleon; and in his girdle he always wore a dagger, the hilt of which must have been worth £2000 or £3000; one stone especially being very large. Probably the reign of terror might operate to some degree as a safeguard; but the appearance of the people immediately about Ali's person indicated much more confidence than fear.

"Our ladies had been introduced into the harem,[Pg 513] and to the favourite Fatima, who, as we were told, was the best scratcher Ali ever had. One of his chief luxuries was to have his immense, coarse carcase scratched for a considerable time daily by his female friends."

The end of this man, Ali Pasha, may be briefly told. He had become independent, disregarding the authority of the Sultan, and a menace to the State. Accordingly an army was despatched to Janina, and a fleet to make a descent on the coasts of Epirus. Ali, in spite of his great age, exhibited great energy, and prepared to resist, but his fatal avarice stood in his way. With his enormous treasures he could have secured the fidelity of his troops, but he could not make up his mind to deal liberally with his defenders, and most deserted. His own sons and grandsons, with one exception, passed over into the enemy's camp. He set the town of Janina on fire, and retired himself into the fortress, which was defended by Italian and French artillerymen, and which bristled with cannon. This was in August, 1820. At the beginning of 1821 the Sultan gave the command of his forces to Khorchid Pasha, and the siege was begun. Ali had previously sunk one portion of his treasure in the lake in spots where it could be recovered by himself when the storm blew over; the rest was in his cellar heaped up over barrels of gunpowder, and a faithful attendant stood ever by with a lighted fuse in his hand. Khorchid was particularly desirous of securing the treasure. He proposed an interview in an island of the lake. After some hesitation Ali, who had now but fifty men in his garrison, consented. The interview took place on the 5th February, 1822; Khorchid had taken the precaution to surround the island with soldiers, but concealed. When they met, the officer of the Sultan[Pg 514] produced a firman granting complete forgiveness to Ali for all his crimes and defiance, on condition that he surrendered some of his treasures. Ali then drew off his ring, handed it to the general, and said, "Show that to my slave, and he will extinguish the fuse."

Ali was detained in the palace on the isle till messengers had been sent to the fortress, and the slave, obedient to the token, had put out the light, whereupon he was at once stabbed. When Khorchid knew that the treasure was secure, he summoned the soldiery, and they fired into the kiosk from all sides and through the floor, till Ali was struck mortally.

The moral infamies of this man are not to be described.

When the negotiations with Ali Pasha were ended, the Lord High Commissioner and the ladies returned to Corfu, and Sir Charles Penrose went back to his fleet.

He returned to England in 1819, being succeeded in his command by Admiral Freemantle.

He again made Ethy his home, taking occasional flights to London to obtain some other naval appointment, which would not compel a severance from his family, but none was available, and, finally, as his wife's health and his own began to fail, he was content to remain in his quiet Cornish home. There he died January 1st, 1830, at the age of seventy; and Lady Penrose died in 1832.

The Life of Vice-Admiral Sir C. V. Penrose, k.c.b., together with that of Captain James Trevenen, was written by their nephew, the Rev. John Penrose, and published by John Murray, 1850, with portrait.

[Pg 515]


Kit Hawkins, as he was familiarly termed in Cornwall, played a considerable part at the close of the eighteenth century, and before the passing of the Reform Bill, as a borough-monger. There was a contemporary with a similar reputation, Manasseh Lopes, a Jew diamond merchant from Jamaica, and both purchased their baronetcies by subservience to the Government in finding places for their nominees in the pocket boroughs they had got into their hands. When Manasseh Lopes drove into Fowey with his candidates, the town band stalked before the carriage playing "The Rogues' March"; when Kit Hawkins arrived in Grampound or S. Ives with a carriage and four, and his candidates with him, the band played "See the Conquering Hero Comes"—but he conquered not with weapons of steel, but with golden guineas, handed over to him by the candidates, a share of which passed to the electors.

The Cornish Hawkins family pretended to derive from a very distinguished Roman Catholic stock in Kent, whose place, Nash, was plundered in 1715 by the rabble, on account of the Jacobite proclivities of the Hawkins family and the excitement caused by the rebellion in Scotland of the Earl of Mar. On this occasion all the family plate, portraits, and deeds were carried off; some were burnt, some were recovered.

But not a shadow of evidence is forthcoming to show that there was any descent of the Hawkins family[Pg 516] in Cornwall from that in Kent. The story given out was that on account of the religious persecution in the time of Queen Mary, two of the Kent Hawkinses left the paternal nest: one settled in Somersetshire and the other in Cornwall, where each became the founder of a family. It was forgotten, when this fiction was given to the world, that the Hawkins stock in Kent was Roman Catholic, and not at all likely to be troubled by Queen Mary.

The first Cornish Hawkins of whom anything is known is Thomas of Mevagissey, who married a certain Audrey, her surname unknown, by whom he had two sons, John and Thomas, and three daughters.

John Hawkins, of S. Erth, the eldest, married Loveday, daughter of George Tremhayle, by whom—who was living in 1676—he had four surviving sons and three daughters, viz. Thomas; George, Vicar of Sithney; Reginald, d.d., Master of Pembroke College, Cambridge; and Francis. Thomas, the eldest, of Trewinnard in S. Erth, married Florence, daughter of James Praed, of Trevethow, near Hayle, by whom he had a daughter, Florence, the wife of John Williams, merchant, of Helston; and as his second wife he had Anne, daughter of Christopher Bellot, of Bodmin, by whom he had six daughters and four sons, of which latter, John, Thomas, and Renatus died young, and only Christopher lived. Thomas Hawkins, the father, died in 1716.

Christopher Hawkins, of Trewinnard, only surviving son, married Mary, daughter of Philip Hawkins, of Penzance, a supposed descendant of the Hawkinses of Devonshire, by whom he had a daughter, Jane, married to Sir Richard Vyvyan, of Trelowaren, Bart., and a son, Thomas Hawkins, of Trewithen, M.P. for Grampound, who married Anne, daughter of James[Pg 517] Heywood, of London, by whom he had four sons—Philip, who d.s.p.; Christopher; Thomas, who d.s.p.; John, of Bignor, Sussex, who married the daughter of Humphrey Sibthorpe, M.P. for Lincoln—and a daughter, who married Charles Trelawny, son of General Trelawny. Thomas Hawkins died on December 1st, 1770, and was succeeded by his second son, Christopher Hawkins, of Trewithen and Trewinnard, born at Trewithen May, 1758.[31] The seat Trewithen in Probus descended to his father from his grandmother's brother, Philip Hawkins, M.P. for the pocket borough of Grampound.

Christopher Hawkins came in for a good deal of land, derived through the marriage of the ancestors of Philip Hawkins, of Trewithen, with the heiresses of Scobell and Tredenham and that of his own great-grandfather to the co-heiress of Bellot of Bochym.

Christopher never married, and was of a frugal mind, buying land in all directions, and securing the pocket boroughs, where possible, as excellent investments. It was said of Trewithen—

A large park without deer,
A large cellar without beer,
A large house without cheer,
Sir Christopher Hawkins lives here.

But this was not fair, for there was certainly hospitality shown at Trewithen. Polwhele says: "Not a week before his death, I passed a delightful day with the hospitable baronet. To draw around him the few literary characters of his neighbourhood was his peculiar pleasure; and at Trewithen the clergy in particular had always a hearty welcome."

He purchased the manor of S. Ives in or about 1807, the fair at Mitchell, in Enoder, commanding the election[Pg 518] to that borough, and the four fairs at Grampound giving him control there also over elections.

A good many of the Cornish boroughs had been so constituted in the reign of Edward VI by the Protector Somerset, that he might get his own creatures into Parliament. Such were Camelford, Mitchell, Newport, Saltash, West Looe, Bossiney, Grampound, and Penryn. Queen Mary raised S. Ives into a borough in 1550, and Elizabeth created six more to serve her own political purposes, S. Germans, S. Mawes, Tregony, East Looe, Fowey, and Callington.

Mitchell is a mere hamlet, and in 1660 the franchise was solemnly transferred from the inhabitants at large to nominees of the lord of the manor. In 1689 it was determined that the right of election lay in the lords of the borough, who were liable to be chosen portreeve thereof, and the householders of the same not receiving alms. But the borough in the latter years of its existence became a battleground of many combatants, and as the right of voting was, until 1701, left in great ambiguity by successive election committees, the result of the contest could never be predicted. In 1701, the right of election for this distracted borough was again changed. This time it was vested in the portreeve and lord of the manor and the inhabitants paying scot and lot. In 1784, Hawkins and Howell were elected members, and sat in Parliament for Mitchell for twelve years, till 1796, and Sir Christopher became by purchase the sole owner of the borough; and after Howell had ceased to represent Mitchell, he continued as its representative to 1806, when he surrendered his seat to Arthur Wellesley, subsequently Duke of Wellington. The electors by this time had been reduced to five. In the eleven years, 1807-18, there were nine elections at Mitchell, not owing to feuds, but retirement of members.[Pg 519] No event of importance occurred after 1818 to 1832, except the extraordinary and significant revelation that at the contested election of 1831, when Hawkins (Sir Christopher's nephew) got two votes, Kenyon five, and Best three. Five voters to return two members. In 1833 those five electors found their borough disfranchised, a fate it richly deserved.

Penryn had been raised into the position of a borough returning two members of Parliament, in 1553.

Mr. Courtney says of 1774: "About this period the borough of Penryn began to be notorious through the county for the readiness of its voters to barter their rights for pecuniary considerations. The franchise was on such an extended basis that almost every householder, though many of these were labourers, indigent and ignorant, was an elector." In 1807 there were, however, but 140; in 1819 they had risen to 328. Each got a "breakfast" and £24 for his vote.

In 1780, Sir Francis Bassett gave a feast to the whole borough; he continued his patronage till 1807, as Lord de Dunstanville. In 1802 Swann and Milford contested a vacant seat in the borough, and Dunstanville to secure the second seat had to resort to putting faggot-voters on the poor-rates, the night before the election. Petition being made against the election, it ended in a compromise, and Swann received £10,000 besides expenses. Lord de Dunstanville, disgusted at the expense and the weakening of his influence, abandoned the borough. Swann thereupon gave a "breakfast" to his supporters; a "breakfast" was synonymous with a bribe of £24. Penryn was concerned at the retirement of its lordly patron, and founded a club in 1805 for electors, such as would most conduce to the pecuniary welfare of the voters. When the election of 1806 was imminent and the former patron had withdrawn, a[Pg 520] deputation of the members was sent to Trewithen to that notorious election-monger, Sir Kit, to tender to him the goodwill of the constituency. "The details of the negotiations conducted at this interview," says Mr. Courtney, "became the subject of subsequent investigation; but it was admitted that the voters stopped there for four hours and dined at the baronet's table, which on this occasion, no doubt, was more freely supplied than according to local gossip was the custom on ordinary days. The deputation informed Sir Christopher that Mr. Swann—the Black Swan as he was called by his enemies—who had been nursing the borough since 1802, must obtain one of the seats, but that the other was at his disposal. These two worthy politicians, Hawkins and Swann, thereupon coalesced, drink and food were freely supplied; two voters, one for each candidate, went round and gave each elector a one-pound note to drink their health with, and the result was that on the 1st November, 1806, the poll showed a large majority for Swann and Hawkins over Mr. Trevanion and his colleague William Wingfield." A petition followed, and the evidence was of such a compromising character that Mr. Serjeant Lens abandoned the case on behalf of Hawkins. The evidence produced was that the deputation of voters, headed by a clergyman, which had gone to Trewithen to offer him the borough, had associated with Sir Kit to sell their votes and interest for twenty-four guineas apiece paid to themselves, and for ten guineas to be handed to each of the overseers, and that the offer was duly accepted. An address to the King for the prosecution of Sir Christopher Hawkins and eighteen members of the committee was carried to the House of Commons. The trial took place at Bodmin on the 19th August, 1808, when Cobbett attended in person to watch the trial and[Pg 521] report proceedings in his Political Register. The questions in dispute centred on the terms of the agreement; the chief witness swore that the documents signed by Hawkins stipulated that twenty-four guineas should be given to each of the leaders of the party, ten guineas apiece to the two overseers and twenty shillings to each of the voters. But this evidence was unsupported, no other of the committee could be induced or intimidated into admitting that this had been the agreement; no one in Penryn desired to kill the goose that laid the golden eggs, and the defendant was acquitted, "to dabble in borough-mongering for the rest of his life."

At the election of 1807, Sir Christopher had no place in Parliament, but Swann sat again for Penryn.

In 1812 Hawkins wooed the borough in vain, in opposition to Philip Gell. The Black Swan was the other member elected, but great indignation was roused against him when it was found that he had left his bills unpaid for treating and breakfasting his adherents.

Then a committee approached Sir Manasseh Lopes, but he declined to buy the votes at the price of £2000.

But Swann managed to recover favour and increase the number of voters in his constituency by 200 votes, and to form a company to provide granite from the vicinity for Waterloo Bridge over the Thames, so providing work for the voters of Penryn, and Hawkins and Swann were returned. The usual petition followed, and evidence of bribery came out. One voter swore that he had received £5, and his wife another £5; another £7; and many others various sums from ten shillings to ten pounds. Swann was declared guilty and imprisoned 1819-20.

In the election of 1827 it was admitted that £1850[Pg 522] had been distributed among the electors. Seventy votes had been sold at £10 apiece.

Grampound had had its elections controlled by Lord Eliot. In the election of 1796 the fifty electors received for their votes £3000, and the patron, Eliot, pocketed £6000 himself. The patronage was then sold to Sir Kit Hawkins, to whom a friend wrote in 1796: "Fame speaks loudly of your doings. The borough, by her own account, is all your own, and such is certainly preferable to Tregony. The small number of voters in one, and the vast number in the other, pulls down the balance in favour of Grampound, and from the continuance of Eliot we may infer that a possession once obtained may last forty or fifty years."

But after the election of 1806 the recognized, nay undisputed patron, Sir Christopher, keeping voters in his pay, and holding the nomination to two seats, found that his power was weakened. His candidate, the Nabob Fawcett, did not pay as he had promised. The electors accordingly determined to transfer their favours to some other great man, and eventually elected Andrew C. Johnstone, Governor of Dominica, by twenty-seven over the Hawkins candidate, who polled only thirteen.

"Up to this time," says the historian, "a decent veil of reserve had been thrown over the delinquencies of the Grampound electors; now it was cast aside, and their deformities were disclosed to the view of the whole political world. Enquiry followed enquiry, and prosecution prosecution." The borough engaged the attention of members of Parliament and Press correspondents. Great Cobbett went to Bodmin in 1808 to see the trial of Sir Kit, the Mayor, Recorder, and four capital Burgesses. This petition unseated the anti-Hawkins candidate, and a new writ was issued. It[Pg 523] was now arranged that Cochrane, patron of the anti-Kittite, should give £5000 for one, or £8400 for the two seats, to be distributed, and that each of the elected should pay £12 10s. to the wives of the several electors. Each voter eventually did get about £80. The anti-Kittites polled twenty-seven, and Mr. Hawkins' nominee fourteen. What does the Mayor do? Strike off sufficient votes from the anti-Kittite, so as to give the local baronet a majority of one, and returned his nominees as duly elected. A second petition restored Cochrane.

Sir Kit, discerning that his influence over the electors at Grampound was passing away, determined to increase the number of voters. The electors had consisted of an indefinite number of freemen elected at Easter and Michaelmas by the eligers. This election was artfully deferred till good Kittites could be secured to fill the places desired.

In 1812 Cochrane was still in possession, but he made way for Johnston, associating Teed with him. This man gave each elector £100 in promissory notes. Johnston was, however, expelled the House in 1814 for frauds on the Stock Exchange. Thereupon in came Sir Christopher Hawkins again. He was again brought before the notice of the House in 1818, when there appeared six candidates. Innes and Robertson were elected by thirty-six votes: the rest (eleven) went to Teed. After that, on Teed's petition, the whole secret of the nefarious system came to light. The voters, it appeared, had applied to Sir Kit; but that worthy baronet was tired of their solicitations, and refused to advance a penny. So they turned to the Jew Manasseh Lopes, who gave £2000 to be distributed among forty electors. But when the money arrived, the Mayor intercepted £300 for himself, another took £140, so that the[Pg 524] rank and file got only £35 apiece instead of the expected £50; £8000 was paid privily by a sitting member. Again a petition, and Manasseh Lopes was convicted of bribery in both Devon and Cornwall, was fined £10,000, and incarcerated at Exeter for two years.

Lord John Russell was prepared to extirpate bribery, and in particular to disfranchise Grampound; the House of Commons agreed without a dissentient voice, but the death of George III hindered proceedings, and the last two members were returned.

S. Ives had been erected into a borough by Philip and Mary in 1558. Here, after 1689, the Praeds, Whigs, were all-powerful. In 1751, after long being stewards of the Earls of Buckinghamshire, the Stephens family began to assert itself. Thenceforth during the long reign of George III a severe contest for influence over the elections was waged between the two families. In 1774 a Praed got ninety-five votes, a Drummond ninety-eight, and Stephens was left out in the cold with seventy-one. But the usual petition showed Praed's corruption too manifestly. Money had been lent to the voters, with the tacit understanding that in the event of election it was not to be asked for, and forty persons, sure voters for Stephens, had been omitted from the rates. In 1806 Sir Kit Hawkins, gained a share in representation; his candidate, Horner. But Stephens got 135 votes and Horner 128; the other candidate opposing him was left far in the rear, with only five votes. But Horner was out again at the next election. In 1820 Sir Christopher had the appointment to both seats entirely in his own hands.

Tregony had been made into a borough under Queen Elizabeth in 1562. Before 1832 it was described as "destitute of trade, wealth, and common activity."

[Pg 525]

Writing in 1877, the last Cornish historian remarks that the condition of Tregony had passed from bad to worse. Many of its houses were then in ruins, and the scene of desolation was spreading. In early times Tregony had been a seaport on a tidal creek, but that was silted up, and no boat could now reach it, so that its commercial importance was wholly gone.

During the eighteenth century the representatives of Tregony were men of little importance, small placemen unconnected with Cornwall. In the long array of aliens and Court satellites, the name of one Cornish gentleman stands out in bright relief; 1747-67, for twenty years (a long period) Mr. Trevanion represented it. The election of 1774 excited much notice. Lord North advised a note to be written to Lord Falmouth: "His Lordship must be told in as polite terms as possible, that I hope he will permit me to recommend to three of his six seats in Cornwall. The terms he expects are £2000 a seat, to which I am ready to agree." Later on, he says that his candidate Pownall must get in for Lostwithiel, and Conway represent Tregony, and he added: "My noble friend (Falmouth) is rather shabby, desiring guineas instead of pounds," but signified his will to pay rather than drop the bargain. Again: "Gascoyne shall have the refusal of Tregony for £1000," and the Minister complained that he saw no way of bringing him in at a cheaper rate than any other servant of the Crown.

In 1776 the Boscawen influence was sold to Sir Kit Hawkins, but he did not retain it for long, for he disposed of it to a Nabob, Barwell, and the two continued on friendly terms. When the living of Cuby fell vacant—Cuby is the parish church of Tregony—Sir Kit asked Barwell, who now had the presentation, to give it to a friend of his, alleging that[Pg 526] "he had great interest" and assuring Barwell that his clerical friend would reside in the place, and by his great activity in the borough prevent, if possible, any opposition arising to Mr. Barwell. But at the very next election Sir Kit ran and returned two members against Barwell.

In the contest of 1784, Lord Kenyon, a lawyer, obtained the seat by purchase, polling 90, while his two opponents got 69 each.

In 1806 an O'Callinghan and a Yorkshire Whig, through Darlington's interest polled against Barwell's interest 102 against 86. At this election the following trick was played. A Tregony tailor and publican, called Middlecoat, offered to seat Sir Jonathan Miles for 4000 guineas. At the poll the returning officer, who was biased or had been tampered with, struck off many good votes from Miles, and gave bad ones to others. Sir Jonathan petitioned and, for the expenses of the petition, sent Middlecoat a large sum of money, and he prevented the witnesses from appearing, and the sitting members were accordingly pronounced to be duly elected. Middlecoat had secured £2500 from the sitting nominees (Barwellians) to keep back the witnesses, as well as £4200 from Sir Jonathan to bring them forward.

In 1812 O'Callinghan was unseated, and petitioned, showing that £5000 had been distributed among the voters; nevertheless the sitting members were received. Holmes, one of them, said—to show what was the degraded condition of the borough—that out of 127 votes in his favour, 98 had been evicted into the street the day after the election, some having been called on to pay their rents, but were unable to do so at the moment, and others, whose annual rents were only £8, had been mulcted in costs to the extent of £98.

[Pg 527]

Middlecoat, and four others of like spirit, went to London in 1818 to search for candidates for Tregony and Grampound, offering the former for £6000 and the latter for £7000. A banker and a general came down before the election, but found that the voters would make no promise unless the money were paid down. So they had to return to London "proclaiming their disappointment at every turn, and cursing the scoundrels who would not trust them."

Christopher Hawkins was returned for Mitchell in 1784, re-elected in 1790 and 1796. In June, 1799, he vacated his seat by accepting the Stewardship of the Chiltern Hundreds. In August, 1800, he was elected for Grampound, again in 1802 and 1806. In 1818 he was returned for Penryn, and in June, 1821, for S. Ives. He was created baronet on July 28th, 1791. He was Recorder of Grampound and S. Ives and, at the time when he relinquished his seat finally, he was the father of the House of Commons.

Sir Christopher encouraged the famous engineer and inventor Richard Trevithick, and in the life of that worthy, by Francis Trevithick, are given some letters that passed between them; but Mr. F. Trevithick persistently calls Sir Christopher Sir Charles. Sir Kit was the first man to adopt a steam thrashing-machine in 1812, an invention of Trevithick; it was used for the first time at Trewithen in February in that year. A committee of experts was called in to witness its operations and report on them, and this is their report, dated February 12th, 1812:—

"Having been requested to witness and report on the effect of steam applied to work a mill for thrashing corn at Trewithen, we hereby testify that a fire was lighted under the boiler of the engine five minutes after eight o'clock, and at twenty-five minutes after nine[Pg 528] o'clock the thrashing mill began to work, in which time one bushel of coal was consumed. That from the time the mill began to work to two minutes after two o'clock, being four hours and three-quarters, fifteen hundred sheaves of barley were thrashed clean, and one bushel of coal more was consumed. We think there was sufficient steam remaining in the boiler to have thrashed from fifty to one hundred sheaves more barley, and the water in the boiler was by no means exhausted. We had the satisfaction to observe that common labourers regulated the thrashing mill, and in a moment of time made it go faster, slower, or entirely cease working. We approve of the steadiness and the velocity with which the machine worked, and in every respect we prefer the power of steam, as here applied, to that of horse.

Matthew Roberts, Lansellyn.
Thos. Nankevill, Golden.
Matthew Doble, Barthlever."

Sir Christopher entered into negotiation with Trevithick about constructing a breakwater to the harbour at S. Ives, at Pendinas Point. It was begun, but never completed, owing to the death of the baronet. But a good thing he did achieve, though done for a political purpose, by indirect bribery, was the establishment of a free school at S. Ives, in Shute Street; the charge of admission was one penny per week, and in it navigation was taught. It was opened on April 11th, 1822.

In the diary of Captain John Tregerthen Short of the events taking place at S. Ives between 1817 and 1838 we have: "1828, June 10th. At 10 a.m. Sir Christopher Hawkins, Bart., and Wellesley Long Pole, Esq., the former supporting the cause of the Right Hon. Sir[Pg 529] Charles Arbuthnot, attended at the Town Hall, where Wellesley Long Pole, Esq., resigned the contest, and Sir Charles Arbuthnot was elected without opposition. Immediately afterwards Mr. Wellesley Pole made an active and successful canvass of the town for another election, and left S. Ives at 10 p.m., having given each voter 5s., and Sir Christopher Hawkins gave all his friends 5s."

"July 21st.—All Mr. Wellesley's voters had a public dinner; each received one guinea to defray the expense of the dinner, which came to 7s. 3d. per man." Oh, what a falling off is here! Only 5s. each voter, whereas elsewhere, at Grampound, Tregony, Penryn, and Mitchell, a free and independent elector would turn up his nose at £10. But Captain Short does not inform us what the douceurs had been that were paid previous to the election.

Sir Christopher Hawkins died of erysipelas at Trewithen on April 6th, 1829.

Captain Short enters on that day:—

"Sir Christopher Hawkins, Bart., departed this life this morning in the seventy-first year of his age. His death will be greatly felt and deplored by hundreds. His charitable contributions amongst the indigent will be found greatly wanting. A more generous and benevolent landlord could not be found. He was never known to distrain for rent. He established a Free School in S. Ives for the education of the poor, and gave the sum of £100 towards enlarging the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in this town."

The Gentleman's Magazine for 1830 says that Sir Kit Hawkins's property at S. Ives was sold then, "which secures the purchaser a seat in Parliament, for the borough was lately sold by auction in London for[Pg 530] the sum of £55,000. It is reported that the purchaser is the Marquess of Cleveland."

A bad bargain, for three years after the Reform Bill was passed, and S. Ives ceased to be a pocket borough.

[Pg 531]


Moses Pitt, a publisher in London, a native of S. Teath, in 1696 published the following letter to the Bishop of Gloucester. There are two editions of it, with slight and insignificant variations both in the preliminary address and in the account of Anne Jefferies.

The preamble we omit.

"Anne Jefferies (for that was her maiden name), of whom the following strange things are related, was born in the parish of S. Teath, in the county of Cornwall, in December, 1626, and she is still living in 1696, being in the seventieth year of her age. She is married to one William Warren, formerly hind to the late eminent physician Dr. Richard Lewes, deceased, and now lives as a hind to Sir Andrew Slanning, of Devon, Bart.

"In the year 1691 I wrote into Cornwall to my sister Mary Martyn's son, attorney, to go to the said Anne and discourse her, as from me, about the most strange passages of her life. He answers my letter September 13th, 1691, and saith: 'I have been with Anne Jefferies, and she can give me no particular account of her condition, it being so long since. My grandmother and mother say that she was in Bodmin jail three months, and lived six months without meat; and during her continuance in that condition several eminent cures were performed by her; the particulars[Pg 532] no one can now state. My mother saw the fairies once, and heard one say that they should give some meat to the child, that she might return unto her parents, which is the fullest relation can now be given.' But I, not being satisfied with the answer, did in the year 1693 write into Cornwall and my sister's husband, Mr. Humphry Martyn, and desired him to go to Anne Jefferies to see if he could persuade her to give me what account she could remember of the many and strange passages of her life. He answered by letter, January 31st, 1693, and saith: 'As for Anne Jefferies, I have been with her the greatest part of one day, and did read to her all that you wrote to me; but she would not own anything of it as concerning the fairies, neither of the cures she then did. I endeavoured to persuade her she might receive some benefit by it. She answered that if her own father were now alive she would not discover to him those things which did happen to her. I asked her the reason why she would not do it; she replied that if she should discover it to you, that you would make either books or ballads of it; and she said that she would not have her name spread about the country in books or ballads, or such things, if she might have £500 for doing it; for she said she had been questioned before justices, and at the sessions, and in prison, and also before the judges at the assizes, and she doth believe that if she should discover such things now she would be questioned again for it. As for the ancient inhabitants of S. Teath Church-town, there are none of them now alive but Thomas Christopher, a blind man. (Note: This Thomas Christopher was then a servant in my father's house, when these things happened, and he remembers many of the passages you write of her.) And as for my wife, she then being so little did not mind it, but heard her[Pg 533] father and mother relate most of the passages you wrote of her.'

"This is all I can, at present, possibly get from her, and therefore I now go on with my relation of the wonderful cures and other strange things she did, or happened to her, which is the substance of what I wrote to my brother and that he read to her.

"It is the custom in our county of Cornwall for the most substantial people of each parish to take apprentices the poor children, and to breed them up till they attain to twenty-one years of age, and for their services to give them meat, drink, and clothes. This Anne Jefferies, being a poor man's child of the parish, by Providence fell into our family, where she lived many years. Being a girl of a bold, daring spirit, she would venture at those difficulties and dangers that no boy would attempt.

"In the year 1645 (she being nineteen years old), she being one day knitting in an arbour in our garden, there came over the hedge to her, as she affirmed, six persons of small stature, all clothed in green, which she called fairies. Upon which she was so frightened that she fell into a kind of convulsive fit. But when we found her in this condition, we brought her into the house and put her to bed, and took great care of her. As soon as she recovered out of her fit she cried out, 'They are just gone out of the window! Do you not see them?' And thus in the height of her sickness she would often cry out, and that with eagerness, which expressions were attributed to her distemper, supposing her light-headed. During the extremity of her sickness my father's mother died, which was in April, 1646; he durst not acquaint our maid Anne of it for fear it might have increased her distemper, she being at that time so very sick that she could not go, nor[Pg 534] so much as stand on her feet; and also the extremity of her sickness, and the long continuance of her distemper had almost perfectly moped her, so that she became even as a changeling; and as soon as she began to recover, or to get a little strength, she in her going would spread her legs as wide as she could, and so lay hold with her hands on tables, chairs, forms, stools, etc., till she had learnt to go again; and if anything vexed her, she would fall into her fits, and continue in them for a long time, so that we were afraid she would have died in one of them.

"As soon as she recovered a little strength she constantly went to church to pay her devotions to our great and good God. She took mighty delight in devotion and in hearing the Word of God read and preached, although she herself could not read. The first manual operation or cure she performed was on my mother. The occasion was as follows: One afternoon in the harvest time, all our family being in the fields at work (and myself a boy at school), there was none in the house but my mother and this Anne. My mother, considering that bread might be a-wanting for the labourers, if care were not taken, and she having before caused some bushels of wheat to be sent to the mill, which was but a quarter of a mile from our house, desired to hasten the miller to bring home the meal, that so her maids as soon as they came from the fields might make and bake the bread; but in the meantime how to dispose of her maid Anne was her great care, for she did not dare trust her in the house alone, for fear she might do herself some mischief by fire, or set the house on fire, for at that time she was so weak that she could hardly help herself, and very silly withal. At last, by much persuasion, my mother prevailed with her to walk in the gardens and[Pg 535] orchard till she came from the mill, to which she willingly consented. Then my mother locked the door of the house and walked to the mill; but as she was coming home, she slipped and hurt her leg, so as that she could not rise. There she lay a considerable time in great pain, till a neighbour, coming by on horseback, seeing my mother in this condition, lifted her upon his horse. As soon as she was brought within doors of the house, word was sent into the fields to the reapers, who thereupon immediately left their harvest work and came home. The house being presently full of people, a man-servant was ordered to take a horse and ride for Mr. Lobb, an eminent surgeon who then lived at Bodmin, which was eight miles from my father's house. But, while the man was getting the horse ready, in comes our maid Anne, and tells my mother that she was heartily sorry for the mischance she had got in hurting her leg, and that she did it at such a place, naming the place, and further, she desired she might see her leg. My mother at first refused to show her leg, saying to her, What should she show her leg to so poor and silly a creature as she was, for she could do her no good. But Anne being very importunate with my mother to see her leg, and my mother being unwilling to vex her by denying her, for fear of her falling into her fits, for at all times we dealt gently, lovingly, and kindly with her, did yield to her request, and did show her her leg.

"Upon which Anne took my mother's leg upon her lap and stroked it with her hand, and then asked my mother if she did not find ease by her stroking of it? My mother confessed to her she did. Upon this she desired my mother to forbear sending for the surgeon, for she would, by the blessing of God, cure her leg. And to satisfy my mother of the truth of it, she[Pg 536] again appealed to my mother whether she did not find further ease upon her continued stroking of the part affected. Which my mother again acknowledged she did. Upon this my mother countermanded the messenger for the surgeon. On this my mother demanded of her how she came to the knowledge of her fall. She made answer that half a dozen persons had told her of it. 'That,' replied my mother, 'could not be, for there were none came by at that time but my neighbour, who brought me home.' Anne answers again that that was truth, and it was also true that half a dozen persons told her so, for, said she, 'you know I went out of the house into the garden and orchard very unwillingly; and now I will tell you the truth of all matters and things that have befallen me. You know that this my sickness and fits came very suddenly upon me, which brought me very low and weak, and have made me very simple. Now the cause of my sickness was this: I was one day knitting of stockings in the arbour of the garden, and there came over the garden hedge of a sudden six small people, all in green clothes, which put me into such a great fright that was the cause of my sickness; and they continue their appearance to me, never less than two at a time nor more than eight. They always appear in even numbers—2, 4, 6, 8. When I said often in my sickness they were just gone out of the window, it was really so, although you thought me light-headed. At this time, when I came out into the garden, they came to me and asked me if you had put me out of the house against my will. I told them I was unwilling to come out of the house. Upon this they said you should not fare better for it, and thereupon, in that place and at that time, in a fair pathway you fell and hurt your leg. I would not have you send for a surgeon nor[Pg 537] trouble yourself, for I will cure your leg.' The which she did in a little time.

"This cure of my mother's leg, and the stories she told of those fairies, made a noise all over the county of Cornwall. People of all distempers, sicknesses, sores, and ages came not only so far off as the Land's End, but also from London, and were cured by her. She took no money of them nor any reward that ever I knew or heard of, yet had she monies at all times, sufficient to supply her wants. She neither made nor bought any medicines or salves that ever I saw or heard of, yet wanted them not as she had occasion. She forsook eating our victuals and was fed by those fairies from the harvest time to the next Christmas Day, upon which day she came to our table and said because it was that day she would eat some roast beef with us, the which she did, I myself being then at the table.

"One time (I remember it perfectly well) I had a mind to speak with her, and not knowing better where to find her than in her chamber, I went thither, and fell a-knocking very earnestly at her chamber door with my foot, and calling to her earnestly 'Anne! Anne! open the door and let me in.' She answered me, 'Have a little patience and I will let you in, immediately.' Upon which I looked through the keyhole of the door and saw her eating; and when she had done eating she stood still by the bedside as long as thanks might be given, and then she made a courtesy (or bend) and opened the chamber door, and gave me a piece of the bread, which I did eat, and I think it was the most delicious bread that ever I did eat, either before or since.

"Another odd passage, which I must relate, was this: One Lord's Day, my father with his family being[Pg 538] at dinner in our hall, comes in one of our neighbours, whose name was Francis Heathman, and asked where Anne was. We told him she was in her chamber. Upon this he goes into her chamber to see her, but, not seeing her, he calls her. She not answering, he feels up and down the chamber for her, but not finding her, comes and tells us she was not in her chamber. As soon as he had said this, she comes out of her chamber to us, as we were sitting at table, and tells him she was in her chamber and saw him and heard him call her, and saw him feel up and down the chamber for her, and had almost felt her, but he could not see her, although she saw him, notwithstanding she was, at the same time, at the table in her chamber, eating her dinner.

"One day these fairies gave my sister (the new wife of Mr. Humphry Martyn) then about four years of age, a silver cup, which held about a quart, bidding her give it my mother, and she did bring it my mother; but my mother would not accept of it, but bid her carry it to them again; which she did. I presume this was the time my sister owns she saw the fairies. I confess to your lordship, I never did see them. I had almost forgot to tell your lordship, that Anne would tell what people would come to her, several days before they came, and from whence, and at what time they would come.

"I have seen Anne in the orchard, dancing among the trees, and she told me she was then dancing with the fairies.

"The great noise of the many strange cures Anne did, and also her living without eating our victuals, she being fed, as she said, by these fairies, caused both the neighbouring magistrates and ministers to resort to my father's house, and talk with her, and strictly examine her about the matter here related; and she gave them[Pg 539] very rational answers to all their questions they then asked her; for by this time she was well recovered out of her sickness and fits, and her natural parts and understanding much improved, my father and all his family affirming the truth of all she said.

"The ministers endeavouring to persuade her they were evil spirits resorted to her, and that it was the delusions of the devil. But how could that be when she did no hurt, but good to all who came to her for cure of their distempers? and advised her not to go to them when they called her. However, that night after the magistrates and ministers were gone, my father, with his family, sitting at a great fire in the hall, Anne being also present, she spake to my father and said, 'Now they call!' meaning the fairies. We all of us urged her not to go. In less than half a quarter of an hour she said, 'Now they call a second time!' We encouraged her again not to go to them. By and by she said, 'Now they call a third time!' Upon which, away to her chamber she went to them. Of all these calls of the fairies, none heard them but Anne. After she had been in the chamber some time, she came to us again with a Bible in her hand, and tells us that when she came to the fairies, they said to her, 'What, hath there been some magistrates and ministers to you, and dissuaded you from coming any more to us, saying we are evil spirits, and that it is all delusions of the devil? Pray desire them to read in the 1st Epistle of S. John, chapter 4, verse 1, "Dearly beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they be of God."' This place of Scripture was turned down to in the said Bible. I told your lordship before, Anne could not read.

"After this, one John Tregeagle, Esq., who was steward to John, Earl of Radnor, being then a Justice[Pg 540] of Peace in Cornwall, sent his warrant for Anne, and sent her to Bodmin jail, and there kept her a long time. That day the constable came to execute his warrant, Anne milking the cows, the fairies appeared to her and told her that a constable would come that day with a warrant to carry her before a justice of the peace, and she would be sent to jail. She asked them if she should hide herself. They answered, No, she should fear nothing, but go with the constable. So she went with the constable to the justice, and he sent her to Bodmin jail and ordered the prison-keeper that she should be kept without victuals; and she was so kept, and yet she lived, and that without complaining. When the sessions came, the justices of the peace sent their warrant to one Giles Bawden, a neighbour of ours, who was then a constable, for my mother and myself to appear before them, at the sessions, to answer such questions as should be demanded of us about our poor maid Anne.

"Bodmin was eight miles from my father's. When we came to the sessions, the first who was called in before the justices was my mother. What questions they asked her I do not remember. When they had done examining her, they desired her to withdraw. As soon as she came forth I was brought in, and called to the upper end of the table to be examined, and there was the clerk of the peace, with the pen ready in his hand, to take my examination. The first question they asked me was, 'What have you got in your pockets?' I answered, 'Nothing, sir, but my cuffs': which I immediately plucked out and I showed them. The second question to me was, If I had any victuals in my pockets for my maid Anne? I answered I had not; and so they dismissed me, as well as my mother. But poor Anne lay in jail for a considerable time after;[Pg 541] and also Justice Tregeagle, who was her great persecutor, kept her in his house some time as a prisoner, and that without victuals. And at last when Anne was discharged out of prison, the justice made an order that Anne should not live any more with my father. Whereupon my father's only sister, Mrs. Frances Tom, a widow, near Padstow, took Anne into her family, and there she lived a considerable time and did many cures; but what they were, my kinsman, Mr. William Tom, who there lived in the house with his mother, can give your lordship the best account of any I know living, except Anne herself. And from hence she went to live with her own brother, and, in process of time, married, etc.

"I am your lordship's most humble and dutiful servant,

"Moses Pitt.

"May 1st, 1699."

There are several points to be considered in this curious story. It is written in all good faith, and is an honest account of what Pitt remembered of events that took place some fifty years previously, when he was a boy.

There is nothing in the first portion of the story that cannot be explained without the intervention of fairies or pixies; but it is not so easy to account for Anne's abstaining wholly from the food of mortals like herself and being sustained on fairy food. It is not uncommon for women to pretend that they do not eat; there have been many "fasting girls," but all have been shown up to be impostors. In this case, however, Anne Jefferies did not pretend to be a fasting girl, but to be nourished by fairies. In the house of the Pitts she might have surreptitiously procured food, but this she[Pg 542] could not do in the jail at Bodmin, nor in the house of Justice Tregeagle.

As to the cures she wrought, they are to be put in the same category as faith cures all the world over, whether performed at Lourdes, or by Christian scientists, or by Shamans in the steppes of Tartary.

Moses Pitt, the writer of the letter, was the son of John Pitt, yeoman, of S. Teath; he was bound apprentice to Robert Litterbury, citizen and haberdasher, in London, for seven years from October 1st, 1654. He became a foreman of the Haberdashers' Company 8th November, 1661, and started as a publisher and speculative builder. In 1680 he began to issue The English Atlas at his shop "The Angel," in S. Paul's Churchyard. It was to be in twelve volumes, and was dedicated to the King, but was never completed, as he got into difficulties. In the first place he became sole executor to a Captain Richard Mill, who had tenant right to the "Blue Boar's Head," in King Street, Westminster, at an annual rent of £20. Pitt had to pay this, and also Captain Mill's widow an annuity of £50. But he found the "Blue Boar's Head" so dilapidated that he had to rebuild it at a heavy outlay before he could let it. Then he had a quarrel with a neighbour about a party wall he was rebuilding, leading to law proceedings, and Pitt was cast in costs and damages. But his most serious loss was entailed by his building a house for Lord Chancellor Jeffreys, which that judge agreed to take at £300 per annum. As part of the land on which it was to be built was Crown property, Jeffreys guaranteed Pitt that he would obtain a lease for ninety-nine years of it, and bade him hurry on the building. When Pitt had spent £4000 on it, Jeffreys was disgraced and fell, owing to the flight of James II and the advent of William of Orange. Pitt, greatly[Pg 543] embarrassed for money, fled to Ireland; he mortgaged his estates for £3000, but as his creditors were not satisfied, he was finally arrested and sent to the Fleet Prison April 18th, 1689, where he remained till the 16th May, 1691, when he was transferred to the King's Bench.

He published in the same year "The Cry of the Oppressed, being a true and tragical account of the unparallel'd suffering of multitudes of poor imprisoned debtors in most of the gaols of England, under the tyranny of the gaolers and other oppressors.... Together with the case of the Publisher." The sufferings of the debtors he knew by personal experience, and his revelation is one of horrors perpetrated in the Fleet and elsewhere, and illustrated with very graphic copper-plates. His account of his own troubles occupies sixty-seven pages, and shows him to have been a reckless speculator. Having been educated as a haberdasher, he undertook to be a publisher, and simultaneously to be a builder.

He probably obtained his release before 1695, as in that year he published a letter relative to some discourses upon Dr. Burnet and Dr. Tillotson, by a parson named George Hicker, d.d., and in 1696 he wrote the account of Anne Jefferies, given above. He was married to a Miss Upman. The date of his death is not known. Justice Tregeagle, who was the special "persecutor" of Anne Jefferies, is very well remembered in Cornish legend. He was a particularly wicked man and harsh steward, and lies buried near the chancel of S. Breock. His home was Trevorder, in that parish.

[Pg 544]


The Killigrew family seems to have possessed a great hankering after the stage, for four of them were playwrights. Indeed, Henry Killigrew, educated at Christ Church, Oxford, began at the age of seventeen, when a play written by him was performed at the nuptials of Lord Charles Herbert with Lady Mary Villiers, at the Black Friars. Some critics present objected that one of the characters, representing a boy of seventeen, talked too freely for his age, and Falkland replied "that it was neither monstrous nor impossible for one of seventeen years to speak at such a rate; when he that made him speak in that manner, and who wrote the whole play, was himself no older."

Sir William Killigrew, Knt., who was loyal to Charles I, and stood high in favour with Charles II, usher of the privy chamber and vice-chamberlain to the Queen, also wrote plays, tragi-comedies, but they do not appear to have taken with the public.

But the man who was most stage-stricken of the family was Thomas, the fourth son of Sir Robert Killigrew, born in 1611. He became early in life page of honour to Charles I, and he attended Charles II when in exile. At this period, when Charles was sorely in need of money, Thomas Killigrew was despatched as "Resident" to Venice, in 1652, "to borrow money of English[Pg 545] merchants for his (Charles's) owne subsistence," and "to press the Duke to furnish Us with a present some (sum) of money and we will engage ourselves by any Act or Acts to repay with interest, and so likewise for any Arms or Ammunition he shall be pleased to furnish Us withall. The summe you shall move him to furnish Us with shall be Ten thousand Pistolls."

Thomas Killigrew

Thomas Killigrew Groome of ye Bedchamber to King Charles ye Second

According to Hyde, Charles misdoubted the suitableness of Killigrew for this delicate negotiation; and was finally prevailed to send him, simply to gratify Tom.

The misgivings of the Prince were justified, for Killigrew and his servants behaved so badly at Venice that the Doge, Francisco Erizzo, had to complain through his ambassador.

Sir Edward Hyde, in a letter to Sir Richard Browne, wrote: "I have informed the Kinge of the Venetian Ambassador's complainte against Mr. Killigrew, with which His Majesty is very much troubled, and resolves upon his returne hither to examyne his miscarriage, and to proceed therein in such a manner as shall be worthy of him, and as may manifest his respecte to that Commonwealth, with which the Crowne of Englande hath alwayes held a very stricte amity, and His Majesty's Ministers have in all places preserved a very good correspondence with the Ministers of that State, and therefore His Majesty is more sensible of this misdemeanour of his Resident."

On Killigrew's return to the Court of S. Germain, Sir John Denham addressed him in these lines:—

Our Resident Tom
From Venice has come,
And has left the Statesman behind him;
Talks at the same pitch,
Is as wise, is as rich,
[Pg 546] And just where you left him, you find him.
But who says he is not
A man of much plot,
May repent of this false accusation;
Having-plotted and penn'd
Six plays to attend
The Farce of his negotiation.

But although Charles might put on an appearance of being indignant, and though he was vexed that Tom did not return laden with "pistolls," he was too careless and too fond of being entertained to part with his principal buffoon. But thenceforth he employed him mainly in transactions about wine, canary and sack, of which the Prince needed much.

The story is told of Louis XIV that he had heard much of the wit of Tom Killigrew, and sent for him to Versailles, where he talked to him, but could elicit nothing from him. Thinking that this proceeded from shyness he drew him apart, and led him into the gallery to show him the pictures. There he asked him if he knew what they represented. Tom expressed his ignorance, whereupon the King led him before a painting of the Crucifixion, and asked him what that represented. "I believe, your Majesty," replied Tom, "that it is a picture of Christ between two thieves."

"And who might they be?"

"Your Majesty and the Pope," replied the audacious jester.

The first wife of Thomas Killigrew was Cecilia, a daughter of Sir John Crofts, of Saxham, in Suffolk, and he was married to her on June 29th, 1636.

The weather on the wedding day was rude and boisterous, which gave rise to some lines by Thomas Carew:—

"Such should this day be; so the sun should hide
His bashful face, and let the conquering bride
Without a rivall shine, whilst he forbears
[Pg 547] To mingle his unequall beams with hers;
Or if sometime he glance his squinting eye
Between the parting clouds, 'tis but to spye,
Not emulate her glories; so comes drest
In vayles, but as a masquer to the feast."

She brought her husband a fortune of £10,000, and a son and heir, Henry, born in April, 1637. She was buried the 5th January, 1638, in Westminster Abbey. Tom married again, when in exile, at the Hague, and his second wife was Charlotte, daughter of John van Hesse, a Dutch woman. The marriage took place 26th January, 1655, and by her he had three sons, Robert, Charles, and Thomas.

At length came the recall of Charles to England, and Tom Killigrew accompanied him in the same vessel, very lighthearted, and expectant of great things. Pepys had gone over to meet the King, and he says, May 24th, 1660: "Walking upon the decks, were persons of honour all the afternoon, among others Thomas Killigrew, a merry droll, but a gentleman of great esteem with the King, who told us many merry stories." Among them one Pepys quotes, which is profane.

Thomas Killigrew was appointed Groom of the Bedchamber, with a salary of £400 per annum, which he augmented by receiving bribes from those who were solicitous to obtain posts under the Crown, and to use his influence with the King to get them.

He had now an opportunity of producing on the London stage the plays that he had composed whilst abroad. Of these there were eight, comedies and tragi-comedies, all borrowed, none exhibiting any genuine wit, but steeped in ordure. One, The Parson's Wedding, borrowed from The Antiquary, by Shakerly Marmion, and Raw Alley, by Lord Barrey, was actually to be performed wholly by women. It has been well said[Pg 548] by Mr. Tregellas: "We find ourselves indeed 'surrounded by foreheads of bronze, hearts like the nether millstone, and tongues set on fire of hell.' I must add that they have scarcely a sparkle of that witty wickedness which one meets with in the writings of Sir Charles Sedley."

All Killigrew's plays were printed in folio in 1644. Pepys did not see much merit in them. Of The Parson's Wedding he says: "Luellin tells me what an obscene, loose play this is, that is acted by nothing but women, at the King's House." Of Claracilla, "a poor play." Of Love at First Sight, "I find the play to be a poor thing, and so I perceive every body else do." Nor did he think much of Killigrew's conversation. He described it as "poor and frothy."

In The Companion to the Playhouse, 1764, there are some stories told of Killigrew.

"After the Restoration he continued in high favour with the King, and had frequently access to him when he was denied to the first peers of the realm; and being a man of great wit and liveliness of parts, and having from his long intimacy with that monarch, and being continually about his person during his troubles, acquired a freedom of familiarity with him, which even the pomp of Majesty afterwards could not check in him, he sometimes, by way of jest, which King Charles was ever fond of, if genuine, even tho' himself was the object of the satire, would adventure bold truths which scarcely any one beside would have dared even to hint to. One story in particular is related of him, which, if true, is a strong proof of the great lengths he would sometimes proceed in his freedoms of this kind, which is as follows: When the King's unbounded passion for women had given his mistress such an ascendancy over him, that, like the effeminate[Pg 549] Persian monarch, he was fitter to have handled a distaff than to wield a sceptre, and for the conversation of his concubines utterly neglected the most important affairs of state, Mr. Killigrew went to pay his Majesty a visit in his private apartments, habited like a pilgrim who was bent on a long journey. The King, surprised at the oddity of his appearance, immediately asked him what was the meaning of it, and whither he was going. 'To Hell,' bluntly replied the man. 'Prithee,' said the King, 'what can your errand be to that place?' 'To fetch back Oliver Cromwell,' rejoined he, 'that he may take some care of the affairs of England, for his successor takes none at all.'"

This was not the only time that Killigrew gave good counsel to the King. Pepys says: "Mr. Pierce did tell me as a great truth, as being told by Mr. Cowley, who was by, and heard it, that Tom Killigrew should publicly tell the King that his matters were coming into a very ill state, and that yet there was a way to help all. Says he: 'There is a good, honest, able man, that I could name, that, if your Majesty would employ, and command to see all things well executed, all things would soon be mended; and this one is Charles Stuart, who now spends his time in employing his lips about the Court, and hath no other employment, but if you would give him this employment, he were the fittest man in the world to perform it.' This, he says, is most true; but the King do not profit by any of this, but lays it aside, and remembers nothing, but to his pleasures again."

On another occasion Killigrew is said to have placed under the candlestick where Charles II supped, five small papers, on each of which he had written the word all. The King on seeing them, asked what he meant by these five words. "If your Majesty will[Pg 550] grant my