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COUNSELLOR OF STATE, AND PRESIDENT OF A COURT OF APPEALS

IN BAVARIA, C.C.M.B. & W. &c.

TRANSLATED, AND ACCOMPANIED WITH NOTES,

BY

with the

EARL STANHOPE.

LONDON.

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Let the cause at length be known
Of my hapless lot on earth,
For what crime do I atone,
Guilty even at my birth ?

(Sigismund, in Calderon's Life a Dream.")

TILLING, PRINTER, CHELSEA.

PREFACE,

BY THE TRANSLATOR.

If, in times like the present, when events of extreme importance succeed each other with unexampled rapidity, and years seem to comprise the history of centuries, we can turn our minds from the contemplation of public affairs to those of a private or personal nature, there is, perhaps, no subject which more deserves our attention, and none which can be more interesting, both to the philosopher and to the pbilanthropist, than the Narrative which is here translated. Our sympathy must be excited by the case of a Youth, who appears to have been confined from his early childhood for a period of many years, and to have been secluded from all human society, and even from the light of heaven. Thę, curiosity which these

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circumstances must inspire, is heightened by the mystery in which the causes and the circumstances are still enveloped. The real name of the youth, his family, the place in which he was confined, the criminal by whose orders he was condemned to languish in solitude and darkness, he who was employed as the instrument of the crime, and he who afterwards attempted the assassination, remain undiscovered, or, at least, unknown to the public.

In this, as in every other case which is extraordinary, or mysterious, a doubt may arise whether there did not exist deception on the one side, and delusion on the other; and whether the statement is deserving of full credit. It appears by the following Narrative, that the evidence does not, in this instance, rest upon the testimony of witnesses, however numerous or respectable, nor upon documents, however authentic, but that it is written with plain and legible characters by the hand of nature in the mind, and in the physical organization of the individual himself; and that it is established by the qualities in which he was deficient, as well as by those with which he was pre-eminently endowed.

The great importance of this individual is shewn by the extraordinary precautions which were taken for his concealment, and by the daring and desperate attempt which was afterwards made, in the middle of the day, and in a large and populous city, to deprive him of his life. It cannot be imagined, that the risk which attends assassination, particularly when attempted under such circumstances, would have been incurred, unless important interests depended on the life of Kaspar Hauser ; and in this, as well as in other instances, we must admit that supposition by which alone the facts of the case can be clearly and satisfactorily explained. When it was found that, instead of remaining unknown and unnoticed, as was probably expected, he was treated with kindness, educated with care, and had become an object of general curiosity, it may have been apprehended that a discovery would be made, which might be fatal to those by whom the crime had been planned and perpetrated.

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