« PoprzedniaDalej »
They spoke of Vanderheyden having en note from the Consul Général of France, camped at Caldwell's, on Lake George, in dated New-York, April 16, 1844, which October 1795, and remained there for accompanied the letter from the King of several days, waiting for the Indians to the French, some pencil memoranda of come down from the north to purchase the Prince de Joinville, and two letters, furs, and supply them with goods during one from his Aid-de-camp, dated Frigate their winter hunts, and that while he was la Belle Poule, à New-York, 210ct're, 1841, there, a French gentleman came among
and the other from his private Secretary, them, having a French boy with him dated Tuileries, October 14, 1843. These about ten years old, and after staying for are on indifferent subjects, such as historic some time he departed, leaving the boy inquiries, and gifts of books for the Inbehind him. The boy was deranged at dians—but the conclusion of the first letthe time, spoke French and German, and ter, which was written shortly after the was well dressed. The first time that interview at Green Bay is somewhat reVanderheyden saw him was in the
compa markable, both on account of its diplomany of Thomas Williams, who brought him tic style, natural if Mr. Williams' story to his encampment, when the boy ran be true, but otherwise out of character, boisterously about the store, and upset and also for its invitation, for it amounts his goods. After speaking of these to that, of Mr. Williams to visit France. circumstances, Vanderheyden said, "Thomas, did I not tell you then he was Si jamais vous venez visiter notre France, not your boy?” The reply was, “You
voulez vous souvenir que S. A. R. vous re
cevrai avec plaisir. have said so many times—if you will have it so let it be so." He also asked
Recevez, Monsieur, toutes les assurances de
ma considération la plus distinguée. " Thomas, what has become of that
Lieut. de Vaisseau V. TOUCHAIZ * Frenchman?” But Williams does not remember what answer was given.
My purpose in the present article is not Mr. Williams confirmed the account
to answer objections, but to state asserted which I had heard, from another source, of facts; there is, however, one point on which the recognition of the portrait of Simon, I will briefly speak. Íf Mr. Williams be which he said was shown to him by Pro the Dauphin, how are we to account for fessor Day, of Cincinnati, and added that the particular detail given by the Duchess the morning after, he also recognized that D'Angoulème of his death? Now the of Madame Elizabeth, sister to Louis XVI., narrative of the Duchess as far as it rests but had no knowledge either of the King upon her personal knowledge, or concerns or Queen. Professor Hitchcock, of Am facts, which under the circumstances she herst, gave him the portrait of Louis would certainly know, does not conflict at XVIII. on account of its close resemblance all with the theory of his history here set to him. The dress of Marie Antoinette forth, but confirms it.
“ He was in a was the gift of Mrs. Clarke of Northamp- bed," she says, " which had not once been ton. General Taylor also had felt much made for more than six months, and interest in his affairs, and but for his sud which he had not himself sufficient den decease, would have opened a corres strength to turn: this bed was covered pondence with France on the subject. with fleas and bugs, of which his linen Being in Washington a few days before and his person were also full. He was the late President's death, he gave him obliged to wear the same shirt and stockthe military cloak which he wore during ings for upwards of a year; and during the Mexican war, a relic which he highly the whole of that time, every filth was prizes.
left to accumulate in his room. His winWith regard to documents, Mr. Wil dow being secured with a padlock, was liams has been unaccountably careless. not once opened.” “Ile naturally posA short time since he received a letter sessed an excellent understanding, but his purporting to be from the private Secre- long imprisonment, and the horrible treattary of Louis Napoleon, making inquiries ment of which he was the victim, graduin a respectful manner concerning the ally affected his mind; and even had he events of his life, and also similar commu lived, it is probable he would never have nications from several French Bishops recovered the effects of it.” Thus much and a Cardinal, but for reasons best she undoubtedly knew, but is it probable known to himself, returned no answer. that while allowed for months to remain in These letters, together with one from ignorance of the deaths of her mother and Louis Philippe, were accidentally burned aunt, she would have been informed of a few weeks since whilst lying on his the exile of her brother, which was a state table, but I have now lying before me a secret of the utmost importance, both to
* This name is written bo indistinctly that I am not certain whether my version of it is correct.
Louis XVIII. and to the Jacobins ? The simplicity; apparently warm religious feelonly information which would reach her ings; but his judgment in matters of would be that of his death. Alison states self-interest is not of the strongest; fluent that “the barbarous treatment he had re and eloquent in diction, his ideas are not ceived alienated his reason.” Hué writes, always well assorted—a mystery to himthat the common talk among the Dau self as well as to others, subject to perphin's enemies was, “ If it happen that in petual questionings, he is sometimes absome popular movement the Parisians rupt-accustomed to Indian life, there should go to the temple to proclaim Louis is semi-barbarism mingled with courtly XVII, king, we will show them a little grace, and roving habits with warm fool, whose stupidity and imbecility will affections ;-in a word, he seems like one force them to renounce the project of jumbled out of place by destiny, a parplacing him upon the throne." Thiers tial wreck, shattered, but not broken. says, he “ died of a tumor at the knee, And the peculiarity of his character must arising from a scrofulous taint.” I have be taken into account, in forming an estiexamined in the presence of two physicians mate of his conduct, the singularity of the right knee of Mr. Williams. It has which will create in many minds a prejuon it the deep indented scars of a scrofu dice against his veracity, since they will lous tumor, and the disease must have be unable to understand how a poor man been severe, as the leg down to the instep could reject offers so splendid, or a man is blackened with it; but this affection is of the world neglect the opportunity of anterior to Mr. Williams' remembrance. establishing his regal birth, which the His leg in boyhood was what it now is. communication of De Joinville afforded. I may here remark, that his skin where In his situation they would have acted not exposed is fair and soft, and his joints differently. True, but he and they are remarkably small. Now it is of the ut very different persons. It is but justice most importance to show that Louis to say that whatever may prove the ultiXVIII. did not regard the Dauphin as mate truth of his claims, the origination dead. This, I think, is conclusively done of them does not rest with him ; unsought by the fact, that when, during his reign, evidence has found him out, and new masses were offered for the repose of the proofs are rising from unexpected quarters. souls of those members of the Bourbon He has never tried to make capital of family who had perished during the revo
The present publication lution, the name of the Dauphin was does not proceed in any way from his omitted. If dead, why not have remem suggestion, though he has given his conbered him, together with Louis, Marie sent to it. Antoinette, and Elizabeth ? De Provence But I have not yet gone through all the was anxious to obtain sovereignty. The circumstantial evidence. In May, 1795, Dauphin was both young and incapable Rochefoucauld Liancourt, having fled in mind and body, to assert his claim to from France towards the end of the prethe throne. The only chance for the ceding year, set out from Philadelphia, royalists in 1795, seemed the possession after a residence of a few months in that of the right of succession by a strong man. city, for the ostensible purpose of travelRegencies are always feeble. A regency ling over the United States. On his refor an unreigning King would have been turn to France, he published a narrative incalculably so. Duty as well as interest of his travels in eight volumes, from which would seem to combine in recommending I have gathered the following particulars. junction with the republican party in the Liancourt's companions were Monsieur exile of the Dauphin. His sister would Guillemard and a servant. Passing northbe kept ignorant of the fact-and once out ward through Wilkesbarre, they went into of the way, it is not in human nature to Western New-York, and spent some time recall a rival. The faithful Belanger among the Indians, especially the Oneidas, might weep over him, but Louis XVIII. of which the St. Regis Indians, as Lianwould only omit his name from the masses court mentions, are a portion. They then for the dead. And it seems wonderful passed into Canada, still holding much that he did that.
intercourse with the Indians, and travelled Not only the physical but the mental from Niagara to Kingston. At this place, characteristics of Mr. Williams, curiously Liancourt stopped, but Guillemard procorrespond with what the Dauphin would ceeded to Montreal and Quebec. Returnprobably be if alive, and in such a position ing to Western New-York, via Oswego, after such a complicated career.
they again went to Oneida, where Col. sesses a great amount of native talent; an de Ferrier married and resided. Leaving easy grace and dignity of manner when in Oneida, Liancourt and his companions, polite society, which seems innate; a win towards the end of the year 1795, went to ning sweetness of disposition, and much Albany, Troy and Saratoga, within a short
crossed the Wilkesbarre and the Pokona mountains to Easton, and thence to Philadelphia. They afterwards traversed the Alleghany mountains to Pittsburg, and having there purchased a small boat, descended the Ohio and the Mississippi to New Orleans.
distance of Lake George, where he must have been about the time at which, from other sources of information, it seems probable that Williams was committed to the charge of Thomas Williams, then living with his family on the borders of the lake. from Saratoga they went into Massachusetts, and passing through Worcester, spent nearly a week with what Liancourt calls * la famille Williams;" at Marlborough, near Boston. Mr. Williams was descended, he says, from a respectable English stock, and kept a tavern at Marlborough. The tause of the delay was an opportune headsche with which Liancourt was attacked. so this incident he devotes a chapter, concluding his remarks by saying: “ Puisse cette respectable famille jouir de tout le bonheur qu'elle mi rite, ce souhait sincere et ardent sera celui de toute ma vie." After visiting Boston, they went south as far as Charleston. Returning to the north, they again visited Boston, and once more took up their quarters with “la famille Williams” at Marlborough. They must have made some stay, as Liancourt gives a particular description of the farm of Mr. Williams, which he stumped over with the old man. From Marlborough, he went to Stockbridge, Mass., where many Indians resided, and here we find him in communication with another Mr. Williams,* who was a man of considerable political influence. Now, those coincidences are certainly very singular. But further, on the 24th September, 1796, Louis Philippe sailed from the Elbe in company with his brothers, the Duc de Montpensier and Count Beaujalois, and arrived at Philadelphia after a passage of 27 days. With all convenient speed they made their way to Western New-York, and in a short time we find them in the vicinity of De Ferrier's residence. Geo. Catlin, writing from Paris, under date of Sept. 20, 1847, to J. Romeyn Brodhead, at London, says:
I have had several interviews with his majesty, in all of which he has spoken familiarly of his several years of rambles in exile in America, and related to me many of the most extraordinary and pleasing incidents of his life. These scenes occurred during their travels from Erie to Buffalo, to the villages of the Seneca Indiang, from thence to Capandaigua, paddling their canoe through the whole length of the Seneca lake to Ithaca, from thence on foot with their knapsacks on their backs, to the Tioga River, where having purchased a canoe from the Indians, they descended that valley to the Susquehanna, and the latter river to the valley of Wyoming; thence on foot they
At this place, be it remembered, was Belanger, and it is quite within the range of possibility, that Louis Philippe may have conversed with him, so that all the undeniable historic incidents harmonize with those which I have collected, and show how probable it is that the citizen-king was fully acquainted with the where abouts of his kinsman.
Let me now, at the risk of wearying the reader, collect and group together the scattered points of evidence which I have recited nearly in the order that they have come to my knowledge, and endeavor to determine what is their exact bcaring.
We have here before us the following asserted facts:
1st. That the Prince de Joinville, on his arrival in the country, inquired for Mr. Williams, and sought and obtained an interview with him at Green Bay, in which, after demanding a conditional pledge of secrecy, he required of him a resignation of the crown of France, as its legitimate heir, in favor of Louis Philippe, and afterwards corresponded with him through his secretaries.
2d. That after the Prince's return, Louis Philippe wrote with his own hand to Mr. Williams.
3d. That Belanger, in 1848, confessed when dying, that he brought the Dauphin to this country.
4th. That the French ambassador, Genet, in the presence of Dr. Francis and others, acknowledged that the Dauphin was both alive and in this country, and in the State of New-York in 1817.
5th. That Le Ray de Chaumont who, according to Genet's statement, was acquainted with the affair, had much dealing with the Indians in the neigborhood where Mr. Williams was brought up, once in conversation with him, made a remote allusion to the Dauphin.
6th. That Col. de Ferrier one of the body guard of Louis XVI. married, and resided among the Indians at Oneida, where a considerable part of Mr. Williams' life was spent, and that he and Le Ray believed a member of Louis XVIth's family, to be in an indigent condition in America.
7th. That the Abbé de Colonne, resident at Trois Rivieres near Caughnawaga, believed the Dauphin to be alive, and in
* This was Col. Ephraim Williams, founder of Williams' College, Mass., and a member of the English branch of the Williams family, from which Thos, Williams was descendodo
America, and that Bishop Chevreuse did 25th. That there have been various atthe same.
tempts to personate the Dauphin. 8th. That efforts were made to induce 26th. That Rochefoucauld Liancourt Mr. Williams to return to the Romish was at Oneida, Albany and Saratoga, Communion, of a nature only explicable in 1795, under circumstances which creon the supposition of his being a more ate suspicion of his having some agency than ordinary person.
in the transaction,—and also in close 9th. That the name of Eleazer Wil communication with various persons of liams is not on the baptismal register at the name of Williams,-and that shortly Caughnawaga.
after, Louis Philippe and his brothers 10th. That he has none of the charac were among the Indians in Western Newteristics of an Indian.
York, and also in New Orleans, in the 11th. That he closely resembles Louis vicinity of Belanger. XVIII.
27th. That the Rev. Eleazer Williams, 12th. That various marks on his body, has been for 26 years a laborious Missioncorrespond exactly with those known to ary, in the Protestant Episcopal Church, have been on the body of the Dauphin. and is at present a Clergyman in good
13th. That the name of the Dauphin standing. was omitted from the solemnities for the Now there can be no question, that if departed Bourbons, in the reign of Louis all these points could be proved, the irre XVIII.
sistible conclusion would be that Louis 14th. That the Indian woman, his re XVII. and the Rev. Eleazer Williams are puted mother, does not acknowledge him identical. Even in the imperfect degree to be her child.
in which I know and have stated them, 15th. That boxes of clothing and me they would carry conviction with them; dals of Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette, much more if brought out in detail with all were left with the child, one of which is attendant circumstances. still in Mr. Williams' possession.
Questions of identity are among the 16th. That an unknown Frenchman most difficult, and interesting with which came to see Mr. Williams in youth, and law is conversant. The settlement of wept over him.
them requires varied and peculiar evidence. 17th. That his board and tuition were The negative and the affirmative have regularly paid at Dr. Ely's, when it is both to be clearly shown. Two apparentknown that his reputed father had neither ly different things must be demonstrated means nor inclination to do so.
to be one.
Resemblances must be proved 18th. That Williams remembers a con to be not accidental, but inherent to the versation, on the subject of his education, degree of sameness. between Thomas Williams and his wife, in Where the utmost stretch of human inwhich it was stated that means were pro- genuity has been used for concealment; vided for the purpose, and another be where more than half a century has passtween Thomas Williams and Vanderhey ed since the supposed divergence of a life den, in which the fact of a French boy from its natural line; where evidence, being committed to the care of the former scanty at the best, has been destroyed, in 1795, was mentioned.
both purposely and negligently, absolute 19th. That he recognized the portraits demonstration perhaps cannot be attained; of Simon the jailer, and of Madame Eliz but we may reach, even under such cirabeth, when unexpectedly placed before cumstances, a degree of moral certainty him by Prof. Day.
second only to demonstration, and amply 20th. That Williams was idiotic at the sufficient to enable a sound mind to renage of 13 or 14.
der a decisive verdict, satisfactory to the 21st. That the Dauphin at the age of intellect and the conscience. ten, was reduced to the same condition by Now prove to me the truth of all that ill-treatment.
I have alleged as asserted and probable, 22d. That since the recovery of his and no course would be left but to proreason, faint dreamy remembrances of the nounce such a judgment in favor of idenpast have returned to the mind of Mr. W. tity; for the evidence before us goes to corresponding to known scenes in the Dau show, I apprehend, exactly what it is rephin's history.
quisite to have shown. 23d. That a decree for the banishment 1st. That Louis XVII. did not die in of the son of Louis XVI., passed the 1795. French Convention in 1794.
2d. That he was carried to the region 24th. That the President and Ecclesias in which Mr. Williains spent his youth. tical dignitaries of France, have written 3d. That Mr. Williams is not an Into Mr. Williams, making inquiries con dian; and, cerning his history.
4th. That Mr. Williams is Louis XVII.
These are the four propositions which he, the poor Indian missionary, is the the case presents for proof,-a negative descendant of long lines of European and an affirmative one with reference to kings, and that a prince royal of France, each character under which one and the now living, and who can be brought face same individual has at different times and to face with him, told him so. Again, if places appeared.
Mr. Williams' statement be correct, the The testimony is multiform, direct, in motives of Louis Philippe in making the direct, documentary, circumstantial ; but disclosure are a problem. I am inclined to notwithstanding its exceedingly varied na believe that pity and commiseration enterture, it is wonderfully consistent. It would ed largely into them. At the same time require extreme ability to fabricate it out Belanger was living, and De Ferrier, and of nothing—the utmost mendacity and Le Ray. The secret was known in Canahardihood, to build it up on a baseless da, and the citizen-king may, as Mr. foundation.
Williams writes me, have “ seen an object The history involves many most curi in that quarter, who might sooner or later ous inquiries into human motive among be an obstacle to his ambitious views, and persons in the most widely different posi defeat the permanency of his throne, and tions in life. It would be impossible with the securing of the same to his family.” As out writing a volume to do justice to these. to the improbability that a poor man like I will just indicate one or two.
Williams would reject, on a point of honor, Mr. Williams asserts that the Prince offers so splendid and liberal, I own, it is de Joinville told him in the manner I have great ; but his own explanation of his described, that he is the son of Louis feelings is before the reader, and nothing XVI. Now here is the direct testimony but the regally proud and romantic heroof a responsible person to a simple fact. ism it displays, so rare in this age, renders The assertion is either true or false. If it incredible. false, it involves the degradation of Mr. Nearly equal in importance with any Williams from the ministry. If true, it point in the evidence, is the early idiocy settles the whole question of identity, un of Mr. Williams corresponding with the less we can imagine it possible that the condition in which the Dauphin is known Prince de Joinville took the trouble of to have been. It goes far to substantiate travelling from Paris to Green Bay to the truth of the story, for since Williams speak at random, or to tell a falsehood on could not have been born an idiot, there à subject of paramount importance to must have been some fearful facts lying himself and to France. It is not suppos at the basis of his history to reduce able that such a person would say and do him to such a condition. In all recorded what he is asserted by Mr. Williams to cases in which the memory has been de have said and done, without having pre- stroyed by sudden injury to the brain, the viously attained to the last degree of con whole chain of lost knowledge has been viction pertaining to the possibility of brought back as by an electric shock. human convictions, and moreover without But in this case the destruction of memory being vested with authority from Louis was not sudden, but owing to the benumbPhilippe himself to make the disclosure; ing process of a long series of sufferings, and thus his words issued from the inner mental and bodily, which took away the most arcana of France, proving that not power of perception, and weakened that a day elapsed from June, 1795, in which of retention. The soul fell into a mercisome watchful eye did not keep know ful sleep, and when it again awakened, ledge of the exiled Prince. On the other there was nothing to recall except a few hand, what possible inducement can there vague ideas and one terrible image of the be for Mr. Williams to say what is un past, which was burnt into his soul. A true on this subject? The clergy of the draught of Lethe gave to one man two Protestant Episcopal Church value their lives. Born the second time without commission too highly to throw it away birth, he who died a prince was regeneratby telling unmeaning falsehoods tending ed a beggar, and the heir of kings surto nothing but disgrace and ruin. Mr. viving his own death, and the overthrow Williams is, I know, a sane, sober-minded of his race, is metamorphosed into a red practical man, who has had all his life to man, and having been baptized by a Rodeal with the sternest realities, and I believe mish bishop amid the pageantries of a he speaks words of truth and soberness. European Court, lives to preach the Gospel He has not the capacity to invent such a in America fifty-seven years after his exile. dramatic scene as that between him and Republics, constitutions, kingdoms, and an the Prince, and if he has, he might long empire, have, during that space, been overago have turned it to account. What thrown. They who moved and ruled them conceivable motive can such a man have have passed away, and the present octo fabricate an airy and vain fiction, that cupant of Versailles and the Tuileries