Page images

plets. The name of the town in Portugal which has been the scene of a British triumph, is Vimeira, not Vimiera.

We ought earlier, perhaps, to have offered, in justice to ourselves, as well as consideration for our readers, some statement as to the authorship of che LETTERS ON FRANCE AND ENGLAND, of which the Sixth appears in our present number, and from the perusal of which, we have reason to beheve, a great portion of our readers have derived both much pleasure and usefal knowledye. Though these letters, which we reprint froni the edition published in the United States, have appeared in their native country anonymously, they are well known to be the production of Mr. Walsh, of Baliimore, the author of a Letter on the Genius and Disposition of the French Government, the numerous editions of which have been so widely circulated, and so well received, throughout the British empire. But our readers, eren wben acquainted with the name of the author of these letters, will still be solicitous to be informed, what were the opportunities of the writer, for acquring that acquaintance with the topics upon which he treats, to render it presumable that he speaks on the latter only after due information. Of Mr, Walsh's opportunities, it is in our power to state, that from peculiar circumstances, be enjoyed, both in France and England, such as can fall to the lot of but very few travellers indeed. Mr. Walsh is of Irish extraction; and while the part of his family is settled in the United States, another has been some tine fixed in France, and is in all respects a French family, bearing, however, the same of Walsh. Of this family, a feinale member, Madame Walsh, holds a respectable situation in Buonaparte's household. It was with a view to the recovery of some family property, lost during the revolution in France, that Mr. Walsh, a young and comparatively idle branch of the family in the United States, and who was also desirous of seeing Europe, was sent to Paris by a near relation, directly interested in the property, and whose agent Mr. Walsh undertook to be. We have thus accounted for Mr. Walsh's opportunities in France. In England, a singular coincidence gave him extraordinary advantages. Though it might be supposed, from an observation contained in the Letter now given to our readers, that Mr. Walsh's education had been designed to prepare him for the church, yet the passaye referred to must be understood as having some other, though perbaps kindred allusion; for we koow that he was brought up to the law. In the phraseology of the United States, he read law with Mr. Pinckney, lately Minister to this country; that is, he was articled to that gentleman. In England, he was almost an inmate in his family, and this circunstance could not but be serviceable to him as a political student.

Bat we have dwelt on Mr. Walsh's opportunities only to convince our readers that he is not necessarily to be suspected of writing from imagination only, or without a proper intimacy with facts. How far he has turned those opportunities to the best account, is at present to be inferred but from those intellectual powers which he has so largely displayed in these and other writings. His views and opinions of the government of Buonaparte, and of all that at present distinguishes unhappy France, are decidedly and eminently hostile; but at least they are free from that bias which might be attributed to an English breast: Mr. Walsh's particular politics are also by no means wholly English, nor are his general politics wholly without that Jacobinical taint which afflicts every corner of his country.

From a writer of this description, the pictures, which these Letters exhibit of Buonapartean France, musi deserve some attention, and we believe that they deserve much. There is one point of view in which they are particularly important. From the commencement of the revolution, down to the

I 3


present time, Europe has been filled, and we may say amazed, with ostentatious descriptions of French establishments, and French achievements of all kinds. She has been confounded, for example, with the vastness of design, and complicate machinery, displayed in the formation of Public Schools; she has listened with humble wonder to the arrangements of the National Institute; she has heard of the most pompous ceremonials, and been dazzled with affected details of the most enchanting Fêtes and Spectacles. In England, there have not been wanting presses to blazon forth all these testimonials of French glory, and French happiness, and the blessed results of revolution, regicide, and massacre. But to what does the whole come, in the writings of Mr. Walsh? France has been alınost continually sealed against English inquiries, and the fortunate interval has been industriously employed here; but Mr. Walsh, in quality of subject of a neutral state, is permitted to look at the Great Nation with his own eyes, and what is his report?

Mr. Walsh's report is, in truth, of inestimable value. It will eventually undeceive millions. Of the temper with which this gentleman's writings are received at the Tuileries we have had some information. When the Letter on the Genius and Disposition of the French Government was first published in the United States, (an event which occurred a short time after Mr. Walsh's return from France, where, at the end of a tedious attendance, he had been obliged to leave his suit unfinished,) M. Turreau, the French ambassador, as a private friend of his relations in Baltimore, advised, that a second agent should be instantly despatched to Paris, in order, if possible, to obtain a favourable decision for the family before the book should have reached that capital. We have even heard, what indeed it is not unreasonable to believe, that Mr. Walsh incurred some private censure on account of his publication, on this ground; that he had gone to Paris, and lived there at the expense of the relation whose agent he was, and that he had made use of the information which he acquired, in a manner which, as has just appeared, was inost likely to be prejudicial to the particular interests of his employer.

THE PORTLAND VASE. The celebrated Portland Vase being now deposited in one of the rooms of the Gallery of Antiquities in the British Museum, open to public inspection, we propose to meet the curiosity which will naturally be entertained, concerning the history and description of that beautiful and interesting remains of antiquity, by immediately introducing them into our work, accompanied by the plates necessary for their illustration. The Portland Vasc will therefore be described and illustrated in our next number, and our regular description of the rooms, in their series, will in the meantiine be suspended. By this arrangement we trust that we shall gratify our readers; since, but for this, the place assigned to the Vase, in the thirteenth room, mast prevent us from taking notice of it till at the very end of the description in which we are eagaged.

ERRATUM. Page 172, in the quotation from Mr. Burke, for read, to make bullets to assassinate the living.'

to assassinate the living,'


[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

To the Editor of the General CHRONICLE. SIR,—The very extraordinary case of Anne Moore, of Tutbury,

in Staffordshire, who has now lived for three years and a half without receiving into her stomach any kind of solid food, and for two years and seven months without any aliment whatsoever, has lately been made the foundation of some idle paragraphs in the newspapers; but I have not observed that a full and satisfactory description of it has been made public through any channel. Having visited her in November, 1809, under circumstances somewbat favourable to the gratification of that natural curiosity which her situation éxcites, I venture to submit to you such particulars as my recollection affords, in the belief that they may not prove wholly unacceptable to your readers.

Mrs. Moore had, at that time, wholly abstained from solid food for twenty-one months, and from every kind of liquid' for ten months. The simple apparent cause is a total want of appetite. Her appetite for solid food failed her, as will have appeared from the statement just made, earlier than that for liquids, by the long interval of nearly twelve months. The failure in both cases was gradual. After the total loss of her appetite for solid food, she still continued to experience thirst; but the sensation of thirst gradually ceased, and, in November, 1809, as already stated, she had pot drank for ten months.

The explanation which she gives of this failure of appetite, and of the sufficiency of which she appears to be thoroughly satisfied, will scarcely be admitted as the true one. She relates, that about four years ago, she was appointed or employed by the parish to furse a pauper who was then sick of some very loathsome disease ; that the offices, which she was thus called upon to perform, had the effect of taking away her appetite; that her loss of appetite proceeded ultimately to the extent of steadily depriving her of all inclination for solid food ; and, that though the original cause GEN. CHRON. VOL. III. NO. XII. 14


was removed by the death of the pauper, this absence of appetite continued, and grew gradually complete and permanent.

Be the cause, however, of her situation what it may, its reality is certain. As that situation, if real, cannot be otherwise than a signal object of public compassion, and such as renders a person in her humble condition an object also of public relief; and as, in point of fact, the curiosity of strangers, combining with their humanity, early became a source of no small emolument to the woman and her family, there was obviously ground for examination, whether nothing like imposture belonged to the story. This question, a circle of the most respectable of the gentry in the neighbourhood of Tutbury, and Mrs. Moore's more particular benefactors, with a zeal highly creditable to them, resolved, for their own satisfaction, and for that of others, to set definitively at rest. With this view, several ladies and gentlemen, to the number I think of six, teen, bound themselves to each other faithfully to perform their several parts in the execution of the following plan. It was very justly considered, that the point at issue, whether or not Mrs. Moore did really live without taking sustenance, might be settled by observing her for no very long space of time, provided the observation was carried on with perfect strictness. It was thought, that if, for example, she could live for a single fortnight without sustenance, and at the same time without any visible decay of that degree of health and strength, which, up to the commencement of that fortnight, she had maintained, it might safely be concluded that she could fast for months or years. They agreed, therefore, for a fortnight, to watch her continually. That a lady and gentleman of the party of sixteen should keep her always in their sight for a certain number of hours, at the end of which they were to be relieved before they left her room by another couple, and thus to continue the scrutiny day and night till the end of the fourteen days; and to such a length did they extend their precaution, as to bind themselves by a solemn promise to each other, not to carry into her apartment even the smallest portion of any kind of refreshment for themselves, lest, from any motive of private favour, or ill-judged compassion, some one of the party might be prevailed on to spare a morsel to her. Having thus arranged their plan, they took possession of her cottage, in which they suffered no person to remain but her and themselves, and at the end of the fortnight their pains were rewarded by the fullest conviction of the genuineness of the phænomenon, the truth of which they had put to the test.

Anne Moore, when I saw her, was about fifty years of age; her limbs strait, her bones small, of fair complexion, with blue eyes, and with the paleness apparently rather belonging to a texture of frame naturally delicate, than to disease : her features not only re


gular, but preserving the remains of much beauty ; ber voice low, but firm; her speech perfectly distinct; her respiration and her pulse then in no way differing from those of a person in perfect health. She was emaciated to the last degree. I placed, by her desire, one of my hands on the small of her back, and the other just below the pit of her stomach, and guessed that the space between them could not exceed two inches; for I felt the vertebræ with that hand which rested on the front of her body as palpably as with the other, and that through her bed-gown and shift : her bowels therefore must be decayed, and perhaps have been gradually evacuated. She sits continually in bed, her back supported by pillows; for when she endeavours to lie at length, she suffers great pain in one of her sides, just under the lowest rib, as she does occasionally at other times. From her hips downwards, she has no sensation, probably from a partial palsy, and her legs are contracted under her seat. She has long ceased to have any kind of evacuation. For several months before I saw her, the sight of any sort of aliment had become extremely disgusting to her, and the scent of it induced sickness, and even fainting.

Under all the pressure of this unparalleled visitation, this woman is calm, and patient, and resigned, in such a degree as to render her à most interesting object, independently of the eminent curiosity excited by her almost miraculous case. Nay, she is even cheerful, I visited her in company with a gentleman and a lady of her neighbourhood, to whom she had been well known for many years, and to whom she was under much obligation for many kindnesses. She talked with them of their smaller family concerns, and of the vews of the villages in her vicinity; they endeavoured to evtertain her, and succeeded; and her spirits occasionally rose in this little conversation nearly to merriment. I had almost forgotten to observe, that she takes snuff, perhaps rather largely, and I believe I should wholly have overlooked it, had it not been lately suggested to me by a very ingenious medical man, to whom I was repeating the facts here detailed, that the sustenance afforded by spuff might possibly be sufficient to support mortal existence; a conjecture the extravagance of which may be pardoned, when we recollect that the subject which produced it bids defiance to all reasoning founded on experience.

I have nothing to add to this simple recital, but the expression of an almost hopeless wish, that some one of your many ingenious correspondents may be tempted to offer some plausible solution of this unique riddle in physiology. Sep. 5, 1911.

E. L.

« PreviousContinue »