A. R. J. Turgot, illustrious finance minister of
France, 1727, Paris.
Died: Mareschal de Marillac, beheaded at Paris, 1632; La
Bruyere, author of Caracteres, 1696; Barton Booth,
comedian, 1733, Cowley, in Middlesex; Louis XV, King
of France, 1774; Caroline Matilda, Queen of Denmark,
1775, Zelle; General De Dampierre, killed at Tamars,
Feast Day: Saints Gordian
and Epimachus, martyrs, 3rd and 4th centuries. St. Comgall, abbot, 601. St. Cataldus, Bishop of Tarentum,
7th century. St. Isidore of Madrid, labourer, patron of
Madrid, 1170. St. Antoninus, Archbishop of Florence,
Louis XV, though his private
life was immoral, and his public conduct deficient in
firmness and energy, was not without some of those
merits which are always so much appreciated when they
occur in high places. He has the credit of having been
a liberal encourager of the useful arts. In connection
with this feature of his character a strange story is
A native of Dauphiny, named
Dupre, who had passed his life in making experiments
in chemistry, professed to have invented a kind of
fire, so rapid and so devouring, that it could neither
be evaded nor quenched, water only giving it fresh
activity. On the canal of Versailles, in presence of
the king, in the court of the arsenal of Paris, and in
other places, Dupre made experiments, the results of
which astonished the beholders. When it fully appeared
that a man possessing this secret could burn a fleet
or destroy a town in spite of all resistance, Louis
forbade that the invention should be made public.
Though he was then embarrassed with a war with the
English, whose fleet it was most important that he
should destroy, he declined to avail himself of an
invention, the suppression of which he deemed to be
required in the general interests of humanity. Dupre
died some time after, carrying the secret with him to
his grave. One naturally listens to all such stories
with a certain degree of incredulity; yet it does not
seem to be beyond the hopes of science to invent a
fire which would, by the very tremendousness of its
effects, make war an absurdity, and so force on the
great expected day when a general police of nations
will prevent any one from entering on. hostilities
afflicting to itself and others.
PUBLIC PLEASURE-GARDENS OF THE
Evelyn enters in his Diary,
under May 10, 1654:
'My lady Gerrard treated us at
Mulberry Garden, now the only place of refreshment
about the town for persons of the best quality to be
exceedingly cheated at Cromwell and his partizans
having shut up and seized on Spring Garden, which till
now had been the usual rendezvous for the ladies and
gallants at this season.'
Evelyn presently after adds:
'I now observed how women began to paint themselves,
formerly a most ignominious thing, and used only by
'SOMETHING TO YOUR ADVANTAGE.'
On the 10th of May 1830, there
came before a London police magistrate a case
involving a peculiar kind of fraud which for many
years baffled the law, and consequently acquired a
considerable degree of notoriety. Joseph Ady maybe
said to have been one of the newspaper celebrities of
England during fully twenty years of the first half of
the nineteenth century. Every now and then we were
regaled with paragraphs headed, 'Joseph Ady again,'
giving accounts of some one having been despoiled by
him, and who had vainly sought for redress. Strange to
say, a true and thorough notoriety ought to have been
sufficient to guard the public against his practices;
and yet, notorious as he appeared to most people,
there must have been vast multitudes who had never
heard of him, and who consequently were liable to
become his victims.
Ady was a decent-looking
elderly man, a Quaker, with the external
respectability attached to the condition of a
house-holder, and to all appearance considered himself
as pursuing a perfectly legitimate course of life. His
metier consisted in this. He was accustomed to
examine, so far as the means were afforded him, lists
of unclaimed dividends, estates or bequests waiting
for the proper owners, and unclaimed property
generally. Noting the names, he sent letters to
individuals bearing the same appellatives, stating
that, on their remitting to him his fee of a guinea,
they would be informed of 'something to their
When any one complied, he duly sent a
second letter, acquainting him that in such a list was
a sum or an estate due to a person of his name, and on
which he might have claims worthy of being
investigated. It was undeniable that the information
might prove to the advantage of Ady's
correspondent. Between this might be and the
unconditional promise of something to the advantage of
the correspondent, lay the debatable ground on which
it might be argued that Ady was practising a dishonest
business. It was rather too narrow a margin for legal
purposes; and so Joseph went on from year to year,
reaping the guineas of the unwary—seldom three months
out of a police-court and its reports—till his name
became a by-word; and still, out of the multitudes
whom he addressed, finding a sufficient number of
persons ignorant of his craft, and ready to be imposed
upon—and these, still more strange to say, often
belonging to the well-educated part of society.
In the case brought under
notice on the 10th of May, 1830, Mr. Blamire, a London
solicitor, acting for a Mr. Salkeld, had given in
charge one Benjamin Ridgeway for defrauding him of a
sovereign. Mr. Salkeld, a solicitor in Cumberland, had
received one of Ady's letters, had requested Mr.
Blamire to inquire into the matter; and a sovereign
having consequently been given to Ridgeway, who was
Ady's servant, a notice had been returned, stating
that the name of Salkeld was in a list of persons
having unclaimed money in the funds. Mr. Blamire being
of belief that there could be no connection between the
two Salkelds, demanded back the sovereign; and, on
failing to obtain it, gave Ady's messenger, Ridgeway,
into custody. The chief Bow - street police magistrate
at that time was Sir Richard Birnie, who often
indulged in rather undignified colloquies with the
persons brought before him. Joseph Ady came forward to
protect or assist his messenger, and then the
following conversation occurred:
Oh! you are the Mr. Ady to whom so many persons, myself
amongst the number, have been indebted for such
valuable information; are you not?
Sir R. Birnie
I have come forward on behalf of my servant; but, if
you have any charge against me, here I am.
Sir R. Birnie:
You are charged, in conjunction with your servant,
with having swindled Mr Blamire out of a sovereign,
under pretence of furnishing a Mr. Salkeld with
information which turns out to be false.
I have lived for upwards of twenty-five years in
Houndsditch, and, if I were a swindler, I could not
have preserved my character so long.
Sir R. Birnie:
Then you admit having empowered your agent to receive
the money in your name?
I do. I have carried on transactions of a similar
description for years; and although I have met with
persons who were ungrateful enough -to demand back the
fee which I require for my trouble, I have always
maintained my point, and I mean still to maintain it.
If this gentleman has any demand against me, he knows
my address, and the law is open to him. 1 insist that
this is not the right place to try the question.
Sir R. Birnie:
We will see that presently. Let the police constable
who took this fellow's servant into custody stand
forward, and produce the money he found upon him.
The constable accordingly
produced two sovereigns and some halfpence; and, by
direction of the magistrate, he handed one of the
sovereigns to Mr. Blamire. Ady said that he had not the
least objection to his servant stating where and from
whom he got the other. Ridgeway, looking significantly
at his master, said he had forgotten the name of the
gentleman who paid him the sovereign, but that he
lived in Suffolk Place. An officer was sent to the
address named, with directions that the gentleman
should come forward and state the pretence under which
Ridgeway had obtained the money. While the officer was
gone, the magistrates conferred as to what should be
Sir R. Birnie:
There is no doubt whatever that a gross system of
fraud and imposition has been carried on for years by
the defendant Ady. Upwards of fifty letters have been
addressed to me upon the subject by persons who have
been swindled out of their money.
I wonder, then, that you, as a magistrate, have not
taken earlier notice of me. I am always to be found,
and everybody knows there is law enough in England to
reach every species of offence. If I had done wrong, I
should have been punished long ago.
Sir R. Birnie:
You are a clever fellow, and manage to keep within the
law; but take care, Mr Ady, for I am determined to
have my eye upon you.
So you may; you cannot say that you ever lost a
sovereign by me yet.
Sir R. Birnie:
No; but you tried hard for it, by sending me one of
your swindling letters.
If I did, I dare say I could have told you something
worth your notice.
Sir R. Birnie:
Not you, indeed. And I'll tell you candidly, I never
had a relation so rich as I am myself; therefore it
would be quite useless to throw away your information
If that's the case, Sir Richard, your name shall be
scratched from my books whenever I have your
permission to go home.
The officer, on his return,
whispered the result of his inquiry to Sir Richard,
who exclaimed aloud—'What! Mr. Doherty,
Solicitor-General for Ireland! Why, you pitch your
game high indeed! So you have obtained the other
sovereign from the Irish Solicitor-General!'
I did; and that I think is a sufficient proof that my
transactions are fair and above board. I should indeed
be a hardy swindler to attempt to impose upon a
Sir R. Birnie:
I have the honour to be acquainted with Mr. Doherty;
and I dare say he will be good enough to tell me upon
what pretence he parted with his money. He certainly
could have known nothing of your character.
Perhaps not, Sir Richard.
The conversation ended here.
The marked superiority of the cool, calm sense, and
self-possession of Ady, over the inconsequential
blustering of the magistrate, will enable the reader
to understand how this singular man lived so many
years upon the simplicity of the public.
CROMWELL'S COURTESY TO SIR
Sir William Smith, or Smyth,
who on the 10th of May 1661, was created a baronet by
Charles II for his services during the civil war, was
born at Buckingham about 1616. He was a member of the
Middle Temple, and was in 1640 elected a burgess for Winchelsea. For some time he joined the side of the
Parliament, but on perceiving its destructive
tendencies, he deserted it, and entered the royal
army, in which he soon became a colonel. He was
governor, or commander of the king's garrison at
Hillesden House, near Newport Pagnell, when it was
besieged and taken by Cromwell, in 1643.
however, had capitulated to march out with their arms,
baggage, &c., unmolested. But as soon as they were out
of the gate, one of Cromwell's soldiers snatched off
Sir William Smyth's hat. He immediately complained to
Cromwell of the man's insolence, and breach of the
capitulation. 'Sir,' said Cromwell, 'if you can point
out the man, or I can discover him, I promise you he
shall not go unpunished. In the meantime (taking off a
new beaver which he had on his own head) be pleased to
accept of this hat instead of your own.'