Born: Ben Jonson, Dramatist,1574, Westminster.
Died: Prince Charles Edward Stuart, 1788; Clara Clairon, 1803, Paris.
Feast Day: St. Marcella, widow, 410. St. Maidoc, called also Aidan, bishop of Ferus in Ireland, 632. St. Serapion, martyr, 1240. St. Cyrus and St. John, martyrs. St. Peter Nolasco, 1258.
CHARLES EDWARD STUART
This unfortunate prince, so noted for his romantic effort to recover a forfeited crown in 1745, and the last person of the Stuart family who maintained any pretensions to it, expired at his house in Florence, in 1788, at the age of sixty-eight. (It is alleged that, in reality, he died on the 30th of January, but that his friends disguised a fact which would have been thought additionally ominous for the house of Stuart.)
The course of Charles Edward for many years after the Forty-five was eccentric; latterly it became discreditable, in consequence of sottishness, which not only made his friends and attached servants desert him, but caused even his wife to quit his house, to which she would never return. All that can be said in extenuation is, that he had been a greatly disappointed man: magnis incidit ausis. There is, however, a more specific and effective excuse for his bad habits; they had been acquired in the course of his extraordinary adventures while skulking for five mouths in the Highlands. The use of whisky and brandy in that country was in those days unremitting, when the element could be had; and Charles's physical sufferings from hunger, exposure, and fatigue, made him but too eager to take the cup when it was offered to him. Of this fact there are several unmistakeable illustrations in a work quoted below-such as this, for example: Charles, arriving at a hovel belonging to Lochiel, took,' says the eye-witness, narrator of the incident, a hearty dram, which, he pretty often called for thereafter, to drink his friends' healths. 'I have learned,' he said on another occasion, to take a hearty dram, while in the Highlands.'
We often hear of the long perseverance of a certain cast of features, or of some special features in families; and of the truth of the remark there is no lack of illustrations. The portraits of our own royal family furnish in themselves a very clear example of resemblance continued through a series of generations. The most observable peculiarity may be said to consist of a fulness in the lower part of the cheek. It can be traced back not only to the first monarch of the family of Brunswick Lunenburg, but to his mother, the Electress Sophia of Hanover; which shews that it did not come from the paternal line of the family, but more probably from the house of Stuart, of which the Electress was an immediate descendant, being grand-daughter to King James I. No attempt, as far as the writer is aware, has ever been made to trace this physiognomy farther back than the Electress Sophia; and certainly in her mother Elizabeth, the Electress Palatine of Rhine, and in Elizabeth's father, King James, we do not find any such peculiarity prominently brought out.
There is, nevertheless, reason to believe that common points of physiognomy in the Stuart and Hanover families can be traced to a generation prior to the sovereign last-mentioned, who is the common ancestor. The writer, at least, must own that he has been very much struck by the resemblance borne by the recent portraits of our present amiable sovereign to one representing Prince Charles Edward in his later years. Our means of representing the two countenances are limited; yet even in the above wood engraving the parity is too clear not to be generally acknowledged.
The fulness of cheek is palpable in both portraits; the form of the mouth is the same in both; and the general aspect, when some allowances are made for difference of age and sex, is identical. It is four generations back from the Prince, and eight from the Queen, to King James-two centuries and a half have elapsed since the births of the two children from whom the subjects of the two portraits are respectively descended: yet there is a likeness exceeding what is found in half the cases of brother and sister. The peculiarity, however, is apparent also in a portrait of Mary of Scotland, taken in her latter years; and it may further be remarked that between the youthful portraits of Prince Charles Edward and those of the Prince of Wales now coming into circulation, a very striking resemblance exists. Thus the perseverance of physiognomy may be said to extend over three centuries and eleven generations. Most of her Majesty's loyal and affectionate subjects will probably feel that the matter is not without some interest, as reminding them of the connection between the present royal family and that ancient one which. it superseded, and as telling us emphatically that Possessor and Pretender are now happily one.
THE LIGHTING OF THE BEACONS
During the threats of invasion from France in 1803-4, the spirit of the people for national defence was wound up to a high pitch of enthusiasm. On the evening of the 31st of January 1804, a beacon at Hume Castle in Berwickshire was lighted in consequence of a mistake, and, other beacons following the example, the volunteers throughout nearly all the southern counties of Scotland were in arms before next morning, and pouring fast to their respective places of rendezvous. It was held to be a most creditable example of earnest and devoted patriotism, and undoubtedly served to create a general feeling of confidence in the self-defensive powers of the island.
Some particulars of this affair have been set down by Sir Walter Scott, who had opportunities of observing what happened on the occasion.
'The men of Liddesdale, says he, the most remote point to the westward which the alarm reached, were so much afraid of being late in the field, that they put in requisition all the horses they could find; and when they had thus made a forced march out of their own county, they turned their borrowed steeds loose to find their way back through the hills, and they all got back safe to their own stables. Another remarkable circumstance was, the general cry of the inhabitants of the smaller towns for arms, that they might go along with their companions. The Selkirkshire yeomanry made a remarkable march; for although some of the individuals lived at twenty and thirty miles' distance from the place where they mustered, they were nevertheless embodied and in order in so short a period, that they were at Dalkeith, which was their alarm-post, about one o'clock on the day succeeding the first signal, with men and horses in good order, though the roads were in a bad state, and many of the troopers must have ridden forty or fifty miles without drawing bridle.'
The account of the ready patriotism displayed by the country on this occasion, warmed the hearts of Scottishmen in every corner of the world. It reached [in India] the ears of the well-known Dr. Leyden, whose enthusiastic love of Scotland, and of his own district of Teviotdale, formed a distinguished part of his character. The account, which was read to him when on a sick-bed, stated (very truly) that the different corps, on arriving at their alarm-posts, announced themselves by their music playing the tunes peculiar to their own districts, many of which have been gathering-signals for centuries. It was particularly remembered, that the Liddesdale men, before mentioned, entered Kelso playing the lively tune --
wha dare meddle wi' me!
And wha dare meddle wi' me!
My name it is little Jock Elliot,
And wha dare meddle wi' me!
The patient was so delighted with this display of ancient Border spirit, that he sprung up in his bed, and began to sing the old song with such vehemence of action and voice, that his attendants, ignorant of the cause of excitation, concluded that the fever had taken possession of his brain; and it was only the entry of another Borderer, Sir John Malcolm, and the explanation which he was well qualified to give, that prevented them from resorting to means of medical coercion.'
A local newspaper of February 3rd, 1860, chronicled a festive meeting which had taken place four days before at the village of St. Boswells in Roxburghshire, and gave the following curious details à-propos:
'On the memorable night in 1804, when the blazing beacons on the Scottish hills told the false tale of a French invasion, a party of volunteers were enjoying themselves in a licensed toll-house at Ancrum Bridge, Roxburghshire. They rushed out on hearing that the beacon was lit on the Eildons, and, in their hurry to march. to the appointed rendezvous, forgot to settle the reckoning with their host of the toll-house. When the alarm had subsided, and the volunteers had returned to their homes, they remembered the bill was still to pay, but the difficulty of assembling the whole party retarded the settlement till the anniversary of the day of the false alarm, the 31st January, drew near. They considered this a proper occasion to meet and clear off the old score, and it was then determined to hold an annual meeting by way of commemorating the lighting of the beacons. The toll-keeper removed first to New-town, and then to St. Boswells, but the party followed him, and the festival is still held in the Buccleuch Arms' Inn, St. Boswells, though none of the members of the original party of 1804 remain to take part in it.'
The remarkable case of resemblance of distant relatives given under the title Charles Edward Stuart could be supported by many others.
Dr. Fosbroke, in his valuable historical work entitled The Berkeley Manuscripts, gives some interesting anecdotes of Dr. Jenner, and, amongst others, makes the following statement:
'A lady whom Dr. Jenner met at John Julius Angerstein's, remarked how strongly Dr. Jenner's physiognomy resembled that of her own ancestor, Judge Jenner, of a family of the name seated in Essex. It is presumed that a branch of this line migrated from Essex into Gloucestershire, where, in the parish of Standish, they have been found for two centuries.'
The thick under-lip of the imperial family of Austria is often alluded to. It is alleged to have been derived through a female from the princely Polish family of Jagellon. However this may be, we have at least good evidence that the remark is of old date; for Burton, in his Anatomy of Melancholy, says, 'The Austrian lip, and those Indians' flat noses, are propagated.'
In the Notes and Queries of March 13, 1852, a writer signing VOKAROS presented the following statement:
'To trace a family likeness for a century is not at all uncommon. Any one who knows the face of the present Duke of Manchester, will see a strong family likeness to his great ancestor through six generations, the Earl of Manchester of the Commonwealth, as engraved in Lodge's Portraits. '
The following instance is more remarkable. Elizabeth Harvey was Abbess of Elstow in 1501. From her brother Thomas is descended, in a direct line, the present Marquis of Bristol. If any one will lay the portrait of Lord Bristol, in Mr. Gage Rokewode's Thingoe Hundred, by the side of the sepulchral brass of the Abbess of Elstow, figured in Fisher's Bedford-shire Antiquities, he cannot but be struck by the strong likeness between the two faces. This is valuable evidence on the disputed point whether portraits were attempted in sepulchral brasses. 'A writer in a subsequent number, signing 'H. H.,' considered this a strong demand on credulity,' and alleged that the Abbess's brass gives the same features as are generally found on brasses of the period, implying that likeness was not then attempted on sepulchral monuments. Yet, on the specific alleged fact of the resemblance between the abbess and the marquis, 'H. H.' gave no contradiction; and the fact, if truly stated by Vokaros, is certainly not unworthy of attention.
The writer is tempted to add an anecdote which he has related elsewhere. In the summer of 1826, as he was walking with a friend in the neighbourhood of the town of Kirkcudbright, a carriage passed, containing a middle-aged gentleman, in whose burly figure and vigorous physiognomy he thought he observed a resemblance to the ordinary portraits of Sir William Wallace. The friend to whom he instantly remarked the circumstance, said:
'It is curious that you should have thought so, for that gentleman is General Dunlop, whose mother [Burns's correspondent] was a Wallace of Craigie, a family claiming to be descended from a brother of the Scottish hero!'
As the circumstance makes a rather strong demand upon credulity, the writer, besides averring that he states no more than truth, may remark that possibly the ordinary portrait of Wallace has been derived from some intermediate member of the Craigie-Wallace family, though probably one not later than the beginning of the seventeenth century. Of the improbability of any portrait of Wallace having ever been. painted, and of the anachronisms of the dress and armour, he is, of course, well aware.
In regard to the question of hereditary physiognomy, it might be supposed that, unless where a family keeps within its own bounds, as that of Jacob has done, we are not to expect a perseverance of features through more than a very few generations, seeing that the ancestry of every human being increases enormously in number at each step in the retrogression, so as to leave a man but little chance of deriving any feature from (say) any particular great-great-great-greatgrandfather. On the other hand, it is to be considered that there is a chance, however small, and it may be only in those few instances that the transmission of likeness is remarked.
It is in favour of this view that we so often find a family feature or trait of countenance re-emerging after one or two generations, or coming out unexpectedly in some lateral offshoot. The writer could point to an instance where the beauty of a married woman has passed over her own children to reappear with characteristic form and complexion in her grandchildren. He knows very intimately a young lady who, in countenance, in port, and in a peculiar form of the feet, is precisely a revival of a great grandmother, whom he also knew intimately. He could also point to an instance where a woman of deep olive complexion and elegant oriental figure, the inheritress, perhaps, of the style of some remote ancestress, has given birth to children of the same brown, sanguuneous type as her own brothers and sisters; the whole constitutional system being thus shewn as liable to sinkings and reemergences. In the case of Queen Victoria and Prince Charles, it is probably re-emergence of type that is chiefly concerned; and the parity may accordingly be considered as in a great degree accidental.
There are some curious circumstances regarding family likenesses, not much, if at all, hitherto noticed, but which have a value in connection with this question. One is, that a family characteristic, or a resemblance to a brother, uncle, grandfather, or other relative, may not have appeared throughout life, but will emerge into view after death. The same result is occasionally observed when a person is labouring under the effects of a severe illness. We may presume that the mask which has hitherto concealed or smothered up the resemblance, is removed either by emaciation or by the subsidence of some hitherto predominant expression.
Another fact equally or even more remarkable, is, that an artist painting A's portrait will fail to give a true likeness, but produce a face strikingly like B's,-a brother or cousin,-a person whom he never saw. The writer was once shewn a small half-length portrait, and asked if he could say who was the person represented. He instantly mentioned Mr. Gilbert Burns, the poet's brother, whom he had slightly known a few years before. He was then told that the picture had been painted from the poet's own countenance by an artist named Taylor, who never obtained any reputation. This artist had certainly never seen Gilbert Burns. Gilbert and Robert were, moreover, well known to have been of different types, the one taking from the mother, the other from the father. The curious consideration arising from this class of facts is, that the same variation or transition, which nature makes in producing a second child of one set of parents, appears to be made in the mysterious recesses of the plastic mind of the artist.