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Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 11.djvu/214

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NOTES AND QUERIES. [9 th s. XL MARCH u,


Aug. 7th, 1902," and postmarked " Calistoga, Cal. Aug. 8, 3 P.M., 1902," says, "I have heard ray mother say that I was named after Sir Edmund Haley, the English astronomer, and that he had discovered a comet." Tvyo other oral traditions evince a clear recollection that " Haley" was a family name in the McPike family, and was derived from "a distant ancestor who was of great distinction." The aforesaid James McPike married Miss Martha Mountain (New Jersey), and gave to one of his own sons the Christian name of "Haley," so that the traditions are of very early origin. If Edmund Halley, surgeon R.N., had a daughter, he did not mention her in his will, but left his entire estate, both real and personal, to his wife Sybilla Halley. The latter's will, or the grant of administration of her estate, has not been found. Its con- tents might determine the question at issue.

Nearly all the printed works concerning Dr. Edmond Halley are accessible in Chicago, with two notable exceptions, namely, the 'Defence' of Halley above mentioned, and Sir Alexander Dalrymple's 'Voyages to the South Atlantic,' London, 1775. The writer- has unsuccessfully endeavoured several times to discover second-hand copies thereof for sale. EUGENE FAIRFIELD McPiKE.

Chicago, Illinois, U.S.

LORD BROUGHAM'S REPORTED DEATH IN 1839. The death of Mr. John Temple Leader, on Sunday, the 1st of March, at his residence in Florence, at the age of ninety-three, recalls the well-known hoax Lord Brougham played upon the public. On the 21st of October, 1839, while at Brougham Hall, it was reported and generally believed in London that he had met his death by a carriage accident. All the newspapers of the 22nd, except the Times, contained obituary notices of his career, but it soon became known that the report was false, and Brougham was accused, not without reason, of having set it abroad himself. The Daily Telegraph of the 4th inst. gives the following:

"Mr. Alfred Montgomery, of Kingston House, Kmghtsbndge, received a letter purporting to have been written by Mr. Shafto, a well-known Durham squire, saying that he and Mr. Leader had been staying at Lord Brougham s seat in Cumberland. The writer said that they had been out driving in a carriage with Lord Brougham, when the carriage was overturned, and all the occupants thrown out Lord Brougham being killed on the spot, while Mr

Leaders life was despaired of It subsequently

proved that the letter had been inspired, if not written, by Brougham himself, who wanted to read his own obituary notices and enjoy the discomfiture

the papers which praised him under the impres- sion that he was dead. The chairman of Mr. Leader's election committee had already started off for the


STorth to say a long farewell to his friend when the loax was discovered."

Mr. Leader was often urged by his friend Mr. Fisher Unwin to write his memoirs ; he did collect some into a little privately printed volume. Mr. Unwin recalls a conversation in which he spoke of Byron and Shelley, both of whom he had seen ; and another of his friends was Capt. Trelawny, Byron's comrade in the movement for Greek emancipation.

A. N. Q.

FITCHETT'S 'NELSON AND HIS CAPTAINS.' The first necessity of any historical or biographical work, however " popular " in aim, should be accuracy. "Purple patches," eloquent passages, and poetical prose are adjuncts which do (or do not) embellish and set forth the plain facts of the narrative, but the substructure must be sound or the embel- lishments will fall to pieces.

In Mr. Fitchett's latest work there are three local blunders in the same article which greatly detract from its value. In chap, xi , the life of Sir Edward Pellew (Lord Exmouth), at p. 259 we have :

"Pellew, then in the midst of his brilliant career, was dining one evening at Portsmouth, and a furious

f,le was shrieking above the roofs of the town, ews came to the dinner table that an Indiaman crowded with troops and passengers was on her beam-ends in the surf thundering on the pebbly beach," &c.

At p. 260 : " Pellew offered large sums to the hardy Portsmouth boatmen to put off to the imperilled ship," &c. ; and again at p. 270 we are told that at Algiers he anchored as quietly as though he were off the Hoe at Portsmouth. In each of these instances the name of the town should be Plymouth, not " Portsmouth."

At p. 206, in the sketch of Sir James Saumarez, we are told :

" Suppose the four rearmost French ships had slipped their cables when the fight began and made sail to windward? They would certainly have destroyed the stranded Culloden, and might have cut off the Swiftsure and Alexander, coming up to the fight."

But the Culloden was stranded far to wind- ward both of the French fleet and of the Swiftsure and Alexander, which two British ships were in their turn to leeward of the French fleet, a fact of which Brueys was ignorant. Moreover, we are told at p. 279 that " the head of Brueys's line was in this manner destroyed, while his rear ships since the line lay head to the wind could only look on in agitated helplessness," yet Villeneuve is blamed for looking on " inertly while ship after ship in the French van and centre was destroyed," the fact being that not Ville- neuve's inertness, but Brueys's original faulty