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America years before. The Tichborne case is certainly one of the most remarkable instances of disputed identity on record. Just now the most wonderful thing about it seems to be the extraordinary amount of popular sympathy and credit which “the Claimant," as he was called, contrived to secure. He was undoubtedly an impostor—that is, if the most overwhelming accumulation of evidence, positive and negative, could establish any fact. The person who presented himself as the long-Jost Roger Tichborne bore no: the slightest personal resemblance to the young man u! sailed in the Bella and was believed to have perished with her. “The Claimant” was indeed curiously unlike what people remembered Roger Tichborne, not only in face but in figure and in manners. A slender, delicate, somewhat feeble young man, of fair although not finished education, who had always lived in good society and showed it in his language and bearing, went down in the Bella or at least disappeared with her; and thirteen years afterward there came from Australia a man of enormous bulk, ignorant to an almost inconceivable degree of ignorance, and who if he were Roger Tichborne had not only forgotten all the manners of his class, but had forgotten the very names of many of those with whom he ought to have been most familiar, including the name of his own mother; and this man presented himself as the lost heir and claimed the property. If this were the whole story, it might be said that there was nothing particularly wonderful in it. A preposterous attempt was made to carry on an imposture, and it failed; such things happen every day; in this case the attempt was only a little more outrageous and ridiculous than in others. But the really strange part of the tale is to come. Despite all the obvious arguments against the Claimant, it is certain that his story was believed by the mother of Roger Tichborne, and by a considerable number of persons of undoubt. ed veracity and intelligence who had known Roger Tich
borne in his youth. True, it seems impossible that a slender Prince Hal could in a few years grow into a Falstaff. But so much the more difficult it must surely have been for the Falstaff to persuade people that he was actually the Prince Hal. So much the more wonderful is it that he did actually succeed in persuading many into full belief in himself and his story. The man who claimed to be Roger Tichborne utterly failed to make out his claim in a court of law. It was shown upon the clearest evidence that he had gradually put together and built up around him a whole system of imposture. He was then put on trial for his frauds, found guilty, and sentenced to fourteen years' penal servitude. Yet thousands of ignorant persons, and some persons not at all ignorant, continued, and to this day continue, to believe in him. He became the figure-head of a new and grotesque agitation. His own imposture was the parent and the patron of other impostures. His story opens up a far more curious study of human credulity than that of Johanna Southcote, or that of May Tofts, or Perkin Warbeck, or the Cock Lane Ghost.
THE FALL OF THE GREAT ADMINISTRATION.
which, had it occurred four or five years before, would have filled the world with a profound sensation. Happening as it did it made comparatively little stir in the political waters. It was the death of Louis Napoleon, late Emperor of the French, at his house in Chiselhurst, Kent. After his imprisonment, if it can be called so, at Wilhelmshohe, in Cassel, where he was treated as an honored guest rather than a captive, the fallen emperor came to England. He settled with his wife and son at Chiselhurst, and lived in dignified semi-retirement. The emperor became a sort of favorite with the public here. A reaction seemed to have set in against the dread and dislike with which he had at one time been regarded. He enjoyed a certain amount of popularity. He sometimes showed himself in public, as, for example, at a lecture given by Mr. Stanley, the adven. turous New York “special correspondent,” who had gone out to Africa and discovered Dr. Livingstone. Louis Napoleon had for a long time been in sinking health. His life had been over-wrought in every way. He had lived many lives in a comparatively short space of time. Most of his friends had long been expecting his death from week to week, almost from day to day. He died on January 9th. The event created no great sensation. Perhaps even the news of his death was but an anti-climax after the news of
his fall. For twenty years he had filled a space in the eyes of the world with which the importance of no man else could pretend to compare. His political bulk had towered up in European affairs like some huge castle dominating over a city. All the earth listened to the lightest word he spoke. For good or evil, his influence and his name were potent in every corner of the globe. His nod convulsed continents. His arms glittered from the Crimea to Cochin China, from Algeria to Mexico. A signal from him and the dominion of the Austrians over Lombardy was broken at Solferino, and a new Italy arose on the horizon of Europe. A whisper from him and Maximilian of Austria hastens across the ocean in hope to found a Mexican empire, in reality to find a premature grave. A wave of his hand and Garibaldi is crushed at Mentana. What wonder if such a man should at one time have come to believe himself the special favorite and the spoiled child of destiny? The whole condition of things seemed changed when Louis Napoleon fell at Sedan. Some forty years of wandering, of obscurity, of futile, almost ludicrous enterprises, of exile, of imprisonment, of the world's contempt, and then twenty years of splendid success, of supreme sovereignty, had led him to this to the disgrace of Sedan, to the quiet fading days of Chiselhurst. He had overshadowed France and Europe with " the gloom of his glory," and now, to borrow John Evelyn's words, “is all in the dust." In one of his Napoleonic ballads, Beranger, speaking of the fall of the first emperor, bitterly declares that the kings of Europe who despised him in his exile once crawled round his throne, and still bear on their brows the traces of the dust which his footprint left when he set his conqueror's heel upon their heads. Europe had certainly at one time shown an inclination to grovel before Louis Napoleon's throne. He was regarded as a statesman of mysterious, infallible, superhuman wisdom. He was understood to be a Brutus who had for a long time
professed idiocy in order to conceal inspiratio: When he fell, the world shook its wise head pityingly, and seemed inclined to fall back upon the opinion that it must have been only idiocy trying to assume the oracular ways of inspiration. Toward the closing days there was a revival of a kindliet feeling and a fairer judgment. Louis Napoleon had in his early and obscure days lived in lodgings in King Street, St. James's, and when he became a great emperor a tablet was set up in the outer wall of the house to inform all the world of the fact. He came to London in the zenith of his power and his fame, and he drove by the house and looked at the tablet, and said something oracular and appropriate, no doubt, and the newspapers chronicled the event, and the world admired. When he came back again after Sedan there was no account of his driving past the old place, if he
But the tablet had not been taken down; it is only right to say that much. It was allowed to remain there, even though Louis Napoleon had fallen never to hope again. Perhaps we cannot better illustrate the manner in which the English public received him on his late return. There was no further allusion to the tablet; but it was not taken down.
Death was very busy about this time with men whose names had made deep mark on history or letters. Lord Lytton, the brilliant novelist, the successful dramatist, the composer of marvelous parliamentary speeches, died on January 18th, 1873. Dr. Livingstone, the famous missionary and explorer, had hardly been discovered among the living by the enterprise and energy of Mr. Stanley when the world learned that he was dead. So many false reports of his death had been sent about at different times that the statement now was received with incredulity. The truth had to be confirmed on testimony beyond dispute before England would accept the fact that the long career of devotion to the one pursuit was over, and that Africa had had another victim. John Stuart Mill died on May 8th, 1873, at his home at