The Materialistic Maiden

Where I sip coffee and tirelessly transcribe.

Category: henry william herbert

Henry William Herbert and the Brawl of 1836, Continued

I have been trying to dig up as much as I can about this affair, and thus present two more articles following up on the event in which Henry Herbert, our beloved Unruly Forester, found himself in a pickle, which resulted in not only stab wounds, but—egad, could it be!—public humiliation. You will, firstly, find a short snippet, which exemplifies the public interest in this fiasco; and secondly, you will find a much longer, in depth account, which also includes primary statements from those parties involved. I will do my best to find the original source rumored to be James Gordon Bennett’s article from the New York Herald. There is a particular statement I’m gathering this from, for, according to White’s Henry William Herbert & the American Publishing Scene, 1831-1858, “…James Gordon Bennett, who resented Herbert’s insolence and aristocratic airs, published a full account of the fight in the Herald and invited his readers to visit the Washington Hall bar and see the two bullet holes made ‘by the descendant of the royal Plantagenets — over the left.‘” I believe a tip was given to Bennett after the brawl, too. I will do my best and hope to return soon with more on this thrilling case. -Ann

May 05, 1836, Commercial Advertiser, New York

The WASHINGTON HOTEL AFFRAY.—The Courier & Enquirer of this morning publishes not only the particulars of the scene on Monday night, and the names of the parties, ut also a brief history of the intended duel between Messrs. Neale and Tompkins, out of which it grew, and the certificates furnished to Mr. Neale by his second on Montreal, Mr. Campbell Sweeny, and a British officer whose experience in the duello was invoked by the latter gentleman. The whole affair is silly, childish, and anything but creditable to all the parties engaged in it.
Apropos to this last remark, we hold it proper to state that the Mr. Staples who was concerned in the affair at the Washington Hotel is a merchant; partner in the firm of Staples & Clark, and in no way related to the family of Seth P. Staples, Esq., the eminent counsellor of this city.

May 06, 1836, Albany Evening Journal, Albany, New York

[From the Courier & Enquirer.]
DISGRACEFUL FRACAS AT WASHINGTON HOTEL.

The Police had under consideration on Tuesday, a disgraceful fracas which occurred at Washington Hotel on Monday evening, in which pistols and dirks were freely used, and in consequence of which Mr. TOMPKINS, one of the parties, is now confined to his bed from a severe though not dangerous wound inflicted with a Spanish knife or dirk.
The affray grew out of an affair which excited considerable interest in this city some weeks since, and as there are various rumors in circulation as to the mode in which that affair was settled, and its effects upon the reputations of of [sic] the parties concerned, it is but an act of justice to all parties, briefly to state the facts as they appear on the face of a publication made by the friends of SAMUEL NEAL. As the whole matter is before the police, and the names of the parties known to the public, it is idle to suppress them at this time.
It is said that an altercation took place early in March, between Mr. SAMUEL NEAL and Mr. MINTHORNE TOMPKINS, the son of the late Governor D. D. TOMPKINS, which resulted in Mr. T’s striking Mr. N. several severe blows. In consequence, (we now gather our facts from a statement made by MR. Neal’s friends,) Mr. N. gave notice to Mr. T. that he “should hear from him.” Accordingly on the 4th of March he addressed a letter requesting a meeting in Upper or Lower Canada. After some further correspondence, it was agreed that the parties should meet in Montreal, whither they repaired; and on the 29th march, Mr. Neal’s friend, a resident of Montreal, waited upon Mr. TOMPKINS at Mr. Good[?]’s Hotel at 1 o’clock P. M. and demanded the meeting “with the least possible delay.” Mr. Tompkins informed him that both the gentlemen upon whom he relied to go out with him, were absent, but to avoid delay, he was willing that Mr. Neal’s friend should act for both parties. This proposition was declined as altogether inadmissible, and Mr. Tompkins promised to use all proper diligence to procure a friend in the city. Mr. Neil’s friend thus continues his narrative:
“At half past 8 P. M. I was called out from the [?] [?] where I was dining, and met R. a merchant of the city, who stated to me that he had been called upon by Mr. Tompkins, and requested by him to act as is friend in this affair; but that he had declined to do so, as he had but a slight acquaintance with Mr. Tompkins and if anything serious occurred, it would be the [?] for him to leave town. That Mr. T. had come to Montreal without a friend, and relived upon meeting with some gentlemen who were absent, and, on behalf of Mr. T., wished me to suggest some means by which he, Mr. T. could be relieved from the difficulty in which he was [?], and also to extend to him some [?] taken by [the remainder of this paragraph and the next are miserably illegible]
With regard to Mr. Neal we have something to say. He was the injured part—he had been disgraced by a [?]—and he [not only?] had a right to demand satisfaction, but he also had a right to determine when his injured honor was satisfied. He had a right to withdraw his challenge before he left the city, or return from Montreal without seeking the meeting at all; and of course, when at the expiration of twenty three hours, Mr. Tompkins was not ready with his friend, he had an unquestionable right to consider his grievance addressed, and his honor satisfied, and forthwith return to his house. All this was matter for him to determine but we do protest against his friends assuming or charging, that Mr. Tompkins did any thing which justified the conduct on Mr. C. S. or the certificate of the Capt. of his Majesty’s 32d Regiment.
The same paper from which we have compiled the foregoing particulars, also contains the following statement made by Mr. G. a friend of Mr. Tompkins, the truth of which is admitted, and clearly demonstrates the earnest desire of Mr. T. to give Mr. Neal the meeting he had demanded, but which he deemed it no longer incumbent upon him to insist upon or accept; and surely, Mr. J. is not [?] for nay determination of Mr. Neal in relation to the necessity for a meeting of which Mr. N. was the sole judge.
“Mr. G. proceeding to join Mr. Tompkins met that gentleman returning, at about 80 miles from Montreal. Mr. G. being made acquainted with what had occurred, they returned immediately, and at St. John’s in Canada, twenty seven miles from Montreal, encountered Mr. Neal,  on the 23d of March. Mr. G. requested an interview with him, and stating that he was advised of what had been done, proposed to him to return to Montreal, pledging himself that Mr. Tompkins would then be provided with a second, and that Mr. Neal should have a meeting. This proposition was declined by Mr. Neal, who alleged as his reason therefor, that he had written such letters to his family, as made it indispensable for him to be at New York on the 25th[?] Mr. G. pointing out that it was already impossible to reach there by that time or even before the 27th, again urged him to return. Mr. Neal denied the impossibility, explaining that he should take the route by New Haven. Mr. G. showed that this would not accelerate his progress, but Mr. Neal persisted in his determination to go on, and took leave of Mr. G. when the passengers were summoned, went directly from the interview to the stage sleigh, and set off.”
We have deemed it our duty to condense these facts, in order that the merits of the controversy which led to the disgraceful fracaswhich took place at the Washington Hotel on Monday evening, may be properly understood, and because we think the reputation of a meritorious and honorable young man is at stake.
It appears that Mr. McLeod, as the friend of Mr. Neal, had publicly approved of his conduct, and that of his Canadian friends, and agreed in the censure cast upon Tompkins. This led to an interview between Mr. T. and Mr. McLeod, and the following Circular:
“As there is good reason to suppose that Wm. McLeod has, by various statements, not only among stranger, but latterly by a printed circular, attempted to injure my character; I in consequence waited on him this morning, at the City Hotel, and requested to know if he considered himself responsible for said circular, which he did not deny. I at once told him he was a scoundrel and no gentleman; Mr. McLeod declined taking any notice of these expressions, on the ground that I was already disgraced.
“Let the public judge as to our respective positions.
“MINTHORNE TOMPKINS.
“New-York, April 2[?]th, 1836.”
In this visit to Mr. McLeod Mr. T. was accompanied by Mr. Staples, who, it is said, Mr. McLeod offered to consider as a principal, and hold responsible for the language of Mr. Tompkins. Mr. S. declined being so considered, and thereupon, Mr. Henry Wm. Herbert, the friend of Mr. McLeod, publicly proclaimed at the Washington Hotel that Mr. Staples for accompanying a disgraced person on such an occasion, and not consenting to be a principal, was a “liar and an unprincipled scoundrel.” This was reported to Mr. S. who accompanied by Mr. T. repaired to the Washington Hotel on Monday evening, where they found Mr. Herbert and his friend. Mr. S. immediately enquired [sic] if his name was Herbert and whether he had used the expressions which had been reported to him. He admitted that he had; upon which Mr. S. struck him in the face with his glove and pronounced him “a liar and cowardly wretch.” A scuffle ensued, and Mr. Herbert drew from his pocket a doublebarrel pistol and discharged both barrels at Mr. Tompkins who was near Mr. Staples without effect. Subsequently Mr. H. drew another pistol, which was however taken from him before he succeeded in discharging it, when Mr. L. got up on a chair and proclaimed Mr. Tompkins, “a disgraced scoundrel.” Mr. T. made a rush at him, struck him several blows on the face and received a stab in the side from a dirk or Spanish knife, which would probably have terminated his life if it had not struck on the seventh rib and [glanced?] upwards.
These are the facts of the fracas as detailed to us by eye witnesses; and we cannot but regret that it should have become our duty to place them upon record as occurring in this city. In our frontier towns, where men are constantly living with arms in the hands, and where they are frequently compelled to prove that “might constitutes right,” scenes of this kind will occur; but here, in the heart of our city, where we boast of our civilization, such scenes are disgraceful to all concerned, and should be frowned down by the public as a stain upon the character of our citizens. We trust that we shall never again hear of a similar occurrence.

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Henry William Herbert and the Brawl of 1836

I am ecstatic to place this on my blog, as I have been searching for this article for a long while now. Just yesterday, I had the privilege of finding this through one of the Internet’s many incredible databases, and I knew I had to “store” it in a safe place—why not this blog?

Henry William Herbert, whose life I need to finish documenting, found himself in a bit of a rough place when he involved himself, and his pride, in a duel. The duel did not go well (I will mention this when I return to the biography series) and resulted in this very public scandal, in which Herbert “famously” shot two bullets into the wall of the Washington Hotel in New York City. This created quite the buzz, and lead editor James Gordon Bennett Sr., of the New York Herald, on a tirade, in which he publicly mocked Herbert in the Herald, referring to him as a “Plantagenet” and discussing the entire humiliating incident for several months after the fact. This affected Herbert so severely, he became entirely reclusive for a number of months.

There are a few or so followup articles, as mentioned, which I will place in other posts. I did not want to place them all here at once for fear of making this overwhelmingly long. If there is no interest in Herbert, please take this as an exciting example of a scandal of the early-to-mid 1800s, and how one pitiable brawl can lead to public consequence. I will note that I highly appreciate the statement made towards the end of this article, being that status should not cover up one’s severe mistakes—we are all accountable for our mistakes, regardless of where we come from. -Ann

May 4, 1836, New York Commercial Advertiser

DISGRACEFUL AFFAIR,—A prominent subject of conversation yesterday was a “row” of a disgraceful character, which took place on Monday evening at the Washington Hotel, and which might well become the depraved and hardened denizens of the Five points, although the parties engaged in it are gentlemen by profession, and move in the best circles of society. We had various accounts of the matter yesterday, but none so well authenticated as as [sic] to satisfy us of its accuracy, and therefore we made no publication of either. The Times of this morning, however, puts forth a statement which it declares and we believe, to be perfectly correct, and we therefore copy it without alteration.*

For reasons sufficiently obvious, the narration can include no events previous to those of Saturday last. The parties had been in controversy some time, and on that day, Mr. T. accompanied by Mr. S. called to demand of Mr. M. if he were responsible for a certain circular just put forth. Mr. M. declined to answer: Mr. T. said that he should then hold him to be the person, and therefore pronounced him a scoundrel. Mr. M. refused to notice any insult from Mr. T., alleging that Mr. T. was a disgraced man. During the afternoon, he informed Mr. S. that he would notice anything from him, if he (Mr. S.) chose to take Mr. T.’s place. Mr. S. replied that after the occurrences of that morning, he could hold no communication with Mr. M., and so ended the campaign of the day.
On Sunday evening, Mr. H., a friend of Mr. M., referring to this reply, pronounced, in the public room of the Washington Hotel, Mr. S. to be a coward, and requested that Mr. T. might be told that he had done so.
On Monday evening Mr. S., accompanied by Mr. T., and both unarmed, except that Mr. S. carried his usual walking stick which had a light sword within in it, went to the Washington Hotel. Mr. H. coming in soon after, Mr. S., demanded whether it was true that he had pronounced him a coward. Mr. H. replied that he had; whereupon Mr. S. waved his glove across the face of Mr. H. and declared him a liar.
Mr. H. drew out a pistol, but before he could fire at, his hand was arrested by Mr. T. who remonstrated against using such a weapon, and assured him he should have satisfaction. Mr. H. shook him off and retreated, presenting the pistol, and T. following to master it. They moved from the centre of the barroom, across the hall into the reading room, H. threatening to shoot T. if he advanced, and T. defying him, and declaring he dare not fire. T. then dashed the pistol aside and struck H. when both were seized—T. by capt. B and H.by some young gentleman. H. was directly released, however, and while T. was struggling with capt. B. who held combatants, both barrels of the pistol were fired, the balls lodging in the door, above T. and the captain[.]
The parties were separated, and for a few minutes the affray seemed to have ended. Mr. M. then ascended a chair in the front room, and proclaimed that Mr. S. and Mr. T. were cowards and scoundrels; Mr. T. rushed upon him, and beat him severely before the by-standers could interpose. Those who seized Mr. T. forced him back across the room, he struggling to get free, when Mr. M. followed, and struck him in the side with a dirk or knife.—Upon that, Mr. S. drew the sword from his cane and stabbed Mr. H. The effective hostilities were here arrested by the exertions of the gentlemen present—a second pistol being taken from Mr. H.—and the parties soon separated, and retired for surgical aid.
Neither of the wounds is understood to be serious, or at all dangerous, and the parties have withdrawn from town.

We know of no good reason why the press should be tender or scrupulous in publishing the names of parties who can so far forget their obligations to society, as to engage in a brawl like this, because they are well educated and well dressed, and are accounted gentlemen. If they were boot-blacks or streets weepers their names would be exposed; and we cannot understand why a different course should be pursued toward them by some of our contemporaries being what they are. Others, however, have published the names, and as there is consequently no farther use to any body in concealment, we repeat them. Mr. H. is Mr. H. W. Herbert; Mr. M., is Mr. McLeod; Mr. T. is Mr. Minthorne Tompkins; and Mr. S., as, we are informed, is Mr. Staples—all of this city.

“Her Name, From the French of Victor Hugo,” translated by Henry William Herbert, accompanied with Hugo’s original verse, “Son Nom”

Henry William Herbert was an accomplished sports writer, editor, and historian, as well as professor of Greek and Latin, and translator of Greek, Latin and French. In the Poems of “Frank Forester” (Henry William Herbert), a compendium of his original poetry is presented, as well as several of his translations. Below is one of Herbert’s many favored translations, a translation of Victor Hugo’s poem, “Son Nom.” For convenience’s sake, you may also find my transcription of Hugo’s original poem. 

HER NAME.
FROM THE FRENCH OF VICTOR HUGO.
Translated by Henry William Herbert
From Poems of “Frank Forester” (Henry William Herbert)

THE lily’s pure perfume, the brightest glow
Of golden glory on a martyr’s brow,
The evening’s latest sigh of bliss,
The grief of friendship, mourning, yet consoled,
Thy mystic farewell of each hour that’s tolled,
The ecstasy of true-love’s kiss.

The sevenfold scarf by tempests wrought on high,
Spanning with hues of light the cloudy sky,
Proud banner of the sunset gleam ;
The thrilling accents of a welcome voice,
The tenderest maiden’s fancy-treasured choice,
An infant’s earliest dream.

The distant warblings of some choral lay,
The whispered symphony which dawning day
Woke from the fabled Memnon’s frame,
The murmur of a harp-string born and dying,
The sweetest thoughts from minstrel’s genius flying,
Can boast no charms to match Her Name !

Soft should its sounds be heard as secret vow,
But still in every strain its notes should flow,
Pure as some hallowed taper’s rays
Kindling the darksome shrine with heavenly flame ;
Sweet as the prayer still new, yet still the same,
Forever breathed before the altar’s base !

Nor shall my muse, upborne on vagrant wing,
Presume that cherished sound aloud to sing
In tones that burn with living fire ;
Nor blend with names proclaimed by wanton pride
That treasured name, which still my soul must hide
Till love and life at once expire.

Unless these notes might catch the hallowed style
Of anthems, streaming down the vaulted aisle
To the repentant sinner’s ear ;
The air around with solemn voices thrilling,
As though, sweet music from his wings distilling,
Some viewless spirit hovered near.

SON NOM.
Victor Hugo
From Victor Hugo: eine chronologisch geordnete Auswahl seiner Gedichte…

Le parfum d’un lys pur, l’éclat d’une auréole,
La plainte d’un ami qui s’afflige et console,
L’adieu mystérieux de l’heure qui s’envole,
Le doux bruit d’un baiser d’amour,

L’écharpe aux sept couleurs que l’orage en la nue
Laisse, comme un trophée, au soleil triomphant,
L’accent inespéré d’une voix reconnue,
Le voeu le plus secret d’une vierge ingénue,
Le premier rêve d’un enfant,

Le chant d’un choeur lointain, le soupir qu’à l’aurore
Rendait le fabuleux Memnon,
Le murmure d’un son qui tremble et s’évapore …
Tout ce que la pensée a de plus doux encore,
O lyre! est moins doux que son nom!

Prononce-le tout bas, ainsi qu’une prière,
Mais que dans tous nos chants il résonne à la fois!
Qu’il soit du temple obscur la secrète lumière!
Qu’il soit le mot sacré qu’au fond du sanctuaire
Redit toujours la même voix!

O mes amis! avant qu’en paroles de flamme,
Ma muse, égarant son essor,
Ose aux noms profanés qu’un vain orgueil proclame,
Mèler ce chaste nom, que l’amour dans mon âme
A caché, comme un saint trésor,

Il faudra que le chant de mes hymnes fidéles
Soit comme un de ces chants qu’on écoute à genoux;
Et que l’air soit ému de leurs voix solennelles,
Comme si, seconant ses invisibles ailes,
Un auge passait près de nous!

“To***” by Henry William Herbert

It is always a treat to read Herbert’s poetry, for it is unlike his other work. As far as authorship is concerned, he was an outstanding and prolific sportswriter, essayist, translator of the classical languages, prose writer, and editor—he also wrote outstanding poetry. His poems are what really captured my interest in his work, aside from his tumultuous biography; and, although I am saving his especial treasures to feature after the conclusion of my biographical series—which I am tardy on updating—I wish to periodically share some of his other touching or captivating pieces until then. And thus, following “Sunset on the Hudson,” I present “To***”. -Ann Neilson 

To***
Henry William Herbert
The Magnolia of 1837 

WE are not parted—no!—Though never more
Thy cherished form may greet my watchful eye—
Nor thy soft voice speak welcome to mine ear,
Sweeter than summer music.—Seas may roll,
And realms unnumbered stretch their boundless width,
A wearisome gulf between!—Long years of wo
May lag above us, with their icy weight
Freezing the healthful current of our lives!—
Yea, death himself, with blighting fingers cold
May sunder us, not e’er to meet again
On this side immortality! Thy frame
May gently moulder to its natural dust—
Dewed by the tear-drops of lamenting friends—
Mine rot unhonored in a foreign soil,
Without a stone to mark the exile’s head,
Or blessed ministry of holy church
To smooth the sinner’s passage to his God.
Yet so we are not parted!—Souls like ours,
Knit by so strong a harmony of love,
With hopes, fears, sorrows, sympathies the same,
Still commune with each other, twin in one
Indissolubly joined, and yet more near,
When dies the clay, that dims the immortal spark.

“Sunset on the Hudson” by Henry William Herbert

Untitled

Sunset on the Hudson
By Henry William Herbert
Found in The Magnolia for 1837
(This poem is here paired with its original, featured engraving.)

In the cloud-curtained chambers of the west,
Serene and glorious, he hath sunk to rest—
Immortal giant—but his parting kiss
Hath steeped his earthly bride in holier bliss,
Than when she sunned her in his rapturous ray
Of noontide ardor. Slow they glide away,
The gorgeous gleams that flash from Hudson’s tide,
And paint the woods that gird old Beacon’s side;
Yet round the clouds, that veil the bridegroom’s head,
A fringe of lucent glory still is spread;
While, from the zenith, tints of deeper blue
Steal o’er the bright horizon’s azure hue,
Rob the broad forests of their verdant cheer,
And tinge the silvery brook with shadows clear.
The dewy rushes wave in arrowy ranks,
Now gilt, now gloomy, on the darkening banks;
And snowy sails, that stud the distant river,
Glance, and are lost, as in the breeze they shiver.
There is a thrill in the awakening flush
Of early morn—there is a breathless hush
In fainting noonday—but the faëry space,
That parts the evening from the night’s embrace,
Breathes out a stronger charm, a purer spell,
Bathing the soul in thoughts, that fondly swell
Like sacred music’s melancholy close,—
Sweeter than grief, and sadder than repose.
And is it fancy’s fond delusion only,
That hallows so these woods and waters lonely?—
Or is there in each bold majestic hill
A mighty legend, in each tinkling rill
A whispering voice, and in the wind’s low sigh,
Telling of days and deeds that ne’er shall die?
‘Tis holy all, and haunted!—Each green tree
Hath its own tale, each leaf its memory.
The streams, that knew the Indian’s tread of yore,
The breezy hills, with rock-ribbed summits hoar,
The lordly river, with its ceaseless moan,
Have all a power more potent than their own;
For each and all, with echoing pride, have rung
To the wild peal which freedom’s trumpet sung,
When forth, to shield his bleeding country’s breast,
HE stood—The Cincinnatus of the West—
The founder of a world—whose course was run
All bright and blessing!—like yon setting sun,
Alone of men, HIS youth was spotless seen,
His manhood mighty, and his end serene;
Without one blot to dim his deathless name,
Or bid the nations weep, that watch his fame.

The Tragic Case of Henry William Herbert, America’s Unruly “Forester”-Part Two

After a month long hiatus of this series, I have decided to finally raise it from the dead and commence with the tragic tale of Henry William Herbert. Before we continue, please feel free to either acquaint or reacquaint yourself with the first part of this biographical tale.

Before his arrival in Canada, it is noteworthy that Herbert spent a couple of months in New York, where he became acquainted with the sporting crowd and was “admired [as being a] Byronic young Englishman for his horsemanship and for the cavalier boots and King Charles spurs that he affected” (White 20). White continues, “The earliest recorded incident of his life in the new world is a horse race in which he defeated a professional jockey” (20).

The United States seemed promising to Henry, despite any prejudiced sneers he may have received due to his British lineage. Author Luke White explains this in a thorough manner,

Into the hard, hostile environment of New York in the spring of 1831 stepped the twenty-four-year-old Henry William Herbert, a tall, muscular young man, fashionably dressed, who was a charming gentleman when he wanted to be, but an arrogant, overbearing brawler when opposed. He was aggressively proud of his aristocratic background, extremely sensitive to any criticism of himself or his country, and quick to take offense (19).

Ultimately, after two months in the States, he left to find prospects in Canada. Upon his arrival in Canada, Herbert took advantage of the warm summer climate to familiarize himself with the woodlands and wilderness of this new foreign country. Although it is surmised that he wanted to establish himself amongst the Canadians of the region, he ultimately left to return to the United States. He did not leave in vain, for David Judd, editor of Frank Forester: Life and Writings Volume 1, states, “Despite his short sojourn, the future sporting author gleaned much valuable information with regard to the game and field sports of British America,” information that would be pertinent in his future sport and nature writings (13).

His return to the United States fared seemingly well, for, although initially harboring ill feelings towards his new job prospect, he accepted a position in New York City as a Greek and Latin preceptor in the Reverend Townsend Huddart’s Classical Institute, a school established to “operate as a rival to the Grammar School of Columbia College” (14). Regardless of Herbert’s resentment towards his new position, it is said his students praised their professor and his elocutionary skills, especially when reading translations from various texts. Not only did Herbert inspire literature, language, and translation in the minds of his students, but his pupils would progressively follow in his steps, and he would form especial bonds with a few, namely Philip Hone Anthon.

Not only did this position favor Herbert in the way of allowing a passage to establish himself in New York and alongside what would be future peers, but it also placed him in contact with the head of Huddart’s English department, A. D. Patterson [sometimes spelled “Paterson,” which is how it will thus be spelled in these articles]. This connection was a pivotal point for Herbert in his literary and editorial career, for Paterson was “an elderly gentleman of superior education, whose popularity as a journalist commanded universal respect among the mercantile classes…” (14). While completing a total of eight years at Hudart’s, Henry was introduced by Paterson to the literary publishing world, where he found budding success in submitting theatrical criticisms to The Courier and Enquirer, a rival newspaper of The Herald in New York.

Although this will be discussed in my next post, it is worth noting ahead of time that the latter newspaper is of importance, for Henry would find both humiliation and an enemy in the editor of The Herald, James Gordon Bennett, a ruthless gentleman with great intolerance for anything that walked or breathed. Not only will my next post discuss how their rivalry, a shocking encounter, and public humiliation are connected between Herbert and Bennett, but we will emphasize how 1832 and 1833 proved to be both pivotal and slightly degrading years for Henry. Finally, I will discuss, in depth, the deep-rooted, respected partnership between Herbert and Paterson and their creation of the American Monthly Magazine in 1833.

The Tragic Case of Henry William Herbert, America’s Unruly “Forester”-Part One

Frank Forester was not an uncommon name during the mid nineteenth-century. Forester, a dignified sportsman, known to his friends as being full of vitality and exuberance, published several accomplished volumes of literature, including manuals about Horsemanship and guides about the Warwick woodlands and field sports. Behind this steadily growing literary star, however, was the primary source of the Forester character-nay, pseudonym-an ambivert with a penchant for sorrow and cynicism—Henry William Herbert.

By the time Herbert’s Forester alter-ego began to emerge, Henry had faced several hardships, which had forced him, albeit slowly, into a sedentary life in New Jersey, eventually nearly being confined to the tranquil, morose solitude of his home, The Cedars. Life had been vastly different for the Englishman just two years before, especially more than a decade before; and although this turbulent figure had a temper to be unsurpassed, our sympathies lie with Henry—fate’s unscrupulous, demanding hold confined him to a prison of the mind and soul from which he never escaped.

Born in London, United Kingdom, April 7, 1807, young Henry found himself swathed and nurtured in the wealth of his aristocratic lineage, being the grandson of Henry Herbert, the 1st Earl of Carnarvon. According to Luke White, Jr., author of Henry William Herbert and the American Publishing Scene, Herbert, during his early years, “acquired that twin enthusiasm for books and the out-of-doors…” (5). Henry commenced with receiving a classical education, was enrolled at Caius college, Cambridge, and graduated with honors in 1830 (5). Upon graduation, he carried with him proper knowledge of the classical languages-which he would put to use while completing an eleven-year professorship as a teacher of Greek and Latin at the Reverend R. Townsend Huddart’s Classical Institute-as well as several debts due to gambling and spending lavishly, a habit that would follow him to the grave (5, 20). These overwhelming debts may have caused concern for his family, for between just 1830 and 1831 it is recorded that Henry left his home in London. It is also recorded, according to White, that “in answer to an inquiry, ‘the Herbert family, the late Earl of Carnarvon speaking through his secretary, said they were not aware of any Henry William Herbert in their family'” (6). This statement alone seems to lend credence and severity to the notion that Henry had brought shame to the family due to his erratic indulgences, and may have affected an implied estrangement from the family—let it be noted that Henry never returned to England, nor did he seem to remain close with his family, as far as lack of correspondences prove.

After his departure from London, he stayed briefly in France, either to take in the culture and language, as exaggeratedly evinced by Henry, or to (most likely) escape the debtors on his tail. France did not seem to provide either the security or needs that Henry needed however, and he set sail for America in 1831, carrying at his side money and letters of introduction for a gentleman in Canada. Thus began the beginning of Henry’s hopeful new life, and climb to literary fame—thus also began the downfall to his unforeseen and tragic demise.

THE BeZINE

Be inspired...Be creative...Be peace...Be

Brian Geiger

Student, Reader, Founder of the Vita Brevis Literary Magazine

My French Quest

Adventures in French Culture and Language Acquisition

Vita Brevis

The New Poetry Magazine

Oaken Reed

Wander with me awhile. Ponder with me awhile.