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Full text of "Eleazer Williams not the dauphin of France; a lecture read before the Chicago historical society December 4, 1902"

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ELEAZER WILLIAMS 



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ELEAZER WILLIAMS 

NOT THE DAUPHIN OF FRANCE 

A LECTURE 

kead before the 
Chicago Historical Society 

DKCEMBBR 4. I 9M 



WILLIAM WARD WIGHT 

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN 



Published by Chicago Historical Society 



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Copyright, 1903. 



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ELEAZER WILLIAMS 

NOT THE DAUPHIN OF FRANCE 



N October 13, 1841, the Prince deJoinville, with his 
suite, took passage at Buffalo, New York, on the side- 
wheel steamer Columbug, Captain John Shook. ThiB 
prince, younger son of Louis Philippe, king of the French, 
was following the example set by hia father, when in 
eitle, two score years before, and was seeking the western wilder- 
ness. When, on October 18, 1841, the Columbus had ploughed 
her watery ftirrow to Mackinac, a clerical looking gentleman, 
appearing about fifty years of age, await«d at the wharf, the tying 
up of the vessel. The name this gentleman carried wag Elleazer 
Williams and his purpose was to board the steamer and to com- 
panion with the princely party on its further voyage to Green 
Bay. Wide newspaper advertisement of the prince's itinerary 
liad permitted Williams thus to anticipate Joinville's movements, 
while the latter, who had been seeking for a person skilled in 
Indianology and acquainted with the Northwest and had learned 
of Williams in these connections, was eager for the introduction 
to him which the captain of the vessel accomplished. 

The next afternoon at three o'clock, the afternoon of October 
19, anchor^e was made at Green Bay. WUliama is our main 
authority for what conversation took place during the ride,and he 
is our sole authority for what he relates to have occurred at a pri- 
vate, appointed interview between the prince and himself during 
the evening of the nineteenth at the Astor House in Green Bay. 
More than eleven years after, on December 7, 1852, Williams, 
while in New York, disclosed orally to a Mend, Eev. J. H. Han- 
son, what he declared were the details of this interview and he 
fortified the disclosures by the production of what he claimed to 
be a contemporary diary reciting the same details. 

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179966 



2 Kleazer Williams 

This paper must much condenae Williams' narratiye, which is 
printed at length in Hanson's "Have We a Bourbon Among Ua)"' 
and "The Lost Prince." tAa the climax to much preliminary mat^ 
ter, Joinville hailed Williams as the son of Ijonis XVI of France 
and Marie Antoinette of Austria, his wife. The prince explained 
that he, Eleazer, had been rescued from the Temple tower after 
the king's execution, but he failed to disclose the time, the agencies 
or the method of this evasion. He, Eleazer, had been brought t« 
America when about ten jeara of age, and placed in the wilds of 
Canada in the hoineef Thomas Williams, far from the revolutiontuy 
influences that would destroy him. The Prince de Joinville's own 
object in coming to America now was to seek him out. Williams 
relates to ua hoiv great wns his astonishment at this revelation, 
how incredulous he was at first, and how certain the prince was 
of his identity. Thereupon, the prince produced from his trunk, 
a parchment, garnished with the governmental seal of France, 
used under the old monarchy, and placed the document before the 
new-found king of France and Navarre and requested his signa- 
ture. Williams studied it. It was very handsomely written in 
French and English in parallel columns and proved tobeasolemn 
abdicatioii of the crown of France in favor of Louis Philippe. The 
pay for this abdication was to be a princely establishment in 
France or in America, liesides the restoration, either in kind or in 
money equivalent, of all the private property which the Revolution 
had confiscated. 

Williams read and considered the parchment four or five hours, 
his reflections gi-,idually yielding to great anger. The sight of this 
seal in the hands of an Orieanist, the thought that Iiouis Philippe 
sat upon the throne from which he had been so ignoniiniously 
excluded, the refl'?ctioo that there stood before him the grandson of 
that Egalit6 who had voted for the death of Louis XVI, kindled 
in every fibre of his being, Bourbonic wrath ! He, the scion of 
the elder branch, the legitimate heir of France, scorned to barter 
hia honor and his birthright for gold. We quote: "The prince 
upon this a.ssumed a loud tone and accused me of ingratitude in 

• Putnam's MoiithlyMftgazuie,Feb., 1853. vol. i, 194,204. +PageS66. 



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Not the Daufhin of ;^ance 3 

trampling on tte oTerturea of the king, his father, who, he said, 
was actuated in making the proposition more by feelings of hind- 
nesa and pity towards me than by any other consideration, since 
his claim to the French throne rested on an entirely different 
basis to mine, viz. not that of hereditary descent but of popular 
election. When he spoke in this strain, I spoJce loud also, and 
said that aa he, by his disclosures, had put me in the position of a 
superior, I must assume that position and frankly say th&t my 
indignation was stirred by the memory that one of the family of 
Orleans had imbnied his hands in my father's blood and that 
another now wished to obtain from me an abdication of the 
throne. When I spoke of superiority, the prince immediately 
assumed a respectful attitude and remained silent for several min- 
utes. It had now grown very late and we parted with a request 
from him that I would reconsider the proposal of his father, and 
not be too hasty in my decision. I returned to my father-in-law's,* 
and the next day saw the prince again and on hia renewal of the 
subject gave him a similar answer. Before he went away, he 
said, 'Though we part, I hope we part friends.' " Upon whatever 
terms they parted, they never met again. 

While this strange tale is fresh in our minds, a few observa- 
tions concerning it are pertinent: 

First: There was but one person in existence who could sub- 
stantiate or deny this revelation story and that person denied it 
as soon aa it was brought to his attention. When the February, 
1853, number of Putnam's Monthly, containing the article, 
"Have we a Bourbon among usJ", arrived in England, the Prince 
de Joinville was living in Surrey, an exile from his country. By 
his secretary's hand, he wrot« immediately to the London agent of 
Putnam's, stamping the story of the secret interviews and rev- 
elation aa a work of the imagination, a fable woven wholesale, a 
speculation upon public credulity.f The issue of fact, thus raised, 
will occupy us later. 

* Witliams httd gone to the home of Joseph Jonrd^n, liie father-in-law, 
upon the anival of the Oolambui at Green Bay. 

+ HauBon'B The Lost Prince, psge 404: "Una oeuvre d'tmagination, niie 
fahle groBsi^ment tisane, nne ipecalatiou bqf la cr^ulite publiqne." 



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i Eleazer Williams 

Becood : The moat natural action for a person whose atEliation 
haa been attacked, whose beliefs as to his paternity and maternity 
have been rudely jostled, would be to consult forthwith the indi- 
viduals whom before this he had supposed to be his parents. 
Did Williams inquire of two dusky denizens of Caughnawaga, 
near Montreal, whom for more than half a century he had called 
his bther and mother? Far from it. His father died, aeven years 
later, ignorant that his son had denied his fatherhood ; while it 
was not until 1851, ten years after tho Lake Michigan trip, that 
hia mother first heard, and from alien tongues, that her son had 
adopted a royal ancestry* 

Third : A very natural action for a husband, who has learned 
that he is a king, instead of a half-breed Indian, would be to dis- 
close hia royalty to his wife who is thus a queen and to his son, 
wh» is thus his blood-heir to the crown. Not so did Williams. 
Twelve years after the prince's visit to Green Bay, some friends of 
Williams' wife, who had read the story in Putnam's Monthly, 
gave to her her first knowledge that her husband was the blood- 
successor of sixty-six French kinga.t Strange and inexplicable 
mystery of reticence ! A person is announced to be Louis XVIT, 
the uncrowned It^timate king of France and Navarro, and that 
person's wife, and his son, and that aged woman, whom all men 
believe to be his mother, first learu of this announcement, a 
decade later, from the lips of strangers ! 

Fourth : The whole story of the young dauphin's removal to 
Canada, and of the prince's request for his abdication is inherently 
improbable. Even admitting his evasion from the Temple, it is 
improbable that his saviors would have ignored safe, healthy, and 

* Latter dated May 11, 1896, to the author hy Edward H. Williams, jr., 
of Bethleliem, Pa., wboae father, eUU living in Pbiludelphia, waa present 
at Canghnawaga, in 1851, when ElDazor Williams' denial of hia mother was 
first revealed to her. 

+ Draper's Additional Notes. — Wisconflin Historical CoUectione, viii, 367. 
Notwithstanding this ignorance by hie family until 1 853, Willianu said in 
1861; "I am convinced of my royaljdeaoent; ao are my family. The idea 
of royalty is in our minds and we will never relinquish it. " — Hannon's The 
Lost Prince, 34S. 



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Not the Dauphin of France 6 

convenient refuges in Europe, and have subjected this child of 
nine years, naturally frail, renriered far more delicate by the rigors 
of coKfinement and the tormeuta of his bloodless jailer Simott, to 
the exposures of a Canadian climate, to the rough experiences of 
an isolated Indian life; it is improbable that Ijouis Philippe would 
have entrusted to his son of but twenty-three years of age, a mis- 
sion so delicate as an abdication ; it is improbable that if Eleazer 
was the dauphin and was buried from all the world in the Wiscon- 
sin woods, was ignorant of his magnificent ancestry and morally 
certain never to learn it, it is improbable, we say, that even the 
impolitic Orleans princes would deliberately seek him out and 
reveal to hiin that very secret which would make their thrones 
unstable, their crowned heads uneasy. Were there not enough 
dauphin pretenders sprinkled about Europe to be thorns in Iiouia 
Philippe's side that he should deliberately go about to discover 
the real heir in America, to be a still deeper stingi 

Fifth : The attitude toward each other of both the prince and 
Williams, subsequent to October, 1841, indicates that no momen- 
tous subject had been discussed then and that no Bourbonic wrath 
had been aroTise<l. Soon after the prince's departure, Williams 
sent biTn a paper relating to Charlevoix and LaSalle. The prince's 
courteous acknowledgement shows no evidence of any secret mat- 
ter or open resentment. Two years later, in the name of his 
Indian brethren, Eleazer sent through the prince to Louis Phi- 
lippe for some books. The books, together with some portraitB 
painted on oanraa, were sent with a letter from the prince's secre- 
tary announcing the king's compliance. A delay in transit brought 
from the French consul in New York, a note of r^;ret accompany- 
ing the box of books and pictures and the secretary's letter. This 
is the probable foundation for Williams' boast that he had received 
an autograph letter from Louis Philippe. Wlen asked to exhibit 
the autograph, it was lost. The acknowledgement for the hooka, 
which Williams wrote to Joinville, is certainly not penned by one 
who considered himself placed, by disclosures made at Green Bay, 
"in tlie position of a superior" to the prince, as this extract will 
show; 



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6 ElKAZBB WlLLIAHS 

"So well pleased am I -with the books aad ao Iiigh an opinion 
do I entertain of your Royal Highneee' benevolence and friend- 
ship, as to embolden me to appear before him aa a suppliant for a 
similar favor. For years, I have been desirous to acquaint myself 
■with the writings of the French, either in civil or ecclesiastical 
histories, aa well as in theology. If it is not asking and intruding 
too much upon your Royal Highness' goodness, may I hope that 
he will give a favorable hearing to my humble request."* 

It should be stated, parenthetically, that whenever Williams 
was called upon to produce original documents — letters, medals, 
or what not — these were always missing, burned, stolen, mislaid, 
among his papers at some other place. He boasted, for example, 
of several missives from French bishops and cardinals, and one 
from the secretary of Kapoleou III, all inquiring about his histoiy. 
Like the autograph letter from Louis Philippe, they had all disap- 
peared.! 

Sixth: There is a noteworthy slip of detail concerning the 
prince's visit in Green Bay on that October day, 1841. WUliams 
informs ua that after talking far into the night with the prince, 
during which he himself meditated four or five hours over the 
parchment, they separated to meet the next day. The prince, 
twelve years later, informs ua that he remained in Green Bay 
but half a day.J Dr. James D. Butler, of the State Historical 
Society of "Wisconsin, prints, in the Nation, New York, that Join- 
ville did not pass the night in Green Bay.§ To the same effect, is 
the teatimony of Mrs. Elizabeth S. Martin of Green Bay, who 
met the prince there upon this occasion and who, in a hearty, 
genial, and unimpaired old age, still survives. She has recorded 
that the prince did not remain in all over six hours in Green Bay 
and that the major portion of thia time was occupied in prepara- 
tion for, and in attendance upon, a reception and dinner to which 
Mrs. Martin, the prince, and WUliams, among others, were invited. 
Immediately after these festivities, the prince started on his pro- 

* Robertson's The Last of the Bourbon Story. — Putnam's Magazme, new 
ieries. July, 1866, vol. ii, p. 96. i- Ibid vol. ii, p. 96. 

t Huuou'b The Lost Prinoe, page 403: "Pendant ane dead joura^e." 

I Bauer's The Story of Loui* XVII,— A'atiom N. Y., May SI, ISM. 417. 



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Not the Dauphin or France 7 

j acted equestrian tour, westward, tarrying for the night at the 
houae of John McCarty, four or five miles beyond DePere*— 
instead of pasaing those noctuiual hours at the Aator House, in 
Green Bay, begging Eleazer Williams to resign the kingdom of 
France! 

Holding still in abeyance the issue of veracity, aa between the 
prince and Williams, it should not be overlooked that the latter 
has been introduced, in this paper, in the maturity of his life, with 
no account of his origin, his nativity, his youth, the manner of 
his living, and how his abiding place in Wisconsin came to be. 
Along this pathway let us now tread awhile, making such excur- 
sions from time to time as circumstances demand. 

The raid made on leap-year day, 1704, by the French and Indi- 
ans, under Captain Hertel de Kouville, on the outlying village of 
Deerfield in northwestern Massachnsette, is still the most thrilling 
story of savage cruelty. t Deerfield's minister, Kev. John Williams, 
a stem Puritan of stainless character, his wife and five of their 
children were taken captives, and were started on a bitter journey 
toward Montreal. The wife soon fell by the way and was massa- 
cred to avoid the burden of carrying her. The remainder reached 
their northern destination. Eventually all, save one, a daughter 
of seven years, found their way back to the colony. This daugh- 
ter, Eunice, was, aa time passed, married to an Indian chieftain 
at Caughnawaga, on the St. Lawrence river. Her susceptible 
nature yielded to her environment; she abandoned the religion 
of her fathers for the Catholicism of her captors and became in 
every complexion, except that of her skin, an Indian.J The mea- 
ger details preserved of her forest life are pathetic reading and 
would fill our pen did our subject permit. Her grandson, the 

■ Martin's The Uncrowned Hapsburg, 87; and Draper's Note in the 
copy of that paper in the library of the Wiaoonsin State Historical Society. 

+ Read PenhaUow'a Indian Wara, 24; Hoyt's Antiquarian Researcliei, 
186; Dwighfa Travela in New England and Now York, vol. ii, 67; Park- 
man's Half- Century of Conflict, i, 52; Sheldon's Deerfield, i, 93; New 
England Historical and Genealogical Register, ii, 161. 

X WiUJama' Redeemed Captive Returning to Zion, Northampton, 1853, 36; 
Greenfield, 1800, 46; Boston, 1774, 20. 



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8 Eleazer Williams 

child of her daughter Sarah and an Indian husband, was Te-ho-ra- 
gwa-ne-gen, or in our vernacular, Thomas WilHama, a warrior of 
wide renown during the conflict of the American Revolution, 
fighting against the struggling colonies. The glimpses we have of 
him, even as an enemy, are of one upright and merciful, one in 
whom flowered the gentle influences of his New-England ancestry. 
Thomas Williams' wife, called in our tongue, Mary Ann Rice, 
was of mingled Indian and New -England extraction, being 
descended from a captive, taken during a foray upon Marlboro', 
Massachusetts, early in the eighteenth century.* 

Of Thomas and Mary Ann Williams were many children — 
apparently not fewer than thirteen. Eleven of these ai-e regis- 
tered, with the dates of their births, at the mission at Caughna- 
waga. Two of them, Eleazer and Ignatius, are not so registered, t 
The non- registration of Eleazer has furnished argument that he 
was not of the same parentage with the eleven who were regis- 
tered. The absence of registration is, however, easily explained- — 
he was not bom at the registration place, the misaion at Caiigt- 
nawaga. Eleazer was bom, so his mother has testified, on the 
shores of Lake George — a frequent hunting-ground of Thomas 
Williams and his band after the American Revolution. 

How did the mother of Eleazer happen to testify thus? This 
calls for a brief, mayhap an interesting, digression. In 1851, just 
when Eleazer's dauphin tale was beginning to circulate, a party 
of engineers was engaged in constructing a railroad through the 
Caughnawaga reservation. At their head was Edward H. 
Williams, M.D. He was a distant relative of Eleazer Williams, 
and, although of full Anglo-Saxon blood, was an adopted member 
of the Caughnawagas. He is now, 1902, one of the firm of 
Baldwin, Williams & Co., of the Baldwin Locomotive Works, 
Philadelphia. One Sunday, during the fall of 1851, Francis 

• Smith'a Eleazer Williama. — Wis. Hiat. Colle., vi, 309; Letter dated 
April 6, 1896, from Edward H. Williaras, jr., the present genealogist of the 
Williams family; Ward's Rice Family, 37. 

+ Hanson'B The Loat Prince, 468, 435; Smith's Eleazer WilUama.— Wia- 
conun HiBtorical Collections, vi, 321, 



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fToT THE Dauphin of I^ahce 9 

Parkman,* who waa then examioiug the recordB of the Catholic 
pariah churches in Canada, visited Caughnawaga for the purpose 
of investigating Eleazer's story. Making his wishes known to Dr. 
Williams, the engineer, the latter introduced him to George de 
Lorimier, the chief of the tribe. The dauphin story was new to 
the chief and to all the Caughnawagas. Chief de Lorimier, an 
Indian of much astuteness and capacity, decided upon a careful 
investigation.. He sent at once for Mary Ann Williame, and for 
two of her aged Indian friends, a man and a woman. All three 
were kept apart from each other and were ignorant why they 
weire summoned. Mary Ann stated without hesitation or reser- 
vation that E^leazer Williams was her child and that he was bom 
on the shores of Lake Geoi^ when her husbutd with his band 
was hunting and fishing there. The aged friends of Maiy Ann, 
questioned separately, confirmed in detail what she had stated, 
both saying that they were with the band at the time the child 
was bom and the squaw adding that, as midwife, she was present 
at the birth. This examination having been completed, Eleazer's 
statement of his royal origin was then translated to the assembled 
Indians. One and all vehemently denounced the tale as a lie, 
while the little old mother, bursting into tears, exclaimed that she 
knew Elleazer had been a bad man but she did not know before 
that he wae bad enough to deny his own mother. 
■ Dr. Williams writes: "The mother of Eleazer was very old, 
possibly one hundred. She was what m^ht be called feeble- 
minded as old people are, but not in any way lacking in undei^ 
standing. Her testimony came out in pieces as in the case of old 
people and fix>m the appearance of the Indians and of betself, 
during and after the reading of the statement, it was evident that 
they then heard it for the &Tst time."t 

* Dr. Willianu baa always Bupposed that this waa Francis Parkman, the 
hiatorian; if 80, hia opinion of Eleazer Williams in "Half -Centnrj' of Con- 
flict" can readily be explained. See vol. i, S8. 

+ This acconnt of the siunination of these aged Indiana was dictated by 
Dr. Williama to hia aon, Edward E. Williams, jr., of Bethlehem, Pa., by 
whom it was sent to the writer. Dr. Williama' high character warrants 
the accuracy of his statement. See NaUim, New York, June 14, IS94, 446. 



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10 Eleazeb Williams 

A natural inquiry now presents itself, when was Eleazer bom t 
ITpoi) looking to h'"\ for iaformation, we find that be haa given, 
at different timee, three different dates. In 1824, when applying 
for membership in the maaonic fraternity in Green Bay, he wrote 
that he was then thirty-two years of age,* that is, bom in 1792; 
by claiming, after 1841, that he was the dauphin of France, he 
asserted that he was bom March 27, 1785 ;t in a book,t the man- 
uscript of which he prepared about 1852, but which was not pub- 
lished until after his death, he declared^ that in 1812, he was 
twenty-three or twenty-four years old; that ia, bom in 1788 or 
1789. Manifestly, he cotdd not have been bom in all three years I 
When Thomas Williams, in 1800, took his son Eleazer to Long- 
meadow, Massachusetts, to be educated, he informed the pastor of 
the local church that hia son was bom May, 1788. || This date fits 
cleverly into a gap in the chronological order of the births of 
Thomas' children as registered at the Caughnawaga mission; it 
corresponds approximately with the only date of birth which 
Meazer himself ever put into print, and the year 1 786 is the year 
that was adopted by the present genealogist of the Williams 
&mily as the result of his investigations. Thomas Williazns also 
informed the Longmeadow pastor that Eleazer was baptized in 
his infancy, and was named for his, Thomas', greatuncle, Bev. 
Eleazer Williams, first minlBter of Mansfield, Connecticut, Elea- 
zerll — a christian name of much solemnity which has degene- 
rated into Lazarre. 

Therefore, as Eleazer Williams was the son of Thomas and Mary 
Ann Williams and was bom on the shores of Lake George in 
May, 1788, and as Louis XVII was the son of Louis XVI, ting 

• Smith's Eleazer Williams, — Wigoooain Historical CoUectiona, vi, 316. 

i The dauphin's birth date is in many bonks ; see among others, Ciibaiiis' 
Les Morte Myet^rieniea de I'Histoire, 416; Pr^vault's Vie de Louis XTII, 
S; Beauchesna's Loai« XVI, London, 1853, page 11. 

i Life of Te-hO'ra-gwa-ne-Ken, bj Eleazer Williams, with introdnction 
bj Pranklin B. Hongh, Albany, I8B9. 

S Life of Te-ho-ra-gwa-ne-gen, page 89. 

II Proceedinga at the Longmeadow Centemiial, October 17, 1883, p. 230. 

IT Longmeadow Centemiial, 230. 



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IToT THE Dauphin op France 11 

of France and Marie Ajitoinette, archduchess of Austria, and was 
bom at Versailles, France, in March, 1785, we have here what 
Mr. Weller might call an " alleybi." 

Vivid pictures are preserved of Eleaaer's boyhood at Caugbna- 
waga, beginntag with his third year. Grand Baptiste, who during 
much of his manhood, was the pilot of the Lachine rapids of the 
St. Lawrence, was the companion and playmate of EUeazer from 
their earliest years. He baa told us bow Eleazer, clad only in a 
shirt, barefooted and barelimbed roamed about the Indian hamlet, 
suffering from exposure to cold and storms, and scarring his legs 
from rough contact with rocks, briars, and thorns.* These inclem- 
encies, a fall over a precipitous cliff,! f^^ scrofulous tendencies in 
this branch of the Williams family, and the self-infliction, later in 
life, by means of lashes and tartar emetic, of blisters suggesting 
marks of shackles and of blows, go a long way toward explaining 
the brands and scars upon Eleazer'a adult person which be was 
fond of exhibiting as showing where the jailer Simon had bruised 
him in the Temple tower. J 

This subject of marks and scars allows another brief digression. 
While the European false dauphins were prevalent, and were 
anno3ring the Duchesse d'AngoulSme, sister of Ix)uiB XVII, with 
their demands for recognition, she had declared that she would be 
able to recognize her genuine brother by the inoculation marks 
upon his shoulders, that (allied with the like marks upon her own 
shoulders and were peculiar to the royal children of France. § 
Forthwith, the European pretenders, all of them, had upon their 
shoulders these peculiar inocuUtion scars. Scars, you know,"are 
not protected from piracy by any law of copyright."!! Eleazer 
Williams showed these same inoculation scars. What would yout 
You surely would not have our American pretender less carefully 
equipped and panoplied for his imposition than his European 
brethren^ 

* Smith's, Elea^er Williams,— Wis. Hiatorioal ColleotioiiB, vi, 313-315. 

t JTotKTO, New York, June 14, 1894, page 446. 

tVinton's Lonia XVll and Eleazer WilliamB—Putnam'i Magazine, a.e., 
Sept., 186S, ii, 340. §Ibid, 339. II London Athenteum, Feb. 3, 1894, 142. 

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12 Eleazeb Williams 

Eleazer's emergence into civilization occurred in this numner: 
In the winter of 1796-7, hia father, who never foi^t his New 
England cousinship, was vieiting, in Longmeadow, the family of 
his distant kin, Nathiuiiel My. He suggested that Thomas Bend 
one of his sons to Iiongmeadow, for education, with the idea of his 
becoming, eventually, a missionary to the Indians at Caughnawsj^ 
Somewhat later, this proposition took more definite and enlai^ed 
form, Ab a result, on January 23, 1800, Tbomas Williams, with 
his two sons, Eleazer and John, arrived in Loi^meadow and the 
boys began to live with Mr. Ely.* 

A few sentences from Colton's Tour of the American Lakes, 
will photograph these Tndian lads as they emerged ^m uncivil, 
ized and sylvan scenes into the routine of a New-Elngland school. 
Colton, a fellow pupil at Longmeadow school, was an eye-witness 
of what he has printed : f 

"From the wildness of their nature and habits it was neces- 
sary for the master to humor their eccentricities until they might 
gradually accommodate themselves to discipline; and but for the 
benevolent object in view and the good anticipated, it waa no 
small sacrifice to endure the disorder which their manners at first 
created. Unnsed to restraint and amazed at the orderly scene 
around them, they would suddenly jump and cry Umpk! or some 
other characteristic and guttural exclamation, and then perhaps 
spring across the room and make a true Indian assault upon a 
child on whom they had fixed their eyes, to his no small affiight 
and consternation; or else dart out of the house and take to their 
heels in such a direction as their vrhims might incline them. 
Confinement they could not endure at first, and so long as they 
did nothing but create disorder (and that they did very effectually) 
they were indulged until by degrees they became used to disci- 
pline and began to learn. Their first attempts by imitation to 
enunciate the letters of the Koman alphabet were quite amus- 
ing — BO difiScult was it for them to form their tongues and other 
organs to the proper shapes. If the children of the school 
laughed (aa there was some apology for doing), these boys would 



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Not the Dadphis of Feakoe 13 

sometimes cast a coatemptaouB roll of the efyo over the little 
assembly and then leaving an Untph/ behind them would dart 
out of the house in resentment." 

Think you, either of these youths, prior to entering Longmea- 
dov school, had ever dwelt in the palai^ at Versailles, and had 
his infantile intellect enlightened, or his manners moulded, by the 
best instructors in France 1 

Aided by earnest teachers and assisted by salutary domestic 
discipline, the young Indian foresters slowly began to tame. The 
development of Eleazer's powers and capacities was not slow 
although he never became a great scholar or even a studious man. 
He visited about with his Kew-England relatives ; he studied with 
clerical tutors in preparation for his mission. In 1807, he visited 
Hanover, New Hampshire, and indeed is said to have been "edu- 
cated" at Dartanouth College.* While there he wore a tinsel 
badge or star on his left breast and styled himself Count de Lor- 
raine! — a title discoverable in no book of heraldry. 

He visited also in New York where he was brought in close 
contact with Bishop Hobart of the Protestant Episcopal Ohurch. 
Besides this, he made at least two trips to Gaughnawaga at the 
instance of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign 
Missions, to ascertain the prospect of introducing Protestantism 
among hi^ people. While on one of these trips, in 1811, the 
Jesuits approached him with a proposition to accept authority 
from their bishop as a teacher to his tribe. Although educated 
by Congregationalists, although attracted toward EpiscopalJanism, 
he was not averse to this new offer. Indeed, he is said to have been 
commissioned by the Jesuits as a teacher and to have received 
tma them a good church library with prayer-books and missals.^ 

* Puknuui's Half-Centuiy of C<mflict, ST. Presidant Tucker of Dart- 
month College fails to find WJUiame' name in catalogno or college records. 
In U.S. Magazine and Democratic Review, July, 1840, page 13, in History 
of the Danphin, it ia stated th>t Eleazer was sent to the academy connected 
with Dartmontli. 

t l^ation. New York, June 14, 1894, page 446. 

* EUii' New York lodiaus. — Wisconsin Historical Colleotiona, ii, p. 418; 
BUii' Recollections.— Wisoonsin Historical Ck^lectiona, vii, 243 note. 



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14 Eleazer Williaub 

Now that Williams' life in New England has ended, by hie 
return to Caughnawaga, the question arises, whence came all this 
money for the private tutoring of thia young student, for this 
traveling hither and yon about the counttyl From some myster- 
ious Frenchmen who were supporting this exiled Bourbon, reply 
those who adhere to Williams' royal claims. Indeed, there 
appeared in a copy of the Albany Knickerbocker, a communication 
over a ficticious signature, which was the origin of the whisper- 
ings about this boasted foreign support. The draft of this com- 
munication, with erasures, interlineations, and corrections, all in 
Williams' handwriting, was found in his trunk after his death. 
Thus was indicated the employment, in the case of the Knicker- 
bocker, of one of Williams' common methods of booming himself 
—the flamboyant presentation of his history to newspapers over 
false names,* The assertion of foreign money for his education 
and support sprang entirely from his own imagination. The 
contemporaneous records of the American Board of CommisErionera 
for Foreign Missions and the Statutes of the State of Massachu- 
setts prove that that board and that state together with private 
charity paid for his personal expenses and his tuition during his 
New England residence. This documentary evidence has substan- 
tiation from papers found among Williams' effects after his death. 
Among these were the original bills for his instruction and other 
outlays together with the evidence that the American BoMxi had 
been the almoner for their liquidation.! But the expectations of 
the American Board which were the inducements for these pay- 

* Draper's Additional Notes— Wis. Hist. Coll,, viii, p, 360; Rubertson's 
The Last of the Bourbon Story— Putnam's Magazine, n, a,, July, 1S6S, ii, 
90, 93, 97. The author of thia latter article, Rev, Charles F. Roberttum, 
later Episcopal bishop of Missouri, had charge of WiUiams' papers after his 
death. Here is a curious instance of the way Williams operated ; There 
appeared in the U. S. Magazine and Democratic Review for July, 1849, a 
review of H. B, Ely's History of the Dauphin, Son of Louis XVI of France. 
This is a "review" of a book that never esiated, by an author that never 
existed; both book and author being conjarod out of the brain of Eleazer 
Williams, as an opportanity to bring himself before the pubhc, 

+ Robertson's The Last of the Bourbon Story, — Putnam's Magazine, n,B., 
July, 1868, ii, 93. 



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Not the Dauphin of France 15 

meats were frastrated by Williams allying himself with another 
ClmBtian denomination and by the entrance of Willifunti upon 
military service. 

In 1808, four yeara before the second war with Great Britain 
was actually fiumed into flame, President Jefieraon had written* 
to various bands of Indians on the border representing that the 
impending conflict was no quarrel of theirs and urging them to 
remain neutral. Moreover, he promised that should the British 
claim their services and they chose instead to break up their set- 
tlements and cross into the United States, he would find them 
other homes and make them children of the young Kopublic. 
When the war actually broke out, the president sent a personal 
invitation to Thomas Williams, as one of the influential Iroquois 
chiefs, asking him to repress any belligerent movements which 
might be contemplated by his or other tribes against the United 
States and promising him full indemnity against any losses which 
his Ic^alty to the B«public might occasion; besides, support for 
his family and himself during the war. Confiding in these assur- 
ances, Thomas Williams with other Caughnawagas removed, in 
1813, from Canada into Northern New Yorkt — a short removal 
in point of distance, a long removal in point of results. With 
this change of allegiance, Thomas entered the American army, and 
Eleazer — to the regret of his New-Ekigland patrons — followed his 
example. ;[ 

By invitation, Eleaaer joined the trooje under General Jacob 
Brown, in confidential service, collectlog, through the Canada 
Indians, important information of the movements of the British 
forces, and thereby in several instances rendering very valuable 
assistance to the American interests.g For thiH service, as well as 
for active military operations, he received, he tells U8,|| the com- 

* A copy of this latter is attached tn the S«port of House Committee on 
Military Affairs, No. S4, 34th Congreas, Third Session, Jumary 16, 1S57. 

t WilliamB' Te-ho-ra-gwa-ne-gen, 72, 73. 

i Colton's Tour of the American Laksa, i, 164. 

I Ellis' New York Indians. — Wisconsin Historical CollactioDs, ii, 413. 

II Report of the Honse Conunittee on Military Affairs, No. 303, Claim ot 
Eleazer WilUane, 3£t1i Congress, First Session, April 17, 1868, 



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16 Elbazbk Williams 

mendation of hia officers for zeal, bravery, and fidelity. WilliamB' 
own accouutB of his achievemente ia the field are preserved in hia 
JoiimaJ and in a biography of his father which he prepared* — 
accounts which are so fiilsome and BO self-laudatoiy as to suggest 
that the authentic history of the war of 1812 is yet to be written. 
In the biography, the author calls himself "Lieutenant-Colonel 
Eieazer Williams," "Colonel E. Williams, the Superintendent 
Geiieral"t — titles which his most loyal panegyrists withhold, titles 
which will be sought in vaia ia the archives of the War Depart- 
ment, titles which are not accorded him by the representatives of 
the government in hia rejected application for a pension. Doubt- 
lees, like the very nebulous appellation of Connt de Lorraine, 
these military honors were self- bestowed. 

The application made by Williams, in 18S1, for a pension was 
based upon a wound received at the land-battle of Plattsburg, 
Bept«mber 14, 1814. . His father's nursing and Indian remedies 
restored him to health and vigor after aome weeks' confinement.}: 

Upon the close of the war, Thomas Williams and his aoldier-son 
joined the family at its new home at Saint RegiB,§ an Indian vil- 
lage bisected by the present boundary between Canada and New 
York, It appears, however, that both Thomaa and his wife 
■ returned to Caughnawaga in the evening of their daya to die.|| 

But Eieazer was too restless and too ambitious to remain long 
in this seclusion. Moreover, he was discredited by his tribal 
Gompuiions. Empowered, in 1812, to draw from the State of 
New York an annuity of ^266, due them upon aome land trana- 
fers, he received the sum regularly every year nntil 1820; but not 
one cent ever reached the annuitBnts.U In 1 820, by reason of 

" His JourtmJ it incorporated in great part in Hanson's The Lost Prince; 
the biography of hit father has been mentioned at page 10. 

+ Williams' Te-ho-ra-gwa-ne-gen, 66, 78, 81, 88. 

t Haiuon'B The Loit Prince, 266, 269. 

lEUifl' New York Indians. —WiHconsin HiBtorical CoUaetionH, ii, 418. 
A description of St R«glB by DeGoBta is in Galaxy, N. Y., 1870, in, 124. 

II Thomas WilliamB died in his GOth year, Sept. 16, 1648.— N. E. Hist, 
and Gen. Register, iii, 103; his wife died May 1, 1858. — Report of House 
Com- on MilitaryAflaitB, No. 303, .'JSth Congress, 1st session, Apr. 17, 1858. 

IT Smith's Eieazer Williams, — Wisconsin Historical Collections, vi, 332. 



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Not the DAtrpHis of Frahcb 17 

representations made by the Canadian government to tbe State of 
New York, payment to the unfaithful steward was suspended. 
Perhaps thia incident helps to explain the fact that when, half a 
century later, Eleazer Williams was wrapt in hia ahroud, not an 
Indian brave attended hia funeral,* 

Wandering southward, Williams in November, 1814, visited 
Oneida Castle, near Rome, New York, renewing acquaintance he 
had previously made with Bome Iroquois of ilie Oneida tribe, f 
While there, he decided to undertake evangelistic work under the 
authority of some church. Proceeding to New York, he waa, on 
May 21, 1815, received into the communion of the Episcopal 
body by Bishop Hobart:[ and on March 23, 1816, he was agiun at 
Oneida Castle as lay- reader and catechiat. § 

He was well adapted for evangelizing work among the aborigi- 
nes. He had become sufBcientiy versed in the Christian system 
and in theology, and was quite an authority on Indian history 
and lore. Moreover, he was a natural orator, a graceful and 
powerful speaker — most invaluable aids to persuasion and success 
among the Indiaiis.|| Had he been content, in the humble avoca- 
tion of a schoolmaster and evangelist, faithfully to pursue in 
sequestered vales, the noiseless tenor of his way, he would belike 
have rounded out for himself a useful and an honorable career 
said would have escaped having the evente of his life tortured out 
of all semblance to reality by the novelist and the playwright. 

Some scattering points concerning Williams' five years at Oneida 
Castle must content us : 

First point: His acquaintance with Gen. Albert G. Ellis. In 
November, 1819, Ellis, then nineteen years of age, and a native of 
Oneida county, New York, took up his abode at Oneida Castle at 
the urgent solicitation of Williams.1I The understanding was that 

* Huntoon's Meazer Williama, in 'Memorial Biographies. — N. £. Hist 
and Gen. Society, iii, 262, 270. 

+ Hanson's The Lost Prince, 270. t Ibid, 274. 



II Ellis' New York Indiaos. — Wisconsin Historical OoUections, ii, 410. 
f Draper's Sketch of Oen. AlbertG. Ellis,— Wis. Hist. Coa, vii, 307. 



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18 Eleazeb Williams 

EIlUi was to inatnict the Indian children, and to be a, companion, 
secretary and assistant for Williams. Both moved together to 
WiBConsin. Gen. EUis lived at Green Bay, Wiaconsin, the remain- 
der of his days, dying there, universally respected and honored, 
December 23, 1885, after a resideace of siity-four years.* Gen. 
Kll'" is a frequent authority concerning Eleazer Williams, a^ the 
notes disclose. 

Second point: Eleazer Williams, save in Indian affairB, was far 
from being a learned man. Either his New- England education 
had been superficial or he had forgotten his acquirements. His 
English was very poor— cases, moods, tenaes, were an unknown 
land. Greek was an utter stranger to him; with Latin he had 
a bowing acquaintance; and as to French, he could read narrative 
and history quite well, but he could not speak a single word res- 
pectably. His French -Canadian wife, of whom anon, more than 
once said to him, "Now, Mr, Williams, I do beg of you, never to 
try to talk French; you can not speak a single word right." His 
French pronunciation was such as ignorant Indiana on the edge 
of Canada might acquire, but nothing more and that poorly.f 
And yet, we are called upon to believe that this Gallic stumbler 
was reared in the very centre of pure Parisian, that he was the 
brother of the Duchesse d'AngoulSme, that his infant lips had 
been instructed by Marie Antoinette, and that he had been the 
pupil of the Duchesse de Polignac and the Abbi d'Avaux ! Semi- 
idiocy for a half- score years could never have reduced the genu- 
ine dauphin to such lingual imbecility. 

Third point; Williams' reminiacencea. When Williams took 
up his residence at Oneida Castle, he occupied, as his abode, the 
homestead of the sometime -deceased head-chief of the Oneidas, 
Skanandoah. To this homestead, Williams built an addition for 
Bchool purposes and here was young Ellis' dominion. On every 
Thursday afternoon, however, the Indians who would attend — 
young men, young women, aged persons — were assembled in this 
room and treated by Williams to discourses of self-glorification. 

* 32d Annnal B«porb, WiBCoiuiii Historical Society, 20. 

+ Ellis' EleaBer Williwiu.— WiBoonsin Hist Coll., viii, 323, 324, 331, 349. 



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Not the Dauphin of Fbance 19 

These talks were devoted almost entirely to himself, to his birth 
and childhood at Caughnawaga, to his iufimtile precocity, to his 
always victorious strifes with his playmates, to hia white ancestors 
of the Williams family, to hia nomadic exploits with his father at 
Lake George, to any marvelous feat of bia forest life which would 
prove to his untutored listeners how mighty a hunter, how great 
a hero he was.* This man of reminiscences, however, is the same 
who in 1851, told his promoter. Rev. Mr. Hanson, in order to 
explain his ignorance of French persons and of localities in and 
about Paris, "I know nothing about my infancy. Everything 
that occurred to me is blotted out, entirely erased, irrecoverably 
gone. My mind is a blank until thirteen or fourteen years of ' 
age."t 

This little school-room incident has its large significuice. If 
it be true as Williams' adherents gravely inform us,J that Elle&zer 
the disguised dauphin, between the period of his adoption by 
Thomas Williams at ten years of age and his removal to Long- 
meadow in 1800, had a fall into the limpid flood of Lake George, 
by which a deep gash was cut In his head, and as a result of 
which distinct recollection b^^, after a period of mental imbecil- 
ity and blankness; how happens it that, in these discourses to the 
Oneida aborigines, whose brains he was filling with his own mag- 
nificent proportions, his memory reverted, not to the gorgeous 
haUs at Versailles, not to the gay avenues of rollicking Paris, not 
to the long line of his royal sires stretching to Hi^h Capet, not 
to the turbulent excitements of the dawning Revolution, not to 
the somber seclusion of the dreadful Temple, but to the childish 
freaks of his Indian infancy, to the leafy retreats of Caughna- 
waga, to his Indian playmates in these woody shades, to hunting 
and trapping and fishing at Lake George, to his austere strain of 
pale-faced ancestors in Deerfield and Roxburyl 

Fourth point: Williams' personal appearance. While he was 
ihus exalting bis ancestors, one of them paid him a visit. Twice 

• Ellis' Bleaier Williams. ^WiaeonBiii Historical CoUectionfl, viii, 32fl. 

+ Hanson's The Lost Prince, 339. 

J Hanson's The Lost Prince, 183; Mrs, Evans' Story of Loois XVII. 16. 



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20 Eleazer Williams 

Thomas 'WilliamB traveled to Oneida Castle to visit hia soa. 
Yoang Ellis noticed, as others noticed, how much the eioh favored 
his father. If the son waa Bourbouic — and no one denies th&t 
hia appearance, especially in yonth, strongly suggested the French* 
— then was his father Bourbouic also, for the latter had the pecu- 
liar cast of countenance stronger than the son.t Lorimier, the 
head chief of the Caughnawagas in 1851, had the same features in 
a high d^p:«e; so also had Oraud Baptiste, the Liachine pilot; so 
also had another half-breed, Francis Mount, a Bice relative of 
Eleazer. Indeed these "Bourbon" ituiial characteristics were com- 
mon to all the Caughnawaga descendants from white ancestors. 
Lorimier exhibited to Dr. "Williams, at the investigation, sev- 
eral members of the tribe who had the peculiar or "Bourbon" 
features.^ The infantile resemblance, real or fancied, to Louis 
XVII, to which the attention of hia mother and himaelf was 
called in his childhood by passing soldiers,§ doubtless started Hhe 
busy and wily mind of the adult Elleazer upon the scheme of per- 
sonation and deception which a half-century of explanation has 
not, it appears, completely exposed. || 

Yet Eleaaer did not lact traces of hia swarthy birth. His skin 
was dark and of peculiar Indian texture. The pension surgeon, 
who examined the wound received by WiUiams at Plattsbui^, 
informs us that his unexposed skin was more the color of an 
Indian than a white man.H When the body of Willams was laid 
out for burial, in 1858, hia skin had turned to a dark red, surely 
betokening, the authorities state, his Indian origin.** 

His hair, eyebrows and eyelashes were of the most inky raven 

' Bobertson's The Last of the Bonrbon Story. — Fatnam'B Magazme, n. s., 
ii, 92; Vinton's Looia XVI and Eleazer Williama.— Putnam'B Magazine, n. 
., ii, 333; Francis' Old New York,165ii. ; Harpers' Magazine, Jon^ 1682, 148. 

t EUia' Eleazer WUliams.— Wisconsin Histcoical CoUectionfl, viii, 348, 

J Letters from Edward H. Williams, jr., April 6, 16, 1896. 

§ NeviUe's Historic Green Ba;, 223; Huntoon's Eleazer Williams, 265. 

II Parkman's Half-Century of Conflict, i, 88. 

IT Williams' Redeemed Captive, Horthampton, 1853, page 173. 

" Letter from Edward H. WiUiams, jr.. May 2. 1896; Butler's Tho 
Btory of Louis XVlL^Nation, New York, Uay 31, 1691, page 417. 



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Not thb DAnpHiu op Frakoe 21 

bUokneaa.* His oompleKion and hair stamped him as of mixed 
mntge and civilized blood ; indeed, one connoiaseur writes that 
fUeazer had that peculiar tint which diatinguished half-breeds 
Mnong the Six Nations from half-breeds of the weet.t His dark 
complexion, ho opposite from the blond features of Louis XYII % 
vtts noticed hj Mrs. Kinzie in 1830, who hod she not heard his 
Connecticut relatives so often call him their Indian cousin might 
have thought bim a Mexican or a Spaniard. § Williams' ears also 
betrayed him,|| while his Indian habit of "toeing in" oould never 
be overcome even after he became "King of France," H 

Fifth point: Williams as an authority on Indian affairs. AUu- 
wta has already been made to his fomiliarity with aboriginal tore 
*nd to the reputation he had acquired thereby. While he was 
at Oneida Castle, letters reached bim from New York, Philadel- 
pUa, Hartford, Boston, inquirmg about labors of missionarieH 
among the Indians; the travels and discoveries of LaSalle, Hen- 
nqiin, Marquette; early forays of tbe red men upon New-Ei^Iand 
settlements, and topics of kindred uatiu^. The Bev. Samuel F. 
Jarvis, D.D., Colonel Elihu Hoyt, Franklin B. Hough, and Mrs. 
Lydia Huntley Sigourney, among others, sought his experience, 
knowledge, and study concerning Indian history, mannero, and 
traditions.** Yet, there is grave reason to fear, in the cases of 
two, at least, of these inquirers that Williams deliberately deceived 
them concerning the massacre at Deerfield. While Epephras and 
Elihu Hoyt were preparing tbeir "Antiquarian Researches," they 
conferred with Williams and received some quite new matter 
concerning the massacre at Deerfield in 1704. For instance, 
Williams told them that on a recent visit to Canada he had found 
a silk overdress which his ancestress, Mrs. Eunice Williams, wore 
that fateful morning when the Indians burned her off directly 

* Bnia' Eleazer Williams. — Wiaconain Historical CoUectioiis, viii, 348. 

i' IVowbridge's Eleazer Willianu, — Wiscoiuiii Histarical Coll., vii, 414. 

t Beaocheme'a Louis XVII, London, 1853, i, 20. 

§ Ura. Kin^e'B Wku-fiun, New York, 1366, page 52. 

II Shea on Eleazer Williams.— Am. Hist. Record, July, 1872, page 300. 

IF Letter from Edwani H. Williams, jr., May 2, 1896. 

"Bobertaoa'sTheldatoftheBonrbonStory.— Putnam's Mag., U.S. ii, 94. 



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22 Bleazeb Williams 

aiter the sacking of the village. But it ia exceedingly improbable 
that Mrs. Williams stopped to don her party gown on that mas- 
sacre morning, while it is a fact that she was tomahawked one day's 
march out of Deerfield and her body left, unplundered, as it fell, 
by retreating savages. Likewise, Williams told the Hoyts that 
returning commandera of expeditions were required to deposit in 
one of the principal convents in Canada copies of the journals of 
their expeditions, and that he, Eleazer, had found in a convent in 
Canada a copy of Eouville'a journal of his raid upon Deerfield. 
But, no such deposit of these documents in convents was ever 
required, no such documents were ever so deposited and no eye, 
save Eleazer's, seems to have seen Rouville's journal. It may also 
be doubted whether Eleazer Williams, heing an individual of the 
male sex, had ever been allowed to investigate convents ! Still 
again, Eleazer related to the Hoyts, and to others, that when. 
Deerfield was destroyed the Indians removed the church-bell, 
conveyed it as &r as Lake Champlain and buried it there; that, 
later, it was di^ up, conveyed to Canada and hung in the Indian 
church at St. Regis. But apart from the circumstance that St. Re- 
gis was not established until half a century after Deerfield was 
raided, the Deerfield church had no bell.* The practising of this 
imposition upon Mrs. Sigoumey has given us her dainty poetic 
gem. The Sell of St.Begis.f Somewhat later, about 1850, Williams 
attempted a &aud upon the State of Kew York. J He offered to 
sell to the secretary of state Marquette's Journal and hia original 
map which Williams claimed to have found in the ruins of the 
Cauglmawa^ church. But the Caughnawaga church was not 
in ruins and the original Marquette Journal and map were, at Hha 
time Eleazer ofiered to sell them and still are, one of the chief 
jeweb of St.Maiy's College, Montreal, and beyond purchase.g 

•Hoyt's Antiquarian Begearches, 193;NewEiiglaad HiatoricaJ and Gone- 
alogical BegUter, xxviii, 287; Proceedings of Maaa.HiBt.Soc., 1869-70, 3U. 

+ In Longtellow'e PoemsofPliioeB.- America, 98. Road HoukIi'b St.Law- 
renceand Franklin CountieB, 115; DeCkuta'e Story of the Bell.— Galaxy, 
N.Y., January, 1870, page 134; Howner'i How Thankful was Bewitched. 

X Shea on Eleazer Willianis.-— American Hiat. Eecord, July, 1872, 30*. 

g Winsor'B Cartier to Frontenac, 247; Wiiaor'a Narrative and Critical 



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Not the Dauphim of France 23 

These o'er-true tales are profitless narratives, save aa they teach 

tliat he who would deliberately, even thoi^h mischievously, deceive 
men and women and a sovereign state, would fabricate a parch- 
ment into the hands of the Prince de Joinville and manufacture 
a proposal of abdication for his lips. 

Sixth point : Williams' plan of western empire. This laige 
subject must be greatly condensed. With whom the idea origLDO' 
ted of peopling these Occident shores with orient aborigines — 
whether with the Eev. Jedediah Morse, D. D., or with Williams, 
or with some members of the tribes themselves, is immaterial 
here.* There were three motives, operating from three different 
directions, in favor of removing the New York Indians ; The 
motive of Dr. Morse and the Stockbridges, that the latter and 
their companions might have Christian homes, free from Caucas- 
ian contamination; the motive of Williams, that he might lead 
the Mohawks and their allies to vast areas for a grand imperial 
confederacy; the motive of the New -York Land Company, that 
its already acqiiired preemption right might attach to the fertile 
lands of the New- York Indians, which would happen as soon as 
these should quit the state. f 

Williams, however, was never able to enlist the Iroquois in 
general, or the Oneidas in particular, in his plan for empire. Very 
few wished to move; still fewer wished to move imder the leader- 
ship of one whose influence for good had waned steadily, month 
by month, of his five years' residence among them. Broken faith, 
unpaid debts, withheld trust -money, were all stored up against 
him. When, therefore, in the Spring of 1821, for the purpose of 
treating with the Winnebagoes and Menominees at Green Bay, a 
party of Indians left Oneida Castle for Bufialo and the Lakes, 
Williams was of the company to be sure, but not as the represen- 
tative of the Indians with whom he had lived for the last five 
years, but as the self- constituted representative of the St. B^s 

• EUu' New York Indians.— Wis. Hist. Coll., ii, 416. 420, 421; Ellia' 
EHeazerWilliams.— WiBCOiismHiit.CoU.,viii, 331; Marah'a Stockbridges.— 
Wiaconmn Uistorical Collections, iv, 300. 

t Davidson's In Unnameil Wiaconsin, 55; Sntherland's Early WiBcousin 
Exploration and Settlement. — WincoDsin Historical Collectioiu, x, 278. 



1 ...Ck^tifilc 



24 EufAZER Willi AUs 

ludians of uorthem New York, who, more than five years before, 

had repudiated him.* 

His first view of his future home was in August, 1821. f After 
much difficulty, hia party succeeded in negotiating a treaty with 
the WiBCongin Indians, but it called for so meagre a strip of 
territory and for so exorbitant a compensation that the r«port of 
it at Oneida Castle drew out all the pent up ind^nation of the 
Oneidas. They forwarded to Bishop Hobart a document dated 
Kovember 21, 1821, remonstrating against the scheme to rob 
them of their homes and make them fugitives and vagabonds, 
cautioning him against recognizing Williams as having any 
authority to represent them either civilly or religiously, and 
requesting that he be withdrawn.^ 

No attention seems to have been paid to this document and no 
further action was attempted by the Oneidas, as Williams' next 
visit to Wisconsin, in 1822, closed his residence in New York and 
opened a new chapter in his career. 

The second party for Green Bay contained few if any Iroquois 
but many Brothertowns, Stockbridges, and Munsees. After much 
parleying, in which Williams urged many plausible arguments 
and made many fulsome promises, the Wisconsin Indians finally 
entered into a treaty with their visitors, admitting the New- York 
Indians to an occupancy in common with them of all their coun- 
try without reserve — a treaty which related to nearly one-half of 
the present State of Wisconsin and became the source of endless 
trouble.§ The next season about one hundred and fifty Oneidas 
aad as many Stockbridges removed to the new possessions. But 
tiie implacable hostility of the Six Nations, as a whole, continued 
and although Oneidas and Stockbridges dribbled year aftbr year 
into the new territory, the fewness of the numbers was a bitter 

■ Ellis' Eleozer Williams. — Wiscoiuiii Historical CoUectionB, viai, 334; 
WMttlesey'B Itecollectiona. — Wieconsin HUtotical CoUectioiia, i, 168 note. 

+ Diirrie'ii Green Bay, 8. 

f DavidsoD'a In TJnmuued Wisconsin, 64; EUia' Eleazer Williams. — 
WisoonBin Historical CoUectionB, viii, 336. 

S Bllla' R»oollectionfl. — Wisconsin Historical Colleotiona, vij, 225; Ellis' 
Now York Indians. — Wiflconsin Historical Collections, ii, 428. 



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KoT THE Dauphin of France 25 

diaappoiBtment to WilUams and a menace to his imperial ambi- 

On March 3, 1823, Eleazer Williams married Maiy Jourdain 
of Green Bay.t She was the daughter of Joseph Jourdain, the 
blacksmith of the Indian department at the Bay. Her mother 
was the daughter of Michael Gravel, and the grandi9aught«r of a 
Menominee chief. J She was a pretty girl and the owner of a Im^ 
acreage. § At her marriage, she was fourteen years of age and 
her husband thirty -five. She was at the time betrothed to a worthy 
young trader and was not consulted as to her willingness to many 
"priest Williams," nor was she even allowed a woman's privilege 
of a courtship, but was notified on Uiat March morning that she 
need not go to school that day as she was to be married that 
evening to "priest Williams."|| In the fall of 1825, Williams took 
his young wife to New York where Bishop Hobart baptised and 
confirmed her and gave her his surname. This ceremony excited 
almost as vivid a sensation in the fashionable world as bad the 
christianization of Pocahontas in London, two centuries before. H 
In 1846, Williams informed the then genealogist of the Williams 
family that his wife, Mary Hobart Williams, was a distant relative 
of the king of France from whom be had been honored with sev- 
eral splendid gifts and honors, and among the rest, a golden star.** 
Williams also stated that the Prince de Joinville was a relative of 
his wife and that this relationship caused the visit which that prince 
made to him In ISilj and the gifts that followed the visit++ — 
meaning the interview, with the account of which this paper 
opened. 

No comment is offered upon this story except to urge that if the 
prince taas a relative of Mis. Williams, he was a very ungallant 

• Ellia' New York Indians. — Wisoonsin Historical CoIleotiiMiB, ii, 430. 

f HauBon'B The Lost Prince, 300. 

t Grignon'B RecoUectionB. — WiscouBin Hiatorica] Collectioaa, vii, 253. 

§ Trowbridge's Heazer Williaine.— Wis. Hist CoU., vii, 414; McfJall'g 
Journal.— Wis. Hist. Coll., xii, 185; Hanson's The Lost Prince, SCO. 

II Draper's Additional Notes.— Wis. Hist. Coll., viii, 367 note. 

II Martin's Uncrowned Hapsbarg, 92; Neville's Green Bay, 222. 

•• Williams' Williams Family, 96. 

ft- Williams' Redeemed Captive, Northampton, 1853, page 177. 



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I WlLLIAMa 

young Frenchmaa to travel all the distance from Paris to Green 
Bay and not even tender hia respects to hia kinswoman. 

Mrs. Williams had three children — two of them daughters who 
died unmarried; her Bon John, bom about 182S, was in 1867, the 
captain of a steamboat on Lake Winnebago* and died in 1884 
from injuries received in an explosion.f 

Fragments of the Journal kept by Mrs. Williams belong to the 
Wisconsin State Historical Society. From perusing these pages, 
one infers her a woman of limited education, of great vivacity and 
shrewdness. Its pages are scanned in vain for evidences of affec- 
tion for her husband, who is always "jtfr. Williams." Almost the 
only verbal flower of love that peeps above the surface of this 
diajy-garden is the brief entry, "My very dear gTandson, Genie, 
died in Oshkoeh," with the date. Mrs. Williams died upon her 
farm, on July 21, 1886.J 

During Williams' visit to the East in 1826, he was ordained as 
a deacon by Bishop Hobart.§ He preached at the post«chool in 
Green Bay after his return, using as the basis of his discouraes, 
sermons of hia remote ancestor, Rev. John Williams, which had 
fallen to his chai^.|| 

But our Williams was not so occupied with the heavenly king- 
dom as to forget that grand earthly empire that he would fain 
establish. And yet, the establishing was very slow. The New 
York Indians came in but scant numbers; and those already 
settled, disaffected by hia broken promises and his want of earnest- 
ness for their spiritual welfare, withdrew their confidence. 

In 1827, the Menomineea showed their opposition to him by 
concluding a treaty with the United States in which they ignored 
almost entirely, any rights formerly given by them to the New 
York Indians. K ill-faith be imputed to both of these contracting 
parties, much justification can be alleged. The arrivals of Indians 
from New York had been so few, and promised in the fixture to be 

* Allibone'a Dictionary of Authors, iii, 273S. 

f Carrent uwqo of Oreen Bay OazdU; same paper, issue of July 22, 1886. 

t Qreen Bay Oaatte, July 22, 1886. g Davidson's Unnamed Wis., 65. 

II Ellis' Eleazer WiUiama.— Wisconsin Hintorical CoUections, viii. 324. 



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Not the Dauphin of France 27 

ao few, that it was not fair to the rapidly growing West to concede 
to those few an imperial territory. It waa poor policy to yield in 
perpetuity to a few Oneidaa, Stockbridges, Brothertowna, Munaees, 
a piece of territory equal to about half of the Stat« of Wisconain.* 

The details of much negotiation and of much heart - bunmig 
resulting from this treaty are immaterial here. The conclusion 
waa reached in 1838, when, as the consequence of large sales made 
to the government by the Henominees andWinnebagoes and a^ the 
consequence of the inrush of white settlers to purchase these sold 
lands, the New York Indians were localized in insignificant and 
meagre sections along Duck Creek, west of the lower Fox Riyer.+ 

This was the end of the scheme of ambition and temporal sov- 
ereignty which for almost a score of years Eleaaer Williams had 
nourished and fostered. The dusky empire had disintegrated, the 
different bands, discordant and hostile, had been confined in nar- 
row paddocks, the tide of white civilization was rushing in. No 
longer a public character Elcazer had withdrawn irom Green Bay 
and was residing upon his wife's estate at Little Kaukaulin, there 
to remain in humble obscurity until a wilder dream of wider 
empire should arouse his dormant hopes. 

What WilHams' standing was at Green Bay during his resi- 
dence there is declared by John Y. Smith, a citizen of long stand- 
ing, a man of great force of character, thorough probity, and 
literary culture: J 

"He was a fat, lazy, good-for-nothing Indian^ but cunning,g 
crafty, fruitful in expedients to raise the wind and unscrupulous 
about the means of accomplishing it. During the last four or hve 
years of my acquaintance with him, I doubt whether there was a 
man in Green Bay whose word commanded less confidence than 

* Klliw' Eleazer Williams. — WiBConain EiBtorical CollectionH, viii, 341. 

+ Ibid. 343; Ellis' New York Indiana.— WU. Hist. Coll., ii, 445, 448. 
WiUiama' views of the wrong done to the New York Indiatis are in Colton'i 
Tour of tke American Lakes, i, 176. 

I Smith's Eleazar Williams. — Wisconain Historical Collections, vi, 332. 

g Canning is one of the earliest charocturistics of the adult Williams 
which the writer has observed, — August, 1830. — Mo Call's Jomiial, — Wia- 
fonain Historical Collections, xii, 166. 



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28 Eleazer WitxiAHS 

that of Eleazer WilliamB. His cliaracter for dishoneaty, trickery, 
and ftilsehood became so notorious and sctuidalous that respectable 
Epiacopalians preferred charges against faim to Bishop Onderdonk. 
. But as Williams was located in the diocese of Wisconsin under 
Bishop Kemper, the bishop of New York disclaimed jurisdiction 
in the case; and, as Williams was there under a commission from 
a society in New York, Bishop Kemper disclaimed juriBdiction 
of the case, and in consequence of these counter- disclaimers the 
charges were never investigated." 

It is not pleasant to perpetuate these characterizations, to recall 
these misconducts of one loi^ dead, but the truth of history is 
involved and the claims of dauphinship for Eleazer Williams 
depend upon his own personal statements. Candor, therefore, 
com|Tela us to say — and these pages ill-perform their mission if 
they fail to show "that an obstinate persisting to act a false part 
was exactly suitable to his character,"* that he abounded in sly 
cunning, was prone to tricks, apt to exa^erate, quick to invent, 
utterly untruthfiil. 

Notwithstanding Williams' permanent residence in Wisconsin, 
he did not sever his connection with his eastern kin. In 1839, 
he was in St. Regis securing evidence in order to obtain loi^- 
delayed justice from the government of the United States, for his 
father's services and sacrifices in the war of 1812. Three years 
later, he was t^ain in New York state and visited in Buffalo, 
where and when he whispered his dauphinship into the ear of 
George H. Haakins, the editor of the Buffrdo Expreaa.^ In the 
fall of 1841, he was again at StRegis and was visiting there 
when the newspapers told of the trip which the Prince de Joinville 
was about to make to the Mississippi by way of the lakes, the 
Fox and Wisconsin rivers — that trip with a mention of which 
this paper opened. 

After the visit of the prince to Green Bay, in 1841, but little 
in the life of Williams requires notice for several years. He was 
almost entirely disassociated from the Indians but was much 

• Uaad in Ram on FactB, N. Y., 1890, 436, referring tn Arnold du TUb. 

+ Boberi^on's The Last of the Bourbon Story. —Putnam's Mftgaidae, n.i,, 
ji, 96; Drier's Additional Notes.— Wiaoonmn Historical ColL, viii, 362. 



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Not thr Daophm of Fkance 29 

occupied in pressing against the government claims growing out 
of their removal to the western country. In 1846, the Society 
for the Propagation of the Gospel among the Indians and others 
in North America, appropriated money for his support aa a mis- 
sionary; but after two years this stipend was withdrawn, the 
result not justifying its continuance,* In 1850, he went East to 
proffer his services for the removal of the Seneca Indians from 
Indian Territory to the upper waters of the Missisaippi. Hia 
offer was declined. Not returning again to his family, he took up 
his residence at St.Kogis where he commenced a school Eind where 
he had some kind of a missionary appointment from the Diocesan 
Society of New York and from the Boston Unitarian Society.t 
Upon the recommendation of his neighbors, the Society for the 
Propagation of the Gospel renewed its appropriation, but in 1853, 
this was again withdrawn owing to his protracted absence from 
dnty-t 

Down to the fall of 1851, Williams had been a secret pretender. 
Hiu first obtrusion of himself as a dauphin had been in private 
ways, by personal interviews, by anonymous letter, by fictitious 
signature to suggestions to newspapers, by artful acting when 
visiting friends. A single illustration of his conduct must suffice 
for many, ex vmo disce omnes: 

Dr. Vinton writes that in August, 1844, while he and Williams 
were in the parlor of the residence of Mrs, O. H, Perry at New- 
port, the writer's attention was attracted by the gesticulations 
and other antics of Williams who was examining a volume of 
engravings, the names of which were on the reverse, and acci- 
dently came upon a print of Simon, the dauphin's cruel jailer in 
the Temple. Dr. Vinton says, "I saw Williams sitting upright 
and stiff in his chair, his eyes fixed and wide ojren, his hands 
clenched on the table, his whole frame shaking and trembling as 
if a paralysis had seized him. . . Pointing to the wood-cut, he 
said, 'That imt^e has haunted me day and night, as long as I can 
remember. 'Tis the horrid vision of my dreams; what is it) 
Who is itT " The leaf was turned and Simon's name was on the 



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30 Eleazeb Williams 

reverse.* From tfiis incident those who did homage to WilliamB 
drew sure conclusions; but I have no doubt the scene was a very 
clever bit of play and if Dr. Vinton is not miataken in the year, 
Williams was engaged longer than has been believed in working 
up hia imposture. It should be added that Wilbams is credited 
with the same theatrical piece of acting about six years later at 
the residence of Professor Uay of Northampton — there was 
another picture of Simon, Williams greatly excited, and the ejacu- 
lation, "Good God, I know that &ce, it has haunted me through 
life."t 

Another way in which Williams brought himself into notice 
by the underground plan is exhibited by the following letter writ- 
ten under a false name to a Mr. Seed of Buffalo in August, 1850 : 

"It so happened that I was at the Eagle Hotel in Fhila^Ielphia 
when you and Mr. Williams (the dauphin of France,) were there. 
Curiosity, as well ea having taken an interest in the history of 
the unfortunate Prince, has led me to address you and ask you to 
have the goodness to inform me if you are ia posession of any 
historical facts in relation to this wonderful man." 

In the autumn of 1851, Williams made by chance the acquaints 
ance of the Rev. J. H. Hanson of New York. J Hanson had read 
of the claims of Williams through a cunning letter which had 
appeared in the Ifeio York Courier and Enquirer. Through 
Hanson's energetic espousal, Eleazer waa converted from a secret, 
Burreptitious pretender into an open vindicator of his royal posi- 
tion. He became a genuine monarch, issued manifratoes, signed 
the initials L.C. to his documents, received not«s phrased "Your 
Most Graoioua Majesty," and promised his votaries passage to 
France in a national ship when he should obtain hia own.§ 

It is difficult accurately to characterize Rev. Mr. Hanson as 
the promoter of Williams and his claims. As the grandnephew 

* Vinton's Loaia XVII and E, W illiam a , — Putnant'a Maig&ana,ii.B,,ii,331. 
t Huntoon's E1eaz«r WiUiams, 2S3; Hanaon'a The Loat Prince, 364. 

♦ Hanson's The Lout Prince, 336. 

% Letter to »ntliot from George Sheldon of Deerlield, Mass., Apr. 6, 1S96; 
Draper's Additional Notes on Eleazer Williiuns.— Wis. Hist. Coll. , viii, 369. 



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Not the Dadphut of E'raitob 3l 

of Oliver Goldsmith,* Hanson could well have been credulous 
and simple-minded. But so much imposition was practised by 
"Williflims, so many marvelous tales he related, so many documents 
he boasted to own yet fiuled to exhibit, so many discrepancies 
are palpable in his Journal, so many statements uusubstantiated, 
that the wonder is the utmost extreme of gullibility did not 
become suspicious. 

Whatever may have been Hanson's motive, he assumed vigor- 
ously the promotion of the pretender. His first preserved printed 
composition in behalf of Williams' dauphin claims was the article 
"Have We a Bourbon Among Us?" in Putnam's Magazine, Feb- 
ruary, 1853. That magazine had published its initial number in 
January, 1853, and, like the scriptural conies, it was a feeble folk. 
What had manifestly been expected, if not intended, by the 
publication of Hanson's article was immediately accomplished. 
Twenty thousand names were added to the subscription list of 
Putnam's.t In 1854, appeared "The Lost Prince," in which Han- 
son unplifies and supplements what he, and other Williams wor- 
shippers also, had printed in a fugitive manner. For two or three 
years, the niagazine and Williams basked in the sunshine of suc- 
cess. Finally, however, as the speciousness of his claims and the 
weakness of their supports became fully appreciated, the popular- 
ity of Williams and the circulation of the magazine rapidly 
declined. 

He died August 28, 1858, in great poverty, suffering from want 
of attention and from the necessaries of life. He had dwelt 
mostly alone tn a neat coitage erected by friends subsequent to 
the pubhcations which excited so genend an interest in 1853. 

"Hia household presented an aspect of cheerless desolation 
without a mitigating ray of comfort or a genial spark of home-light. 
His neatly finished rooms had neither carpets, curtains, nor Air- 
niture, save a scanty supply of broken chairs and invalid tables; 
boxes filled with books, the ff&a of friends, lay stored away in cor- 
ners; his dining-table, unmoved &om week to week and covered 

• PQtnam'B Mag., n.s.. Jnly, 1868, ii, 127. 

i- Hnntoon's Eleazer WilUama, 252. 



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a Eleazer Williams 

with the broken remaius of former repasts and his pantry and 
sleeping -room disordered and filthy, left upon the visitor an op- 
pressive feeling of homeless solitude that it was impossible to edace 
from the memoty."* 

The occupant of this ill - kept abode, his family which he had 
wilfully deserted, a thousand miles away, his hopes taid ambitions 
turned to ashes, crept scant honored into a lonely grave. 

Four observations will conclude this writing : 

First: Mention has been made of the attempts to secure from 
the government of the TTulted States indemnity for the losses sus- 
tuned by Thomas Williams in the war of 1812. Not until the 
death of Thomas and his widow was the proper reparation made; 
and in doing this justice, the government has also done justice to 
the truth of history. On April 17, 1858, the House Committee 
on Military Afiairs reported on a claim which it designated as the 
claim of "Eleazer Williams, heir of Thomas Williams." This 
report found as facta Thomas Williams' distinguished and unre- 
compensed military services and his great pecuniary sacrifices. 
The report found also his death and the death of hie widow and 
then found that she left "as her sole heir and deviaee her sou, 
the Rev. Eleazer Williams, who is likewise the sole surviving son 
and heir of Thomas Williams." Representative Pendleton of 
Ohio, an acute and sagacious lawyer, reported these findings and 
stated that they were "abundantly proven by the evidence. "t 
And so, within five months of his death, Eleazer Williams was 
"abundantly proven," by evidence preserved in the archives at 
Washington, the son — not of Louis XVl; the heir — not of 
France, but the son and heir of the Caughnawaga Indians, Thomas 
and Mary Ann Williams, whose paternity for twenty years he 
had disowned but whose heritage he did not hesitate to accept. 

Second: It is fair to Williams to remark that however much 
he might beguile others he did not deceive himself. His private 
lettera written, and his intimate conveisations spoken, after the 
Joinville incident of 1841, disclose this. For an instance: In the 

■ Williams' Te-ho-ra-gwa-ne-gen, introduction, 13. 

i Bep. 303, 35tlt Cong. , Ist SesBiou. 



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