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NOT THE DAUPHIN OF FRANCE
kead before the
Chicago Historical Society
DKCEMBBR 4. I 9M
WILLIAM WARD WIGHT
Published by Chicago Historical Society
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.
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
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.
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."
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.
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
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-
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.
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
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.
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,
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.
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.
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
* 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.
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
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
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.
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.
Not the Dauphin of France 15
meats were frastrated by Williams allying himself with another
ClmBtian denomination and by the entrance of Willifunti upon
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
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,
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.
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.
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
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.
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 '
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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,
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.