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(See p. 310.)

1. Lord MONBODDO's Account of Peter the Wild Boy, formerly brought from the Woods of Germany.*

"IT was in the beginning of June, 1782, that I saw him in a farm-house, called Broadway, within about a mile of Berkhamstead, kept there upon a pension which the King pays. He is but of low stature, not exceeding five feet three inches; and, although he must now be about seventy years of age, has a fresh healthy look. He wears his beard. His face is not at all ugly or disagreeable; and he has a look that may be called sensible and sagacious for a savage. About twenty years ago he was in use to elope, and to be missing for several days; and once, I was told, he wandered as far as Norfolk; but of late he has been quite tame, and either keeps in the house, or saunters about the farm. He has been the thirteen last years where he lives at present; and before that, he was twelve years with another farmer, whom I saw and conversed with. This farmer told me, that he had been put to school somewhere in Hertfordshire, but had only learned to articulate his own name Peter, and the name of King George, both which I heard

* Lord Monboddo, in support of his hypothesis, that man, in a state of nature, is a mere animal, without clothes, house, the use of fire, or even speech, adduces the Oran Outan, or Man in the Woods, and this Peter the Wild Man, and others, as examples. He denies the want of the organs of speech as an objection, and insists they only want the artificial use of them,

him pronounce very distinctly. But the woman of the house where he now is (for the man happened not to be at home) told me, that he understood every thing that was said to him concerning the common affairs of life; and I saw that he readily understood several things that she said to him while I was present. Among other things, she desired him to sing Nancy Dawson; which he did, and another tune which she named. He never was mischievous, but had always that gentleness of nature which I hold to be characteristical of our nature, at least till we became carnivorous, and hunters or warriors. He feeds at present as the farmer and his wife do; but, as I was told by an old woman (one' Mrs. Collop, living at a village in the neighbourhood, called Hempstead,) who remembered to have seen him when he first came to Hertfordshire, which she computed to be fifty-five years before the time I saw her, he then fed very much upon leaves, and particularly upon the leaves of cabbage, which he eat raw. He was then, as she thought, about fifteen years of age, walked upright, but could climb trees like a squirrel.

"At present, he not only eats flesh, but has also got the taste of beer, and even of spirits, of which he inclines to drink more than he can get, And the old farmer abovementioned, with whom he lived twelve years before he came to this last farmer, told me, that he had acquired that taste before he came to him, which is about twenty-five years ago. He has also become very fond of fire, but has not yet acquired a liking for money; for though he takes it, he does not keep it, but gives it to his landlord or landlady, which, I suppose is a lesson that they have taught him. He retains so much of his natural instinct, that he has a fore-feeling of bad weather, growling and howling, and shewing great disorder before it comes.

"These are the particulars concerning him which I observed myself, or could learn by information from the neighbourhood."

From all these facts put together, his Lordship makes the following observations:

1st, Whatever doubts there may be concerning the humanity of the Oran Outan, it was never made a question but that Peter was a man.

"2dly, That he was, as the Dean [Swift] says, of a father and mother like one of us. This, as I have said, was the case of two savages found in the dismal swamps in Virginia,

of the one found in the island of Diego Garcia, and of him that was discovered by M. le Roy, in the Pyrenees, and in general of all the savages that have been found in Europe within these last three hundred years; for I do not believe that, for these two thousand years past, there has been a race of such savages in Europe.

"3dly, I think there can be no reason to doubt of what was written from Hanover, and published in the newspapers, that he was found going upon all fours, as well as other solitary savages that have been found in Europe. It is true that others have been found erect; which was the case of the two found in the dismal swamps of Virginia; likewise of the man of the Pyrenees, and of him in the island of Diego Garcia. But these, I suppose, were not exposed till they had learned to walk upright; whereas Peter appears to have been abandoned by his parents before he had learned that lesson, but walked as we know children do at first.


4thly, I think it is evident that he is not an idiot, not only from his appearance, as I have described it, and from his actions, but from all the accounts that we have of him, both those printed, and those attested by persons yet living; for as to the printed accounts, there is not the least information of that kind in any one of them, except in one, viz. Wye's Letter, No. 8; wherein it is said, that some imputed his not learning to speak to want of understanding; which, I should think, shewed rather want of understanding in those who thought so, when it is considered that, at this time, he had not been a year out of the woods, and, I suppose, but a month or two under the care of Dr. Arbuthnot, who had taken the charge of his education. The Dean, indeed, tells us, that he suspected he was a pretender, and no genuine wild man; but not a word of his being an idiot. And as to the persons living, not one with whom I have conversed appeared to have the least suspicion of that kind; though it is natural that men, who were not philosophers, and knew nothing of the progress of man from the mere animal to the intellectual creature, nor of the improvement of our understanding by social intercourse and the arts of life, but believed that man, when he came to a certain age, has from Nature all the faculties which we see him exert, and particularly the faculty of speech, should think him an idiot, and wanting even the capacity of acquiring understanding. I knew an officer of dragoons, a man of very good sense, who was quartered where Peter then lived for some months, and saw him almost every day, and who assured me that he was

not an idiot, but shewed common understanding, which was all that could be expected from one no better educated than he.

"Lastly, Those who have considered what I have said* of the difficulty of articulation, will not be surprised that a man, who had lived a savage for the first fourteen or fifteen years of his life, should have made so little progress in that art. I cannot, however, have the least doubt that, if he had been under the care of Mr. Braidwood, of Edinburgh, he would have learned to speak, though with much more difficulty than a man who had been brought up tame among people who had the use of speech, and who consequently must know the advantage of it. And I can have as little doubt that Mr. Braidwood could have taught the Oran Outan in Sir Ashton Lever's collection, who learned to articulate a few words, so as to speak plainly enough."

1785, Feb.

2. Authentic Account of Peter the Wild Boy. MR. URBAN,

PETER the Wild Boy, of which you have inserted Lord Monboddo's account, and related his death,† having been buried in the church-yard of the parish where he resided, at the expense of Government, a brass plate, with a short inscription to his memory, was erected in the church, which has also been paid, on application, by the Treasury, and a more particular account has been inserted in the parish register. As both these inscriptions are worthy a place in your Magazine, I wish you to insert them, that the particulars of this extraordinary person may be transmitted to posterity.

Yours, &c.


Extract from the Parish Register of North-Church, in the County of Hertford.

"PETER, commonly known by the name of Peter the Wild Boy, lies buried in this church-yard, opposite to the

* Lord Monboddo, far from thinking speech or articulation natural to man, rather wonders how he can, by any teaching or imitation, attain to the ready performance of such various and complicated operations. Add to this, when the organs are completely formed to one language, how hard it is to model them to any other.

[† See p. 310. E.]

porch. In the year 1725, he was found in the woods near Hamelen, a fortified town in the electorate of Hanover, when his Majesty George I. with his attendants, was hunting in the forest of Hertswold. He was supposed to be then about twelve years of age, and had subsisted in those woods upon the bark of trees, leaves, berries, &c. for some considerable length of time. How long he had continued in that wild state is altogether uncertain; but that he had formerly been under the care of some person was evident from the remains of a shirt collar about his neck at the time when he was found. As Hamelen was a town where criminals were confined to work upon the fortifications, it was then conjectured at Hanover, that Peter might be the issue of one of those criminals who had either wandered into the woods, and could not find his way back again, or, being discovered to be an idiot, was inhumanly turned out by his parent, and left to perish, or shift for himself.-In the following year, 1726, he was brought over to England, by the order of Queen Caroline, then Princess of Wales, and put under the care of Dr. Arbuthnot, with proper masters to attend him. But, notwithstanding there appeared to be no natural defect in his organs of speech, after all the pains that had been taken with him he could never be brought distinctly to articulate a single syllable, and proved totally incapable of receiving any instruction. He was afterwards entrusted to the care of Mrs. Titchbourn, one of the Queen's bedchamber women, with a handsome pension annexed to the charge. Mrs. Tichbourn usually spending a few weeks every summer at the house of Mr. James Fenn, a yeoman farmer, at Axter's End, in this parish, Peter was left to the care of the said Mr. Fenn, who was allowed 351. a year for his support and maintenance. After the death of James Fenn he was transferred to the care of his brother, Thomas Fenn, at another farm-house in this parish, called Broadway, where he lived with the several successive tenants of that farm, and with the same provision allowed by government, to the time of his death, Feb. 22, 1785, when he was sup❤ posed to be about seventy-two years of age.

"Peter was well made, and of the middle size. His countenance had not the appearance of an idiot, nor was there any thing particular in his form, except that two of the fingers of his left hand were united by a web up to the middle joint. He had a natural ear for music, and was so delighted with it, that, if he heard any musical instrument played upon, he would immediately dance and caper about till he was almost quite exhausted with fatigue: and though

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