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"Physiologists owe a debt of gratitude to the perseverance, perspicacity, and devotion to the cause of scientific truth which Mr. Thoms has manifested in the determination of the precise age of centenarians, and of individuals loosely alleged to have passed the period of 110 years."-Professor Owen.
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THE LONGEVITY OF MAN:
ITS FACTS AND ITS FICTIONS.
Including an Inquiry into some of the more Remarkable Instances, and Suggestions for Testing Reputed Cases. Illustrated by Examples.
By WILLIAM J. THOMS, F.S.A.,
Deputy-Librarian, House of Lords.
"Mr. Thoms was admirably qualified to perform the task which he has undertaken, and he has performed it with signal
with Maps, Town Plans, success.......His remarks upon the evidence which is generally
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adduced to prove the extreme age of individuals are perspicuous and sound......This portion of the work is carefully executed, and will have interest to those whose vocation calls them to deal with evidence.......No one but Sir George C. Lewis could have undertaken such a work with such advantages, and even he could not have produced a more practical and intelligent book. Law Magazine and Review, July, 1873.
"A vast deal of methodized information and light is thrown upon a deeply interesting subject by this volume on Human Longevity. Few but Mr. Thoms could have persevered against so many difficulties in the form of prejudice and defective information; and whatever may come of it or after it, his book
must remain a valuable contribution to the history and litera
ture of his subject.”—Saturday Review.
"Mr. Thoms might be open to a charge of partiality were his book anything more than a most entertaining and valuable account of his own personal researches into the credibility of alleged cases of centenarianism. As such it must be understood; and he is entitled to all praise and gratitude for his courageous demeanour in scotching a whole series of lies."Athenæum.
"In the interesting volume before us, Mr. Thoms examines the nature of the evidence commonly relied upon in support of alleged centenarianism, points out the defects to which it is liable, and the tests to which it should be submitted. It is very likely that his readers will think him a little too incredulous; but scepticism on the subject he has taken in hand is a fault on the right side, and his method of investigation leaves little to be desired. The inquiry he prosecutes, it is true, is curious rather than important. But he has illustrated his mode of procedure, and embodied the results in a book which is at once amusing and suggestive."-Pall Mall Gazette.
"We do not know that Mr. Thoms's labour can lead to any very tangible result, but the inquiry has a certain interest of its own, and it has never been more thoroughly or scientifically treated than in the present volume."-Globe.
"Mr. Thoms's painstaking researches into alleged cases of centenarianism form an interesting volume, in which some are completely disproved, others shown to be doubtful, and a few of them established. Mr. Thoms has not gone into the inquiry with a predetermination to disprove every such case, so that his results are all the more just and valuable."-Builder.
"The book is full of interest, and has considerable scientific value. Many of the comments on evidence will apply not merely to questions of centenarianism, but to others of a scarcely less important character."-Scotsman.
JOHN MURRAY, Albemarle Street.
LONDON, SATURDAY, AUGUST 15, 1874.
CONTENTS. - N° 33.
NOTES:-Cricket, 121-Ultra-Centenarianism, 122-Spelling
Timothy Newmarch-A Question for Antiquaries, 128Sankara-"Don Leon," a Poem Iris (an Island) - The Scilly Isles-Strawberry Leaves-The Private Coronerships of England-The Second Crusade, 129. REPLIES:-The De Quincis, Earls of Winton, 129–Macaulay on Milton and Spenser, 130-George Colman, 131-Adam's First Wife-"Built here for his envy" "-"Antient," 132Rahel-Knurr and Spell-"Wisdom's better than money
—“ Areawt ”—“ A Rowan-Tree," 134-" Lambard's Ancient Laws"-Conjecture-Old Engravings-T. Allington-Mary
Heraldic-Dr. Barton's Puns-The Judges on Circuit, 135- Mendelssohn "The Widow of the Wood"-Water-mark- "Shotover - Dr. Dee's Magic Mirror-The Scottish Family of Edgar-Episcopal Titles, 136-"Reginald Trevor"-Mrs. Cowden Clarke's "Shak
have their anniversary and centenary. Why should not Saint Cricket's centenary be held? I do not think the players of the North and South have ever met with their strongest teams. Might not a great match be got up between North and South, each side to pick out their twenty best men, the names being then sent to the M.C.C., the committee of which would choose by ballot the two elevens? The cricketing season is nearly over, certainly; still there is time to get the teams together and wind up the season of 1874 with the greatest match on record.
There is no doubt, I apprehend, that cricket, as a regular game, "under a code of laws," is older than Mr. Gilmore imagines.
Several instances of the early use of the word have been given in former numbers of " N. & Q." It had found its way into dictionaries long before 1774. The earliest instance I have met with is in Kersey's English Dictionary, third edition, 1721, where it is explained to be
"An insect like a grass-hopper; also a low stool such as children usually sit on; also a sort of play with a ball." Fenning's Royal English Dictionary, 1741, is rather clearer as to the sort of game meant. There
we are told that cricket means
"An insect which frequents fire-places or ovens, and is remarkable for a continual chirping or creaking noise; a game which is played with a bat and a ball."
speare Concordance," 137-Wiggs-Drury House-" Put The Gentleman's Magazine, for September, 1743,
to buck," 138-Pronunciation of "Aches," 139. Notes on Books, &c.
The following is abridged from an article called "The Centenary of Cricket," by Mr. Arthur A. Gilmore, and printed in The Hour :
"Few votaries of cricket are aware that this year is the centenary of that noble game. Cricket seems to be indigenous to England and the English race. Wherever the English race takes root, there to a certainty cricket becomes an institution. The game has taken deep root in Scotland, but golf cannot be forced to give way, and still holds its own. Ireland has not shown any great predilection for the game; indeed, I do not know that Erin has any national sport except hunting. Cricket is supposed to be identical with an offshoot of a game called club-ball, which was played in the fourteenth century: but it was not until 1774 that cricket was an acknowledged game and was legislated for. In the autumn of that year a number of noblemen and gentlemen formed themselves into a committee, of which the Duke of Dorset was the chairman, and drew up a code of laws for the regulation of the game, which only existed before in a loose and desultory form. Although the first club was formed at Hambledon, in Hampshire, Kent was, in reality, the nursery of cricket. Coleman, writing many years ago, says: Kent is fertile in pheasants, cherries, hops, yeomen, codlings, and cricketers.' The game is supposed to take its name from the Saxon wordcricc,' a stick. There is, however, an old English word, 'kriget,' which means 'a little elevation': perhaps in the older times players were in the habit, as indeed modern players are, of 'skying' their balls. All the saints in the calendar
quotes an article on "Publick Cricket Matches," from the British Champion of the 8th of that month, from which it seems that, much to the disgust of the writer, noblemen, gentlemen, and clergymen" were then, as now, in the habit of joining with their social inferiors in playing the game; that notices of the matches were given by advertisement in the newspapers, and that large numbers of people used to flock to behold them.
This certainly indicates that the game had then a well-understood constitution. In the same magazine, for October, 1756, a poem is printed which does not leave much room for doubt that cricket was then played much in the same manner as it is now. I do not think it has ever been reprinted, and therefore enclose a transcript for your columns. "THE GAME OF CRICKET. AN EXERCISE AT MERCHANT TAYLORS' SCHOOL.
Peace, and her arts, we sing-her genial pow'r
Now levell'd, whizzing o'er the springing blade,
Now wheels oblique, now mounting threats the skies.
If intercepted by the circling foe,
Too soon the nimble arm retorts the ball,
Or ready fingers catch it in its fall:
Thus various art with vary'd fortune strives,
While those who taste the sweets of present winnings,
Skill vies with skill, and pow'r contends with pow'r,
Bottesford Manor, Brigg.
[By consulting the General Indexes of "N. & Q." all who are interested in the game of Cricket will be referred to passages wherein it is shown that long before 1774, when the game underwent, as it has often done, some modifications, it had been played at Eton in Horace Walpole's younger days; that Pope had alluded still earlier to the fact that "Senators at Cricket urge the ball"; that it was mentioned in Swift's John Bull; that it was named distinctly in a song by Tom D'Urfy at an earlier period; that "Cricket" was noticed by Edward Phillips, Milton's nephew, in 1685; and that the scholars of the Free School at Guildford played " Cricket' in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. This is the earliest mention of the game by its modern name. That it existed long previously under another name, may also be seen by all who will turn to the word "Cricket" in the Indexes.]
ULTRA-CENTENARIANISM.-No. 6.* MRS. MARY ARTHUR.-MISS CATHERINE GREAR. As the centenarian season seems to be, as Horace Walpole said of the summer, "setting in with its accustomed severity," I will, with your permission, avail myself of a little leisure to clear off a number of cases, more or less authenticated, which have lately reached me, either directly or through the medium of "N. & Q."
Mrs. Mary Arthur, the subject of the first of these communications, is an old acquaintance of mine. She was introduced to me, some two years since, by a lady correspondent, to whom, although
* Continued from "N. & Q.," 5th S. i. 221.
I have not the advantage of her personal acquaintance, I am indebted for several most interesting photographs of supposed centenarians and notices of their claims. The case of Mrs. Arthur was one which I was quite disposed to credit,-supported as it was by the recollections of the lady in question and her family (to one of whom so long since as 1799 Mrs. Arthur had stated her then age),—but wanted such further corroborative evidence of that from the parish registers, as that which is now furnished by my friend SIR JOHN MACLEAN, whose habit of sifting evidence, in the pursuit of his historical and genealogical inquiries, has been turned to good account in establishing the centenarianism of Mrs. Mary Arthur.
"Mrs. Mary Arthur. Two or three weeks ago I cut the following paragraph from the Royal Cornwall Gazette, and I have since made some inquiries as to the facts. It will be observed that Mrs. Arthur is stated to have been born nearly a year before she was baptized. This I am unable to establish; but she was baptized on the day stated, as is proved by the following extracts from the parish registers of the parish of St. Clement's, near Truro, obligingly sent to me by the vicar. I give the baptism of all the children of Thomas and Ann Shear, so that it may be seen that the baptism of Mary comes in natural sequence :
1770. Andrew son of Thomas and Ann Shear, Nov. 26. 1772. Mary, daughter of Thomas and Ann Shear, Jan. 28.
1773. Ann, daughter of Thomas and Ann Shear, Mar. 18.
1774. Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas and Ann Shear, Aug. 24.
1777. Nancy, daughter of Thomas and Ann Shear, Feb. 20.
1778. Betsey, daughter of Thomas and Ann Shear, Oct. 26.'
"With respect to these baptisms, the date of birth is not stated in the registers, but commencing with Oct. 5, 1783, there is a record of the day of birth as well as of baptism, with the addition, 'Duty paid £0. 0. 3.,' in each case as far as March 21, 1784. There are in all fifteen entries of this kind. This tax was levied under the Act 23 Geo. III., which provided that the clergyman should charge a stamp duty of 3d. upon every entry, under a penalty of 5l. It came into operation from 1 Oct., 1783, and was not repealed until 34 Geo. III.; so that being in force for ten years, it is curious that there should be only these fifteen entries. It is still more curious that in all my acquaintance with parish registers, and it has been somewhat extensive, I do not remember to have noticed any similar entries.
"But, returning to Mrs. Arthur, I have asmarried in 1792, as stated, and as to the date of certained from another clergyman that she was her death there can be no doubt. It is, therefore, clearly established, I hope to the satisfaction of
my friend Mr. Thoms, that the old lady, on the 117 others, and should be spelt abridgement, day of her death, was at least 102 years and 76 acknowledgement, and judgement. days old.
DEATH OF THE OLDEST INHABITANT OF CORNWALL. The mortal remains of Mrs. Mary Arthur, the oldest inhabitant of Cornwall, were deposited in the cemetery at Lostwithiel on Monday last, in the presence of a large number of those amongst whom she had lived for the greater portion of a century. She resided at Lostwithiel since her marriage there, on November 26, 1792, to Nicholas Arthur. She was the daughter of Thomas and Ann Shear, and was born in February, 1771, was baptized at the parish church of St. Clement, near Truro, on January 28, 1772, and died at Lostwithiel, April 14, 1874, in her 104th year.'
3. Of the 180 words ending in e mute which take the suffix -able, some reject the e in so doing, and some retain it. All should conform to one rule, and I suggest that the simplest plan would be to retain the e throughout.
4. We have 672 words altogether which take the suffix -able, and 208 which take the suffix -ible. As this distinction does not point out any conjugational difference (for between 60 and 100 of those in -able are not of the first conjugation), I suggest that the suffix -ible be abolished, as a delusion and a snare, and that all the 880 words be spelt alike with the termination -able. accented on the first of its syllables shall double 5. The next suggestion is this: No dissyllable its final consonant on receiving a suffix, but all of them without exception shall retain their simple form throughout.
It is very characteristic of the tendency to make the marvellous more marvellous that the Royal Cornwall Gazette follows up the announcement of Mrs. Arthur's baptism on January 28, 1772, and her death on April 14, 1874, by stating that her death took place in her 104th year. It is said she was born nearly a twelvemonth before her 3 baptism; but this I doubt, as her brother Andrew had been baptized only fourteen months before, namely, on the 26th Nov., 1770.
"Miss Catherine Grear.-The following slip, from the New York Times, of May 9th, 1874, may contribute to MR. THOMS's investigations. I presume the materials for verification are ample:
'DEATH OF A CENTENARIAN.-Miss Catherine Grear died on Tuesday, at No. 2001, Turner Street, Philadelphia, aged 106 years. The Ledger says that she was a native of that city, having been born in the year 1768, in a house on Star Alley, near Fifth and Cherry Streets. She was of German descent, her parents having come to this country in the early part of the last century. Two of her sisters are now living, one aged ninety, and the other eighty-six, while a third died two years ago at the advanced age of ninety. Miss Grear was quite strong and hearty until within a short period of her decease, and recollected distinctly occurrences that took place during the latter part of the last century.'
Passaic, N.J., U.S.A."
M. B. S.
I am much indebted to M. B. S. for his courtesy, but am quite unable at this distance from Philadelphia to make that searching investigation which would be necessary to establish the exceptional age of 106 years claimed for Miss Grear. WILLIAM J. THOMS.
SPELLING REFORMS.-No. III. We have now made the following suggestions:1. The 10 words derived from the Latin cedo should be all spelt alike, hence the 3 exceptions, exceed, proceed, and succeed, should be written excede, procede, and succede.
2. Of the 120 words ending in e mute, which take the suffix -ment, only 3 drop the e in so doing, These words should be made to conform to the
There are 9 of such dissyllables ending in -p, of which double the p on taking certain suffixes, viz., gossip, kidnap, and worship. I suggest that added to the simple word without any alteration the extra p be abolished, and that the suffixes be in its spelling.
The same with dissyllables ending in -il, -el, &c. In a word, no dissyllable accented on the first syllable shall in any case change its original form on receiving a suffix.
These easy rules will simplify the spelling of some 2,000 words, without causing any striking change in the appearance of a page, and certainly without obscuring the etymology or violating any rule of spelling. The help they will afford to simplicity and uniformity will be very great, and the drawback balanced against these advantages will be almost nil, and very temporary.
I will now, with permission, continue the subject, and take for my text this axiom: The plural suffix -es is never to be used except when it makes a distinct and separate syllable, as in church, church-es; gas, gas-es, &c. Of course the immediate reference is to the plurals of nouns ending in -f, -fe, and -o. The present plan is most complex, confused, and absurd.
The rules for nouns ending in -f are these:
1. All nouns in -ef (except thief and handkerchief) form their plural by adding s, as belief, beliefs; brief, briefs; chief, chiefs; clef, clefs; fief, fiefs; grief, griefs; reef, reefs.
2. Similarly, nouns in -if and -iff add s, as — Bailiff, bailiffs; caitiff, caitiffs; calif, califs (?); cliff, cliffs; coif, coifs; mastiff, mastiffs; plaintiff, plaintiffs; sheriff, sheriffs; skiff, skiffs; tariff, tariffs; waif, waifs; whiff, whiffs.
3. The same with nouns in -of and -off, as— Hoof, hoofs; proof, proofs; reproof, reproofs; roof, roofs; woof, woofs; scoff, scoffs.
4. The same with nouns in -uff and -ulf, as—
Cuff, cuffs; huff, huffs; muff, muffs; puff, puffs; ruff, ruffs; snuff, snuffs; stuff, stuffs; gulf, gulfs. 5. And lastly, nouns ending in -rf follow the same rule, as
Dwarf, dwarfs; scarf, scarfs; wharf, wharfs; surf, surfs; and turf, turfs.
ginal words. Wif and líf, being neuter, are alike in both numbers; and cnif makes cnifas (knifs), or knifes without the accent.
The 3 strangers need no remark. What strikes me most forcibly is the gratuitous distortion of the first 3 words; and the question arises what cause or impediment exists why they should not be reduced to the general rule, so that every word in E. COBHAM BREWER,
(To be continued.)
Altogether 39 words, only two of which are irregular. Why is the plural of "thief" to be thieves, and of "handkerchief" to be handker--f or -fe should form its plural by adding s? chieves? Of course 66 thief" is our native word theof, which makes theifas (thiefs) in the plural, and could not by any possibility change ƒ into ves, seeing there is no such letter as v in the language. The letter v is wholly Latin, but there is no probability that it had any resemblance in sound to our modern letter so-called.
Again, "handkerchief" is a mule and an ass yoked together, for hand is a native word, and kerchief is French. Why should this hybrid word be still further deformed by an impossible plural? Of course the French couvr-chef makes couvr-chefs in the plural, and "handkerchieves" is a monster which ought not to be tolerated an hour.
Without doubt, therefore, the words "thief" and "handkerchief" should be reduced to rule, and we should write their plurals thiefs and handkerchiefs, conformably with the 37 other examples.
Now for the reverse of the medal. Nouns in -af or -aff, -alf and -elf, change the f into ves. Strange enough, all these nouns are native words, not one of which makes such a plural, or indeed could do so. There are 11 in all; they are:Calf, calves; half, halves; elf, elves; self; selves; shelf, shelves.
Leaf, leaves; sheaf, sheaves; loaf, loaves; staff, staves; but not "distaff," which makes distaffs.
Now, the original of staff is stof, plural stafas (stafs). The original of loaf is hláf, plural hláfas (hlafs), and so with the rest. To these may be added beef, plural beeves, which, of course, misrepresents the French bœufs.
ALDERMAN SIR WILLIAM STAINES. In Mr. Thornbury's Old and New London, it is stated of Sir William Staines (Lord Mayor 1800) that
"He began life as a bricklayer's labourer, and by persevering steadily in the pursuit of one object, accumulated a large fortune, and rose to the state coach and the Mansion House."-Vol. i. p. 412.
I lately fell in with a very interesting book, entitled Economy; or, a Peep at Our Neighbours, purporting to be a narrative of six months' residence of an English family in Guernsey in the summer of 1844, where a different account is given of the early occupation of this worthy civic dignitary, which, with permission, I extract, as follows:
"It is well known that Alderman Staines rose to fortune from his having been employed as a stone-cutter at St. Sampson's. He had left England in his early youth, came to Guernsey, and to earn a living hired Vale. Returning to London some years afterwards, he himself as a journeyman stone-cutter to a farmer at the accidentally came to a street they were paving with the Guernsey stone, and, looking at it as he would at an associate he knew well and loved from early recollections, down, at the same time pointing out to the workmen he saw the clumsy manner in which they were laying it how they could do it better; and whilst so doing he attracted the attention of the contractor, who, struck by his knowledge of the business, was glad to employ him in his service. From this he became a contractor himself, like a second Whittington, Lord Mayor of London, This made money, was elected Alderman, and finally became, fact was unknown in the island until Sir John Doyle, when governor, dining one day at the Mansion House, happened to be seated next to Alderman Staines. The opportunity of hearing about Guernsey was not to be resisted, and he said,
"You seem, General, to know the people of the isle; tell me of my old master,-is he yet alive, the worthy farmer of the Vale?'
"The Governor knew him well.
Where is the inconsistency of demanding the restoration of these 11 words to their normal and original condition? By such a restoration we should gain thus much for uniformity of spelling: every word ending in -f would form its plural in the regular way, by adding s, and not 38 in one way, 11 in another, and 3 deviating from either method. In regard to -fe the case is worse, and even more absurd. We have 6 nouns with this ending, 3 native and 3 borrowed from other languages. The "Then tell him,' said the Alderman, 'that his native words are knife, life, and wife. The natu-economy under his roof, and is now doing well; that he journeyman, William Staines, learnt industry and ralized strangers are fife, strife, and safe (a closet). will be happy to see him in the City of London, and to The 3 native words have for their plurals knives, return him the kindness, with interest, he received at his lives, and wives. The three aliens fifes, strifes, and hands.'"-Pp. 138-139. safes. The originals of the first three are cnif, líf, Apropos of Economy; or, a Peep at Our Neighand wif, the final e being the ridiculous substitute bours (London, John Ollivier, 1845), can any of the accent. It need not be added that the reader of " N. & Q." inform me who is the author? plural suffix -ves finds no countenance in the ori--apparently a lady of good position in society,