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GENEALOGICAL PUBLICATION SOCIETY.
To the Editor of the Patrician. SIR,-Having long had it in contemplation to attempt the formation of a Society on the plan of the Camden, Parker, and Shakespeare publishing societies, for the purpose of collecting and reprinting works on genealogy, family history, &c., I have seen with great pleasure the letter from your correspondent, “ Generosus,” and should be most happy to communicate with him, or other gentlemen having similar tastes, for the purpose of arranging the necessary preliminaries for forming a committee to carry out the object in view.
E. CHURTON, Publisher,
26, Holles Street.
TURNER OF KIRKLEATHAM.
A correspondent from Beaumaris writes for information regarding “ Nicholas Turner, of Kirkleatham, in Yorkshire," and hopes some learned reader of the Patrician may be able to afford it.
In a carefully drawn up pedigree of the Turners, in the Editor's possession, no “ Nicholas Turner” occurs; but the sister of John Turner, of Kirkleatham, the Sergeant-at-Law, married Nicholas Johnson of London ; and thus that Christian name becomes, in that one instance, associated with the family.
A copy of this pedigree is much at the service of our correspondent.
FRAGMENTS OF FAMILY HISTORY.
At a time when duelling may be considered almost out of date, some account of this extraordinary duellist may not be uninteresting. He is indeed in no degree to be classed amongst honourable men, who have thus stood arrayed against each other in the field, and who, if the practice were often reprehensible, and the cause of quarrel more frequently trivial, are entitled, at least, to the merit of having exposed their own lives in return for the life they took. Fitzgerald, on the contrary, fought under the protection of a cuirass, and was consequently a coward of the basest order; and this, although it may account for his unprecedented success, was not discovered, until at least twenty men had fallen by his hand, and only a short time before he, himself, was to expiate a long career of crime, by falling by those of the hangman.
Yet his story, in many respects, is a romantic one--though romance of a sanguinary nature. The son of a respectable Irish gentleman, Fitzgerald, of Rockfield, Castlebar, he was connected with some of the best families in England by birth, his mother, Lady Mary Fitzgerald, being a sister of the Earl of Bristol ; and associated with the highest in Ireland, by marriage, having formed an alliance with a cousin of the Duke of Leicester, with whom he received a fortune of ten thousand pounds. He had previously been educated at Eton, and completed his studies at Trinity College, Dublin ; and he enjoyed at the time of his marriage, an annuity of £1,000 a-year from his father, as well as held a captain's commission in a crack regiment of horse ; but all these advantages were lost by his headstrong passions and ungovernable temper.
Yet, originally, it is said, this man was neither ungenerous nor depraved, but first received his ferocious and sanguinary bias, from a wound in one of those encounters in which he afterwards earned a notoriety so infamous. Duelling, during the middle of last century, was common as daily lectures at Trinity College, Dublin; scarcely a day passing without some encounter, generally fought at mid-day, and often in the presence of a large concourse of spectators. It was in one of these encounters that Fitzgerald, having been constrained by the customs of the period, to challenge an Irish gentleman for some trivial offence in a ballroom, was wounded in the head by his adversary's shot, which carried off part of the upper portion of his skull and hair, and immediately, it is said, changed the whole disposition of the man, from the generous, open, fearless temperament, common to many of his countrymen, to that of the cunning, ferocious, cowardice of the Indian savage.
Fitzgerald had scarcely recovered from the effects of this meeting, when he narrowly escaped in a collision with a Dublin tradesman. He had offered some insult in the streets to a young woman, to whom this person had been paying his addresses, and the man insisted on satisfaction on the spot. In a room to which they retired for the purpose of adjusting the quarrel, there chanced to be only one pistol, and this having fallen to the lot of his adversary, Fitzgerald's fate appeared decided. He evaded it, however, by startling his opponent with an exclamation, when on the point of firing, and forbore discharging his shot in return, on account of the obloquy in which the recontre would involve him.
His next encounter was with an Irish gentleman, whom he shot dead, after having deliberately insulted him at a country assembly: but it would be idle to trace his history throughout the eighteen or twenty meetings that followed-in each of which he killed his opponent, without receiving any material injury himself. The secret of this extraordinary success did not transpire till afterwards, in an encounter with the small sword, which one of his adversaries insisted on using, when challenged by Fitzgerald, for resenting one of the insults, which he was daily in the habit of offering, and often-such was the terror inspired by his name —with perfect impunity. His opponent on this occasion, a Major Cunningham, having broken his weapon in a well-aimed thrust at Fitzgerald s heart, was induced to suspect the existence of a corslet within; and charging him with it, as well as ringing the handle of his sword on it, and afterwards dashing it in the miscreant's face, kicked him from the field. It was then remembered, so soon as this atrocious conduct of Fitzgerald was disclosed, that even in the outset of his career, an almost similar cirumstance had occurred in Dublin, with the celebrated Buck English, who indignantly chased him from the ground, and was with difficulty prevented from plunging his sword into Fitzgerald's back, though the full extent of his cowardice was rot then surmised.
In the interval, however, he had destroyed many a gallant man, and, with the exception of one or two inconsiderable wounds in the limbs, had himself invariably escaped uninjured. Even this trifling risk he had ultimately took precautions for avoiding, by wearing padding over iron plates, or chain armour in his sleeves or other garments; so that an opponent possessed no chance unless by striking him on the head with an aim steady and unerring as his own.
England as well as the continent was the scene of his homicides. Before the discovery of his infamy he had attempted to force his way into Brookes's club-house, and such was the terror of his name that he the first night succeeded. Admiral Keith Stuart was the member he solicited to propose him, and this officer, though brave as most men, knew that as Fitzgerald still moved in good society, he had no alternative but to comply with the demand or go out with him. He proceeded to the club and stated his embarrassment, but black-balled Fitzgerald himself by way of an example to the others. Each followed it, and the admiral was now in a dilemma; for Fitzgerald, who was waiting in a room below, if informed that he had been unanimously black-balled, must know that his proposer must have been amongst the excluding number, and the admiral's danger would consequently be greater than ever. The Duke of Devonshire of the day, a man of wit, pointed out the agreeable inference to the admiral, and slyly proposed that he should communicate the result of the ballot to the interesting gentleman below. But the gallant admiral refused. “ No, gentlemen," he replied, “I proposed the fellow because I knew you would exclude him ; but, by heaven, I will not risk my life against a madman.”
“ But, Admiral,” persevered the Duke, “you had better inform him of the event ; for, as there was no white ball in the box, he must know that you black-balled him too, so he is sure to call you out in any event."
To escape the difficulty, it was suggested that the waiter should enter the room where Fitzgerald stood chating below, and inform him that there had been one black-ball, and that his name must be put up again if he wished it.
“Wish it?" exclaimed Fitzgerald, on hearing this, “aye, and that immediately. Proceed up-stairs, and inform the gentlemen that I desire them to begin forthwith.”
The members considered it a joke ; but the matter soon began to be serious. In a quarter of an hour Fitzgerald violently rang the bell, and sent the trembling waiter with his compliments to inquire whether he had yet been elected.
“ D-n the fellow's impudence !" said the Admiral; “ go down stairs, and tell him there have been two black-balls this time.”
Fitzgerald now became furious, and the gentlemen of the club, summoning the manager, desired him to proceed down-stairs, and inform Fitzgerald that he had been unanimously black-balled ; with an expression of their hope that he would not persist in thrusting himself upon a company where his presence would be so apparently disagreeable.
This, however, failed to satisfy Fitzgerald. Throwing the terrorstruck manager aside, he violently rushed up-stairs, threatening to throw the interposing waiters over the banister, and, entering the club-room, deliberately took his seat.
The members stood aghast. His proposer, Keith Stuart, instantly quitted the room; and no one liked to volunteer an objection, when to interpose might lead to certain death. Fitzgerald consequently retained his seat during the remainder of the evening; but no member condescended to join him in the libations which he ordered, or to notice the toasts which he proposed ; and, after drinking three bottles of champagne, he withdrew, intimating his intention of renewing his visit next night. A few constables, however, were provided in the interval to be prepared for his next reception; and Fitzgerald, obtaining some intimation of this, deemed it imprudent to repeat the attempt.
It was shortly after this that he visited Paris, and the English ambassador, from motives similar to Keith Stuart's, was induced to present him at the Court of the Tuilleries." He had the honour,” he said to the existing king, “to introduce to his majesty, Mr. Fitzgerald, an Irish gentleman of high descent, who had fought no less than eighteen duels, and always killed his men." But poor Louis XVI., though destitute of decision on most occasions, was not without it on this. “I have heard,” said he, in reply, “ Mr. Ambassador, of your English history of Jack the Giant Killer, and I think this Irishman's life may be added as an appendix to the work ;- let him retire ;” and Fitzgerald had the additional mortification of hearing, as he withdrew, the sovereign announce his intention of ordering him from France in twenty-four hours, if he attempted to engage in quarrel with any of its subjects.
Thus received in France, Fitzgerald speedily returned to London ; and an adventure in which he was here engaged, shortly after his arrival, deprived him of the little honourable reputation he yet possessed. Entering Vauxhall Gardens one night, in company with Mr. (afterwards Lord) Lyttleton, a Captain Croftes, of the Guards, and several others, he grossly insulted some ladies attended by the Rev. Henry Bate, (afterwards Sir H. B. Dudley) the proprietor and editor of the Morning Post. Mr. Bate, though a clergyman, was a boxer of the first order, and, in resentment of some insult to the ladies, knocked Croftes and Fitzgerald down in succession. The former, also a master of the art of pugilism, quickly returned to the encounter, and received a severe mawling at the hands of the parson. The other, however, interrupted them, and proposed that they should settle their differences next day in private. To this Bate agreed ; and Croftes, aware how grossly he had committed himself, then made the reverend gentleman an ample apology ; but Fitzgerald, instead of demanding satisfaction himself, produced a person whom he termed Captain Miles, and represented as having also been struck by the clergyman. Mr. Bate, though he had no recollection of the individual, offered the satisfaction of a gentleman ; but Fitzgerald, in the coarsest terms, replied, that his friend would only have that of a blackguard; and the latter upon this, aiming a blow at the reverend gentleman, another pugilistic encounter ensued, in which the parson again came off triumphant. His opponent, to escape the severity of Bate's punishment, then confessed that he was only the servant of Fitzgerald ; and the outraged editor deservedly held up Fitzgerald to opprobrium in his journal—a course in which the public so sympathized, that Fitzgerald shortly afterwards deemed it prudent to quit the metropolis.
Before quitting, however, he had become involved in some quarrel with the Jockey Club, and actually had the audacity to address to the members a letter, in which-amongst other arguments - he described himself as one “never known to miss his mark.' In the concoction of this address, he was assisted by one Timothy, or Tim. Brecknock, a disreputable member of the metropolitan press, a ruffian almost as audacious as Fitzgerald himself. This was the celebrated worthy who, in 1762, lodged information against the judges for wearing cambric, in contravention of some obsolete act of Parliament; and who shortly afterwards had the hardihood to tell Lord Shelburne, secretary of state, in his own office, that “ he never would leave or lose sight of him till he brought his head to the block.” And, extraordinary as it may seem, he obtained employment in consequence; his lordship, though he ordered him to the door at the moment, surmising that the man who had the audacity to make such a speech, possessed boldness for any hazardous work with which he might be entrusted. But Brecknock had now grown old and unemployed, and he consequently accepted with alacrity a proposition by Fitzgerald to accompany him to Dublin for the purpose of instituting an action against Fitzgerald's father. The settlement made upon Fitzgerald on his marriage formed the subject of this dispute ; and the old gentleman was not only maltreated, but incarcerated by his son, The gentlemen of the County of Dublin, in consequence, avoided Fitzgerald's society, and this gave rise to one of the extraordinary outrages for which he afterwards forfeited his life. A retired officer named Boulton, having resisted all Fitzgerald's advances, as well as interdicted him from shooting on his grounds, Fitzgerald at mid-day proceeded to his residence with a band of ruffians, and fired into every window in the house. For this outrage, strange to say, he escaped with impunity ; but the acquittal only incited