“The Story of an Ancient Parish Breage with Germoe”

By H R Coulthard

Published 1913


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Harry Carter, smuggler, privateer and revivalist, was born on a small farm at Pengersick in 1749. His father, who was a miner by trade, eked out a livelihood, with the assistance of his sons and daughters, in farming a small plot of ground. Harry Carter tells us in his memoirs that he was one of a family of eight sons and two daughters; that his eldest and youngest brothers received some scanty education at Germoe School, but that he and the rest of his family received no education beyond some crude home lessons in reading, given through the medium of the Bible. The problem of daily bread in the household of his two parents was of much too pressing a nature to allow more than this in the way of education.  As soon as strength permitted, the children had to go forth to work in the fields or the mines, that each might bring his share of daily bread to the common store.  Though life was thus hard, the principles of religion were not neglected in the home, the children being taught to recite some prayers “after they were in bed” and to attend when possible the services at Germoe Church. His youth coincided with the strange stirrings in the religious life of the people brought about by the not infrequent peregrinations of John Wesley through the   district.  When Harry was eight years of age the soul of his brother Francis was touched


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At one of those wild scenes of religious revivalism, and as the two brothers slept together, the little lad of eight became strangely impressed and awed by the change in the demeanour of his brother. He tells us, however, that these impressions of awe gradually faded out of his youthful mind.  At ten he was sent to work at the mines on the surface, and he continued there for seven years, when he went to join his elder brothers in a more adventurous and stirring life upon which they entered at Porthleah, soon to change its name to Prussia Cove.


Before we proceed further with the story of Harry Carter, it may be well to say something about Porthleah, so soon to become famous as a smugglers’ haunt.  Between Cudden Point on the west and Enys Point on the south lie three little coves.  The one nearest to Cudden Point is called Pixies’ Cove.  This cove is too rocky and exposed to be used as a harbour, but its precipitous sides are riddled with caves suitable for smugglers’ trade.  Next to Pixies’ Cove comes Bessie’s Cove, called after a wild character, Bessie Burrows, who there kept the Kiddlewink Inn, a famous rendezvous of the smugglers plying their lawless trade along the coast. Bessie’s Cove is altogether hidden from view till the edge of the cliffs are reached which form its precipitous sides.  A rugged road leads up the face of the cliff from Bessie’s Cove, and at certain points in the ascent caves open into the recesses of the rocks.  To the east of Bessie’s Cove lies Porthleah, now known as Prussia Cove.  The name Prussia Cove came to be given to it from John Carter, the elder brother of Harry, who soon came to be acknowledged head of all the smuggling fraternity along the coast,  In his youth John Carter had been the leader of his fellows in all boyish games, and stories of the great Frederick, King of Prussia, having penetrated to the remote West of Cornwall, had so fascinated the mind of this adventurous lad that he dubbed himself King of Prussia.  This name not only stuck

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To him for the rest of his life, but it has stuck ever since to the little territory of Porthleah over which he ruled with an iron hand.


The occupation of the Carter brothers at Prussia Cove was nominally that of peaceful fisherman, but in reality that of daring smugglers.  From this quiet and secluded nook in the coast Harry Carter began his career by making several voyages as supercargo of contraband in Folkestone and Irish luggers.  Like so many men of his time and country anxious to make their way in the world, Harry Carter lost no opportunity of self-education, and rapidly made himself proficient in a rude system of accounts.  At twenty-five he found himself in command of a small sloop of sixteen or seventeen tons and a crew of two men, busily engaged in the exciting trade of importer of contraband goods.  The sun shone upon his illegal efforts, and so great was his success that he soon succeeded in making himself master of a sloop of thirty-two tons; but his vaulting ambition aspired to still greater things, and the success that fortune so often extends to new and inexperienced players was still his.  The sloop of thirty-two tons was quickly exchanged for one of fifty tons and a crew of ten men; and this in its turn soon gave place to a heavily-armed cutter of sixteen guns and a crew of thirty-two men.   At this time there seemed no cloud on his horizon, save gloomy religious thoughts that came welling up in his heart.  He was greatly troubled about the sin of swearing and his lack of assurance that he was a “saved man”, but not a whit about the dishonest and lawless nature of his calling.  Having obtained from Government a licence to sail as a privateer in the American War, and with strict injunctions to his crew against all swearing on board, he set sail as a privateer in the American War, and with strict injunctions to his crew against all swearing on board, he set sail in December, 1777, in search of adventures and profit on a wider and more extensive scale; but his star was no longer in the ascendant, and the favours of fickle fortune were to be denied him for many a


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Long year.  Off the French coast his bowsprit was carried away, and he put into St Malo for repairs, little recking of the momentous transpirings since he had sailed from Penzance Bay; for France had entered into alliance with the revolted American colonies, and was now at war with England.  Carter thus sailed his heavily-armed cutter into a trap, out of which there was no escape.  He and his men were made prisoners, and his ship and all that she contained became a French prize of war.  “The King of Prussia,” who happened to be on “business” at this time in the Channel Islands, hastened to his rescue, and attempted to explain matters to his captors.  The attempt was a foolish one, and he soon found himself locked up with his brother Harry and the crew of the cutter in a French prison.  Their captivity proved a hard and tedious one, but like the men of resource and purpose that they were, they at once set to work to make the best of their situation by learning the French language, whilst Harry, in addition, beguiled the ennui of his captivity by the study of navigation, which in after years served him in good stead.  The two brothers did not obtain their liberty until after a captivity of two years, when freedom came to them in an exchange of prisoners.


Harry Carter on his return home refitted his old fifty-ton cutter and made several successful smuggling runs.  One of these runs was attended with unpleasant consequences, which nearly proved disastrous.  He had sailed to deliver a contraband cargo in South Wales; on reaching the Welsh coast he left his cutter lying off the Mumbles whilst he landed to make final arrangements about running the cargo.  In his absence the cutter was mistaken by a cruiser for one of the Dunkirk privateers, which at this time were haunting the Welsh coast like birds of prey, snapping up vessels engaged in the coasting trade.  These privateers were for the most part commanded and manned, Carter tells us, by Irishmen.  The crew of the cutter, seeing the cruiser bearing


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Down upon them, put out to sea to save their cargo of contraband, and soon succeeded in eluding the cruiser by superior speed.  On giving up the chase the cruiser sent a boat on shore, and Carter was arrested as the captain of the Irish pirate.  The matter ended in his being detained on suspicion for twelve weeks, and his ultimate liberation was only brought about by the representations of his Cornish friends to the Admiralty.  With the exception of this slight overclouding of his horizon, things still continued for some time to prosper with him.  On his return home he informs us that “he rode about the country getting freights and collecting money for the “company.”  Indeed, things continued for some time to prosper so well with the “company” that soon another large cutter of one hundred and sixty tons, and carrying nineteen guns, was purchased by them, whilst they gave orders for the building of a lugger mounting twenty guns.  These two vessels when fitted out sailed, under the supreme command of Harry Carter, on voyages of illicit merchandise.  No wonder, under the circumstances, Harry Carter began to fancy himself again, as he tells us in his memoirs; but there was, alas! A fly in the ointment.  In the pride of his prosperity and self-satisfaction swear words began continually to slip out of his lips; this weighed at times heavily on his soul and plunged him in deep spiritual gloom.  It was evidently words and not deeds that counted in this man’s creed.


His relations with the collector of Customs and preventive officers seem to have been of the most friendly character, and herein lay most probably the secret of his success as a smuggler; indeed, the friendship of Carter with these officials helps us to understand the cause of the extreme prosperity of the smuggling industry along the Cornish coast at this period.  In December, 1780, Harry Carter was lying in Newlyn Road aboard his cutter, with her consort the lugger alongside, when a messenger came from his friend the


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Collector of Customs, saying that a Dunkirk privateer, called the Black Prince, and bearing a terrible reputation, was off St Ives, committing many depredations upon the local shipping.  The collector concluded his message by asking him to capture the privateer and so end the reign of terror along the coast.  This duty was not at all to Harry Carter’s liking; but, considering his business, it was a dangerous thing to displease the collector of Customs, and so with not a few qualms he set out upon the dangerous enterprise of actual warfare.  He put round to St Ives with his two vessels, and anchored off that town. On Christmas Day, in the morning, the redoubtable Black Prince hove in sight, and Carter sailed out of St Ives Bay with his two ships to engage her.  The Black Prince immediately put about and made for the open sea, a running fight ensuing between pursuers and pursued.  The lugger in the pursuit soon received a fatal shot, which caused her to rapidly fill and sink with all hands on board.  In the meantime Carter, having had his jib carried away by a shot and another planted in his hull, thought it high time to abandon the pursuit of the Black Prince; he was thus able to bear up and rescue seventeen of the lugger’s crew of thirty-one, but the rest found a watery grave.  Cater tells us: “Before we came up with the privateer, in expecting to come to an engagement, oh! What horror was on my mind for fear of death! As I knew I must come to judgement sure and ‘sartin.’  I feared if I died I should be lost for ever.  Notwithstanding all this I made the greatest outward show of bravery, and through pride and presumption exposed myself to the greatest danger.  I stood on the companion until the wad of the enemy’s shot flew in fire about me, and I suppose the wind of the shot struck me down the deck, as the shot took in the mainsail right in a line with me.  One of my officers helped me up and thought I was wounded, and he would suffer me to go there no more.”


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In 1786 Carter married Elizabeth Flindel, of Helford, and in the following year was born his only child, Elizabeth Carter.  In January, 1788, happened the great disaster of his life.  In Attempting to land a cargo of smuggled goods in Cawsand Bay, he was surprised by boats sent off by a man-of-war.  He and his crew attempted to offer an armed resistance; the cutter was quickly boarded by the boat’s crew, and Carter himself received a severe cutlass wound upon the head and was left lying upon the deck of his ship for dead.  He was able to retain consciousness all the time, and when unobserved, with great difficulty, he managed to plunge into the water.  Luckily he was seen by sympathisers on the shore, who only succeeded with great difficulty, on account of his wounded and exhausted condition, in bringing him safely to land.  This adventure was to cost Carter dear, and it proved the culminating point in his career; henceforth the sun of good fortune only shone upon his path in fitful and watery gleams.  In spite of the serious wound from which he was suffering, his friends managed in two days to bring him to the house of his brother Charles at Kenneggie, in Breage; there he and his friends soon learnt the disquieting intelligence that the Government had offered a reward of £300 for his capture.  It was now necessary for Carter, in order to avoid arrest, to be removed by night to Marazion.  Soon the scent became too strong, and he again had to be removed in the dead of night to Acton Castle, then only occupied in the summer months by its owner, Mr Stackhouse Pendarves.  The land attached to the house was farmed by the “King of Prussia,” who kept the keys of the house in the absence of the family.  In this deserted mansion the wounded man had to lie in solitude for many weary months.  It is said that the doctor who attended him in his retreat was brought blindfolded by night, and that on one occasion Carter only eluded justice by hastily assuming the garb of a woman.  In this lonely refuge his disposition at once manifested its gloomy


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Morbidity and intense practicalness; much time seems to have been profitably spent in the study of navigation, and much wasted upon hypochondriacal maunderings upon the condition of his soul, his occasional proclivity for swear words and lack of assurance as to his state of salvation.  When his wounds healed he used to steal out of his lair at night to Prussia Cove, returning ere the dawn.  On one of these occasions, as he returned he moralised on the singing of the birds in the dawn “answering the end for which they were sent into the world, so that I wished I had been a toad or a serpent or anything, so that I had no soul.  Likewise there was a grey thrush which sang to me night and morning, which have preached to me many a sermon.”


The sermons of this bird, like many other-sermons, seem to have produced no practical effect upon Carter’s life.  His mind was utterly untroubled so far as the lawlessness of his life was concerned, or the questionableness of many of his deeds; indeed, he made careful preparation for continuance in lawless courses by the study of navigation.


In the autumn his wife was seized with rapid consumption, and he paid a pathetic farewell visit to her under the shadow of night at Helford, whither she had gone with her little girl to be with her parents.  He returned lonely and broken-hearted to his refuge at Acton Castle a little before the dawn, overwhelmed with the thought that he would see his wife no more and that he was a ruined and broken man.


On the 24th October, 1788, he was able to obtain a passage to Leghorn on board the George, a ship sailing from Penzance.  From Leghorn he succeeded in obtaining a passage to New York, where he became reduced to a condition of extreme poverty, having for a bare pittance to work side by side in the fields with negro slaves.  After many hard-ships he determined to brave the terrors of the law and


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Venture back once more to England.  He worked his way back under the American flag, and narrowly escaped the attentions of the Press Gang in the English Channel.  On his arrival in England he soon found that his native soil was still too hot for his feet.  Under the circumstances he crossed over to Roscoff, on the French coast, the then capital of the Channel smuggling trade, where he became the local agent of his brothers. But events moved rapidly in France under the Revolution. During the Terror, with many other English, he was arrested and remained under detention for over two years.  With the fall of Robespierre he and his other English fellow-prisoners were set at liberty.  This smuggling Ulysses brought his wanderings to an end on the 22nd August, 1795.  He disembarked on that day at Falmouth, he tells us, “at three o’clock in the afternoon, where I met my dear little Bessie, then between eight and nine years old.”  The following day happened to be Sunday, and he at an early hour set out for his native place, reaching Breage a little before eleven o’clock, and meeting his brother Frank on his way to church. 


Harry Carter settled at Rinsey, became farmer, and continued to reside there until the day of his death in April, 1829.


John Carter, known as “The King of Prussia,” plays a much larger part in local tradition than his brother Harry, though on Harry fell the more onerous and dangerous part of facing the perils of the sea and of hostile shores in pursuit of the smuggler’s calling.  In those days and for long after the wild doings of Prussia Cove would be on everyone’s lips; the doings on the lonely deep had no chronicler to magnify them.  Many are the legends that cling round the name of “The King of Prussia”: some of these Mr Baring-Gould has placed on record in his book “Cornish Characters and Strange Events.”  On one occasion John Carter received a visit from the Revenue officers, who demanded to make a search of his entire premises.  One door


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Remained padlocked, and this they insisted on having opened; the key not being forthcoming they wrenched the locks off, but the cellar thus closed proved to be quite innocent of contraband.  On the following day Carter complained to the Revenue authorities that his unlocked premises had been rifled during the night, and demanded restitution for his stolen goods, as the Revenue officers by their violent action had deprived him of the means of securing his doors.  The story runs that Carter himself had removed his property during the night, and we are asked to believe the somewhat difficult statement that the Revenue officers under the circumstances paid him the value of the property he had never lost.


On another occasion we are told that the revenue authorities seized in the cellars of Carter a valuable cargo of contraband spirits, which Carter had already made arrangements to supply to his customers amongst the surrounding gentry, and that on the following night Carter and his gang broke into the Custom warehouses, seized the contraband of which they had been deprived, and proceeded to deliver it to those for whom it had been originally intended.


His crowning exploit, however, was opening fire with a battery of guns which he had erected at Prussia Cove, on the boats of the Government cutter Faery.  The Faery was in hot pursuit of a smuggling craft, which in order to elude her pursuer sailed through a narrow channel between the Enys rocks and the shore.  The Faery, baffled of her prey, lowered her boats in pursuit, and as these drew into Prussia Cove, Carter opened fire upon them and beat them off.  This seems to have been towards dusk.  Next morning the Faery opened fire from the sea on Carter’s shore battery, whilst mounted troops from Penzance took up their position on the shore to the rear of his battery, and in turn opened fire upon it.  The smugglers thereupon withdrew to Bessie Burrow’s public-house and prepared for its defence, but re-


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Ground; spades were brought and excavations made, which ended in bringing to light a fair-sized subterranean cellar, whose gruesome contents were a large knife of foreign make, a skull, a few human bones, some disintegrated patches of clothing and a small handful of silver and copper coins, one of which, a shilling of the reign of George II; now lies on the table of the writer.


From the Carters we turn to a man of a very different type, who made his way to wealth by sterling integrity and honesty of purpose.  William Lemon was born at Germoe in 1696, and baptized in Breage Church on the 15th November of the same year.  He received his education at the village school, and being a  lad of quick intelligence, he became in the first instance a clerk to a Mr Coster, connected with the local mining industry.  He distinguished himself when a mere boy on the occasion of a ship being driven on Praa Sands in the midst of a terrible gale.  He and a party of brave men, who arrived on the scene of the disaster as the ship was quickly breaking to pieces, formed themselves with great gallantry into a living chain, extending from the shore into the raging, angry surf, and so were able to grasp and save the shipwrecked sailors as they were carried on the waves to the shore.  But for those heroic men thus grasping them they would have been sucked back into the sea and drowned in the receding waters.  Young William Lemon was a lad of thoughtful and studious disposition, and availed himself of every opportunity to learn what there was to be learnt of assaying and mine engineering in the district.  Presumably men of education and practical ability were very scarce in the neighbourhood at this time; at any rate, whilst little more than a boy he was appointed the manager of considerable tin smelting works in the neighbourhood of Penzance.  At the age of twenty-eight he married a Miss Isabella Vibart, of Tolver, in Gulval, a lady of some property.  William Lemon was endowed with breadth of mind and grasp of detail in a


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Marked degree, and the means which his wife brought him enabled him to bring these faculties into play with the most successful results.  He embarked on prudent and far-sighted mining speculations, which quickly made him a man of great wealth.  He conceived the idea of working the tin mines on a large scale, and not as hitherto by small bands or companies of “adventurers,” as had been the custom for some generations.


Though great wealth came to him comparatively early, his character continued unchanged and unspoilt, and in the midst of his successes he continued to utilize his leisure in the study of Latin, and in his middle-age he had attained to no mean knowledge of that tongue.  In the present age the successful developer of mines and floater of mining companies, spending his leisure in the study of the classics, would be indeed regarded as strange, but “autres temps, autres moeurs.”


When success came William Lemon settled in Truro.  The kindliness of his character is well illustrated by an incident at this period of his life.  He had trained a pet Cornish chough so well, and so fond had the bird become of him, that at his call it would leave its fellows and come and settle on his hand or his head as he walked along.  A lad of the Truro Grammar School, named John Thomas, who afterwards became Warden of the Stannaries, accidentally killed this tame bird so dear to the heart of its owner.  In fear and trembling he went to the house of Mr Lemon, and confessed his crime.  The lad’s straightforwardness disarmed all resentment in the heart of this kindly man, who dismissed him with friendly words, after praising his openness and manliness of character in confessing his delinquency.


William Lemon served as High Sheriff of the county, and might have represented it in Parliament had he so chosen.  He ultimately bought the estate of Carclew, to which place he


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Went to reside in 1749.  His son was created a baronet, and for some years represented Cornwall in Parliament.  This baronetcy became extinct in the succeeding generation.


A friend has shewn the writer some letters of William Lemon, which reveal him as an affectionate and dutiful son to his aged mother, and kindly and solicitous to the welfare of all the members of his family.  I venture to transcribe one of these letters, written to his brother at Germoe, who had been ailing for some time.  It reveals a touching faith in the efficacy of alcohol as a restorer of the vigour of the human system, which the world has now lost, and also gives a quaint picture of a bygone age and generation.


The letter is as follows:-


28th September, 1748


Dear Brother,

I was much concerned to hear of the illness of you and your family, and consequently had great satisfaction in hearing of your being recovered.  To comfort and recruit you, I have ordered to be brought you by this bearer four dozen bottles of wine, of different sorts, as mentioned on the other side, which I hope you will make use of with moderation.  I cannot omit again pressing you to have particular attention to the education of your children.  It will be surprising should you neglect this, seeing I have offered to contribute so much towards it.  My good wishes attend you and your whole family, and I am


Your affectionate brother,

William Lemon.”


“Bottles –         4 Tent

                       4 Canary

                       12 Mountain

                       28 Port


                        48 Bottles”



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It would not be right in a chapter dealing with the worthies and unworthies of Breage, who have stamped their memories beyond their fellows upon the local annals, to omit the name of “Captain” Tobias Martin.  Although he was not actually a native of the parish of Breage, a great portion of his life was passed in the parish as captain of Wheal Vor Mine.  He was born in the parish of Wendron on 5th January, 1747.  His childish years, on account of the poverty of his father, a working miner, seem to have been practically destitute of all school education.  Indeed, when we examine beneath the surface we find that a century ago in Western Cornwall school education of any kind seems to have stopped short with the children of the more well-to-do farmers.  Young Tobias Martin, however, had inherited from his father an active and vigorous mind, which quickly set itself to grapple with the adverse circumstances of his surroundings.  From a very early age he began to utilise all his spare time for the purpose of self-education, and in spite of long hours spent as a working miner, managed amonst other things to acquire a fair knowledge of Latin and written French.  His father, in spite of the hard circumstances of his life, had possessed a genuine thirst for knowledge and information of all kinds, and tenderly preserved a few tattered and meagre volumes as a fountain of light and inspiration.  He also possessed the faculty inherited by his son of stringing jingling rhymes together, which he regarded as endowed with the fire of genius.  In his later years the father of Tobias Martin, on account of his integrity and superior education, was promoted by his employers to the post of mine captain.


The life of Tobias Martin practically followed the course of that of his father.  After working for a number of years as an ordinary miner, his superior education and gifts came to be recognised by a Mr Sandys, of Helston, interested in the local mines, and his advancement quickly followed.  Tobias Martin died, aged 81, on 9th April, 1828, and was laid to rest


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In Breage Churchyard.  The later years of his life were clouded by false accusations and unjust claims, which led for a time to his confinement in the Sheriff’s Ward at Bodmin.  His character was ultimately completely vindicated by the efforts of Mr Richard Tyacke, of Godolphin.  Hard upon this trouble followed the brutal murder of his eldest son in America, which darkened the few remaining years of the old man’s life.


The poems of  Tobias Martin were first published in Helston in 1831; a second edition followed in 1856, and a third in 1885.  The poems suggest the mental attitude of an eighteenth century Cornish Piers Ploughman; running through them there is a deep vein of deep resentment at the tyranny and oppression of the ruling classes, and the lethargy, pride, hard-heartedness and laxity of the clergy is touched upon with no light hand.  His verses as poetry are utterly valueless, but as garish pictures of a day that is passed they will always be interesting, if somewhat painful reading.  Martin by his contemporaries was called an atheist. Judging by his poems, I imagine that he had thought perhaps a little more than his accusers, who most probably had never thought at all on the deeper things of life; his soul no doubt was in revolt against the dead shibboleths and formalism of the age, with which men were attempting to compound for the brutality and coarseness of their lives.  One looks in vain through Martin’s poems for one thought of poetic beauty or discernment.


Perhaps the following story of Martin, given by Mr Baring Gould, will suggest a picture of the man and his communications.  It is fair to add that whilst the following story reveals him as a merry fellow, many of his poems reveal in him a strain of plaintive melancholy.


Captain Toby was having his pint of ale at a tavern,


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When in comes a miner who was wont to be called “Old Blowhard,” and was not esteemed trusty or diligent as a workman.

  “How are ‘ee, Capp’n?”

  “Clever, how art thee?”

  “Purty well for health,” says Bill, “but I want a job.  Can ‘ee give us waun ovver to yur new bal?”

  “No, we’re full,” replied Captain Toby.

  “How many men have ‘ee goat ovver there? Asked old Bill Blowhard.

  “How many?  Why we’ve two sinking a air-shaft through the flockan, and two to taackle, and that’s fower; and theere’s two men in the oddit, and a booay to car tools and that, and that makes three moore, and that altogether es seben.”

  “And how many cappuns have ‘ee goat?” said Bill.

  “How many? Why ten.”

  “What! Ten cappuns to watch ovver seben men? I doant b’lieve you can maake that out, for the venturers wouldn’t stand it.”

  “Tez zackly so then, and I’ll make it out to ‘ee in a moment.  Waun cappun es ‘nough we oal knaw, but at the last mittin the ‘venturers purposed to have waun of the ‘venturers sons maade a cappun, and to larn, they said; and so a draaper’s son called Sems, was put weth me from school, at six pounds a month and a shaare of what we had in the ‘count-house.”

  “Well, but now can ‘ee make ten of you and he?”

  “Why I’ll tell ‘ee how, and you mind nother time Bill, for theere’s somethin’ of scholarin’ in ut.  Now see this.  I myself am waun, baent I?”

  “Iss sure,” said Bill.

  “Well, and theest aught to knaw that young Sems is nawthin’; well when theest ben to school so long as I have, theest knaw that waun with a nought attached to un do maake ten, and so ‘tes zackly like that.”


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 I venture to give one specimen of Tobias Martin’s poetry.


“Awake, my soul! The night is past,

The day begins to dawn,

With eager footsteps let me haste

To meet the rising sun.


But first to heaven’s exalted throne

A tribute let me pay,

To him who hath His mercies shewn,

And sent another day.


To honest labour then inclined

I’ll hasten to the spot,

With cheerful and contented mind,

Where heaven hath cast my lot.


And there let me my daily task

With busy hands pursue,

And God’s assistance humbly ask

In all I have to do.


Though some despise my mean estate,

I would not have it said

I spend my time in sloth and hate,

Nor earn my daily bread.


While idle wretches pine and starve,

And nothing good will do,

I’ll labour on and try to serve

God and my neighbour to.”


It would be unjust not to make mention in concluding this chapter of Joseph Boaden, who lived his whole life as a small cultivator in the parish of Breage, and who was laid to rest in Breage Churchyard in December, 1858.  Self-taught, through his life he pursued the study of higher mathematics and astronomy, and was regarded as a valued correspondent by Professors Airy and Adams, of Cambridge.  Under modern conditions education has become more diffused, but we look


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In vain for men of the type of those whom we have been considering.  With its superficial diffusion knowledge has in a measure lost its prestige and fascination, and education has been in a sense debased and vulgarised in the popular mind into a mere instrument of livelihood.  The successful passer of competitive examinations, under the system of cram, with no true love of knowledge for knowledge’s sake in his heart, and who divests himself of his crapula of potted knowledge the moment a livelihood with a pension at the end has been attained, has already gone far to cast learning, so far as the popular mind is concerned, into the quagmire of contempt.