Miss Patterson


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, March 9, 1861

The March 9, 1861 edition of Harper's Weekly Featured President Abraham Lincoln, on the cover, raising a union flag.  The paper is filled with important details of the start of he Civil War.  Newspaper Thumbnails will take you to the page of interest.


Abraham Lincoln and the Union Flag

Abraham Lincoln Raising the Union Flag

Lincoln and the Union Flag

Miss Patterson

Miss Patterson of Baltimore

Congressional News

1861 Lincoln Assassination Plot

Story on Fort Smith and Little Rock

Little Rock Arkansas

Little Rock Arkansas

General Twiggs

General David Twiggs

Continuation of Twiggs Story

Jefferson Davis Inauguration in Montgomery

Lincoln Assassination Plot



MARCH 9,1861.]




THE portrait of " Miss Patterson," the first wife of the late Prince Jerome Bonaparte, which we publish herewith, is from a painting owned by her grandson, which represents her as she appeared in 1815. All our readers know, of course, that this lady is now prosecuting a suit in the French Courts for the recognition of her marriage with Jerome Bonaparte. The lady herself, though seventy-five years of age, has gone to Paris for the purpose, and is instructing her lawyers in person. Those who wish to read a full account of the case we refer to No. 187 of Harper's Weekly, published on 28th July last, in which we narrated the eventful tale at length. Here we may briefly say that Jerome Bonaparte, a young man of twenty, commanding a French man-of-war, met at Baltimore, in 1804, Elizabeth Patterson, daughter of the President of the Bank of Baltimore ; wooed and won her. They were married without the consent of Jerome's eldest brother and legal guardian, the Emperor. When Napoleon heard of it he refused to con-sent ; refused to suffer any court to register the marriage ; refused to permit " Miss Patterson" to land at Amsterdam ; and wrote, vainly, the following letter to the Pope to induce him to annul the marriage by bull : " I have frequently spoken to your Holiness of a young brother, nineteen years of age, whom I sent in a frigate to America, and who, after a sojourn of a month, although a minor, married a Protestant, the daughter of a merchant of the United States. He has just returned. He is fully conscious of his fault. I have sent back to America Miss Patterson, who calls herself his wife. By our laws the marriage is null. A Spanish priest so far forgot his duties as to pronounce the benediction. I desire from your Holiness a bull annulling the marriage. I could easily have this marriage broken in Paris, since the Gallican Church pronounces such marriages null. But it appears better to me to have it done in Rome, on account of the example to sovereign families marrying Protestants. It is important for France that there should not be a Protestant young woman so near my person. It is dangerous that a minor and distinguished youth should be exposed to such seduction against the civil laws and all sorts of propriety." The Emperor spoke the truth when he said that Jerome was "-conscious of his fault." He was glad to accept an embassy to Algiers ; and " Miss Patterson," broken-hearted, and with her son, re-turned to Baltimore, where she has lived quietly ever since. Jerome, as every body knows, subsequently married a princess of Wurtemberg, and had by her a son, the present Prince Napoleon, and his sister, the famous Princess Mathilde. It is to have the first marriage declared legal, and Napoleon and Mathilde pronounced illegitimate, that " Miss Patterson" is now suing in Paris. The case naturally excites great interest.

[Entered according to Act of Congress, in the Year 1860, by Harper & Brothers, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New York.]


Splendidly Illustrated by John McLenan.

Printed from the Manuscript and early Proof–sheets purchased from the Author by the Proprietors of "Harper's Weekly."


MR. POCKET said he was glad to see me, and he hoped I was not sorry to see him. "For I really am not," he added, with his son's smile, " an alarming personage." He was a young-looking man, in spite of his perplexities, and his manner seemed quite natural. I use the word natural in the sense of its being unaffected ; there was something comic in his distraught way, as though it would have been downright ludicrous but for his own perception that it was very near being so. When he had talked with me a little he said to Mrs. Pocket, rather anxiously, "Belinda, I hope you have welcomed Mr. Pip?" And she looked up from her book, and said, "Yes." She then smiled upon me in an absent state of mind, and asked me if I liked the taste of orange-flower water ? As the question had no bearing, near or remote, on any foregone or subsequent transaction, I consider it to have been thrown out, like her previous approaches, in general conversational hospitality.

I found out within a few hours, and may mention it at once, that Mrs. Pocket was the only daughter of a certain quite accidental deceased Knight, who hart Invented for himself a conviction that his deceased father would have been made a Baronet but for somebody's determined opposition, arising out of entirely personal motives—I forget whose, if I ever knew--the Sovereign's, the Prime Minister's, the Lord Chancellor's, the Archbishop of Canterbury's, anybody's—and had tacked himself on to the nobles of the earth in right of this quite supposititious fact. I believe he had been knighted himself for storming the English grammar at the point of a pen in a desperate address engrossed on vellum, on the occasion of the laying of the first stone of some building or other, and handing some Royal Personage either the trowel or the mortar. Be that as it may, he had directed Mrs. Pocket to be brought up from her cradle as one who in the nature of things must marry a title, and who was to be guarded from the acquisition of plebeian domestic knowledge. So successful a watch and ward had been established over the young' lady by this judicious parent

that she had grown up highly ornamental, but perfectly helpless and useless. With her character thus happily formed, in the first bloom of her youth, she had encountered Mr. Pocket, who was also in the first bloom of youth, and not quite decided whether to mount to the Woolsack, or to roof himself in with a Mitre. As his doing the one or the other was a mere question of time, he and Mrs. Pocket had taken Time by the forelock (at a season when, to judge from its length, it would seem to have wanted cutting), and had married without the knowledge of the judicious parent. The judicious parent, having nothing to bestow or withhold but his blessing, had handsomely settled that dower upon them after a short struggle, and had informed Mr. Pocket that his wife was " a treasure for a Prince." Mr. Pocket had invested the Prince's treasure in the ways of the world ever since, and it was supposed to have brought in but indifferent interest. Still Mrs. Pocket was in general the object of a queer sort of respectful pity, because she had not married a title ; while Mr. Pocket was the object of a queer sort of forgiving reproach be-cause he had never got one.

Mr. Pocket took me into the house and showed me my room : which was a pleas-ant one, and so furnished as that I could use it with comfort for my own private sitting-room. Ile then knocked at the doors of two other similar rooms, and introduced me to their occupants, by name Drummle and Startop. Drummle, an old-looking young man of a heavy order of architecture, was whistling. Startop, younger in years and appearance, was reading and holding his head, as if he thought himself in danger of exploding it with too strong a charge of knowledge.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Pocket had such a noticeable air of being in somebody else's hands, that I wondered who really was in possession of the house and let them live there, until I found this unknown power to be the servants. It was a smooth way of going on, perhaps, in respect of saving trouble ; but it had the appearance of being expensive, for the servants felt it a duty they owed to themselves to be nice in their eating and drinking, and to keep a deal of company down stairs. They al-lowed a very liberal table to Mr. and Mrs. Pocket ; yet it always appeared to me that by far the best part of the house to have boarded in would have been the kitchen—always supposing the boarder capable of self-defense, for, before I had been there a week a neighboring lady, with whom the family were personally unacquainted, wrote in to say that she had seen Millers

slapping the baby. This greatly distressed. Mrs. Pocket, who burst into tears on receiving the note, and said it was an extraordinary thing that the neighbors couldn't mind their own business.

By degrees I learned, and chiefly from Herbert, that Mr. Pocket had been educated at Harrow and at Cambridge, where he had distinguished himself; but that when he had had the happiness of marrying Mrs. Pocket, very early in life, he had impaired his prospects and taken up the calling of a Grinder. After grinding a number of dull blades—of whom it was remark-able that their fathers, when influential, were always going to help him to preferment, but al-ways forgot to do it when the blades had left the Grindstone—he had wearied of that poor work and come to London. Here, after gradually failing in loftier hopes, he had " read" with divers

 who had lacked opportunities or neglected them, and had refurbished divers others for special occasions, and had turned his acquirements to the account of literary compilation and correction, and on such means, added to some very moderate private resources, still maintained the house I saw.

Mr. and Mrs. Pocket had a toady neighbor—a widow lady of that highly sympathetic nature that she agreed with every body, blessed every body, and shed smiles and tears on every body according to circumstances. This lady's name was Mrs. Coiler, and I had the honor of taking her down to dinner on the day of my installation. She gave me to understand on the stairs that it was a blow to dear Mrs. Pocket that dear Mr. Pocket should be under the necessity of receiving gentlemen to read with him. That did not extend to Me, she told me in a gush of love and confidence (at that time I had known her something less than five minutes) ; if they were all like Me, it would be quite another thing.

"But dear Mrs. Pocket," said Mrs. Coiler, " after his early disappointment (not that dear Mr. Pocket was to blame in that), requires so much luxury and elegance—"

" Yes, Ma'am," said I, to stop her, for I was afraid she was going to cry.

" And she is of so aristocratic a disposition—" " Yes, Ma'am," I said again, with the same object as before.

"—that it is hard," said Mrs. Coiler, " to have dear Mr. Pocket's time and attention diverted from dear Mrs. Pocket."

I could not help thinking that it might be harder if the butcher's time and attention were diverted from dear Mrs. Pocket ; but I said no-thing, and indeed had enough to do in keeping a bashful watch upon my company-manners.

It came to my knowledge through what passed between Mrs. Pocket and Drummle while I was attentive to my knife and fork, spoon, glasses, and other instruments of self destruction, that Drummle, whose Christian name was Bentley, was actually the next heir but two to a baronetcy. It further appeared that the book I had seen Mrs. Pocket reading in the garden was all about titles, and that she knew the date at which her grandpapa would have come into the book, if he ever had come at all. Drummle didn't say much, but in his limited way (he struck me as a sulky kind of fellow) he spoke as one of the elect, and recognized Mrs. Pocket as a woman and a sister. No one but themselves and Mrs. Coiler, the toady neighbor, showed any interest in this part of the conversation, and it appeared to me that it was painful to Herbert; but it promised to last a long time, when the page came in with the announcement of a domestic affliction. It was, in effect, that the cook had "mislaid" the beef. To my unutterable amazement, I now, for the first time, saw Mr. Pocket relieve his mind by going through a performance that struck me as very extraordinary, but which made no effect on any body else, and with which I soon became as familiar as the rest. He laid down the carving-knife and fork—being engaged in carving at the moment—put his two hands into his disturbed hair, and appeared to make an extraordinary effort to lift himself up by it. When he had done this, and had not lifted him-self up at all, he quietly went on with what he was about.

Mrs. Coiler then changed the subject, and began to flatter me. I liked it for a few moments, but she flattered me so very grossly that the pleasure was soon over. She had a serpentine way of coming close at me when she pretended to be vitally interested in the friends and localities I had left, which was altogether snaky and fork-tongued; and when she made an occasional bounce upon Startop (who said very little), or upon Drummle (who said less, (I rather envied



Miss Patterson
decapitated slave



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