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He asserted also that in an island that is only about half as large as Ireland 18,000 boys were sacrificed every year (p. 176). But his readers were for the most part only too willing to be deceived; for in Protestant England his abuse of the Jesuits covered a multitude of lies. Ere he had been three months in London, he was, he writes (Memoirs, p. 179), 'cried up for a prodigy, and not only the domestic, but even the foreign papers had helped to blaze forth many things in his praise.' He was aided in his fraud by the Rev. Dr. Innes, or Innys, a clergyman of the English Church, who by means of his interesting convert pushed himself into the notice of Compton, Bishop of London, and before long was made chaplain-general to the English forces in Portugal (Memoirs, p. 191). The same man, as Boswell tells us (ante, i. 416), by another impudent cheat, a second time obtained considerable promotion.' Psalmanazar's book soon reached a second edition, 'besides the several versions it had abroad' (p. 5). Yet it is very dull reading -just such a piece of work as might be looked for from a young man of little fancy, but gifted with a strong memory. Nevertheless, the authour's credit lasted so long, that for many years he lived on a subscription 'which was founded on a belief of his being a Formosan and a real convert to the Church of England' (p. 208). He was even sent to Oxford to study, and had rooms in one of the colleges-Christ Church, if I mistake not (p. 186). It was not only as a student that he was sent by his dupes to that ancient seat of learning; the Bishop of London hoped that he would teach the Formosan language to a set of gentlemen who were afterwards to go with him to convert those people to Christianity' (p. 161).
While he was living the life of a lying scoundrel, he was, he says (p. 192), 'happily restrained by Divine Grace,' so that all sense of remorse was not extinguished,' and there was no fall into 'downright infidelity.' At length he picked up Law's Serious Call, which moved him, as later on it moved better men (ante, i. 78, 79). Step by step he got into a way of steady work, and lived henceforth a laborious and honest life. It was in the year 1728, thirty-five years before his death, that he began, he says, to write the narrative of his imposture (p. 59). A dangerous illness and the dread of death. had deeply moved him, and filled him with the desire of leaving behind 'a faithful narrative' which would 'undeceive the world.' Nineteen years later, though he did not publish his narrative, he
made a public confession of his guilt. In the unsigned article on Formosa, which he wrote in 1747 for Bowen's Complete System of Geography (ii. 251), he says, 'Psalmanaazaar [so he had at one time written his name] hath long since ingenuously owned the contrary [of the truthfulness of his narrative] though not in so public a manner, as he might perhaps have done, had not such an avowment been likely to have affected some few persons who for private ends took advantage of his youthful vanity to encourage him in an imposture, which he might otherwise never had the thought, much less the confidence, to have carried on. These persons being now dead, and out of all danger of being hurt by it, he now gives us leave to assure the world that the greatest part of that account was fabulous, . . . and that he designs to leave behind him a faithful account of that unhappy step, and other particulars of his life leading to it, to be published after his death.'
In his Memoirs he will not, he writes (p. 59), give any account 'of his real country or family.' Yet it is quite clear from his own narrative that he was born in the south of France. 'His pronunciation of French had,' it was said, 'a spice of the Gascoin accent, and in that provincial dialect he was so masterly that none but those born in the country could excel him' (Preface, p. 1). If a town can be found that answers to all that he tells of his birthplace, his whole account may be true; but the circumstances that he mentions seem inconsistent. The city in which he was born was twenty-four miles from an archiepiscopal city in which there was a college of Jesuits (p. 67), and about sixty miles from 'a noble great city full of gentry and nobility, of coaches, and all kinds of grandeur,' the seat of a great university (pp. 76, 83). When he left the great city for Avignon he speaks of himself as 'going down to Avignon' (p. 87). Thence he started on a pilgrimage to Rome, and in order to avoid his native place, after he had gone no great way, 'he wheeled about to the left, to leave the place at some twenty or thirty miles distance' (p. 101). He changed his mind, however, and returned home. Thence he set off to join his father, who was 'near 500 miles off' in Germany (p. 60). The direct route was through the great university city' and Lyons (p. 104). His birth-place then, if his account is true, was on the road from Avignon to Rome, sixty miles from a great university city and southwards of it, for through this university city passed the direct road from his home to Lyons. It was, moreover, sixty miles from
an archiepiscopal city. I do not think that such a place can be found. He says (p. 59) that he thought himself 'obliged out of respect to his country and family to conceal both, it being but too common, though unjust, to censure them for the crimes of private persons.' The excuse seems unsatisfactory, for he tells enough to shew that he came from the south of France, while for his family there was no need of care. It was, he writes, 'ancient but decayed,' and he was the only surviving child. Of his father and mother he had heard nothing since he started on the career of a pious rogue. They must have been dead very many years by the time his Memoirs were given to the world. His story shews that at all events for the first part of his life he had been one of the vainest of men, and vanity is commonly found joined with a love of mystery. He is not consistent, moreover, in his dates. On April 23, 1752, he was in the 73rd year of his age (p. 7); so that he was born in either 1679 or 1680. When he joined his father he was 'hardly full sixteen years old' (p. 112); yet it was a few years after the Peace of Ryswick, which was signed on September 22, 1697. He was, he says, 'but near twenty' when he wrote his History of Formosa (p. 184). This was in the year 1704. With his father he stayed but a short time, and then set out rambling northwards. At Avignon, by shameless lying, he had obtained a pass 'as a young student in theology, of Irish extract [sic] who had left his country for the sake of religion' (p. 98). It was wonderful that his fraud had escaped detection there, for he had kept his own name, 'because it had something of quality in it' (p. 99). He now resolved on a more impudent pretence; for 'passing as an Irishman and a sufferer for religion, did not only,' he writes, 'expose me to the danger of being discovered, but came short of the merit and admiration I had expected from it' (p. 112). He thereupon gave himself out as a Japanese convert, and forged a fresh pass, 'clapping to it the old seal' (p. 116). He went through different adventures, and at last enlisted in the army of the Elector of Cologne-an 'unhappy herd, destitute of all sense of religion and shamefacedness.' He got his discharge, but enlisted a second time, 'passing himself off for a Japanese and a heathen, under the name of Salmanazar' (pp. 133-141). Later on he altered it, he says, 'by the addition of a letter or two to make it somewhat different from that mentioned in the Book of Kings' (Shalmaneser, II Kings, xvii. 3). In his Description of Formosa he
wrote it Psalmanaazaar, and in later life Psalmanazar. In his vanity he invented 'an awkward show of worship, turning his face to the rising or setting sun, and pleased to be taken notice of for so doing' (p. 144). He had moreover 'the ambition of passing for a moral heathen' (p. 147). By way of singularity he next took to living altogether upon raw flesh, roots, and herbs (p. 163).
It was when he was on garrison duty at Sluys that he became acquainted with Innes, who was chaplain to a Scotch regiment that was in the pay of the Dutch (p. 148). This man found in him a tool ready made to his hand. He had at once seen through his roguery, but he used his knowledge only to plunge him deeper in his guilt. By working on his fears and his vanity and by small bribes he induced him to profess himself a convert to the Church of England and to submit to baptism (p. 158). He brought him over to London, and introduced him to the Bishop of London, and to Tenison, Archbishop of Canterbury (pp. 164, 179). Psalmanazar spoke Latin fluently, but his Grace had either forgotten his, or being unused to the foreign pronunciation was forced to have it interpreted to him by Dr. Innes in English' (p. 178). The young impostor everywhere gave himself out as a Formosan who had been entrapped by a Jesuit priest, and brought to Avignon. 'There I could expect,' he wrote, 'no mercy from the Inquisitors, if I had not in hypocrisy professed their religion' (History of Formosa, p. 25). He was kept, he says, in a kind of custody, ‘but I trusted under God to my heels' (p. 24). It was Innes who made him write this History.
In the confession of his fraud Psalmanazar seems to keep back nothing. His repentance appears to be sincere, and his later life, there can be little question, was regular. Yet, as I have said, even his confessions apparently are not free from the old leaven of hypocrisy. It is indeed very hard, if not altogether impossible, for a man who has passed forty years and more as a lying hypocrite altogether to clear his mind of cant.' In writing of the time when he was still living the life of a lying scoundrel, he says : -'I have great reason to acknowledge it the greatest mercy that could befall me, that I was so well grounded in the principles and evidence of the Christian religion, that neither the conversation of the then freethinkers, as they loved to stile themselves, and by many of whom I was severely attacked, nor the writings of Hobbes, Spinosa, &c. against the truth of Divine revelation could appear to
me in any other light than as the vain efforts of a dangerous set of men to overturn a religion, the best founded and most judiciously calculated to promote the peace and happiness of mankind, both temporal and eternal' (Memoirs, p. 192). Two pages further on he writes, a little boastfully it seems, of having had 'some sort of gallantry with the fair sex; with many of whom, even persons of fortune and character, of sense, wit, and learning, I was become,' he continues, a great favourite, and might, if I could have overcome my natural sheepishness and fear of a repulse, have been more successful either by way of matrimony or intrigue.' He goes on:-'I may truly say, that hardly any man who might have enjoyed so great a variety ever indulged himself in so few instances of the unlawful kind as I have done.' He concludes this passage in his writings by 'thankfully acknowledging that there must have been some secret providence that kept me from giving such way to unlawful amours as I might otherwise have done, to the ruin of my health, circumstances,' &c.
When he came to wish for an honest way of life he was beset with difficulties. 'What a deadly wound,' he writes, 'must such an unexpected confession have given to my natural vanity, and what a mortification would it have been to such sincere honest people [as my friends] to hear it from my mouth!' (p. 213.) This was natural enough. That he long hesitated, like a coward, on the brink is not to be cast in his teeth, seeing that at last he took the plunge. But then in speaking of the time when he weakly repeated, and to use his own words, as it were confirmed anew,' his old falsehoods, he should not have written that 'as the assurance of God's mercy gave me good grounds to hope, so that hope inspired me with a design to use all proper means to obtain it, and leave the issue of it to his Divine Providence' (p. 214). The only proper means to obtain God's mercy was at once to own to all the world that he had lied. It is only the Tartuffes and the Holy Willies who, whilst they persist in their guilt, talk of leaving the issue to the Divine Providence of God.
Since this Appendix was in type I have learnt, through the kindness of Mr. C. E. Doble, the editor of Hearne's Remarks and Collections, ed. 1885, that a passage in that book (i. 271), confirms my conjecture that Psalmanazar was lodged in Christ Church when at Oxford. Hearne says (July 9, 1706):- Mr. Topping of Christ Church . . . also tells me that Salmanezzer, the famous Formosan,