The Literary Maiden

A compendium of obscure 19th century writing.

Tag: herbert

On the Burial of Henry William Herbert

This day commemorates the 160th anniversary of Henry William Herbert’s death. Embittered by life’s unabated plague of sorrow and loss, Herbert succumbed to his demons and took his own life by gunshot to the heart. Although his death may be one of the more shocking aspects of Herbert’s life, he should, rather, be recalled for his prolific career and generous spirit.

In lieu of attempting to write my own memorial of Herbert, I, here, place two accounts of his funeral. Keeping in mind the fact that he’d committed suicide, this posed a great problem within the religious community as there was debate of whether Herbert would (or would not) have a proper funeral, and how it should be carried out if so. You can read more below.

From the Evening Post, May 20, 1858, Pg. 2
BURIAL OF HENRY WM. HERBERT.—The remains of Henry Wm. Herbert, accompanied by a few friends, were conveyed to Newark yesterday afternoon. When the procession arrived in Newark at five o’clock, a large number of persons had assembled at his house.
   The coffin—which was of plain mahogany, although Mr. Herbert had expressed his desire to be buried in a coffin of oak—bore a silver plate with the simple inscription,

HENRY WILLIAM HERBERT.
Aged 51 Years.

   The words of “England” and “Infelicissimus” was omitted.
   The countenance of the deceased was not at all changed; his eyes were gently closed, his expression composed. He wore a white shirt with a black neckcloth and standing collar.
   After the body had remained for some moments, in one of the central rooms of the house, and had been viewed by those present, the Rev. John Shackleford, rector of the Episcopal “House of Prayer” at Newark, the same clergyman who married Herbert to his last wife, state that the church to which he belonged forbade him to perform the funeral service in a case like the present one. Mr. Herbert was aware of this fact, and did not expect the service would be read over him. When Mr. Shackleford had concluded, the body was borne through the back door and the gate by which the grounds of Mount Pleasant Cemetery, adjoining “the Cedars,” are entered, and where Herbert parted with his wife, and had intended to die. Mrs. Herbert was not present at the funeral. In accordance with his request, he was buried in Mr. l’Anson’s[?] lot. His black and tan terrier “Vixen,” which he said was his only and last comfort, is in possessiion[sic] of Mr. Kinney, of the Newark Advertiser. His library is claimed by Thomas Picton, as the property of his wife. Much of the furniture has been removed from the house by his creditors.

 

From the Commercial Advertiser, June 07, 1858, Pg. 2
THE BURIAL OF HENRY WM. HERBERT—TESTIMONIAL to REV. H. B. Sherman, &c.

    It will be remembered that the burial of Henry Wm. Herbert, the author, who committed suicide in this city, took place in the cemetery near Newark, N. J., without any religious exercises. The Rev. Mr. Shackleford refused to read the Episcopal burial service, and advised, with the consent and approval of the deceased’s most intimate friends, that the burial should take place in silence. The Rev. Mr. H. B. Sherman, of Belleville, offered to conduct religions exercises on the occasion but his services were declined. Since then, a number of gentlemen in Newark—among them, Messrs. Cortlandt Parker. O. H. Halsted, Jr., J. A. Pennington, J. Southard, F. W. Ricord, ad others equally well known—have subscribed for a handsomely bound copy of Mr. Herbert’s most elaborate work “The Horse of America,” and have presented it to the Rev. Mr. Sherman as a testimonial of their regard and especially of their admiration of his conduct at the funeral of the late Henry W. Herbert, in his willingness to perform some Christian ceremony over the grave of the deceased. In a long letter acknowledging the receipt of this testimonial, published in the Newark Advertiser of Saturday evening, Mr. Sherman says:—
   The case was this: What was mortal of Henry William Herbert—the gifted and unfortunate individual who, in an evil hour, under a peculiar pressure of adversities which drove him to a desperation neighboring upon phrenzy, had rushed unbidden into the presence of his Maker—was brought hither for interment. An uncertainty as to the clerical attendance contemplated in the primary arrangement, induced an application for my services, to which, in its alternate reference, I yielded a ready and unscrupulous consent. As a general indication of duty in such behalf, I wanted no further knowledge than the fact that a member of the human family had been gathered to his rest, and that my presence as a Christian minister was invoked to consign the mortal remains of a fellow being to their earthly resting place with appropriate religious services. It was a solemn occasioned and [?] but a religious service could meet it properly.
   As to the material issue of my acceding to the request of the living in behalf of the dead, whether saint or sinner in any degree or sense, there could be no vibration of my purpose in that regard. If my action were not interventive nor in trespass upon the official rights of others, the matter of proceeding when occasion opened, was to be taken as the legitimate issue rather than as an adopted line: It was a thing of course. The single and sole item to be entertained as an admissible question, related to the manner of the religious service—what office should be performed.
   I needed not the prohibitory conditions of the Rubric under which the Protestant Episcopal Church in which it is my lot to minister has prescribed for restrictive uses a peculiar “Office for the Burial of the Dead,” to stay me from employing that. My sense of the relative fitness of things (to say nothing of my feeling of loyalty to the Church’s dictum) would have sufficed to determine my judgment against the propriety of its use. From several of its leading features, as well as from the prevailing complexion which it wears, I could no otherwise consider than that the peculiar “office” set forth in the Ritual of the Protestant Episcopal Church as a [?] and specific provision, was inappropriate to the present case, manifestly inapplicable and inadmissible, and therefore removed from the account. I entertained neither the design nor the desire to use it.
   Nevertheless, (for the question thus unmet, reverted from the fenced field of ecclesiastical regulation, to that broader domain which the conditions of Christian society have mapped, and upon practical recognition of which, the current action of the ministry and the everyday working of the church proceed,) I could no otherwise determine than I already had, that a fitting religious service should be performed. In the free and legitimate exercise of that ministry which I hold in trust for the benefit of others, and under the ample provisions which are supplied by the nature of things, to further it—nay, I may add, under the reigning sense of that great thing. Duty, which presses upon the entire surface of the pastoral mission, constraining him who holds it to seek occasions for its profitable exercise, and especially to embrace them when they come, I was prepared (if the way were open for it, and the conditions of the occasion warranted) to officiate at the funeral of Mr. Herbert in a religious service, which, while it could not affect the dead, might compass its purpose as intended to benefit the living.
   Thus far the door of a golden opportunity (in some notable respects such as is offered rarely to the Christian ministry) was plainly opened. The three prime requisites for my appropriating the occasion to a Christian use and purpose, were thus supplied:
   (1) The place where the funeral services were to have been performed was within the canonical limits of my parish.
   (2) A numerous assemblage of people, with hearts softened and tempered to the reception of a salutary impression from religious services, was in reverent attendance.
   (3) At the desire of other friends of the deceased, and the instance of one to whom, in the pathetic language of his last request, he had appealed as to his next and “last friend,” for a final addition to remembered kindnesses in the provision for his decent burial—under these circumstances I had come to “The Cedars,” and stood in the alternate lot assigned me, ready to fulfil the desire of those who bade me, and the prevailing wish of many, if no other of my order should be present to supply the expected services.
   At this point my position was relieved; and thenceforth my connection with the matter ceased. What the final issue was, some of you who were present know—for information of the rest, it is briefly told.
   Under the guidance of a blind and overmuch devotion to that absorbing and fond conceit of ritual strictness which “strains at gnats and swallows camels;” and which, in its exceeding zeal to “tithe, mint, anise and cummin,” forgets “the weightier matters of the law:” a course of action was adopted and pursued which has awakened only sorrow and a feeling of indignation in this community[sic].
   It is painful to recall the harrowing details: and, but for the necessity of completeness to this recital. I would not linger upon their contemplation. The event was thus, as determined by others and another, whose account herein is not to me.
   No utterance of prayer to the great God “in whose hand is our life and whose are all our ways,” who “keepeth our soul from death, and our feet from falling,” and who is “nigh unto all them that call upon him,” always and everywhere; no “word in season” with its religious lessons to the living in improvement of the ripe occasion; nor any of the customary notes which mark the burial of the dead, invade the chill precinct of the dishonoring and ominous silence, amid which, under the very rooftree of his abode amongst us, what was mortal of a human being was subjected to the administrative ban of ecclesiastical reprobation, and “buried with the bural[sic] of an ass[see: Jeremiah 22:19].”
   There is one matter, which, in conclusion, I desire should be very definitely understood. It is this:—From the responsibility under which the final issue in the case proceeded, I stood distinctly apart; and it is a matter in which neither my name nor presence stand involved. The burden of blame-worthiness (if any be) must rest elsewhere.
   I am glad to know, from the indications in your letter, that my position relative to the interment of Mr. Herbert has been in the main understood. I am likewise glad to be assured that (in the absence of authoritative directions) the constitutional provisions which grow out of the nature of things under the shaping combination of circumstances, and the great rubric of human feeling, and the plain canons of common sense, and appreciated and recognized as a sufficient guidance to the Christian minister in the varied exercise of his office.
   With a renewal of my grateful acknowledgments to those whom you represent,
                              I remain, my dear sir,
                                 Yours very truly,
                                      HENRY B. SHERMAN.

“Records” by Henry William Herbert; and, on the Life of His Wife, Sarah Herbert (Barker)

 

 

Untitled

Sarah Barker, wife of Henry William Herbert, from Poems of “Frank Forester” (Henry William Herbert)

The following is a raw and lovingly woven dedicatory piece written by nineteenth-century author and sportsman Henry William Herbert, in memory of his wife Sarah Barker. The tribute mourns the anniversary of her death, and is a moving commemoration of both Barker’s life and Herbert’s grief. Barker, from Bangor, Maine, was the daughter of the town’s mayor and ship captain, George Barker. Herbert, who had gone to Maine on a hunting trip with Barker’s former fiance, Joseph A. Scoville, attended to the home of Barker, where both Herbert and Barker fell in love. Barker called off her engagement with Scoville and she and Herbert married in 1839 (White, Henry William Herbert and the American Publishing Scene, 1831-1858). Herbert’s poem paints a portrait of a devoted wife and mother, one who eagerly anticipated the return of her husband after his long excursions; one who devoutly loved him, despite his turbulent nature; one who most likely filled Herbert’s household with warmth and light. The dream of a lifelong marriage spent alongside Sarah did not last, however, following her death on March 11, 1844. According to White, “After giving birth to a daughter in July 1843, Sarah Herbert developed tuberculosis. In desperation, her husband carried her from one health resort to another, but she grew steadily worse. She was twenty-two years old when she died in Philadelphia…” (40). The aforementioned daughter, Louisa, died shortly after Sarah, on August 19 of the same year. The couple also had a son, William George, who, after the death of his mother, was sent off to England to live with Herbert’s extended family.

Although Herbert later found love in an Adela Budlong (a fleeting actress who may or may not have been swayed to marry Herbert because of his ties to royalty), their marriage crumbled due to its superficiality and Budlong’s unhappiness (as well as possibly Herbert’s uncontrollable temper). Despite the years of toil and grief that Henry endured after Sarah’s death—the financial hardship and the pains of his irreconcilable second marriage to Budlong—it seems the immortal image of Sarah never left his side, for, according to David Judd in the Life and Writings of Frank Forester (Henry William Herbert), “He suspended his dead wife’s portrait, an excellent oil painting, a veritable masterpiece by his friend Inman, in the most prominent position in his study, that his stray glances might constantly rest upon her features,” and, on the night of his death by suicide, “finally carried it with him to the chamber he destined to be that of his own death, that her countenance might catch his closing eyes as the dearest object upon the face of the earth” (85). This portrait by Inman is the one featured at the beginning of this post. For a vague comparison of her “live” presence with that of this painting, you can see her post-mortem photo here.

I feel I cannot properly attribute any further words to the loving union of Herbert and Barker; therefore, please allow Herbert’s own words in “Records” speak as testament to their love.

RECORDS.
Henry William Herbert
From Poems of “Frank Forester” (Henry William Herbert)
THIS was a happy day a year ago,
As now most wretched. This day I returned
From absence of one little month—one month
That seemed a year:—returned to feel her heart
Beat against mine, that ne’er shall beat with joy,
Or leap in ecstasy to those blue eyes
So bright and beautiful, or throb again
To mine responsive,
Oh! I see her now,
As she upstarted from her chair in haste
To greet me, with the eloquent warm blood
Flushing her fair white brow, the lips apart,
And radiant with that sunny smile that spoke
The joyous mirthfulness of her pure soul—
Most innocent and artless, and the eyes
That flashed affection out in dazzling beams
Electrical. I hear her soft, low voice
Say, “Dearest, dearest, have you come at last?
Long have I waited for you, and last night
Watched till nigh morning. Had you not come home
To-day, I should have sickened with the ‘hope Deferred.'”
But it is I that now am sick,
Past thought to be relieved; sick not with hope,—
For that disease hath still some saving touch
Of consolation in’t, that nerves the soul
To bear its tortures,—but for very lack
Of anything to hope on earth again.
For she is gone—aye, gone! and that rare form,
Which I see now as palpably as though
It stood there, glowing in the perfect grace
And glory of young womanhood;—a dream,
A trick of memory, lighter than a shade,
And by no sense of mind to be enjoyed
Or apprehended.
Yes, I see her now
As she upstarted, in her purple robe,
Graced by the fair proportions of her shape,
Not gracing them—her bosom of pure snow,
Translucent, with its thousand azure veins
Matchlessly beautiful; her glorious hair
Clustered in many ringlets of rich brown
Lit with a sunny lustre, down her neck
Falling profuse.
I feel her clasping arms
Wound close about my neck; her soft, thick curls
Fanning my cheek; and her sweet, lovely face,
Burning with blushes, hidden on my breast.
I hear her fond voice faltering in my ear
Glad tidings—that our little one—our boy,
Whom I left mute as yet, had found his tongue,
And learned to lisp her name.
It is but one year
Of the threescore and ten which sum the toil,
The lengthened weariness, and transient joy,
Of man’s allotted time, and all is changed—
Withered and cold forever, as my heart;
Which is alone, and desolate, and void,
And hopeless. She was all I had on earth;
The one rare treasure that enriched a life
Quite barren else; the only being that loved
And cherished, aye! and honored me, whose course
Has ever lain among the storms of the world,
The blight of evil tongues, and rancorous spite
Of who, not knowing, load with ill report
That which they comprehend not. She was all—
All that I had or wished. Love, happiness,
Ambition, hope—all, all in her
Were centred; and with her they are all gone,
Ne’er to come back to me.
I have nor home,
Nor country, nor companions; and the grave
Will be a resting-place, a distant end,
Not shunned, but longed for, as the pleasant bourn
Of suffering, and perchance the gate of joy;
Beyond the perishable, where immortal souls
May meet and love each other with a love
Transcending aught mortality has felt
Of best affections.
Oh that it were so!
Oh that I could believe, and in that trust
Be confident and strong, that even now
She looks upon me, and, in perfect bliss,
With something of affection still regards
The lost companion of her mortal joys,
The last attendant of her painful bed—
Him on whose breast her head was propped, on whom
Her glazing eyes were fixed, that yearned to see
When sight had left them; him whose hand yet thrills
At recollection of the entwined caress
Of those poor fingers, in their dying spasm,
Affectionate to the latest; him whose name—
Never, ’tis like, again to greet his ear
From any lips on earth—her lips strove hard
To syllable, but could not!
Life itself
Were not all weary, could I deem that she,
Marking my ways, might see each step more near
To heaven and her; and feel her very bliss
Something augmented by the unchanging love
Of him she loved so fondly; that one day
She might come forth to meet me, as of old,
But robed in beauty that will never fade,
And, radiant with eternal joy, again
Say, “Dearest, dearest, you have come at last;
Long have I waited you; and see your love
Constant and faithful, and fidelity
Hath its reward; and we are met again,
Never to sorrow more, or sin, or die:”
Oh! might I trust in this, I could go on,
In confident humility secure,
And fearless of the future.
But who knows,
Except the Father, and the Son who dwells
Forever in his glory? Who may dare
E’en to dream of that, which He hath left
Obscure, nor by a word of his illumed
The utter darkness that enshrouds the dead?
But thou art merciful, and knowest, Lord,
The weakness of the mortal: banish thou
The cruel thoughts which terrify my soul,
Whispering that she, whose early grave hath closed
Over the sweetest of thy daughters, lies
Forgetful of the life that lived for her,
Or, in her happiness, sees not the woe
That steeps in utter gloom the heart whose light
She was, and is no longer; the dark doubt,
Never to be enlightened till that day
When all shall be revealed—the dread, dark doubt
That we shall meet no more, when but to meet
Would make earth heave—as her sweet smile of old
And soothing voice could win a charm from pain,
Make poverty seem wealth, and sorrow bliss!
Gentlest and mirthfullest of living things,
And sweetest in thy purity of youth,
Thine artless innocence, thy charity
That thought no harm, thy love that knew not self—
To minister with the angels thou art gone,
And never shalt come back to me again,
As the light cometh with the morn, the leaves
With the glad spring-time.
Grant it, God, that I
May go to thee, and know thee, and be known,
There, where the wicked from their troubling cease,
The weary are at rest.
I ask but this:
Could I but think it, I could go my way
Rejoicing, and look forward to my goal
Happy, nor faint nor falter on the road.

Further Articles Regarding Henry Herbert and the Great Brawl of 1836

As promised, here are two more articles regarding the great “fracas,” which occurred at the Washington Hotel in New York City in 1836.

From the Public Ledger, May 14, 1836
The Traveller says: “The parties in the fracas last week at the Washington Hotel, New York, are of the first respectability. Mr. Tompkins is a son of the late Vice President. He was a member of the N. Y. Assembly last year, and very generally esteemed as an honorable young man. Mr. Neile is a son-in-law of the late Gov. Yates. Mr. Herbert is one of the editors of the American Monthly Magazine.” The Traveller, we presume, forgot to tell its readers that the “respectability” of the parties is only an aggravation of the offence. We dislike to see paragraphs go out unfinished.—Boston Times.
So do we dislike to see paragraphs go unfinished, and we will finish our own by saying that respectability consists in true dignity of character; in respect for the laws, and for the rights and feelings of others. According to this definition, the parties concerned in this disgraceful affair are persons of the least respectability, for we have seldom heard of a more scandalous outrage against law, social order, and the feelings of considerate and honorable men. “Mr. Tompkins is the son of the late Vice President.” “What then’ [sic] Such behavior shows that he is far less of a gentleman than his father was.—”Mr. Neale is a son-in-law of the late Governor Yates.” Indeed! Does this palliate conduct that ought to be punished by a visit to the State prison, and would be so punished in a ruffian without ruffles? “Mr. Herbert is one of the editors of the American Monthly Magazine,” and the N. York Herald says he is a bit of English nobility, with a line of ancestors from the Plantagenets downward.
“What of your noble or ignoble blood
Has crept thro’ scoundrels ever since the flood?”
Go and pretend your [family?] is young
Nor own your fathers have been fools so long!”
For fools they must have been from the beginning, to produce such a compound of vulgar folly and brutal ferocity as that exhibited by this editor of the American Monthly Magazine. The literary department of New York is in precious hands! First respectability forsooth! First blackguardism.

From the Public Ledger, May 19, 1836
The Washington Hotel Fracas.—On Friday last the Grand Jury presented bills of Indictment against Messrs. McLeod, Herbert and Staples, for being engaged in the fracas in the Washington Hotel.—Immediately thereafter, bench warrants were issued to take the several individuals therein named into custody to be tried for a disturbance of the peace, with intent to kill, at the next term of the General Sessions. Brink and Welch, the two officers who caught Robinson, have these warrants.
Yesterday at ten minutes past eleven they proceeded to the City Hotel, and enquired “Is Mr. McLeod in?” “He is not,” said Mr. Cruttenden. “Where is he?” “I don’t know.” “Can we look in his room?” “You may, but he is not there.”
The officers proceeded, not to the lodgings of Mr. Herbert. He was not to be found—but we understand the greater portion of a new novel, intended to be published by the Harpers, was safe and sound.
It is highly probable that neither of these young men will be found. McLeod, we understand has gone to Philadelphia—Herbert to Boston, and the others nowhere. The officers intend to start in pursuit to-morrow. They wont[sic] catch them.
All this “hide and go seek,” is wrong. Let the fracas gentlemen one and all, deliver themselves up. They can be convicted of nothing—they are not half so guilty as Webb, who like a mad dog runs at large.—N. Y. Herald.

Further Details Surrounding the Infamous Henry William Herbert Brawl of 1836

In my brief absence, I found a few more followup articles on the Henry Herbert/McLeod and Neale/Tompkins skirmish at the Washington Hotel during May of 1836. I will post the four new articles in two separate posts. If this is your first time seeing this series, feel free to catch up with it by checking out the first and second entries.

From the Spectator, May 9, 1836

THE WASHINGTON HOTEL AFFRAY.—The Courier & Enquirer of this morning publishes not only the particulars of the scene on Monday night, and the names of the parties, but also a brief history of the intended duel between Messrs. Neale and Tompkins, out of which it grew, and the certificates furnished to Mr. Neale by his second on Montreal, Mr. Campbell Sweeny, and a British officer whose experience in the duello was invoked by the latter gentleman. The whole affair is silly, childish, and any thing but creditable to all the parties engaged in it.
Apropos to this last remark, we hold it proper to state that the Mr. Staples who was concerned in the affair at the Washington Hotel is a merchant; partner in the firm of Staples & Clark, and in no way related to the family of Seth P Staples, Esq., the eminent counsellor of this city.

From the Albany Argus, May 10, 1836

[From the New York Times.]
An affray occurred on Monday evening at the Washington Hotel, which from the nature of the events and the character of the parties excited very deep and general interest. It would be well if the affair could be buried in oblivion, but that is impossible; one newspaper has already published it, and will doubtless be followed by others who, unable to obtain accurate information, may give garbled or incorrect statements. It is but just therefore to all concerned that those who have the means should lay the facts truly before the community, however reluctant one might otherwise be to publish such an affair[.] The following is prepared from the accounts given almost unanimously shortly afterwards by the very large number of gentlemen who were present, and from other accurate sources of information.
For reasons sufficiently obvious, the narration can’t include events previous to those of Saturday last. The parties had been in controversy some time, and on that day, Mr. T. accompanied by Mr. S. called to demand of Mr. M. if he were responsible for a certain circular just put forth. Mr. M. declined to answer; Mr. T. said that he should then hold him to be the person, and therefore pronounced him a scoundrel. Mr. M. refused to notice any insult from Mr. T., alleging that Mr. T. was a disgraced man[.] During the afternoon he informed Mr. S. that he would notice any thing from him, if he (Mr. S.) chose to take Mr. T.’s place. Mr. S. replied that after the occurrences of that morning he could hold no communication with Mr. M., and so ended the campaign of the day.
On Sunday evening, Mr. H. a friend of Mr. M. referring to this reply, pronounced, in the public room of the Washington Hotel, Mr. S. to be a coward, and requested that Mr. T. might be told that he had done so.
On Monday evening, Mr. S. accompanied by Mr. T., and both unarmed, except that Mr. S. carried his usual walking stick which had a light sword within it, went to the Washington Hotel. Mr. H. coming in soon after, Mr. S. demanded whether it was true that he had pronounced him a coward. Mr. H. replied that he had; whereupon, Mr. S. waved his glove across the face of Mr. H., and pronounced him a liar.
Mr. H. drew out a pistol, but before he could fire it, his hand was arrested by Mr. T., who remonstrated against using such a weapon, and assured him he should have satisfaction. Mr. H. shook him off and retreated, presenting the pistol, and T. following to [?] it. They moved from the centre of the bar room across the hall into the reading room, H. threatening to shoot T. if he advanced, and T. defying him, and declaring he dare not fire. T. then dashed the pistol aside and struck H., when both were seized—T. by Capt. B. and H. by some young gentlemen. H. was directly released, however, and while T. was struggling with Capt. B. who held him against the door, and was nearly between the combatants, both barrels of the pistol were fired, the balls lodging in the door, above T. and the Captain.
The parties were separated, and for a few minutes the affray seemed to have ended. Mr. M. then ascended a chair in the front room, and proclaimed that Mr. S. and Mr. T. were both cowards and scoundrels; Mr. T. rushed upon him, and beat him severely before the by-standers could interfere—Those who seized Mr. T. forced him back across the room, he struggling to get free, when Mr. M. followed and struck him in the side with a dirk or knife. Upon that Mr. S drew the sword from his cane, and stabbed Mr. H. The effective hostilities were here arrested by the exertions of the gentlemen present, a second pistol being taken from Mr. H., and the parties soon separated, and retired for surgical aid.
Neither of the wounds are understood to be serious, or at all dangerous, and the parties have withdrawn from town.

Henry William Herbert and the Brawl of 1836, Continued

I have been trying to dig up as much as I can about this affair, and thus present two more articles following up on the event in which Henry Herbert, our beloved Unruly Forester, found himself in a pickle, which resulted in not only stab wounds, but—egad, could it be!—public humiliation. You will, firstly, find a short snippet, which exemplifies the public interest in this fiasco; and secondly, you will find a much longer, in depth account, which also includes primary statements from those parties involved. I will do my best to find the original source rumored to be James Gordon Bennett’s article from the New York Herald. There is a particular statement I’m gathering this from, for, according to White’s Henry William Herbert & the American Publishing Scene, 1831-1858, “…James Gordon Bennett, who resented Herbert’s insolence and aristocratic airs, published a full account of the fight in the Herald and invited his readers to visit the Washington Hall bar and see the two bullet holes made ‘by the descendant of the royal Plantagenets — over the left.‘” I believe a tip was given to Bennett after the brawl, too. I will do my best and hope to return soon with more on this thrilling case. -Ann

May 05, 1836, Commercial Advertiser, New York

The WASHINGTON HOTEL AFFRAY.—The Courier & Enquirer of this morning publishes not only the particulars of the scene on Monday night, and the names of the parties, ut also a brief history of the intended duel between Messrs. Neale and Tompkins, out of which it grew, and the certificates furnished to Mr. Neale by his second on Montreal, Mr. Campbell Sweeny, and a British officer whose experience in the duello was invoked by the latter gentleman. The whole affair is silly, childish, and anything but creditable to all the parties engaged in it.
Apropos to this last remark, we hold it proper to state that the Mr. Staples who was concerned in the affair at the Washington Hotel is a merchant; partner in the firm of Staples & Clark, and in no way related to the family of Seth P. Staples, Esq., the eminent counsellor of this city.

May 06, 1836, Albany Evening Journal, Albany, New York

[From the Courier & Enquirer.]
DISGRACEFUL FRACAS AT WASHINGTON HOTEL.

The Police had under consideration on Tuesday, a disgraceful fracas which occurred at Washington Hotel on Monday evening, in which pistols and dirks were freely used, and in consequence of which Mr. TOMPKINS, one of the parties, is now confined to his bed from a severe though not dangerous wound inflicted with a Spanish knife or dirk.
The affray grew out of an affair which excited considerable interest in this city some weeks since, and as there are various rumors in circulation as to the mode in which that affair was settled, and its effects upon the reputations of of [sic] the parties concerned, it is but an act of justice to all parties, briefly to state the facts as they appear on the face of a publication made by the friends of SAMUEL NEAL. As the whole matter is before the police, and the names of the parties known to the public, it is idle to suppress them at this time.
It is said that an altercation took place early in March, between Mr. SAMUEL NEAL and Mr. MINTHORNE TOMPKINS, the son of the late Governor D. D. TOMPKINS, which resulted in Mr. T’s striking Mr. N. several severe blows. In consequence, (we now gather our facts from a statement made by MR. Neal’s friends,) Mr. N. gave notice to Mr. T. that he “should hear from him.” Accordingly on the 4th of March he addressed a letter requesting a meeting in Upper or Lower Canada. After some further correspondence, it was agreed that the parties should meet in Montreal, whither they repaired; and on the 29th march, Mr. Neal’s friend, a resident of Montreal, waited upon Mr. TOMPKINS at Mr. Good[?]’s Hotel at 1 o’clock P. M. and demanded the meeting “with the least possible delay.” Mr. Tompkins informed him that both the gentlemen upon whom he relied to go out with him, were absent, but to avoid delay, he was willing that Mr. Neal’s friend should act for both parties. This proposition was declined as altogether inadmissible, and Mr. Tompkins promised to use all proper diligence to procure a friend in the city. Mr. Neil’s friend thus continues his narrative:
“At half past 8 P. M. I was called out from the [?] [?] where I was dining, and met R. a merchant of the city, who stated to me that he had been called upon by Mr. Tompkins, and requested by him to act as is friend in this affair; but that he had declined to do so, as he had but a slight acquaintance with Mr. Tompkins and if anything serious occurred, it would be the [?] for him to leave town. That Mr. T. had come to Montreal without a friend, and relived upon meeting with some gentlemen who were absent, and, on behalf of Mr. T., wished me to suggest some means by which he, Mr. T. could be relieved from the difficulty in which he was [?], and also to extend to him some [?] taken by [the remainder of this paragraph and the next are miserably illegible]
With regard to Mr. Neal we have something to say. He was the injured part—he had been disgraced by a [?]—and he [not only?] had a right to demand satisfaction, but he also had a right to determine when his injured honor was satisfied. He had a right to withdraw his challenge before he left the city, or return from Montreal without seeking the meeting at all; and of course, when at the expiration of twenty three hours, Mr. Tompkins was not ready with his friend, he had an unquestionable right to consider his grievance addressed, and his honor satisfied, and forthwith return to his house. All this was matter for him to determine but we do protest against his friends assuming or charging, that Mr. Tompkins did any thing which justified the conduct on Mr. C. S. or the certificate of the Capt. of his Majesty’s 32d Regiment.
The same paper from which we have compiled the foregoing particulars, also contains the following statement made by Mr. G. a friend of Mr. Tompkins, the truth of which is admitted, and clearly demonstrates the earnest desire of Mr. T. to give Mr. Neal the meeting he had demanded, but which he deemed it no longer incumbent upon him to insist upon or accept; and surely, Mr. J. is not [?] for nay determination of Mr. Neal in relation to the necessity for a meeting of which Mr. N. was the sole judge.
“Mr. G. proceeding to join Mr. Tompkins met that gentleman returning, at about 80 miles from Montreal. Mr. G. being made acquainted with what had occurred, they returned immediately, and at St. John’s in Canada, twenty seven miles from Montreal, encountered Mr. Neal,  on the 23d of March. Mr. G. requested an interview with him, and stating that he was advised of what had been done, proposed to him to return to Montreal, pledging himself that Mr. Tompkins would then be provided with a second, and that Mr. Neal should have a meeting. This proposition was declined by Mr. Neal, who alleged as his reason therefor, that he had written such letters to his family, as made it indispensable for him to be at New York on the 25th[?] Mr. G. pointing out that it was already impossible to reach there by that time or even before the 27th, again urged him to return. Mr. Neal denied the impossibility, explaining that he should take the route by New Haven. Mr. G. showed that this would not accelerate his progress, but Mr. Neal persisted in his determination to go on, and took leave of Mr. G. when the passengers were summoned, went directly from the interview to the stage sleigh, and set off.”
We have deemed it our duty to condense these facts, in order that the merits of the controversy which led to the disgraceful fracaswhich took place at the Washington Hotel on Monday evening, may be properly understood, and because we think the reputation of a meritorious and honorable young man is at stake.
It appears that Mr. McLeod, as the friend of Mr. Neal, had publicly approved of his conduct, and that of his Canadian friends, and agreed in the censure cast upon Tompkins. This led to an interview between Mr. T. and Mr. McLeod, and the following Circular:
“As there is good reason to suppose that Wm. McLeod has, by various statements, not only among stranger, but latterly by a printed circular, attempted to injure my character; I in consequence waited on him this morning, at the City Hotel, and requested to know if he considered himself responsible for said circular, which he did not deny. I at once told him he was a scoundrel and no gentleman; Mr. McLeod declined taking any notice of these expressions, on the ground that I was already disgraced.
“Let the public judge as to our respective positions.
“MINTHORNE TOMPKINS.
“New-York, April 2[?]th, 1836.”
In this visit to Mr. McLeod Mr. T. was accompanied by Mr. Staples, who, it is said, Mr. McLeod offered to consider as a principal, and hold responsible for the language of Mr. Tompkins. Mr. S. declined being so considered, and thereupon, Mr. Henry Wm. Herbert, the friend of Mr. McLeod, publicly proclaimed at the Washington Hotel that Mr. Staples for accompanying a disgraced person on such an occasion, and not consenting to be a principal, was a “liar and an unprincipled scoundrel.” This was reported to Mr. S. who accompanied by Mr. T. repaired to the Washington Hotel on Monday evening, where they found Mr. Herbert and his friend. Mr. S. immediately enquired [sic] if his name was Herbert and whether he had used the expressions which had been reported to him. He admitted that he had; upon which Mr. S. struck him in the face with his glove and pronounced him “a liar and cowardly wretch.” A scuffle ensued, and Mr. Herbert drew from his pocket a doublebarrel pistol and discharged both barrels at Mr. Tompkins who was near Mr. Staples without effect. Subsequently Mr. H. drew another pistol, which was however taken from him before he succeeded in discharging it, when Mr. L. got up on a chair and proclaimed Mr. Tompkins, “a disgraced scoundrel.” Mr. T. made a rush at him, struck him several blows on the face and received a stab in the side from a dirk or Spanish knife, which would probably have terminated his life if it had not struck on the seventh rib and [glanced?] upwards.
These are the facts of the fracas as detailed to us by eye witnesses; and we cannot but regret that it should have become our duty to place them upon record as occurring in this city. In our frontier towns, where men are constantly living with arms in the hands, and where they are frequently compelled to prove that “might constitutes right,” scenes of this kind will occur; but here, in the heart of our city, where we boast of our civilization, such scenes are disgraceful to all concerned, and should be frowned down by the public as a stain upon the character of our citizens. We trust that we shall never again hear of a similar occurrence.