The “lost prince.”
A dark mystery shrouds the fate of the eldest son of Louis XVI.
and Marie Antoinette
, who was eight years of age at the time his father was murdered by the Jacobins.
After the downfall of Robespierre and his fellows, it was declared that the prince died in prison in
1795, while the royalists believed he had been secretly hidden away in the United States
Curious facts and circumstances pointed to Rev. Eleazar Williams
, a reputed half-breed Indian, of the Caughnawaga tribe, near Montreal
, as the surviving prince, who, for almost sixty years, had been hidden from the world in that disguise.
He was a reputed son of Thomas Williams
, son of Eunice
, the captive daughter of Rev. John Williams
, of Deerfield, Mass.
He was educated at Long Meadow, Mass.
, and when the war with England
broke out, in 1812, he became confidential agent of the government among the Indians in northern New York.
He served in several engagements, and was severely wounded at Plattsburg
Joining the Protestant Episcopal Church, after the war, he was for a long time a missionary, or lay-reader, among the
, and in 1826 he was ordained missionary presbyter, and labored in northern New York and Wisconsin
There were indications that Mr. Williams
was the “lost prince” of the house of Bourbon
, and it was proved, by physiological facts, that he was not possessed of Indian blood.
His complexion was dark, but his hair was curly.
The claims of Mr. Williams
to identity with the dauphin of France
were not put forth by himself, but by others.
In Putnam's monthly magazine
(1853-54), Rev. Mr. Hanson
published a series of papers under the title Have we a Bourbon among us
and afterwards published them in book form and entitled the volume The lost Prince
. Mr. Hanson
fortified the claim to identity by most remarkable facts and coincidences.
In 1854 the Prince de Joinville
, heir to the throne of Louis Philippe
, visited Mr. Williams
at Green Bay, Wis.
The accounts of the interview, as given by the clergyman and the deeply interested prince, differed widely.
The world was incredulous; the words of a prince outweighed those of a poor Episcopal clergyman, and the public judgment was against the latter.
died in Hogansburg, N. Y.
, Aug. 28, 1858, aged about seventy-two years. He translated the Book of common prayer
into the Mohawk
He also prepared an Iroquois spelling-book, and a life of Thomas Williams
, his reputed father.