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Williams, Eleazar -1795

The “lost prince.” A dark mystery shrouds the fate of the eldest son of Louis XVI. of France 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

Eleazar Williams.

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 in 1814. Joining the Protestant Episcopal Church, after the war, he was for a long time a missionary, or lay-reader, among the [386] Oneida Indians, 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. Mr. Williams died in Hogansburg, N. Y., Aug. 28, 1858, aged about seventy-two years. He translated the Book of common prayer into the Mohawk language. He also prepared an Iroquois spelling-book, and a life of Thomas Williams, his reputed father.

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