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North America. They were principally of copper, pence
and half-pence. The obverse was a seal, and the legend
round the edge, "Magdalen Island Token, 1815.*'
The reverse, a split cod fish ; the legend, " Success to
the Fishery. One Penny.*'

As soon as a large quantity of these were struck off.
Sir Isaac sailed off with them, packed up in casks, and
took with him a powerful coining press and machinery,
and dies ready engraved, to establish what he called a
little mint for his subjects, to manufacture their coin
for the future, on receiving the rolled copper from
England, and so disposing of the scrap part to the
Americans. All this I arranged for him, agreeably to
his wishes.

On Sir Isaac's return to England, he informed me that
the inhabitants paid him every attention and courtesy,
and were much delighted with the new coin, which Sir
Isaac advanced by way of loans to some of the superiors.

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1815. at a fair interest, and for the expense that he had been
at for their well-doing. They allowed him to institute
a kind of poll tax, a trifle for each to pay annually to
the Committee of Management ; but no sooner had he
left the island, but they broke faith, and, at the water's
edge, shouted out " Fouettez King George, and King
Coffin !'* I have reason to believe that the Admiral never
again went to visit his subjects.

Sir Isaac Coffin was a great favourite with George IV.
He descended from the family of Tristam Coffin, who
settled in America, at Boston. He had a large two-
inch medal engraved to commemorate this event. It
represents, on the obverse, Tristram, in full length,
standing on a plinth, lettered 1642. He wears his hat, a
large double Elizabethan frill, cloak open, and trowsers
tied with large bows at the knees ; also large shoe bows.
The legeml : — " Tristram Coffin, the first of the race
that settled in America." The reverse, four hands
united. Legend: — "Do honour to his name. Be
united.*' He presented the author with a silver-gilt

I had made a medal of both Blucher and Platofi; two
of which, in silver, I sent as presents to the Marquis of
Hertford, as I had occasion to write to him, to know if
the two Prussian Princes, sons of the King of Prussia,
were likely to extend their journey to Birmingham. I
received the following reply : —


" I beg to return you many thanks for two
beautiful medals which you have been so obliging as to
send me.

" The foreign princes, sons of the King of Prussia,

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return this evening from Oxford, and stay in town 1815.
until Tuesday, when they set out to embark at Ports-
mouth. I therefore foresee no probability of their visit-
ing Birmingham.

" I remain, sir,
" Your most obedient servant,

"London, l6th June, 1815.**

At the ever memorable battle of Waterloo, the Mar-
quis of Anglesey had the misfortune to loose a leg, and
he lay at Surbiton, where it was amputated. This acci-
dent created the most profound regret to all loyal
Englishmen. It appeared to me that I might render
him some assistance when he was enabled to leave his
bed. I made a pair of crutches, with sliding silver
tubes, and self-acting springs ; when the three tubes
were drawn out at fiill length, and which was done
with the greatest degree of ease, the crutch was instantly
adapted to a person.five feet eleven inches in height, the
height of the Marquis, and by placing the thumb and
finger upon the springs, the crutch receded and shortened
to two feet eight inches, the proper height to be used
as a walking-cane. The cross-bar was covered with
crimson velvet, and I sent them off as a present to the
Marquis, on the 12th of July, to Surbiton, in the Ne-
therlands. 1 received from the Marquis the following
letter : —

" Surbiton, 21st July, 1815.

"Sir, •

" I beg to express my warm acknowledgements
for your obliging and kind letter. The crutches are not

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1815. yet arrived ; but when they do come, I shall use them
with a grateful recollection of the feeling manner in
which you have offered them to my acceptance.
" I am, Sir,

^^ Your most obedient and obliged servant.

" To Edward Thomason, Esq/*

It appeared to me that a variety of plans would be
used to perpetuate and transmit to posterity the glory of
British valour, and I suggested a bronze column, two
feet in height, as a drawing-room ornament, a tube to
draw out of the column, and filled with medals that
should contain the name of every officer engaged in the
battle. I addressed the following letter to his Grace the
Duke of Wellington : —

" Birmingham, 1st August, 1815.
" My Lord Duke,

" Among the variety of plans which have
been, and may be, suggested to perpetuate and transmit
to posterity the glory of those whose valour and virtue
assisted in that ever-memorable battle of the 18 th June,
it appears to me a medallic history would be very accept-
able, the size of which should be sufficiently extensive to
embrace the name, rank, and regiment, of every officer
who was actually under your Grace's command in the
battle of Waterloo. It probably might consist of from
fifty to one hundred medals. Of this I can be no judge ;
but, whatever may be the number Required, I will not
shrink from the labour requisite to complete the series.

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provided I can only be furnished with the name, rank, 1B15.
and regiment of every officer. I then humbly solicit your
Grace's assistance, so far as to order them to be provided
to me, and I do pledge my honour to your Grace, that,
although the work may be so laborious, it shall be
done in less than six months from the day that I may
receive a list of the names of the officers, &c., for I have
more strength within my manufactory to accomplish this
than auy other individual, and my pride and wishes keep
pace with it.

" I beg to assure your Grace that I contemplate no
emolument, I ask for no patronage, although the dies
may cost me £^000. 1 shall be completely repaid in
having the opportunity of giving my humble aid to the
catalogue of publications to commemorate so glorious an

" I have the honour to remain,

"My Lord Duke,
" Your Grace's very devoted,

" And obedient servant,

"Edward Thomason.
"To Field Marshal the Duke of Wellington.*'

I have not found the Duke's reply to me, but it was
very courteous. The proposal was abandoned from
the difficulty of steering clear of mistakes in names and
numbers, thereby giving umbrage to some one.

In November, 1815, his Majesty's Mint at the Tower
was nearly destroyed by fire. I offered my services in
anything which could be made available at my manufac-
tory as a temporary matter, when I received the fol-
lowing letter : —

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1815 " Mint Office, 11th November, 1815.

" Dear Sir,

" Mr. Wellesley Pole, the Master of the Mint,
has acquainted me with the oflFer you kindly made to
him of rendering any assistance in your power for car-
rying on the public service in the coinage of the moneys,
under the loss and damage the Mint has sustained in its
machinery by the late fire, and I am directed by him to
acknowledge his obligation to you for your ready atten-
tion ; but as he has caused immediate steps to be taken
for resuming the coinage in a temporary manner in a
very short period, it will not be necessary for him to
avail himself of your services.

Mr. Lawson begs that I will mention to you that he will
apprize you as soon as the medals are ready for bronzing,
and he hopes you will put him in the way of using the
light-coloured bronze, which Mr. Pole wishes to be
applied to the medal.

" I hope you will pay me a visit when you come to
town ; I shall be always happy to see you and Mrs.
Thomason. Pray present my best respects to her, and
believe to remain,

'' Dear Sir,

" Very truly yours.


Mr. J. C. Loudon, the author of many works, having
made up his mind to visit Russia, to look into the arch%
tectural buildings at Moscow and at St. Petersburg, and
their landscape gardening, I gave him several letters to

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some friends of mine there. On his return he wrote me 1815.
the following letter : —

" London, 28th Nov., 1815.
"Dear Sir,

'^ I have the pleasure to send you a specimen of
malachite, which, however, is far from heing such as I
expected to have sent you when I proposed doing so,
when last in Birmingham. The fact is, that out of the
l^lh. I left at Moscow to he cut (or rather hroke) and
polished, I only received the rubhish sent you, together
with three or four stones which I am getting set for my
sisters. These fragments show the brittle nature of the
stone, and may be polished in small pieces, like peas or

" I have also sent Pambusoude de Pologne, which I
think I promised to send you ; and I have added two
or three prints of French dresses, to which I would beg
the attention of Mrs. Thomason, as I mean them in
justification of the sentiments I expressed as favourable
to the French dresses as they were in August last, when
I was in France. You will think it odd that I should
send these prints ; but, in truth, I am not willing that
Mrs. Thomason should have had a bad opinion of my
taste on this or on any other subject.

I am sorry that, after promising specimens of mala-
chite, I should be under the necessity of sending such
indifierent pieces. I had flattered myself the mass
would have turned out more advantageously. You will,
however, I trust, accept of them such as they are, and
do me the credit of having been desirous to send you
the best I possibly could.

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1815. << I beg my compliments to Mrs. Thomason and your
son, and

" I remain,

" Dear Sir,
" Your most obedient servant.

" E. Thomason, Esq/*

In December I received from the Austrian Ambas-
sador a letter to recommend to my best attention the
Baron de Pellendorff and the Baron de Knoro ; and, on
their leaving Birmingham, they sent me the following
flattering letter : —

Jf JMrt>n) iU ^^«^^»^etle Baron Knoro

s'empressent d'exprimer ^ Monsieur Edward Thomason
leurs vive reconnoisance pour toutes les complaisances et
politesses dont il a voulu leurs rendre le sejour de Bir-
mingham agr^able et instructive. Us garderont toujours
un douce souvenir de Taccueil prevenant et obligeant
qu*ils ont trouv6 de la part de Monsieur Thomason. lis
s'empresseront ^ leurs arrivee k Londres d*informer leurs
Altesses Imperiales les Archiducs d'Autriche, du desir
de Monsieur Thomason d'etre averti du jour de Parriv^e
de leurs Altesses Imperiales, et de sa proposition com*
plaisante de contribuer st leurs rendre le sejour dans
cette ville agr^able et interessant.

" lis saisissent cette occasion pour exprimer k Mons.
Thomason leurs consideration particuli^re.

** Birmingham, le Ir Decembre, 1815.**

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Having finished the fine die of the Princess Charlotte, 181 6,
struck off on her Royal Highnesses birth-day, I pre-
sented one to the Queen, and received the following
letter from Sir Herbert Taylor : —

" Brighton, Jan. 12, 1816,
« Sir,

'^ Sir Benjamin Bloomfield having desired me
to present to the Queen the medal of the Princess Char-
lotte, which you struck off on the occasion of her Royal
Highness's birth-day, I have been honoured with her
Majesty's commands to return you her thanks for your
attention, and to assure you that both the design and
the execution of the medal have received her entire

" I have the honour to be,


" Your most obedient, humble servant,

Edward Thomason, Esq.'*

About this period I delivered a lecture at the Philo-
sophical Society, in which I exhibited a specimen of the
result of the fusing of basalt, and the peculiar disposi-
tion of the stone to solidity again ; and knowing that
Lord Valentia was possessed of several fine specimens of
lava from Mount Etna, I presented him with a specimen
of what I had fused and solidified. His Lordship, in
reply, sent me the following letter :—
o 2

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1816. " Arley Hall, near Bewdley, Feb. 7*, 1816.

« Sir,

" I felt very much obliged by your specimen of
the fused trap, and the columnar glass, and should be
glad to know the composition of the last. I am a very
bad mineralogist, and a worse chemist, but I could not
but be struck with the resemblance between the specimen
you sent me and several of the lavas, the produce of
Mount Etna. I am sorry to say I have not a specimen
of the basaltic columns of Taci Reale, but I have sent
herewith some varieties of the produce of Etna, which I
think may be interesting to you. My own specimens are
not large, so that I was obliged to be cautious in divi-
ding them.

" I mentioned to you, on a former visit to Birming-
ham, that I had several varieties of Sicilian agate, &c.,
which I found it impossible to get cut in England, and
you seemed to entertain a hope that you could do it. I
therefore send a few specimens at the bottom of the box,
and if you can polish them, I have many more.

^' I also send some specimens of the volcanic glass of
Lipari, and, what is much more rare, the true opsidium
from the Red Sea, which was unknown in modern
Europe till I brought it home in 1806. The latter is
perfectly opaque, the former semi-transparent on the
edges. I think you will like to compare them.

**The other specimens, in paper, of manganese in
calcedony are, I believe, not procurable in England.
They take a most beautiful polish.

** I should recommend to you, if you have not already
read them, the Travels of Spalanzani, who, after col-
lecting all the varieties of lava, submitted them to the
operation of fire, and has given the results.

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•* Should anything lead you into this country, I shall 1816.
be most happy in showing you my collection, and oflFer-
ing you any specimens which I can spare.
" I have the honour to be,

** Yours very faithfully,


Being informed that the artist, P. Tumerelli, had
just finished a marble bust of the Prince of Saxe Coburg,
I wrote to him to know if he would sell me a cast, that
I might make a medal of the Prince. The following
was his reply : —

" 67, Newman Street, London,
April 13th, I8I6.

" In reply to yours of the 11th instant, I must
inform you that, as I have been exclusively favoured
with sittings for a bust of the Prince of Saxe Coburg,
and having been at a great expense in taking it at
Brighton, you cannot be averse to making me an allow-
ance for the privilege of taking a medal from it. Under
such circumstances I will propose either of the following
conditions. That you take a marble bust at ISO guineas;
2d, that you order twelve casts in plaster, at 5 guineas
each ; 3d, that if neither of the above are approved of,
the sum of 25 guineas may be allowed for the use of
the bust to take a medal. On complying with any of
the above conditions, you may order a person, without
loss of time, to either model or make a drawing from it.
I have mentioned terms, both for the marble bust and
casts, considerably under the usual charge I make to

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1816. persons out of business, as my regular charge for busts
of that description in marble is 150 guineas each, and
for casts 8 guineas each. I have orders for nearly 50
busts of Wellington and Blucher» in marble, at 150
guineas each. Should you agree to take the casts, you
may have that number made up of Wellington, Blucher,
and the Prince, without taking all of the same kind,
and I think, on the terms I have mentioned, you may
dispose of them with ease, by exhibiting them in your
show room. The bust of the Prince of Saxe Coburg is
modelled as a General in the Russian uniform, and deco-
rated with several of the principal orders he has had
presented to him.

" I am. Sir,

" Your obedient servant,

" Edward Thomason, Esq.**

Considering Tumerelli*s demand exorbitant, I wrote
to my esteemed friend, the Hon. Mr. Legge, who fre-
quently visited Windsor. He sent me the following
letter in reply: —

"Putney, 15th April, 1816.

" I can assure you I have neither forgot nor
been inattentive to your commission, but have reason to
believe that no profile has yet been taken of Prince
Leopold. I gave your letter, received on Saturday, to
the friend whom I had before employed upon the same
embassy, and who goes to Windsor on Wednesday, where
the said Prince will go the next day ; and if any likeness

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has been, or is immediately likely to be taken, you miay 1816.
depend upon it a copy shall be procured for you as soon
as possible. I strongly suspect that the fear of the ^
treaty being broken off (as on a former occasion) has
been the reason of no picture being yet published.
" fielieve me. Sir,

" Your obedient humble servant.

" Mr. Thomason.*'

In June, I was requested to pay particular attention
to the Prussian] Baron Von Appel, and Dr. Spiker,
librarian to His Majesty the King of Prussia. Dr.
Spiker published his Travels in England, which were
translated, and published by Lackington, from which
I copy the Doctor's remarks respecting my establish-
ment : —

" We next day paid a visit to Mr. Thomason's manu-
factory, the Prussian Vice Consul, who has a very
extensive manufactory. This enterprising man, who, to
his extensive knowledge and inventive genius, unites
the greatest attention and politeness towards strangers,
executes in his house, and under his own inspection, the
greater part of the articles which are known among us
on the Continent by the name of fiirmingham ware. In
one of his show-rooms the small kind of mechanical
articles are exposed to view in handsome glass cases ; in
another, plated and solid silver utensils are arranged in
presses j in another, which is lighted from above, are
vases, statues, and all the larger kinds of metal articles.

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1816. We were surprised with the sight of a great num-
ber of new inventions, combining simplicity with
utility, and calculated to add to the comforts of life.
Mr. Thomason has obtained patents for six or eight of
his inventions. The medals struck by Mr. Thomason
are likewise worthy of notice, such as the series of
Xings, Blucher, Wellington, and other renowned generals,
officers of state, and literary men. Among the larger,
the imitation of Chinese porcelain on japanned tin, and
the large gilt statues of cast iron. The attempt to
imitate the Warwick vase is truly a gigantic undertaking.
The body is already cast, and part of the gilt ornaments
are also finished. In the workshops we saw several ma-
chines of peculiar invention, adapted by Mr. Thomason's
contrivance for making parts of his future inventions
more speedily than could be effected by manual labour,
whereby great savings both of time and labour are

** Mr. Thomason had the goodness to recommend us
to several of the most considerable manufactories, and
sent one of his own clerks with us."

About a fortnight since, ready for the celebration of
the birth-day of the late Mr. Pitt, 28th May, I finished
a very fine medal of Mr. Pitt, with a beautiful historical

This medal having been issued to the Committee of
the Pitt Club, it came, of course, under the cognizance
of Mr. Sainthill, a gentleman well known as possessing
much science and classical taste, also being a professed
antiquarian. He wrote me, on the 11th of June, a
letter upon its allegory and inscription.

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" 70» High Street, Southwark, London, 1816
**June 11th, 1816.


" It haying been mentioned some time since,
by Mr. Young, that you would probably publish a medal
of Mr. Pitt, many (I believe) besides myself, who hold
his memory dear, as an able and patriotic minister, have
looked for its appearance with considerable interest and
expectation, which, in some points, have been much dis-
appointed by the one which has come out, and which I
think will find but few purchasers. I shall keep mine,
as I am much pleased with the bust, which appears to
be a correct resemblance, by NoUekins, and is, in my
opinion, of superior workmanship.

'^Unfortunately, the reverse has faults sufficient to con-
demn any medal. On the first view, we are ofiended by
an inscription in Latin, when the inscription on the
obverse is English. All classical authors lay it down
as a rule absolute, that the inscription on both sides of
a medal should be in the same language, and in this the
highest authorities of this day (Mr. Miles, Mr. Coombe,
&c.) I know are also agreed, and on this medal the
reverse inscription is a continuation of the obverse. It
is, therefore, as improper as if the inscription on his
monument in Westminster Abbey was part English and
part Latin.

** But more serious than even this. You state the date
of Mr. Pitt's birth as being the 8th May, whereas it was
the 28th. A medal is an historical record, and here the
record is erroneous, and the main purport of it worse
than useless, as it will mislead those who trust to it.

"I have, then, tocomplain of the language of the inscrip-
tion. Factus Cancellarius, &c., is an expression excusable

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1816. in a mechanic or a school-boy when speaking, but, as I
conceive, highly improper in writing, and more parti-
cularly so in an inscription. Made Chancellor, &;c.
Hobnails may be mcuie into a gun-barrel, and a bar of
steel into penknives, but an ofScer of state is appointed
to fulfil certain duties. While Mr. Pitt fulfilled those
duties in the Court of Chancery, he was the Chancellor,
but when the King was pleased to dispense with his ser-
vices, he again became a simple individual, which, if he
had been made a Chancellor, of course, would not have
been the case ; and, I believe, that, according to the
genius of the Latin language, the word (whether made
or appointed) should be omitted altogether — it is under-

*^ I may also notice, that many of the letters on the
reverse look rather like those on a cast than a struck

" I make no apology for these observations, for if I
did not feel an interest in your medal, I should not
trouble myself to ofier them to you. A good medal of
Mr. Pitt, I believe, will sell very well ; but I recom-
mend an English reverse ; and, instead of merely re-
cording his youth when he became minister, to pay a
tribute to the characteristics of his administration.
" I remain. Sir,

" Your very obedient servant,

Born the 28th May, 1759.

Who, during an eventful period

Of 20 years.

Guided the Councils of Great Britain

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With unexampled wisdom and fortitude : 1^1^-

And laid the plan of that system of action.

Which has raised her to her present eminence and glory.

Who, though the dispenser

Of all her honours, dignities, and emoluments.

Neither sought nor assumed any to himself.

But died, undignified by titles.

And without the acquisition of that wealth.

Which is so much the object of all human wishes,

23d January, 1806.

*^ The above I began as a reverse for your medal, and
a classical friend has added to it If you think it, or
any part of it, useful, it is much at your service.

"June 11, 1816.''

I succiunbed to his superior attainments, altered the
reverse die in conformity with his opinion, and presented
him with the new medaL See his second letter : —

" 70, High Street, Southwark,
26th July, 1816.

**I have to return you many thanks for
your very obliging letter of the 24th ult, and the present
of your medal of Mr. Pitt. I feel extremely gratified by
the honour you have conferred on the inscription which
I took the liberty of sending you, and I flatter myself
the medal will have an extensive circulation.

" With respect to my expression, * that Mr. Pitt be-
' came a simple individual in society when he was removed
' from his official situation,' I meant — legally and consti^
tutionally — ^when the Sovereign called him to office, he

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1816. was only a commoner of the realm. As on officer of
the Crown, he exercised certain powers ; which powers
vesting in the office, and not in the man, when he quitted
office, he was again placed in the same situation which
he occupied previous to being Minister. This was my
view, and which I alluded to as bearing against the
word made ; in no other respect could Mr. Pitt be con-

Online LibraryQuébec (Province). LegislatureSessional papers → online text (page 6 of 25)