+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

under the influence of temporary delusion a
few months previously, he one night went out
and buried the money in a field which seemed
to him secure from intrusion. Forgetting the
locality when he recovered his senses, it was
suggested to him by a rumour relating to the
discovery at Tufnell manor. He being able to prove
these facts, and that he had hidden and not
abandoned the treasure, it was restored to him.

Instances have occurred, in which the crown,
the lord of the manor, and the clergyman, have
fought a kind of triangular duel for the possession
of found treasures. Some years ago, the
large sum of four thousand pounds was found
just beneath the surface of a field, near Stanmore.
The money being mostly in foreign gold
coins of the early part of the present century
such as French Louis d'ors and Napoleons, and
Spanish doubloons,—speculation arose touching
the question how such a treasure could have
got into such a spot. The rector's gardener
found the money; the gardener's wife told the
rector's wife; the rector's wife told the rector;
and the rector instituted an inquiry. Some
of the older inhabitants recollected that, about
the year 1815, when the continent was in a
troubled state, a foreigner had come to live at
Stanmore. No one knew anything of him or
from whence he came; the chief fact observed
relating to his sojourn in the village was that
he used often to be seen walking about in one
of the fields. After some time, he left the
place. Two years later, another stranger made
his appearance, and announced that his predecessor
had buried a considerable sum of money
in a field near Stanmore: at the same time
sketching a ground-plan showing the exact
locality where the treasure was buried; that
he had afterwards died; and that his representative
(the new visitor) now wished to
obtain possession of it. As it used to be a
frequent custom, in many countries, and
especially in troubled times, to hide treasure
underground, there seemed nothing absolutely
incredible in this story. The stranger and the
villagers, however, failed in their search; and
the transaction was forgotten until the real finding
brought it once more under notice. It was
supposed that some alteration made in the
field, by the removal of certain trees, had
thrown the searchers on a wrong scent. Be
this as it may, the treasure came to light in
the fulness of time; and then various claimants
appeared. The finders (for a second hoard had
been hit upon, after the gardener's first
discovery) said, " It is our's, for we found it."
The rector said, " It is mine; for it was found
on my glebe." The lord of the manor said,
"It is mine, for it was found on my manor."
The sovereign said, " It is mine; for the found
treasure is of precious metal." Without detailing
the course of the inquiry, and the operation
of the law, suffice it to say that the claim
of the crown was substantiated. If the next
of kin, or the legal heir of the mysterious
stranger, had come forward and proved his
identity, the crown would have waived its
claim: because the property had evidently
been secretly deposited, not abandoned.

Newspaper readers find matters of this kind
frequently recurring. In February of the present
year, two labouring men found three golden
braceletsheavy, supposed to be of ancient
British manufacture, and highly interesting to
the antiquaryunder the surface of the ground
near Chart, in Kent. The men sold the chains,
and were afterwards tried and punished when
the facts became known. On another occasion,
a poor man found a rare collection of old Irish
silver bracelets, and sold them to a silversmith;
all attempts to recover them were rendered
nugatory by the haste with which the buyer
had melted them downelse the antiquaries
would have willingly given much more than
the bullion value for them. On a recent
occasion, a strong-room was being built for
one of the insurance companies in Cannon-street,
and a labourer found among the building
rubbish twenty-nine old guineas and twenty
old shillings of the reign of the Stuarts and
the first three Georges. He got himself into
trouble for retaining treasure which the crown
promptly claimed. A year or two ago, a person
picked up some bank-notes on the floor
outside the counter in another person's shop;
the finder claimed them, and the shopkeeper
claimed them; no other claimant appeared; and
under the particular circumstances of this case
the law decided for the finder. Then there was
the celebrated diamond-ring case. A woman
named Donovan, while sorting rags for a Mr.
Cohen, a rag-merchant, found a diamond-ring
among the frowsy stuff. Out of this, arose a
most knotty series of complications. Mrs. (or
Miss) Donovan claimed the diamond-ring,
because she found it; Mr. Cohen claimed it, because
it was found among his rags; a pawn-broker
claimed it, because he had advanced
money on it, and because he doubted the
finder's claim; a clothier in Houndsditch claimed
it, because a youth in his employ had robbed
him, and had purchased the ring with the
stolen money; and a woman, or " young lady"
claimed it, because the youth had given it to
her. There was much bewilderment as to the
order in which these several claims occurred;
there was a little doubt whether the diamond-ring
produced before the magistrate was the
veritable one which had been found in the rags;
and there was a great deal of a doubtful kind
in the reputation of some of the persons
concerned. After lopping off the claimants one by
one, a police magistrate decided for the finder.
Mrs. (or Miss) Donovan triumphed.




MR. CARTWRIGHT had not forgotten,
before returning to Glenoak, to write to
Mr. Ackland's cousin at Boston, as he
had promised Judge Griffin. That letter
informed Tom Ackland of his cousin's
sudden impatience to leave Glenoak, in