Tth Life and Adventures of Joseph Emin




[Sir Joseph Yorke - Mr. Mitchell - Frederick of Prussia - his reception of Emin - Frederick’s consideration for his soldiers - Dangers of riding with royalty in the dark - Frederick’s kindness to an old German - After the levée - Mr. Mitchell’s report and his orders to Emin - No fighting for Emin - At Munster - At the Hague - General Yorke again - Return to London. ]

Note on Sir Andrew Mitchell – Correspondence - Emin’s letter to Mrs. Montagu describing Frederick of Prussia - To Lord Lyttelton - Extracts from Mrs. Montagu’s letters.

Narrative resumed (Lady Yarmouth - Emin received by Mr. Pitt. ]


Hagu the 8 th August 1758 8 o Clock


Just eight days I rimained at Harwich on account of the Contrary Wind, at last arrived here with a pleasent voyage. On my attending General York, it was agreed that I should go to my Brother King of Prussia, now madam I am going, farewell my most beloved Queen, pray for your Slave, that he may return safe and put you on The Throne of Persia. You shall set on his right Hand, as he made you get up from your Chair, and stood at his right, I am the same man and will fullfill what I foretell.

If you assist your Slave any way, (according to your Command) my Lady Anson will put you in the way, by writing only to her Brother, and will remitt it to me, but not now madam, a month hence will be time enough.

Forgive me I cannot write a long Letter we are setting out immediately, first to Prince of Ferdinands, then to the King of Prussia, I will be happy if I find Grace in his Favour, and if not, I care not, remember me to M r Montagu and to D r Monsey, and to all inquiring Friends.

I have the Honour madam to be your faithfull Slave & servant


[ On the back of the letter. ]

To Mrs. Montagu in Hill Street

Berkly Square


To be forwarded to her any Part

of England.

When Emin got the money by his father’s order from Mr. Davis, his Royal Highness then had laid down the command of the army, which lord Ligonier took up, having before signified to the duke of Marlborough, his refusal to take any volunteer with him. The duke of Northumberland, approving Emin’s new plan of going into the Prussian army, he lost no time, but set out with a courier for Harwich, thence to Helvoetsluys, and then to the Hague. He there waited on Sir Joseph (or General) Yorke, at that time plenipotentiary, with a letter from his sister the late good lady Anson, recommending him very kindly. This noble gentleman received Emin with the utmost politeness, and offered to give him any sum of money he should want; but he did not accept of it. Sir Joseph entertained him three days at his table, and furnished him with a letter of recommendation to Mr. Mitchel, which made him more happy than he ever was before, since he assured himself of reaping great fame, or falling in an action like a soldier. He, in company with the courier, in open hard waggons, travelled from stage to stage for a fortnight, before he could find the hero’s army; till one morning early, two hours before sun-rise, he met the king on horseback, at the head of his army on a march; who no sooner saw the waggon, with two persons in it, than he asked Mr. Mitchel in French, who was the second person with the courier? The ambassador said to the author, "His majesty asks who you are?" Emin answered, "I am a man. " "What sort of a man?" said he, "what is your name?" "My name, " he replied, "is Emin: I am an Armenian. " Then the king said, "Is he the man that the duke of Cumberland has patronized ?" Being answered in the affirmative – "Ask him, Mr. Mitchel, " said the king, "if he does not know my orders, that a volunteer is not to be admitted into my army?" He said to Mr. Mitchel, "Yes; but he hopes his majesty when he graciously considers how many months by sea and land he was come to spill his blood in his most glorious majesty’s service under the hoof of his horse, he would have no objection to the boldness of the liberty taken. " His majesty said "Ma foi, c’est un brave garçon, je souhaite qu’il y fut dix-mille hommes de la même disposition que lui; " that is, Upon my faith, it is an honest fellow: I wish there were ten thousand men of the same inclination with him. He then asked, through Mr. Mitchel, "where is your equipage?" Emin answered, "In that portmanteau, " which weighed hardly eight pounds; containing half a dozen of shirts, as many pair of stockings, with a pair of spare boots, and a coarse checkered linen bag, proportionable in length and breadth, to be stuffed on occasion with straw at night for his bed, while he covered himself with his cloak. This management pleased his Prussian majesty more than if he really had ten thousand mountaineers of Armenia with him. A young English gentlemen, named, Mr. Cox, a near relation to lady Anson, had laid out near 2000 l. sterling, in an equipage, with proper letters of recommendation, to serve as a volunteer in his majesty’s army; but, at the distance of two hundred miles, his majesty being apprized of his coming, sent a trumpeter to prevent his proceeding further. The author recollects the poor gentleman, and the ardour he had for a military life; and thinks, he was killed either in the expedition to Cherburg, or in the battle of Minden.

When this conversation past between his majesty, the ambassador and Emin, the king ordered Mr. Mitchel’s led horse to be mounted by the author, not forgetting to say all this while the whole army were upon halt. Then his majesty conferred the honour upon him, just as he was going to put his foot in the stirrup, of saying, "Montez prince des Armeniens. " This appellation, though pronounced in a grave tone of voice, yet the author never felt in his mind an inclination to be in the least proud of it; he only thanked his Maker, who did not let him drop to pieces in his past hardships and adversity, but preserved him to be taken proper notice of by the princes of the world. The writer begs leave to inform the kind reader, that he is not vain in himself, nor dares to think himself worthy of that title conferred in jest; and even if it had been in earnest, it would have been a matter of indifference to him; for when he was honoured with riding with the king, almost tête-a-tête, from twelve at night to eight or nine the next morning; he observed most studiously, that several times when the king rode up to the soldiers left behind, out of the way of the army’s march, to recover from a little fainting sickness, he spoke to them in a very familiar manner. Those of the same age with his majesty, he called his brothers; and if younger than himself, he said my son; and if a little older, my father. As he used to carry a pint flat-bottle of brandy in his coat pocket, he made them welcome to it, giving each a sip, and pouring with his own hands into theirs, exactly a small glass full; he kept the rest sparingly, lest there should be more in the way who might want it. The author likewise observed, that many of the soldiers supposed his majesty to be one of the officers, not knowing him personally; he took care to make himself known to them, and no sooner had he told them that he was Frederick the king, than the poor men got up through joy, pulled off their hats, ran instead of marching as fast as they could, as if they had never been sick, and joined their respective corps. Therefore, it is not surprising, that a prince of remarkable humanity, should heal, by a single expression, the wounded heart of an honest man. This was the way of his Prussian majesty, every morning on a precipitate march; and it afforded ample satisfaction to Emin’s wandering mind, to see a mighty prince in various stations of life; sometimes a father, at another time a brother; sometimes a physician, then a nurse, to his subjects; which conduct many princes in the West, and more in the East, may hear with admiration and be ashamed, more particularly some Indian or Armenian Banians, who become insupportable when they are in good circumstances, thinking themselves worthy to be worshipped as gods, like Alexander the Great, when he was told by the priests in Persia, that he was the son of Jupiter. Whoever has not seen his majesty in person, and knows him by hearsay only, will form a different idea of him; as a great author in Europe used to plague him by writing and publishing books against him: but that author’s nation are equally envious with the Persians in the East; who chuse death, rather than hear of their neighbour’s prosperity. As Emin is neither of one nation nor of the other, and has not learning enough to treat upon the subject, his impartial good friends will easily understand his rough way of expressing himself, and that he has not travelled in Europe like a blind-man.

While the king of Prussia was in alliance with the French, they thinking to make a fool of him, though against their secret will, raised him to the stars. But when for the interest of his country he changed the confederacy, he was no more a darling with them. The late old writer embraced the opportunity with his natural fund of satirical wit, and exerted himself to the utmost to load his works with sarcasms; and had the king of Prussia been a warrior only, like Charles XII. of Sweden, and not a learned man, M. de Voltaire would have written his history in an hundred volumes but as he was not only a king, but father to his country, and did every thing in his power to make it flourish, it is natural to suppose he will be envied; and those who envy one another, are excusable; for it is in the natural disposition of mankind to be envious: even the ancient holy fathers of the church, as we see by their books, are brimful of envy; and how is it possible that laymen should abstain from it? Therefore, good readers, nothing is perfect in this world composed of four elements. God, who is above us all, alone is perfect.

On the third day of the army’s marching, the wandering author’s horse, whinnying, started at something in the dark, about three in the morning, when he was riding on the left hand of the king. He justled the king with such force, that he was very near oversetting the hero and his horse in a deep ditch to his right. Emin, frightened at the accident, spurred his horse on to about fifty yards distance. His majesty with difficulty preserved himself from falling, and called to Emin, saying, "Come back; no harm is done. "

When the army encamped near Frankfort upon Oder, Mr. Mitchel took him to the levee, which proved the first and last time of his being admitted, though he had the honour of riding with his majesty. The king stood in the street surrounded by his generals when Emin and his friend Mr. Mitchel went in, and stood at the extent of the circle made by them. They saw an elderly German standing behind those stately officers, and endeavouring to force himself between them to see the king; but to his mortification he was pushed back by them, so that he could not come near. The poor man did not in the least seem to be discouraged; but, the sweat running down his face, still persisted, and would push in notwithstanding their being angry, so that it became at last a direct contest between the general officers and the poor farmer. When the king took notice of it, he seemed to be displeased with his officers, told them to make way for the man to come in to the king, and asked him what he wanted? He answered, that "he had heard the name of the king, but never saw him: he wanted nothing; but only longed with all his heart to see him who fought battles in person to defend his poor subjects. " Uttering these words, he went to prostrate himself upon the ground to kiss the king’s feet. His humane majesty caught the man in his arms, and embraced him like a tender father. With tears trickling down his cheeks, and lifting up his hands to heaven, pronounced these words: "O great God! all the whole powers of Europe are united to crush us: preserve and defend thy people!" The generals, in the mean time, being affected, wept like children. The king spoke to the man with all the kindness imaginable, and said "Now, my father, you are satisfied; you have what you have wished for: what am I to expect in return from you? We are at war: of what use will you be to me?" The honest German said, that he had seven sons, all soldiers in the army, ready to fight for his majesty and himself to pray for the success of his arms; which answer much pleased tile king; and then he went away with joy, perhaps equally contented as Emin was, when in Calcutta he kissed a hundred times the feet of the captain who granted him a note to be received on board the ship.

When this remarkable scene was over, the king whispered his usual orders to the generals, and, coming up to the end of the circle stood looking Emin full in the face for ten minutes, surveying him from head to foot; then turning himself towards the officers, he stood five minutes more by the young Armenian soldier. No sooner had he moved to the middle of the place, than Mr. Mitchel winked at Emin, who made a bow and withdrew. Not an hour and a half after he was in the quarters, Mr. Mitchel himself entered and ordered dinner, wishing Emin joy, and saying, "When you were gone away from the levee, the king spoke to all the generals to take notice of you, and treat you politely: he recommended you strongly to general Sedlytz, to be under his command intirely: he will be watchful to see how you behave in an action, which may be the means of promotion. He expressed himself very warmly to them, saying, it is the most extraordinary instance of the kind known before, for an Armenian to emigrate from the East to Europe, to improve himself in the art of war. He ordered an allowance for you, a ducat a day, kitchen furniture, three horses, one for you to mount, the second to be led, the third for a servant to ride near you at hand, always ready in case of an accident. I find you will see hot work: he is going to fight the Russian army. His majesty has also favoured you with a covered chaise to carry your insignificant portmanteau, which he first saw in the cart with our courier: its smallness alone made him take such notice of it, and confer on you so great an honour. But still, my friend, you must leave this place and the king’s army immediately after you have dined, and set out, proceeding to our army commanded by prince Ferdinand in the Hanoverian territory: and I must not have you hesitate, nor say any more about it: as it is my order, you are to obey. " The first joyful happy news was disagreeably followed by the woeful sentence which Mr. Mitchel passed, dashing against each other with equal violence, and resembling two monsoons meeting, which, when united, form a terrible storm, able to overset the strongest ship, or the loftiest towers. This deprived Emin of a noble alternative, either to meet an honourable death in the field of battle, or to reap the fruit of reputation. Yet this usage he suffered with patience from that honourable gentleman: and to satisfy the mind of the good reader that he bore it with fortitude, and did not in the least despair, he took his leave of Mr. Mitchel, and went away.

After several days travelling, he reached the English army in the bishopric of Munster, and waited on the late duke of Marlborough, who gave him a horse without a saddle, and recommended him to general Schulenburg. The campaign was over, and nothing more to be seen. He set out thence, stopped in his way at the Hague, and waited on general Yorke, who expressed great surprize at Mr. Mitchel’s treatment, and said, He was very sorry he did not write directly to the king in Emin’s favour, by which means he might have remained there to see service, and to satisfy his inclination. His Excellency treated him with all manner of politeness, entertained him five days, and favoured him with a letter seated and directed to his banker, an English merchant, in Amsterdam. When the contents of the writing were read, the gentleman said, "Sir Joseph Yorke has been pleased to order me to supply you with a great sum of money. " Emin wrote immediately to his Excellency, and thanked him, without accepting any of it. Then he went thence, crossed the Channel, arrived again in London, where he recalled to mind five long years’ hunger and thirst, and took his lodging in Pall Mall.

( From Bisset’s Memoirs of Sir Andrew Mitchell, 1850. )

SIR ANDREW MITCHELL, K. B. (1708-1771). In 1742 he was appointed Under Secretary of State for Scotland and entered the House of Commons in 1747 for the county of Aberdeen. In 1756 he was appointed envoy to the King of Prussia.

George II. commanded Mitchell to beg that the King of Prussia will grant him (Mitchell) permission to attend him in his campaigns. By the express orders of the King his master, Mitchell (vol. i. p. 204) accompanied Frederic in all his campaigns, and was by his side throughout the whole of some of his hottest and hardest fought battles (as, for instance, the sanguinary battle of Zorndorff, in which to use his own words, the balls fell around them like a shower of hail), and, though a civilian, saw more of the realities of war on its largest scale than many a man who has written himself Field-Marshall (vol. i, p. 94).

In 1764 Mitchell went to England where he remained upwards of a year. In 1765 he was made a Knight of the Bath; in the spring of 1766 he returned to Berlin and died there, January 1771 (vol. ii, pp. 358, 360).

Mr., afterwards Sir James Harris, who succeeded him, was created Earl of Malmesbury, while he who did and suffered what no English ambassador did and suffered before or since, died Sir Andrew Mitchell, Knight of the Bath.

On August 22, 1758, Lord Lyttelton writing to Mrs. Montagu alludes to the estate full of coal, copper, and other mines lately inherited by her husband – "I suppose this will find you . . . . got down to the bottom of your mines . . . . Since the time that Proserpina was carried by her husband to his Stygian empire, the infernal regions have not seen such a charming goddess. But is it sure they will let you return again to day light? Upon my word I think you are in some danger since the Habeas Corpus Bill was thrown out . . . . Yet I verily think Baron Smith will release you in spite of them all, and even if he should fail, you have still a resource, Emin shall come back and deliver you from the shades as Hercules did Alcestis. " ( Letters of Elizabeth Montagu, Climenson. )

Sept. 9, 1758, Lord Lyttelton writes congratulating Mrs. Montagu on the King of Prussia’s "most glorious success, (the victory of Zorndorff, August 25) but I am in pain till I hear what has become of Emin. "

On Sept. 9, Emin wrote to Mrs. Montagu from the Duke of Marlbroough’s Quarters, "whither, " writes Mrs. Climenson "he had retired disconsolate at not being allowed to fight in the battle by General Yorke, Lady Anson’s brother, to whom he had been recommended by her. Emin wished he had a letter to the King, and was furious at General Yorke’s forbidding him to fight; probably the General was too anxious for his safety. " But, according to what Emin says in his book, it was Mr. Mitchell who would not allow him to fight, saying, "as it is my order, you are to obey, " in spite of all that Frederick wished to do for him.

To my great disappointment, I have not succeeded in securing this letter, historically one of the most interesting of Emin’s letters. Some time ago Mrs. Climenson disposed of it to Sir Herbert Raphael, who gave it away to someone - but to whom he could not tell me, so that I have been unable to trace it any further. I can only quote what Mrs. Climenson says – "The following description of the King of Prussia is so interesting I insert it, the whole letter to Mrs. Montagu, a folio sheet closely written, being too long. "

I will do my endeavour to describe the King of Prussia’s person and his way of living. He is no taller than Emin the Persian, he has a short neck, he has one of the finest made heads ever I saw in my life, with a noble forehead; he wears a false wigg, he has very handsome nose. His eyes are grey, sharp and lively, ready to pearce one through and through. He likes a man that looks him in the face when he is talking to him. He is well made every where, with a bend back, not stupid ( sic stooped?) at all, like many Europeans. His voice is the sweetest and clearest ever I heard. He takes a great quantity of Spanish snuff, from his nose down to the buckles of his shoes or boots is all painted with that confounded stuff. His hands are as red as paint, as if he was a painter, grizy all over. He dines commonly between twelve and one, and drinks a bottle of wine at his dinner. I was told that he was very unhealthy in the time of peace, but since this war he has grown healthy, and left off drinking a great quantity of coffee, which he did formerly. All the satisfaction that I have, which is great enough that I have seen Caesar alive, nay twenty times greater, he is more like King Solomon, for he rules his nation by wisdom and understanding . . . . His armies are not only disciplined to the use of arms, but very religious, and say their prayers three times a day; it is never neglected, even when they are on the march.

Emin winds up with a message of apology to Mr. Burke for not having written to him from want of time. ( Letters of Elizabeth Montagu. )

Discussing his own personal appearance with his reader, Henri de Catt, Frederick said to him, "My hat matches the rest of my clothing; it all looks well worn and old, and I like it a hundred times better than if it were new. I hold neither for ostentation, show, nor vanity; that is how I am, sir, and you must take me as I am. One thing might be better, and that is my face, which is always daubed with Spanish snuff. This is an abominable habit which I have contracted; and you must confess that I have somewhat of a swinish air-confess now. "

"I confess Sire, that your face, as well as your uniform, is very much covered with snuff. "

"Eh, Sir, that is what I call being a little swinish. When my good mother was alive, I was cleaner, or, to speak more exactly, less unclean. My affectionate mother used to have made for me every year a dozen shirts with pretty ruffles which she used to send to me wherever I might be. Since the irreparable loss of her which I have suffered, nobody has taken any care of me; but let us not touch that chord. " ( Frederick the Great, Memoirs of his reader, Henri de Catt, 1758-1760. )


( Sep. 11 1758 )

My dearest Lord

I am vexed at Heart that I cou’d not have the Honor to write this Letter from the Army of the King of Prussia, with an Account of the Glorious Battle and of Victory over the Russians of Castrin, than of hence, where I am doing nothing by idling away my time. I believe I have traveled so wisely to go, and to be in that Battle, when I heard at Hagu that the Russians were coming to Prussian Country, as the King of Prussia marched from the Seige of Almutz to the releive of his Country, but I was unlucky enough not to be permitted to be in the Battle, where I might seen, and learn some Knowledge; besides the Honour which is do to me after going through so much Fitigu, not only impoverishing myself, but very near killed without Steep, or Rest. a ll the way from Hagu to Silicia. I have no Complain to make of His Prussian Majesty, for he was very gracious to me, in leting me march with him 4 days at the Head of his Noble Army, but of some body else, which M rs Montagu will inform your Lordship of it. For it is needles for me to say more, and your Lordship Trouble to read. But if you be desirious to know of my Present Situation here, is miserable, and disagreeable enough. I rather be (the few Months that I am to remain in Europe) with your Lordship, than here doing nothing like a Vagabond. Tho His Grace is very kind to me but my good Lord, that will never teach me to learn the Art of War. I never was so comfortless, as since I left my Friends. I am resolved to return, if I am not detatched to some Corps in few days time. I might if I had money of any own. It is just enough to keep me alive, and no more to spare to buy me a Horse.

Our army is near enough to shake hands with the Enemy, but there is no Talk of a Battle yet, and shou’d I be so happy to see one, while remain here, I wou’d take upon me to give your Lordship as good account, as I can. Prince Ferdinande was here about some days ago, who without any Bodies Interest took a very great Notice of me. His Highness had another Letter with the particulars of the Battle of Custrin from the King of Prussia; that after the Battle they found twenty six Thowsand Russians killed in the Field, and hundred and sixty Cannons taken with four or fife General Officers. The Loss of the Prussians was but six hundred, and about as many wounded. This was a great Stroke, but realy my Lord I think I have been used barbarously not to have some little share of it. Had not I been a Christian belive me I wou’d cut the Head of the man off who prevented me. I trie and use all the means to forget it, but is imposible. I am ready to burst in Two, and shall remain unhappy till I receive a Letter of Consolation either from you, or from my Magnanimus Queen of the East, Glory of the World. Then I may comfort my poor self a little, otherwise I can’t. My best Respects to my Lady to M rs & Miss Lyttleton. I am with the utmost Gratitude, and Veneration

My dear dear Lord

Your Lordships

Most Obed t most gratefull obliged humble Servant


Marvel at the Duke of Marlbroughs Quarter

in the Bishoprick of Munster Sep r 11 th 1758

P. S. If you Honour me with a Letter send it to my D r

Monsey and he will convey it to me.

On Dec. 2 Mrs. Montagu writes to her husband,

"Emin is come home, he has a great loss of the Duke of Marlborough who called him his Lion, and kept him always with him. He has been a sort of aide-de-camp to Count Schullenburg; he has lately been in Holland, where the Armenians have promised to assist his schemes. Lady Yarmouth has him with her in a morning, and promises him her interest with a very great man, Lord Northumberland, Lord Anson, and General York are to be his advocates with Mr. Pitt. He is an astonishing creature to take thus with all kinds of people. He hopes to go home in January in a sort of public character. He is full of anecdotes of the King of Prussia. He says his eyes and forehead are just like mine, and he is as particular in his description of him as a portrait painter would be. He marched with him seven days; the Prussian Hero is as easy and familiar as a private man, knowing his character will give him more respect than his rank; it is not advisable in general for Princes to lay aside their rank lest they should not otherwise gain respect, but a truly great man is above all respect that is not personal. "

In the "Letters, " vol. ii, p. 241, Mrs. Climenson writes, "not only did he think Mrs. Montagu equal in cleverness to Frederick the Great, but he considered her forehead and eyes like his, to the great indignation of Lord Bath and Dr. Monsey, who pronounced it impossible she should resemble so blood-thirsty a character. "

The next morning he waited on the late lady Yarmouth, with a letter from her dear son count Walmoden, commissary-general in the Hanoverian army. After some compliments passed, her ladyship said in French, "what is your desire? Why did not you accept my son’s purse of a hundred ducats which, when you took leave of him early in the morning, he offered you in our army at his quarters? You have had nothing in all the campaign for your pains. " He thanked her ladyship, and said, he wanted for nothing but her interest in his favour, that he might see the late Lord Chatham (at that time Mr. Pitt), who had made a point to make himself inaccessible to Emin. She said to him, "Go home, and I will speak to his majesty who will directly request Mr. Pitt to see you. " No sooner was he in his habitation, than a servant was sent by Mr. Pitt, for Emin to go to him. He went to his lordship, who lived then in St. James’s Square. He there saw the great Mr. Pitt, who ran and took him in his arms, and said, "Well done, my friend! upon my honour I declined giving you an audience, on purpose to discover if you had art enough to find a way to see me. I have spoke of you both to my sister Mary, and your good friend Mrs. Montague. When you came to my house, I ordered my servant to say that I could not see you, which disobliged them both; but I told them my reasons, and that I did it with a design. Now I find you were awake, and at last you have succeeded, and I hope you will succeed in every thing you undertake; and from this moment I will regard you equally with your other friends. I am ordered by his majesty to let you know, that he is graciously pleased with your conduct in his army, which count Walmoden has given a particular account of; and his majesty has commanded me to inform you, that you may have your choice of two things; either to be honoured with a commission in his army, or to have one in Bengal, where your father and friends are. " Emin returned his humble thanks, saying, He had what he wanted, which was the honour of seeing him. He then took leave, and went away with infinite satisfaction. And this circumstance made more noise than the reception of the king of Prussia. His majesty did not fail even to acquaint the late duke and duchess of Northumberland, of wandering Emin’s behaviour in Germany; which he himself thinks but trifling, though his friends commended it, out of mere partiality, for his further encouragement, to make it more easy to push him on, and to pave a way for his honest design; for that reason alone they spread his character every where, to make him a little considerable, well knowing he was as poor as Job; yet he could have subsisted upon little with content, so as not to be an incumbrance to any one of them for their zeal.