Vigne, Godfrey Thomas (DNB00)

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VIGNE, GODFREY THOMAS (1801–1863), traveller, eldest son of Thomas Vigne of Walthamstow, Essex, was born in 1801. He entered Harrow school in 1817, and was admitted a student of Lincoln's Inn on 23 Dec. 1818. He was called to the bar in 1824. In 1831 he travelled in the United States of America, visiting New York, Washington, and Cincinnati, and thence proceeded down the St. Lawrence to Quebec. He published an account of his journey in 1832, entitled ‘Six Months in America,’ London, 8vo. In the same year he left Southampton for India, on 16 Oct., and, after passing through Persia, spent the next seven years in excursions to the regions to the north-west of India. In these journeys he visited Kashmir, Ladak, and other parts of Central Asia, besides travelling through Afghanistan, where he had several interviews with the amir, Dost Mohammed. He gave the results of his travels in ‘A Personal Narrative of a Visit to Ghuzni, Kabul, and Afghanistan,’ London, 1840, 8vo, and in ‘Travels in Kashmir,’ London, 1842, 8vo. His books give a valuable view of Northern and Western India immediately before the establishment of the British supremacy.

In 1852 and the following years Vigne visited the West Indies, Mexico, and Nicaragua, and passed northwards through New Orleans to New York. In Nicaragua he encountered the filibusters and made the acquaintance of General Walker, of whom he gives a vivid sketch. He died at the Oaks, Woodford, Essex, on 12 July 1863, while preparing an account of his most recent travels for the press. They appeared in the same year under the title ‘Travels in Mexico and South America,’ London, 8vo. Vigne was neither ‘a professional author nor a commissioned tourist.’ He travelled for amusement, saw much, and was assisted in his observations by the possession of some knowledge of science.

[Vigne's Works; Gent. Mag. 1863, ii. 250; Harrow School Reg. 1801–93, p. 50; Records of Lincoln's Inn, ii. 79.]

E. I. C.