Carew, Bamfylde Moore (DNB00)

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

CAREW, BAMFYLDE MOORE (1693–1770?), king of the gipsies, belonged to the Devonshire family, and was born in July 1698, at Bickley, near Tiverton, of which his father was rector for many years. At the age of twelve he was sent to Tiverton school, where for some time he worked hard, but the schoolboys possessed among them a pack of hounds, an one day he, with three companions, followed a deer so far, that the neigbouring farmers came to complain of the damage done. To avoid punishment the youths ran away and join some gipsies. After a year an a half Carew returned for a time, but soon rejoined the gipsies. His career was a long series of swindling and imposture, very ingeniously carried out, occasionally deceiving people who should have known him well. His restless nature then drove him to embark for Newfoundland, where he stopped but a short time, and on his return he pretended to be the mate of a vessel, and eloped with the daughter of a respectable apothecary of Newcastle-on-Tyne, whom he afterwards married.

He continued his course of vagabond roguery for some time, and when Clause Patch, a king, or chief of the gipsies, died, Carew was elected his successor. He was convicted of being an idle vagrant, and sentenced to transported to Maryland. On his arrival he attempted to escape, was captured, and made to wear a heavy iron collar, escaped again, and fell into the hands of some friendly Indians, who relieved him of his collar. He took an early opportunity of leaving his new friends, and got into Pennsylvania. Here he pretended to be a quaker, and as such made his way to Philadelphia, thence to New York, and atterwards to New London, where he embarked for England. He escaped impressment on board a man-of-war by pricking his hands and face, and rubbing in hay salt and gunpowder, so as to simulate small-pox.

After his landing he continued his impostures, found out his wife and daughter, and seems to have wandered into Scotland about 1745, and is said to have accompanied the Pretender to Carlisle and Derby. The record of his life from this time is but a series of frauds and deeeptione, and but little is absolutely known of his career, except that a re1ative, Sir Thomas Carew of Hackern, offered to provide for him if he would give up his wandering life. This he refused to do, but it is believed that he eventually did so after he had gained some rises in the lottery. The date of his death is uncertain. It is generally given, but on no authority, as being in 1770, but ‘T.P.,’ writing from Tiverten, in ‘Notes and Queries,' 2nd series, vol. iv. p. 522, says that he died in 1758.

[The authority ‘for Carew is a book which has appeared in many forms. The first is apparantly The Life and Adventures of B. M. C., quoted Davonshire Stroller and Dogstealer, as noted by himself during his passage to America .... Exon.: printed by the Farleys. for J. Drew. 1745. Lowndes mentions another title. The Accomplished Vagabond or compleat Mumpar, exemplify'd in the bald and artful enterprises and merry pranks of Bampfylde Carew. Oxon. (Exon.?), 1745. An Apology for the Life or Bamfylda. Moore Carew, London, 1149, is described as printed for R. Goadby; a third edition (no date), dated 10 Feb. 1750, contains additional matter attacking Fielding and Tom Jones. An edition of 1768 gives a large folding portrait of Carew. Other editions have been published in various places. One of 1768 is described as by Thomas Price. Timperley's Dictionary of Printers states that the life was written by Robert Goadby; T. P. in Notes and Queries (as above) gives a report that Mrs. Goadby wrote it from Carew's dictation. See Notes and Queries (2nd ser.), iii. 4, iv. 330, 440, 522.]

J. A.