Englishmen in the French Revolution/Appendix D

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Whyte, the Bastille Prisoner.

(See pp. 8-10.)

An article by M. Begis, in the Intermédiaire, April 10, 1889, based on researches among the Bastille papers in the Arsenal Library, clears up all those doubtful questions. James Francis Xavier Whyte, afterwards known as Count Whyte de Malleville, was born at Dublin in 1730. He went over to France, and became first a cornet in the Soubise volunteers, and then a captain in Lally Tollendal's Franco-Irish regiment. In 1767 he married at Paris. In 1781 he was incarcerated at Vincennes, at the instance of his family, on account of mental derangement. In 1784 he was transferred to the Bastille. In March 1789 he was declared interdit, that is to say, deprived of the management of his property. The two court pensioners, whom I conjectured to be his sisters, were evidently his daughters, and the proceedings against him were probably taken for their protection. The day after the fall of the Bastille, Whyte was placed in the asylum at Charenton, on the closing of which he was transferred, July 31, 1795, to another asylum, Petites Maisons. Whyte, while an object of pity, was thus in no way a victim of despotism. Of his six fellow-captives, four were forgers, a fifth was confined for indecency, and the sixth, like Whyte insane, had declared himself an accomplice in the attempted murder of Louis XV.