Page:The parochial history of Cornwall.djvu/110

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Lordship and the Duke of Hamilton; so fatal to them both.

His second wife was the widow of Colonel Griffin, of the Green Cloth, by whom he had not any issue. His sister died before him unmarried.


Boconnoc is universally allowed to be the finest seat in Cornwall. The house stands on an elevation near the union of two valleys, each rendered interesting, beautiful, and picturesque by streams of water flowing through uneven gronnd, and by native woods of beech and oak, rivalling the trees of our most favoured inland counties, although these vallies originate in wild tracts of land where not a stunted shrub is to be seen.

Mr. Thomas Pitt, although remotely descended from a good family, is said to have been the son of a person concerned in trade at Brentford. He must have gone to India at a time when some merchant adventurers, wholly unconscious of impending events, were engaged in laying the foundation of an Empire so vast as to exceed in the number of its subjects even the majesty of Rome itself. Mr. Pitt returned to Europe possessed of a diamond, superior, perhaps, in its combination of size and transparency, to any one ever exhibited in the western world. It was offered to Queen Anne, and ultimately sold to the Regent Duke of Orleans for the French nation, at a sum exceeding one hundred thousand pounds.* With about half of this large sum Mr. Pitt acquired the property in Cornwall of the last Lord Mohun, and settled at Boconnoc. He also purchased the burgage tenures, giving the right of franchise at Old Sarum, and represented that place in Parliament.

  • The exact weight of the diamond is said to be 136¾ carats. A carat is equal to 3¼ grains (see the Universal Cambist by Dr. Kelly, vol. i. p. 220, article London). It weighed therefore 433 grains, very nearly nine-tenths of an ounce troy of 480 grains.