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Sketch Of The Life, Personal Appearance, Character And Manners Of Charles S. Stratton, The Man In Miniature, Known As General Tom Thumb, And His Wife, Lavinia Warren Stratton; Including The History Of Their Courtship And Marriage, With Some Account Of Remarkable Dwarfs, Giants, & Other Human Phenomena, Of Ancient And Modern Times, And Songs Given At Their Public Levees
This pamphlet, published to promote the careers of Charles Stratton and Lavinia Warren, was probably written by P.T. Barnum himself. It describes two of the most famous events in the life of Charles Stratton, his meetings as a child with Queen Victoria in 1844 and his wedding to Lavinia Warren almost twenty years later. Not included here is a long list of the wedding presents received by Charles Stratton and Lavinia Warren by the members of New York City’s social elite. Pamphlets like this were an important form of advertising in the nineteenth century, and this one could be bought as a souvenir by audiences who came to see Stratton and Warren perform in venues around the world.
The Queen, at parting, handed him an elegant and costly gift. These precedents made the General the rage of London society. At the Queen Dowager Adelaide's palace, he was presented by her own hand with a dainty gold watch and chain, made expressly for his use. His Grace the Duke of Devonshire sent him a jeweled gold snuff-box, and, in fact, the nobility of England vied with one another in marks of favor, He also appeared in a play called "Hop o' my Thumb," written for him by the noted Albert Smith. Traversing England, Scotland, and Ireland, the little General proceeded to Paris. King Louis Philippe invited him to the Tuilleries, where the Royal Family feted and caressed him, making him many gifts. The excitable French nation thronged to behold this darling of Nature's handiwork, and his dramatic performance were wonderfully successful. After visiting the principal cities of France, he returned with Mr. Barnum to America his European reputation here attracting double numbers to his exhibitions. After a short sojourn at home, the General started on a triumphant tour of the United States, and in every one of the larger cities where he appeared, alike astonishing and delighting his audiences. He also visited Havana. In 1850, he made another trip with Barnum's Museum and Menagerie. Since the death of his father, in 1855, the General has traveled bravely "on his own hook," and in several characters showed much histrionic ability. His last great hit was in the role of Tom Tit, the comic negro boy in Mrs. H. B. Stowe's work, "Dred: a tale of the Dismal Swamp."
GENERAL TOM THUMB while living at Bridgeport, Connecticut, personally attends to his comfortable estate, leases his houses, collects his rents, and transacts all his own business, like other men. He keeps his yacht and his horses, carries firearms, made, of course, expressly for him, and when out West in 1861, shot several deer. The following item from the Bridgeport Standard of October 1862, shows that the general was anxiously looking for a suitable wife:
"A few months since the little General was made a Freemason. He has already taken three degrees, and expresses a determination to ascend the mystic ladder until he has reached the top round. Although General Tom Thumb has always lead a life of excitement, and twice, after retiring to private life, has felt compelled to exhibit himself again, to keep off the ennui, he remarked to the writer of this article last week, while quietly twirling his elegant little moustache, of which he seems quite proud, that he hoped one of these days to get married, 'in which event,' he added, with a roguish look, 'I guess that the cares of a family, added to my ordinary duties, will give me enough to occupy my attention, and prevent the necessity of again seeking the excitement of a traveling exhibition!'"
THE WARRENS AT HOME AND ABROAD.
THE name of WARREN has been rendered illustrious, in England and America, by the remarkable talents and peculiar traits of character that have distinguished noticeable men on both sides of the Atlantic. SAMUEL WARREN, D.C.L., attained great eminence in his profession, and was elected a member of Parliament in 1856. He is the author of "Ten Thousand a Year," and other popular works. The WARRENS of America occupy conspicuous positions in our country's history, and among them we mention JAMES WARREN, JOHN WARREN, and General JOSEPH WARREN, who, unwilling to leave the scene of conflict, during the battle of Bunker Hill, fell amid the storm of fire, exclaiming, " Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori."
MISS LAVINIA WARREN.
MISS LAVINIA WARREN was born, October 31, 1842, in Middleboro', Mass., where her parents, who are in comfortable circumstances, now reside. She has four brothers: one in the army, one in Utah, and two are living with their parents. She has also three sisters, two of whom are married they are all of the ordinary size, except the youngest, named Minnie, born June 8, 1846, who is even smaller than Lavinia, and a bright and beautiful young lady.
Until Lavinia was a year old, she was of the usual size; from that time she increased in stature slowly, and ceased growing entirely when she was ten years of age. She attended school regularly with other children in the neighborhood, and found no difficulty whatever in keeping up with them in the classes she attended. At home, her good mother taught her how to sew, knit, cook, and do all manner of housework, so that she is really a good housekeeper. She also has a knowledge of fancy work, practiced by ladies who have the leisure to devote themselves to it. She is, in a word, an accomplished lady -- intelligent, pleasant, modest, and agreeable. Although she has only the stature of a small child, she has the sense of a woman. She speaks like an educated, full-grown woman, and selects such topics of conversation as a mature woman would select. She taught school for several months in her native town. Her size is that of a child, her language that of an adult. She is a woman in miniature, weighing twenty-nine pounds, and measuring thirty-two inches in height. The reader may choose from his lady acquaintances a sparkling woman, with dark hair and black eyes, symmetrical figure and soft voice, and, in his imagination, reduce her to the dimensions above named, leaving her mental and moral faculties fully expanded, and he will have an idea of this charming little woman; or, he may reverse the picture, and select a child of perfect mold, with a finely-arched brow, dimpled cheeks, large, lustrous eyes, a nicely-chiseled mouth, a rich harvest of hair, and suddenly endow her with all the attributes and accomplishments of womanhood -- a heart to love, a head to contrive, and a hand to execute -- giving her wit, imagination, humor, judgment, &c. He may fancy such a child using elegant language -- appreciating music, poetry, eloquence, painting, and statuary -- traveling unattended (as she has done, from Boston to Buffalo), going through the streets shopping -- waltzing in the ball-room -- singing sentimental and patriotic songs -- writing letters to friends -- keeping a journal, etc. When this little lady stopped at the St. Nicholas Hotel, she was visited by many hundreds of the elite and literati New York; and, although she is naturally diffident and retiring, she never failed to interest her visitors, and leave upon their minds a favorable impression, constantly bringing to their recollection the old proverb, that "Nature puts up her choice materials in small parcels."