Thursday, October 20, 2011
An Anglo-American Bookplate & A Mystery Plate
|Does anyone out there recognize this mystery plate?|
|Artist's Initials on The Mystery Plate|
Mr.Marsh's silver crest database is also well worth a visit.
|The Article Below Was Written By Stephen Marsh|
I came across a delightful bookplate for a man by the name of Samuel Peach Peach. Initially interested because the crest was not one I could find in the main published directories, I became increasingly intrigued by his repeated surname.
A little research revealed a story that, with shades of Jane Austen, indicated some of the difficulties facing a prominent New York family in the run up to and during the War of Independence. Antique Silver is frequently engraved with armorials and these, often ignored, engravings are the key to unlocking the personal history of the item; which I find more interesting than the mere date and name of the maker.
He had been born Samuel Peach Cruger in 1767, the son of Henry Cruger Jr; who had the probably unique and certainly unrepeatable distinction of having been a Member of both the British Parliament and the New York Senate.
Henry Cruger Jr was born in New York in 1739 within months of his grandfather, John Cruger, taking office as Mayor of the city; a post in which he was to die in 1744. John Cruger had arrived from Northern Europe, possibly Denmark, in 1696 to join a trading firm part owned by a kinsman, becoming a partner in the firm in 1702. Co-incidentally a kinsman of my own, Viscount Cornbury (who had a penchant for cross dressing), was Governor of New York from 1701-08 and allegedly scandalised the colony by opening the New York legislature wearing a dress, with the words “I represent the Queen and in all respects I ought to represent her as faithfully as I can”. Was Mr Cruger one of my kinsman’s detractors?
John Cruger’s business prospered and in 1712 he was elected Alderman for the Dock ward, an undoubtedly useful post for a ship owner, and one that he was to hold until becoming assistant Mayor in 1735. As was common with mercantile families, he despatched his sons to major trading locations; his son Henry (Sr) to the British trading port of Bristol, another son was sent to the West Indies whilst a third, John Cruger Jr, remained in New York (subsequently becoming Mayor of New York and Speaker of the Province of New York Assembly from 1767-1775, before, as a prominent British sympathiser, being proscribed as a “suspect person”).
In due course Henry Cruger Sr was to send his son Henry Cruger Jr to represent the firm in Bristol, where he married in 1765 the daughter of a successful linen merchant and banker, Samuel Peach. She died in 1767 and I wonder if that was in childbirth with Samuel Peach Cruger? Henry Jr soon became a member of the Bristol Council and Sheriff of Bristol before being elected in 1774 as the Whig member of Parliament for the city along with the noted political philosopher, Edmund Burke (who was also the agent for the Province of New York).
From Crugar to Peach
As a New Yorker by birth and a merchant involved in the transatlantic trade, Henry Jr was inevitably pre-occupied by one of the major political topics of the day: relations with the American Colonies. In his maiden speech he criticised the Tory administration of Lord North for worsening relations with the colonies and regularly complained that not enough was being done to support the more patriotic New York colonists, including his own family. But by the time he lost his seat in 1780 he had become a supporter of American independence. He served a year as Mayor of Bristol before being re-elected to the commons as an ally of William Pitt in 1784 where he continually urged reconciliation with the former American colonies. He left the commons in 1789 and returned to America in 1790 where he was elected to the New York Senate for a single, four year term, during which he urged reconciliation with Great Britain.
His son Samuel remained in England, having inherited his maternal grandfather’s considerable estate (including Tockington) in 1788 and, in accordance with his grandfathers wishes, changed his surname from Cruger to Peach. He married Clarissa Partridge the same year and the arms on the bookplate are those of Partridge impaling Peach. Thus we have an example of a Partridge in a Peach (family) tree."
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