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206 Lord Glasgow's Adventure.
25th inst., at half-past six? Yours very truly, - Then followed a series of 'intemperate scratches,' by way of signature, which my friend failed to decipher; and as he was unacquainted with his correspondent's handwriting, and the writer's place of abode was not specified in the note, he was unable to send a reply.
Even where a signature is quite distinct, an amusing misunderstanding, in the case at least of a Peer, may sometimes arise regarding it. Not many years before his death, the late Earl of Glasgow had occasion to travel from London to Glasgow, and on taking his ticket at the booking-office of the railway station, tendered a £10 note in payment. Before giving change, the clerk, in accordance with the usual custom, requested him to indorse the note with his name; and on his Lordship's complying with the proposal and returning the note to the official, the latter, after a contemptuous glance at the signature 'Glasgow,' tossed it back to the owner, exclaiming indignantly, with the air of a man whose time was too precious to be trifled with, 'Put your own name to it, and not the name of the place you want to go to !'
There has been a good deal of discussion as
Early Royal Signatures.
to which of our English kings was the first to sign his own name. If the point is to be decided by the evidence afforded in the recently published facsimiles of National Manuscripts, Richard II. would appear to be entitled to the distinction, in a document bearing the date of 1386. An earlier writing exhibits the wellknown motto of his father, the chivalrous 'Black Prince,' but it is difficult to determine whether the curious signature attached to it is autograph or not. The first holograph letter in the same collection is an epistle, in French, to Richard de Clifford from the pen of another Prince of Wales, afterwards Henry V. (1413-22.)
Speaking of signatures, some interesting conclusions as to the state of elementary instruction in this country may be deduced from our marriage registers. Thus it appears from the last detailed Report of the Registrar-General, applicable to the year 1866, that of the 23,688 couples married in Scotland during that year, 21,032 bridegrooms, and 18,483 brides, signed their names in full; while 2656 bridegrooms, and 5202 brides signed by mark. In other words, 88.78 per cent. of the men, and 78.50 per cent. of the women, signed in full; while 11.22
Bridegrooms and Brides.
per cent. of the men, and 220 per cent. of the women signed by mark. In England, during the same year, only 784 per cent. of the men, and 700 per cent. of the women, were able to write their names in the marriage register. Accordingly, it would appear that, in respect to the accomplishment in question, the gentlemen of England are slightly behind the ladies of Scotland! and the statistics of previous years exhibit similar results. In some districts, the proportion of signatures by mark is very much larger than in others. In the case of certain counties-chiefly in the south-west of Scotland-this circumstance is, to a great extent, accounted for by the large number of Irish who are intermixed with the native population. Too much importance, however, ought not to be attached either to the absence or the presence of the signature in full. In the case of many persons, the capacity of writing is confined to the signing of their names; and even the signature itself is sometimes a matter of considerable difficulty. Others again may be able to write a little who cannot sign their names; and on the all-important occasion of marriage we may reasonably suppose that, in
Individuality of Handwriting. 209
the case of many of the softer sex, the signature by mark is frequently the result of a temporary
Individuality of Handwriting.
The individuality of handwriting is so remarkable—at least in the case of the male sex -that even an approach to classification is a very difficult undertaking. I shall, however, make the attempt in the following list, which, it will be observed, embraces the names of a large number of distinguished men. I ought to state that, in the great majority of cases, the character of the hand is deduced from a single specimen of writing, which perhaps may not be considered a very fair criterion.
Free and flowing.—William Pitt, David Garrick, Marquis Wellesley, Marquis of Dalhousie, Earl Russell, Earl of Shaftesbury, Rev. Dr. Guthrie.
Free, but somewhat angular and ladylike.-Duke of Wellington (late), Earl of Derby (late), Earl of Dalhousie (formerly Lord Panmure).
Free, but not well formed.-Lord Macaulay, Rev. Robert Hall, John Wilson ('Christopher North'), Edward Irving, Dean Stanley, Rev. Dr. Norman Macleod.
Distinct round hands (in some cases very upright.) -Lord Chancellor Eldon, Sir James Mackintosh, Sir Walter Scott, Richard Cobden, Thomas Carlyle, Charles
Dickens, Dr. Wilberforce (Bishop of Winchester), Lord Lindsay (now Earl of Crawford and Balcarres), Dean Alford.
Neat, small, and on the whole legible.-Theodore Hook, Hugh Miller, Rev. Dr. Pusey, Dr. Robert Chambers, Harrison Ainsworth, Alfred Tennyson, John Ruskin, James Anthony Froude, Rev. Dr. Candlish, Lord Lytton, Shirley Brooks.
Very small, neat, and legible.-Thomas Gray, Matthew Henry, Philip Doddridge, Samuel Rogers, Rev. Dr. John Brown, Giuseppe Mazzini.
Very neat and regular, but somewhat cramped and formal.-Sir James Graham (late), William Ewart Gladstone, M. Guizot, Rev. Dr. Caird.
Good bold hands.-Dugald Stewart, Patrick Fraser Tytler, Lord Brougham, Isaac Taylor, Dr. Whately (Archbishop of Dublin), Duke of Argyll, Rev. Charles Kingsley, Dr. Livingstone, Martin F. Tupper.
Beautifully formed and distinct.-Duke of Portland (Prime Minister), Leigh Hunt, David M. Moir ('Delta'), Sir Frederick Pollock, William M. Thackeray.
Bold and magnificent, but rather large.-Thomas Aird, Sheridan Knowles, Lord Elcho, John Steell.
Distinct, but vulgar.-Daniel O'Connell, Joseph Hume. Very ordinary and badly formed.—James Hogg, Lord Byron, William Wordsworth, Lord Chancellor Campbell. Systematically illegible.-Rev. Dr. Chalmers.
The following is one of a series of contributions, by an anonymous correspondent, to the columns of an English journal, during the year
1 The author of the Elegy' is said to have usually written with a crow-quill, in accordance with the practice of 'General' Tom Thumb.