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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


Volume 8 Page 13
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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 11 his father was a native, but his mother was a Scotswoman. He travelled the country for the purpose of exhibiting his huge persoa When in Edinburgh, he is said to have had great difllculty in getting up and down the narrow stabs of the Old Town, being obliged to crawl on all-fours. . .It is also related of him that he dreadfully alarmed the watchmen on the North Bridge, early one winter’s morning, by lighting his pipe at one of the lamps; which he did with the greatest ease, without standing even on tiptoe. He died 1st June 1783, in Cockspur Street, Charing Cross, London, aged only twenty-two. His death was occasioned by excessive drinking, to which he was always addicted, but more particularly after a loss he had sustained of almost all his savings, amounting to upwards of ;E700.’ In his last moments he requested that his ponderous remains might be thrown into the sea, in order that his bones might be placed far out of the reach of the chirurgical fraternity ; and it was reported that his body was shipped on board a vessel, to be conveyed to the Downs to be sunk in twenty fathoms of water. In the Edinburgh Evening Cowant, June 9 and 10, 1’783, the following notices, relative to the disposal of his body, are to be found :- “ The coffin of Mr. Charles Byrne, the Irish giant, aged twenty-three years, measures eight feet five inches within side, and the outside case nine feet four inches, and the circumference of his shoulders measures three feet four inches.’’ “Yesterday morning, June 6, the body of Byrne, the famous Irish giant (who died a few days ago), was carried to Margate, in order to be thrown into the sea, agreeable to his own request, he having been apprehensive that the surgeons would anatomize him.” It is to be ‘presumed that this fancy as to the disposal of his body was in some way obviated, as his skeleton is said to be now in the Hunterian Museum, Royal , College of Surgeons, Loqdon. A correspondent of the Gentleman’s Magazine, Vol. XXXIII., p. 541, observes, “That Mr. Byme, in August 1780, measured exactly eight feet ; that in 1782, he had gained two inches ; and that, after he was dead, he measured eight feet four inches. Neither his father, mother, brother, nor ,any other person of the family, waa of an extraordinary size.” The two Irish giants, who are placed on each side of Byme, visited Edinburgh in July 1784. Their presence in the northern capital was announced by various advertisements, ,of which we subjoin the following as a specimen :- “ IRISH GIANTS.” “The most surprising Gigantic Twin Brolhrs are just arrived in Edinburgh, and to be seen in. an elegant apartment at Mr. Rabertson’s, Ladies’ Hair-dresser, No. Zj opposite to the Register Office, Prince’s Street. . I I . After the death of By&,, the note for 6700 wm traced to a Mr. Atkion, who insisted that he had given value for it ; but the Giant’s executor having proved that notice had been given of the theft previous to the-exchange of the note, an action at law for the amount waa compromised by a payment of Z500. . . .. . .
Volume 8 Page 14
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