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SUICIDE OF �FRANK FORRESTER.�
Shocking Tragedy in Broadway�Suicide of
Henry William Herbert, the well known
Author�Interesting Letters of the De-
ceased�Proceedings of the Coroner�s
Inquest�Sketch of the Life and Writ-
ings of Herbert�Appearance of
his Late Home near Newark,
&c., &c., &c.,
Henry William Herbert, the author, better known by
the nom de plume of �Frank Forrester,� committed
suicide about two o�clock yesterday morning, in his rooms
in the Stevens House, Broadway, by shooting himself
through the heart with a pistol. Domestic difficulties led
to the commission of the rash act. The deceased was
married about three months ago, but he had not been
living with his wife more than six weeks or so when
they quarrelled, and she separated from him. Herbert
suffered intense mental agony in consequence of the
severe blow, and in his ravings often threatened to com-
mit suicide. He carried the dreadful threat into execu-
tion yesterday, and accomplished his purpose in a cool
and premeditated manner.
About three weeks ago deceased left his home at the
�Cedars,� near Newark, N. J., and came to New York.
He took a suit of comfortable rooms at the Stevens House,
and resumed the labors of his profession as an author, until
within the past few days, when he determined to put an
end to his existence, and thus end all his earthly troubles.
With that object in view he prepared himself for death;
wrote a number of letters informing his friends of his in-
tention to commit suicide, and giving them direc-
tions how to dispose of his body and his effects.
It was not the intention of deceased to commit suicide as
soon as he did, as the date of his letters evidently show
that he had set apart to-day�the 18th inst. �for the com-
mission of the deed. On Sunday Mr. Herbert sent for Mr.
Philip H. Anthon, a friend of his, and requested him to
remain with him as long as possible. The deceased com-
plained of great loneliness, and signified his intention to
commit suicide before twenty-four hours would elapse.
Mr. Anthon passed the entire day with him, and endea-
vored to cheer him up and dissuade him from self-destruc-
tion. Herbert talked of nothing but suicide, and evinced
where he last parted with his wife. He told Mr. Anthon
that his wife had declined holding any further intercourse
or correspondence with him, and that a letter to that
[effect] had reached him through his lawyer in Nassau
[Street on] Saturday. The effect produced by the deter-
[mination] on the part of his wife to cease all intercourse
with him was such as to hasten the work of self-destruc-
tion some two days.
About two o�clock in the afternoon deceased and Mr.
Anthon left the hotel for a walk, and returned about ten
P. M. They went up stairs to the room occupied by de-
ceased, when the latter again breached the subject of sui-
cide and said he was determined to kill himself that night.
While they were talking together, about two o�clock A. M.,
Herbert rose from his seat and went into his bedroom for
a few seconds when the sharp report of a pistol startled
Mr. Anthon. The work was accomplished. Simultaneous
almost with the discharge of the pistol the exclamation �I
told you I would do it,� came from the lips of the suicide,
as he staggered back int the parlor and fell to the floor.
Mr. Anthon immediately pulled the bell rope and gave the
alarm with the view of procuring the aid of a physician,
but before any medical aid could be obtained life had fled.
The ball from the pistol entered the left breast of deceased
and punctured the heart, causing almost instant death.
When the room occupied by deceased was visited by
Coroner Gamble yesterday morning, the scene presented
was a most melancholy one. The body of deceased lay
extended upon the parlor floor in a large pool of blood.
Near the corpse, on a writing desk, were several packages
of letters. Among the number was one found directed to
the Coroner, explanatory of the cause which led to the
commission of the suicide. It read as follows:�
HERBERT�S LETTER TO THE CORONER.
TUESDAY, MAY 18th, 1858�(Three months
since the happiest day of my life.)
To avoid all trouble, and simplify your duty, I have to
state that I have taken my own life by a pistol, no one
being privy to my doing so or to my design.
My reason for this act consists in no remorse for any-
thing I have done or left undone�from no pecuniary
pressure�from no inability or fear of inability to support
myself�from no weak fear of public opinion, least of all
of the public opinion of Newark, which I do now, as I
have always done, utterly disregard and despise�from
no embarrassment arising from any indebtedness.
I have abundance of employment, and the prospect of
much more. Had the people of Newark�whom I forgive
from the bottom of my heart�suffered me to live harm-
lessly and happily in my humble home, and to amend my
life where it was in error in a new sphere, which I was
honestly prepared to do, I might have paid off all my
debts, and lived many years among you an honest, useful
and happy man. My debts will be paid from assets, to the
It was not, however, so to be. My blood and the guilt o
it are upon those women and men of Newark who first
sowed suspicion, distrust and dissension between myself
and the sweetest creature God ever gave and man took
away from an unhappy sinner. My own unhappy temper
did the rest.
The reason for this act is simple. My life, long sad
and solitary and weary, and without an object beyond
labor to earn a living for the day, has become utterly
hopeless, hateful and unendurable.
A hope had been kindled in my heart ; again my home
had got a light brighter than sunshine�my life had a pur-
pose ; I loved her unutterably�happy ; all this has been
dashed down, all is lost forever�home, hope, sunshine.
She let life go likewise; since, henceforth it is another
word for torture.
I would not deny falsely one fault of which I am con-
scious, especially at this last moment; I would not deny
that I erred towards her whom this day shows I loved
more than life. I did err, but it was hastily, in rash act or
rash word; never, so may God deal with me, in thought
or intimation. I never had a word with her about money
matters, nor cared nor scarcely knew whether she had or
had not money. I never laid a hand or finger on her in
wrath in my life�what I said or did wrongfully I repented
on the instant. I have endeavored to atone for it ever since.
I die for it this day. I think I hope I deserve pity more
than blame, but I know that I shall not find it, least of
all in Newark.
I can say truly, with my last breath, I never wronged
a man or woman in my life by premeditation, or failed to
ask pardon and make atonement when I could do so.
I never bore malice in my life; I repent of all my
faults and sins, and have endeavored to ament them.
I die in perfect [word cut off] and charity with all men; I beg
forgiven[ess] [words cut off] I have sinned, I
forgive all those who have sinned against me, even the
woman who called at my own house and set my wife�s
thoughts first against me�in proof of it I am sure I know
her, but do not name her name; I beg God to forgive me,
as I forgive all my enemies; I die in perfect faith and
trust in my Redeemer, and believe that in Him I shall
have eternal life. HENRY WILLIAM HERBERT.
Then there was the following letter to the newspaper
press of this country, evidently intended for publica-
HERBERT�S LETTER TO THE PUBLIC.
TO THE PRESS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA�
Before going to my account I would say a few words to
the Press of America and to its conductors, as to men
among whom I have, for many years, been more or less
I have my faults, my failings; I have done my share of
evil in my life, as all men have done; perhaps I have done
my share of good likewise.
Of my private history few men know anything, fewer
still know much�no one knows the whole. It cannot con-
cern the public to know anything. As a writer let me be
judged�as a man let God judge me.
I implore not praise, nor a favorable construction�I
implore silence. For what I have to account with God let
me account with God, and not with man, who may uncer-
tainly perceive and distinguish facts, but certainly cannot
perceive causes or divine motives and intentions.
I do not even ask charity; I only implore silence. Let
the good that I have done, if any, be interred with my
bones�let the evil also.
For the evil, I can say positively, is such as can do no
evil after me. I have taught, I have inculcated, I have
put forth nothing which I did believe to be false or evil,
nor anything which I did not believe to be good and true.
In all my life I have written no line of which I am
ashamed; no word which I desire to blot.
I have done many things wrongly, many things of which
I am ashamed, many things of which I have sincerely
repented, many things, under the pressure and temptation
of poverty and necessity, to which I am not accustomed
by my education, which I hope I should not do again un-
der any temptation.
I am very sorry. I have been weak at times, and have
fallen�who has not done so?
For justice sake, for charity�s sake, for God�s sake, let
me rest. I bear an honorable name; I have striven hard,
in great trials, in great temptations, in a foreign country,
in a false position, among men who did not, perhaps could
not, sympathise with me, to keep it honorable. As you
would have your own names honored, and your sons pre-
serve them to you, I charge you do not dishonor mine.
Few will miss me when I am gone; probably none la-
ment me�so be it! �only, I implore you, do not misin-
terpret and malign me.
Having said this, I have said nearly all�one word more,
only�if, as I presume will be the case, my earnest and
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[words cut off] friends, if I have a friend, stand forth
to defend me. Defence only provokes bitterer attack, and
gives a keener tooth to scandal.
I die, forgiving of every man who has wronged me, ask-
ing forgiveness of every man whom I have wronged. I
have atoned, so far as I know, or can atone, for every
wrong I have ever done.
I leave the means, I believe, if they be carefully
managed, to pay every thing that I owe, and perhaps to
leave a small surplus.
I never shrank, while I was alive, from meeting the
consequences of my deeds, face to face; I never said a
word to a man�s back, which I would not, or did not, say
to his face.
Remember, now, all you that would assail me that my
back is turned forever�that, henceforth, forever, I can
disprove no slander that is spoken of me�that with me
no witness can be ever more confronted�that from no
accusation, how false soever, can I prove myself not
guilty. Of all cowardice, the most base and cruel is to
strike the dead, who can make no defence or answer.
I ask no praise. Do no praise me�probably I deserve
I deserve reproach, doubtless, for I am mortal and
have sinned�say so, then, of me, if you say anything,
and let my sins go with my mortality to His judgment
who can tell, not only when and where, but why, they
were committed, and how far they have palliation, how
far they deserve pardon.
Remember, also, when you judge me, that of all lives
mine has been, almost, the most unhappy.
No counsellor, no friends, no country have been mine
for six and twenty weary years; every hope has been broken
down under my foot as soon as it touched it; every
spark of happiness has been quenched as soon as it has
If I have sinned much, and sorrowed much, I have
also, loved much�more perhaps than I have either
sinned or sorrowed. It is the last drop that overflows
the golden bowl, the last tension that breaks the silver
cord. My last hope is gone�my last love and my life
go together�and so good night to
MAY, 18, 1858. HENRY HERBERT.
THE APPEARANCE OF HIS ROOM YESTERDAY.
To Mr. Anthon�s care was directed a package con-
taining a number of private letters, which were prin-
cipally directed to persons residing in this city.
A letter making Mr. Anthon his executor, and giving
the latter the most minute instructions regarding the dis-
position of the body, was also found upon the writing desk.
In this letter deceased desired that his remains should be
interred in a plain oak coffin, and that the inscription
thereon should be�
Henry William Herbert,
And nothing more.
An envelope containing a lock of his wife�s hair was in-
scribed as follows:�
Lay this on my heart
Their names aro written there.
The interior of this envelope also contained the following
inscription in the hand writing of deceased, which he evi-
dently meant for his epitaph:�
HENRY WILLIAM HERBERT,
Aged 51 years.
Another letter contained a draft at sight for �10, drawn
by the deceased upon a gentleman in Newark, for the pur-
pose of defraying the expenses of the funeral. A portrait
of Mr. Herbert�s first wife hung in the parlor, near the
writing desk. The painting represented her to be a lady
about 20 years of age, with extremely handsome features.
In the bedroom of deceased hung an old hunting jacket,
ingeniously made, which attracted the attention of all
those who were able to gain admittance to the premises.
Mr. Anthon was present when the Coroner arrived, and
cheerfully offered to aid the latter in the discharge of his
unpleasant duty. The cause leading to the commission of
the suicide was fully explained by Mr. Anthon, when the
inquest upon the body of the deceased was commenced
by empannelling a jury of the following named gentle-
Samuel Townsend, George L. Davis,
Philip Farley, Robert Ferguson,
John Mills, John Ward
The first witness put upon the stand was Mr. Anthon,
who testified as follows:�I reside at No 15 West Twenty-
fourth street; I have known deceased about ten years; in-
timately since 1851; I spent the day in company with de-
ceased, and we returned to the hotel at 10 o�clock in the
evening; I came to see him because he complained of feel-
ing very lonely on account of his wife having left him,
and on yesterday he told me there was a letter from his
wife to Mr. Lowrie, a lawyer in Nassau street, declining
any further intercourse or correspondence with him; all
the evening he talked of killing himself; this has been a
prevalent theme with him for some time; he told me yes-
terday evening that he would go to the cemetery in New-
ark, where he last parted from his wife, and there shoot
himself; he kept walking about the room after he came
back; he said he would kill himself on the day of the month
on which he married his wife; he was married on the 16th
of February last; I did not remember that yesterday was
the 16th of the month; while we were yet talking in the
room he went in his bedroom, and I heard something like
the snapping of a pistol; he ame out instantly and
said, �I told you I would do it.� and dropped on the
floor; I pulled at the bell and alarmed the house; this
was the entire history of the case; the letters he has left
me fully explain it; deceased was not at all under the
influence of liquor; this occurred about two o�clock this
morning; the letters now shown to the jury are in the
handwriting of the deceased.
Joseph M. Donlan, being sworn, says:�I am head por-
ter at the Stevens House; about two o�clock this morning I
heard a bell pull violently; I ran up stairs and found
deceased lying upon his face on the floor; Mr. Anthon
was in the room, and said he had shot himself; I found
the pistol on the floor; deceased was groaning, and he
died soon after; deceased came here three weeks ago last
Phillip O�Hanlon, being duly sworn, says�I have
examined the body of deceased; find a gunshot wound two
inches below the left nipple; I am of opinion the ball
passed through the lungs, and that the deceased died of
The letters addressed to the Coroner and the press
were then read to the jury, who after a brief deliberation,
rendered the following
That Henry William Herbert came to his death by
suicide, by shooting himself with a pistol, May 17,
THE LIFE AND WRITINGS OF MR HERBERT.
Mr. Herbert was a descendant, on his father�s side,
from the noble houses of Pembroke and Percy, and was
the eldest son of the eminent Dean of Manchester, the Ho-
norable and Very Reverend William Herbert, celebrated
both as a literary man and a liberal politician. He was
born in London April 7, 1807, being at the time of his
death over fifty-one years of age. He entered Eaton col-
lege when thirteen years of age, and graduated at Caius
college Cambridge, at the age of twenty-two. Owing to
some cause not fully known. but variously acribed to
family difficulties and pecuniary reverses, he left England
to try his fortune in the United States, where he arrived in
December, 1831. His liberal education and proficiency as
a Greek scholar enabled him soon to procure the situation
of Greek professor in the large classical academy of Mr.
Huddard, where he officiated for eight years. His classi-
cal scholarship, his wide range of information, both theo-
retical and practical, in every department of literature
and his extraordinary capacity for literary labor could not
remain dormant all this time, and during nearly the whole
period of his tutorship he was engaged on literary works
of various descriptions.
Besides contributing largely to various periodicals, he
edited the American Monthly Magazine from 1833 to 18[date cut off]
published �The Brothers, a Tale of the Fronde,� in 1835,
and �Oliver Cromwell,� in 1837, the latter being his last
work previous to leaving his professorship and devoting
himself wholly to authorship. Since that time he has pub-
lished the follwing works:�
�The Roman Traitor; A Romance Founded on Cataline�s
�Henry VIII. and Six Wives.�
�The Cavaliers of England.�
�The Chevaliers of France.�
�Knights of England, France and Scotland.�
�Captains of the Old World, as Compared with Great
�A Poetical Translation of the Prometheus and Aga-
memnon of �schylus, and Prometheus and Agamem-
non of Sophocles.�
�The Wager of Battle.�
�Persons and Pictures from the Histories of France and
�Captains of the Roman Republic.�
�The Field Sports.�
�Fish and Fishing of North America.�
�Game in its Seasons.�
�The Deer Stalkers.�
�The Young Sportsman�s Manual.�
�My Shooting Box.�
�The Quomdon Hounds.�
�The Horse and Horsemanship of America.�
Besides these he was an occasional contributor to a
number of periodicals, being more generally known un-
der his literary nom de plume of �Frank Forrester.� He
was also attached to several daily journals, and at the
time of his death had an engagement to write for Apple-
ton�s new Encyclopedia. His translations were considered
excellent, especially those of the Greek and French, and
indeed he has been called one of the finest scholars in the
country. His works on wild game and field sports were
said to be the best of the kind in the country, and his last
and most elaborate work on the Horse, was the most vo-
luminous of his labors. His pursuits and tastes led him to
devote much attention to sportsmanship and natural his-
tory, and in these departments he is alone known to a
Shortly after his arrival in the United States he married
a very attractive lady from Maine, who has now been dead
about ten years; by her he had a son who is now about 16
years of age, who is in the Military Academy of Woolwich,
England. He received from his father for some years an
annual income of one hundred pounds a year, to contribute
to his support. On the death of his father the money was
placed in the hands of trustees in this country, for the
purpose of erecting a homestead suited to his own tastes,
which should be set apart for his use duing his life, but
[newspaper clipping: third column]
[words cut off] a beautiful little spot, about two miles
[words cut off] Newark, N. J. on the Belleville road, situated on the
[words cut off] just at the foot of the celebrated
Mt. Pleasant cemetery. The passer by would hardly
notice the house, it is so completely embedded in shrub-
bery and trees. The grounds, though covering but one
acre of land, are a bunch of hillock, and arranged with
romantic taste. The house is built in the Gothic style,
though it seems now somewhat dilapidated externally.
He had it tastefully furnished and decorated with emblems
and implements of sportsmanship, and supplied with a
fine library, expending on the whole about $5,000. He
named his place �The Cedars,� from a number of tall
cedars which skirt the road that winds along the river
just by his door. Here he has lived for the last ten years
alone until his marriage recently.
During his sojourn in this city, Herbert became involved
in more than one personal difficulty. His impulsive man-
ner and fiery-disposition often caused his friends much
uneasinesses. In the days hen th Washington Hall philo-
sophers were in the zenith of their glory, Herbert was a
frequent visitor at their headquarters corner of Broadway
and Chambers street, on the side now occupied by Stewart.
There he quarralled with a gentleman, and upon some
slight pretext challenged him to fight a duel. For this
Herert was indicted, and we believe the indictment re-
mained over him up to the day of his death. It was about
this time that the community was shocked by the fatal
rencounter between Barton and Graham at Hoboken.
The affair of honor in which Herbert was a principal took
place immediately afterwards, and caused much excite-
ment among literary circles. Herbert was an excellent shot,
and many old farmers in the neighborhood of New York can
give ample proof of his superior skill in the use of firearms.
[words cut off] ample means, derived mainly from his literary la-
[words cut off] enabled him to live well, but his rather extravagant
[words cut off] left him almost always in debt. Those who were
[words cut off] with him, say that he seemed not to care for
[words cut off] He thought nothing of borrowing whatever he
[words cur off] and always expended freely among his boon
companions, his ready cash. His house was open always
to his friends, whom, when his stock of finances would al-
low, he would gather about him, and occupy days and
sometimes weeks in festive enjoyments. His convivial-
ity was his greatest enemy. Sometimes he would work
for months in his library, industriously, and even assid-
uously. But when fatigued with his intense labors, or
annoyed by care he seemed to be completely unmanned,
and would relax rather too much, perhaps, for his own
welfare. In these moods he was somewhat eccentric,
and oftentimes the harsher features of his some-
what imperious temper would develop themselves so
as to alienate temporarily his warmest friends. At
these times he seemed to grow perfectly reckless,
and he has been seen on one occasion to be
wheeling a wheelbarrow through the streets of Newark,
followed by a crowd of hooting boys. But when he be-
came himself again he would, in the most melancholy
[words cut off] besech his friends to return. He always wanted
sympathy in his troubles, and often called in his intimate
neighbors to talk and consult with him on these occasions.
If anything was ailing with a favorite horse or dog, or in
fact any animal belonging to himself or friends he was
always ready and willing to prescribe, and was always
successful in his treatment. Though so long a resident of
the United States he preferred to remain a British subject,
and, indeed, always manifested a strong national feeling
and pride in his noble ancestry. He was bitterly opposed
to the present national administration, and of strong anti-
During the late crisis he became necessitated to retrench
his expenses, and discharged his servants, several of
which he generally kept. One day he was visited by one
of his friends, who found him busily engaged in
the kitchen making a huge pot of soup, which,
he had allowed to boil over twenty hours, and
in whose praise he became quite eloquent. Recently,
however he evinced a disposition to abandon his eccen-
tricities, and astonished some of his most intimate friends
by an abrupt announcement that he intended to marry
again. The ceremony took place on Tuesday, February
16, in the Episcopal house of prayer in Newark, when
he was united to Miss Adela R. Bridlong, a young lady
of twenty years of age, from Rhode Island, Rev. Mr.
[part of word cut off] ackleford, officiating. Only three of his Newark friends
were invited to the wedding�Rev. Mr. Scott, Mr.
Finney, editor and proprietor of the Newark Daily Ad-
vertiser, and Mr. John Chadwick. Mr. Anthon, his friend,
made the arrangements, which were conducted with
some secrecy. The happy bridegroom little thought that
just three months from that date, both himself and
Rev. Mr. Scott whom he invited, would have exchanged
the wedding garments for the shroud. He took his
wife to his little forest home, and those who
saw them there say that he seemed to idolize
her. He was happy when she was there, and
unhappy when she was away, and frequently
said that now he had some hope for the future.
But what was the astonishment of his friends to learn,
only seven weeks after his marriage, that his wife had
left him forever, and returned to her parents! The gos-
sips were, of course, busy with the cause of this unlooked
for denouement. Some said his convivial habits had re-
turned; others, that his eccentricities were distasteful to
her; while those who were most intimate with his private
affairs, said that busy intermeddlers had poured into the
ear of the happy wife poisonous suspicions of her hus-
band�s love, and intimations that mercenary motives on
her little property had alone actuated him to the union;
that he had in vain endeavored to ascertain the author of
the scandal, and had threatened to shoot himself if she
did not reveal the name of his accuser; that harsh words
resulted, and the bride of seven weeks departed from her
husband�s roof. Whatever may have been the cause of
the separation, he now relapsed into one of his old des-
pondent moods, and talked frequently of the insuffer-
ableness of his life with so many cares resting
upon him. He mentioned often to his friends
that he wold end his existence before many days.
About three weeks since he left Newark for New York,
bringing with him his choicest books, the portrait of his
first wife, and some other select articles. He complained
bitterly that his Newark friends neglected him; that he
could not walk the streets without being slighted, and re-
peated that he was tired of life. Shortly after leaving he
advertised in the Newark Daily Advertiser that if his
creditors�and there were many of them�would send in
their applications to Mr. Josiah Howe, of No. 24 William
street, New York, they would be satisfied. His remain-
ing furniture was handed over to one of his largest credi-
tors, and the house given up to be 1st. The remainder
of his sad story has been fully detailed above. He leaves
an aged mother living in England, a sister who was mar-
ried in this country and sailed in the last steamer, and a
brother who is Governor of the Channel Islands, besides
his son, before alluded to, in the British army. Peace to