1112) Gabriel Maturin was the second son of Gabriel James, Dean of St Patrick's, Dublin. His elder brother Charles was born in about 1729 and a sister Anne in about 1743. It is likely that he was born in the glebe-house at Garvaghy in 1730 while his father was rector of Dromara and vicar of Garvaghy and Magherally (in Co. Down, just south of Belfast and east of Banbridge) (1). His grandfather, Peter - Dean of Killala - spoke French as his first language, being born and raised in Guienne (but also wrote perfect English as might be expected of a Chaplain in a British regiment). His father lived in Huguenot society in Utrecht until he was taken to first to London in 1714 and from there to Dublin where he entered Trinity College in 1718. It may be assumed that Gabriel junior was also bilingual in French and English from childhood.
The family moved south from Co Down in 1732 when Gabriel James was appointed as Chancellor of Kildare. His abilities and personality led to the distinction of possessing the only two deaneries in the United Kingdom (St Brigid’s, Kildare and St Patrick’s, Dublin) which were elected by the Chapters instead of being named by the Crown. The young Gabriel grew up in an intellectual household, surrounded by his father’s books, fascination with mathematics (2) and involvements, among many others, as secretary of the Dublin Society (3) and member of the committee which raised funds for Mercer’s Hospital, the Infirmary and Marshalseas Prison. This last organisation invited Handel to Dublin to give the first performance of “The Messiah”in 1742 - at the Musick Hall in Fishamble Street so that admission could be charged (only a collection could have been made in either of Dublin's cathedrals). Jonathan Swift, as Dean of St Patricks, held consecutively conflicting views about the use of Cathedral resources for a “musical”, at one point refusing to allow the employment of the choristers in the chorus. The wide range of ecclesiastical and Society visitors to the family home in Grafton Street, Dublin must have been an important part of the education of all six children. Only the eldest, Charles, entered Trinity College Dublin on 22 August 1746, graduating in 1751, receiving his MA in 1754, and took Holy Orders; the youngest son, William, secured a well-paid place with the Dublin Post Office; sister Anne married a future baronet, Riggs Falkiner, but her sisters Emma and Rachel appear in history only ephemerally as spinster book publishers. Such a background must have prepared Gabriel well for his subsequent role in military administration.
Gabriel was just 16 when his father died in 1746, at the early age of 46. Though his obituary referred to his "virtuous and liberal eduction" there is no record of how he was schooled or his life between his father's death and the decision to join the Army. It may be no coincidence that on the 22 January 1752 Gabriel’s cousin Peter had been commissioned as an Ensign in the 3rd Regiment of Foot: perhaps both young men were sponsored by Peter’s father, also Peter, brother of Gabriel James. Therefore at the “advanced age” age of 22 on 24 January 1752 Gabriel was made Ensign, by a free commission due to a death in service, in Otway's Regiment (which became the 35th Regiment of Foot). Raised by the Earl of Donegal in 1693 as the Prince of Orange's Own Regiment, it had seen service in the West Indies, Spain and Gibraltar but had been stationed in Ireland for some 44 years when Gabriel was commissioned. In 1752 and '53 the Regiment was at Kinsale (south of Cork), moved to Dublin for 1754 and '55 and embarked for North America via Plymouth on 15 April 1756. Gabriel was commissioned Lieutenant three days before sailing, on 12 April. Once again the promotion was not purchased but awarded as an augmentation to the Regiment was needed for the forthcoming tour of duty. Under other circumstances officers paid for their commissions to ensure that promotion went to the “right sort of gentlemen” who would preserve the existing system and be unlikely to cause revolution or profiteer from their position. About one-third of commissions could be available without purchase at this time and be dependent on family connection, aptitude, training or seniority (4).
In 1757 the Regiment's first posting at Fort William Henry, north of New York, became a notorious siege by the Marquis de Montcalm, commander of the French forces in Canada. The subsequent massacre was dramatised by Fennymore-Cooper in "The Last of the Mohicans" - and apparently over-dramatised in the film. The fort was at the southern end of Lake George, the northernmost British outpost on the vital route through the Hudson Valley. Despite appeals for help by Colonel Monro of the 35th who was in command of the besieged forces, his superior officer, Brigadier General Webb at Fort Edward which was only 15 miles away, refused to come to his aid. After a valiant defence Monro was forced to capitulate to a vastly stronger enemy when a despatch from Webb, advising Monro to surrender, was captured by the French and taken in to the beleaguered fort under a flag of truce. Montcalm admired Monro's resolute defence of his position and negotiated an honourable retreat with a detachment of French troops to escort the British garrison to Fort Edward, accompanied by a token cannon, on a promise of parole that the released British would not bear arms against the French for eighteen months. The retreat was attacked by Indian allies of the French who had been promised payment in plunder and scalps: the French stood by as the garrison, including women and children, was robbed, butchered and scalped. A Scottish news-sheet estimated that 1500 had been killed; those on the ground claimed the figure to be between 69 and 184. Though it is not known for certain that Gabriel was at the Fort it would be most unusual for a new, bilingual Lieutenant to be separated from his Regiment in these circumstances.
Wounded at The Heights of Abraham
No matter what actually happened at the evacuation of Fort William Henry the British Army was incensed by the lack of will shown by the French to control their allies. An order was issued in 1758 "that in consequence of the treatment received by the garrison of Fort William Henry the year before, the capitulation there entered into by Colonel Monro should be considered null and void, that is, that all officers and soldiers should serve as usual, instead of not bearing arms for eighteen months". When Officers and Gentlemen on both sides lived and fought by an almost chivalric code this was a noteworthy departure. The French were conscious of their inhuman behaviour; on being overrun at the battle for Quebec the French officers took off their hats and asked for quarter over and over again, declaring that they were not at Fort William Henry in 1757. Major-General Wolfe reflected the contempt on 24th July 1759 when he ordered “The general strictly forbids the inhuman practice of scalping, except when the enemy are Indians, or Canadians (i.e. French) dressed like Indians.”
The 35th took a crucial part in the taking of Quebec from the Plains of Abraham on 13 September 1759 under General Wolfe. In a gallant charge they relieved the Royal Roussillon Regiment of their white plumes to wear in their own hats thereafter; the Roussillon Barracks still stand in Chichester, Sussex. According to Trimen in his Historical Memoir of the 35th Regiment of Foot, British losses that day were just 55 men killed and 607 wounded. In the 35th one officer and six men were killed and six officers, including Lieutenant Gabriel Maturin, and 29 men were wounded. The Regiment then fought up the St Lawrence until the fall of Montreal on 9 September 1760 called an end to any realistic French ambitions in Canada. Civilians in the conquered territory had to choose between rule by the British, moving south to Louisiana or repatriation to the country they had left for freedom in a new world.
General Amherst divided Canada into three provinces, following traditional boundaries, and put them under martial law on 22 September 1760. On that day James Murray was made military governor of Quebec with Hector Theophilus Cramahé as his secretary. Colonel Ralph Burton was appointed to Trois-Rivières with John Bruyères. Major General Thomas Gage was the most senior of these “Three Kings” and moved to Montreal, having appointed Gabriel Maturin (5). No detail of the wound suffered by the young lieutenant at Quebec has been found, though an obituary in 1775 described him as "dangerously wounded", but the fact of it must have made it easier to remove the officer from active service. John Bruyères and Gabriel, together with Cramahé and Conrad Gugy are noted particularly as bilingual Huguenot or Swiss French who set a very high standard of translation from English to French for proclamations and the new code of law in the new colony (6). Gabriel learned his new craft as a secretary from an outstanding master. Thomas Gage’s abilities have perhaps been clouded by perceptions of his last years in Massachusetts before he returned to England in 1775. He could be criticised for being over over-cautious on the battlefield and conservative in his recommendations for dealing with the demand for democracy in the colony. That last was an unprecedented situation in the “new” British colonies and thoroughly alarming to all parties in the home country, a situation which no commanding officer holding his commission from the Crown could afford to ignore. However, his expertise as an administrator, attention to detail and consideration for his staff, soldiers and civilians initially earned respect on both sides of the Atlantic.
On 14 September 1762 Gabriel signed a permit for Lt. Francis of the 44th regiment to pass unhindered from Montreal to New York with despatches for General Amherst. There is ample documentary evidence to show that the 35th Regiment went to Martinique, the West Indies and Florida without its wounded lieutenant. (7)
On 9 November 1764 Gabriel purchased his commission as Captain (8). On 17 November, after the recall of General Amherst, Lt. General Gage was promoted to the most powerful office in colonial America as commander-in-chief; as his secretary, early in 1765, Gabriel moved from Montreal to the Army headquarters in New York. Gabriel had talent as an able administrator and the social skills to impress all who met him. He moved in the right circles in his public and private life to the point where he must have been seen as a useful ally by the Livingston family. On 29 October 1765 the Secretary of the Province of New York issued the marriage licence for Captain Gabriel Maturin and Mary Livingston. They were married the following day at the city’s First and Second Presbyterian Church. Mary Livingston was born on 7 June 1748, the eldest child of one of the influential New York families. Her father, Robert James, was the great grandson of Robert Livingston who had arrived in America in about 1687 to join his uncle, also Robert, by then well established in the enormous Clermont Estate in New York State. Her mother, Susannah, was the sister of the Chief Justice, William Smith.
The Copley Portraits
The newly married couple moved easily in the colonial "beau monde” of New York. Captain Stephen Kemble of the 60th Regiment of Foot, who will appear later, was the son of the Honourable Peter Kemble of New Jersey and Gertrude Bayard (herself the daughter of a Stuyvesant nephew and a van Cortlandt). Stephen's sister, Margaret, had married Thomas Gage. The young Kembles and the Livingstons grew up within visiting distance in New Jersey. Margaret Gage and Mary Maturin will have known each other well before they married into the New York society around the General's headquarters. When Stephen wrote to John Singleton Copley, to persuade the portrait painter to visit New York from his native Boston (where he had already painted Thomas Gage) Gabriel subscribed to the invitation together with his close colleague, Surgeon Jonathan Mallet and many of the senior officers of the British forces in New York, or their ladies (9). Gabriel and Mary, and Jonathan, sat for Copley in 1771.
When the Revolutionary War ended the two Maturin portraits in matching carved frames, together with Jonathan's portrait, were taken back to England by Jonathan Mallet and Mary. Eventually just before her death in 1830, as it was not mentioned in her will, Mary gave the painting of Gabriel to his nephew, the Rev. Henry Maturin rector of Clondevaddock. It was then “lost” for 180 years until found by Christopher Bryant, a determined and perceptive art dealer from Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts. The crucial clue to tracking the portrait was contained in an entry in an 1880 family pedigree (2) which confirmed the inheritance by the family in Donegal, Ireland. Henry’s fifth son, Edmund (111129), commissioned that pedigree and wrote in Gabriel’s entry that “His portrait was painted by the eminent artist, Mr Copley, of Boston (father of the late Lord Lyndhurst) and it was formerly in the possession of the Rev H Maturin of Fannet Glebe, to whom it was bequeathed by his widow …”. From 1830 until 1842 the portrait hung at the Rectory. The wording in the pedigree indicates that Edmund knew the potential value of the painting - but obscures its whereabouts in 1880. He had family connections in New York where his second cousin Edward (111312) was a classics scholar. In October 1868 Edmund took a temporary post as Rector of St John’s Episcopal Church, West Hoboken, New Jersey, only a matter of a few miles from his cousin. It is probable that he took the portrait with him; it was later bequeathed by Oscar Frederick Livingston to R. Livingston Sullivan. On his return to England in July 1870 Edmund bought a life assurance policy for £500. For the complete stories see Chris Bryant's article in The Magazine Antiques and 111129 Rev Edmund Maturin
Copley portrays Mary (Livingston / Mallet) Maturin as a very elegant beauty. In about 1830 Mary sent her portrait back to her sister Susannah Armstrong in New Jersey from whom it passed to the Green family until about 1950 when it was sold to the David David Gallery in Philadelphia. In 1972 the portrait was sold by Hirschl & Adler Galleries of New York to the Knoedler Gallery and was bought by Walter P Chrysler, minus the carved frame which had been sold separately to grace the Copley portrait of Josiah Quincy at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. After the sale by the Chrysler museum in about 1983 the painting disappeared from view (10). Only a black and white photograph is available at present.
Gabriel - the Man
Gabriel’s qualities were appreciated. In 1769 his parents-in-law named Mary’s young brother Maturin in his honour. That name was carried down to generations of Livingstons and Delafields (11).
In a letter to Philip Francis, dated New York 13 June 1768, Alexander MackRabie wrote to his very political brother-in-law:
“I waited on General Gage, and had the honour of some conversation with him. It was lucky I went at the time I did, as he has been out of town almost ever since. So has Captain Maturin; but he paid me a visit this morning, and with the extremest politeness told me how much he was concerned at my departure; that he hoped to have had the honour of seeing me at his house; that he will always be proud of an opportunity to show any civilities to Mr. Francis’s friends, and that I may depend upon his forwarding my letters constantly. In fact he is a very agreeable well-bred man, and his lady a pretty woman. I wish I could have been better acquainted with him, which I certainly will whenever I come to New York again.” (12)
Sir Philip Francis was born in Dublin just ten years after Gabriel. His father, the Revd Philip Francis senior, graduated from Trinity College Dublin in 1729 and must have been well acquainted with the Revd. Gabriel James before removing to England. Though he secured posts in the War Office Sir Philip made sure that he was very well informed about everything which was happening in British politics. It is widely believed that he was the author of the “Letters of Junius” which from 1769 to 1772 championed many reformatory causes, including the radical ideals of John Wilkes and support for a new order in the American colonies. Gabriel is mentioned several times in letters between Sir Philip and Mackrabie but always with a degree of respect unusual in a man noted for being explicit, vindictive, manipulative and treacherous. Such respect may have been either absorbed from his father’s attitude to Gabriel James as a gentleman who had made his way through the pits and snares of the Church of Ireland by sheer ability or, more likely, the recognition in Captain Gabriel of an honest man already known to him, who had achieved responsibility by merit and intelligence, and one who could be useful to him. “Pacquets” between London and New York were carried by the War Office post and distributed in America through the good offices of Gabriel. Though he may have sympathised very privately with Sir Philip’s radical views Gabriel would have destroyed the trust in him by his senior officers if he had expressed such views openly.
Gabriel did have his detractors. Normand MacLeod had been a captain in Thomas Gages’ regiment when it operated in Canada until the end of the Seven Years War reduced him to half pay. He threw in his lot with the most powerful commander in the wild region west of the established colonies, Sir William Johnson, in policing the negotiations with the Indian tribes from Niagara to Detroit. MacLeod took the potentially lucrative post of commissary as well as using his military skills to make life difficult for any opponents to British rule. By 1769 his run of good fortune had all but ended. He was attempting to collect money which was due to him in New York, including sums that were owed by the Army - “but as to the Generals money his pimp of a secretary allways makes delays” (13). Lieut. General Gage had made it plain that he did not wish to meet Macleod; like all loyal secretaries Gabriel had to accept such jibes without retaliation.
Sir William Johnson was a man of immense wealth and power. He had gone to America in 1738 to manage his uncle’s estates in the Mohawk territory to the north west of New York colony. Dealings with the Iroquois Indians led to a position of authority as he represented their interests to the British powers. His value to the colonial government grew as he influenced his Indian neighbours to support the British view. By the time Gabriel arrived in New York in 1765 Sir William was the paramount force in the buffer zone between the British colonies, the more antagonistic Indian tribes to the west and the French traders who fomented trouble wherever possible. Dealing with such a maverick figure who was only notionally part of the Army cannot have been easy. It says much for Gabriel’s skills that for nine years he continued to be part of the team which managed the communication between Gage and his ally, despite the vagaries of His Majesty’s Treasury. (14)
By 1767 the 35th Regiment of Foot had lost so many men at Pensacola, Florida, that the sad remnants were sent home to recruit and rebuild the force. The 31st was directed to relieve it. Gabriel had made his home in America and had no wish to be compelled to rejoin his old regiment. On 17 June 1767 he exchanged with George Maxwell of the 31st Regiment of Foot so that he could remain in America.
Investing in Land
It has been said that "The list of those (British Officers) who came to own land is far longer than the list of marriages (to American women), and one begins to suspect that only unusual sloth or ineptness kept an officer from getting a sizeable grant somewhere in America during his service here." (15) The “family”of officers around General Gage was no exception to this statement. They had grouped together to persuade John Singleton Copley to visit New York to paint them and their wives. They figured in varying clusters around the land patents being negotiated as the territory in up-country New York became more peaceful with the end of the French War.
In February 1767 William Shirreff (Major and at that moment Deputy Quarter Master General) addressed an application to Sir Henry Moore, the Governor of New York, on behalf of “Richard Maitland, Gabriel Maturine, John Small, Stephen Kemble, Samuel Kemble, Richard Kemble, William Kemble, Henry Monro, John M'Neal, Francis Panton, Buckridge Webb, Henry Hornefer, John Sakerly, Thomas Wallis, James Glasford, Samuell Verplanek, Thomas, William Moorer, Edward Goold, Medad Peraroy, Ebenezer Harvey, Jos. Burt, and Sheim Kentfield” for about 22,000 acres of land east of Lake Champlaine “on Otter Creek” with the aim of establishing the township of Halesborough.
A John Rutson mortgaged lands in the Beekman Precinct, Duchess County (NY) to Gabriel Maturin in 1768. (16).
For a number of years the Clermont branch of the Livingstons had been investing in tracts of land in the Hardenborough Patent, then in 1770, land was being made available in what would become Delaware County, New York State. As today, business opportunities attract investors with a spectrum of morals and generally those furthest from getting their hands dirty, physically and metaphorically, are able to make the biggest profits. The Whitesborough Patent, also in what is now Delaware County, New York State, is a good example. Henry White was granted Letters Patent by George III on 10 March 1770 in the name of 48 subscribers to about 38,000 acres stretching between the west branch of the Delaware and the Susquehanna Rivers. As was the custom in such Patents the 48 names were nominees for, in this case, six investors; Henry White himself (hence Whitesborough) and five members of the British Army headquarters staff, William Sherriff, Hugh Wallace, Gabriel Maturin, Thomas Gamble and Stephen Kemble. After the tract had been surveyed by William Cockburn and divided into 40 Great Lots, each of about 1000 acres with allowance for roads and watercourses, at a meeting in New York on 2nd May 1772 the "tenants in common" drew lots by ballot to decide which freeholds would go to each investor, legalised by a Deed of Partition on 13 December 1772. Gabriel Maturin drew five lots, mainly well away from existing villages, whilst Henry White drew thirteen lots totalling 12,829 acres including Lot 10 on which the County Seat of Delhi would be established, William Sheriff had ten lots and Stephen Kemble five including two lowland plots on the northern bank of the Delaware River. Hugh Wallace and Thomas Gamble shared the remaining seven lots with five and two lots respectively.
Gabriel - his career
In addition to his secretarial duties in 1769 Gabriel was also appointed Deputy Paymaster General for North America and had his own account ledger maintained in the same way as Abraham Mortier, the Paymaster General. He appeared to particularly look after payments for incidentals and reimbursements to the commissaries and surgeons. Payments from December 1769 to September 1772 were recorded in the Paymaster's accounts (17).
When Abraham Mortier died in late 1771 Gabriel took over those duties from 1 January 1772 to the following 10 October. He uncovered a tangle of debts from Mortier to the Crown, starting with a mere £1,487-0s-1d by 23rd January, mounting to £31,948-6s-10d by the 20th June with a further £564-6s-3d added on the 27th June (18). Mortier had built a very desirable mansion at Richmond Hill, New York on 26 acres of land leased to his considerable advantage from Trinity Church (now Wall Street). Despite the fortune which had to be repaid widow Martha Mortier could afford to leave £4,000 to her grand-daughter, Elizabeth Jephson, for the support of her son William Henry Jephson. In a strange circularity the Jephsons were connected by marriage to the Kensingtons who played such a large part in the family of William Maturin (11132) from the 1840s onwards.
When his duties as Acting Paymaster wound down Gabriel’s appointment as "assistant deputy" to the Quartermaster General (Major William Sherriff) was announced on 30 June 1772 (19). Gabriel held this position until his death when Captain Hutchinson of the Royal American Regiment was appointed in his place (20). In October 1772 Lieutenant Major Gage requested leave to return to England and on 8 June 1773 he and his family sailed for home, his command being taken by General Haldimand. Letters from the General indicate that Gabriel was posted to Montreal as ADQMG in September 1773. There is a suggestion that Mary and her younger sister, Susannah, went with him on the northern excursion (21). However, on 4 April 1774, Gabriel was ordered by General Gage to appoint a deputy and return to Boston when the General resumed command in May. In Gage's absence that city had erupted. The discontent of the Boston Tea Party on 16 December 1773 had developed to the point that the General was appointed Royal Governor of Massachusetts as well as Commander-in-Chief, ordered to establish his HQ in Boston and quell the insurrection (22). Martial law was declared as tensions rose when the Intolerable Acts were enforced. Over the summer and autumn emotions were building towards inevitable violence.
Mary Maturin's mother's brother (so uncle), William Smith, married Mary's father's sister (so he was a double uncle!). As Chief Justice of New York and of Canada he was closely involved with events. Though of republican stock (in that his forbears had fought against Charles I in the Civil War) and with decidedly Whig principles in supporting liberalism, he was emotionally a loyalist. With mixed feelings he could declare to his colleague, Philip Schuyler, that "the Colonies are preparing for the grand Wittanagemoot with great spirit, at Philadelphia a Plan is discussing for an American Constitution. I know not the Out Lines of it - I hope it is for a Parliament to meet here annually" (23). In that same letter William Smith noted that "I learn that Gage is sick of his Task - and he & Ld N (Lord North - the Prime Minister) thought the work would end in a Moment & that the Genl would be retd to England this Winter the Conqueror of America". Some commentators have seized that phrase and linked it to the knowledge that Gabriel Maturin was close to both parties, then assumed that there was exchange of intelligence between the two men. Such a conclusion is almost certainly total guesswork. The Chief Justice did use the conduit to Gabriel to do his utmost to warn the military command of the dangers. On 8 September 1774 he wrote "This Day I wrote to Capt. Maturin my nephew as I did in June - informing him (as he is Secry to Gener'l Gage) that I thought the Wiser Sort had lost their influence upon this Continent - That the first Act of Indiscretion on the Part of the Army or the People marked with Blood, would light up a Civil War - That I all (sic) Discreet Men now trusted to the General's Prudence to prevent the Worst" (24).
Gabriel had a reputation for "impenetrable" secrecy (his obituary below). It is most unlikely that he would have made an exception to discuss matters of politics even with his wife's respected and influential close relative.
In December it was feared that the powder keg which was Boston was about to explode. For security the British troops were accommodated in crowded conditions within the city. Sickness was rife. A foul water supply beneath an old still house pressed into use as a barracks was blamed for “a malignant spotted fever” which killed several men on Wednesday 14 December 1774. To the great annoyance of the “government party”, presumably including the Royal Governor General Gage, Thursday 15th had been designated as the Day of Thanksgiving by the (illegal) Provincial Congress in another demonstration of independence. Despite his own illness Gabriel displayed his tact by sending “supplicatory notes to all the congregations in town”. He died at 4.00 p.m. that afternoon of “a throat distemper”. Given the overcrowding in the city generally, pressure on water-supplies and the speed with which contagion spread and killed, diphtheria may have been a contributory factor (25). Alternatively, his obituary records that he died of a “Peripnenmony” (28), a pneumonia of the throat, though this would usually not be catastrophically fatal for someone who had been active enough to write letters the day previously. The cause of his death can only be surmise. It must be significant that Maturins lived long or died early. Patriarch Gabriel confounded all by his longevity to over 80 despite 25 years solitary confinement in a French Royal prison. Gabriel’s father, Dean Gabriel James, died at the age of 46, and his brother, Charles, at 47. Captain Gabriel was just 44. A few short months later, in the following April, the Revolution was ignited by the skirmishes at Lexington and Concord.
Shortly after 15th December orders were issued that at "two o'clock in the afternoon" a funeral party of one Captain, two Subalterns, two Sergeants, two Corporals, two Drummers and fifty privates, from the first Brigade off duty, would attend the interment, together with any officers who knew Captain Maturin (26). In his diary entry for Saturday 17th December (27) John Rowe records the solemn grandeur of the funeral procession with:
the first part of the 4th Regiment under Arms
then the band of Musick
then the Clergy - then the Corps
then the Generall & his Family
then the 4th Regiment with Arms
then the Officers of the Army
and afterwards the Gentlemen of the Town
As no mention is made of Gabriel's wife, Mary, it could be assumed that she had remained in New York and that General Gage took the place of the bereaved family following the coffin. This was a significant honour. Rowe does not mention the destination for the cortege and, surprisingly, no grave or tombstone in either Boston or New York is recorded. The following glowing obituary was placed in the New York press on 2 January 1775 (28).
On Thursday the 15th inst. died at Boston, of a Peripnenmony, Gabriel Maturin, Esq, Captain of His majesty's 31st Regiment of Foot, and Secretary to his Excellency General Gage. He served during the late War in America; was dangerously wounded the glorious 13th of September, when the immortal Wolf (sic) expired in the Arms of Victory.
A virtuous and liberal Education, joined to an innate Prudence and Decency of Behaviour, distinguished him in his Employment as Secretary, which he discharged several Years past with eminent Abilities, unshaken Integrity, and impenetrable Secrecy. His social, gentlemanly, and hospitable Virtues, endeared him to all who had the Pleasure of his Acquaintance. The General laments the Loss of his faithful Friend and Servant; and a most amiable Wife is left to deplore her unspeakable Loss, in the Bereavement of the most affectionate, polite, tender and indulgent Husband. Capt. Maturin was a younger Son of the late Revd. Dean Maturin, of St. Patrick's, Dublin.
There is little mention of Gabriel in any subsequent correspondence, one exception being in a letter of 13 March 1817 to her brother with a reference to the "new Tragedies of Bertram and Don Manuel" by Charles Robert Maturin. Mary is surprisingly formal, post-scripting the letter to Maturin that "they are the Production of a Name-sake of yours, a nephew of Captn Maturin's." (29) By then though it had been 43 years since Captain Gabriel's death.
It is tempting to consider courses of events had Gabriel not died. He had made his home in America and married a beautiful woman whose family had deep roots in the colony. He had invested in substantial acreages of land. He displayed affection and understanding of the people; it would be difficult to imagine him agreeing with Thomas Gage that “America is a mere bully, from one end to the other, and the Bostonians by far the greatest bullies” (30). His family had known years of persecution for their protestant faith in the France of Louis XIV - but had decided that there was more opportunity for them in the Ireland of the Hanoverians than anywhere else they could choose. The simple, calvinistic form of protestant belief, inherited from the patriarch Gabriel and passed to generations of Church of Ireland Maturin ministers, expected total loyalty to the church and state which gave them refuge. Captain Gabriel was raised in that tradition.
Had there been no Revolution Gabriel would have retired to a well-bred, well-heeled life in New York. There would have been little to entice him back to Ireland. In the event of surviving to fight in the War, under no circumstances would he have been disloyal to his regiment or his country, even though a significant part of his wife’s family were prominent military and political players on the other side. Treason would have been abhorrent to him.
As so often with civil war the Livingston family was split. Mary's first younger brother, Billy (William Smith Livingston), was a revolutionary firebrand and became a Lieutenant Colonel in the Continental Army. Her second brother, Robert James volunteered and was wounded at Trenton. Little more is heard of either of them in Mary's papers but her affection for her other siblings, Peter, Maturin and Susannah is made obvious.
In due course Mary married Dr. Jonathan Mallet. (31). Jonathan had previously married Katherine, the daughter of Archibald Kennedy (Receiver General and Collector of Customs for New York), in June 1765 (licence dated 13 June) and lived at No. 3 Broadway, New York with their children, Thomas Kennedy Mallet, Anne and Catherine; Katherine died in New York on 3 September 1777. As the principal medical officer for the New England colonies up to Niagara Jonathan had been a close colleague of Gabriel and, as the Purveyor to the hospitals for the Army, appeared regularly in the Mortier accounts for disbursements for expenses for medicines and medical stores (32). William Smith relates that Jonathan Mallet was “fashionable and one of the most successful of the physicians of the period, and is described as an educated and very agreeable man.” Though the majority of the British forces were evacuated from New York at the end of November 1783, after the Treaty of Paris brought the war to a close, Mary and the children did not leave immediately. No. 3 Broadway was sold to John Watts (33). With two companions the family left for England the following spring, arriving at Dover at the end of June 1784 after a six-week Atlantic crossing, to be met by Lieut. Mallet, Jonathan’s younger brother. They made their way to London which “was made very pleasant to Mrs. Mallet ; her husband's social position was excellent, old friends numerous, new ones very attentive.” (34) Jonathan had been placed on half pay on 25 December 1783 but returned to duty as Director General of Hospitals in America and the West Indies for a year from October 1793. He died at his home in Bryanston Street London on 21 November 1806 aged 77 (35).
Mary remained in London after Jonathan’s death though she kept up a constant correspondence with her family around New York, particularly her younger brother, Maturin Livingston. She acted on a power of attorney for the Maturin family when Gabriel's Whitesborough lots were being sold. When another parcel of Gabriel's land in upstate New York was sold she invested the £200 received and bequeathed that to Revd Henry Maturin in her will to distribute as he thought fit. That will was made in 1828. It is interesting that particular mention was made of Henry's sister, Anne Phillips, who received £50. The fact that Anne had married and been deserted by Molesworth Phillips after bearing him four children could have struck a cord with the kindly American separated from her family. Apart from the specific legacies the major part of Mary's estate was bequeathed to her sister, Susannah. Mary died at 38 Dorset Street, London on 6 January 1830 (36).
To Christopher Bryant, Manchester-by-the Sea, Massachusetts for unfailing diligence, optimism and uncovering many sources of information
To Christine Crawford-Oppenheimer for invaluable support in obtaining research information
To Sharon O'Dell, Deputy Clerk at the Delaware County Clerk's Office, NY for very constructive help
(1) The entry for 15 December 1774 in “Boyle’s Journal of Occurrences in Boston” gives Gabriel’s age at death to be 44; this confirms the information “b: ’30” supplied by John Houlding from his database of British Army officers. With thanks to Chris Bryant for the information. Rev. Edmund Maturin’s Pedigree 1880 details Gabriel James‘ appointments (family archive)
(2) Rev. Edmund Maturin’s Pedigree 1880 - Maturin family archive
(3) Now the Royal Dublin Society, founded in 1731 as the Dublin Society for Improving Husbandry, Manufactures and other Useful Arts
(4) An excellent article on payment for Army commissions by Prof. Richard Holmes is on the BBC History website.
(5) Histoire du Canada - François-Xavier Garneau 1944-6 p 64 http://www.ibiblio.org/beq/pdf/garneaufx-1944-6.pdf
(6) La Vie Littèraire au Quebec - Maurice Lemire 1991 p 110
(7) Richard Trimen, (An Historical Memoir of the 35th Regiment of Foot, published by Southampton Times 1873 - reprinted by East Sussex County Council 1994), indicates that Gabriel was at the capture of Martinique on 27 January 1762 and Havannah on 30 July but this must be incorrect. From other documentary evidence it appears that Gabriel was not with the 35th when it was posted to Pensacola, Florida in 1763 to garrison the territory exchanged by Spain for Cuba at the end of the Seven Years War; disease wreaked havoc and of the 1000 men posted there only 40 returned to England in late 1765.
(8) Gazetteer and Daily News (London) Tuesday 19 March 1765, issue 11247, “Lieutenant Gabriel Maturin to be Captain . . in the room of Captain Ormsby, deceased."
(9) Copley's New York Portraits - E P Richardson Winterthur Portfolio Vol 2 pp 5-7
10) Original research by Christopher Bryant
(11) Gabriel’s brother-in-law, Maturin Livingston, became a substantial owner of property in Delaware County around Bovina and Delhi in the 1820s according to the Assessment Rolls for that area; as a Judge he became deeply embroiled in the early politics of New York City and was appointed Recorder of the City though he withdrew from that arena after a prolonged tussle with deWitt Clinton. When Maturin Livingston married Margaret Lewis (daughter of Governor Morgan Lewis) their ninth child was also baptised Maturin. Maturin Junior married Ruth Bayliss; it was their daughter Elizabeth who wed William Cavendish Bentinck in a very plush ceremony at Newport, Rhode Island patronised by Royalty in 1880. Judge Maturin's eldest son, Morgan Lewis Livingston, also named his seventh child Maturin. The family, including two of the three Maturins, are buried beneath an elaborate mausoleum resembling a claw-footed bath in the small cemetery of St James' Episcopal Church opposite the Vanderbilt Estate at Hyde Park, New York State.
(12) “Memoirs of Sir Philip Francis K.C.B. with correspondence and journals” - Joseph Parkes (London 1867) page 428 - available online
(13) Detroit to Fort Sackville, 1778-1779: the journal of Normand Macleod (Burton Historical Collection 1978) Historical Introduction page xxvii
(14) Correspondence with Sir William Johnson at the Miami Collection, Glen A Black Laboratory of Archaeology, Indiana University.
(15) "Toward Lexington: The Role of the British Army in the Coming of the American Revolution" - John Shy (1965)
(16) New York State Archives, Albany; Miscellaneous Boxes - Box 8 Folder 3
(17) Account book 5, Abraham Mortier, G Maturin; America Army Establishment; misc books Deputy Paymasters’ Accounts 1769-1772, National Archives, Kew UK Call no. PMG 14/4.
Commissaries for the Army, at this time, were civilians in uniform, similar to Pursers in the Navy. They were not commissioned in the regular army (or navy) but operated on contracts to supply food, forage for horses and mules, transport etc but not the ammunition or weaponry. It could be a very profitable occupation providing there was enough active service to warrant the government expenditure - but if patronage moved away then times could get very hard.
(18) Gage Papers in the Clements Library, Michigan - Letter from James Robertson, Capt. Maturin etc to Gen. Gage dated 23 January 1772, letter from Gen. Gage to Robertson and Maturin dated 20 June 1772, letter from Robertson, Maturin etc to Gen. Gage dated 27 June 1772.
(19) London Gazette 30 June 1772 - appointment “in place of Maxwell, who resigns”.
(20) a) The Gentleman's Complete Annual Kalendar 1774 - p 277 America etc.
b) The Staff of the Army - available online
c) Hutcheson vice Maturin - The Marine Orderly Book for Boston 1775
(21)"The Magazine of American History," of April and June, 1881 p 276 Article - “William Smith - the historian, Chief Justice of New York and Canada” by Maturin L Delafield. Chapter headed "Descendants of Judge William and Mary Smith" - available online.
(22) Haldimand Collection of Papers at the British Library B.005 - correspondence from General Gage 4 April 1774 (page 229 - SN 005099).
(23) The Schuyler Papers, New York Public Library, William Smith - letter no. 1875, 23 July 1774, also transcribed to Historical Memoirs from 16 March 1763 to 9 July 1776 of William Smith by William H W Sabine, 1956 New York
(24) Ibid Letter dated 8 September 1774
(25) “The British in Boston - the diary of John Barker” with notes by Elizabeth Ellery Dana (1924) with quote from the Letters of John Andrews.
(26) General Gage Orderly Book for December 1774, National Archives Kew, WO 36/1 - with thanks to Chris Bryant and his colleague.
(27) John Rowe's diary for 1774, Massachusetts Historical Society Library - with thanks to Peter Drummey and Chris Bryant
(28) New York Gazette and Weekly Mercury on 2 January 1775 - with thanks to Chris Bryant and his colleague.
(29) Maturin Livingston Delafield papers, Princeton University, twenty letters (c. 1815 to 1830) from Mary Mallet to her brother Maturin Livingston. Extracts kindly found, copied and forwarded by Chris Bryant. This letter is dated 13 March 1817; "Bertram" had been performed in Drury Lane in May 1816 to great acclaim but the follow-up, "Manuel", which opened on 9 March 1817 and must have spurred the postscript, failed completely.
(30) “Paul Revere’s Ride” David Hacket Fischer (1995) p 31
(31) It must be the sort of coincidence which fate loves that Captain Gabriel's great grandfather, the Reverend Gabriel Maturin, was arrested in the home of "M. Mallet - avocet au Parlement" in Paris on 16 April 1690 bringing his illegal mission (under the pseudonym of Lestang) to his deserted Huguenot flock to an abrupt end. Louis XIV exacted revenge by putting the Reverend Gabriel in solitary confinement for 25 years on the île Ste Marguerite in the Bay of Cannes. Prisoner no. 1421, M. Malet, was convicted of giving refuge to Minister Lestang and on 7 January 1691 was transferred to the impregnable chateau d’Angers; his fate is unknown (Fonds Lagrange, Agen Municipal Archives).
(32) Account book 5, Abraham Mortier, G Maturin; America Army Establishment; misc books Deputy Paymasters’ Accounts 1769-1772, National Archives, Kew UK. Call no. PMG 14/4
(33) Robert Watts was brother-in law to Catherine Mallet (Kennedy); her brother Archibald Kennedy had married Robert's sister, Anne Watts. Robert and Anne's father was John Watts (with thanks to Mary Cassidy for this link). The Watts father and son appeared regularly in the Paymaster's accounts for supplying materials to the Army. In 1794 the executors of Sir John Johnson sold a tranche of the Charlotte River Patent in Delaware County NY to a "John Watts and Robert Watts" - with a further tract to John Jacob Astor and William Leight as part of the foundation of the Astor fortune; Elizabeth Cartland (Charles Maturin's widow) employed Robert Watts as Attorney when negotiating the sale of Whitesborough Lots for the Maturin family in 1798.
(34) "The Magazine of American History," of April and June, 1881 p 276 Article - “William Smith - the historian, Chief Justice of New York and Canada” by Maturin L Delafield available online
(35) Internet article “Army Surgeon in Revolutionary America” Mary Cassidy available online
(36) National Archives - Will of Mary Mallet, proved at London 4 February 1830, with thanks to Mary Cassidy for forwarding the copy and the transcription of the dreadful script.
Captain Gabriel (1730) second son of Dean Gabriel James
Fort William Henry - with acknowledgments to US Library of Congress. Click on the image to open a full detail 0.8 mb copy of the map; click that image to zoom to full size.
The Plains of Abraham
Gabriel's entry in the Edmund Maturin 1880 Pedigree; click to open a larger image
Extract - "His portrait was painted by the eminent artist, Mr Copley, of Boston (father of the late Lord Lyndhurst) and it was formerly in the possession of the Rev. H. Maturin. of Fannet Glebe, to whom it was bequeathed by his widow, who had been married after the death of Capt. Maturin, to a Mr Mallett, and died in London about 1830"
Captain Gabriel by John Singleton Copley
Mary Maturin (née Livingston) by Copley
digitally superimposed on the original carved frame
The Whitesborough Patent in 1772 with acknowledgements to http://docs.unh.edu/nhtopos/nhtopos.htm and the Centennial Edition of the 1985 Catskill Map.
Henry White - yellow, William Sherriff - blue, Hugh Wallace - white, Gabriel Maturin - green, Thomas Gamble - purple, Stephen Kemble - red. A high resolution copy of this file is available; contact Mike Osborne
Click here for the detail on the land purchases and the selling of the Whitesborough shares
Entry for 17 November 1771 in the Paymaster's Accounts
Jim Oppenheimer (descended from Emma 11135) at the Livingston tomb