Baron D’Aguilar

This  strange character presents another remarkable instance of inconsistency; of avarice and liberality, of cruelty and kindness, of meanness and integrity, of misanthropy and benevolence. He was the son of a German Jew, who settled in London, and left him his title, and a large estate. In 1758, he was married to a lady whose fortune amounted to 150,000 pounds. In 1763, being left a widower, he married a few days after, another lady of fortune. Up to this time, he had lived in the highest style of fashion, but, owing to the loss of an estate in America, and domestic disagreements, he now suddenly withdrew from his family connections and the society of the gay world, and established himself at a farm-house in Islington. Here he professed to be a farmer; he stocked his yard with cattle, pigs, and poultry, yet he kept them in such a lean and miserable condition, that the place acquired the name of Starvation Farmyard.

Everything in his establishment was conducted on the meanest scale; yet D'Aguilar, at this very time, was a liberal patron of public institutions, and profuse in his charities. While his cattle were actually in the agonies of starvation, he was doing some kindly, yet secret act, to alleviate the distresses of the poor. His wife had been obliged to leave him, but, after a separation of twenty years, he called to see her, and a reconciliation took place. In a short time, however, his extreme rigor compelled her again to leave him, and, by the advice of friends, she instituted legal proceedings against him. In this suit she was successful, and he was compelled to make a liberal provision for her.

At last, he was taken severely ill, and a physician was sent for, but he would not permit him to see him. He was therefore obliged to prescribe from a report of his symptoms. His youngest daughter begged permission to see him, but the stern father refused. In March, 1802, he died, leaving a property estimated at a million of dollars. His diamonds alone were worth thirty thousand pounds!