Jeffrey Hudson

In  the early ages of the world, when knowledge chiefly depends upon tradition, it is natural for mankind to people the universe with a thousand imaginary beings. Hence the stories of dragons, giants, and dwarfs, all of which have some foundation in reality; but when these are scrutinized, the dragon becomes only some wild beast of the forest, the giant is a man of uncommon size, and the dwarf of uncommon littleness.

We have already given some account of giants: we must say a few words in respect to dwarfs. These have never been known to be distinguished for their talents, though their figures are often perfectly well formed. They have generally one trait in common with children—a high opinion of their own little persons, and great vanity. In the middle ages, and even down to a much later period, dwarfs were a fashionable appendage to royal courts and the families of nobles.

Among the most celebrated of this class of persons was Jeffrey Hudson, born at Oakham, England, in 1619. At seven years of age, he was taken into the service of the Duke of Buckingham, being then but eighteen inches high. He afterwards was taken into the service of the queen of Charles I., who sent him to the continent on several confidential commissions. His size never exceeded three feet nine inches, but he possessed a good share of spirit, and, on the breaking out of the civil wars, he became a captain of horse.

On one occasion, he went to sea, and was taken by a Turkish corsair, and sold for a slave; but he was fortunately ransomed, and enabled to return to England. When the infamous Titus Oates pretended to reveal a plot against the king, Charles II., Hudson was one of the suspected persons, and, in consequence, lay some time in prison. He was at length released, and died in 1678.